The Benefits Of Gift Certificates To Your Business

Giving back to your customers is one of the best ways you can use to drive more sales and at the same time earn your business a loyal clientele. Everyone loves to be recognized or appreciated and this can be done through various ways including offering vouchers and gift certificates. The certificates make effective marketing…

Giving back to your customers is one of the best ways you can use to drive more sales and at the same time earn your business a loyal clientele. Everyone loves to be recognized or appreciated and this can be done through various ways including offering vouchers and gift certificates. The certificates make effective marketing strategies since they end up making your customer feel like the real king, which is how every business should be. When using gift certificates as a marketing strategy for your business, you stand the chance to enjoy various benefits.

1. Increased sales – This is one of the benefits you will enjoy when you have gift certificates in place. This is because they make it easier for you to reach new customers with more of the customers being inclined in getting real value from their certificates. You will keep the profits in the end by competitive enticement. You can use them as promotional gifts or as contest prizes.

2. Improved cash flow – The gift certificates are clear indications of cash deposits and full payments for services that are planned to be enjoyed in the future. They can be bought by your customers for various reasons for the future and this means you have the cash completely till it is time for the certificate to be redeemed. Every business relationships on secure cash flow and this is exactly what your business stands to gain when using the certificates.

3. Increased brand awareness – This is another very important benefit you will gain by using gift certificates. Through them you enjoy an advertising opportunity to promote your business. They can be termed as wallet sized billboards which can get you real value in the end. The existing customers make it all possible by giving new customers a chance to enjoy what your business has to offer through already paid services. There is absolutely no greater value to any business than brand awareness in the right market setting and this is what the certificates stand to offer your business.

Printing Your Certificates

When you have come up with the idea of ​​using gift certificates as part of your marketing strategy, you will need to get it right with your printing. The appeal is one of the things you must consider when printing the certificates. Apart from making them attractive, they should communicate a message that lifts your brand. This means the certificates simply need to be relevant in conveying their quality and variety in a fun way that benefits the business and customers in the end. Consider sequential numbering of the certificates to make it easier to keep track of sold certificates or those given out. It is important to keep the colors of the certificates vibrant and classic to keep them appealing.

A good printing company will offer you amazing services to come up with the best certificates to match your needs. It can transform your ideas into reality and even make helpful improvements to boost results with the certificates.

The Art Of Giving Thanks

The holidays are over, and probably as not, you received some gifts or gift certificates from friends, relationships, business colleagues, vendors, coworkers or even people who view you as a prospective client. You already know you need to express gratitude, but there are two issues to consider: what type of thank-you is appropriate, and where…

The holidays are over, and probably as not, you received some gifts or gift certificates from friends, relationships, business colleagues, vendors, coworkers or even people who view you as a prospective client. You already know you need to express gratitude, but there are two issues to consider: what type of thank-you is appropriate, and where will you find the time (and patience!) To write and send all of them?

Extrapolating from Emily Post, a good rule of thumb is that if you were not there to give thanks in person, a note is required. If the gift was small or if you are in email contact with the giver multiple times per week, then an email thank you will suffice. If your relationship with the giver is very close, sometimes a phone call will be just the thing. However, the more expensive or extravagant the gift, the greater the need for a personal, handwritten note.

In some cases, you might have the option to use social media. Depending on your relationship with the gift giver, there are many new possibilities for your expression of gratitude. You may consider posting a public thank-you on the giver's Facebook page, posting a picture of the gift on your Instagram or Twitter feed and tag the giver, or even blog about it.

Once you've decided which way to send your thanks, you need to make the time to write them and send them. This is precisely where many entrepreneurs get tripped up. Finding the time for non-critical tasks can be a real challenge. However, if you can get organized with a simple list of gifts, givers and their addresses, you've already won half the battle.

When you sit down to write, it's OK if you're not the most articulate or poetic writer. The two most important words you absolutely must use are “thank you.” Everything else is gravy. Most notes can follow this template:

  1. Greeting: Dear Suzanne,
  2. Thank you: Thank you so much for the spa gift certificate.
  3. What will you do with it: I can not wait to get a hot stone massage.
  4. Additional details, looking to the future: I'm sure my team will also appreciate how relaxed I'll be afterwards. I hope you'll be able to meet them on your next visit.
  5. Say it again: Again, I am very grateful for your generosity.
  6. Finish the note with good cheer: Best regards, Sincerely, In gratitude, Warmly,

Now, to do it. Once you're organized, writing thank you notes should not take more than a few hours. You can even print stamps at home if need be.

However, if you are just swamped with new business and other important activities that can not be delayed, it might be a good idea to delegate this particular – but very necessary – task. A virtual assistant is the ideal person to take your list, your address book, and a roll of stamps and make it happen. She can knock out dozens of notes by the time you've finished your first meeting.

Play It Again, Sam

Several years ago, when you called your bank or credit card company and you were put on hold, there was nice elevator music playing while you waited to be connected to a live representative. When the music stopped, it was a sign that a representative was being connected to you. No one likes being put…

Several years ago, when you called your bank or credit card company and you were put on hold, there was nice elevator music playing while you waited to be connected to a live representative. When the music stopped, it was a sign that a representative was being connected to you.

