Customer Relationships

SMBs lean into Technology to Build Customer Relationships during COVID-19, Says Research

As the world stepped into the 20s of this century, small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners and managers were immersed in advancing technologies like customer relationships management (CRM). Who knew that a little virus invisible to the human eye would tear the global economy down?

The COVID-19 outbreak brought along unpredictable health and economic crisis as well as unprecedented challenges. While throwing many big companies out of business, the pandemic obviously impacted the SMB landscape deeply. Yet the SMBs didn’t give in; they evolved, with a good number of them reflecting confidence about their future meandering through uncertainty.

The recently released fourth edition of the Small and Medium Business Trends Report from Salesforce has done a remarkable job explaining how over 2,300 global SMBs are metamorphosing through the pandemic. The research covered a survey of business leaders in March and August 2020 and analyzed the findings, which are extremely intriguing.

The study shows how SMB operations have shifted over the past seven months: the convincing report can help businesses to adapt and prepare for the new normal as the present scenario continues to be ruled by a virus.

Let’s now look at the insights we got from the report:

SMBs are focusing more on customer communications than ever

As meeting customer expectations has become super more challenging, SMBs have got added work to do. They not only have to satisfy customers with their services but also take care of safety, sanitation, local health mandates, and maintain contactlessness. But it doesn’t stop there. Even after all of the aspects are taken care of, the next thing is to make the customers aware of those efforts, which is another task. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 55% of the ventures surveyed have become more cautious about their communication with the customers. Also, about half have expanded ways of letting the customers reach them.

Moreover, small- and medium-sized businesses admitted to turning to technology to pull their customers closer: over 50% responded that it boosted their customer interactions. If we look at it from a bigger perspective, this is because businesses are meeting their potential customers where they’re the most active — 63% and 61% of millennial and Gen Z consumers, respectively, confirmed their likelihood to support digitally-active small businesses.

The SMB landscape has thus witnessed a revolution: from paying attention to offering online orders and contactless delivery, to doubling down on email and social media contact options, SMBs are focusing on building customer relationships harder than ever. Many SMBs now swear by business technologies like customer relationship management (CRM) for their efficiency in delivering customer service, justifying the surge in its usage during the pandemic.

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Use Technology

Healthier Ways To Use Technology

Technology has changed all the aspects of our professional and personal lifestyles. As technology is increasing, comfort levels are also increasing and it results in inactivity and then various health problems. If you use the Latest Technology or not, it has many effects on your life. Technology helps us if we use it in a projected and safe manner.

But the problem arises when we spend too much time on using gadgets and get dependent on technology more than the limits. You may use Laptops, Mobile phone, and tablets in your daily lives but there are some safe ways to use them and stay fit and healthy both physically and mentally. So, In this upcoming World Health Day, we should make a promise to use technology is a safe manner and follow some guidelines given below.

  1. Take Care of your Posture

Most of the people feel back or neck pain after a prolonged usage period of PC or mobile. This happens because of our bad posture during that time period. If we do not refine and take care of our posture then its negative impacts can lead to various health problems. Always remember to do Healthy Technology Use instead of overusing it.

  • Do not hunch over your mobile screens for a prolonged period, try to place the phone as straight as to your normal line of sight.
  • Try to make your head and neck as straight as possible with your spine. If you bend your head forward from your body to watch the screen, it will put unnecessary weight on your head and will result in back and neck pains.

Healthier ways to use Technology

  1. Take care of screen Brightness and Colour

Blue lights of your screen can bring you some problems with your sleep because these lights affect the sleep hormone melatonin. It is advised to dim your screen light and stop using your mobile or laptop two hours before you go to your bed. It will help you to get good sleep. Try to make your screen light mild and easy for the eyes.

Latest mobile devices are coming with Eye-protection modes to regulate the harmful lights emitting from the screens. If you are a pc user, you can use F.lux software which will automatically adjust screen colour to reduce the eye strain and will help you to do a Safe Technology Use.

