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How to use business management skills for better customer relations

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Many people assume that their business management skills will be primarily used for the day to day running of their business. However, it is important not to overlook the need to use your business management skills to foster better relationships with your customers. Without your customers your business will simply cease to exist so building better relationships with them is crucial. You can significantly increase the customer satisfaction within your business simply by using some basic business management skills. Here is what you need to know about how to use business management skills for better customer relations-

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How Do You Start Exceeding Customer Expectations

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There are many elements to be considered as you work on managing a business. One of the elements you have to understand is the customer experience and if you are able to do everything correctly in order to exceed the expectations that they have. You need to be able to understand what type of standards need to be set for the company and then you want to be able to focus on helping your employees to be able to met the expectations that you have set and the customers have set.

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How to offer the best in customer service

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Successful business owners understand the need to build their business on the best customer service. They make it a priority that every customer that shops with them feels like they have had the best experience possible. If a business owner is not making customer service a priority he or she is not only missing out on building their business but is overlooking a valuable marketing tool. Studies have shown that a majority of customers will return to purchase again from a store based solely on the service that they received. This is true even when the store does not offer the lowest price on the product that they are purchasing. This makes offering a high level of customer service critical for the long term success of your business. Here is what you need to know about how to offer the best in customer service-

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Rules of engaging customers

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If you want to keep customers engaged and interested in your product or service, you have to follow the following rules:

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Inspiring greater customer service

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The employees that interact with your customers are the life force of your company. If you do not think the people in your company matter, then talk to someone who was treated poorly by a sales rep, or a customer service agent. People matter, and creating an environment for the people who work for your company that helps them feel respected and important will help inspire those same attributes in how they treat customers. Here are three things you have to do to inspire greater customer service in employees:

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Knowing if your customers are happy

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One of the important parts of business management is having a good handle on how your customers are responding to your business, your employees, your products, etc. You have to know if you have happy customers, or unhappy customers. You have to know what is making them happy, what areas could be improved upon, and many other aspects of customer satisfaction.

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Improving customer retention with customer service

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Every business knows it is easier to keep an existing client happy than it is to find a new client. However, many businesses miss the mark when it comes to customer retention. One of the most powerful, easiest, and least expensive tools you can use for customer retention is that of good customer service. Customers want to feel valued, they love things like reward programs and coupons, but when it comes down to it, they prefer to be treated with courtesy.

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How to provide the best customer service

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One of the best ways to insure that your customers will return again and again, is to provide them with the highest degree of customer service. Having a high degree of customer service is one of the best ways to insure that your customers will come back to buy from you again. Studies have shown that an overwhelming majority of customers will return to purchase from a particular company, even when their price is not the lowest, simply because of the level of customer service that they provide. It is crucial to train every employee that works in your company and insure that they understand that customer’s service is their highest priority. Here is what you need to know about how to provide the best customer service-

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Five effective tips for proper customer service

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If your business is lacking in customer service, how can you focus on improving? Customer service is one of the easiest things to fix and it is a necessity if you would like your business to have a strong reputation and customers that continue to support your company for years. Excellent customer service is a key element of success and by changing your policy to focus on the customers, you can make them feel connected to the company and strengthen your organization overall. Focusing on excellent customer service will come down to the way in which you treat people and if you are approachable. A person that makes another feel welcome will bring about repeat business. If you are ready to get started with new customer service methods, here are five effective customer service tips you need to follow:

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Boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty

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One of the best things you can do for your business is improve your customer satisfaction, as this leads to increased loyalty, more referrals, etc. Here are some tips for boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty:

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The warning signs of a difficult client

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Everyone has that one customer that comes in and is just impossible to please. They tend to be impatient and very demanding. How can you manage a difficult client and keep them happy while also keeping your sanity? Here are some warning signs of a difficult client that will allow you to keep your business running while working with these individuals.

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The relationship between buyer and seller

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As you are focusing on building your business, one of the things that you must pay attention to is the relationship you have with your customers. The relationship between buyer and seller will ensure a smooth transaction will take place and it helps to build rapport and also builds a better image of your company.

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Is customer service outsourcing really the best option?

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Saving money is always on the mind of just about every business out there. Is customer service outsourcing a road you want to travel down? While you might outsource some things like order fulfillment, customer service outsourcing is a very different process. This is when you are taking your employees out of the contact and interaction they have with the customers and replacing them with a company that automates the process and will typically use call centers to satisfy the questions the customers have.

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Growing your business and strengthening your customer relationships

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Do you track how your customers are finding your company? How many of your existing customers found you because of their friends and other customers that referred them to your company? Your customers are one of your greatest assets out there, which is why you need to work on building better relationships with your customers. How do your customers find your website? Do they send you inquires through your website? You want to take a look at all the ways your customers are finding you and intensify your efforts.

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Gain access to millions of customers by using PayPal

laptop30347484.jpgHow are you marketing to your customers and where are they heading to purchase your products? If you have a website where your customers can buy your products, you need to establish a merchant account to accept payments. PayPal is a great way to accept online payments as it's free to use. A number of your customers probably already have PayPal accounts set up and being able to have the ability to use this account to buy your products online can save them a lot of time.

