Regardless of the type of business you run, your customer is the most important element of your operations. The success of your business depends highly on how happy you can make your customers and how long you can keep them feeling that way about your products and services.
Good customer service is one of the best ways to get closer to customers. Customer service is so much more than providing support and after-sales services. It is more about building and maintaining good relationships with your customers, and we have just the tips to help you get started in this article.
Utilise Your Customers’ Preferred Channels
In the old days, we chose the right support channels based on many factors, from the budget we had in hand to the most convenient way of providing customer support. Today, the best approach is to use the channels customers are already using.
This is one of the main reasons why more businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, now offer customer care through social media sites. Your customers are already there, so connecting with them and offering help whenever possible is much easier to do.
Another interesting approach is to use mobile apps. If you already have an app for your products and services, add a Live Chat feature so that customers can ask questions at any time. Gaffey, a leading provider of industrial water treatment systems, take this approach a step further and offers their business customers a technical support app.
Another good option is the ticketing system software by Kayako, its full suite of tools including live chat software and an organized shared inbox make providing support services much easier.
Don’t wait until customers run into issues with the products and services you offer before reaching out to them. It is actually better to reach out and ask questions before that happens because you can build stronger relationships with them this way.
There are several ways to do this. You can, for example, send a follow-up email one or two weeks after a customer’s purchase. You can use suggestion boxes and printed sheets to capture feedback from customers in a retail establishment or an offline store. You can even call customers directly to get the insights you need.
Learn from Complaints
Your first priority must always be to get complaints settled as quickly as possible. Make sure your team finds the perfect solution and helps customers in a timely manner. Solving the problem, however, is not the end of the customer support cycle.
You must also take the time to analyse complaints and learn from them. Are there similar complaints coming from different customers? What can you do to prevent the same issues from happening again? Is there a lesson to be learned in the complaints you receive?
Take a more active stance in learning from a customers’ problems. You can also learn from the compliments and positive feedback you receive. Combined, the learning experience will allow you to improve your products and services while building stronger relationships with your customers.
These are simple tips and strategies you can implement right away to improve how you handle your customers. Invest in building a stronger relationship and you will enjoy many long-term benefits in return.
Every business owner needs to look for ways big and small to make their company run more quickly and more efficiently. In this way, you can save time and money, as well as valuable resources, while driving up your profit margins. But what steps should you be taking to make your business run smoothly every day? Check out the tips below to get started.
Single Sign-On, also referred to as SSO, is a great way to eliminate the time-consuming process of needing to authenticate as you move between different apps. Every one of your employees can make use of SSO when they use any web or mobile apps that are hosted in the cloud or hosted by your own business. Take SSO solutions provider ProofID as an example of one of the products that you can use in your company every day. With the right SSO provider, you can have the best combination of user experience and security to get more done in a shorter amount of time.
Customer Relationship Management Software
Another wise investment would be customer relationship management (CRM) software. This will give you the tools necessary to control all of the communications between your business and your clients. In this way, you and your employees will never drop the ball when it comes to keeping your customers—especially your loyal customers—happy and coming back for more. This along with online counseling could lead to increased sales and more satisfied customers with less effort on your part.
Use Free Cloud Solutions
Your employees work on a lot of different projects every day in order to keep your company going strong and they often have to send files back and forth to each other, making revisions all along the way. This can be time-consuming, as well as take up a lot of space on your email server. So rather than sticking with the old-school method of emailing updates between employees and making notes in files, why not use one of the free cloud services that are available? These include Dropbox and Google Drive as a couple of popular examples. You can give and restrict access for security, as needed, and you can track changes a lot more easily too. Plus, workers from remote locations can access these files with greater ease, without having to worry about having the files on their drives everywhere they go.
Outsource Where Necessary
A final way to make your company more efficient is by outsourcing the tasks that your staff can’t handle on their own. The last thing that you want to do is give your workers too much to do, causing them to hate their job and actually become less efficient overall. So, if you need writing services, design work, or even IT support, consider outsourcing these tasks to qualified pros.
With the strategies and tools above, you can take small steps towards making your business a lot more efficient every day. Before you know it, you will be able to save money that you can reinvest into your brand to help it continue to grow.
Are you tired of attending Business Award Ceremonies and coming way empty handed? Do you wait patiently each year in anticipation, only to watch another team walk away with the accolade? Or perhaps you feel deflated when you thumb through your Business Sector magazine and read articles of a team that’s smashed their targets for the third year running? The secret to High Performing teams is, of course, teamwork.
As a manager, it’s important to know the keys to developing an effective team. Let’s have a look at seven ways you can do this:
- Communication – Sounds like a simple thing, but if a team doesn’t communicate effectively how do they know what goals each other have and what the expected outcomes are? Effective team communication is essential to the success of the group in performing its role as well as to the morale of staff and their motivation to succeed at work.
- Utilizing varied strengths and abilities - Team leaders should never forget that one of the key benefits of teamwork is the individual strengths of its members. Some members can be good organisers, others are innovative, others may be good motivators. Remember that it can be the blend of different strengths which makes a team effective.
- Goals - The whole team must understand what the goals are and should be committed to achieving them. Goals give the team clear direction, if there is an agreed purpose and specific path to be followed it will promote effective teamwork. The team clarity is reinforced when the organization gives clear guidance relating to the team's work, goals, accountability, and outcomes.
- Cooperation - Cooperation means working together, for everyone’s benefit. Work teams succeed only when all staff are fully ‘on-board’ in sharing ideas and undertaking tasks. These cooperative qualities make an individual much more valuable to his team. Getting actively involved and cooperating also earns the respect of other team members, making them more susceptive to hearing your ideas.
