From a technology standpoint, the past few years have been been all about digital transformation. As this transformation has evolved, small business owners have been hyper focused on keeping their businesses going by making customer experience a top priority.
When working through all of the change that comes with converting your business to a more digital experience, you need to remember to always keep the customer preferences top-of-mind. Whether you’re just getting started or want to fine-tune your digital strategy, this guide will provide some best practices for meeting customer demand for more online experiences, staying engaged with customers, and using the tools and tactics to create a great customer experience that will help keep loyal customers coming back and make new customers loyal.
To thrive in today’s rapidly changing work environment, small business owners, if they haven’t already, should explore replacing outdated technology with more robust digital tools to help power productivity and keep up with competition. A positive customer experience improves customer retention, customer satisfaction, builds brand advocates, and can increase cross-selling and up-selling.
For many small business owners, providing a more digital experience means replacing older tech and manual procedures with digital processes and automation. Some examples include:
Setting up cloud-based POS for increased accessibility and a more seamless customer experience.
Leveraging automated assistants to help customers get the information they need and triage calls to the appropriate person. By arming automated assistants with important information like web and email addresses, hours of operation, and any new policies and procedures, you can ensure important information is reaching customers in a timely way.
Setting up a splash page for your guest WiFi network that serves logged-in customers with needed information about your business.
Utilizing Unified Communications tools as a means to empower team and customer communication. Real-time messaging ensures employees can collaborate in the moment and help keep productivity on track. One-touch conference calls mean you can get everyone in the same place without fumbling with dial-ins and get valuable digital video time with customers.
Transformation of any kind is a multi-step journey, and digital customer experience transformation is no different. But as daunting as it can seem, getting started isn't always as difficult as you think. In fact, digital transformation can not only help improve customer interaction, it can also improve employee productivity — but this doesn’t happen overnight.
Start small, stay focused
Learn from your successes and failures, and take the next step
Be agile. Delivering great customer experiences is a never-ending journey and will require adjustments along the way.
An essential factor in an uncertain economy is retaining customers. This can be tough when you aren’t communicating face-to-face with your customers as much as you used to (and even if you are), you should have a digital experience that’s reflective of the atmosphere of your business: helpful, caring, and active. Here are some actionable steps you can take to help build and maintain presence online:
Keep your website updated. Keep customers informed with real-time hours of operation and processes that might be changing so customers can rely on the information they find on your website.
Make sure all of your digital profiles are accurate This includes contact information and hours, your phone number(s), hours of operation, service and delivery areas, menus, lists of services, and more.
Consider proactive outreach to your customer base, keeping them apprised of any important updates and maintaining both channels as open lines of communications for customers to get in touch with you. Make it easy for customers to understand your policies for online ordering, curbside pickup, etc.
Roll out solutions to enhance customer experience, like appointment-scheduling apps, to make your services easier and more convenient to use.
Set up a splash page for your guest WiFi network that serves logged-in customers with needed information about your business.
Personalized experiences have the potential to help boost revenue and loyalty. In fact, customers have likely come to expect them. Personalization increases relevance and in-turn, engagement, thus delivering better experiences in the process. Through a better understanding of each customer, rather than just all customers, personalization can provide unique benefits that some of your competitors won’t match.
When a customer interacts with you on their phone or another device, they are embarking on a digital customer journey. By leveraging this customer insight about how they are shopping or searching your site, you can prioritize the most important journeys to digitize, bridging gaps between processes and people, to smooth the journey and maximize the value of their time and business.
Taking the delivery of seamless interactions one step further, customers increasingly expect to start a transaction in one channel and seamlessly continue in others. These “omnichannel” experiences give customers the ability to transact on a website, move to a call center or chat function, switch from a desktop to a mobile device, and even walk into a store without having to start over.
Customers have the choice of using multiple devices to engage with your organization. Recognizing that any given customer may choose desktop, voice, mobile or other devices at any given time, your digital strategy needs to accommodate customers changing preferences and expectations.
Delivering on these varied technologies requires a strong, flexible IT infrastructure.
Start with the POS, which is increasingly cloud-based. Cloud application requires a fast, reliable Internet connection in order to perform properly and to help minimize downtime. Small business owners should consider a reliable network when it comes to their Internet connection, and one that has the ability to handle occasional spikes in traffic. Robust WiFi is a must to leverage mobile ordering and personalization capabilities as well as online ordering applications tied back to the POS.
Security is another building block. Like any business, small businesses are susceptible to phishing attacks, malware, distributed denial of service (DDoS), and other cyberattacks. Small businesses need to establish security policies and standards that apply to all locations, as well as regular security training for employees. When it comes to security tools, a defense includes a good mix. Threat monitoring, firewalls, and anti-virus solutions are all valuable cybersecurity measures, and should be used in tandem with each other and alongside smart online hygiene practices.
Speed is critical. When things get busy, the last thing you need is slow Internet. Find the speeds that are best for you.
Today, a lot of business doesn’t happen in the office or at a desk. It occurs on the road, at home, or anywhere in between. Small business owners need business-grade mobile networks and solutions that allow them to easily get in touch with employees, customers, and vendors, wherever they are.
Select a mobile provider with a network powered by 5G and 4G LTE and additional access through WiFi hotspots nationwide. You’ll also want flexible data plans, from a gig to unlimited, and compatibility with today’s best phones and tablets to ensure a tailored and seamless mobile service designed to meet changing needs. And consider a provider with internet and mobile services for simplicity and savings. The combination of both can help you stay connected as your small business evolves.
Determining the best path forward for your small business is never easy. However, the rapid pace of technology has taught many businesses to be ready for anything. The best approach is to be flexible and agile, ready to pivot in new directions at any moment. When you can't predict the future, you need to rethink your assumptions and be open to new possibilities for keeping customers happy.
Comcast Business has the solutions to help small businesses stay ready for what’s next. See how Comcast Business can help.