A Guide to Customer Service for Small Businesses

customer service woman.jpgAs a small business you may often feel that bigger companies benefit more when it comes to customer service. Being able to reduce average costs and hold larger budgets, might make it seems like it’s hard for you to compete. However, customer service is one area where being bigger doesn’t matter and can sometimes actually swing in your favour; many customers enjoy the old-fashioned sense of great customer service that can sometimes only be received from smaller companies. Today, small businesses are in a great position with a large variety of tools at their disposal to help provide the great customer service that customer’s desire.

The personal touch:

One of the key elements of great customer service is knowing and anticipating your customer’s needs. With the growing banks of data that companies now collect on their customers it’s now easier than ever before to reach out to customers, not just face to face but also through social media which most of the adult population in the UK are now familiar with. For example if you know your customers birthdays, why not send them a birthday e-card? And for customers you know really well, why not contact them when products you know they love come into your store? This personal touch can put you ahead of other bigger competitors. Continue Reading

Mobile Optimisation, a must have for your business

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For those who may not be too familiar with the term mobile optimisation, simply put it means to make your website easy-to-use when accessing it from a mobile device.

Mobile optimisation is a MUST-HAVE in your marketing strategy when competing in the digital market. According to the ‘Monetate Q4 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly’ report, website visits by smartphone and tablet users increased dramatically from 18.38% in 2012 to 26.79% in 2013. That’s an increase of 48.8%! Data released by comScore in 2012 showed an annual growth rate of total unique visitor views from mobile devices of between 49 – 88% in sites such as Amazon, Apple, Tesco, and Dixons. A huge rate compared to PC visitor visits, which only grew between 0 – 18%. This demonstrates an ever-pressing need for your company to engage customers via their mobile devices, allowing you to gain access to this rapid growth pool of consumers.

Here’s 3 ways to help improve your business’s mobile optimisation strategy:

Optimise your mobile website for mobile:

  •  This is one of the most cost-effective and easy ways for you to reach mobile customers. By making your site mobile-friendly, you’ll make it easier to use. Having a site that’s simple and easy to navigate will result in your customers having a better online experience and spending longer on your page, which ultimately increases the chances of them finding what they want and making a purchase. Having a mobile optimised site also reduces the loading time for your website which is important as research findings show that even a one-second delay could drop your conversion rates by up to 7%.  A study by Impact Research found that just 10% of all SMEs in the UK have an optimised site for mobile users, with just 4% set-up for mobile transactions. This indicates there is still ample opportunity for you to get ahead of the competition, do some research and find the best company that works for you in making your site mobile-friendly.

Optimise your mobile website via third parties:

  • Having your company registered on search pages such as Google, Yelp, Yahoo and any more specific search pages relevant to your business is important. Make sure that your phone number and address are clearly displayed; mobile customers are constantly searching for companies on these sites and expect to be able to have instant contact information to call or get directions. Many users will not make the extra effort to find these details if not displayed on these websites, meaning you are losing potential customers to competitors who do have this information displayed. Continue Reading

How to use Google Analytics for SMEs

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Google Analytics allows you to track your customer’s interactions within your website. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what people like most on your website? Are people finding you through search engines such as Google, through your social media pages, or through various advertisements you may be running? Knowing where your users are coming from will allow you to further increase traffic by improving these channels. For example, if lots of people are accessing your website via social media, the likelihood is that they are using a mobile device. You could therefore make sure your website is mobile-friendly with the goal of increasing your conversion rate and reducing your bounce rate (Explained later).

Google Analytics is a free service offered to businesses that gives you large amounts of insight that you can use to improve your website, boost sales, and make long term changes to your marketing strategy if certain approaches don’t seem to be working very well.

Before you decide to get started with Google Analytics, answer the following questions:

1)      What is my website aiming to achieve? Continue Reading

Blogging for Salons and Spas

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When you’re running a business in the salon and spa industry the question of “How do I go about setting up a blog for my spa?” might not be at the top of your agenda. Although it is true to say that blogging may not create direct sales, it can aid your business in the attraction of new customers by increasing inbound sales and helping you grow your brand and companies name recognition within the market place.

Which Blogging Platform?

The first stage of setting up a blog for your company is choosing which platform you wish to use. There are various free and relatively easy-to-use blogging platforms out there with the top 3 being; WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger. You should ideally already have a website for your business, and your blog should be a part of this so speak to whoever set your website up and ask them to integrate the two.

