Monday, September 11, 2017

4 Ways to Get Your Customers to Leave Great Online Reviews



As a business owner or a manager, you understand that how people perceive your brand makes a huge difference in your bottom line. Yes, your product or service has to be awesome. But so does your image. And that’s even more relevant in today’s rapidly expanding online world. 

According to research, more than 80% of customers check online reviews before they purchase a product or use a service. If your business does not have goodwill online, you are going to struggle.

So what do you do? One way is to solicit positive reviews from your existing customers. In this post we’re going to tell you how.

1. Ask them personally

The best and the easiest way to get positive reviews for your business is to ask existing customers directly and personally. Customer service should already be a strong point of your business strategy, and you can build on it further by getting regular feedback from customers.

You can simply call up some of your best customers and let them know that you would love to get their testimonial and review to feature online.

Most people will agree if you ask. But if they sound at all hesitant, be sure not to sound pushy. You don’t want to ruin your existing relationships either or risk a less-than-stellar review.

2. Send out email reminders

An effective strategy used by a lot of businesses is to send customers an email reminder several days after they have purchased your product or service.

Your email serves as a virtual “check in” with them to make sure all is well. Invite them to contact you if they have any questions or concerns. And, if they’re satisfied, encourage them to leave a review.

3. Make it easy

One major reason customers don’t like leaving reviews is that it can be time-consuming. So make it easy for them by creating a simple review process.

You can do this by setting up a very short form, requiring just a name and basic feedback instead of asking for extra details like phone number, email, address, item description, date of purchase, etc., etc. Similarly, if you’re emailing requests to customers, consider giving them the option of replying directly to that email with their feedback rather than asking them to take an extra step, like clicking on a link, visiting a site and filling a form.

The easier you make it for your customers, the easier it will be for you to get positive reviews for your business.

4. Resolve bad reviews

Another great way to get positive reviews from your customers is to pay attention to the negative ones.

While negative reviews can definitely hurt your business, each negative review can also be an  opportunity to turn the problem around. For example, you can turn a disgruntled customer into your advocate by apologizing, offering a complimentary service, or replacing a defective product.

Many customers who leave negative reviews actually care about your product or service. Your positive, prompt response can change their mind, cause them to retract their negative review (or amend it with an updated, positive one), and improve your general goodwill online.

It has been proven that positive reviews boost sales and we hope these tips help you generate some great reviews from your customers.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

How to Deal with a Difficult Customer

When you’re running a business, customers are your lifeblood. Whatever a customer means to you, whether that’s a single person buying one product from you, or a client who retains your services for their whole company, their good will is what ensures they not only come back to you, but recommend you to other people.

It’s important to keep your customers happy, and that’s why it can be so excruciating when they aren’t, whether that’s your fault, theirs, or totally out of anyone’s control. If you’re running a small business without a dedicated customer service team, it can be both difficult and emotionally exhausting to resolve a situation with an upset or dissatisfied customer.

This short guide should give you a few tips to help with the trickiest situations.

Engage

The most important thing is to fully engage with the dissatisfied customer or client. Make eye contact, and stop doing other tasks. If you’re not dealing with them in person, make sure you’re fully listening to the phone call: don’t type in the background except to record information they give you.

Whatever the reason, a customer has been let down by the service you provide. You are no longer reliable in their eyes. Giving them your time and full attention is the first and most important step in turning the situation around and helping them become a happy customer who may yet recommend you to their friends.

Some upset customers simply want an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction: doing this to a person who is clearly fully engaged and empathetic with them will help them to calm down a lot, and you may find the inciting issue is much smaller and easily solved.

Don’t Blame the Company

It can be tempting, if you’re being empathetic with the customer, to agree with them in blaming the company for the problems they’ve suffered. This should be avoided, before you’ve spoken to your business lawyer about your liabilities in the situation. You don’t want to open yourself or your company to lawsuits.

You can genuinely empathise and apologise to a customer for a bad situation, for the inconvenience they’ve suffered, but do stop short of saying “I’m sorry we caused this”, unless you are completely certain your company is to blame.

Having listened and empathised with a customer, you can then present your best solution to a calmer customer who is ready to hear you.

How to Get Into Interim Management

Interim management is a field that’s getting more and more popular. According to the Interim Management Association, use of these specialists has grown by 93% since 2006. It’s not hard to see why: many businesses are facing times of uncertainty and massive change. Specialists in guiding them through this difficult period will naturally be in high demand.

As more people are exposed to the idea, we’re also seeing more entering the profession. It’s an attractive proposition. Rather than becoming a victim to uncertain economic climate, specialise in it, and make it your career!

That said, not everyone is a good fit for the demands of the job, and it can be difficult to get a foot in the door. Today’s guide will help strip away some of the mystery and help you on your journey into Interim Management.

Firstly, do you have the right skills?

You need to be a dedicated and ambitious independent worker: you’ll have no permanent colleagues, and no structure guiding your development but the need to stay at the forefront of knowledge and expertise so you can continue to provide value. This means you need to motivate yourself to keep researching and reading between jobs, and swapping insights with contacts. You also need to be a good communicator: clear but diplomatic, as you’ll often be upending established processes and even recommending redundancies. It’s important to convey your ideas quickly, as you work, by definition, under pressure to deliver, but you also need to be sensitive to the people you’re talking to and achieve change by persuasion rather than force.

Secondly, getting jobs is a challenge. Once you’ve been working for a while, a record of success and endorsements from businesses will help to sell your services, but in the beginning you need more help. Establishing a relationship with a specialised executive search agency is helpful, as they are the first point of call for businesses looking for the service you provide.

It’s vital to point to a previous record of expertise in this area, so if you have previous consultancy work that’s helped a business transition through a difficult period, or have come off a project in a more traditional business where you’ve helped them pivot into a new market, talk about this front and centre. Experience like that is your qualification for work as an Interim Manager, rather than a CV of traditional office work, however impressive.