- 5 Steps to Improve Project Performance
- Better collaboration: Rather than having teammates siloed, ERP is able to consolidate information for much more collaboration.
- Fewer errors: The automation of data input results in fewer errors related to incorrect or outdated data.
- Risk management: Every project comes with its own set of risks but these are often mitigated by ERP features such as forecasting tools.
- Increased productivity: Processes, such as calculations and data entry, are now automated which means your project team has more time to address value-add duties.
- Decrease overheads: With ERP software, you need less personnel and administrative resources, with greater visibility highlighting areas for improved cost savings.
- Improved customer relationships: Using ERP software for your project management means that your clients are enjoying improved services through increased collaboration and communication.
- Inventory tracking: You’re able to enjoy improved inventory tracking throughout your project with ERP supporting RFID tags and other barcoding systems.
- Better security: ERP can better store your data securely because it has in-built security systems including monitoring, authentication and encryption.
- Scalability: ERP allows for project expansion in that it’s able to scale up as your needs grow.
- Quality control: Ensuring quality throughout your project processes is made much simpler through ERP. There’s a reduction in data error ensuring that the quality of input data is elevated.
- Data analysis
- Customer relationship management
- Tracking and visibility
- 5 Business Benefits That Come With Accounts Receivable Software
- Decreased reliance on accounting staff
- Savings on salaries and overtime
- Less time spent on menial tasks and more time spent on strategy and customer service
- Lower collection costs due to fewer errors and faster turnaround times
- Reduction in the OTC cycle
- Reduced risk of costly security and compliance issues
- How Do Changes in Currency Exchange Rates Affect International Business?
- Inflation: This is the purchasing power of one currency compared with another – so where it costs a single unit of currency to buy a loaf of bread in one country, that same loaf could cost several hundred units of currency. Those countries with a lower inflation rate generally have stronger currencies.
- Public debt: Many developing countries have to borrow money to finance their economic growth. Unfortunately, where the debt is growing faster than the economy, the currency devalues.
- Political instability: As we’ve witnessed with the Russian war on Ukraine, instability events within the country devalue the local currency.
- Interest rates: Central bankers have to adjust the country’s interest rates as a way to balance the inflation and attract foreign capital. Higher interest rates increase the value of a country’s currency.
- Balance of trade: This is the difference between a country’s exports and imports, with countries that export more than they import perceived to have better economic health and better currency exchange rates.
- Investor confidence: Traders will consider factors like election outcomes, unemployment figures and other economic news for investment options. These views, however, are often short-lived and not necessarily based on fact.
Mergers and acquisitions
Travel and tourism
Buy in bulk
Transact in your currency
- Leveraging CRM Data to Improve Customer Experience
- Operational CRM: This system automates the processes related to sales, marketing and services so as to generate leads and establish potential customer contacts.
- Analytical CRM: Customer data collected throughout the customer’s journey is analysed so that your business can make more informed sales and marketing decisions. Through data-driven decision-making, analytical CRM empowers businesses with relevant information for a more targeted marketing approach.
- Collaborative CRM: Once customer data is collected, a collaborative CRM system allows you to share this useful customer information with your other departments to improve customer service and loyalty.
Learn about customers’ needs
Centralised data storage
Consistency in customer experience
Drawing on social media
- Automation: CRM can automate workflow such as sending a custom message to the right department, or sending a pre-set response within an allocated amount of time.
- Customisation: You can choose CRM software that can be customised to your business’s particular needs.
- Employee tracking: Your CRM software can actually track employee activity and performance to achieve goals and targets. This allows for incentivisation and improved productivity.
- Real-time data: CRM software with real-time data lets you make informed decisions that drive business growth.
- Third-party integration: You may need CRM software that integrates with existing software so check with your supplier ahead of time.
- Lead management: With this feature, you can identify leads throughout your sales cycle and act on them promptly.
- CRM analytics: These offer insights into customer data and come in a variety of options.
- Reporting: This feature collates sales and marketing results and can be presented in a visual graphic.
- Customer service: This CRM feature allows you to retain customers through a number of ways such as personalisation, incident logging and tracking communication.
