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Author Archives: Ed

Is Live Chat So Important To Modern Businesses?

Providing customer service can be a long and time-consuming process for many companies. No matter how hard you work to provide a great service, there will always be customers and clients who need help from your business along the way. In the past, this sort of work would mostly be handled over the phone, but this isn’t the case today. In fact, almost every customer service strategy today needs to incorporate social media platforms that are completely chat-based. Live chat on websites has been slowly on the rise for the last few years, but why exactly is this form of communication becoming the preferred channel to communicate to businesses? Customer Convenience It’s no secret that live chat is popular amongst customers. Many people prefer the option to simply type out their questions and wait for a response compared to sitting on the phone for a long time. They can do their regular work in the process and will have the chance to leave the chat whenever they want to, making this much easier than using other forms of communication. Of course, though, it also has the benefit of being much faster than emails. Productivity Keeping your team productive can be a big challenge, especially when they are dealing with customer service. There will always be cases that last much longer than others, but live chat provides the means for your team members to talk to more than one customer at once if they need to. It also makes it possible...

Tips To Help Retain Customers & Improve User Experience Online

Customers are an integral part of your business and it’s important that you’re making every effort to keep them happy with whatever service or products you’re selling and providing. However, there is a lot that can be done to help retain customers and improve their overall user experience online. That way, you can continue profiting from these loyal customers, whilst also developing your business to attract more of the same customer. Here are some helpful tips to ensure this happens in your business.

Tips for Designing Your Company Correspondence

As a professional business sending correspondence to your customers, there are several mistakes that are made that can be extremely costly to the reputation of your brand. Here are a few tips for designing your company’s correspondence from the letterhead to the letter itself. We’ll explain why these mistakes are so costly, why they occur in the first place and how to avoid making them yourself. Letterhead In an age of mass marketing, mass customisation has been the focus of many articles. One needs to be careful to properly address clients and avoid the horror stories of sending letters addressed to someone’s pet or putting their demographic information in the name field. These are the big errors yes but businesses need to take note that the little things matter too. For example, addressing the person by their preferred name and including relevant personal information in the letter to show that you’re paying attention to them as an individual. Likewise, your company letterhead design is equally important and affects the image of your company. Is the company logo that people see on the letterhead congruent with the one visible on your website and your social media profiles? Is the company name, address and phone number that come up in web searches the same as the one on the top of the company’s letters? If there is a difference, are you going to explain it? For example, you could clearly identify which letters are coming from the company’s main office or billing department...

Easy Ways To Improve Your Customer Service

At the forefront of any successful business is a high level of customer satisfaction. In fact, you are unlikely to be successful if you neglect to give customer feedback the attention it deserves, whether it is positive or negative. It is inevitable what will happen to a company that receives constant bad reviews and has poor reputation management processes in place. Your customers are the reason that your business continues to run and therefore are the most important factor to take into consideration. It is essential to be proactive, pick up trends and rectify any problems timeously before you loose customers and risk damaging your reputation. There is a reason there is the saying ‘ the customer is always right’ and that is because they are the key ingredient that will help you achieve your goals.  There are some easy ways that you can improve on customer service in your business…  Respond To Reviews, Comments And Emails We are used to receiving complaints in the form of an email however, now that we live in a very digital world you will find that customers also leave reviews on platforms such as facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your company website and the list goes on. This means that it is there for the whole world to see. The best thing that you can do is to be seen as proactive in your approach to rectifying any issues. It doesn’t have to be all bad though, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are also great...

