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How technologies are changing the SB customer service paradigm

For a small enterprise to know which emerging technologies will benefit their business and their customers can sometimes be very confusing and a bit daunting. But it is totally worth the effort.

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   New Delhi     Last Updated: August 8, 2018  | 19:15 IST
How technologies are changing the SB customer service paradigm
PC: Reuters

Every business owner tends to dedicate time, passion and ideas to make something innovative for its customers. It is important for organisations to be obsessed with delivering a great customer experience, including a superior customer service that is in line with customer expectations in order to be able to garner their satisfaction and long-term loyalty to the brand.

This may sound familiar in the context of small businesses: "We are too busy as a small company to manage complicated hardware, software, and train staff and support it without a dedicated IT team."

Sounds logical but this can be a huge roadblock in the progress of small businesses, considering a great customer experience (CX) and more personalized attention are among the main reasons consumers choose to work with a small business in the first place. And in these modern times, this cannot be achieved without the usage of evolving tools and technologies.

For a small enterprise to know which emerging technologies will benefit their business and their customers can sometimes be very confusing and a bit daunting. But it is totally worth the effort. The benefits of improved levels of customer servicing experience are widespread, and include everything- from boosting work productivity to helping customers stay connected.

Here are THREE present day business realities that are shifting the entire paradigm for small businesses vis-a-vis customer servicing -

(1) Business mobility is getting bigger and better

Customers want and need information. They want an easy way to get that information and connect with businesses as quickly as possible. At the same time, customers also expect total freedom and mobility in terms of fetching need-based data and business information. A recent report by Hootsuite titled "Digital in 2017 Global Overview" summarized that 80 to 90 per cent of people in the developed world have access to mobile devices 24x7.

Tech giants are continuously endeavouring to develop products with the right balance of features and in-built applications to support both the parties, i.e. small business owners and customers equally.  Recent launches included 2-in-1 PCs (high performance, easy-to-carry, commercial class computers), convertible laptops (lightweight and fully customizable devices), workhorse thin tablets (easy to handle, fully loaded smart units), to suggest a few.

Many small business owners are choosing Dell (currently commanding over 15% of the share market as per the IDC report for the first quarter of 2018) for their distinctive laptop range of Vostro, Latitude and Ultrabook, over other brands. The commitment to deliver thoughtful designs, dependable performance and letting the owners work from anywhere, is making a marked difference in customer-centric business strategies.

(2) Self-servicing has become the new normal

As more and more small business owners have started focusing on data-driven decision making, self-servicing is a new trend that is gathering steam.

The self-help approach allows users to create a work environment, which is complete and self-reliant in every sense. The average business owner can do wonders to workplace productivity, just by becoming autonomous in the usage of high-end computing devices (like powerful desktop and laptop) and by simply upskilling to use some of the basic enterprise applications (like Microsoft Excel, Word, Presentations, PDFs, In-house software, etc.).

In the past, Gartner raised an alarm for small business owners when it suggested, "In the coming years, to remain competitive, small businesses will have to access self-service tools to prepare data for analysis."

When customer servicing personnel leverage self-servicing and become more self-reliant by using tools and technologies, they are better able to analyze data, generate necessary reports or create customer presentations, without depending on any external factors. All this goes a long way in delivering a seamless customer experience.

In the same breath, it is also worth mentioning from a customer perspective that 70 per cent of the consumers believe that small businesses should start offering a way for customers to conduct self-service (as per a research done by Prof. Steven Van Belleghem titled "The Real Self-Service Economy"). In other words, SMEs should open digital channels through which a customer is able to reach the business owner for any enquiry, product update or support.

(3) Data Security is everyone's business

While strategizing for customer servicing, small businesses have to consider two critical factors- the push effect and the pull effect with one side pulling to carry on the traditional approach (with negligible prospects for growth) and other side pushing for improvements by using new tools and technologies (with unknown fallouts including concerns about data security).

Adopting new ways also open up small businesses to modern day practices like allowing remote data access, uploading/downloading vital information on diverse networks, permitting BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) practices, and work-from-home programs, framing flexible work policies and procedures, all of which could pose a security threat to business data, if not handled professionally.

So, in light of the above situation, it becomes all the more pertinent to the small business owner to safeguard all digital assets on a continuous basis. Putting their best foot forward, SMEs must take optimal measures to counter the possibility of customer data breaches. At the same time, efforts should be made to upgrade technologies wherever possible and train the internal staff on all security aspects. Also, expert advice on security solutions must be sought.

To summarize, setting up a successful customer service strategy is not rocket science once the small business owner opens up to the full potential of technology and tools available today. Enabling flexibility and mobility for the workforce while enhancing accessibility to customers sets the ball rolling. And with customer service personnel using self servicing tools along with the right security solutions, a superior customer experience is well within reach.

Get in touch with experts who can help you take your business to the next level seamlessly. Click here.

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