How Processing Paper is Detrimental to Business
You’re concerned, and you’ve got every right to be. We’re facing tough economic conditions, and yet, neither your stakeholders nor your competitors are letting up. It’s affecting your bottom line, which leaves you only two choices: sell more, or spend less. But how?
Lying undetected within your business is one of the most inefficient, antiquated systems currently still in use around the world – paper. Paper to onboard customers and clients, paper documents to be signed, paper for receipts, paper for payments… paper everything.
To be clear, we’re not talking about the actual cost of the material, but rather those that are associated with it. Moving, filing, storing, and retrieving paper costs valuable resources. It’s safe to say that there’s room for improvement wherever it can be found in your organisation.
The problem with paper
Take your sales environment, for example. Ask yourself, or better yet, look at the timesheets of your salespeople, and you’ll very quickly see just how much of their time isn’t spent selling. Most of their attention is probably focused on administration and travelling, which begs the question, how much of their sales capacity would be freed up if those processes were automated?
The problem is this: paper is slow, inefficient, and time consuming. With it, concluding a deal often requires a minimum of two to three trips, where time will be spent mostly on completing, vetting, and signing documents.
What if you could reduce the overall turnaround time of the onboarding process by cutting it down to a single visit with your client? In fact, what if the entire process could be completed before the first cup of coffee even gets cold?
Not convinced? Let’s pause for a second and talk about how existing technology could be used to remedy the scenario above. Think of the average smartphone or tablet. They’re packed with features that can speed up the sales process significantly.
The cameras on those devices for example, can be used to take photos or scan documents. Those files can then be indexed into categories or folders instantly. Better yet, thanks to the power of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, that very information can be processed on the spot, converting text into data real-time.
With GPS technology, a salesperson can plot their day far more effectively. The right software can plan out the most efficient route, taking into account the likes of distance and traffic for example, to maximise the number of clients that are visited every day.
Combining the above and other features opens up even more doors for optimisation. Imagine being able to calculate a real-time quote, or perform auto contract generation right in front of the client? That means far less back and forth, less admin, and of course, no paper or the implications that come with it.
It’s worth mentioning that a speedy, resolute process does wonders for customer experience too. After all, simplicity is a prerequisite today, and instant gratification is the new norm. Look at it this way. In the bigger picture, great customer experience leads to advocacy, and that leads to a stronger brand image overall. Reducing those two to three trips to just one won’t only improve your sales capacity, it will have a knock-on effect that can benefit your organisation as a whole.
Paper doesn’t end with sales
Paper leaves a trail far beyond the initial sales phase. Think about it. Once the deal is concluded, the job of your salesperson may be done, but those documents still need to find their way into your business, where they will go to ops and finance. All that paper then needs to be checked by employees, who will capture its contents into the system, or file the information manually.
Alternatively, pushing data by way of a paperless environment is quick and convenient, and boosts internal operations immensely. It’s easy to manipulate digital information, pass it between departments, and recall it if anything ever needs to be altered. That data can’t be lost either – at least not if there is a backup system in place in the form of cloud technology for example.
Lastly, with a paperless system, auto alerts and notifications can be setup to help the process manage itself. Think of how an employee could be notified immediately for example, when a piece of information arrives that they need to work on.
If you see paper in your business, consider it a way to improve your overall efficiency, both externally and internally. Remember, this in turn will lead to a much happier customer, and thus, a stronger organisation overall.
Thanks to today’s technology, these paperless efficiencies are no longer just a pipe dream, and with the business landscape being as cut-throat as it is today, it means your competitors probably have optimised processes already. You definitely don’t want to be left behind.