No one likes being put on hold while waiting to speak to someone who can answer your questions or resolve your problems but I'll rather hear the recording of music than to hear a recorded message telling you every 30 or 40 seconds, “We are currently experimenting higher than normal call volume and apologize for the delay. ”

The first time I heard that outgoing message, I thought they must be having a very busy day and so I waited patiently. And then I thought that they must be having a very busy week and I've looked at my calendar to see if anything about that week corresponded to a national holiday. And then, after a month of hearing the same annoying outgoing message, I'd wonder why they did not just hire more people to man their call center.

This is now several years later and nothing has changed. Wherever I call, I'm put on hold and that same annoying outgoing recorded message plays every 30 or 40 seconds, and then it tells us about all their services … over and over and over and over …

I'd much rather go back to hearing elevator music while I wait. At least then I could read a book or do my bookkeeping, or work on some other project instead of hearing a grating voice apologizing for the delay.

It still does not make sense to me why companies do not hire more representatives to man the call centers so that customers do not have to wait to speak to a representative. I know the powers that be think they are saving money by having recorded messages putting customers on hold, but I doubt if that is sound reasoning.

When I have a busy schedule and I'm put on hold, I often hang up and make the next call on my list. If I'm looking to buy something and I'm put on hold, I'll call another store and buy it from that one.

It remains to be seen how much money companies are losing by using these automated messages while frustrated customers shop elsewhere.

I'm inclined to think that the money they are saving by not hiring extra employees might not compensate for the lost revenue of customers going elsewhere.

by Connie H. Deutsch

Call Centre Mystery Shopping – What It Entails

Call center mystery shopping is a technique that offers a much better insight into the different components of a call center. In fact, this type of mystery shopping method can greatly help you make improvements as far as performance of staff members and profit margins are concerned. Furthermore, the technique helps you build healthy relationships…

Call center mystery shopping is a technique that offers a much better insight into the different components of a call center. In fact, this type of mystery shopping method can greatly help you make improvements as far as performance of staff members and profit margins are concerned. Furthermore, the technique helps you build healthy relationships with your customers. Whether firm transactions clients in real-time or through call center interactions, your brand can establish a good connection with customers through the interactions. Consequently, the interactions should be used as an opportunity to build trust with customers.

Lots of call centers have the capacity and the infrastructure that allows them to record every single call handled by all employees on a daily basis. Even so, these calls are lost in numerous voice call records. This is a situation that is highly imperative. In such a situation, call center mystery shopping comes in tender. Companies that offer this service carry out an evaluation that can be used for purposes of assessing levels of satisfaction of clients. With this technique, organizations get the opportunity to concentrate on aspects like employee behavior towards customers, ability to build rapport with clients, ability of employees to offer help to clients, employee knowledge about company products and many more services.

If you opt for a focused and detailed mystery shopping technique, your organization or call center can perform an inquiry in a strategic manner without the employees having a hint of what is happening. The services are also helpful for organizations that are seeking to find out whether or not their call center infrastructure and facilities meet individual customer requirements and objectives.

By contacting the right mystery shopping service provider, you can have access to numerous mystery agents who are experts in the field capable of calling your organization every now and then for about five times per month. This is done to evaluate and assess customer satisfaction levels. It is normal practice for conversations to be recorded after which they are uploaded for your own reference. Over the past few years, mystery shopping companies call centers has made major strides and this can be attributed to the cutting edge voice recording techniques and systems used. All transactions made with customers are recorded using relevant software after which they are presented to you through an online account.

The technique mentioned above allows you to have a defect understanding of the performance of in-house staff members you have hired as one unit. So, you can easily monitor performance of each employee individually, the days when services are rendered in the most efficient way, the best-performing department although a report can also be issued showing the worst performing department and many more. These parameters are particularly important as they enable you pinpoint key areas that need improvement. Lots of companies report massive losses as a result of mishandling customers while some ruin customer relations unknowingly. Therefore, do not let your firm suffer the same misfortunes.

The Ins and Outs of a Customer Advisory Board

Businesses of today have become customer-oriented because the power rests with them. A company has to produce what customers are willing to buy and going against their wishes is only going to lead to losses. The question is how does a business figure out what its customers are looking for? They use different sources such…

Businesses of today have become customer-oriented because the power rests with them. A company has to produce what customers are willing to buy and going against their wishes is only going to lead to losses. The question is how does a business figure out what its customers are looking for? They use different sources such as surveys and social media, but these can not offer any definite idea because they may not include the target audience. Therefore, they are in search of a better alternative and that's exactly what they will find in the form of a customer advisory board.

There is one goal of a customer advisory board; to offer an open and unified forum for a particular group of customers. Members of these boards are the business's regular and consistent customers and they are able to get some idea about the product strategies that are used by the business. Furthermore, they are also able to share their ideas and opinions to the company for ensuring that whatever is developed by the company is in alignment with the vision of the customers. In this way, a business is in a better position to create products that will be successful in the market and will gain a positive response.

