Customer Loyalty: Does Your Small Business Have What It Takes To Keep It?

Customer retention is a difficult topic for a small business. It’s not that they can’t keep the customers, it’s getting them in the first place that’s often the problem. Small businesses often flounder before they have a chance to grow and a lot of that is to do with their placement as a small fish in an ocean of sharks. Whether you are running a small business store on Etsy, or you’re marketing yourself as a solopreneur who is offering a solution to a problem, you need to know how to retain your customers so that they trust your mini brand – even before it becomes a mega one.

Returning customers are crucial to the success of a small business and the way to get them coming back for more is in your retention strategy. You need to be so good, that customers see what you’re doing and fall in love with it. It’s ensuring that you work closely with IT experts to roll out your carefully crafted software to other companies, working with agile testing teams and pushing yourself to do more for your customers. Online customers spend three times more money than customers do in store, and if the service that you offer – or the solution you provide – is one that is effective and reeks of perfection, you’re going to see loyalty from your customers. You are the only one who can decide whether you have what it takes to retain your customers, though, and if you can’t, you’re going to sink. Here are four short ways to create that customer loyalty that’s going to secure your bottom line.

Experience Peaks. Customers will buy whatever they’re interested in, but you need to keep them hooked for more. If they’ve enjoyed the product that you sold in the first place, they’ll buy again. However, you need to keep the deal sweet. Maybe once customers have bought from you once, you then send a discount code to them to be able to buy again. The promise of the same product that they love being cheaper is a bonus and keeps the experience peaked for them.

VI-Party. Most people don’t like getting unsolicited emails, but customers who sign up with your product will expect to be notified of changes, upgrades and extras. Give them loyalty points and an early access pass to new releases. They’ll love the exclusivity and it keeps them coming back to you for more of the things that you offer.

Get Online. Whichever way that you do it, you need to be where your customers can connect with you. Get onto social media and be a part of the community. Having access directly to the people in charge of the product that has been sold is a bonus for customers and they can feel like they are heard.

Stay Passionate. You’ve made something successful enough for people to want to keep coming back for more. All you need to do now is ensure that you keep up the momentum that you’ve set for yourself.

Customers will always go with the popular brands; make yourself one of them and keep your loyal base coming back for more.

World-Class Customer Service Tips You Should Never Forget

Customer service is something that all businesses today need to master. After all, it does not cost a lot to smile and provide a few friendly words. Of course, effective customer service goes a lot further than this. It is viewed as an opportunity to secure new customers and to strengthen relationships with existing ones. It is important to recognize that the way you act has a massive impact on your brand, and with the Internet how it is today, one bad move could be stuck with your company forever. With that being said, continue reading to discover some world-class customer service tips you should never forget.

You need to give credence to customer complaints – There is only one place to begin, and this is with handling customer complaints. No one likes to receive a complaint from anyone but it is part of being in business. How you deal with complaints makes a huge difference. View this as an opportunity to improve your company. You also need to make sure that you remain consistent in tone and process. The CARP method is a good one to use. This means you should control the situation, and then acknowledge the dilemma. Once you have done this, refocus the conversation and then problem-solve so that the consumer leaves content.

You need to communicate clearly – Another important tip to follow when it comes to achieving world-class customer service levels is to make sure that you practice clear communication. There are so many different factors that impact communication, for example, tone and styling, and your employees need to be aware of this. They also need to make sure that they do not confuse your customers with technical jargon, colloquialisms, or slang. You also need to make sure that you use positive language, avoiding negative words at all costs.

You need to recognize when it is right to outsource – The best businesses today are those that outsource and do so effectively. You should not just outsource any old element of your company. You need to make sure that it is something that is going to benefit your business. For example, a medical answering service could benefit a healthcare practice because it means employees have more time to focus on patient care.

You need to give your customer service team the right tools – Last but not least, you need to make sure that your customer service team has the right tools so that they can provide the right support to people that call. If you do not have any software in place that enables your customer service representatives to pull up accurate client records, for example, they are never going to be able to provide them with an efficient and effective support service.

So there you have it: some of the world-class customer service tips you should follow to help your business achieve more. Don’t overlook the importance of your customers and what they mean for your business. Without them, you would not have a business.

