Celebrating Work This Month

There are several “holidays” coming up this month that are centered around business. March 1st is both Employee Appreciation Day and National Sales Person Day. March 8th is International Working Women’s Day. The 29th is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day and March 31st is World Back Up Day (the day you should make sure you have a back up for various electronic systems like your website and computer).

There are several ways you can choose to incorporate these into your business. Some of those ways will help your employees or business associates. Some of these can help you market your product or service. And some of these can help you spread good will. Here are a few ideas for you:

  • If you don’t have employees, send a card or email to a business associate who has gone above and beyond for you and your company.
  • Send a card or email to an affiliate who has done especially well.
  • Post a blog reminding your business customers to do one of the above.
  • Post a blog sharing about one of the people you recognized in your business.
  • Post to social media about your appreciation for a business associate.
  • Post to social media reminding them to back up their computers or websites.
  • Find a way to tie the holiday in with something your company is doing. (blog post, social media post, etc)

Looking to the conventional holidays is a good practice, but take a look at those “silly holiday” sites. They are packed with valuable information that can help you blog, connect on social media, and more!

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Are You Listening to Your Customers?

Have you taken the time to find out what your customers want?  How they feel about your company, product or service? Why not?

It may seem like something that would take up too much time, but it can help you avoid launching a product or service doomed to failure.  It can also help you improve a current product, service, or even your social media presence.

Here are a few ways in which you can listen to your customers in order to improve your image and then your bottom line:

1. Surveys
Put a survey out to your past customers, on social media, or blog.  Ask them about their experience with your company, the impression of your product, or issues with your service.  Use that information to better your company’s image, products, and services.  Most people love to be asked what they think and you’ll move forward knowing what worked and what didn’t.

2. Poll your employees
Ask your employees for ideas about how to better serve your customers.  Ask them what things they like about working for you and ask them what they feel could be improved.  The more involved your employees are in the process, the more valued they feel and the more loyalty they will have. Happy employees usually service your company and customers better.

3. Poll your customer service team
Your customer service reps work more directly with your customers than you do.  Ask them what they’ve heard the customers rave or complain about.

 

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11 Hidden Reasons Why Business Owners Need Excellent Communication Skills

At the corner of Marketing Street and Strategy Avenue, there is communication, and it’s either working for your company…or it isn’t!

You might never have to make a speech, but there are 11 ways in which your communication skills, and that of your employees, play a vital role in your business!  Why? Because business is about relationships and relationships are built on communication.

Whether you are developing your company’s relationship with a customer, a supplier, or its employees, here are 11 ways in which your communication can either make or break your company:

1) How to save time and money on your supplies
Before you ever have your first customer, you’ll need to develop a relationship with your suppliers.  Building good relationships with them will give you an advantage when it comes to price and problems.  It is worth some time and effort to get to know the companies who supply your business.  It’s also worth your time to do little things for them.

While most large businesses have the money and staff to do this with relative ease, small to medium size companies often justify not doing so by saying they don’t have the time or money to do it.  I’m here to tell you that it will cost you more in the long run if you don’t.

2) Creating a communication package for your business
Think long and hard about what kind of image you want your company to have and then make your communication congruent with that image.  You don’t want your logo saying that you are the company who cares if your customer service says you don’t.

3) How to present yourself as an expert in your field
How you present yourself is important, but not only because of the suit of clothing you wear or the logo on your website.  How you position yourself in the marketplace with your website, blog, and social media will either reflect your company as an industry expert or not.  Be careful not only in your sales copy but in what you blog or tweet about!

4) How to effectively handle customer service, complaints, and returns
How you handle customer issues can make or break your company.  If you don’t answer the phone quickly, allow the customer to run circles in your phone tree, or make it easy for the customer’s issue to go unresolved, word will get around.  An upset customer is much more likely to tweet how upset they are than is a happy customer to post how much they love your product.

5) How to make contacts
It goes without saying that the better you are at communicating, the better those contacts will be.

6) Effective use of social networking groups
Making effective use of social networking groups is also all about how you come across.  Effective communication comes in handy when you’re at a social event representing your company.

7) Balancing family and business
How you tell your spouse about a last minute business meeting is just as important as having to broach the subject of postponing a meeting with your client.  If you aren’t precise and gracious with your family, they won’t be as supportive.  If you aren’t clear and respectful to your boss or client, well…

8) How/when to share your faith or talk about politics in business
There may be times when it is necessary for you to share issues of faith or politics with a client, a customer, or your employee.  How and when it’s done can be crucial.  Not something we usually think about, but something that is important.

9) How to gain support from family and friends
If you are starting a business, it is important to gain the support of family and even friends.  They are usually your biggest supporters and, without them, you can’t build it big.

10) How to motivate your employees
Most business people don’t think much about motivating their employees, but the biggest growing companies do.  You should too.  What would keep them working when things get difficult?  What would keep them loyal?

11) How to train your customer service staff
Customer service almost doesn’t exist anymore.  With the invention of the phone tree, a customer can be busy for an hour trying to reach the right party to get their issue resolved.  When customer service staff is hired, almost no training goes into them.  They are given a script and good luck!  Make it a point to train your customer service staff to respond to the customers as individuals instead of problems.  Give them some leeway to get the customer the help they need.  Keeping the employees loyal can help here too.

There are many situations in business when good communication can either fix the issue or avoid it altogether.

 

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