Top 3 ways small businesses can keep staff motivated

 It's no secret the holidays are a stressful time for everyone, from shoppers to business owners, service providers and especially customer support teams. This time of year brings on a higher volume of customer issues, which can lead to some highly emotional moments.

The good news is that innovative technology tools like customer relationship management, or CRM for short, are designed to help teams collaborate and increase productivity by enabling the sharing of files and working on projects together, thereby helping every employee do more with less.

In a recent survey of small and medium-sized business owners by Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, 47 per cent of companies said meeting customer expectations was among their biggest growth challenges. Of course, giving employees additional training can help, but 57 per cent of firms said costs and time investments often get in the way.

In order to shine during this critical time and maximize your holiday efforts, your support team needs to provide superior customer service. Here are a few other ways CRM can help:

Increase product knowledge. Sales associates need the right technology to better serve their customers. They need access to inventory, sizing information and manufacturing details so they can quickly answer questions and get the right products into their customers' hands. They also need it to be easy — 96 per cent of those surveyed cited “ease of use” as the most important factor when bringing on new tools.

Deliver a personal experience. Small businesses that embrace CRM tools powered by artificial intelligence, for example, can provide staff with more personalized offers for customers, making them feel known, valued and noticed. Customers are more willing than ever to trade information for relevant, personalized and tailored shopping experiences. Take them up on this and you'll earn their loyalty. In fact, 51 per cent of small and medium businesses said AI capabilities are important to any new tools they use.

Solve issues quickly. If a customer buys a pair of pants online, you should know all about that purchase if they come into the store. Right now, 59 per cent of small businesses say their business data (like marketing, sales and support) is connected, but there are obviously more who should do the same. Make shopping a seamless, easy experience regardless of where customers connect with your brand. This will save on frustration and make your sales staff heroes when it comes to solving issues quickly.