When Home Depot and WalMart Are Your Competitors Can You Still Effectively Compete?

If you take the time to listen to any discussion about leveraging the Internet you’ll invariably here how low cost tools enable your small business to compete head to head with larger companies that compete with you.
You don’t have a CHANCE of competing with these larger companies if your service is not first class. This is NOT a technology issue. This is an issue of ensuring that your customers are responded to respectfully and in a timely fashion.. This is a matter of ensuring that your staff know how to LISTEN to customers and treat them as the valued customers they are.
Assuming your culture of service is top notch, you can then leverage technology to help you take things to another level.
Even if your service is great, if you are scheduling service calls with a paper calendar or emailing daily assignments to your staff, you’re not operating as efficiently as you could be with technology.
Although you might not be able to afford the large infrastructure of your large competitors there ARE indeed low cost tools you can use to automate many of the day to day customer order and service processing that you need to do.

For example, Budget Blinds, is a franchise based company, with 900 franchisees that has carved out a successful niche by delivering custom, quality window treatments at affordable prices. Each of these franchise owners is a small business and has to head up sales, technology, finance, and marketing – all at the same time,” said Dave Lewis, co-founder and chief information technology officer for Budget Blinds.
servicetycoon.gifThey use a service from ClickSoftware, ServiceTycoon, which helps them operate their small businesses, as if they were bigger businesses. As I always say: save time, save money, boost productivity, increase customer satisfaction, increase productivity, increase revenue.
ServiceTycoon lets them:
Schedule sales consultations and installations
With installers’ availability and whereabouts at their fingertips, franchisees can make sure they become more efficient, delivering on-time service to customers and increasing their profitability
Cultivate customer loyalty
CRM and marketing tools built into ServiceTycoon give franchisees and small business owners an easy way to capture leads, distribute newsletters and manage a detail-rich base of contacts.
Track sales and billing
Oriented for small service organizations, but built with big-business analytics, ServiceTycoon helps Budget Blinds franchise owners capture charges and track invoices and payments electronically.
Map sales and marketing trends
The Franchisor application contains a dashboard with Google Maps, pinpointing s leads and sales within specific geographic regions, bringing the bigger picture to franchise operations managers and corporate teams.