Content:

The next stage in setting up your blog is deciding which content you wish to feature. As you can imagine talking about the different services/experiences your salon offers is important. Images are a part of everyday life so don’t be afraid to ask customers if they would mind serving as models for the various services you offer, be it nails, hair etc. Just make sure you have their permission before you go posting the pictures online. You’ll probably have lots of new ideas for so why not showcase these visually and use social media at the same time to help spread the word!  Continue Reading

Interacting With Groupon Merchant Center

Merchant Center dashboardA successful business depends on keeping your customers happy. A fundamental part of this is making sure you treat them with respect and give them the best experience possible. The internet is awash with review sites and complaint boards where people can voice their displeasure and post disparaging comments about your business. Failing to engage positively with such disgruntled customers can end up seriously damaging your brand, and could hurt any repeat custom you hope to make. For a good example of how to get this absolutely wrong, read this news story.

The Groupon Merchant Center is a great platform for collecting customer opinions, so we thought we’d share three top user tips to help you get the most out of this fantastic tool.

1. Keep interaction professional

Like with all communication, interaction should be constructive and professional. Feel free to answer any questions or queries and respond with positive comments to any good feedback you receive. Continue Reading

Merchant Success Story: Stones of Isis

Snap shots of funky jewelleryClick here to read another fantastic success story from one of our top partners, the Stones of Isis jewellery school.  Based in Southwark, the school offers a varied range of jewellery making experiences run by Business owner Bola Adelakun and her business partner, Mary Afonja.

Bola and Mary began the business back in 2008, and aim to teach their students how to create unique, fashion jewellery. With classes catering for all abilities, students can expect to use materials such as beads and wire whilst being taught professional jewellery making techniques.

Thanks to the partnership with Groupon, Bola and Mary were able to offer jewellery making classes for one (£24) or two (£44), and enjoy not only a 60% increase in new customer numbers but a 40% rate of repeat business.

Facebook User Tips for Small Businesses

Happy business owner on laptopIf you’re a small business owner and you want maximum exposure to potential customers, Facebook is a great platform to use. These tips are aimed at local business owners who might not have time to constantly update their Facebook page, nor the money to pay a social-media manager to help.

Make Local Connections
Make the effort to “like” other local sources of news and neighbouring businesses. Facebook is like an online chamber of commerce, somewhere you can find business news and updates from your local community. Remember to share these updates on your own Facebook page, this is the most important part; it will save you from having to constantly create your own original content, thus cutting down on time and resource.

Turn Customers Into Followers
Make our Facebook presence known to your current customers, instead of attempting to create a new community from strangers. Business, cards, receipts, and marketing materials are all great places to add your Facebook (and Twitter if you have an account) details. You could add a sign to the front of your till, or if you’re a salon and offer free product samples – you could print off stickers with your Facebook address and attach to your samples. Continue Reading

Email Marketing Tips for Restaurants

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If you’re a restaurant owner, one of the best ways to grow your business is to use email marketing as a way of keeping in touch with your customers. Not only is it cost-effective compared to direct mail for example, it can help strengthen and develop brand recognition and loyalty as well as awareness amongst customers. Bridging the gap in between new and old methods of marketing, email marketing can be an ideal solution for those of you who may be slightly uncomfortable or unfamiliar with social media marketing.

 

Pick The Right System

Developing an email marketing campaign should begin with finding the right email marketing tools suitable for you and your objectives. Mail Chimp is one of the most popular services for small businesses.It’s very user-friendly and allows for great reporting so you can track open rates and click-throughs, which both indicate how good / relevant your content is. It also gives stats on bounce-backs which will tell you how good or clean your data is. Continue Reading

Groupon Team Intro: Partner Management

Groupon Partner Management TeamWelcome to the first of our Groupon team introductions! This month we’ll be diving behind the scenes at HQ to meet our rather excellent Partner Management (PM) team. Our aim is to reveal to you some of the faces behind our company, and allow them to tell you just what it is that they do to help our partners make the very most out of their Groupon experience.

This month, we discover who the PM team are, what a typical day might consist of, what the most frequently asked question from partners is, and what kind of feedback the team receives. Firstly, let’s get the lo-down from head PM honcho Mark Hornsey on who the team are. Continue Reading