However, small businesses (SMBs) must strike a balance in their automation to ensure they are still providing the kind of personalized touch that customers have grown accustomed to as part of the small business experience. This is especially important considering recent reports found nearly two-thirds of SMBs rely on existing clientele for a majority of annual revenue, and that repeat patrons spend 67 percent more on products and services than new customers. So how can a small business integrate technology solutions without alienating their current customer base?
1. Keep It Simple Many SMBs tend to adopt online tools that require the user to take excessive steps to get to what they want (account sign-up, long and repetitive forms, unnecessary automated emails, etc.). This is usually a result of misguidedly imitating the CRM strategies employed by large organizations. Too many extra layers are unnecessary for SMBs, and overly complicated online solutions increase the chances the customer will leave or become overwhelmed and pick up the phone – negating the benefit and purpose of these online engagement and self-service tools. Clear calls-to-action, easily accessible on every page of your site, with simple steps and fewer questions are always a better option. Great examples are leveraging online scheduling and online payment forms. SMBs should look for simple solutions that fit their basic needs and avoid the complicated big business solutions that can confuse customers and reduce client conversions.
Ran Oelgiesser is chief marketing officer of vCita. He has nearly 20 years of experience in startups and large organizations with technology, product management and marketing. Prior to vCita, Ran was a co-founder and vice president of product marketing at Kidaro (acquired by Microsoft in 2008).
Originally Posted in CBSPulse