Air Date

December 15, 2020

Featured Guest

Tony Kays
Vice President of SMB Sales, Salesforce


Jeanette Mulvey
Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CO—


When the COVID-19 pandemic altered and shut down businesses, business owners were forced to change their customer relationship strategies. Small businesses had to reassess how they were communicating with customers in order to maintain their continued support, as well as obtain new customers. With so many changes and restrictions placed upon businesses, it was difficult for them to communicate with customers in the same ways they had before.

The pandemic caused small businesses to be introspective and assess how they could change their customer relationship strategies. Some took their business online and had a strong social media presence, while others engaged with their customers through personalized email marketing. There are a variety of ways small businesses have changed and enhanced their customer support because of the pandemic.

Customer Demand and Communication Are Company’s Biggest Priorities

The pandemic has caused many business owners to rethink their offerings and the way they interact with their customers. In fact, “50% of small businesses are concerned about customer demand,” said Tony Kays, area VP of SMB Sales for Salesforce. “There's a lot of folks on the line thinking about ‘how do I make sure customers are still aware of what we do or wanting to use our services?’”

“About 45% of small businesses have had to find more channels to communicate with their customers,” Kays added. “That can be complicated, especially depending on the resourcing you have, how you manage all those channels and how you make sure you're providing a great customer experience.”

“Customers want to talk to you … and you have to be prepared to be ready to help them,” he continued. “And that's just a major challenge for small businesses who may not have the resourcing or the savvy to have everything set up properly.”

Businesses See the Pandemic as a Catalyst for Growth

Kays said that one positive side of the pandemic is that it has, like any crisis, created opportunities.

“One stat that we've seen through our surveys is, about 77% of [small businesses] have viewed this crisis as a catalyst for change,” Kays said.

“There's a lot of companies right now, whether you're that one-person shop figuring out how to stay afloat or … that 30/40-person shop that you're stabilizing and getting ready to sort of disrupt or innovate in this new world, it's a chance to really revisit your strategy as a company, and really think about the systems you have and how you can turn those into driving growth, customer retention and employee retention.”

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