Friday, June 26, 2020

Paul Herdsman Of NICE Global: The Benefits Of Utilizing Nearshore Outsourcing For Your Business

In today’s ever-changing, highly competitive business climate, small startups and large companies alike are increasingly turning to outsourcing processes. Everything from customer service, technical support, to back office operations are able to be outsourced as a way to reduce costs, keep up with the evolving consumer expectations, and drive a faster return on investment.

While traditional offshoring to Asia or Eastern Europe has always been lauded for its cheap labor, for companies that practice agile, or require better collaboration, communication, and a higher level of engagement, the advantages of nearshore software development are clear.

What is the difference between offshoring and nearshoring?

 Put simply, offshore outsourcing means hiring a company to perform a service from a different part of the world. This is the type of outsourcing that is typically associated with the word in the first place, and can conjure up the image of comedic portrayals of frustrating customer service encounters. Usually, these offshore suppliers are in Asia, (India, Afghanistan, Malaysia, China, Vietnam and the Philippines), Eastern Europe (Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia), or Africa (Morocco, Kenya and South Africa).

In nearshore outsourcing, the goal is to receive the same benefits of reduced costs that offshore outsourcing provides, but by utilizing countries closer in location, language and culture than one would find in offshore services. Examples of this for businesses in the United States would be countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, or Jamaica. Nearshore outsourcing allows you to have a close dedicated team which will let you have more control over your project development flow, more engagement with the team and less possible problem points thanks to faster reaction time.

Back in 2013, my own company was offshore outsourcing to four different countries: the Dominican Republic, Honduras, the Philippines, and India. After a while, it began to place an immense strain on our internal resources to manage all of the centers efficiently, effectively negating the cost-savings we were benefiting from. We ultimately made the decision to bring everything in-house and build our own center, and after doing our due diligence and research, we decided on Montego Bay, Jamaica as the ideal location. The center exceeded every expectation we had for it in handling our business needs, and so we decided to offer our services to others and started Nearshore Inbound Call Experts as a result.

Businesses looking to reduce costs and increase velocity while simultaneously maintaining effective communication are looking to nearshore outsourcing with ever-increasing frequency. Here are four major reasons why nearshore is often a solution that provides the best of both worlds:

Cost Effectiveness.

When it comes to outsourcing, pricing itself will inevitably be cheaper if you choose to do so offshore, but upon taking a closer look at some of the potential drawbacks this option can end up not being much better than hiring locally. Even with today’s advanced remote technology, some communication just can’t be provided via video link. For a distant overseas team, that means a potentially costly plane ticket for all necessary employees, as well as other travel fees such as food and lodging.  On the flip side, travel to neighboring countries is fast, easy, and much cheaper than distant international flights. Nearshore outsourcing also saves a large part of the budget that may be spent on lost paid time due to the time zone delays, such as waiting for responses, task management, research, or someone working incorrectly until the error is noticed.

Ease of Communication.

Proximity is also a driving factor in the ease of communication with nearshore outsourcing. By working with those in a similar time zone as yourself, you have a team that works during your hours. Nobody has to wake up at five in the morning to catch someone about to leave the office for the night, and your company as a whole can function as a unit, rather than two separate parts. In addition to this, communication can literally be easier than offshore outsourcing, due to the fact that those located closer to the United States are more likely to speak English, removing any language barrier problems. Many schools in Latin America teach English as a core requirement, and nearby islands like Jamaica often have English as their official language.

Shared Time Zones.

With nearshore outsourcing, companies are rarely located more than one time zone away, maximizing the amount of time you can spend on efficient communication throughout the workday. For example, a one hour time difference still leaves you with a seven hour window within a regular workday for constant and effortless communication. As a result, turnaround time is going to be much quicker, and similar work hours allows your team to be easily accessed so any and all questions can be answered with immediacy. With an international team, you may have to wait days before you get a word back, substantially reducing productivity.