- Team Therapy - Provide specific and detailed instructions on how to resolve problems that arise among team members. This will instill teamwork by encouraging members to solve issues efficiently and productively. Instead of creating a culture of blame in the workplace, create an atmosphere of being proactive and solution oriented.
- Participative Leaders - This is demonstrated when leading meetings, assigning tasks, recording decisions and commitments, assessing progress, holding team members accountable, and giving directives to the team.
- Effective decision making - A confident and effective team leader looks to the team for answers and welcomes constructive challenges and suggestions for alternative courses of action. On occasion, the leader must be prepared to take difficult decisions and be willing to explain the basis on which they have been taken
Of course, this is not a definitive list. Why not also think about ways to motivate, reward and bring your team together? Have you considered implementing a Recognition Program for staff? Or, you may want to encourage social activities outside of the work environment. There are also many companies that offer team building activities in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities.
Whatever you decide, be sure that your efforts to improve teamwork will result in a greater performance and you never know, maybe the odd shiny accolade for you to put pride of place in the office!
With the ongoing decline in living standards and lack of wage growth, every family is looking for a way to save money. We all want to save ourselves some extra each month - no matter how small. One of the best ways to doing this is by making use of coupon and discount codes.
Using coupons used to be considered being cheap, but now almost everyone wants to get involved and people spend endless hours searching for discount codes that will help them keep some extra money in their pockets. Instead of sitting at your computer, surfing through different websites, and not getting good coupons and discount codes, why not join just one website and get the best discount on your favorite products.
Using a coupon nowadays is not just a necessity, it is also considered to be a smart move. So, how do you use these discount codes to save yourself that extra cash? Well, the process here is quite simple. Below are some factors that can help you out with saving money using coupons and discount codes.
CHECK YOUR SHOPPING HABITS
Discount codes at CouponGrind.com can help you save a lot but you need to be aware of your shopping habits so you can actually save money at the end of the day. Ensure that you are not just using the discount codes to buy products you don't need and be aware of what the deal entails before buying. Make sure the products you buy with the coupons are products you are actually going to use; don’t just buy them because they are cheap.
BE SURE ABOUT EXPIRY DATES
Coupons have expiry dates and these dates are subjected to change. Stores can make the decision to expire their coupons at any time. They have the right to do this and they can do it without sending notices. This usually happens when the demand is too much or when the product supply is limited. Either way, you need to act quickly when you get an offer as you may not find it there the next day.
CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION AND SAVE MORE
You do not need to wait until checkout before trying to get yourself a coupon. Log on to a competent deal and coupon website like CouponGrind.com. This way, you'll be able to cut down your visits to multiple sites as you'll get nothing but the best deals on this websites; you'll also be able to know the store that offers the best price.
TRY OUT A NEW STORE
This is another way to save money of coupons. Do not be afraid to check out a new store. Most times, new stores offer bigger discounts so as to attract new customers. As a matter of fact, new customers can get five to ten percent higher savings than returning customers. But keep it in mind that most times, these offers are only eligible for the first purchase you make at that store.
Get your coupons and discount codes at CouponGrind.com today and save more than you ever think you will. From food, to clothing, to health, beauty, professional services, etc. you have the best chances of saving now.
The future of manufacturing will definitely include robots—and the future is now. There are already many automated processes, with more to come. But how many more robots and automated machines will there be? Will all human factory workers eventually be replaced, or is this just science fiction?
Automation enabled manufacturing’s latest trend known as lights-out production, a term for facilities able to operate without lights and without any human oversight. At the lights out FANUC (factor automated numerical control) facility in Japan, robots are creating other robots.
Not only the lights are off, so are the A/C and heating. The automated workforce operates continuously, without any breaks. Through this automated, lights out process, FANUC creates 22,000 to 23,000 CNC machines monthly.
FANUC, with its 24/7/365 production schedule, is an uncommon production facility. What’s more common is having automated processes occurring during the third shift for a few hours a day—at least as a starting point.
However, before a company even considers lights-out production, automation systems must already be in place. Companies with interest in seeing if lights-out production is a cost-effective option, turn to specialists like Midwest Engineering Systems (MWES) for customized automation solutions and machine designs.
Although lights-out production isn’t for every company, there are some major benefits including the following:
- Increased product quality
- Improved throughput
- Decrease in workplace injuries—especially in hazardous work environments
- Fills in a skilled worker shortage
- A decrease in labor costs
Douglas Peterson, general manager for collaborative robots maker Universal Robots, told Automation World the criteria to determine what would work is best for a robot vs. what work would be best for human workers.
“Robots are uniquely suited to any manufacturing task that is dirty, dangerous or dull. If the process doesn’t require human dexterity, mental agility or problem-solving skills, then it can be done by a robot.”
Implementing lights-out production is a complex and difficult process. CNC Cookbook outlines and details the many challenges that can come with starting a lights-out production process, with the largest challenge being perfecting processes.
For example, even with the most cutting-edge technology, if a single process is faulty, the whole system is at risk of failure in an automated environment. Testing new equipment and ensuring a seamless production process is critical. Having human supervisors and maintenance techs on-site is often recommended.
On the finance side, the upfront costs of lights-out production can be cost-prohibitive for many. Experts say facilities debating a move to a lights-out system should expect a return on their upfront investment within two years. If the gains in efficiency and productivity will pay of the cost of the automated machines and components themselves within 2 years, the investment likely makes sense.
Automation’s popularity grows as lights-out production is becoming more commonplace and less of a novelty. Machines will likely replace many workers who perform more dangerous or repetitive tasks while helping to boost productivity gains and profitability for many manufacturers.
(Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr)