3 counter-intuitive customer service lessons entrepreneurs should learn

The only thing that differentiates your business from the competition is the quality of the overall customer experience. And if any aspect of a customer's experience falls short of expectations, you'd better make sure your customer service is exemplary. To build a successful business you need satisfied customers who are loyal to your brand, will return for more, and will recommend you. And good customer service is a vital part of the overall customer experience. Here, Alex Gold shares some impor...
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Why brands should ask customers for feed-forward, not feedback

Although customer feedback is an important tool for assessing your company's performance, it can be limiting. Feedback from a dissatisfied customer highlights the mistakes you've made, and gives you an opportunity to correct problems, while feedback from a satisfied customer about what you did well only helps you maintain the status quo. Asking your customers for feed-forward, on the other hand, creates opportunities for the future. Here, marketing leadership expert Thomas Barta shares how to us...
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The ultimate guide to responding to positive and negative Google reviews (with examples)

Rather than necessarily being bad for business, negative online reviews offer you an opportunity to improve your customer service and brand perception while positive reviews provide opportunities for engaging with customers and showing your appreciation. It's important to remember that failing to live up to a customer's expectations may reveal aspects of your products or services that need improving. Whether it's a case of protecting your reputation or enhancing it, what matters most is how you ...
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Does your business have the friendly-factor?

Likeability and trust are important currencies in business. People prefer to do business with people they like and the more they like you, the more they trust you. Consumers base their buying decisions on emotions, not rational thinking, and they're more likely to create an emotional connection with a likeable business. Since friendliness is a major factor in likeability, it's an important part of the customer experience. Yet many businesses make the mistake of sacrificing friendliness for the s...
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Recognising, rewarding and retaining your 'high value' customers

A business can't thrive without customers and it may depend on its high value customers to survive.It's more cost-effective to retain existing customers than win new ones and your high value customers are often your biggest advocates. In this article, Frik van der Westhuizen shares how to identify the customers that bring in the most value to your business and explores the role big data analytics, audience segmentation, behavioural analysis and automation play in nurturing customer rel...
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How to reduce customer service email response times to one hour or less

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, customer experience reigns supreme as a key differentiator. While customers value personalization, a simple purchasing process, friendly customer service and accurate information, the most important attribute of a great customer experience is a fast response time to queries and complaints. In our fast moving digital age, customers have high expectations and the standard email response time of 24 hours falls short of delighting them. To help sharpen you...
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The secret ratio that proves why customer reviews are so important

Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers more than they trust what brands say about themselves. And they trust online reviews and feedback on social media as much as personal recommendations. While high ratings and positive reviews enhance your reputation and boost sales, just one negative review can be extremely damaging. And a customer who has a negative experience is more likely to leave a review than a satisfied customer. "In my experience, only one in 10 happy customers leaves a good...
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5 ways to improve your website’s first impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression and in a highly competitive market first impressions can make or break a business. A positive first encounter can set the tone for the entire customer experience. And since your website is often the first point of contact with your business, this is where prospective customers are going to form their initial impression of your brand. To help you attract, engage and build positive relationships with new customers, online marketing and branding ex...
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How to deal with difficult customers using these 7 psychological strategies

Although any difficult situation with a customer can be challenging, it also offers you an opportunity to build trust with your customer and improve your relationship with them. The first step to handling any concerns, complaint or problem raised by a customer is to remain calm and professional. Whatever the issue is, with the right approach you can demonstrate that you care about the customer's problem and work with them to find a solution. With that in mind, Meg Prater shares here some top tip...
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Conversational marketing: How a messaging strategy will grow your business

Advances in technology are continually changing how we communicate with customers. From voicemail and email to texting, instant messaging and now live chat, customers have got used to communicating with businesses anywhere, at any time. And they expect fast response times. With conversational marketing we can "have 1:1 personal conversations across multiple channels – meeting customers how, when, and where they want," writes Alicia Collins. Here, she explores the ke...
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