3 Essential marketing tips for your small business

Featured

Tags

,

If you’re looking for the best marketing methods for your small business, you’re going to quickly find out that marketing has changed a great deal over the past few years. Whereas television commercials, radio ads and the yellow pages used to form the foundation of advertising, today everything is online. It’s important to know what pieces need to be in place in order to put together an effective Internet marketing campaign.

Tip #1: Get to Know Your Keywords

Keywords are essential if you want your website to be successful. Google AdWords offers an excellent tool that you can use to find out what the best keywords would be for your type of business. Or, alternatively you can just put yourself in the shoes of your customers. If you were a customer in search of the services and products that you offer, which keywords would you use when doing a Google search? Once you know those keywords, it’s important to have them in your website content.

Tip #2: Consider Hiring a Professional Writer

As a business owner, it’s difficult to take on all of the tasks of your job and do them all well. That’s why you hire employees, isn’t it? The same is true for your website content. A professional writer who understands search engine optimization (or SEO) and who will also take the time to get to know your business will produce excellent content for your website that will get you great search engine results.

Tip #3: Learn How to be Engaging on Social Media

Everyone who is anyone has a Facebook page, and it didn’t take long before businesses quickly jumped on the social media bandwagon. Social media offers you an excellent way to reach your customers and potential customers, but it won’t be useful for you unless you learn how to engage them properly. Running contests, asking questions and responding quickly to concerns are all great ways to engage with your audience on social media. The more you do it, the more you’ll grow as a business.

By putting these three tips together, you’ll create a successful marketing plan that will help your business grow quickly. As with any marketing plan, consistency is the key, so if you consistently use these tips, you’ll see growth in no time.

Making Sense of the New “SHOP” Health Insurance Exchanges

Featured

Tags

,

With so much press and coverage over the recent March 31 sign-up deadline for individual health care, a separate issue was greatly overshadowed: Not long from now, many small business owners will have to make a choice on whether they will enroll in their own health insurance exchange, and how they will offer healthcare coverage to their employees.

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) program is set up in each state, and is designed to serve as a healthcare exchange for small businesses. So while the program is available now in paper form (with certain parts being delayed), it goes completely live for online enrollment coming sometime this fall.

Small business owners have been provided with several choices when deciding how to proceed.

1. Renew existing small group plan for two more years, even if the plan doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act.

2. The ability to replace existing coverage with a plan purchased on the SHOP exchange.

3. Discontinue coverage, and encourage employees to seek out coverage of their own provided through their state’s individual exchange.

Looking at the Numbers

The number of employees you maintain is a huge factor in how the SHOP exchange affects your business.

- For businesses with 25 or fewer employees (those who are not required to offer health care), if you choose to do so, there are many tax credits available to you.

- Though the enrollment period is currently open to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, those businesses are not required to offer health care under the Affordable Care Act to their employees.

- Businesses with more than 100 employees are required to provide coverage to their employees or face a fine beginning in 2015.

- Mid-sized business (50-99 workers) will be required to offer coverage beginning in 2016 or face a fine.

Unlike the individual coverage, the SHOP exchange is open to businesses year round because there is no open enrollment period.

To learn more about the SHOP marketplace, your options, credits, and qualifications for your small business, click here to visit healthcare.gov’s FAQ page.

3 Customer Service Tips You Can Implement NOW

Featured

Tags

, , ,

One of the fastest ways to increase your sales, is to improve your customer service. The customer experience is incredibly crucial to repeat purchases and satisfaction, so it is imperative that your customer service to top notch. We will discuss 3 things you can do immediately to improve your customer service.iStock_000009612455XSmall_NOW

Way #1 Shorten Your Response Time

Nothing makes a bad customer service experience worse than a long time to get a response. When someone complains, get back to him or her immediately, even if it’s just to say, “Thank you for your feedback. I am looking into this and will get back to you.”  They want to know someone heard and someone is working on it. Set up expectations on response time internally for your team. Then adjust it based on what is actually happening.

Way #2 Don’t Flake

Now that you told the customer you’re looking into it and will get back to them, do it. Not getting back to them is about as bad as taking a long time to respond to their first contact. Utilize a tool such as Salesforce or use a ticket tracking system to record and notate conversations with customers. That way anyone can see the information and know exactly where your team is at with an issue. In Salesforce, tasks can be assigned to help your team stay organized and ensure they are not missing a follow up.

