Youve spent time and resources building a solid presence on the web. Its attracting visitors and potential customers, but then what? How does the information and opportunities it creates flow into the other parts of your business processes?
This is often the point at which web sites stall in their development. You know its important to get your information out there in order to get leads or even sales online, but, without clear direction, it typically goes no further. At this point, your web site plays just one role in your business.
By taking the next step, and tying your website into other business processes, you can improve efficiencies and customer experience.
Contact forms are a commonplace feature on sites today. You want to make sure its a simple process for those interested in learning more about your products or services to get in touch with you. Usually this information is sent to someone internally via email. Sometimes thats sufficient, but what if that person is busy or on vacation? The lead sits in there inbox, hidden until they can get back to it.
A better way to handle this is:
- Have the lead feed directly into a CRM system.
- The lead can go directly into a workflow, sending out notifications to both internal staff and the customer.
- When the main contact is out of the office, the workflow would trigger an email to other staff that a lead has not been responded to and needs follow-up.
- When that response does occur, it is recorded in the CRM system and available for others on staff to see.
In this case, the integration of the web site and the CRM system helps sales stay on top of new business opportunities regardless of staff availability. One person being out does not hold up everything. Furthermore, that lead can be tracked and followed from the time its entered until its closed without any need to manually reenter it into another system.
Just as important as leads coming into sales, are questions and issues coming in from current customers. Again, integration into CRM or a help desk makes your company more timely and efficient when handling requests.
The efficiencies in how customers are helped can be taken a step further.
- As questions come in, staff can categorize these requests which can then be reported on.
- As you see trends in what topics are popular, you can proactively address these by creating a knowledge base. This is a set of reference articles can help both internal support staff and external customers.
- Your staff can respond quickly with proven answers by directing customers to the knowledge base articles.
- In the future, customers can search these articles and find the answers themselves, eliminating the need for support to get involved in these cases.
When a company selling products moves to the web, they usually have systems already in place for accounting, inventory tracking, and similar functions. Once their web site starts bringing in orders, they may need to take the order information gathered from the web and then manually enter it into their internal systems.
The great thing about modern software systems is that data is stored in similar ways. This makes it possible to set up processes that synchronize this data.
For example, Pinnacle has built a solution called the Connector which allows businesses to set up maps between different databases and specifyhow the information flows between them. Even if your systems store data in different ways (one stores quantity and unit price while the other just has a total), the integration can still be automated.
With a solution such as the Pinnacle Connector, or direct integration of the website with CRM, a companys ecommerce store would be able to send the order processing information directly to their other systems, eliminating the possibility of human error, and ensuring that all necessary information has been entered into the correct systems.