Monday, 27 January 2014

Building customer loyalty and a sustainable business

Customer retention is a core value of any successful business. The age of social media has fundamentally changed the way businesses interact with customers. Enticing new customers with quick deals and effective advertising may lead to short term results, but building customer loyalty requires a long term commitment, and will ultimately make your business more sustainable.

The best customer retention strategies are the ones that create incentives for a customer to recommend your products and services to those in their social networks, which in this age includes not only family and friends, but also Facebook contacts, Twitter followers, LinkedIn acquaintances ... An effective customer retention strategy should not only help you maintain a customer's long term business, but create opportunities to expand your business further through an existing customer's network.

Why you need to retain your customers

Despite the importance of maintaining customer loyalty, often companies overlook customer retention to focus solely on acquiring new customers. In many ways, customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition. Achieving a high level of customer retention is the most resourceful, cost-effective way of doing business. Studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than retaining the business of an existing customer. In some cases, reducing the number of customers leaving a business by a mere 5% can increase the bottom line profits by up to 125%.

It therefore goes without saying that finding ways to build loyalty to your brand is in the best interest of your business. The longer you retain a particular customer, the more likely they are to recommend your products and services to a family, friend or contact through word of mouth or a social media channel. It may take a long time for a business to achieve personal recommendations from their customers, but this remains one of the most effective, organic, and resource-efficient ways of acquiring new customers and decreasing your customer defection rate.

How to build customer loyalty

68% of customers leave a business due to poor customer service. Loyalty is a two way street: customers will stick with a business that is dedicated to providing them with the support that they need. As much as you need their business, customers need your commitment to high product quality and good customer service. They need to know that their money is going towards people who genuinely care.

This is why many companies employ strategies such as loyalty programs and polite and efficient customer service to show their customers that the business is committed to them. In the current business climate of long call centre queues and incompetent service, sometimes a little personal touch or a random act of kindness can very quickly earn you the long term loyalty of your customer base.

Tools for customer retention

A customer wants to be treated like an individual, not just a number in a queue. This is why a strategy that focuses on personalisation, accessibility, and insight can often be effective in helping your business maintain its customers for the long term. Too often, customers become frustrated when a customer service agent they have spent an hour on the phone waiting for does not know the answer to their enquiry, or has not received the proper training. One of the easiest, yet most overlooked ways of increasing customer satisfaction is to provide employees with proper training and the most up-to-date information.

Employees at every level of the business should have access to accurate real-time data. This will help them better service their customers by answering their queries and resolve any issues arising quickly. This in turn frees up their time and their management's time and resources for other matters. The most simple and straightforward way of achieving this is to employ the right software for your information needs.

To invest in customer retention is to invest in the long term sustainability of your business. We can provide you with the right rental software solution to build customer loyalty. Contact us today to discuss the myriad of ways our rental software tools can help you earn and reward your existing customers, while still continuing to grow your business by acquiring new ones.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Does your business have a backup plan?

As a business operating in tough times, it pays to be prepared. Successful businesses have backup plans in place in the event of an emergency. As we enter into 2014, it is time to consider whether your business has contingencies in place: can you keep employees, products and the essential aspects of your business operating regardless of what challenges lie in the year head?

Formulating a backup plan

Your backup plan should have the following features:

  1. Keep your IT department prepared and ready. Having the right IT infrastructure is vitally important to the functioning and management of your business. In the unlikely event of a breach, your information should be backed up remotely on cloud, as well as offline. You should be able to access your company data on-the-go, from different devices to respond quickly to any contingencies. 
  2. Go mobile. The most effective backup plans embrace mobile technology. In the event of a disruption to your business, your employees should be able to seamlessly access their work on portable devices such as laptops, tablets or even their smartphones and continue working from an alternative venue. You should also provide training to your employees so that they know they have these resources at their disposal in the event of any business disruptions. 
  3. Have a communication plan. Communication is critical in the event of an emergency. Ensure that your business has the right software in place to handle business disturbances, avoid loss of data, and keep your lines of communication open regardless of what unexpected event just occurred. 
  4. Stay customer-focused. In an emergency, often businesses get caught up in internal management and damage control that they forget that their customers are likely to suffer too. Keeping up your customer service and insisting on the integrity of your products becomes particularly important during a crisis. Stay on top of your orders, communicate with your customers about any possible disruptions or delays in a timely manner. Use the crisis as an opportunity to show your customers how well organised, prepared and committed your business is to providing them with top quality products or services.  
  5. Prepare an alternative workplace. This does not mean that you have to set up a second set of offices elsewhere. However, it is important that you and your employees know where else you could work in the unlikely event that you are unable to work from your current premises. More importantly, ensure that your IT department knows how to set up remote access to your data to ensure continuity of work.
  6. Keep up the maintenance. Run regular tests, updates and checks on all your machinery, software, or infrastructure. Don't wait for disaster to happen. Have in place protocols and procedures to keep track of your maintenance and repairs. 
  7. Be diligent and committed to your business continuity. Make sure you have the right resources to help you out during a minor disruption or a major crisis to your business. 

