The small businesses that are succeeding in this economy are the ones that are getting the most productivity out of their employees. When implemented and used correctly, technology can make every task simpler and faster to execute, from accessing critical information to staying in touch with customers and partners.
Here are six tips for using network technology to help your business work more efficiently, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Give employees secure, consistent access to information. You have an advantage over larger competitors because you can react quickly to business changes. But you can quickly lose this edge if your company network is frequently down, sluggish, or unsecured. A secure, reliable network based on intelligent routers and switches lets your employees access the information and tools they need to keep ahead of competitors.
2. Deliver anytime, anywhere access to employees on the go. To stay productive on the move, your employees need to be able to reach the people and information they need–anywhere, anytime. With tools like virtual private networks (VPNs), your employees can work outside the office and still safely access the business network.
3. Make it easy to work together. Smooth collaboration between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency while also reducing costs. An intelligent network lets your business take advantage of interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, unified communications, and other technologies for easy collaboration.
4. Enable employees to take their phone systems wherever they go. Missed calls create project delays, wasted opportunities, and lost revenues. With a networked voice and data solution, your employees can have one phone number that rings simultaneously on multiple devices, so customers reach the right person the first time. Your staff can access all their communications from anywhere, checking for email, voicemail, and faxes from just one inbox.
5. Streamline customer communications. Delivering fast, knowledgeable service is the best way to keep customers satisfied. Linking your network phone system to a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a great way to enhance customer communications. When a customer calls, a pop-up window with their records appears on an employee’s IP phone screen, computer screen, or both.
6. Develop a long-term technology plan. The process of replacing obsolete hardware can interrupt your employees and bring the office to a standstill. You can minimize such disruptions by carefully determining short- and long-term business objectives and working with your network vendor to deploy technology that matches them.