eBusiness Blog

How Customer Service Creates a Referral-Based Business

This eTip is a recording of a Facebook Live show where I talked about customer service. I shared some stories about what happened to me over the holidays plus some insights on what we do at eVision Media to embrace customer service to earn a referral-based business.

Key Customer Service Tips

During our 16 or so years at eVision Media, the key customer service goals we strive to reach are:

  1. Answer your phone and emails promptly
  2. Be honest and upfront about delays and problems that affect your client
  3. Own mistakes and do what you can to make up for them
  4. Don’t over promise in your marketing messages and then under deliver
  5. Ensure your clients feel valued, heard and appreciated

If you liked what you saw here, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and newsletter so you can get updates and videos for small business entrepreneurs every week!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.

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About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

How you communicate directly impacts your client relationships

How often do you get yourself in trouble because a situation has been misunderstood?

How often do you have to tell people what you “really” meant or that you didn’t like how you learned about a situation?

How upset do your clients and customers get about a product being unavailable?

How much do you dread letting them know that the product isn’t available because of how they will react?

All these scenarios often have nothing to do with what you need to communicate but rather with how you deliver the message.

How you deliver the message plays out both in what I like to call big “C” communications – big corporate announcements and organizational strategy – and in little “c” communications – emails and difficult conversations for example.

Believe it or not, much of the way we think and behave is unconscious. What we value, what we believe, our memory of a situation and past behaviours all feed into how we receive and deliver information.

When we become aware of how we come across we can take control of how we communicate with others.Click To Tweet

And this isn’t just the “soft stuff” of business.

Neuroscientists have been studying human behaviour for decades. I turned to Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton to provide some scientific backing for what has been intuitive for me for a long time.

Here are four ways neuroscience tells us we can help our audience be receptive to our message. To conclude, I’ll give you five practical tips to put this science into use.

  • Mirror your audience’s actions and behaviours

    Have you ever walked into a restaurant or bar and noticed how people are interacting with each other?

    Have you noticed groups of people who seem to dress similarly, or how married people seem to come to even look alike over time? Matching and mirroring is when you take on someone else’s style of behaviour as well as their skills, values, or beliefs in order to create rapport.

    This will make your audience feel comfortable and more likely to listen to what you have to say. You can deliberately match and mirror someone by:

    • Body postures and gestures
    • How quickly you breathe
    • How quickly you speak or move
    • How your voice sounds

    CAUTION: You don’t want to mimic people. There is a fine line between moving in rhythm with someone and fitting in, or mimicry. People will know if you are being insincere.

  • Listen so you know what people are looking for

    If you want to really have people buy into what you are saying, then you must truly be present and LISTEN. And that means making sure they know they have been heard.

    Acknowledge their point of view, understand where they are coming from and above all, be patient.

  • Build rapport when communicating virtually

    To build rapport in today’s age of virtual offices, make sure you:

    • Speak more slowly to ensure people can hear you
    • Make sure you have people’s attention before you make your point
    • Use people’s names more often than you might in face-to-face meetings so they feel included and heard
    • Visualise the person at the end of the phone line as you listen to the conversation
    • If you are in a video-conference, look into the camera and appear to be visually present (no escaping to Facebook during teleconferences here!)
    • Summarise the meeting afterwards and confirm via email what was decided upon
  • Use multiple ways of communicating to make sure your message gets across:

    Find out who your audience is. If they are audio listeners, the words you use will be important. If your audience is more visual, then graphs, charts and pictures will help them remember information.

    Kinaesthetic audiences will focus on the tone of your voice and the feeling they experienced upon receiving the information.

So what does this mean for your daily interactions with your clients?

  1. Ensure you have their attention before sharing your message.
  2. Did they understand what you had to say? Ask questions to probe their response to your conversation.
  3. Use language and mannerisms your clients can relate to – use mirroring to deliver messages in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
  4. Follow-up with email after decisions are made to ensure you’re both on the same page.
  5. Have you inspired them to act? Find out what they care about so you can better motivate them to participate in your desired outcome.

Following the tips included in this article will shape how you deliver your message and guarantee improved communications with your clients.

Take some time to truly understand and internalize these techniques and you will be well on your way to avoiding difficult situations.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


How Great Customer Service Gets You Business Referrals

Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of customer service from another company and vowed to never do business with them again? And most certainly never told anyone else about them?

This is why customer service is so vital to business success as I explain in this eTip episode on why it’s the primary reason we have such a high referral rate.

We get a lot of new customers based on the quality of our customer service.

Our referral rate is around the 90-95% range so I wanted to share our secrets for good customer service.

For us that means things like answering our phone, responding to emails quickly, and making sure our customer’s needs are taken care of.