- How to Keep Customer Credit Terms in Focus
The success or failure of a project is largely dependent on the project leaders and the tools at their disposal. Digital solutions, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), are incredibly effective in assisting to manage a project and ensure a timely conclusion. While ERP software is important for project management, there are ways to improve project performance alongside this valuable tool.
1. Prioritise project planning
The first step to any good project is by prioritising project planning. Before you get started with the work, you need to ensure you’ve considered all possible scenarios and how you would deal with them. You need to prepare for all manner of organisational problems – from health issues and emergencies through to personality clashes and misunderstanding tasks at hand – and decide on a solutions-driven approach.
A good way to do this is to compile a list of questions outlining what you want to achieve from this project and how these goals can be met. Remember, though, that project planning is inherently about teamwork, so you need to allocate a role for every team member, outlining all relevant tasks and duties, while also considering progress tracking… but more on that later!
2. Communicate effectively
People management is a vital step in project management because, without your team, you’re not going to achieve your strategic goals. Having self-awareness is key, and understanding how you relate to other people can impact the success of the project. While you might be an incredibly organised and efficient project manager, there’s no way you’ll achieve success if you aren’t able to effectively communicate your intentions and get your team to perform as required.
Make sure you’re touching base with your team at least once a day. However, beyond communicating with your team, you need to ensure you’re communicating well with clients, which means setting up a schedule of meetings to touch base. Communication translates to accountability, which takes us to our next step.
3. Track project progress
You have to be able to identify bottlenecks and inconsistencies in your project in real-time, or you’re going to end up with a major challenge that could derail the project. This means having a system in place to track the project progress and consolidate all the team tasks in real-time. By tracking whether you’re achieving project goals, you’re able to effectively allocate resources where needed and ensure accountability.
In the first step, you assigned project roles, and in this step, you’re tracking to see whether those appointees are meeting the goals outlined. If they’re not, they can be held accountable and must take on the responsibility for getting the project back on track.
4. Keep developing your project management skills
Being a good leader means constantly learning and developing your skills. While you’ll no doubt undergo work-based project training, you need to embark on training in your own time as well. Read the relevant material and improve yourself as a person and a manager.
Remember that you’re not the first person to do this, which is why it’s worth reaching out to others who have achieved success in project management. Learn from colleagues, find a mentor and use them as a sounding board for your own ideas.
5. Make professional project reports
The various teammates will update you on their individual performance across a number of different formats. This can be problematic when you’re having to report back to the client. You want to ensure that you have software that allows for a consistent format of project reporting so that managers can compare information easily and in real-time. Without adequate project management reports, your team and project stakeholders are constantly in the dark. This is not only harmful to the project; it creates a sense of unease among the team which is detrimental to achieving goal objectives.
ERP systems for improving project performance
When it comes to meeting your project goals, ERP software is the industry-leading tool for cross-collaboration, reporting and more. It allows for the integration and automation of the day-to-day project functions, including recording and managing the project data. With ERP software, you’re enjoying a number of project-driving benefits. These include:
Why choose Omni Accounts for project management software?
If you’re considering an ERP system to improve your project performance, then it’s best to work with an industry leader. Omni Accounts provide a comprehensive ERP system to integrate and share all your project information in real-time. This means more accurate and up-to-date information so that project leaders are better informed for future planning.
Some of the features you can enjoy from Omni Accounts include:
If you’re looking at improving project performance, contact Omni Accounts today.
Keeping a balanced and steady cash flow for your business can be tough. And it’s not made easier by the challenges facing the economy – inflation, political instability and a rising cost of living. When your customers are battling with one or all of these factors, it can quickly become your problem.
It makes sense, then, to stay on top of your incoming and outgoing monies with smart accounts receivable software which allows you to keep funds flowing smoothly.
But there’s far more to a healthy business than just numbers on a spreadsheet. Let’s take a closer look.
What are accounts receivable?
Accounts receivable – or AR for those in the know – is all the money that customers owe you for the products you’ve sold or services rendered. This becomes accounts receivable when you’ve invoiced them, but they’ve yet to pay. The total value of your accounts receivable is listed on the balance sheet as current assets, even if it’s work that you’ve done for clients on credit.