Way #3 Empathize and Sympathize

Whether a customer is upset or happy, people are happy when someone shares their experience or emotions. Connect with them somehow, and it will make things even better. Your customer service agents should reflect back to your customers and be sure to be relatable by taking ownership for any failures or problems. Your customers will appreciate it.

Please contact us for more Common Sense Customer Service Tips that can have an enormous impact on your business.

3 Tips To Good Customer Service

Featured

Tags

, , ,

customer-service2If you run a service based business or organization, you know how important it is to keep your customers happy.  Your brand depends on the quality of service your institution maintains.  If you can make a good first impression on someone you serve, chances are you have a loyal customer on your hands.  Customers like stability, security, and the peace of mind that comes with good service.  Let’s look at some tips that will help you exude good service in all aspects of your business.

1.  Customers Come First

You’ve surely heard the phrase “the customer is always right” before.  Well, it rings true in service based businesses.  If your customers want something, you go to great lengths to provide it.  Make an effort to pay attention to customers and ask them what what they want or need.  Let them know you care about what they think and feel.  You business can’t function without its customers—treat them well so they will want to come back.

2.  Listen To Complaints

No business owner likes to receive complaints.  However, complaints should be looked upon as chances to improve your service.  Don’t be angry at the customer for complaining—take personal responsibility for whatever caused them to feel neglected or dissatisfied.  Apologize for the mishap, even if the customer is in the wrong.  Always go out of your way to make sure the customer gets what they want.

3.  Set An Example For Your Employees

You have to be positive, humble, and likeable in the eyes of your employees.  If you carry out your role as business owner or manager correctly, your employees will follow your lead.  Be what you expect your workers to be and treat them with respect.  Treating employees with dignity will cause a chain reaction—you treat them well and they treat the customers well.  Managers can’t be everywhere at once.  Instead, you train your staff well so that you can rely on them to keep things running smoothly.

Providing good service starts with good leadership.  Be a beacon for positive change, listen to customers, and take action on anything they desire.  If you want to learn more about providing impeccable customer service, contact us to see what we can do for you!

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

Featured

Tags

, ,

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July! We cannot wait to spend the holiday with our Family and Friends. BBQ, Pool time, then enjoy the amazing  fireworks our small town puts on! What is your Fourth like?

Enjoy & Be Safe!

MyOpenJobs Staff

PC11069_4TH_OF_JULY_POSTCARD

10Best: Fourth of July fireworks around the USA

HVAC Agent Plumbing Agent | Electrical Agent Facility Agent Just Dispatchers

Customer Satisfaction: It’s All About the Three C’s

Featured

Tags

, , ,

3csAre you practicing the three C’s of customer satisfaction? Never heard of them? Well, it may not be the most exciting group of words, or the most robust of topics, but without these three words, customers would never appreciate what you do for them.

They are:

Consistency…

Consistency…

Consistency.

Or as one consulting group says:

Consistency may be one of the least inspirational topics for most managers. But it’s exceptionally powerful, especially at a time when retail channels are proliferating and consumer choice and empowerment are increasing.

So how can you be consistent? Just follow these 3 steps.

Step 1. Listen

The more you listen to what your customers need, the easier it will be for you to provide them with their wishes. Which, in case you didn’t know, will boost your profitability beyond your wildest dreams. Just think of it as ROI (return on investment). Second, it will add to your customer retention. Listening to what your customers say will also help for you to provide consistent customer service on a regular basis.

Step 2. Act

You’ve heard the saying “do unto others as you would have them do,” right? Simply, act as you would like you customer to act, and treat them exactly as you would like to be treated. Give them a sunny disposition and you will get one back. This is an important factor in being consistent on an emotional level. A positive experience builds a lasting relationship and trust.

Step 3. Follow Through

Perhaps the easiest of the three, but it could also be one of the most important (if left out). Never make a promise to a customer that you cannot keep, and lways follow through with the goals you set for yourself and your employees. A let down customer is one that may not return. Consistently going out of your way to meet the expectations of your customers will drive sales and bolster relationships. It’s a guarantee.

So what are you waiting for? Institute the three C’s today!

