Cloud-based computing and the rise of Software-as-a-Service have brought the next generation of tools to modern business. Unfortunately, many companies have not taken advantage of this competitive edge. Salespeople still page through pricing manuals, interns get lost in the contract filing cabinets, and accountants slowly copy-paste their way through invoicing. 2015 will be the year of the customer, and nothing will ever replace the human ability to build relationships.
But humans will always function best with machines at their fingertips. Here are three areas where combining the power of a personal touch with the speed and capability of cutting-edge applications will push the customer experience to the next level.
1. In Sales
The best B2B salespeople are problem-solvers for their customers, not crowd-pleasers. As Matt Dixon, Executive Director at CEB recently explained, “C-Levels think when you wow customers, they pay you back with loyalty. The big surprise here is that customers don’t care about being delighted. They just want things to be easy and get quickly back to their lives.”
Effective reps are efficient, listen to what the company needs, and offer solutions. Sometimes the end result is not what the customer initially expected to buy, but if it works, they will soon be back to solve their next pain point. To truly be problem-solvers, however, reps need real-time insight into solutions chosen by experts in the challenges at hand: other customers. Guided by the collective knowledge stored in your database and a specific understanding on the individual customer’s needs, a salesperson can offer true value in the best solution possible.
2. In Legal
The human element of relationship-building and negotiation underlies every contract. Both of these basic components require tools that provide consistency and insight into all of your contracts. Negotiations begin with understanding current obligations, not only with the customer in question, but similar customers who may have agreed to more favorable conditions. Trust is built by presenting consistent, up to date terms, and by honoring past commitments. If the history of your relationships with customers and vendors is locked in a binder somewhere, you are missing a treasure trove of resources.
3. In Customer Services
When a customer is having a problem, they want to know that a smart, knowledgeable, and sympathetic human is on their side. However, that human being needs the tools to quickly access current information about customer history, order status, and custom products. If the relevant data is scattered across siloed departments, it doesn’t matter how smart and sympathetic your representative is; the whole process becomes a slow, frustrating mess for everyone involved. Fast, relevant support, on the other hand, increases the value your company offers.
Humans have invented some incredible tools to maximize their ability to do business. Consider how the written word extended the power of human memory, and opened up incredible opportunities for the organization and spread of data. Now, writing and associated tools like copy machines, word processing, and staples are considered necessary to running a business. It won’t be long before operating without cloud-based tools becomes similarly unthinkable. Don’t get left behind, and learn more about how you can use these applications for your business needs.
To learn more about harnessing the power technology in an ever-changing business landscape, register for the Salesforce Webcast The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, featuring business consultant educator and Visiting Professor at the London Business School, Gary Hamel. Register today and find out how you can win a $1,000 gift card.
Join the Twitter Conversation: Tools increase efficiency, but your personality is the ultimate competitive advantage.