Today customers have influence, and their influence is forcing companies—of all sizes—to disrupt their traditional ways of doing business. They want your small-to-medium business (SMB) to evolve as fast as they are in their personal lives. And it is, in large part, thanks to the smartphone. The smartphone has had a monumental impact on the way we live. It has changed the way people behave, the way people see the world, and their expectations.
Their expectations have gone digital, with an additional demand of “dead-simple usability.”
But that is not all. Companies are not just expected to utilize digital technologies in an effort to offer this “dead-simple usability;” they are expected to do so in a personalized way for every single user group (from customers to partners to employees).
This means continuously reworking business processes (while embracing a continually evolving stream of disruptive technologies) in order to gain customers, retain customers, improve market share, and boost wallet share.
So what does a high-growth SMB, with limited resources, need to do to make this happen? Well, if you listen, your customers are telling you what they want. They want the most efficient way to interact with your business. They want instant access to information, and they want prompt resolutions to their problems.
Therefore what you need to "do" is focus on these three areas:
Mobile has the unique ability to improve the customer experience and the business processes that support that experience. Thanks to the cloud, your customer probably has at least three connected devices. Time spent on mobile devices accessing the Internet has skyrocketed. By the end of 2017, 51 percent of website traffic came from mobile phones (up from 38 percent two years earlier).
However, many SMBs have been slow to move to a mobile-first mindset. In a recent study, half of all small and medium businesses had (at best):
These companies have a long way to go. Having a mobile-first mindset is much more than changing the image and text sizes so that website content “fits” correctly on a palm-sized screen screen. It requires an effort be put in place so that the customer’s experience remains consistent across all devices. At minimum:
Your customers will disconnect from you for the most basic of reasons. If they cannot find what they need in the most frictionless and convenient manner, they will leave. If they have to wait on hold for a certain period of time, they will leave. If they engage with your brand and walk away without an answer, they will leave.
This is where self-service plays a huge part in boosting customer satisfaction. When CX Cloud software is fully integrated to ERP Cloud software, many back-office processes can be pushed out to the customer. This includes updating customer records, making payment, submitting paperwork, downloading information, checking inventory, viewing transaction history, processing returns, setting appointments, etc.
If employees are involved in the customer service process, they need to be able to quickly access and share relevant content (pricing, product specs, searchable knowledge base, etc.). That allows them to effectively address customers’ pain points, provide a value-add service, and maybe even create an upsell or cross-sell opportunity.
It is easy to react to an issue, but today’s customers expect more. They expect companies to anticipate and solve problems and only reach out to them once the solution is in hand. And they do not care how big the company is. This requires that companies embrace IoT technologies, wireless/mobile technologies, data analytics, and integrated cloud software suites to identify potential issues and proactively reach out to those who are potentially impacted.
Companies have historically built customer service groups to deal with problems. The time has now come to not only think two to three steps ahead of customers and anticipate their needs but to establish new processes to identify problems, long before they become problems.
When customers are connected to the right resources, companies can anticipate needs and initiate actions as required….before anyone even realizes that they have a need.
And this is where the cloud, mobile, and slew of new, “hot” technologies (IoT, augmented reality, cloud software with embedded machine learning and AI capabilities, and cloud-based tools/platforms) can help.
So the big question for high-growth companies is, do you want to be the leading force of disruption or one of the disrupted?