How to Reshape Your Company Through Digital Transformation (1)

Crafting the Perfect GMB Profile: Tips for SMEs

Introduction:

 

Having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business, especially for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). One powerful tool that SME owners can utilize to enhance their online visibility and attract more customers is Google My Business (GMB). Your GMB profile serves as a virtual storefront, providing valuable information to potential customers searching for businesses like yours. To ensure that your business stands out from the competition and makes a lasting impression, let’s delve into the art of crafting the perfect GMB profile.

 

As an SME owner, you need to understand the importance of making a great first impression. Your GMB profile is often the first thing potential customers see when they search for businesses like yours on Google. Therefore, it’s essential to optimize every aspect of your profile to make it engaging and informative.

 

  • Select High-Quality Images: Images are worth a thousand words, and this holds true for your GMB profile. Choose high-quality images that showcase your products, services, and ambiance. Include photos of your storefront, interior, team members, and any unique offerings you have. Avoid stock photos and aim for authenticity. Remember, visually appealing images can grab attention and entice potential customers to learn more about your business.

 

  • Write Compelling Business Description: Your business description is your opportunity to tell your story and highlight what sets you apart from the competition. Keep it concise, yet descriptive. Use language that resonates with your target audience and communicates your brand’s personality. Include relevant keywords that potential customers might use when searching for businesses like yours. Highlight your unique selling points, such as your years of experience, award-winning services, or commitment to customer satisfaction.

 

  • Choose Relevant Categories: Categories help Google understand what your business is about and improve your chances of appearing in relevant search results. Choose primary and secondary categories that accurately reflect the nature of your business. Be specific rather than generic. For example, instead of selecting “Restaurant,” choose categories like “Italian Restaurant” or “Fine Dining Restaurant.” This ensures that you attract qualified leads who are specifically looking for what you offer.

 

  • Update Contact Information and Business Hours: Ensure that your contact information, including your phone number, website URL, and address, is up-to-date and consistent across all online platforms. Double-check your business hours and update them regularly, especially during holidays or special events. Nothing frustrates potential customers more than outdated or incorrect information, so make accuracy a top priority.

 

  • Encourage and Manage Customer Reviews: Customer reviews play a significant role in shaping your business’s reputation and influencing potential customers’ decisions. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB profile by providing excellent service and requesting feedback. Respond promptly and professionally to all reviews, whether positive or negative, to show that you value customer feedback and are committed to addressing their concerns.

 

  • Utilize Additional Features: Take advantage of additional features offered by GMB, such as Posts, Q&A, and Messaging, to further engage with your audience and enhance your profile’s visibility. Share updates, promotions, and events through Posts to keep your audience informed and interested. Monitor and respond to questions asked by potential customers in the Q&A section to demonstrate your expertise and helpfulness. Enable Messaging to make it easy for customers to reach out to you directly with inquiries or feedback.

 

By implementing these practical tips and best practices, you can create an engaging and informative GMB profile that captures the attention of potential customers and drives them to choose your business over the competition. Remember that your GMB profile is a dynamic tool that requires regular updates and maintenance to remain effective. Keep refining and optimizing your profile to stay ahead in the digital marketplace and attract more customers to your doorstep.

Crafting success The essential role of defining employee responsibilities in business

Crafting success: The essential role of defining employee responsibilities in business

Introduction:

In the ever-evolving realm of contemporary enterprises, achieving success frequently hinges on the adept management and optimal utilization of human resources. A critical factor in unlocking the complete capabilities of employees is the explicit and precise delineation of roles within a company. This blog will explore the importance of clearly defining roles for employees and its impact on the overall prosperity and advancement of a business.

1. Alignment with organizational objectives:

Defining roles ensures that employees understand how their individual responsibilities contribute to the broader goals of the organization. This alignment creates a sense of purpose and helps employees see the bigger picture, fostering a collective effort towards achieving common objectives. When every team member knows their role and how it fits into the organizational strategy, it paves the way for a more synchronized and goal-oriented workforce.

