'Meeting customer expectations top challenge for SMEs'

The small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India find it challenging to bring innovative offerings to market, personalise customer engagements and keep up with demand when meeting customer expectations in the pandemic, a new report said on Tuesday.

Financial management is the top challenge SMB leader respondents personally face when growing their business and maintaining financial growth is the top challenge constraining future business growth, according to leading Cloud software company Salesforce.

Meeting customer expectations is the top constraint on operations for SMB respondents in India.

While reduced customer demand is the top constraint on future growth, applying for financial assistance is the top consideration for the future of the business for the SMBs in the country.

"Amid a challenging business environment, SMB leaders have displayed remarkable strength and resilience with only 16 per cent of SMB respondents in India expecting an entirely new structure post the pandemic," said Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President, Salesforce India.

"This demonstrates that SMBs' in India are resilient and positive of business continuity ensuring they get back on track".

While 30 per cent of the SMB leader respondents in India expect business to be as usual, 48 per cent believe it would be slightly modified.

In addition to pre-pandemic challenges, SMB leaders are now faced with operational restrictions, compliance mandates, and shifting customer expectations.

However, SMB leaders remain optimistic about the future of their businesses globally.

Even during the pandemic, SMBs are continuing to adopt new technology, with at least one in five SMB respondents reporting they've implemented at least one of the following technology solutions in the last six months, including email marketing software, customer service software, project task collaboration tools, or e-commerce software.

"Globally, SMBs' are at a critical juncture. The key to accelerating consumer demand and solving problems for scale, come down to how they leverage technology to deliver the best customer experiences," Jose explained.

The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce.