Big Opportunities Await Small Businesses that Leverage Technology

NEW YORK – A new survey from Time Warner Cable Business Class (TWCBC), a provider of business communications tools to small, medium and enterprise-sized companies, reveals a gap between the technologies businesses know will improve their customer experience and what they’re actually using.

The survey addressed small business technology trends in conjunction with the kickoff of National Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small businessowners. As Time Warner Cable Business Class has a long history of working with small businesses, they surveyed them to better understand their use of technology.

Meeting the Expectation for Free Wi-Fi
The biggest gap was with Wi-Fi: 80 percent of survey respondents believe their customers expect free Wi-Fi and also rank it as a top way to attract new customers, but only 43 percent of businesses offer it. As Wi-Fi continues to rise in popularity, there is a big opportunity for small businesses to offer it to increase customer satisfaction and help grow their business.

A related study sponsored by Comcast Business, confired the importance of free Wi-Fi to customers. The study found that free Wi-Fi in waiting areas is more important to patrons than standard amenities such as free like candy, water or magazines. The survey found that the benefits of free Wi-Fi include drawing new and returning customers, boosting sales and productivity, and building connections.

Learning to Leverage Social Media
The Time Warner survey also noted an increase in businesses developing an online presence, although 41 percent of those surveyed do not use a website in their day-to-day business, and 54 percent are not using social media to promote their business. These survey results reveal a significant opportunity for small businesses to leverage and reach customers online through owned content.

"In order for small businesses to perform at their best, they need to use technology productively," said Maureen Link, group vice president, small Business, Time Warner Cable Business Class. "Whether it’s a restaurant providing WiFi to meet customer expectations, or a printing company using social media to reach new customers, technology provides the means for businesses to help their bottom line.”

While a majority of businesses are evaluating their technology bi-annually or annually, 33 percent claim they have been negatively affected by outdated technology, and 35 percent are fixing tech problems themselves. Considering a majority of respondents said that prospective/existing customers might consider taking their business elsewhere if they use updated technology, it’s important to ensure technology is always performing at the optimal level.

“The survey reveals that the top ‘must have’ services for small business are fast, reliable Internet access; clear, reliable phone service; and reliable Wi-Fi service at their business location,” said Satyanarayana Parimi, group vice president, product management. “Time Warner Cable Business Class provides these services and more, through a wide range of bundles and packages, allowing small businesses to right-size their purchase and focus on what they do best – work with customers – without being held back by technology.”

To make sure small businesses are using technology to function at optimal levels, Time Warner Cable Business Class recommends the following:

  • Upgrade technology: Business owners see advantages of up-to-date technology, such as easier/quicker access to information (73 percent) and higher customer satisfaction (57 percent). While 93 percent of businesses have updated their technology within the past five years, a bi-annual evaluation is best to ensure technology is helping, instead of holding businesses back.

  • Use technology to increase customer satisfaction: Wi-Fi, social media, and company websites enable business owners to increase customer satisfaction, attract new customers and further engage with existing customers. Small businesses should use technology to their advantage and increase customer reach.

  • Find the right service provider: The right partner will allow businesses to focus on their work and their customers while ensuring that technology is up-to-date and functioning at optimal levels.





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