Leveraging Real-Time Technology: Gaining a Competitive Edge
Every business wants to gain a competitive edge. After all, it is what allows companies to succeed, especially if they work within a highly saturated market. But with the competition encroaching on your territory, how can you stay ahead of similar businesses?
One way to gain an edge is by taking advantage of real-time technology. This technology gives you the information you need to make a plan in several areas of your business. First, it’s important to understand real-time technology to maximize your potential to become better than the rest.
What Is Real-Time Technology?
Real-time technology is computer systems that process information instantly, allowing for immediate response or action. In business, you may be monitoring for something to occur that enables you to make a move. As soon as that thing happens, these technologies let you know right away.
Small businesses can benefit greatly from using real-time tech. One way is to use real-time analytics to track social media mentions. When companies want to measure their brand awareness more methodically, they can use tools to keep track of conversations mentioning their company’s name.
Another way a company may use these tools is for data. A small online retailer can analyze information to offer special deals to customers visiting their e-commerce store. Embracing such technologies allows small businesses to act quickly to get ahead of their competitors.
How Real-Time Technology Gives Businesses a Competitive Edge
Since real-time technology provides businesses with information instantaneously, they can use this feedback to make their day-to-day planning and strategizing easier in various ways.
With real-time technology providing businesses with immediate access to data, companies make faster and more informed decisions. Instead of waiting for end-of-day or end-of-month reports, businesses can see trends, sales numbers and other vital statistics as they happen.
These immediate insights allow companies to tell what next steps they must take, allowing them
to adjust their strategies quickly. Plus, it will enable them to capitalize on opportunities they see fit. For instance, organizations use real-time technology to hold a voting session. That is where voting software comes in handy. It allows companies to make a vote during board meetings, giving them the ability to speed their decision process.
Time is a precious resource in any business. With real-time technology, tasks that used to take hours or days can be accomplished within minutes. For example, real-time collaboration tools allow team members from different locations to work on a project simultaneously.
Instead of waiting for one person to finish their part, multiple people can contribute at once. As a result, businesses speed up project timelines significantly and adapt more quickly to changing market conditions.
Issues may go unnoticed in a traditional business setting until they become significant. However, real-time monitoring and alerts set up companies to spot potential challenges at the moment. You can see this happening in a manufacturing business. Manufacturers use real-time sensors to detect a machine to see if it starts to overheat or malfunction.
Small businesses can use real-time technology for numerous parts of their operations. To keep up with market demands and stay ahead of your competitors, consider using real-time technology in these business areas.
1. Enhance Communication
Effective communication is the foundation of any successful business. It ensures teams know what is happening in their daily schedule and the objectives are clear. Essentially, everyone works towards a common goal and keeps them aligned to ensure the work gets done. Without it, poor communication leads to misunderstandings. When team members assume otherwise, missed opportunities occur, leading to decreased productivity.
Leveraging real-time technology can create better communication. Tools like Slack and Zoom ensure team members stay in touch with each other and address issues in real-time. When integrating real-time tech for communication, consider a platform that unifies it.
Software combining chat, voice and video ensures team members have multiple communication channels. Plus, it streamlines the process and promotes better collaboration.
2. Collect and Analyze Data
If you’re a savvy business person, you know data is the key to making decisions. Real-time technology allows businesses to collect data quickly, whether it is for customer behaviors or sales trends. Companies no longer operate on past events — they can respond to the now and anticipate what lies ahead.
Beyond collecting the data, businesses can use it to spot patterns and trends. This is especially helpful if you are looking to predict customer behaviors and adjust strategies ahead of time. For example, many e-commerce companies use Google Analytics to learn about customer’s product preferences and make predictions about market demands.
3. Initiate Marketing Efforts
Consumers constantly change their preferences. One day, they might like a certain product, but new enhancements make them prefer something else. This wavering can make it challenging for businesses to adapt their marketing efforts. It takes time to process these changes and adjust their strategies accordingly without technology.
However, marketers can now gauge reactions to campaigns and make adjustments with real-time data. With immediate insights, businesses can create marketing messages that resonate with customers. For example, a timely, personalized discount notification can prompt a purchase if a customer is browsing winter jackets.
When using real-time tech for marketing, invest in a marketing platform that allows you to make immediate adjustments. For instance, Meta’s Ads Manager will enable you to monitor your ad performance with an analytics dashboard. This way, you can make slight changes, ensure your marketing remains relevant and maximize your ROI.
4. Improve Customer Service
Today’s customers expect swift and efficient solutions to their problems. That’s why great customer service is crucial. Making a positive difference in customers’ lives promotes a business’s reputation. When potential customers receive word about it through reviews and online discussions, they will be more willing to give you their money. Customers will favor your business over your competitors, giving you an edge and boosting your bottom line.
Companies that provide customer service use tools to respond to customer queries and complaints in real-time. For instance, chatbots engage with customers and answer frequently asked questions immediately. Then, there are tracking systems where customers can receive updates on their orders.
Consider implementing a live chat feature on your website or app. You can ensure customers can get answers quickly with automated responses. Yet, ensure they still have the option to connect with a human representative so they still have access to personalized support.
Stay Ahead With Real-Time Technology
Competition can be tough. On one hand, you have more established businesses who have the trust of their customers. On the other hand, new companies are entering the market daily, solving customer problems and filling in solutions that did not exist before. However, businesses can make faster moves by leveraging real-time technology.
Start using it today to seize every opportunity that comes your way. By knowing what’s happening within the moment, you can make smarter decisions that drive your business forward.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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