Similar Culture.

Cultural differences can also play a bigger role than you’d expect in outsourcing. Different countries don’t have to share the same values and traditions to work well together, as those aren’t guaranteed to have an impact on standards of corporations, but work is affected by your approach to it. Countries in Europe and Asia are intrinsically different in the ways they approach work that is distinctly different from the United States. Nearshore teams are more accustomed to American work customs and dynamics, and are able to mesh more seamlessly with your company as a result. In understanding your culture, they also have the ability to act more autonomously, able to make decisions without receiving explicit instructions with the confidence that they understand your objectives, leading to a much higher return on your investment.

Offshore and onshore outsourcing may have their own preferential qualities, but nearshore outsourcing combines the two to create the best of both worlds. In the latter, you may be dealing with increased costs, communication hiccups, expensive travel fares, mismatched work hours, and a general lack of security that you’re getting the product you’re paying for. Nearshore outsourcing provides workers that are close in proximity, easier to communicate and work alongside, receptive to similar workplace culture, and generally more cost-effective. You are significantly lowering costs, while also retaining good control, high responsiveness, and better quality and motivation for your workers in both locations.

 

Follow Paul Herdsman on ThriveGlobal and Medium.

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Top 7 Best Marketing Tactics In 2020

There are more small businesses in the U.S. now than there have ever been before. In fact, recent surveys show roughly 30.2 million small businesses. In other words, you have a lot of competition.

However, that shouldn’t discourage you from starting or continuing to run your business. If you have a good idea, fantastic products, or unrivaled services, the world deserves to see them. Additionally, a thriving capitalistic society means there is a lot of demand for entrepreneurship.

The key to success is making an impact within your target audience by perfecting your marketing tactics. Keep reading to learn about the most effective 2020 marketing strategies.

1. SEO Marketing.

Search engine optimization is huge for any business looking to create an online presence. SEO is the algorithm that dictates how quickly and easily people find you online based on keyword searches. SEO coding refers to:

  • Keywords
  • Internal and external links
  • Backlinks
  • Multimedia embedded with SEO metadata (images, videos, infographics, etc.)
  • Local SEO (contact information, local keywords, etc.)

Digital Purview can provide more information on how to check and improve your SEO score.

2. Content Marketing.

Content marketing consists of subtle marketing strategies that use relevant, engaging, and valuable information to gently nudge users toward a call to action. This can refer to blog posts, social media posts, emails, or anything else you publish online. The goal is to build a relationship with consumers.

3. Landing Page Ads.

Landing page ads are typically pop-up windows that come up on your website. You can also pay to publish these ads on other websites as well.

These marketing tactics deliver a simple but powerful message and include a strong call to action. Generally, landing page ads attempt to drive traffic to product/service pages, specific blog articles, or email subscribe forms. They must carry strong incentives to motivate users to follow the call to action.

4. PPC Marketing.

One of the most effective marketing tactics in 2020 revolves around pay per click marketing. PPC marketing allows you to expand your reach to other websites’ audiences. They publish your ad and you pay them a predetermined amount every time a user clicks on it.

5. Social Media Marketing.

If your business isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on one of the most inclusive 2020 marketing tactics. Nearly 72% of Americans are on social media and most of them check it daily.

Social media marketing allows you to designate your target audience based on age, gender, location, and more. Additionally, it provides valuable feedback pertaining to how each ad performs.

6. Influencer Marketing.

If you don’t have a large enough social media following to make an impact through this platform, you can borrow other peoples’ audiences. Influencer marketing allows you to pay those with a high number of followers to promote your brand. You can pay them (or trade products) per month, per post, etc.

7. Email Marketing.

Finally, email marketing is one of the best 2020 marketing tips to follow because it relies on a target audience who has already expressed interest in your company. Your emails will remind them that you’re there and offer exclusive discounts. You just have to give past and future customers a compelling reason to subscribe.

