5 Steps to Boost Business Productivity
Everyone wants to improve productivity, but where do you start? Getting new technology up and running can be complex and time-consuming. It can disrupt the way you work, and if your team can't see the relevance or find the new application difficult to use, they won't use it.
But what if you could look beyond these obstacles? What if you could see more of what's happening, what's coming up and how you could make your business more productive?
Below are 5 steps to overcome frequent productivity issues and what your future business processes could look like!
1. Connect Your Data
- Departments use their own spreadsheet and tools, keep their own records and manage this without a centralised database.
- Unconnected data without the necessary context and insight, leaves decision-makers uninformed or even misinformed.
How To Solve Them:
- Move to the cloud and create a connected ecosystem, with a CRM system at the centre.
- Have familiar apps and services connected e.g. Outlook, SharePoint, LinkedIn, and any other specialist tools for specific business areas.
- Use connected apps in the cloud to ensure the data your team collect is always up-to-date and secure.
In your business, connecting data could give employees more flexibility on the go. Say an engineer is attending a call - all the information they'll need to complete the job is easily accessible on the mobile app. The system sends an alert with the time and location. The engineer looks up knowledge materials through their phone or tablet, then completes the sign-off process digitally; updating the customer record and submitting the report for approval straight away.
Or, it could mean digitising visitor records. So, instead of signing in to a physical book, guests can scan in using a tablet at reception which requests any additional detail and instantly sends an alert to the person they're here to see. The system records their visit in the cloud and Sales teams or Account Managers can see the data behind the visit.
2. Action Your Insights
- Feeling overwhelmed with so much data? With connected data, comes the problem of taking the time to analyse all the data; it only takes a few incomplete entries or small delay collecting data to skew insights.
- People could miss out on valuable opportunities or make decisions based on guesswork i.e. which clients are growing, what your best people are doing right, and what needs improving.
How To Solve Them:
- Utilise unified reporting tools to monitor, visualise and analyse data, that you might not have had time to check, in real time and at scale.
- Transform your business to become nimble and proactive with contextual data-driven insights.
In your business, actioning your insights could start with surfacing contextual relationship and process information in the apps you already use - like Outlook and Microsoft Teams. What's more, it could be using the added insights from your unified reporting tools with AI-powered prompts to catch opportunities early and choose your next steps. This could identify sales trends in your business and in the wider market, or track customer relationships to see how they're likely to develop.
Internally, it could help you measure your employees' progress on their key performance metrics or answer their performance questions. When it comes to AI, it's no longer true that you need to be a data scientist to reap the benefits. With prebuilt models and natural language queries, actionable insight is readily available.
3. Guide Your Business Processes
- Connected data and insights is undermined if business processes become too complex, resulting in users taking shortcuts or reverting to old habits.
- Data quality suffers due to inconsistencies when repeatable processes are handled, such as qualifying leads or resolving service cases.
- Manual processes makes it harder for teams to collect high quality data.
How To Solve Them:
- Enforce rules and set custom controls that improve how repeatable processes are handled, with guided steps and gated stages.
- Dynamically adjust steps based on information already entered, to create a better user experience, increase relevance and make sure the relevant information is captured.
- Whether it's tracking sales enquires or progressing applications, putting rules and logic in place will ensure people see what they're required to do, and processes are completed efficiently.
In your business, the rules and logic could guide end-to-end processing. Say you're picking up a job from a colleague. You've got a complete roadmap of the process behind each task - making it easy to check what's been done so far and what needs to happen next. The rules and logic could also automatically extract data from a standard form to create a new entry in your CRM. With that data, or the data in meeting notes, tracked emails, or another source, AI can guide you and yours employees through your processes - recommending next steps and best practice.
4. Engage Customers
- Despite everyone in your business wanting to add to its success, when there is little transparency between teams, or if communication isn't effective, customers can disappear down the cracks.
- If teams like Sales and Marketing aren't integrated and sharing experiences, then they could be missing significant opportunities.
How To Solve Them:
- Use the masses of data collected by Sales and Marketing teams to gain insights that will help everyone save time, reduce admin and deliver better service.
- With connected data and apps, together with a combined understanding of customers, you can automate the way you interact with them.
- Marketers are able to build repeatable campaigns that Sales teams can trigger, guided by embedded insights to see when your audience is most responsive; so that every conversation is timely, engaging and personal.
In your business, engaging your customer could mean finding the perfect moment to launch a multi-channel campaign and drive responses. It could even help you find the perfect platform for delivering content - from email to WhatsApp. At any moment, all your customers will be in very different stages of awareness, consideration and purchase. But bring together the data from your Sales and Marketing teams - for example what customers have clicked on your website, their history with your business, or the warmth of the lead - and you'll find every activity is more focused, with greater clarity and higher engagement.
5. Earn Customer Loyalty
- If customers don't receive an immediate response and are left waiting, this will often result with them going elsewhere
- Answering all of your queries manually confines you to business hours, and puts a lot of pressure on employees
- Self-serve portals help prioritise service and reduce inbound queries, however they tend to come with high costs, from initial build and integration to ongoing maintenance
How To Solve Them:
- Portals are now easier to build and manage, thanks to drag and drop functionality and pre-packaged templates.
- Add a content library that draws from your central knowledge database, to provide an always-on service that strengthens your brand without spreading resources too thin.
- Connecting the inner workings of your business means you can count on your infrastructure having the capacity to take on more of the work.
- Deploy intelligent chatbots on your website or customer portal which are genuinely helpful by looking up data from connected CRM and ERP systems.
In your business, this could reduce the need to manually enter customer data into your system. With a secure self-service portal, you can give your customer limited access to your CRM. With that, they can manage their own profiles and get more transparency around the data you hold on them.
Meanwhile, you can deflect support requests by giving customers everything they need to find the answers themselves. Implement chatbots that don't require coding, so you can put all of your subject-matter expertise into customer service. Use the chatbot to handle routine customer questions, recommend content, or even take actions on the customer's behalf - and build a better experience that earns their loyalty.
Why Dynamics 365?
With the CRM capabilities of Dynamics 365, and a suite like Office 365 that combines the best-in-class apps like Outlook, Teams and Excel, you've got a common data platform on which to move data between apps, and gain insights with ease.
With a full view of your business, your people and your customers, what comes next is really up to you.
Of course we're still here to answer any questions you have about how to get started with Dynamics 365, and how you can get from connecting your data to earning loyalty!