Today, we announced Microsoft Teams Essentials, the first standalone offering of Microsoft Teams, designed specifically for small businesses. Teams Essentials brings together features small businesses need to serve customers, including unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours, group chat, file sharing, and calendaring. And at only $4 USD per user per month, it’s the most affordable all-in-one solution in the market today.
We have seen small businesses - from restaurants to retailers to professional services - adapt with ingenuity and resilience in these past 20 months to keep their doors open and serve their customers. As we transition to the era of hybrid work, many are reevaluating the best tools to support the new workstyles, business models, and ways to engage with customers.
Teams Essentials brings the best of Teams to help small businesses grow and adapt. Here are three small businesses maintaining their human connection by running their businesses on Teams.
Priority Bicycles, makers of low-maintenance, high-quality bicycles, was just gaining momentum when COVID-19 sent the young business in an unexpected direction. Determined to turn a daunting situation around, the team at Priority Bicycles looked to Microsoft Teams to create an innovative new way to invite customers into the showroom, virtually.
“We used Teams to quickly enable virtual visits that bring customers from around the world to our showroom,” says Weiner. “The experience has helped us create connections with customers we wouldn’t have reached in the past, as well as provide great customer service to our existing customers.”
Since implementing virtual visits, the team can see three times the number of customers in the showroom, which has translated to a three-fold increase in sales. “Virtual visits have been a huge success,” says Greg Waters, Director of Communications at Priority Bicycles. “Every customer who has a virtual visit with us either buys a bike or sends a follow-up telling us how much fun it was to chat with us and see the showroom.” Waters notes that the ability to meet with an expert increases customer confidence in their purchase. “These Teams visits give people that human connection and make them comfortable they are buying the right product,” he says.
Today, Priority Bicycles has opened up virtual visits for service inquiries along with presale questions. “If a customer has a question about how their bike works or needs help assembling it, they can connect via Teams with a mechanic or technical expert and get their issue resolved really quickly,” says Rogers. “Teams has been an extremely helpful tool for us to amplify our customer service,” he continues. “Customers know they have support from our team forever, no matter where they are.”
When Dr. Adrian Watts set up his first virtual consultation with a prospective patient using Microsoft Teams, he was skeptical that a video meeting could rival the experience of an in-person consultation. “The patient didn’t think he would be able to see a local dentist for months,” says Dr. Watts, who was pleasantly surprised by the clarity and level of detail he was able to pick up via Teams.
“During the Teams meeting, he was able to move in closely to his laptop and show me exactly where he’d damaged a tooth. After gathering the information I needed and confirming that I could help, we made an appointment for the next day.” After the success of that first Teams consultation, Dr. Watt’s skepticism disappeared. “Teams meetings are the perfect way of triaging,” he says. “I can get to know a patient and set their expectations for treatment before they even set foot in the office.”
Staff at Bristol Dental Specialists also embrace Teams to collaborate more efficiently with their colleagues. And, using the @mention feature, anyone who needs to view the updates or add to the document is notified directly from the app.
The true motivation for Bristol Dental Specialists’ cloud journey is providing the best possible patient care. And, with Teams in place, the practice has the tools it needs to offer new ways of improving patient experience, such as virtual visits. “Communication is so important, and with Teams we’re working together better than ever to provide patients with a standard of care that sets us apart.”
When Melanie first started House of Lilac, a flower company, she never imagined her business would grow into what it is today. Like many small business owners, while Melanie was building the branding and product lines at House of Lilac, she also found herself exploring different technology platforms that would support her business' growth and operation.
The business needed to run as efficiently as possible to allow production of orders, along with effective, gracious customer service and communication to ensure repeat transactions. With communication between the team lacking and messages falling through the cracks, Melanie needed to take her company from handwritten notes to a digital platform to profit and grow her business.
“Using Microsoft technology has allowed us to further expand our business and increase the value of our work. Microsoft Teams has changed everything for me. I’m able to manage both sides of my business in one place,” explains Melanie.
House of Lilac uses Teams to consolidate everything under one application. Teams has helped Melanie organize the company, reduce costs, and increase efficiency and productivity. “Microsoft is exactly what I personally needed to feel comfortable leaving my team to work on their own,” she explained.
Teams has become indispensable in the development and management of the House of Lilac. Whether it’s assigning tasks, brainstorming on chat, or planning and reviewing content, Melanie uses Teams to manage any side of the business and collaborate with her team.
Teams Essentials is available now from Microsoft and a variety of Microsoft Cloud Partners.
Check out these additional resources to learn more:
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