Last Updated on: 23rd October 2023, 12:21 pm
South Africa | In the world of business, the seasons don’t just bring a change in weather, they usher in special days and occasions when consumer activity peaks and that businesses need to prepare for and navigate.
From the flurry of gift shoppers at Christmas time to the sizzling demands of summer’s peak tourism season and the downpour of online activity during Black Friday, it’s a seasonal surge survival game out there, and the only rule is to adapt or be left out in the cold (or the heat, depending on the time of year).
In order to maximise the benefits of these seasonal shopping peaks companies need to have the right systems and solutions in place to make sure their businesses don’t just survive the storm – but that they thrive in it.
“Managing seasonal peaks poses an enormous challenge for many businesses, but there are ways that they can manage these surges without compromising customer experience and putting too much pressure on the business financially,” says Jed Hewson, CEO of 1Stream, the leading provider of cloud-based CRM and Contact Centre solutions in Southern Africa.
“By ensuring that they have a scalable CRM in place, like 1Stream’s leading-edge CRM solution, brands can scale up for seasonal peaks to take advantage of increased sales opportunities without compromising on service and delivery.”
How a CRM can equip your business
A robust and dynamic CRM solution is the unsung hero of successful businesses, empowering sales and service teams and helping them deliver on brand promises, particularly when faced with a large increase in sales over busy periods.
“While CRMs are commonly in place in medium and large business enterprises, not all CRMs are created equal,” says Hewson. “When selecting and implementing a CRM it is important that businesses ensure that it’s going to be a true asset to their business during regular sales months and when demand peaks.
“A good CRM should be a support for sales and service delivery teams so that they can deliver excellent customer service and improve the bottom line, while at the same time enabling an organised and calm work environment by managing workflow and providing valuable consumer insights.
“1Stream CRM has been created to ensure it can deliver on all of these levels, plus our team of experts are on hand to guide teams before, during and after implementation,” he adds.
So, what should companies be looking for in their CRM? First up is scalability, says Hewson. This means that in the leadup to seasonal peaks, your business can seamlessly increase the number of CRM licenses without making hefty investments in new software.
“With 1Stream CRM you can onboard additional team members, whether they are permanent staff or temporary seasonal hires, without disrupting your operations or incurring excessive costs,” says Hewson, “And because we are a proudly South African business, we are customised to meet the needs of the Southern African market and our solutions are priced in Rands so that our customers aren’t subject to ongoing exchange rate fluctuation.”
Another way that a robust CRM can help businesses manage shopping surges is by enabling your workforce to operate from anywhere, allowing you to pull in remote or temporary staff during peak seasons.
These staff can work from home and can still access the CRM, meaning companies do not need to create office space when additional staff are onboarded. “This flexibility ensures that you have the manpower required to meet heightened customer demands without the logistical challenges associated with traditional office-based operations,” says Hewson.
Coupled with this are the workflow automation benefits that a CRM solution brings, enabling seamless coordination across departments and helping to keep your business running smoothly during high-pressure periods.
“Our CRM solution is designed to enhance interdepartmental coordination which is crucial during peak seasons. Sales teams can efficiently hand off orders to delivery and fulfilment departments, streamlining the process and minimising delays,” says Hewson. “With the entire organisation having access to the CRM system, communication is enhanced, and everyone is on the same page.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a true gamechanger when it comes to CRMs. 1Stream CRM uses AI to handle automated and repetitive tasks, such as processing orders, sending out confirmations, and managing inquiries.
“During seasonal peaks, when customer interactions skyrocket, AI can work tirelessly, 24/7, ensuring that no customer is left waiting,” says Hewson.
“This reliability that our solution delivers not only enhances customer service, but also frees up your staff to focus on more complex tasks that require a personal human touch.”
It isn’t just during the seasonal surges that a CRM makes business easier. Thanks to the treasure trove of insights that it produces, an effective CRM can be utilised to ease pressure in the run-up to big shopping events by providing access to historical customer data to enable you to tailor your offerings and marketing strategies.
You can identify repeat customers, offer them early bird specials, and gain a clearer perspective of the sales requirements needed when planning for peaks. This personalised approach not only boosts sales but fosters customer loyalty – it shows your customers that your value their business.
“These five key factors – scalability, remote workforce integration, workflow automation, customer history insights, and the power of AI – are all core to 1Stream CRM and together create a toolkit that allows businesses to thrive in the face of seasonal peaks,” says Hewson.
“Our solution enables businesses to be agile and cope with fluctuations in consumer demands – harnessing the benefits of big days like Black Friday while providing a solid foundation for teams to operate at their best without compromising on service delivery.”
By Christelle Mwanza, SA