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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Customer Service in a Digital Age

We live in a time where more and more consumers are shopping around for the best prices and they expect exceptional customer service or they can easily take their business elsewhere. Add to this the fact that many consumers are shopping with their mobile devices at anytime, anywhere, and it means that ecommerce is at a critical crossroads.

Let’s look back for a second at shopping just a few decades ago. Traditionally, consumers would drive to a store to shop, purchase, and have personal interactions with employees in said store as well as at the registers. Many people got to know the owners of stores and would be loyal to people they knew best. In addition, unless you had a lot of time on your hands, driving from store to store wasn’t economical.

Today, all it takes is a few keystrokes to find hundreds of products and services. Comparing prices has never been easier. Shipping costs have never been lower. Online coupons, or product codes can reduce prices even further. Shopping alerts can tell consumers when items they have been looking for are on sale. And all of this can be done while riding the train to work or curled up in your jammies in bed at night on your smartphone.

So what might make a difference to a consumer now that online shopping is so easy? The answer is customer service!

Now that the rules of engagement have changed, customer service needs to step up its game as well. The first thing to realize is that consumers are on many channels and many different types of devices. Make sure that your website is responsive and is easy to navigate, no matter what type of device is in the hands of the buyer.

Secondly, realize that consumers will be interacting with your business in many ways. They may leave a message on social media with a question, they may need an online live chat for more immediate concerns, or they may still want that personal connection over the phone without having to jump through hoops before they get to an actual human.

Finally, realize that the hours of interaction are no longer the hours that your store is open. Shoppers can find your website at anytime of the night or day that is most convenient to them. That means you may want to have a way of connecting with your customers at varying hours or the day.

With that being said, businesses also need to be aware and responsive to online reviews such as Google Review, Yelp or other sites. Consumers who do not have a positive experience will be very quick to leave a scathing review or call out errors on social media sites. Be sure that you have a customer service rep who can quickly and patiently deal with these types of incidences so you can show that you want to do what is right and help the customer in the best way possible.

Improving Brand Awareness

How familiar with your product or services are consumers? Do they recognize a tagline, a color palette, or a logo that is associated with your brand? Brand awareness is critically important because it helps your company stand out from the others in your field.

Take for example the products Kleenex or Bandaids. We all know I am referring to tissues and bandages, right? There are plenty of other brands that create tissues and bandages but the brand names are so widely known that they are used interchangeably as the products themselves. That is exceptional brand awareness!

To what extent is your brand recognized by consumers? Do you want to improve that and don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions to get your brand out there and carve out a name for your business product or services.

Build Content on Your Website

We have all heard that “content is king,” so start by building content on your website. One of the fastest and easiest ways to do this is to start a blog. Posting even a few times a month can increase the amount of content on your site which increases your SEO, which starts the ball rolling. Make your content interactive and shareable in the form of quizzes, feedback, or calculators and you will boost your awareness in leaps and bounds.

Partnerships and Community Involvement

You have seen the sponsor names on the back of little league hats, or on the signs around town where local businesses take a financial role in community events. Be a part of that in order to get involved in your local community and to promote your brand as well. Partner with other companies to help provide a service or to improve a neighboring event. The networking connections will be priceless and the word of mouth marketing about your company will be excellent.

 

Be Present on Social Media

People who are on social media love to share videos, graphics, quotes, and interesting articles. Make sure your brand is represented with your own unique posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever channel your demographic indicates.

Connect with Industry Publications

Part of getting your brand out there is being known by people in your industry. Contact magazines, news sources, industry blogs, or other publications (online or offline) and see if they’ll publish your content or company news.

Connect with Consumers Via Newsletters and Email

Now we are not saying to overwhelm your client list with emails and newsletters just for the sake of sending them. Instead, send well planned emails or newsletters informing consumers of new products, services, promotions, or even content that is new to the people in your field. Consumers love to feel like they are getting the inside scoop and are gaining valuable information by reading your newsletters or emails. This will help mark you as a leader in your field and promote your brand.

Do you need help finding new and innovative ways to promote your brand. Enterprise Center often has workshops with industry leaders who can help. Check our calendar often as we are adding programs and workshops all the time.

 

Business Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Social media feels like it is everywhere! Depending upon your age, field of work, and lifestyle, you may be on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’s hard to keep up with all of the posts, pins, tweets, and snaps!

The good news is that you really don’t need to be everywhere, but you do need to be somewhere. Read on to find out about your business and what you should be doing on social media by looking at some pretty common mistakes of social media marketing.

Failing to Have a Social Media Strategy

Social media may seem like fun and games, but for businesses it is actual work that needs to be carefully crafted and maintained. Companies need to find their niche and use that to drive their marketing strategy. Without a strategy there will be no understanding if your efforts are working. What’s worse is that followers will wonder what’s going on with your company if they try to interact on a channel and there are no replies. That would send a message that your business is not thriving in this digital age.