Three Ways to Boost Your Website’s Performance

As an entrepreneur you’re more than aware that you’ve got a lot to get right, a lot riding on the performance of your website and your marketing activities. You may have plenty of skills in one or two key areas but less in others and right now you need to know why your website isn’t performing as well as you expect it to. What is it about the site that’s failing to convert your visits into sales? Why are some pages underperforming? You have questions and we have three reasons why your website isn’t at the top of its game. In this blog we look at what could be going wrong and how you can fix it. Your Content Misses the Mark Whether you sell physical goods such as D or bow type shackles or a service like copywriting, you need your content to sell you. When you’re looking for a particular item on a website, you don’t want to wade through mountains of fluff, you’re looking at what you can buy and how much you can buy it for. Could it be that your content is simply not fit for purpose? Maybe there’s too much waffle and not enough specific information. If you’ve written the content yourself it might be worth asking a content specialist to look over your site and give you some advice or a rewrite in order to make sure your content is ticking all the right boxes. Your Customer Gets Lost Or to put it...

Are You Making These Recruitment Mistakes?

Hiring the best employees is vital to success in any industry. You can’t run a successful business on your own without a great team behind you, no matter how good an entrepreneur you are. As a leader, it is important that you are able to motivate your team and work with them to develop their skills so that you can use them to their maximum potential.  While it is important that you know how to develop your employees and get the very best out of them, it is just as important to hire the right people in the first place. Here, we look at some of the biggest mistakes employers make when it comes to hiring. Hiring without a good reason Whenever you hire someone new, you need a reason for doing so. If you don’t have a purpose, there’s probably little point. In some cases, there is a very clear reason for hiring somebody. For example, if an existing employee leaves, you will usually need to hire a replacement. However, if you’re expanding your team, it’s important that you are doing it for the right reasons.  If you can’t clearly state what a new member of staff will bring to your business, you probably don’t need to hire them. Not having a transparent recruitment process in place. Whatever scale your business is, just like having relevant benefits in place for attracting great candidates is important, having a clear process for the recruitment and hiring of new employees is equally...

How to Get Your Employees to Stick Around

While there might be times when you want your employees to move on to new pastures, there are many occasions when you want to keep the talent that you have. If you’ve found employees that you can be proud of, you don’t want them to leave and start working for a competitor, especially because it means finding someone to replace them. So how can you ensure they stick around and keep working hard? Give Your Employees a Future Many of today’s workers find it difficult to picture a long career with the same employer. One problem is that they might not see a path to advancement. If you want your top employees to stay, giving them a future at your company, including opportunities to keep learning and advancing, will help them to see the benefits of staying with you. Offer Benefits Employers can offer various job benefits to their employees, but it’s important to make sure you offer the right ones. Maybe you give your employees a discounted gym membership, but is anyone actually using it? You should pay attention to what people actually want from their employer, such as a choice of healthcare options and flexible working arrangements. Monitor Job Satisfaction How happy are your employees with their jobs? If you don’t know, you could be taken by surprise when one or even several of your employees decide to leave. You should understand the levels of job satisfaction within your company if you want to be able to keep...

Why Isn’t My Business Profitable?

Are you struggling with low levels of profitability in your business model? What’s going wrong? Well, there could be a few issues that you may want to think about addressing. It is, but… You might find that your business is actually profitable, you’re just not gaining any benefit from this. The reason that’s usually the case is that money is being drained away in other areas. So, while sales numbers are technically high and the model is solid there are just a few leaks that need to be addressed which are dragging the whole lot down. It’s one of the reasons why it’s always a smart idea to invest in the services of an accountant. They’ll handle your books for you, assess your expense line and ensure that you are gaining the benefits of your profitability. Of course, it’s possible that you can’t afford an accountant. This hire won’t fit into every business budget. If that’s the case, then do consider instead using digital accounting software. That way you’ll be able to check on spending yourself and discover areas where you might be wasting money. The Wrong Team If you are seeing a low level of sales or leads it’s possible that you do have the wrong team on the job. One of the fastest and easiest ways to turn off customers is to have a team that doesn’t seem energetic or passionate about providing the right service. This may be because you’ve chosen to save by hiring low skilled...