2. Enhanced productivity and efficiency:

Clarity in role definition minimizes confusion and ambiguity, allowing employees to focus on their core responsibilities. When employees know exactly what is expected of them, they can work more efficiently, avoiding time wasted on tasks outside their scope. This streamlined approach to work not only increases productivity but also contributes to the overall efficiency of the organization.

3. Improved employee morale and satisfaction:

Clearly defined roles contribute to a positive work environment by promoting a sense of achievement and recognition. When employees know that their contributions are valued and aligned with their skills, they are more likely to feel satisfied and motivated. This, in turn, boosts morale and reduces the risk of burnout, fostering a culture of engagement and dedication.

4. Facilitates effective communication:

Role definition serves as a cornerstone for effective communication within an organization. When everyone is aware of their responsibilities and the roles of their colleagues, communication becomes more transparent and efficient. This clarity minimizes misunderstandings, promotes collaboration, and ensures that information flows seamlessly across different departments and hierarchical levels.

5. Supports professional development:

Clearly defined roles provide a roadmap for professional development. Employees can identify areas for growth within their roles and work towards acquiring new skills or expanding their expertise. This not only benefits individual career progression but also contributes to the overall skill development and adaptability of the workforce.

6. Adaptability to change:

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations must be agile and adaptable. Well-defined roles make it easier for employees to adapt to changes, whether it be shifts in project priorities, organizational restructuring, or the adoption of new technologies. The flexibility that comes with clearly defined roles enables employees to navigate change more effectively.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the importance of defining employee roles cannot be overstated. From aligning with organizational objectives to enhancing productivity and fostering a positive work culture, the benefits are far-reaching. Investing time and effort into clearly articulating roles within your organization is an investment in the success and sustainability of your business. By empowering employees with a clear understanding of their roles, you pave the way for a motivated, efficient, and adaptable workforce that is well-equipped to navigate the challenges of the modern business landscape.

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Unveiling the power of networking: A catalyst for business success

In the dynamic and interconnected landscape of the business world, networking has emerged as a cornerstone for success. Beyond exchanging business cards and attending events, effective networking opens up a myriad of opportunities that can propel your business to new heights. In this blog, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of networking and how it can become a strategic asset for your professional journey.

1. Opportunity exploration:
Networking is the gateway to a world of opportunities. By connecting with professionals from diverse industries, you gain access to potential clients, partners, and collaborators. Networking events, both virtual and in-person, provide a platform to discover new projects, ventures, and trends that could be instrumental in the growth of your business.

2. Knowledge sharing:
In the ever-evolving business landscape, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. Networking allows you to tap into the collective knowledge of your peers, enabling you to stay informed about industry trends, market insights, and best practices. This exchange of information can be a game-changer, offering valuable insights that can shape your business strategy.

3. Building Credibility and trust:
Building a network is not just about quantity; it’s about quality. Establishing meaningful connections with others in your industry helps build credibility and trust. As you engage in open and honest conversations, you create a positive reputation that can enhance your professional standing.

4. Resource Mobilisation:
Networking is not just about what you know but also about who you know. By cultivating a strong network, you increase your access to valuable resources such as funding, talent, and expertise. Whether you’re seeking advice from a mentor or looking for potential investors, a well-established network can provide the support you need.

5. Enhanced visibility:
In a crowded marketplace, visibility is key. Networking allows you to showcase your expertise, share your achievements, and make a lasting impression on your peers. Being actively involved in industry events and online communities can elevate your personal and business brand, making you more visible to potential clients and partners.

6. Career advancement:
Networking is not limited to entrepreneurs; it is equally essential for career professionals. Building relationships with colleagues, mentors, and industry leaders can open doors to new career opportunities, promotions, and professional development. Your network can become a source of guidance and support throughout your career journey.