The greatest part of a customer advisory board is that it is able to provide benefits not just to the business, but also to the members of the board. Some of the important perks enjoyed by the CAB member are listed as follows:

• Influence development of products and services

Members of a customer advisory board have the ability of directly influencing any future developments that may be undertaken by a company. This is the best way of ascertaining that the products and services provided by a business are aligned with the short term and long term needs of the clients.

• Relationship development

Customers, as members of the customer advisory board, have the opportunity of building relationships with important teams and departments of the company, which include product development, management and innovation and marketing. In fact, they also get a chance to interact with fellow like-minded customers and network in this way as some customers may belong to influential and powerful industries.

• Greater access

Customer advisory board members are able to get access to the products while they are still in the lab during the development stage. They can also participate in the beta testing programs of the company in order to provide valuable feedback.
Customers of a business can reap the benefits of being members of a customer advisory board. There are both face-to-face meetings and teleconference meetings conducted at least twice or thrice a year by a business for getting advice. During these meetings, customers can share their ideas, give approval of the business-recommended ones and get access to confidential information in this process. For a business, it means that they get significant impartial feedback from a customer advisory board, which can be beneficial for increasing the chance of its success and profitability.

Why LinkedIn Inadvertently Discriminates Against Hispanic Business Professionals

No one wants to be called on the carpet for poor planning of their processes, systems, or software programming, but sometimes companies and entrepreneurs need to admit when things are not optimal or do not meet user's expectations. In a perfect world, right? Sure, in a perfect world everything would be perfect or self-healing, adapting,…

No one wants to be called on the carpet for poor planning of their processes, systems, or software programming, but sometimes companies and entrepreneurs need to admit when things are not optimal or do not meet user's expectations. In a perfect world, right? Sure, in a perfect world everything would be perfect or self-healing, adapting, and artificially intelligent to understand the needs of users in less-than-typical circumstances. I'd like to explain what I mean and use LinkedIn as a case study. Why you ask? Well, because 60% of the people reading this article are users of LinkedIn and 100% of the readers reading it on LinkedIn are members of LinkedIn.

Now then, yes, my title above is a definite headline grabber, and absolutely no one in this day and age of political correctness wants to be called onto the carpet for discrimination. Sure, I get that, but it is discriminatory to make it hard on some users of LinkedIn who happened to have common names. Consider those who come from Hispanic Ancestry in the United States and Mexico. Think about someone who has a name such as:

Maria Gonzales
Jesus Hernandez

It would be similar to someone in the US being named Bob Smith or Jim Jones. Those with Hispanic names, well, many are very common, first and last names; Jose, Roberto, or Juan for instance. Do you see my point? How are you supposedly to find anyone you know on the LinkedIn search feature, trust me; you can not, I've tried. Worse, what about an old friend, HS buddy, or someone you did business with years ago, someone you'd like to connect with again; good luck.

No it's not just Hispanic folks this hurts, think about those living in China, Middle East or many African nations with lots of people using the same common names, or worse slightly spelled different names, meaning if you do not know exactly how they spelled it in the English translation used, then forget it, you'll never find them.

Thus, LinkedIn has a huge problem as they continue to scale up, it's not working, or it's not working very well, and it will not work in China for this one reason without modification, and yet, they will not fix this problem which is inherent in their system. Must be nice to be worth billions of dollars, and leave users helpless to connect to those people the most want to remain in touch with as they progress through their lives and careers. Please consider all this, and no, I am not picking on LinkedIn, this is a case study, and the take-away might be, how are you helping the users of your company's systems? Think on it.

Good Customer Service and Why It Is So Important

When you contact a company that you deal with, do you just expect good customer service? I know I do! I know I also want to give my customers the best customer service experience possible. This morning I had to deal with the worst customer service agent in the history of Earth. It all started…

When you contact a company that you deal with, do you just expect good customer service? I know I do! I know I also want to give my customers the best customer service experience possible. This morning I had to deal with the worst customer service agent in the history of Earth. It all started with my son's cell phone. I want to vent a little and you have to hear this story!

I am the techie / geek in the house. I love technology! I think that electronics are amazing. I've been that way since I was a little girl. I think I got it from my father. He always bought the newest piece of technology and / or electronics that came out. He'd always show it to me with such joy because he knew I'd be amazed. But, I digress …

Because I'm the geek in the family, everyone comes to me with their techie issues. My son walked in last night talking about his cell phone stopped sending and receiving texts. This morning I tried to call myself from his phone and it was basically deactivated. I called the company and received the antithesis of good customer service. I got the worst customer service ever … and I do mean EVER … in the history of all customer service agents.

She asks me if the phone is with me. Uh … yeah. Then she asks me if it's turned on. Uh … yeah. Then she looks on her side and tells me that the phone is deactivated. Uh … I know that. She says to try to activate it. I had already told her when explaining the situation that I had tried that before I called but I would try again. We did that twice. She then goes silent for a few minutes and tells me that the phone is out of minutes and that I must not have paid the bill. Uh … I'm on automatic debit. I went to my banking and confirmed that the bill had been paid and made her the date. Then she said that the phone number had been changed to another phone. I told her to change it back. She said she could not do that. By this time I was quite frustrated. I asked her because she could not do it and she gave me some lame reason. She also thread me attitude. That is when I asked to speak to a manager.

