Forget purchasing power, colossal adverting budgets, opening hours and premises size, small companies are set to face their biggest challenge to-date from large organisations. Small businesses can offer just one positive differentiator over large, a truly unique and personal service…and big business is now all set to directly challenge them on this.

Unknown to the proprietors of most SMEs, the hot topic for the executives in the boardrooms of many large corporations has been the upgrading of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to CXM (Customer Experience Management) systems. This new breed of software which has been developed by the giants of business systems such as Oracle and IBM is designed to handle big data, giving companies unique insights into each and every customer.

So how far off is this new threat to small businesses? Well if you are serving a B2C marketplace, perhaps in retail for example, you may have already begun to come up against the new systems being used by the supermarket giants or the likes of amazon, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So why is CXM such a threat? Well the new software is developed to listen to customers at all touchpoints including social media, allowing companies to tailor customer experience to individuals with the ultimate goal of “wowing” them with service and a tailored offering. It also performs customer rescues when analysis shows the potential to churn, making winning customers from big business so very much harder.

What does this mean for the small business? Well if own or run an SME and you don’t already, you must embrace the same principles as CXM systems. In short, nurture every customer relationship, really get to know what each of your customers likes and as importantly dislikes. Move budgets from marketing for new business, to using it to really impressing your existing customers, then you can build new business from the extra word of mouth generated. Finally employ a feedback scheme so you can get a real handle on what your customers are thinking, as many won’t tell you voluntarily, you’ll just not see them again one day.

Small businesses can offer just one differentiator2

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