As a small business owner, you must wear many hats: salesperson, marketing manager, customer service rep, administrator, the list goes on. Some you wear well, others you outsource. Perhaps technology is one of the areas that doesn’t fall under your strong suits. It can be complicated knowing what technology you need, and what you don’t, to get your business up and running. Here’s a list of things you need to consider when choosing and setting up business technology.
Sharing files and data among your team should be both easy and secure. This can be done either on a local server within your office or by cloud computing which can be accessed from anywhere. You can create a file system that accommodates both local server and cloud computing storage, depending on the level of security needed for the information you create, share, and store. Office protocols are needed to make sure all team members are responsible for the security of company and client information.
If you have an office with team members located throughout and a receptionist at front, you’ll need a way to seamlessly communicate. You can be notified when a client has arrived, either by a phone call to your office, or an instant message on your computer – this can be handy when you need a discreet notification while you are with a client or on a phone call and you need to wrap things up. In some offices I’ve seen this used as a safety measure, where staff can discreetly call for backup when they have a volatile situation developing in their office.
If you and your team are mostly mobile, you’ll need other ways of communicating. Drivers will need hands free devices for safety while making and receiving phone calls. Group chats can come in handy when the whole team needs to stay informed of a developing situation. Other mobile apps can be used for information access, project management, and other tracking tools.
Customers can reach out to businesses in all kinds of ways using technology. Websites now have chat features for customers to use instead of waiting on hold on the phone. This can allow customer service reps to help customers while leaving phone lines free. Sometimes customers will reach out on Twitter if they have a question that doesn’t need immediate attention; the speed and helpfulness of your response can actually translate into viable leads – if the customer asking the question, and the followers watching the response, see a quick and helpful response, they are likely to show more interest in your business. Keeping a number of communication channels open for your customers is important for marketing activities such as surveys and advertising as well.
Ease of Access vs Security
Being able to access your files is key to team operations for your business, but if it’s too easy you can compromise security. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult – you just need to have smart protocols and systems in place. Password management programs, if chosen and used correctly, can increase both your security and productivity. Choosing which information can be shared with anyone and which information needs to be highly restricted is all part of information management protocols. Communicating the importance of this to your team is not only smart for business, it’s required by law in most places to protect customer information with the greatest care.
Ensuring you have technology security and privacy protocols embedded in your business operating procedures is just as important as the technology you choose. To get professional help with technology setup and operation for your business, give us a call – or send a message! – and we can give advice on the best technology for you.