Want to Learn More About Marketing Tactics and Entrepreneurship?

It takes dedication to learn, understand, and perfect the many marketing tactics available to the modern entrepreneur. However, being a business owner was never about taking the easy route. If you want to be successful, you must put in the time and effort.

If you’re looking for more valuable information and advice about entrepreneurship, be sure to check out our other articles before you go!

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How A Law Firm Website Design Can Increase Your Leads

A well-designed law firm website has the potential to attract new clients and establish your firm as a proficient in your area of law specialization. Good website design not only contains useful information but also highlights your values as a law firm and presents a professional image.

A law firm website design is a crucial part of any law firm’s marketing strategy as it increases your leads. You must stand out from the competition in a fiercely competitive, saturated market.

A law firm website that is well designed is easy to navigate and is full of valuable, actionable content. Prospects should find it a pleasure to read and should be able to easily and quickly find information about your firm.

Calls to Action Attract More Leads.

A law firm website design should increase the number of people who decide to call or click and initiate contact. Your law firm website design should have an appropriate call to action displayed on the site. You should use active verbs that encourage direct action, for example, “request a free consultation”, “sign up for our newsletter”, or “ask for legal advice”.

Put Contact Information in Your Header.

Put your law firm name and the number of your law firm at the top of every landing page in your law firm website design. Ensure the header is consistent for every page — this makes individual landing pages look more like “tabs” or home pages than lesser members of a bigger archive.

Don’t lose on-the-go Leads.

No matter how great your law firm web design looks great on a computer screen, but is hard to read on a mobile device, you will lose on-the-go leads. Have your website tested on multiple browsers and devices.

Your website layout choices should include fonts and graphics that translate well on mobile devices. Stay away from small fonts and complicated color schemes.

Clean Design and Sufficient White Space.

Avoid an overload of information. Even though it helps to have comprehensive coverage over every aspect of your service, too much information into your homepage and landing pages is a distraction. It only serves to overwhelm your potential clients and they are likely to lose their interest. The ideal solution to this problem is “white space.”

White space is empty space on a web page which helps draw focus to page elements, such as a call-to-action. The color doesn’t have to be white — vary it depending on your design. White space needs to be empty to reduce clutter and help create a visual hierarchy on the page.

When the design is used intelligently, you will illustrate the importance of different page elements to your site visitors, improve comprehension, and hold their attention for longer. There are several examples of strong law firm websites that practice this on the web.

The goal is to gain your potential client’s interest and direct them towards a call-to-action, where you will establish contact.

Captivating Headline.

Visitors to your website need to see exactly what you offer through your headline. A headline that captivates grants your site visitors the most important piece of information they require straight away. As soon as prospects visit your site, they should have an idea of if you are a good fit for their requirement. This will make them more susceptible to keep reading and progress to a point of contact.

For an ideal and compelling headline, have clarity. This makes it easy for your potential client to know what’s on offer. Any indistinctness you will likely lose a visitor’s interest.

Have a unique value proposition (UVP) — have your firm offer prospects what sets you aside from the competition. Make this clear, and it could have a long-lasting effect in the mind of your potential clients.

Content Is Key.

Your content should be high-quality content that is persuasive and informative as it helps convert your traffic into new leads. Ensure your site visitors get your point in your content and offer them real value. Use clear and concise words. Too much wording can put off an interested party and risks lowering your leads. Use customer-focused words, such as “you” and “your” while keep “we” and “our” to a minimum.

Incorporate these features on your law firm’s website to lead to an increase in site engagement and conversions. Whether you are a small law firm or a large law firm with multiple locations and hundreds of attorneys; have some or all of these features incorporated in your law firm website design to increase your leads.

Sources

Top 40 Law Firm Website Designs

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Why Start-Ups Should Make Use Of Market Research

Whenever you are about to embark on a major life decision or project, you will ask friends, family, or knowledgeable acquaintances their opinion. It can be very useful, but how much more helpful might it be to get the views of a broad cross-section of the public, who aren’t known to you personally? They would be less biased, less affected by your obvious enthusiasm and passion for the project, and less concerned with how the success or failure of your venture could personally affect them.