Obviously you can’t do that 24/7 but having a solid response time is good business practice and your customers will appreciate you for it.

Respond to them in a timely manner and appreciate that their brand may be affected by what service they need you for.

People want to get information fast so making them wait is not good customer service.

If you don’t respond in a timely manner you risk pushing them towards your competition.

By providing a high level of customer service you demonstrate to the potential client that they can expect good work out of you if they commit to your business.

Sometimes your needs might need to be set aside while you put the customer first.

Dealing with difficult clients and mistakes wisely

No matter how much someone upsets you always make your best attempt at being professional and polite.

Even if you’re having a bad day consider they may be as well and the additional stress of bad customer service can really put them off your business.

If you do make a mistake own up to it and make it right. Mistakes happen and if you take responsibility for the error and solve the issue then your client will appreciate you more.

Let them know what steps you’ve taken to ensure those mistakes don’t happen ever again.

People don’t get mad about mistakes.

Your customers won’t get mad if you make a mistake. They will get mad if you don’t acknowledge the mistake or don’t take steps to address the mistake and prevent it from happening again.

Don’t lay blame with somebody else and by taking responsibility you show the customer you respect them, which will go a long way when they start looking for who to refer their friends to.

If one of your team members makes a mistake it’s still a reflection on you and your business.

Let them know you’re tackling the mistake and you’ll find they respond well to your professionalism.

When you’re in business you are in the people to people business so the more respect you pay to them the better. Treat your customers with respect and they will in turn refer their friends to you because they’ll know their friends will experience the same high level of customer service that you’ve provided to them.

If you have your own stories about how providing great customer service has helped you or has gained you a great new lead that turned into a client then please share them in the comments below.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

Social Blast for Entrepreneurs

What If You Could Learn Social Media and Online Marketing Each Month With Ease?

If you are new to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing, my monthly group coaching program, Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs is a perfect way for you to incrementally learn the best strategies and tactics to help you grow your business online.

  • Uncover what it takes to execute a successful, revenue-driving social media strategy
  • Learn how to build relationships, trust, and brand awareness with your ideal customer
  • Discover actionable strategies to engage followers online
  • Master creating compelling content that’s always on target
  • Discern how to authentically differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace
  • Find out the best times to post for higher readership
  • Stay abreast with the latest prospecting techniques to grow your list, groups and more…
  • Learn ways to engage through social media monitoring and listening

It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

› CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Customer Service Strategies in a Digital World

Customer Service and PR in the Digital World

How to get your social media presence set up right so you can deal with customer complaints like a Pro

With social media being so prevalent, users often take to their favourite channel with their complaints.

75% of users surveyed said they include social media when evaluating a purchase.

32% want a response within 30 minutes and 42% expect a response in under an hour!

When you set up your social media keep that in mind.

How to use social media for customer service

Using social media to manage customer complaints may seem like a burden but the payoff is repeat business and happy customers.

Users often take to the majors like Twitter and Facebook.  Don’t shy away from either even if you’ve received some nasty feedback in the past.

When you initially set up your accounts you entered an email to register and you’ve probably noticed unless you changed the settings you get an email every time someone is active on your page/profile.

If you find this bothersome try creating an email like customerservice@example.com that forwards to your own account or the account of an employee whose job it is to monitor your online presence.

If it’s directed to your own email create a folder or label specifically for customer service or PR that these emails automatically go to. Don’t let it get lost in your emails though or you’ll miss alerts.

*Depending on your email setup this will vary in execution*

These alerts will let you know when you have a new comment or message on your profile.

When you get one have a response protocol ready. You don’t want to jump on a complaint and then have to wait 2 days for a decision-maker to draft their response.

One single meeting with your team on customer service/PR protocol on social platforms can save you a lot of headaches.

Have canned responses ready

Use Social Media to make your customers happy. Learn how to use social for customer serviceClick To Tweet

Canned responses refer to an automatically generated response that is prompted by the user contacting you. You may have seen these in the past and wondered how they get set up; now you get to set them up for yourself:

Twitter

Twitter rolled out some great tools last year for users who operate their business online:

https://business.twitter.com/i/settings/support

That link allows you to upgrade your account with messages that will automatically send to anyone who messages you directly and will show users that you provide this option.

You account will show your support hours and users will see that you take their feedback seriously.

This is a great signal to Google too – that you’re serious about your business and helping customers.

If you want more help using Twitter try our section dedicated to using Twitter for business.

Facebook

Facebook also allows you to set up your account to help communicate with customers via instant messaging. To turn on instant replies to any instant message to your business’s page follow these instructions:

To turn on Instant Replies for your Page:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
  2. Click Messaging in the left column
  3. Below Response Assistant, click to select Yes next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page
  4. To change your instant reply message, click Change, update the message and click Save

To turn off Instant Replies:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
  2. Click Messaging in the left column
  3. Below Response Assistant, click to select No next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page

You can direct users in both instances towards a contact email or simply let them know you’ll review their message within the next 24 hours and respond.

