Solving Issues of Disconnected Business Operations

Connect Your Front and Back Office With Customer-Centric Business Applications

We won’t sugar coat it – disconnected business operations aren’t good for business. When processes are disparate, siloed, or even inaccessible to team members within an organization, it impacts internal operations and causes customer relationships to suffer as a result.

Businesses are rightly concerned with innovating and scaling operations to better serve customers, and this concern is especially relevant for organizations in the professional services industry. It’s natural for business owners to invest in software based on what is needed at a certain time, but doing so typically results in a variety of systems and tools that don’t relate or connect to each other, creating a disconnect in operations.

Often, businesses will operate using these disconnected systems for years without really questioning the time and productivity losses they can cause. Is each tool or system helping your employees be efficient and successful? More than likely, your disconnected systems are limiting business and detracting from employee satisfaction.

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How to Identify Common Disconnects in Business Operations

Software is critical to managing all aspects of your business – invoicing, financials, expenses, shipping and logistics, customer data and relationships, projects, marketing activities, and sales – and of course, there’s more. If you have a different system or set of tools for each business function, disconnected operations are almost a given.

Companies often operate with disconnected processes for years without questioning whether there is a better way. We want to help you identify some of the signs that disconnected operations are holding back your business.

  • Manual Processes: Is your team entering data manually or having to enter data in multiple places? Manual processes can lead to error, eat up valuable time, and hinder productivity.
  • Inaccessible Information: All information, especially customer information, should be readily available when needed. Otherwise, the customer experience can suffer and processes become more inefficient.
  • Lack of Collaboration: If your teams aren’t on the same page or able to readily share information across departments, it impacts customer service and can limit your ability to capture sales opportunities at the right time in the customer journey.
  • Internal Frustrations: Slow systems, unavailable data, time-consuming processes, or lost opportunities due to a lack of communication can all be frustrating for your team, which in turn can impact productivity and business potential.

If your business is experiencing any of these common disconnects, it’s time to do something about it. Companies are moving away from legacy systems and positioning themselves for continuous innovation; remaining stagnant is no longer an option.

The path forward? Adopt customer-centric applications. Customer centricity results in greater customer engagement, optimizes internal processes, increases employee productivity, and elevates the quality of the products you offer.

Customer-Centric Connected Business Services:
Why and How to Synchronise Everything Around the Customer

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The customer is a key driver of company growth and success, and yet can be often overlooked as businesses are mired in disconnected operations.

We’re going to discuss the primary ways you can overcome the disconnects within your business operations to focus on customer centricity – but first, let’s review what it means to be a customer-centric business.

Becoming a Customer-Centric Business

Customer centricity means that your entire organization is able to understand, anticipate, and deliver on customer needs, putting them at the center of all operations with the goal of creating winning customer relationships.

In the professional services world, customer centricity means the difference between following up with a potential customer with an appropriate asset after their initial interaction with you – or doing nothing, and simply hoping they continue on a journey with your brand.

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Customer centricity empowers your organization to:

Deliver on customer needs before your customers even know what they need.
If you run an IT technology company and your customer may be at risk of a certain security issue without a specific upgrade, contacting them with a preventive solution demonstrates attentiveness to their needs and delivers excellent customer service.

Demonstrate respect for your customer’s information.
Your customers are constantly being asked for their information, and being customer-centric means using their information for good rather than for unhelpful, spammy outreach they don’t need or want.

Elevate personalized customer service to a new level.
Personalization is no longer just about putting someone’s name at the top of an email. It’s about knowing their business, identifying and speaking to their pain points, and guiding their interaction with your business seamlessly among involved departments, without redundancy or roadblocks.

Focus on the customer’s specific needs.
Making the sale is great, of course. But a successful transaction shouldn’t be defined by the amount of money your company made, or how many sales were made. Instead, a great sale should be one that met the customer’s needs and delivered an exceptional experience that will not only bring them back again, but encourage them to evangelize your brand to others.

Place an emphasis on interacting with customers.
Instead of sending an email or relying on them to reach out, being customer-centric helps your team be more proactive and establish more direct contact with customers that is more meaningful for the customer.

Empower your employees by making it clear what customer success looks like and means for your business.
Actions like setting incentives and rewarding sales demonstrate that the part everyone plays in your organization is critical to overall business operations.