That is the nature of market research. It is an essential part of giving your start-up a chance of succeeding, and if it is already up and running, of taking it to the next level. Yet many entrepreneurs only do minimal market research before launching in with their product or service. This is undoubtedly a big part of why so many start-ups fail within their first six months.

The benefits of market research.

Market research lets you make an informed decision and gives you a bigger, more realistic perspective on the road ahead. Setting up a new business is always a leap into the unknown, so it makes sense to have as much data on your side as you can muster. Harvesting unbiased, objective opinions from across your target audience will help you to spot any flaws in your idea while there’s still time to fix them. By finding out as much as possible about your potential customers and clients, you can find out what informs their purchasing decisions, and so tailor your product and digital marketing strategy accordingly.

Creating a business plan.

A good business plan should be based on solid primary and secondary research. That will initially help you to understand the feasibility of the project and to create a better product that is more accurately tailored to your market. Market trends move fast, and your business plan needs to demonstrate a deep understanding of past, present, and future customer buying habits. Market research lends weight and validity to your business plan and will help you to get credit and attract investors. A pitch backed up by in-depth market research will be taken seriously, whereas one based on groundless speculation will be laughed out of the building.

Intelligence and analysis.

Because markets change and your business needs to grow, market research should be an ongoing process. Successful companies value intelligence above everything else, but the information is useless unless you know how to analyze it and act upon your findings. Alex Friedman is the co-founder and managing partner of Jackson Hole Economics, a private research organization that develops actionable market intelligence for policymakers. They understand the considerable value of both data gathering and how to can be used to craft economic policy for governments and businesses alike. The success of men like Friedman is a testament to the increasing value of market research in today’s data-driven world.

Primary and secondary research.

Primary research means going out and collecting unique data first-hand. Secondary research means seeking out and using analysis that is already available. Before undertaking your primary research, it’s worth finding out what information is already available that you can use. You may well still need to do your fundamental research, but at least you won’t be duplicating existing results.

Secondary research can include reading company reports, published studies and survey results, government data, and newspaper reports. A great deal of information is available online. Other sources can be found in public libraries, business groups, and trade associations.

Asking questions.

Your start-up has to exist in the real world, and that means that you need to find out as much as possible about the real people you imagine buying your product or using your service. For the sake of convenience, let’s refer to them as customers. They are the most important factor in your success and will make or break you. No business can afford to take its customers for granted. You must adapt to serve them, not the other way around.

Your customers are complex individuals with real needs, fears, likes, and dislikes. They have jobs, families, interests, and social lives. Get to know them well, if only on paper. Learn to think about them in different contexts. What are they trying to achieve? What are their emotional needs? How do their needs and goals change in different situations?

Solving a problem.

Ultimately your product or service should create value by solving a problem. It might be a problem that your customers didn’t realize existed because they had never considered that an aspect of their lives could be made easier or more enjoyable. In many cases, you not only have to show how your product will solve a problem, but you also have to convince the customers that there is a problem to be addressed.

Market research lets you define the problem and tailor your product to solving it. It also enables you to customize your product and marketing to how the customer perceives the problem. It’s also essential to check out the competition. Has a product like yours existed before? If it failed, how can yours succeed? If it succeeded, how can your product improve upon it?

These are all questions that market research is designed to answer. By knowing your customers’ needs, you can create a successful product that has longevity and can adapt to a changing marketplace.

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Dermatologist And Entrepreneur Dr. Tim Ioannides’ Journey To Curating A Meaningful Career

When most people think about medical professionals, they seldom consider the business aspect of a medical career, nor would they relate entrepreneurship with the same individuals. However, aside from providing patient-centric medical care in their particular niche of medicine, medical professionals seek to curate careers that allow them to partake in important research, remain professionally fulfilled, explore a passionate field, and provide the services they render to be most important. Like any other professional, these committed individuals seek to grow, advance in their field, and remain impassioned throughout their professional trajectory.

