Every business owner can learn valuable lessons from studying how successful businesses are born and grow. Looking out for, and replicating, key drivers of success in other businesses, can help to drive our own business forward.
However, vital insight can also be gained from business failures. In many cases, what we can learn from terminal business mistakes can prove even more illuminating than what we can glean by following the high-flyers. (more…)
Many small businesses and startups are quite agile. The relatively simple structure of most small businesses means they are well placed to adapt to changing market conditions, the ever-increasing pace of working life and evolving customer needs.
If everyone in the business is empowered to act in the interests of your customers, you’ll find that the decisions they make and the work they do is likely to have a real impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To make sure that your people are empowered to act, you need to ensure they are up-to-date with key business activities. One of the best ways you can keep everyone updated is through a simple daily huddle. (more…)
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 the past, company leaders were focused first and foremost on the development of innovative products and operational excellence.
Today, customer satisfaction is the absolute number one priority – a point confirmed by almost every recent survey of top managers, with 89% of company leaders now seeing customer experience as their biggest differentiator.
Here, customer expert, Prof. Steven Van Belleghem explains why every business leader should view the customer relationship as the key to their future business success.
The growth of AI is set to be one of the most disruptive technologies in the coming years for businesses of all sizes. Even in these relatively early days of AI, it is already affecting customer experience.
The younger generation have grown up in a world where they are used to a quick and effortless service, and as a result, will lose interest with anything that takes too long or requires too much effort from them.
Here, Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in customer focus in the digital world, examines the evolution of customer service under Artificial Intelligence. (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…)
Point of sales systems have been around for hundreds of years, and for most of that time they were not much more than a cash drawer and calculator. That was until now – huge leaps in technology have taken the humble till a long way forward in the last few years.
Today, point of sale systems can do so much more. They can feed data on sales straight to your accountant, keep track of stock levels and even find your best sales person.
Not only have all of these features come in with technological advances, but the price of a POS system is also now more affordable, lifting some strain from smaller businesses.
A till has become the cornerstone of a business, and that also means that if it falls short it can also send your business into disarray – so it is important to choose a system that really works for you. Here are some key points to consider when trying to find the right till option for your business. (more…)
Pop-up shops are an excellent way to test new ideas and products, engage with your target market and get feedback from potential customers, without making a big, long-term investment.
In addition to their value as a testing ground for new concepts and new businesses, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular as a way for existing business to take their offering to new locations.
There are lots of different factors that can determine the success or failure of a pop-up shop and it’s vital you consider these before starting your pop-up venture. Here are 6 key considerations to help you get your first pop-up shop running smoothly and generating income for your business. (more…)
“Will you give us a discount on that figure?”
“Can you match the lower price I can get down the street?”
“Can’t you do it cheaper?”
These are the kind of questions people running start-ups and small businesses get asked an awful lot.
But what are the best answers to give? Here, we look at how small business owners can respond to these kind of questions, without losing business and without cutting prices and profit margins.
You don’t have to think back very far to remember the time when disruptive start-ups and forward thinking businesses were championing a “digital first” strategy. Digital technology had been adopted by mainstream consumers and companies that failed to recognise it were being left behind.
More recently, that slogan has been replaced for many businesses by a new one, “mobile first,” and is not difficult to understand why. Today’s consumers are constantly on their mobile. (more…)
Technological innovation is happening ever more rapidly and the changes will transform every industry. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from these innovative technologies but must strike a balance between using technology and being overwhelmed by it.
To help business owners embrace the potential of new technologies we asked Rohit Talwar, editor of, ‘The Future of Business’ and ‘Technology vs. Humanity’ to provide some practical advice on how to survive, and thrive, in the face of this continuous tidal wave of technological change. (more…)
When you are starting a business, you will need to answer many questions. However, one of the most fundamental questions any business owner will be asked is, what is the purpose of your business?
So what would your answer be?
How you answer the question, has a significant bearing on whether your business is likely to succeed, so we asked Jim McGrath, author of The Little Book of Big Management Wisdom to reveal what your answer should be; (more…)
Let’s start with a sobering statistic: Retailers opened the lowest number of new stores in the last 5 years in the first half of 2016. What’s more, 15 stores pulled down their shutters for the last time every day. Altogether, that means nearly 2000 more stores were closed than opened in that six-month period.
Today, as bricks and mortar shops seem to struggle more than ever before, embracing online has become all the more important. Even retail giant IKEA, who for a long time stuck to their bricks and mortar roots and resisted expanding its online presence for years, has recently announced that they will be launching a Click & Collect solution.
So how can smaller retailers take advantage of the changing ways we shop? (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…)
When considering great customer experience (CX), it can be helpful to picture a shopkeeper.
The more we visit the shop, the better the shopkeeper gets to know us. After a few visits, the shopkeeper initially learns our name; then what products we like and have previously purchased; when we’re likely to need more of them; and finally to the stage where they can make recommendations of what we might like to try.
Such a role is now expected, and even demanded, of all the brands consumers interact with. The days of a one-size-fits-all approach to customer communications are long gone. Today, brands need to forge personal relationships, similar to that which people enjoy with their favourite local store. (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.