Tech Is Taking Over Customer Care

In the past, your employees were your most important tool or resource for dealing with customer issues and making sure that they were completely satisfied. Today? It all comes down to the tech. While employees certainly still have a role to play here, it’s the tech in your company that is going to determine whether your customers are satisfied with your level of service.

There are a few reasons for this. First, the advances in technology have made it the best solution. With new tech, you can communicate with people, highlight information and take personal reactions out of the equation. This actually makes a business model more efficient and effective because the time of your staff can be spent elsewhere in other key areas. Let’s look at some of the tech that can be used and examples across industries.

E-commerce Online Interactions

In the past, if a customer wanted to speak to an employee or member of your staff online, they had two options. Either, they could call your company or send an email. Neither were particularly beneficial. Numbers were constantly clogged up with customers while emails did not provide the best response time.

Today, customers can access live chats through your website if you have the necessary software. With the right software, you can make sure that customers can immediately talk to someone on your team but that’s not all. Customers can also find information they need from automated response before they ever think about speaking to a member of your team.

Feedback

Customers may need feedback particularly if they have used a service you have provided. They may also want to provide feedback to your company. There are lots of ways companies do this using technology today, but let’s explore the medical industry in particular. The medical industry is a rather special case because rather than customers they have patients. But patients still interact with staff like doctors and nurses, so they still require customer care. With a mobile hospital cart computer workstation, patients can see their diagnosis on screen, provide feedback that is directly input in an automated system and even communicate with their doctor. The tech used here speeds up processes in hospitals, dealing with the critically long wait times that plague hospital halls.

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Online Discussion

Finally, you can use the online world to provide your clients or customers with the chance to communicate with you. Using the latest software, you can think about giving your customers various opportunities to not only discuss their opinions of your business but communicate with your company in a more personal way. Customers want to form connections with the businesses they buy from, and this is important. It will gain you loyalty and trust for those key repeat sales that will keep your company moving.

Similar tech can exist on shop floors as well, this time in the form of physical equipment. In some shops, you can now purchase items yourself. Once purchased you may then gain the chance to give feedback and leave your thoughts about the business. It’s a highly streamlined way of allowing customers to complete the process of purchasing while also interacting with your business.

Five Unusual Ways Of Staying In Touch with Your Customers

If you would like to market your company in a competitive marketplace, it is important that you choose your communication methods that make you stand out from the crowd. If your advertisement is displayed among dozens of others, it will make little or no impact. When Facebook advertising started, companies that jumped on board were winning customers. Now, however, you need to try harder to stand out. Below you will find a few unusual ways of staying in touch with your customers and marketing to them.

1.    Postcards

To really get your message across and show your appreciation to your customers, it is important that you keep in touch in a unique way. If you can keep a record of all your clients’ birthdays and special occasions, you will be able to surprise them with a unique postcard, reminding them that your company is there for them if they need it. At the same time, you can also use postcard marketing to send out promotions and special discount codes.

2.    Video Messages

If you would rather automate your marketing processes, you can create a video series and fill your autoresponder sequences with informative and educational content your customers will appreciate. Even if you are only sending out a branding message about moving to a new office, or positive changes in your company, you are giving your audience a chance to connect with you on a personal level, and you can strengthen your relationship with clients.

3.    Voice Recordings

A great way of making your marketing and branding messages stand out and get noticed is sending voice recordings to your customers. If you use any instant messaging service, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack, you can send out recorded messages, Personalize your content to each customer’s industry, so they feel that you are talking directly to them,

4.    Faxing

While some people believe that fax services are old fashioned and modern businesses should no longer use them, they can make a huge difference in your marketing and communication campaigns. You can sign up for an online faxing account and create unique letterheads, getting your personalized messages across this way. Because you are not using email, your message will have a much better chance of being read than simply creating regular newsletters.

5.    Text Messages

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Image via PxHere

A great way of getting in touch with local clients is text messages or push messages. Both of the methods will allow you to deliver the short announcement or promotion directly to your customer’s phone. As most of us check our phones multiple times a day, this can be a great way of enticing your clients to visit your shop for a discount or asking for feedback, recommendation, or simply informing them of the changes in your opening hours.

If you would like to make sure that your promotional and branding messages get noticed by your target audience, it is important that you are using unique communication channels. These will enable you to personalize your message and reach out, increase your conversion and open rates.

