Every company, large or small, needs its own set of business solutions in order to run a smooth operation, make customers happy, and maximize profits. That’s what managing is all about. But not every organization needs the same tools. Small startups, for instance, will not need sophisticated CRM (customer relationship management) software systems if they only have three customers. And a Fortune 500 corporation probably won’t feel the need to search through the microloan and angel investing network with apps designed for that purpose alone.
As is the case with so many other business challenges, you need to find a tailormade package of software, apps, systems, programs, and outsourcing to get your job done. Here are some of the most popular must-have choices for many companies, from micro-sized startups to mega-corporations. Some are free while others are only available via a paid subscriber or ongoing customer arrangement.
VPN’s, Virtual Private Networks
VPNs don’t have to cost a lot and they’ll go a long way toward helping you keep snoops and potential hackers out of your system. There are a few no-cost options out there for small organizations, but it’s best to opt for a VPN that costs a bit. These networks mask your location and actual IP address from people who can use that info to do harm.
In what is quickly becoming an IT universe, companies of all sizes are either outsourcing tech tasks or building dedicated in-house departments to handle all things IT-related. If you’re not yet to the point of being able to afford in-house solutions, consider using a sophisticated software program like the one SolarWinds Service Desk. What do these ingenious solutions offer? Plenty.
For a small subscription price, you get a robust IT service management solution that has the power to enhance employee support services by removing tech barriers and streamlining multiple functions. For example, the SolarWinds version offers a menu of services like incident management that prioritizes, manages and consolidates all incoming tickets. Additionally, service desks can include a catalog that seamlessly standardizes all processes connected to service fulfillment and requests. The desk software will also give you a completely integrated IT-based asset management function that compiles software, hardware, and more. Users can take advantage of an intuitive service portal where they’re able to do all their ticket requests and submissions in one place.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM software and full scale, human-based support has been around for a couple of decades now and has evolved into a very sophisticated form of client management. There are paid and no charge versions, but if you have more than a dozen customers, go for a paid version. You’ll be able to track all sorts of valuable data about your buyers, send them automated replies when they ask a general question and do high-level financial studies on how much and how often they buy from you. There’s more to CRM systems than meets the eye, so if you use a full support program, take the time to have the seller train you in all the ways it can be configured. Note that it can take a while to install a working system and at least a few weeks to get comfortable using it.
These clever little apps let you test your customer base at any time by using surveys that you design. Want to know how many of your recent buyers need help with a product? Ask the question in a survey. If your marketing team wants to know whether your buyers prefer service contracts or not, send out a survey via the app to everyone on your client list. There are also ways to send out specific surveys you create to any number of people who have opted into the app’s program. That way, you can get thousands of responses and sort of taking the temperature of the buying public whenever you want to.
If you hire people on at least a semi-regular basis, an applicant tracker will bring organization into the usual chaos that comes with modern hiring processes. These simple but powerful apps let you interact with groups of applicants by sending a single, standardized message to entire groups. That way, you don’t have to send separate emails to numerous people. You can publish jobs as often as you like, input descriptions, and track every person who responds. Think of an applicant tracker as your own private hiring department without the expense. Most of these tools are either free or cost just a few dollars.
Here’s another too that has grown exponentially in terms of sophistication. Now, there are so many versions on the market, it’s wise to test drive a few before making a decision about what works for your firm’s size and communication style. Avoid free products unless you are a sole proprietor or very small shop that only uses video conferencing occasionally. After the COVID pandemic, the use of video apps is exploding, which means more choices for you, the business owner.
Social Media Monitoring
Want to know what customers and non-customers are saying about your company on social media? Would you like to be alerted every time a journalist mentions your or your organization’s name? That’s why you need a social media surveillance program. These little snoops come in mini-app versions and full-fledged programs with tech support. They’re ideal for putting out fires when someone goes on a tear against your company or attempts to unjustly criticize your services and products.
Depending on how big your enterprise is and how large your client base is, you can choose among products that will keep you up to date on what folks are saying. You can also configure these products to reply to multiple social media outlets at once when a critical or positive review goes viral. A few years ago, SM apps were more of a luxury and curiosity than they are today. But now that social media is an ensconced part of the business environment, they’re becoming more common. Nearly all come with free trials so you can play with configurations and see if they suit your needs