Although it is a common occurrence to see piles and piles of receipts in the corners of small businesses everywhere, that’s only a small portion of receipts that business owners are hoarding. Keeping up with expenses is a challenge for many small businesses across the globe. Here are tips business owners can use to keep track of their expenses and eliminate much of the messy paper trail.
1. Frequency of Expense Tracking
We get it. Finding the time to track expenses can be a challenge, especially if the business is a busy one. Let’s face it, not very many people enjoy playing the time-consuming role of accountant. The longer it takes for you to get around to tracking your expenses, the longer it will take to get it done. Instead of waiting until the end of the month, consider doing a little bit each day at a set time to prevent a mountain of receipts from piling up. This also helps to eliminate missing invoices.
2. Go Digital
Instead of stuffing receipts into every nook and cranny in your wallet, scan them so you can get rid of the clutter. Some stores and businesses provide email copies of receipts that can help to make it much easier and less messy for you to keep track of them. Until every business you deal with catches up to that trend, digitally scan your receipts and file them away properly on your computer. You can even take pictures of them with your phone or tablet, use cloud help desk software, or download an app like ReceiptBank or Shoeboxed to keep track of your expenses while you’re on the go.
Related: Track time and billing with Cayzu Help Desk’s native time and billing tracking
3. Eliminate Petty Cash
I know, you’re probably wondering just how to manage your small business expenses without petty cash. The answer is simple. Have everyone, including your employees foot the bill and apply for reimbursement. This can be very beneficial because it helps to eliminate unnecessary expenses, receipts, and makes it much easier for you to account for every single dime that is being spent.
4. Add Employee Incentives
Did you know that over 52 percent of employees don’t provide an accurate accounting of their expenses in a timely manner or at all? What this means for you is more headaches and frustrations when it’s time to account for every dollar that has been spent. Encourage and motivate your employees to enter their receipts on time by making the process a simple one. Relying on employees to write everything down on forms and to use old, outdated software is a great way to ensure they don’t the task at all. Upgrading to the use of intuitive customer service software can help lessen the burden for your employees and keep your business functioning like a well-oiled machine.
Of course, with the use of better software comes the need for better support to prevent learning and growing pains that can set your business back. No matter what kind of software and systems you have in place for expense accounting, make sure your helpdesk staff is proficient enough to overcome any hurdles or challenges that may occur. Although you own the business, you can delegate the task of expense tracking to everyone so they can do their part to help out.
We live in a world that’s more automated and electronic than ever, and that’s especially true when it comes to advanced customer service software. Technology makes it easy for us to forget what really matters, the customer experience. Cayzu is here to remind you that even though many of your business’s tasks can be done electronically, you should still make sure you devote some of your financial resources to improving the customer’s experience with your company. Your customers are sure to thank you, and you’re sure to notice a positive change in your overall business structure.
In a study conducted earlier this year, market research company J.D. Power found that personal service is essential in the hospitality industry. The research showed that customers had a more positive experience when they were able to interact with several members of the staff, and those findings were especially true when they interacted with staff members from different departments. While your helpdesk is essential to making sure your customers get the assistance and service they need, make sure you don’t forget that some customers may want to speak with other departments in order to be fully satisfied.
Expedite the Process
Take a lesson from Jiffy Lube. If your business requires an abundance of paperwork, or if customers have to fill in the same information each time they order something from you, store their information in a database so that you have quick access to it and make it so that the information is already filled in when customers start a new order. Make sure your customers know you’ll be storing their information, especially if it’s sensitive financial or personal information, and give them the choice of opting out if they’d rather not have their information stored. With all of the hacks that have been going on, some customers may not like having the possibility of their credit card information being compromised.
Streamline Transactional Processes and Items
Depending on your market, your customers may be more accustomed to electronic receipts, product boxes that don’t have instruction manuals and possibly even physical stores that don’t have registers. Find out what your audience expects to see and how they expect to perform a transaction. For instance, paying by phone is rising in popularity, and customers may expect to have the option of paying through an app rather than handing their card over. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your customers as well as your employees to find out how you can best streamline the transaction process and the way in which you package your products.
