Onwards and Upwards

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You’re going great, your business is ticking along nicely and you’re feeling relaxed and in control of your life. Should you take your foot off the gas? Absolutely not, it’s at this point you’re in the perfect position to take time out and think about where you’re business is going next.

If you’re hitting your targets month on month then consider upping those targets. Yes, you want them to be realistic but without challenging yourself you’ll never fully realize what it is you’re capable of or how much more you’re capable or earning. 

In this article we take a look at some key ways you can drive your business forward and find some inspiration to take your company to the next level.

Reach Out to Customers

You might not see the immediate need to talk to your customer base but re-connecting and finding an opportunity to get your brand into their inbox is never a wasted opportunity.

Start by thinking about something like a customer survey. What useful questions could you ask a customer that would make them feel listened to and help you to make some of those little changes that enhances your customers’ experience of dealing with your site?

Send out a survey with specific, actionable questions being aware at what time you’re sending and how long it takes to complete. You know your customers well enough by now and if the majority are office work-based women, aged between 20 to 35, you’ll realize that first thing on a Monday is not a great time when everyone catches up on emails and begins planning for the week ahead.

Revamp Your Site

As your business grows so your website needs to grow with it and if you want to stay fresh and relevant then think about how you might up your game in terms of your site. Talk to a web design agency about what changes might enhance your customer’s experience but also adding some more engaging visual elements as well.

Don’t be afraid to be bold with any changes, now’s the time to make these kinds of decisions, particularly if you know that they’re a sound investment for the long term success of your business.

Your business can stand up to being challenged and being given the chance to grow. Giving yourself the opportunity to find new and better ways to talk to and attract customers is something every business should take part in regularly but when things are going well, you have the luxury of being able to do it with relatively little pressure.

Run through your website from a customer perspective and experience what it’s like to find information, make inquiries and purchase your goods or services from start to finish. Be honest about your experience and make those little tweaks that will have your customers coming back for more. Grow your business, grow your profits and see just what you’re capable of as you take your company up to the next level.

5 Benefits Of Customer Feedback

As business owners, managers, or employees, it’s often easy for you to describe what your company offers. It’s important, however, to know how your customers would describe your company. That’s where the benefits of customer feedback come in. Does their perception of what you offer match what you intend to offer? Are they satisfied with your customer service? The only way to know these details, and a whole lot more, is to reach out and ask.

Customer feedback can be invaluable to just about any company. It can help you fine-tune your business. It can also help you ensure the experience you’re providing your customers matches your values.

Here at Praiseworthy, feedback means a whole lot to us. We recently asked our most frequent users which five words they would use to describe our offerings. Their most common responses were that we are informative, helpful, efficient, easy, and insightful. Talk about compliments! It’s gratifying to know which areas we’re thriving at, and to use that feedback to improve every day.

The most interesting thing about those words is that they also describe the top benefits of customer feedback. (How fitting, since feedback is our specialty!) Below, let’s take a look at five of the top benefits of customer feedback.

To elaborate on the 5 words our users gave us to describe our service, Praiseworthy can help increase your customer retention with the following characteristics:

1. Informative

Unbiased customer feedback is an important tool for gathering information about your company. Yes, sales reports, market research, and other forms of information gathering are also important. However, receiving information directly from your customers provides you with much more actionable information. After all, nearly all of your research and effort stems back to making customers happy and increasing satisfaction. There’s an easy way to find this out: by asking them.

With a platform like Praiseworthy, you have real-time access to customers’ responses and open-ended comments. This cuts through confusion to give you a clear, direct picture of how your clients are feeling. That means you can take the steps you need to make them happier. You can also use that information to praise employees that have done a great job with customer service. When customers are happier, so is your team, and everyone wins.

