Putting Your Customers First Never Gets Old

When it comes right down to it, your customers are the reason you even have a business to begin with.

Stop for a moment and think about where you would be if it were not for the dedicated customers who buy products and/or services from you on a daily basis. In many cases, you’d be out looking for work.

With that being the case, no matter what line of business you are in, you have to give customers the attention they want and deserve. To not do so opens you up to problems, some of which you may not be able to overcome.

In always putting your customers first, make sure you do it in a way that gives them reason to reward you over time too.

Happy Customers Tend to Be Longtime Customers

So that you keep your customers around for as long as possible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Customer service second to none – First and foremost, your customer service must be nothing short of stellar on a daily basis. Remember, it just takes on bad customer service experience to send many customers fleeing; fleeing that is into the arms of your competition. Yes, you will have some customers who will feel that they got short-changed in terms of the service your business provided them, but do your best to reassure them that is simply not the case. In the event there is an issue with the service you gave them, do your best to give them reasons to stick by you. One of the ways to do this is by providing them a discount on their next purchase. You may have to twist an arm or two at times, but it will prove worth it over the long haul, notably for your company’s financial health;
  • Your niche truly does matter – What line of work you’re in certainly plays a major role in how you go about customer service. For instance, if you reside in the transportation industry, you know all too well how important timely and satisfactory service proves to be. In many cases, you only get one shot with a new customer to provide them with a winning experience. Drop the ball on this and there is a good chance they drive off elsewhere for their needs the next time around. In the event you offer ride sharing technology for your customers, make sure it is working properly, not a recipe for disaster. With millions of people needing to get from one place to another on a daily basis, your ride sharing operations need to be stellar, especially when it comes to delivering on-time service. From making sure the drivers do their jobs to your riders getting picked up in a timely manner, the key is to put forth a smooth operation. When you do that, customers tend to come back again and again.

Let’s Make a Deal

  • Deals are always a winner – Finally, are you offering your customer specials as often as possible? Although you can’t continually be lowering prices, you should put deals out there whenever the timing seems right. For instance, if you have some long-time customers, do you reward them? If not, what incentive do they have to stay with you for years to come? You can give them periodic discounts when they bring in new customers etc. By doing so, you give them more reason to not only stay with you, but also look around among friends and family to see who else they can get to do business with you.

If you have been a little lax up to now when it comes to putting customers first, the time to change that has definitely arrived.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about business topics on the web.

 

How to Improve Your Business’ Customer Service

Businesses of all sizes are constantly searching for ways to expand and retain their customer base by boosting their performance in customer service. The success of these departments is no longer only about etiquette and stellar communication skills; it is also important to develop a company wide forward-thinking culture to support your beneficial practices. As customer expectations are growing with the advancement of technology, it is time to take your customer feedback into account when thinking of an efficient customer service plan. Here are some suggestions on how to improve your company’s customer service.

Be Accessible and Responsive as Much as You can

Customer support availability is a primary customer demand, as they want quick and efficient answers to their questions at all times, and this is especially important for international and online businesses worldwide. For a desirable customer experience, you need to respond in a timely manner. Instant response to your customers’ concerns will build rapport from the beginning of your relationship and positive experience can be rewarded by recommendations to their family, friends, and colleagues.

Provide Customer Service Through Many Different Channels

The rise of technology has opened many communication channels between companies and customers. Whether it is questions or complaints, you have use as many options available to you in order to create quality customer experience. A customer should have a variety of choices when trying to reach a company. Direct phone contact, email, and social media are the basic options every business should provide. Contact forms, live chats, and other strategies such as traditional and emerging messaging services (SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.) can be an added bonus to your offer. Dissatisfied customers are often just looking for an explanation, product exchange or a refund. Providing a prompt and an adequate response over a customer’s preferred channel can help settle disputes in an efficient and a personalized way, convincing the customer that their concerns are valuable to you.

