Entries Tagged 'Customer service' ↓

Customer Service Matters – Even When You’re Not There

What does your out of office reply say about you?

Is your out of office message really that important? It’s not really something people give a lot of thought to and certainly don’t see it as part of the customer service they provide.

After all, you’re off sunning yourself on a beach somewhere without a care in the world; the office is the last think you want to think about and quite rightly so. But it’s important to think about your customers even if you’re not there.

How many times have you received a flippant out of office response, or one of those that goes on forever?

“I’m out of the office until 26th September. If you need xxx, call xxxxxx or email xxxxx. If your enquiry relates to xxxx, please phone Audrey on xxxxx. If you want xxxxx phone Bill on xxxxxxx or Alex on xxxxx….”

Confused? So is the reader.

The best out of office responses are simple, to the point and very easy to follow.

Start with your subject line. Rather than writing something along the lines of “Hey dude, I’m off surfing, catch you later”, try something slightly more meaningful such as:

“Away from 1st September until 25th September with only limited access to emails”

It’s simple, to the point and tells the recipient how long you’ll be away so they can decide whether to wait or to contact someone else.

The rest of your email should be along the lines of:

“I’m out of the office from 1st September until 25th September. Upon my return it will take a few days to catch up, so it may be a day or so before I can reply to you. If your enquiry is urgent, contact Bob on xxxxxxx, otherwise I’ll get back to you by 30th September.”

It doesn’t take a lot to create a meaningful and respectful out of office response. So if you want to come across as efficient and professional, next time you’re away give a bit of thought to the email response you set up.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Responding Through Social Media

Hands up if you’ve made a comment on a Facebook business page you’ve liked, or sent a tweet to a company only never to hear a dickey bird?

I know I have.

It’s a bit like going to a party and chatting to someone only to be blanked by them. Who does that? No one does, because it’s very rude to ignore someone who’s talking to you.

It seems crazy that companies dive into social media to spread the word about how great they are, but don’t understand that it is a two-way street.

Social media isn’t a soapbox that you can shout from. It is a platform through which you can communicate with your customers.

After all, by signing up for it you gave your customers a new way to interact with you, so interact.

Make an impression

Just setting yourself up on social media isn’t good enough. You must also allocate someone to monitor the channels you use and respond on your behalf.

If your fans and followers have taken the time to make contact with you, the least you can do is respond to them because that’s how you start to build relationships. And social media is all about building relationships.

The more you interact with your fans and followers the more likely they are to share your content with their friends, widening your reach and your audience.

Speedy, speedy

One of the benefits of social media is its immediacy.

Within seconds users can respond to someone’s comment, but that does mean your fans and followers will expect to hear from you fairly soon after they post their message.

Taking days or weeks to respond is not good.

For them, your social media channels are like a customer service channel where they can post comments, complaints and compliments. But they will expect a response from you.

That’s why it’s essential you have people on your team whose job it is to respond to any questions that are raised by your customers.

You gave them the option to contact you that way by signing up for Facebook and Twitter, so it’s up to you to make sure they don’t go unheard.

Thank you

These are two simple words that are sadly so often lacking in social media.

It doesn’t take long to say thank you in response to a comment or tweet, especially if someone has taken the time to retweet something you’ve said.

Manners cost nothing, as my mum always used to say – and she was right.

OK, granted nothing here is ground-breakingly new, but considering my experience of dealing with companies thorough social media, it needs to be said.

Remember, social media should be seen as an extension to your customer service, use it well and respond quickly and you’ll go far.



Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Twitter – @sallyormond


Boosting Your Marketing Engagement

What sort of marketing do you do?

  • Social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
  • Blogging
  • Video marketing
  • Email

What is the one thing that each of those need to be successful?


Every piece of marketing you produce must make a connection with your audience and that means thinking carefully about what you say and how you present it.

Here are 5 ways you can make your marketing more engaging.

1. Them not you

How many times have you seen a Facebook page, Twitter feed or email that’s all about the writer and not about the recipient.

Constant sales messages, promotions and pointless links are annoying. They don’t tell you anything about the company (other than they place their importance way ahead of anyone else’s) and certainly nothing about why you would want to deal with them.

By engaging and putting out messages that don’t involve selling – i.e. offer tips, advice and great information, you will begin to establish trust and give potential customers a reason to care about your brand.

That means focusing on what your customers want.

2. Questions

Asking questions is the best way to boost engagement. Although you can ask through social media platforms and surveys, a more intimate approach will work better.

Why not consider having a small networking gathering at your office for some carefully selected individuals? Perhaps a dinner or event (wine tasting?) will help you engage and get to know them.

Both approaches will not only give them a chance to get to know you better, they also offer valuable market research potential so you can make sure you continue to give your customers what they want.

3. Respond

Although asking questions is great, you mustn’t forget to answer them too.

With social media it’s very easy to get caught up in everything and miss the questions you get from your followers. There’s nothing worse than having your tweet, post, or blog comment ignored, so make sure you have someone manning those channels so nothing is missed.

If you get asked the same questions a lot, why not compile them into an FAQ page?

Just an idea.

4. Audience participation

The best way to drive engagement with the content you produce is to involve your customers in the creation process.

Use them as case studies or use their experiences to compile a blog post. You could even encourage them to add photos of them using your products to your Facebook page.

