The future of business appears to be digital.
According to a report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), due to the pandemic, many small business owners have shifted their communication with customers from in-person to digital channels.
Additionally, 51 per cent of business owners believe they will rely on digital communications even more during the coming year.
Based on the findings, 41 per cent of small businesses reduced in-person communication with their customers and six per cent stopped meeting with their customers entirely. Of the businesses that have gone digital, video conferencing has been the top communication platform.
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“Small businesses thrive because of the relationships they have with their customers, but they have had to shift the ways they connect with customers,” Mandy D’Autremont, senior director of Member Experience and Strategy for CFIB, said in a news release.
“They have been forced to adapt to the pandemic and it prevented many from being able to see their customers in-person. Digital communication channels allowed many business owners to maintain their relationships with their customers, but this shift comes with its own unique set of challenges,” she continued.
However, a shift to digital communications hasn’t been entirely seamless for many businesses—46 per cent of owners said they are overwhelmed by having to keep track of too many digital communication channels, while 38 per cent forget to check for messages on digital platforms.
“The rapid shift to digital communication has meant the difference between surviving and closing down entirely for some businesses, for example enabling customers to order curbside pickup over email or find new businesses over Instagram. Now, as we are seeing the start of a second wave in parts of the country, digital communication is going to continue being an essential tool for many businesses,” D’Autremont said.
“We urge any business owners who need help adopting new tools to call CFIB’s Business Helpline or visit cfib.ca to get free one-on-one help,” she added.