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Connect the digital dots in your business during the holidays

(NC) The festive season is an important period for many small businesses. Demand for goods and services tends to be at an all-time high, and if you can deliver a great experience during a peak period, you may wind up with some very loyal customers. Getting this right is more vital than ever — just look at all the reports of high-profile businesses closing their doors. How can small businesses ensure you're going to make it through to the new year and beyond?

These is a question that keeps many small business owners up at night. In a recent Salesforce report, 47 per cent of small business owners said meeting customer experience expectations would pose a challenge for their business' ability to grow over the next couple of years. Technology can help, of course, but 40 per cent said finding the right tools to meet their needs is tough.

Here's an easy tip — the smartest businesses don't just try to increase the number of purchases from customers, they try to form a close relationship with them. The best tech tool to achieve this is called customer relationship management, or CRM. Think of CRM as the system where you can record every important piece of information about a customer as your relationship with them develops. This includes not only what you sold to them, but why they wanted it, what other products and services might interest them, and how they like a company to communicate with them. This last area is really critical — you don't want multiple people chasing after the same customer at once.

Investing in technology like Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, provides small businesses with a sort of “blowfish effect.” Just like a blowfish can inflate to take up more space in the water, CRM can make small businesses look larger and more competitive. It also means they can get more done when business suddenly gets a lot busier, like the holiday season.

Delivering a connected experience will keep customers satisfied and business doors open this season and beyond.