Juggling a Family and a Career: How to Survive When It Seems Too Much

Featured

Tags

,

iStock_000011530814XSmall-300x249With the pressures of work and a lack of time to dedicate to family, it is not uncommon for hardworking individuals to find themselves having difficulty with juggling a family and a career: how to survive is often at the forefront of many people’s minds. This may especially be the case for you if you are accustomed to working alternative hours in shifts commonly found in dispatching careers. Whether you work a day, night or swing shift, there are many ways that you can ensure that your family and career both receive the attention and respect they deserve, in order to help you succeed both on the job and at home. Here are a few tips for juggling your family and career:

1. Be Present.

Whether it is at your job or at home, focus on what is important in each area. Give your best effort to both. If on the job, keep yourself organized so that you can provide the best possible service to your customers while staying on top of the workload. Dedicate time to family when home, and do things you enjoy together with them. Be sure to give yourself some quiet personal time as well.

2. Plan date nights or family outings ahead of time.

When something is scheduled, it is more likely to be kept. By scheduling a regular activity, you can plan it around your schedule for a day and time that you will feel the most relaxed, refreshed and excited.

3. Talk about your day with your family.

Help them understand what your day to day looks like so they take interest in what you do. Discuss how your day went so they can understand how you might be feeling, and help you refocus on the rest of the day.

4. Create a routine both at home and on the job.

Routines create patterns in our lives, allowing us to complete regular and often mundane tasks with speed and efficiency. Work with your family to set up a morning and evening routine, to quick finish necessary chores and tasks and allow for more free time at home. At work, consider the parts of your shift, time of day, or order of tasks that you are able to accomplish the most in, and work to follow a routine for the everyday actions.

Juggling family and a career can feel overwhelming at times. However by taking a few small steps at both the workplace and at home, it is possible to not only feel comfortable in both roles, but to enjoy what you are doing and cherish family time as well.

allagentlogosacrossbackground-survey

3 Awesome Limousine Service Marketing Ideas

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

Running a Limo/Car Service can be a stressful affair, especially when you add to it marketing and advertising.hummer-h2-limo-06

On any given day you will be organizing and maintaining your fleet, keeping track of expenses, training and hiring staff (like drivers, dispatchers, and mechanics), and automating menial tasks while systematizing those that are periodic.

Who has time to brand themselves with all that going on? The answer is you do. Here are 3 great ideas to help you market your limousine service and maybe make a little extra money along the way.

Offer Exclusive Services

If you are the only limo service in your area, then great! This one is easy. But if you are faced with a stiff competition, keeping your head above water while remaining competitive can be an undertaking.

A great way to remain viable and profitable is to offer services that are exclusive to your brand. Things that clients will talk to their friends and family about. Here are some ideas:

- Red Carpet/VIP Service

- Red Roses Service

- Champagne Service

- Anyway to personalize and brand yourself

Client Appreciation Scripting

After booking, make it a point to confirm with your scheduled client personally via telephone. Make it the job of one of your skilled dispatchers. Never just send an email to confirm. This way, you can address any ways you can exceed your customer’s expectations, and provide them with one-of-a-kind amenities that may not receive from other limo services. Then, after the services are rendered, send a thank you letter. Customer retention her you come!

Partnering with Local Business

If you have been in business for a while, you now doubt know the owners and managers of local restaurants, which is perfect for this marketing idea. As you know, Monday through Thursday can be quite slow for a limo service. So what better time is there to get those limos on the road (for some free advertising)?

Contact some local restaurants and ask to do a cross-promotion for 15% off lunch or dinner, in exchange for 15% off of the client’s limo service. And once you get this agreement to work, don’t stretch yourself. You can easily turn the mid-week doldrums into extra profit with just the help of a one or two restaurants.

logo

Click logo to visit JustDispatchers.com

 

4 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Website This Week

Featured

Tags

, ,

A lot of small business make a big mistake when it comes to their website: once it’s up, they leave it alone. All successful businesses maintain, update, and upgrade their websites regularly. Something that all small businesses with a web presence should be doing regularly.download (1)

Here are 4 things you can do this week to improve your small business’ website.

1. About what? Take a close look at your About page. What does it say about who you are as a company? You may not think anyone cares about how you got started, who you serve, your employees, and so on, but trust us, they do. Put up photos, Google Maps directions, hours, history, etc.

2. A Picture is worth a thousand words. Photographs that are relevant to your business should be placed strategically around your website. But not just any photos, leave the stock photographs where they belong. Put up photos of things at your business, things you are proud of, your storefront, anything that helps a customer relate and want your services.

