Future-proof your SME: 3 top tips, including the power of SMS surveys

Topic: SME

National Business Week kicked off in the US this week, but it is very relevant to UK SMEs. Here’s our top tips for future-proofing your SME with technology.

May is a popular month for calendar events, there are two bank holidays, May Day, Star Wars Day, Accounting Day and many more. There is however, another key date to remember when planning the business diary this month, one more important for small businesses to focus on than any of the above. That is National Small Business Week, which runs from 30th April to 6th May.

The aim of National Small Business Week is to celebrate entrepreneurship and business aptitude, and to help small and medium-sized enterprises with strategy and growth. The intent is to ideally help companies share expertise and ability in a range of ways that will benefit everyone. Unsurprisingly, it’s very popular and extremely relevant in the UK, as businesses struggle to not only survive in the current difficult business environment, but also the ensure that they are future ready.

According to data from the UK Government, 5.5 million of the 5.6 million private sector businesses were small businesses in October 2021. With this in mind we’ve decided to recognise and celebrate small and medium-sized businesses everywhere by bringing some top tips to maximise engagement, performance and of course profits.

1. The customer owns your business, not you.

As an entrepreneur it’s often easy to lose sight of the fact that you depend on your clients, particularly when you’re caught up with pursuing the development of an idea. But without customers, where would your idea be?

SMEs sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that real-time, person-to-person customer service is an optional extra, to be established after the business has started to generate profit. It’s true that self-service options are more popular than they used to be, but 40% of customers want to engage with you directly (Zendesk), and  95% said good experiences would keep them coming back when in need (Business Reporter).

Always consider the method that you’re communicating with as your most important investment: consumers. From regular, low-cost methods of communication of developments via social media, email or even SMS, through to a reliable support team or channel – investing in the right tools, manual processes and strategies could see your customers invest more in you.

2. Get to grips with the technology and adapt for a future proof SME

It’s no longer enough to know how to set up a website; you now have to understand how the technology works behind the scenes. From SEO through to plugins and integrations, it’s easy to miss what’s important to your customers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 11% of almost 2,000 SMEs surveyed as part of the UK Business Digital Index stated that they simply didn’t use the internet, indicating not only a lack of skills but also a lack of interest as a reason (Click-accenture).

However, as we enter a mobile-first generation where smartphones reign as the supreme communication and go-to device for information, SMEs must not only have a website but must also be adaptable to the changing needs of their intended consumers. Only 41% of SMEs are thinking this way and have adapted their websites for tablets and smartphones (Real Business).

Do your customers prefer to make payments, make fast payments, or simply consult your company website for future reference? Not sure? In which case it’s important to…

3. Place value in your existing customers feedback.

It’s more expensive to acquire new clients than it is to retain existing ones. Keep your customers close, communicate with them regularly and listen to feedback. Create loyalty by checking in with them regularly, and ask them about their experiences of your product or service using that feedback to make improvements as your business grows in size.

95.3% said they’d be likely to respond to an SMS Survey request (IPOS), which is unsurprising considering that 93% of UK adults both own and use a mobile phone and 61% own and use a smartphone, both of which have SMS capabilities (Ofcom).

Speak to your customers in a language they know.  Ask questions and get valuable feedback you can use and identify and solve problems quickly, saving costs in time and resource by avoiding repeat complaint calls.  

78% of employees of SMEs saved time due to digital automation processes operations and communications, and even more key, 51% saw improved sales when adopting digital technology (Computer Weekly), so why not join them?

Use data, not guesswork

To future proof your business, it’s important to focus on the facts, not the fiction. By following the data and using accurate information management, you will gain the ability to ensure the growth of your company, both now and in the future. If you want your company to thrive and be future ready, be led by the numbers and cut out the guesswork.

Improve Project Profitability

The right support from suppliers and stakeholders is vital when it comes to boosting growth and improving the profitability of your projects. Examine your finances, supply chains and other logistics to make sure you minimise the challenges you will face and thrive in such a fast-paced business environment.

Interested in finding out more about the potential of SMS surveys? Click the button below to download our latest eBook, or contact our experts today.

Author Avatar
Mary Henry

Brand & Communications Manager. Email: [email protected]