Defending Your Reputation When The Knives Come Out For You

When you own a business of your very own, your reputation is everything. It’s what makes your clientele choose you over your nearest competitor. It’s what engenders a sense of trust in the brand you have created and in you; the guiding hand behind it. Thus, when the knives come out for you and others seek to besmirch your good name it can have disastrous consequences for your brand and your business. You must defend your good name with every ounce of might you can muster. This is a battle on several fronts. You must not only be reactive and deal with threats to your reputation as and when they appear, you must also lay a firm foundation to limit your liability and protect your reputation from damage. Here are just a few of the measures you can take…

Hire a lawyer with a sterling reputation

No matter the size of your operation, it behoves you to find a sterling legal team. If someone accuses you or your business of malpractice, the outcome in court is more than likely to spill over into the court of public opinion (which can be notoriously unforgiving). A good legal team will mount an aggressive defense on your behalf and ensure that the truth comes to light. See Brian Zeiger for more information. Of course, prevention is always the best cure, which brings us to…

Make sure that you have the right insurance

If you have a physical place of business, it goes without saying that you need some form of public liability insurance to protect you if a customer or client injures themselves on your business.However, businesses are increasingly investing in reputation insurance to insulate you against a wide range of risks to your reputation and to help employ potent damage control measures. While entrepreneurs can be gun shy when it comes to the prospect of more overhead costs, the right insurance is absolutely essential in protecting your operation and your reputation.

Deal quickly and decisively with social media complaints

Every customer service policy should have a comprehensive and effective customer complaints policy at its core. However, in the social media age, people are much more likely to air their grievances in the public forum of social media than submit an official complaint.

The longer a complaint is left undealt with on social media, the more potential damage it can cause to your reputation. It’sup to you to deal with these types of complaint quickly and decisively. Set up a Google alert to help you to respond quickly. Address the complaint publicly. Be sure to apologize and demonstrate your willingness to make amends.

Know the needs of your target market

While you may enjoy the regular custom of your target demographic now, make no mistake, they will turn on you if they feel that their needs are being neglected. Lose focus and you may find yourself the focus of negative buzz which will almost certainly result in a loss of sales.

Take the steps to guard your reputation and you will not be pushed off the path to prosperity.

Losing Focus? How to Identify Your Marketing Audience

Effective marketing is essential to getting your business the exposure it needs to bring in new customers, and to retain old ones. Without careful planning and execution, not only will you fail to increase your business’s exposure, you will also be wasting money on ineffective solutions. One of the greatest pitfalls of marketing is catering to the wrong audience. A skateboarding equipment brand may find sales dropping if their marketing solutions are geared toward the elderly, whereas an in-home care service may find a disinterested audience in younger generations. Your target audience will determine if you should be marketing through newspapers, television ads, YouTube and social media, billboards, and so forth. The following are some tips to help you better identify your audience so that you can focus your solutions into only the most effective campaigns.

Surveys

Putting out a survey can help you gather important demographic information about the types of consumers visiting your website and the kind of products they are interested in buying. Knowing who is already following your product and service will help you better cater to them as well as reach out to more within their demographics. Surveys like these can also help you measure how satisfied your current customers are with your products, and if you need to make changes to better suite their needs and interests. Many television producers, for example, are often surprised to find that the demographic they are marketing toward is very different from the one that is actually watching their content, often resulting in changing the content to better satisfy their majority fan demographics.

Read Visitor Reviews and Comments

Your website should contain areas for product reviews and user comments. While surveys give valuable feedback to you, potential customers are also interested in knowing what works for what demographics. Reviews and comments work both to give your customers an open-ended medium to convey their experience with your company, and to give you insight into what your customers think that interested parties should know before purchasing your products and services. Once you understand the typical customer experience with your company, you can better convey that in your marketing campaigns to paint a satisfyingly accurate preview to future customers.

