One of the most frustrating parts of small businesses is the knowledge that it’s nearly impossible to catch every lead. Anything from missing a phone call or an opportunity for easy sharing, to not catching what could be lucrative deals – or worse, losing business to a competitor – can have you scrambling for better customer service solutions.
Unfortunately, you can’t constantly be on the phone or online 24/7, so you’ll need a little help. That’s where tech aids, who can help turn your small business into a lead generating machine, enter the picture. Avoid missing lucrative deals and customer service opportunities by turning to net services and tech solutions to help you catch every lead that comes through.
Social media has completely revolutionized the way we communicate as well as the way we do business together. Prior to social media’s not so subtle takeover of the world, brands did all the talking. The internet provided an excellent platform to showcase content for consumers to read, watch, and of course purchase, now however, the customers of today no longer wish to be talked at. They want to be involved, they want to converse, and above all, they want to be engaged.
Ah, that elusive buzzword. In today’s hyperlinked world of information overload, telling a compelling story, and actually engaging your target audience is no longer a nice extra, but is actually imperative to the survival of your brand. But what if your company does not naturally lend itself to engagement?
What if you work in what is perceived as a boring industry, and sell a product like say printed business checks or cardboard boxes? Sure, it fulfills a need, brings value to its users, and does all of that like a boss, but it just doesn’t lend itself well to be pin, tweet, or like worthy. Are you doomed to be left out chewing heavily on a product that is all steak and no sizzle while your friends cash in on the wonderful opportunities social media presents?
It’s one thing to get people’s attention towards your business, but what use is having all the recognition in the world if you can’t influence them to actually engage with your business? Once you’ve got them at your site, you need to give them a reason to stay there and click on a link to register an account, subscribe to a newsletter, order a product or even just look around and find out more what it is you do.
But how do you accomplish this? Here are four fundamental elements that you need to build on to start getting conversions on your company website.
How your target audience feels about interacting with your website is one of the very first things that you need to take into consideration. Your site needs to provide the information your visitors are looking for. It has to be easily navigable for different devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc.), browsers and connection speeds while still maintaining a credible and compelling design that reinforces your business’ brand.
Both large and small businesses struggle with finding the best way to market their products or services. While all kinds of companies use similar marketing techniques, the way small businesses apply the techniques will be different due to the smaller demographic and customer base. There are five basic ways small businesses can market themselves effectively.
1) Give your customers free stuff
The customer should be rewarded for their loyalty and support by getting free or discounted stuff. Businesses can put coupons in community mailers or offer coupons on receipts for future purchases. Coupons in mailers can help draw new customers to your business while receipt coupons keep customers returning every week to get deals and free items. Use these methods to offer customers free trials or free samples as well. Offering customers the chance to try out a product or service will make them more comfortable purchasing it in the future.
There was a time when big brands had a lot of control over how they were perceived and how they were portrayed in the media. Consumers had limited options when it came to communicating with brands, and the companies themselves had the power to create demand for products simply through being good at PR. Those days ended with the advent of widespread internet access and the rise of social media. Today, the power is in the hands of the consumer.
People now expect to be able to have two-way conversations with brands. Bad products are ridiculed, and news of poor customer service or unethical business practices spreads quickly. Good news travels fast too, and even small gestures can go viral and have a huge impact on your brand’s bottom line. There is also a new generation of influencers in the form of bloggers, YouTube users and internet celebrities – and any bad experiences they have with a brand will be shared with their followers and are sure to make a big impact there.
Not everybody is attracted by prospect of jobs with fat pay packages, especially if they have a desire to live life on own terms. There are numerous examples of people starting small sized ventures at home which blossomed into large companies in long run. PC giant HP’s founders started operating from a garage in Palo Alto and it grew into one of the world’s leading IT giants. If you have an entrepreneur’s spirit and teamwork and customer service skills, starting up your own business may be the best option.
However, you may want to try venturing into lesser known niche areas to make a mark for yourself and the company. Rather than joining an industry laden with cutthroat competition, changing taste of consumers and other hiccups, you may tread into uncharted territories and tap the potential.
Love him or hate him, you must admit that Vito Corleone, head of the fictional New York crime family in the film The Godfather, adeptly built a thriving “business.” Nefarious goals and bloody outcomes aside, what can we learn from him about effective business operations?
1. Branding is in the details. The Godfather without strong branding would have been nothing more than a petty criminal with an annoying voice. Instead, he built a rock solid brand, a reputation that was paramount to his success. No detail went unnoticed in establishing his powerful presence, from his dark attire, to the mood lighting in his office, to the theatrical application of that gravelly mumble. In today’s business environment, branding is the difference between being remembered and getting lost in the fray. A successful brand should be carefully crafted and bolstered with attention to detail similar to Corleone’s, including staff selection, wardrobe choices, even the font in your emails.
We’ve all heard the mantra, “the customer is always right.” You and your business are constantly geared toward making customers happy and keeping them coming back. Like many other mantras, however, that mentality can go too far.
In most circumstances, it makes sense to focus on customer satisfaction. Still, there are times when this attitude may cost you more than you expect. In situations like the ones below, “the customer is always right” doesn’t apply. In order to keep your business running smoothly, you need to take steps to keep problem customers in check. Here’s some examples of a few times when the customer is wrong:
When They Abuse Employees
People are generally kind and polite, but they can get hostile when they feel like their needs aren’t being met. Putting a thorough customer service process in place prepares your reps to address issues before they become problems. It can also help them in handling angry callers. It is extremely important to stay positive throughout the interaction. Every now and then, however, the rudeness, abuse or even threats toward employees go too far.
With the myriad of available resources online full of advice on how you should run and market your business, it wouldn’t be surprising if you tried most, if not all of them, on for size. While doing so isn’t wrong necessarily, there are pieces of marketing advice that can contradict with your business’ principles. When this happens, these kinds of tips can be counterproductive instead of advantageous especially if something goes wrong with your business despite following that particular piece of advice exactly. Watch out for these six big marketing mistakes – you may be committing them without even realizing it.
1) You assume that your customers think just like you.
If you’re the kind of entrepreneur who is able to pull brilliant ideas out of thin air and that your customers will “get it” despite risking ambiguity, hats off to you. But most entrepreneurs can’t afford to think or act like that. Ignoring what your customers have to say about your product and settling with what you think they’ll like can put your business in jeopardy. Avoid this by soliciting feedback from your customers on a regular basis. What they have to say about your product can help you decide which areas you should put less of a focus on and the ones that you need to strengthen.
Every minute of every day, there is always a customer that isn’t entirely pleased with the service that he is getting. Whether it is about food, some clothes, internet service, or anything else, it is practically written in stone that someone will find something to complain about at some point. And whenever a customer gets angry and things get hairy, it is the customer service team who has the job to address the problem and keep everybody happy. Part of that role is being able to understand the customer’s woes and knowing what to do in order to fix them; yet another part is simply knowing what NOT to say so that things don’t get even worse. Here are a few lines that are best left unsaid during customer service interactions.
1)“What was the problem again?”