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Three Essential Tips to Boost Your Small Business Presence

by Guest Author 28 January 2020 10:38

It can be hard for small businesses to attract attention under the competition of established brand-name businesses in corporate America. But it is still entirely possible for small businesses to thrive under careful guidance and with clever business strategies. Here are some ways small businesses can better increase their business and make their mark in their own community and beyond.

Put Your Business Out There

People can't come to your business unless they know that it is actually there. You can advertise your business to local consumers through flyers and advertisements in the local newspaper. Creating your own business cards is also a great idea to help establish your presence as a legitimate business. Additionally, you can add photos of your business to customer review sites like Yelp and create social media accounts for your business— managing an online presence is just as important as a physical presence in this day and age.

Establish a Good Reputation

Old customers come back to businesses they trust. New customers go to businesses which other people trust. Establishing a good reputation is a vital part of establishing a connection with not only your current customer base but also new customers looking for reputable business. To establish a good reputation friendly customer service is a must and so is cleanliness. Look at reviews to see what you can improve in your business, and improve it if you can. Ask satisfied customers to leave good reviews for your business online and ask them to recommend your business to others. Make your customers feel good and satisfied when they step in your business and they will come back.

Offer Sales and Specials

Having frequent sales may sound counterintuitive to making the most profit but in the long-run they attract new customers to your business. Create compelling sales, like special discounts that run for a limited time or special-occasion sales, to attract more customers with the delight of a new deal. You can also create special combo packages or unique packages that make even more compelling selling points. Remember: everybody loves a good deal. Creating new specials and/or sales will make people more excited to come to check your business out.

These three tips are essential to elevating the business and status of your small business. By focusing on your own unique brand and by appealing to the public with sales and good reviews you can attract more customers to your business and create a loyal customer base that will keep coming back for more.

3 Most Frustrating Things About Customer Service and How To Overcome Them

by Guest Author 15 January 2020 09:26

The one thing that can make or break a business, no matter how excellent the product/service is, is customer service. An exemplary product/service will receive a five star rating but a lackluster customer service will downgrade that rating to three stars. However, it's also true that no matter what a business does, sometimes it is just never enough. It's hard to satisfy everyone. The following is a list of hurdles every business faces and ways that they can be overcome.

The Golden Rule

The single most frustrating rule about customer service is the long held belief that the customer is always right. But what if they aren't? What if the fault lies with the customer? This is where a well-trained employee can be an asset. The first consideration is if it's a trivial concern that can be remedied quickly. For example, if a mushroom-hating customer ordered soup and then realized that the description mentioned mushrooms, the waiter can simply take the soup away and ask if they would like something else instead. The situation is diffused, the waiter will probably receive a nice tip, and the company will have gone above and beyond to keep the customer happy.

However, if the complaint is something ridiculous and/or is not a consensus among the majority of customers, it is best to reiterate company policy and rules to the complainer. Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines, is a prime example of how to handle a difficult customer.

He chose to support his employee over a customer that would always find fault with something. This not only improves employee morale, but it also encourages them to support the company and portray it in the best light.

If a business can find a balance between when to choose the customer and when to support their employee, they've won half the battle. The other half is delivering on their product or service.

Your Product/Service Will Never Be Perfect

The customer will always find at least one fault with the product/service. The product works great but it could look better. The service provided was well executed but it could have been done faster. The majority of customers with minor complaints will criticize but it won't prevent them from being a future customer. However, for the customers who are constantly picking on small details and creating a huge fuss, the best practice is to use the HEARD technique. Hear, empathize, apologize, resolve, and diagnose. This method has been known to calm down even the most irate of customers. Often times, giving the customer the assurance that they are being heard will help to placate them. Also, letting them know that their feedback helps to improve the company can be a great ego boost for the customer.

Now, Now, Now!

Customers are becoming used to having their demands fulfilled faster and faster. Same day delivery, shorter processing times, last minute appointment availability, etc., are just some examples of the type of service customers expect. Between two companies that offer similar products, customers are more likely to pick the company that offers faster delivery even if they have to pay more. For the most part, this has motivated companies to be more efficient and organized.

However, companies whose business structure simply cannot allow for a fast lead time have combated by offering free shipping, premium quality products, a generous return policy, and superior customer service. Time and money are two of the leading factors customers focus on when making a purchase but businesses should not compromise on the quality of their product in order to have the fastest delivery time or the most competitively priced product. A great product will always have a dedicated and loyal customer base that is willing to wait and/or pay a little more.

Customer service is key to any business' success. In the age of the internet where customers are ready to jump online and write a negative review, it's important to resolve customer issues in the most expedient and courteous manner possible.

Tis The Season To Shop Small Business Saturday

by Guest Author 21 November 2019 13:37

Before the advent of Small Business Saturday, the 30 million retailers in the U.S. defined as "small" (independently owned and operated, typically staffed by fewer than 250 employees and with annual revenues under $25 million) lacked the competitive marketing edge major retailers enjoyed on the last weekend of November, the busiest four shopping days of the year. The additional online buying frenzy known as Cyber Monday adds choices for consumers, but also presents challenges for small businesses without the resources or the technology to compete with major advertising campaigns or complex online ordering.

Then came Small Business Saturday (also known as Shop Small Saturday), set for November 30 this year. Started by American Express in 2010, this day is designed to highlight and promote the brick-and-mortar, locally owned stores in everyone's town that provide jobs and contribute to the community.

Shop without a big budget drop: a spending plan for Small Business Saturday

Use every form of advertising you have to compare prices

Reviewing newspaper, radio, TV, digital and in-store ads offers a comparison of prices and provides the opportunity to map out your shopping day efficiently.

Know what you want before you go

Don't shop by chance or by accident; make a list of who's getting which gifts and shop for those gifts only. Window shopping is wonderful, but leads to wishful thinking and wanting, which leads to an empty wallet.

Make a budget, use cash

Have an overall spending budget for holiday shopping and use cash as much as possible. When you see what you spend, rather than pulling out plastic, it restrains your instinctive generosity.

Check for apps, digital coupons and online saver plans

Many small businesses are using apps, digital coupons and offering online membership discounts. There is a small price in terms of consumers relinquishing some personal information, but the savings at your favorite local shops is a plus.

Get out early, engage the staff

No matter where you shop, start early. The best selection goes to those who show up the soonest. Chat with store employees while you browse and find out more about future sales, behind-the-counter specials and custom orders. This community-based conversation is almost impossible in a big-box store during the holiday shopping rush. And Small Business Saturday is more than sales; it's creating connections between the merchants next door and the neighbors who know them as both business owners and friends.

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