The Four Principles Of Any Solid Support Call

A while ago I wrote about how “Smart brands have integrated their social media responses team into the customer call centre. It makes sense that you create a single point of contact for customers to contact. Whether on a phone, SMS, Facebook, twitter or other platform the customer chooses, brands are gearing their call centres to handle these requests. This is why call centres are now being called customer contact centres.” In that article I spoke about brand schizophrenia, today I thought it would be valuable to explore a few ways to improve your call centre. After all most businesses want to ensure that their customers are happy, that they feel they are receiving the best service possible and that they can be supported if  there’s an issue. Any support request needs to be completed in a timely manner, and effectively. For that reason, when training your support staff, it’s very important to embody the four principles of any solid support call. No matter if you’re on the phone, speaking through emails, direct social media messaging or live chat, the results are the same. Let us approach what this might mean together, to come to some sense of mutual support. Please consider: Immediacy There’s nothing that can aggravate a customer more than making them wait hours to have their call answered. However, managing expectations is also an important thing to get right. If someone sends you an email, naturally they will be happy to wait a day or two for you to get...

Developing a Unique Brand Identity

A brand identity embodies your company and everything you stand for, and it’s also an effective way of differentiating your business from its competitors. Instantly recognizable and associated with a positive consumer experience, a unique brand identity can be the key to success. Many people assume a company’s brand identity starts and finishes with its logo, but there’s far more to creating a powerful brand identity than designing an effective logo. Whilst a logo can certainly be an influential element, your brand identity should encompass what your brand wants to convey, what your values are, how you communicate with your audience and how you want customers to feel when they interact with you. Building Trust A well-established brand identity evokes reliability and trust in the minds of consumers, and this can have a considerable impact on your turnover. Whatever type of product or service people are purchasing, they want to know they can trust the company they’re dealing with. Keep this in mind when you’re creating your brand identity, as it’s vital for your company to be seen as secure and trustworthy. Although your products and/or services will determine how this can be conveyed most effectively, any company can build trust with an effective brand identity. Use Your Brand Identity Everywhere Your brand identity should effectively be a template for everything your company does. By using your brand identity as a starting point for online marketing, ad campaigns, product design, and web design, you’ll ensure that you don’t miss a...

Dwindling Profits? Here’s What Could Be Going Wrong…

One of the most difficult challenges that most businesses come up against at the start of their journey, is getting their finances right. When you’re yet to start trading or make any significant profit, you won’t have much money to start off with and there’s not much room for error if things go wrong. So if your sales start to wane it can really be a worry for any business but especially if you’re only just getting established. Here are some areas to look out for. What you’re selling isn’t up to scratch If your business isn’t making as much money as you’d like, the first thing to take a look at would be what it is you’re selling and make sure it’s up to scratch. You can get everything else right in your company from the premises to marketing initiatives to your staff compliment, but if customers aren’t buying what you’re selling then it’s never going to be a success. If you’re a new business then it’s important to conduct market research before putting your product or service on sale. It enables you to ascertain if it’s something people actually want as well as how much they’re prepared to pay for it. It allows you to make tweaks and changes so that your product/service is the best it can be, and it’s these small details that can be the difference between something that’s successful or unsuccessful. If you’ve had your business for a while but have noticed declining sales...

How to Launch a Successful Business Event

Hosting an event is a great way for you to attract new customers. It will cement the relationship that you have with your customers and it will also help you to create a buzz about your brand. If you want to launch a successful business event, then here are a few tips that will help you to get started. Set a Goal Put some proper thought into what it is that you want to achieve from this event? Do you want to attract local media? Do you want to build a mailing list of potential customers? Do you want to boost business awareness? It doesn’t matter what your goals are, as long as you have them set so that you have something to work towards. Time Everything Right Timing is so crucial when it comes to the overall success of your event. You need to consider key dates such as holidays or even annual events that are happening in the local community. The last thing that you need is to compete because this will take the focus away from your business and it will also make it much harder for you to ensure a good turnout. Team Your team are going to be the driving force behind your event, so you have to make sure that they are as dedicated as you are. One thing that you need to do is work out who is going to be in charge of the event. This could be a manager, a key...