Once you have these set up, how you use them is entirely up to you. Each were only available within the last 2 years so not all businesses have adapted yet but those that have done it have set user’s expectations.

For more tips on using Facebook look at our section all about using Facebook to grow your business.

Monitor your reviews

Whether it’s Yelp (who’s results are now actually trending in SERPs) Google reviews, or Facebook reviews (if you have them turned on) it’s very important to stay on top of your reviews. There could be even more players in your niche so be on the lookout for sites dedicated to reviewing your products or services.

If you get a bad one you don’t want to remove it. That would defeat the purposes of the reviews.

Instead use the platform’s response option to address the reviewer’s concerns.

By demonstrating to users you take their feedback and complaints seriously you show them they can trust they’ll be treated with the same respect should things go wrong between you and them.

The point of PR and customer feedback should not be to defend yourself outright.

While some users may be serial complainers or even thieves always assume the best in the customer.

Use their complaint or question as an opportunity to possibly address something within your business you should have paid attention to a long time ago.

Often you’ll find the customer has either made an error or there’s a genuine issue you need to address with your business.

Whatever the case, keep in mind what you post will be what users see when reading up on your company. Not only that but Google looks for signals of a bad business in online engagement and reviews as well.

Position yourself as a responsible business owner who will address their concerns, so whenever someone reads about your business they get the right impression.

Just because a lot of customer service has moved online doesn’t change the fact that your business needs to give a good impression to potential users/customers. Put a smile on people’s faces as much as possible and your social media can really help you grow.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Customer Service in the Digital WorldClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Is Social Media Really Worth it for a Small Business?

Is Social Media Really Worth It for a Small Business?

As a business owner and solopreneur, it’s really important to know that the time, energy, and resources you invest in your business provides a generous return on investment.

Social media platforms are a powerful tool that can help you market your business, but unless you know how to use it to generate tangible ROI for your business, is it really worth it?

Social Media can be a powerful marketing tool if you know how to get a ROIClick To Tweet

This article will provide you with a clear breakdown of all the information you need to make the best decision for your business.

How Much Time Does Social Media Require?

Even though having social media accounts is free (unless you spend money on ads), that doesn’t mean there are no costs associated to using these platforms to your benefit.

Since time costs money to business owners, let’s look at the amount of time the average business owner spends on social media.

According to a survey by Vertical Response, about 43 percent of small businesses spend about 6 hours per week on social media.

Writing and posting a weekly blog post can take 1-3 hours to do. So this means it takes a full day to write, schedule, and post to social media plus write and post a blog article each week.

It can take 8 hours a week to focus on social media for small businessesClick To Tweet

This is assuming you, the business owner would be doing everything required to fulfil these two marketing tasks.  If you decide to hire someone to help, then the money you pay out needs to be the ROI factor as opposed to your time.

The Benefits of Social Media

On the flip side let’s look at the advantages of social media for your business.  In general, there are 5 benefits a business owner can count on if using social media marketing:

  1. Relationship Building: Social media is an excellent way to build relationships with prospects. It provides an opportunity for multiple exposures to your fan base by using a mixture of information and calls to action.
  2. Lead Generation: Add followers to your email marketing list by sharing links to downloadable freebies on your social media accounts. This allows you to send follow-up emails and information that can lead to sales.
  3. Traffic Generation: SEO optimized blog posts can help your website rank higher for important keywords in the search engines. Plus, when you post blog articles, you can tell your social media followers about them and share the link to your blog to read more.
  4. Consistency: Staying top of mind requires frequent marketing touches. With many people spending hours a day checking their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts on their smart phones, social media gives you lots of exposure to your target market.
     
    Sharing daily social media posts and weekly blog articles keeps the relationship with your customers strong.
  5. Customer Service: Social media offers an easy way for customers to reach you with questions, problems, or complaints about your products and services.

    This gives you a chance to respond immediately to address the issue.  Plus, giving the VIP treatment to customers in need shows that you are a company who cares and goes a long way towards building your reputation online.

Social Media Tactics That Drive Results

What actions should your business be doing regularly on social media to generate the best results?