2. Helpful

There are few things more helpful than knowing exactly how customers feel and what they want. Attempting to guess customers’ needs is difficult. Creating company policies based on assumptions and guesses is even more difficult. Attempting to improve without an accurate gauge on where your customer base stands is tough. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and not knowing what will stick. This can be a huge waste of time and resources. Furthermore, it can damage employee morale.

The simple solution to this problem? Direct customer feedback. With feedback, you can assess what is and isn’t working without any guessing. Particularly when using a tool like Praiseworthy, you can break down your responses into actionable information. Praiseworthy’s dashboard turns results into data—the kind of data that’s actually easy to understand.

Knowledge is helpful.

Knowledge is power. Knowing how customers feel immediately after a phone call with them enables you to do even better in the future.

When business owners and managers have the ability to pinpoint problem areas through this feedback, they can reach out to at-risk customers. They can improve interactions with these customers before they choose to take their business elsewhere. Feedback can be the difference between increased churn and turning unhappy customers into satisfied, loyal customers. Solutions like this make for great word of mouth. This can bring you even more customers over the long run.

3. Insightful

Customizable survey questions let you decide what you want to know most. In fact, one such question helped one of our clients boost their sales by an average of 8 extra tablets per store, per month! Insight goes a step further into general stats and basic information. Insight explores what really makes a company move.

With Praiseworthy’s dashboard, you can break down your survey responses and other feedback into categories and themes. You can understand exactly what a certain number of responses in either direction means so that you can quickly respond and improve.

This makes for increased insight into your customers’ feelings and needs. It also allows for more insight into your company’s day to day functions. The feedback gained from insight operates like a “peak under the hood” in which you can see the inner workings of your company up close. Which employees are best at solving customers’ problems and deserve extra praise? Which policies are turning off customers rather than the intended action of bringing them joy? With increased insight, all these answers are available at your fingertips.

4. Efficient

There’s no way around it: customer feedback makes your team more efficient. Customers are able to take a look at your organization with outside eyes and see the things you miss. They can point out what their surface impression of your company is, as well as what it’s like to work with you as a customer firsthand. This information is simply invaluable, and gathering it through survey responses is about as efficient as it gets.

Of course, the more efficient your feedback platform is, the better. Praiseworthy is a great option because it incorporates details like customer feedback, employee rankings, statistics for multiple locations, reporting, and email updates in one single platform. That means you won’t have to waste your time fiddling with numbers or trying to guess what certain data sets mean. Instead, you can immediately start improving as soon as you receive responses. You can also use the precise detail of the responses to know exactly where to offer praise, and to whom. (After all, high employee morale equals high customer morale. Regularly praising employees for their great work benefits everyone!)

Access to data makes your team more efficient.

Whenever you need to access your survey responses and data, it’s all available to you on Praiseworthy’s dashboard. You can also check out additional reports and charts that pinpoint your customers’ most frequent complaints. Every employee can access their own personal dashboard, where they can parse through results and sort out exactly where things stand. That makes for a lot less wasted time spent trying to just guess what would make their customer interactions better. It also makes the employee feel more in control of their workplace habits and their personal feedback stream.

All of this helps to improve—you guessed it—efficiency. When your team is on the same page about where the company is thriving and where it could improve, you’re already miles ahead. When your entire team has direct access to customer responses, rather than it being funneled through a select few employees who are part of the feedback experience, everyone has a more clear understanding. All of that equates to a precision-oriented, goal-focused team that can reach achievements together. And they can get it all done with a glowing morale and a positive sense of teamwork.

5. Easy

One of the best parts of customer feedback is that it’s easy! Many companies shy away from getting started with the process of collecting feedback because it seems overwhelming. Often, they see choosing a platform as a hassle, and aren’t sure how to utilize any feedback they might receive. This can leading to seeking roundabout ways of attempting to improve the company. Often, these methods that seem faster are actually much more difficult and wasteful of time than simply getting started with seeking feedback.

In reality, getting great customer feedback is incredibly easy. It all comes down to asking illuminating questions and making the process easy for customers to engage in. Praiseworthy can help you do that.