Incoming funds are the start of a healthy cash flow, right?
Keeping a healthy business with accounts receivable software – the benefits
This software certainly appears to be useful for streamlining your business functions, but there are some not-so-obvious benefits to consider too.
1. Cost savings
Getting paid the funds due to you gets more expensive as the admin costs escalate. At the end of the day, it comes down to money, and while you’ll have to pay for your accounts receivable software, you’ll be benefitting financially from the features and improved systems along the way.
If you could quantify some of these savings they would include:
Businesses that want to remain competitive need to keep a close eye on minimising inefficient processes and needless expenditure.
2. Faster payments
Faster systems mean faster, more accurate invoicing. It’s no secret that late invoices result in late payments, and also sets an unhealthy precedent with your customers which communicates that delays are not an issue. In a world where you have to shout the loudest to get paid first, this is not the impression that you want to leave with your customers.
Slogging away on outdated spreadsheets and manually entering client information is mind-numbing, time-consuming and often riddled with errors. Invoices can be inaccurate resulting in frustrated customers and delayed payments. Just a few of these issues – especially for smaller businesses – can tip the cash flow balance negatively and start an unfortunate snowball effect. Not only can this affect your income, but it can also impact your forecasting, budgeting, profit goals and business growth.
Did you know that it’s estimated that by sticking with a paper-based system you’re adding around 90 days per invoice? That’s a lot of time wasted! You want to decrease the gap between work done, invoice sent and payment received.
3. Better customer service
When you have people inputting data manually, there’s bound to be an error somewhere along the line. And, if you’re invoicing customers for the wrong amount, or for the wrong work carried out, then you’re going to end up with dissatisfied customers who might not return to you for a second time.
Accounts receivable systems that can automate some of the more repetitive tasks allow for a reduced margin of error, improved accuracy and swifter turnaround times. This means a better customer experience which leads to customer loyalty. (Plus it gives your competitors less opportunity to poach your customers.)
Why spend your time on internal system battles? Rather focus this time on enriching your customer experience and creating loyal business fans.
4. Improve Employee Retention
Your finance and customer care team are critical to your business – no matter the size. And it is likely that any employee will stick with your company for a longer time if they enjoy their job. However, as you manage more accounts, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage everything manually. It’s impossible for your team to produce the kind of results you want if they’re overworked and stressed out because you aren’t providing them with the necessary tools.
Logically, you will need less staff if you have a good accounts receivable system, and anyone you hire will have a much better working experience. There’s no doubt that your business will benefit from their long-term loyalty.
5. Standardise processes
Another great benefit of using accounts receivable software is that it unifies all the data sources and eliminates confusion. Everyone is working off the same information, leading to increased invoicing accuracy. Need to access any information related to your accounts receivables? This can be done with a simple search rather than having to sift through endless paperwork.
This standardisation of the accounts receivable process makes for a much more transparent and efficient process. And it undoubtedly adds to improved employee satisfaction.
Any new software will come with its challenges, which is why it’s important that your vendor provides you with the necessary support to keep operating at all times. Ask if they’re able to provide free, unlimited, 24-hour support so that you’re enjoying all the benefits of this automated software.
If you’re not convinced, just check online reviews and you’ll quickly have your answer about customer support. Start enjoying the many advantages of accounts receivable software today by getting in touch with industry leaders, Omni Accounts, today!
Do you work at a multi-national organisation? Are you involved in the import and export industry, or rely on foreign labour? Then you likely have to keep an eye on changes in the currency exchange rates.
This can be a difficult balancing act because there are so many factors that come into play – a war between Russia and Ukraine has an impact on European currencies which affects consumer goods prices down the line.
Here’s a look at the foreign exchange rates, their impact, and how this affects international business.
What affects the currency exchange rate?
Economists have their work cut out for them! There really are so many factors that impact the currency exchange rate on a daily basis. Here’s a look at some of the biggest influencers.
How does the currency exchange rate impact business?