Here are just a few of the tactics you should be employing on your social media channels:

  • Strategically planning social media content in alignment with sales goals
  • Curate content on a regular basis
  • Promote LinkedIn Pulse and blog posts on social media
  • Interact with other social media pages and groups to attract new followers
  • Create and share social media graphics, photos, videos and infographics
  • Listen and respond to comments on your own social media posts
  • Engage in social listening and respond to those who mention you
  • Promote high engagement posts with social media ads
  • Review analytics and reporting on engagement posts and reach
  • Plan opt-in freebies to share on social media for list building
  • Write and post blog posts
  • Look for guest blogging opportunities
  • and so on…

So you can see to really stay ahead of the game, realistically, you need to have a dedicated social media person or hire some help to do it right.

The ROI of Social Media

Because the benefits of social media efforts are often intangible, such as the amount of brand exposure your business would get, it’s often difficult to put an actual number to the ROI of your social media efforts.

But if you look at it this way, just a few new customers every month (depending on what you sell) would more than likely pay the costs of doing social media marketing for your business.

Plus, if you hire someone to manage your social media, it frees you to focus on other revenue-generating activities.

Bottom line, if you aren’t on social media, you are missing out on business. The opportunity cost of not marketing on social media is with lost visibility, less website traffic, slower list building, and weaker relationships.

To your success,

P.S. New to online marketing or you find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
CLICK HERE: www.socialblastcoaching.com

P.P.S. if you found this article helpful, please share it with your followers!

Is Social Media Really Worth it for a Small Business? This article helps decide:Click To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

7 Essential Keys to Developing Self-Trust

7 Essential Keys to Developing Self-Trust

Reflecting back on my life, I remember feeling so envious of people who felt comfortable in their own skin and radiated self-confidence at the time when I felt like a shrinking violet.

A vivid memory that stands out is when I was in my early 20s, sitting in the audience watching a man on stage giving a lecture about the benefits of meditation.  I was mesmerized, not by his words, but by his presence.

He wasn’t particularly good-looking, nor did he have a ‘killer’ body; it wasn’t even that he was charismatic.  So what was it about him that utterly riveted my attention?

He was relaxed and comfortable in himself. He trusted himself completely.

Observing him sharing his thoughts and personal stories, and later fielding questions from the audience, I knew that my first step was to learn how to meditate and that more would be revealed.

Practicing meditation calmed and released my stress, supported my composure under pressure and heightened my awareness.  I noticed that:

  • I said, “Yes” when I wanted to say, “No” or, at least, “I don’t know, can I get back to you?”
  • I caved in to others’ ideas and suggestions, letting my own input bite the dust.
  • I watched how I undermined my own decision-making, second-guessing myself.
  • I routinely put other people’s needs and desires before my own.
  • I tried so hard to be perfect or what others seemingly wanted me to be.
  • And, I realized that I didn’t trust myself.

I came to understand over time that you cannot be trusted unless you trust yourself completely, and you cannot trust others if you do not trust yourself!

It became my imperative to develop self-trust.  On the one hand, it is an ongoing project but, on the other hand, it really is doable. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Developing self-trust begins with the daily practice of grounding and centering.

    One of my biggest obstacles was that I developed a preference as a child for being out of my body. It felt safer to be out than in; after all, if I were in my body, I would have to feel all the pain I was in.
     
    I now call this “faulty problem-solving.”  That is, you ostensibly solve one problem but, in actuality, are creating another.  Not only does being out of your body leave your body unattended and defenseless but all of your resources like your intellect, intuition, feelings and innate body intelligence and strength can only be experienced when you are in the body.
     
    And, there’s more: when you are ungrounded, you are scattered, feel overwhelmed, anxious, run late, and will say anything in the moment (because you are not connected to your truth).
     
    I saw that this was the core of my own lack of self-trust and that, in truth, I was not trustworthy.  I became highly motivated to become a woman of integrity.
     
    There are many ways to get grounded and centered.  The one we teach is a simple breathing and visualization process.  Some people are naturally grounded, others spend time in nature or in their garden.
     
    For those whose childhood was challenging, getting back into your body is the way to protect yourself going forward and to release the pain of the past, so it no longer holds you back.

  2. Say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t say anything if you are unsure.

     
    This takes discipline and practice, but is essential to developing self-trust.
     
    At first, I only noticed that I had just committed to do something I had no desire to do after the fact.  Although I was horrible embarrassed, I forced myself to clean it up, apologizing for wasting the person’s time.
     
    After doing this several times in a row, I was able to catch my words mid-sentence in the moment, and take them back.  “Oh, just listen to me!  I have no business saying, ‘yes’ to this request.  Excuse me, please.”
     
    Finally, I was rewarded: I was able to catch the habitual pattern of giving myself away before I spoke.  Although I couldn’t bring myself to say, “no” right away, I would let the person know I needed to think about it, check my schedule and would get back to them by a certain time.
     
    This is such a great technique: buying some time versus acting from a programmed response was liberating!  It allowed me to renew my grounding and then to see what was my truth?

