What Is Customer Engagement and How Does it Help?

It is now known that customer engagement is a hugely important element in the success of a business. This is why companies like Webio, who enable businesses to capture and increase customer engagement, are now so popular. Customer engagement is something that is seen across three distinctive elements of business, and it is important to understand that, so that you can appropriately measure how successful you are being. Let’s take a look at the three areas of customer engagement, as well as at some ways to measure this.

Advertising

According to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) engagement is best described as getting a prospect interested in a new idea by introducing them to the context. In other words, it describes how various viewers, readers, or other customers interact with a newly presented advertisement. There are different schools of thought about this. The old fashioned idea was a stepped approach:

  1. Catch the attention of the customer.
  2. Stimulate the desire interest of the customer.
  3. Drive the customer to make a purchase.

Today, however, things have changed. Now, the focus is on combining the message of the advertisement with symbols, associations, and metaphors.

Within advertising, a customer is considered to be engaged when they interact with the specific advertisement. This means they have purchased the product, decided to purchase the product, or recommended the product to others.

Website Analytics

Customer engagement is also very important in website analytics. This is one of the newest forms of customer reengagement. It describes how customers interact with the website of a brand. The goal of websites is to attract traffic, and to turn traffic into customers (conversion). However, there are different forms of conversions within website analytics, including:

  1. Making an online sale.
  2. Gathering new email addresses for the newsletter.
  3. Encouraging people to sign up for a free trial.

There are numerous metrics used to define engagement. A popular one is to calculate how long someone stays on the website, but also how many pages are viewed on average per visitor, or how many comments an individual makes on social media platforms.

Marketing

Finally, there is customer engagement in marketing. This describes the level of engagement with a specific brand. Very often, marketing customer engagement speaks of things like customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction. This is because the focus is strongly on how attached an individual is on the long term to a certain company. The result of high engagement is usually seen in an increase in customer advocacy and word of mouth advertisement and referrals. A lot of companies focus strongly on changing their customer engagement strategy with a focus on marketing. This is because a lot of research has demonstrated that there is a direct link between marketing customer engagement and elements such as share of wallet, ROI, stock price, and profit levels.

In an idea world, customer engagement is about all three things. Being aware of this makes it more likely that you will also be able to truly increase the number of customers who feel engaged with your brand.

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Drive Ahead with a Better Business Model

In running a business, what do you find to be some of your biggest challenges?

Probably one challenge that most if not all business owners would identify when being asked that question would be keeping customers satisfied.

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No matter what it seems company owners do, some customers will never think it is enough. As a result, the latter may move from business owner to business owner, looking for the one that will deliver each and everything they want.

With that in mind, running a business tied to transportation can prove to be quite a task.

For starters, you’re going to have to make sure that you get customers to and from where they need to go without hassles.

Secondly, given the time element is so much in play, even small delays can end up irritating any number of customers. When this occurs, they might never come back for more business.

At the end of the day, driving ahead with a better business model is doable if you put as much time and effort necessary into the process.

Transporting Success for Your Company

When it comes to a car sharing platform, if you’re in this line of work, you know how important it is to not only make being on time quite important, but also a smooth and hassle-free experience.

At the end of the day, some key areas to focus in on include managing all of your customers, the suppliers you work with, the vehicles involved in the operation, and of course your employees. You also want to make sure your technology is up to date, allowing you to identify and check drivers before they ever get behind the wheel.

If you’re in the delivery business, you also know how crucial a smooth transportation process needs to be.

For example, let’s say you deliver medicines for a pharmacy.

Unlike some other delivery services where being a day or two late wouldn’t have quite the consequences, many people (especially the young and senior citizens) depend on receiving their medications on time. If your driver/s prove to not always be reliable (not focused, get into accidents rather easily etc.) your customers can pay the price.

While there are many pharmacies and those related to the industry doing things online and via the regular mail these days, some still make deliveries to their customers.