The fluctuating currency exchange rate impacts us all in some way or another. Most businesses will either benefit from or lose out on sudden changes. Here’s a look at some of the ways it impacts international business and the risks involved.
If you work with foreign suppliers then an adjustment to the currency exchange rate could mean you save money if it shifts in your favour, or lose out because you’re paying more for the same goods or services. You will need to consider this well in advance as it can determine whether you order goods upfront or decide to buy as you go.
Changes in currency exchange rates also make it incredibly difficult for international businesses to perform accurate sales forecasting. Where sales might be going really well in an international branch, the amount coming in can shift drastically if the exchange rate suddenly turns against you.
Finance directors have an incredibly tough time when working out the value of assets or liabilities as they have to factor in fluctuating exchange rates. This is impactful for businesses when it comes to tax regulations as well as loans taken out in foreign currencies.
We’re all acutely aware of the rising fuel prices against the backdrop of global political instability, but this doesn’t just impact individual households but also businesses. The fluctuating exchange rate could mean a depreciation of the local currency and a rise in transportation costs and, therefore, sold goods.
The value of businesses themselves is also very much tied to the currency exchange rate. This means that a business located in a country with a stronger currency is more likely to consider mergers and acquisitions with companies located in regions with a weaker currency.
The current currency exchange rate has a massive influence on the travel and tourism industries. Where the currency depreciates, the area becomes a more attractive tourism offering as visitors will be able to get more for their money. This shows that there are actually indirect benefits of a weaker currency.
How do you manage changes in currency exchange rates?
There are several ways you can attempt to mitigate the risk presented by ever-fluctuating currency exchange. Here are some of the preferred options.
This is where you enter into an agreement with other parties that protect your business from any fluctuations in the exchange rate. This means that items such as imported or exported materials or products remain at a fixed rate. (No matter whether the exchange rate goes up or down.)
If your business has the means, it might be worth buying goods in bulk. (When they’re available at a reasonable rate.) When you go with a need-to-buy option, you’re taking the risk of an unfavourable exchange rate down the line.
Is your company in a strong competitive position? Then you might be able to negotiate for transactions in a currency of your choice. This allows you to pass the risk of currency exchange on to the supplier.
The advances in financial technology (FinTech) have made international transactions much safer and swifter which means that aren’t delays in payments. For a small upfront fee, you can pay money overseas on the day so you don’t have to worry about currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Big multinational companies even build foreign exchange fluctuations into contract clauses. This means that their revenue can be recouped when the exchange rate deviates from the agreed amount. This, once again, passes the risk onto the supplier.
It’s also important to adopt enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that allows for the management of trade in multiple currencies. The ERP software manages daily activities – accounting, procurement, compliance, project management and supply chain operations – so it’s important that it’s able to operate across currencies, and make the necessary adjustments when the foreign exchange rate fluctuates.
If you need help with these elements in your business, please feel free to contact the Omni team for assistance.
Companies that are working to improve customer experience (CX) have increased their revenue by up to 15%. This report by McKinsey indicates why businesses must prioritise CX – and the best way to do that is through a data-driven approach. Customer relationship management (CRM) is your best chance at improving CX and effectively boosting your profitability.
What is customer relationship management (CRM)?
Big data is the future of business. And one area it is proving incredibly beneficial is in dealing with customers. Customer relationship management systems collate customer data across different channels. This empowers those working directly with customers with detailed information related to the individual such as purchase history, queries and complaints, as well as personal preferences.
What is meant by customer experience (CX)?
CX is every interaction or experience your customer has with your business. From first contact through to customer loyalty – or ending the relationship. The customer experience is an important part of CRM because this determines whether they have a positive or negative CX.
Is CRM part of the customer experience?
There is a correlation between CRM and CX whereby CRM systems focus on managing customer information, while CX goes deeper into the customer’s experience for a unique perspective.
What are the 3 main components of customer experience?
When it comes to CX, businesses need to focus on three main areas when implementing CRM systems. These are:
This component looks at how much effort the customer needed to put into an interaction with your company. The less effort on the customer’s side, the better.
How did the customer feel about the interaction and what was the emotional outcome?
At the end of it all, does the customer consider the interaction successful?