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How good customer service can become great

womanwithheadset30343063.jpgWhile many business have good customer service, sadly only a few have great customer service. Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business, and providing it to your customers, determines whether you will stay in business, for the long term. It is important to keep in mind that you can offer promotions and slash prices, to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won't be profitable for long. Great customer service is all about bringing customers back, and about sending them away happy. Remember that you want your customers happy enough to pass positive feedback, about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves, and in their turn become repeat customers. The essence of great customer service is forming a relationship with each individual customer that keeps them coming back again and again. Here are some ideas on how good customer service can become great-

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The causes of customer delinquency

concernedman19185284.jpgCustomers that take a long time to pay their invoices can be incredibly frustrating to an organization. If you have employees that drag their feet with the invoicing process, you may find yourself waiting upwards of 60 days to receive a payment from the customers. When you are waiting for customers to pay their bills, it will hurt your cash flow because you will be unable to purchase other goods for your business and you may be unable to pay some of the bills to your lenders. So what causes customer delinquency and what can you do to avoid losing money? Here are some of the causes of customer delinquency and what you can do about it:

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Product fulfillment tips

reviewpresentation16487501.jpgGaining customer satisfaction and trust is the key to developing a strong cash flow. In order to build this trust with your customers, you must be able to find a way to reach them and you need to be able to satisfy their needs. Customers want their orders shipped early, they want them packaged properly, and they want their products to work correctly. Product fulfillment is important to the success of your business. Here are some product fulfillment tips that will make your job easier and make your customers happier.

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How to find your ideal customer

paying23246187.jpgWhen seeking your ideal customer, you need to engage in market research and a number of other things that will draw them into your company. Here are some tips that will help you find your ideal customer:

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Do promotional items work?

manoncellphone7625057.jpgTake a look around and you will see promotional items just about everywhere. Promotional items can range from anything like a pen to a new cell phone or iPod. Many companies use promotional items to encourage their customers to continue shopping from them and staying loyal to their brand.

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The customer comes first

manonphone19205470.jpgA business will be able to succeed if they work hard to learn that the customer comes first. Since your business is fueled by your customers it is important to learn how to understand different ways you can work hard to please your customers and to develop rapport with them. You want your customers to not only enjoy their experience with your company but you want them to talk about your company to their friends. When you are able to achieve this type of rapport, you will develop loyalty with your customers and your marketing efforts will not need to be as extensive.

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The connection between a people-centered business and increased profits

manstandingonmoney32149463.jpgIn today’s struggling economy, it is not a surprise that business owners are even more concerned about their bottom lines. In some cases, it becomes necessary for those business owners to make cuts. Sometimes these cuts are in the number of employees, other times it is a program like an employer contributed IRA that gets the axe. In the worst case scenario, the entire business goes under. People lose jobs, their investments and all the time and effort that go into being in business. It is no wonder that so many people are worried about finances. For some, not knowing whether or not their job will still be there for them tomorrow is a daily concern. It then becomes the challenge of the business owner to create a more positive working environment. An environment where employees are encouraged to thrive instead of spending their time unnecessarily worrying about the “what ifs.”

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How to attract your target market

broker19160449.jpgIf you are the owner or manager of a business you will be spending a great deal of your time trying to find ways to attract your target market. The marketing strategy that you adopt could mean the difference between customers rushing to buy from your web site or store or your products or services dying a slow death up on shelf. However there is no need to go overboard. Many marketing experts report that one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when trying to attract customers is making everything so difficult for consumers to understand that they do not get it. And the bottom line is that if they don’t get it, they usually do not feel compelled to act, buy, etc. Good and effective marketing is about informing your target market about your products and services and telling them why they should pick you over your competitor and best of all it really is that simple.

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Fast and convenient customer service skills

womanwithheadset30343063.jpgCustomers depend on things that are convenient. They like to see a company that is devoted to their customers and they want to see a company that is able to provide them with convenience. To boost your customer service, here are some simple rules to follow:

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Achieving good customer service for your business

handshake30344237.jpgThe backbone to any successful business is that degree of customer service that it offer. Savvy business managers understand that need to constantly be improving their customer service. Here are some tips for achieving good customer service for your business-

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Five objectives you need to satisfy customers

coworkersaroungacomputer22990951.jpgSuccessful businesses are built around their customers. If you want to stay in business for a long time, you need to learn about your customer's needs and how to keep them satisfied. We live in a economy that is driven by consumers and if you don't spend time researching your customers needs, you will quickly find yourself out of business. Here are five objectives you need to satisfy your customers:

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Customer satisfaction, the key to your companies success

cellphone30362662.jpgAlmost every business manger will agree that the key to a successful business starts with the satisfaction of your customers. For a business to become successful, you need to understand who your customers are and you are meeting their needs. Customers want to find products that not only fit their needs, but they want to work with a company that makes them feel valued and needed. So what can you do to improve your customer satisfaction? Here are some helpful tips that have worked for many businesses:

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How to Pacify a Troubled Client

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If you are running your own business then you will most likely come across troubled clients from time to time. Most clients will come in or call to talk to someone about their problem and are hoping to get their problem settled fast. The troubled client will only get more mad if they keep getting passed on to someone else. You want to keep the client happy but you are still running a business and have to have limits on what you can and can't do for your troubled client. Here is some helpful advice on how to pacify a troubled client.

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Dealing with unruly customers who use racist remarks

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The last thing any business owner wants is an angry customer. But when that angry customer starts making racist remarks, it goes to another level. Dealing with a customer like that can be tough, but here are some ideas that should help the situation to pass.

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How to implement 360 degree feedback

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The topic of this particular article is how to implement 360 degree feedback. Now, probably a large number of you readers have heard of 360 degree feedback and are curious about how it can help you and how you can implement. However, a number of you probably have no idea what 360 degree feedback is and you are trying to find new ways to improve the productivity and management of your workforce, which is the intent of 360 degree feedback.

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Using aerial satellite views in your business

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So you have been looking at those satellite images of your neighborhood. Don't you love looking down on earth like it was a tiny ant hive. It's so interesting to see what houses and neighborhoods look like from space. You might have even looked at your own home. While this is highly amusing and a good way to spend time, you might want to learn a few things about how aerial satellite views can help your business. This might seem like a strange idea. You are probably wondering to yourself about how a picture of a house, business, or even neighborhood will help you sell something or improve your relationship with your customers. Well think again because it very well might make a huge impression on customers. Obviously this will only be useful for certain types of businesses, but for those who need to display lots of different pictures of a property or area from many different perspectives, this could be a great way for you to boost your productivity.