3. Statistic software solves problems. Software like Google Analytics can give you valuable insight into your customers. Like where they came from, what links they clicked, and what pages they view. There’s even a way to get very technical information if you have an account.

4. How does it look from over there? You may have created your website in Internet Explorer, but do you know how it look in Opera? Firefox? Chrome? What does it look like to a mobile user? Try finding your website on every platform to ensure it works, and looks like you intended it to. Or, for those who are strapped for time, check out Cross Browser Testing to do most of it at once.

When implemented correctly, these simple solutions can save you lots of time, generate leads, and increase customer flow. Which one will you do first?

5 Ways Managers Can Get the Best Customer Service from Their Dispatchers

Featured

Tags

, ,

logoPerhaps one of the most important, and unsung factors of dispatching is making the caller comfortable on the other end of the line. When a dispatcher answers a call, they are representing an entire company. Which is why how a dispatcher handles customer service will make or break the perception of what the caller thinks.

Here are 5 great ways to get the best customer service from your dispatchers.

Proper Training 

It’s probably not going to help your business much if you set standards but don’t provide training to back them up. A solid training program, or a group of standard operating procedures, can help establish guidelines and ensure quality.

Recognize Excellence

Everyone wants to be told they are doing a good job when they are. Rewarding your employees for a job well done carries more weight than you think. Set up incentive programs for those who excel at customer service to motivate others.

Two-Way Communication

As a manager, you should always be looking for ways to improve great service, even if you think it’s already top quality. A perfect way of getting more from your dispatchers is to ask them how to make things smoother. A personal prospective from someone on the front line is more valuable than an opinion from a far.

Problems Should be Opportunities

From the start, objective problem-solving should have importance. The earlier you institute that problems are nothing more than obstacles to overcome and adapt to, the sooner everyone on board will think the same as you. And soon, problems will be a thing of the past.

Emphasize Interpersonal Skills

Communicating over the phone is no easy task. It takes time and training to excel at it. Which is why it should be viewed as the perfect way to develop your team, and less like a burden. Placing a focus on interpersonal skills among your team will help them to be better listeners and communicators.

4 Common Sense Customer Service Tips That Enhance Your Business

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

In this modern age of online transactions and digital communication, one of the basics of business is frequently overlooked. Customer service is one of the aspects of business that is critically important, but so frequently it takes a back seat to efficiency and cheap prices. There are many customers out there that are glad to pay more if they know they will be getting great customer service. So what are some simple things your staff can do to better your customer service?

Acknowledge waiting customers. There’s nothing more annoying than feeling like you’re invisible, whether you’re in a store or waiting on hold on the phone. Everyone can understand that we all get busy from time to time, but the simple act of saying hello and that someone will be with you as soon as possible will gain you major points in the eyes of the customer. Yes, this is easy to do on the phone as well. I’m fairly certain no one likes those automated machines.

Make eye contact. This obviously only applies to in person transactions, but it makes a huge difference in the responsiveness of the customer. When you make eye contact, you connect with people and it’s such an infrequent occurrence in digital interaction today that it makes a world of difference.

Offer empathy. An upset customer is something no company wants, but it happens to everyone. The way that you handle an upset customer can mean the difference between a brand basher and a brand ambassador. One way to disarm upset customers is to be empathetic to their situation. So often they get on the phone, ready for a fight and when you concede and share their frustration, suddenly you’re on their side.

Follow up. This is one thing that never fails to make me a fan of a company. I love getting a follow up email or even call to make sure that I’m happy with my experience. It’s proactive and empowering and that’s a great way to make your customers feel.

While it might seem that customer service is pretty simple, these very basic practices rarely make it into daily interactions with customers.

 

Please contact us to learn more Common Sense Customer Service Tips that can make a huge impact on your bottom line.

5 Easy and Uncomplicated Social Media Tips For Your Small Business

Featured

Tags

, , ,

social2Social Media and your small business… how much thought have you given it? If the answer is not much, it’s time for a crash course on how using social media can improve everything from customer relations, to inventory purchasing, to branding. But first, the basics:

SEO

SEO gets thrown around a lot when people start talking about social media and marketing. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and when people refer to improving your SEO, what they mean is the steps a business takes online for their business website to be found. Pretty simple concept. Just remember, however, that the days of old in terms of how SEO works changed this year. You can read more on that here.

