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.

Mobile Security Across Africa

Mobile phones are getting more and popular in Africa and it’s not hard to see why. They can be charged from solar panels, so don’t need to rely on power line infrastructure that’s unreliable across much of the continent. Online top up services mean family members who’ve moved away in search of more opportunities can still send credit back to contribute to friends and relative’s lives back home.
Mobile phones have given people in Africa access to information and services that simply would not have been possible ten years ago. As well letting people communicate and coordinate in a way that was previously undreamt of, even simple SMS phones are being to revolutionise lives. mPesa is a mobile banking system that uses text messages to allow people living in rural Africa to access banking facility and begin to move away from a cash in hand existence. This also makes finance options more available for entrepreneurial spirits who previously weren’t able to obtain the money needed to kickstart their business ideas.

Health has also been an important focus for mobile tech developers in Africa. Mobile devices allow doctors to receive test results faster and so put treatments into effect more quickly. SMS programmes for patients suffering from ongoing conditions like AIDS offer regular reminders to take medication correctly and give advice about health, which has been proven to improve the outcomes for these patients.

All this development means that security is a newly important issue for mobile technology in Africa. More and more sensitive information and money is accessed with mobile log ins and is this vulnerable to hackers and indeed simple theft of the device in question.

Developers are clearly aware of the problem. Google’s new ICE 2 phone, aimed at being the first smartphone to crack the African market, is the first to launch with Google’s new Google Play Protect software. This is Google’s best attempt at keeping phones and apps and data totally safe from malign incursions. It also includes a fingerprint scanner to ensure unauthorised people cannot access the phone.

Nigeria’s aware of the problem of stolen phones being ransacked for data and sold on, and his created PhonReg that aims not only to identify stolen phones and remove them from circulation but also make it easier to buy legitimate handsets. With this understanding of the security concerns around mobile tech, it can be no coincidence that Google chose to launch their new smartphone in Nigeria.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Four Ways to Get Money in a Hurry



When you need to get money for an emergency situation, it can be hard to know what to do to get the money quickly and easily. There are many people who choose to pawn any and everything that they can to get money, but this often leads to someone losing their prized possessions forever. Instead of pawning your belongings of the quick cash you need, use the following guide to learn about a few loan options you may want to consider.

Borrow Money from Friends and Family

The first place you should go to get a loan when you need money in a hurry is to your friends and family. There are times when people will be willing to lend you small amounts of money to help you get through a hard time. Be sure to create a contract so that they can have peace of mind that you are serious about paying them back the money that they lend to you.

Get a Payday Loan Alternative

If you do not have any friends and family who can lend you money, you could apply for a payday loan alternative. An alternative payday loan is easy to get because it does not require you to have perfect credit in order to be approved for the loan. It is possible to be approved for the loan within a matter of a few minutes. All you need is proof that you have a source of income, a social security number, and a bank account for the money to be deposited into.

Get a Title Loan

If you do not have a viable source of income, it can be difficult to get a loan. You can however still get the money you need if you own a car, truck, or another vehicle outright. You can get a title loan based off of the value of the vehicle. The loan company will take possession of the title to the vehicle and hold onto it until the loan is repaid in full. If you do not repay the loan on time, the company can take possession of the car and sell it to get the money back that they lent to you. The loan that you will be offered will not be able to exceed the value of the car as determined by the loan company.

Get a Bank Loan

The last option that is available to you is a bank loan. The downfall of a bank loan is that they often have to be for large amounts of money, require you to have a good credit score, and take time for approval. The only time that a bank loan is the best option is when you need a loan that is more than a few thousand dollars in size.

Taking the time to consider all of your options will ensure that you chose the best option to suit your needs. You need to be sure that the option you choose allows you to pay back the loan in small increments rather than in a lump sum so that you can properly budget for the repayment of the loan. You do not want to find yourself in financial hardship trying to pay back the loan later on down the road.

Be sure to find out what the cost for the loan is before agreeing to one, as well. There are some companies that charge a flat rate for their loans based on the amount of the loan and some that charge interest based on how long you take to repay the loan.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why Working Remote Is The Only Way To Go




Have you ever had the opportunity to work remotely? Is this something that has eluded you to this point in your career? Are you hoping to make a change in the near future?
While there’s nothing wrong with working in a traditional office setting, a remote setup can change your life forever (in a positive way, of course).
With this, you can work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have the tools and technology necessary to get your job done.
In the United States alone, the number of people working remotely is closing in on 50 percent. There is no way of knowing what the future holds, but there is good reason to assume that this will remain the trend. Here’s why: it benefits both employees and employers in a number of ways.
Here are several reasons why working remote is the only way to go:
1. Freedom To Do What You Want
When you’re required to work from the same office, day in and day out, you don’t have much freedom and flexibility. Instead, you know that you’ll spend a minimum of eight hours a day in this space. Talk about boring.
When you work remotely, you don’t have to be in the same place (unless you want). One day you can work from home. The next you can head to a local coffee shop or restaurant. From there, maybe you want to take advantage of the adventure tourism boom. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as your company is happy with your performance.
Although the typical telecommuter works for a company with less than 100 employees, employers of all sizes are looking into this strategy.
2. The Best of Both Worlds
Depending on your circumstances and employment arrangement, you may have the opportunity to work remotely on a part-time basis.
According to a survey by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 50 percent of the United States workforce has a job that is compatible with working remote at least part of the time.
With this arrangement, you have the opportunity to work on-site when necessary, but to also take advantage of the benefits of working remote.  
Tip: if you’re interested in working remote but your employer is unsure, offer to compromise with a part-time telework schedule.
3. More Time for the Things You Love
Have you ever held a job where you spend a minimum of eight hours per day in the office? Did this hold you back from dong the things you love?
This can be extremely frustrating, often to the point of having to ditch one or more hobby in order to make a living.
When working remote, this is never a concern. You’ll still put in your time, but since you’re not tied down to an office there is more availability in your schedule to do the things you love.
A good example of this is somebody who spends several hours each day commuting to and from the office. By cutting this out of your life, you’ll have more time for the things you love, from photography to sports and much more.
Find a Remote Gig
If there is no potential to work remotely within your current company, it may be time to start your search for a new gig.
There are many ways to find a remote opportunity, with these ideas a good jumping off point:
·         Online job boards. With the ability to search by “telecommute” or “work from home” you’ll find opportunities that suit your needs.
·         Social media. There is more to social media than fun and games. You can also use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to uncover your next job opportunity.
·         Your network. Do you know somebody who currently works from home? Would they be willing to help you land a job with their employer? Don’t hesitate to reach out to everyone in your network, letting them know what you’re trying to accomplish.
Conclusion
It goes without saying that some careers are more closely aligned with working remote than others.
For example, the United States Department of Labor notes that people in financial operations, business, and management, have the tendency to work from home more often than other professionals.
Regardless of your current career path, you should seek an opportunity that allows you to work outside a traditional office environment. In today’s day and age, this is the only way to go!
Do you have any experience with telecommuting? Are you doing your best to find a job that allows you to work remotely?