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How to measure your customer service levels

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It is important to measure your customer service levels to know how satisfied your customers are with your overall business, employees, and products. There are a few measurable points in your company that will help you to know how you are doing.

Number 1: How many complaints are you receiving on daily, weekly, or monthly bases? You will need to have a system in place to keep track of these complaints. If your business is done online you can have a complaint folder that you or your employees send your complaint emails to. This would probably be the easiest way to track it, however if your business is not done online you can have a similar system that you train each employee to follow. For example, you will want to make sure that whether a complaint is handled at the time of a complaint or not, that the complaint is noted and sent on to the appropriate employee to keep track of.

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How to get your customers to come back over and over

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Gaining a returning customer takes more than just carrying a good product, it also takes being a good company.

When you decide on a product or service, and you're ready to open your business, you have to do some market research (because chances are you are not the only one carrying that product or offering that service).

You must look into the current market and find out how saturated it is with the product you are planning on carrying. If there is a real need for your product, then you will not have to do as much competing to get customers into your store. If the market is saturated with your product then you will have to really establish why your product is superior to others before you'll want to start selling.

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How to tackle customer complaints

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It is a true fact that in business life not all customers will be happy. It doesn’t matter if you have a well run business, a little mistake or problem can cause people to be unhappy with your products or service. It is the nature of man to complain when he is unhappy.

Many businesses are not concerned with quality and often ignore complaints. But if you care and cope well with the complaints, they can actually give your business strong benefits in the long run.

Let’s see ways to tackle customers’ complaints and change a dissatisfied customer into a contented one.

There are lots of ways for customers to express their dissatisfaction. They can do so through:

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How to keep customers loyal and happy

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Happy repeat customers mean profit and success for your business. A customer can be kept happy and loyal in many ways.

Offer a quality product or service and be willing to stand by it if the customer is not happy with it. Make sure that you will do all that you can to make the customer happy with your products or service. Agree to do repairs if necessary and let the person exchange the item or get a full refund.

Come up with a new line of products and services to keep the customers interested and excited whenever shopping in your store. Keep them informed about the new products or when you are having an end of season sale. Let them know you appreciate their business and want to keep them on your valuable customers list.

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How to improve your customer service

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Customer service is fundamental to building up customer loyalty and in increasing market share. Providing excellent customer service often helps the customer choose between products or services from various suppliers. How can you improve your customer service?

To attain high quality customer service, you need to hire competent and qualified agents to work in the customer service department. Look for those who have a great personality, who love to talk to people, who are well organized, well mannered and don’t mind working in a highly stressful work place. By hiring good people to work with your customers, you will help provide a great service to customers who make your business profitable and successful. Remember to make your customer service agents happy by giving them great pay to start and raises every so often according to performance. This will help them to come to work with a good attitude and to be willing to provide the customers with great satisfaction. Keeping your customers happy is the key to keeping them as customers.

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How to implement growth strategies

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Constantly looking for ways to help your business to grow is essential for its survival and for your financial well being. Planning and investing on new technologies and tools is one of the ways to help your business to grow and be successful. Having happy and loyal customers is another way to make your business known to the world.

Instead of trying to get new customers, you can actually take advantage of the ones you already have for increasing your sales. It’s good, cost effective strategy to put customers to work for you who are already buying your product, or are using your service. You can use them to let others, such as their family members, friends and associates know about your products or service. After the new customers are persuaded to buy your product or use your service they will also be glad to tell others.

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How to assess your customer service levels

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Customers require so much attention from businesses. They want quick response to their inquiries and expect insightful advice to guide them to the best products or services. Talking directly to the customers through phone call surveys can assist the company to evaluate and view the level of its customer service. Asking the right questions can help to better direct efforts toward building adequate and productive bonds with the customers. The head of the customer service team needs to ensure that customer concerns and well being are being addressed completely and efficiently.

If possible, create a computerized information system to evaluate your customer service performance especially for today's high demanding customer. Have several online surveys that ask the right questions, such as:

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Management strategies that encourage better customer service

mangivepresentation30392901.jpg Customer service is one of the most important things for your business. The way an employee treats a customer can increase or decrease your sales. Lets look at some ideas to make sure your sales people are providing good customer service.

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How to manage to get new customers and maintain existing

businesslunchen32174886.jpg Getting new customers and keeping the old ones can be a hard task. There are always companies who will offer great incentives to new customers that will end up stealing your customers. You have to make sure you treat your current customers with respect, keep your prices competitive, and give incentives to stay with you.

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How to decrease call center wait times

womanwithtwophones33344552.jpg Making sure your waiting times are low in a call center is one of the most important things you can do. It is important to your customers that they don't have to wait a long time. They get impatient and then it makes them unhappy with your company. Here are some ideas for how to decrease call center wait times.

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A look at customer lifetime value

ladyoncomputer30349375.jpg Knowing your customers and their behaviors will pay off if you ever wish to retain your customers for lifetime. You can predict future behavior if you know who your clients is and what they like. Reward your active customers. Happy customers like to "win". If send out a flyer for a 20% discount, it makes your active customers feel they are in control because they are smart about the decisions they make. Your business on the other hand will profit since promotions encourage active behavior.

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Tips for improving customer service overnight

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Here are some tips that you can follow to help improve your customer service overnight.

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How to maintain proper customer retention

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Maintaining proper customer retention is one of the biggest challenges facing many companies. The Business Report states that "On average, U.S. corporations lose half their customers in five years, half their employees in four, and half their investors in less than one." So how do you retain your clients? Easy answer, by being loyal. How do you do that? Time, patience and money. It is far easier to please your existing customers then to search for new ones.

To gain clients, you need to market and if you don't retain those clients, why bother marketing? Keeping your customers happy is very challenging. Start by learning about your customers.

