The buying cycle has completely changed over the past decade, and the companies that are now just realizing this are losing both revenue and market share. A recent CEB study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that 57 % of purchase decisions are made BEFORE a customer even talks to a sales rep. Buyers are now, more than ever, truly connected to information like never before, making the competitive landscape even fiercer.
Building a Loyal Customer Base is Essential for the Survival of your Business
For small and medium sized businesses, building a loyal customer base has always been important. However, many business owners are so invested in the search for new business, they sometimes lose sight of what’s really important and are left to deal with an eroding customer base.
As a manager or owner of a small or medium sized organization, you can lose customers simply by not picking up the phone. If your customer support is hard to find, is rude, or is incompetent, you risk losing even more. A bad customer experience can not only turn customers away, it can also hurt future business with poor online reviews or negative feedback that could be shared with friends.
A study conducted by the Gartner Group revealed that SMBs can earn 80% of their future business just by retaining 20% of their existing customers (The famous 80/20 rule). For a business, new customers ensure short term profitability while repeat business ensures long term sustainability.
So Why Ditch Marketing?
With the tremendous amount of noise that floods consumers ears each and every second of the day, small and medium sized organizations would be better off investing in building up their customer support agents to become internal product and customer champions. When looking to buy a product or acquire a service, customers simply ignore the constant advertisements and instead look to speak to their peers for recommendations through social media. If you provide excellent customer support, you will be recommended, which will be much more beneficial to your business than any ad could ever provide you.
Here are a few tips on how you can retain customers through improved customer service:
Train your Employees:
Train your employees, arrange workshops and/or training sessions, and let them know the importance of customer retention. Create product experts.
Identify your Best Customers and Reward them
You may reward customer loyalty through discount packages and/or gifts. This tactic not only gets you repeat business; it helps you retain your top customers.
Interact with your Customers
Customer service is all about interaction. Whether you do it through the phone, through a social networking site, or through your website, your customers must have a way to reach you and you must be there when they do. A multi-channel help desk solution, like Cayzu, will help you stay organized so that customers are answered no matter if their support request came in from the phone, email, your web site or even your Facebook or Twitter page!
Do you think customer service is more important than marketing? Share your thoughts and opinions with us through the comments section.
Now I can safely say that I’ve heard it all. The swindlers behind the Cryptolocker ransomware bug, a computer virus that hijacks your data and holds it ransom, have launched their own customer service site.
Hold on a second!. Why would the scoundrels that stole your data care about providing you with great customer service? Well the reality is that they most likely don’t, and a help desk site was launched to really guide the victims of this data theft virus through the process of restoring their data so that the thieves could get paid.
What is the CryptoLocker Ransomware Virus?
CryptoLocker is a revolutionary virus that is much more advanced than a traditional phishing scam. Once activated, victims have 72 hours to pay a fee roughly equivalent to $300 USD via Bitcoin or lose all access to their files.
Whereas law enforcement officials typically do not engage with crooks who demand ransom, the scope of CryptoLocker is too large to handle, to say the least. One of the most integral parts of the operation is exceptional customer support in the form of a help desk software site. After all, a failed attempt at collecting ransom payment for files is essential a botched robbery.
Customer Support for CryptoLocker Victims
You probably want to know when the nifty gadget you bought on-line shipped and when it will be delivered to your door. Naturally, CryptoLocker ransomware victims are typically even more anxious to learn about the status of online payment and delivery. In this case, the delivery comes in the form of selling your data back to you. (The crooks at least seem to follow one of my tips about e-commerce: educate your support staff to sell. )
The Newest Wave of Ransomware Attacks
It’s not over yet, and experts predict that it might not be over any time soon. After CryptoLocker extorted an estimated $6,000,000, which is said to be conservative by Italian researcher Michele Spagnuolo, other cyber crooks took notice.