For Florida-based medical dermatologist Dr. Tim Ioannides, the desire to provide solely medically-driven dermatological procedures in a field dominated by cosmetically-based practices led him to open his own practice. Through this bold step, Dr. Ioannides was able to pivot his career path, dedicate his time to a niche he felt strongly about, and remain in charge of his own professional destiny. Setting an example for the next generation of unlikely young entrepreneurs within any industry, Dr. Ioannides’ story lends inspiration for young professionals on the journey to curating a meaningful career.

Find Your Passion.

In order to be able to doggedly pursue a specific career path, and envision exactly what success would look like within this chosen path, you must first find your professional passion. While many students find interests that can be parlayed into a job, this passion must transcend the mere prospect of a job. Rather, it must be a field that imparts curiosity, sparks commitment and exploration, and incites the desire to grow on a long-term basis. While in school, you can pursue education in fields of interest, exploring fields that can yield a particular vocation of choice. Throughout undergraduate and graduate studies, you can gain the practical and educational experience needed to further bolster your passion, along with a myriad of real-world experiences via internships, fellowships, and other programs. Using these programs as an insider’s look into potential careers, you can garner firsthand insight into the daily operations of various career choices.

While earning his PhD from the University of Miami School Of Medicine, Dr. Tim Ioannides explored his motivation for Medical Dermatology. Previously, the budding medical professional completed a comprehensive doctoral internship program at the University of Florida School of Medicine Health Science Center, where his innate interest in skin cancer, skin diseases, and medically based dermatology began to undoubtedly grow. Throughout this important time in his educational journey, Dr. Ioannides had many opportunities to explore multiple disciplines, to question his potential journey, and hone in on a niche that would become his professional motivation. Certain of his drive toward medical dermatology, Dr. Ioannides completed a residency program at the University of Miami School of Medicine in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Become Certified, Licensed, And Educated.

No matter the field, subject, or industry, young professionals must commit to garnering any needed credentials that will allow them to move forward in their desired field. In many industries, lacking appropriate credentials can close proverbial doors of interest before the young professional even has an opportunity to engage in real-world work. Thus, after figuring out your professional passion, it is imperative to pursue the framework that will allow you to practice that passion on a daily basis in the future. While work experience is the greatest teacher, most industries have minimum standards in terms of education and licensure to ensure that practicing individuals can enter the field with a working base knowledge of safety protocols, practical knowledge, and preliminary understanding of the field.

After pursuing extensive education, Dr. Tim Ioannides became Board Certified in Dermatology through the American Board of Dermatology. In order to practice his craft professionally in a medical setting, and become a trusted member of the medical community, Dr. Ioannides recognized the importance of obtaining all needed certifications and licenses. Without these important professional certifications, Dr. Ioannides would not have been able to practice dermatology, and begin his professional journey.

Define Your Goals.

After gaining entry into a particular field of interest, young professionals who dedicated their education to the study of a particular field can then begin to garner real-world experience through entry-level positions. During this crucial time, you will begin to see daily operations within a particular industry, and explore your own standing in a professional field. After “making it” into a particular field, young professionals can then set out to further define their goals, pivot their trajectory to focus on a particular discipline, or engage in meaningful activities. Streamlining your own participation in a particular field, you can now consider your specific preferences, entrepreneurship desires, ethical considerations, and the ways in which you would like to formulate your career.