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Managing disputes with clients and customers

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Regardless of where you work, there always seems to be problematic customers. So how do you manage these occasional disputes with your customers? The key is to resolve such disputes before they escalate and get out of hand. Here's taking a look at some key steps in managing disputes with clients and customers.

The first step is to try to avoid disputes all together. Some disputes are just bound to happen, but avoiding them all together can save you a lot of time, headaches and money. Some guidelines to avoid disputes are:

  • Deal with customer complaints fairly
  • timely and professionally
  • Make sure all employees treat customers with respect and show good customer service when interacting with them.
  • Develop and train employees on how to negotiate with customers.
  • Comply with all representations and other promises made to your client or customer.
  • Have easy and fair ways with addressing customer concerns, such as: return policies and in-store credit if necessary.
  • Always treat customers with respect and kindness.
Managing complaints and concerns quickly will lessen the chances of a full out dispute. Small percentages of complaints actually become disputes. Any disputes that aren't dealt with and resolved can seriously affect the profitability and success of the company.

What are some common disputes seen in small businesses?

Products:

  • quality

  • service

  • price

  • packaging

  • delivery and customer service

Financial:

  • the ability and willingness to pay accounts

Leases:

  • the term

  • relocation

  • price increases

  • quality of location

Breach of contracts:

  • termination period

  • quality of product

Misleading conduct:

  • failing to meet expectations

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How to keep queue times short for customer service

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One main complaint customers seem to have time and time again is that most stores they shop in have long lines they have to wait in. Checkout lines and customer service lines alike can be long and frustrating to stand in. Whether it is the busy shopping season or not, there are some things you can do to keep your customers happy. Here are some tips on how to keep queue times short for customer service.

Better technology
One way to speed up queue times is to have more updated technology. Some businesses continue to use older equipment that may take longer to ring a purchase up or return an item in a customer service line. This problem can easily be solved by upgrading to faster digital equipment and programs. With just using faster technology, it can cut wait times down substantially. This alone can get customers in and out in a faster manner.

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How to create training programs for customer service centers

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The customer service center plays an essential role in maintaining a positive reputation for any company. They deal with customers with an array of concerns and questions. Many times customers are seeking information, wishing to resolve a problem with a product or service, or need help operating a new product.

In many cases, a customer service representative must deal with frustrated or angry customers and must find a way to help those customers feel like they can continue purchasing from the company. Creating a training program for a customer service center must take all of this into consideration.

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How to resolve conflict between employee and customer

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Many companies can have a difficult time handling conflict with customers. It is particularly difficult when an employee and customer conflict arises. Handling conflict with customers is one of the most necessary business skills an employee must have. Training your employees to transform customer conflict into customer satisfaction is hard, but worth it! Most employees hope they never have to deal with customer conflicts, but it is inevitable that you will have an irate customer one day.

Your company must have a training program in place to handle customer conflicts effectively. Most companies follow three basic strategies that can effectively diffuse a potentially disastrous situation. When your employees are hired, they typically go through a routine program of training, this customer conflict management needs to be addressed as well.

Avoidance

If there is a heated discussion between the employee and customer, it is best for your employee to back off and wait until the customer calms down. However, ignoring the issue won't make it go away.

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Keeping your customers happy through better management techniques


If you area business owner or even a business manager you are probably already aware of how important it is to keep your customers happy. Basically if you can not keep your customers happy then you are not doing your job and you could actually lose your business. The reason for this is that your customers are the thing that make your company run, what this means is that without your customers you would not have a business because you would have nobody to buy your products or services.

Sometimes keeping your customers happy can be a really big job because they are high demand customers, which usually means that nothing you can do will keep them happy. Or you might have ordinary customers that are not happy because of something that has happened at your place of business or some kind of decision that your management has made in regards to their situation. As a business owner your main goal is to make sure that your customers are always happy so that they continue to return to your place of business so you can stay in business. And sometimes to keep your customers happy you might need to adopt some better management techniques.

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How to soothe a disgruntled customer


There is always good and bad when it comes to dealing with the public. We have all had our share of negative experiences when faced with an angry customer. Customer complaints are a fact of life. No matter how great our products and services are there are going to be mistakes, misunderstandings, and unhappy people. It could be over the quality of the product, price, service, or the mind-set of the customer. Some complaints can be handled smoothly and easily, and others can reach high levels of unhappiness and hostility. Is it true that the customer is always right? Well, all of us may not agree with that statement, but in the heat of the moment, how do you soothe a disgruntled customer?

It is crucial to let them know that you are sorry.
It may not have been your fault nor had anything to do with you, but those simple words can calm someone down fairly quick. For the most part, customers who yell at sales people are already expecting their request to be rejected or denied by the sales person. This puts the customer on the defensive and that is usually why they are irate in the first placeBthey=re expecting a fight. Remove the angry customer=s defensive attitude by reminding yourself that their complaint, no matter how dumb it may seem to you, is legitimate to them and therefore important. It is better to swallow your pride for a moment and apologize than to be in the middle of an embarrassing scene.

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How to manage your customer service call center


Some companies have figured out the secret required to increase customer satisfaction, increase incoming call resolutions, and positively affect the company's bottom line. This secret is the use of a customer service call center.

Managing a customer service call center can be a very complex business. The manager is faced with a lot of customer service issues. Not only do they have to make sure the call center is running smoothly, but they have to coordinate scheduling, call costs, rent and utilities for the business, and promotional events or advertising, if any. All of these responsibilities can be extremely overwhelming. Learning how to manage your customer service call center properly will greatly enhance business and reduce any unwanted stress, and it will provide extremely better customer service.

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How to handle high demand customers


If you work with customers in any aspect of your business you have probably run across at least one or two customers who are high demand customers or basically customers that are difficult. With these people it seems that nothing you can do or say is going to make them happy and all they want to do is scream and yell. And as a business manager or even a business owner you need to know how to handle these types of customers, basically you are going to need to know how to deal with these customers so that you don't burn yourself out or so you don't get in trouble for not doing your job.