What are the types of CRM?
If you’re looking to take your business forward, then implementing a CRM system is vital. But it’s important to know which system to work with. Here’s a look at the options you can consider.
How can CRM systems improve customer experience?
There are a number of ways that implementing a CRM system into your existing operation can improve customer experience and boost profitability. Here’s a look at some of the ways you can leverage CRM for CX.
Keeping top of mind is key when dealing with customers. This means establishing constant – but not overwhelming – contact with them. By incorporating a CRM system into your business, you have the opportunity to engage with them across their chosen platform. This could be email, SMS or WhatsApp. Through these communiques, you can share useful information related to new products, special offers and upcoming promotions related to big holidays or other celebratory events.
Beyond communicating with your customers, CRM data allows you to actually track their individual activities, engagements and purchases. You then have detailed information related to that particular client. Your data gathered will also include first names, emails and other contacts so that you’re contacting them directly with specials and promotions that interest them personally. Note birthdays to offer specials or discounts tailored to their individual interests.
CRM systems not only highlight a customer’s current interests within your business, but they can also give you more insight into what it is that your customers actually want or need in the future. Through a CRM system, you can generate surveys via email marketing which gives you valuable feedback about your products and services, as well as what you can do to increase the experience. You can also use the data received relating to what customers bought or browsed on your website or social media channels. It’s important that you actually use this information, once received, and pivot operations to improve CX.
The CRM system has a central database that stores all the information relevant to your customers, their preferences and desires. Where customers make contact with you via phone, email or social media, this data is stored in the CRM. It’s now accessible by any departments that might need it. Leveraging this CRM-generated data means that all your employees are better prepared to improve customer experience.
For a positive customer experience, it’s important that your business maintains a constant level of communication rather than constantly fluctuating. If a customer isn’t getting the support they want, when they want it, they’ll eventually leave. With your CRM system, you’re able to respond to customer queries through an automated system. This retains consistency in the customer experience and improves your brand reputation.
Many customers now turn to social media to illustrate their frustrations or satisfaction with a brand or product. This cannot be overlooked by your business as it’s an important source of data. Your CRM system will collect all relevant mentions of your product or service on social media and collate them into your central database. This way, you never miss out on any mention, no matter which social media platform is used.
What are the CRM features to look out for?
It’s clear that CRM can drastically improve customer experience, but it’s important to choose the right CRM for your business. When it comes to choosing CRM, here are some of the features you can consider.
If you’re in the market for quality CRM software that will improve customer experience, then get in touch with Omni Accounts. We offer a variety of features suited to a variety of industries. We know that these will ensure an enhanced customer experience that translates into improved productivity.
How to Keep Customer Credit Terms in Focus
Cash is king. Or it used to be until businesses started offering customer credit terms! While it would be wonderful to operate on a cash basis, staying competitive and offering what others offer is smart business.
But offering credit terms to customers comes with its fair share of risks, and you need to keep a close eye on payments… or lack thereof. To do this you need to have a robust credit policy process and understand the ins and outs of managing credit.
If this sounds like something you would like to know more about, keep reading. We will look at how best to manage credit limits and the advantages and disadvantages of offering them.
A Good Credit Process
If you are going to offer credit, you need to establish a clear and efficient credit policy. Payments need to be received timeously. If not, they need to be followed up on and limits revoked or amended as the months go by and you see a pattern with customer payments.
If you are looking into offering customer credit, there are a few things you should look at for your credit process. If you already offer this, then make sure you have taken into consideration these few points and consider changing your process if not.
Clear terms of credit are essential. If customers do not understand what is needed, they are unlikely to pay on time. Having a process to follow also reduces the room for error. Something like this puts you on the road to success:
- Politely remind customers of payment schedules when an order is completed
- Send a reminder on the day an invoice becomes overdue
- Send a letter every seven days if no payment is made
- After a period, it may be worth handing the debt over to a collection agency
Research Customers Credit Management
It is always beneficial to research your customer credit history beforehand. This is something that often gets overlooked because there can be some costs involved. However, it is incredibly helpful when looking at client credit risks.
