Small business owners might own and operate companies with a handful of employees, but these hard-working people never think small. As large as your dreams might be, you have to think carefully about scaling your organization to the next level of growth – after all, even one bad hire can cause serious problems for every member of the team. This narrow margin for error makes many small business owners understandably cautious about scaling upwards, even if options such as implementing improved helpdesk infrastructure will ultimately be positive changes. Two important factors should be kept in mind by any small business owner looking to cultivate enhanced growth.
Finding the Right People for the Team
As mentioned above, hiring the wrong person can have negative effects on all aspects of a small business. Finding the right person remains a difficult prospect and there are many strategies you might consider when it comes time to add new members to your team.
In a business with less than ten people, a new employee will make up a significant percentage of the organization; the percentage of a company’s total workforce dominated by a new hire only goes up the fewer current employees there are. Given that a new hire might make up ten, twenty, or even thirty percent of your small business, it makes sense to spend a lot of time finding exactly the right person.
Take time to investigate different interview strategies that will highlight the skills and compatibility of each applicant. A face-to-face interview is certainly going to be a cornerstone of the hiring process, but consider other ways of assessing an applicant’s appropriateness. Panel interviews and portfolio reviews can give a better perspective on whether or not a prospective hire is the right fit.
Finding New Customers for Your Company
Expanding into new markets is a central scaling strategy, but is it possible to duplicate past success in new markets? Begin by thinking of your company as a natural response to people’s needs, not necessarily as a solution to their problems.
Speaking directly to the needs of the customers you wish to serve can be achieved with several different low-cost solutions, including:
• Email marketing platforms
• Cloud help desk solutions
• Social media advertising
• Website design and web development
Cayzu is a cost-effective helpdesk system that companies of all sizes can use to improve customer service operations. Email platforms let you reach thousands of contacts each month for just a few dollars; customize your electronic newsletters with links, photos, and more to encourage customer engagement.
Some small business owners are hesitant to invest in web development, believing this to be a high-cost way to connect with new customers. While this might have been true in the past, there are several low-cost website design options that are easy to use and require only basic comfort with computer use. Having an established online presence raises your profile and makes you more visible to the customers in your area searching for a company like yours.
Scaling a small business into a larger organization requires being willing to try new things. Plan carefully at each step and then watch how these strategies boost your growth.
The many dimensions of company growth can be driven by a range of factors, including new and evolving customer needs. Often, a company discovers that helpdesk infrastructure is inadequate to meet customer needs only after multiple failures have occurred. These failures are not necessarily due to improper dispersal of resolution solutions and problem management; in many cases, failures occur because the existing system of customer service cannot accommodate the volume or scope of concerns. This can happen after a company has expanded into a new market, for instance, or rolled out a new product line. In other words, one form of success might lead to other forms of failure. Having scalable customer service solutions is a good way to accommodate the changing patterns of demands without dropping the ball.
What Exactly Needs Scaled?
The effective delivery of customer services depends on many factors, including the number of personnel dedicated to these essential operations. Scaling your service operations does not simply mean adding more people to the team, although this may be one part of your overall solution. The training given to customer service representatives is also likely to play a role in scaling. The process of providing service has to be carefully evaluated; these are just a few of the factors that may need to be taken into consideration:
• Existing helpdesk protocols
• Case tracking and management software
• Hardware required to run modern software solutions effectively
• Hours of customer service department operation
• Venues for service requests and delivery
The software used to input customer service cases and track their management can be one of the most valuable of all scalable solutions. Cloud help desk solutions in particular operate on multiple scalable principles. Not only can they accommodate a growing number of users and increasingly complex management operations, they can be built on network architecture that delivers increased support as user demand rises and diverts resources as demand falls.
Developing Nuanced Solutions
Job delegation and organizational skills are two important solutions that dovetail nicely with improved network support. Highly effective customer service departments make use of hierarchies to delegate common and uncommon jobs to agents that are most equipped to manage them. The majority of agents will be trained to address common, frequent concerns; a smaller number of highly experienced agents can be given service requests that are less frequently seen and that may require a greater degree of attention.
Delegation works very effectively when the progress made on a case can be tracked with in-house software. Each step of concern management can be logged along with the names of each person assisting; some concerns require the input of several service personnel or even personnel from other departments. Tracking helps ensure accountability and that service failures do not occur.
