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Improve CX with These 6 Cloud Contact Center Innovations

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More and more contact and call centers are switching to the cloud. And businesses with multiple communication channels and high call volumes are using cloud communication solutions to streamline their processes. It is, therefore, safe to say that cloud contact center solutions are gaining prominence and may grow more popular in the future.

But what does that mean for your business? What can new innovations and advancements in cloud contact center technology do for your business? Let’s find out!

What are Cloud Contact Center Services?

In essence, a cloud contact center (also called a cloud call center) is a contact center that works virtually. As such, these centers work with a suite of cloud phone system applications and cloud-based services. These hosted services include:

  • Call forwarding
  • Call recording
  • Voice, SMS, chat, video, text messaging services
  • Call transfer
  • Web phones
  • Integrations
  • Cloud IVR and ACD
  • Exceptional scalability for businesses of all sizes
  • A multitude of services and functions from one platform

Contact center as a service (CCaaS) has been around for years but now with IP telephony, these centers can work virtually and increase their coverage. Furthermore, these solutions (hosted by third-party providers) can be used by businesses themselves to boost their in-house sales and customer support teams.

How Can Cloud Call Center Services Improve CX?

Contact and call centers and small-to-large businesses can use these hosted services to take their customer support to the next level and offer enhanced caller and customer experience (CX).

Cloud communication tools make it easy for your business to offer customer support from any location, any device, and at any time. This means you can start to offer 24/7 service, connect with global customers and prospects, manage remote teams, and automate call management.

And all of this directly impacts the way customers interact with your business. From being able to quickly call your business to resolving their issues with personalized care.

6 Cloud Contact Center Solutions

So, which cloud call center innovations are taking the stage, equipping businesses to offer better CX? Here are 6 cloud CCaaS solutions that can revolutionize business-customer interactions.

1. Fast Provisioning and Activation

Get cloud-based numbers on-demand and in real-time with fast provisioning. Your business does not have to deal with long wait and activation times when you need new phone numbers and voice service. Get new numbers within days — within minutes for some countries — and start connecting with new customers and prospects.

How does this improve CX?
You can meet your customers where they are quickly and without any delay. Do you notice leads coming in from a new location? Buy a local phone number for that location and start connecting with those prospects.

2. Global Reach and Expansion

When you get cloud numbers from a provider that offers a high-availability network with multiple layers of redundancy, you can expect to expand your business’ global reach smoothly.

For instance, a provider like United World Telecom works closely with local and regional providers in countries around the world. This means you do not have to deal with the intricacies of managing multiple local and legacy providers for each target country. We take care of that for you.

How does this improve CX?
Hassle-free service means you can spend more time focusing on things that matter such as your customers.

And when you work with a provider that can get you access to various markets, you make your business available and reachable to customers and prospects in those areas. These customers can call you for free or local rates even if your business is located on the other side of the globe.

Innovations in a cloud-based contact center.
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3. Centralized Call Management

One of the top cloud contact center innovations has been the focus on producing advanced call routing and forwarding options. Now, businesses can route calls to different departments or employees based on time, location, skills, past interactions, and more. With IVR and ACD, you can automate call management for maximum efficiency.

In other words, manage all your communication needs through one centralized platform that is easy to manage and use.

How does this improve CX?
Customers calling from anywhere and at any time can quickly reach the right department. With international call forwarding, calls can be forwarded from one location to another seamlessly. So, your in-house team can answer international calls or these calls can be sent to remote teams in the customers’ time zone.

Customers can also go through your IVR system to get assistance or complete an action. In advanced cases, IVR systems can help callers make payments and renewals, check balances, or get answers to common questions. Enable your customers to get assistance quickly and on their own time, and increase customer satisfaction.

4. Customization & Automation Options

Customize and automate your cloud phone system with features, services, apps, and integrations. This can help streamline your processes and reduce time spent on repetitive, mundane tasks.

