How Technology Helps Small Businesses Impress Customers

The recent tech boom is a side effect of the digital age, where AI and other tools help build new products and fuel new ideas faster, at scale. While some people might want to return to simpler times around twenty to thirty years ago, small business owners like yourself can benefit from these technologies to run their businesses smarter and with lower costs. After all, technology makes running a business much easier, smoother, and more fulfilling. Today, we’ll discuss how technology helps small businesses not only impress customers but serve them better, with less waste, and offer innovative ideas.

Besides these advantages that show how technology helps small businesses, there’s the reality that time moves on, and your business either adapts to the changing landscape, here the technology landscape or is left in the dust by competitors who recognize the value offered by new technologies.

This all sounds good, doesn’t it? And it’s all the benefit from using appropriate, reliable technology. Put your customer front and center in a way that really matters; check out the benefits of tech deployment within customer service discussed below.

technology helps small businesses
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How technology helps small businesses

Small businesses face a number of challenges, from a severe resource limit to access to cutting-edge insights that might guide their future direction. Adopting technology can ease some of these burdens to help small businesses compete more effectively with larger companies. For instance, Airbnb totally remade the hotel industry through de-resourcing. By profit sharing with owners with excess living space, they became the largest hotel chain without the massive investment made by similar companies in real estate.

In much the same way, technology helps small businesses in other industries. The trick is finding the right technologies to give you an advantage in the marketplace. So, let’s move to that discussion with a focus on how to impress your target market by working smarter (with technology) rather than harder. Below are some technologies you should consider adopting to give your business an advantage.

Your customer support team becomes much more accessible

Every business should have a customer support team since customers are your biggest asset. You need a proper team on hand to respond to people who face questions or have problems so you can quickly and thoroughly address these customer issues. But keeping a customer support team available 24/7 doesn’t come cheap.

That’s where tech carves out more time in the day for you. A website chatbot is good for sorting queries into areas and reducing the time it takes to respond. A trained AI supplemented by ML (machine learning) can answer many standard questions while sending only those requiring a complex answer to a human. You can then follow up on all the tickets and/or DMs filtered for human follow-up in much less time than without a chatbot.

Then we come to the power of social media and how accessible it can be to every single one of us. If customers can leave comments and message you directly through social media, especially during special customer service hours, they have one more avenue to get help. This gives you a better insight into how your customer base behaves and what they want to see from your online platform.

great customer service
Image courtesy of Retail Next

You can provide real-time order updates

Order fulfillment tends to be the same across all sectors. Your customer places an order, you prepare to complete it, the order is completed, the customer receives their product or service, and they can then leave feedback. This sounds simple enough in theory, but it’s a hard process to track manually.

Let tech make that easier for you. Even in the world of waste management, roll off software enables a business to tell someone when their dumpster will be collected or their septic tank will be emptied. When you can see what’s going on, you can share the details with the client on the other end.

Real-time order updates are invaluable in a modern world that values convenience. If you can’t let a customer know when their order will get to them and/or be completed, it’ll be much harder to get that five-star review you’re after. After all, if a customer doesn’t see you as convenient, they’re going to take their business elsewhere.

You can take payment in multiple forms

It used to be that you could only pay by card through online payment portals. This could be quite frustrating for people who didn’t have accepted card types, and it felt incredibly unsafe for those who didn’t want to enter their details online. Who knows what type of encryption is being used throughout the checkout?

Unless you clearly communicate your security level to your customer base, they will not be able to rely on a payment portal like this.

But with the advent of increasingly complex digital payment systems, people can use Paypal and other secure payment platforms, as well as nuanced credit options that make purchasing online a bit easier. Pay in three, for example, through a gateway like Klarna or Afterpay. There are plenty of other buy now, pay later apps, and you might need to do a bit of research to find out which ones are most popular with your customer base.

Long story short, when a customer sees they have more than one option, they’re going to be far more comfortable buying from your website. What may have made them click off before is now going to see them straight through to the final interaction of the sale.

It’s much easier to keep data safe

Digital technology has made the world much more accessible, which has been quite advantageous for everyone, especially those in the market who are disabled or have access issues. As a business, this even opens up the pool of customers to pull from, meaning you can even serve people on the other side of the world.

However, malicious third parties out there want to take advantage of this. You need to be aware of how they might attack and have safeguards in place to keep your customers’ data safe. Even something as simple as using strong, unique passwords needs to be taken seriously.

You should also keep track of who has access to this data and when and where they’re accessing it. Unnecessary access can then be pinpointed and questioned, especially if someone uses an external, unsecured device.

The better you contain this data, the safer your customers will feel buying from you. Safety is often the undercurrent of modern transactions, thanks to the many scams out there. Keeping details under lock and key and only ever taking the details you need proves you’re a company that can be relied on.

You can track how customers respond to your marketing efforts

Tech can provide insight into your metrics. Google analytics, for example, is a useful bit of software that shows you where your traffic is coming from and how they found you in the first place. When you know which of your advertising methods are working, you can funnel more resources its way rather than waste your time and money on platforms that simply aren’t converting.

When you use your analytics just right, you get to save money while you’re spending it, simply because you’re spending it in the right place without the chance of wasting it.

So, if one platform pulls in more than another, it’s clear that the content you share there is doing a very good job. You can then share this kind of content more often or even build on it with bigger ideas and more customer interaction. Without this kind of analytic insight, you wouldn’t be able to make use of this information.

Your social media content is more interesting

Finally, using tech and knowing how to use it well makes your social media content much more interesting. After all, you can now create and share video content, which is doing very well online at the moment. Your normal posts will also be bolder and more colorful, making them stand out in the feed. Becoming proficient in suites like Canva can do a lot for your social media presence!

Conclusion

Technology can be helpful to small businesses in a number of ways. You can take payment in more ways, meaning you open up the globe to your products, and you make your social media feed a lot more interesting to follow through videos, reels, and graphic design. Tech can simply make your business a nicer place to be! So, if you want to impress your customers in an affordable and relevant way, get used to using it.

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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.