Let’s Take That Business Idea To The Next Level

Many entrepreneurs will remember the moment they got a solid idea that consumed them. It is something that you can’t let go of. It nestles into your mind, you nurture the idea and it begins to grow until you get to the stage that you act on it. But then what? It takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground, and once the initial groundwork has been done, what next? Here are some ideas that could help you take your business to the next level. Find a business location that works for you One of the obvious steps that you can take when it comes to your business is to move out of the home and into a business location. A lot of businesses start from home and that can be a great option initially, but you may want to now deal with clients face to face or even have a retail premises. This is when searching online on websites like PropList can help you find the right thing for you. It will highlight your budget and what you can get for your money. It could be the ideal step to take. Do you have the right marketing strategy in place? No business can succeed without some from of advertising and marketing plan. It might be simple social media updates or something on a larger scale like national press, but you will have something. However, when was the last time you worked out what was...

Six Tips For Earning Customer Loyalty

No matter the size or shape of your venture, customer loyalty is very important. The reason for this is that loyal customers buy on a more regular basis, which offers higher returns on the time, money and effort that you invest. They’re also more likely to recommend your business and the products that you sell to their friends and family. This will increase your brand exposure without any extra cost. Retaining customers can be tricky, but, with these six tips, it isn’t impossible. Show Past Customer Validation Customers and prospects trust other customers much more than they do businesses themselves. Even if a customer has bought from you before, they might have doubts as to whether or not to risk doing so again. Sharing positive reviews from other customers can provide the validation that is needed and show wavering customers that there is nothing to fear from you. Act On Negative Feedback Most entrepreneurs see negative feedback as the enemy. After all, it tells anyone looking at your business the things that you have done wrong. However, this feedback can actually be an asset. If you respond to and act on your errors, it shows prospective customers that you care and are willing to do better. It may also change the minds of those who have given up on your company. Provide Better Customer Service When you provide poor customer service, it shows that you don’t care. This is why it’s so vital that you do the opposite. You must...

How Can You Improve Your Online Income

If you have a blog or website then you already know that it is more than possible to earn an income from online. But what happens if you’re not making as much money as you thought you would be by now? Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether we are using all the tools available to us or taking all the opportunities that we can do to bring in an online source of funds. Have a look below at some of the things you could do to improve your online income. Make Good Use of Social Media Platforms If you’re not already using the popular social media platforms that are available to gain traffic to your blog or website, it can be a really useful tool. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest have all been proven popular online, have easy access for business use and posting to the public, and best of all are free to use. Using these can really help to drive traffic to your website or blog, especially if you’re posting regular, relevant content that draws people in. Social media is fast becoming an essential part of marketing for any business so if you haven’t got time to deal with this yourself it may be time to think about using a service that can help. It would be a shame to miss out on a tool that could be very lucrative. Partnerships If you have a blog or website that has a successful traffic...

How a Virtual Receptionist Can Benefit Your Business

When running a business, it is imperative that you can operate as efficiently as possible, whether you are a new business, a small business or a large corporation. An important part of any business is to have a professional first point of contact between yourself and a potential client. This is often conducted through a receptionist or assistant, who can organize important meetings, conduct daily administrative tasks and answer the phone to any clients. A virtual receptionist can be defined as an outsourced call answering service that can organize your diary, take orders and answer the phone for your business. In this modern, digital world of remote working, there seems to be less need for a physical, in-house receptionist. Saving you money and precious time used to hire such professionals, a call answering service can take your business calls at any time. By using reliable, trustworthy and professional virtual receptionists, you can ensure that your business matters are organized. In the business world, it’s all about the first impression, and with a virtual receptionist service, you can be sure that any clients are dealt with correctly in an efficient manner.  For customer-focused businesses, ensuring that you give excellent customer service is crucial. Customers need to feel as though they are valued and that time is taken to understand any queries that they have. For your business to be successful in the long term, you need to make sure that it is getting repeat purchases from existing customers, as well as...