No matter what kind of delivery service you have, make sure transportation bottlenecks do not come to define your brand.

Let Consumers Know Your Brand Works

For those businesses in transportation related industries (or any business for that matter), it is crucial that consumers know not only how your brand works, but how it can help them.

One of the best ways to get that word out in today’s digital age is of course through the Internet.

For instance, if you don’t have a website or it is lackadaisical at best, that is something you need to change moving forward (sooner better than later).

With a strong website in your hands, you have the opportunity to move your brand ahead, with the potential to leave competitors in the rearview mirror.

Speaking of that website, make sure it focuses on the following:

  • Content – Having solid content on your website is imperative. With that content, you can reach millions of consumers near and far. Most notably, make sure that content is both fresh and relevant;
  • Visuals – You also need a website that is strong on imagery, notably positive imagery;
  • Functionality – If your website has functional issues, you can’t truly expect consumers to want to come back again and again (if at all). Test your site regularly to make sure it is functioning with as few errors as possible.

If you are prepared to drive forward with a better business model, what are you waiting for?

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Is Your Project on Schedule?

"Contractors Review Plans" by the US Army Corps of Engineers, used in accordance with CC BY 2.0

When you have commercial and/or residential projects under construction, you know that you invariably are up against deadlines.

That being the case, it is important that you make sure all your products, services, not to mention your employees both in and out of the field, are ready to go.

Whether you are working on a major outdoor commercial project or a sizable indoor residential project, you don’t get paid to miss deadlines.

Yes, weather and other circumstances can (and oftentimes do) come into play, but you find a means to get around them, allowing you to complete your work on time, making for happy customers when all is said and done.

If meeting deadlines is something you have found to be a bit of a challenge over time, work on completing those deadlines sooner rather than later.

Products and Services Must Be Ready

One of the ways to all but guarantee your projects will make their deadlines is by reviewing the products and services you use for each and every project you are tasked with on a regular basis, checking for any hiccups along the way.

For example, if you use and/or sell plastic injection molding nozzles, review them regularly to be sure they are up to snuff with whatever projects you are using them for.

One of the ways to go about this is by reviewing the different companies offering such nozzles, valves, other injection products etc.

Some of the items to look at include:

  1. Company history – Where you buy products and services from goes a long way in whether or not you meet your customer expectations. Is your vendor good at meeting deadlines when it comes to supplying you with your needs? If they have a track record of meeting those deadlines, all inclinations are you should stick with them. On the other hand, those having a so-so record of meeting timetables need to be brought back under reconsideration. The last thing you need and want is having your customers upset with you because you failed a deadline, failure that originated in not getting the desired parts in time;
  2. Timing of your projects – If you’re doing any outdoor construction and/or renovations, the time of the year certainly can play a factor. For example, having a construction or renovation business in Buffalo does limit you during the wintertime in terms of how much outdoor work you can typically fit in. The best road to take here is making sure you schedule as much work as possible before winter typically sets in. In some cases, you will catch some breaks and have decent wintertime weather, though you should not count on it as a given. Also make sure any parts you are using (especially in outdoor instances) like nozzles, valves etc. can hold up to biting cold weather conditions. If you have parts that will not service you and your customers in dire winter weather, it becomes both a financial expense and ultimately a PR one for your business. The bottom line is you don’t want to waste the time of customers nor that of your employees;
  3. Being honest with customers – One other important area that you should never overlook is being up front with your customers. For instance, if your project is running behind (for whatever reason), don’t try and paint a rosy picture with the respective customer or customers. Always level with customers as to the projected timeline of completing the project, along with any snafus that currently are happening etc. One of the ways to keep customers for years to come (along of course with good work) is making sure you are honest with them at all times.

Keeping your projects (commercial and residential) on schedule doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you work with vendors supplying you with the best parts possible.

In the end, meeting customer deadlines should always be a priority, not an option.

As 2016 winds down to a close, review how you’ve done this year to date with meeting those deadlines.

