Creating a Digital Customer Experience for Your Small Business

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Digital customer experience (DCX) is a buzzword among tech businesses and online marketers. Oftentimes, we associate the phrase with online shopping and e-commerce websites like Amazon. Nowadays, it’s becoming more popular among traditional businesses to have a web presence and connect with potential customers.

Let’s look at how customer experience has evolved over the years, and later we’ll get into how business owners can modernize customer experience to meet the demands of digitally enabled customers.

Customer Experience Then and Now

Customer experience typically starts with a customer walking by and getting a sense of what’s inside our business. Does it look nice and tidy? Do store people greet customers by the entrance? What about the customer service? Does it make them feel comfortable, important, and cared for? It’s the overall perception about the business during the customer’s journey. A great customer experience can be the turning point from being just a casual buyer to a lifetime source of revenue for the company.

The influx of mobile technology and subsequent growth in mobile users takes customer experience to a whole new level. Innovation gave rise to digital customer experience as businesses take their brand into the virtual space and create a seamless experience for both digital and physical customer engagement.

Bookings for hotel and accommodation are a classic example. A good digital customer experience meant customers could easily find their hotels by price range, ratings, and location, and be able to book their stay and make frictionless transactions all within the app or website. Moreover, they should be able to redeem their points and make cashless transactions through the app on-site and in-store.

Small Business Dream is built around the concept of providing users with the best digital customer experience through its digital marketplace (business directory) which also doubles as a mobile wallet.

Digitizing the Customer Experience

Here’s some way you can create a digital customer experience for your small business.

1. Engage with customers on multiple channels

Multi-channel marketing has a lot of advantages compared to just one type of customer communication. Traditional advertising is pretty much a thing of the past. Today, we need to grab people’s attention through social media, providing useful content (blogs, tutorials,etc.), and using top-of-mind strategies.

Your customers’ journey begins when they pause at your catchy post on Facebook, watch your videos on YouTube, subscribe to your mailing list, or click your page on Google’s search engine results. Webhosting sites, content management systems (CMS), and sales and marketing automation enables small businesses to build an online presence much quicker and easier at a very reasonable cost. Small Business Dream sales and marketing automation provide business owners with a little bit of everything from micro-sites, landing pages, autoresponders, follow up series, Facebook and Twitter integration, and so on.

2. Focus more on inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is more likely to succeed in this day and age compared to outbound marketing particularly among millennials. According to survey it may take around 3 to 18 months from initial engagement before they come up with a decision. It’s a continuous process of educating, following up, and sustaining their interest all throughout the journey.

Outbound marketing still has its place, although they’re still pretty much “hit-and-miss” even on the web. How many times did you have to skip a YouTube ad or got distracted by a Google ad because it failed to reach its intended audience? We call this “interruption” marketing. On the other hand, inbound marketing pulls people in (not push) by giving them exactly what they want, when they want it, and how.

One of the most commonly used methods include content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), as well as using customer relationship management (CRM), and sales and marketing automation tools. Say, you want your potential customers to receive updates specific to their own interests. Small Business Dream’s survey builder will enable you to segment your contacts, as well as sales funnels to quickly assess their levels of interest.

3. Get your business listed on a mobile marketplace

Your small business needs to be searchable. You can work on improving your Google search ranking through SEO. But if you want a faster way without having to wait for months or years to rank, business directories is the way to go. Unlike Google, you’ll have better chances being listed on business directories like Small Business Dream Business Finder app as it allows users to find your business through local searches instead of getting buried underneath in Google search results.

Mobile marketplace appeals to mobile users and digitally enabled customers who want fast and easy way to find businesses around the city. They also help in making buying decisions based on ratings and comments from customers, creating a much better digital customer experience for app users. It can also take advantage of Google or Apple’s push notification service which would allow you to have direct access to your mobile users’ phone screens.

With Small Business Dream, you can have your business listed in the Business Finder app or be able to send push notifications to app users as a Small Business Dream sales and marketing automation software subscriber.


Creating a digital customer experience is more than ever within reach for many small businesses. With better technologies in sales and marketing automation and more people getting access to mobile services, we can bring our businesses closer to people and level the playing field for everyone. You can take your first step by visiting Small Business Dream and learn how you can create a digital customer experience for your small business.