Take care of screen Brightness

  1. Take Rests

If you use your pc or mobile for long periods then you should stop it or take small rests between if you are doing a job. Because, long sessions of using these gadgets are linked with some serious health issues like Headaches, Blurred vision, Focusing difficulties and headaches, etc.

So, if it is important for you to work on your computer screens then you should take random breaks to provide ease to your eyes and brain.

  1. Do not make technology a distraction

If you are a regular gadget user, you might feel a craving to see your mobile or laptop even if you know there would be nothing new there. It is because of dopamine hormone which is highly addictive and releases when we use electronic gadgets. It can affect your daily work routines and your professional life too. Do not use these devices unnecessarily. Try to use gadgets in a certain limit.

Do not make technology a distraction

  1. Use technology to keep you healthy

It is true that Technology Can Keep You Healthy because there are many inventions that help us to analyze and improve our health and you can also try them if you want.

  • Phillips Smart Sleep
  • Nokia BPM+
  • Netatmo Healthy Home Coach
  • Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring system

We wish you a Happy World Health Day 2019!

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Customer Engagement

5 Tech Advances That Can Deepen Customer Engagement

Customers are crucial to a successful business. They can be one-off customers or repeat buyers. Ideally, a business wants a mix of both. Problems arise when marketing tactics fail to attract either type, which is why customer engagement is so critical in today’s hypercompetitive e-commerce environment.

It should be no surprise that customers prefer companies that treat them as valued individuals. It is also no secret that engaged customers to talk, shop and spend more. So, how do e-commerce brands stand out and tell customers that they (and not just their wallets) matter?

The answers:

  • With personalized user experiences (UX) that capture attention and make shopping convenient.
  • With a seamless flow of content, data and functionality across channels.
  • With quality service that customers respond to with sales.
  • With the integration of new technology that deepens relationships, boosts retention rates and increases revenues.

Consider the real-life, in-store experiences that influence customer behavior. People touch objects, try them on, and test them out. They discuss products with friends and other customers. They wander around the aisles, get answers from friendly staff members, and make returns or exchanges.

The goal for e-commerce brands is to blend brick-and-mortar immediacy with the convenience of digital shopping. It is time to leverage technology to transcend the transactional and deepen Customer Engagement. The following five e-commerce technologies can help build sales strategy to win the interest, business, and loyalty of online customers.

1. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Technology

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are rising stars in e-commerce. The two technologies encourage deeper customer engagement by transforming in-store/in-person shopping activities into rewarding digital experiences.

For example, virtual try-on tools allow online customers to see how they look “wearing” a product rather than relying on mere photography. Customers can take a selfie, select the product they want to try, and the application “applies” it to their face or body.

Many virtual try-on tools also allow users to share on social media for feedback from friends and family. While fashion and beauty brands are rushing to integrate virtual try-on tools into their UX, AR and VR also have plenty to offer in other industries.

Furniture brand IKEA pioneered an AR technology called “home view” that allows users to place virtual furniture around their home with a smartphone camera. The virtual tours also provide similar value. When integrated with virtual try-on and sales functions, the technology allows users to explore and shop in a virtual store the same way they would at a brick-and-mortar location.

AR and VR technologies remove the barriers of digital platforms and allow for meaningful product interactions. They also decrease some of the uncertainty involved in buying a product without experiencing it first-hand. AR and VR offer customers convenient and personalized access to products and services regardless of time, location or device.

2. Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce technology interacts with customers using clear, natural language. It replicates the one-on-one feel of a dedicated salesperson and helps customers make the right purchase through personalized recommendations and support.

Brands can deliver outstanding service to customers through conversational commerce applications like chatbots, messaging apps, voice assistance, and other natural language interactions. Social media is conversational commerce, too.

As an example, chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence (more about AI soon) that connect with visitors based on event triggers and direct questions. The technology can function via messaging apps like Facebook Messenger so that users can communicate the way they want to.

When a visitor lands on a website, the chatbot will connect and offer help. The user can ask for recommendations, answers and troubleshoot issues without having to browse through the website. After a purchase, the chatbot also can provide shipping updates, assist with returns, and collect customer surveys. Because a chatbot is not limited to the number of customers it can assist, the technology can provide excellent service at scale.

