There’s no denying that businesses are facing significant challenges as inflation, interest rates and energy prices all continue to rise. But our modern world may also hold the solution. Harnessing digital processes and investing in technology can help businesses dramatically reduce costs now, while preparing for the future.
Time is money
A huge portion of costs for a small to medium business is spent on time. Through technology, however, there are ways to drastically reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks and therefore cut costs, all while ensuring customers receive the service they need.
For example, how much time is spent on answering the same question from customers? Firstly, look into what might be causing this issue for them. Then look to creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, or deploying a Chatbot feature, customers can quickly be directed to the solution as soon as possible on your website, without taking up time unnecessarily.
Another solution is ‘rechannelling’ – directing customers and visitors to a site or asset which clearly explains a product or service. By investing in quality assets such as videos or animations to take customers through a process, businesses can reduce the resources given to phone support and further cut costs.
Optimising how time is spent isn’t just about considering time spent on delivering customer success either. Businesses can dramatically free up a team’s capacity and reduce spend by using simple tricks such as reducing internal meetings to 25 minutes. Many have found this doesn’t reduce productivity but does save significant time in the working day.
Invest in integrations & automation
Machine learning or AI-powered technologies can also be integrated into existing systems to help SMEs improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their output. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, for example, can process information from multiple disparate systems in one place. Not only does this save time, but it also reduces the potential for human error.
Businesses can make use of project management platforms to ensure the team’s time is used efficiently. Tools like ‘Monday.com’ allow teams to have oversight of different projects, ensuring there is no duplication of effort, or delays when the next stage of a task is ready to begin. Especially useful if a business has adopted hybrid ways of working and teams are not all in the same office, town or even country. Monday.com is an example of one platform that provides an easy way to automate a number of repeatable tasks and can be used across multiple departments.
For businesses of any size – creating, nurturing and converting a pool of potential customers is critical to their success. However, for businesses with smaller sales and marketing teams, this can be very time-consuming and inefficient. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can add huge efficiencies for SMEs in this area
Utilising a CRM system to automate part of the sales and marketing process can free up valuable time which can then be spent on nurturing client relationships for business development. Setting up workflows that efficiently and effectively maintain leads, or even kick-off and guide them through the sales process, can be a game-changer for businesses tight on time and resources.
Compliance is key
While it is a vital part of regulated businesses’ processes to ensure anti-money laundering (AML) compliance so that customers, consumers and even themselves are protected from fraud, it’s presence has been growing in all industries.
SaaS solutions exist that can automate entire parts of the business process and help to ensure fraud prevention and AML compliance at each step. ID-Pal, for example, helps businesses stop fraud at sources and provides a seamless, secure process to verify identity and address documents in real-time. It has GDPR compliance built in, which is eliminating the potential for human error and one less thing for a business to worry about.
There is a world of equally clever platforms out there designed to optimise processes from the management of employees to expense processing and more.
Not only do integrations free up time to focus on other important tasks, but they also ensure a business is up to date with the latest technologies and industry requirements. The risk of penalties for instances of fraud or reputational damage leading to customers moving away from the company can be detrimental.
Overall, while there is no doubt that businesses face a challenging period ahead as inflation rates, interest rates and energy bills are all on the rise, there are steps businesses can take to reduce their costs and ease some pressure on the day-to-day. As well as providing benefits today, investing in technology to save time, provide a better oversight of ongoing workloads and tighten up procedures to result in serious savings in the long-term.
Author: Simon Montgomery, Chief Operations Officer at ID-Pal.