How to Keep Your Competitors Up at Night

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How to Keep Your Competitors Up at Night

Posted: 04/22/2014

Want to stop worrying about your competitors—and have them worry about you instead? The answer could be to adopt new technology that helps you be more productive, reduce costs, and win new customers.

Get your creative juices flowing with the following four scenarios. The examples are fictitious and for illustration purposes only. No real association is intended or inferred.

Pool cleaner improves customer service. The owner of a pool cleaning service felt distanced from his employees, who were always out on jobs. He also wanted to build a closer connection with his customers, whom he rarely met. He now uses mobile technology to:

  • Track each customer visit by having employees use a mobile app to fill out a brief questionnaire following every job.
  • Create a mobile Internet site featuring a video that tells his customers how much he cares about their business and asks for input on ways to improve his service.
  • Exchange text messages with customers to help nurture relationships, improve service, and increase sales
  • Place mobile barcodes (also known as QR codes) on printed promotional materials to send special offers to customers and prospects and to introduce his mobile Internet site.

The text messages are especially effective because they give the owner a direct connection to his customers and speedy feedback on how his employees are performing in the field.

Lab supplier slashes costs. The owner of a lab equipment company with 10 remote salespeople wanted to reduce expenses. He knew that customer visits, presentations to new prospects, and twice-yearly employee meetings were hurting his bottom line. He began to use videoconferencing and collaboration tools to help cut travel costs. Specifically, he uses the tools to:

  • Allow salespeople to call customers over the Internet, boosting customer service and improving the chance of more sales.
  • Introduce the company to new prospects with a webinar, in which the owner explains the company's capabilities and answers questions.
  • Conduct virtual employee meetings, eliminating the need for travel and allowing more frequent interaction.
  • Allow salespeople to collaborate on group reports in real time, improving their productivity and the quality of their reports.
  • Cut sales staff in regions with a small number of customers, since salespeople in nearby regions can use videoconferencing to interact with the customers.

The owner found that videoconferencing also helps him grow his business, because he can now serve customers in distant countries at low cost.

Food store increases foot traffic. A grocery store offering organic products was in an out-of-the-way location. As a result, the owner found it difficult to attract new customers. When a print marketing campaign fell flat, she decided to try an interactive approach. Here's what she did:

  • Updated her online presence to use search engine advertising that targets local Internet users who enter key words like “healthy food” in Internet search engines.
  • Posted fliers around the store asking shoppers for their email address so she could send them notices about weekly specials and discounts.
  • Listed her store in online business directories such as foursquare®, Google Places, and Yelp®; and posted new offers in the listings every week.
  • Set up Facebook® and Twitter accounts for the business and visited the sites every day to engage with customers and identify prospects.

Analysis revealed that her email and social media activities are the most successful part of her campaigns, so she focuses her efforts there. Foot traffic to the store increased gradually at first and then rose significantly.

Stamp and coin merchant goes global. A retailer of stamps and coins wasn't making enough money by traveling to collectibles shows in his region. He wanted to move online into e-tail to expand his geographic reach, but he didn’t have the funds to invest in a new server and technical support. Instead, he uses a cloud service that enables him to:

  • Gain access to upgraded software packages as new versions become available, so he always has the latest tools and capabilities at his disposal.
  • Make use of the cloud’s ability to scale up automatically, so he can grow his business without worrying about capacity issues.
  • Take advantage of automatic backups, security software, and maintenance, so he doesn’t need to hire a technician.

New overseas connections led to new sources of inventory as well, which allows him to significantly expand his business in foreign stamps and coins.

No matter the size or nature of your business, AT&T offers digital tools and services that can help give you a competitive edge, including AT&T Messaging ToolkitSM and AT&T Mobile Marketing Solutions.