7. Adaptation to change:
In today’s fast-paced business environment, adaptability is a key trait for success. Networking exposes you to diverse perspectives and ideas, helping you adapt to industry changes and market shifts. By staying connected, you position yourself to navigate uncertainties and seize emerging opportunities.

In conclusion, networking is a strategic investment that pays dividends in the long run. It goes beyond the exchange of business cards; it’s about building genuine connections that foster collaboration, growth, and success. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a professional, harnessing the power of networking can be a game-changer for your business and career. Embrace the opportunities that networking presents, and watch your professional journey flourish

Zainab Khuzema Raja The Art Gallery, Ruqaiyah Bakes

Zainab Khuzema Raja The Art Gallery, Ruqaiyah Bakes

Zainab Khuzema Raja

The Art Gallery, Ruqaiyah Bakes

Chennai 

In the world of women entrepreneurs, there’s a saying that rings undeniably true: “You are never too young to start a business, and never too old to chase a dream.” 

These words resonate deeply with Zainab Khuzema Raja, a graduate in Bsc Psychology, whose entrepreneurial journey has been a testament to her wisdom.

Zainab, a woman brimming with ambition and boundless creativity, possessed an unyielding drive to take risks in pursuit of her passions. Her journey, which began with marriage and the responsibility of raising two adolescents, is a compelling narrative of resilience and determination.

The turning point in her entrepreneurial journey was her participation in the Kunuz program in Mumbai in 2016. It was here that her brainchild, the DIY CLAY brand, was invited to attend the “iqtebasaat” program. Little did she know that this opportunity would rekindle the long-forgotten flames of her capabilities, dormant amidst the demands of motherhood and homemaking.

Surprisingly, Zainab discovered that she could gracefully balance her work and family life, dispelling the concerns of her loved ones, who initially doubted her ability to do so. The years that followed were marked by the typical ebbs and flows, trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship. Yet, her unwavering dedication to her business remained unaltered.

The same family that once harboured doubts about her pursuit now proudly watches her soar. With the blessings of Panjatan Pak AS, the power of prayer, and the benevolent guidance of Aali Qadr Moula TUS, Zainab now stands as the proud owner of three thriving business brands. Her 700-square-foot studio space serves as a humble sanctuary for her creativity. Her products have found a home on “Maheela,” a prominent e-commerce platform, and she has imparted her knowledge to over a hundred eager students who’ve embarked on their entrepreneurial journeys.

But perhaps the most heartwarming transformation has been within her family, who now eagerly await her return home. Zainab, in gratitude to Allah Almighty, sees herself as a beacon of inspiration for countless women like her. Her story exemplifies that with determination, faith, and unwavering dedication, women can turn their dreams into reality, regardless of their age or life circumstances.

The Kusni Purely Bohri Farida Kagalwala Insiyah Salman Vichchiyawala

The Kusni Purely Bohri Farida Kagalwala Insiyah Salman Vichchiyawala

The Kusni Purely Bohri

Farida Kagalwala 

Insiyah Salman Vichchiyawala

Coimbatore

In the vibrant tapestry of culinary traditions within the Dawoodi Bohra Community of South India, one name stands out – The Kusni, a culinary venture rooted in the heart of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. For Bohra cuisine enthusiasts, satisfying their cravings can be quite a challenge, as authentic options are often scarce. However, in recent times, a new wave of culinary entrepreneurs, both women and men, have taken up the mantle, bringing the unique flavours of Bohra cuisine to the forefront. Among them, The Kusni – Purely Bohri, holds a special place in the hearts of those who have discovered it.

The origin of this delightful venture can be traced to a time when lockdowns and ample spare hours presented Farida Kagalwala with a puzzle – how to navigate these challenging times. Her husband, Hussain, lit the spark by talking about the delicious masala wala aloo and channa bateta, a Bohra staple that his father used to prepare. With that cherished memory, a culinary journey began.

