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Kimberly Atkinson, Communications and Client Services Manager at JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL), has urged entrepreneurs to differentiate themselves from their competitors, by improving customer experience.

She said this approach was essential, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as micro, small and medium-sized operators are struggling to survive.

“As an entrepreneur, the experience you offer to your customers should be different. For example, just a simple delivery service to customers in your community, can set you apart from your competitors,” she stated.

“For example, if you have your bar operation, you can also offer bundles through a variety of mixed drinks to persons on peak days such as Fridays and Saturdays when persons are usually seeking ways to relax. You could also offer additional services, such as snacks, or other complimentary offerings. A delivery service, which would make you different from the other community bars; and it would enhance the customer experience.”

Miss Atkinson was a presenter at the JN Small Business Loan’s Monthly Client Webinar, which was aired via the Zoom platform, recently. The webinar was mounted under the theme: Small Businesses Go Digital, in association with MC Systems and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

The JNSBL manager pointed out that with COVID-19 hampering movement, entrepreneurs needed to improve their customer service efforts now more than ever.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s all about taking a different approach and thinking outside of the box,” she said. “You have to differentiate yourself from your competitors. One of the things you can do is develop a database of your customers so you can keep in contact. Then, you can use that database to reach out to them, find out what their needs are, and how you can improve your delivery to them. You could also share upcoming promotions with them. They will feel the difference in the service.”

She added that MSME should also embrace technology, such as data analytics, which could also assist farmers to identify markets and plant crops, accordingly based on need.

“You can use data analytics to determine which crops are needed. For example, you may only need peppers and sweet potatoes in Clarendon. But, the data indicates that there is need for more vegetables in the hotels. The data will tell you, although I am operating from Clarendon, I can plant more vegetables to supply hotels in western Jamaica. Therefore, data analytics will inform your decisions to produce more crops that are needed and reduce planting too much of a particular crop,” she explained.

Rushell Phipps, Business Analyst at MC Systems, said that MSMEs could achieve exponential growth, if they used technology to transform their businesses.  She affirmed that digital transformation need not be costly, adding that it would not only aid in customer retention, but also improve efficiency and enable better management.

Dr. Norman Dunn, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, informed attendees about the benefits of the E-Commerce National Delivery System (ENDS) and its potential to transform MSMEs.

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