Protecting Your Customer’s Data – How CRM Provides Security for Your Small Business

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Governments around the world are tightening the laws on data protection and breach notification, affecting millions of businesses across the globe. Europe has already tightened their data privacy laws with the General Data Protection Regulation giving the individual more rights and protections. Now it’s Canada’s turn to beef up its data privacy laws.

Starting November 1st, organizations across Canada will be subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) which will require companies to provide consumers and individuals notice of privacy breaches. Companies and organizations may also be liable and could face fines from $100,000 to $500,000 if they are found negligent.

Businesses must ensure customer information is in safe hands, and should come up with a system of reporting data breach to privacy agencies and all persons involved as quickly as possible.

Complying with Data Protection Laws

CRMs generally conform to data protection laws by helping customers make informed decisions along the ‘buyer’s journey’. With the new law coming into force, businesses that use them are much better off compared to those who don’t. This is due to the fact that CRMs have certain features and functionalities which covers both business owners and customers from improper use of customer data.

Consider some of the GDPR-compliant features and functionalities of Small Business Dream CRM:

  • “Double opt-in” email confirmation – your email subscribers will not be entered into your mailing list until confirmation by email, explicitly stating his or her interest to receive more information from you. This step is extremely crucial because it can be used as proof that they’ve agreed to your terms.
  • “Opting out” from your mailing list – subscribers can unsubscribe at any point in time by clicking “Unsubscribe to this email” at the end of every mail. This goes perfectly with data protection laws allowing users to opt out of your mailing list fairly easily. Sending marketing emails to your subscribers without an “unsubscribe” link puts a lot of risk to your business for non-compliance of the GDPR.
  • Deleting contacts – this option will come in handy if you have prospects and customers who want information about them completely wiped out from your system – again, in compliance to data protection laws about your customer’s right to be “forgotten.” However, it is good practice to keep a CSV file of all your customer’s data offline as in the case of a data breach where you might have to take drastic measures to prevent further attacks.

Business owners who use CRM will have better chances of being on the right side of the law than if they were to do things haphazardly on their own. Note: this is not legal or financial advice and is written only for educational purposes. Whenever possible, seek competent legal advice about data protection or have Small Business Dream help you with it.

Collecting and Storing Customer Information

As much as possible, you should avoid storing sensitive information which may cause potential harm to the customer, esp. matters about one’s financial status or health condition except in business like real estate, medical services, or financial planning where they are considered essential. In this case, we need to secure information about our customers by all means.

At the very least, we only want the bare minimum such as names and contact information from the get-go. But as we get to know our potential clients and customer, we can collect more information about them through surveys, e.g., specific interests, hobbies, preferences, and other such details which doesn’t reveal sensitive information.  Ultimately, we want to make sure our CRM is impervious to cyber attacks and allows us to quickly respond to data breach with relative ease.

Keeping Your Data Safe

Before signing up for any CRM service, you should ask your account representative where they store their data. You should avoid companies that have data centres in countries that don’t have a good record of privacy or security. Small Business Dream uses servers in Australia, Japan and the United States – three countries that take privacy and security very seriously.

Most CRMs have SSL certificates to prevent unauthorized access to your customer database. Small Business Dream CRM uses secure connection for accessing the CRM accounts. It also makes it possible to remotely access the CRM in case of theft or loss, providing users some window to pre-empt a data breach, and quickly notify customers about it. In any case, don’t hesitate to let Small Business Dream help you out by availing one of our mentoring and customization packages designed to provide you with the best and most secure user experience.

In closing, CRM can be of great help for business owners to be a step ahead, not only in the competitive world of business, but in keeping it within safe bounds of data protection laws. Compliance is no longer just an option – having a CRM for your business is more of a necessity, if not the only logical choice.

Learn more on how you can successfully build your business through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

The Secret To Building Customer Relationships

Most successful businesses are built on customer relationships. Richard Branson built many successful businesses in many different industries but there was one common denominator across the board — his level of customer service was always topnotch.

Building relationships with potential clients and customers takes time and effort. You must have the right tools to get through the whole process more efficiently.

We’ll examine some of the best practices in building good customer relationships and how small businesses can implement a simple CRM app to accomplish that goal.