The earlier, the easier.

The earlier you start seeking customer feedback, the more use you can make of it. Because the process is so simple, it’s helpful to get started as soon as you can. This way, you can track trends in customer responses over time and look for changes and patterns. This is just as helpful for a company that getting off the ground and shaping its customer policies as it is for massive, long-standing organizations.

Getting started is easy too.

Thankfully, set-up is simple. Getting ready to go with Praiseworthy is as easy as selecting a few settings and getting things rolling. From there, you’ll be privy to a massive series of game-changing insights about your customer base. This is a whole lot easier than playing years-long guessing games about what customers might want or how employee morale might be improved.

When you start collecting feedback, you’ll have all the information you need in an easy, user-friendly platform. If needed, you’ll be able to update or adjust the questions you ask customers over time to best fit your goals. In the process, you’ll easily build a happier, stronger relationship with your customers. After all, nothing makes a customer feel more valued than creating a dialogue with them. When they know their opinions and their business matter to you, they’ll be all too excited to keep coming back and to help you grow.

Besides being an entrepreneur, Misa Chien is an asian model and cooking show host based in Los Angeles.  Her other blog, Nom Nom TV, a dinner ideas blog, posts articles everywhere from top items to buy at 99 Ranch market to the best way to prepare soba noodles.

This One Simple Survey Question can Drive Massive Growth

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Wondering how to drive massive growth? Your solution may be through one simple survey question.

Aamir Noorani has found such method. Noorani is the Chief Operating Officer of Dr. Cell Phone, a leading and innovative electronic repair store. Noorani and his brother worked at launching the store and empowering it to thrive since 2006.

Noorani needed insight from customers but wasn’t exactly sure how to make that happen. Noorani knew that to boost sales, he needed to connect with those whose experience really mattered. They needed a way to measure how likely a customer would recommend their services. This is known as NPS, or Net Promoter Score. (Read more about NPS here.)

Thus, Noorani started working with Praiseworthy, to begin to collect customer feedback, and measure his NPS score in real time.

For any business, customers are essential for it to succeed and grow. (Click here to watch this section of the interview)

“Your customers are the lifeline of your business,” he says. “Your referral and repeat business should make up the majority of your customers.”

Customers, faithful and happy, form the business. “You really need to make them fans of your business,” he says. “A business that people say, ‘wow, that service was so incredible, I’m definitely going back to them next time and tell all my friends and family about them.’”

That recommendation from happy and content customers are what makes businesses like Dr. Cell Phone thrive.

Noorani credits his team for the success in bringing referrals in from positive customer experiences. “They’re the ones that are on the front line, taking care of all these customers and making sure that they’re delivering world class service,” he says.

Extending beyond just point of sales reports and tracking repeat customers, customer feedback can inspire and encourage employees to continue to provide a great customer experience.

“Seeing customer comments was just incredible,” he says. “Instead of just guessing if our customers were happy, they were giving us feedback about what we could do better and positive things, too. That told us, let’s do more of that.”

Those reviews, whether opportunities for improvement or praise for what they were doing well, brought positive change to how Dr. Cell Phone operates.

For negative feedback, they address issues right away, contacting the customer to make whatever was wrong, right.

“All those customer comments that we were seeing, all that feedback has made our business a lot better and more customer-centric,” he says.

In training employees to focus on providing a great customer experience, there must be a balance between being not too pushy but also ensuring to get that referral.

“First and foremost, it needs to be the right person,” he says. Recruiting the right person leads to the opportunity to create that great customer experience.

The Influence of the NPS (Click here to watch this section of the video)

Customer feedback often centers around one very important question, a question that is captured in the measurement of the net promoter score. The net promoter score survey is the question of ‘how likely would you recommend the business?’

So what happened as a result of Dr. Cell Phone’s use of Praiseworthy customer feedback surveys?

