Most small business owners understand the importance of client relationships. Customers are the backbone of the economy and any business model – without customers, there would simply be no business. That’s why so many entrepreneurs spend significant amounts of time focusing on building strong in-person relationships with customers. A recent study has found, however, that many businesses are ignoring the increasingly important nature of web relationships.
According to a Web.com Group study, small businesses that ignore the importance of web-based client interactions are missing out on customer engagement opportunities as well as opportunities to bring in higher revenues. The study, which surveyed 3,000 consumers and small business decision-makers across the U.S., found consumers strongly prefer to work with small businesses they have a personal connection with. According to the study, personal involvement, connection and engagement are the most important factors consumers cited as to why they would choose a small business over a large corporation.
Consumers respond to strong web presence
More than 80 percent of consumers said it’s important that small businesses are “easy to do business with,” as well as “customer-focused,” “personal, intimate, human” and “there when you need them most.” Customers expect these personal relationships to be forged online as well as in stores – 83 percent of consumers surveyed said that having a website and social media presence is important to them.
The study showed the true importance of going online for small businesses, as the survey found small businesses that meet customer expectations for an online presence have a large opportunity to increase sales, customer loyalty and engagement. According to the report, 58 percent of consumers would be influenced to further interact with a small business that meets online expectations. Of those 58 percent, around half said they would seriously consider a small business over a larger company and would be inclined to place these small businesses on their list of favorite companies. Furthermore, 60 percent of those same consumers said they would be likely to find out more about a business by browsing through a company website, and would also recommend a tech-savvy business to family and friends.
Some entrepreneurs struggle with technology, however, making it easy for them to fall short of customer expectations. The study found there is a 33 percent gap between how important customers said web interaction is and the service small business owners are actually receiving.
Website design, graphics, up-to-date computers and other tech services can be expensive, which is another reason why small business owners find it hard to prioritize online relationships with customers.
If a small business owner needs top-of-the-line technology or equipment, they can come to National Funding for assistance. National Funding can help with equipment financing and leasing, as well as with getting a small business loan to promote company operations online.