A few years ago, I was expecting a package at home. I really needed the package, but, unfortunately, couldn’t wait at home to get it. I called
A few months later, I had a similar experience, but the package was being delivered by a competitor of
I was reminded of this the other day, because I keep hearing about companies “cutting” services. That is wrong-headed thinking. Yes, the economy is “down” and people are spending less. But, it is NOT the time to cut back on technologies that can differentiate you from your competition. When the economy recovers those customers, who had disappointing experiences with you, are going to question whether they should still do business with you.
Instead think about investing in IT, not cutting back. If you can make IT investments which will propel you over your competitors, do it. Keep in mind, some IT investments just require tweaking of your current systems, thus require minimal or no cash investment. Some investments, however, might require a substantial cash outlay. You can delay those until the economy improves or set priorities and implement the upgrades in phases.
When considering which improvements to make, think about this: Investments your customers will notice are always useful. These include upgrading your web site so that customers have an easier ordering experience. Investments that save you money will directly affect your bottom line. For example, if your telephone system and phone calls cost more than several hundred dollars per month, think about upgrading to a new phone system and service to cut your monthly expenditures by 50 percent or more.
Sometimes you don’t see the differences the improved technology makes until you use it for a few weeks. If your computers are slow and crashing frequently, you might find that upgrading them erases these problems. This will not only boost your (and your staff’s) productivity, but it will be much more pleasurable to do work.
A logical approach to solving your technology needs is to draw up two columns: IT improvements that cost little or no money and those that will take a considerable investment. Next to each improvement note the expected return on investment each will make as well.
Finally, remember to make your employees part of the process. They work with your technology on a daily basis and will have input that you might not have considered. They also know your business, know what your customers like and are well-positioned to know what improvements will bring the best return on your investment.
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