The results Dr. Cell Phone has seen: an increase of 24 points since their involvement with Praiseworthy. Their score of 72 is very high in the retail field. A lot of people are being recommended to visit the store.

Reconnecting with negative reviews has improved their NPS in that by reaching out to customers to remedy whatever issue arose, customers appreciate that attention. And they’ll tell others.

“More and more we’re relying on the recommendations of our friends and family,” he says. “What a lot of customers are doing now is asking their friend, ‘where’d you get your phone fixed?’”

The magic words of “Would you recommend this service to your friends and family” can help boost recognition and popularity. “It’s a question that our company talks about every single morning. It’s going to be the engine that brings the business 10-15 years from now,” he says.

Like what Dr. Cell Phone has witnessed, an increase in NPS means an increase in sales.

Besides being an entrepreneur, Misa Chien is an asian model and cooking show host based in Los Angeles.  Her other blog, Nom Nom TV, a dinner ideas blog, posts articles everywhere from top items to buy at 99 Ranch market to the best way to prepare soba noodles.

Giving Clients A Meeting To Remember

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Working for your own business isn’t like having a normal job. If you want to succeed while running something like this, you have to be prepared to compete, as you will almost certainly have other companies ready and waiting to take the work which you’re not able to get. As a big part of this, first impressions can be very important when you’re trying to secure a client. To help you to use this to your advantage, making your first meeting into something they will always remember, this post will be exploring some of the work you will have to do along the way.

Learn About Them: While it may seem a little too ambitious, learning about someone’s personal life can be very helpful when you’re trying to make a meeting which is perfect for them. Knowing what they enjoy spending their time on, the food they like, and the sorts of people they tend to associate with can all be found on websites like Facebook. With people posting all of the intimate details of their life, it is worth taking full advantage of platforms like this, especially when you’re working on competing with other businesses.

Do Something They Like: Once you have an idea of what your prospective client is interested in, you can start to look for activities which will make them happy. For example, if they like to play golf, spending some time during your meeting on the course will give you the chance to take their mind off the other companies they’ve been seeing. You may have to invest in a few things, like clubs and ultra lightweight golf bags, but this will be worth it once you have a new client. Of course, though, you will need to make sure that you can talk properly during the meeting.

Plan And Prepare: When you’re getting ready for a meeting like this, it’s worth treating it in a similar way to a job interview. You will need to practice what you plan to talk about, planning for all of the questions they might have for you. Going through this process may seem a little over the top, but it will make it much easier to get things right when you’re nervous about the person you’re talking to.

Don’t Push Too Hard: Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about the sorts of conversations you’re going to have during your meeting. In most places, it’s customary to start something like this with a little bit of small talk. This will make it look like you’re genuinely interested in sparking a business relationship with them, rather than simply working towards making sales, and this will always make you look good.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of making memorable meetings for your clients. A lot of people struggle in this area, finding it hard to now exactly what needs to be done when they’re trying to impress another business. In reality, though, this is quite simple, as long as you’re willing to do things which they enjoy.

The Minor Mistakes Affecting Your Business Image

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Business image matters. But if you want to keep giving off a positive impression to your customers – and attract new ones – it’s not just the major branding campaigns you need to focus on. The small stuff counts, too. Today, we’re going to go through a whole bunch of examples of the minor mistakes made by many small businesses, and suggest a few ideas on how to overcome them. Let’s take a closer look at some of your options.

Inconsistent brand image

Many small businesses go through constant iterations of their branding before deciding on the right course. However, it’s an area which can prove problematic unless you commit to the changes 100 percent. All too often, small business owners try to cut corners, and it’s noticeable to everyone. For example, let’s say your website gets an upgrade, complete with a new logo and mission statement. The trouble is, the front of your store still uses the old one. And your businesses cards are still making use of the logo before that. Inconsistency not only looks unprofessional, but it also confuses your customers. If you decide to make changes, make sure they are wholesale – right across the board.

