Every business, regardless of size or industry, shares one common goal: keep customers happy. With expectations for not only excellent service but for consistent and personalized care on the rise, businesses must work harder than ever to maintain loyalty from their customer base.
A recent Small & Medium Business Trends Report by Salesforce Research shows that 46 per cent of SMB owners and leaders say meeting customer experience expectations are critical, major, or moderate challenges. In the Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey, 40 per cent of Canadian respondents said they are willing to pay a higher price for goods and services if it ensures a better level of service.
These numbers indicate the massive business opportunity that currently exists, especially when you consider that customer experiences in Canada are in need of much improvement. A study shows that 24 per cent of brands’ customer experience worsened, while only four per cent improved.
For larger companies, improving customer service might mean adding staff or investing in technology, but for small businesses, particularly those with only a handful of employees, these options might seem out of reach. While increasing headcount might not be an option for these business owners, using technology to improve customer service has never been easier.
In fact, tools like CRM can be a big differentiator when a small business is lacking in physical resources. Even with two or three employees, the right tech tools can help set a business apart by offering the experience that today’s customer expects and wants.
For small businesses that want to dip a toe into technology to improve customer service but don’t know where to start, here are a few tips to help make the move.
Use technology to deliver on customer wants and needs
Your company might provide great service, but what does it matter if your customers can’t reach you? Whether it’s through social media, in-app messaging, emails or live chat, find ways to solve real problems for your customers in these channels while keeping the service consistent and information about them at your fingertips. Research also shows that 68 per cent of consumers consider it absolutely critical or very important for customer service agents to know their service history so they don’t need to spend time explaining it to them. Embrace technology that helps you solve these issues, making your customer service connections more helpful and intelligent.
Look for tools made for you
Shoehorning an enterprise solution into a small business rarely makes sense, but that doesn’t mean that small business owners need to miss out on the benefits that enterprises gain from their tools. Look for solutions that are specifically tailored for small businesses, like Salesforce Essentials. This solution provides the same CRM that large companies use, but at a scale that makes sense for small businesses. Using a solution like Salesforce Essentials is a great way for small businesses to appear bigger and more sophisticated to customers while delivering exceptional service.
Data scientists not required
A huge concern for small business owners when introducing a new technology is the expertise required to make the most of it. In fact, 93 per cent of small businesses think that easy setup is important when evaluating new technology for their companies. And with 66 per cent of small business owners personally responsible for three or more areas of their business, and nearly three quarters (74 per cent) without one or more in-house IT staff, it’s important to make sure that any solution that’s introduced isn’t more work than it is a benefit.
There’s never been a better time for small businesses to ditch the spreadsheets and streamline their processes using technology designed just for them. Their customers will thank them for it.
Adam Kirsh is an AVP at Salesforce.