Showing posts with label Customer service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customer service. Show all posts

Friday, January 31, 2014

Top 7 Mistakes Made by First-Time Business Owners

Image via Flickr by IntelFreePress
First time business owners are usually experts in the products or services they offer. But that alone is not enough to make a person successful at business. They focus on improving technical aspects of their business while neglecting strategic and management aspects of the company: the necessary components that grow a business. Consider the following mistakes first-time business owners often make.

Lack of a Well-Defined Vision

First-time business owners need to create a view of the future — a vision. It has to be far-reaching and state a positive direction that the company will take. What’s more important, it has to inspire employees so that they buy into the vision and work toward the same future for the company the owner has envisioned. This will make for happier, more efficient employees who are able to properly operate your business, whether you’re present or not.

Improper Systems and Processes

It’s very challenging to start a business off with the most efficient systems and processes, but failure to review and establish the most efficient processes possible quite often will lead to the business’ downfall. Proper systems and processes mean that employees are working effectively and efficiently. Document every step in your business model, form goals, outline steps and then compile it all into an operating manual.


First-time business owners are extremely invested which quite often leads them to trying to run every aspect. The truth is that this kind of micromanaging stifles employee productivity, as well as loyalty to the business. Trust in your employees is essential to your success. Train your employees to do their jobs then allow them to do it. You need to elevate yourself above task manager and focus your efforts instead on growing your business.

Ill-Defined Job Roles

Creating accurate and well-defined job roles increases your rate of hiring the right people to make you successful. It’s easy for first-time owners to offer new jobs that aren’t well defined. The result is less productive workers and owners who continue to try to do it all. When employees fully understand the expectations of their positions the more likely they are to optimize performance. That is why it’s important to research and look at statistics job analysis list to help have a better understanding of where the job market is booming and for who.

Lack of Outstanding Customer Service

There are many factors that lead to a successful business, but one of the easiest and most effective is customer service that exceeds industry standards. This is where your business meets the customer; this is where the public gets to know you. Providing superior customer service is like planting seed money that over time will lead to bumper-crop type profits for a company. Conversely average customer service could slow down business growth and even kill it.

Failure to Expand Beyond a Small Group of Customers

One you develop a certain clientele, it’s easy for new businesses to focus their growth on this same population. This is very tempting, and generally an easy path to follow; however, relying on a small group of customers does not truly grow your company and should be avoided if you want to survive. Of course remain loyal to your core customers, but look beyond them as well so that your business continues to grow.

Over Concentration on Sales

When starting out, it’s easy to see only one line on a profit-and-loss statement — sales! On the surface, this seems to be true: the more sales you make, the bigger and better your business seems to be doing. This is not completely true, however. Having a lot of business is terrific, of course, but focusing only on sales will eventually lead to ruin. A “more sales only” mentality causes companies to grow too quickly, and many businesses have failed during such a peak growth phase. Focusing on only one aspect will result in early failure.

There are many other ways in which first-time business owners can make mistakes. But not learning from those mistakes and failing to pick yourself back up can also be a fatal mistake. Move forward with confidence and learn all you can and you’ll eventually find success.

Friday, January 17, 2014

5 Inexpensive Ways to Improve Customer Loyalty for Your Business

English: Different customer loyality cards (ai...
A couple of years ago, Inc. published a rather fascinating article about customer loyalty. Within it, it said that it can actually cost a company as much as 5-10 times more money to try and obtain a new customer than it would to simply maintain the ones that they already have. It also stated that one way to keep customers coming back is to improve upon your customer loyalty strategies.

If you own a business and you'd like some effective yet inexpensive ways to keep your customers satisfied and happy, we have five great tips for you below:

Send out monthly surveys. One of the best ways to encourage customer loyalty is to see exactly what your customers need. An effective way to do this is to send out a monthly survey through your company newsletter. Services like Survey Monkey make it easy to set one up and it can provide you with all kinds of insights into how to make your products and services better. And when customers feel that you care about their opinions, they are more likely to return over and over again.

Respond to their comments. Thanks to your website and social media accounts like your Facebook fan page and Twitter page, your customers can connect with you on a daily basis. So, if you post an announcement about a new product or service and you notice that they have a question, be sure to respond as soon as possible. That's just one more way to make them feel like you genuinely care about their personal needs.

