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Reality Vs the Virtual – Your Customers Still Want the Same Service
Your customers still want the same service online as they do with a face to face transaction.
When it comes to IT spending, about half of small business owner think they’ve got it just about right. Most of the remainder think they underspend. About 10% think they overspend, but experience suggests to me that if they’re reading this, they’re about to be rather disappointed.
There will, of course, be some who are a little profligate when it comes to technology implementation but I’m yet to see much by way of evidence to support the 10% and their somewhat optimistic assessment. And when I point out that it should be around 7% of revenue, many of the those who think they’ve got it right tend to reconsider their position.
Underspending on IT in Small Business is rife, and this lack of effective investment is a problem because it adversely affects customer service. And the harsh reality today is that if you’re not turning your hard-earned cash into digital assets, both physical and online, you’re costing yourself big time because you’re failing to match customer expectation levels.
The 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report had some interesting figures:
73% of small business owners prefer face to face communication, but only 33% of customers do.
25% of small businesses owners think that online buying is important compared to 49% of customers.
Doubtless, if these figures were broken down by age group, it would be the younger generation demanding access through technology, and you might argue they aren’t your target market. But, if there’s one thing of which we can be absolutely certain, today’s younger buyer will be tomorrow’s older buyer, so you might as well get yourself ready.
It’s not surprising that age difference plays a significant part here, though. Most small business owners have a few more years under their belt than many of their customers, so a difference of opinion is just about guaranteed. But that doesn’t alter the facts, because your customers still want the same service. And this means that small business owners need to get on board and make sure they’re delivering the kind of digital customer experience their prospects and clients demand today or at least will be demanding in the near future.
You are, as the modern saying now goes, what Google says you are, and that makes the latest stats from the ABS somewhat puzzling with 33% of small businesses yet to create a website. And if you put that in the context of something like 30% of customers not engaging with a business unless it has a web presence, those without are fighting an uphill battle.
You might perhaps think that they have a Facebook page instead, but remarkably 40% have no social media presence whatsoever, and amazingly, less than 50% have ever received an order via the internet.
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD.
All of this talk of the technology, electronic commerce and the digital here and now might leave you feeling a little cold and divorced from your customers, and in truth, I was really no different. I’m a product of a parochial, country upbringing in the 1980s where shopkeepers knew just about everyone in the village by name and personal service was the norm.
But as ever, if you’re looking at the technology, you’re missing the point. Your customers really haven’t changed that much, and their needs and wants are little different from the days of my youth. It’s just that they prefer to communicate and buy in a slightly different way. All in all, your customers still want the same service.
So, once they find you, they’ll want the same level of service that you’d provide if they were standing in front of you.
So take the time to invest in technology to ensure that you’re doing all you can for them. Because if you’re NOT providing effective online communication and purchasing facilities, you’re making it harder for them to buy, and that has rarely, if ever, been a good strategy.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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