Farida started her venture with simple dreams, taking in a handful of orders. Little did she know that the tidal wave of enthusiasm would soon follow as word spread about her mouthwatering Bohra snacks. Gradually, encouraged by her growth, Farida expanded her menu to include a variety of dishes, from dal and keema samosas to the irresistible Chicken 65. As Ramadan approached, the demand for iftar treats rose, marking a turning point in their journey.

With this surge in popularity, the brand found its identity – “The Kusni – Purely Bohri.” Farida’s sister-in-law, Insiyyah Salman Vichiyawala, joined the venture, strengthening the team’s resolve to create culinary delights that resonated with their community and beyond.

From humble beginnings, The Kusni soon evolved, transitioning from snacks to full-course meals tailored for groups. They ventured into weekly lunch subscriptions, an endeavour that saw promising uptake, marking a noteworthy start for this culinary venture.

Fast forward to today, and The Kusni is dispatching 15 delectable lunch packs to various locations across Coimbatore. The team, consisting of Farida, Insiya, and Hussain, embodies the spirit of dedication and teamwork. Hussain oversees marketing, while Insiya and Farida curate menus, whip up delightful dishes, handle packaging, and ensure seamless delivery.

It’s going to be four fortune years of their cloud kitchen reaching people for the different delicacies we are making. Other than Bohra dishes, their snacks and Chaat Corner are always in demand. Unlike other restaurants, they believe in ready-to-serve Chaat, wherein every item, even the garnish ingredients, is packed separately. Just have to plate the ingredients one by one and serve. 

“We are soon coming up with a commercial kitchen and hoping that we reach the nearby towns and let the whole south of India rejoice in Bohri cuisine”, adds Farida.

In the story of The Kusni – Purely Bohri, we witness the remarkable impact that women entrepreneurs can have when they uplift each other and their communities. 

It’s a testament to the power of solidarity and shared ambition. These entrepreneurs exemplify leadership through entrepreneurship, serving as beacons of inspiration and unwavering determination. They are the real Wonder Women, the heroes of our modern era.

Samina Lal and Zainab Akil

Samina Lal and Zainab Akil

Samina Lal and Zainab Akil 

www.maheelapower.com and Biz.maheelapower.com

Chennai

Samina Lal and Zainab Akil, based in Chennai, introduced www.maheelapower.com, an e-commerce platform exclusively for women. Here, handmade and homemade products crafted by women find a marketplace. The primary aim was to assist home-based women entrepreneurs who had been financially affected by the pandemic.

 

Samina, a seasoned home entrepreneur actively engaged in community service with the Burhani Women’s Association, recognized the vast talent pool within her community. On the other hand, Zainab, formerly a product manager at IIT Madras Research Park, brought her technological expertise to the table. The concept for “Maheela Power” took shape during one of their joint recreational runs.

 

The overarching mission is to create a technology-driven, community-centric ecosystem for women entrepreneurs and professionals to connect, empower each other, and collectively thrive. Zainab, with a strong background in technology and product development, provides valuable support in realizing this vision.

 

Maheela Power extends its support through professional training and workshops covering various aspects, such as Financial Management, Product Photography, and Digital Marketing. In addition to these, they organize Meet and Greet sessions and enjoyable Fitness activities. This approach fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth, allowing members to draw from each other’s experiences and build a safe space for discussion and development.

 

Notably, Maheela Power handles corporate gifting orders and actively participates in exhibitions and various events, increasing brand visibility and developing the capacity to scale up product delivery. Their association with organizations like Burhani Women contributes to providing financial aid to women for medical, educational, and household needs. This is made possible through the proceeds from the sales of items like papads, pickles, and masalas, which are produced by a group of women.

 

Another organization they support is Nandri Trust, which imparts training in tailoring to underprivileged women. Beyond just promoting the talents and creativity of these women, Maheela Power acts as an inspiration for more women to craft and market unique products, setting the path for their success as independent entrepreneurs. To date, Maheela Power has successfully onboarded 70+ women entrepreneurs, including inspiring senior citizens, boasting a diverse array of over 400 products.

