(NC) Our hyper-connected and tech-driven world has nearly removed the word “waiting” from our vocabulary — who has time for that? Whether it’s for a package, a service request, a sales quote or even a tweet, customers expect quick interactions. More and more consumers expect companies to respond and interact with them in real time or else they’ll move on to one that can.

The last thing you want is to let the quality of your customer experience slip during the most important time of the year and risk losing your customers to your competitor. Here are a few ways you can give your customers what they really want — the gift of time:

Offer a personalized experience. Every time a customer is texted a coupon for the Greek yogurt they eat every morning, a notification of the upcoming release of a new book in the series they’re obsessed with, or the heads up that their favourite brand of yoga gear is going to be on sale, and acts on that communication — that’s personalization. The more customers share with your businesses, the better equipped you are to piece together how and what they are going to shop for, saving them time browsing and ensuring they never miss out on a sale. Leveraging smart tech tools like artificial intelligence means that every communication you send out is accurate, relevant and, of course, timely.

Deliver smarter customer service. Nobody loves sitting on the phone waiting for a customer service agent to help solve an issue. It’s a stress for customers, but it’s also a time-consuming process for small businesses that want to keep their customers happy. Now, many small businesses are turning to bots to help answer frequently asked questions, saving both customers and small business owners precious time and funnelling them to the right representatives to reach solutions quickly. From retailers to florists, small and large companies are putting bots on the front lines, allowing small businesses to focus on other critical tasks.

Leverage customer relationship management. The experience a customer has online needs to be reflected offline, on social media and in all points of connection. By using a customer relationship management platform like Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, small business owners are now putting all digital information in one central place, simplifying their access to customer data.

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