What are the 3 biggest concerns for businesses in 2022?
1. Staff absences
Covid-19 restrictions in the UK have caused significant problems for businesses. If any of your staff test positive, or have come in to contact with anyone that has tested positive, they must isolate for a specified time period.
This causes issues for businesses that require their staff to be present on site. Without the necessary staff available; orders cannot be fulfilled and customer experience when dealing with your company can suffer.
VOIP (Voice Over IP) Phone System
A VOIP phone system is usually a client which can be downloaded directly to your computer. This means that your team will be able to make, take and transfer calls from the comfort of their own home.
There is nothing worse than trying to speak with someone at a company and the phone rings out or they turn their phone lines off because of ‘current global difficulties’. With the technology being available, there is no reason to compromise on your customer service and customer experience.
Whilst it might not appear significant, maintaining good customer service during these times will serve to uphold your reputation.
Investing in a Customer Relationship & Case Management application
CRM & Case Management centralises all customer enquiries & issues. This allows you to track and log activities such as; calls, emails, issues, faults and more all in one place.
For some more advanced Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, when you receive calls over your VOIP phone system it will pop up the customer/prospect record – allowing your team to access vital information quickly.
Having this equipment will provide your team with the information they would normally have access to when in close contact with the rest of the team. Working at home can isolate your team members, it is important to keep information widely available so that your team are all up to date with what is going on throughout the business.
2. Supply Chain Issues
A knock-on effect of staff absences extends well beyond your own business and is undermining national supply chains.
Managing this can seem impossible as it is totally out of your control. At this time more than ever it is important to be organised and assess ways in which you can better manage this crisis.
Understanding your purchasing habits/sales history from the past and applying it to the future.
One way you can get on top of supply chain issues is to gain an understanding of your purchasing patterns in previous years.
Your accounting software, or purchase order processing application, should be able to give you your purchasing history. If you can assess your purchasing history in the past, you could apply it going forward.
Likewise, having a chronological understanding of your sales history; especially based on item sales and which are likely to sell out based on current stock levels and delivery schedules in the coming months.
This information will allow you to understand when you are going to reach difficulties with your current stock levels and how to best mitigate shortfalls by optimising your purchasing activity.
If delivery times have increased, it might be wise to over order. This gives you the ability to be proactive in managing any further disruptions by giving yourself an inventory cushion which can lessen supply chain problems from the supply side.
Ultimately, if you can consistently deliver for your customers throughout this period, your reputation will be maintained. It will also provide you with an avenue to poach customers from your less organised rivals who are failing to deliver for their customers.
Being clear with your customers
Giving your customers visibility over wait times and shipping times will be a massive benefit at the moment – having this visibility on how quick you can promise stock and deliver it for your customers will allow them to be more confident.
In your purchasing application, you should be able to see the usual order times and be able to amend them to reflect current realities. By storing this information, your sales and customer service teams can better advise your customers.
Some say it’s a myth, but the past few months have proven otherwise. With prices for goods increasing by over 50% throughout the pandemic.
Inflation impacts businesses in a variety of ways; from managing price lists and ensuring margins are kept in line with the businesses goals, but also for managing cash flows.
Your accounting software should have an import function that allows you to take supplier price lists and import them directly to your software. This negates the need for your accounting/purchasing team to update prices manually.
If your software is more adept, you should be able to apply your special customer pricing, wholesale/retail pricing to price list changes, helping to make your price list management seamless.
Secondly, having an accurate understanding of your financial position is central at any point, being prepared for cash flow problems resulting from inflationary pressures will stand you in better stead than hitting them unexpectedly.
Securing price agreements with your suppliers; whilst this might seem rather an opportunist strategy, asking your suppliers for a price fix might help to stem inflationary problems in the short term.