If you have fallen short in some instances, look to see how you can improve that moving forward in the New Year.

When you do that, everyone comes out ahead.

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The Keys to a Successful Business or Enterprise  

It is a well known fact that over half of new businesses will fail in their first 5 years, there is a plethora of reasons as to how this can happen ranging from poor financial management to changes in the market. There are a certain number of Golden Rules when it comes to business and the fact is that far too many businesses ignore them causing their untimely demise. Those who understand business like George Bardwil, always stick to they key principles of business and that is why they become successful. If you are just starting your own business then here are the keys to your success.

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 Have a Great Product

 Whichever industry or sector you are planning on entering into is irrelevant when it comes to the quality of your product. Before you even consider launching your business you must ensure that your product is the best that it can be. Continuously analyze and re-invent your product before taking it to the market, test it sufficiently and only when you are completely happy should you open up for business.

 Be Financially Minded

 As simple as it sounds, finances are everything and you should constantly have a watchful eye over what is going in and out of your business. If you are not naturally financially minded then either hire a professional or seek to learn more, ignorance of your company’s balance sheet will cause you many problems. Understanding the company’s finances also allows you to seek ways to cut costs, vital in any business, especially if it’s new.

 Communicate Perfectly

 Communication plays a huge role in the success of businesses, clear communication to your employees about the vision of the company and clear messages to your customers so that they fully understand what your business is about.

 Seek Growth

 Businesses should always have a plan for growth, it can be a 5,10 or even 15 year plan but there should be a plan in place. When you are beginning a new enterprise, it can be tricky to be realistic with your future planning, the key is information, look at how similar companies have progressed, read information about your sector and where it is heading. It isn’t easy to balance optimism and realism when planning but there is nothing wrong with having difficult to reach goals, these will keep you motivated and hungry.

 Reward Loyalty

One of the keys to successful business is loyalty, both being loyal and gaining loyalty, being loyal is within your gift, being dependable and flexible with your customers will show your loyalty, but what about gaining it? Well gaining loyalty comes as a direct result of you giving it and rewarding it, loyalty works like a circle, give your customers great service, a great product and consistently high standards and they won’t have a choice but to come back for more. Always remember those that have been loyal to you as they are the ones who will continue to be loyal in the future.

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Give Your Company a Boost With These Business Development Strategies

In the process of starting a business? If so, you’ll need a game plan to get your business off the ground. In this article, we have put together several strategies that will help you attract your first customers, and then keep them happy.

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1) Be true to your word

In today’s business climate, there are few things that are more valued than a company that is authentic in its dealings. When you say that you will get something done for a client or a customer, do everything humanly possible to stay true to your word.

This reliability and consistency won’t just help your company; it has also helped established companies such as Steve Sorensen Select Staffing. Building a reputation as a business that could be counted on to get the job done right, they have built a dedicated client base over the years.

By adhering the same discipline to your business dealings, it is likely that you will experience the same degree of success.

2) Embrace the power and responsibility of social media

We’re well into the 21st century, and the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. There’s no excuse to be ignorant of the importance of social media any longer. Even if you have a non-existent presence on social media, there are customers on review sites such as Yelp that are building up (or tearing down) your reputation.

By taking the lead on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and monitoring social review sites, not only can you tackle problems head-on, but you can also pick up on trends that will allow you to shape the future strategy of your business.

3) Get involved in philanthropy

Seen as a way to give back to the community, not many business people realize that charitable giving and community involvement can also be a business development strategy.

While it might be crass to suggest that getting involved in an altruistic arena can be a way to boost profits, companies that are genuine about contributing towards the greater good are more likely to be seen in a positive light by members of the public.

This goodwill will become a factor when customers make a choice between your business and one of your competitors, so don’t be afraid to roll up your do-gooder sleeves!