The latest wave of attacks is perpetrated by CryptoLocker as well as a number of copycat cyber criminals. Security companies have not yet developed a method to combat ransomware, and the crooks have started to target larger corporations using unsecured computers. Criminal enterprises have recognized that the right approach to customer service simply makes things run more smoothly.
What Could Online Custom Support Software Do for Your Business?
If the right approach to customer service can help an emerging criminal enterprise, imagine what a highly efficient online custom support software could do for your business. After all, you don’t need to worry about getting thrown in jail.
Quality help desk software, like Cayzu can help your business build better customer relations and increase overall efficiency.
Do you know anyone that has been hit by the Cryptolocker virus? If yes, would love some feedback through our comment section below!
These days commercial markets are dominated by a handful of big businesses that offer the same goods and services at every outlet. This is true for both online stores and traditional brick and mortar outlets. Successful small businesses have to develop strategies that give them an advantage against the big guys. There are several ways that your small business can meet and exceed the standard set by the larger competitors in your industry and from my own personal experience it should start with providing exceptional customer service
Existing Customer Service Structures and How They Can Be Improved
Each business has their own configuration of existing structures for customer service and personal support. These are a few common service and support structures and some of the problems that are frequently present within them:
- General customer interactions: Greeting customers, helping them access goods and services, and sales procedures are some of the general customer interactions that virtually all businesses engage in. These face to face interactions are what customers tend to remember; they will associate your business with these interactions so it is important to make them positive. Inadequate employee training, a lack of consistency, poor follow-through and redundant or inadequate procedures are common problems within these general interactions.
- Phones and help lines: A great deal of customer interaction can take place over the phone. Many of the same problems that arise in general customer interactions are likely to come up during interactions over the phone. It is important to have a strong standard of phone service. Employees have to be trained to meet this standard in interactions with customers, other employees, and outside agencies. After all, maintaining a professional relationship within your immediate business community is its own form of service.
- Help desk software: Service-oriented help desk software packages like Cayzu exist to help business streamline a business’s customer support operations. Software can allow you to track calls, open conflict resolution tickets, and record the outcome of particular casesHelp desk softwares can also help you monitor your social media properties like Facebook or Twitter so no matter where a customer complaint is posted, your team will know about it.
How Improved Interactions Improve Business
Now that a few common problems with support have been identified, we can take a closer look at how they can be corrected. Here is a simple example.
An established tea and coffee shop provides customers with beverages made to order and a light menu. Inconsistent service training has resulted in a number of employees that habitually fail to greet customers and are unable to answer basic questions about food and drink offerings. Though customers enjoy the shop’s ambiance, the poor standard of service drives them away.
Consistent new employee training will help correct the procedural difficulties as well as set the standard that employees are expected to maintain and orientations can be held to familiarize employees with new menu items.
A few simple changes can make a big difference in repeat business and ultimately your bottom line because remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer.
There is no denying that social media and customer service go hand in hand. Could there really be a better way to get help than to ask publicly where it’s almost impossible for the recipient to not answer?
Yes, finally the big brands can stop being the bullies and start taking the punches! No more sobbing about a purchase that went wrong, because you can now get them back… publicly.
But is 140 characters really enough to get your point across and come to a resolution that you’d be happy with? Consider this, the title of this blog (The Conundrum that is social media and customer service) alone is 83 characters and it ONLY contains nine words!
When you really think about it, is it effective to use abbreviations, hash tags and short links to get a solution to your problem? How can you get your point across in that little amount of words? If your complaint has 200 characters, would you need to send two separate tweets about it?
The Burning Question
So is the marriage of social media and customer service really a good one? Does it hold merit or should they get divorced, maybe even publicly like Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren?
I guess the answer is: “it doesn’t really matter”, because it’s not going away any time soon. People love airing their dirty laundry publicly for the sheer reason that it makes them feel better. What better way to get back at Snike for a defective pair of shoes that they won’t return, than to scream at them publicly in front of an audience of millions, all from the protection and comfort of your own living room.
I’m a Brand on Social Media. What Should I do?