Manage Customer Data

Data management is the foundation for establishing good customer relationships. Customer information is the ‘missing link’ that connects businesses with potential clients and customers. It’s the secret to staying relevant with them despite the changing trends over a long period of time.

Many businesses have invested a lot of time and money in business applications to manage customer data. Fortunately, we can accomplish the same for just a fraction of the cost. For a typical small business with a limited start-up cost, this seems to be the best, if not the only option.

Small Business Dream’s mini-CRM allows small business owners to collect and control customer information very efficiently for less than a dollar a day. It specializes on the essential features of customer acquisition and simplifies them for the average person, as well as a follow-up system that constantly updates salespeople when a scheduled call, text, or social media message is up.

Additional features include Categories which enables business owners to segment their contacts making each survey, email campaign, and newsletter subscription very specific to different types of contacts.

Personalize Your Message

Customers still want the personal touch. Hence, we need to go beyond the usual ‘name, number, and address’, and learn about their ‘soft spots’ and circumstances that surround each purchase, customer query, or complaint.  We need to know what makes them feel good because after all, customers make buying decisions based on how they feel.

To add a personal touch, we need to keep track of every customer engagement. Small Business Dream creates a system that treats every customer as a unique individual. Even as simple as having a Notes section to put down important details from a telephone call, text or email can go a long way in determining what makes our customers tick.

Once you have this information, you can easily personalize your emails from your list of pre-written messages without having to start from scratch. Just a simple mention about their hobbies, pastimes, recent activities, or even little things they cherish will endear your company to your customers. It makes them feel respected and cared for as opposed to just being a number or a tiny dot on the chart.

Personalizing your message also applies to social media. Although secondary to email in terms of communicating with potential clients and customers, we cannot ignore the fact that social media is very much a part of people’s lives. However, we need to cut through the noise by personalizing our messages and let them know we didn’t just hit the ‘auto-reply’.

If they ended up on your Social Connect, which is a part of the Small Business Dream contact management tool, you need sift through the list and connect (‘follow’ or ‘like’) to each one who has a genuine interest in your business. Comment on things they’re currently into and have your pre-written messages below them.

Even a little extra step of personalizing your email and social media messages can make a big difference in establishing relationships with potential clients and customers.

Provide Real-time Customer Support

Real-time customer support is almost non-existent in most big companies. Part of the reason is that these companies have already grown their customer base to a point where it becomes too much to handle. As a result, many customers feel they’re given less priority and they would start looking for other businesses who might have a respect for them as a customer.

Companies who are able to respond as quickly as possible to queries and complaints are highly regarded by customers.  They might not have the best products and services, but the fact that they cared a lot about them makes them want to do business. The saying, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” applies in businesses as well.

Small Business Dream has figured out a way to achieve real-time customer support with its Action List that updates salespersons and business owners if a new customer comes in through the Sales Funnel, or if an existing customer has just responded to a customer survey they have given out. They’ll find their way on top of the Action List, so sales people can link up with them right then and there.

Follow up Consistently

Following up with customers allows your business to accomplish two things. Aside from building trust and confidence with your customers, it’s also helps with customer feedback which is a valuable tool in improving products, services, and customer experience.

There are two approaches Small Business Dream can be used to follow up with potential clients and customers: newsletter subscriptions and customer surveys.

Monthly newsletters provide additional information about the service or product they just bought. For instance, you want your customers to maintain their hair’s luster and shine after a keratin treatment. You can invite them to your monthly newsletter about hair care and let them answer a few survey questions.

Follow-ups can also turn into cross-selling and upselling opportunities since some of your product or service can be tied to another one they just had.

After having their cars thoroughly cleaned and polished in your carwash, have them fill up a short survey form asking them about a few contact details, and if they want to be in your mailing list and avail of free car care tips, discounts, and free offers. For instance, you can inform your customers about the negative effects of using detergents on their car’s polish and why they should be using your car care products instead.

Small Business Dream’s Email Auto-responders and Survey Engine allow you to accomplish both with less effort. If you have prospects or customers that need to be followed up by phone, email or social media message, their names will show up on the Action List on that particular day. This makes sure you never miss on any of your potential clients and customers.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

Improving Customer Acquisition with CRM

The biggest challenge facing small businesses is how they can get more customers and maximize their return on investments.

