This is one of a series of 12 posts that will show you how to take full advantage of the business-building power of the Internet and not get left behind as your prospects shift from using the Yellow Pages to the Internet to find a martial art school. Click here to view the first post and to access links to the others.
Reason #9 – Not taking advantage of the power of the Internet to build customer loyalty and transform business operations
If you are like most local business owners, you are inundated with ideas on how to retain customers and better your business operations – how to improve your customer service, how to add value to your programs so you can raise prices, how to be more efficient so you can devote more time to higher-priority tasks, and on and on.
Here are the problems with these ideas:
- Many require significant investments in labor to implement and maintain
- Some just aren’t practical to implement unless you have a big operation
- The ideas to increase business efficiency often don’t create the impact promised
Large companies faced these problems years ago but then they discovered the power of the Internet – to improve customer service, add value to their products and services, enhance their marketing and increase their efficiency. At the time, the cost of the technology was enormous (often in the millions of dollars) but the results almost always produced a positive return on investment.
The mistake local business owners make today is thinking this business-transformation technology is still out of their reach.
Due to rapid advancements in technology, it is now possible to take advantage of the power of the Internet to transform business operations – to improve marketing, customer retention and business efficiency.
Here are some of the components of such technology:
- The Content Management, Multi-Site Management and Content Syndication systems described above
- Customer Relationship Management systems that automate contact list capture and prospect/customer follow-up via email, fax, mail and voice broadcast
- eCommerce functionality
- Private member-only websites
- Mobile applications
While these technologies are quite complex at their core, they can all be set up in such a way that almost anyone can manage them.
The problem is that most technologists don’t have clue how to do this (see Reasons #2 and #8). They view systems that are impossible for most people to understand as “simple” – so they end up blaming the user instead of the system when they hear usability complaints.
In order to take advantage of the power of the Internet to build customer loyalty and transform business operations, you need to know what technology to use and how to set up it up – but it’s now possible to compete with large companies who have millions of dollars to spend.