4) Follow up with your clients (like you mean it)

When it comes to client acquisition, it is shocking how passive many small business operators are when it comes to following up. It is especially important in today’s world, where distractions of all kinds abound.

Just because a potential client did not answer your email does not mean they aren’t interested in doing business with you. It may simply be a function of an overloaded email inbox, or the fact that they are swamped with business from other clients.

While it’s important not to smother them, continue to make an effort to make or renew contact every four to six weeks. While this number may vary depending on your industry, it is a great place to start.

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Give Yourself Credit for Being a Smart Business Owner

What does it take to be a smart business owner in 2016? More importantly, are you one of those smart business owners?

Running a company these days takes myriad of skills and traits.

For starters, you have to be a people person. If you’re not, you stand a good chance of not being in business for the long run.

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Secondly, you have to be an intelligent person.

No, a Harvard law degree is not exactly necessary, but you have to have an eye for managing finances, overseeing people (your employees of course), knowing when to go full-steam into an advertising or marketing campaign and when to cut back or pass altogether.

That said one of your other important tasks in successfully running a business is making the right deals with vendors.

From those who protect your computer system to those selling you merchant service accounts and more, make sure you align yourself with companies that not only have proven successful in their own right, but have your best interests in mind.

So, can you give yourself credit for being a smart business owner?

Increase Customer Base with Sound Decisions

So that you can increase your customer base (and hopefully your revenue stream), remember a couple of pointers moving forward:

  • Payment options – You will find the going rough if you do not do what is best for your customer base as far as payment options. Yes, some business owners stand by cash-only payments, but they are growing less and less by the year. Many business owners realize that not only is the credit card option necessary, but so too is the mobile option. Allowing customers to pay via their mobile apps is becoming more and more popular by the year. One of the big decisions you have already faced or will in the near future is finding a reputable merchant services company. That is a key piece of the puzzle, especially given how millions of consumers still rely on the plastic buy and rent goods and services. If you have been slow to accepting credit card payments with your business, give that a serious reconsideration moving forward. With the right merchant services company working with you, the sky is oftentimes the limit as to how much revenue you can bring in, especially if you have been a cash-only business up to this point and time;
  • Service matters – Without a solid customer service effort day after day, your business probably won’t stand a chance against competitors. Yes, offering customers the right payment options and allowing them to buy and rent on-the-go is crucial, but your customer service initiatives can never be taken for granted. Make sure you remind your employees time and time again that the customer should always be given the benefit of the doubt that is without treating any of your workers with disrespect. Also look for ways to make the customer experience even better for them on a regular basis. For example, customers who have been with you for a while now should stand out from the crowd, so treat them with a little extra care. From rewards programs to pre-sales that are not open to the public until your top buyers have had first crack, there are multiple ways for you to reward those loyal customers. If you have been a business owner for years now, you’ve likely made a career out of giving consumers what they want. Always ask yourself, what can I do more of to make my customers keep coming back over and over again? When you have the right answers, the rest will typically fall into place.

Smart business owners are those men and women who lose a little bit of sleep at night. Why is that?

They are the individuals always looking for ways to move their businesses forward, ways that not all others running companies are quick to think of.

Put the time and effort into determining how you can be one of those smart business owners if you are not one already.

Over time, you will to find that many of the traits needed to be a smart business owner all boil down to good old-fashioned commonsense.

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Is Your Business Wasting Time?

What is the biggest challenge or challenges in your mind of running your business?

Some business owners will automatically point to having to manage workers, while others will note keeping within a budget can prove quite the challenge at times. Still others single out the issue of having to properly market and/or advertise their brands.

One item that can oftentimes go unnoticed is making sure you’re properly using technology.

With all that technology has to offer your business, you would almost be irresponsible not to use it to your advantage.

Not only can technology ultimately save you money over time, but it can also speed your daily tasks up, leaving customers happier with the services you provide.

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That said is your business wasting time?

Make the Most of Your Time

In today’s fast-paced business world, not meeting the demands of your customers is akin to throwing money out the window.