Social Media SEO

Social media SEO builds on the basic SEO concept by adding to it the idea that social media links and online interactions play a role in website ranking — the idea referring to where your website shows up after a search. This stems from the term you’ve likely heard called optimizing content, wherein a stronger social media SEO strengthens your page ranking.

So with the definitions out of the way, here are 5 easy ways you can use social media to benefit your small business.

1. Create a Google+ page. You may have heard negative things, but having a Google+ page for your small business is like adding a cherry to the top of your online presence.

2. Use Pinterest. It’s really that simple. Set up a Pinterest page, it’s great for link-building and creating and improving your keyword strategy (optimization).

3. Think about how your Facebook page appears to mobile users. Because smartphones run social media. In fact, 91% of all local searches say they use Facebook to find local business. Don’t have a Facebook page? Now’s the time to start one.

4. Optimize all of your online social media content. Do this by always including some form keywords in your posts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) relevant to people finding your business online.

5. Your social media profiles should carry strong optimizers that are SEO-friendly and increase your web-presence. Do this by always filling out the “About Me” sections with words that describe your business, and also serve as search engine terms.

What are you waiting for? Get started today!

allagentlogosacrossbackground-survey

The Dispatcher Market

Dispatcher market (non 911/ems)

When one thinks of a “dispatcher” one might imagine the calm voice at the other end of emergency calls, but there are many different fields which rely on dispatch professionals to properly handle matters of communication and information management.

A dispatcher can work for taxi services, in the healthcare field, for shipping and delivery services, in public utilities, for airlines, and more. Depending on the line of work, dispatchers may be responsible for tracking goods or equipment, coordinating transportation schedules, monitoring calls, or receiving and relaying messages. With so many professions in need of dispatchers and such a vast array of skill sets, dispatch jobs are often available.

But how does the dispatcher market look?

Estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, as of May 2013, over 180,000 people are currently holding dispatch jobs (not including those in emergency or police services) with an average hourly wage ranging from $13.00 to $19.00 per hour. Some of the higher-paying positions, such as those in natural gas distribution or railway transportation, have an average rate of $25.00 per hour!

Projected employment rates suggest the dispatcher market will increase with the average rate of the job market overall. So while that doesn’t mean a huge spike in demand, it does mean stability.

So don’t be intimidated if working in emergency services doesn’t seem like a good fit for you. As long as you have fantastic communication skills, value organization, and can work on a flexible schedule, dispatching could be a diverse career move to fit your skill sets just right. If you want more information or would like to see what the current market looks like in your area, visit Just Dispatchers today to check your local listings today!

General industry info/news/ tips on Dispatchers and what it means as a job

The general industry info/news/ tips on dispatchers is quite simple and means more then just something to do. In a way it is a chance to help people. When people are planning a trip and need to get to the airport, bus, or train station they call a service. Whether it be taxi, limo, or car which ever they prefer it all starts with a phone call. So they can make sure that they get there in time and safely. This starts with a dispatcher. When a call is made the dispatcher then chooses who to call based on location and time. This is very important part of customer service and making sure that your company stands out due to on time arrival.

There is a lot that can be said about being a dispatcher. It is the system of a well planned and thought out process in which it is up to you and they drivers that are on duty to get someone to a destination safe. They depend on you to get them were they need to go. Just like a will oiled machine dispatchers is the ones that keep it going. Without them driver wouldn’t know where to go.

And its just not for cab, limo, or car service. It also includes delivery and trucking as well. To plan out a delivery as well as pick ups a long the way take a great deal of planning and looking forward to see how to get the most done with the time that you are given. As for trucking they will need to know where they need to make the delivery to so you are there with all the information needed make that happen.

Dispatching is a lot more then just sitting down and taking calls. It a job were planning and communication are a key components to making a business work properly.

For more information of dispatcher jobs, please contact us.

Salaries for Transportation Dispatchers Are A Mixed Bag This Year

Last year, we reported that transportation dispatchers earned $38,450 per year, or $18.49 per hour. These professionals ensure that vehicles, equipment, and people reach their destination to perform maintenance, repairs or installation. (They don’t include fire, police or ambulance dispatchers who work with emergency and non-emergency calls.)

Average pay this year is up to $39,100 annually, or $18.80 hourly, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The range of salaries has also increased, starting from under $21,700 to over $60,090 per year, which equals $10.43 to $28.89 per hour.