4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Selling is one thing: You can probably convince nearly anyone that they have a need or a want that’s related to your product or service. That’s what makes you good at your job in either sales or marketing. But it’s often what comes after the sale—when things go sideways or when your customer or your company trips up a bit—that determines how well your company does going forward, how many new customers it gains, and how many customers come back for a second, third, fourth, or more time. That’s what’s called customer service, and that’s what many companies don’t do very well.

 They might not do it well because they haven’t thought about it enough. They don’t have a culture that’s dedicated to getting it right, every time, for the customer. So what do companies that do have a culture of excellent customer service look like, and how do they get it right every time? This graphic offers some worthwhile examples.

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4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Via Salesforce

 

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.

The Worst Things Don’t Happen At Sea, They Happen Online!

Sailors are wrong about the ocean, particularly if you are thinking regarding commercial prospects. Most people think that the idea of the worst things occurring at sea comes from issues like drowning, or boats overturning. Actually, it’s a business warning. It means the worst things that can happen to your company occur on the waters. In the past, this may have been true. After all, one bad storm could have wiped the entire trading prospects of a company. These days that’s not true, and businesses will have more than a few eggs in a variety of different baskets. Businesses are diversified as much as possible to guarantee that one bad problem won’t kill the company.

As true as this is, if you look at the business market it becomes clear that the danger hasn’t disappeared, it’s shifted to a new location. These days, the dangerous waters are actually in the online realm. So, let’s look at some of the problems you can encounter with your business online as well as the best ways to handle them.

When SEO Attacks

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There are a few issues you need to be aware of with SEO for your company. First, there’s the Google penalties. These little nuisances are a lot scarier than they seem, particularly when you discover they have names like Penguin and Panda. The penalties can actually cause your search ranking to plummet through the floor, and this will negatively impact the profitability of your business because no one will be able to find your site.

This is why you need to be careful about the type of SEO tactics that you use. SEO can be tricky, and it’s worth making sure that you don’t oversimplify it to the point where you start using blackhat forms of the service. An example of that would be stuffing content with keywords. Content, on the other hand, is a key way that you can build SEO and increase the ranking of your site the right way.

To do this, you just need to make sure that you are adding content that is relevant, targeted and written or produced to a high-quality level. This can be difficult, and that’s why a number of business owners now use professional writers for articles, video and infographics.

The other issue with SEO is a negative SEO attack. Here, a business that is competing with yours will use SEO to target your company and make sure that negative content surrounding your business appears when customers search your brand. It’s dangerous, it’s damaging, and it’s one of the reasons why you should always keep a check on the buzz around your business online.

This is just a couple of the issues you need to be aware of when marketing your business online Both are easily avoidable so let’s look at a problem that isn’t.

Hacks And Breaks

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In the past, the biggest security threat yo your business would be someone smashing a window in your office or cracking the lock on the door of your building. Today, a hacker can break into your business and take sensitive data or valuable information with just a laptop. They don’t even have to visit your business address to do this. Now, what does this mean for your company with regards to security?

Well first of, you need to make sure that you do have the right insurance services such as risk management. It is crucial that you know how much risk there could be surrounding your business. This will determine the coverage your company needs as well as the price or premium that you will need to pay. Be aware that there are a lot of insurance plans that will not cover loss from a data hack. That’s why you’re going to have to be careful about the type of company coverage that you choose.

Aside from this, you should be explore a few of the security possibilities for your business online. Start off by looking into https. You will notice that this site does use https. What does that mean? Basically, the site is operating with an SSL, and this ensures that all the data transferred through the site is secure. It makes the site far more secure and is recommended for any site that transfers data such as passwords which these days is every single site and blog.

If you don’t want to make this change to protect your company or the interests of your customers, do it to protect your profits. Studies show that 83 percent of users will leave your site if it is labelled as insecure which it will be without an SSL.

Aside from this, you should be using the services of an IT support team. They will make sure that your business is constantly monitored and checked to see if there is an issue with a hack. If there is an issue they will correct it as quickly as possible and make sure that if customer data is lost then at least, you will be aware of it.

Damage To The Brand

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You should also be concerned about the possibility of damaging your business brand online. A variety of issues can damage your business brand online and the first problem to think about is poor customer reviews. Everything these days is susceptible to reviews and if you have a string of bad reviews, slowly but surely your customers will begin to disappear.

