How companies communicate with their customers is the key factor in determining if they will have a positive buying experience and when they will come back to purchase again.
The single biggest competitive weapon that small businesses have over large competitors in this area is the use of technology. Big companies are slow to switch since they have invested millions of dollars in their systems. Alternatively, small business owners can invest a fraction of the cost with cloud solutions to create a solid and growing infrastructure. It is actually easier now than it was years ago to provide an excellent customer experience with small technology investment.
Here are the areas that must be addressed:
1. Phone communication system. Don’t get stuck with old PBX switches or just using cell phones for company business. Selecting a robust VoIP system with a company like Nextiva will make a business seem large and professional even when they are small. I remember in one of the companies I started, we had a lot extensions for different staff members that didn’t even exist (yet!) to make us seem like a more established company. By getting a central business number and an automated receptionist with an auto attendant menu, customers will become more comfortable buying from the start. Most importantly, Nextiva solutions will simplify a small business with a single, seamless source for all its email, voice, instant messaging, and conferencing communication.
2. Team collaboration. The single most important factor in a company’s productivity is how easily remote teams collaborate together even when they are not physically in the same place. One they get on the same phone system, you need to collaborate on projects and communicate clearly.
3. Call data. Data analytics is critical if a small business is going to understand their customers. With Nextiva, a company can know who is calling, how often, and how long they are on the line. It can also track the staff’s activities of inbound and outbound calls on a scoreboard to measure their productivity and results.
4. Customer relationship management system (CRM). Knowledge about the customer used to be based on the collective knowledge of a company’s team. Unfortunately, when those people would leave, the information would go with them. Now, it is very simple to keep track of thousands of prospects and customers with an effective CRM system. This should be the repository of all information including their last conversation or interaction, how they responded to various marketing campaigns, and where they are in the selling process.
5. Social media management system. Managing a company’s social media presence needs to have a strategy and process to it. Customers need to be responded on social media. There are various tools to help you manage this, like Zendesk. Instead of being only reactive on social media, content can be scheduled strategically weeks in advance using Meet Edgar or Hootsuite on Twitter and Facebook.
Barry Moltz helps small businesses get unstuck. He applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.
Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. He is a small business speaker, radio host and author of four books. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has spoken to audiences of up to 20,000 people. He is a regular guest on business radio and cable TV programming.