A manager gets on the phone. I tell her the whole story. She solved the problem in less than two minutes. It actually took me longer to tell her the story than it did for her to resolve the problem. She reactivated the phone and now everything is working again. So I went from the worst customer service agent on the planet to quite good customer service that was quick and efficient. It took me 45 minutes, in total, to resolve, what I feel, should have been a simple issue. Note to self: Next time the agent is not helping, ask to speak to a manager much sooner than I did today.

For anyone in business, whether a huge company like this company I deal with today, or a sole-proprietorship, like myself, customer service is crucial to keeping customers happy and loyal. I rarely call companies to complain about bad service. I make it a habit to call and tell the managers about the good customer service that I receive from their staff. I think it's good to acknowledge a job well done. I thanked the manager I spoke with today for her help and told her I wished I could tell a manager how quickly she resolved a frustrating experience. She laughed and said, “Consider a manager informed.” My faith in the company was somewhat restored because of her actions.

What's your worst and best customer service experience? I'd love to hear about it!

Why Is Service Still So Bad?

Recent research shows that businesses in the are losing a significant portion of their customers because of poor customer service. This is severely surprising as over the years, corporate homes and smaller establishments have focused solely on building a customer base without any significant attention to customer retention. Rather, the effort has always been to…

Recent research shows that businesses in the are losing a significant portion of their customers because of poor customer service. This is severely surprising as over the years, corporate homes and smaller establishments have focused solely on building a customer base without any significant attention to customer retention. Rather, the effort has always been to reduce budgetary allocation as this section was considered as an afterthought to business expansion.

However, with customers becoming more aware and the market becoming highly globalized and competitive, business homes can not longer ignore the shoddy state of service across the nation. If you are a business owner, now is the time to hire mystery shopping companies in order to get a true picture about how your department fares in general customer interaction.

Why is Customer Service so Shoddy?

The most common complaints about poor service include being not satisfied with a smiling face, being hung up repeatedly, delayed service or home delivery, inconsistency response, being maintained and so on.

According to mystery shopping companies who have served several business and helped them to improve their customer service department, there are several reasons behind the poor show of courtesy and etiquette to customers across business sectors.

Snobbish Attitude

Snobbery is one of the most common reasons behind the discourteous behavior of most personnel. It's a hangover from the bygone era when serving others was somehow considered subservient and a career option only for the lower classes. Because of this, not many professionally trained people are willing to take up as a viable career option.

Business establishments too are loathe to invest much in customer service training as it is considered as something that should normally come without the need of any additional professional qualification. As a result, most departments are manned by person who do not really have an idea about how to greet customers the right way or how to tackle various issues in a polite manner.

Lack of Trained Staff

As mentioned above, most personnel manning are severely trained for the job. In fact, this is considered as a temporary job by college goers or those seeking stop-gap employments. Such people are too casual in their approach and do not bother much about displaying the basic courtesies such as greeting people or wishing them a good day. This is very surprising as these people do not put their heart and soul into the job as they do not consider it as a long-term career.

Lack of Infrastructure and Investment

Another reasons for poor service is lack of adequate infrastructure for developing soft skills. There are not too many institutions that offer specific courses pertaining to developing soft skills necessary to make a successful career in customer service. Lack of awareness about this being a viable career option also dissuades many youngsters from joining such courses.

Mystery shopping companies too do not invest in training their customer service personnel. They do not want to invest in people who may not stay with the company or who are not serious about this job.

Developing Customer Relationships That Last

Every interaction that takes place with the customers at your self storage facility can either generate feelings of trust and credibility about how you run the place or do just the opposite. Make the most of each opportunity to build these relationships with help from the tips below, as word-of-mouth, online reviews, and recommendations play…

Every interaction that takes place with the customers at your self storage facility can either generate feelings of trust and credibility about how you run the place or do just the opposite.

Make the most of each opportunity to build these relationships with help from the tips below, as word-of-mouth, online reviews, and recommendations play a huge role in refining the reputation of your business.

Become Aware of Any Shortcomings

Determine how to improve your customer relations strategy by first discovering which aspects seem to be holding you back. This means getting right down to the point and asking customers for feedback-in person, over the phone, or with a survey.

“Ask former customers why they left,” says Geoffrey James, contributing editor for the award-winning Sales Source blog on Inc.com . “It's the best source of information about what you're not doing right.”

Sue Cockburn, founder of Growing Social Biz, recommends offering a short survey to your customers on a regular basis, whether it's making the form available online or as a hard copy at your facility.

“Add to this daily ritual,” says Cockburn. “An online place or a box on the counter where customers can complete a short one to three-question survey where they number-rate their experience with you from zero to ten or one to five. to expand on the reason for their rating. Offer an incentive to complete the survey (online and / or in-store) and respond to any negative feedback. ”

This shows customers that their opinions affect your business, and they can voice their praises or complaints any time and expect to hear a response. A few rounds of surveys may bring attention to the hidden flaws in your system that could only be discovered by a paying customer.