Top Reasons People Hate Your App

It can sound a bit harsh to say someone hates your app, but if you’ve gotten to the point where you feel like it could be possible, it’s time to figure out why. When you have a business, and you create an app, your objective obviously isn’t to have people hate it.

Unfortunately, more often than not that can be the case. If you can identify what elements of your app design or functionality users don’t like, you may be able to fix it without a complete overhaul.

If you’re not sure where to start, the following are some of the top reasons users could be less-than-thrilled with your app in its current form.

Users Don’t Know When Something Is Happening

You’re using an app, you push something, and it seems like nothing happens. There’s no acknowledgment that you’ve taken action.

Is it working or not? It’s extremely frustrating but all-too-common.

When you create your app, you want your users to know that their action is recognized. For example, you can show an icon of movement or that the screen is being refreshed. You want to be able to create a sense of cause and effect for user actions.

Advertising Feels Intrusive

Nobody likes intrusive advertising in any media. We’re at a point in digital technology where people can largely avoid advertising altogether if they choose. So while you may need to drive revenue with in-app advertising, you need to be careful with it.

You don’t want to include super graphics-heavy advertising or video ads that are going to make someone’s phone seem like it’s going haywire every time they use your app.

You also don’t ever want to include any unresponsive advertising. It’s going to be highly frustrating, and even if your app itself is great, it’s probably not going to matter.

Constant Push Notifications

Push notifications can be an excellent marketing tool, but not when you’re bombarding users. If someone feels like their smartphone is buzzing every hour with your push notifications, they’re probably going to uninstall the app.

As with advertisements, you need to be smart, strategic and discerning with your push notifications, so they create value rather than turning off users.

Constantly Asking for Reviews

When someone downloads an app, they do so because they want it to bring value to their life. It’s not about your business getting feedback.

If you’re using every second a person spends in an app asking them to like or share it, they’re going to feel frustrated.

That’s just a big interruption and obstacle in the overall user experience. If someone is trying to complete a task in your app and they keep being stopped so it can ask for a review or a like, it’s a problem.

Of course, in-app feedback can be useful, but it can’t be overdone, or like advertising, it can’t feel intrusive to the user experience.

Finally, be on the conservative side when it comes to how many personal details you’re asking your users for. Yes, your app may ask for some, but it’s important that you do so for a purpose, and you disclose this to users with transparency. Otherwise, they’re going to feel like you’re trying to exploit them or take advantage.

Benefits of Implementing Business Intelligence for Small Businesses

In the past, small business owners had to gaze in a crystal ball to get their hands on big data, while the CEOs of larger corporations bathed in it. However, this is no longer the case as business intelligence is now more readily available for small businesses as well. For years this powerful tool was the backbone of many successful companies as it allowed them to act on data-driven insight rather than pure speculation. What’s more, BI has the ability to process huge streams of data that otherwise wouldn’t be humanly possible, and seeing as how there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated every day, this has almost become a necessity. What are some actual benefits a small business owner can expect from implementing such a tool? Let’s find out.

Understanding customer behavior

Knowing who your customers are, their shopping habits, and more importantly, their likes and dislikes is essential for providing excellent customer service. This is where BI comes into play with its capacity to understand customer behavior by going through all of the company’s sales records, as well as other, more public data sources, such as social media and various other blogs and forums, to provide valuable insight. With the data collected, small business owners can work on upgrading and personalizing their customers’ experience further, in hopes of driving more sales. A happy customer is a loyal customer, and knowing exactly what makes them tick will ensure that a successful retention strategy is in play.

Identifying and predicting trends

Sometimes anticipating customer needs before they even arise can be hugely beneficial. Picking up on the latest trends before your competition is a real game changer. Luckily for us, BI can actually make sense of big data to the degree of finding clear patterns which are relevant for identifying trends, as well as predicting them. This predictive analysis is absolutely vital for making informed business decisions that would, otherwise, be mere guesswork. It will, therefore, allow small business owners to funnel their resources into something more lucrative with almost no risk involved and significantly increase their profit margins in the process.

Improving operational efficiency

Another thing worth mentioning is how BI helps you organize the internal structure of your business. Small business owners simply don’t have the luxury of paying staff members that don’t deliver but they have no real means of knowing who these low performers are. Well, sophisticated business intelligence software can help you to get rid of such managerial inefficiencies by pointing out the areas that need improvement. Naturally, this saves entrepreneurs a lot of time and effort and opens up their business for expansion. Indeed, growth is the most exciting aspect of any small business venture and allocating resources smartly plays a huge role in its development, especially early on.