As well as customer reviews you need to consider business interactions. These days there is just no excuse for a business not communicating or failing to stay in contact with customers. Using social media, this should be easy, and if it’s taking up too much time, a social media manager can handle this for you, guaranteeing that customers feel connected. If your customers don’t feel like part of your business, they will pursue a relationship with another organization, perhaps one of your main competitors.

We hope you see now that the worst things that impact businesses occur online, not at sea.

 

 

 

So, You Want to Be Your Own Boss? Take These Steps to Succeed

It’s 2018, and the climate is perfect for entrepreneurs of all sorts, hence the growing number of people who are starting their own businesses, and successfully so. From stay-at-home parents, students, digital wizards, all the way to fully-developed remote companies, there’s a whole range of profitable careers you can tap into directly from your sofa.

And what makes it even more appealing is the fact that nothing prevents you from growing your business globally. However, as dreamy and perfect as all of this sounds, there are several key steps you need to take in order to make your way through the crowd of home-grown businesses.

Do what you love

And what you are brilliant at, since being average in this day and age will not get you too far, especially if you have to cover your own business expenses for the time being. The same goes for a business started out of passion, but without a clear idea of whether or not your product or services are actually needed, so you need to consider if there is a gap in the market for what you are offering.

Spend some time (but not forever) thinking about and brainstorming on everything you could see yourself doing for hours on end, with enthusiasm and vigor, and assess whether or not you are actually good at it enough to make your business attractive and stand out in the market. Love is where it starts, but skill and need are also essential.

Create a business plan

Now that you have established your ideal profession and analyzed the market to learn that it’s actually needed, you need to put it all in perspective. A business plan should include every single branding, marketing, communication, production, advertising strategy for the next year (or more), along with measurable metrics, milestones to track your progress and alternative routes for added flexibility.

A detailed business plan still makes room for adjustments on the go, because you can never fully anticipate market fluctuations or prevent slumps in your marketing campaign performance. You need contingency plans that will help you run your business even when things are slow or you come across an unexpected obstacle.

License and registration, please

Of course, before you start working on developing your business for the customer, you need to cover the legal bases that will make your company a recognizable legal entity in your country (or the entire world). From obtaining a federal tax number, completing company registration forms for your business, getting the needed licenses and certifications, to deciding on bookkeeping systems, it can take some time to make your company come to life from a legal perspective.

It’s unwise to do both the legal and the creative aspect simultaneously, since you might find yourself overwhelmed with work, and the complexity of each task may vary from one profession to another. Getting to know your country’s laws and regulations is a must for a business that wants to have a long and prosperous life.

Learn about your target customers

Who is your product or service intended for? How do you envision your ideal customer? Where can you find them, where do they spend their time? What sort of communication channels do they prefer and what language can they relate to? What’s their average age, most common occupations and anything else that makes them who they are?

Understanding your future clients means that you have shifted your view from your product itself to the person for whom you are creating the brand. This information and analysis of it may lead to adapting your product or its presentation to make it more appealing, or completely rethinking your brand identity to have a better chance at establishing trust and offering value to your customers.

Keep learning

Even if you are starting your business with a decade of experience in the field, it’s crucial that you stay open-minded to new ideas, concepts and discoveries emerging every day. As you develop your company, you will need to keep up with the trends in your profession, so that you can stay in the forefront and offer more quality than your competitors.

Do your best to take online seminars, attend networking events, take up additional courses and education whenever possible. These added skills and certificates will only add more value to your brand and give you more skills with which you can keep your company strong.

Control your environment

A seemingly insignificant factor that has brought many a home business to its knees is the mere atmosphere of where you do your work. Just like you put so much time into defining your talents and your business, you should adapt your home to have a designated work area.

It doesn’t have to be an entire room, as long as you know how to steer clear of distractions such as your TV, private social media profiles and other irrelevant notifications. Create a work area that will inspire you to work, create and devote yourself to your work, and be mindful of the time you spend growing your business – although it may be a pivotal segment of your life, don’t let it consume all of your time. Make sure you stay healthy, lead a social life and expand your horizons, because you never know from where your next favorite project may come!

 

Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. Alex is a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

 

 

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.