How does this improve CX?
By creating a phone system that makes the job easier, you can position your teams to focus more on customer interactions and CX. Customers can connect with the right department and receive personalized support and care.

5. Integration with UCaaS

When it comes to communication solutions, the thought often is which to choose: UCaaS or CCaaS? However, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) together can bring more results.

How does this improve CX?

  • UC and cloud contact center solutions working in unity means:
  • Better internal collaboration
  • Access to advanced telephony features and routing options
  • Low communication and IT costs
  • Easy remote team management
  • Tools to offer excellent 24/7 customer support

All of this is to equip your business and teams to focus more on customer interactions.

6. Scale and Grow Effectively

Finally, cloud contact center solutions make it easy to scale your business up or down as needed. Whether you want to open more offices worldwide or switch to a remote work environment, cloud phone solutions are designed to make connectivity easy and inexpensive.

How does this improve CX?
As your business grows and you add new employees and locations, continue to offer your customers uninterrupted service and support.

Try These Cloud Contact Center Innovations!

Get cloud call center solutions with United World Telecom. We offer cloud phone numbers from more than 160 countries globally and an international call forwarding service that lets you route incoming calls to any location. Additionally, we offer hosted services such as call recording, IVR, call routing, and more. Learn about our services by speaking with one of our experts! Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!

Related: Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Call Center Software (2021)

Use Outbound Calling and Call Recording to Improve Customer Relations

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As a business owner, you know how important it is to build and maintain customer relations. Thankfully, there are telecom solutions that can boost interactions between a business and its customers. An outbound calling service and call recording software are two such solutions. Here, we will discuss how these services can benefit your business.

Customer Relations: A Necessity

Customer relations refers to the relationship between a business and its customers. Good customer relations leads to customer satisfaction which increases retention rates. If your business fails to keep customers satisfied, then you will find them leaving your business for a competitor. So, what can you do to help your employees create strong customer relations?

Outbound Calling: Connect with More Prospects

Outbound calling is one of United World Telecom’s premium services that allows businesses to call local and international clients at reasonable calling rates. Most companies think of outbound calling as a way of generating new leads where the sales team calls potential customers and tries to sell products to them. While outbound calling does accomplish this, it also can do more.

You can also follow up with existing clients to practice customer success and help them achieve their goals. Customer success is when you work closely with consumers and clients to chart a course of action that helps them complete a goal. In this case, interaction is more long term than a customer support interaction.

How can your business improve customer relations with outbound calling? You can:

  • Welcome new customers
  • Follow-up with recent purchases or older customers
  • Generate leads
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Study different markets and customer preferences
  • Research the market
  • Set appointments
  • Make reservations
  • Track customer success efforts
  • Send reminders
  • Collect feedback, and more

Call Recording: Improve Quality and Accountability

Call recording software, also offered by United World Telecom, lets you record up to 100% of incoming and outgoing calls. You can store these recordings as MP3 files for up to 6 years within your account’s control panel.

Recording business calls gives your business the opportunity to go back in time and review important interactions. As a result, you can determine areas of improvement and sales tactics that worked. Additionally, recordings can be studied to find better ways to communicate with clients and learn what it is that they prefer or appreciate. With call recording, you get a better understanding of your target audience and learn how to serve them better.

How can call recording help your business maintain customer relations? You can:

  • Study recordings to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Use recordings to train new employees
  • Collect and track customer information
  • Conduct performance evaluations
  • Maintain compliance with regulations
  • Keep customer information safe
  • Gather feedback
  • Protect against liabilities, and more

Customer Success and Customer Relations

As a business owner, you must strive to provide your employees with the right tools that can support their jobs. An outbound calling service can help them connect with a wider range of potential customers. This will, in turn, bring a more diversified customer base for the company. On the other hand, call recording will help them learn from their mistakes and accomplishments. You can further incentivize appropriate behavior by rewarding employees who do well in the recordings.