Customer centricity reaps rewards for your business. So, how can you achieve it? Start with your applications.

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Overhaul Legacy Systems and Adopt a Single-Platform Solution

ASUG, the American SAP User Group, recently conducted a study that showed 45% of businesses are using ERP suites outfitted with applications that were developed more than six years ago.

Whatever industry you’re in or the size of your business, a single-platform solution that can consolidate wasteful or outdated systems and tools is the only way to be truly able to focus on the customer and transform your business for the future.

Professional Services Automation from FinancialForce is a great example of a single-platform solution that consolidates the disparate systems within your organization to a single source of truth.

This approach provides enterprise-wide visibility, and offers countless benefits for your organization and your customers, solving many of the issues of disconnection that can limit business.

A single-platform solution enables your organization to:

  • collect valuable customer data in a single location for easy access across your enterprise.
  • aggregate data from different departments so your sales team and your finance team, for example, enjoy the same insights into every customer.
  • leverage rich customer data to understand them on a deeper level and develop more personalized interactions at every stage of the buyer journey.
  • provide seamless cross-channel experiences for your customers in which team members from every department know the customer’s history, preventing repetition or redundancy that can disrupt the customer experience.

Platform consolidation is a necessary starting point to correct disconnects within your business operations. Only by solving issues of disparate software can you enable your organization to take other necessary steps toward customer-centricity.

Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic

Business operations will never be the same again, even after the COVID-19 pandemic eventually fades more into the background. Everything has changed, from the makeup of internal business operations to customer behavior and expectations.

These changes meant that businesses already suffering from disconnected operations pre-pandemic became totally exposed.

A 2019 Bain & Company study found that 22% of employees reported feeling disconnected to others in their organizations – and if that many people within a company feel that way, how must it impact the customer experience?

That study was also conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the past 2 years of uncertainty have only exacerbated existing disconnects within business operations. Of course, there are many businesses that recognized the need to adapt and change to accommodate the pandemic impacts – and because the pandemic has changed the business and customer landscape in many permanent ways, these adaptions help companies be future-roof.

Here are some ways businesses have adjusted to connect the front and back office through customer-centricity:

Employee Engagement and Empowerment:
When employees are physically present in an office setting every day, fostering communication and engagement is far easier. However, once the pandemic forced employees to work from home, companies quickly realized existing shortcomings in how they listen to, inform, and connect with employees.

What should be done?

Focus on an omnichannel solution. Make sure you have a single channel where employees can go for information and connect. Company leadership should be accessible and transparent and clearly layout company goals and strategies. Doing so empowers employees to recognize and deliver their full potential, benefitting the business and customer relationships.

Deconstructing the “Top Down” Approach:
Transformation within an organization has typically come from leadership and upper management without involving middle management and others beneath them. Especially during the pandemic, companies made m

What should be done?

When all employees are part of the change and allowed to provide input and feedback, not only does it improve morale, but it can shed light on disconnects within the business process that wouldn’t have otherwise come to light. Everyone who interacts with the customer can give insights to elevate the customer experience.

Rethinking the Customer Experience:
Without question, the pandemic has been a catalyst for customers to change their behaviors, from how they make buying decisions to what’s most important in a business transaction.

A study by Accenture found that a full 50% of customers surveyed say they were disappointed by companies during the pandemic for not providing enough support and understanding. As the pandemic continues to create uncertainties and impact our lives, there is still ample time for businesses to rethink how they accommodate customers.

What should be done?

It’s critical for your business to take special notice of how your customers’ behaviors have changed. If you’re an advertising company, perhaps your customers were more concerned with price prior to COVID-19, but are now motivated by personalization. The more customer information you can collect and use, the better you can serve customers post-pandemic.

Avoiding barriers to customer centricity out of the gate will increase the success of tactics you do put into place, will position you for growth and success as we continue to emerge from COVID-19, and will give you greater visibility into what customer processes in your organization are working – and what may need a bit of a reboot.

It's not unreasonable to say that disconnects within business operations are simply untenable in today’s business climate. Leveraging customer-centric applications within a single platform solution will eliminate costly disconnects and help you better serve your customers at each stage of the buyer journey.

Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn more about how you can take advantage of our solutions on the Salesforce cloud platform to streamline your operations and put your customers at the center of everything you do.