Customer service has always been a cornerstone of how business is done, and companies ignore this at their peril. Improving the delivery of customer service and the service experience overall should be a priority if you want to distinguish your company as a leader in your industry. There are many ways that company decision makers might choose to design the support network that accomplishes these goals. Companies are discovering that customer service software is an invaluable tool in achieving these important goals, but deciding on the perfect software solution is not always so simple. Helpdesk software can be hosted or built using in-house resources. From the outset both options seem to offer different advantages, but is this really the case?
Solving Problems That Already Have Answers
Building helpdesk software and customer care portals from scratch certainly seems to offer companies the ability to tailor the service experience to the needs of the people they serve. This is perhaps the strongest argument in favor of building a custom helpdesk. That said the concerns that will be addressed through this portal are unlikely to be so out of the ordinary that existing cloud help desk solutions cannot accommodate. There is already infrastructure available that is proven to work; using a solution like Cayzu eliminates time-consuming beta testing, troubleshooting, and other stages that must be addressed before a helpdesk can even begin operating. A seamless platform with a proven track record of success can be implemented in much less time than it takes to develop something entirely new.
Security and Stability Are Assured
Hosted help desk services are supported by top-of-the-line internet security protocols to protect customer data and proprietary data. This data can include:
• Customer names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
• Payment processing information
• Order history
• Service contracts outstanding
• Resolved and outstanding concerns
Customer service representatives often use customer’s personal data in the resolution of problems, so security has to be a primary consideration. A hosted cloud help desk makes use of the server company’s own security protocol; these companies operate at the highest industry standard for electronic security, which is often much higher than can be achieved by an individual company. Hosts are also designed for continual operation and have numerous safety procedures in place to assure ongoing service. Developing this kind of infrastructure in-house is often cost-prohibitive and will take months, if not years, to fully implement.
Services That Grow With You
Developing dedicated server space to support in-house helpdesk software may be far beyond the reach of your current organization. Hosted solutions are ideal for small and growing companies, and provide the means to compete with much larger organizations. Even without a team of tech wizards at your disposal your company can deliver an outstanding degree of customer service and support with the help hosted solutions. As your company grows, the advanced features of Cayzu can be implemented to address the changing needs of your organization and the people you serve. Few service portals developed in-house can say the same.
Discover how the numerous advantages of hosted service solutions like Cayzu give your business the competitive advantage.
If you’ve never started your own small customer support software business before, you can expect to make more than a few mistakes along the way. That being said, there are some mistakes that are more costly than others, and it’s best you not trip up yourself or the progress of your business by falling into those specific pitfalls. To help you know how to plan your business and your steps, here are a few small business mistakes to avoid altogether.
Stepping Into a Crowded Market Without a Mark of Distinction
You’re likely well aware of the fact you aren’t the only company, big or small, offering helpdesk software. With that knowledge in mind, do yourself and your business a favor and recognize the fact you’ll need something that sets you apart from your competition. You don’t necessarily have to offer the absolute best software, but there should most certainly be something that sets you apart, such as the way your service is delivered, product features or the way you meet your customer’s needs in a way the other guys don’t. You’ll be much better off building your company around that rather than setting off on your journey without a destination in mind.
Not Knowing How Much Demand Exists for Your Product
One of the reasons to get a headcount for how many people are going to be at a dinner party, wedding or another major event is so you know how much food you need to prepare, how much seating you need and the like. The same principle applies to your cloud help desk. Do a test run to get a solid gauge of how many people are interested in your product and the types of consumers you should target. You should also think about how your product can supplement currently existing technology and determine how much use your target audience can get out of your product.
Failing to Create a Good Budget
A lot of small businesses fail because of financial reasons. Be sure to sit down with an experienced financial professional familiar with working with businesses in your sector. Know how much you can expect to pay to get things up and running, how much you’ll need to set aside for paying your employees and the cost of renting space, equipment and the like. Once you have that number, it’s a good idea to expect to pay even more than that, just to be on the safe side. You might also want to factor in your own personal experiences since you’ll more than likely sink a lot of personal time and energy into your business, which means you might depend on it to keep the light on and food in the fridge for you and your family. Additionally, you should also talk to a financial planner about making a financial roadmap for profitability.