Sophisticated cloud help desk systems like those from Cayzu can be used to generate the analytics that will help pinpoint steps in need of improvement as your customer service operations scale to meet increased demand. This precise form of problem solving gives you the information required to develop the strategies that will be most meaningful to your organization.
Being a small brand doesn’t negate you from the benefits of SEO. In fact, you can even begin to compete with bigger brands when you optimize your website. Big brands might spend thousands of dollars on marketing, but small businesses can get a lot of search engine traffic when they spend their money wisely on SEO and helpdesk services.
1. Consider Your Existing SEO Advantages
Some small businesses are poised to perform outstandingly without even knowing it. If your business has an old domain name that is at least a decade old, your website will be favored by search engine results. Search engines see businesses with old domains as reliable and stable. Utilizing your existing SEO assets allows you to compete without breaking the bank.
2. Start Revamping Your Website
Before you go all out on optimizing your website, do some research into your analytics. Which pages are driving the most organic traffic? What product pages or blog posts are getting the most views? Consider the most valuable pages that already exist on your website and use them as your starting point.
You don’t have to spend a penny on SEO services to get your website in better shape. Start by creating keyword-based title tags, including useful and authoritative content, and composing articulate Meta descriptions.
3. Develop Strong Keywords
Your first instinct might be to use high-volume keywords to compete with bigger brands in your industry. This often fails due to the large volume of searches and how established brands are already using keywords. Instead, consider focusing your energy on longer keywords that competing brands might not be using as much. Using unique and longer phrases can result in better conversion rates.
4. Create High Quality Content
Content marketing has become a key aspect of SEO strategies in recent years. While it is crucial to have high quality content on your website, search engines favor brands that place this content offsite. Big brands are almost solely focused on their own websites. When they do create offsite content, it is usually not written by the actual business owners and therefore less compelling. Carefully crafting an offsite content marketing strategy will set you apart and give you an authoritative voice in your industry.
5. Use SEO to Improve Customer Service
Integrating marketing and customer support is a smart strategy if you’re looking to compete with big brands. Utilize customer data to find out what your knowledge base site is lacking and how you can optimize it. Ask yourself these questions:
• What questions are customers asking?
• What are customers looking for?
• Is there sufficient information on my site?
• If not, how can I add it?
Customer data provides a direct insight into what your customers want. You can create keywords and entire web pages based around this information. Integrating your SEO strategy with customer service support via a cloud based help desk solution that offers a knowledge base will increase customer engagement and returns.
Don’t believe the lie that you can’t compete with bigger brands. When you use good SEO and customer service practices, you will see conversions and sales increase. Your website is just waiting for you to tap into its potential.
We are proud and excited to announce that Cayzu Help Desk was recognized as a FrontRunner for Help Desk software on Software Advice, powered by Gartner Methodology.
With a Capability User Rating of 4.87 out of 5 and a Value User Rating of 4.93, Cayzu has been awarded a space in the Pacesetters square of the quadrant.
Gartner’s quadrant FrontRunners for Help Desks
The FrontRunners quadrant, powered by Gartner Methodology, provides a data-driven assessment of products in a particular software category to determine which ones offer the best capability and value for businesses. It helps business leaders to make the right decision when choosing which software to buy.
On 2016 September, Gartner launched a new type of quadrant called FrontRunners. It is released for four software markets, which are (1) CRM software, (2) Project Management software, (3) Help Desk Software and (4) Applicant Tracking software.
All products that qualify as FrontRunners are top performing products in their market. They have been evaluated and given score for Capability and Value. Capability (x-axis) starts at 3.60 and ends at 4.60, while Value (y-axis) starts at 3.60 and ends at 4.70. FrontRunners evaluate the top 20-30 products in a quadrant format and it is completely data-driven with no analyst interpretation, also, it is heavily influenced by user reviews.
During the first half of 2017, Gartner is planning to launch FrontRunners quadrants for 24 software markets.
The content for the FrontRunners quadrant is derived from actual end-user reviews and ratings as well as vendor-supplied and publicly available product and company information that gets applied against a documented methodology. The results neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Gartner or any of its affiliates.
As it was mentioned above, the FrontRunners methodology assesses and calculates a score for products on two primary dimensions: Capability and Value. Here’s how they both are calculated.
The Capability score is an overall weighted average of scores including:
The Capability score is an overall weighted average of scores including:
- End-user ratings of 1 to 5 stars on the product’s functionality.