Monitor and embrace the negativity on your social media properties. NEVER delete complaints; you will be called out on it. All customer feedback is an opportunity to enhance the relationship with your customers and show them that you care. Only worry when your customers stop complaining, because that’s when they’ve moved on. And remember, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.
Cayzu Helpdesk – Automatically monitors your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you don’t have to.
Yesterday, Zendesk, a fellow help desk software vendor, had a successful opening day on the New York Stock Exchange raising $100 million dollars in their initial public offering.
The Zendesk IPO is important to the entire tech industry as it really gauges the health of the stock market for tech companies. It also proves that there still is an appetite for investments into cloud based companies.
From Cayzu’s perspective, this IPO raises awareness about the importance of why all businesses should use a cloud based helpdesk solution to improve their overall customer service strategy. This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses, who can use their size as an advantage to combat the heavy hitters in their industry by providing a personalized and awesome support experience.
How does a Helpdesk Solution help your business?:
1. Gives your customers 24/7 answers with a branded self-service knowledge base
2. All support requests come into an easy to manage cloud based portal
3. No more having to deal with support requests in a disorganized email inbox
5. Integrates into your CRM so support and sales are in sync (No sales person likes pie in their face)
6. Best of all there’s no cost to you. Cayzu helpdesk is FREE for up to 3 agents
It’s National Small Business week 2014 and small businesses everywhere are feeling the pressure from large internet retailers. E-tailers can offer customers a greater selection of goods and services at prices that small businesses can’t meet. However, small businesses can distinguish themselves from the big name e-tailers and other industry heavy-hitters with a secret weapon! . The secret weapon i’m referring to is called “exceptional customer service”.
The Personal Touch Really Matters
Though customers now perceive online shopping as an equitable alternative to shopping at a brick and mortar store, they are sometimes hesitant to make certain purchasing choices online. Customers value the “look and feel” approach to shopping and still like physically browsing in stores.
This is where a personalized customer service experience can really make the difference for your customers, where you can dominate over your online competitors. Online stores don’t have real physical people in front of a customer, real people that can welcome customers with a smile and a good old fashioned, “How are you doing today?” .
And guess what? Real people can provide a more approachable attitude to customer inquiries and can often solve problems with greater agility and speed than a support rep on a web site can. Problem solving and support are two areas in which your business can come out on top.
Focus on Expertise and Informed Service
Another major advantage that small businesses can leverage against larger competitors is expertise. Small business owners are passionate people and the employees that work for them tend to be as well. That passion results in a natural expertise in particular subject matter. For instance, while an online bookstore may retail a bestselling book at the lowest price, a bookseller working in a brick and mortar store can direct readers to titles with similar themes and characters. Staying abreast of the latest developments in your industry, testing products, offering reviews, and otherwise developing your expertise is a great way to provide customers with in-depth information that they cannot get from an online retailer.
Other Personalized Strategies
In addition to personalized customer support and a high degree of expertise, small businesses can adopt a number of other personalized strategies to attract and retain customers:
• Refine your help desk strategies: Provide a level of personal support that other businesses cannot. Integrate online custom support software and help desk software into your operations.
• Provide informational resources: Product demos, reviews, and other customer-oriented informational resources will further cement your expertise.
• Strong branding and company identity: Developing your own product line and pursuing other branding options will help create an identity that customers will associate with your business. Even if other businesses offer similar products or services, those products will not have the same brand value.
A Bonus to Your Small Business
Because Cayzu was designed for small businesses, we’d like to give your small business 3 months of Cayzu Helpdesk FREE of charge. Simply sign up any time before May 19, 2014 and mention this blog in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again small businesses for powering our economies!
Is it true? Can a selfie really help you with your customer service strategy? The answer is “yes”. I will explain my reasoning but first let’s lay out the definition of what a “selfie” is:
a photograph that one takes of oneself with a digital camera or a front-facing smartphone, tablet, or webcam, especially for posting on a social-networking or photo-sharing websites.