Customer Profiling

One way to gain significant insight into the audience you are reaching is to do background research on the customers you have. What else are they interested in? What other companies are they looking at within your industry? How is your product or service being used? What other companies are taking an interest in your products and services? This can be difficult to determine when companies and consumers are answering surveys and leaving comments with ambiguous internet personas. Name matching services are available online to help you identify the individuals behind acronyms, usernames, and even foreign characters. It is much easier to build a clear picture of your current demographics when you know who is interacting with your company, and a little research can help you find everything you need to crack the mystery caused by online pseudonyms.

Run a Market Analysis

While marketing to your current customer demographics is very important, it’s also important to seek to expand your audience if you want to bring in greater sales opportunities. Finding new audiences to reach can be difficult, however, because some audiences will be receptive to the sort of thing you provide, while others will be entirely disinterested. Once again, a skateboarding equipment brand won’t find much luck trying to market towards an elderly demographic, but they might be able to reach a greater audience by targeting teens, children, and based on current YouTube trends, even pets. While common sense plays a large part in deciding on a new target demographic, you can also gain great insight by doing a market analysis. Look around and see what audiences are being targeted by other companies in your industry, and see how effective or ineffective their methods of reaching them are. Following current market trends will help you keep your marketing campaigns relevant and on top of the industry, and allows for greater opportunities to expand your customer base.

You cannot have an effective marketing campaign if you don’t know your intended audience. Knowing what demographics you are already reaching, as well as what audiences you could be reaching based on current market trends, will allow you to make educated decisions for your marketing solutions. Don’t let your promotional content fall on deaf ears. Find your audience, find out how to reach them, and maintain awareness to continue to meet the needs of your customers.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Best Ways Managers Can Motivate Their Team

It’s hard to keep everything right on schedule when the office morale is low and people are slacking at half of their work capacities. According to Gallup, only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, 55% of them are unengaged and as many as 16% are actively disengaged. So, how do you get the other 71% to wake up? Simple, by following the instructions below:

Make it worth their while

No matter how interesting your employees’ job may be, sooner or later, their initial enthusiasm will fade, and they’ll feel like dogs chasing their tails. As a result, their productivity levels will drop, leaving you with a workforce operating at half-capacity. To avoid this, you need to constantly be raising the bar and setting new challenges for your employees. According to these statistics, 86% of millennials would keep their current positions if their employers provided them with career training and development, while 87% of them stated that professional development and career growth opportunities are very important. This could be anything ranging from specific job-related skills, languages, computer skills, and so on. In essence, by investing in your employees’ development, you’re effectively hitting two birds with one stone, as their newly acquired skills will keep them both motivated and more productive at the same time.

Provide them with regular feedback

Providing your employees with a steady stream of feedback will show them that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. According to PwC, 69% of employees stated that they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized. Give praise where praise is due and acknowledge all of your employees’ hard work to keep the morale afloat. Also, don’t hesitate to hand out constructive criticism to those employees who might be slightly under-performing, as 92% of people surveyed agreed that, when appropriately delivered, negative feedback is an effective performance booster. So, skip the dry formalities of the annual and quarterly reviews, and call up a meeting face to face. Just be wary, as some employees are more sensitive than others. Always give positive examples of their performance first, before criticizing them, in order to avoid hurting any egos.

Give out incentives

For some of your more competitive employees, a simple pat on the back simply won’t do. Instead, they’ll want a more formal sign of recognition for their troubles that they can share with their friends and families. Show them that you care and give them a master gift card, take them out for a fancy dinner, or offer them some paid time-off to spend with their loved ones. This will give them a sense of accomplishment that will motivate them to work even harder. Also, don’t forget to commemorate important milestones with your employees, both company and individual ones, as they are the ideal time for you to be generous and thoughtful.

