By ELLE GREWAR
If your business has survived thus far, there’s a good chance you’re already putting software to work for you. Whether you’re relying on a bookkeeping package to keep your ledger in order or using tracking information to align your products with customer interests, software can help you get work done faster, stay organized, and boost efficiency. Adding to your packages can get pricey, though, and there are free and cheap alternatives if you know where to look.
Tap Into What You Already Have
Depending on what software you already use, there is a good chance you have access to products and services you aren’t using. For example, if you use a VoIP phone system for your business, make sure you take advantage of the various benefits it provides. Things like call forwarding, screening, and making use of your auto-attendant can boost efficiency and improve the customer service. The mobile apps that these products come with can help you stay in touch when you’re on the go as well. Don’t overlook plugging in when you’re using your tablet, smartphone, or even your smartwatch.
Explore the software you’re already paying for, and make sure you’re making the most of every aspect of your package.
Optimize Your Cloud Usage
Saving and sharing via the cloud is smart, since it can improve flexibility, boost security, and reduce operating costs, but there are ways to be even smarter about how you use the cloud. For today’s on-the-go workforce, products like Dropbox can help companies take their cloud correspondence to the next level.
If you’ve ever sat down at a computer ready to work, only to realize the data or file you need is only accessible with another device, chances are you at least faced frustration — perhaps even extreme anxiety if you needed that file for a critical meeting, sale, or presentation.
With Dropbox, you never have to worry about where you saved your work. When you save something to Dropbox it will automatically save it on your phone and computer as well as the Dropbox website. Even if you’re used to another popular free cloud service, like Google Docs or Microsoft Office, you don’t need to switch things up since Dropbox will work with those programs. Kiss moments of panic goodbye!
Dropbox allows first-time users up to 2GB of free storage, although users can expand that storage with simple actions, like linking to their social media accounts or referring more new users.
Rework Your Logo
A well-designed logo grabs customers’ attention and makes a strong first impression. Your logo should improve brand loyalty and separate your business from the competition. Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a graphic designer to create a memorable logo. Find a free logo maker online and choose from thousands of designs carefully created by professionals. Once you’ve chosen your design, you can customize it to your needs by adding copy and using your own font, images, and color scheme. Once you’ve created your new logo, apply it to your merchandise, marketing materials, business cards, and more.
Use Surveys in Conjunction With CRM
CRM packages help small business owners become more customer-centric. By putting historical customer-related data together, it makes it easier to manage those relationships. But picture the advantages of combining the automation and data collection of CRM with marketing research surveys. From there, Technology Advisors explains that you can fine-tune your sales and marketing strategies and better ensure customer satisfaction.
Popular freemium products from SurveyMonkey or Delighted integrate with CRM tools for a seamless experience so you can profile customers, gather feedback, and automate follow up responses when a customer expresses dissatisfaction.
Don’t underestimate the advantages a simple survey can provide. Especially if you’re connecting with customers online, it’s a great way to provide a personalized touch and improve engagement. As HelpScout points out, the more you can improve the customer’s experience, the more apt you are to attract and keep their interest. The data you glean is an opportunity to be proactive, reduce customer churn, and raise sales.
Do a deep dive into what you’re already paying for, take cloud usage to the next level, and supplement CRM with surveys. Kicking things up a notch by engaging free software options can maximize your bottom line and find opportunities for growth — without costing you a dime.