It can be tough to grow your business in today’s globalised world. Here are four way to stay ahead of the curve in 2018:
Chatbots are getting better by the day, with a number of bots now believed to have surpassed the Turing Test, and businesses are starting to take notice.
These software tools that can mimic human conversations can be programmed to help customers find answers to their queries within seconds, or connect them to real support staff if the question turns out to be more complex. This not only helps customers by saving them time they might otherwise have spent in a webchat queue, but also saves your company money on extra support staff that were spending most their time answering the same five basic queries.
Support may be the most obvious use for these chatbots, but they can also bring value to sales, answering pre-sales questions and assuring customers that they are in good hands. This year has seen chatbots surpass social media for answering customer questions for pioneering startups like Casper Mattresses and Sephora, they will like soon become ubiquitous across all industries, according to a recent study by Oracle.
When most people think of outsourcing they think of the manufacturing and call centre jobs that corporations sent overseas en masse in the 1990s and 2000s, but today’s startups are thinking differently from the outset. Modern startups need to be lean machines, and to focus their teams on what they do best – creating great products and services – and outsourcing everything else.
Cloud services form the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Digital Ocean already power huge swathes of the web, with few startups now expecting to have to manage physical servers. But beyond that, companies outsource everything from marketing, to accounting, to UX design, helping their company to grow by being better than the competition at one thing and working with other companies that are better (and cheaper) at everything else.
This move to outsourcing has also created space for those with expertise to create a new consulting business, where they can help startups out by pointing them in the right direction for various tasks.
Whilst most customers may need roughly the same functionality from a product, how they approach that product can be completely different, and that is where personalisation can help. Builders and artists will both need accountancy services, but their businesses are structured completely differently with completely different priorities – so for an accountancy service to succeed it will need to create different on-boarding processes for each sector to explain how their services will help them with the numbers.
On a more granular level, people respond better to communications that include their name, and even more so that appear to focus on their specific needs, so by knowing more about their customers, businesses can ensure a better response rate and ultimately a better ROI on their communications.
Influencers and brand ambassadors
Gone are the days when the only way to reach huge and relevant audiences was through a popular network television show. Today, people spend much more time on the internet than watching TV, with YouTube and Instagram stars more recognisable to younger demographics than any mainstream TV celeb.
These online “stars” have millions of adoring fans, and as long as you have a relevant product, they are generally pretty happy to work out a deal to promote your business directly to them. This could be through product placements in a photograph or video, or an explanation of your product at the start of a video, or something else – but they are currently the best way to reach a certain demographic and should not be ignored.
Photograph by Lalmch