Use the Benefits of Self-service Support Options

Many customers prefer to find answers to their problems without having to interact with customer representatives. Developing self-service options will help your business optimize each customer representative’s time and potential by relieving them of duties while creating a convenient solution for your customers to get the right information quickly and independently. Having reliable and efficient self-service options is crucial, but keep in mind that leaving customers on their own cannot always substitute appropriate support from an agent. Customers will still prefer addressing human support if their issues are urgent or complicated.

Maintain a Trained and Well-organized Team of Employees

Constant training in new customer service techniques is bound to ensure the efficiency of your team. Your service team must be up to date with company protocol and product details, as well as ways to respond to different situations that may arise when providing customer support. Team managers will need to be able to assess individual employee skills and strengths, as well as areas in which they could improve. While good teamwork is vital to your customer service performance, clear communication between team members will be essential to the successful implementation of good practices. To provide a smooth flow of information, easy communication, and optimal work organization, businesses should consider using some type of a work organization software. A reliable project management software comparison could help you choose an option that works best for your particular needs.

Recognize Customer Feedback

Many customers search for other customer reviews before buying an item or committing to a business. Upon seeing positive reviews, they will be compelled to visit your website or look for more information. It is important to acknowledge both positive and negative customer feedback. Word-of-mouth reaches an incomparably larger number of people with the rise of online review websites and social media. Responding publicly to either compliments or complaints will help your company look engaged and invested when it comes to customers. On the contrary, a poor response or no response at all can hinder your company’s reputation.

Do not Neglect the Power of Support

Successful implementation of new and different strategies into your customer service operation plan can significantly improve the performance of your service teams while generating more genuine customer satisfaction and engagement.

 

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

You Just Lost Client Respect

Clients and customers can be fickle, and they may choose to stop buying from one business to switch to another for a whole variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan for a problem like this and ensure your company doesn’t slowly crumble due to lost demand. To avoid that, you need to know some of the key factors that will cause a customer to stop buying and lose all respect.

Terrible Customer Service

If you have long waiting times, poor management and a low level of staff for customer service, you might want to readjust your business model. It’s become quite popular for business owners to save money by reducing the number of employees for customer support. But don’t be surprised when any customer left on hold starts to look at the competition.

Bad Reviews

Yes, you certainly need to be careful of bad reviews. Eighty-six percent of people will think twice about buying from a company with negative reviews. That’s a problem because even if your company is perfect, there’s always going to be at least one negative review. You can’t please everyone all the time.

No Quality Check

Anything released related or linked to your business needs to be under quality control. If you deliver a truly awful service or product one time, customers will remember. They will think twice about buying from you again, and this extends beyond services and products. You need to think about marketing materials as well such as website content. Everything published should be proofread and edited. You can find out about the importance of these two processes in the following infographic.


Infographic ByScribendi

Casting the Net Wider: Reach More People Today

If your business has a core group of customers but struggles to reach people further afield, you have a clear problem. It’s impossible to grow and expand a business when it’s stuck in a very tight niche. You need to find ways of casting the net wider and reaching more people if you want to make your business bigger and better. When you do this, you mustn’t forget your core customers who provide the business with its base.

Broaden the Scope of Your Brand

The very first thing to do is broaden the overall scope of your brand. If people see your business as only being for a certain kind of consumer, they will be unlikely to even listen to what you have to say. That’s why you need to actively demonstrate how the business is changing and why this matters to your customers. Set up a marketing campaign that is directly aimed at people who have never used your business before. Confound their expectations and brand your business differently. On top of that, you will have to start selling things that have a broader appeal.

Be More Open and Communicative

Being open and communicative about your business is really important at times when you are trying to branch out and reach new people. If your business is closed off and not open to new people, it’s unlikely to do very well at all. So, to ensure your business doesn’t fall behind and lost traction, you should make sure your business has a presence in social media. And when you interact with people on these platforms, make sure you’re open and willing to be humorous. When you do that, more people will see the human side of your business.

