Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.
Know your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now – is it lower price, more flexible service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.
Good customer service goes a long way in business; a happy customer is a customer who will recommend you to other shoppers, a returning customer,…. But so many companies just can’t get this right. They’re either putting their needs ahead of their customers’ or too wrapped up in finding new customers that existing ones become expendable.
I’ve had my fair share of experiences with bad customer service. Here are some horror stories… and what you can learn from them:
I’ve recently bought 30 books from a man who started the negotiation with “I do not negotiate.” True story. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t want to give a discount for buying multiple items, but what was most frustrating was his attitude in general. It didn’t matter how much I was spending, or how pleasant I was trying to be, he does “not negotiate” (or he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed) and nothing was going to change that.
Do you know if your customers are happy? If not, you should.
It’s imperative that you fulfil your customer pillars of delight. Otherwise, you might lose customers to your competitors. 48% of customers who had a negative experience told 10 or more people.
Unfortunately, more of your customers are likely to talk about your poor customer service or a bad experience compared to those individuals that love your company.
Your customers are your biggest assets. Don’t give them a reason to leave. Customer loyalty should be your ultimate goal, but it cannot be accomplished if they aren’t happy.
Raising prices is never an easy thing to do. Despite most people understanding that prices have to be increased on a lot of items, from fuel and food to insurance and utilities, it remains a delicate task.
Here are a few tips on how to do it in a way that puts your company in a better financial position and not a worse one caused by an exodus of irritated customers.
Identify where your prices need to go
Once you’ve established the exact percentage of your price rises, there are two trains of thought: phase them in with smaller increments over a period of time or institute one larger price increase in one fell swoop. There are pros and cons to both methods.
Culture is crucial when it comes to understanding the needs and behaviours of an individual. Throughout his existence, an individual will be influenced by his family, his friends, his cultural environment or society that will “teach” him values, preferences as well as common behaviours to their own culture.
For a brand, it is important to understand and take into account the cultural factors inherent to each market or to each situation in order to adapt its product and its marketing strategy. As these will play a role in the perception, habits, behaviour or expectations of consumers.
A recent study revealed that 26% of respondents would stop buying from a company if they were not happy with the delivery firm used. Losing business over a problem which is not caused by you is certainly the worst way for it to happen.
We found that most online shops use more than one delivery firm – but none of them offer customers a choice over which is used.
With a third of online shopping problems relating to delivery, this seems to be the weak link in the web retail boom. It means customers who have had a bad experience with a particular delivery firm are left pretty powerless if they want to avoid using them again.
Social media has paved the way for companies to get closer to their customers. And while this has proven to be advantageous, it can also be disastrous if you do not know how to properly deal with angry customers who vent their ire, frustration and disappointment in social media.
Word of mouth still is the best marketing method, and whereas before any bad feedback or complaint from your customers may have gone no further than a conversation between friends or through snail mail, nowadays every complaint, valid or not, is available for the world to see.
Sometimes, bad publicity is inevitable. Even when you and your organisation behave responsibly, you always run the small risk of an unexpected PR disaster. In the information age, bad publicity can reach the masses before you can even mount a defense.
The only thing worse than having your image tarnished in the public light after you’ve done everything within your power to protect yourself is to find out you’re the one who caused the disaster. For every rogue employee saying something stupid to the media, there’s a poor senior-level decision being made.
What to do when your business gets bad publicity
Respond quickly, honestly and decisively. Don’t get defensive. If you are in the wrong, it’s vital to own up and apologise. Never say “no comment” – it sends the message that you are in the wrong but feel no remorse – and the press may keep digging for dirt. Face up to the situation and you can begin to restore the reputation of your business.
Demanding customers, fierce competition, breathtaking technological innovation, etc. These are the realities of today’s global marketplace; realities that have changed forever the way we do business, especially the way we sell.
Gone are the days when salespeople could rely on charming small-talk and aggressive closing techniques alone to generate business.
Many traditional selling approaches regard selling as something the seller does to the buyer. They sell them something. The result of this attitude to sales is that many salespeople adapt a manipulative, almost coercive style of selling.
The importance of consistency in business seems so basic as to not need discussion. Yet many companies, especially smaller ones, operate in a day-by-day, case-by-case fashion that is disorganised, undisciplined and certainly inefficient.
The frenetic, never-enough people/time/money reality of small business can make us feel like we’re chasing it down rather than leading it along, but if we get in front of it with consistent standards and practices (ideally working hand-in-hand with a strong set of values), every aspect of the business benefits.
Packaging plays an important role as a medium in the marketing mix, in promotion campaigns, as a pricing criterion, in defining the character of new products, as a setter of trends and as an instrument to create brand identity and shelf impact in all product groups.
The findings of our recent survey about this subject present new arguments and evidence confirming a central conviction held by the packaging industry: that the shopper appreciates and in fact explicitly wants to receive stimulation for the buying decision he is making when standing in front of the supermarket shelf, often even preferring this to other forms of communication. He is keen to be informed and inspired, tempted and pampered by surprising and persuasive functions, emotions and sensual impressions.
Refunds are no fun. You get that email, or a call, or worse yet, a public shout out on twitter or facebook that reads, “I’d like a refund.” Those four words can send any small business or solopreneur into a tailspin of self-doubt. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here’s how to handle a refund request and use it to boost your business, make a better product and not let “I’d like a refund” get you down.