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Enhance Customer Service With These 3 Tips

by Guest Author 21 March 2018 07:04

When it comes to operating your small business, there's nothing more important than great customer service. According to research, 78% of people who experienced poor customer service ended up changing their minds about the purchase. That's an astounding number of people and is indicative of just how important customer service is. Nowadays with all of the technology, some businesses may focus their customer service efforts around that. While technology certainly plays a part, it's important to remember personal interactions are relevant to your success as well. Here are 3 tips on boosting customer service for your small business.

Minimize the response time

When customers contact your company, it's usually because there is problem or question. If it's a problem they have with the service or product, then they want to get to a resolution right away. At the very least, they want to be heard. If they attempt to contact you via telephone, email, or the website, they expect a prompt reply. Make sure they get one.

Phone communications

Telephone calls are an important part of customer service. In fact, customers will usually want to speak to a person when something is pressing. Although you cannot be there to answer the phone all the time, you can have a live operator who will or, if you must use voicemail, make sure you have a system in place to respond to the call soon. Also, most customers don't like long automated voice systems that ask you to press various numbers for different types of services. If you need to use that type, ensure the message is brief.

Make sure everyone's on the same page

It's important for everyone who communicates with the customers to be on the same page. Customers should not hear conflicting information about your product, service, promotions, and offers. This can be a source of frustration for customers and gives the appearance of a business that is in chaos.

Succeeding in customer service means success for you as a business owner. It's easy to overlook the little details but these are just as important to your customers.

5 Awesome Northern California Weekend Getaways

by Guest Author 6 March 2018 06:09

Whether you’re a longtime local resident or just flying in for a couple of days, Northern California can’t be beat for its variety of amazing weekend getaways. From wineries and restaurants to working farms and hiking trails, this popular part of California has a little something for everyone.

  1. Nevada City, CA: Billed as California’s best preserved Gold Rush town, Nevada City has a rich and storied history. Historic firehouses, theaters, and a popular railroad museum give visitors a look back in time to what life was like in the 1800’s. Check out one of the largest hydraulic mines in the country at Malakoff Diggins Historic State Park or sip a drink in a subterranean cave at the Old Storehouse Brewery. For a truly spooky experience, take a walk past the long-abandoned Nevada County Hospital — if you dare.

  2. Ukiah, CA: Located in the heart of Mendocino County, Ukiah was ranked California’s number one best small town in 1996. Locals like to lunch at the City of Ten Thousand Buddha’s, followed by a trip around the grounds and a stop in the bookstore. Rejuvenate yourself with a mineral water swim at the nearby Orr Hot Springs or take a ride to Fort Bragg on the historic Skunk Train. If heart-pounding action is more your speed, suit up for some river rafting, disc golf, or off-road opportunities at locations throughout the area.

  3. Geyserville, CA: Traditionalists visiting Northern California for its acclaimed wine country can’t do better than Geyserville. The famous Clos du Bois and Francis Ford Coppola wineries call this picturesque part of Sonoma County home, along with dozens of smaller wineries. Get up close and personal with Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy at the Charles M. Schultz Museum or take in the fresh air while paddling a canoe down the Russian River. No visit to Geyserville is complete without a trip to the penny slot lounge at the River Rock Casino.

  4. Bodega Bay, CA: There’s so much to see in this beautiful coastal town that it will be hard to cram everything into one short weekend. Check out the Ocean Overlook at Bodega Head to catch a glimpse of the pods of blue and grey whales that migrate back and forth from Alaska to Baja, California each winter and spring. The Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve features nature and hiking trails across more than 750 acres and sports some of the tallest trees in Sonoma County. Film history buffs won’t want to miss a visit to the Potter Schoolhouse which featured prominently in Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movie, “The Birds.”

  5. Pescadero, CA: Just south of Half Moon Bay, this quiet rural town is home to campsites, roadside farm stands, and the largest elephant seal breeding colony the world. Bed and breakfast inns abound but adventurous types may want to stay at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel and take a dip in the hot tub overlooking the ocean. Don’t miss a tour of Harley Farms goat dairy, followed up with a stop at the on-site cheese shop.

Small Business Tips to Stay Competitive

by Guest Author 21 February 2018 13:07

Being a business owner means competition is part of the business. Competition is what drives a motivated small business owner to push ahead and succeed. Without it, there's a chance we could get lax – although the money flowing in is a pretty big motivator too. So, what can you do when the competition is fierce. Maybe your biggest competitor has moved in a few blocks away or worse yet, across the street. Even with powerful competition nearby, you can still claim a portion of the consumers for your own. Here are some tips to keep you in the running:

Just beat them at one thing

It's easy to think you have to outdo your competition on every front (especially when they are within close proximity). However, if you can find one or two areas where you excel them, then you have your own niche. You will have your own set of loyal customers that come to you for those particular reasons. Find your sweet spot and highlight it.

Work around their time

Another option to drive business to your location is to work around your competitor's schedule. This may not be an option if your service or product depends on being available at certain times. However, you could extend your hours after they close or open early to catch those who are early risers.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

This is an old expression but it just may work in some cases. You could join together for a community event or other activities that pair the two companies together. Over time, you both may realize that each of you has particular strengths to offer the customer, thus it will come naturally to turn to your competitor and them to you when in need. In other words, you can benefit each other if you each have something unique to offer.

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