Difficulty rating: Moderate to difficult

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Learning to deal with irate customers

If you deal with customers in any context, chances are good you've probably come across an angry or irate one at some point in your life. And when you have a pile of things to do on your desk that just keeps getting higher, the last thing in the world you want to be doing is getting an earful from an angry customer who just wants to vent.

But because your customers are crucial to the success of your business, it's important that you handle their complaints in a friendly and efficient manner. The following tips will help you learn to deal with irate customers in a way that helps you solve their problems:

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Tips for calming an irate customer

One of the biggest nightmares for any manager, business owner, or employee, is calming an irate customer. More often than not, it seems as if the customer does not actually even want the problem solved, but would rather just complain as loudly as possible. However, with some patience and some well-chosen words, you can calm down your irate customer and ensure that you will be able to keep that customer's business (if you still want it, of course!).

You need to realize when dealing with an irate customer that more often than not, they are simply frustrated and upset because either a particular product, an employee, or your company has let them down. You need to do more than simply solving the problem that it immediately at hand-the customer has more fundamental emotional needs that need to be taken care of. Taking care of these needs are what will really calm down any irate customer that you may have to deal with.

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How to understand the different personality types of your customers


Being in business requires a lot of additional skills. One of these skills, people skills, is closely related to psychology. There are scales developed by psychologist to help them assess different personalities. Probably the most well known scale is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This scale can only be administered by professionals, who are educated in psychological assessment, so you won't be able to give the measure to your customers. Still, you can learn the different personality characteristics and what type of interaction styles work best with each characteristic.

Extroversion/introversion-people fall somewhere along an extroversion/introversion continuum. Extraverted personalities tend to crave stimulation from other people, enjoy the company of other people, and be a little bit impulsive. These people love a crowd and to be the center of attention. They may make decisions on the spur of the moment. Introverted people, n the other hand, need more private time and they are also more methodical and reflective when it comes to making decisions. If you have an introverted customer, you should focus on one-on-one interactions and give them plenty of time and space when

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How to calm an angry customer


We've all been in a situation where a frothing, angry customer is either in our faces our shouting into a telephone and we get either that helpless feeling or that angry feeling or both. What should we do in such situations? What should we do when a customer gets angry and starts taking that anger out on us? Let's consider a few steps that might come in handy in the future.

1. Remember, remember, remember (you've heard this a thousand times): the customer isn't really angry at you; you're just a convenient object for venting their rage at your company in general, at the world in general, and the cruel fate that decreed they not get their CD (or whatever) in the mail on time. A famous philosopher said that he never took offense at anger of this sort. Why not? Well, he said, I wouldn't take offense at a little dog that ran up and bit me. In other words, even though the bite might sting a little, it's just a little dog, doing what little dogs do. It's actually very convenient to think of an angry customer this way; they're not being themselves; their bestial side has taken over, and all you

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How to choose your online customer support software.

If you are a manager of an office or the owner of a smaller company, then you might want to think about improving your customer support by offering online customer support. But there are a number of different options for online customer support software to help you have the best possible online customer support. The topic of this article is to give you tips and general guidelines on how you can choose your online customer support software.
Customer support service is one of the most important components to your business strategy and approach. One of the most important aspects of being a successful company is not just providing a great product and great service, but also to provide great customer service. Because no matter how great your service is or your products are, chances are that even if they don't happen to break for any reason, then customers might have problems understanding how to use your products or they might have questions about all of your different services.
The traditional strategy for customer support has always been, at least since Alexander Graham Bell, to use telephone customer service. But no company can afford to keep its customer support service dependent on the telephone system-doing so will automatically brand you as archaic and customers will immediately be suspicious of your ability to remain up to date with technological advancements. More and more customers are using the Internet for everything that they do. Customer support service is no exception to this move towards online service. Providing online customer support service is a great move towards helping customers become more satisfied with your business. Online customer support service is a great way to always provide information to clients, day or night, and provides a way that they can always seek help and answers for their questions.

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How to keep an upset customer from upsetting other customers


Good customer service plays a major role in the success of a company. When a customer is not happy for whatever reason they are most likely not going to do business with your company again. They also may tell family and friends the negative experience they had. The loss of potential customers just from one customer's unhappiness can have a negative impact on a company.
When dealing with an unhappy customer there are several things to keep in mind. Don't take it personal, an unhappy customer is often upset with something that you had no control over. Their dissatisfaction may have been late shipping or merchandise that doesn't work; the customer knows that you didn't make the product or cause the shipping delay. Often times the customer may just need to "vent" and express their dissatisfaction to someone and unfortunately that person is you. Maintain your composure, be polite and handle the situation in a professional manner.

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How to choose service management software

The topic of this article is to discuss how you as a company owner or as a company or office manager can choose service management software that is perfect for your company and can fit all of your company's needs.
As your company grows and as the years go by, a number of things wil change. You will have employees come and go, you will change customers, current customers will change what they want, the relationships between you and suppliers will change, and basically everything else will change, constly. If you are a successful manager or owner, then you will be able to manage change well and you won't be put off by it. Another thing that is always changing is the software technology that you will be using to help manage your service. As a manager or owner, you need to be able to choose the right technology for your company so that you can choose the right service management software. The most important thing to keep in mind when you are choosing service management software is that you are choosing software for more than just your short term needs. You have to choose service management software that will be able to handle all of the changes that your company goes through, from next week to three months from now to two years from now.
Here are some basic tips that you need to follow when you are choosing service management software for your company. First of all, don't choose systems that hinder the growth of your company. Choose a system that does not require that you spend more time administrating your system. Instead, choose a system that will allow for complex and detailed accounting, will let you control the users and their access to the system, will report important numbers and statistics to you, and will let you manage your company easily.