Post-matriculation, Dr. Ioannides began his career at an established dermatological practice. Certain of his unwavering commitment to dermatology, he was pleased to enter the field, and to gain extensive insight related to daily operations of a thriving practice, patient interaction, and other “on the job” skills. However, he also began to recognize his growing passion for medically-based dermatology, rather than cosmetically-driven procedures. Simultaneously, he also recognized that a large portion of dermatology practices focused on cosmetic treatments, as they were a profitable source of income for the practices. Driven by the desire to partake in innovative skin cancer research, provide skin cancer treatment options to patients, and to care for skin conditions, Dr. Ioannides knew that he would have to make significant changes in order to be able to dedicate his professional life to the niche areas of dermatology that impassioned him.

Make Niche Dreams A Reality.

For professionals who have amassed pertinent experience within a particular industry, and have streamlined their professional goals, embarking on the paths to reach those goals will undoubtedly become a priority. After identifying a set route, plan of action, and desired outcome, professionals can then follow the steps needed to curate a meaningful career. Sometimes, this can be as simple as gaining entry into a coveted position or firm, or it can be as complicated as setting out to independently open a desired business. In order to successfully turn niche dreams into a reality, you may have to think outside of the proverbial box, take chances, and follow your respective professional bliss.

For Dr. Ioannides, the manifestation of his niche dream came in the form of entrepreneurship. Essentially, if the specific focus on medical dermatology was not widely available within existing practices, he would have to create his own! Motivated by the prospect of devoting his time to caring for medically-based dermatological issues, skin cancer, and skin disorders, Dr. Ioannides set forth to launch Treasure Coast Dermatology in Florida, with the goal of specializing in only medical dermatology. While he did provide some cosmetic procedures in the beginning to gain a positive cash flow for his fledgling business, Dr. Ioannides swiftly pivoted to a medically-based model quickly, and never looked back. Combining his innate interest and passion for medical dermatology, along with practical knowledge relating to patient care, daily operations, and staffing, Dr. Ioannides created the exact place where he previously dreamt of working.

As a result of his passion toward the niche industry, hard work, and commitment to raising awareness of the importance of skin care and safety, Treasure Coast Dermatology began to swiftly grow. To best serve the growing needs of increasing numbers of clients, Dr. Ioannides expanded the practice to include six standalone locations, serving Saint Lucie, Martin, and Indian River counties. Through a commitment to a patient-first experience, proactive patient education, and ongoing research within the field of medical dermatology, Dr. Ioannides’ business saw continued growth since inception. While he certainly wouldn’t call himself a career entrepreneur per se, his expanding practice is an example of a successful business venture, created out of a passion for medical dermatology.

Seek Specialization, Continue To Grow.

Even after curating the most desirable and fulfilling career, well-seasoned professionals should further seek specializations, foster ongoing mastery of field-specific innovations, and continue to grow. This continuation of specialization will not only render professionals as in-demand leaders within their respective fields, but will provide ongoing personal motivation. From conducting groundbreaking research, to focusing on burgeoning treatment options, even the most experienced professionals can remain focused on self-betterment through participation in innovative endeavors. In order to maximize your professional growth on a long-term timeline, consider specialization within evolving and changing technologies, new and rising procedures, or other innovations that propel your field forward.

With the prevalence of skin cancer throughout the country continuously vast and unwavering, Dr. Ioannides committed to lending his expertise throughout various groundbreaking research studies, including a prolific study for a potential skin cancer vaccine. Not only did this participation assist in the study, it allowed Dr. Ioannides to partake in an industry-evolving study that could potentially eradicate skin cancer in the future. A proud moment for Dr. Ioannides, his participation in such pivotal studies leveraged his continued commitment to the field of medical dermatology.

In addition, Dr. Ioannides became certified to perform the highly specialized Mohs Micrographic Surgery, a revolutionary new treatment for skin cancer. Unlike previously widely utilized skin cancer surgeries, Mohs surgery allowed medical professionals to remove the cancer itself, along with surrounding “roots” that could initiate the eventual return of skin cancer. This concise surgery also allowed medical professionals the opportunity to examine all cells under the microscope post-removal, which was not previously available, providing more comprehensive care than ever before. Recognizing the importance of this specialized procedure on the outcomes of skin cancer for his patients, Dr. Ioannides received specialized training to become certified to perform Mohs Surgery, and became a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society for Mohs Surgery.

