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In the News

It’s Good to Talk: Online Capabilities Fuel Micro-Multinational Growth But the Telephone is Still Vital for Customer Relationships

Natterbox Team

  • Research conducted by Sussex Innovation reveals that UK SMEs are reliant on email, CRM and telephony when expanding internationally.
  • Social media a comparatively low priority for global communications.
  • Technology infrastructure cited as a major challenge to growing businesses abroad

LONDON, 18th August 2016: Research into the emerging trend for ‘micro-multinationals’ – SMEs taking advantage of new technological advances in order to expand internationally early in their life cycle – has revealed the increasing value of communications infrastructure to this new breed of ‘born global’ businesses.

The research was conducted by business incubation network Sussex Innovation on behalf of its member company Natterbox, a global cloud telephony provider. Researchers collected survey responses from more than 100 UK-based micro-multinationals, as well as conducting in-depth interviews with senior staff members to uncover more detailed insights. The conclusions have been published in a report, UK Micro-Multinationals: Business Beyond Borders – Why SMEs are the engine for the UK PLC global expansion. https://natterbox.com/micro-multinationals-white-paper/

73% of the companies surveyed plan to open one or more new international offices in the next 2 years, and technology is key to supporting these aggressive expansion plans. Historically, multinational businesses would have needed a physical presence in each new country or territory they moved into. The development of infrastructure technologies in recent years has made it possible for smaller businesses to achieve global coverage with a reduced physical – and in some cases entirely virtual – presence. For micro-multinationals, this low cost, rapid expansion capability is key.

Indeed, getting the right technology infrastructure in place was the second biggest imperative for the micro-multinationals surveyed, behind only customer acquisition in terms of importance.

The research showed that after email, customer relationship management (CRM) tools were one of the most vital technological advances to these companies. 57% of micro-multinationals surveyed use CRM software, while a further 24% have plans to deploy it. By comparison, CRM penetration across all businesses is much lower with market leader Salesforce having just 6% of the total addressable market for CRM.

Perhaps surprisingly, telephony was ranked equal to CRM in terms of significance to these businesses, and ahead of more fashionable technological advancements such as social media. Advances in telephony services – using the cloud and integrating with CRM – have made it possible for small businesses to ensure a consistent customer experience across a wide territory at much lower cost.

“Telephony is still considered vital because of the personal experience it delivers to complement other communications channels,” said Neil Hammerton, CEO and co-founder of Natterbox, who commissioned the report. “Is it surprising that micro-multinationals continue to place so much emphasis on using the phone? Not when you consider that they need to build trusted relationships across so many locations.”

If you are interested in knowing more how Natterbox can help your telephone system scale around the world and also improve your customer experience, our product page can give you an overview of our services.