Scouting the competition

Unfortunately, understanding all the intricacies of your business is simply not enough for achieving success because your business isn’t located in the vacuum but in the open market with thousands of similar enterprises vying for domination. Consequently, you need to be more aware of what your competitors are up to if you wish to outsmart them. What are their services and products? What’s their target audience, and how does it differ from yours? These are just some of the basic questions you need to answer. In addition, once you’ve gathered this intel you can then proceed with the implementation of strategies that will effectively set you apart from your immediate competitors. This, of course, will enable you to stand out from the crowd a bit more and get you noticed.

Determining optimal pricing

Finally, the pricing of your products can affect the final outcome of your sales and whether or not you’ll earn a profit at the end of the day. Yet, the answer is somewhere out there buried beneath terabytes and terabytes of data you need to dig through. This is why big corporations had the edge for all these years as they reaped the rewards of their BI pricing strategies and inventory management. By analyzing big data, it is easy to determine the right price tag and identify the products that are not selling very well.

To sum up, with big data not shrinking in size anytime soon, powerful tools such as BI are a necessity for adequate business operations nowadays. The benefits are there, small businesses just need to reach out and grab them.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

Self-Employed Game Designers: A Reality?

Game development is a lucrative business that attracts a huge range of consumers. Triple A titles like the Call of Duty series can pull in millions of dollars without much innovation at all.

Game developers – the people behind the keyboards creating these interactive blockbusters – are in huge demand. With the big developers already full of talent, however, many may be looking to develop their own products. Whilst the methods to creating a home business are well established, the question is what do modern game designers need and is it possible to be successful?

The Foundations

For most people, becoming a game designer isn’t much more than having a passion for video games (or even just creating worlds), a creative edge and dedication. Game development was once the pastime of those with creative or computer skills with little professional recognition. However, many colleges offer games design courses nowadays to provide bespoke qualifications to those looking to get into the industry.

Having the correct equipment to match your ambitions is crucial, too. Higher end titles will require a powerful computer to complete rendering tasks. The less graphically intensive ones, less so.

Success Stories

Self-employed game developers often resort to the indie – independent – games market to get their products out there. Platforms, such as Steam, allow users to upload their games and offer them to a rating system, whereby enough positive feedback will get the game onto the fully paid store. These indie games are often lauded for combining creative storytelling with friendly and accessible interfaces.

Independent games can be a huge success story. One of the most popular video games in the world, Undertale, is an indie game, and has sold 1.2 million copies.

Modifications

Games like Undertale, Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress have become incredibly popular and made their owners a lot of money. A huge part of their success has been providing the people who have purchased the game with a lot of power to modify and craft their own games from these source products, often whilst collaborating with carefully nurtured communities.

The Future

Big companies have had their heads turned by the advent of self-employed developers and indie gamers and are now trying to muscle their way in. Microsoft paid $2.5bn to acquire Minecraft and its parent company, MoJang. For the developer him or herself, the big institutions of the video industry and becoming involved in development scheme. Sony SM are nurturing developers on a no obligation basis, for example, offering skills to those promising enough.

Game development is a big business with a huge pull for programmers and creative minds everywhere. With the opportunities offered by the internet such as online publishing, would-be developers need not turn to the big publishers for their break. Self-employed game design is today.

3 Things You Never Want to Experience With Customer Relations

Nightmares can affect us in many different ways. A recurring nightmare can constantly pester us and force us to wake up worried and in cold sweats, and they can also become psychologically damaging at times. Luckily, this is rare and most of us experience nightmares because we’re worried about something. Whether it’s a phobia of losing your business or being embarrassed during a public appearance, here are some of the customer relations nightmares that you never want your business to go through, and also how to avoid them.

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  1. Injuring a Member of the Public, a Client or a Customer

All hell will break loose if you injure someone in your line of work. When it’s someone in your own company, then it can usually be handled in a professional manner. This is because the employee doesn’t want to lose their job and the employer doesn’t want to create a public outcry or draw attention from the media.

Injuries can happen in a number of different ways, and there’s a huge difference between physical and psychological injuries. For example, specialised services like Elan Law bed bug lawyer may be required if you operate a service such as a hotel or fashion store. Bed bugs can easily transfer between people on their clothes, and it can create widespread panic. No one wants to be told that a customer found a bedbug in one of their packages you sent overseas, and it will create a storm of negative publicity.

