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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Why CRM is Important for Organizations

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, which is a term that refers to practices, strategies, and technologies companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data. Keeping the customer at the heart of your company’s strategy is key to building your brand.

Running a business is tough. As a small business owner, CRMs provide reassurance. This software was created to help companies effectively manage their customer base and to follow up on potential customers, so their efforts can be focused on other areas of the business.

Sounds pretty good, right? And yet, many companies will try to bypass investing in a software to support customer relationship management.

Why Excel is Not the Answer

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Wait, can’t I do all of this in Excel?”

If you are just starting out and have less than 5 customers, yes, you can input customer information manually into an Excel sheet. The problem with this approach is that it is not scalable; looking ahead, you will want to double or triple revenue, and the time you and your employees will have to take manually recording customer information is going to reduce the capability to follow up on valuable opportunities.

Another drawback is inputting customer information into different locations, or sheets make it difficult to analyze the information. In order to discover which strategies are working the best for your customer retention, you should be able to quickly view historical data. Viewing the complete history of your company’s interaction with a client sheds light on where things went wrong in unsuccessful transactions, or how customer loyalty was built through successful communications.

Diving Deeper into CRM

“CRM” is the name used for any system or model selected to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future clients or customers. Though the available software differs, the objective is to allow the company to follow customers throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve customer service relationships and assist in customer retention, thereby raising profits.

At its most basic level, CRM software consolidates customer information and documents into a single database.

Technical Offerings

Below are the things that a CRM can do for you. Each element takes a small bit of learning, but once you have the skills, you can greatly boost your sales success!

Sales Force Automation

Some CRM systems automate certain business functions of the sales cycle. This is especially useful for crafting personalized messages to follow up on lukewarm or cold leads that human sales personnel give up on or completely forget about. In sales, it’s rarely a “no,” it’s usually a “not right now.”

Marketing Automation

CRM tools with this feature can automate repetitive tasks to enhance marketing efforts. For example, when a new lead is generated via the customer entering their email address into a landing page, the system may automatically send newsletters and marketing materials to keep their interest.

Geolocation Technology

CRM software can include this type of technology, which creates geographically relevant marketing campaigns. One awesome application for this approach is for when disastrous weather occurs and the CRM software reaches out to check in on the customers’ well-being.

Workflow Automation

CRM systems help businesses streamline mundane workloads, enabling employees to focus on high-level tasks.

Follow the Customer

Some CRMs can be used to gain insight into customers’ digital behavior and preferences outside of your area. This is done with data created by mobile payment from a digital wallet and passbook technology that tracks the customer after they’ve left your site!

Human Resource Management

CRM systems can be used to help track internal company information, such as employee contact information and performance reviews.

Operational Benefits

Customer Snapshot. One place to store all of your customer information means you can easily generate reports to show the health of your customer relationships. Therefore, the software is fully aware of your customers’ needs so you don’t have to be.

Instant Metrics

Going along with this customer snapshot, you can generate reports on various aspects of your business automatically. This data can be used to see gaps in the customer relationships, forecast trends and plan for the future.

No Mixed or Duplicate Messages

Keep every member of your team on the same page. Does one customer need an immediate follow-up call? Does a customer relationship that has gone stale need a little rekindling? A solid CRM also means the chance for duplicate messages to be sent to the same customer is greatly reduced.

Personalization

Tracking offline and online activity allows organizations to personalize content and offer the greatest value to the customer.

Reminders

Integrate the CRM with your company calendars to relate important events or tasks with the relevant client. The CRM can also suggest suitable times to contact the customer.

Behavioral Analysis

As mentioned, some CRMs track the customer’s digital path after they’ve left your site. This path can provide valuable information your company can use to really know your customer, which helps to build buyer personas, provide value with relevant content, etc. When you are able to view real-time customer actions in everyday life, you have the opportunity to see where and how your product fits in with their lifestyle.

Companies are now trying to combine digital, mobile, social and offline CRM data. The implications for enhancing customer relationships with this data are expansive and, as consumers, it is something we can all look forward to experiencing.

Let’s Sum Up The Benefits

For most businesses that are just getting off the ground, departmental jobs are mixed across the company’s employees.

A CRM system synchronizes, automates and organizes all of the customer-facing areas within your company, from sales to marketing to customer service. By providing your employees with one centralized place for storing customer data, internal and external communications are promoted. Creating a snapshot of all of the data touch points is one of the challenges big companies face, which further supports the point that investing in a CRM system from the start is necessary, as it can be expanded as your company grows.

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Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 on User’s Systems

Introducing Your AI Host

Your Windows operating system has nifty AI-like process called BITS or the Background Intelligent Transfer Service. BITS is the system process responsible for downloading updates from Microsoft Servers. Recently, it is also responsible for automatically downloading and forcing users to upgrade to Windows 10.

What Does Upgrading to Windows 10 Mean For You?

