Posts Tagged ‘Digital’

5 Customer Service Trends to Watch in 2014

The death of amazing service is greatly exaggerated. For most small business, amazing service now can be the brand differentiator.

Here are 5 trends to watch for on the coming year that will impact your business:

  1. Technology everywhere. The Internet now allows any product to be shipped to any customer anywhere in the world at anytime. This makes customer service the only sustainable competitive advantage for every small business. The powerful combination of mobility, the cloud, social media and big data now makes it easy to give customers personalized service. Consumerization from companies such as Amazon, Netflix and Zappos set the expectation bar very high for every small business. Customers can even customize their own product solution. Technology now enables them to receive their product the same day (instead of the standard two day free shipping.). Customers can even “try their clothes on” by uploading their image to the Internet instead of having to shop in person.
  2. Self Service. Technology has come along way since the automat and the ATM. Now customers are more likely to communicate with your company via an automated tool like the web, social media and kiosks. In fact, according to Zendesk, 91% of customers would rather use a computer knowledgebase to solve their needs than talk to a live person! This allows the educated customer to get the solutions to their queries much more quickly. They increasingly demand to have full visibility inside of your company.
  3. Customers talk more. The explosion of communication alternatives makes it easier to talk to your customers, but also makes it more difficult for your staff to keep up with this multichannel communication strategy. Customers are always more likely to complain than to give a compliment. However, satisfied customers can become an unstoppable marketing machine for your company and give the feedback necessary to make even more successful products and services.
  4. Proactive support. Companies are no longer waiting for customers to reach out to them to solve problems. They now proactively communicate with customers on an ongoing basis to see how they can help before problems occur. For example, the team at Sage North America  routinely calls its customers and business partners before the busy tax season to see how they can help.
  5. 24/7. Forget 9 to 5. Most customers now expect to get answers to their questions 24 hours a day. This can be done through an automated computer interface or a staff taking care of customers that are employed remotely in different time zones around the world.

Requirements for offering amazing service have never been higher, but the opportunity to differentiate your brand by doing outstanding work in this area has never been greater.

What trends are you seeing in your business for next year?


4 Innovative Ways to Market Your Company On LinkedIn

LinkedInAuditWhen LinkedIn launched back in 2003, some people were skeptical. After all, social networking was an entirely new concept and the idea of sharing personal information on the web wasn’t really embraced.

How times have changed. Today, social networking is an integral part of almost everyone’s lives and LinkedIn has firmly established itself as the leader in online business networking with more than 200 million users.

So how can small businesses utilize LinkedIn to build visibility and attract potential customers? Follow the four tips below for the best results.

Post one status update per day

First, create a LinkedIn page for your small business. Follow the tutorial and fill out all necessary forms. Once your page is live, notice the blank box under the “Activity” header. This box is for you, the business owner (or your social media-dedicated employee/consultant), to type status updates.

According to Josh Turner, founder of Linked University, these updates should be business related. Examples can include links to blog posts you’ve penned about your industry, links to industry-specific articles from other sources and one-sentence, discussion-starting questions.

“Keep these questions business focused on your industry or on a general topic like, ‘Where do you see technology taking us in the next couple years?’” says Turner. “I’m based in St. Louis, so it would be fine for me to write, ‘Go Cardinals!’ but don’t get too personal with your updates like you may on Facebook.”

Invest in newsfeed advertising

Have you ever noticed the sponsored ads in your Facebook feed and clicked on one of them because you found yourself interested? LinkedIn offers a similar adverting concept on its platform.

“Ads on newsfeeds are a really good thing for small businesses to try because they can target specific demographics,” says Turner.

Join non-obvious groups

If you are the head of an accounting firm, you may be inclined to join finance-related groups on LinkedIn, but Turner guards against the practice.

“Join the groups where your customers hang out—be it CEO, COO and CTO groups or the groups of your customers’ industries,” he recommends. “You aren’t going to get in front of new customers if you hang out in places where your competitors are.

“Once you are in a group, post valuable content no more than twice per week. You don’t want it to look like you are spamming your group.”

Dig through your connections

LinkedIn can help you find qualified referrals, you just have to look through your contacts for people who may be connected to the potential client you have in mind.

“It can be laborious to go through your contacts to find people who are connected to each other and then request an introduction, but it is absolutely worth the time,” he says. “Anything that gets great results takes more time than strategies on autopilot.” 

Nextiva's XBert

Contact an Amazing Service
Sales Expert
(800) 799-0600

See how Nextiva will transform
the way you communicate.

Nextiva's XBert

Contact an Amazing Service
Sales Expert
(800) 799-0600
Learn how much Nextiva can save your business.