When employees are given the right tools, they are able to focus more on customer interaction and customer relations. Services and software that are easy to use will ensure that less time is spent working the systems and more time is spent on winning customers over.

Win Customers Over and Grow Your Business

United World Telecom strives to give you top-notch features and tools that can support your business’ communication needs. We want to help you expand your reach and increase customer retention rates. Outbound calling and call recording are two popular services we offer for this reason. To learn more about how these services can benefit you, call us at 1 (877) 898 8646.

Customer Support vs. Customer Success: What is the Difference?

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Often used interchangeably, customer support and customer success are actually two separate business functions. And because they are different, they require different skill sets and strategies. Here we will look at the difference between these two customer-centric services.

Customer Support vs Customer Success

It is no secret that both customer support and customer success are essential to the successful running of a business. These services are aimed towards providing support and care to customers so that your product can help them achieve their target or goals. However, how do you decide which one is more important for the purposes of your brand and product?

Customer Support

Customer support is when your support team assists a customer in solving a problem they face while interacting with your product or service. For example, they are having trouble logging into their control panel or a piece is missing or they cannot renew their service, and so on. The transaction is begun and ended by the customer and is meant to solve immediate problems.

Speed and expertise are important factors in providing good customer support. Customers, usually panicking about their issue, want it resolved quickly and by someone who knows what they are doing. The main goal should be solving the problem during the first call itself.

It is, therefore, a reactive service. In other words, the customer has a question or issue with your product and the rep reacts to it with the attempt to resolve it. This means that customer support reps have to be on it as soon as a problem arises and follow-through until it is resolved. Because of this, this service by itself can get you and your customers only so far.

Customer support teams use toll free business numbers to handle large incoming call volumes making use of features like call forwarding and call recording. These features help with call tracking efforts by providing necessary information about call activity. Customer support metrics measure the speed and quality of the service received. Call recording, on the other hand, also offers a chance to review past calls and interactions.

Customer Success

Customer success, on the other hand, is initiated not by the customer but by the business. It attempts to provide the customer with the necessary tools and information that they may not even know they need. Some tactics include upselling and cross-selling, suggesting other products and services, upgrades, etc. The point of offering these tools is to bring the customer closer to their goal and to make the journey easier.

Customer success, therefore, takes a more proactive approach. It involves helping customers during the process; not after the fact. Offering strong customer success includes:

  • Developing and building strong relationships with customers
  • Understanding customers’ needs and their goals
  • Taking important metrics into account
  • Assisting customers in achieving their goals
  • Enabling the implementation of your products

One way to think about it is that with customer success the business and the customers are working together as partners trying to achieve long-term goals.

Customer success teams also can make use of toll free numbers or local business numbers to stay in contact with customers in different states and countries. Subscribing to a virtual phone service offering such numbers can also provide teams with metrics used to measure customer success through such aspects as customer retention rates and through call tracking strategies.

Which is Right for You?

Depending on what services you offer, you can choose to have either a customer support team or a customer success team. However, the recommendation is to have both. With both customer success and support, you can provide all of your customers with the assistance they need. Customer success can often build on customer support to ensure the problems and issues don’t occur again.

Choosing the Right Provider for Your Customer Care Team

United World Telecom offers cloud-based communication tools and features that can support and enhance your customer relations. Find out how we can help by talking to an expert.

Starting a Customer Call Center for Your SaaS Business

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Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is an emerging business model for today’s technological business landscape. Typically, most SaaS businesses operate solely over the Internet. However, most customers prefer having customer service agents available to handle their unique concerns. Luckily, United World Telecom offers numerous ways to accommodate these needs. With the versatility of virtual phone numbers, you can easily and efficiently set up a top-performing customer call center.