Have you already upgraded to Windows 10? If not, there was probably a reason for the delay. Maybe concerns about software and hardware compatibility? Maybe you wanted a choice in the Microsoft Operating System in which you run your computer or mobile device? Do you have privacy concerns from rumors you may have heard? In which I can tell you, this is a very valid concern! Whichever the reason, if you weren’t aware of the workarounds to prevent this forced change, you have already or will have continuous messages recommending the upgrade. Either that, or you are like the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of users that recently restarted their computer to find that Microsoft gladly took care of the upgrade for you! That’s awesome right?! Not really…

I use Windows 10 for my own computers and I think it’s pretty great. It has convenient features and the interface is much more intuitive, than that of Windows 8. It’s faster than Windows 7, which was a heck of a lot better than the failed Vista OS. So I do genuinely believe that Microsoft’s Windows 10 is a great system and can help make using the computer, tablet, etc, more efficient.

However, being in the industry for quite some time (over 15 years), I have seen the chaos that upgrading to a new OS can cause for consumers and businesses alike. Now, the good news is that, generally speaking, Windows 10 plays fair with most software and hardware connected to computers from Windows 7 and up. However, as I saw when Windows 8 came out, some hardware such as printers and specialized devices are not supported by Windows 8 through the manufacturer. This makes it difficult or impossible to use your devices, products and software.

As an example, a quick search brought up an article with the following segment:

windows81

Here is the link for credit to the author: Is Your Software & Hardware Compatible With Windows 8.1?

Your Life, Connected … Everywhere

Hardware issues, patches and the like aren’t the biggest concern I have for the general public regarding the Windows 10 upgrade. Here’s where things get crazy, “Welcome to Skynet Version 1.0”. For those of you who are fans of the Terminator franchise, you know what I am talking about. For those of you who aren’t, well this is what it means: Every program, internet search, website, contact, typed word and more will be available for the team of Microsoft to view and analyze.

When you finish installing Windows 10 by choice or get it pushed upon you on restart, there are a few things you need to do if you want to keep your personal computer, well… personal.

Let’s take a look at the custom privacy settings screen upon completion of your installation.

Windows10Privacy

 

Windows10Privacy2

 

At the top of the customization screen, the very first option is:

“Personalize your speech, typing and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft.” This is set to ON. So inking input like signatures, typing input like browser searches, your contacts which connect all your friends to you. Essentially means that Microsoft is creating an entire scope of you and your online activities. This mean they are building a profile about you for use at a level we aren’t quite sure of at this point.

It’s not just Microsoft, however. Google and Apple have been under scrutiny for their privacy policies as well. A movie called Terms and Conditions May Apply, was even made in 2013 regarding corporations and their policies. Bottom line is, if you don’t want this personal information all sent to Microsoft, toggle these options to OFF.

How to Prevent the Automatic Update

If you aren’t sure that you are ready for Windows 10, or you are concerned about all the other issues regarding privacy, hardware compatibility, software compatibility, etc, then here’s what you can do:

Check if the download is on your computer already.

To do this you need to verify if the $Windows.~BT folder exists on your hard drive.

  1. It’s a hidden folder, so you need to open File Explorer, and from the ribbon menu, navigate to View, and click on Folder Options.
  2. Go to View and under “Advanced settings”, check Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  3. Click Apply and OK.
  4. Go to your main Windows drive and you’ll now be able to see if you have the$Windows.~BT folder. If the download has already completed, you’ll notice it’s taking between 3GB and 6GB of your local storage, when you check folder properties.

Stop Windows Update from downloading the files without your approval.

  1. Open Control Panel and navigate to Programs and features.
  2. From the left pane click the View Installed Updates link.
  3. If you’re running Windows 8.1 Update, look carefully for these updates: KB3035583 and KB2976978. If you’re running Windows 7 Service Pack 1, look carefully for these updates: KB3035583, KB2952664, and KB3021917.
  4. Right-click each update and from the context menu click Uninstall.
  5. If you’re asked to restart, simply click to do it later and continue uninstalling the updates.
  6. Reboot your computer.

Now that the updates are out of the system, we need to tell Windows Update that we don’t want to install those updates in the future.

  1. Open Control Panel, go to Windows Update, and click Check for updates.
  2. From the left pane, click on Important to view those updates.
  3. Depending on your version of Windows look for the updates we have mentioned above, right-click on them, and click Hide update. This last step will block the service from re-downloading the updates in question.

In conclusion, our opinion is that a personal computer (or tablet) should remain as such and not be subject to hidden or forced upgrades, purposeful privacy exploits and the like. If we receive a free operating system upgrade or share our lives with Microsoft or the rest of the world, we should be allowed to do so by choice, not by ambiguous settings or obscure relinquishment of our rights as product users.

We hope that this article helps you make the best decision for your computing needs and helps you avoid any unwanted changes to your personal computer. We would love to hear your feedback on our Facebook and Google+ page as well!

Sincerely,
The Elevare Team

 

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