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What are the best employee retention strategies for a food service business?

I believe in cultivating a work culture that will help my employees not only grow skill wise. What... read more

►Andrea Doyle▯MediatorWorkplace Mediator (Accredited Mediator - NMAS), Conflict Ma at DOYLESolutions
Hi Nathan, Regardless of the type of business, one of the most important aspects I see as a workplace mediator and conflict manager to retain staff is to treat them with respect and expect all staff to treat each other respectfully. As soon as this doesn't happen conflict can occur and an RU OK report identified 46% of employees would rather leave than manage conflict. And that becomes expensive if you have to always train new staff. Ensure staff have skills in managing themselves in conflict and know how to present an opposing idea. Also if there are supervisors in the business train them in what it means to be a supervisor - both the good and the bad. Andrea
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How do you handle a disgruntled customer from a competitor?

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Would you use a site that's free to post a job for transport needs such as courier packages, removal transport etc.?

Car carrier, store deliveries, freight... *if so, what would you use it for and how often do... read more

Hi Diane,Your question is a bit vague, so forgive me if I have got it wrong, but it sounds like you are thinking about running a courier service for larger objects? If you are just starting out, you could try Gumtree and Craigslist to get you started. Depending on what areas you plan to cover, you could try advertising in all states, suburbs and towns in that area with a view to picking up backloads. As you start to get some business though, I would strongly recommend setting up your own website so that you look more professional, then start marketing your business through social media, both free and paid ads. Hope that helps, but if I have got it wrong, just let me know with a bit more detail.Regards,Terry
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Customer acquisition and retention

Performance Improvement: Do your customer experience ads lie?

We want to share two examples of brand trashing and, for complete contrast, a great example of... read more

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John P Dawson Managing Partner at Dawson McDonald Consulting
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Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Brian, I can give you a bit of hope. Although many businesses here in the US have terrible service as well, there are 3 businesses that have outstanding customer service and experience. 1. Publix - A regional grocery chain. They will walk you to items in the store that you are looking for, go to the back and bring out items that were out of stock on shelves (they won't just bring enough out for you they will restock then and there), they will take out your groceries, if it is raining they will hold an umbrella over you as you push your cart out to the car (they will get soaked to keep you dry). 2. WOW - A regional/small national cable and internet provider. It is a shock compared to Time Warner or Comcast, but WOW does really live up to their name. It is easy to get through to an actual person, they come when they say they will and their pricing is fairly transparent. 3. Stickermule - An online seller or custom / die-cut stickers. They offer free shipping on every order (within the US), their pricing is great (have tons of ways to save money with deals and competitions), they pack each order with 1 or more sign off slips by actual employees, their online system is super easy to use. Sadly those are the only examples that come to mind, but they exceed the status quo of garbage customer service, I'd gladly spend more than all of them charge for the product / service I get.
John P DawsonManaging Partner at Dawson McDonald Consulting
Thanks Jef & Brian for your comments. delivering great CX consistently is a challenge for all organisations.
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What has stopped from putting client agreements in place as part of client relationship process?

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Customer acquisition and retention

How to Earn and Keep a Customer's Trust

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Customer acquisition and retention

Customer Loyalty 3.0 Is Never About Transactions. It's About Getting to Know Your Customers.

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Customer acquisition and retention

How to Manage Clients When You Own a Freelance Graphic Design Business

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Customer acquisition and retention

Fast feedback means faster customer growth

When it comes to building a fast-growth, scalable startup, there are many resources out there that...read more

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Customer acquisition and retention

Do you have a Long Distance Relationship with Your Clients?

A couple of months ago I answered a question in a business forum relating to keeping customers... read more

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Brad Lyons at Rodcha
I currently live in Thailand however the majority of my clients are in Australia. No issues with client relationships as long as you have a good line of communication. As you said "Never underestimate the power of a phone call".My clients love that they can just call a local number and still come through to me no matter what country I am in. The time zone can be an issue if you are not prepared however I still live by the Australian time zone. I am up and ready to work by 9 am AEST. Thailand is only 3 hours behind so no major issue there. I believe it is important when working remotely from another country you should make the effort to visit your clients in person. his could be by attending a industry conference or organizing a trip back to Australia and arrange as many meetings as possible. Nothing is better than face to face contact, it builds trust and if you have new clients they will want to meet you. Every year I come back to Australian and meet with current and new clients. However making sure you are setup correctly to work remotely is very important. For example I have a QLD and NSW landline number clients can call, comes through to me even if I am in Thailand, Cebu or anywhere else in the world. Clients only pay the cost of a local call and they love that.While clients love being able to make a call at times they want answers without having to call. Having an online CRM gives your clients the ability to do this 24/7 so there are no issues with time zones. They can leave messages, request updates, make changes to jobs etc. Online CRM's don't cost a lot of money, in fact there are a lot of free ones out there. I would recommend even if you are still in the same country as your customers, setup systems and processes so you can operate from anywhere in the world and your clients will love you for it.
Great point Jef, even now when writing articles I think about who is reading and adjust spelling accordingly. With a global audience this is getting tougher! Having a sense of humor when dealing with clients from different countries is a biggie too, when the communication breaks down, we can always laugh and celebrate the differences :-)
Customer acquisition and retention

What's More Important: Retaining Customers or Acquiring Customers?

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Customer acquisition and retention

3 Quick Tips for Handling an Upset Customer

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What does it mean if a business adopts a different approach towards it's base customers and new customers?

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Mary Mai Business Intelligence Analyst at Savvysme
Lina BarfootEditor at SavvySME
If you mean for the customers I would say there might be some decline in loyalty. It's frustrating when you feel that you might be better off leaving a business and possibly returning to it later, than staying with it. Especially as there's a good chance more than one company in the same category does this, and then, as a customer, you're better off constantly switching than staying loyal.
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How do businesses with no physical contact with their customers manage customer relationships?