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Image Source

Improve Your Website and Make Sure Content is Optimized

You’ll need to build a new website for your company if you want to make sure that it has the online presence required of modern businesses. If you run a construction company, this is just as true as if you run a tech startup. People often forget that all kinds of businesses need this strong online presence. There are companies that offer general contractor website design services if you do run that kind of business. But no matter what type of business you run, make sure the website is modern, easy to find and easy to use. You should also post content on there that is fully optimized to improve your SEO ranking.

Build Trust Over Time

Trust is important when it comes to the relationships between customers and businesses. If people don’t trust your brand, they won’t trust what it says or what it offers. So, it’s really important that you aim to build trust over time and don’t take customers for granted. It will be a slow process, so don’t expect to see instant results overnight. It simply won’t happen like that. Be prepared to prove your business is changing and appealing to more people. Eventually, the change will happen and people will begin to recognize it as well.

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Photo Source

The Patients First Approach To Making Your Practice Excel

Even in industries as essential to our civilization as health care is, you can never neglect the image of the business. Private practices have their competitors, which means they have as much need to assure that not only are their services on point but that their patients are happy. Yet in the straight-laced world of medicine, too many people forget that.

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RiverEdge Dental

Best face forward

One of the most obvious ways that a lot of practices fail is one of the very first ways that many patients will form an opinion of them. People expect that your premises themselves are going to have a certain standard to them. Besides crafting the kind of curb appeal that stands out from the stress, you need to make sure that your lobby and reception area are both professional and welcoming. Make sure that you have a pristine standard of cleanliness and organization, as well as some investment in the right furniture and décor to make it as pleasant a place to wait as possible.

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Vlastimil

Where have all the bedside manners gone?

The ornery receptionist and careless nurse might be something of a stereotype, but there’s no doubt that the human interaction in a practice is essential to crafting the patient experience. So, if you’re seeing a lack of healthy, happy interaction, how do the fix it? The answer might not be in the employees, but in the morale the workplace creates. Make sure that you’re working to keep people engaged and motivated. This means being open to criticism and changing employment policies.

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Intel Free Press

Get more convenient

Businesses rarely inhabit solely a physical space in the modern world. Nowadays, they cross dimensions into the internet. If people aren’t able to find details about your business on the internet, expect that they’re going to come to some bad impressions about your professionalism and prestige. But you want more than a website and social media presence to build the brand. You can even use it to pair patient marketing and telemedicine together, making it easier to see patients from afar, offering them a level of convenience and accessibility they might not be able to get from other practices.

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Ilmicrofono Oggiono

Extending a helpful hand

It’s not all about how patients find and form impressions of the practice, either. You should also think about how you reach out to them to continuously retain that relationship. The personal touch helps forge a lasting trust that professional treatment initiates. Consider using email to keep patients informed of checkups, new services, or simply to thank them for their visit. Just make sure that you’re aware of maintaining patient confidentiality when emailing. Including too many details could put the practice in a bit of legal trouble.

Putting your patients first is going to make it a lot easier not only to attract more customers but to retain those existing customers for even longer. Start forgetting that your patients have needs to have their time and feelings treated as important and you’ll have a hard time keeping hold of them.

 

Present Your Business In The Right Way

For businesses both small and large, the manner in which they are perceived by those outside the company is really vital. Your business, in essence, has a kind of public face with which it faces the world. You need to ensure that this is a positive one, one that promotes the kind of values that your business lives for, and one which is likely to serve you well further down the line. However, it can be difficult keeping on top of this, and you never know exactly what people think of your business the whole time. But as long as you are paying close attention to a few key areas, you should find that people think quite highly of your brand. Let’s take a look at what those areas might be.

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Pic Source

Customer Service

Ultimately, nothing is so important as what kind of treatment your customers receive. No matter what, there is no excuse for poor customer service, and that is well worth bearing in mind at all times. Go out of your way to improve your business’ customer service. Hold an away day with all of your frontline staff, those who actually communicate with the customer, and build up techniques together for impressing the customer as fast as possible. The interactions your business has with its own customers are the most important way to promote the right image for the business, so bear this in mind.

