Entries Tagged 'Customer service' ↓
July 23rd, 2014 — Branding, Customer service, small business web marketing, social media, social media marketing
The Power of the Human Brand
Have you noticed the “them and us” of business?
Whether it is networking, general chit-chat or trade fairs, the “big boys” make all the noise whilst looking down their noses at the small businesses.
Just because they’re bigger than you doesn’t mean they’re better. To be honest, they’re way worse than you.
How do I know that?
Because you have the benefit of a human brand.
What is a human brand?
Large corporations have oodles of cash to chuck at their market place. They can afford the biggest marketing campaigns, sign up celebrities and bankroll peak time TV advertising.
You can’t do that, but you can do something else.
Being a small business, you have the ability to reach out and touch your audience. Not in a creepy way, but in a way that leads to trusting relationships. Your customers can get to know you – the face behind the brand. That’s something that doesn’t happen with large corporations.
That’s why it’s important to make the most of your human brand.
If you have staff, it’s also important to make sure they’re involved with the business and share your passion. Investing in them will turn them into brand advocates, so when customers interact with them, they’ll receive the kind of personal service they want.
Making the most of your human brand is essential, but there are also a few other ways you can out do the big boys.
The chances are, because you started up your business, you love what you do (otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it). That passion is infectious and will shine through in every interaction you have with your customers.
Large businesses don’t have that; they just have executives that are simply there for their fat pay check. Their main concern is that sales targets are hit and shareholders are kept happy. They have no emotional investment in the business.
If you’ve ever worked for a large company you’ll know how slowly they move.
There are so many levels of management and rigid procedures; any change in policy can take months or even years to happen.
For the small business change is easy. You have no red tape to dodge and no board of directors to appease. Decisions can be made quickly and changes implemented instantly helping you react to you market’s needs.
There are only a few large companies out there that give exceptional service, the obvious ones being John Lewis and Apple (from my experience).
The people that work for large companies, especially at the lower end of the pay scale, are just there to do a job. They are unlikely to go out of their way to help you because it’s no skin off their nose if you go elsewhere. But when it’s your own business, every customer is like family. If they’re unhappy, you’re unhappy so you’ll do everything in your power to make sure they fall in love with your company and come back.
After all, even if you’re a little more expensive, they’ll happily pay a premium for excellent personal service.
Getting your human brand out there
To make an impact, your online presence has to be every bit as chatty and warm as the service your customers receive.
That means one thing – getting social.
Although you must have a stonking website that’s full of useful copy that tells the reader the benefits of dealing with you, it’s also important you have an active presence on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc., must be used regularly and actively. Don’t just use them as a soap box from which you can promote your business; talk to your customers, build relationships with them and give them useful information.
This openness is what will set you apart from other businesses. Be yourself; if your avatar is your logo, make sure you sign off your update with your name to let your customers know whom they’re talking to.
When you’re competing with big companies you’ll never be able to beat them on cost. That’s why it’s important you concentrate on the level of service you provide because that’s an area they’ll never be able to beat at.
Treat your customers and staff like family and you’ll build loyal, trusting relationships that last.
Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting
May 5th, 2014 — Customer service
Have you noticed a dip in your social life since Facebook came to town?
Once upon a time, if you wanted to catch up with friends to find out what they’d been up to, you’d arrange to meet up for coffee, lunch or a drink after work. You’d be on the phone regularly, chatting about the latest gossip.
Today, there’s been a shift in this type if socialising. Now, you can keep fairly well informed about what’s going on by checking your Facebook timeline. All your friends’ latest news is there so you know what’s going on, who’s been where and what they’ve been up to.
You’ve probably found there’s less need to be on the phone or going for a coffee because anything you would have spoken about has already been read.
What’s that got to do with making your business stand out?
Well, the rise of social media has lessened the need for face-to-face contact and good old-fashioned conversation.
How many websites have you seen recently that only allow contact my email or contact form? Some even just have a list of FAQs and only once you’ve trawled those (and their forums) are you given the option to email your question.
Why email? Why not offer a phone number so you can talk to a real person?
If you want to make your business stand out, make it accessible.
Yes, we want to talk to you
I get so frustrated by the number of companies that hide behind their website that I no longer use those that don’t publish a phone number (wherever possible).
Why don’t you want your customers to be able to get in touch with you?
What have you got to hide?
It’s not enough just to say “complete our contact form” or “send us an email” – I’ve tried that and, on numerous occasions, my email or contact request has fallen on deaf ears and I’ve never heard back from anyone.
