Service business

Zoom launches into customer service… and other tech news for small businesses this week

Here are five tech events that happened in the past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 —Zoom launches into customer service.

Zoom recently announced its expansion into customer service with its new offering called Zoom Contact Center. Zoom Contact Center will still operate using video conferencing and allow businesses to quickly interact with customers. With this expansion, Zoom aims to streamline all aspects of customer service into one easy-to-access and use tool for managers and operators. (Source: technical radar)

Why it matters to your business:

With pandemic demand dropping and more and more workers returning to the office, Zoom needs to look for opportunities elsewhere and providing customer service tools with video sounds like a great idea to me. However, more integration and partnerships with other customer service, help desk, and customer relationship management apps are needed for small businesses to see Zoom Contact Center as a viable option.

2 — Self-driving trucks are creating a land grab near some major cities.

The growing demand for self-driving vehicles is pushing some speculators to grab land outside major cities. But these are not the vehicles you might expect. They are not cars. It’s trucks. And as driverless trucks become more popular – and a few major players have big plans for this technology – there will be a need for commuter stations where humans can jump into the cab and take control of the truck for last complicated kilometres. (Source: the wall street journal)

Why it matters to your business:

We hear about driverless cars but it’s still a long way off. It’s because many smart people like the folks at Uber or even Elon Musk have admitted that these things are harder than they thought. But driverless trucks? Ah… now there is something. That’s because the trucks can drive safely on a freeway without a driver, saving gas and reducing insurance costs. As long as the humans do the last bit. It makes sense and could be the first widely accepted use of autonomous technology in the next few years.

3 —Walmart will use technology to help people try on their clothes.

This week, the retail giant announced the beta version of its neural network-powered “Choose My Model” trial feature. Customers can select models that “best match their looks and body types” and then use virtual versions of the clothing selections to see how they will look. According to TechCrunch “Walmart notes that it will continue to expand its model selection over time, with plans to launch nearly 70 additional models in the coming weeks to provide more variety in height, skin tone and even hair color”. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why it matters to your business:

Will this be the end of the locker room? Probably not. But it’s another technology that smart retailers will use over the next few years to help customers purchase their products. It will certainly be interesting to know which “role models” people will choose to represent me. Personally, I go with the George Costanza look.

4 – From the ground below to the sky above, Pittsburgh startups are launching their technology to inspect bridges.

A bridge collapse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in January allowed startups in the city to use their related technology to build their own bridges and scale their businesses. Mach9 Robotics a startup based in the bridge collapse area was the first to get involved by deploying its robotic and sensor equipment to map underground and surface areas and develop geospatial models of critical infrastructure in minutes. (Source: WPXI)

Why it matters to your business:

Necessity is the mother of invention and unfortunately it takes tragedy – or potential tragedy – to create opportunity for entrepreneurs. The Pittsburgh bridge collapse was such an opportunity for local contractors to demonstrate how their technologies can help improve infrastructure safety.

5— Etsy’s post-pandemic strategy is to get more men to shop on the site.

With the pandemic mask and home decor shopping boom slowing, Etsy is looking for its next step. Etsy recently revealed that research conducted by the company in 2020 found that half of male shoppers in the United States didn’t even know what Etsy was. The same study found that 80% of Etsy’s customers are women. Etsy is actively trying to attract more male customers to the site through targeted advertising in male-dominated channels. (Source: Yahoo finance)

Why it matters to your business:

This is an opportunity for small businesses to sell on Etsy, especially if your products are aimed more at a male audience. If you’re an Etsy reseller—or thinking about being one—you need to take advantage of the platform’s new tools and focus on male customers. It’s a chance to save advertising money and perhaps attract a wider audience.