- End-user ratings of 1 to 5 stars ratings on the product’s ease of use.
- End-user ratings of 1 to 5 stars on the product’s customer support.
- A score, relative to other products in the market, for the product’s inclusion of key functionality for the software category.
- A score, relative to other products in the market, representing the number of other products that integrate with it.
The Value score is an overall weighted average of scores including:
- End-user ratings of 1 to 5 stars on overall satisfaction with the product.
- End-user ratings of 1 to 5 stars on how valuable users consider the product to be relative to its price.
- End-user ratings of 1 to 5 stars on how likely they are to recommend the product to others.
- A score, relative to other products in the market, for the size of the product’s customer base.
- A score, relative to other products in the market, for the number of professionals in the market who have experience with the product (e.g., users, developers, administrators).
- A score, relative to other products in the market, representing the total number of user reviews across the three Gartner web properties.
- A score, relative to other products in the market, representing the average number of times per month internet users search for the product on Google.
For a full report and methodology on Gartner’s FrontRunners quadrant, check out the information on Software Advice.
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 year 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.
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. 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.
The Cayzu Help Desk team is excited to announce our latest feature release!
The update includes:
- Ability to export the General Summary Report to Excel
- Ability to export the Tickets Report to Excel
- Ability to export the Ticket Volume Report to Excel
- Ability to export the Article Analysis Report to Excel
- Ability to export the General Help Desk Report to Excel
- Ability to export the Agent Summary Report to Excel
- Ability to export the Open Tickets by Requester Report to Excel
- Enhanced SLA Report (will now include the time that SLAs are broken by)
- Ability to search custom fields and assets
- Ability to customize items to bill for in time and billing drop down
- Ability to sort on the Pending column
- Bug Fixes
Ability to export ALL reports to excel: Agents can now export all eleven reports to excel from the Cayzu agent portal! The 11 reports include:
- General Summary Report: Overview of high level tickets stats including Avg. Response/resolution times, Number of tickets etc..
- Help Desk Load Analysis Report: Understand the busiest times of the day/week plus plot tickets resolved vs received.
- Article Analysis Report: Get details on which FAQ, Topics & News are getting the most hits/clicks and more!
- Tickets Report: Filter and export tickets by brand, product, requester and other criteria.
- Ticket Volume Report: Quickly identify ticket trends by pulling out tickets by company, TAG, Requester and Custom Fields.
- Tickets by Tags Report: Quickly identify reports by their associated TAGS.
- SLA Report: Are you adhering to your customer service level agreements? Now you can find out!
- Asset Report: Easily run and export a report itemizing all your contact or company assets.
- Agent Summary Report: Need to make sure that your agents are all doing their job? Check on their progress.
- Agent Time sheet Report: Export time and billing data to excel for quick import to billing solutions (Remember, Cayzu natively supports Quickbooks online, Harvest Billing and Freshbooks)
- Open Tickets by Requester Report: Quickly identify open tickets by requester.
Enhanced SLA Report (will now include the time that SLAs are broken by): We’ve improved Cayzu’s SLA report to now include the times that tickets broke SLAs by. Times were added for both initial response times as well as broken resolution SLAs.
Ability to search custom fields and assets: We’ve expanded Cayzu’s searching capabilities to now include assets and custom fields! Now easily and quickly search tickets, ticket replies, internal replies, contacts, FAQS, topics, news assets and even custom field data!
Ability to customize items to bill for in time and billing drop down: You can now customize the drop down list for what you bill for in our Time & Billing tracking.
Ability to sort on the Pending column: You can now sort on the pending customer column so that you can quickly identify which tickets need your attention first by knowing when the customer was last to reply.
Get started today! Cayzu Help Desk is easy to get started with. Just sign up for our no obligation, no credit card trial at: www.cayzu.com/sign-up .
We look forward to your feedback as you use Cayzu Help Desk!
Too many organizations only think about the service they are providing rather than what experiences their customers are having. It’s easy to focus on customer service without considering the bigger picture of customer experience. While these two things work together, they are most successful when they are tackled with their own respective business strategies via customer service software. We’re here to help you understand the difference between these two terms so that you can give your customers a rewarding experience.