The broken promise

Next, you can spend years building up positive relationships with customers, yet let things slip by a moment of forgetfulness or a broken promise. It’s vital to consistently deliver an authentic experience because this promotes your brand as trustworthy and professional. Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but ensure you deal with them in the right way – with exceptional levels of customer service, and a promise to put things right.

Spelling mistakes

Poor spelling and punctuation is a real turn off for customers. And as much as you might feel grammar pedants are ruining things for everyone, the reality is that they have a point. It’s unprofessional, provokes distrust, and can significantly reduce your sales.

Bad smells

If you are a customer-facing business, no doubt you understand the importance of looking your best. However, you also need to smell your best. If your store, office or workplace is a little on the pongy side, it’s not going to your sales charts any favors. Having trouble with a whiffy building? If you visit this website, you will find out there are a multitude of diffusers available to use in a business setting. Having to endure employees with a little personal hygiene problem? Don’t be afraid to address it – in private, of course. If you can smell someone, you can bet your customers can, too.

The business insider

Finally, one of the most natural traps to fall into as a business owner is that you fail to see what you are doing from the outside. It’s no surprise, as when you spend every waking hour working to make things better, it can be hard to see the wood from the trees. The solution? Every now and again take a break and try and look at your business with a fresh pair of eyes. If you can’t do this, use services like mystery shoppers or the equivalent for your industry. Seeing your company from your customer’s perspective can make a huge difference.

Modern Ways Of Pleasing Today’s Customer

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Pleasing a modern target audience can be tough for any business. The market is always changing, and your company needs to work hard to stay on top of its game. You need to keep rethinking your business strategies to make sure that you’re appealing to the modern consumer. If you’re struggling on that mission then here are some modern ways of pleasing today’s customer.

Rewarding people.

If you start rewarding your customers then you’ll probably notice more repeat purchases. Discounts, vouchers, and even giveaways are a great way to get people buying from your business in the first place, but such rewards can also keep customers returning to your business. If customers see they’ll get 50% off their second or third purchase, for example, then they’ll be more likely to buy from you again. You really have to appreciate the power of word of mouth marketing, too. Happy customers will tell their friends and family about you. In fact, you could even use rewards as an incentive to get people talking about your brand. If you offer discounts to customers who refer your company to their friends then you’ll probably notice a bigger influx of new clients. Rewards are definitely a good way to build a long-term bond with your client base.

Creating an enticing online presence.

Another great way to satisfy the modern-day customer is to create an enticing online presence. Most people search the internet for the things they want to buy. If your digital marketing game isn’t up to scratch then you’re missing out on potential sales. You might want to read about conversion rate optimization because the goal of digital marketing is to gain paying customers. Boosting traffic on your website is a good start, but your company isn’t going to improve if none of those visitors actually buy anything from you. You need to find ways to improve your website’s design and content to impress people who visit your homepage. With an enticing site, your business could see a much better conversion of traffic to sales.

Listening to them.

Finally, the best way to please today’s customer is to simply listen to them. This has always been the case, but it’s something that many modern businesses neglect to do. Giving the consumers what you want to give them isn’t going to get you the sales you want. Like it or not, the customer is always right. If you want your business to do well then you need to meet the needs of the market. Do your research to find out what your target audience wants. You could run polls on Twitter or invite people to leave feedback online.

Find out what clients like and dislike about your business, and ask them for their opinions on rival companies in your industry. That’s the best way to gauge the current consumer mentality in your marketplace. Once you start listening to customers, you’ll have a better understanding of what they want. And, in turn, you’ll be able to deliver a service that pleases today’s customer. You might even be able to find gaps in the market that your competitors have missed. It could be a chance for your brand to really stand out in its industry.

How Effective Are Your Business Operations?