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How to calm down a problem customer

If you have every worked at any job where you talked to customers you probably have at least one story to tell about a problem customer. It is human nature to get upset or to loose one's temper in a distressing situation. Perhaps you can even remember a time when you were the problem customer. The fact of the matter is that when you are faced with that problem customer nothing else matters but to calm the situation. Below are a few suggestions that you can use when you are faced with your next uncomfortable problem customer situation.

Start with the customer's needs not your own
When you have a problem customer remember that there really is a problem to be solved in addition to calming down the individual. Listen to the customer's needs and get to the root of the problem. Obviously you want the customer to calm down but the best way to get him to do so is to hear him out. Talk about what he needs.

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CRM Programs - Why You Need One

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs are an essential part of any business operation. An effective CRM program will increase the company's revenue by enabling its marketing department to focus on the customer through a variety of means - finding new customers, building customer loyalty through increased customer satisfaction, and growing business from existing customers. The end result of an effective CRM program is increased revenue, a loyal customer base, and lowered costs.

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The Real Cost of CRM Programs

It's not difficult to see the value of a well-defined and implemented Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program. An essential part of any business operation, an effective CRM program will increase the company's revenue by enabling its marketing department to focus on the customer through a variety of means - finding new customers, building customer loyalty through increased customer satisfaction, and growing business from existing customers. The end result of an effective CRM program is increased revenue, a loyal customer base, and lowered costs.

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How to improve your communications skills


One of the most important aspects of good business management is having excellent communication skills. Your ability to communicate your ideas says much about you as a person and about your business. Good communication skills are an essential part of a successful business, and are necessary when communicating with employees, customers, clients, superiors and even potential employees. Here are nine tips to help you improve your communication skills.

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How Not to Get Stiffed, Improving Your Collection Procedures

Some businesses have slow paying customers or past due balances because they didnt train their customers in the beginning.

It is important that your customers know your credit policy and/or terms of payment, BEFORE they become a customer. Reiteration of your credit policy, when payment is overdue, is a good step to take in trying to obtain payment. Always ask for payment when it is justly due.

You should never extend credit to a new customer without having them fill out a credit application and go through the credit approval policy. Once you extend credit, it is important to maintain accurate records on an accounts payment history.

Adhere to your collection policies no matter what. You cannot see the future or changing market conditions. Try to keep current with trade reports pertaining to specific companies and industries.

Change your collection letters frequently, you can make them stronger and more action oriented.

Discourage payments on account or changes in payment terms. To many payment plans or changed payment terms can impair your cash flow.

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Sweat the Small Stuff for Great Customer Service

Undoubtedly youve heard about the popular book series that started with Dont Sweat the Small Stuff, followed by Dont Sweat the Small Stuff at Work, in Love, with Your Family, etc. While these books relay a message containing a great deal of wisdomdont let the little things in life stress you outits important not to make the mistake of overlooking the little things that can be critical to achieve wildly successful customer service in your business.

At first I was hesitant to write this article because the message seemed so basic and even felt a bit preachy. However, I reconsidered after numerous reminders from family, friends, clients and my own personal experiences that every day people are subjected to poor service. Youve heard the stories; youve experienced it first-hand. Driving through the fast food restaurant without a word or a glance when you pick up your food. The store clerk that doesnt say "thank you." The teller that greets you with only a gruff "Next!" The receptionist that ignores you while discussing last nights social events with other employees. The bagger at the grocery checkout that complains about the newest company policy.

Consumers are starving for good service. And what theyre often hungry for may sound like little things common courtesies that certainly wouldnt be considered rocket science but combined together provide a strong foundation for great customer service. In many industries or markets there are usually a few select players that far exceed the rest of the pack, while the rest trail far behind, or drop like flies. After all, comparable product, place, promotion and price are the requirements to even be in the running. Read the news and consider retail, dot-coms, etc. The differences between those that are thriving verses merely surviving are the people and the little things they do (or dont do).

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Are You Putting Technology Before Your Customers?

Which is more important the technology or the customer?

The one thing about the online world you can be sure of is change. It seems like every day there is a new technology being added which will make the internet more accessible. As online marketers, we strive to keep up with all these trends and incorporate them into our marketing arsenals.

Going back to when the internet started, it was a bit of a nerdy place to be, with lots of people communicating in text only. Some savvy individuals saw how this growing community could be exploited and used to advertise their wares, and with all the hyperlinking joining them to other sites they could be easily found.

Then the world wide web evolved from the basic internet adding pictures and multimedia and eventually adding videos too, and it became even more useful to marketing. Added in with email which made it possible to reach a large audience at low cost the web became irresistable to businesses.

Each step forward brings with it even more opportunities for us online entrepreneurs to get our messages seen.

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Your Actions Tell Your Clients How You Expect To Be Treated

There is a widely accepted principle of human behavior that goes something like this. "Your actions tell the world how you expect to be treated." Look all around you and you will find that the truth of this statement is as evident as the clothes you wear.

So, if you don't expect to be successful, you're telling the world you probably don't think you have what it takes to succeed, if you don't expect to get the order, you probably won't, if you don't expect to get referrals from your clients, you probably don't believe in your heart that you deserve them.

Recently, I did a survey of the readers of this newsletter (thanks to those who participated) asking what the number one thing was that you wanted to know about generating referrals. Somewhat to my surprise, an overwhelming amount of people suggested that the number one thing that held them back was fear of asking for referrals.

Now what is that saying to your clients?

One the absolutely most effective way to generate a flood of new business by way of referral is to simply make receiving high quality referrals a condition of doing business with your firm. Build referral lead generation right into your service.

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Don't Be Afraid To Give Problem Customers The Boot

Q: In a recent column you made the point that the customer is always right, which I agree with. However, in the same column you also said that it is sometimes necessary give problem customers the boot. If the customer is always right, at what point do you think they become so problematic that you should stop doing business with them? -- Gary M.

