Latest posts by Eric Richard (see all)
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- Don’t Let Your Business Get Left Behind - December 14, 2011
“Remember the good old days” is a cliché that simply refuses to retire. Remember when life was simpler? Remember when one spouse could be the sole earner for his or her family? Remember when your neighborhoods were safer, and you and your family felt comfortable walking at night? And remember when technology and innovation was absent in most facets of our lives? It’s a phrase that’s withstood the sands of time, which each generation adopting it when comparing their lives to their parents’ and grandparents’.
Sure, those forgone days may have been better in some regards, but you’d be hard-pressed to find businesses that functioned more efficiently and productively without technological advancements. Now granted, there’re probably a handful of businesses out there that can operate with just a pencil and a notepad. But these are the exception, not the rule.
Think about your business endeavor. How successful would you be without a telephone, e-mail or a Web presence? Would you still have the number of sales transactions if your customers couldn’t purchase an item or book an appointment online or get details on what your company offers from a Web site or social media page?
Technological advancements have also made the “behind-the-scenes” component of your business—you know, the administrative side—must easier for you and your staff to manage. And a big reason for this is its ability to automate essential tasks.
Automation through SaaS Applications
Operational tasks are tedious and time-consuming. There’s no other way to describe them. But they’re also necessary. Whether it’s preparing payroll, managing inventory and customer data, sharing your documentation among a team or creating an e-marketing campaign, these vital functions require a considerable amount of owner or staff attention. In some instances, a staff member’s entire day could be devoted to just this one assignment, which is not exactly a good use of resources.
Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have become the trusted partner of many business owners thanks to their ability to automate these important tasks. When properly customized and implemented, they can eliminate the need to focus most—if any—attention on office tasks that previously took hours out of an individual’s workweek. The SaaS program does the rest.
For an example of how a SaaS application can automate a business process, let’s take a look at appointment-scheduling software. Service-based businesses depend on accurate appointments and reservations, as well as correct contact information on their customers. But the scheduling process can create nightmares for the business, especially if their primary means of taking appointments or reservations is over the phone or by e-mail. It’s a huge time commitment for the owner and staff, as they not only must answer these calls during normal business hours, they must also return voice messages left during off hours (which also means that they’re not open 24 hours a day, an inconvenience for customers wishing to book when it’s best for them). And on top of that, they have to record and manage this information in separate appointment books, spreadsheets and other documents.
Add a Web-based scheduling application, and presto, customers can now schedule appointments online with the information managed automatically in the SaaS program. For businesses that routinely book a large number of service appointments and reservations, this change can have a dramatic impact on office procedures and free up an enormous amount of staff time and resources.
Diversity of SaaS Solutions
Appointment-scheduling isn’t the only area that business owners and operators can automate through SaaS applications. Tasks that previously took hours can now be completed in a few minutes. In some instances, the initial set-up of the application is all it takes, without any further steps. Other common tasks that owners, operators and their staff use these programs for include:
- Lead acquisition
- Customer relationship management
- Document sharing
- Document management
- Project management
- Community support
- Data storage
- Event management
- Human resources, etc.
And as with most SaaS applications, these business solutions are generally easy to access, set up and use.
Remember the “good old days” for things that really were good, and move on to even better things like SaaS automation to help you run your business more efficiently.