You’ve done your market research, you’ve got a solid business plan, you’ve registered your company and pulled together funding, suppliers and everything else you need to start your new business. You’re ready to trade – you just need some customers.
However, not all customers are created equal; some are a delight to deal with, while others seem to have crept from the depths just to torment you. When you’re building up your customer base, you obviously want more of the former and fewer of the latter, especially if you’re in a service-provision industry where customer relationships are key; but how can you achieve this? (more…)
In marketing, there a million ways to reach your customers. You can go big with a billboard, or far with a Facebook post, targeting potential customers city-wide, nationwide and globally.
The internet has allowed us more reach than ever before, and while powerful, this means that we can easily lose the humanity of our marketing.
When it comes to retaining your customers, this humanity is crucial. Will your customers still be with you once serious product competition appears on the horizon, ready to snap up your valued buyers with slashed prices and easier delivery means?
Customer service is accelerating towards ever greater automation. In some sectors we’re already seeing chatbots and virtual assistants transforming the customer experience.
But at what point do the cost efficiencies that technology provide become less compelling, and can the human touch ever be fully replicated or replaced?
We asked Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at outsourced customer contact specialist, Echo Managed Services, to assess the changing consumer communication landscape and to explain how businesses can incorporate new solutions alongside traditional methods of customer contact. (more…)
Customer-centricity is one of the hottest topic in business today. Across the world, companies of all sizes are looking for new ways to become more customer-centric in order to give themselves a competitive advantage in a decreasingly loyal marketplace.
Unfortunately, however, for many businesses the phrase “give them an inch; they’ll take a mile” is all too appropriate when it comes to customer-centricity. By striving to accommodate their customers wants and needs they leave themselves open to a proportion of their clients who will take advantage.
Get the balance wrong and give customers too much power and you will find yourself in a situation that is completely unsustainable in the long-term. (more…)
For every service business, ensuring your customers have a great experience is paramount. Whether you’re a small start-up cafe or a global hotel chain, customer satisfaction needs to be a top priority if you are to succeed.
To help you put in place the foundations for a thriving service business, we asked Michael Heppell, the author of, “5 Star Service – How to deliver exceptional customer service”, to reveal the key issues you need to get right, before you can start wowing your customers; (more…)
If you’re starting a business then chances are money is tight – so anything you can do to increase sales without spending a fortune is worth looking at.
It’s easy to imagine that you need to employ a crack sales team – but the truth is, if you’ve made one sale, then you already have one sales person – that customer. And more often than not, the best people to sell your products and services are your customers.
Customers have already gained benefit from you and because they are impartial, they can provide legitimate social proof. So how do you get your customers selling for you? (more…)
There are restaurants that have people queuing up to dine, products that you have to pre-order months before they are released, tickets that sell out within hours and shares that shoot up in value right after they float.
There are cars that are snapped up before they are constructed and apartments that are sold before the first brick has been laid.
But, why are a select group of people and products in such high demand? And more importantly, how can you recreate a similar desire for your business?
Giving your customer a great experience is not just about customer service. It goes far deeper than that. It’s also essential if you want to increase your sales and make your marketing budget go further.
The reason people don’t want to do business with organisations that aren’t customer focused is because it’s so difficult to do business with them! As a start-up or small business the last thing you want to do is make life difficult for your customers!
This is why it is important to understand that delivering great customer experiences is about the WHOLE customer journey.
From website design, product design, and marketing to finance, operations, HR, procedures and policies. You name it, and it should be linked to delivering a WOW customer experience.
The development of a strong relationship between consumers and your company is one of the keys to achieving a good level of customer retention.
Now, with the increasing possibilities offered by digitalisation, it is even possible to make the customer a part of the company, allowing them to play an active role in its activities and build a genuine emotional connection through the four following options (more…)
Ever since social media became so prominent, companies have seen a huge online fan base as something of a marketing holy grail, with the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers becoming a benchmark for success.
Unfortunately, lots of companies jump into social media with energy and enthusiasm but quickly get disappointed or frustrated when the results aren’t quite as big as their ambitions.
The road to building an online fan base that is both big, and crucially, of value, is a long and winding with very few shortcuts, but here are five steps to think about in order to succeed: (more…)
The ability to negotiate the highest possible fees without risking a client relationship or an instruction has become increasingly important to individual professionals and professional service firms in recent years.
The rising influence of procurement on the buying side has squeezed margins for many service providers. Those best able to withstand these pressures are usually those that have the ability to negotiate robustly on fees.
Clients often ask what makes someone a great fee negotiator, i.e. someone who is able to get clients to agree to pay as high a fee as possible without losing the work, or the client. (more…)
Of all the areas where a small business can compete with the big boys, customer service is the one where it should really shine.