Businesses exist for one purpose – to provide goods and services to customers. However, in order to do that, businesses need to have some way for customers to reach them.
WHY WOULD MY BUSINESS NEED A “FILL IN THE BLANK”?
Throughout history, the ways consumers interact with businesses have evolved, often with pushback at each evolutionary stage by the business. Imagine, for example, how many businesses in the late 1800s scoffed at having a telephone. “Why would my business need a telephone?”
You can look at each stage in this evolution as three distinct time periods:
- Voice age – Enabling local and/or toll-free dialing
- Digital age – Enabling email, web chat, and text messaging
- Social age – Enabling social media interaction
Not too long ago, the idea that a small business would need a website was outlandish. Whether they were deemed irrelevant to the business, a fad that would go away, or just too expensive to implement, many businesses did not immediately rush to implement a website. “Why would my business need a website?”
Today, 72% of small businesses have or plan to have a website.1
What factors contributed to this change?
- The process to create a website has been simplified. Today a business doesn’t need to hire a developer to create a website. Using tools available online, a business can have a website created in a matter of minutes, often for free.
- The proliferation of the Internet caused consumers to shift away from using physical yellow page directories when locating a business. Today, before visiting or making a purchase with a business, 70-80% of consumers research the business online.2
Once websites were available, businesses were able to offer contact through web forms that generated emails and, later, live web chat. Then the proliferation of consumer text messaging led to the expectation for consumers to be able to text with a business.
The explosion of social media platforms has resulted in even more ways to interact with a business:
- Facebook has over 60 million active business pages today3
- An average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month4
- Nearly 66% of businesses with over 100 employees are on Twitter5
- 93% of people that follow a small business on Twitter plan to purchase from that business6
- Nearly ¾ of US businesses will use Instagram in 20207
- 62% of Instagram users become more interested in a product after seeing it in their stories8
Is there any doubt that each of these social media platforms was also met with initial skepticism by many of the businesses that have since adopted them? “Why would my business need a Facebook page?”
THE NEXT STEP IN EVOLUTION
The reason behind the proliferation of options is simple – consumers want to contact businesses in their preferred method. If they are unable to reach a business the way they want, they can simply move on to the next business. In order to stay relevant, businesses have had to adapt.
But for businesses that have enabled multiple avenues for connection, there is still one thing they need: connectivity.
The same customer may contact the business using multiple methods. They may call to set up a service appointment, then send a text message to change the appointment, and could later send a lengthy email about their experience. Without something to pull the channels together into a single view, the business would have a very fragmented view of the customer experience.
Meanwhile, the customer could easily become frustrated if a business has siloed communications. From their perspective, they are simply contacting the business. It doesn’t matter to them if the business has one group dedicated to answering calls, one group responding to emails, etc. They expect a personalized interaction, regardless of how they contact the business.
What use is having 5 ways to contact a business if they don’t link to each other?
Businesses have worked hard to evolve how customers interact with them. Now it’s time to evolve how they interact with their customers.
BUSINESSES NEED CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION
Contact center technology may be exactly what a business needs in order to evolve their customer interactions. But try to sell a contact center to a small business owner, and it will probably be a short meeting. “Why would my business need a contact center?”
And it’s true; they probably don’t need a contact center in the traditional sense. However, they could benefit from many of the things a contact center can provide, such as:
- Increasing business availability
- Providing first-contact resolution
- Improving customer service experiences
- Enabling multiple, connected communication options
You would be hard pressed to find a business that didn’t want to do those things.
At Mavenir, we believe that it’s time to redefine what a contact center can be. It should no longer be used to describe a building with floors full of agents in cubicles taking calls all day. Instead, it should be a solution for intelligent customer engagement and retention in multiple coordinated channels. That’s why we have created Mavenir Mobile Business Contact – providing omni-channel contact center technology adapted to the needs of small businesses.
If you would like to know a few lessons in history that we believe apply well to contact center technology today, you can download the white paper.