(BPT) - Smart business owners know how important it is to preserve their company's reputation, but many may not realize the extent to which their current and potential customers care about the technology they use.
According to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of consumers said they would - or would consider - taking their business elsewhere if a company uses outdated technology.
Respondents cited convenience and better customer service among reasons modern technology matters to them when it comes to working with small businesses. In fact, 68 percent of consumers think the use of modern technology is critical to the success of a business, and more than 60 percent said they are likely to become a repeat customer of a business using modern technology.
What qualifies as "outdated?"
About 60 percent of consumers consider operating systems and desktop computers that are 5 to 10 years old to be outdated. That means that the estimated 30 percent of small businesses that are still running the 12-year-old Windows XP operating system fall into the category of "outdated" in consumers' minds.
But there are more than just reputational considerations for businesses still using an outdated operating system. After April 8, 2014, businesses running Windows XP will no longer receive security updates or technical support for the system, meaning their systems may become more vulnerable to security threats.
Modern technology options abound
The good news is that businesses in need of a technology facelift have a whole new world of devices and capabilities at their fingertips. For example, an array of Windows 8-enabled devices have become available in the last year, such as affordable tablets, laptops and other form factors that offer mobility and productivity at the same time. In addition, cloud technology has given small businesses access to the same powerful technology larger companies use, but in an affordable and manageable pricing structure.
Many small businesses are using cloud technology to reach new customers and enable employees to collaborate from separate locations. One such company, OnPoint CFO & Controller Services, which provides outsourced accounting and finance services to companies, is using the cloud-based productivity service Office 365 to enable its employees to collaborate with one another and their clients while working from home offices.
"Standing still is falling behind," says Brian Clark, OnPoint CFO co-founder, president and CEO. "Either you implement new technologies or you risk getting passed by your competitors."
Modern technology can help small businesses not only get more done, but reach more customers and retain them too. To learn more about modern technology for small businesses, download a free e-guide at www.microsoftbusinesshub.com/Get2MGuide.