  • The best paying industry remains the same: aerospace product and parts manufacturing. However, mean salaries dropped by just over 1 percent to $61,230 annually, or $29.44 hourly. Natural gas distribution rises from third to second place, averaging an annual $57,820, or $27.80 per hour. Debuting in third is the U.S. Postal Service, with mean pay of $55,890 per year, or $26.87 per hour.
  • The top-paying states differ this year. North Dakota leads with mean salaries at $48,180 per year, or $23.16 per hour. Alaska is next, averaging $45,990 annually, or $22.11 hourly. Last year’s best-paying state, Nebraska drops to third with mean wages at $45,180 a year, or $21.72 an hour.
  • City salaries have increased. Napa, California, moves up to first from second for pay, averaging $55,950 yearly, or $26.90 hourly. San Jose, in the same state, drops from first to second, with a mean salary of $53,250 per year, or $25.60 per hour. New on the list is Sandusky, Ohio, in third, averaging $53,050 annually, or $25.51 hourly.

Transportation dispatchers typically only need a high school diploma and are trained by their employers. If you’re interested in working at any of these positions, please contact us.

Social Media and your small business: 3 tips to get you started

Social Media and your small business

Social media’s impact on the business world is undeniable, but unfortunately too many small companies are putting in a sincere effort to utilize the medium, but failing to see a benefit.

This is just as damaging to a business as altogether ignoring social media.

Here are a few steps you can take to help create a successful relationship with social media and your small business.

Think 1-on-1

One of the greatest strengths of social media is the ability, when utilized correctly, to create genuine connections with customers or clients. Whatever social site you use, always think about your audience before posting any content. It does not benefit your business if you provide your followers with irrelevant or even worse offensive content. Each piece of information you share should have some practical value to the receiver.

Think Long Term

Whether your approach to social media is through a blog, Twitter or Facebook, you need a long-term plan in place. If your means of reaching your audience is through a blog, create an editorial calendar — or if you purchase blog content create relevant keywords — words that uniquely apply to your audience. For example, if you sell kites and your blog includes content about bike riding, regardless how good the bike riding content is, it will confuse — or even worse, alienate your audience. Take a little time to map out some article ideas you want to present to your potential customers.

Think Mastery

One common mistake small businesses make when jumping into the social media game is too much, too soon. Pick one of the social media platforms that most closely aligns with your business and the content you will create. Each platform has its strengths and its weaknesses and not all platforms are successful for every business. If your business is more photo-oriented then Instagram may be a good first choice, but if you create a significant amount of timely content you may want a blog and Twitter account.

Final Thoughts

Once you start a social media campaign, commit to the long haul. It may take time to develop a following, but high-quality content delivered on a consistent basis is the best approach. In fact, in time you want to be seen as the expert in your chosen field. As Saudia Davis points out in Using Social Media to Create Impact and Grow Your Business,

…become an expert in your space, serving as a primary source for information and insight from reporters, bloggers and other media outlets. Ultimately, this will drive people to your website, your phone lines or your storefront.

Marketing for Your Small Business: Attracting Prospective Customers

Whether you’re new to the business world, or you’ve been at it for a while, marketing for your small business is an important function. Here are three marketing ideas that can work well for virtually any business:

Social Media

Social media is becoming more and more popular as a marketing tool. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. When most people think of social media marketing, they think of posting direct promotional content. As an example, a real estate agent might post a link to a new listing, or a direct appeal to their friends and followers to refer people to them. But that’s not how social media marketing should be approached.

A much more effective approach is to use social media to position yourself as an expert in your field. You can do that by posting content relevant to your market or industry. The good news is, you don’t even have to create the content yourself. Just post links to informative web articles along with a brief description of what the article contains or your own thoughts about the topic. By positioning yourself as an expert, yours will be the first name that friends and followers think of when they need whatever it is you sell.

Live Seminars

With the advent of technology that makes it possible to present seminars on the internet (known as webinars), the live, in person seminar has become less and less common. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective as a marketing tool. Localized businesses can still benefit greatly from putting on a live seminar.

The subject matter of such a seminar can be anything related to your market or industry. But you’re not limited to that. As a community service, you could also sponsor a seminar about topics not at all related to your business. Either way, live seminars are great ways to get your name out in the community beyond your existing circles of influence.