Website

All businesses need a website these days, and if you are clever about it you can use your website to promote your business in a specific way. The website is going to be the first thing that many people even see of your business, so its design and layout and the way it sticks to your branding is really important. To make sure you get it just right, hire expert custom web design services, as they can ensure that it is exactly what you need it to be. With a strong website which really draws people in, it is highly likely that customers will think well of your business.

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Pic Source

Emails & Letters

In all communications with anyone outside of the business, it pays to always think about how it makes your business look. It is a good idea to use letterheads on letters, and signatures on emails, to give that professional touch which people love so much. Politeness is also important here, as even the slightest hint of rudeness can dramatically turn someone off from your business immediately. Above all, however, you need to ensure your communications are always perfectly in line with your branding, whatever you might have decided that to be, as anything short of this is unlikely to be effective for the ongoing growth of the company.

Advertising

Let’s not forget the actual advertising you put out into the world, either. This should always be carefully constructed to promote the best and most accurate possible image of the business, as that way you can ensure that it is doing exactly what it is meant to do.

Ecommerce Supply Chain Challenges You Must Tame

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It wasn’t all that long ago that managing any supply chain was pretty easy. Most businesses operated on a smaller, more local scale than they do today, and if you managed to get a product to market, it would often stick around for a long time. Consumers didn’t have the scale of power and control they have today, either.

These days, however, planning the ins and outs of business fleets, deliveries, and supplies is a lot more complicated, thanks in the main to technology, consumer behavior, and global competition. A weak supply chain can see the enthusiasm for your product diminish almost overnight, or result in costs that become uncontrollable – while your rivals steal a march and claim your market share for themselves.

As you can tell, getting a grip on your supply chain – whether you are a small ecommerce store or a large-scale seller – is critical to your success. And avoiding the common roadblocks that can occur in your supply chain is the first step towards getting things right. But what are those obstacles, and how can you stop them from happening? Let’s take a look at the most common supply chain nightmares that could be affecting your business.

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Misunderstanding your customer’s needs

The first step towards first class supply chain management is ensuring your business meets the needs of your clients. In short, it’s a question of giving them exactly what they want and avoiding the costs of giving them things they don’t care for.

Every business out there is probably guilty of doing this, whether they are in the service industry or are a seller of goods. Take delivery costs as an example. Let’s say you have an ecommerce store and promise next day delivery. The trouble is, you will expect your customers to pay for it in some way, either through raising your prices or adding on an expensive delivery charge.

The former will often result to you being undercut by your rivals. And the latter could see your shopping cart abandonment rates rocket upwards because your customers balk at paying over the odds for delivery. So the big question is – do your customers really need next day delivery? Or would they prefer a lower price? Unless you can guarantee your customers are demanding it, why bother giving it to them?

Failure to have a strategy

Once you understand your customer’s needs, you can start planning your objectives. And once you have your objectives, you can devise your business strategy. Both of these factors will combine with each other to inform your supply chain strategy that meets your goals and still meets your customer’s needs. But how can you tell if your plan isn’t working?

The good news is there are a few critical signs that should make it obvious. First of all, if you have no idea what your supply chain strategy is, or have it written down, you are likely to be doing the whole thing wrong.

Another aspect is that you view your supply chain as a simple combination of your purchasing and manufacturing/production, when it is actually so much more, including logistics, marketing, sales, and research. If you are getting regular complaints from your customers about the cost of your products and services, or just hear murmurings of dissatisfaction, it’s another big sign things are going wrong.

Finally, if your supply chain isn’t connected to the rest of your business, and played out as a separate department from anything else, it will be hard to adapt, fix, or evolve your business in any way whatsoever.