Simply asking clients to fill out a credit application for approval will give you all the information you need to perform credit checks. Another effective way to do this is to speak to other suppliers of theirs to gauge payment history.
Positive Working Relationships
Debt collection brings a negative image to mind for many of us. So, your credit control process must operate in a way where no one feels threatened. Positive, open communications with the customer will stand you in much better stead.
Offer customers a chance to explain late payments or let you know up front that they are having issues. Make courtesy calls to confirm receipt of paperwork and send invoices timeously or in advance of due dates.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your procedures is to improve your invoicing system. Invoices that are correct and sent on time are more likely to be paid in the same fashion.
- Send invoices as soon as orders are complete
- Email, don’t post
- Make sure the invoice is sent or addressed to the right person
- Make sure invoices are correct
It is worth a quick follow up once an invoice has been sent to confirm receipt. This way you will know immediately if there are any problems.
Encourage Early and Easy Payment
Make sure your payment details are clearly and stated on each invoice, as well as the forms of payment accepted. It is beneficial to offer multiple payment options, that way it limits outdated excuses such as “the cheque is in the mail!”
You can also offer payment incentives such as early settlement discounts. This is a very effective way to encourage problem payers to step up.
Keep Watch Lists and Act
It is never a good idea to ignore bad debt or customers who do not honour their credit period. If the same customers always pay late, it is worth keeping them on a watch list. This means you have proof backing you if you need to change their credit terms or limits.
While there are often legitimate reasons for lack of payment, you should not be afraid to act in the best interest of your business for repeat offenders. If a customer is avoiding payment and avoiding you, a simple lawyer’s letter can sometimes get a response or action from them.
If you do not act when needed, some customers will start to take advantage of this. This is where your business can run into real trouble financially. Remember, payment is more likely to go to those who shout the loudest.
Trust Your Instincts
Commonly, late or non-paying customers will offer excuses. You are within your rights to ask for proof if you suspect something else is going on. Prioritise tricky clients and keep an eye on them so you can get a sense of the monthly trends and can act accordingly. Trust your instincts when something is off and take preventative action to protect your business.
Research Your Competition
Knowing what your competitors are offering when it comes to credit will give you a benchmark to work off. You will need to offer terms that are equal to or better than what they are offering, but without putting your business at risk. Make a few calls before you set your credit terms – pose as a customer if you need to!
If you are going to offer credit to customers, to keep a flow of cash you may need to invest in some trade credit accounting. This means taking credit from some suppliers to free up cash flow and give you a bit of a grace period on making payments until the money comes in.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Customer Credit Terms
Every industry is competitive, and to keep in the game you may have to match or better what your competition is doing. Offering credit to customers has advantages and disadvantages, and as a business owner, you need to decide if they are worth the risk.
- Keeps you competitive if you offer more favourable terms
- Can offer increased sales, especially if your competitors do not offer credit
- Improved customer loyalty as it shows you trust, respect, and have confidence in your customers
- It will have a slight immediate effect on cash flow in the beginning and can impact negatively on future cash flow if payments are not done on time
- You may need to fund your accounts receivable at the beginning
- Managing the status of accounts receivable is vital – this needs to be someone’s entire job
- Taking a risk requires research into the credit history of each customer
- No matter how much due diligence you do, offering credit comes with the risk of bad debt and write-offs
Keeping the Flow
A successful business makes clever use of efficient processes, and customer credit terms should be no different. Simple processes managed correctly will allow your business to run smoothly and your cash flow to stay flexible and reliable.
If you need guidance in the area of customer credit, or you would like us to take the headache away from you, please contact us today.
Our friendly and professional team will be happy to assist you in any way we can.
Collect the Right Customer Account Information to Understand Your Market
We all want to retain our customers by offering the best possible service and win new ones by providing the same experience. That’s a given.
Undoubtedly, the best way to do this is by understanding what your customer needs, and the market that you work in.
But how do you know what customers want? A great way to do this is by gathering data through your accounts department, using your customer account information. This can take you a long way in the right direction to understanding what is wanted, where and when and how much.
