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Simpler Customer Services

We worked with the Bridge to carry out an analysis of how their Customers Services Team are using their time. This resulted in making recommendations to help them streamline their processes plus gave them the information they needed in order to structure their business more strategically to support their volunteers. Read the case study to find out how we did this.5 The Bridge Process Streamlining Case Study v4

Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The new GDPR regulations will come into force from the 25th May 2018. This short guide will walk you through how to prepare.

It is essential to start planning your approach to GDPR compliance as early as you can to stay ahead of the inevitable changes. You may need, for example, to put new processes in place to deal with the GDPR’s new rules which could have implications for your budgets, systems, and teams. Based on our experience, the broad challenges are often the same so we have developed this quick 3 phase guide to help you through.

  1. Prepare: Start increasing awareness now of the main differences between the current law and the GDPR across your business by tapping into and sharing the support resources out there. The Information Commissioners Office is producing regular helpful guides to what you need to do. Your current compliance approach will be a good foundation however there are a number of changes so you are likely to have to do some things differently. You will start to develop an assessment of the GDPR’s applicability and likely impact. We recommend you take legal advice at this phase.
  2. Implement: Once you’ve established what you’re going to have to do, you’ll need to make sure you have the budget, people and skills to effectively deliver the necessary changes. This can be difficult when you have other priorities which need to happen within your business however it is essential in order to be compliant. You’ll need to do a detailed gap analysis to identify the exact changes you’ll need to make, and then use these to create an action plan which you’ll then follow.
  3. Review: At the end of the implementation you’ll need to validate that the changes you have made meet the regulatory requirements of the GDPR. This may involve independent assurance testing and steps to transfer activities over to business-as-usual. You’ll also need to check your policies have been updated correctly and that your team have been trained so that they fully understand how they contribute to compliance with the new regulations.

To maximise your chances of success, we also recommend:

  • Introducing robust regulatory monitoring processes to help identify future changes so you can respond rapidly and appropriately.
  • Clearly communicating throughout so your team have a good understanding of expectations from 25th May 2018.
  • Setting up consistent processes with defined roles and responsibilities will simplify future audits, increase employee engagement and reduce unnecessary duplication of effort.

Good luck and let us know what your questions are about the GDPR.

Small Business Concerns About Brexit

The day has arrived and Theresa May has triggered Article 50, meaning the UK will start the negotiation process for leaving the EU. Some of our customers have already seen a slow down in orders, for others this presents a new opportunity. The pound has plummeted and regained ground, and numerous surveys have measured growing and declining business and consumer confidence.

While we can’t realistically forecast what the impact will actually be, we can confidently say there will be an impact! So we’ve rounded up some of the best business blog articles out there, many observing the impact so far and a few forecasting what they think the future impact might be.

The Impact So Far

Industry Sector Impact

Productivity impact

Trade Impact

Rising Prices Impact

Skills Impact

Economic Growth Impact

 

The Deloitte Q1 Chief Finance Officers survey is due out next week and we’re sure it’ll make for some interesting reading. We’re slowly moving towards a new version of normal. What impacts do you anticipate?

Want to know how to save money / speed up / grow faster / be more strategic?

Grab a coffee, make yourself comfortable and read our new case stories to find out how!

 

Can you really grow your business without spending more money?

If all your cash flow is tied up in day-to-day operations, growing your business by spending more on hiring new staff, creating new products or services, or investing in marketing to attract more customers, can feel far beyond your reach. At the same time, you want to develop the business. You have products or services your customers love, but you know you can achieve more. What are your options?

Yes, you could always speak to your friendly bank manager and increase your financing. But there is a different way which doesn’t involve getting into debt! Read on …

How some businesses did it:

Consider the events company which doubled the speed of its events planning process. Or the removals company that saved £17,000 a year on their operations. Or the customer services team that reduced their overheads by 20%. These savings meant they had more time for growing their businesses without investing in extra people, marketing or product development.

They took a forensic look at their businesses and identified how they could do things better.

microscope

Any type of business can do this. Ikea are famous for their continuous improvement approach. They make small, incremental improvements which all add up to deliver big benefits. After redesigning their best-selling Bang mug over the years, they eventually doubled the number they can fit on a single pallet – halving their shipping and storage costs.

The events planning company mentioned above reviewed how they plan their many events each year. By getting things right at the beginning and streamlining systems, they reduced the need for retrospective quality checking and approvals. By integrating their CRM system with Trello and Eventbrite, information can flow and tasks are automatically triggered; removing errors, speeding things up and improving communications so everyone can see the status of each event in real time.

The removals company focused on how they respond to customer quote requests. They were able to speed this up, reducing the number of lost enquiries and improving the accuracy of their pricing. This eliminated errors, made things run more smoothly and improved customer satisfaction ratings. These small changes all added up to a significant saving over the year – likely the equivalent of a new full-time member of staff. They are using this extra capacity to create new sales channels, and have set a new plan to achieve growth targets of 30% for the year!

So yes, you really can grow your business without spending more money .

Making small improvements to how you run your business can add up to big savings and new growth.

Veriteam works with you to rationalise, streamline and improve your processes and project management. By having an independent, external expert looking afresh at your systems, we can identify areas for improvement – where the business can work smarter, quicker, cheaper, and ultimately, more profitably.