Give yourself and your business every advantage possible by keeping these ideas in mind as you go about setting up and planning your business. Rather than making your own mistakes, it’s much better to learn from the blunders of other small business owners.
There shall be no name-dropping. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the name of the largest online retailer. Years ago, mom-and-pop shops threw their collective arms up in the air when another retail giant opened up locations everywhere and put them out of business. Now, this is happening to online retailers. How do you compete when you’re a tiny entity?
The Underlying Problem
Major retailers suffer at the hands of these big guys, too. Many retailers have felt the online shopping heat for several years, yet they still refuse to jump onto the Information Superhighway. For smaller retailers, the issue is resources. They don’t have the money or time to build competitive online presences, which leaves them in the uncompromising position of racing behind the big guys.
He Who Dies With the Best Website Wins
This is, in a way, an oxymoron because studies show that shoppers prefer to solicit smaller retailers because they offer a more personalized shopping experience. So why do the big guys remain on top? They dominate the marketplace for two key reasons: convenience and impression. Despite a desire to shop at a boutique, people still stay at home and purchase what they need online.
Impression counts, too. Research confirms that “big” draws more people through virtual doors. Small enterprises may have an attractive online presence, but over 2,000 online shoppers were surveyed and 59 percent said they believed larger businesses have better websites. Part of what makes a website great is customer support software, because…
People Still Crave the Personal Touch
The same survey revealed that 71 percent of consumers still want a personalized experience when they shop, and this is how mom-and-pop shops can compete with the online and offline conglomerates. You can give your shoppers a personalized and user-friendly experience online as well as in your store. You just need the right tools to do so.
Build a professional online customer experience that will rival your larger competitors. This includes social media. Keep your current customers happy and draw in new customers with online deals, specials offers, contests and other fun activities. Don’t forget to maintain a strong presence offline as well through local events for a truly personalized experience.
When programmed optimally, customer support software welcomes new visitors on your website and via email. People are visually stimulated, so upload media expressing a warm welcome and explaining what you do. This leaves a fantastic first impression because you’ve already personalized their shopping experience, even if it is virtual.
Get Inside People’s Heads
Behavior plays a huge role in consumer habits. Another study showed 500 shoppers responded better to large business websites because of the 22 features tested, the sites offered better information, interaction, personalization and usability. Larger companies also used colors and patterns to solicit desired reactions, e.g. a green “Buy Now” button converted more clicks than red.
Leverage this information alongside the knowledge that the more power you give your customers the better. Your consumers must feel engaged while they shop, so ask them their opinion. What do they want to see on your brick-and-mortar and virtual store shelves? When you connect with your customers on a personal level, you establish solid footing in your marketplace.
Small business owners have 18 months on average to turn a solid profit. That might seem as if it’s a long time, but you should never rest on your laurels. Bloomberg reports that 80 percent of small businesses shutter their doors and windows within that 18-month period – a whopping 80 percent. How do you pull your business vehicle onto the road to success? Follow these six rules for a good start.
1. Write a Business Plan and Update It
No matter how good your idea is, it will not take root if you do not have a clear picture of how to implement it. Write out a realistic and detailed business plan and update it regularly. Put on paper who you are, who your target demographic is, what your business goal is and how you are going to achieve it, including tasks and subtasks. Everyone must see your vision clearly.
2. Keep Everything Organized
Keep your company data up to date and organized, especially your financials. It’s crucial to have accurate accounting records to analyze your company’s financial health and secure funding. You will not find backers for your venture if you cannot show your profits and losses clearly. Bookkeeping software can help you set a realistic budget and track all financial transactions.
