MyCorporation started its life as a dot-com in the nineties, so technology has defined our business from day one. The fact that we started as an online business was enough to set us apart at first, but as time went on, we quickly realized we weren’t the only company that existed online only — and that was what pushed us forward into figuring out how to create a tech development plan.
Every business is focused on meeting the evolving needs of its customer base, and leveraging new technology to do so is an absolute must in order to connect and engage with a wider audience.
It might not be discussed as widely as a business plan is, but establishing a solid tech plan, and strategizing on the following three areas within it, is critical to the continued development and overall success of any business.
How will you answer questions?
In our early days in business, we began to notice that our staff spent a lot of time answering really simple questions, like what a particular form said. These were answers that our customers would have no trouble finding if they had the resources to do so, and we began to design the site and introduce elements that did just that — provided answers.
Today, even though our society is becoming increasingly adept at finding answers on their own with a plethora of resources at their fingertips, they still need a little extra guidance before making the final call. A survey by eConsultancy found that 82 percent of online shoppers reported needing help during their purchase, and 51 percent of respondents preferred using information sections on a website to find that help. If your website doesn’t provide that extra assistance boost, they might decide to take their business elsewhere.
When putting together the tech plan for your company, be sure to incorporate a way in which the business will leverage new technology to provide the basic service of answering questions.
How can you automate?
Look at an early version of our site and you’ll see a static page and a phone number. We did most of our business via phones and a fax machine —back then, dial-up Internet was too slow to depend on for more than being an initial contact point. But as time went on, we began testing the waters to see what the website itself could additionally offer. Something as simple as an online form, for example, could save a lot of time and money.
Automation became the name of the game.
What else could we automate? How could we use this new technology to make our jobs more efficient? Small businesses need to see their sites as more than just an online billboard. Use them to take down information, provide basic customer service, and answer simple questions whenever possible.
What new technologies can you integrate?
According to eConsultancy, 46 percent of people will abandon an online order if they can’t find information they are looking for on the website. If your customers have to spend time chasing down information on your site, you will lose a lot of business. As you develop your business and your site, you need to utilize new technology to make your site easier to use.
That doesn’t mean you have to hire a whole new tech team either — I’m using the same staff I’ve been working alongside for years. Figure out what’s missing on your site or what appears to be less than easy to find in the eyes of the consumer, and work on finding tech-based solutions to those problems.