 

As part of their ongoing efforts to empower women from various walks of life, Maheela Power has introduced a structured online talent directory. This directory, located at biz.maheelapower.com, simplifies consumers’ ability to search, discover, and connect with small-sized businesses and professionals.

 

In essence, Samina and Zainab have made it possible for women who were initially technologically challenged and had no marketing knowledge to promote their products successfully through Maheela Power.

Fatema Hussain Marketing & Business Coach, Founder, Fab Digital Agency

Fatema Hussain Marketing & Business Coach, Founder, Fab Digital Agency

Fatema Hussain

Marketing & Business Coach, Founder, Fab Digital Agency

Kuwait, Dubai

“In the midst of challenges, lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

 

Meet Fatema Hussain, a remarkable entrepreneur with a story of determination and transformation. A decade ago, she entered the digital world when social media was still emerging. While successfully running her product-based business, she realized the potential to share her marketing expertise and founded Fab Digital in Dubai, aiming to empower businesses with comprehensive marketing strategies.

 

Fatema’s journey took a significant turn as she began receiving requests for guidance in personal brand development in the digital sphere. Motivated by their enthusiasm, she decided to become a coach and mentor, steering personal brands to success. This journey had its challenges, leading her to seek her own coaching and certifications to refine her skills.

 

As Fatema immersed herself in coaching and refined her business strategy, remarkable changes occurred. She shattered self-imposed limitations, embraced personal development as a daily practice, and crafted a robust business plan. Confidence grew as she marketed her coaching packages. Remarkably, she balanced her thriving career with her roles as a wife, mother, daughter, and daughter-in-law.

 

Fatema boldly built her personal brand, AskFatemaHussain, stepping out of her comfort zone to offer insights on personal branding, confidence building, and clarity. It was a courageous journey that demanded resilience but was immensely rewarding.

 

In this transformation, Fatema discovered her true calling, not just imparting marketing strategies but helping clients relish life, work with confidence, and scale their businesses without stress.

 

Fatema’s story is a testament to the power of self-belief and the ability to turn challenges into opportunities. As Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly put it, “The only thing standing between you and your dreams is your doubt.” Fatema’s journey is an inspiring reminder that every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Embrace it, confront doubts, and take bold strides forward. Seek mentors and allies who support your aspirations, for just as Fatema found her path and transformed her life, you too can break free from limitations and blaze your trail.

 

As a message to fellow women, Fatema says, “Believe in yourself, chase your dreams relentlessly, and always remember that the future belongs to those who dare to dream and take action. The journey is yours to embark upon, and success awaits those who dare to seize it.”

The power of connections Understanding Organizational Network Analysis (ONA)

The power of connections : Understanding Organizational Network Analysis (ONA)

 

In the dynamic landscape of today’s workplaces, understanding the intricate web of connections that form within an organization is crucial for success. Enter Organizational Network Analysis (ONA), a powerful tool that goes beyond traditional organizational charts, offering a deeper understanding of how people connect, collaborate, and influence one another.

 

ONA is the process of evaluating the relationships and interactions between individuals within an organization. It delves into the informal networks that exist alongside formal structures, shedding light on the invisible threads that weave through the workplace. By leveraging this approach, organizations can gain valuable insights into communication patterns, identify key influencers, and enhance overall efficiency.

 

One of the primary benefits of ONA is its ability to uncover hidden talents and resources. Traditional hierarchical structures often overlook the informal networks that employees naturally form. ONA, however, identifies these organic connections, allowing organizations to tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists beyond formal roles and titles. This not only fosters a culture of collaboration but also enables better resource allocation and problem-solving.

