Technological tools: TOP 5 irritants during the COVID outbreak
Since the beginning of this pandemic, it is quite possible that you, as a business, have had to make technological choices on the fly, either to cope with a new internal reality (employees) or to suddenly handle new external traffic (clients/partners). With already a few weeks in hindsight, now is the perfect time to reflect on whether or not these were the best decisions to be made and will they hold up and be able to support you in the long run. The new internal management and communication methods adopted during the last couple of weeks are likely to take root and become customary, so it is essential to make sure that the technological choices that were made will pay off in the long term.
In light of this context, we have listed the TOP 5 technological irritants we have observed, whether in terms of the technological decisions that were imposed or quickly made during or the lack of adaptation or required functionalities of the tools already in place. We’ll also take a look at some of the internal and external issues that have impacted business efficiency as a whole. Fortunately, there are simple solutions that can help you resolve these problems.
1 – E-commerce platforms that struggle to support a now exponential volume of requests
Now more than ever, companies are testing the capacity of their e-commerce platforms, and it only took a few weeks of crisis for some to notice a lack of overall performance on their platform. It is likely that your current solution is not robust enough to meet your new business requirements. You may perhaps have the right tool, but the latter may not be optimally configured, or all of its features have not been deployed. Another issue might be that you simply do not have an online shopping platform, and you realize that this is one of the only options available for securing income in today’s environment.
Are you having these issues?
- The performance of the platform does not meet your requirements;
- Gaps in customer service and/or the after sales service;
- Lack of confirmation/notification system;
- Management of requests is handled via emails and not automated;
- Order management problems;
- Non-optimal UX/UI that lengthens and complicates the sales process;
- Having a CMS that has e-commerce capabilities, while you need a platform that does the opposite: an e-commerce platform with customer management options.
Here are some solution to improve the performance of your platform:
- Review and list your business requirements and analyse the options available to you;
- Consider a platform that offers dynamic elasticity and which is compatible with your hosting platforms;
- Make sure to connect your order platform to your internal inventory management tools using connectors that will automate the process;
- Automate follow-ups with your clients to ensure an optimal customer service and online shopping experience;
- Try to implement online customer service. Chatbots could be useful to automate some of the customer service process, namely to deal with simpler requests.
2 – Discouragingly slow platforms
The use of technology on all fronts has skyrocketed in recent weeks. Inasmuch, the networks of our internet providers are, of course, under additional pressure. But what about our technological tools? Could they also be the cause of a certain slowdown? Let it be said, adding infrastructures and servers is expensive. Before jumping to the conclusion that adding RAM is the perfect solution, have you thought about optimizing how you use your tools instead?
Are you having these issues?
- Navigation that is taking a lot longer than before;
- A complete network interruption;
- Inability to complete a transaction;
- Interrupted business meetings;
- Web sites that become temporarily inaccessible.
Here are some points to cover in order to improve the infrastructure of your platform:
- First, take stock of your infrastructure and diagnose the problems;
- Configure your technological platforms differently;
- Always make your updates;
- Improve your caching to simplify the exchange of information;
- Change: it may be time to find a platform that can handle higher workloads.
3 – Collaborative work platforms that are not suitable
When we all work under one roof, it is easy to get up and go search for the information you want. All the information available is communicated via a wide array of channels. either in informal or formal meetings, hallway conversations, emails, telephone calls, etc. However, in within a context where everyone is working from home on a full-time basis, the online collaboration tool becomes the sole or main channel through which all communications are exchanged. Unfortunately, many companies recently had to quickly select a collaborative tool under less than favorable conditions, without taking the time to evaluate whether the tool in question was optimal and could meet the current internal requirements in the longer term.
Are you having these issues?
- An inability to gather all the members of your team for a meeting because your collaborative platform can only accommodate a limited number of individuals;
- Not many communication features available;
- Endless interruptions;
- The need to connect to a VPN;
- The use of different tools (emails, teleconferences, shared files) that come from different providers, thus dispersing the data to be stored and indexed. This, in turn, complexifies the integration of these tools and makes learning and using them harder than it should.
Here are some possible solutions to obtain a collaborative tool that is adapted to your reality:
- List your requirements in terms of capacity and frequency of use, then determine the objectives of the desired tool for internal and external users;
- Ensure each user has a good W-Fi connection;
- Avoid VPN connections by using cloud-based solutions and migrate to the Cloud if possible;
- Try to centralize your tools by using a single provider (MS, Google, etc.).
4 – Data stored on servers
In connection with the previous irritant, a successful online collaboration requires that information and files can be shared quickly and in a secure manner. What better time than now to evaluate the different options available when it comes to storing and backing up your data?
Are you facing these problems?
- You work from home and it’s becoming nearly impossible for you to physically go to the office to pick-up backups and bring them to another place;
- You work with confidential information and are afraid of being hacked.
Here are some possible solutions to ensure your data is properly saved:
- Choose to migrate your data to the Cloud;
- Use a backup system that is in another geographical location to simplify the management of operations and ensure greater date security;
- The vast majority of internal management tools are now available in the SaaS model. Depending on the application, the migration from your internal on-premise version to the SaaS model can be done rather easily. By using SaaS tools, you reduce the use of your VPN and you will benefit from increased support (updates, backups, etc.).
5 – Poor after sales or technical support services
A good B2C online experience is not limited to the act of buying a product or service on your e-commerce platform. The experience must continue past the transaction, with the same level of service as the one that is offered in store. The same goes for the B2B experience. A client (a company) that owns a new platform should be able to count on the technical support of their provider when it comes to operating their platform without technical concerns. In other words, the entire value chain must be covered and provide the same level of service – from the technological provider to the company (B2B), and from the company to the consumer (B2C).
Are you facing these problems?
- You have trouble handling customer requests when it comes to the after sales service and delays in returns and follow-ups are interminable;
- You feel that using your platform should be easier;
- You encounter technical pitfalls when using your platform;
- You feel like you are not equipped enough to meet the demands of your consumers.
Here are some possible solutions to ensure excellent technical support:
- Adapt the quantity of people dedicated to the service according to the demand for it;
- Assign an internal person to manage the relationship with external experts of the application in order to provide you with your own “internal expert”;
- Use an external service that can bridge the gap with the various experts. The advantage of this solution is that these services offer several resources to help you with greater availability to do so (schedule, capacity, etc.)
Make sustainable and profitable technological choices
Making decisions quickly and knowing how to execute them are the key elements that support the performance of our businesses and this is truer than ever in a pandemic context like the current one. In addition to a quick reaction time, you also need to know how to select the right technological tools which will not be a temporary fix, but rather viable solutions that will increase your company’s performance in the long term. The diagnosis that you will carry out on your current tools is not necessarily synonymous with change or huge costs. You simply need to be creative and knowledgeable since there are many solutions already available. Aim for robustness.
A Conversation With Our Expert François Grossin