Do what you say you're going to do. One mistake that a lot of companies make is promising something but not deliver on the promise. For instance, if you have a big sale going on and you say that everyone who orders something within the next 48 hours will get free overnight shipping, while that might drive up sales, you could find yourself with some pretty frustrated customers if they don't get their products within a couple of days' time. The best way to get a loyal customer is by establishing trust and the best way to do that is to do exactly what you say you're going to do. Every single time.

Be solutions-oriented. If you want to get some brilliant directories reviews for your company, it's absolutely imperative that you be solutions-oriented. This means that when a customer reaches out with a problem, it's important that you listen but it's also important that you are prepared to provide a solution that will put their mind at ease. For example, if they ordered some shoes online and there is a tear in one of them, you need to have a good solution: send them an email with instructions on how they can ship it back for free for an exchange, and also offer them a 30-percent off discount on their next purchase (for example). You're not perfect and so problems will arise; however, you can prevent losing a customer if after you do a mistake, you put forth a concerted amount of effort to be solutions-oriented.

Instill a customer loyalty program. Whether it's a point system, a VIP program or random giveaways, customers are always excited to be involved in a loyalty program. So, make sure that you create one for your company. For more information on the kinds of customer loyalty programs that are effective, visit Blog. Hubspot and put "customer loyalty programs" in the search field.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making it Through Your Financial Crisis

Payday Loans Neon Sign
Payday Loans Neon Sign (Photo credit: rinkjustice)
Some people are saying they are seeing some positive economic signs, but many are still suffering from the economic downturn. The problems usually are an unexpected bill coming due or a medical expense. The most common one is the family car needing an unexpected repair. You don't have enough money in the bank to cover the bill and you have nowhere to turn. Your next payday is two weeks away and you need the money now. What can you do?

There is a way out and it’s payday loans. Payday loans are a financial product which helps people in need, by advancing them cash in a quick and easy way. Payday loans provide a solution to your need of short term cash by not giving you credit but by advancing cash for a short term and charging a fee.

Many people are apprehensive about using a payday loan service because of some bad press. But there are many companies that have served their customers well and built a reputation of excellent customer service. Companies today value their customers and they use cutting edge technology to provide great customer service. They offer valuable services that are very useful for those people who use them responsibly.  After all, where else can you look for a dependable source for immediate cash in any kind of emergency?

An online payday lender provides a process for a quick application. Most obtain fast approval and their money in a timely fashion. From the comfort of your home you enter your details online and you should receive approval within only a short time. It takes less than 2 minutes to apply and customer service will get in touch with you and inform you when you have qualified for the cash advance.

Payday loans are there when you need them. Their purpose is to help you out in any situation that you need quick cash and it is your responsibly to use them wisely and only when in need.

The only requirements you need to apply for a short term loan is a bank account. You must have a job or a way to prove income and be at least 18 years old. Go to cheapest pay day loans uk.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KISS: Keep it Simple Starbucks

Starbucks logoImage via Wikipedia
This is a guest post by Vanessa Burke

It used to be that if I wanted a cup of coffee there were only two options; out of the tin in the kitchen and at the diner. The other day I walked into Starbucks and asked for a regular black cup of coffee and the kid behind the counter scoffed at me and immediately pronounced that “We don't have regular coffee.” I said to him “Fine, I won't give you any regular money,” as I walked out the door and made my way to the gas station to get my caffeine fix.

Everywhere we turn, businesses try to take advantage of innocent consumers by putting is in high pressure sales situations. They keep low-level employees on their toes all of the time by intimidating them to make sales or get fired if they don't reach their quota. When we are faced with these situations, it's hard to get what we actually want or need. It's also an easy way to become manipulated into buying frivolous upgrades and accessories that we might not be able to afford.

If businesses kept their employee rhetoric simpler I would be more inclined to buy what I need instead of spending all of my cash on suggested stuff. Here are some ways to avoid awkward situations and save yourself money when entering the retail and hospitality arena:


The other day I walked into Best Buy to check out some prepaid cell phones. As soon as I entered the door I was ambushed by about 4 different employees asking if I needed help finding anything. I politely told them no and went about my business. When I finished up in the mobile section, I headed over to the video game department to pick up something for my son. I was instantly bombarded by three more employees who wanted to “help” me.

An easy way to save money in the retail sector is to turn to Amazon or eBay. All of the product descriptions are already posted and you can get honest opinions from real consumers.