If this sounds like information that you can use, keep reading. We will give you some tips and tricks to stay at the top of your market while offering the best possible service.
Understanding Your Customers
Understanding your current customers, as well as any potential customers, is essential if you want to remain competitive. And this is not as complicated as you may think – you already have all the tools at your disposal. You just need to use them.
If you are using accounting software systems for customer management, you are already halfway there. These valuable insights will help you to analyse your data for trends and get a good look at the big picture.
If you don’t ask any questions, you will never have any answers. But what are the right questions to ask to gather the data that you require? They are simple really
- Who are your customers?
- What do they want to buy or use?
- When do they want it?
- Where do they buy most often?
- How do they make payment?
- What price are they willing to pay?
By asking these simple questions, you will be able to gather a wealth of data that can help you to improve your business, and point you in the right position.
While they are a helpful way to capture data, DIY surveys on your customers will often give you a biased view of what your customers need. Your most loyal and active customer will participate, and you may miss out on the details and feedback of your less positive or active customers.
If you want to go the survey route, the best way to do this is to use a third-party research option or CRM to reach all customers by using their account information, not just your current ones. This will give you a much more rounded database to work from.
Identify Consumer Segments
Once you start to gather information, you will be able to identify certain consumer segments that share similar characteristics. Having this information available will allow you to streamline your target markets. Ensuring customers are in the right segments is easy enough if you group your customer account numbers, and make sure you keep up with regular customer account maintenance.
While there are various segments within segments, in very basic terms, the top four segments are
- Demographics is based on age, gender, marital status, income, occupation etc.
- Psychographic is based around personal values, interests, and attitudes as well as personality traits
- Geographic is based around where customers live
- Behavioural is based on how people spend money, their actions or lack of actions
Each of these segments requires specific items and services, and because of this, your best option is to offer a tailormade marketing strategy to each. An important thing to remember however is that while these segments may have similar interests or requirements, they are still individuals.
You run the risk of excluding some of them if you are too specific with your marketing and communication. There are hundreds of ways that you could divide your customers up into segments. However, not all of these will be useful to your marketing strategies, so you will need to sort carefully through your data.
Know Your Buyers Motivation
Knowing why a consumer does something is particularly important information to have. Gathering this information through a customer account can help you to understand what is needed, as well as noticing if there are any gaps in the market, or areas that you can explore.
Asking the question of what your customer is trying to get done will give you vital information as to their motivation for buying a product or using a service. This type of market-related research gives you as a business a better understanding of your customer’s needs, and how you can meet them.
Which customers are willing to spend the money on top products, whereas others will opt for those that are good enough and spend their money elsewhere? If you can find the areas that you are not meeting a customer’s criteria or the reason that they are going elsewhere for products and services, then you will be able to find the areas to improve and draw them back.
This is the kind of information that works to guide companies into product development business growth. It will benefit your marketing strategies, which in turn will all help boost the bottom line.
Know Your Competition
While it is good to be familiar with your customers, it is also important to know and understand your competition. By studying the strengths and weaknesses of those in the industry you can be the first to discover gaps in the market. The most vital things to know about your competitors are:
- Which are your biggest competitors in the industry and what is their market share?
- Know their products or services, and which are the most popular choices
- Which of them is growing and for what reason?
- Know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
- Develop strategies that you can use to build advantages
It is also a good idea to look at those who are indirect competitors to your industry. There is great market potential here if you can convince their customers that doing things your way is better than using their products or services.
An easy example of this is if you are an airline, for example then your indirect competitors will be buses and trains. Your goal should be to convince people that flying is the most desirable possible option for various reasons. If you can offer your product in the same ballpark when it comes to cost and convenience, then you have a winning strategy.
Customer Account Information
Knowing what your customers want and need is a key component in being able to offer them the best possible service and products. If you can be always one step ahead of the game, isn’t it worth investing a bit of time and money into some products that can take your customer account information and turn it into usable data?
By asking the right questions, knowing your competition, and using all the information and account details to your advantage, your business will be a force to be reckoned with in no time at all. What have you got to lose?
If you have questions about customer accounts and the variety of packages that we offer, contact us today and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.