A: That column brought a number of emails similar to yours, Gary, requesting that I clarify the line between "the customer is always right" and "sometimes you have to give a customer the boot." Here's the bottom line: if you, as a business owner or service provider, are willing to take a customer's money in exchange for providing him with goods or services, then the customer has what I call "the right of expectation." This means that the customer has the right to expect you to deliver everything promised in the transaction between you. For example, if you own a restaurant the customer has the right to expect that their meal will be prepared and served to their satisfaction. If you are a dry cleaner the customer has the right to expect that you will launder their clothes without returning them in shreds. If are hired to perform a service the customer has the right to expect that the service will be provided to their satisfaction within the terms of the defined task.

As the business owner, it is your responsibility to meet the customer's expectations and provide good customer service. Even if your business does not involve a formal contract that spells out to the letter what should be expected, there is generally a clear understanding of what the customer expects and what you are willing to deliver. If you back peddle on your end of the bargain, let's say by serving a bad meal or losing a customer's laundry and refusing to make things right, then you are guilty of not meeting the expectations of your customer and thereby are guilty of providing bad customer service.

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Difficult customers - there's no such thing

A couple of years ago I had a call from a Customer Service Manager working in the paper industry. He wanted me to run a seminar for his team, on "How to Deal with Difficult Customers".

I had several telephone conversations with this manager organising dates, times and getting to understand his business. If I was to describe his style on the telephone I would use words like, businesslike, cold, curt and somewhat impatient. I started to realise that if I was one of his customers then I might have been a bit "difficult". He certainly knew his business and I don't think he was a bad person but warm and friendly - forget it.

There are actually very few genuinely difficult customers in the world. And I hear you say - "we've got all of them". However the majority of customers in the world are reasonable people. They may not think the way, look the way, sound the way that you do. However they are your customers and if you want their business then you've got to deal with them. They may get "difficult" from time to time if they feel they've been let down. It's how you handle them that'll determine if they continue to be a problem or if you can turn them around.

Difficult customers and situations usually occur because some part of our core service has failed or the customer perceives it to have failed. We've not delivered on time, the customer has the wrong product, it doesn't work or it's not what the customer expected. What happens then is, the customer comes to the interaction with us in a negative frame of mind. It's what happens then that'll decide whether they deal with us again or bad mouth us to other people.

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Top 10 Ways to Turn Clients Into Raving Fans

Do you find great joy in being a coach? If so, you will find that your enthusiasm is contagious and will attract clients. Be sure to develop a superb and supportive community. Enlist them in building a practice and in supporting you as you go down the coaching road. Embrace change. It is your constant companion as you build your coaching business.

1. Be someone that they really enjoy as a person and as a vendor.

2. Call your Client each quarter to ask if theyre having any problems or challenges with their organization.

3. Continually improve your product or service.

4. Keep your client informed about future changes and upgrades about the product/service they bought.

5. Keep your client informed about what the media and other clients are saying about your service/product.

6. Educate your client on making the most of your product/service.

7. Do the unexpected, again and again.

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Make Sure You Get The Customer Perspective

Businesses that fail, often forget to seek out the customer perspective. I have talked to some folks at businesses that were less than succesful, and when asked if they actively seek out customer comments, the answer invariably is no. Why don't they do that? Why not get the customer perspective?

Oftentimes, the company is overconfident, and thinks they know what customers want. This myth, because that's what it is, can be upheld as long as the customer is not involved. However, the customer has a strong vote in the buying process, and in the end it will become crystal clear how the customer feels! At that point, of course, it's too late to do anything about it.

Another reason for not asking the customer is fear. From the customer perspective you might not be doing so well as you thought you were. For insecure persons that may come as a blow! In order to protect themselves, some folks just don't want to hear it and simply don't ask. On the other hand, they could be missing out on a whole lot of uplifting comments.

Get real! Would you rather get the customer's votes in your wallet, or in your mailbox?

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Be Patient? Nah, Let's Kill Something

There's the old joke about the two buzzards sitting in a tree overlooking a highway. One responds to the other, "Be patient? I'm hungry. Let's kill something." Just like that buzzard, it is not in the nature of most marketers to be patient for business to grow. They want to go out and "kill something," too.

The trouble is that most marketers go after new business the wrong way. They want to "take down" the new piece of business using all the tools of the trade from advertising and direct mail to cold calling and event marketing. This is an expensive way to drum up business. Your existing clients are just waiting to tell you about people they know who could use your services, and then help sell you in to these people they refer. Not only is this more cost effective, it practically guarantees the prospects will share the same characteristics of your best customers.

"OK, Harry," you're asking, "but how do I do it?"

The first rule of getting referrals: ask. When should you ask? Let's review.

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Sorry, No Customer Service After 4:00 P.M.

A few months ago, I wrote about ingenious styles of customer service that every business should know about, mostly because their employees were inflicting them on their customers. For instance, I warned about "in your face customer service" and "run for cover customer service", two equally effective opposites...like pouring too much sugar on your Cheerios one day, and pouring too much cayenne pepper on them the next. I also warned about "do-it-yourself-extortion", "consistent filibuster customer service", "Invisible Man customer service", "present-at-attendance customer service", "customer service on steroids", and "satirical customer service".

You will have to read about these clever anti-sales pitches at: http://www.thehappyguy.com/customer-service.html , because today I want to tell you about a 100% revolutionary approach to customer service that my wife and I discovered in a village high up in the mountains.

We were on our annual honeymoon, a three-day escape from parenthood to lick our wounds and give our tattered spirits a chance to recuperate.

To tell the truth, the weekend was more like a marriage encounter. It gave me a chance to find out just who is that strange woman passing me in the hallway at full throttle, pinching her nose and radiating the sweet smell of mushy diaper as she whooshes past. And it gave her the chance to discover the even stranger man who blows a muffled "Oof!" every time Little Lady invents a new "Hop On Pop" dance move.