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Guide To Improving Customer Communication – A 2020 Edition

When running a business, there’s one element that is more important than any other: the customer. If you don’t have customers purchasing your products or services, your company will quickly cease to exist. It’s that simple.

Due to the importance of customers, your communication with them should be a primary concern. Not only can this help to convince potential consumers into buying your wares, but it’s also a significant factor in ensuring current customers keep coming back for more.

If you’re ready to strengthen the customer relationship, this guide is here to help. As the following information will demonstrate, you don’t need to spend bundles of cash or hire a marketing expert. All you require is the right strategy and tools for success.

Be armed with the right communication tools.

As a starting point, you should acquire all of the right tools to communicate effectively with your customers. The issue with this is how tech-oriented the world has become. Back in the day, you could get away with simply having a telephone number and email address. Now, there are various other communication tools needed – it’s something your customers expect.

Now you likely already have social media profiles created for your business. Yet these shouldn’t only be utilized as marketing tools. Due to their accessibility and the fact that virtually everyone uses them, customers often find it easier to send messages to businesses via the likes of Twitter and Facebook. As a result, you need to continually monitor your social media accounts for any questions or enquiries.

Another communication tool customers anticipate is live chat. For the uninitiated, live chat usually appears in the bottom right-hand corner of a website. When someone clicks on the box, this will open up a live chat where customers can instantly receive the help and advice they desire. While you can have a real person behind the live chat, it’s recommended to use automation.

Hang on to the telephone.

With the prevalence of live chat, social media, email, etc. it can be easy to forget one of the most traditional forms of communication: phone calls.

However, this is something you need to avoid scrapping. According to research from Google, consumers see calls as an “important” channel of communication, with 70% of searchers on mobile using click-to-call.

Nevertheless, trying to operate a dedicated phone line can be tricky for small and even medium businesses. Calls can disrupt your work and negatively affect workflow. This is where a professional answering service comes in particularly handy. Instead of taking the calls on yourself, you can outsource and let professional receptionists handle the job. You save bundles of time, avoid timewasters, and receive efficient feedback about the callers who matter.

In this day and age, customers demand instant responses. Yet if you’re a small business with limited staff members, it’s not feasible to have someone available to help on a 24/7 basis. Thankfully, the rise of automation means you can stay online at all times.

This isn’t the only advantage automation has, either. It also delivers responses immediately to customers. As soon as they input their query, the automation should fire back a suitable reply within a matter of seconds. Yes, customers will likely catch on that they’re chatting with a ‘bot’. Yet if they receive what they’re searching for, it’s unlikely they’ll care. Plus it beats waiting potentially hours to receive a reply via email or social media.

There is one problem with automation: it cannot possibly answer or anticipate every enquiry that is thrown in its direction. However, you should have the ability to customize the experience as much as possible. This means you can always have a response ready for commonly asked questions. If a customer begins asking more complex questions, you can have the automated response hand them other to a different communication channel where a human employee can take over.

Avoid robotic replies.

Having just talked about automation, this may seem like a point that is difficult to avoid. However, you can personalize your automated responses where they stay far away from being robotic and conservative. The more effort you put into this, the more customers will feel they are actually talking to a real human being – even if they’re not.

Of course, this approach should also extend to all of your other communication methods. It can be easy to send out a strait-laced email devoid of any personality, for example. Also teach employees to respond in a real way, where it’s clear they’re not just reading off a sheet of preempted questions/answers.

Learn to listen.

When you’re in direct contact with a customer, always learn to sit back, let them respond without interruption, and take into account what they’re saying. Nothing annoys a customer more than when they feel they’re not being heard by a business. Once you have comprehended what they have said, always attempt to respond in the right way. Positive and polite language can go a long way, but at the end of the day customers want answers – always be ready to supply them when needed.

