Local Business Roundup: How to Step up Your Customer Service

Ashley Taylor Anderson

Customer Service Tips for Local Businesses

Credit: Creativemarc / Shutterstock.com

We know it’s impossible to keep up with all of the news in the local business space. That’s why we’ve cherry-picked the articles from this week that matter most for business owners like you.

[Customer Service] How to Increase Your Level of Service

Source: SmallBizLady

Customer service can make or break your business. Studies have shown repeatedly that bad service can drive customers away in the blink of an eye. So how can you make sure to provide a great experience that will secure your customers’ loyalty to your business?

In this interview with Melinda Emerson, expert Michel Falcon shares some helpful tips for small business owners. The highlights include:

  • Develop a full customer service plan, the same way you do for marketing and sales.
  • Hire and recruit people who are customer focused.
  • Provide a robust training program on customer service after you hire a new employee.
  • Create guidelines for social media customer service.
  • Invest in customer experience, because the payoff in referrals and retained customers is huge!
  • Proactively ask for customer feedback to improve your services.

Why It Matters: Most small business owners focus on marketing and sales efforts that attract new customers and generate revenue from existing ones. But if your customer service is lacking, you’re likely to have a hard time obtaining new patrons and keeping your existing ones happy. So what’s the solution? Make customer service a top priority for you and your employees. 

[Topic] Why Local Search Sites Are Adding Services

Source: StreetFight

Local search sites such as Yelp, MapQuest, and YP have been a driver of website clicks, calls, and store visits. Now, these sites are investing in taking the next step by integrating service bookings. This technology makes it easier for consumers to close the loop with businesses by completing a transaction at the moment when they’re performing research.

For local businesses, this functionality can be a huge win—but only if you maintain your business listings on these local search sites and invest in technology that allows for bookings across the web. While there may be a learning curve, local search isn’t something you can ignore—more and more consumers are turning to these sites as an alternative to Google and other search engines. If your business isn’t present, you’re missing out on a relatively easy, cost-effective way to attract new customers online.

Why It Matters: Local search sites represent a big opportunity for your business to connect with local consumers as they search for services like yours. However, this requires that you invest in creating listings on key sites, maintaining those listings, and making use of a service that provides integrated bookings. Only then will you reap the true benefits of local search.

[Branding] 12 Tips for Creating Meaningful Relationships Online

Source: Entrepreneur

Forming strong relationships online can make a huge difference when it comes to getting your business’s name out there in the digital world. Here are 12 tips to help you make more meaningful connections with followers, influencers, and peers.

  1. Be strategic.
  2. Be genuine.
  3. Find influencers.
  4. Join online conversations.
  5. Find common interest.
  6. Share meaningful information.
  7. Have the right followers.
  8. Create a sustainable conversation.
  9. Don’t spam people.
  10. Network through your blog.
  11. Share and give.
  12. Follow up offline.

Why It Matters: It’s not hard to find people to reach out to on the web. What’s hard is forming real relationships with individuals who can help your business, whether by recommending you, providing you with mentorship, or sharing your content with others. The key to creating meaningful relationships is to treat them the same you would real-world relationships. They require thought, authenticity, listening and talking, and continuous engagement to thrive. 

About the Author

Ashley Taylor Anderson

Ashley Taylor Anderson is a content developer and marketer who's spent her career knee-deep in the B2B technology space. In previous professional lives, she worked as a science textbook editor, media producer, and pastry chef.

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