Your customers expect a level of service that is second to none, so make sure not to disappoint them.

So, what are some of the ways you can best service your customers?

Among these would be:

  1. Technology – For starters, never underestimate the power and precision of technology. As an example, if you run a small medical practice, it is safe to say that you have a fair amount of patients coming in on a daily basis during the week. With this in mind, what are you doing to make sure they get in and out in a fairly fast amount of time? If you are seeing a backlog being created on a fairly regular basis, you run the risk of not only upsetting some of them, but in fact losing a number of them. In order to minimize such risks, have you looked at different software programs that can speed up their visits, yet still deliver quality care at the same time? Whether you opt for Revenuexl.com or another such product, you can see a difference in no time. The benefits to your medical practice would include shorter waiting periods for patients to be seen by a medical professional, easier means with which to bill customers and the ability to record and analyze payment trends. In all, the customer comes out ahead due to the fact he or she is not saddled with long waiting times, while your business also wins as a result of less time dealing with mounds of paperwork;
  2. Interaction – While you never want to overdo it when it comes to interacting with customers, you can’t expect them to be very loyal if you simply view them as nothing more than a number. That said you should make it known that each and every one of them is a priority to you. By being active on the Internet with both a website and a social media presence, you show them you are pretty much accessible to them 24/7. While your physical office hours are limited, having an active presence online allows you to not only provide them with information such as blog posts, interactive guides, podcasts, videos and more, but also engagement via social media. When a customer contacts you with a question and/or issue through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other such social networking venue, don’t waste time in responding. Customers like it when they see that a business they deal with takes them seriously, along with doing the best job to respond to their needs;
  3. Solutions – Finally, having a zest for technology in your business allows you to better solve problems. As an example, if you’re medical practice relies entirely on paperwork to add up bills etc. it is easy to make an error. Such an error can not only upset customers, but it can also lead to a delay in your ability to receive compensation for your services. With the right software program in place, the technology takes care of crunching the numbers for you. In doing so, you save time and frustration in getting your invoices out.

There are many ways by which your business may be wasting time and you are not even aware of it.

Take the time to see how technology can improve your business functions, allowing wasted time to go by the wayside.

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Organizing Your Office for Business Success

Learning how to organize your business office can help you achieve long-term business success. The more organized an business is, the more productive it is, as organized businesses are efficient businesses.

When an office or business is disorganized, important documents can be lost, deadlines can be missed, and the whole business can slowly start to get behind, leading to loss of profits, dissatisfied customers, and potentially a business failure.

For those who are not naturally organized, or are feeling overwhelmed with the state of their office, here are a few simple organizational tips to help get things back in order:

Go Digital

Many small businesses do not use the technology available to their advantage. Whether the investment seems too hefty a price for a small business to make, or they simply do not realize the tools they need to help their business become more efficient, not going digital can be a huge mistake.

When it comes to keeping track of records, other important documents, and project files, store them digitally through a cloud storage system, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or other similar systems. The benefit is that not only are all the documents in one accessible location, they will also never be lost. Moreover, they can be viewed from any location and from multiple accounts, making it easy to keep employees informed and do business on-the-go.

Lastly, depending upon your business, consider investing in the right software programs, such as salon software if you are a spa or salon business. These types of software programs help keep your business running efficiently, such as providing your business with the tools and help it needs to be successful and productive.

Paper Files

For the paper documents you do have, take some time to go through them and get rid of anything that is no longer relevant or out of date. Not only will these alleviate some of the clutter, it can also help you recall where certain files are when you need to find them.

A great way to free up space is to scan them, turning them into digital files that you can store in your cloud system. Paper invoices, bills, receipts, and other statements can be scanned as a record, allowing you the ability to throw away the paper files and free up space in your office.

Email

While email is digital, a cluttered inbox can be as chaotic as a cluttered file box. Many businesses and business owners receive hundreds of emails a day, and if they are not organized properly, it can be easy for an inbox to start overflowing, which can lead to emails getting buried in your inbox.