In this article, we will cover numerous aspects of starting a customer call center for your SaaS business, including:

  • Hiring & Training Talent
  • Accommodating Customers
  • Enhancing Inbound and Outbound Calls
  • Getting the Word Out

Hiring & Training Talent

Your call center needs qualified individuals to man the phones. You’ll want to select qualified individuals that display the best qualities to carry out your company’s mission. While starting a customer call center may seem daunting, United World Telecom makes the process incredibly simple.

Virtual Numbers Offer Great Versatility

First, virtual phone numbers can be used with any device that has Internet and audio capabilities. This includes laptops, smartphones, headsets, landlines, tablets, and more. Employees who are familiar with any of these devices can begin using virtual phone numbers immediately.

A User-Friendly Option for Call Centers

Second, virtual phone numbers from United World Telecom require very little technical expertise. Thanks to an intuitive dashboard interface, your customer call center representatives will not need significant training to use it. This means that your organization spends less time training, resulting in cost reductions in overheads.

Accommodating Customers

Remember that customers can reach your business from around the world with virtual phone numbers. This can give your SaaS business a wider international reach that wouldn’t be possible through other means. By setting up a toll free number, you accommodate customers that wouldn’t ordinarily be able to reach you. Similarly, you can use United World Telecom’s international toll free numbers (i.e. ITFS, UIFNs, mobile accessible numbers). With these, you alleviate any obstacles that may prevent customers from reaching your customer call center.

Customer call center for Saas business
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Enhancing Inbound and Outbound Calls

United World Telecom’s add-ons and features, paired with virtual phone numbers, can greatly enhance how your call center functions. United World Telecom offers some of the following add-ons:

One example of how you can increase the functionality of your communications is by using the popular add-on CallMe Click. It enables website visitors to reach your call center simply by clicking on a link (i.e. button, phone number). This instantly bridges the gap and makes it simple to resolve issues, finalize transactions, and provide important information. This creates a seamless experience for interested customers that would otherwise require dialing a number manually.

Getting the Word Out

It’s necessary to have a customer call center for your SaaS business. Though, if no one knows how to reach you, it’s useless, right?

Once you’ve virtual obtained phone numbers for your call center, it is time to make it known to your clients and potential customers. You should mention that your organization has an available call center wherever it is relevant. Be sure to display the phone number on your website(s), advertising, and promotional materials. This ensures customers are aware that you have a customer call center, and they know you are ready to help.

Get Virtual Numbers for Your SaaS Company from United World Telecom

As you can see, United World Telecom offers the easiest way to fortify your customer call center for your SaaS business. With virtual phone numbers available in over 140 countries, your company gains endless ways to establish a customer call center for your SaaS business. Signing up with United World Telecom is simple and can be completed within minutes, giving you access within 24 hours or less to start serving your customers today!

Why Customer Loyalty Should be Part of Your Long-Term Strategy

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All good businesses should want to create long-term relationships with their customers. This key to success can become overlooked when your company is focused on closing sales and finding more and more customers. Truthfully, the best strategy a business can formulate is to acquire many loyal (long-term) clients instead of many new clients.

The value of a loyal customer outweighs the value of a new customer based on multiple factors. For example, did you know that loyal customers spend significantly more money on a brand they trust than a new customer will? Loyal customers are the key to many brands’ success, and oftentimes, many brands will choose to focus all their attention on gaining customers rather than customer retention.

What is Customer Retention?

Customer retention is the best way to market your business, but what is it exactly? Customer retention isn’t just business jargon. It is a strategy that maximizes the value of your current client base.

You can still focus part of your business on finding new clients, as new clients should become loyal clients. When you make customer loyalty a substantial part of your marketing department, you will get more shoppers at your store who will shop for more extended periods of time and purchase a larger quantity of items.