In order to prevent situations like this, it’s important to learn everything about your business and plan for any possible failures because there’s no coming back from it. Make one mistake, and you’ll likely lose a huge chunk of your business, if not the entire company.

  1. Going Viral in All the Wrong Ways on the Internet

Going viral on the internet can happen in a number of different ways, but you’ll ideally want it to happen in a positive way. Going viral for negative reasons will get you out there but, contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is positive. The internet is a ruthless and cutthroat place, so if you want to stand out it has to be for all the good reasons and you may even need to learn about how internet culture works if you want to take advantage of going viral. The last thing you want is to have your name associated with an internet meme that mocks your company, because you will forever be branded as a joke business that can’t be taken seriously.

  1. Being Ridiculed by Another Company With No Comeback

And lastly, on the topic of internet culture, it’s important to understand that other companies will try and take advantage of internet trends to bring your business down. For instance, Wendy’s started a social media stir when its Twitter operator started ridiculing other companies and people on Twitter. The Tweets went viral and boosted business for Wendy’s. Although it sounds ludicrous that negative comments directed at paying customers helped to boost their business, it’s one of the quirks of the internet and you need to be ready to appeal to the general audience of social media if you want to remain successful. If you’re on the receiving end of this type of ridiculing, then you need to prepare a comeback or else you’ll be shunned by many young and impressionable consumers.

Decrease Your Bounce Rate, Increase Loyal Customers

A poor bounce rate is a conundrum that a lot of businesses face. They are attracting a good amount of traffic to their website, but they don’t have many conversions to back it up. Of course, traffic means nothing if the people that are visiting your website are not interested in what you have to offer. So, where are you going wrong? Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can decrease your bounce rate in order to increase your loyal consumer base.

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Is your web design confused?

This is one of the main reasons for a high bounce rate. Does your branding reflect your business and the industry you operate in? If your web design is confused, it is going to dilute your brand identity, and it will immediately turn potential customers away. This often occurs when people work with web design and marketing businesses that have no experience in their area. If you run a law firm, for instance, a company like Foster Web Marketing would be ideal, as they cater to the legal sector and have an abundance of experience in this industry. It is so important to find designers that have experience in your niche, and check out their portfolio to see the work they have done so far.

Do you understand what your visitors are looking for?

As mentioned in the introduction, one of the biggest problems business owners face is that they have a tremendous amount of website traffic, but they can’t turn these users into customers. The main reason for this is because not all every user is your ideal consumer.  So, what happens is that someone gets directed to your page, and then they realise that you don’t offer what they are looking for, and then they leave. This is why your bounce rate is high.

To rectify this issue, you need to understand your website visitors. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  • Analyse onsite search trends – This is a good way to understand what your customers are expecting from your website. You can see what search terms they use, and whether your website is catering to what they want. If not, you can identify the gaps in your content and make the necessary changes.
  • Discover the highest converting pages on your website at present – You can learn what type of content attracts customers to your business by understanding the highest converting pages. You will probably find that there is a big difference between your highest converting content and your most popular content, and this signals that you need to make a change.
  • Find your most popular content – This leads on from the former point perfectly. You need to find your most popular posts and make sure they are optimised for boosting conversions.

Do you encourage new website users to opt-in to your email list?

If you don’t, now is the time to start. This is important because research indicates that to create a viable sales lead it takes six to eight touches. This is why collecting email addresses is a must. This enables you to keep in contact with your potential customer, ensuring the relationship is kept alive until they convert. Otherwise, how would you be able to encourage the six to eight touches until a sale takes place?

You need to have a careful and considered approach when encouraging people to sign up to your email list. You need to give them an incentive to do so. For example, you could offer valuable digital downloads, such as a whitepaper, cheat sheet, template, or eBook.

Do you re-engage abandoned visitors?

This is the final point to consider when it comes to your bounce rate. A lot of business owners simply give up on the users that have abandoned them after their first visit to their website. This is a big mistake, which can result in many opportunities lost. You shouldn’t give up on these users. Perhaps they simply were not ready to make a purchase from your website or sign up to your email list first time around?

You need to look for the most effective methods of re-engaging with these visitors. One of the ways you can do this is with social media. You can target people that have recently engaged with your website, creating posts that have been perfectly put together to appeal to them. You can also use on-site remarketing to appeal to abandoning visitors through targeted exit-intent popups.

All in all, reducing your bounce rate is of huge importance if you are to have a successful online presence. Use the tips that have been mentioned above to get started.