  3. Be self-loyal: keep the promises you made to yourself

     
    When you have a pattern of giving yourself away piece-by-piece, you put your own goals at the bottom of your priorities. You keep telling yourself that you will take a walk or a nap to renew your energy when it slumps, but somehow it always slips your mind or you rationalize that you are too busy today (and every day).
     
    How often do you ‘forget’ to go to the ATM or even to go to the bathroom when you need to?
     
    A word here about making and keeping your promises to others. It’s not a good idea to make promises to others if you haven’t kept the ones you previously made!
     
    Pull the rug on yourself!  Share that you are mortified that you broke past promises and while you are working to rectify that in yourself, you will let your actions speak louder than your words.
     
    Then make sure that you do.  Trust is earned.

  4. Be responsible for handling your own needs, without drama or depleting others.

     
    Consistently handling your own needs, with no muss or fuss, is the way to show up responsibly.
     
    Making sure you are grounded before you show up at work or deal with problems in the home, allows you to be your best self. Neediness pushes others away.  Running drama is toxic and completely out of integrity as you are compromising and depleting others.
     
    Years ago, I made a new agreement, that I have kept, to handle my own needs at the beginning of the day, even if it meant getting up a little earlier than usual.  Handling my own needs, supported me in being able to give focused attention to my clients, without resentment.

  5. Decide what integrity means to you, what it looks like and sounds like and be in integrity!

     
    Your integrity is your own code of ethics, no matter how the people around you behave, it’s how you behave. Your self-esteem flows from your integrity.

  6. Avoid people who support you in keeping the old patterns alive.

     
    These are the people who undermine your self-trust; they are the ones who try to talk you out of what’s best for you, make light of the issues that you are working on, so that they can still run their own energy-sapping behaviors around you!
     
    When you are ungrounded, you make other people work harder – you forget key details and need to be reminded, you show up late for appointments and sessions with professionals, perhaps without your checkbook!
     
    When you clean up your own act, the behavior of others comes to the fore. Do the individuals who surround you support you? Do they add value?  Do you really want them in your life?

  7. Remember that building self-trust is a journey: if you screw up, forgive yourself (and clean up your mess.)

     
    Developing self-trust also includes treating yourself like a best friend. A best friend is patient when they see that you are really committed to new behavior.  They will even partner you in gently catching the old programmed responses and question them.  “Is this really what you want to say?  Is this your truth?”
     
    So, the next time you make a mistake and criticize yourself harshly, catch yourself, and instead say, “Oh, there’s that old pattern again,” or “Oops, let’s try that again.”  Creating a safe internal environment for embracing change is essential, so do yourself a favor and start today!

    I know that many people are looking for the instant fix, to pop a pill as it were, and as such I was tempted to call this article, The Fastest and Easiest Path to Self-Trust,” or “Three Shortcuts to Developing Self-Trust,” but I would be out of integrity in doing so.
     
    No, it is a journey.  Somedays you feel triumphant and exhilarated as you demonstrate a new behavior; other days, you feel as though you haven’t made any progress at all.  But even two steps forward and one backward is progress.  You will succeed if you keep on, keeping on!

If this article touched a chord in you, or if you would like to share what works for you, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Aimée Lyndon Adams

About the Author, Aimée Lyndon-Adams

Aimée Lyndon-Adams is both a seasoned corporate executive and a metaphysician practicing spiritual energy healing. She has provided coaching and healing sessions to individuals, couples and groups and has offered an energy management curriculum of training classes for many years. She is an articulate and charismatic speaker and facilitator.

Visit www.WhatTrulyMatters.com to claim instant access to your free gift for your juiciest life EVER!

5 Secrets to Creating a Business That Has Longevity

5 Secrets to Creating a Business That Has Longevity - Top customer service strategies to create and sustain a profitable business

Top customer service strategies to create and sustain a profitable business

This weekend Daniel and I were invited to the Abbotsford Airshow as a guest of Chef Michael Dicks of Culinary Touch Catering. He was the official caterer of the 8 Chalets there and served over 5000 guests during the 3-day event.  That’s pretty astonishing!

This isn’t Michael’s first “rodeo” at the show and after many years of doing this, he and his team have everything down to a science where it all ran very systematically and smoothly.

And this is the reason why he gets asked back to cater the Airshow Chalets year after year.

His clients know his consummate professionalism, attention to detail and high-quality culinary skills will not let them down.

Clients will return if you are professional, pay attention to detail and provide high qualityClick To Tweet

Do your clients feel the same way about you and your business?

Do you continually bring in referrals based on your stellar reputation? Do you consistently get repeat customers because they know exactly what they’ll get if they hire or purchase from you?

I’m proud to definitely say “yes” to those questions. Since our humble beginnings in the early 2000’s, we have grown to a multi-six figure income business with 10 team members.

