4 Business Takeaways from the Day the Government Takes Your Money Away

There’s an event for many Americans that leads to more procrastination than a dentist or proctology visit. It’s April 15th, Tax Day.

I’ve been using a same tax preparation software vendor for many years, switching from their desktop software to their cloud version, and have been pretty happy with it.

Thankfully, I got my tax filed online on the evening of April 14th and was able to observe the lunar eclipse!

Obviously, preparing and filing taxes is not the most pleasant of experiences for many, but my tax vendor has been able to make the experience efficient after all these years.

Some of these customer experience lessons apply to the “seasonal” software business.

Proactively reaching out to your customers – before the season
I received notifications as filing season approached that the software would go live with the new forms and rules, with quick reminders on the type of records I would need to collect.

Not that anyone wants to be reminded about taxes, it is a practical way to make sure your customers stay loyal.

Responsive speed of application delivery
As I moved from the desktop version to the cloud version, two things determine the responsiveness of the applications: my internet connection, and their data center performance.

As the tax deadline approaches, the ability of their data center to scale becomes critical to maintain the experience.

Companies should always make sure there is plenty of bandwidth to support seasonal loads.

Availability of real-time assistance during the process via multiple channels
As I was entering information into the software, there was a dialog box reminding me that I could web chat or call to their contact center for assistance.

The ability to get live help while the customer is online creates a good customer experience – especially in stressful subjects.

All businesses should think about the person to person experience while the customer is online.

Communicate and messaging by channel preferred by customer
When I complete the tax forms and opt for E-Filing, I’m given the option to monitor the filing status by Email and text message. This is attractive since I could be notified quickly pending a problem with the tax form and correct any issues immediately.

The ability for any business to offer multiple notification options (Email, text message, social media, etc.) is critical to great customer service given the wide array of devices we use in different settings.

With another year of tax season under my belt, it’s time to start my new file for the 2014 tax season.

I hope everyone got their tax filings in on time.

Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate next year!

Last month, I spoke at an Enterprise Connect-sponsored webcast, “Deliver Legendary Customer Experiences One Interaction at a Time” where I discussed some of the technologies highlighted above. I invite you to watch it here.

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Why are Companies with "Digital Maturity" 26% More Profitable?

With such a strong emphasis on the role of technology in today’s business environment, most decision-makers have become desensitized to the truly transformative effects that these advancements can have on daily operations.

Between off-premise cloud databases that store endless streams of information, high-speed networks that instantly transport voice and video data across the world and analytics systems that have an almost prescient ability to reveal consumer trends and behavior patterns, it is easy to take for granted the incredible technological leaps that have been made even in the past decade.

High-tech business units become more of a necessity each year, however – A recent Information Age article revealed the importance of digital maturity in today’s world.

“The Digirati significantly invest in the ‘how’ of digital transformation,” an MIT study entitled “The Digital Advantage” recently found, according to Information Age. “They build and share a digital vision, engage the workforce at scale in understanding the vision, implement proper digital governance structures to ensure ownership and accountability of the transformation, invest in a competence upgrade and build strong relationships between the business and IT/technology functions.”

An eye for tech pays off

The study revealed that companies with a forward-thinking mindset toward tech were on average 26 percent more profitable, valued 12 percent higher and generated nine percent more revenue than firms which did not actively leverage new tech solutions on a regular basis.

While it may seem impossible to stay in the loop on every minor innovation made in the world of IT, there is simply no substitute for an up-to-date infrastructure in an era that requires businesses to seek every minute advantage possible.

Related article: Blind Spots in Your CEM will KILL YOUR PROFITS

Even the smallest enhancement in network efficiency or database uptime can have a major impact on the success a company can achieve, and the consumerization of enterprise tech has made it easier to quickly implement new systems and software packages on the fly. But since so many organizations make a point of staying on the cutting edge, it can be a daunting task for a business to differentiate itself with a distinct set of solutions.

Customer service technology leaves a mark

Although it may feel futile for many decision-makers to continue pushing the limits of their infrastructure when new advancements appear at such a frequent clip, the alignment of tech resources with regard to e-commerce support is one area in which businesses can craft a unique approach. These strategies can make a tangible impact on their service and enhance customer satisfaction. Still, the implementation of these tools must be planned strategically.

A recent InformationWeek article explained the pitfalls of a “bolt-on” approach to applications in a world that expects total immersion in the brand experience.

According to the source, digital solutions are most effective when they work organically with the pre-existing framework of a company’s IT blueprint, not when they’re added as isolated fixes to larger, more systemic problems. Decision-makers have a golden opportunity to distinguish their brands with customer service toolsand must treat these systems as core components of their strategies at large.

Since most of today’s enterprise IT solutions operate behind the scenes, any customer-facing innovations are not only impressive in the eyes of consumers who want to feel like their preferred brands are on the cutting-edge, but also give service representatives the tool sets they need to reach resolutions in an efficient timeframe. This is why firms need to integrate their live help technology into the infrastructure they use on a regular basis, as InformationWeek suggested.

Customer service technology can set brands apart, but these solutions must worked into the bigger picture rather tacked on haphazardly.

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This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.