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Quality Customer Service

What does customer service mean to you and your business on the internet? How do you satisfy you customers? What can you learn about customer service from the big boys?

Customer service is about satisfying your customers expectations and providing your customers with low stress options for doing business with you. Take this example; If you walk into one of the big box retailers that are springing up all over North America and are greeted by friendly, courteous and knowledgeable staff that are only all to happy to lend a helping hand and make your shopping experience as painless as possible are you more likely to go back to that store for further purchases? Probably. The other thing that this type of customer service does is provide its customers with a reason to promote that business via word of mouth. If you are happy with the customer service you received you are more than likely to let others know how much you enjoyed shopping at this particular retailer.

The flip side of the above example; If you walked into a competitors place of business and there was no one to greet you or no assistance was offered, would you still shop there? You may if the price is right. These types of retailers use sales and other promotional ideas as a way of providing customer service.

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Three Easy Ways to Keep Customers

It is far more easy, and less expensive, to keep customers than to try and get new ones. So even though your company relies on adding to its customer base, don't make the mistake of only investing in new customers! Here are some strategies that will help you retain your customers and will even get them to purchase more of your company's products and services.

Make it easy for customers to give you feedback. Probably one of the most profitable activities you can engage in is to hear your customer's complaints and other comments. Provide customer support as quickly as possible. If you are unable to fix a problem right away, assure the customer that you are working on it and promise to provide regular progress reports. Make sure you keep your promise!

It is beneficial to learn how to comfort angry customers. Allow the customer to vent. Assure them that you understand his or her feelings. Find out exactly what they want and suggest a solution or see what he or she would consider to be fair. Follow-up with the customer to ensure that they are satisfied. Keep in mind that it's the customers who have had problems who become the most loyal when their problems are handled effectively.

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Ten Ways To Improve Your Customer Service

Here's some simple yet POWERFUL ideas on how to improve your customer service. Nothing can do more for a business than having "happy customers".


1. Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis. Offer them a free e-zine subscription. Ask customers if they want to be updated by e-mail when you make changes to your Web site. After every sale, follow-up with the customer to see if they are satisfied with their purchase.


2. Create a customer focus group. Invite ten to twenty of your most loyal customers to meet regularly. They will give you ideas and input on how to improve your customer service. You could pay them, take them out to dinner or give them free products.


3. Make it easy for your customers to navigate on your web site. Have a "FAQ" page on your Web site to explain anything that might confuse your customers. Ask them to fill out an electronic survey to find out how make your web site more customer friendly.

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Take Your Customer Service Personally!

How many times have you ever said the following words, "Oh, don't take it personally". I don't know about you, but when I hear those words I do the exact opposite, I take it personally!

I wish more companies would take it personally when customers are unhappy with the service, or lack of service, that they have received. So, let me ask you, who actually cut the training budget, cut staffing, reduced benefits, increased the work load and put the blame somewhere else? I think the time has come to take it personally.

If you want to create enviable customer service that keep your customers coming back, I suggest you get a little "personal" with the following 3 tips.

Personally Make it a Priority:

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Customers Are Prospects Too

Your customers already know you and trust you. It's easier to get more business from them than to get any business from somebody who never bought from you. Their business is also highly profitable because there's no advertising expense involved.

Here are 3 ways you can increase the income you get from your customers. All 3 are effective for marketing online and/or offline ...and they cost little or nothing to implement.

1. Upselling

You don't have to wait until after making a sale to increase the income you get from a customer. You can start while the customer is in the process of buying for the first time. It's called "Upselling". Here's how you can use it.

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Are You In Business To Help Customers?

Customers want to believe you are in business to help them.
They don't mind if you make a profit by helping them. But
they won't buy from you if they believe you are only in
business to get their money.

Here are 4 ways you can assure customers that you are in
business to help them.

1. Personalize Your Sales Approach

Customers will not believe you really want to (or can) help
them when they see you trying to sell the same product or
service to everybody.

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The Top 10 Ways To Turn Your Clients Into Raving Fans

Do you find great joy in being a coach? If so, you will find that your enthusiasm is contagious and will attract clients. Be sure to develop a superb and supportive community. Enlist them in building a practice and in supporting you as you go down the coaching road. Embrace change. It is your constant companion as you build your coaching business.

1. Be someone that they really enjoy as a person and as a vendor.

2. Call your Client each quarter to ask if they're having any problems or challenges with their organization.

Continue reading "The Top 10 Ways To Turn Your Clients Into Raving Fans"

Customer Service-Lessons Learned at the Ballpark

How to make sure your front-line people are creating life-time customers

I often times receive my best training in customer service in the most unlikely situations.

My 6-year-old son, Taylor, had been pressuring me for weeks to take him to a baseball game. At the time, I was still on strike as a major league baseball fan. Hence, I decided to take him to see the local team play in the College Baseball Regional Championships.

The game was terrific. It had all the elements that has made baseball our national pastime: great hitting, exciting fielding, and a late-inning comeback by the home team. In fact, the home team won the game.

Taylor thoroughly enjoyed the game except for one aspect.

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Don't Forget Your Existing Clients Quest for new clients shouldn't ignore those who pay the bills

Acquisition.

It's a big word in small business marketing. Companies are constantly looking at ways to draw new people to the business and generate new streams of revenue. In this quest, some small businesses make the mistake of focusing too much on new customer acquisition, only to find that their existing customers have been lured away by a competitor.

Ironic, isn't it? The very tactics you use to drive new customers to your business are the same ones that your competitors can use to take them away from you. Losing sight of your existing customer base is truly an example of not seeing the forest for the trees. Did you know that on average, it costs a small business 10 times as much to attract a new client as it does to retain an existing one? Think about that the next time you are planning an acquisition marketing campaign, then use these three tips to ensure that your customers don't fall prey to your competitor's acquisition efforts:

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