Digitizing Data Collection Is Becoming a “Must” for Small Businesses

In today’s mobile economy, customers expect exceptional customer service 24x7 and the ability to reach a company at the push of a button.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must match the “big guns” and ensure that customers have the best possible experience, according to  James Robins, Chief Marketing Officer of GoCanvas.
Adds Robins, “It begins with digitizing everyday customer interactions: collecting information from those interactions digitally rather than by hand.”
As robins points out, even in today’s digital age, many -- maybe most -- SMBs collect customer data manually, often using paper forms, fillable PDFs, even emailed or scanned paperwork that can take hours to re-enter into the company’s systems. Human error is inevitable. Forms get lost. The customer experience suffers.
Businesses that digitize their customer interactions gain efficiency. You reduce the time it takes to collect and share that information. You also reduce the possibility of human error and losing information. And you can analyze this “fresh data” to find opportunities to improve your business -- particularly, how effectively you interact with customers. Without real-time data collection, it’s almost impossible to learn from and act on customer data to continually improve the customer experience.
Going digital may seem daunting -- doesn’t it require a huge investment in enterprise technology to change things? Actually, no. With mobile digital devices, SMBs can use mobile platforms to eliminate inefficient paper forms, manual workflows, and data silos. Mobile digital devices -- smartphones, tablets, wifi-connected laptops -- and the right mobile software platform together provide you with real-time visibility into the data your business is collecting.
Paper delivers an antiquated customer experience, where estimates, work summaries, and invoices can get lost and are only as good as the penmanship of the employee that writes them. Going digital means being able to automatically email customers detailed, clear estimates, fulsome work summaries (with before and after pictures), and up-to-the-minute invoices -- and also, for example, recommendations for upcoming maintenance, customer satisfaction surveys, and electronic coupons to generate additional business. Which experience would you rather provide to your customers?
All SMBs can benefit from going digital: if they let go of the old way of doing things, they’ll be able to do more. Making life easier for your customer is crucial to exceeding customers’ expectations. By digitizing how you collect information, you can unleash the value in your data. Armed with insights from that data, you can then optimize the experience of each of your customers.
James Robins is Chief Marketing Officer of GoCanvas, a mobile platform that makes it simple for businesses to automate how work is done.