Today’s business technology software vendors have learnt the hard lessons from poor practices and self serving selling methods of traditional vendors.

But how do you, as a potential purchaser, spot a new age supplier from an old age dinosaur?

Consult our good practice software vendor checklist below.

Tip 1 – Satisfy yourself that the vendor cares about their customers

In today’s world, businesses need partners who will be there for the long term. Software vendors will take the time to build relationships, understand the business and the processes.

They will work from your perspective, not from their pre-determined ideas.

Tip 2 – Ensure the vendor will offer truly tailored solutions

Modern software avoids complexity and confusion by mirroring your business process and information requirements. Your team will understand the software and adopt it readily because it talks their language.

Most importantly, modern systems should have a single data store, ensuring you have one source of customer and operational data, without all the duplication headaches, complexity and cost.

Tip 3 – Ask their customers if the vendor will provide value for money

Traditional software usually entails complex licensing costs, options and upgrades, and you’re paying for many features included in the product that your business doesn’t even need.

Today’s new generation tools deliver only what you want and need.

Has thinking about how to choose the right business technology software vendor made you want to improve how you manage it? Read our articles below to get more tips and advice on how to improve your business.

Want to know how Flowlens can help you improve your business efficiency? Download our ebook on How to improve your processes and reduce waste.

Did you know that its 6-7 times more expensive to find new customers than sell to existing customers? How can you start to change your customer culture?

Encounter a business that doesn’t think ‘customer first’ and its usually a demoralising experience. Being told you can’t do something that seems simple, or ‘you can only get that over the phone’. These organisations have lost touch with their purpose, to deliver service and value, and to help their customers achieve their goals.

On the flipside, customer-centric organisations understand their customers’ goals, and structure themselves to ensure those goals are achieved. Their people have a ‘yes we can’ attitude towards problem solving, instead of looking for excuses or arcane rules to avoid helping out.

The Value of a Customer

Did you know that its 6-7 times more expensive* to find new customers than sell to existing customers? This presents a huge opportunity for upselling, cross-selling and generating referrals by encouraging stronger customer relationships. How can you start to change your customer service culture?

Listen to your Customers

Your customers are a rich source of information that can help you improve your products and/or service, yet how often do you ask for feedback or listen to comments in social channels? Gaining feedback could be as simple as inviting key clients for a coffee, but here are a few other ideas:

  • Make a list of your 10% most profitable customers, and ask them what you do well, and what you could improve upon?
  • Make a list of the 10% least profitable customers, and ask them why they don’t buy more from you, do they know about all your products and services
  • Examine customer support requests for patterns, and determine how quickly customers get a response
  • Create an online survey and circulate amongst customers
  • Ask for feedback on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

Streamline Failing Processes

We often find that business processes that were once fit for purpose are no longer appropriate or effective. In conjunction with customer feedback, it can be easy to identify processes that cause frustration for customers, or even discourage them from buying more.

You don’t need to transform the entire business on day one, that’s unrealistic, but you can identify major problems and quick wins with some basic research:

  • Make a list of all the people, departments, processes that impact on the customer experience. Look for bottlenecks and information silos that can cause delays or confusion for the customer.
  • Cross-reference these with customer feedback and determine which processes are causing the most problems.
  • Show early intent by taking action to resolve the most frustrating problems. Ideally you will streamline the processes in order to profitably deliver what the customer wants.
  • Devise a roadmap for change based on your complete findings.

Help Customers to Help Themselves

Today, many customers don’t want to waste time waiting for information. Put them in control by offering online access to information and services about their relationship with your company. Whether its service or maintenance information, asset tracking, training content, analytics, or anything else you can automate and deliver electronically, you’ll save them time and money, and create goodwill.

Again, refer to customer feedback to understand what information is useful and important to them, and examine internal workloads to understand where repetitive, manual service requests can be automated.

Bonus tip, don’t be afraid to fire your customers.

Sometimes you can’t please all of the people all of the time. When reflecting on negative customer feedback, or unprofitable relationships, consider whether your company vision is still compatible.

The benefits of ‘firing’ customers include:

  • Releasing resource to deal with profitable customers
  • Removing the distraction of non-core or legacy services
  • Avoiding negative word of mouth
  • Creating a positive outcome by referring the customer to a provider who fits their needs

Our customer lifecyle management solution, Flowlens, can help you become more customer-centric, and align your team on that vision. To learn about how Flowlens can help your business become more customer-centric, please contact us, or call +44 2890 998597 to arrange a no-obligation consultation.