SAN FRANCISCO (THE FAST MODE) MARCH 22, 2023 By: Iain Scholnick
As small businesses continue to digitize, increased attention should be paid to technical solutions that maintain key qualities of customer service, especially with consumer sentiment in the United States recently hitting a 13-month peak. The fact is, consumers are increasingly operating in a digital-first capacity, however, there is a balance to be found in how businesses utilize technology in alignment with that shift and maintain revenue streams. Ease of use, both on the company side and in the customer-facing setting, is integral to supporting key relationships and providing additional engagement points for communication beyond static web pages. Consumer attention is fleeting, split between crowded marketplaces, and conversion can oftentimes depend on how reachable, reactive, and responsive technology enables a business to be. Focusing on what’s most important, when operationalizing digital presence realizing positive business outcomes should come first.
Approach and ease of use makes all the difference
Almost 80% of American consumers identify speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of positive customer experience. Delivering on these imperatives in an increasingly digital economy requires an approach that properly translates those components through actionable functionality. That is to say, a company’s digital presence needs to be engineered by teams that are sensitive to customer needs. Those responsibilities more traditionally fell to web development and marketing teams, but the availability of low-code and no-code solutions has given rise to the citizen developer, who supports building digital capabilities for a company through easy-to-use tools. Predictions show that the low-code development technologies market will grow by 20% globally this year.
At the same time, when a tool so heavily dictates the process and final outcome, IT departments and leadership alike must validate that they are able to deliver essential business value, with a relatively low lift on behalf of less technical staff. These solutions are optimal in that kind of setting because they move past pain points seen in traditional web development, and remove barriers for entry to digitalization. They’re also able to scale as an organization grows and incorporate new functionality as needed. If an organization began transformation with a website and scheduling tool, but later needed to incorporate customer chat, or video conferencing, they would be able to seamlessly make that addition. Unlocking this level of ease not only aids the enterprise in quickly reaching customers but also avoids the creation of disparate systems that so often holds them back.
Centralization with contextualization
Centralization will bring businesses closer to the kind of operational efficiency today’s technology aims to reinforce. In a brick-and-mortar storefront, everything a company needs is under one roof and within arm’s reach. Today, however, the number of applications that are critical to business functions, especially in the age of the distributed workforce, has led to splintering in the form of data silos, and ultimately missed opportunities for businesses large and small. Centralized management of a company’s digital presence ensures critical functionality is housed under one interface. In addition to centralization, contextualization provides an added benefit for those enterprises looking to digitize within a specific vertical. That is to say, technological tools supporting any aspect of customer relationship management or acquisition need to be customizable to industry particulars, and the fundamental needs of their customers. The interconnected nature of business, and the world at large, requires businesses to be forward-looking. Technology implemented today must be able to stand the test of time, or adapt in tow as an organization’s infrastructure evolves.
As mentioned, consumers on a larger scale prioritize speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service. Translating those competencies digitally, however, requires additional consideration. Where your business devotes most of its focus has a direct impact on ROI, and while the cloud has become one of those places of focus, many organizations are shifting focus to the edge. Ultimately, additional considerations need to be made on the ease of use of any technical product onboarded. Self-service models provide small enterprises with the ability to operationalize digital presences without a lot of technical know-how. Making proper technological investments is an important decision for any business, but marketplaces catering to small and medium-sized businesses can be crowded, or place too much emphasis on non-essential functionality. Operating at the customer edge, especially in regard to mobile devices, allows businesses to meet consumers where they are most often: online.
Low-code and no-code, and off the shelf ready tools remain a popular way around that lack of understanding, but delivering on the essentials is most important. How can your current digital presence improve to best serve target customers? Providing seamless digital experiences remains integral for nearly any business, but those lacking a technical understanding of transformation may face challenges capturing the most value from digitization. Telecom providers play a critical role in that exploration as their services support numerous points of connection with prospective and existing customers. Beyond that, however, crafting the best digital strategy will require businesses to explore solutions that leverage mobile connectivity, and prioritize digital engagement at the customer edge.
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