Fortunately, we can easily find ways to improve customer acquisition without having to spend a lot of money on traditional outbound marketing strategies. It only takes a little bit of creativity and trying out new ideas.

There are two main ways – offline and online. We will talk about both ways here.

Promote Your Business Offline

Everybody is online so why not try the personal touch. A lot of customers still like and require the personal touch.

Some offline customer engagements are as effective as a marketing strategy today as it was 100 years ago when the majority of businesses didn’t have a website. These include:

  • going to networking events
  • taking your business outdoors
  • sponsorship & giveaways

Meeting up with people in a friendly, non-selling environment like networking events increases your exposure without spending too much on paid ads. However, to be successful, you have to present your business in light of the customer’s needs, pain points and how your products and services can provide a solution to these problems.

The idea is to go and help people, and to show how your company can create value for them. It may not always lead to an immediate sale, but it can help grow your network and develop good relationships with potential buyers and customers.

Whenever possible, bring along something that reminds them about your business. It could be your business card, key holder, bunker ring, or any small gizmos you can carry along. I always carry bunker rings with me to networking events. Why? Because my potential customers will stick my bunker rings on their phones and every time they glance at their device, it will remind them of me.

Another way  to help you with customer acquisition is to take your business outdoors by having your own space during special occasions or community events where people can find your company, products, or services. Talk with the organizers and make some arrangements to have your own booth set up.

Event organizers might also look for sponsors to reduce the overall cost of running the event. You can take this opportunity to have your company name or logo displayed in conspicuous areas for a few hundred dollars’ worth of donation.

Once you have talked to them and exchanged business cards, then it’s a good idea to put them into an online follow-up series so they don’t forget about you.

If you want them to get to your sales funnel, you can use Small Business Dream’s Customer Acquisition tools and have your landing page address or QR code printed on your Sales Funnel Card.

Most importantly, always make an effort to follow up with them as soon as you can.

Take Your Business Online

Promoting your business online is a sure way to improve customer acquisition using cost-effective marketing tools over the Internet. However, it’s tough to get noticed. Some of the best ways to increase customer awareness about your business include having a blog or website, a social media account, and a sales funnel.

Your blog or website can serve many uses for your business. It helps educate people about the benefits of using your product or service, provide useful information about the subject they’re looking on, and can be used for earning residual income through affiliate links, Google AdSense, etc. But most importantly, it helps maintain people’s interest and lead them closer to your goal – to get more customers.

Social media can also be used in customer acquisition, but because marketers have been using social media the wrong way, business owners have started to lose interest in it. They don’t have a system to follow up with fans and followers in a realistic way. Most of them aren’t even real, so business owners end up using auto-responders (‘robot secretaries’) the whole time. Most businesses don’t think strategically when it comes to social media but use a shotgun blast approach, hoping to catch somebody or something.

Small Business Dream is an inexpensive tool that helps business owners manage their social media contacts more efficiently with their Social Connect, and the Social Series in the Action List. Social Connect gives them the option to curate and import fans and followers to their contact list.

Since we don’t want our customer database to be stuffed with unwanted (fake, pseudonymous, or artificial) contacts, we need to screen them out of the social contact list, and leave the ones who show genuine interest to learn more about the company. This would allow sales people to work on the Action List’s Social Series more efficiently and get real results from using social media to get more customers online.

Sales funnel is a very useful tool in customer acquisition when used with offline and other online methods. With Small Business Dream, business owners can easily create their own sales funnel like a pro without having to learn HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, and use the link for their Social Series and opt-in subscriptions online. They can also use the link offline through Sales Funnel Cards, tent cards, signboards, or directly through an iPad or tablet set up to the sales funnel in-store.

Build a Customer Base to Promote Your Business

Your first customers constitute the core of your business from which you can grow more customers. Coming up with a loyalty program, customer specials, customer referrals, offering discounts, and commissions, can help accelerate your business.

Although it might cost you a little bit of profit, you’ll have greater gains in the long run as your business gains momentum. Looking at it from an angle, think of it as being a part of your marketing expenses. But instead of them going to paid advertisements, they go directly to your customers who will benefit from them. The result is a happy customer base who will talk about their experience with your company to other people, and your business becoming an instant success.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

Don’t Prejudge a Prospect!

