Businesses have many things to think about in the new year, but technology should not be one of them. The idea of using digital tools can seem challenging to many, but it doesn’t need to be.
We have done many stories in the past about why customers prefer texting. We know that more than 300 million people in the U.S. now have a smartphone, and nearly 80 percent of them use it for texting. It all boils down to simplicity and convenience.
According to a recent study from Deloitte, 80 percent of small businesses are not taking full advantage of digital tools. This can be for a variety of reasons. The most common is that owners feel these tools are not relevant for their business. This is not the case.
Many businesses don’t know the benefits of digital tools because they are not aware of all they can offer. Just the businesses who use Kenect have seen a 55 percent increase in text message volume per location in the last two years. This means that more customers are texting businesses, and those businesses without a digital platform are missing out on a large portion of their leads.
It can be difficult to figure out where to start on something like this. There are four key areas where you can begin to integrate technology that your customers can start using right away.
1. Provide contact information – This may seem simple enough, but you need a place to store contact information from each customer. In addition to the basic information, you also need a location to store conversations and history with that customer. It should all be in one spot where your employees can see it and have a way to respond to customers if needed.
2. Have an online presence – Customers need to be able to reach you in every way possible. Make it simple. You can add a “text us” button to your website that can give customers a place to ask questions anytime about equipment or parts.
3. Offer online payment options – Do you have text-to-pay or can customers pre-pay for items and services? During the pandemic, businesses started using this option for payments so they could limit in-person interactions. Because of this, customers started getting familiar and many are now expecting businesses to have this option. This trend has been growing for two years, and it is not going away.
4. Use efficient software – As we start out the new year, it’s a good time to evaluate the technology you are using. Is it out of date, or do you need to start fresh? This is important not only for your business, but also for your customers. If your technology is out of date, it can make it difficult for them to reach you, reach your service department, or even close a sale. Make the buying and service process as easy as possible for the customer.
Now that you have identified the problems and the solutions, you can start to create a plan for the new year. Choose a system the best fits your business. It doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy, it just needs to work.
Start by setting up a communication platform if you don’t already have one in place. Find a system the uses texting, not phone calls, to reach customers faster and more efficiently.
Also, make sure you leave enough space for this system to work. Create a standard operating procedure for your employees and push back deadlines to make sure this system has enough time to work. As you get it up and running, you will notice how fast this process can be. Many customers already know about texting, you are just offering them a different path to reach you.
More than 60 percent of people admit to texting more on a daily basis in just the past two years, according to Pew Research. This means that customers are expecting businesses to have texting and offer the option to customers.
Adding texting will enhance your business and make communication more streamlined. The new year is a good time to embrace new technologies and show your customers that you want their business.