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Everyone knows the value of optimizing their output. In a business, it’s practically necessary. Let’s take the example of a restaurant. A restaurant must keep with the times, and provide a contemporary and excellent menu for their guests. To do this, they must routinely assess buyers, routinely check how long dishes take to be created, routinely access if they have the correct amount of staff in the kitchen, and funnily enough, routinely care for routines. If the restaurant fails to do this, then it starts taking on dead weight. No business can afford dead weight.

There are many forms of this. It might be keeping too many or too little bodies in employment. It might be the quality of your office lighting is impacting the alertness levels of your staff. Optimizing your output express itself in thousands of different ways, and they all have an affect. In order know how to prioritize this, and to know what to look for, you should consider the following:

Process Management

Digital systems allow us to handle many aspects of a business at once, and keep track of many variables. How well are you exercising this? Are your business efforts disorganized, between many different applications, and fragmented amongst people with different levels of authority? Might centralizing these processes be the best solution? If you’re able to do this, you might notice that time is saved, you are more easily able to manage projects, communicating with your staff about the finesse of a certain responsibility and generally your working ease are all improved. For this, it’s important to use the best software. You can find that with BPM Online https://www.bpmonline.com/l/bpm/definition/business-process-management, one of the best resources to educating yourself on this topic.

The Customer Experience

Remember that the core of most of your efforts is the driving energy to take care of the customer experience. In order to cater to this, you need to prioritize it well. Businesses can often fall into habits of catering for their own convenience, and this might sacrifice the end result. For example, sometimes improving the speed at which your manufacturing process is taken care of can impact the end quality of the goods, even if that means saving money and time, that might not translate to the customer feedback and return business you enjoy. Consider how what ‘effectiveness’ means to you, and how this affects the functional relationship you keep with your business.

Suppliers

There is always a better price available for a certain supply, but that doesn’t mean you should go for that option. In order to stay the best business practitioner you can be, sometimes you need to ask for a better deal, negotiate terms, and sometimes even shop around. This is one of the last things that many business leaders take care of, because sometimes the perceived benefits of loyalty seem preferable to gaining a better product or paying less money for the same service. This can be the case. However, without the willingness to review your connections in this regard, you’ll often find yourself limited to only one option, and that can be an issue.

With these simple reviewing efforts, you are sure to optimize your business output week after week, month after month, year after year.

The New Marketing Paradigm: Wants, Needs & Expectations

Marketing to customer’s needs is dead. Wants are the new needs.

Wherever lies a successful industry the perceived “need” is really a want.

Take for instance Uber. The average person does own and can afford a car (need), but some prefer not to pay for insurance, repairs, gas, etc. because ride sharing provides convenience (want).

I’ve applied this concept to my new venture, online tutoring. There is a huge market for this due to competitive parents/students. Colleges do take into account SAT/ACT scores and any advantage a parent can give their child is welcomed. Tutors aren’t necessary to get high school students into college, but they do have the inside track on test taking skills. Parents/students want to attend their dream school so hiring a tutor is a leg up on the competition.

Expectations, on the other hand, are determined by experience. Yelp is known as a food review site, but what it actually reveals is the customer experience (CX). Read any Yelp Elite member’s reviews and you’ll learn how the business made them feel. This is key to selling any product/service.

Nike, Apple and Disney all market experiences, a.k.a. how you feel interacting with their brand.

The hospitality industry lives and dies by customer reviews.

Marketing today depends on identifying what your target audience wants, then meeting or surpassing their expectations with a phenomenal experience. That means no matter how technologically savvy your company is, what matters is how “soft” your touch points are.

That doesn’t mean you need a customer service hotline for your mobile app you create, but it does mean when something goes wrong you’ll be judged on the response time and solution offered.

Artificial intelligence, robots and technology make our lives easier, but the need for human connection is at an all-time high.

For your current or future business idea make sure you are meeting a want and exceeding expectations from your customers. Do that and you’ll be converting your marketing investment into sales.