Customer loyalty is not a bold, new way of thinking. Shifting your attention to your brand-loyal customers will you put you ahead of your competition because many companies are still focused on pulling in the most customers. You’ve probably seen marketing ploys that offer such enticements as “10% off for new customers, only.” But what about the hundreds or thousands of customers that already like your brand? Many strategies exist that will allow you to make your loyal customers feel appreciated. Oftentimes, they can take minimal effort while saving your company a lot of money on marketing, rather than just spending your budget trying to acquire new customers. So the question is, how do you turn a customer into a loyal client?

1. Set up an email list

First, you should acquire your customers’ email addresses, so you now have a method of communicating with them all the time. This can be done through pop-ups once they enter your website, where you can create a loyalty program with benefits that requires an email address and phone number to sign up. If your business operates in a retail location, you can have your cashiers ask for email addresses when customers are checking out. Be sure to have a reason to take their email address; a lot of customers will be afraid that you will spam them with content that they don’t want. Ensure your customers that they will only receive emails periodically and these emails will only have important information and deals inside. These emails also prompt your customers to head to your website or store whenever they receive an email.

2. Set up a toll free number

Customers become loyal when they trust a business or brand. By providing your customers with a way to get in contact with your business through the phone, your customers will be more likely to trust your company and want to make repeat purchases. They also know that if there is a problem with the product that they purchased they can call your customer care line and get problems resolved efficiently and effectively because you have earned a reputation for that.

3. Remind them to return

Since you are able to get in contact with your customers by phone and email, you can now remind them to come in. For example, if you are running a pilates studio and you haven’t seen a member in a few weeks, you can remind them that you’d love to see them or maybe let them know about any new updates to the studio. Or, if you’re running an online shop, you can send out an email to show your customers all of the new items that you have in stock since the last time they visited the site. Both of these strategies work to “push” your customer into visiting your store.

Marketing Campaigns To Boost Customer Service

Startup funding matters, but it isn’t the deciding factor of your success in the market. Originality is key for today’s marketing campaigns, and the way you advertise your products is the best way to boost your public appeal.

Your company is defined by more than your mission statement and messaging style. The perspective of your customers also determines how your business is perceived by consumers.
When you work to improve your marketing campaigns, customers will work for you by sharing your advertisements and mentioning their positive experiences when doing business with your company.

Read on for tips using your marketing campaigns to boost customer service.

Strategies for Marketing Campaigns

Customers aren’t expecting brands to follow traditional guidelines when conveying their message. Instead of focusing on the facts and lacking personality, customers want to get a feel for who you are and what your business truly stands for before purchasing your products.

This desire for genuine content is why vlogs have skyrocketed in popularity on YouTube and on social media platforms. Likewise, behind the scenes footage is intriguing and unscripted. This is the content viewers enjoy sharing, and it can immediately change their perspective.

Honesty connects audiences to a brand before they reach out to your team. Marketing campaigns naturally boost customer service when people feel that they have something in common with your vision or your team members. Once common ground is established, potential customers will be more supportive and willing to invest in your company.

Use Social Media To Your Advantage

People began to rely on social media to stay in touch with friends and family when the concept was introduced. As more businesses began to market through social media, customers followed suit, building stronger relationships with brands they trust. Likewise, social media became a tool for researching businesses, purchasing products, and reading customer reviews.

Today, social media is the most popular outlet for brands and consumers to share their thoughts and important updates. Properly utilizing social media allows businesses to attract new customers and build a favorable reputation in your industry.

Social media is a tool for marketing campaigns to boost customer service as it solidifies your presence as a modern brand. Furthermore, social media adds a level of transparency customers appreciate. They can read the comments to see how you conduct your business and how past customers felt about their experiences.

When you decide to invest the time into social media marketing campaigns to boost customer service, take things a step further by interacting with customers. Thank users who mention your products, offer deals and promotions via messaging, and join conversations about topics related to your industry.

Request Customer Feedback

What better way to understand your customers than asking for their feedback directly? Marketing campaigns to boost customer service are effective when encouraging customer feedback because customers want to share their opinion – especially if they enjoy doing business with your company.