90-95% of our business comes from referrals. That means we have built a reputation for delivering what our clients want and they are happy to tell others about us.

As a business owner, focusing on creating a sustainable business that thrives due to a stellar reputation is an ideal scenario to aspire to.

With this in mind, I put together a list of 5 top qualities that focus on customer service you need to infuse into your every-day business practice that will give your business the longevity you want. It has worked for us since 2000 and it can work for you too!

  1. Become a Master Networker… For Your Clients

    Aside from networking in order to find your next client, be a master networker on behalf of your clients.If they are struggling with a certain problem, help find someone to solve it for them. For example, if they are looking for a great web developer, tell them about eVision Media ;)!
     
    The best way to be on the lookout for these opportunities is through social media. Always watch out for when you can help refer someone to your clients that you know will help them with their needs.
     
    This will have a valuable impression on them and they won’t forget your generosity.

  2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service

    I can’t stress this enough. Do you know how many times I get emails and phone calls from business owners complaining their web developer or marketer disappeared on them? Way more often than you can imagine.
     
    Make your clients a priority. They are your lifeline. Always return their emails and phone calls promptly and always provide the absolute best you can for them. No exception.
     
    Don’t be one of those people who disappoint their clients, sending them to your competitor.

  3. Truly Care About Your Clients

    I can safely say I can call the majority of our clients a friend. From our very first phone call, I’m working on developing a long-lasting relationship with them.I want to get to know the person, not just the business I’m dealing with.
     
    In today’s marketing arena, it’s now “person to person” and no longer B2B or B2C. It’s P2P all the way with me and should be for you too!
     
    When you come across an article, product, book or anything else that you think would really help a client, send it to them. No strings attached.
     
    You’re showing you truly care and want the best for them. This really helps when nurturing a prospect too.
     
    Always be thinking on behalf of your clients and how you can best serve them, even if they’re not paying for it directly. You’ll get tremendous indirect rewards as a result.

  4. Pay Attention to Details

    “The Devil Lies in the Details” is a saying I heard back when I first studied web development. A missing quotation mark meant the whole site was broken. You had to have every keystroke of code done perfectly for it to work (and still do!).
     
    This same attitude should go for your business and especially when dealing with clients.
     
    Don’t let the mistakes slip past you. Set up a system that will double check what the client receives so they are not the ones who having to do the quality control and sending back the errors for you to fix.
     
    Your business may not need as much care and attention but in mine, it sure does! Not that we’re perfect, mistakes are definitely made, but if the client knows you’re on top of it and mistakes are far and few between, you will be forgiven for the odd transgression.

  5. Be Consistent

    Just as my example with Chef Dicks, consistency is a key to longevity in business. His Abbotsford Airshow clients know they can count on him to deliver exceptional quality every time, year after year.You need to be focusing on this kind of consistency too.
     
    Excuses are not acceptable when you show up late for an appointment, don’t deliver on time, or didn’t provide exactly what you promised.
     
    Figure out a system so you’re not letting anyone down in your business, especially your clients. Disappointment leads to them not having any loyalty towards you and your business.
     
    Once you are known as someone who can be relied on, your referral and recurring rates will skyrocket.

Following these 5 rules of thumb in my business is what I can truly attribute to our success today.  If you start making these strategies a part of your normal business habits, I know that you will see similar results too!

Do you have any other tips you can share that would help entrepreneurs and business owners build a sustainable business? Write in the comments section below!

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How to React Positively to a Negative Client Using Law of Attraction

How to React Positively to a Negative Client Using Law of Attraction

At some point in time every entrepreneur receives a negative comment from a client or customer. If you been arrested, you are probably wondering who is the best drunk driving lawyer in town.

While it’s unavoidable in business the outcome of what started out as something negative can be turned around to something that is positive. In fact it’s possible that the client who was complaining about something could turn into one of your best referral clients!

It all depends on how you decide to communicate back to that client.

Let’s look at a few different scenarios where you received a negative comment that fired you up so much that your first reaction was anger and maybe your thought process was along the lines of ‘Grrrr I provided an exceptional service to them they just didn’t do their part!’

And let’s be real here – it might be the client that you knew was going to be high maintenance and never satisfied but you took them on as a client anyway because a) you needed the money or b) you didn’t think it would be so bad.

And from a Law of Attraction perspective your ‘gut’ feeling was right and now you know that next time you’ll pay attention to what you ‘feel’!

But in the meantime you have to deal with a negative complaint. And because we all live in a very ‘high-tech low-touch’ world you may have received that complaint via an email or from a variety of social media sites where you either post or comment.

Woman-getting-rejection-on-phoneHowever you received it most likely you will have a negative reaction and want to react back right away with something equally as negative.