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Long lead times

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of your supply chain – the relationship you have with your suppliers. This point is more relevant now than it ever has been, particularly if you are importing goods to sell in your country. For example, plenty of ecommerce businesses are importing goods from places such as China – Alibaba is a common resource – and then reselling them on Amazon.

On the face of things, this is a pretty good business model. You buy in cheap, sell on for twice the price or more, and take home a nice profit. But look a bit closer, and you will see that many supply chain issues involve long – and risky – lead times. You buy some stock, and sell out before you get a chance to order again.

But because it’s coming all the way from China, it could take anything up to 50 days to arrive – by which time you will have lost several customers, and desire for the product is waning. The trouble is, by the time you realize your problem, your orders are already on their way, and you cannot send them back.

Also, the further away you have to ship your goods, the more likely it is for something to go wrong. Piracy is a genuine concern, as are adverse weather conditions – and the end result is a business that doesn’t meet its customer’s primary needs. So, think carefully before going down the cheap labor route – it doesn’t always suit every business. The more local you can keep things, the more efficient your processes will be, if a little more expensive.

Failure to invest in new technology

Technology is there to make your life easier in business, so don’t overlook investing in new innovations for your supply chain. If a new piece of tech or software can help you save money without affecting your service levels, it’s worth it in the long-term.

You might find a piece of software which helps you drive down your customer returns, for example. Or, perhaps you might be eyeing up Amazon’s move into drone fulfillment that helps them improve their customer service by delivering products within a few hours.

In fact, some of the most exciting developments in the business world are occurring in the supply chain environment. It will almost never grab the headlines, but any company who uses transportation or suppliers should sit up and take notice. There is a lot of money to be saved, services to be improved, and better technology for your business needs.

Failure to outsource

A lot of companies – even those who specialize in pure logistics – are starting to cotton onto the fact that outsourcing particular activities can save a lot of time and money, and result in a leaner, more efficient business.

The trick here is to choose your partners wisely. Find third parties that can complement your business, and bring skills or efficiencies you don’t have to the table.

It could be outsourcing storage to a warehouse, for example, or using a particular delivery company to get your products out there. It might be handing over your invoicing to a specialist company that is more efficient and experienced in chasing payments than you are. The great thing about outsourcing is that both parties can benefit from a proactive partnership, and innovation and new ideas are never far from around the corner.

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No measurement of performance

Of course, you can’t expect to improve your supply chain if you cannot measure your current performance. You will need to have an end goal in mind – as highlighted in your objectives – but also achievable and trackable targets to meet in every area of your supply chain.

Use key performance indicators – or KPIs – to see where things are going right or wrong. And finally, ensure that tracking those KPIs and consistently tracking them becomes part of your company culture.

As we discussed in the introduction, it’s easy for supply chain management to quickly become unwieldy, messy, and a nightmare to deal with. But with robust KPIs in place that are meaningful and relevant to your company goals, you will be able to keep your performance smooth and enjoy a better return on every supply chain investment you make.

Inaccurate forecasting

Poor forecasting can cause an immeasurable amount of problems in your business, even if you are selling things on a small scale. We already mentioned the problems you might find when buying from countries or regions with long lead times, and it’s relevant in this case, too.

Robust stock control and reordering processes are absolute musts, or you could end up in a huge mess. For example, if your demand forecasting is too low, you will miss out on a lot of potential sales because you won’t have the right inventory. But if you estimate demand to be too great, you might be left with enormous levels of stock that never sells.

The trick to succeed in forecasting is to compare and track specific metrics, which should include historical data, availability of raw materials, product quality and delivery performance, for example. You should also ensure you are aware of market size and keep up to date with any changes – both will have an impact on your ability to control your inventory tightly.

As you can see, sound supply chain management can be a complicated beast, even for the smallest ecommerce businesses. But if you can put everything in place to test, track, and meet your overall business objectives, it will be the most important aspect of your ecommerce venture.

The tighter control you have over your supply chain, the lower you can charge your customers. And that results in a competitive advantage that will keep your company thriving for many years to come.