“Even for businesses with no major speed bumps, there are always kinks to be worked out and opportunity for growth,” says Cockburn.

Fill Employees In on Their Important Roles

Inspire your employees to put forth effort toward your new customer relationships efforts by showing them how valued they are at your business.

“Compensate them on employee satisfaction, give them an upward career path, pay them decently, treat them like humans,” says James. “Imitate Chipotle and Market Basket and create a community culture.”

Employees who feel appreciated will aspire to participate and be more productive, opposed to those who feel that their talents are underused and overlooked.

“Model the behavior you want from your managers and all employees. “What you model will usually be reproduced.”

Find a communication routine you can stick to that opens up the floor for conversation about the current status of your strategy and any improvements that could be made. After all, they are likely the ones handling most of the customer interaction.

Cockburn suggests asking employees how they feel the business is doing in terms of taking care of customers. “The question shows team members you care about and are serious about customer service-that you recognize its importance and you see it as an area that needs regular attention. all the time, it will send the message that customer service is a priority. ”

Get to Know Your Customers

After analyzing surveys, feedback, and all of the past or present customer hiccups, the most important step you can take to move forward in the relationship-building process is to communicate with your customers on a personal level.

James suggests in his Inc.com article, ” Create True Customer Loyalty: 10 Rules,” that customers are not as likely to drop your business when they think of you as a friend who's on their side.

It's easy to forget that there's more to talk about with your customers than the temperature of their storage unit or next month's rent. While these things are extremely important topics, do not forget that they probably would not mind talking about other things, too. Truly listen to what they say and pick up on details that you can revisit in future conversations to continue building the relationship. This also shows them they are not just a unit number.

“Just asking the question 'How was the service you received today?' shows customers you are interested in taking care of them, “says Cockburn. “Of course, if you're asking the question you need to be doing the things that will ensure, as far as possible, a positive response.”

Customer Service Strategy: Deliver Value With Time

Have you ever arrived for a lunch date with a friend only to have that friend show up 20 minutes late? Did you enjoy those minutes, sitting alone, studying the menu and looking around? Probably not. I do not know many people who enjoy waiting. Even the most patient person is likely to be frustrated…

Have you ever arrived for a lunch date with a friend only to have that friend show up 20 minutes late? Did you enjoy those minutes, sitting alone, studying the menu and looking around? Probably not. I do not know many people who enjoy waiting. Even the most patient person is likely to be frustrated by having to stand in a long line, or being put on hold on the phone, or waiting on a response from anyone. And while you may cut your tardy friend some slack, the company that makes customers wait may not get the same consideration.

I recently had to spend the night in a hotel after a flight was taken due to bad weather. I called the hotel's reservation line and was able to secure a room, although the reservations person told me the hotel was almost booked solid. I showed up at the hotel late in the evening and could not believe how long the line was to check in. When I finally got to the front desk, the clerk said that they did not expect to be so busy. But, since the hotel was all booked up, someone should have expected it. The manager's bad staffing decision eroded the image and reputation that the hotel worked so hard to build up through its advertising and marketing.

Long wait times on the phone are another source of frustration. When you call a company for help or support, do not you just hate hearing, “We're sorry. Due to unexpected call volume you may experience longer than normal wait times.”

Situations like these are enough to make you feel as if some companies do not respect your time.

Customers often are willing to take advantage of new, time-saving ways of doing business. They will choose the self-service checkout in the grocery store to skip a long line, or avoid the store altogether and order products online. Even when it comes to customer service, customers may turn to an online alternative rather than having to make a call and be put on hold, transferred to numerous people and have to repeat their story multiple times.

The best companies understand that customers want time-saving options. Amazon.com, for example, offers “one-click ordering” and, with its Prime membership, free two-day shipping on most purchases. Customers love the speed and convenience, and are even willing to pay for it.

Some other companies have a tier system offering various levels of support. Customers may earn access to a special number for faster service by purchasing more or paying a fee. While I'm not so sure that is the best strategy, it is working if the customer has the following response:

The company may not be the lowest priced, but it is fairly priced and I'm willing to pay a little more for the value it deliveries. I love that my questions are answered and problems resolved without having to wait.

Your customers want you to know this: Value my time and you value me. It's part of delivering amazing service.

Hotel Reservation System Development Benefits

With everything now going digital, hotels know how important it is to have an online presence that makes it possible for their guests and potential customers to get details, directions and even bookings from any given place and at any given time. Travelers find it easier to book their accommodation long before getting to their…

With everything now going digital, hotels know how important it is to have an online presence that makes it possible for their guests and potential customers to get details, directions and even bookings from any given place and at any given time. Travelers find it easier to book their accommodation long before getting to their destination of choice and this is where a good hotel reservation system comes to the rescue of the hotel.

When getting your website developed, you might also find it very important to have the reservation system developed to complete it. It can be such a loss for your company if potential customers love what they see and gather from your site but simply have no way to confirm space availability and even reserve their desired rooms to meet their accommodation needs. With a good system developed, your hotel will stand to enjoy several benefits.