Don’t Forget the Emotional Element
Younger customers are more accustomed to interacting with technology every day of their lives, but they can still find value in face-to-face interactions and the emotional element of the shopping experience. If a large part of your customer base is young and technologically savvy, don’t forget to appeal to their emotions. Remember, every investment starts in the heart, not the wallet.
Just as Cayzu wants to improve your cloud help desk, we also want to improve as many other facets of your business as possible. While customer service is a great place to start, take the momentum you gain and spread it across the rest of your business. Take some time to enhance your customers’ experience and you’re sure to enhance your business experience at the same time.
A lot of people have thought about starting a small business at one point or another, but unfortunately most of them aren’t quite sure where to begin. This is especially true for those who have no previous entrepreneurial experience. If you’ve got a great idea, though, and the passion to see it through, then here are some of the most important things to keep in mind.
Do Your Homework
When you start a business, your first priority should be to research the industry, so that you can make every step after that easier. Familiarize yourself with your product, competitors, and potential clients. Make sure that any assumptions you make are valid, that there is a market for your idea, and that you’re truly offering an innovative solution. One good step is to look at established companies in your industry and figure out what they’re doing right.
Build a Plan
Next, you should start creating a business plan. Set long and short term goals, come up with ways to keep track of them, and write out your strategy to accomplish them. Ideally, you should have a goal for what the first three years or so of operation will look like. A business plan helps you to see the whole picture and ensures that you have the direction needed to move forward.
Make Community Connections
You should make an effort to be in touch with your community. Not only will this help create loyal customers who want to help you succeed, it’s also a good way to generate contacts that can help your business grow. Plus, good PR is always a bonus. Get involved with business and commerce groups, non-profits, and other helpful institutions.
Make Corporate Connections
You might be familiar with the importance of networking in the beginning, but it’s very important not to stop. By creating new contacts inside your industry, you can more easily find providers, distributors, and other helpful contacts; by talking with people outside of your industry you can get a fresh perspective and even unexpected clients.
Manage Your Time
Time management is one of the single most important skills that an entrepreneur can learn. Although clichéd, the phrase “time is money” almost always holds true. Figure out how to manage your time efficiently and make your downtime productive. Don’t procrastinate, don’t waste downtime, and don’t let your personal life overtake your business (or vice versa!).
Think About Financing
Don’t rely too much on external financing. Although it can be helpful later on, building a business plan off of it when you’re starting out is a recipe for disaster. Many institutions will not support a new business from day one. Consider what personal resources you have—credit cards, personal savings, small loans, or friends and family who would be willing to lend their support. Create a good track record and then use it to get outside investment later.
Respect Your Clients
Finally, be sure to treat your customers right. Without their support, your business is sure to fail. One major advantage of a small business is that you can give your customer service a personal touch, but it can be difficult to manage their concerns without an effective helpdesk solution. Cloud help desk customer service software like Cayzu is a great way to help ensure that customers come to and stay with your business. With some careful planning, your great idea can get off the ground.
There are several things you can do improve your overall business in order to compete with your competition, but few of those methods are as powerful as improving your customer service. In addition to offering exemplary customer service software, Cayzu also specializes in offering exemplary professional advice on how you can leapfrog past your competition by pinpointing your customer service strategy.
Make Your Site Easy to Use
Every now and then it’s a good idea to put yourself in a customer’s position to see how well your site works. How well does your online helpdesk work? Does your site load quickly and is it easy to navigate? If you have a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online store, make sure you offer customers a self-service option. Doing so is a great way to ensure all of your customers get what they’re shopping for when they’re shopping for it no matter what time it is or the time zone they’re in.
Answers Should Be Quick and Easy to Come By
The answers to basic and common questions should be readily available on your site. Few things can upset your customers faster or easier than them not being able to easily find information that should be included in the FAQ section of your site. And speaking of FAQ sections, we recommend updating yours every couple months or so to keep up with changing inquiries.
