Once upon a time, companies kept physical databases to store customer information, and these records had to be meticulously kept up-to-date by hand. Today, there’s a whole host of automated CRM tools designed with various industries in mind. Businesses of all sizes used to have to bill clients with paper invoices and wait weeks or longer for payment. Now, there are apps such as Wave that allow anyone to accept instant electronic payments via bank account or credit card. Tech is changing the way we do business, and it can help enable your company to accomplish more using less time and money.
Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can expand your business capabilities and meet more customer needs in less time. For example, chatbots are revolutionizing customer service because they allow AI to answer the majority of customer queries. If your service reps are trained to work in conjunction with chatbots, they can jump on the most difficult questions that software isn’t able to answer, using the context the customer has already provided.
To get the best business results, you’ll need to prepare your company to take advantage of emerging tech. After all, change can be hard — especially for employees who don’t necessarily see it coming. To take advantage of what tech has to offer, embrace the following three principles.
1. Tech is enabling a stronger gig economy, which you should be utilizing.
When it comes to the gig economy, Uber is just the beginning. In the near future, Raad Ahmed, founder and CEO of AI hiring platform LawTrades, envisions that a “new age of marketplaces will emerge, tackling regulated industries by productizing complex services and creating income equivalent to a full-time position for independent service professionals.” In other words, a wider range of industries will be represented among gig workers.
This is good news for business leaders. Instead of hiring a full-timer and paying a salary with benefits for work you might not need, join the 42 percent of large and mid-sized companies that are capitalizing on the freelance economy to meet seasonal demand. In fact, 43 percent of companies using gig workers report that they’re already achieving more with less, saving at least 20 percent in labor costs alone.
2. Automation is freeing up your team for more complex tasks.
Automation is often lauded for its ability to improve efficiency, but there are other profound benefits as well. In addition to performing work more rapidly, automated processes are far more accurate than humans. In fields such as finance, where a small change in error rate makes a big difference, automation is becoming the new standard. And by boosting efficiency and reducing errors through the automation of rote tasks, you’ll enable your team to focus on more strategic, big-picture ones.
The benefits may be clear, but implementation isn’t exactly a cake walk. According to a study from KPMG, a third of business leaders are concerned about how automation will impact their workers. The study goes on to relate how one insurance company launched a project to automate certain administrative tasks with the hope of freeing up employee time to work on more complex customer issues. First, the company made a list of core businesses processes it wanted to automate and prioritized the list based on the anticipated benefits. Then, after picking a tech service provider, the company’s management team began working its way down the list. Mimic this methodical process if you’re wondering how to implement automation or feeling unsure about what to automate — and how it could impact your team.
3. Tech can push your business forward if you push your team forward first.
Technology can provide big benefits, but to reap the rewards, you’ll need a flexible workforce that can adapt to evolving job descriptions. Differentiate your business and make the most of tech by helping your employees undergo upskilling. By guiding workers through changes in their job descriptions, you’ll help ease them through transitions as smoothly as possible. The pace of technological innovation necessitates rapid adaptation. In the past, the most specialized workforce performed the best. In the future, it will be the most flexible one.
In addition to coaching your employees in their current roles, keep an eye on what the future might hold. AT&T, for example, has shifted its HR focus in recent years to ensuring that its teams have the know-how to keep up with new tech. As Scott Smith, AT&T’s senior vice president of human resources operations, explains, “You can go out to the street and hire for the skills, but we all know that the supply of technical talent is limited, and everybody is going after it. Or you can do your best to step up and reskill your existing workforce to fill the gap.”
Technology offers more benefits than ever before, and new innovations continue to shake up entire industries. By utilizing technology properly, you can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profits — a powerful trifecta that can catapult your business to the top.