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Mary Mai Business Intelligence Analyst at Savvysme
Brad Lyons at Rodcha
If your selling products via an online store you can reach out to your customers by sending them a satisfaction survey. You could reach out to them with thank you messaged including a discount voucher for their next purchase. There are so many way to communicate with your customers when you don't have physical contact with them.It all comes down to the type of relationship you want/need with your customers. In some cases having online portals is needed, support desks or a simple email is needed. Most of my customers will call me if they need anything. However there is nothing stopping you from calling them if you believe it is necessary. Not all customers want to have a chat, some just want to make a purchase and move on with their day.I am always travelling and at the moment I am overseas, however my clients can still call a local number if they want to speak directly with me. It just comes down to making sure you have the correct systems setup and software to ensure your customers don't feel like you have left them in the dark.Providing a good service/product is usually enough to retain most customers though.
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
I don't know how they do. Often one real meet, call or skype conference in the beginning will be enough to cement that lasting relationship for future communications when email will be the norm.
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What are some issues smaller businesses have with trying to reach potential customers?

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Mary Mai Business Intelligence Analyst at Savvysme
Many small businesses struggle with gaining valuable exposure. Many begin with a small circle of friends and contacts who are happy to support their fledgeling efforts when starting their business but when the work is done, the contacts can run dry. There is only so much work any one business or customer may need done, and this can mean the circle closes up leaving the small business wihtout further contacts to connect with.Networking, being positive and consistent on social media, participating in community events - these activities can all contribute to extending the new business network but the work to get people interested still needs to be done. In my experience, there are at least three particular problems a smaller business may face when trying to reach customers:Small network that doesn't realise or want to share the new business details with their larger network (sad, but this does happen!)Inadequate funds for marketing. Yes, much can be done on a shoestring budget but there comes a point where you have to move past that into more substantial advertising to entice new clienteleLack of sales skills. Even if you're presenting a service to customers, your ability to sell comes into play. If you're not good at it yourself, and you don't' have the funds to hire a great sales gun, you may find that this area is the one that you struggle in the most. There are many more struggles of course, but these are the things that I have struggled with and found to be areas that really need to be carefully monitored in order to maintain a growing network of potential cleints.
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Is "No Buyer's Remorse" scalable ?

Vinomofo promises "If you’re not 100% happy, you can return your order to us ANY TIME for a... read more

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What are ways to increase my SEO ranking in Google for my start-up photo booth business?

Is Facebook a good way to advertise my business? Is it worth paying to promote my page? What are... read more

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Evangelo Rosal Senior Test Consultant at Supa Slow Mo
Hi there Starting up my book coaching & publishing business three years ago I thought I would never make it with SEO, but after using Upcity for two months (a tool, bit like Moz), I found that I was getting better rankings and a few enquiries as I proceeded to do other things. I combined that with a mobile optimised site, which I noticed helped more on the premium plan unsurprisingly. After blogging for a while on topics of interest to authors, I now get enquiries more often, when I do the work! I also blogged 2-3 years for a design studio, and got local search rankings up to #2 & #3 for a while there. It was beating my straight copywriter page (no blog) for the term 'copywriter brisbane', which was kinda funny because I was at both sites waiting for leads! For backlinks, focus on narrow targeted sites, photography blogs and forums, but not general directories... I think this would work better. Also writing quality articles at other major magazine sites would be great. I am compiling a list of these myself.
Joshua UebergangHead of Strategy at Digital Darts
Hi Evangelo,Multiple questions here. Firstly, Facebook can be a great way to advertise. Only way to learn if it can work for your business is to test it (but do it right.) Research some basic tips on how to advertise on Facebook well. Yes, it can be worth paying to promote your page due to organic news hardly reaching your fan base.SEO is without a doubt the best way to drive free business online for most businesses. For some ways to increase SEO, I suggest you read my SEO checklist I wrote for Savvysme.
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What are the most important elements in building customer loyalty?

I've learnt that retaining existing customers is just as (if not more) important than pursuing new... read more

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Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I believe that some of the most basic building blocks of customer loyalty are honesty, transparency and timely communication.It only takes one mishandled bad experience (notice the word mishandled) for a long time customer become a so long customer. One bad experience doesn't mean a good customer will leave, but how you handle that bad experience could drive them out the door. If user data was compromised send a communication, that explicitly lists what information, when it was accessed and how you resolved (or are resolving the situation). That is also a good time to offer a discount, special sale or complimentary identity theft protection.Customers want to know you are also listening to their feedback. You should communicate your appreciation for their feedback and let them know when customer feedback has been implemented (even if it wasn't theirs). That will drive home the point that you are listening to your customers.Actively involve your customers in what you are doing. Have a contest to let customers send in photos of them using your product or service then have your team (or your customers vote for the winner). Make your content easily shareable on social media and other outlets. You want your loyal customers to spread your message if they are passionate about it.I am only scratching the surface here. Think about what you appreciate for companies and services you use yourself. Why do you like those brands so much? Brainstorm on those thoughts and start integrating those ideas into your business as they make sense. The last thing to keep in mind is be willing to continuously adapt. Your customers and business will change over time, so should your approach to your customers.
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Customer acquisition and retention

5 Steps To Mystery Shopping Your Competition

Say what? “Mystery Shopping” might bring to mind images of Nancy Drew and her teen friends hitting... read more

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Customer acquisition and retention

Plug the Bucket

If you think that marketing activity should be solely focused on gaining new customers, you need to... read more

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Yes, its really not brain surgery is it Yee :-)
Yee TrinhCo-founder at SavvySME
You get out what you put in after all.. Great article