Just as you have a business to operate, your customers have lives to tend to. Stick to whatever promises and delivery times you give. If there are ever any delays or reasons you’re unable to keep your promises or meet your obligations, make sure you have a good reason and that you’re completely honest with your customers. They’re often more forgiving if you take quick action, communicate with them and make up for any mistakes you make.
Prepare for the Absolute Worst
You and your customer service department are sure to have more than your fair share of bad and downright terrible days, so you might as well go ahead and prepare for them before they happen. Find out what some of the most common customer service complications are and find out how leading companies handle those specific situations. Be sure you include your customer service department to help with this step. They’re going to be the implementing your strategy, so they might as well help develop it.
Keep Every Impression in Mind
Don’t wait for your customer to come to you before you set the tone for your relationship, and this applies to your physical customer service department as well as your cloud help desk. You also want to be mindful of the message you’re sending to customers as they look over your physical store or website. Finally, you also want to end business transactions on a positive note rather than be quick to rush off to the next customer. Let your customers know you’re there for them if they ever need assistance in the future.
Rather than focus specifically on beating out your competition, focus instead on improving your business. No matter how crowded the marketplace becomes, it’s always best to focus inward rather than outward.
The Internet may still be young, but online marketing is imperative to a highly successful businesses. Especially for small companies, a quality web presence can increase revenue by as much as 20 percent. Many enterprises aren’t making the most of their various internet platforms and customer service software, but with the right shifts, any company can begin converting web leads into paying customers.
1. Don’t Get Caught in the Family Trap
One of the hallmarks of entrepreneurship is calling in favors from friends and family. Though these types of “associates” usually come without fees, they are rarely experts in advertising or online content. The truth is you probably entrust your web presence to professionals who understand the market.
2. Choose the Right Service and Provider
Some firms are huge and mainly focus on even larger clients. Others will offer unbelievable pricing, but low quality services. When you are setting up your online business components like a cloud help desk, make sure you hire partners like Cayzu who have a track record of excellence.
3. Hop on the SEO Bandwagon
SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization and it involves the use of keywords to get to the top of search engine results. Most companies base their efforts on the Google algorithms, but if you have an international business, you should cater to other popular search engines as well.
4. Beef Up Your SEM
Search engine marketing or SEM incorporates SEO tactics but it is a much wider discipline. The system might employ pay-per-click advertising as well as SEO to drive your businesses websites to increase search engine visibility. As far as customer acquisition, this s considered on of the most effective tactics currently in use. With over 3.5 billion daily Google searches, it’s not hard to imagine why.
5. Put the Work in for a Perfectly Engineered Site
Modern consumers are impatient and 40 percent of Internet users will leave a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. Plus, 50 percent of web searches happen on mobile phones and apps. For these reasons, you website needs to adjust for mobile devices, be devoid of glitches and instantly engage leads with its design.
6. Sincerely Engage Social Media
When social media sites first popped up, they were seen as a way for young people to connect with each other, but they were not considered fit for professionals. Now, even the white house has an active Twitter presence. Social media sites reach millions of people and can be responsible for effective advertising.
7. Snail Mail Is Dead but Email Isn’t
Email is fast and doesn’t require postage. Regular newsletters, blog content or special offers are a great way to keep customers engaged and they foster consistent communication between the business and client. Like social media, you can track results and statistics, which will help you make smarter company decisions down the line.
No enterprise should view their web presence as unnecessary or unimportant. Something as simple as having an accessible online helpdesk can draw in and retain clients who like the ease and design of the system. Follow these tips to get the most out of your Internet media.
While there have never been more opportunities to turn help desk website visitors into loyal customers, you have to make sure your conversion strategy makes the most of those opportunities. Rather than feel bogged down and overwhelmed with your options. Cayzu is here to give you seven site conversion resolutions to implement this year.
1. Consider Conversion Rate Optimization Skill-Building and Learning
If you’ve got the resources, consider establishing a department that’s solely focused on conversion rate optimization, testing your website, improving user experience and drafting persuasive marketing and advertising. Smaller companies can implement this step by learning the basics of conversion rate optimization.