Business owners enhance the customer service experience because when you market your business by asking for feedback, it shows you value the input of people who purchase your services. Furthermore, you can implement the ideas customers give you to prove that your company puts the customer first. This has the ability to strengthen relationships with consumers and other industry professionals.

Consider Running a Referral Program

When you launch a referral program, you transform your most loyal customers and vendors into brand ambassadors. They spread the word about your products and services and enjoy rewards in exchange. Most businesses use such programs to build a community and network that promotes their service. Integrating affiliate tracking software can help you gather insights into the performance of referral programs and enhance the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Distribute Email Newsletters

Email marketing is an outlet for sharing your professionalism, latest deals, and unique voice. Use email newsletters to keep customers informed and engaged.

Businesses don’t have to send out letters by mail when using marketing campaigns to boost customer service. Email marketing usually has a high return on investment because almost everyone, even in diverse age ranges, checks their email daily. Personalize emails by linking them back to your products and sharing insider tips and updates.

Offer Free Trials

Everyone loves freebies and giveaways. Free trials can be used as a strategy to introduce new products to the market and analyze customer preferences. What logos and branding styles appeal to target customers? How are customers responding to your product? Are the instructions and advantages easy to comprehend?

Answering these questions will help you set prices and customize marketing campaigns to boost customer service.

It’s important to show that your company is relevant and customer-oriented. Public reaction to a new product or service provides the insight you need to create future marketing strategies and determine the best approach to customer service. You have to know that there is a diverse range of customers out there that you can reach. While we were once limited to television and print publications, we now have the internet to help our brand be successful from any location in the world.

Customers are constantly being advertised to so they want something that is original and that fits their lifestyle and vision. It’s not uncommon for new businesses to fail because they didn’t have an impactful and innovative marketing strategy that puts the customer first. Don’t make assumptions. Take the appropriate actions to find out customer needs and react accordingly.

Empowering Your Customer Service Team

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Customer service teams are often at the center of globally recognized companies and small businesses. Regardless of the industry, these teams have one thing in common: they connect with customers on a professional and emotional level. Working as a customer service professional is a responsibility fueled by learning and innovative thinking.

empowering your customer service
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Managers can provide support as agents work and find their unique voice, but there’s no need to look over their shoulders to help. The best companies don’t thrive on micromanagement. Instead, they create effective customer service teams by providing access to the tools employees need to succeed.

Empowering your customer service team through knowledge and freedom will increase their confidence and helps them to make customers happy. The relationships your customer service agents build with callers is critical to the success of your business because an exceptional customer service experience will keep your customers confident in their decisions and loyal to your brand.

Word of mouth advertising is no longer done face to face. Sharing both pleasant and negative experiences online is now the norm. Keeping this in mind, it’s imperative to help agents deliver a memorable experience. Through the internet, customers will see your reviews and use this information to determine if doing business with you is the right choice.

Keeping your customer service team motivated should always be a focus of training throughout the duration of their employment. Use these tips to empower your customer service team while creating more productive and motivated work spaces.

Ask Customer Service Agents For Advice

Showing employees their input holds weight when making company decisions is a key method for empowering customer service agents.

Callers are frequently expressing their thoughts for improvements to agents. Your call center representatives know customer preferences better than anyone because they speak with customers daily and receive feedback.

Therefore, when service agents share their ideas, it’s important to listen. Their input is coming from the diverse perspectives of your clientele while understanding the internal operations of the company.

Guessing the needs of customers is often ineffective, and communication gaps have multiple negative effects. Failure to communicate properly can alienate team members, resulting in a higher turnover rate. Sales can also suffer because customers may have trouble connecting with a brand that demonstrates poor messaging.

Request the input of agents and you’ll be empowering customer service teams by showing appreciation for their knowledge. Your marketing strategies will also be more impactful when using the knowledge of your team to customize your advertisements and brand message.

