Let’s face it! Technology is evolving faster than ever before and is showing no signs of slowing down.
A recent survey suggests that the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technology by several years. Besides, it also suggests that many of these changes are likely to stay for the foreseeable future.
New digital technologies and trends have gradually gained popularity especially in small businesses. Traditionally, small businesses have not been eager to embrace new technologies in comparison with the larger players mainly due to the costs involved.
That is understandable as small business owners do not have the means and the time to try out new technologies. While that may be a strong enough reason to shy away from new tech, there are plenty of reasons why investing in new technology should be one of the agendas.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through some of the most disruptive technologies that are impacting small and mid-sized businesses in 2021.
Chatbots are becoming more and more popular among the tech savvy consumers. They are tipped to be the driving force of business communication in the future.
Today, nearly 47% of businesses are projected to implement chatbots to improve customer support services .
In the current business environment, customer service is a deal breaker for a lot of customers. If your company does not provide good customer service, it is time to make improvements.
Chatbots are being used by small businesses to provide round the clock customer support, without spending a dime on full-time staff.
They are gradually becoming an acceptable type of customer service. In fact, around 67% of the millennial population in the U.S. said that they are more likely to purchase services and products from companies that have chatbots .
It is safe to say that the adoption of chatbots is only going to surge in the years to come. Small businesses should take note of this trend and work toward introducing chatbot services with a few human touchpoints.
Interested to learn more? You can check out the benefits of a live chat software.
2. Feature-rich Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Applications
Customer relationship management applications have been around for a while. Businesses of all sizes have used a CRM software to stay on top of sales, manage customer details, and more.
However, over the past few years, CRM vendors have started rolling out solutions specifically for the needs of small businesses. At present, an array of easy-to-use, feature-rich CRM software solutions have entered the market. Besides, since these CRM solutions can be easily integrated into a company’s existing tech stack, they are proving to be an attractive technology.
CRM systems also add another dimension to automation, boosting efficiency and productivity.
Take some time out to explore some of the best CRM software in the market and pick a tool that is suitable for your small business.
In today’s competitive business world, data is the new oil. However, due to the sheer volume of information that is being generated, it is next to impossible to work with data without software.
It would surprise you when you learn that even established brands and companies struggle to deal with large volumes of data. Imagine the plight of small businesses.
Today, a wide variety of analytics applications are available in the market that allow small businesses to do something meaningful with their data. These solutions help draw relevant, accurate, and actionable conclusions from large volumes of data.
Such applications are capable of processing high volumes of data and also cover every stage of your customer’s journey. Besides, when this data is represented with graphics and other visual elements, it makes it extremely easy to comprehend what it is trying to convey.
Learn more about why data visualization is important for your business.
4. Human Resource (HR) Technology
This is another technology that has garnered immense popularity after the onset of the ongoing pandemic. Businesses were compelled to allow their employees to work remotely in 2020. However, that trend is likely to continue in the future even when normalcy is restored globally.
Due to this, HR technology or HR tech has become a cornerstone of success for small businesses. HR-centric technologies allow stakeholders to keep track of productivity even when employees are working remotely.
However, HR technology offers more than that! Such tools facilitate seamless collaboration and also play an important role to enhance communication between team members.
HR solutions are also transforming how the onboarding process is carried out for new employees. If you are a startup or a small business which can thrive even if your workforce is working remotely, it is a good idea to invest in HR tech.
Check out the latest HR tech trends to understand how your business can benefit from them.
5. Artificial intelligence (AI)
There is no escaping from the clutches of artificial intelligence (AI). AI has made inroads across all major industries and enterprise tech is no exception.
AI allows small businesses to automate repetitive and mundane tasks. Since AI goes hand-in-hand with automation, it plays a key role in helping small businesses in becoming more efficient.
The only bottleneck with AI is the steep up front costs. A majority of the smaller companies refrain from AI because of this very reason. However, investing in AI technology is cost-effective in the long run.
There are many ways AI can be implemented. One of the best examples of how small companies are using AI with great ROI is social media chatbots.
AI-powered chatbots are changing the way companies provide customer support. While it saves businesses from spending on personnel, chatbots also provide timely responses to customer queries.
AI-backed CRM systems are also helping small businesses in their lead generation strategies. You can also have a look at how AI is being used in email marketing.
Wrapping it Up!
Gone are the days when only the bigger companies could afford advanced tech solutions. As technology continues to become more affordable, small businesses that are utilizing them are expected to gain a competitive advantage.
It is important to understand that building a tech stack for your business is a long-term investment.
In the current day and age, business leaders should be aware of technologies that can offer benefits to their company. If you have not invested in technology yet, it is the right time to consider doing that.
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 (2021) “25 Chatbot Stats And Trends Shaping Businesses In 2021” Linchpin [online] Available from: https://linchpinseo.com/chatbot-statistics-trends/ [accessed August 2021]
 (2018) “Chatbot Report 2018: Global Trends and Analysis” Chatbots Magazine [online] Available from: https://chatbotsmagazine.com/chatbot-report-2018-global-trends-and-analysis-4d8bbe4d924b [accessed August 2021]