What is business management software?
All businesses have various processes that they rely on to function - HR, sales and finance for instance. However, it’s normal and often the case for a business to grow in an ad hoc way, with software solutions brought in as, and when, they’re needed to help the business grow.
For example, a business may use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage leads, another application to handle project management, another to manage stock and order processing and a financial management package to deal with accounting.
However, the final product is often a mess of many different systems in place where data, which is crucial to the business, is stored and often duplicated across lots of different systems which are unconnected - meaning increased costs, errors and inefficiencies.
A business management system is the process of ultimately making a business’ workflow more efficient and effective. The overall aim of business management software is to therefore consolidate a business down into one centralised and controllable database, where all of the business’ information is stored. So rather than a separate system for each department working in isolation, an integrated system enables business processes to work in harmony with one another.
Why does customer service matter to a business?
If a business wants to be successful, it’s important that the focus of attention is directed towards the very core of the business - its customers. Many businesses choose to chase profit at the expense of everything else, however without customers, there is no business. When so many businesses fail within the first five years, failing to recognise and acknowledge just how critical excellent customer service can be to a business’ success can spell its demise before it’s ever really got off the ground.
How good the customer service is reflects on the entire business. For example, many customers will draw the conclusion that if the customer service is poor, then so is the service or product being offered. Word of mouth is also a very powerful ally to any business and it can have a profound impact on a business, capable of achieving far more than the work of even the best marketing teams.
If a business has really delivered excellent customer service, its customers will not only remember them, they will recommend the business to others. However, if a business delivers a poor customer experience, the opposite will happen - its customers will be unlikely to use their services again and they will encourage others to avoid using them too.
The business environment today is a highly competitive one. If a business provides its customers with excellent customer service, they’re more likely to invest their faith, trust and loyalty in the business. Poor customer service and undervaluing customers on the other hand will result in customers jumping ship, which feeds directly into problems of customer retention.
It costs significantly less to retain customers than it does to acquire new ones, however customers are not going to hang around if they’re subjected to sub-standard customer service and feel they could experience better customer service elsewhere from a competitor.
It’s also possible to improve employee turnover in a business through excellent customer service. High employee turnover over a sustained period of time inevitably has an impact on the success of any business. Repeated losses in recruitment costs, training costs and the loss of knowledge all add up over time. How well, or in turn how badly, a business treats its customers can resonate powerfully with its employees, influencing their decision as to whether they wish to work for a particular business or not.
If a business doesn’t value its customers and treats them badly, encouraging staff to deceive and undercut customers where and when possible, employees are more likely to feel embarrassed or even ashamed to work for the company due to bad reputation. Alternatively however, a business that treats its customers like gold will have the opposite effect - employees will feel proud to work for a respected business.
So, how can business management software improve customer service?
An integrated system allows all employees to draw from the same data source when it comes to all things customer related, which will ultimately help to increase customer satisfaction. If all employees have the same access to the same customer information and transactions, customer enquiries can be dealt with faster.
A single source of data also enables employees to keep track of orders, spot any issues and presents opportunities for members of staff to cross-sell and upsell to customers when and where it’s appropriate to do so. Real time visibility into the customer transactions also means employees can provide a more consistent service experience, which will help to build customer satisfaction and develop long term customer relationships over time.
An integrated system also makes it far easier to gain a better and more holistic insight into customer behaviour and how the business is performing if everyone is able to draw from the same data source. Better insight allows for better opportunities to win and retain customers, and offers the ability to better assess and respond quickly to increased, or changing, customer demand.
Real-time visibility also allows those who make important decisions regarding the business to do so with a more comprehensive insight into the business’ performance. This enables better and more strategic planning within the business to take place, such as planning promotions or establishing new ways of increasing efficiency and productivity within the business.
Separate systems also generate plenty of admin work. For example, a member of staff manually updating customer details over several different systems is often time consuming and is time that could be better spent elsewhere within the business. Separate systems that require manual processes also make it more likely for errors to occur. An integrated system, however, enables processes to become more accurate and streamlined, and the business’ data becomes more reliable as an integrated system relies less (if at all) on human intervention.
Separate systems also demand separate maintenance and updates, and require careful handling so that problems don’t arise when separate systems are forced to interact with one another. Separate systems mean that IT staff need to be knowledgeable across a range of different products, whereas an integrated system makes it easier for IT professionals to focus their efforts on improving business operations rather than maintaining multiple systems, meaning they can better ensure the reliability that customers come to expect.
Onesys is the largest UK partner of Global Business Systems and Sage Professional Services. They have successfully supplied and supported software solutions for thousands of clients to help them streamline their internal processes and customer service.
For more information visit: www.onesys.co.uk