2. Revamp Your Website
Before making minor adjustments to your site, decide whether you need to make a drastic redesign to address issues users might be having and to better optimize your site. If you’re afraid that such a significant change will do more harm than good, don’t be. Your site’s current design might be exactly what’s keeping you from experiencing more conversions.
3. Shift Your Focus From Testing to a More Organized Conversion Strategy
Instead of focusing only on how well your cloud help desk site works, you’ll be better off recognizing when testing your site can do more harm than good, concentrating on ways to improve your profits and utilizing more flexible testing tools. Bear in mind that testing your website and optimizing your site aren’t the same thing.
4. Target and Divide With a Goal in Mind
When tightening your focus on the makeup of your audience, divide them according to their psychographic profiles, demographic, special aspects of your industry and how they behave while on your site. To help you with this resolution, turn to a trusted analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.
5. Personalize the Right Way
If you decide to personalize your user experience, do it the right way. You might be shocked to learn that only roughly 25% of businesses are actually utilizing site personalization. Personalization is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to start improving your site conversion rate this year and every year afterwards. If you’ve already personalized your site, see if you can tighten your settings to make sure you’ve got suggested products in stock and that they’re in the style, size or color the customer desires.
6. Upgrade Mobile Usability and UX
Your website should be optimized for mobile use, if it can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet. Remember that the screens and layouts of phones and tablets aren’t the same as computers, and you can easily miss out on opportunities to make a conversion if visitors don’t have an easier time of navigating your site while they’re on the go. When optimizing and designing your mobile site, use mobile analytics to improve the user experience.
7. Implement Consistent Multi-Channel Experiences
Whenever your customers interact with your company, be it through social media, email, a mobile site or an app, their experience should always be the same. They should automatically know they’re dealing with your company and brand no matter how they decide to interact with you. Make it easy and convenient for users to connect with you no matter how they choose to do so.
Here at Cayzu we want this year to be one of the best years yet for your business and your site. Put these tips to good use and watch as visitors turn into loyal customers and advocates for your business.
In a world of technology and social media, customer interaction can either make or break your marketing strategy. Today, protecting your brand now means solid social customer service practices across your helpdesk, front line and all levels of your operation.
The Power of Social Media
Social media drives the way people date, associate, learn and shop. In fact, nearly half of all online account holders have used their social media platform as a way to contact a particular business with a question, comment or complaint about a brand or product. Such behavior is even more prevalent among users under the age of 25, many of whom prefer to contact a company online than through a traditional telephone line. Furthermore, this younger generation expects resolution, and expects it fast.
Simply put, your customers prefer to engage your business through a virtual space, and most expect you to be available at any time of day. Therefore, you need to send your marketing team to where the conversations are happening. Moreover, you want a cloud help desk that is convenient, user friendly and innovative. Personalize all aspects of your portal, and be sure to integrate links to mobile apps and social platforms. Above all, remain transparent. If you do not currently operate on a 24-7 basis, stay accountable to your service level agreements.
Good Social Care Means Happy Customers
Not only is social care necessary, but it is also highly rewarding. Brands that are dedicated to this online space are highly praised. Better still, they reap the benefits of lasting customer loyalty. Companies like BestBuy that are dedicated to serving their customers online are enjoying a larger audience, more repeat purchases and higher profits.
Social media is your most valuable networking tool. Not only does it keep your current customers happy, but it also draws in the respect of others who become interested in your brand simply by observing a positive interaction between you and another customer.
Your Game Plan
If you want to reap the benefits, you have to have a strategy. Start with the basics:
• Listen to your customers: Begin by tuning into all online conversations about your brand. Look for trends that lead up to both positive and negative comments. Hone in on those topics in order to drive the conversations in the right direction. Be sure to build upon positive testimonials.
• Listen to your competitors’ customers: Don’t forget to study up on competing brands. What do customers value? What do they despise? What type of interactions lead to positive or negative feedback? Look at comments and try to identify potential areas where you can jump in to the rescue. By forecasting customer needs, you position yourself as a company that unhappy customers switch to.
