It's an understatement to say that 2020 was disruptive. Businesses had to react, and react quickly throughout the whole year. They did that by relying heavily on digital tools.
Zoom became a staple. Email was used more than ever. Businesses had no choice but to let their staff work remotely. SMBs turned to technology and they relied on it heavily.
That was 2020. It was adapt or die. Now it's 2021 and SMBs further accelerate their digital transformations.
The digital transformation will gather pace
The digital customer experience is a key priority for SMBs in 2021. SMBs seeking to improve customer loyalty and grow revenue will turn their attention to delivering excellent customer experiences digitally.
Last years upheaval hastened customers to move online. With that came a loss of customer loyalty. Barriers such as location, distance, transportation, and time were gone.
Where does that leave a small business when they now have a whole world of competition for their customers. Strangely that gives SMBs an advantage.
The undeniable strength of the small business is the personal touch. You know your customers inside and out and they know and trust your business.
With customers increasingly looking for their goods online, SMBs need to meet them there. They need to create a digital presence to complement their physical presence.
My local Chinese restaurant made use of a digital platform to keep its customers informed. Based in a small village open hours was usually a thing of word of mouth.
When the pandemic hit and restrictions put in place the restaurant leveraged Facebook to keep the village informed on their opening hours.
While that is just a small example it still shows the change of behaviour and the use of digital to keep their customers informed.
Customer communication goes digital
Embracing a digital future SMBs will use email and other forms of digital messaging increasingly. Businesses will have to adapt to where their customers are in 2021.
Your business will have to adapt your technology to be able to leverage expanded customer communications, video calling and sharing media. You'll need to ensure you have adequate internet speeds to make use of these digital options.
The importance of being agile
The pandemic forced many of us into home working. For many, this was the beginning of a digital transformation. The shift into home working put new demands on the technology businesses use.
This year it's expected that SMBs will increase their investment in technology that supports communication and a flexible hybrid (home/workplace/store) working model.
This includes the possible change in sales meetings. Video calls are a lot more accepted now and become a viable option versus the more direct visit.
2020 was all about doing what was needed to operate during the pandemic. While 2021 still has the threat of Covid-19 it is also a time of transformation.
SMBs have seen the value of digital technologies in a new way. The opportunity is there to continue to embrace those technologies and adapt the way your business works and interacts with your customers.