Call us now on 01273 232 934 and let’s talk about how we can help your business be even better than it already is.

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Tips For Choosing A CRM Tool – Part 3 Installing Your System

Welcome to our series on choosing a CRM tool. Follow these steps to choose a new CRM tool which will help you grow your business faster.

 

Now you’ve made your choice, how do you prepare for using your new system? And how do you ensure your team continue to use it longer term?

 

Simplify

 

This is an ideal to take a fresh look at your processes to see if there are any steps that haven’t evolved with your business or that can be simplified. Map out how things work today and then work out how they will work with your new CRM tool. Look out for duplication and opportunities to streamline.

 

Agree Responsibilities

 

For your shiny new system to be used, it needs to be very clear who is responsible for what. It’s easy for people to lack clarity over who owns a part of the process or assume someone else is doing something. Mapping out how your processes will work gives you the opportunity to confirm ownership.

 

Training

 

Make sure you pay attention to training your team on the new system. You’re likely to be very familiar with it by now as you evaluated it and then chose it. Remember each person has a different comfort level when it comes to technology so increase your chances of success by training your team and leaving them with process manuals that clearly describe exactly how they should use the system, step by step. This will help people to continue using the system longer term.

 

Tracking Progress

 

Your CRM tool will have some great reports which should become a core part of your daily toolbox. They will give you a live snapshot of how your business is performing and your progress towards your goals.

 

Finally, don’t forget security. CRM software will easily become the core of your operations. Don’t forget that your CRM software should have stringent security measures to prevent cyberattacks and data loss, as well as provide a means to access your data in the event of an outage or cyberattack.

 

Good luck with your selection process, let us know how you get on. Which CRM systems do you use?

Tips For Choosing A CRM Tool – Part 2 Usability & Systems Integrations

Welcome to our series on choosing a CRM tool. Follow these steps to choose a new CRM tool which will help you grow your business faster.

 

Now you’ve identified what it needs to do any how much you want to spend, it’s time to determine how usable it is and what systems it needs to integrate with.

 

How Usable Is It?

 

Will you use it from a desktop PC or out on the road from a mobile device? We recommend selecting a cloud based solution so that it is accessible from any location at any time. How clear and intuitive is the user interface? This will impact how long it will take to train your team and how well it gets used in the future. Complicated systems may not be worth the effort in training costs and may end up being under used by your team. It’s important to test a few to see whether their claims of ease of use stand up with your working style. There is no one-size-fits-all CRM solution for small businesses so either choose an option that can be easily customised to fit your way of working for free, or choose an option that lets you select only the features your business requires (this can make it cheaper too).

 

What Systems Does It Need To Integrate With?

 

Integrating your CRM software with your other business software means data can flow through the different parts of your business. A good example is integrating your CRM with your accounting solution. You won’t have to copy and paste, export and import spreadsheets, or type data from one system into another. This removes the chance of making data errors and dramatically speeds up your processes. Check the CRM solution providers website to see which systems they can integrate with before you make your choice.

 

Understanding what you need your CRM tool to do, how much your budget is, checking for usability and system integrations means you are ready to select the best tool for your needs.

 

Check back for part 3 of choosing a CRM tool.

Tips For Choosing A CRM Tool – Part 1 What Do You Need It To Do?

Choosing A CRM Tool

 

A good CRM tool can save you time and give you an immediate picture of how all your sales opportunities are progressing. It can automate repetitive tasks, save you money by grouping the functions of a range of tools into a single system, and help you reach your sales targets by ensuring you’re following up with customers at the right time and in the right way. With the huge amount of options out there, how do you find the right system for you?

 

Welcome to our series on choosing a CRM tool. Follow these steps to choose a new CRM tool which will help you grow your business faster.

 

Before you begin looking at systems, work out what it needs to do, how much you want to spend, how usable it is and what existing systems it needs to integrate with.

 

What does it need to do?

 

Decide what you want it to do, before you go out to vendors. Do you want it to offer lead generation, prospect nurturing, email marketing, sales quotes and invoicing, order tracking, sales forecasting, performance tracking and competitor tracking or just some of these? What processes does it need to support? The more precise you can be, the easier it will be to establish whether a product does (or doesn’t!) meet your needs. Being specific upfront means you’ll end up with a better fitting solution down the line. These details will form your business requirements which will then help you evaluate different CRM options. Some solutions have been designed for specific industries so it’s worth finding out if there are any CRM software options designed specifically for your type of business. For example, some are designed for the finance industry and comply with transparency and financial regulations. Others are designed specifically for restaurants, retailers and estate agents.

 

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

 

CRM solutions are very cost effective and can start from as low at £7 per user. More complex, bespoke and customised solutions can become very expensive so always consider how much value the solution brings versus how much it costs. If it’s looking like you’re going to need a highly customised solution it might be worth taking another look at your processes to see if you can simplify them. The more customised your solution is, the more expensive it will be to buy upfront and to maintain longer term. Industry specific solutions can be cost effective as they have already been tailored for your industry as they understand how you work.

 

Check back next week for the second part in our choosing a CRM tool series.