3 Small Business Milestones to Look Forward to and Prepare for

When you first start your own business, you’re likely to be pretty excited by the fact that you are now an official entrepreneur, and are taking active steps to rule your own future, and be your own boss. It is sometime after first getting the idea in your head to start a business, however, that you are likely to really come across the milestones that will give you the deepest sense of satisfaction and pride in what you’re doing. These milestones are precious, because they help you to stay driven and motivated to keep moving forward, and give you the kind of positive affirmation that is so important for validating your efforts in the first place. So, here are a few small business milestones to work for, look forward to, and prepare for. The day you are able to quit your day job This particular milestone is one that people often expect will come immediately, although it often comes much later in the game, if at all. In any case, the day you are finally able to quit your day job and focus on your small business full-time, is the moment you truly become free from the world of conventional work, and become your own boss in earnest. Of course, some people quit their day jobs at the very start of their entrepreneurial journeys, particularly if they have a decent amount of money saved up. In that case, you should consider the specific milestone to be – the point at...

5 Things You Need to be Happy in Your Career

Many of us grow up wanting to be something specific when we’re older. You might have spent your childhood dreaming about being a doctor or a teacher. You might have always wanted to be a photographer or an artist. We spend time picturing ourselves working in our chosen profession. Learning about our jobs, meeting new people and helping those around us. You might have thought about the money that you’d make or the qualifications that you’d need. One thing that you might not have considered is how happy the career of your dreams would make you. We assume that something that we have always wanted to do will naturally make us happy if we ever make it. We don’t worry that we might spend years, and a fortune to qualify only to find that the job that we’ve always dreamt of makes us miserable and doesn’t fill us with the passion we had hoped it would. The reality is, it might not. Being happy at work doesn’t automatically happen just because it’s a job that we’ve always wanted. There are five things that we all need if we’re going to be happy at work. Balance If you want to be happy at work, you need to let yourself have a life outside of it.  Even if you love your job, if you find that you are working all of the time, and that you don’t have time for anything else, or that the hours that you work are wholly unsociable,...

Six Tips for start-ups

Starting your own business is a very rewarding challenge so to help make it a success, here are a few tips that you can follow… Have A Business Plan Don’t underestimate the importance of a business plan. Even if you are very clear on what you want to do and you’re not needing to apply for any funding at all initially, it is still well worth writing out a formal business plan. The process of formulating your business plan, your forecasts, and your marketing strategy is an effective way to really hone in on your vision. When writing your business plan, you should ask yourself these two questions: Is your business serving a particular need? Does it represent a significant market opportunity? Have A Goal And A Vision While putting together your business plan, setting in stone your company vision statement should form part of this process. It can be very overwhelming at the start and one can easily get carried away with a load of new ideas, so be careful not to loose focus of what it is exactly you wish to achieve. With each new idea that you have, take a step back and ask yourself if and how it fits into your company’s goal and vision, then create a plan for how you can make it happen. Use your vision statement and set of goals as a constant reference point to every decision you make.  Keep Up To Date If you already have experience in running or...

Handing Over

There are times when starting a business when you feel like you’re the only one working hard to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. You’re juggling your sales, marketing, accountancy and HR needs while doing your main job of providing your product or service. If it looks like those balls are going to come crashing down then you need to consider whether it’s time to bring in some outside assistance. We’re talking about a consultant, agency or freelancers to handle some of the day-to-day for a while until you can recruit more members to your team to take up the slack. How do you choose an agency who’s going to be on board with your objectives and improve your marketing? We take a look at some key points to consider when taking on outside help. Interview Widely By all means get recommendations from friends or colleagues but bear in mind that what works well for one industry does not necessarily translate to another. Invite applications from across the board and select your top five to interview. Make sure they’re diverse but offer you real value for money. A larger agency, while rich in resources may not offer the best deal in terms of customer relationship. You may find yourself a small fish in a big pond and not feel that your business needs are given sufficient time and dedication. On the other hand, you’ll want to consider whether a solo consultant or much smaller agency...