Adding new technology to your business – whether it’s an app, a site, or a new tool – can make it a lot more convenient for your customers to learn about your business, shop, or buy. But some businesses hesitate, either because the technology replaces a process that’s been in place for years (and “worked”) or because they’re afraid technology will make their business less human.
Small and medium-sized businesses especially rely on great customer support and great interaction to find and keep their customers. Fortunately sites, apps, and personal touches aren’t an either/or question; they can complement each other very well.
Use technology’s strengths
Any technology you add to your business can enhance the customer experience you already have; it doesn’t have to replace it. Websites, apps, and other tech tools are great at some things that may be hard for a person to do, and they may reduce the risk that something’s misunderstood.
Imagine you’re ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. Calling the restaurant is great, but it can be tough to guarantee that the person taking your order understood it correctly. Maybe he thought you meant an entrée instead of a side. Maybe he forgot to ask what kind of dressing you’d like. Or maybe the phone cut out just as you were saying your name or number.
Online takeout ordering makes things easier for both the customer and the restaurant by using technology’s strengths to help the restaurant. The customer can see all the options available and review their order before they place it. The system can also automatically total up the order so that the customer knows exactly how much change to bring when they arrive.
When the customer arrives at the restaurant, that’s where the human experience – the interaction, the rapport, and the confirmation that everything’s as expected – can take over and shine.
Use technology to make the human part easier
Technology can also give your business new ways to start or continue the conversation you have with your customers. With targeting on social media advertisements, you can find exactly the customers you think would be interested in your brand. Adding tech can also give you more information about what your customers want and how they behave. And tools like Facebook’s Graph Search let you interact with your customers in new ways. (Twitter’s search is great, too.)
Think about ways technology can help make life easier for your customers, and let the people at your business – whether you’re a one-person shop or you employ thousands of people – focus on those personal aspects of your company that separate your brand from the competition. It can be a win-win for helping your business succeed.