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.
During the startup phases of getting your new business up and running, be sure you don’t neglect the finer parts of operating a business, like your human relations department. And because yours is a small company, you want to do everything possible to give yourself every advantage you’re owed. Here are a few HR mistakes you’ll want to be sure to avoid bringing out the best in your business.
Not Knowing How to Classify Your Employees
While some mistakes are reasonable and forgivable, the IRS might not be terribly understanding if you misclassify your helpdesk employees. The main thing you want to understand is the difference between employees and contractors. If someone doesn’t sign a contract that lays out her or his business relationship with your company, doesn’t have specific work shifts or if you have lost control over how the individual is paid and other related financial matters, then that person is likely to be considered a contractor rather than an employee.
Failing to Fully On-board Your Employees
When you do bring on a new member to your work team, be sure you do a thorough job. For instance, your new hire should receive a full job description that details all job duties responsibilities, necessary qualities and the like. You should let her or him know what you expect out of your employees, and you should know what your work team expects from you as an employer. Know that speeding up the hiring process can cost you an abundance of money in addition to time and energy. Owners of companies of every size cannot afford such unnecessary blunders.
You Don’t Have an Employee Handbook
Head employee mishaps, violations and the like off at the pass by implementing an employee handbook. In it, detail what your company considers bad behavior and the repercussions employees can expect if they violate the rules in the handbook. Ensure your team is well-aware of the handbook, that they read it and that you update it when necessary, so everyone is always on the same page.
Performance Issues Aren’t Noted
Don’t wait for employee performance problems to pile up in your cloud help desk business. Doing so carries the risk of issues becoming worse and more unmanageable, which often requires a more extreme response on your part. Instead, it’s better to make note of performance issues with individuals as well as your team and let the appropriate parties aware of the matter. Once you’ve done your part to make employees aware of the issue and to bring about a resolution, you at least have the peace of mind of knowing you did your best in the event you have to terminate an employee. Another reason to be meticulous when it comes to making performance issue notes is they could be quite useful in the event a terminated employee brings a lawsuit against you.
Never forget how essential a solid HR department is to your business. Remembering the above tips is a great way to better ensure you hire and retain the right team to take your business to the top.
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.
Boost Your Small Business by Boosting Your Small Business Work Environment
As a small business owner, you’ve already got plenty of obstacles in front of you when it comes to fulfilling the true potential of your company and making the best it can be. While it’s most certainly a good idea to invest in solid customer support software and doing what you can to improve your financial standing, be sure you don’t neglect your employees and their work environment. Here are a few ways to provide your team with the best work settings possible so both they and your business can thrive.
Mind Your Manners
Rather than focus on employee salaries and benefits to draw qualified and dedicated helpdesk professionals, be sure to exercise a bit of common courtesy. Whenever your employees make strides in their progress or accomplish something, be sure to recognize their efforts and thank them accordingly. This can be a verbal thank you or a reward such as an extra vacation day or bonus. Your employees are sure to appreciate the fact you’re paying attention to their efforts and are willing to show your thanks.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open and Clear at All Times
Communication is the foundation to personal and professional relationships alike. Not only should your team know under no uncertain terms what you desire and expect out of them as employees, but you should also know what your employees expect out of you as a leader and employer. Give your employees the chance to have their say in how your business operates, the business they’re helping to build. Let them know you’re open to suggestions and feedback, which makes your job of improving your cloud help desk business easier. Additionally, be wholly honest with your employees when they come to you with a question.
Don’t Neglect Professional Growth Opportunities
Just because your employees have degrees doesn’t mean they’re done learning. By offering career development and training opportunities, you show your employees you’re invested in their growth and in providing them with more professional opportunities. Not only do they benefit from this, you and your business also benefit from the new skills and knowledge your employees gain. Training classes, workshops, professional organization memberships and job assignments are all great examples of ways to help bring out the best in your employees.
Ask Your Employees for Their Opinion, and Listen to Them
Just like your target audience, your employees are an untapped resource you can put to good use in improving your company. Take out time every now and then to ask them what they like about your business and the way its run and what they would change. Give their opinions careful consideration, and put those ideas into action if you feel they have merit. Even better, include your team in implementing those changes to give them an active role in your business. In case your employees would rather not make their identities known when offering feedback, be sure to give them the option of replying anonymously.
You don’t have to turn your brain inside out thinking of ways to grow your small business. Improve your work environment and your employees are sure to take a brunt of the weight off your shoulders.
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.
Retaining current customers is of paramount importance to any company operating in the business-to-business sector, as it can be much cheaper to keep a customer than acquire a new one. This measurement of satisfaction is extremely relevant, as efforts to replace lost customers can significantly eat into your profit margin.
While most organizations claim to prioritize customer retention, many marketing professionals spend a greater amount of time on the acquisition of new clients. It’s always good to grow your client base, but you shouldn’t do it at the expense of your existing customers. A better strategy is to have your promotions, sales and support teams working together to provide a complete experience that’s beneficial to current and future patrons. Here are a few strategies to help maximize repeat business.
