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There are many challenges associated with working remotely… There’s often a focus on how to better collaborate with colleagues, easily access all your information and business systems. All this is true and important. ButWhat about interacting with your customers?!

Traditionally, many businesses would rely on physical or face to face interaction with customers. Sometimes that’s not possible – like right now. While everything around us is changing, people are becoming more accustomed to virtual and digital interaction and there’s never been a better time to take advantage of this and leverage digital technology to refine your business processes and customer experience.

Why now?

When a crisis like a global pandemic hits the world, people adapt as there’s no other option. Adapt to survive… or sit still and, well, we don’t want to go there. Situations that may have felt unusual before are now the norm. People are open to it, ready for it, needing it!

Here are 5 great ways to leverage digital technology to enhance your relationships with your customers…

1: Web Meetings with video conferencing, using Microsoft Teams

Face to face interaction is important for great communication, but that doesn’t need to be a physical meeting. Video calls have been around for ages and they’re becoming the norm in a social setting, so there’s no reason they can’t be the norm in a business setting too.

Advantages:

  • No travel – you can transition straight into a meeting from whatever else you were doing, from wherever you are. This saves you time and money.
  • Present and share your content easily – You can share screens, presentations, distribute documents… all digitally, quickly and securely.
  • Visual communication – phone calls are never as good as face to face. Visual queues are important and video calling technology is better than it’s ever been – you can blur your background, focus on the speakers dynamically.

2: Online Events – with Microsoft Teams Live Events

Need to present to larger groups? Easy… host a webinar. No need to pay for a venue or worry about people turning up. Create your content, schedule the event and promote it. It’s recorded so people can even go back and re-watch it, or come late to the party if they couldn’t make it at the time.

Advantages:

  • No limit on attendees! – Teams can handle 10,000 attendees at a live event… but no one knows if only 2 turn up. It’s the perfect flexible venue.
  • It’s recorded – attendees can turn up late, or pause and resume the live broadcast. There’s no reason to miss a thing.
  • Curated Q&A – Designate a moderator to manage your questions while you’re presenting. provide answers as the questions come up and publish them so all attendees can benefit.
  • Reduced Travel and costs – Yep, the same goes here as with web meetings. You can present to attendees anywhere, rather than hosting multiple local events. No travel costs, no venue costs, time and money saved.

3: Share Documents Effectively with SharePoint and OneDrive

Instead of printing and posting, or even attaching to emails, you can ‘share’ your documents with customers for them to view and even edit – if you need them to.

Advantages:

  • Reduced printing costs – Save money on printing and sending documents by sharing a digital version.
  • Always up to date – Rather than attaching a copy to an email, creating a sharing link to your document means there’s only ever one copy, and it’s always up to date. You can even edit it and update it after you’ve sent the link!
  • Control the access – Decide if you want your customer to be able to edit or just read the document. You can also restrict it’s download, lock the link to access only by specific individuals and even set an expiry date.

4: Capture customer information with web forms

No one likes filling in forms, but information gathering can be a critical part of any business process. instead of posting out paper forms to fill in, or sending interactive PDFs or Word Documents to complete, use standard web forms to capture information. These can be built to suit any need; such as job applications, contract sign up, account enquiries, whatever your business needs. AND the data can be fed straight into your central business systems, like your CRM or ERP solution, to trigger other aspects of your business processes and workflows.

Advantages:

  • Speedy – With data feeding straight into your core systems, you get the data back immediately, ready to process.
  • Reduced data entry – No need to copy the completed form data into your CRM or marketing lists, the data can be fed directly into it, saving you time and effort.
  • Excellent customer experience – Digital forms can be created with intelligent flow to direct the customer to the next appropriate question, depending on key answers. Fields can be validated to ensure they are filled in correctly, or even auto-completed using previously entered data.
  • Completed on any device – With responsive web forms, your customers can fill them in on a mobile or tablet just as easily as on a desktop computer.

5: Digital Sign Off

Audit trails are important, whether it’s signed orders, contracts, change requests, you need them signed by the right person and filed appropriately so you know you’ve got them if you ever need to reference them. This can all be done digitally, quickly and securely.

Advantages:

  • Save time – Why wait for a signed and scanned copy to come back or a physical document to be returned by post. Prepare your digital document for signing and have it back in your system, the moment it’s complete. A sign off process can be completed, start to finish, in minutes not days!
  • Automated filing – setting your document up for signing in the same location as the completed document needs to end up, signed documents are automatically saved back here once they’ve completed your sign off process.
  • Tracking, alerting and reminders – Setup your signing order, even if multiple signatures are required. Get alerts when signatories open and view your document as well as when they sign it. There’s a full audit trail attached to the signed document when it’s automatically saved back to your document library when it’s all complete.

What are you waiting for?

These changes will serve you well now, but also speed up your business processes and save you money for the future. There’s no reason you can’t continue to operate in this way.