Our lives have transformed radically within the last four months. While the change was inescapable, it certainly exposed some points of fragility in our businesses.
Ryan Cantor, Thryv’s VP of Product & Marketing, joined technology advisor Kendall Matthews recently on Instagram Live to discuss the importance of business resilience while navigating through an uncertain future.
The only thing that is going to be constant is change.
Refine Your CX
While consumers may favor working with small businesses in their communities, larger corporations have mastered both the credibility and reputation that puts small businesses at a disadvantage — and that disadvantage costs customers. While it may not come naturally to them, small businesses can level that playing field by utilizing technology optimized for the client experience.
Every client interaction — from website navigation to receiving products and services to resolving an unfortunate service problem — impacts your customers’ perception of your company, as well as their decision to come back or not. Unfortunately, some small businesses rely solely on uploading customer data into a CRMs, which ignores a lot of opportunities.
“Technology is an interesting concept,” Cantor says. “Some people think that, inherently, technology is going to solve their problems. Technology doesn’t solve the problem. Technology creates a platform for you to solve a problem or effect change. It involves an act of participation.”
Consider the owner of a local landscaping business who has the precision and speed of big-name competitors. How is he interacting with potential customers? It’s important to note that touch points begin before the owner or his employees have a chance to make an in-person interaction.
In the current climate, he can no longer practice door-to-door marketing, so he must now consider his online presence. He didn’t get into landscaping business to become a website designer or customer experience expert; however, like his well-known competitor, he has a family to feed, workers to pay and potential clients to engage with. And once he’s gained the new customers, he needs to remain consistent in order to retain them.
Acknowledge, Adjust and Adapt
That’s the name of the game. With COVID-19 came a shift to the new normal. There’s a strong possibility that the economy and interactions as we knew them may never go back to “the good ole days of February,” as Cantor says. Small businesses must modernize for the digital present and, unfortunately, if a small business won’t make the shift, they run the risk of customers seeking out a competitor who will. On the other hand, quickly adapting and conforming to safe business practices may result in customers seeking your business out.
“We’re starting to see that we’re going to be here for a while whether we like it or not,” Cantor says. “This is going to force business models to change. It’s going to force market share to change.”
My advice to small businesses: Market share that has been going toward a chain, bigger businesses or a competitor, this is your chance to go get it.
Let’s Get Digital
Where some companies thought it was a nice concept to take the digital route before this shift are now realizing that online presence is necessary. However, going digital is more than slapping up your online brochure.
An online brochure doesn’t spark interest, nor is it competitive, Cantor explains. Having a website alone isn’t the finish line. If the goal is continuous conversions, small businesses need to make their digital presence a two-way conversation.
How are you communicating with your customers?
- Social media
- Exclusive content
- Responding to comments and reviews
- Email subscriptions
When it comes down to identifying which marketing efforts are working, Cantor offers this piece of advice: Track everything and be willing to try new things. A/B test, take those findings and refine your business model to better generate success — then repeat.
Watch the Cantor and Matthews full interview on Instagram TV.