• Be available, but be productive: A fast response is crucial. However, if you’re sacrificing quality for speed, you’re missing the point. Impersonal responses are a huge turn-off, so be sure your team is responding with purpose. Speed may simply be a matter of quickly dispatching responses to the correct person.
Don’t put off your social care strategy. It’s the front line of your entire reputation. If you’re unsure where to begin, get in touch with Cayzu today.
First impressions matter, and they matter even more at your help desk. A customer that calls for support has already been having trouble, and a bad experience with a call is one of the fastest ways to get them to abandon your company altogether. But finding a way to give every customer the attention they need is hard, and it can get downright impossible if you’re still making basic help desk mistakes. Here are some of the biggest errors that beginners make in support calls—and how you can avoid them.
1. Never Shutting Up
First of all, make sure that you’re listening as much as you’re talking. While this is valuable advice for almost any relationship, it’s especially relevant on support calls. Customers do not appreciate it when they think their voice isn’t being heard, and nobody likes being interrupted or talked over. Plus, callers tend to become more cooperative after they’ve had a chance to vent, and it gives you as the support staff a better understanding of what exactly the problem is. This valuable information can sometimes help resolve the issue faster.
2. Reading Your Lines
Similarly, don’t get hung up on the script. Scripts are fine for training, but callers can tell when you’re reciting lines rather than talking to them. They think you’re not listening to them, and they don’t like it. If you’re willing to be a little more flexible, it helps establish trust, improves communication, and encourages the client to follow your instructions.
3. Taking Your Time
Do not make your customers wait for too long. They stop believing “Your call is important to us” the thirtieth time they hear it. If the wait doesn’t make them hang up, then they tend to be even more irritable when you finally get around to them. If you don’t have enough staff to ensure reasonable waits, then try adding call-backs so that nobody has to waste their time.
4. Playing the Blame Game
Nobody likes angry callers, but trying to blame someone else for the problem doesn’t help anything. If you resort to pointing fingers, then you only upset the caller more while delaying resolution of the issue. The problem probably isn’t your fault, but taking responsibility will go a long way towards building relationships.
5. Switching Channels and Starting Over
Try to avoid making your customer to switch channels, and especially do not force them to start over if they do. Modern consumers expect the same level of service no matter how they contact you, be it by phone, live chat, social media or over email. While it won’t be feasible to resolve every problem on every channel, you should make switching from one to another easy. Jumping from email to phone is annoying, and starting from square one again is a terrible experience. Cloud help desk solutions are one way to help mitigate this.
6. Faking It
Finally, be willing to admit when you don’t know. Be honest instead of trying to muddle your way through and hoping you stumble on the answer. The key to pulling this off is follow-up: tell the customer you’ll find out for them, and then go get the answer as soon as possible. Once you’ve found a solution, call back. Forgetting to respond is an easy way to lose the client.
Your customers might not always be right, but if you treat them wrong they’ll stop being your customers. These tips, combined with the help desk solutions offered here at Cayzu, can help make support calls a better experience for everyone.
Customer complaints are inevitable, regardless of how you streamline your marketing techniques. With increased social media presence, more companies are realizing the benefits of a help desk to enable them to flag and quickly respond to posts and mentions. Many business owners see complaint management as a time-consuming and frustrating process. However, by generating an adequate cloud help desk system and following these six steps, complaints can be resolved quickly and easily.
1. Act fast. It is tempting to put off returning an email or responding to a post or mention from a dissatisfied client, but early responses show a genuine commitment to your company. Most people do not take the time and trouble to complain, so if they do and hear nothing, they assume that you do not plan to address the situation.
2. Listen and learn. Giving unhappy customers the opportunity to talk without interruption shows understanding, concern and allows you to break through generalizations to uncover the facts. Make sure that you understand the circumstances to show that you appreciate what will help resolve the problem.
