|Following the crowd makes sense this time|
|Tuesday, 04 January 2011 06:18|
Advice to those still reluctant to use what is considered, “an essential growth tool for SMEs”.
A recent poll of 657 small business owners found that 75% count the internet as an essential tool to assist them in running their organisations.
Improve efficiency levels
Using online resources to manage accounts, compile stock lists and store customer and supplier data significantly reduces administration costs and negates the need to organise these manually. Using web-based bookkeeping and business intelligence systems frees up much-needed time and revenue.
The internet offers a real-time portal which you can use to communicate with customers and suppliers. Staying in touch with regular customers electronically and providing timely online feedback and support improves engagement levels and, ultimately, conversion rates. It is an excellent complement to an already strong customer service strategy.
The personal touch
Personalised service can be the foundation of an SME’s success. This can be extended through targeted and personalised online campaigns which offer a great way of increasing conversion rates and tapping into the word of mouth culture so important to small businesses. Regular online contact helps develop a business’s personality.
Matching SME requirements
The market has moved on from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to internet access. A wide choice of sector-focused providers now exists, all of whom can offer packages that fit the individual needs and dynamics of small businesses, in terms of suitability, cost and speed.
React in good time
It’s common knowledge that quick feedback to customer enquiries helps ensure repeat business and long term customer satisfaction. Responding to feedback, especially if it’s negative, demonstrates commitment to the customer and service provided. Physical feedback cards or forms are common. However, providing an email address for customers to communicate electronically means you can act quickly, essential to maintaining good relations.
The bigger picture
As I mentioned earlier, developing the personality of a business is vital to future conversions. There’s more to a business than simple transactions. Communicating with existing and prospective customers via online newsletters and regular announcements about company focus and direction is a key way of tapping into a customer base.
Investing in business broadband and developing a simple online customer communication strategy will make a real difference to an SME’s bottom line. Successful entrepreneurs will have already developed the customer relationships and business management skills needed to generate an online presence – the internet simply provides an efficient and cost-effective outlet through which to channel these.
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