If you haven’t been following this blog and you don’t know me, my name is Dennis M. Wilson (“M” needed for distinction from the deceased Beach Boy). I want to tell you a lesson that was reinforced in me today. But before I do, I have to give you a bit of background.

I have been selling professionally since I was 10 years old. That’s right, 10! It all started with pet rocks. I got a rock polishing machine for Christmas one year, found a bunch of unused bottle caps, and bought some googly eyes. Instant Pet Rocks being sold by an unbelievably charming kid door to door!

I didn’t even consider prejudging at that age. When you’re young, you aren’t jaded.  I just went door to door to door, and made a small fortune — at least in a 10-year old’s eyes — selling Pet Rocks for $1 each.

Later, I moved onto delivering newspapers, and selling annual subscriptions, and new subscriptions. I got the free trip to Disneyland selling the Edmonton Journal newspaper!

I did this by using the puppy dog close.  Of course, I had no idea that was what I was doing back then, but it proved very effective. This was the line I used back then: “I just need 5 more subscribers and I get a free trip to Disneyland. If you would just help me out, I would be happy to send you a Postcard from Disneyland.”

Yep, I sent 5 postcards! I still hadn’t learned to prejudge. I had upped my game. (I think the subscriptions were about $30 whole dollars a year!)

I then ran my own Neon Sign company. It is here where I learned to prejudge. I was old enough to have heard enough ‘Nos’ and ‘Not interested.’  It was here where I learned to FIGHT THE URGE to prejudge. It was here the idea was born, long before the technology and internet existed to build a piece of software like Small Business Dream. (We used a product called PackRat, which was good at the time.)

Slowly I started to prejudge by the tone in their voice on the phone, or the fact they didn’t call me back.

I even played the old ‘It is Monday game’ — nobody wants to be followed up on Monday, they are all too busy. I was deep in my prejudging mode.

At this time I was selling Neon Signs anywhere from $299 to $10,000. It seems the prejudging gets to happen more and more often, the higher ticket item you sell.

The battle NEVER ends for a salesperson.

Now I sell $10,000 to $180,000 Software systems. I would love to say I have learned to NOT prejudge. I can tell you I have found a way to limit how much I do it. It is called Small Business Dream. It simply works by giving me a list of people to call based upon MY decided order by the last contact I had with them — open Small Business Dream, call, email, send a text, send a Facebook message, or whatever else it tells me to do, and don’t stop until the list is empty.

Systematize. It’s not 100% magic, but it keeps me on track a lot more than just hoping I will remember who to call and what was said and NOT make excuses they might not be interested so I won’t call. Just CALL or DO the action Small Business Dream says.

At least I have a weapon against my brain!

Is the battle over?

About 2 weeks ago, I got a phone call on a Sunday morning from somebody interested in our software, and they only were going to have a very small number of people in their company, and I totally PREJUDGED thinking they weren’t actually a prospect.  It was Sunday morning, so I think I was a little miffed at myself that I answered the phone on a Sunday morning.

I did all the wrong things in sales; I answered the phone in a slightly less than perfect mindset. I PREJUDGED this wasn’t a prospect and I had wasted my time. Fortunately, I use SMALL BUSINESS DREAM, so he was already in the system and he came up for a call-back on Monday.

With the help of Small Business Dream, I can battle against my BRAIN’S poor judgement, ended up calling him back and following up as I was supposed to ON MONDAY, even though I had completely prejudged him.

Well guess what? It turned out that we were to have another call the next day and I thought he was very likely going to purchase our $30,000 software platform from me! The key in sales is DON’T PREJUDGE. Even the best salespersons aren’t perfect.

I got the sale the very next day. However, I prejudged and could have lost the sale but thankfully I got lucky and I saved it, because I had proper sales automation in place to make sure I stayed in communication, even though I didn’t feel like it, and it was hard to pick up the phone to call because I had prejudged him.

Small Business Dream said I need to call him, and my stats for the day said I had only made 61 contacts so far that day. My goal was 100. I couldn’t handle the pressure of resisting the call, and everything just forced me to pick up the phone to make that last phone call and sent that last text message.

And I got the Sale.

DON’T PREJUDGE. Just let your sales process take hold and do the right things according to your sales automation follow-up software. And by not prejudging, you are going to sell more and make a ton more money.