3. Apologize. Apologize for any confusion that happened, regardless of whether it was the fault of the customer or your firm. Choose your battles wisely. Even if the consumer is wrong, you do not want to lose their business. Of course, if your company is at fault, do not hesitate to take full responsibility. Stay friendly, open and thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention.
4. Stay cool. Regardless of how reasonable you are, some angry customers are beyond calming down. However, sometimes all people want is a chance to vent their anger and frustration. Try to isolate the problem from the resolution.
5. Make it right. Often customers do not care about the cause of a problem; they just want to know what you plan to do about it. Once you clarify the compensation that the customer expects, do what you say you will do and make sure that it is done right. If customers have trouble communicating the precise nature of they complaint or how they want to resolve it, help them evaluate the pros and cons of several different solutions. Be sure to encourage more feedback.
6. Follow up. If you have not heard from the patron in a week or two, make sure to reach out to them. For instance, if you sent an apology letter with a gift certificate, try to determine if they have returned to the store and most importantly, how the interaction went. If you apologized via a social media post and did not hear back, follow up to see if there is something more that you can do to guarantee that they are pleased with your customer service. Although the criticism may have originated from a singular, isolated episode, you should make every attempt to recognize what can be done to prevent it from occurring again.
Finding Amenable Solutions
Unfortunately, preventing poor customer experiences is not always possible. However, by handling complaints promptly and adequately with a helpdesk solution that actually works, we make it possible to salvage adverse situations. Contact Cayzu today for help turning a grievance into an opportunity to outperform expectations and strengthen consumer loyalty.
Most businesses realize that good customer service is the lifeblood of the company. Offering discounts, running promotions and cutting prices will definitely help generate new customers, but if you want those customers to keep coming back, exceptional customer service is essential. In fact, providing good customer service is one of the best ways to stick it to your competition. When you have a satisfied, happy customer, they aren’t likely to shop around your competitors. At Cayzu, we aim to be real, honest and respectful with all of our customers. In addition to these attributes, we’ve compiled a list of five more ways to use customer service to make your competitors envy you.
Make a Connection
One of the best ways to connect with customers is to listen. Inquire of their name (and introduce yourself while you’re at it) and ask clarifying questions, but then listen intently to what they have to say. It’s also a good idea to assure the customer you’re taking care of them. Sustain accountability above all else. When every member of your team can make this kind of a connection, your competitors will definitely feel the burn.
Keep Things Easy for the Customer
Keeping things easy for the customer is one way to ensure they’ll be back. This means accepting as many forms of payment as possible, and working to make the transaction process as simple and efficient as possible. Nobody wants to waste time by repeatedly entering unnecessary data at checkout. You might also want to consider enabling 24/7 self-service support for your customers by utilizing a knowledge base.
Customer Convenience Trumps All
Most customers will continue giving their business to a company that offers convenience. They want (and deserve) convenience in every stage of interaction with your company, including during transactions, calling customer service and on the company website.
At Cayzu, we believe in being real and honest with our customers. Our customers know we aren’t fake and we try to let each person know how much we value their business. This means offering top-notch customer service while also giving them the products and services they want. When you stop treating people like ‘guests’ and start treating them like a respected customer, you’ll notice a substantial difference in your business.
If you really want to soar above the competition, practice your follow through. It makes customers know they can depend on you to fix a problem. Communicate clearly and effectively with them about what you’re going to do and then (this is key) do it. It’s a good idea to remember that the customer doesn’t usually care about the process on your end, only how it affects them. Keep this in mind when you’re explaining something like shipping. Their concern is when they are going to receive the product, not the process it goes through to leave your warehouse.
Your customers are the only thing keeping you in business. They are far more important than products, marketing strategies and website designs. Treat them with the right combination of respect, appreciation and good old fashioned customer service to keep them coming back for more. We promise you that if you do it right, they will tell their friends and you’ll be booming. All while your competition is green with envy.
To keep your company at the top of the heap, shoot the Cayzu team an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org . Our cloud based help desk solution can help your business stay organized and efficient so you can spend your time and energy focusing on the customer.