The Pizza Analogy
Everyone loves pizza, right? Well, maybe not everyone, but work with us! Imagine a plain cheese pizza. It’s pretty good and mostly anyone would eat some if there weren’t any other options available. Now imagine a pizza with your favorite toppings–pepperoni, sausage, or even pineapple. This pizza was handmade with all organic ingredients and cooked to perfection in a brick oven. The second pizza is more desirable, right?
The plain cheese pizza is customer service by itself. It is good on its own, but it is lacking something. Customer experience gives you all the extra toppings and backstory that make you actually excited to eat the pizza. Delivering comprehensive customer service is like delivering a good pizza. It matters how it’s made, how it’s delivered, the quality of the packaging, and how quickly it was delivered. The plain underlying cheese pizza plays a big role in how it’s perceived, but it becomes truly satisfying when everything comes together.
Let’s Get Technical
Now that you have entertained our love of pizza, let’s dig deeper into what this looks like operationally. Providing a successful customer experience means proactively predicting what your customers want. Customer service by itself is reactionary. Resolving issues such as process failures or user errors is customer service. Customer experience is about creating an attractive perception of your brand.
When you reach out to your customers in a proactive manner, they will feel good when they interact with your brand. Customer experience is making your customers feel comfortable about accessing your organization, while customer service is used to resolve issues and satisfy needs. When these are both applied strategically, you will keep your customers coming back.
Interact Before There Is An Issue
The best thing you can do to attract customers to your organization is providing interactive opportunities that get them excited to purchase your products or services. There are many valuable facets of customer experience, but social media is an emergent and ever-changing landscape that plays a big role. Rather than providing customer service separately across social media channels and via email, what if you could integrate it all into one?
We have HelpDesk customer service software that provides seamless integration of your websites, email accounts, and social media profiles. This gives you the tools you need to expand your presence and interact with customers more efficiently and proactively.
Give Your Customers An Experience
When you develop a strategy to execute positive interactions with the help of Cloud Help Desk software, you will create a favorable perception of your business. Learn how our multichannel social software can help.
A lot of people have thought about starting their own 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.
Effective customer service is integral to any organisation trying to build a positive reputation and gain repeat customers. Some companies have struggled with truly caring for their customers in the digital age. How do you communicate understanding and kindness through customer service software? What are the core tenets of serving your customers better? Here are five lessons from us to you.
1. Customers Before Competition
This might seem like an overly obvious point, but it is something that needs to be engaged and unpacked. It’s not just a phrase that sounds nice. Serving your customers’ needs means being customer-focused instead of competitor-focused.
Too many businesses base their whole operation on competing with others. While healthy competition is good, it shouldn’t be the driving force of your daily operations. Next time you evaluate your services or products, take a second to think about what will satisfy your customers more rather than how you can one-up your competitors.
2. Seek to Understand
A lot of customers feel like they are heard. Fewer customers feel like they are understood. In order to properly identify their needs and develop effective solutions, you need to truly understand your customers. Treat each customer interaction as a lesson and do all you can to make sure you truly understand their needs.
3. Customers Are the Most Important
When you get caught up in the daily operations of business and attend countless meetings, it can be easy to lose sight of your customers. Business meetings tend to focus on financials and internal issues. When you’re at your next meeting, imagine that a customer is sitting in that room with all of you. Make decisions and develop strategies based around your customers. Your business can’t succeed without them.
4. It’s All About Respect
In today’s business world, respect is more important than ever. This might sound like another no-brainer tip, but it truly makes a difference. The perception of your brand can change quickly in the world of the Internet. If you have an unhappy customer they can make you look bad to their hundreds or thousands of followers in an instant. Treating each customer with poise, respect, and graciousness throughout every step of the process is crucial. Even when they voice their complaints to the Internet, have a plan for how to respond kindly no matter how frustrated you get.
5. Don’t Avoid Apologizing
At one point or another an organization is going to face scrutiny. You will make mistakes and upset customers. Your response in these situations is important. When you take responsibility for mistakes and provide a heartfelt apology when necessary, it will have a positive reception on the public. It might feel embarrassing or frustrating to apologize, but it shows everyone that you care about your customers and strive to do better.
These tips aren’t supposed to act as the five commandments of customer service. They are intended to help you analyze your customer service and do some introspective thinking. If you want to provide better customer service, you can do so with the help Cayzu’s HelpDesk software. Identifying your customers’ needs and responding to them is easy with a cloud based help desk.