3. Assess Your Niche and Competitors
You might establish a stronghold quickly in your niche, especially if it’s a unique one. This does not mean you should sit back and breathe easy. Today’s marketplace is volatile and global, and you must stay on top of trends and your competitors. Research your niche regularly to assess changes to which you must adapt and which competitors pose a threat to your positioning.
4. Assess Your Position and Fluctuate
Each time your niche shifts, it’s time to look in the mirror, too. Depending on market demands and your ability to utilize technology such as customer service software, you may find now is the time to be flexible and expand your entity. Ask yourself whether you need additional staff or if it is time to harness the power of technology to open and manage another location.
5. Take Advantage of Online Tools
Attaining a customer base and keeping it includes constant communication using several online sources. Don’t simply open a Facebook or Instagram account. Take advantage of all platforms that match well with your business niche and post fresh and visually stimulating content on these platforms regularly. Link everything together and then back to a professional website.
6. Never Stop Marketing to Existing and New Customers
Finally, design and implement a customer outreach plan. Customer service software can help. Learn how existing customers wish to be contacted, and then use the powerful communication tools in the software to reach out to them on a regular basis. Some will want to read email newsletters; others will enjoy the occasional text message. Many will want an app, so get one developed for your business.
Entrepreneurs who stay on top of their marketplace and their business’ positioning within it are the most successful ones. Don’t stunt your company’s growth unintentionally by becoming complacent once you achieve a little success. Leverage the power of organization, knowledge and the latest technology to get and keep your business on top. This will prevent you from being included in that distressing Bloomberg 80-percent statistic.
Marketing has the potential to be the biggest expense on your monthly or annual operational budget but there is no denying that this is also one of the most valuable expenditures. Because marketing is so essential, many business leaders believe that it will naturally cost a lot of money to conduct. However, there are some important strategies that can be used to further your marketing reach and maximize its value to your business without costing a lot; in fact, some of these strategies cost little or nothing. Getting the most from value-rich marketing strategies requires the participation of many members of your team – from helpdesk employees and troubleshooters to managers and salespeople. Communicate your plans clearly and encourage everyone to maximize the return on these low-cost marketing options.
Market Research Costs You Nothing
Companies with enormous marketing budgets may have the means to fund highly focused research into target demographics, but do not imagine that this leaves you without similar information. There are many publications addressing emerging markets, evolving demographics, and maturing economies. Get familiar with information sources such as:
• Google News
• Industry publications
• Newsletters from professional societies
• Newly published research
• Universities and trade school news
Many valuable sources of marketing research cost nothing. Set up alerts in services like Google News and sign up for electronic newsletters from relevant societies and trade groups; these are just a couple ways to access cutting-edge information that is highly relevant to the markets your company is part of.
Improve Email Outreach for a Few Dollars a Month
An email newsletter can quickly become a company’s most effective form of marketing outreach. Composed correctly, email can encourage customer engagement, deliver information relevant to new clients, and remind existing clients of scheduled services.
Email lets you leverage your knowledge of messaging relevant to the market groups you have already researched; this is a good way to discover just how effective a great marketing message can really be. You can also include links to your website, catalog images, and lots of other information precisely tailored for increased traffic and other identified goals.
Thousands of contacts can be reached for $20 – $50. Email marketing platforms provide you all the tools to instantly enhance e-newsletters.
Get Big Returns on Helpdesk Personnel Training Investments
The people providing direct customer service can have a significant indirect marketing influence – for good or ill. Improving these operations might involve investing in cloud help desk solutions; you are sure to see significant returns for your effort. Service operations are streamlined and departmental organization is improved with the tools available from Cayzu.
Great service can prevent customers from losing loyalty to your brand. These positive interactions and resolved concerns will secure relationships with individual customers and make it much more likely that they will recommend your company to others. In this way, the initial investment in software and system support continues to pay off in the short- and long-term.
Marketing does not have to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. With a little hard work and strategizing, your company can leverage low-cost solutions into high-value results.
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.
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.
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.
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 and profit by making your products and services available to your customers twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. 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.
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.