Increased online bookings – The convenience of managing to book from any given place and time is welcomed by all and this is what will increase your hotel bookings. It is most beneficial compared to waiting for your customers to physically find your hotel so they can make the reservations. The system makes it possible for them to know how many rooms are available, the types and the rates of the rooms. This eases decision making and they end up making bookings.

Enhanced efficiency – This is another advantage you will have with reservation system development. You will not have to worry about human errors common with email confirmations that could contain wrong information. The system also eliminates the barriers that come with time difference. Your site will reach out to all without any barriers and without any misguiding which is beneficial in every sense.

Reduced costs and time wasting – It can get tedious to reply to every email inquiry from your customers or visitors. It can be costly and time consuming. When you have a hotel reservation system developed, you can forget about spending too much time making the replies. Your visitors and guests will find all the information they require from a well-organized website and have an easy time making reservations without engaging anyone or needing help. The system will offer convenience to the customers too since they get immediate feedback on what they are interested in.

Improved customer database – With the online reservation systems, your business will enjoy easy time collecting personal information of the guests. This works great when you wish to have a customer database you can use later. With such a list, you can get in touch with the guests even after they have left and this opens up opportunities to market offers and deals. You can actually get repeat customers through strategic use of the information that you end up gathering when they make reservations from your website. There is nothing like beneficial and valuable as a business that has a reliable clientele. When you have strategy bound to be successful, you can turn your guests to reliable clients and even get recommended.

Top 6 Customer Services Lessons Learned

Nobody's fault Over the years, customers yell at me concern issues and concerns related to business hours or product services. I took it personally and I felt guilty about it during my entire shift. But, I realized it was preposterous. While I believe that customers are always right, I reminded myself it was nobody's fault.…

Nobody's fault

Over the years, customers yell at me concern issues and concerns related to business hours or product services. I took it personally and I felt guilty about it during my entire shift. But, I realized it was preposterous. While I believe that customers are always right, I reminded myself it was nobody's fault. It's a job that is expected of me to carry out.

Befriend the people around you

I now believe that beingfriending makes a job much more amusing. Sure, it takes a while to make friends but it's worth the effort to establish good customer relationships. Customer care coupled with love and respect make my work much easier.

Every job is your job

I was hired at a customer service center to serve, to accommodate queries, to provide relevant information and finding solutions to whatever concerns they bring to my attention. The other week I was given the task to assume a Supervisory role. Am I trained to be a Supervisor? No, but someone asked me help out for 10 minutes, and I stepped up. I believe that as long as your work does not harm the company image, there is no reason not to help out other collections. I made sure that accountability was evident to help the customers.

Punctuality spells a difference

To gain a significant success in any job specifically in customer service, coming to work on time is the first and foremost requisite. Punctuality is an anticipation and can be a detriment as one of the most important components of performance measures. Being late can affect not only performance but the company image. Simply recognize that being on time contributes to office productivity and efficiency.

Pay attention to details

It requires solid listening skills to accurately assess the issue and ability to solve customer problem effectively. With active listening you can become best customer service employee because you are most likely to understand customer needs quickly and accurately. You can become good listener while taking notes on key points through customer interaction and documentation. The more you provide a careful ear to customer issues, the easier it will be for you to determine the largest facts to resolve and document during and after the conversation.

If you can handle an angry customer, you can deal with anyone

Being in customer service can be a rewarding or heartbreaking experience. It can be rewarding, if you can learn how to handle different types of personality, conflict and expectation at high volumes. You can deal with anyone irrespective of profession in real life. You will approach conversation with a strategic and goal-oriented mindset to satisfy both parties' needs.

In a nutshell, the key to survive in customer service job is to remember the fact that there are really nice people in this world, and nice customers do exist Ironically, these nice customers are more forgettable than the demanding customers.

State of Business-To-Business Customer Experience Management

How relevant are the trendiest CXM practices in business-to-business (B2B) companies? After all, B2B account teams are usually quite involved with clients through a long sales cycle, interacting with various influencers of the buying decision and almost “living” the customer journey alongside their clients. High-Touch in B2B In a recently published four-year study of B2B…

How relevant are the trendiest CXM practices in business-to-business (B2B) companies? After all, B2B account teams are usually quite involved with clients through a long sales cycle, interacting with various influencers of the buying decision and almost “living” the customer journey alongside their clients.

High-Touch in B2B

In a recently published four-year study of B2B CXM, 91% of participating firms said they sell B2B products and services through a sales force1, with a typical sales cycle ranging from three to twelve months. B2B customer experience is much more person-to-person than many think because of numerous departments weighing in on most purchase decisions, several functional areas from both buyer and supplier firms interfacing for long periods before and after purchase, and the high monetary value and risky business impact of many B2B purchases.

As such, many CXM practices formalized by business-to-consumer (B2C) firms may have a different label and may be less formal, taken for granted and less visible in B2B CXM. Therefore, surveys of B2B practices may understate the actual work being done.