If you want to be seen as being different, welcome your customers with open arms. Proudly display your email, phone number and postal address to let it be known that you are there to help them.
Forget flashy websites, customer service is where it’s at
A slick, flashy website may look the bee’s knees, but if there’s no substance behind it you won’t have customers knocking down your door.
Even if you have Twitter and Facebook, some customers are still going to want to talk to you.
Good old-fashioned customer service will always be a winner. It doesn’t matter how well manned your social channels are, every now and then customers will want to speak to a real person.
So, if you want a sure-fire way to make your business stand out make sure you are open for business by showing your:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Postal address
Don’t hide them away and make your customers jump through hoops to try and find them, make sure they’re all clearly listed on your contact page.
Author: Sally Ormond, UK Copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd.
January 27th, 2014 — Customer service
Every piece of marketing your company produces must be branded and clear.
Every piece of stationery your company uses must be branded and clear.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, just the other day my husband ordered some more central heating oil. As we have 2 dogs, he asked the company phone me the day before they delivered the oil so I could make sure the dogs were safely tucked away so the oil tank could be safely accessed.
This isn’t an usual request and one that all the oil companies we’ve dealt with have been happy to carry out.
Not this time.
After popping to the Post Office, I came back to find this on the doormat:
Apart from the fact that no one bothered to phone to let me know the oil was coming, there are a few other issues.
Spot the deliberate error?
As I mentioned earlier, it was my husband who ordered the oil.
The image shows that, despite leaving me a note, the company name isn’t shown anywhere. In fact there’s no branding whatsoever.
The other issue is that the ‘Please call us on…….’ section has been left blank.
- I don’t know who the company are
- I have no phone number, so can’t call them to rearrange delivery
My only option is to text my husband to let him know so he can phone the company.
Customer service? Non-existent.
It doesn’t take a lot to help your customers.
The simple addition of a logo, company name and phone number would have made a huge difference here. Granted, the requested phone call prior to delivery would have been useful, but by shoving a generic and anonymous card through the door does nothing to enhance their reputation (whoever they are).
You see it’s the little things that make a big difference. Make sure all your correspondence with your customers reflects the quality of your company – your reputation is at stake.
Author: Sally Ormond
November 29th, 2013 — Customer service
Sorry for the ‘Barnie-ism’ that snuck into that title, I’ve obviously been watching way too much ‘How I Met Your Mother.’
But the thing is it really doesn’t take a lot to excel in the levels of customer service you offer. In fact, if I may be so bold as to suggest, it all comes down to one thing.
Want to know what it is?
The speed at which you respond to emails.
Is there anyone there?
How long does it take for you to respond to emails and enquiries?
Sometimes a week?
OK, I think you’re missing something.
Email is great.
You can rattle off an enquiry without being stuck on the phone for ages (and have a written record of what was said). But because of its immediacy, the sender does tend to expect a similarly rapid response.
If you want to stand out from your competitors, it’s imperative you respond to incoming emails instantly – or as close to it as practical.
Let’s face it, if I get an enquiry for copywriting services, you can bet your Granny that the sender has sent the same or similar email to 2 or 3 other copywriters.
If you take 3 or 4 days to respond, but a competitor replies to them the same day, it doesn’t take Stephen Hawking to work out who gets the most brownie points.
Is all of this pretty damn obvious?
Should I have to spell it out?
No, but I feel compelled to do so if some of the companies I’ve contacted are anything to go by.
It doesn’t take a lot – even if you just email them to thank them for their enquiry and a date by which you’ll respond in full to them.
Dealing with customer contact is one of the basic parts of being in business. Responding to enquiries quickly is one of the best ways to show:
- You care about your customers
- You’re efficient
- You’re keen to do business with them
So next time you get an enquiry, make an effort and respond or at least acknowledge the email immediately (or close to it as is practical).
August 23rd, 2013 — Customer service, twitter
Can Twitter really help your customer service?
Many are still sceptical about that, but it really can.
The world is far more social these days and consumers love the instant connection that social media gives them. Now, rather than emailing and waiting for a response, they can send a tweet or Facebook message for a faster response. But of course, that only works if you are monitoring those channels effectively.
After looking into the role of social media in customer service, I stumbled upon a post on Social Media Examiner. In it they talk about 4 examples of excellent Twitter customer service.
Follow the link below and have a read and grab some quick takeaways that will help you improve your customer service and how your customers perceive your business on Twitter.
4 Examples of Excellent Twitter Customer Service.