3 top tips to ‘future proof’ your SME

Topic: Esendex news, SME

Top tips to future proof your business or SMEMay is a popular month for calendar events: two bank holidays, May Day, Star Wars Day, Accounting Day and many more. However, one awareness initiative began across the Atlantic this week as National Small Business Week kicked off.
The week aims to celebrate entrepreneurship and business aptitude – and unsurprisingly is very relevant in the UK.
It is estimated that small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2015 (FSB). With this in mind we’ve decided to recognise and celebrate small and medium-sized businesses everywhere by bringing some top tips to maximise engagement, performance and of course profits:

1. The customer owns your business, not you

As an entrepreneur it’s often easy to lose sight of the fact that you depend on your customers, particularly when you’re caught up with pursuing the development of an idea. But without customers, where would your idea be?
SMEs sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that real-time, person to person customer service is an optional extra, to be established after the business has started to generate profit. It’s true that self-service options are more popular than they used to be, but 40% of customers want to engage with you directly (Zendesk), and  95% said good experiences would keep them coming back when in need (Business Reporter).
Always consider the method that you’re communicating with your most important investment: customers. From regular, low-cost methods of communication of developments via social media, email or even SMS, through to a reliable support channel – investing in the right tools could see your customers invest more in you.

2. Get to grips with the technology and adapt

It’s no longer enough to know how to set up a website; you now have to understand how the technology works behind the scenes. From SEO through to plugins and integrations, it’s easy to miss what’s important to your customers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, 11% of almost 2,000 SMEs surveyed as part of the UK Business Digital Index stated that they simply didn’t use the internet, indicating not only a lack of skills but also a lack of interest as a reason (Click-accenture).
However, as we enter a mobile-first generation where smartphones reign as the supreme communication and go-to device for information, SMEs must not only have a website but must also be adaptable to the changing needs of their intended consumers. Only 41% of SMEs are thinking this way and have adapted their websites for tablets and smartphones (Real Business).
Do your customers prefer to make fast payments, or simply consult your website for reference? Not sure? In which case it’s important to…

3. Place value in your existing customers – feedback

It’s more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing ones. Keep your customers close, communicate with them regularly and listen to feedback. Create loyalty by checking in with them regularly, and ask them about their experiences of your product or service using that feedback to make improvements as your business grows in size.
95.3% said they’d be likely to respond to an SMS Survey request (IPOS), which is unsurprising considering that 93% of UK adults both own and use a mobile phone and 61% own and use a smartphone, both of which have SMS capabilities (Ofcom).
Speak to your customers in a language they know.  Ask questions and get valuable feedback you can use and identify and solve problems quickly, saving costs in time and resource by avoiding repeat complaint calls.  
78% of SMEs saved time due to digital automation and communications, and 51% saw improved sales when adopting digital technology (Computer Weekly), so why not join them?

Contact a member of our team today to take a free trial of SMS Surveys with 500 free SMS credits* and see how simple it can be to transform your business communication.

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