Seeing the Full Picture

What's missing in account team CXM is the ability for everyone to see the full picture as customers see things:

  • Multiple Accounts: If customers purchase products from different business units, or in different regions, do both the account teams and the business units have an accurate single view of who's who, and what's important? And do they have an accurate view of how a change in processes, policies, business models, or offering impacts the customer?
    • 29% of B2B firms have established a single view of each customer across divisions and regions; 29% more are just starting this.
    • One in four B2B firms has established processes for connecting data across customers' end-to-end experience with the company; 25% more are just starting this.
    • One in four B2B firms integers customer feedback sources; 29% more are just starting this.
    • A third of B2B firms have established processes to coordinate multiple accounts within a customer company; a third more are just starting this.
  • Multiple Influencers: If different groups2 in the customer company have different perspectives, how well are they understood and accommodated – not only by the account team per se, but also by other functional areas in the supplier company who could help if they were better informed?
    • Half of B2B firms identify all the influencers in the buying decision; 27% are just starting.
    • 38% of B2B firms collect voice-of-the-customer from all of the influencers on the buying decision; 36% more are just starting this.
    • A third of B2B firms consolidate input of buying decisions from multiple influencers; 24% more are just starting this.
  • Multiple Interfaces: If various functional areas interface with one another prior to and after the purchase, how consistent is the customer experience? And how well is anecdotal feedback from these customer interactions collected for immediate resolution and proactive influence of re-purchase?
    • One in four B2B firms coordinates customer interaction activities of multiple functional areas; 37% are just starting this.
    • One in four B2B firms have established processes for coordinating customer 'ongoing post-purchase touch-points; 38% are just starting this.

The strength of the dedicated sales force, as shown from these statistics, may actually be standing in the way of B2B companies' capacity to see the full picture of the customer experience as customers see it. And opportunities that could be enabled by others outside the account team are likely being missed without someone is facilitating integration, coordination and consistency.

Trendy CXM

In today's array of CXM webinars, articles, and conference chapters, hot topics include predictive analytics, journey mapping, touch-points, user experience, communities, digital and content marketing, self-service and social media.

Indeed, B2B is late to the party in adopting technologies for predictive analytics, data mining, social collaboration and user-generated content; about one in four B2B firms is using such technologies. But in cases where there is almost daily conversation between account teams and the customer, how much of these trendy CXM efforts are needed? And how well do they compensate for what's missing in seeing the full picture?

Customer touch-points, journey mapping, user experience and / or life cycle management are in practice among four out of five B2B firms. However, one in three of these firms has deployed these practices company-wide; half of the study participants are using these practices in one or more places in the company. This is a larger concern, as customers tend to see a company as a single entity rather than a series of silos.

Need for a CXM Strategy Model

What's happening in B2B CXM ​​strategy is similar to what's happening in B2C. A quick comparison of data in the new B2B report with Forrester's 2013 State of Customer Experience survey (which is predominately based on B2C firms), shows the figures are roughly the same for the top obstacles to CXM success:

  1. Lack of clear customer experience strategy
  2. Lack of cooperation across the organization
  3. Lack of budget, and
  4. Lack of executive involvement

The most widespread practices are voice-of-the-customer and customer engagement. These two areas are often more disruptive to the customer company than to the supplier company, and these areas represent two ends of the CXM spectrum: what's important and going well for customers, and what can customers do to demonstrate the importance of the supplier company. In either case, the overriding desire for immediate revenue uptick seems to be the reason for the huge emphasis in these two areas: if only enough low-rating customers could have turned around to raving fans, and if only enough customers could be saying nice things about the company, all would be well, in theory.

What's missing is the middle: what is the supplier company doing with the customers' precious investments in voice-of-the-customer to make things so nice that customers want to be engaged? It's unlawful that loyalty (ie share of budget) or retention (ie duration of relationship) can be achieved with lasting financial impact without the middle component to the CXM puzzle.

Our B2B study has tracked motivation for CXM, how we listened to customers, how we view customers, how we center employees on customers and how we center our business on customers. CXM effort on listening to and engaging customers far outweighs the CXM effort underway in ensuring an accurate view of customers, and even less in centering employees and business on customers' well-being.

Success Factors

With a robust CXM strategy model that ties together motivations, listening, viewing, and centering, firms tend to have stronger business results, regardless of whether they're in B2B or B2C industries. B2B firms reported CXM results such as 200% increase in market share over the past four years, 30% increase in survey scores, 20% revenue lift, 20% increase in customer engagement and 15% reduction in churn over the past year. The B2B study indicates that the following basics are the keys to financial and customer experience success:

  • Coordination among managers of CXM methods.
  • Treating CXM as a determinant of corporate strategy.
  • Presentation of customer survey results to all employees.
  • Calculation of customer lifetime value.
  • Action on survey results by owners of key CX drivers.
  • Encourage cross-organizational CXM collaboration.

No silver bullet has emerged as a breakthrough method for customer experience excellence. Tying it all together, what's most relevant to CXM success is a coordinated effort in executing the basics:

  1. Setting a firm foundation through customer-centered culture, customer voice and intelligence, and customer lifetime value as a motivator
  2. Adapting the company to customers' needs through improvement and innovation of customer experience
  3. Promoting engagement of employees and customers alike, in accordance with the above

Neither the trendiest CXM practices nor the traditional account management strengths is sufficient to move the needle in B2B CX business results. Operational excellence within the context of what's most important to customers, as shown by the success factors listed above, is the recipe for differentiating and excelling financially in customer experience.