Failing to Understand the Target Audience

One of the main goals of any marketing department is to understand who is using your services or buying your products. Demographics are critical. What age, gender, education level, and/or location is drawn to your company most? Without knowing who your audience is, you will not be able to focus your social media strategy in the right areas. For example, LinkedIn tends to be a platform for professionals trying to make connections in the business world, whereas Instagram and SnapChat tend to draw a younger crowd with more visual content. Once you understand who you want to market to, then you can focus your efforts on the right social media platform.

Failing to Address Negative Feedback

We have all seen it on social media, a benign post gets a negative comment and the company does not react. This is sending a message that you either do not care about your consumers or you are not on top of your social media pages. Either way, it is not a good message to send to potential customers. Along the same lines, do not delete the message but rather respond quickly and courteously to show that you are responsive and want to correct any wrongs that may have occurred.

Social media is a full-time job where someone on your team needs to develop content, post it and, most importantly, follow through with comments made by followers. Don’t have a spare employee to spearhead this process? You may need to hire a social media consulting company or social media specialist who can nurture your presence online and steer you in the direction you want.

Retaining Top Talent

Is your company a revolving door of employees coming and going endlessly? In today’s business world, young workers have a reputation for moving from job to job looking for the next big break. Unfortunately, that means that business loyalty is not as it once was.

How, then, do business leaders deal with this issue and retain the top talent that they worked so hard to attain in the first place? There are several methods that may help with retention and overall employee morale as well.

Create a Detailed Onboarding Process

Some workplace studies show that onboarding properly can help new hires become long term employees. Be sure that your onboarding process includes orientation, socialization with other employees, and continued monitoring that the new hire is learning the specific job well and with support. Seventy percent of new workers report that they are more likely to stay at their new company for three years or more if they experienced a favorable application and onboarding process.

Allow for Flexibility

Retaining top talent sometimes means thinking outside the box. Consider flexible work hours instead of the 9-5 of our parents generation. Flexibility may also be necessary when it comes to remote work. Does an employee have an ailing parent or a young child? Possibly the option of working from home may alleviate personal stressors and encourage an employee to stay with your company.

Provide Incentives

Employees like to feel like they are learning, growing, and moving forward. By providing training and incentives to educate themselves and move up in the business, young employees tend to stay put. Whether you offer a percentage of the cost of a class or include bonuses for each training s/he takes part in, you are investing in your company and the retention of your best and brightest team members.

 

Give and Get Feedback

One complaint that employees who move around a lot have is that they do not feel like they were listened to. Be acutely aware with new employees that you plan to listen and give feedback on a regular basis. Feeling invested in a company and that ideas are considered is a great way to retain some of your top talent.

Retaining your best employees can be difficult but with some creative thinking and an attention to the needs of those employees you can foster a long-term relationship that will be beneficial for both of you for years.

 

The Benefits of CEO Groups

We have all heard the old cliche that, “it’s lonely at the top.” It really is an accurate portrayal of life for most CEOs. Not only can executive officer feel lonely in their specific business, but they may also be in need of peer relationships that bring with it sharing of business acumen, professional experience, and insights that can help grow and mold a successful business. The roles of executives today have never been more daunting or fraught with disruptions. Let’s take a look at how joining a peer group of other CEOs can help.

Having a leadership resource can be just the solution for executives who need to make a connection, want to grow their company, and often don’t have the time during the regular business day to make those connections organically. Joining a peer group can be the answer for several reasons.

CEO Groups Serve as a Sounding Board

During the course of a typical work day, most executives are busy handling day-to-day operations. There is not often the opportunity to call a friend in a similar circumstance to talk about future business questions or concerns. The CEO groups run by the Enterprise Center are a great chance for business leaders to communicate with other business leaders. Peers can act as a sounding board for ideas where CEOs are able to confidentially get feedback from people in similar positions. Other business leaders can add to their experiences and warn of potential pitfalls. The conversations can be incredibly valuable and may even help move your company forward.

 

CEO Groups Can Help with Scaling

One of the more difficult aspects of leading a business is learning how to scale. Oftentimes, CEOs do not have peers that can help them learn how to grow a business by getting more out of the people and resources or by employing better systems and methodologies. A peer group of other CEOs can provide insider access to insights learned from others’ experiences.

 

CEO Groups Can Help with the Big Picture

Often, business leaders do not take the time to plan for what lies ahead. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses that are still evolving and finding their niche. Peer groups of other business leaders can be a great chance to plan, organize, and take a look at the bigger picture. Being a part of an executive group means that monthly you will hear about other businesses’ successes and setbacks that can give you a sense of where your company may be heading. It is almost like taking a look into the future when hearing about where other executives are in their journey.

 

CEO Groups Can Provide Support, a Sense of Belonging, and a Little Bit of Fun

Joining one of the Enterprise Center’s three CEO groups can give the support that many executives need – even if it is once a month. These peer groups can not only be substantive in that they allow for professional support but also can spark humor, fun, and a sense of belonging to a group that can help in what can only be described as one of the more challenging positions in business.

Are you interested in joining one of our CEO Groups? Check out the programs page on our website and register now.