Act on it now

Formulate your backup plan with inspHire rental software.

Contact us today to discuss how integrating inspHire rental software into your business could make a difference. Our product is designed to take your business to the next level and keep your customers satisfied no matter what 2014 has in store.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Making Key Performance Indicators work for your business

Key performance indicators are used to measure the results and profits of your business. Each industry has a specific set of KPIs tailored to their specific business needs and operational requirements. Some KPIs are more important in measuring business profitability and efficiencies than others. Having the right dashboard to set out how your business is performing against your KPIs is an effective way of knowing where your business is underperforming. This can help you identify areas for improvement and increase your business efficiencies, and consequently your profits.

Working out what your KPIs are

Determining the right KPIs is all about selecting the right benchmarks to measure the success of your business. Ideally, KPIs should be tailored to the nature of your business, focusing only obtaining and analyzing data that reflects goals unique to your company and your industry. For example, if you want to measure profitability of a client adjusting the length of time for renting a product of yours, you might consider setting as KPIs relating to return dates, fines incurred, average of days, weeks or months the client rents a particular product. Tracking and analyzing this information will help you determine the length of time to rent your products.

The most important thing is to focus on quality over quantity. Avoid any extraneous factors that would not directly impact on the growth of your business. This will save you time, resources and money and help you keep your dashboard clean, organised and relevant to the benchmarks that matter to you and your industry. Setting up the right system of KPIs will help you accurately evaluate your business’ performance and reach all your goals for 2014.

Keeping your system streamlined

Dashboards are customizable digital interfaces, often consisting of a single page, that gather, store, relay and analyze data. In a world full of infographs, it’s easy to want to have as much data as possible. KPIs should be kept simple, and that should be reflected in the methods used to streamline and organize your management systems.

A dashboard is a digital interface consisting of a page that gathers, presents and analyses data in a highly customisable way. In an age driven by information, it is sometimes a trap to want to access as much data as possible. However, it is more effective for your business to keep KPIs simple, organised and streamlined through your management systems.

Equally important is the period of review. Your KPIs should be reviewed every day. If your KPIs were measured infrequently, you risk getting inaccurate data and analysis. KPIs also change over time depending on the nature of your business, the time of the year and how external conditions come together to affect your business. Therefore it is important to measure your business performance against your KPIs daily and analyse the data in real time so that you can detect trends and respond with the appropriate strategies at the first instance.

Finally, being able to communicate KPIs effectively is a consideration when you are determining your business KPIs. Not only do you need to understand your own KPIs and how they relate to your business, you also need to be able to explain the data to your employees and customers. Having a visual, and user-friendly dashboard can be of assistance to you in these situations and allow you to relay the information in a clear and concise way. Being able to communicate your business’ performance clearly will help you strengthen business relationships, save time, and create trust with your customers.

Creating ROIs with KPIs 

As insignificant as they may seem, KPIs can produce big results for your business. Having the right information - properly compiled and tailored towards helping your business - can lead to bigger return on investments (ROI). With the right tools and the right strategy, you and your employees can assist your clients more quickly, accurately and effectively.

Using the right tools to achieve results

inspHire rental software has the right tools for your business to access, analyse and use critical data in real time. Our business intelligence dashboards present information to your company in a way that determines your best KPIs and help you achieve optimum performance.

Contact us today to learn more!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The latest updates on our products

As the market leaders of innovative software solutions in the hire industry, we pride ourselves on offering customers the latest, most exciting products for hiring businesses to increase their productivity and profitability.

We understand the importance of having instantaneous, real-time access to data, be it at your workplace or while you are on the move. To cater for your constant information needs in the modern business environment ,we offer you inspHire on Android, which was one of the outstanding products selected to be on the Innovation Trail and the Executive Hire Show in 2013.

This application allows inspHire users to access key business data while they are out in the field, so that they do their jobs on-the-go from their Android devices. In an era of smartphones and tablets, traditional PDAs have become less relevant and comparatively expensive. inspHire on Android offers hire companies an affordable, user-friendly and widely accessible tool with functionalities previously only available on a PC or PDA.

The key features of inspHire on Android include:

  • Take photos On-Hire Off-Hire 
  • Push jobs and instructions to the correct devices 
  • Capture and store signature on delivery, exchange and collection 
  • Messaging on-the-go to drivers and fitters, be it a delivery or collection note, exchange or general instructions. 
Moreover, inspHire’s innovative and user-friendly Business Intelligence Dashboards provides key business information to hirers, set out in a user-friendly, graphical format for all parts of your business. These dashboards are highly customisable and can be adapted to suit your hire company’s needs and deliver the business data that you specifically need from within the inspHire hire management software.
Contact us today for more information on inspHire on Android, Business Intelligence Dashboards or any of our other software solutions.