* First published on InsideCXM [dot] com

The Benefits of Running Your Own Loyalty System As A Small Business

How Loyalty Programs Affect Your Business Positively Loyalty programs had initially received a lot of criticism, but nowdays quite a few companies are using these programs to retain existing clients, gain potential customers, and strengthen their loyalty. What is a loyalty program? To put it in a nutshell, a loyalty program, as is evident from…

How Loyalty Programs Affect Your Business Positively

Loyalty programs had initially received a lot of criticism, but nowdays quite a few companies are using these programs to retain existing clients, gain potential customers, and strengthen their loyalty.

What is a loyalty program?

To put it in a nutshell, a loyalty program, as is evident from the name, is used for building a long time rapport with a customer so that they are loyal to the company that offers the program. This is a marketing campaign that provides some kind of reward to the customer depending on their purchasing patterns. Rewards may include prizes, discounts, store credit, and so on.

Why should you develop a program for your company?

These loyalty programs can have a great positive impact on your business in the following ways:

The more customers you rope in, the more your network expands. This will help your business to grow steadily. Such programs may take a bit of time to catch on, but once they do, you will be able to build customer loyalty like never before.

They serve a dual purpose – they make the existing database feel like they are still valued and special, while the newer clients get an incentive to be with your company after they have tried out the products and services. As your reputation grows, satisfied customers will provide you with free word-of-mouth publicity by recommending your company to friends, colleges, and family members.

Offer a good quality reward – in fact you can keep on increasing the rewards as their purchases go up or depending on the value or size of the item that has been bought. However, make sure that your offers are lucrative enough to entice and tempt customers, or else they will not be interested. Conduct a thorough market research to predict customer behavior, before you design a loyalty program.

You can offer rewards to customers who purchase online and in person. You get to reach out to a larger pool of clients and offer them with great rewards. For companies doing most of their business online, you should look into strengthening the online rewards system, while the brick-and-mortar store customers would be more interested in an in-store program.

So you can see why loyalty programs are immensely effective as marketing strategies. They help you grow your business and create a brand in the minds of customers. The best part is that they do not cost a fortune, so you can easily design one while sticking to a decent budget at the same time.

10 Things Revolutionizing Customer Experience in City Government

We are on the cusp of a movement. We are aggressively steering away from what traditional government has been, revamping our customer service strategy, and leading the nation with an innovative approach. By incorporating private sector methods, and platforms, to better the customer experience, we have been working to revolutionize the way government operates. Here…

We are on the cusp of a movement. We are aggressively steering away from what traditional government has been, revamping our customer service strategy, and leading the nation with an innovative approach. By incorporating private sector methods, and platforms, to better the customer experience, we have been working to revolutionize the way government operates.

Here are a few things that are changing city government, and in a very big way.

1. The Customer. Understanding that the citizen is the customer, and using those terms as synonyms, has reoriented our general framework. The customers are unique because they are citizens! The citizens' customer experience extends beyond providing city services. Every improvement we make for the customer affects their quality of life.

2. Executive sponsorship from the City's Mayor and Administration. Having people who share your desire to create a city environment of customer excellence, has been imperative to the process.

3. Citywide Senior Leadership follows suit in understanding and supporting the movement towards a progressive and transparent city government. Support from senior leadership impacts and facilitates change in every step of the journey. These folks are more than okaying improvements, they are standing by them, and pushing them to the next level.

4. The City's Customer Experience strategic goal: “Government Efficiency and Effectiveness.” A focus on efficiency and effectiveness is imperative for city government, and the Mayor's goal is a constant reminder of what type of experience we should be crafting for our customers. Keeping this in mind, sets a mindset of progress.

5. The Innovation Lab meeting space. The Innovation Lab encourages creativity and provides a designated space for employees and citizens to generate new ideas. The Lab is another extension of how the city is bringing the customer further into the conversation, and also helping them lead the conversation.

6. The Neighborhood Liaison Community Engagement Program. A community engagement program is just one example of programming a City implemented to give their customers self sustainable tools. In the last year the program has doubled in size from 600 to 1,200 contributors. This increase demonstrates an increase in trust towards city government. Citizens are seeing results and relying on cities more and more.

7. Having A Staff That Cares. Public servants should always there for the citizens, and realize that they are a direct reflection of the city they work for and love. Understanding our common objective, fosters a motivated and caring internal environment.

8. Customer Service Officers. Customer service is no longer limited to City Hall. With people like Customer Service Officers, they are out in the internal city agencies and departments and impacting people where it counts.

9. Partnering In And Outside Of The City. Especially with the implementation of the new customer relationship management system (CRM), private partners have played a significant role in helping government move towards their goals this year.

10. Taking Notes from business and tech communities. Paying attention to what private sector companies are doing, and translating them into our own practices, sets cities a head of the curve.

The list could easily go on, and will as 2015 unfolds. I am excited about the future and so are the citizens in cities across America.