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Top small business strategies for 2019

9 January 2019 / By Desley Grant

 

Today’s industries evolve at lightning speed. Whether you’re struggling to complete a plan or you’re relying purely on skills and luck, you can’t afford to fall behind the changing market.

That’s why we recommend that you hit the ground running and start 2019 on the right track.

New Zealand’s economic growth has been solid the last few years, and according to OECD reports, this trend is expected to continue into 2019 too. So what does this mean for your business strategies?


Customer service and technology

Customer service has become the point of difference between similar businesses, so make sure your standards are the highest. You can use the latest customer service technologies to achieve this;

  • Real-time messaging and chats are becoming essential communication tools for reaching customers instantly. 
  • Video calling will also increase. People want to feel connected to those they do business with, and it’s easier to express yourself in person.
  • Chatbots and other artificial intelligence shouldn't replace people! Instead, they should work in tandem to help professionals by freeing up human workers.
  • E-commerce customer support is being changed by blockchain technologies, which change the ways we make and receive payments.

 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

If you haven’t already, begin 2019 by implementing artificial intelligence. As AI learn and grow, they can make improved predictions for the future. They do this by using the past, and making assessments that change and develop as they gain data. 

AI is getting better at understanding us. There are nuances to speech that a chatbot might recognise, but a human might miss. Can you imagine how powerful customer service will become in the next few years? AI assistants will become more and more essential too, for all kinds of tasks including email searches, product orders, and bill payments.


Conversational selling

The first sales were one to one: the customer made a request and the merchant offered a solution. Over time, as business has developed and customer bases have increased, this has become impossible. As a small business owner, you’ll recognise that as your customer base grows, eventually you won’t be able to grow your staff to match. 

With live chat technologies and instant messaging apps like Telegram or WhatsApp, businesses can apply those tried and true conversational selling strategies at scale.

It’s critical that these interactions are relevant, providing helpful information in the moment. Use a centralised data management system to put the needed information at the fingertips of your team. They can use this to personalise each interaction.

Optimisation

To avoid being left in the dust this year, you need a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. This should include everything from your website to promotion activities. Boost your ROI and increase revenue with conversion rate optimisation strategies.

Improve your product pages. Write detailed product descriptions, and incorporate high-quality photos, product reviews, even demo videos when it’s appropriate. 
Streamline your checkout flow. The purchase button must be easy to locate - on a smartphone and on a desktop. If it’s too frustrating, customers will abandon their shopping carts. 

Payment options. Give customers a variety of payment options and they’re more likely to purchase.

Account management. Make it easy for repeat customers to accelerate through the checkout process, and make it easy to reorder from a list of past purchases. Send reorder reminders, too.

Heatmaps. Understand how users interact with your website so that you can deliver the best possible user experience.

You’ve made it through 2018 - congratulations! Now it’s time to turn to the future that’s almost here. 

From artificial intelligence to optimisation to new ways of selling, customer service has been transformed by new technologies, which just keep evolving.Plan your 2019 customer service strategies now to avoid being overwhelmed by the changes that are on their way.

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