Utilising Technology to Enhance Your Customer Experience

17/04/2019

Felix Choo

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In a business environment that is so focused on face-to-face relationships, ensuring that your customer service goes above and beyond is one of the best actions to ensure business retention.

One of the most significant issues we see in the timber industry is that sales reps often make sales as they establish and build relationships with their clients. What happens when they leave? Often, their knowledge, relationships and loyal customer base leave alongside them. 

A little while ago, I came across an interesting article discussing the findings of a survey on sales organisations. The following statistic got my attention:

“… revenue was up for 45% of respondents after implementing a CRM, and 39% said the software helped lead to significantly more upselling and cross-selling opportunities” (Source: Capterra)

In my previous article, "The Missing Link in the Timber Sales Process”, I discussed the benefits of technology in creating a new customer experience, and the above statistics back this up.

However, and I’m sure we will all agree that in a typical sales process, relationships are quite often the deciding factor between winning the sale or losing it to a competitor.

How can we take our technology to the next level and utilise it to enhance our customer relationships?

Benefits to your customers from efficiently utilised technology 

Through the use of business technology, we aim to enhance our customer experience by providing a superior customer service that will lead to returning customers and a profitable sales pipeline. If implemented correctly, we provide convenience and reduce frustrations for our customers and achieve the following benefits:

Easy procurement

  • Information is close to hand, providing peace of mind and transparency in the sales process. This includes information such as their current contract prices, real-time stock availability, order tracking, product-specific information, MSDS, etc. This also provides benefits to your sales staff should they require information to enable them to help a customer on the spot!

Faster sales-to-delivery process

  • Faster turnaround time as customer orders placed on the website create an automatic sales entry in your system and will be visible to your despatch staff as soon as the customer confirms their order.

Convenience

  • 24/7 ordering and provision provides your clients with an easy and convenient procurement process that is available whenever they are ready to place an order. Imagine customers placing orders with you on their mobile phones while walking through their yard! Or placing an order halfway through dinner for delivery the following morning.

Customer portal

  • Visibility into the sales process including: 

    • Distinguishing of invoices, purchase orders, deliveries and more

    • Tracking orders for delivery times

    • Outstanding Debts 

TIMMS ERP

Moving beyond this, if set up and utilised to its full extent, business technology also provides a tool where any staff member (regardless of tenure and experience) has the ability to upsell and cross-sell via product suggestions offered on their screens, leading to increased sales turnover.

Benefits of technology for your business

As I mentioned above, efficient sales are reliant on providing superior customer service to every customer. This will result in returned business and more sales.

So, apart from more sales, when you utilise technology to its full extent you will receive the following benefits:

A rich database of sales data

  • They say that data is the new oil. And it’s 100% true in this instance as a comprehensive database within your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is as good as oil. At the moment, an issue with the traditional timber sales process is that it is heavily reliant on sales reps or third-party salespeople who may store sales data in their head. If they leave your business, you have no visibility into your customer database. Even within a family business, there is always time needed to transfer knowledge and details of relationships between generations.

  • Furthermore, if you keep an efficient up-to-date CRM, you will, in theory, need fewer sales reps as the process is streamlined using integrated technology solutions such as online shops and customer portals that will increase your margins.

technology and consumer service

Ability to sell in new markets

  • With the use of eCommerce online shops, you will have the ability to expand your reach into new markets. Products like TIMMSanywhere have the ability to handle multiple currencies and streamline your operations. Further to this point, as you are not handling face-to-face sales, your customer service levels will increase and you can open yourself to markets in new geographical regions. You can potentially extend to established marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon and start utilising and adding multiple channels for sales.

Returned customers

  • This is a simple math equation that is applicable to any business:

“Good customer service + Quality products = Returning customers and higher revenue”

  • At the end of the day, you want to build a loyal and returning customer base to really enhance your bottom line. It’s no secret that keeping our customers happy with superior service is the best way of achieving this. Even better, customers quite often become an extended sales arm for you, referring their associates and helping you build your customer base!

Win-win for everyone 

Based on research, the current benchmark of improved sales performance is an average of 10-20% increase in turnover over a 12 to 24 month period! What will that add to your bottom line?

As a customer, I know I love the convenience of purchasing from a company that utilises technology to the full extent, provides a service at a reasonable price and with no headaches. I am sure most of us are on the same page. 

The correct implementation of technology to provide an environment that makes it easier for our customers to do business with us and for us to improve our service to them is an excellent starting point in an effective customer relationship strategy.  

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Felix Choo

Felix Choo MBA B.ENG – CEO, TIMMSanywhere™

Having worked in national and senior roles in both Timber and Packaging Industries, Felix has gained significant experience and knowledge in a variety of businesses and business processes. Being a creative problem-solver, he is a great listener and seeks to understand a client’s challenges and difficulties, before strategising and proposing a solution.

Felix is a man of many talents, approaching challenges head on which assists his strategic decision making by turning ideas, thoughts, or even a bit of scribble on a post-it note, into massive action with excellent results. Felix is passionate about working side by side his clients as they grow and he works with them to achieve great things. 

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