Community Support

In every community, regardless of size, there are organizations that provide various services to people in the community. Whether it’s a senior center that helps retired folks stay active, a youth program that keeps kids engaged in wholesome activities, or something in between, opportunities to serve and support the community are everywhere.

Your community support activities may not lead directly to new customers, but the do help position you as someone who cares more about the community than just the income it provides you. That kind of positive public relations can’t be bought at any price, not to mention the positive difference you can make in the lives of others.

For additional advice and ideas for marketing your small business, check out the Marketing Your Small Business For Dummies cheat sheet. There are also other great online resources that can help. Just Google “marketing for small business”.

It’s All About Experience: How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Tags

, , ,

How_to_Keep_Your_Customers_Coming_Back_1

Your customers are the reason that your business exists. It is important to acquire new customers each day, but it is also very important to learn how to turn first-time customers into loyal customers. There are many different ways you can keep existing customers happy and willing to buy more. Here are some of the best ways how to keep your customers coming back.

Show Customers You Want Their Business

Marketing your business is a great way to get people interested in being your customer, but once they make the first purchase they will have different needs. A great way to show existing customers that you want them to keep coming back is by offering loyalty programs, discounts and other incentives that first-time buyers cannot receive.

Maintain Contact with Customers

As a business, you know that customers can easily feel ignored, causing them to look for other companies that won’t push them aside for new customers acquisition. The easiest way to make your customers feel wanted is to maintain communication. Today, this can be through the mail, email and social media.

Add Value to Their Experience

Your customer knows what to expect when they come to do business with you. Their experience with the process will determine whether they want to come back for your products and services again. You can keep them coming back by adding value to their experience. This can mean many things, but often it includes customizing some part of the process to make them feel special and appreciated.

Admit Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes–including businesses. When your company makes a mistake with a customer, it is a lot easier to just admit the mistake and apologize. Trying to ignore or cover up your mistakes will only lead to customers leaving. Many customers today will also take grievances to public platforms to get issues resolved if you refuse to admit the mistake which can do damage to your marketing efforts.

If you are interesting in learning more about customer acquisition and retention, contact us.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction Key To Improvement

Every business leader knows the guideline proposing “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”  For many aspects of business, metrics are straightforward.  Build times. Inventory turns. Material costs. First-call resolutions.  But a critical – if not the critical – success measurement for most companies is the abstract concept of customer satisfaction.

Measuring customer satisfaction is part science, part art form, and part grit. Satisfaction can be impacted from the first impression- such as an advertisement, web search, or family recommendation – to the last viable moments of the product or service.  Any touch point between the customer, product, and business throughout the product’s life cycle can immediately change a customer’s satisfaction level.  For better.  Or, for worse.

Volumes of books and research has been published on customer satisfaction management.  The Ultimate Question and Uncommon Service are two of the many excellent texts on this topic.    However, for businesses on the cusp of beginning their customer satisfaction improvement journey, the most common mistake is switching from a zero-data model, to a process of unwieldy surveys and uncontrollable feedback.

Following are a few simple tips to start tracking customer satisfaction in a meaningful and manageable way.

Define What Is Important.  You know your product and business better than anyone.  And you know that customer satisfaction can be affected in countless ways, such as  sales team interactions, product performance, and customer service.  Use your experience to decide which aspects impact the customer experience most.   Write one or two crisp, simple survey questions around this experience, such as:

How well did our customer service team resolve your issue?

Would you hesitate to call our customer service team again?

Define your scale, such as 1-5, and track data trends over time.

Two Minute Rule.  Customers are not your employees; they do not owe any of their valuable time to you.  However, most customers are willing to donate a few minutes of time in hopes improvements will be mutually beneficial.  Your survey should be short enough to complete in 1-2 minutes.  Longer surveys will be ignored, or completed with random answers.

Call Dissatisfied Customers.  This takes nerve, but is critical.  Call a sampling of customers which rate you poorly.  Apologize, and ask for details of the experience.  Don’t over promise changes, but assure the customer their words will be heard for ongoing improvements. An overwhelming number of customers will provide valuable, actionable feedback.

Rapid Experiments.  Once baseline data is available for a few weeks, begin a series of quick changes to address opportunities and monitor changes to data.   Expand programs which work; discard those which do not.