And if this happens to be posted in a public place you know that typing those words, with those negative vibes attached that this can hurt your business reputation in so many ways. And you will attract more of the same!

Another scenario may be that you received a phone call from a client or customer with a complaint and all you wanted to do was slam the phone down but of course, professional entrepreneur that you are, you won’t do this.

So here is where knowing how to use the Law of Attraction deliberately can save the day for you.

You can easily turn what could be a bad-reaction-disaster into a positive-high-vibe-response where both you and your client or customer are happy with the outcome of the communication.

  • Observe your feelings and ‘do nothing at first or ‘say nothing’ if it is a phone call
  • Briefly’ let your emotions out – have a hissy fit, go down a rabbit hole or take a time-out; do whatever you need to do to release those emotions
  • Take 3 deep breaths – in and out
  • Give some thought to the situation (not the emotions) and decide if the complaint is valid or not
  • Think about your response by setting your intention – think about what you want the outcome to be with the ‘best case scenario’ top of mind

Then and only then…

  • If possible phone your client or customer and listen to what they have to say. Many times what you think is the problem is not really the problem and we all know that high-tech communication can easily be misunderstood.
  • Express gratitude for the client or customer for bringing this to your attention (you are taking the high-vibe road here)
  • Ask the client or customer if there is anything else you can help them with and when heartfelt they will know that you were sincere in wanting to listen and respond to their complaint.

And then wait for them to refer new clients to you because of your positive high-vibe professional customer service!

About the Author, Dana J. Smithers

dana-smithers-ewb

Dana J. Smithers is on a mission to inspire and empower women entrepreneurs around the world. At 50 she left a high-paying corporate job and over the years launched 3 businesses earning a 6-figure income.

As a Certified Law of Attraction Trainer she you how to use LOA tools to build a business by working on your limiting beliefs. As a Certified Sacred Gifts Guide she helps you discover what makes you feel on purpose and fulfilled. As an Emotion Code practitioner Dana knows how to release your trapped negative emotions that have built up over the years and are now holding you back from moving forward. She invites you to sign up for her enewsletter for tips, insights and inspiration and her FREE ebook 'The POWER of your WORDS' at Empowered Women in Business. She looks forward to making a real connection with you on www.FB.com/coachdanasmithers. Her NEW Law of Attraction Gratitude Journal is available on www.amazon.com.

6 Steps To Nurturing A Profitable Business

6 Steps To Nurturing A Profitable Business

Why are you in business?

If you just responded saying it is to help others or to make the world a better place or some other lofty vision, you are only partially correct.

The truth is, you are in business to make money.

Without money, you can’t be sustainable or make much of a difference and it’s really tough to be able to help others when you can hardly help yourself.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt DisneyClick To Tweet

I see this kind of struggle every day when talking with entrepreneurs and new business owners where they have an amazing vision and strong desire to make a difference yet can’t make ends meet.

With this in mind, I’ve put together some pointers that have helped me build a multi 6-figure business.

With a New Year upon us, I encourage you to implement some or all of these suggestions and you’ll be on your way to fulfilling the reason why you are in business to begin with.

And you do this by nurturing your business to success!

  1. STEP ONE: Nurture Your Vision

    Create specific goals that will lead you to fulfilling your vision.

    Do this by first understanding what you want your business to look like a year, two years and five years from now.

    Then create a plan that will support those goals.

    What needs to be in place in order to achieve those goals? How much income do you need to be able to pay your bills and live comfortably?

    Then calculate how many clients and/or sales do you need in order to accomplish that goal. This roadmap will be what you follow to achieve your vision.

    And remember to treat your business as a business instead of a hobby (which is what happens when we allow every day distractions take us away from achieving our business goals.) This mindset shift alone will make an incredible difference to your success.

    Make a commitment and don’t let excuses get in the way of honouring that commitment.

    Daniel and I work 15 hour days most every day of the week. We don’t let excuses of being tired or having a cold distract us from reaching our goals. This kind of committed mindset is what you need to also have to accomplish yours.

  2. STEP TWO: Nurture your marketing

    This step is vital to your business success. Period.

    Without marketing your business, you will not flourish because no one will know you exist!  Here are some tips to get you going:

    Do a thorough analysis on who your ideal target market is, what their struggles and  needs are and how you can help them. Get to know exactly who it is that you want to attract as a customer.

    Spend at least an hour or two a day minimum working ON your business.  And if you can’t take that time, hire a competent marketing firm that can do a lot of it for you (and the bonus is that you’ll benefit from their expertise, which will save you more time, energy and money in the long run.)

    Market yourself daily via social media, networking groups, blog postings and commenting on other blog posts.