Humans like interacting with each other or there wouldn’t be restaurants, bars and other similar establishments. Unfortunately, face to face and voice communication is getting to be rarer by the day, especially in customer service.
If there is one thing that i’m going to teach my kids, it will be how to communicate face to face and on the phone. Society today tends to avoid all traditional communication and instead prefers to text or instant message each other.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for email, instant message and other forms of electronic communication in customer service, but when someone is truly upset, I mean ready to blow steam out of their ears, hearing an actual human’s voice can’t be beat. A sweet and helpful voice will usually calm the customer down and defuse the situation (I know from personal experience).
And when you’re talking to someone, isn’t it always better to know the other person’s name and even better yet, see their face in a picture or on a live video? That way you know who you’re actually dealing with?
This is my point about selfies, or a more professional derivative of one, helping you with your customer service strategy. Today’s society rewards a business that is open and honest, so why not expose your support agents faces to your customers?
This little personal touch will go a long way to give your customers that feel good sensation knowing that they are actually talking to a human being instead of a robot.
Now i’m not saying to get your support agents to take selfies and post them as their helpdesk software display pictures. What I am saying is a professional picture will help your customers get more of an emotional connection with your company, ultimately benefiting all parties.
So go selfie crazy. Update your helpdesk solution’s profile pictures, email signatures and anything else that is customer facing because nothing will make someone’s day like a beautiful smile.
Looking for a “selfie” enabled Helpdesk Solution? Try Cayzu Helpdesk – FREE forever for up to 3 agents.
With e-commerce sales set to top 1.4 trillion by 2015, online retail is a market that can’t be ignored. And as online retail – or e-tail – becomes a normal part of customers’ purchasing habits, e-tailers have to offer their customers more than the novelty and convenience of shopping online. One of the biggest complaints of customers doing business online is that e-tailers lack the personal touch that brick and mortar stores are able to provide. Additionally, customers can be hesitant about making serious purchases online for fear of not having any help and support services available to them should a problem arise. This leaves a BIG opportunity for online retailers that want to step up their customer service game.
The Role of Service in Business
To one degree or another, every business already has customer service structures. Many business owners and managers feel that they are already providing strong service just because no complaints have been voiced. Though a lack of complaints is certainly a positive indicator, this does not mean that there is not some room for improvement.
It is important to understand that when it comes to personal service, online businesses are often at a disadvantage. Without the routine customer interactions that distinguish sales in brick and mortar outlets, web-based business owners have to create a memorable customer experience in other ways.
11 Ways to Provide a Memorable and Positive Customer Experience:
1. Make sure your site is optimized for all screens! Nothing is worse than finding a site that is not optimized for mobile and tablet devices.
2. Become a product expert. Be the company that crowds flock to for specific advice on a particular product or service.
3. Know your perfect customer. Identify what excites and interests them and what motivates them to purchase so that you can tailor your store front to address those needs.
4. Educate your support staff to sell. Customers calling in for support are prime candidates to hear about upgrades and special offers. Of course, keeping support inquires organized with a Help Desk system like Cayzu will help.
5. Sell your vision and be open. Explain your vision and processes with your customers. People like hearing stories and being part of something. This will create a fan base with a stronger connection.
6. Be honest. If you screwed up, you screwed up. It happens. Don’t make excuses as your customers will see right through them.
7. Keep your customers engaged. Promote your social properties on all emails, marketing material and even invoices. Keep point #5, above, in mind.
8. Don’t hide from negative feedback (especially on social media). The worst thing you can do is either hide or delete negative comments. Instead embrace them and face them head on because these are your opportunities to turn that frown upside down.
9. Hire nice people. People in customer service positions should be open, friendly and have patience. Don’t keep the wrong people on the bus as they are a reflection of you. No exceptions.
10. Offer a personal touch! This can be done by reaching out to customers via phone or email and making your contact information clearly visible on your web site.
11. Most importantly, love what you do. If you don’t, customers and employees will see right through you.