Letting your email get out of control can lead to important emails being lost in the hundreds of messages. This break down of communication can lead to a loss of profits, or a loss of customers, should a customer have a question or complaint that never gets answered. Moreover, be sure to regularly check your spam folder, as many legitimate emails get filtered as spam for one reason or another.

Finances

Being disorganized with your finances can leave your business in financial ruin. It is imperative that you are up-to-date with your books, bills, and other financial obligations. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not keep track of their finances as well as they should, and find themselves in the red at the end of the year, or with money missing from their business.

Staying on top of your finances will allow you to see if a business never invoiced you, if a payment is missing, or if you missed a crucial payments and are accruing late fees. Additionally, keeping your finances in order allows you to be ready and organized for tax season. As a small business, it is critical you have all receipts, expenditures, income, and other business financial papers accessible for your taxes.

Before tax season arrives, check in with your tax advisor or accountant in order to make sure you have all pertinent information you need for your taxes.

Organization will help you be more productive in the office, allowing your business to run as efficiently as possible.

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/calculator-paperclip-pen-office-178127/

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Trade Up for a Better Home Business

If you sell products or services out of your home, what are you doing to make sure your customers get top-notch customer service each and every day?

For some home business owners, that task can be challenging given all they have to do as a one-person show. Others, however, are able to pull it off, knowing that their customers will always rank as the most important item on their to-do lists.

With that in mind, what are you doing as a home business owner to improve your brand?

More specifically, what are you not doing, and how can you correct that moving forward?

Give Consumers What They Want

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Start out by reviewing your customer service procedures, including what information your website provides them before they might even have to talk to you by phone.

Look at your website to see if it covers the following:

  • Basic information – Your website should have basic company product and/or service information on it. Such things as what your brand offers, how long you have been in business, how to reach you etc. are all necessities your site needs. The information should be in areas on the site that are easy to find, meaning customers (current and potential) do not have to feel like they are surfing through a maze to find it;
  • Product or service instructions – If you sell a certain product, do you have information about it on your site? Products typically come with how-to manuals, giving customers the basic of how to put it together, how to operate it etc. Take an example from Trade Bit, who offers repair manual downloads on countless products. While you likely only sell one or a number of products, it is a good idea to download such manuals on your site, allowing customers access to them if they do not have the paper version handy. Doing so just makes for smart marketing tactics for your brand;
  • Error-free copy and links – There are many ways to make your home business website look professional, one of which is making sure it is free of errors and broken links.  One of the more irritating things for customers (current and those you are hoping to convert) is coming onto sites where links do not work, copy is loaded with errors, and a simple search for this or that seems to take forever. As a home business owner, funds may be a little tight at times or seemingly all the time. That said it does not mean you shouldn’t be spending money where funds should be directed. Spending some extra money for a professionally-done website is certainly worth the investment;
  • Eye-catching imagery – Your home business website also needs to be appealing when it comes to imagery. If you have a dull site that is full of copy and very few images, it will more times than not bore viewers. This doesn’t mean go nuts on photos etc. but do have them strategically placed on the site for maximum exposure;
  • Social component – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your website needs as much attention as you can possibly give it. One of the great ways to go about this is via social media. In the event you haven’t up to now, promote your site on social networking sites and allow consumers to do the same for you. For any web copy you have, leave icons at the top of the page so that visitors can tweet, share, pin etc. This will put your site and its offerings out in front of the eyes of countless others. Also be willing to share other’s copy, including those who you may invite to guest post on your blog. Once again, this sharing component presents you with more opportunities to market your brand.

Part of being a sound home business owner is being able to market your products or services to the general public without too much hassle and effort.

If your website has been on the backburner for some time now, take the time to get it up to speed.

Remember, your website is a key component of your overall marketing strategy, so make sure it is a fine representative of your brand.

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