Provide Access To Mentors

Assessing skills and investing company time and resources into training is expected for new team members. But training shouldn’t stop after the hiring process.

Your team must stay competitive to be a leader in your industry as markets and technologies continue to evolve. Consider mentorship programs or mentor matching software as a resource to connect mentees and mentors, and make the programs easily accessible.

Coordinate a team of mentors with experience and a proven track record for implementing strategies that work. These experts are empowering for your customer service teams because their personal stories of trial and error can resonate with employees and boost confidence. Your team members must accept their role as a constant learning experience. They don’t have to feel the pressure of knowing (or not knowing) everything or be afraid of making mistakes.

There are always goals to meet, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows the strategies of how to meet company objectives and hit deadlines. The right mentors will help customer service agents understand various ways to meet goals and discuss approaches that enhance the customer experience.

Management roles require an extensive amount of time and energy. When supervisors have to oversee company operations and assist customer service agents, it doubles their workload and creates a tense environment. Managers can feel more comfortable to let team members work freely as they become more knowledgeable.

In Conclusion

Empowering customer service teams helps team members to be more comfortable in their role as they create profitable relationships with callers. Furthermore, it creates a deeper level of commitment to the company because employees are at ease when working knowing their work is valued and know company leaders have their best interests at heart.

While empowering customer service teams is the focus, workplace empowerment will benefit the entire company. An empowered customer service team is more likely to close sales, which positively impacts the brand’s value and bottom line. As other businesses notice the success of your team, it opens the door to more sponsorships and partnering opportunities.

Positioning your business as a trusted authority in your industry takes work, and a strong team dedicated to customer service will always be beneficial. When your business is providing high-quality goods and services while meeting the needs of customers, you’ll build a commendable reputation and inspire customer loyalty.

How to Ensure Your Customer Service Sets Your Company Apart

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One of the easiest ways to set your small business apart from the competition is to have stellar customer service, but many companies don’t bother. However, these customer service strategies will take your company from “just another business” to a company that your customers can’t part with.

customer service
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Although all businesses can benefit from having a strong customer service team, if you are the owner of a smaller company then you’re up against lower prices from big box stores, and usually, those stores carry more items than your small store can. How will your business compete?

Big name stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot have a lot on their sides, such as national advertising and bigger budgets, but there are still ways that small local businesses can compete with these big guys. Instead of making excuses as to why your business can’t compete, set a goal to not only keep your existing company, but bring in new consumers even as that big new competitor moves in on your territory.

How to Offer Excellent Customer Service?

So what are the ways that your small business can compete with the big boys? They’re the same strategies that big companies and small businesses alike can use. A lot of them don’t cost any extra money, and when you carry out these strategies correctly, you will find that your business will be doing better every day.

1. Enhance your role in the community

Small businesses can get the upper hand over larger businesses by becoming essential members of the community. Have your business publicly support local or even international causes, because if your name is on a cause that people support, they will be more likely to shop at your business knowing that you care about what they care about. You can do this on a small community level by merely offering your venue as a space for charity events or by sponsoring a town softball team.

2. Sell your customers an experience

If a larger company has come into your town and is selling the same products you sell for less than you can keep up with, then you need to have another way to compel customers to come into your store. Make your customers feel good when they come to your store. Greet them with a smile, remember their names, make small talk; when your customers feel known and wanted in your store, they will want to return over and over again.

3. Stock merchandise that your competition doesn’t sell

An excellent way to get new people into your store is to go into the big store down the street and find out what they don’t have, then stock up on it. Chances are, if people are looking for a particular item and the big store doesn’t have it, they will probably head your way, and if you’ve got it, then you’ve just saved their day and earned a new customer.

4. Stay in contact

The internet is an essential tool for expanding your business outside of its local market. Build a website for your company, create an email list for your loyal customers, and offer them exclusive discounts or invitations to things like holiday parties so you can give back to your customers. Sign up for social media sites so you can keep in constant contact with customers. An important place for all small businesses to be on is Yelp because you can do damage control with people leaving negative comments about your store, or you can send thank you messages to those who leave positive reviews.