‘Laissez-faire’

One of the worst possible things you could do inside the office, is to try and micro-manage each and every one of your employees. This is not only highly demotivational, but counter-productive at the same time, as frankly, no one likes having someone breathe down their neck while they’re working. What’s more, employees will get the opinion that you don’t trust them and as such lose confidence in their own abilities. Rather, what you should be doing is giving them some increased autonomy by letting them do things their way. Be flexible, let them organize their own schedules, don’t choke their creativity with unnecessary rules and regulations, and they’ll respect you more for it. According to this survey, 89% of companies reported better employee retention due to the implementation of flexible work options. So, focus your attention on more important matters, and cut your workers some slack every once in a while.

Create a positive working environment

Nurturing a healthy office atmosphere is vital for the overall productivity of your employees, and their mental well-being as well. Team-building events are an excellent way to break up the monotony of the daily grind and let your employees have a bit of harmless fun. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be something elaborate and expensive, but something as simple as a casual Friday, or a spontaneous night out. The most important thing, however, is that it’s something totally unrelated to work, as the main idea is for people to let off some steam and get their minds off work. All in all, these events present the perfect opportunity for your employees to bond with their co-workers and improve their mutual working relationships.

To sum up, different strategies appeal to different people. What works for one employee may not be the case with the rest of the lot. Therefore, it’s vital to keep experimenting with various combinations of these methods, in order to find just the right concoction for your specific workforce.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

7 Tactics to Improve Office Morale

One of the most important aspects of any company is employee morale. If you get unhappy workers, you will get a depressing, inefficient company. That’s why you, as a manager or boss, need to give your all if you want things to improve. Below you will see a couple of tips to do just that.

Avoid and shut down workplace drama

The first thing you should do is avoid, and put an end, to any office drama. Any infighting, arguments, or bad blood should be resolved as soon as possible. If you don’t, it can get much worse, and really heat up. Either talk to the people directly, or direct them to HR.

A big part of is avoiding any office gossip. It should be discouraged as often as possible, and really makes the entire company seem unprofessional.

Learn how to communicate more effectively

It’s not just enough that you have good intentions. You need to know how to get your point across in a way that people will actually listen and care. We suggest you learn how to communicate more effectively. Focus fully on the person that’s talking to you. Never interrupt and try not to judge.

Understanding how to present yourself is important. Focusing on reading body language is a big part of this, as is practicing it yourself. Watch your tone. Even if you mean well, some people just react differently. Some like loud people, others are intimidated. Humor is also important. Sarcasm and irony can be light-hearted and completely innocent, but some simply won’t get the joke and may end up insulted.

It’s all about understanding yourself, how you present yourself, and other people and how they react.

Show that you care

Now, we don’t mean bribing them with donuts and Starbucks every day (though that would be appreciated). We mean actually not letting them stress about their bills, medical coverage, and other bureaucratic nonsense. Keep all that nonsense in check. Have a cleaning lady over regularly. Keep the fridge and toilet supplies stocked. If the AC breaks down, get a repairman there the very next day.

Also, have a lawyer or even doctor on hand (depending on your line of work). Get the best work injury lawyer you can find on retainer if your people deal with dangerous equipment. If you have some specialized equipment, have a repairman on hand as well. Little things like this are a very clear and direct sign of respect. Actions do, in fact, speak louder than words.

Feedback is everything

Actually, listen and focus on what people say. Let them know that if they have any problems or issue, they can always come to you. Create an atmosphere of trust, of allowing people to be relaxed. The worst thing for employee morale is being afraid of being ridiculed by their superior.

People like and respect when somebody respects them. Having their thoughts and opinions heard out can really make a difference. Furthermore, you accepting feedback from them goes a long way. Even if you disagree, the very act of accepting it means a lot.

Be empathetic

Empathy goes a long way. Just because you’re at the workplace doesn’t mean it’s all cutthroat, mechanical, turn of the century rat race. No, you should be understanding. It’s one thing if you have a lazy employee. But if somebody’s parent died, or they were sick, or they have any other tragedy in their life, try to cut them some slack.

Try not to judge, you don’t know what a person is going through. Think of your job as you and your employees against a problem, rather than some class warfare at the office.

