Did you know that tech has the power to transform your small business into a very successful enterprise? Tech has helped many small businesses cut costs, save time, reach more customers, generate leads, and increase sales. According to some reports, about 84 per cent of small businesses in the U.S use at least one digital platform to connect with customers.
The emergence of technology has given small businesses some leverage to compete with large corporations with enormous resources.
Below are ways to use tech to automate tasks, increase productivity, and run a more efficient business.
Every serious business owner knows the importance of customers to the survival of an enterprise. No business can survive without the continuous patronage of customers. That is why business owners go the extra mile to offer excellent customer service to their clients.
Customer service refers to the support that businesses provide to their customers during and after a commercial transaction. The primary purpose of customer service is to ensure that customers have a great experience when they transact with your business.
Today, tech tools can help you provide excellent customer service to your customers and transform your small business ideas into a profitable enterprise.
Some of the tech tools that small businesses can use in customer service include:
- Social media
- Instant messengers
Customers always have needs, questions, and complaints. That’s why it’s essential to make it easy for them to get in touch with your support team, either by adding a “call now button” or a chatbot to your website. With these tech tools, small businesses can attend to and effectively manage each customer’s experience from a single place.
Digital Payment Technology
Payment in every business transaction signifies an exchange of goods and services for something valuable.
But sometimes, this simple process of paying for goods and services can turn into an unpleasant experience for customers and business owners.
Fortunately, technology has revolutionised the way people pay for goods and services by making it more accessible. Many businesses now use different devices and tech solutions to help their customers pay for goods and services.
A survey by Bank of America revealed that the use of contactless cards and digital wallets grew by 238 per cent from July 2020 to February 2021.
Running a successful small business does not end with having great products and services. You must also devise the best ways to receive payments.
Customers can become frustrated when they find it difficult to pay or do not have access to a particular payment option. Business owners can become equally frustrated when their payment solutions don’t link up to their accounting software. But when they’re integrated, businesses can do everything from calculating their cash flow to utilizing an online pay stub maker to pay their employees.
If you are a small business owner and still processing payments the old way, it is time to use tech tools to have more time for customers.
Time is a valuable resource. Knowing how to manage it effectively in your business is one way to boost your productivity.
A great time management technique is appointment scheduling, which is a way to agree on a date, time, and place for the delivery of goods and services.
Some of the benefits of appointment scheduling include:
- Improves customers’ buying experience – Appointment scheduling helps your customer service delivery. It will help to decrease your customers’ wait time and increase satisfaction.
- Better Service delivery – It can help small businesses organise their appointments for better service delivery to customers.
- Improves Work Efficiency – An appointment scheduling app is an excellent tool for all small businesses to manage their time efficiently. Your customers can take advantage of scheduling apps to book appointments and sign up for activities without contacting you.
- Reduces Missed Appointments – With the help of tech tools, small businesses can automate their schedules to never miss an appointment. The beauty of scheduling apps is that customers and small business owners can select a convenient time for both parties.
Another feature of scheduling apps is that they can send reminders to all parties to avoid missed appointments.
Research shows that about 43 per cent of online security breaches involve small businesses, leading to the loss of a sizable chunk of their revenue. Small businesses must take advantage of tech tools to protect their data from unauthorised breaches.
The internet has given small businesses the platform to promote their brands, find new prospects, and connect with customers. The internet, however, is not without its risks. Cyber-attacks have become a significant challenge for many organisations, especially small businesses.
Large corporations have tremendous resources to protect themselves from online threats and, unlike small businesses, can recover quickly from these attacks.
Fortunately, small businesses do not need to break the bank to stay safe from cyber-attacks. Many free and affordable tech tools are available that can protect your small business from online threats.
No small business can survive without protecting its sensitive data or its customers from digital attacks.
The ability of a small business to keep track and deliver its projects on time is what could set it apart from the rest of the competition.
The benefits of efficient project management for your small business include:
- Define roles and expectations
Project management can be overwhelming because of the attention, time, and resources required to undertake and complete a project.
Small businesses can use project time tracking tools to assign tasks to employees and monitor their progress.
Gather and Analyse Data
Some experts have referred to data as the most valuable resource globally. Data helps small businesses gain insight into the shopping behaviour of their customers.
When small businesses understand what their customers want, they can provide better products and services.
Data also helps small businesses to avoid costly mistakes in decision-making. The correct gathering and analysis of data can help small businesses improve their customer experience.
Below are the different kinds of customer data that businesses can gather and analyse to improve their products and services:
- Identity or Personal Data – Identity or personal data are pieces of unique information used to identify a person, such as a name, business name, and email address.
- Engagement Data – As the name suggests, this data contains information on how a particular individual interacted with a business.
- Attitudinal Data – Attitudinal data is how a customer feels about your products and services. It is a type of consumer research that focuses on extracting information about a customer’s attitude towards a business.
- Behavioral Data – As a small business, predicting the behavioural patterns of your customers will help you meet customer demands and improve their purchasing experience.
Gathering and analysing data can bring efficiency to all sections of your business operations if you use the right technological tools. There are several ways that a small business can collect and analyse valuable customer data.
The ability to communicate effectively with each other has transformed human society to where it is today.
Communication is vital to a small business because it helps convey brand messages and effective engagement of customers.
Apart from customers, communication is also vital in internal communication. Good communication encourages effective collaboration among your employees.
Many tech tools can help small businesses maintain healthy relationships with their customers and employees.
While choosing a communication tool for your small business, ensure it is:
- Cost-effective – Although you should not compromise on quality, it is essential to always stay within your budget as a small business. There are many affordable communication tools for small businesses of every size and budget.
- Secure – The security of your communication tools is perhaps the most crucial consideration when choosing a communication tool for your small business. The most secure communication tools are those that offer multi-levels of security.
- Scalable – The dream of every small business is to grow and expand. But it will be a big problem when you outgrow your communication tools. The best communication tools can quickly adapt to fit your current growth.
- Easy to use – A communication tool that is easy to use by all your employees will save you the cost and time of training them. You do not want your employees to feel frustrated by using a problematic communication tool.
Before the advent of the internet and attendant technologies, large corporations dominated the advertising space.
Small businesses lacked the resources to compete with big companies for advertising space in the various traditional media.
The internet has made it possible for small businesses to advertise their brands to a large audience with few resources.
Platforms like social media have become great advertising tools for small businesses to attract customers and increase sales. One great thing about social media is that they are different and cater to a wide range of audiences.
Every small business has a choice to choose one or more of these platforms that resonate with their customers. Although adverts on social media are cheap, the result can be very successful.
Modern tech can do a lot for small businesses. Your repetitive tasks and other daily activities can become easier and more efficient with technological tools.
No small business will stand a chance of competing with big corporations or other competitors without using modern technology.
As a small business, tech can improve many things like; your customer service and transform your payment system. Tech can also enhance your appointment scheduling, fortify your online security, refine your project management, upgrade your data gathering and analytics, boost your communication and help your advertising effort.
Guest Author Bio: Andreyana Kuline @ Brosix
Andreyana Kulina is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Brosix, specialising in Content marketing and outreach strategies. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes hiking and mountain biking.