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In today’s day and age, leveraging technology in your business should be one of your top priorities, and with the variety of services from which to select, you must be an expert at choosing the right technology at the right time.

A recent survey from Microsoft, “Customer Expectations Are Evolving: How Technology Helps SMBs Meet Customer Demands,” reveals:

  • 50 percent of consumers prefer interacting with businesses digitally versus in-person
  • 49 percent prefer to sign contracts or other documents digitally
  • 57 percent say it’s important that a business remembers them and their preferences

Strategically utilizing technology to best serve your customers should be an unmoving tenet in your customer service that evolves alongside technological innovations. Accommodating your consumer is the ticket to success, and having repeat customers who see you as their go-to real estate agent will drive your sustainability.

Online Reviews
In its recent study, “Online Shopping and E-Commerce,” the Pew Research Center found that 50 percent of adults under 50 “routinely check online reviews” before purchasing an item, a sentiment shared by participants in the Microsoft survey, of which 63 percent prefer using digital channels to communicate feedback.

The takeaway is two-fold. First, providing superior service to your customers will give you the reputation to secure additional business in the future. Second, you need to have a platform on your website for customers to leave their reviews. Word of mouth spreads, but it can be limited to select social circles. An online review can be seen by anyone, anywhere, anytime. The opportunity cost of not enabling homebuyers to leave reviews can be decisive.

Importance of Cybersecurity
One of the technologies without which the rest of your company cannot comfortably operate is cybersecurity. Protecting your business from cyber-attacks is paramount, especially for smaller businesses that may not feel the need for first-class security.

Microsoft’s survey reports that over half of respondents stated “they would be unlikely to do business again with a company that had been a victim of a data breach.” So much of business relies on how your product is perceived that one cyber-attack can leave customers wary of working with your company and cost you greatly.

In its annual study, “2015 Cost of Cyber Crime,” the Ponemon Institute affirms:

  • Globally, in 2010, the average time to resolve cyber-attacks was 14 days; in 2015 it went up to 46 days; the average number of successful cyber-attacks per company was 68 in 2012, a figure that increased to 99 in 2015.

No company can afford to spend the time and money necessary to neutralize a cyber threat, and for a small business, it can mean the difference between staying in business and closing their doors.

Underlining the importance of cybersecurity, NAWRB recently developed a Small Business Sustainability Package: Know Before You Lose! The package provides small business owners preventive guidelines in vetting their financial institutions, being properly insured and understanding cybersecurity. Establishing a secure foundation will help keep your business’ doors open.

Desirée Patno is president and CEO of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB).

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