When traction is reached on the first issue, re-start the process on the next critical aspect of your business.  There are no concrete rules on managing and improving customer satisfaction.  Improvements require patience, consistency of data collection,  and active listening to customer feedback.    However, with discipline and focus, customer satisfaction can be quantified, tracked, and improved as a key metric within the overall business management system.

Fall Advertising Tips and Promotions for Your Small Business

Tags

, , , ,

With summer quickly coming to a close, many small business will be gearing up for a busy fourth quarter. Fall and the holidays it supports are the busiest and most lucrative times of the entire year. So as the leaves begin to change, so does the mindset you have to have to make advertising and promotional decisions that will benefit your bottom line.

Here are some autumn advertising tips and promotions to try out with your small business.

Support Sports

It may not be something that’s on your radar, but advertising your service through local sports teams and events works very well. Simply placing an advertising sign up at a little league park can help generate customers (and revenue). Whereas sponsoring a team will bring even more exposure. Use sports as a way to show the community you’re involved while putting money back into your bank account.

Sign Accordingly

Make fall the time that your small business changes things up. Think of it as a way to re-brand yourself with new brightly-colored (think fall) signs that attract the eye. Colors work very well in attracting people and selling your service. Don’t be afraid to alter them slightly around the holidays to add even more spirit and immersion.

Season’s Greetings

Let your customers know that you value them by sending them seasonal cards that celebrate the holidays. With all the “buzz” that surrounds the holiday season, having your name (and greeting card) tacked up on the wall is the perfect way to pull in some holiday cash.

Offer Promotional Discounts

With those greetings cards, send out some nice 10 and 20-percent off service fliers. People are even more likely to try your service if they feel like they are getting a perk (and some savings). Don’t forget to include an expiration date so that people make use of the discount before the holidays end.

The fall season is an excellent time to rebound from any late summer number crashes you may have had. Use these tips to get a leg up on the competition and create a brand that’ll keep ‘em coming back!

For more information on how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us any time.

Easy Customer Satisfaction Tips For Small Business

Customer satisfaction is a powerful and mysterious equalizer of competitive commerce.   Within any market segment, a majority of businesses offering similar products and services  are competing for the same customers.   When customers decide to cast their dollar vote, three simple factors guiding their choice are: cost, convenience (location) , and experience.     Small and medium businesses have limited flexibility with costs and location on a day-to-day basis.   But experience – customer satisfaction – encompasses numerous knobs and levers available for immediate adjustment by small businesses.

 

Know Who You Are.  Be Who You Are. Customers crave consistency.   Consistency starts with customer-facing employees.  Every team member should be able to state the top 3-5 “who we are” statements defined by leadership.   And every employee must live these values.     For example, assume three defined values are:  Fast Checkout, Low Prices, Friendly Service.     In this case,  a customer with a problem at checkout should be helpfully redirected to the service desk for proper assistance.   Loyal customers in line will appreciate the focus on Fast Checkout – a value consistently honored.    Each business knows their customers and should carefully craft their values, communicate their values, and live their values.  And remember – trying to cater to every customer personality style is a recipe for failure.  Pick your core values and stick to them.

 

Talk To Customers Face To Face. In general, restaurant managers score well on the topic of directly asking customers how service could be improved.  In an industry with razor thin margins such as food service, winners understand ever-changing trends in customer desires.   Online surveys are fine for collecting general trends.  But if you want direct feedback, talk with customers face to face.  Leaders must visit the heart of the operation and directly ask customers for improvements.   Go beyond the standard, “Did you find everything today?”    Ask open ended-questions that dictate action:

  • What could we have done better for you today?
  • If you ran  this store, what would you change?
  • Is there any reason you’d try a competitor anytime soon?

Communicate feedback to employees.  Pick one opportunity per month to drive change; be sure it aligns with “who you are” values.

Be Responsive. Customers have options.  And short attention spans.  When customers ask questions through any medium – email, phone, social media, message board  – have processes in place to answer questions in less than 1 business day.  Timely follow-up means the customer is important.   The fastest way to alienate a customer is answering  their request  “when we get to it.”   The customer will be shopping the competition.

Customer satisfaction is a powerful magnet  fostered more from focus than capital expenditure.  Know yourself.  Know your customer.  Know success.

To find the right opening that matches your experience, be it part-time or full-time employment, contact us. We are the largest portal offering positions in the dispatcher field.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.