Find some time for your people

Find some time for your people. Set up schedules, or just have an hour every week where they can come to you and voice your concerns. Advertise this fact, let them know. Have an hour where there will be no interruptions, where the phone is off, and everybody is relaxed.

Be positive

Finally, be positive. A boss or manager who is always on the edge, who is stressed and depressed, is not a good sight. If they see you like this, they will think the company is in trouble, and so, their jobs too. They may even (understandably) think about seeking a new job. Even if things aren’t going perfectly, try to to at least keep appearances until things calm down.

If needed, learn how to regulate your stress better. Know that investing in some time off, or some more leisure activities, will actually end up making you more efficient. You will be a better boss or manager, and a better person in general.

Conclusion

And there you have, an end to office drama and depression. Just because its work, doesn’t mean it has to be this depressing and difficult affair. Just keep all these tips in mind, and we are certain things will improve.

 

btyAlexander Hunkin is an Australian based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advice have helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches including business, career, finance, and marketing. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving, and cycling.

A Beginners Guide to Online Growth!

With the boom that is being experienced within the world of e-commerce, it is no wonder that more and more online businesses are popping up all over the place. This is a good thing that you should take advantage of and use to finally get you in a position that you are doing what you love and able to leave that job that ha a dead end. There is a lot that you need to make sure that you keep in mind before you even begin this journey for your business needs. Having this information beforehand will help to reduce the number of mistakes that you will make when you get ready to begin your online business. Let us take a look at a few of the things that you need to make sure that you keep in mind before you start this journey.

Market to the Right Demographics

There is something to be said about making sure that you are sending the right message to the right people. One example of this would be to make sure that if you are going for a crowd that is into surfing, then you do not want to target people that are into buying customized dog collars. The key to being popular is to make sure that your marketing is hitting the mark in the demographics you are aiming for. This can save you a lot of trial and error that many beginners will make when trying to get their business up and running. The next tip will be just as important as you will want to make sure that you look at the method of getting paid for your goods and services.

Setup a Payment Gateway to Accept Payment

Having a way to accept payments will be just as important as the business end of things. This is why you need to make sure that you set up a payment portal that is reliable, safe and easy. This is a step that many people will forget about as it will not be at the top of their thought process. Knowing how to find a good payment gateway and how to get it set up will be a very important process that you have to make sure that you keep in mind.

Accept Multiple Forms of Payment

There is no need to move forward if the payment side of your business is not in place. Even once you get the payment gateway established, you will need to make sure that you are accepting all forms of payment. Many businesses lose out on potential customers due to the fact that they limit the types of payment that they are able to accept. If you only accept cash, then that will reduce you from being able to be an online business. If you only accept Visa then you are not getting the customers that have other forms of credit cards that they use online.

Mobilize

Make sure that you are making yourself mobile ready to deal with all of the customers that will be doing business with you on a regular basis. More and more people are living online and as such, they want sites that are mobile friendly. Nothing is more frustrating than having a site that has not been optimized for mobile devices and as such will not display the correct way. This can hurt you in the fact that customers will not want to do business with you as well as it may affect the ability for you to accept payments.

Offer Feedback Options

A customer having the ability to leave feedback is one of the most important things that you can do in helping to build a customer base that will in the end trust you. Having the ability to accept this feedback as well as helping to listen to the feedback and take the advice that is being given to you via the customers. The feedback that they are able to provide to you will help you to better cater to their needs and allow you the chance to make things better for your business and thus allow you to improve on areas where you are a little weak.

Market the Business as Much as Possible

Marketing the business is as essential as the other parts of running the business. If you fail to market it correctly, then your efforts will not be as successful when trying to get new customers to come and check out your business. The ones that you do have will get bored as there will not be anything there to help and keep the customer engaged. If you are not sure what you need to do in the marketing of your business, then you can always hire a firm that will handle all of the details for you.

As you are able to see, there is a lot of running your own business and the more that you understand from the beginning, then the better results that you will have. Following these tips, will make sure that you have a business that will be profitable and will go a long way in helping to give you a sense of accomplishment.

