Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Tiffany Loh gets together Australian industry leaders to keep you up-to-date with what you need to do this quarter.

The end of the financial year brings about fresh beginnings for many businesses and business owners. To kick start the fin year the right way, we've got together our Smarter experts on mobile productivity, customer service and all things legal. So what are the top tips for the year ahead?

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Expert tips

Mobile Productivity - Will Irving

Will Irving is Group Managing Director, Telstra Business.

  1. Save time on the road: Email and mobile communication has made us hungry for faster and convenient on the go communication and information delivery. In turn, this is minimising the need for holding meetings in person and saving us from wasting time in taxis and airport lounges. However, face-to-face time is still critical in building relationships and video conferencing helps make meetings shorter and sharper so you get more done and reach decisions quickly.
  2. Stop drowning in the paper: Mobile business applications have started to take over old paper-based systems, allowing small businesses greater flexibility. By letting employees work flexibly using their mobile devices, there is no need to be tied to the office desk. Mobile business apps like Canvas, for example, can produce invoices on the spot from your smartphone or tablet and make carbon copy books and retyping orders into a computer a thing of the past. 
  3. Put your head in the colud: Once you have the right devices, the next step is to make the most of your mobility by working in the cloud. You can access all your files and programs securely from a compatible computer, tablet, phone or laptop where coverage is available. Operating in the cloud can empower mobile team workers by helping to drive innovation and communication.  

 

Customer Service - Paul Drum

Paul Drum is Head of Policy at CPA Australia, the largest accounting body in Australia.

  1. Learn more about your customers: Knowing your customers is important, but having real insight into their preferences gives you numerous reasons to stay connected. Whether you’re gathering big data, running relationship management software or just keeping notes on what your customers like, you can provide a more personalised approach. For tips on how to better understand your customers go here.
  2. Keep your information up-to-date: It’s amazing how quickly customer information changes. Clean out your database regularly. Make a date with yourself — at the start of a new year, for example — to revisit and check for duplications or changes of address. If you are uncertain of their details, take the time to ask, it’s another opportunity to get in touch.
  3. Set customer service targets: Your business should have customer service targets with these goals embedded in the key performance indicators of individual staff members. To do this successfully, you need to measure your customer service.  You can engage mystery shoppers or run an email survey (with a prize!). To find out more about improving customer service go here.
  4. Develop a social media strategy: It goes without saying that having an active presence on social media can improve your customer service. Social media is about a lot more than promoting your business. You can communicate with existing customers and monitor feedback, as well as market your products or services and, of course, keep an eye on competitors. For tips that can help to develop effective social media strategies go here.

 

Legal - Andrew Barnes

Andrew Barnes is President of Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA)

  1. Use technology: Smart firms are investing in technology to improve their client service delivery. There are many ways to do this from creating client intranets to customer relationship management systems (CRM). A CRM system can help to improve client service delivery from recording details of customer conversations so that the information is accessible to all client-facing staff, to tracking quotes and invoicing and ensuring these are delivered to the correct person. If you are not offering these for your clients, you can be sure others will be! Read the ‘Legal Technology Future Horizons’ report here.
  2. Survey your clients: The best way to find out is to ask them! Beaton’s Research and Consulting conducts annual client satisfaction research for professional services firms that provides useful information. Alternatively, you can create your own program. This may be with a quick post-matter telephone call or by formally surveying select clients. Ask permission and do not assume. Sound client relationships are built on respect and trust. For more information go here.
  3. Avoid bill shock: Communicate with your clients from the outset of every matter. Your communication should not be restricted to the legal issues at hand and should cover the overall expectations. Explain up-front how you will be pricing your services and stick to that. Email or call your client before sending a bill. Your client should expect the bill they receive and be ready to pay you. Watch the webinar ‘Getting Your Price Right’, by Dr George Beaton for more advice on pricing here.

 

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