business-card-holder-In March of 2016, I posted a blog entitled Business Cards – Are You Storing Them or Using Them?  I posed this question and wrote the blog because all too frequently I find that my clients are spending valuable time networking, building referral partners, and interacting with potential clients.  An exchange of business cards is often made and then that valuable contact information remains on the card and is often filed away in a drawer or placed in a business card binder (yes, those still exist).

A large part of building and maintaining a thriving business are the connections we make with others.  How often do you find yourself engaged in a conversation with someone and then thinking or saying, “I have a great contact for you”!  Maybe that contact is someone in your networking group to whom you would like to refer business.  Maybe that contact is someone whose service you have used personally or professionally with which you were deeply satisfied.  Maybe the contact is someone you have met that offers a niche service that is not easily found.  How often do you find yourself in that moment to make a connection and then find yourself without the contact information at hand?

The conversation then proceeds along the lines of “I know someone you need to talk to, I’ll send you their information when I get back to the office”.  Maybe you do.  Or, maybe like many people, you get distracted at the office and forget to follow through.  Perhaps you remember a few days later, but then, the momentum or the context of the conversation gone.  You are doing a disservice to yourself, your new business connection and your current group of contacts.  Doesn’t it make far more sense to have those contacts available at your fingertips?  There is a simple solution and it doesn’t require good typing skills or a deep knowledge of technology.

If you use a smartphone, it is not only possible, but easy to do.  The technology to scan business card information into your phone and into your contact list is improving rapidly.  There are many apps available to help you with the process of digitizing business cards.  A quick search for business card scanners in the Google Playstore or Apple Store will give you plenty of options.  Below is a brief synopsis of some of the most popular ones.  All of them allow you to capture a photo of a business card using your smartphone camera.

Full_Contact_Card_ReaderFullContact Card Reader:  Offers integrations with more than 500 apps. Transcription is completed by people and not computers which improves the accuracy of the data transcribed.  This is a subscription service with packages that range from as little as $9.99 for 50 cards to $99.99 for 1000 cards.  You can try 10 cards for free and then purchase only what you need.

ABBYY_Business_Card_Reader_Pro_001ABBYY Business Card Reader:  Transfers contact information using OCR technology.  It will highlight uncertain characters and will display the original so you can double check the accuracy of transcription and type any corrections before saving.  You can try 10 cards for free and will then need to purchase the PRO app for $3.99.  Card data can by synced across iOS and Android devices.

CamCard_ReaderCamCard:  Transfers contact information using OCR technology.  The free version allows you to scan up to 200 cards.  The paid versions range from $5-$12 per month and can support multiple users in a business setting.  CamCard integrates with Salesforce, SugarCRM, Google Contacts, Outlook and Excel.

Business_Card_ReaderBusiness Card Reader: Creates an image of your business card using OCR technology, but with reportedly poor text recognition.  As a result this limits its functionality since the goal is to import the contact card content into your contact list for ease of use with other applications such as email and text messaging.

ScanBizCardScanBizCard: Again, this scanner has both a free and premium version.  At the time of this writing, the premium version was $0.99 which is 85% off the original price ($6.60).  ScanBizCards premium has the notable option to take advantage of 100% accurate manual transcription at the rate of $0.18 per card in addition to the camera scan using OCR technology that comes with the cost of the subscription.  ScanBizCard integrates with Salesforce and SugarCRM.  It will sync between devices and export to multiple contact formats.

If you are using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, check to see if your system has its own business card application built in or if it has partnered with another program (such as CamCard and ScanBizCard as previously noted).  It is always wise to use the application that has been designed to integrate with your CRM system as this will afford more seamless transmission of contact information across devices and among users.

Hopefully this information has motivated you to make more efficient use of your business cards by integrating them into your digital contact list.  Having immediate access to your contacts will undoubtedly help you promote your business with the timely and efficient exchange of contact information and references.  Not only that, but you will appear well-organized and productive to those you encounter.

If you need help improving your business efficiency by digitizing your business cards, organizing your contact lists or implementing a CRM system, The Streamlined Office would be happy to assist you.  Contact us for a free consultation.