5. Expand your business without moving

Purchasing a virtual phone number for your business can allow you to interact with customers all over the world and therefore expand your reach outside of your local community. Along with social media and building a website, you should also consider getting a toll free number which is a useful advertising tool that keeps you connected to all of your customers. These virtual phone numbers also come packed with features like call forwarding, so you never miss an urgent call and automated greetings to give your small business the impression that it is more extensive and therefore more professional.

6. Set up a loyalty program

Encourage your customers to return often by offering them incentives for their continued business.

All of these strategies are either free or low-cost and can help seriously expand your business. If you take anything away from this article, be sure that it is to make customer service your #1 priority!

How to Successfully Communicate with Your Customers

Communication is one of the most critical pieces of a business model. It has a much more significant impact on sales and general workplace energy than most people recognize. Poor communication in a team project will always result in failure, and poor contact with clients will always result in dissatisfaction.

men at the office talking at the phone
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If you want to make a difference between the satisfaction of your clients and customers, you have to be able to speak with them with knowledge, confidence, and positivity. These essential communication skills will make the difference in your success and give you a massive edge over your competition.

If you want to learn how to successfully communicate with your customers, read on to learn more tips and tricks.

Respond swiftly to customer inquiries

Don’t respond in a timely fashion; get to them right now! Although the typical business day is from 9-5, many of your customers will want answers outside of those traditional hours. If you are busy running the business on your own, you may be unavailable at all times. While that may seem entirely understandable, it may not be to your customers. Having a 24-hour customer service line, online chat service, or an email made exclusively for answering customers’ questions are the best tools for responding quickly. Purchasing a virtual phone number for your business will give your customers a direct line to your customer service representative or business, as well. The best part of virtual phone numbers is that they can be forwarded to any line at any time, so if you aren’t in the office to answer questions, their phone calls can be sent to someone that is, or to your mobile, if that works. That way you never have to miss a phone call. Plus these virtual phone numbers come with automated menus, and features that allow you to convert voicemails into emails. If you absolutely must let a phone call go to voicemail, be sure that you are clear in your voicemail responses. Voicemail messages should include your business hours, the best time to reach you, and what details they should leave in the message so you can have the problem resolved by the time you get back to them at a more convenient time. For your email, set up an automatic response that their request was received and that you will get back to them as soon as possible, or direct them to a phone number that they can call in the meantime if it is urgent.

Get to know your clients

Your company may be what attracts your clients and customers at first, but it is the people that you employ that gets them to return. Building relationships and hiring people that can turn small talk into conversations are crucial to making your business successful. After all, without customers, your company will fail.

Treat your customers with respect

While the customers are coming to you with questions about the product or you are selling them services based on your expertise, respect should be the foundation of your interaction. Because although they want your product or service, they ultimately decide whether or not to buy. When you are working with a client on a project, take time to discover their goals and keep in constant touch with them. That way you can avoid any confusion with the final project and flush out any roadblocks that may come out during the planning process. Also, never deviate from the plan without informing the client first. And when you present your ideas, it is a good idea to introduce any ideas with a list of pros, cons, and associated risks. That way you can lean them towards what you think will work while still giving them a variety of options to choose from.

Use a project management tool

There are many free project management softwares available for businesses to choose from that will help your business exponentially when dealing with multiple clients. These systems are set up to put your clients first and to ensure that project details don’t fall through the cracks. Project management tools provide a way to lay out a plan, and they make collaboration easy between project members. This is especially useful if you are collaborating with partners across time zones. When looking for software for a project-management tool, be sure that you choose one that allows you to share the process with your clients and team members directly. When a client has access to the process, such as meeting times and scheduling, in real time, this builds trust and shows that your business can be transparent and truthful with their clients.