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Which technologies should SMEs be prioritising as they plan their strategies for the coming year?

Which technologies should SMEs be prioritising as they plan their strategies for the coming year?

Covid-19 UpdatesStrategy

Anand Venkatraman, VP & GM of Freshworks APAC & MEA speaks to Intelligent SME.tech about technological priorities for SMEs and their strategies as we enter 2022.

Over the last 18 months, we have witnessed an unprecedented change in the way customers engage with businesses. Digital channels have taken precedence and even business users now demand ‘consumer-like’ convenience when engaging with organisations. While increasing the pressure on all businesses, this plays to the advantage of SMEs. Exceptional customer service has always been the hallmark of successful small and medium enterprises – enabling them to differentiate themselves from large enterprises and command higher prices.  

As accelerated digitalisation drives further increase in customer expectations, SMEs that invest in CX technologies will gain an advantage. Of course, with budget, resource and skills constraints, how SMEs achieve customer satisfaction differs from their enterprise counterparts. Every piece of technology they employ must be focused and effective in creating value. The right customer service platform can help even a small team deliver outstanding customer service that exceeds the service large companies provide.  

Key components of this technology environment include: 

Unified customer journey: SMEs need to ensure a consistent and continuous service experience for their customers even as they transition across touch points such as social media, phone, email or chat. A unified CX platform is perhaps the most important element of an effective customer service strategy. 

360-degree customer view: Maintaining complete and accurate customer records enables small businesses to understand the bigger picture of their customers’ needs so they can foster long-term customer relationships. A unified view of the comprehensive customer journey that’s updated in real-time also enables all teams – from customer facing agents, to back-office experts to better address the customer’s needs. 

Basic processes and workflows: Small companies don’t need complex workflows. They need simple processes for consistency and to enable small teams to manage multiple activities simultaneously so customer requests don’t fall through the gaps. 

Collating frequent customer requests: Customer feedback is an invaluable tool for SMBs. Capturing known issues with products, services and business processes enables the company to set reasonable expectations with customers as they work through the continuous-improvement process to enhance service. Identifying the most common request can also help build a knowledge base which can reduce mean time to resolution and ensure consistent, high-quality service. 

Employee experience tools: A final piece of the CX puzzle is employee experience as productive, satisfied employees deliver better customer engagements. While significant investments have been made in equipping employees with the digital tools, it is only when these tools are intuitive and effective that they will see broad acceptance, and therefore have the greatest impact on employee experience. 

In summary, while the precise solutions SMEs deploy will depend on their progress along the digital maturity curve, the north star of their technology roadmap should be an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional customer and employee experiences. 

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