The internet of your business
Internet-based solutions drive customer experience, improve operations and offer real-time analytics
The Internet is a great equalizer for businesses and consumers. It enables early-stage companies that optimize their online presence to look bigger and quickly lead in their industries. It gives consumers access to more diverse products and services, as well as the opportunity to engage with companies more directly than before. It is a many-to-many communication channel that sends text, voice, video and other data anywhere in the world, in near real time.
Because of the Internet’s power and reach, setting up digital real estate with a website and social media presences isn’t a 'set it and forget it' proposition: You have to keep your digital properties fresh and engaging, or your customers will move on.
Delighting and protecting customers online
Content published in the public domain lets businesses of all sizes communicate both who they are and their value proposition. Just as importantly, it also lets companies engage their target audience throughout the entire transaction process.
To be successful when opening their startups online, entrepreneurs must ensure online customer experiences mimic the kind of straightforward, fun and safe experiences that take place in the physical world.
The most successful businesses create online customer experiences (CX) that:
Speak to the target audience in their language (both literally and figuratively)
Make it easy for both prospects and clients to access the information they care about
Define how customers interact with the business throughout the customer lifecycle (e.g., social media, online chat, text or phone)
Provide a personalized, secure portal based on previous logins and transactions for returning customers
“Customers should be able to trust that their transaction with your business online is safe and secure,” says Stephen Ufford, CEO of Trulioo, a Vancouver-based company that verifies the digital identity of business or consumer users before allowing them to access secure data. “The Internet is a wonderful place, but is also fraught with fraudsters.”
Keeping teams informed and connected
For Ufford, it is essential to keep on top of key performance indicators related to his team, investors and customers. “Analytics and data are critical to your business; ignore at your own risk.” Cloud-based data storage and analytics help founders and teams remain up-to-date with their business’s performance.
Internet connectivity is the nervous system of many growing businesses, regardless of whether or not they sell their products or services online. In cases where founders and their teams work remotely, online facetime is often more practical than in-person meetings.
Keeping your business moving and growing
If the Internet is your business’s nervous system, your operational business applications work as its brain. Consider adopting applications for accounting and invoicing, customer relationship management, online sales and order fulfillment. A range of applications can help you streamline, automate and grow your business.
“Nearly every part of a business can be digitized or managed online,” says Ufford. “People everywhere are using these kinds of tools to cope or connect in their daily lives; it’s only natural that business operations would do the same.”
Businesses upload, download, store and exchange a lot of data with colleagues, customers, prospects and partners. Business Internet needs to be reliable, secure, stable and fast, regardless of industry or company size. Choose an Internet service provider that can provide the bandwidth, speed, support and security you require now—and is equipped to grow with you and your business.
Mark Burdon is a digital technology writer with Startup Canada and an expert specializing in cyber security, AI, analytics, e-commerce and big data.
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