By Lance Trebesch, CEO, TicketPrinting.com
We’re always trying to find ways for technology to make our lives easier. In the world of small business, we need to be cognizant of new trends, customer needs, our own capabilities, and how those three intersect.
Say you just moved to a new city and you need to find a hair stylist. In the past, you’d ask your new co-workers and play a game of chance by making an appointment. Now you can look on Yelp and find detailed reviews, browse the websites of the best candidates, and narrow down your top choices. This means as a business, you need to be aware of your online reviews and have an attractive web presence.
Today, we have to adapt to the technology in our clients’ pockets in order to retain their business.
While many of us love online shopping, customers still want the experience of going into a store and browsing the merchandise. But now, customers are taking their technology into the stores in order to compare and contrast with what’s not in the store. Many large companies have found ways to integrate technology with the shopping experience. Department stores can develop their own apps to connect customers to the merchandise. So what can smaller businesses do to keep up?
Loyalty program technology has huge benefits for both the business and the customer. Companies like Belly and FiveStars make loyalty rewards easy on both ends. Customers simply download an app and they can find which businesses offer rewards through these companies. They check in on their mobile device when they’re in the store or receiving the service. Rewards are easily customized to the business and often memorable for the customer. Businesses can keep track of return clients, run email campaigns, and drive business through social media.
Scheduling programs like Schedulicity also benefit both the business and the client. If a customer is looking for a service, they browse the Schedulicity website and when they find one they like (yours), they can schedule an appointment right there. They don’t have to call around, and they’re exposed to your service when they might not have been otherwise.
Building customer relationships is a big advantage small businesses have over larger ones. Providing good customer service in person or maintaining contact for online retailers is a given, but we can all use a little help. Since so many businesses use gmail, products like Streak are available to help you build customer relationships in your inbox by tracking relationships, deals, and scheduling emails. Technology once again helps in building good customer service.
One of my favorite customer service stories combines thoughtfulness and technology. An Uber driver offers his passengers phone chargers so they can get to the airport with fully charged phones. That little piece has led to great reviews for his service. How can you use technology to make your clients’ day a little better?
Lance Trebesch is CEO of Ticketprinting.com and sits on the board of the BBB serving E. Washington, N. Idaho & Montana. He resides in Bozeman, Mont.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving E. Washington, N. Idaho & Montana, founded in 1912, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.