In relation to this, you should also pay attention to all feedback that is sent your way. Constructive criticism from customers is one of the best ways to learn more about your business. They’ll give you honest appraisal, and you can have a greater insight into what’s working and what isn’t. Also take the time to publicly acknowledge all comments and reviews, even if they’re bad.

Create the right content.

Communication isn’t only done directly. You can also convey the right message to customers with the content you create. Meaningful content, the type that captures the attention and educates, is integral for diminishing the chance of consumers being confused about the products or services you offer.

There are various different ways you can create content. Writing is the most obvious avenue to take, but videos are even more effective. Due to their visual nature, they are fantastic for showing off your products, telling a story, detailing how your business works, and so much more.

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3 Businesses That Have Fared Spectacularly During The Lockdown

In the shark-infested waters of business, startups are teeny tiny plankton being gobbled up by the bigger, more intricately evolved aquatic species of the corporate world.

Most of them will be devoured before they even learn how to swim. But every now and again, there’ll be a start-up platform that grows a fin and some legs, and swims its way to the top of the food chain.

Now that this tortured analogy is over – and has shown its writer’s VERY limited understanding of evolutionary biology – we can get to the point. Being a start-up is hard, and the twofold threat of the coronavirus and a new economic collapse will make it even harder over the next few years.

Those sharks in the first paragraph have been strengthened by the global crises unravelling before our eyes, while smaller businesses have been shut down entirely.

And yet, giving up is not an option. There are a glut of SMEs that have weathered the storm of the world’s economic tumult and will emerge stronger than ever.

How have they done this? In large part, their success is down to a granular knowledge of their business sector. They’ve got the edge over their competitors, and it’s keeping them in fine economic fettle.

Let’s take a look at three examples to show you a few businesses that are growing legs and swimming ashore – in part thanks to the lockdown.

1. Property Lisbon.

The property sector has fallen on hard times since the coronavirus pandemic began – but that won’t stop the resumption of foreign investment once normal business starts again.

One company ideally positioned for booming sales is Property Lisbon, an estate agency in the capital of Portugal with properties which are suitable for the budding AirBnB entrepreneur or the long-term resident.

There’s a simple reason why companies like Property Lisbon are set to make a killing – they’ve cornered a very specific market and frontloaded their website with a broad illustration of their expertise. Take a look to see what we mean.

The lesson: don’t be afraid to flaunt your knowledge on your website. Potential customers will be impressed.

2. BrewDog.

Alcohol consumption has seen a rapid increase since the lockdown began. And while that’s not exactly a cause for celebration, it marks a boon for independent breweries everywhere.

BrewDog are one of the largest independent craft beer makers on the planet and, thanks to their beer delivery service, they’ve managed to balance the books to keep their doors open.

People have ordered from BrewDog in part because of its exceptional track record for customer service. This is a brand that’s fostered a relationship with its customers from the very beginning, and it’s keeping their profit margins high at a time when many brewers are feeling the pinch.

The lesson: place the customer cycle at the core of your business and you’ll have an incredibly loyal fan base.

3. Boohoo.

Fast fashion has been in the critical spotlight far before the COVID-19 pandemic and, with global supply chains scuppered, many clothing companies are on the wane.

And yet BooHoo thrives, boasting of a year-on-year rise in in sales during April, and adapting their clothing line to suit the population’s increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

Boohoo spokesperson told the BBC, ‘People aren’t really buying going-out items, but they are buying homewear – hoodies, joggers, tracksuit bottoms. Sales of tops have gone up in particular, with everyone wanting to look smart on Zoom calls.’

The lesson: the limitations of a supply chain can work to your benefit if you understand your customers’ needs.

That’s our list. We hope it’ll provide your startup with some excellent inspiration. Know any other companies that have fared particularly well during the lockdown? Then let us know in the comments below!

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