    This does not mean pushing your products or services on others. Your goal is to get in front of your ideal target market and develop relationships with them so they can begin to know, like and trust you.

    When I first started out in business, I did a lot of volunteering where I could showcase my website design and development expertise. I worked with several non-profits and gained a lot of valuable experience along the way.

    If you have a service-based business, considering doing the same. Not only will it help build your brand exposure and gain a valuable reputation as someone who is contributing to the community, you will also be able to use this as a great learning experience to build your skillset at the same time.

  3. STEP THREE: Nurture Your Existing Clients

    The best way to build your business is through referrals.

    When a client is pleased with your offerings, they will be more than happy to tell others about you.

    Here are a few pointers on how to achieve this:

    Demonstrate you care about them by being accessible and responding to their needs in a timely manner.

    Let them know you’re thinking about them and share articles, resources and other things you find that they will appreciate receiving.

    Follow up to see how they are doing.

    Thank them for being a client/doing business with you.

    Stay in touch on a regular basis through social media, blog posts and newsletters.

    eVision Media is built on an approximate 90-95% referral base. We do very little marketing aside from our social media efforts. Most all of our new and ongoing business is a result of having and nurturing happy clients.

    What can you do today to start developing a happy customer base that will think of you when they come across others who could use your product or service?

  4. STEP FOUR: Nurture Your Team

    It is nearly impossible to build a successful business without any help.

    Build a team of resources (either as employees, contractors or agencies with specific expertise) who can offset your weaknesses. Delegate as much as you can of the stuff you really don’t like doing or don’t know how to do (properly).

    Lead your team by example and be generous with encouragement, praise, gratitude and respect.

    Have your team feel like they are a part of the overall business success where they can help by brainstorming new ideas and finding ways things can be improved.

    My first hire was a programmer many years ago. I knew the more higher-end programming was one of my weaknesses (nor did I want to further develop that skillset) so I sought to hire someone who’s passion was in programming.

    Today, we comprise of a team of 10 people who all bring to the table their particular expertise in design, copywriting, Social Media, online marketing, SEO, and of course programming. I could never accomplish any of what we have achieved without such a team in place.

    What are your weaknesses that you are trying to do yourself that you should be delegating instead?

  5. STEP FIVE: Nurture Your Systems and Processes

    It’s probably the last thing you want to do, but it’s critical to document everything you do and how you do it as if you were going to re-create your business as a franchise. (Read Michael E. Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited to find out how.)

    This step will save you countless amounts of time and energy, especially as you build your team while growing your business. We have several systems in place that keep our virtual team atmosphere running smoothly and efficiently.

    One of the key areas to be mindful of is communications between you and your team members.  It’s easy to let things fall through the cracks if you don’t have a check and balance system in place.

  6. STEP SIX: Nurture Your Self

    I encourage you to believe in what you are doing and have confidence and trust that everything will work out.

    Stop chasing after every guru out there and start trusting that you already have the knowledge and resources you need to succeed.

    Stop chasing gurus and start trusting you already have what you need to succeed.Click To Tweet

    Stay on track by following your plan and don’t let the shiny object syndrome continually pull you and your team in several different directions.

    Find a mentor, mastermind group or coach that will not only support you but guide you on how to implement your plans and allow your brilliance to shine. You’ll stop wasting time and money and start focusing on what is most important so you can grow more quickly and get the support you need.

    Having gratitude is a big part of our day, every day. The more we focus on being grateful for what we have, the more positive our lives become. Find something to be grateful for instead of focusing on what you don’t have and this will have a profound impact on your success.

By nurturing your business using these 6 steps, you will not only enjoy growth and sustainability but also the success you desire!

I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and share your challenges or perhaps some ideas of your own that can help nurture your business to success.

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Marketing eTip: How to Gain Trust With Potential Customers

Today’s eTip is about gaining trust with potential customers…

Listen to today’s 1 minute tip to find out what you need to do on your website and social media channels to gain better trust with potential customers, especially if you have an eCommerce website.

Did you know one of the biggest reasons why people don’t make a purchase on a website is because they don’t trust where they are buying from?

This is especially true in eCommerce websites. One way to alleviate this trust issue is to stop making your potential customers hunt to find your contact information.

Make it easy for people to reach you by including your company name, mailing address, email and phone number to your website’s contact page and anywhere else that’s appropriate like in your Facebook page and other social media pages.

For eCommerce sites, include your customer service phone number in the top right hand corner of every page on your site. This will help ease the purchaser’s mind that if they run into any issues or have any questions about their purchase, they know they can reach you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – are you afraid to have your contact information displayed on your website? Share your experience in the comments section or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

P.S. New to Social Media or you find online marketing overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

CLICK HERE: www.socialblastcoaching.com

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".