Everything Counts!

posted August 8th, 2012

The sales and customer service experience begins when a customer picks up the phone or walks in the door.

Customers scrutinize how they are treated after the sale as much as they evaluate a business while making the decision to buy.  They are closely watching how every situation is handled, especially the difficult ones.

Remember:  Everything counts when it comes to a customer's loyalty.

There are four specific things that customers say they will never forget about when doing business.

1.  Customers do not forget attitudes.  Each member of the team is an extension of the sales and customer service experience.
2.  Customers do not forget promises.  Business is based on trust.  When a business looses a customer's trust, there is really no basis for continuing the business relationship.
3.  Customers do not forget how a business handles issues or misunderstandings.  When customers have an issue or misunderstanding,more than any other time, a business has the opportunity to develop a bonded relationship.
4.  Customers do not forget what happens after the sale.  The best marketing tool available to a business is the customer's satisfaction after the sale.  A business can set itself apart by being an after-the-sale champion.

Customers will become loyal if the sales and customer service team develops a "no matter what it takes" attitude, keeps its promises, quickly addresses issues, and takes care of them after the sale.  If a business does all these things, customers will be glad to come back for more!

Copyright 2010. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold's Retail & Consumer Tips, bwold@ix.netcom.com.

Results Revolution TV and Blog

posted August 8th, 2012

How to get Real Results from your Social Media Strategy

posted August 8th, 2012

Social Media is a great way to interact with your customers.  For examples on how other small businesses have gotten real results from their social media strategies follow this link: http://mashable.com/2010/03/22/small-business-social-media-results/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29

The Small Business Guide to Google Apps

posted August 8th, 2012

Monroe County Community College Classes Available

posted August 8th, 2012

The Monroe County Community College offers classes beneficial to small businesses.  The Lifelong Learning Course Catalog is available here: http://www.monroeccc.edu/ccs/lifelong.htm with the details on courses currently being offered.

Business Marketing and Customer Retention

posted August 8th, 2012

Lisa Dixon (LADixon@aol.com), national speaker with 20+ years of professional experience in advertising and marketing and founder of AdWorks, offers advice on how to market your business on a small budget.  Here are seven critical questions to ask yourself before you get started marketing your business:
1. What benefits do I offer my customers?
2. How am I different than my competition?
3. Who wants or needs my products/services?
4. What message do I want to communicate to my current and potential customers?
5. What is my marketing budget?
6. What advertising vehicles/marketing programs would best reach my target market?
7. Am I visible to current and potential customers on a consistent basis?
Make sure that you are marketing to your target market and in the most effective way to ensure that you get a bigger bang for your buck. 

Are you developing a relationship with your customers in order to retain them?  Lisa Dixon offered five keys to customer retention stating that current customers are your most important asset.
1. Be Reliable-Find solutions to their problem and over-deliver customer service.
2. Be Credible-Be consistent with the customer to help them achieve customer satisfaction.
3. Be Attractive-Operate a clean and professional looking business.  Give the customer a great first and lasting impression.
4. Be Responsive-Stay in touch with your customers and always be accessible and available to quickly assist them.
5. Be Attentive-Make your customers feel special and show them your appreciation.
Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of marketing.  If your customers enjoy the experience, products and services in your store they will help spread the word to their friends and family about your business and that kind of marketing is priceless.

Have You Taken a Look Through Your Customerís Eyes Lately?

posted August 8th, 2012

Sometimes in the rush of everyday life we as business owners forget to take a step back and look at our store from our customer’s point of view.  Here are a few things to consider to help you make that great first impression:

Outside Appearance
- Sidewalk: Is it free of debris and litter?  Can your customers easily access your business?
- Windows: Is the glass clean?  Can you see directly into your store?  Is your window display out of date or faded?  A well-lit window display is your least expensive advertising.
- Front Door & Façade: Is your door easy to open and well painted? Is your façade clean and décor well kept?  Is your sign in good condition with store hours clearly posted?

Inside Appearance
- Décor: Are your floors, walls and ceiling clean and well maintained?  Is your layout inviting and easy to maneuver?  Is there noticeable dust and cobwebs?
- Senses: Does your store have a fresh and pleasant smell?  Is your merchandise clean?  Is any music or noise at a comfortable level?
- Personal: Are you and your staff well dressed and professional looking?  Is your customer service providing positive results? 

- Store Hours: Are your store hours predictable and allow all of your customers the opportunity to shop?  Are you open nights and weekends when restaurants are crowded?
- Parking: Are your employees using convenient customer parking?  Is your entrance and parking properly signed and lit?

This attention to detail and a few inexpensive updates can help customers make the decision to enter your store and keep coming back for years to come.  

The 10 P's to Prosperity

posted August 8th, 2012

Susan Wilson Solovic, CEO of www.sbtv.com and AT&T Small Biz Expert offers 10 ways to make sure you build a successful business:
1. Perception - Think big (your goal) and build backwards to your starting point
2. Proposition - Is there a market for your business and what makes it different and unique?
3. Plan - MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN.  Your plan may evolve but you must lay everything out on paper.
4. Prepare - Get help from outside business assistance resources, seminars, mentors, etc. (learn, learn, learn)
5. People - Involve the right people in your business that will add to its success.  You can't do it alone and you want to fill in the skills you lack.
6. Promote - YOU MUST HAVE A WEBSITE.  Leverage technology, network, market where your customers are and build trust throughout the community
7. Process - Don't reinvent the wheel, create a system to operate by that can make your business productive, profitable and operate no matter who is running the store
8. Pennies - Understand your business financials and know where your money is going (you sign the checks)
9. Patience - Keep in mind that success will not happen overnight (it often takes 3 years to be profitable) and mistakes are learning opportunities
10. Passion - Helps you keep your motivation and energy up while you are being patient.

Marketing Must-Do Concepts

posted August 8th, 2012

Team Halo (www.resultsrevolution.com) presents the following concepts that you can do to market your business and increase your customers:

1. Offer an experience that impacts all five senses

2. Create and use a consistent and memorable brand (logo, color-scheme and website domain name)

3. Pursue the business trifecta which includes: a business, a proprietary product and educational classes that use your products

4. Focus on customer retention (make sure you have a website and it is updated at least once a week)

5. Nurture Relationships by developing a strategy for every media type.  Social networking can increase communication with customers.

6. Pull people into your store during events and at least get your website in their hand

7. Offer samples and demostrate services

8. Work with other businesses for cross-promotion