"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
As a business leader, you don't need to be a expert in everything related to business; however, you can't afford to bury your head in the sand regarding technology. Business thrives on innovation, and innovation thrives on technology, making it nearly impossible to separate business from tech. Yet, what happens when email is about as far as you've ventured into the world of tech?
There's no need to run out and take computer programming classes, but a basic foundation is paramount. Here, we've outlined some basic "Business Technology 101" points that every business leader should keep in mind as they build their brand and try to compete in a saturated market:
As business becomes more dependent on technology, customer service experiences become more important.
It may seem like an oxymoron; however, the more reliant we become on e-Commerce, the more consumers crave good customer service. According to Microsoft, 66 percent of customers in the United States are willing to spend more money with a business that offers excellent customer service. Similarly, 60 percent of people stopped an intended purchase due to a poor customer service experience.
As technology expands, the need for security does as well.
Technological advances make financial losses and security breaches increasingly common. Implementing the right IT support is necessary to monitor business and ensure safety. Additionally, it's important to use the same caution toward a potential business partner as you would a doctor; ask questions to be sure he/she really knows all that he claims to know.
Technology should make work processes easier and should do so consistently.
You should not experience slowness or downtime on anything. If you do, something’s off. Having professional control systems in place helps keep this in check.
Establish a three to five-year plan for technology and a budget.
Without these, you do not have good support. A plan ensures that your technology is aligned with your overarching business needs and that investment dollars are going towards the key drivers of your organization. The budget validates how you’re getting there.
Use tech to stay on customer's minds.
Now more than ever, you have the opportunity to stay in touch with your customer base online. Use social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as email, to engage with consumers regularly. Cross-pollinate by marketing your brick-and-mortar store online and your online store or website in the actual storefront. Send out announcements, blogs and deals every once in awhile.
Consider the virtual workforce when hiring.
An increasing number of businesses are turning to on-demand employees -- that is, freelancers who work on one assignment, a project, or "as needed." In fact, there are 53.7 million freelancers working in the United States, a number that represents about one-third of the nation's workforce. This significantly reduces operating costs and puts you in touch with a wider, more diverse pool of candidates. Using technology to access these employees can be incredibly advantageous.
Big data can help you identify customers you're at risk of losing.
With the influx of technology, it has become more difficult for managers and customer service representatives to gauge customer satisfaction. After spending years researching business interactions, programs such as Zendesk have emerged to provide early warning systems that can alert you to poor consumer experiences. This can help you focus more on high-value customers and improve customer interactions with people who are dissatisfied.
In the world of technology, it can be easy to get distracted by the details and miss the big picture entirely. With some basic computer literacy and appropriate IT tech support, however, you can gain confidence that the best measures are in place to ensure security, profit and longevity.