You’re much less likely to lose a client if your business matches perfectly with his or her needs. If you’re pitching your wares with the angle that your customer can adapt to strengths and weaknesses of your products, it might not be the best fit. Learn your customer’s goals and then explain how your company can help in the achievement of each milestone. If you set unrealistic reputations, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when it’s time for a patron to resign.
Take the Initiative in Communication
Strong relationships are a major ingredient to repeat business, and it starts with effective communication. You obviously need to provide a quick answer when a customer has a question, but you should endeavor to be more proactive. Foster the relationship by reaching out regularly on a number of different topics:Strong relationships are a major ingredient to repeat business, and it starts with effective communication. You obviously need to provide a quick answer when a customer has a question, but you should endeavor to be more proactive. Foster the relationship by reaching out regularly on a number of different topics:
- Questions or concerns about your product
- Information on software updates or new services
- Tips and tricks on how to more effectively use your service
If you’re losing customers, it’s important to do research to find out why, but you need a plan on how to implement this information. If you use customer service software or customer support software to track interaction with clients, include reasons for client dissatisfaction so you can locate patterns and put a stop to it with new products or services. Your studies don’t have to focus solely on the things you’re doing wrong, as you can also learn more about the ways you’re pleasing your patrons.
Set the Standard for Support
Your customers have placed their trust in your products, and you need to stand behind them with a full suite of support services. While it’s good to have a fully-staffed helpdesk available to answer questions in a timely fashion, you could also send representatives out into the field to provide on-site assistance with cloud help desk software. If a client knows that help is available whenever it’s needed, they’ll be much more likely to stick with your company.
Today’s marketplace is highly competitive, and it’s easy to lose valuable accounts to a competitor that’s more proactive. By giving appropriate attention to your existing customer base while also attracting new customers, you’ll be doing your part to ensure a steady profit margin for the future.
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.
As technology continues to change, some businesses are falling behind. Sometimes the lack of technology updates within small businesses is due to concerns over security, outages, and expenses. What exactly are the pros and cons of integrating a cloud helpdesk technology into your small business? Here we take a look at reasons small businesses are avoiding cloud and whether those reasons are warranted.
Advantages of Cloud Technology
Despite the skeptics, cloud technology is transforming the way a lot of people conduct business. Whether it’s for storage or customer service, businesses are reaping the benefits of cloud technology. Here are some capabilities that businesses can reap from embracing the cloud:
- Collaboration: Teams and departments can work together on the same documents regardless of physical location.
- Mobility: Team members can access cloud software wherever there is an Internet connection. Updating records, delivering services, and drafting
- documents can be accomplished remotely.
- Scalable: If your business has a fluid team structure, you can benefit from the fact cloud software is usually priced per user.
- Affordable: Instead of paying for expensive onsite business software, you can get high-performance cloud software for much cheaper.
Adopting cloud technology can help businesses become more convenient, efficient, and competitive.
Areas of Concern
There are plenty of reasons that businesses shy away from cloud-migration. Here are some common concerns:
- Outages: Relying on Internet connection to serve customers and accomplish tasks worries some business owners. Even the briefest of outages can result in lost sales. Fortunately, Cayzu offers online capabilities including automatic fail-over in case of emergency
- Security breaches: Many businesses are cautious of potential data loss and privacy issues when it comes to hosting their workplace documents in the cloud. While some cloud vendors might not provide robust security, a reputable software provider such as Cayzu will have security measures such as redundant networking and 256-bit + encryption.
- Long-term costs: Some business owners are reluctant to adopt cloud systems because they doubt the return-on-investment would balance out the cost of ownership. This concern is offset by the fact that many cloud systems come with guaranteed automatic updates.
Cloud-Based Customer Service
One particular aspect of business that is affected by cloud technology is customer service. Many don’t see a problem with traditional customer service routes, but certain innovations like the cloud help desk are bucking that tradition with several ways to conveniently support your customers. Here are some ways that you can integrate the cloud into your customer service platform:
- Team collaboration: You can assist customers anywhere and work with other members of your team to resolve problems seamlessly.
- Efficient workflow: Managing workflows using customer support systems are quick and fast when using cloud-based systems.
- Real-time reports: Access insights and reports directly from the cloud wherever you are.
- Always available: Access your help desk or knowledge base solution anywhere, any place using any device! No extra set up required.
Cloud-based customer service can help you increase productivity and efficiently manage inquiries.
Take the Leap
If you have certain concerns about the cloud, you’re not alone. Those fears are put to rest by reputable vendors that provide customers with affordable, secure, and convenient ways to do business. Learn how you can freely collaborate, support your core processes, and accomplish tasks on the go with cloud technology from Cayzu Help Desk!.
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.