Have Content/ Products that People want

There is no use in having products to sell if the people do not want to buy them. This will involve a lot of research to see what people are and are not into and what types of goods or services that they are seeking out. A little research, in the beginning, will lead to a lot better results for you down the road. Look closely at the things that are doing well and those that are not doing so good and shift your focus on these accordingly. Take ideas from established online stores like Oroton outlet to have a clear idea and implement them in your case. This will help to lead to you having a lot better results with getting products sold in a timely manner. After you have established the selection of products that you are going to sell, you will then want to make sure that you focus on the marketing of the products.

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.

Build A Better Business With Customer Feedback

They say that the customer is always right. Although if you are in sales or the service industry, this can be a tough thing to deal with, especially if they are difficult, picky, or just plain rude. However, it is true that while they might not always be factually correct, they are always right in the sense that they need to be high up the priority list for anyone that is trying to sell. After all, it’s their purchases that pay your wages, so why wouldn’t you try and increase the positivity of their experience? However before you can do this, you will need to seek out those customer’s opinions so you can find out what they really want. With this in mind read on for a guide on sourcing reliable customer feedback that can help you build a better business.

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Surveys

In the modern era, we have unprecedented access to customer feedback. One of the ways business owner can access this is through surveys.

Surveys are usually short questionnaires that include mostly closed questions of the yes/no or degrees of agreement variety. They are designed in this way to make them easier to complete, something that can increase the return rate.

Many companies now use online survey providers that pay rewards in the form of points, vouchers, or even cash to their participants now. This motivates them to actually fill out the surveys, proving more information for the company that is seeking it. This can work exceptionally well because the surveys are quick and easy to do, the participants are motivated, and they can easily access them online making it easy to actually collect the results. After all, who but the most prepared people will return postal surveys?

The Information that is gathered that can be then used to change the product or service you are offering to make it more appealing and so more sellable. Something that can definitely help you to build a better business.

Business adjacent sites

Don’t forget that customer opinions exist in places outside of the more traditional things like surveys too. Unfortunately, many businesses often ignore the importance of comments and articles on sites that are adjacent to their company. These sites are dedicated to users and fans of the company’s brand or product, like this https://netflixupdate.com/star-wars-rebels-netflix/ site for Netflix, and can be very informative to what customers are specifically asking for.

As a business owner, try not to see these sites as troublesome or as an irritation. Instead keep an eye on them, taking in what is trending and what customers are asking for, as this information can all be used to help to further inform your product or service. Something that can enable you to provide more of what people want right now and so help to boost your businesses success.

Reviews

Reviews are another fantastic way of collecting customer feedback that can help you shape your products, customer service, and even your marketing strategy.

Learn from the good as well as the bad!

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Reviews are all about previous customers leaving you feedback on how they found their purchase and their purchase experience online. They can do this through your own review system or through independent services such as the one offered at https://uk.trustpilot.com/categories.

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Using reviews is particularly useful because you are dealing with people that have actually been through your sales system so they will have highly relevant feedback and suggestions that can be used for improvement, a lot of the time.

Of course, extracting the data from these reviews isn’t as easy as it is from surveys. This is because of two factors. The first is that not all reviews are genuine, as some unscrupulous sites offer payment for requested reviews, both positive and negative. Something that can distort the results.

The second issue is that the most valuable feedback often comes from negative reviews, not something that you will be actually aiming to get for your business. In fact, such reviews may even put other potential customers off. That is why it’s so vital to deal with these evaluations in a highly compassionate and non-confrontational manner. Something you can learn about in detail at https://econsultancy.com/blog/.

It’s never too late to say you are sorry!

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In summary, though, the best approach is, to be honest, apologize, say you value their feedback, which can be used to make sure this never happens again and offer recompense. In this way, you can use a lousy review for two useful purposes. One to show that you care about your customers, and the second to show that you are open to changing the way things are run to better accommodate them in line with their feedback. Something that will allow you to build a better and more successful business.