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Time, money, and cash flow are familiar terms that small businesses live and breathe every day. Adapting to the new normal in the wake of a pandemic can be a challenge, especially as customers return and business begins to pick up again. September 14, 2020, marks 228 days since the coronavirus was first declared a pandemic on March 11, lasting longer than most of the businesses on Main Street U.S.A. ever expected it would.
“With more clients to service, it grows harder to offer great, personalized customer experience to every single one — and that has a direct impact on your bottom line,” says Dave Simon, Vice President, Small Business Commercial Sales at DocuSign.
“As customers have moved away from in-person meetings and purchases, they rely more heavily on virtual, digital experiences. In this new normal, small businesses are challenged with finding new customers and servicing existing customers. Small businesses are forced to scale back resources and use digital technology to sell and provide high quality service,” says Simon.
Most small businesses try to address that decline in customer experience by hiring more support or service professionals, but that’s an expensive, inefficient way to resolve the immediate problem. The cost of hiring new employees and then ramping them up can be prohibitive, and the problem of too little money, too little capital, and employees wearing too many hats just persists. It’s an analog solution in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital.
Technology can help small businesses systematize and scale their customer experience, Simon says.
“Technologies are becoming more and more approachable and affordable,” he says. “But they have to be easy to adopt for small businesses that don’t necessarily have a deep bench of technical talent. They have to provide a quick ROI, and ideally an ability to start small and scale.”
There are solutions for every step of the customer journey, Simon explains. To generate demand and acquire new customers, businesses can leverage marketing tools, like HubSpot and MailChimp. DocuSign enables small businesses to reduce friction with their customers by making agreements easier to prepare, review, negotiate, and sign. There are technologies for support, service, sales, and marketing that are easy to implement, Zendesk for customer support, and Salesforce Essentials, which is purpose-built for very small businesses.
“A lot of the value that’s driven from systems like Zendesk on the customer support front, or HubSpot on the marketing front, is driven around personalization,” Simon says. “They allow you to treat customers uniquely, based on their behavior, industry, and product adoption patterns. And, best of all, they are fast and easy to implement and adopt.”
Instead of requiring 8-10 weeks for implementation, you can get started with them overnight. Six months ago, you might have asked how many small businesses had used Zoom and heard a very different statistic than what you hear today. Zoom, along with other digital collaboration tools, have very lightweight implementation and onboarding, which allows small businesses to get rapid returns on their investment through quick wins. But also, this reduces the amount of up-front risk and commitment that’s required to adopt technology and get value out of it.
Simon points to NanaWall, a small business that manufactures specialized opening glass systems for houses as an example of a company that’s implemented digital technology and has seen concrete results. They’re leveraging DocuSign to reduce friction within their company and with companies they work for, by removing manual processes that are unnecessarily laborious, and replacing them with efficient, easy-to-use digital signing solutions.
Simon advises small businesses to also focus on keeping an open line of communication with customers, prospects, and others in the small business community. Social networking platforms are becoming the de facto way businesses are engaging with others. Whether the preferred method is email, social posts, or stories, having the right mix of social tools will help businesses maintain connections to their community and ultimately help them come back stronger during recovery.
“It’s tempting for small businesses to prioritize saving a bit of money; however, sacrificing regular communications and social updates should not be areas where you should do that. It’s imperative to maintain an open, regular, connection to your loyal customers and the community at large. Going radio silent and thinking no one is listening, will end up costing you when things pick back up,” Simon says.
To learn more about how digital transformation can help your business stand out from the competition and accelerate sales, even in challenging times, and how to get started on your technology journey, don’t miss this VB Live event.
Don’t miss out!
Register here for free.
In this webinar, you’ll:
- Hear from industry experts from DocuSign, Stripe, and ChowNow
- Understand market trends impacting the speed of business transactions
- Learn how technology platforms are helping businesses shift to the new world of work
- Enable your business to use digital tools as a competitive advantage and key differentiator
- Brent Kraus, SVP Sales & Restaurant Success, ChowNow
- Dave Simon, Vice President, Small Business Commercial Sales, DocuSign
- Jeanne DeWitt Grosser, Head of Revenue and Growth for the Americas, Stripe
- Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat
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