5. Don’t be a one trick pony

Written communications are all well and good, but don’t lose sight of the fact that people engage differently. Some may prefer audio or video content too, so offering a mixture will widen its appeal.

6. Be human

It’s widely believed that when you’re marketing your business it has to be very impersonal and corporate.

It’s a myth – the best way to engage with your audience is to inject some personality into the mix. Add a few personal updates and tweets to they can get to know you as a person.

As the above has shown, engagement is about getting to know your audience and customers. That kind of connection generates one of the most valuable commodities in business – trust.

How do you go about generating engagement? Do you use any innovative techniques? If so, leave a comment and share them with us.


Sally Ormond, copywriter and founder of Briar Copywriting Ltd. She also loves blogging, tweeting, cycling and the odd chilled glass of Pinot Grigio.



How to Get Your Company Selling More

Every company wants to sell more.

As a copywriter you would expect me to harp on about how the copy across all your marketing materials is essential if you want to engage and encourage your customers to buy. Of course that’s true, but this post is going to look more at your company as a whole and how its entire marketing ethos should work.

Engaging with your customers is the key to selling to them. To be really successful this engagement needs to happen on all levels within your company and at all stages of customer contact.

Let me explain.

Your company united

Although you probably have a sales department, boosting your company sales shouldn’t be down to them alone.

Everyone within your business, regardless of department or job title, should always be thinking sales. Any conversation could potentially lead to a sale, so its essential all your staff are switched on and ready to act.


Meetings with customers are often viewed as opportunities to quickly make the customer aware of your products/services and then sign them up.

But meetings are more effective is you listen more than you speak. Listening to what your customer actually wants will lead to better service in their eyes. Show an interest in what they have to say and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions such as budget while you have their attention. The more information you can extract from them the better.

Education, education, education

If you want people to buy from you, you have to show them how much they need your product/service. The best way to do that is through education. Blogging, how to posts, videos, eBooks, free demos and free trials are all great ways to get your customers reaching for their credit cards.

Use these marketing materials to show them how buying from you will benefit them. Use case studies to show real life examples so they can get a feel for what you can do. Everyone loves a real life story and they are a great way to demonstrate what you do.


I know some larger companies tend to use a sales script, especially in telesales departments, but these can sometimes come across as contrived and lifeless. Although you probably want your staff to stick to these scripts, encourage them to inject their own personality into their delivery.

It will boost engagement and make your customers feel as though they are dealing with real people who care, rather than someone reading from a piece of paper.

Act now

One of the greatest ways to get someone to buy is to add a sense of urgency to the deal.

Having a time limited special offer for example will encourage your customers make a decision because they won’t want to lose out. Although nothing new, this method has been a winner for many, many years so use it.

Not at gun point

Have you seen those TV documentaries that unearth rogue companies that encourage their sales team to use heavy-handed sales pitches that badger customers in to signing contracts?

Under no circumstances should any of your staff be forcing a sale through. Many people will simply turn their back on you if you try and certainly will never do business with you again.

By relying on education, case studies and helpful, polite staff your company will enjoy great sales figures.

How to Generate More Leads & Gain More Customers

That is what every business owner wants, right? Generating more leads and referrals

Customers are what keep your business afloat, so you constantly need to be out there drumming up new business.

But what’s the best and most effective way of doing that?

Sure, you’ve got your website, email marketing, brochures and other online marketing strategies, but are they the most effective?

Frankly, no.

The most powerful tool you have in your marketing armoury is a happy customer because they’ll head off and tell their friends and colleagues about you – and that’s the cheapest and most effective form of marketing I know of.

So how can you generate more referrals? Well, the best way is to give your customers something to shout about and that comes down to good old-fashioned customer service and going that extra mile.

Education, education, education

Educating your customers is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from your competitors. I’m not just talking about blogging and article writing here, which as we all know helps cement your reputation as an expert in your field.

Education should also become part of your company’s culture – whenever you have a new customer (or a returning one for that matter), teach them about your product, show them how to get the most of it and make sure they know you’re there for any questions they may have.

Keep talking

You’ve already shown them your door is always open; so now make sure you keep them informed about every stage of their order – when it will be received, if there’s a delay tell them what the hold up is and when they’ll get it. Keep them informed about what’s happening in your business, if you’re bringing out a new model or a new product, tell them about it.

A regular newsletter is great for this, but make sure it’s personalised and the content is relevant to that customer.

Go the extra mile

We all love surprises, so make sure you surprise your customers. It can be an unexpected gift, a little something extra in their order (it doesn’t have to be much, Wiggle.com always send out a small bag of Haribo with all orders), perhaps a free sample of a new product you’re introducing. Whatever it is, it will bring a smile to your customers face and give them something to tell their friends about.

Make sure you know what’s happening

Too many companies grab orders, send them out and then forget about them.

Be different – follow up every order to make sure your customer is happy. If they are get a testimonial, if they’re not find out what went wrong, put it right and send them a ‘thanks for letting us know and we’ve now put it right’ gift.

Even a simple hand written ‘Thank you’ card with your order makes an impact.

None of these ideas have to cost the earth and by making it part of your company’s culture, it will become second nature.

The result will be very happy customers who come back time and time again with their friends in tow. So if you want a never-ending referral machine, start using these techniques and make your company stand out as a champion.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd