Despite a lack of resources, it is predicted that small companies will have increasing access to web-based CRM applications over the next couple of years.
The high-tech market research firm, In-Stat reports that even though the majority of small companies use their websites as a marketing tool to provide information, many would like to offer customer service functions online. The Soho and small business market has only begun to take its first tentative steps into Internet-enabling their businesses.
As Soho and small business needs are still developing, they will be better able to benefit from CRM as a service offering. In-Stat believes that service providers will be pivotal to providing true e-commerce and CRM functionality to the growing small business and Soho markets.
“In order for small companies to get the most out of online customer service, vendors will have to focus on Internet development and penetration to reach this elusive market,” says Kirsten Cloninger, industry analyst for Internet commerce infrastructure service.
A recent In-Stat study also found the following:
• 82% of surveyed small office / home office (Soho) businesses (fewer than five employees) and 61% of surveyed small businesses (five to 99 employees) said the Internet has increased the need for them to improve customer service.
• Small companies are most frequently contacted by their customers via e-mail, with toll-free numbers reported as the second most-popular contact method.
The report, Facing the Customer: Adoption of Customer Interaction Strategies in the Soho and Small Business Markets (#EC0003CI), takes an in-depth look at the types of solutions being implemented to handle both online and offline customer interaction and the requirements of enabling an effective customer interaction strategy in the digital age.
Cahners In-Stat Group covers the full spectrum of digital communications research from vendor to end-user, providing the analysis and perspective that allows technology vendors and service providers worldwide to make more informed business decisions.