Many small companies that have been around for a while are a bit stuck in the past.  We see this often in family businesses that still do things the same way they did when they first started 20 years ago.

If it’s not broken, why fix it?  That’s the thinking of many companies who value tradition over all else.  But, as the Millennial generation grows into full-fledged adults with huge consumer power, it’s critical that all types of businesses stay modern if they want to stay in business.

Right now, a quarter of the population is between 18 and 35.  This overwhelmingly large generation was raised with computers, cell phones and technology being an everyday part of reality, so they expect the companies they deal with to be as tech savvy as they are.

In order to grab their attention and inspire their confidence in your company, you must stay technologically current or prepare to lose their businesses to your more modern competitors.  Use these strategies to keep current.

  1. Social Media Revolution

Sure, a few years ago even, you may have been able to dismiss social media as a plaything of teenagers, but there’s no denying its potential for business and marketing any longer.  Connecting with current and potential customers in an authentic way is an indispensable strategy for growing any business.

Once a customer lets you into their social media world, you have access to their extended online circles.  And when you post interesting, informative and entertaining content, your followers will like it, comment on it, and share it, thereby broadcasting your message and endorsing your business to all of their friends.  The point is, social media is not just a way for companies to appear hip and tech savvy, it’s a smart business and marketing strategy that will bring new customers knocking on your door.

  1. Mobile Optimization

Almost half of all web traffic today comes from mobile devices – that means that half the time your website is seen, it’s seen on a smart phone or tablet.  So, you had better be sure that your company’s website functions seamlessly on mobile.  If not, you risk losing a potential customer who’s doing comparison shopping on their phone while they’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment or sitting in an airport terminal.

  1. App World

Young people don’t like talking on the phone – if there’s a text or online option, it will always win out over picking up the phone.  If your business requires set up, a continued account or customer interaction, an app is the best way to go.

Few young people will put up with a company that requires them to spend a long time on the phone giving or getting information.  While having an app designed for you can get pricey, just think of it as an investment.  It will bring you more customers and even make the job of your employees easier.

  1. Software Solutions

If you’re still doing things the old manual way, it’s pretty likely that your company is wasting time and working too hard on the wrong things.  If your team is spending any time at all drawing up paper contracts, billing clients or keeping a written inventory, you’re throwing money away.  For nearly every industry out there, there’s modern software that can automate and integrate several systems for you, so that your time can be spent on more important things.

It may be intimidating at first to convert to an entirely new system when you’ve become comfortable with the old, albeit flawed, way.  You’re probably worried that making the change will end up causing you more problems than it’s worth if it takes your team a long time to get used to it.  That’s a valid concern.  However, if you choose software that’s intuitive and comes with serious implementation support, the transition will be easy and painless.  Talk to other people in your industry and see what works for them – peer advice is often the most valuable.

  1. Self Service

Modern consumers expect to get personal logins for any subscription-based service.  It gives them the feeling of control to be to log in to their account at any time to monitor activity and services. Web portals just make your job easier – it’s a much more streamlined and efficient way to communicate with customers.

And instead of feeling the need to pick up the phone to alert customers of changes or updates, you can simply use the portal to send an e-mail alert.  Don’t worry, this is not impersonal, it’s the way most consumers prefer to communicate.

Companies that do not modernize will soon be left behind – there is simply no way to remain competitive in today’s market without offering companies high tech communications options.  But, when you do make the push to modernize, rest assured that your efforts will be well rewarded.

About the Author  

Kara Deveney is an insurance columnist and market specialist at Insuresoft, a leading insurance software provider for the property and casualty insurance industry.  Kara’s passion is helping insurance providers modernize their business so they can better serve their customers.  To learn more, visit Insuresoft or connect with Kara on Google+.