Benchmark Bytes: How Do SMBs Prefer to Interact with Tech Providers?

As part of the ritual of examining local commerce and SMB Saas strategies, Localogy goes right to the source: SMBs themselves. How do they feel about marketing and operational software? What features do they want? And how has their hunger changed in a pandemic? This is all a moving target.

Localogy’s latest Mobile Commerce Monitor report dives into websites in particular. Entitled Key Trends in Website Services, it examines original SMB sentiments and behavior for online marketing services – particularly those tied to their websites. This report was done in collaboration with Duda.

After examining the top areas where SaaS providers are failing SMBs last week, we switch gears to look at how SMBs prefer to interact with tech providers in sales scenarios. Do they want a human touch or a streamlined and automated approach? This has been a dynamic variable in the Covid era.

Breaking down the results, they’re fairly evenly split. Specifically, 42 percent of SMBs want automated/digital communications with their online service providers sometimes. Meanwhile, 31 percent want human interaction every time, while 27 percent prefer automated systems for every interaction.

Localogy members can access full charts and SMB survey reports. Non-members can purchase reports

What Does it All Mean?

Going a bit deeper, a few things jump out at us:

– It’s logical that the leading SMB sentiment is to have the option for automated or live/human interaction options.

– Different situations call for different communications, so having the option offers the greatest flexibility

– Comfort levels with automated/digital service formats has grown in the Covid-era.

– It’s somewhat surprising that the desire for live/human interaction was so low.

– This is, again, likely due to Covid-driven comfort levels with all things digital.

– It also could be a function of the subject matter: SMBs likely want to avoid human interaction when it comes to being sold to (their desire for live support is greater when it comes to service & support).

– Lastly, 27 percent of SMBs want automated communications every time, which is only four percentage points lower than those who want live interaction every time.

– This means that automated communications for sales has reached a point where it is almost as desired by SMBs as live/human interaction.

– Though this is partly a sign of the times, as noted, it’s possible that these sentiments will sustain in the Post-Covid world, given new semi-permanent levels of digital comfort and acclimation.

– Generational factors will likewise cause greater adoption and affinity for all things digital as Millennials and Gen-Z continue to phase into the ranks of SMB proprietors.

Key Trends in SMB Website Services

Time to Shine

Stepping back, SMB online marketing – website-based or otherwise – continues to grow rapidly.  SMB SaaS startups and online services providers are correspondingly thriving as it continues to grow as a leading subsector of the broader SaaS universe. There’s a long-tail opportunity at play.

Meanwhile, new SMB SaaS users could represent permanent adopters – a concept that’s accelerated in the Covid era as SMBs are forced to boost their digital transformation. This sends them into the arms of SaaS providers to accomplish a range of marketing and operational functions.

We’ll return in the next installment to go deeper into SMB marketing and website adoption. That will include their goals and success factors. Let us know what additional insights jump out at you from the above data, and stay tuned for more breakdowns in our Benchmark Bytes series.

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