 

Understanding the flow of information is another crucial aspect of ONA. In a rapidly changing business environment, the speed and accuracy of information dissemination can make or break an organization. By mapping out communication patterns, ONA helps identify bottlenecks, silos, and areas where information might get lost. This knowledge allows for strategic interventions to improve the flow of information, fostering a more responsive and adaptable organization.

 

ONA is also a powerful tool for leadership development. By identifying key influencers and connectors within the organization, leaders can leverage these individuals to drive change and disseminate strategic initiatives effectively. This targeted approach to leadership development goes beyond traditional training programs, recognizing and harnessing the power of influential individuals to champion organizational goals.

 

Implementing ONA requires a combination of technological tools and a commitment to privacy and ethical considerations. Advanced analytics platforms can help collect and analyze data, but organizations must also prioritize transparency and ensure that employees understand the purpose and benefits of the analysis. Clear communication and a focus on the positive aspects of ONA, such as improved collaboration and career development opportunities, can help build trust among employees.

 

In conclusion, Organizational Network Analysis is a game-changer in understanding and optimizing the complex networks that exist within an organization. By embracing ONA, businesses can uncover hidden potentials, enhance communication, and strategically develop leadership. In an era where adaptability and collaboration are key to success, ONA empowers organizations to thrive in the interconnected web of modern workplaces.

 

7 Tips on How To Build Your Personal Brand

7 Tips on How To Build Your Personal Brand

Maybe you hear the phrase “personal brand” and think it doesn’t apply to you; however, in today’s ever-connected, cached-forever world, your personal brand affects who hires you, who fires you, who follows you, and who trolls you, which is particularly important to remember as you enter the job market.

The good news is that there are some simple steps that can help you create a personal brand to be proud of that reflects who you are and where you’re going.

Understand the term ‘brand.’

Since we work with hundreds of thousands, we often refer to Jeff Bezos’ illustrative definition when we talk about it: “Brand is how people describe you when you are not in the room.” Truer words were never spoken and are a critical reminder for what to think about when it comes to your personal branding.

Get to know your brand.

You’ve likely been around 20-odd years so you already have a personal brand (what you might call your “identity”). But, what is it? Take the Jeff Bezos statement to heart and ask friends and family what adjectives they’d use to describe you. Suffices to say, these adjectives are likely your best personal traits. It is difficult to replicate the “not in the room” effect, but this is a start. Maybe you found you are described as “fun” and “fearless.” Or, maybe “introspective” and “helpful.” These traits serve as the foundation of your brand.

Determine your brand direction.

If you like the attributes you’ve identified and want these written on your tombstone (personal brands can last forever), great! If not, determine what other adjectives you’d like people to use when describing you. For example, if you are planning a career in investigative journalism, “fearless” likely works. But, fun? Not-so-much. You likely want to be building a personal brand around “serious.”

Build your brand and be consistent.

Now the fun begins! Having a personal brand does not mean getting a logo designed. But, it wouldn’t hurt to borrow some tactics from successful brand builders. What do they do? They build consistent interactions with their audience that support their brand attributes – and you should do the same.

Get a website.

Nowadays, you can launch one in 24 hours with the likes of WordPress.com, Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace. Update your website on an ongoing basis by blogging or posting content that supports your personal brand.

Invest in your brand.

Social media sites are an inexpensive and effective way to invest in your brand. Choose the network that best represents your brand and focus there. For example, if you’re a “serious sales associate” for a software company, LinkedIn is likely your best choice. If you are an artist or maker, Instagram may be your network of choice to increase your followers. You’ll want to engage in like-minded groups on these networks consistently to further support your personal brand.

Choose your associations wisely.

Whether you like, post, comment, tweet, or pin, your engagement online is a reflection of your personal brand. Don’t be fooled into thinking anything is private on the internet. Avoid questionable online activities that might negatively affect your personal brand.

Remember, your personal brand can ultimately make or break opportunities for you in the workplace, so it behooves everyone at every age to take the time and energy to manage it.