“App fatigue” is another reason to implement conversational commerce. People simply get tired of tapping, scrolling, and typing. They do not want to read endless product descriptions or browse pages for answers. They just want to ask and receive an answer. This is where voice assistance technology and other conversational commerce tools, like Amazon Echo or Google Home, can turn an otherwise reluctant customer into a buyer.

Good conversation naturally deepens engagement with others, and it can drive them further down the conversion funnel. It is important for businesses to find ways to introduce conversation into UX. The conversions will follow.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Sales-focused AI provides real-time personalization of a customer’s shopping experience. It can help businesses deliver more engaging UX by treating customers as individuals rather than parts of a general segment or demographic. Ever since Amazon’s intelligent product recommendations, this feature has become a staple across the e-commerce industry.

AI helps businesses understand customers and market more effectively by gathering, sorting and analyzing behavioral data (e.g. user actions on a website or app, what they are interested in/searching for, etc.). Through intelligent algorithms, websites and apps can dynamically populate the user interface with targeted content to encourage greater interaction.

Simply put, AI helps businesses better understand customers and satisfy expectations. AI can also contribute to better UX by streamlining back-end functions, such as inventory management, instant customer service, and automated CRM (customer relationship management) systems.

Through the increase of operational efficiency on the business side, businesses can devote more time to nurturing customer relationships. When a brand offers an interaction that is natural and personal, a customer is more likely to be engaged and respond to its call-to-action.

4. The Internet of Things

In the Internet of Things (IoT), customer engagement is no longer restricted to a screen or store. This means that upsell opportunities are not restricted, either. Through the IoT, brands can maintain positive engagement, provide added convenience, and capitalize on new sales opportunities at any time and almost anywhere.

The IoT is the interconnection of technology that is embedded in everyday objects (think cars, kitchen appliances, suitcases, etc.) and enables the objects to send and receive data.

IoT items for disposable products also can allow for convenient, subscription-based sales related to product components. For example, the latest coffee makers have been updated to function in the IoT, meaning that the product not only makes coffee but also alerts users when supplies are low — and can even reorder supplies automatically.

Devices like Amazon’s Echo products and Google Home offer new levels of control over the home environment and can act as hubs between other connected devices. The products also leverage conversational commerce technology.

Brands interested in increased customer engagement also need to be looking into the IoT. While building smart e-commerce capabilities into products may be a big change/expensive, the cost of not getting involved in the IoT is greater.

5. API-Based E-Commerce

Running through and behind the aforementioned technologies are APIs or application programming interfaces. These interfaces connect software, hardware, business platforms, third parties, and customers to enable the seamless sharing of data. Due to API-based e-commerce, customers have complete freedom to continue their shopping journey whenever and wherever they want to.

For example, a customer might make a purchase online, consult with customer service via social media, and then exchange the product in-store — all without hassle, because an API has shared the customer’s information across all channels.

Thanks to APIs, businesses can engage intelligently with customers anywhere: from brick-and-mortar stores, online websites and social media, to digital apps and smart devices, wearables, vehicles, and much more. This saves customers hassle and results in a more engaging shopping experience.

Interconnectivity leads to more engagement. Brand interactions can happen anywhere and at any time, and APIs can make them a seamless extension of the actual shopping experience.

Start Your Customer Engagement Strategy

New technology is driving deeper customer engagement every day by eliminating barriers to interaction and shopping. The customer experience is taking on new dimensions. Now, websites and apps show people exactly what they want (or help them find it), and then various technologies maintain and deepen that connection. The experience extends beyond the immediate interaction and becomes available at any time.

Separately, the technologies discussed here are valuable. Together, they support the kind of omnichannel e-commerce experience that nurtures long-term relationships with customers and drives significant increases in revenue.

In the competitive and ever-changing world of e-commerce, integrated technology across time, devices and locations is what drives (and capitalizes on) customer engagement. If businesses make it easy and convenient for people to do business, the conversions will follow.

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