Michael Hickey is the president of Pitney Bowes Business Insight. His top five priorities for 2009 center on innovative and cost-efficient ways to communicate with customers and drive more effective resource utilization.
1.Embrace Web 2.0
The world of Web 2.0 provides a unique opportunity to interact directly with customers, whether they're ordering pizza online or looking up crime statistics for their neighborhoods. As more individuals and organizations embrace the Internet, the online world presents unique challenges and opportunities. It's increasingly important that organizations embrace new technologies such as Web 2.0 to better understand their customers and address their needs. Organizations can use blogs and other forums to communicate with customers, quickly responding to concerns or questions without a filter. A commitment to openness and transparency online also helps boost customer loyalty, and creates a deeper understanding of your organization and its mission.
2. Target Customer Communications
In today's competitive landscape, it's vital to have an open channel of communication with customers. It's extremely important to ensure that customers receive appropriate communications. For instance, sending a specific product or service offer to an individual who is not eligible is an expensive waste of resources. Miscommunication, such as ineligible offerings or incorrectly addressed statements, can also alienate customers who may feel frustrated that a certain product or service is not available in their area.
3. Ensure Customer Data Quality
Accurate and precise data is the cornerstone of any successful organization, and it forms the backbone of all communications. Obsolete or inaccurate data can result in inefficiencies, lost revenue and squandered opportunities. Accurate customer data enables organizations to increase customer loyalty with accurate, targeted communications; reduce marketing costs by eliminating redundant mailings; cut operational costs by streamlining business processes; and increase efficiencies in data maintenance with ongoing data cleansing.
4. Increase SAAS Adoption
Adoption of software-as-a-service applications continues to expand into more markets. According to a recent survey by Evans Data, more than half of all developers worldwide expect to work on programs delivered in the SAAS model this year. With SAAS, organizations can rapidly deploy applications while reducing staffing and management costs associated with traditional software. SAAS provides end users with a customized, packaged IT solution that is managed offsite. This helps organizations reduce on-site computing costs and avoid challenges associated with traditional software, such as limited visibility into how customers are using the product.
5. Think Globally
As we've seen this past year, the U.S. economy is inextricably tied to global markets. This presents a number of challenges and opportunities. Companies can no longer act as if they're isolated or unaffected by what happens in China or the United Kingdom. It's vital that organizations are aware of what is happening in other markets and how changes abroad can affect the United States and vice versa. A "flattened" world also presents incredible opportunities to tap into new markets and reach new customers. Within a global market-ushered forward by new technologies such as the build-out of high-speed wireless networks-the barriers to creating a worldwide footprint are rapidly deteriorating. It is paramount that we help our customers compete and win in this flatter world.