How to Be More Responsive to Customers

How to Be More Responsive to Customers

The speed of customer responsiveness can make or break your business. Here’s how to be more responsive to customers—and boost your customer loyalty.

It’s no secret that consumers and businesses customers are like are becoming more impatient and more demanding. Customers expect businesses to respond to them quickly, if not immediately, and it’s putting pressure on small businesses.

Here’s a closer look at what customers expect from businesses, customer responsiveness trends, and ways you can be more responsive to customers.

Customer expectations are rising

Business owners that Broadly surveyed in The State of the American Small Business 2019 are feeling pressed to deliver rapid service and customer support. The majority (55%) reported feeling like they had an hour or less to respond to a potential customer before the prospect moves on to a competitor.

In fact, they’re right: One-third of consumers in the study expect small businesses to respond to them within an hour to earn their business. And over half of customers (51%) will definitely go elsewhere if your business takes six hours or more to respond.

In a survey by Zingle, the number-one thing customers say would improve the customer experience is, “Faster response times.”

How small businesses respond to customers

What tools are small business owners using to communicate with customers? According to Broadly:

  • Phone calls: 89%
  • Email: 86%
  • Text messaging: 54%
  • Social media: 49%

Overall, consumers in the survey prefer to communicate with businesses by email (57%), followed by phone (50%) and text (27%). Although consumers age 18 to 34 also prefer email, fewer of them prefer phone (42%) and more of them prefer text (34%) compared to consumers in general. Clearly, as millennials and Generation Z come to the forefront of society, mobile communications will become more important for small businesses.

But companies often fall short when it comes to customer communication. More than six in 10 companies do not respond to customer service emails, according to a recent study. A whopping 90% of companies do not acknowledge to the customer that their email has been received. Even if they do respond, 97% of companies never follow up to see if the customer was satisfied with the response.

7 ways to be more responsive to customers

When it comes to how quickly you need to respond to customers and potential customers, there’s only one answer: As fast as possible. How can you be more responsive to customers? Try these tips.

  1. Ask your customers what they want. A survey of your existing customers can show you which customer service channels they prefer. For example, do they want the ability to make appointments on your website for your plumbing services? Would they be happy to deal with a chatbot if they got a faster answer? Your customers’ preferences may surprise you.
  2. Manage customer expectations. While you should strive to be as responsive as possible on each communication channel, you can also guide customers to the channel that will best serve them. For example, my hairdresser recently told me that a lot of people contact him via Yelp. Since he is frequently busy with clients and not able to check his phone for this type of communication, his website social media accounts alert customers that for a faster response, they should call the salon by phone.
  3. Develop procedures. Set benchmarks for how quickly your team needs to respond to customer inquiries or customer service questions, and make sure everyone knows these goals. Benchmarks may vary from channel to channel; customers may expect a faster response on Twitter, for instance, then they would on email.
  4. Educate your employees. Make sure your team knows how to answer customer service questions. You can create an online knowledge base with answers to common questions. This also helps ensure that your employees are being consistent in what they tell your customers.
  5. Provide self-service options. Something as simple as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) a section on your website can answer many of your customers’ questions without the need to contact you directly. A company that sells to business customers could offer regular customers the option to re-order products online instead of having to speak to their sales representative.
  6. Use technology. This can be as simple as setting up your Facebook Page to send instant replies or using a social media management app to track all of your social media channels in one place and get alerts of customer comments or questions. You can also implement customer service software to automate and streamline customer service. Zendesk, Freshdesk and Zoho Desk are among popular apps that can handle tasks such as prioritizing customer calls, answering customer questions via chatbots, and enabling customer self-service.
  7. Stay human. While speed is of the essence, rushing too quickly to help a customer can also cause problems. You and your employees must remember to listen to customer complaints and make sure you really hear what customers are saying. No matter how much technology and automation you implement, it’s the human touch that really makes the difference in being truly responsive to your customers.