As illustrated earlier, coffee has gotten way too complicated. I think that places like Starbucks and other coffee chains are losing a good deal of business because people are too frightened to order a regular cup of joe in fear of a verbal lashing from a “coffee expert.” In order to save money in the morning, try making your coffee at home instead of purchasing something with a name you can't pronounce.

Fine Spirits and Brews

This might be the most embarrassing part of the modern consumer culture. People who work in liquor superstores and behind bars always have a high-strung attitude when talking about their product. What if I walk into one of these stores and just want a case of Bud Light for Sunday football? Instead of going to a large liquor store specializing in exotic spirits, try going to your local supermarket for more savings.


In my opinion, suggestive selling has completely ruined the restaurant industry. What was once a nice way to get out of the house and not have to cook or clean up for yourself, is now a thirty minute sales pitch from a pompous server with a liberal arts degree. If you want have a restaurant experience without the sales pressure, try ordering take out and eat your food at the park. Not only will you save money on drinks and appetizers; you will also save on the tip.

The next time you go out to a store or restaurant, just politely dismiss the obtrusive help. Don't blame them for the annoying over-service, blame upper-management and the increasing corporatism of America.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Consumers Have A New Way To Vent Their Customer Service Problems Using Social Media

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
Many of us are all-too-familiar with these and other phrases that accompany the soothing muzak used by many companies to manage our limited patience when we're on hold with their customer service departments. Unfortunately, even after a human is eventually reached, consumers often find that by the time they hang up the phone, the issue they called about remains unresolved. What can a frustrated consumer do?


One alternative that consumers are increasingly turning to is Twitter. By now, many of us are using Twitter, a social networking and microblogging Web site that allows its users to post short messages (known as "tweets") that can be read by our "followers." Use of Twitter has exploded in the past few years. At last count, Twitter users were tweeting nearly 50 millions tweets per day.

Since Twitter is a public service, consumers’ tweets are visible to everyone on the Internet (unless the user blocks access to his or her account). Twitter has become a powerful megaphone for consumers. In the past, if a customer had a problem with a company, their negative experience was communicated mostly to friends and associates by word-of-mouth. In recent years, consumers have started voicing business reviews on the Internet, via blogs or review sites. With Twitter, there is even greater potential for thousands of users to hear - many, instantly - about bad experiences. For companies that are eager to protect their reputations, this is an issue they would be wise to manage.

Companies Are Watching

Numerous companies are doing just that -- assigning staff to monitor Twitter for customers who are dissatisfied and respond directly (via Twitter) to that customer. Many Fortune 500 companies have set up their own Twitter accounts, allowing customers to direct their tweets to a designated Twitter agent for a particular company (via Twitter's "@" reference system). Companies as varied as Comcast, JetBlue, Wachovia, Bank of America, UPS, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have set up Twitter accounts to complement their traditional customer service lines.

So how can frustrated consumers make use of Twitter to improve their customer service experience?

Here are some tips and tricks that might help:

  1. Try the conventional method first. Most companies have dedicated customer service lines that can address common problems, though time spent on hold should be expected.
  2. While you're on hold, use a search engine to search for "[company name] Twitter." This will usually bring up a list of Twitter accounts associated with a particular company.
  3. If the traditional customer service route doesn't solve the problem, tweet away! Be succinct in your tweet (Twitter has a 140 character limit on tweets) and reference one or more of the Twitter accounts for the company in question, using the "@" reference. Example: "The widget I ordered from @acmewidgets showed up broken today. Customer service was no help."
  4. Keep your expectations reasonable. Some companies have set up their Twitter accounts primarily to tweet about company news, not respond to customer complaints. Review the last few tweets of a particular company's Twitter account to make sure your tweet goes to the right account.
  5. If you are contacted by a representative of the company, take your conversation to email or phone. This is a better way to describe the exact problem and get it fixed quickly.
  6. Look for Verified Accounts. Twitter's openness has led to numerous accounts impersonating real companies or celebrities. Look for accounts that have been verified as legit by Twitter. Note that Verified Accounts for businesses are still in the beta, or testing, stage, so don't rely on this exclusively.
  7. If your tweet led to the problem being solved, tweet about that, too! Companies will be more likely to help you and others in the future if they know that going the extra mile on Twitter led to positive feedback for all the world to see.
Twitter is a valuable tool in the consumer's toolbox for resolving customer service issues. If going the usual route of calling the customer service line doesn't solve your problem, don't be afraid to try Twitter to express your displeasure. The old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease has never been truer.

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