Finding a path to digital fitness

22 February 2018

Many Small to Medium Businesses have already started to enjoy the benefits of the digital economy. From sending e-mails instead of physical letters, to developing an online presence to reach out to customers instead of costly face to face visits, digitization has enabled many businesses to cut back on operation costs and streamline business processes.

What began as simply converting physical objects into digital (bits and bytes) versions to enable machine processing is now a full industrial revolution which is transforming the operating models of businesses, industries, and entire supply chains.

Up to 40 percent of the top 10 businesses (across all industries) will be displaced by digital disruption by 2020i, creating opportunities for businesses of all sizes to compete on a level playing field.

Whether you’re a sole entrepreneur running a virtual business, a retailer offering your customers a full omni-channel shopping experience, or a manufacturer streamlining your supply chain, embracing the right technology can give you an entirely new market edge.

Digitalisation involves rethinking your whole value proposition, not just operations or processes. A digital business innovates to deliver enhanced products, services, and customer engagement. A wide array of powerful and accessible technologies have emerged to support this transformation, including social, mobile, cloud, analytics, internet of things, cognitive computing, and biometrics.

Forward-thinking SMBs who have started to embrace these opportunities have already started to see rapid returns on their investments. A study by DP Information Group for the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore showed that 70% of SMBs have received tangible benefits from their ICT outlays within just 1 year of implementationii.

Key benefits include:

  • Reduced operating costs: 70%;
  • Lower manpower requirements: 57%; and
  • Increased revenue: 42%

So, which technologies should you implement to see the most immediate returns?

Mobile – the smart digital business enabler

For most SMBs, mobile devices have become a key differentiator in reaching their customers. 2016 was the first time mobile was used more than desktop to browse the web, and it’s forecasted that there will be more than 6 billion smartphone users by 2020iii – more than 75% of the world’s population. 

Smartphone adoption in Singapore continues to be at the top in Southeast Asia, with an estimated 80% of the population being smartphone users as of the beginning of 2018iv.

The functionality of mobile devices has increased dramatically over the past 10 years and businesses are now engaging in seamless customer conversations across multiple mobile channels — such as SMS, voice call, rich media messages, email, social networking or app push notifications.

This increased power has also opened the door to new opportunities like direct purchasing. Asia-based businesses, for example, are experiencing 42% year on year growth in mobile commercev, currently the highest in the world.

Smartphones can streamline the whole customer experience – from initial marketing, to onboarding, training, and measuring ongoing satisfaction, while maintaining a consistent, planned standard across all these communications.

This can also be helpful when dealing with less favourable aspects of customer contact management, like payment arrears, to speed collection without unnecessarily impacting the relationship.

Let’s look at smart mobile engagement in a real business setting.

Mobile engagement in action – Shanghai Dolly case study

Leading Singapore nightclub Shanghai Dolly was faced with many challenges including falling returns, rising rents, and increased alcohol taxes. However, by adopting StarHub Smart Engagement, Shanghai Dolly was able to tackle these challenges by improving their customer engagements, moving from sending one-way SMSes to delivering a full mobile app experience to their customers.

By opening up a two-way conversation with their customers, Shanghai Dolly was able to reach out to their customers more efficiently. Without any need for coding, an initial SMS can be sent out to direct customers to dynamically generated and personalised webpages. Options can also be embedded to let people book tables, respond to say they’re coming, and beat the queue. 

The sophisticated messaging platform, sending up to 50,000 messages per burst, allows customer responses to be tracked to forecast clubber turnout for the night ahead, and can include rich content such as embedded YouTube videos, tailored promotional specials, or interactive quizzes and surveys.

The dynamic nature of the messages means that of the 150,000 texts sent per month, 75% are clicked through to view the content, and 20% of customers respond, allowing Shanghai Dolly to achieve higher ROI on customer engagement while lowering messaging costs.

“'We wanted to understand what our customers want and help them get the best experience they can at Shanghai Dolly”. - Gordon Foo, Managing Director

For more tips and insights on effective use of smart mobile devices to grow sales and improve customer experience, please visit Smart Engagement.


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