Dump the Snap, Embrace The Gram

The Snapchat platform has run into a series of blunders causing its users (and owners) a lot of headaches. They moved away from the core of the product and tried to be everything to everyone which alienated their base. Even before they caused so many problems for their users, Instagram was already a superior product doing everything Snapchat did while staying true to its core product. Here are some good reasons to dump Snapchat and work your visual business through Instagram instead.

Instagram - 5 Reasons to Switch from Snapchat to Instagram

 

Building a Customer Service Culture

You can have good customer service by teaching your team a few skills and a short overview on problem-solving, but then you will be giving business to your competitors. There are few competitive advantages as powerful as Customer Service and few that are harder to maintain. In the world where everyone thinks that competitive advantage means lowering your price, you can stand out by providing stellar customer service. I currently don’t know any physical location in my area that does this so I know the field is open. Here is an infographic to get you started on the path to excellent Customer Service. Let me know if you need any help getting going.

Building a Customer Service Culture.png

Sales Tools

There are tons of sales tools out there (too many in fact) and every single one of them “Revolutionized” sales. It’s hard to cut through the clutter and choose the right system for your needs. Here is a list of my top 5 sales tools and why you need them.

CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the most important tool for managing your sales pipeline. Keeping customers needs and contact information at your fingertips, a good CRM is portable across platforms and easy to use. I have used many CRM’s and they all have their pros and cons. Of course, Salesforce is the big one out there but the price might be a barrier for some. Insightly and Zoho are a couple of free CRM’s but they don’t always have the functionality you need without paying. Even a bad free system is better than no system. You can always port your information to another system if you need to but try and avoid that as it takes time.

LinkedIn

The worlds most popular social media platform dedicated to business is a must in the current sales environment. It doesn’t matter what type of sales you do from big medical deals to retail, LinkedIn is useful to everyone. If you are in B2B sales make sure to check out LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Use LinkedIn to make connections with suppliers or with potential clients or just to build better relationships whith those you already know. It really is a versatile platform and will be useful if you take the time to cultivate it.

Cloud Storage

From sharing information across your organization to giving information to customers you need a platform to make the flow of information easier. Getting a cloud-based service keeps your business agile and the information flowing. I use Dropbox but Google Drive has come a long way to being a useful cloud storage service. If I suspect I might need to share a bit of information it automatically goes on the cloud storage to make it easier.

Video Camera

Face to face selling is the ideal but not always possible. Invest in a decent camera for either video or conferencing. Selling in today’s market means you need video of one type or another. Use video to showcase a product or service, use it as an explainer or use video chat to sell. You can use your cellphone if the resolution and sound quality are high enough. I use a GoPro for most of my videos but a few are shot on my phone. For video conferencing the camera on a laptop is usually sufficient but don’t rely on your phone for such conferencing, it would be better to buy a dedicated webcam for your desktop if that is your only option.

Scheduler

Time is money and in sales, the golden hours are doubly important.  Use a scheduler to keep on track and to schedule tasks around your golden selling times. In retail those are your busiest hours, don’t let small tasks or meeting interfere with making a sale. There are schedulers that can coordinate teams and ones that can automate setting up meetings with clients. Make sure whatever you use it is integrated with whatever calendar you use on a day to day basis to avoid double scheduling or worse, missing a meeting.

Sales Tools

Slides in a Pitch Deck

A Sales Pitch deck is pretty standard for certain types of selling. Even those who don’t use an actual pitch deck would benefit from considering these slides. This deck is focused on gaining investors in your business. I modified it from one I found on a site I frequent, put my spin on it and popped it up here for you. Stay tuned this week as I explore setting up your sales program. Do you use a pitch deck like this?

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How to Optimize your Twitter Profile

Your Twitter profile is like your elevator pitch to those meeting you on Twitter for the first time. It tells people a little about you and hopefully makes them interested in learning more or at least listening to what you have to say on Twitter. Here are 4 tips to help you get the most out of the profile on Twitter and maybe a few more followers.

How to optimize your twitter profile

Simple Customer Service (or How to lose a customer for $0.30)

It’s a well-known statistic that a happy customer tells 9 people on average and an unhappy customer tells 16. Unfortunately, if you provide poor customer service to a marketer they are likely to turn it into a lesson for thousands. Every company I know is constantly looking for new customers but it is always cheaper to retain the ones you have. On average it is 6-7 times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an old one. How do you keep them? Most cases it is all about the customer experience. Today is a lesson on flexibility during the customer experience.

The short version of the story is that a popular fast food chain had an advertisement on the menu board showing the price of an Italian sub. The main menu board had a different price. The manager was already at the register due to an issue with the computer freezing while taking my groups order. The discrepancy was pointed out, he said there was no difference in the sub so a member of my group ordered the cheaper version. Of course, the more expensive version was what was in the computer. No problem, punch in the discount, change the difference, reduce the price down to the advertised price right? Wrong, apparently corporate sets the prices in the computer and the manager can’t do anything about it. Let me repeat that, the manager has no control to give customers the price they are advertising on the menu board. He absolutely refused to give the reduced price. It was a matter of $0.30. Lost a loyal customer for $0.30 due to inflexibility. Not to mention the company, famous for its social media work, has ignored the post pointing it out all day. Granted, it’s a big company, but when your business is tagged in the same post as #customerservicefail, you might want to be paying attention. Now there’s a couple tweets, a blog post, two Facebook posts and a spot in an upcoming lecture. All this fuss for $.030? Well, yes, it’s my $0.30. If I spent $0.30 more on every transaction through a year when I wasn’t supposed to I would lose a couple hundred dollars. It eventually adds up so I tend to be aware when I am not paying the advertised price. Plus I feel such tactics are underhanded and it makes me feel unappreciated when a company thinks it’s ok to overcharge their customers.

 

The lesson is about flexibility. The customer doesn’t want to hear what corporate policy is. The customer doesn’t want to hear what you can’t do. Tell them what you can do, what the solution is. In simple cases like a price screw up, get them the advertised price. If it is truly against policy and there is no way you can change something, tell them what solutions you can provide, not what you can’t. Don’t hide behind policy and procedures, it’s bad customer service.

 

Arbys fixed
Of course, as we ate the manager “fixed” the problem.

 

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service

Customer service is the lifeblood of a business. No matter what business you are in there is some element of customer service involved. Here is an infographic giving some of the Do’s and Don’ts of customer service to use as a baseline.

Do's and Don't of Customer service