Tag Archives: survey monkey

Doggie Bags and Better Customer Service

IMG_0151As most of you know, I love dogs. Hence the name of my business. But I must admit, there are days, when “picking up” after my dog gets a bit, well, let’s just say, less than glamorous. There are times when you head out for a walk with the best intentions and remember you forgot “the bag” . Or the times when you go to pick it up Fido’s do-do there’s a huge hole in the bag … okay you get the point.

So what do doggie bags (not the ones you get a restaurants) have to do with business?

Here’s what  got me thinking.

Last week I was walking the dog and of course I was tidying up after him when a lady came running out of her house as if her hair was on fire. Instantly, I thought that something was wrong, put the dog in a sit and stepped down on his leash, finishing with the “Stay” command. She walked up to me, extended her hand and said “thanks”. I was perplexed. She continued with, “I see you and your dog walking in front of my house all the time and you always pick up after him. I just wanted you to know, I appreciate that you help to keep the neighborhood clean. Have a great day and oh by the way I’m Catherine.” We continued on for about 5 more minutes. As I walked away, I felt really good. Not only did I meet a neighbor I had never even seen, but she was making a big deal over something I thought was just a polite thing to do. I mean seriously, who wants to go out in the morning to get the paper without shoes and … squish!

I bring this up because I wonder as business professionals, how many times do we sincerely thank our customers?

Did you forget your doggie bag?

Not having a bag to scoop bites! Not showing your clients you appreciate them really bites! If you don’t express your gratitude to your clients, do you think they’ve noticed?

Tips for when you forget to say thanks:

  1. Throw a client appreciation party
  2. Offer to take them out to lunch, without any business talk
  3. Pass them some referrals that will help their business grow
  4. Get them tickets to one of their favorite events (i.e. sports, theater, concerts, etc.)
  5. Send them value-added thanks (forward white papers, case studies or articles that could help support or generate new ideas for their business)

Does your doggie bag have a hole?

Often we have great intentions on staying in touch with our customers. However we may find ourselves forgetting to touch base with the client as often as we used to in the beginning of the relationship. We may get ourselves into a real “mess” if our customer service approach has a hole in it.

How can we do better? I am looking into following up with clients after a large project to make sure the experience was a good one by conducting a survey through Survey Monkey. Each time I work on a piece with a client or if I have been working with a long-term client for at least 6 months, I want to send them a survery. It’s an easy way to show you care about their success. How do you get them to fill it out? I hear gift cards to coffee shops and a copy of a business book are all good ways to motivate. And who doesn’t like to get “stuff”. Here’s an article on how one small business owner handles “staying in touch”.

Do you pack extra bags?

It happens to each of us. We forget a birthday or we don’t remember to honor a business’ anniversary. Opps! So wouldn’t you save yourself a ton of embarrassment if you had some extra “doggie bags” ready to go in case of emergency?

If this sounds like you, Send Out Cards is a great way to safety yourself! My friend, Lori Carter is a representative for them and does an outstanding job presenting new and innovative ways to connect with your client base. Her company, Send Out Cards gives you the ability to mail a greeting card from your desktop and even attach a gift if you choose.

So the next time you “head out” on your journey, make sure you bring “the bag”. Clients appreciate a follow-up call. Often, they have a lot going on too and it’s nice to know someone is out there who cares.

To better client service!

Sarah @ dog-eared pages

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, Marketing, Small Business Solutions

A Recipe For Success In a Recession

 

Breakfast Time @ Lion's Gate-Newburg, Oregon- June '08

Breakfast Time @ Lion's Gate-Newburg, Oregon- June '08

 

When times of running a business seem a financial challenge, the first thing business owners examine is their bottom line. I mean after all, business is business and if you’re loosing money, it’s time to review the damage. But what many business owners do first is cut their marketing budget.  However, many experts believe cutting your marketing budget, is the one thing you shouldn’t do in a recession. Here’s some evidence why.

 

First of all did you know that MTV, iPod and even Crest White Strips were all launched successfully during recessionary times? It’s true, and most of the success they experienced is attributed to their marketing battle plan and innovation.

So how do you increase your company’s exposure to the market, save money and at the same time make your marketing budget go further?

Here’s a list of tactics that can help your reallocate your thinking about your marketing budget and in turn effectively promote your company.

Jump on the social media bandwagon. Build up your social interactions.

In a recent study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers, a whopping 28% said that social media integration would provide the most growth opportunity for their companies. What’s more when asked to name their preferred vehicle for this integration, 32% said they didn’t know what to use.  Now that’s an opportunity.

Be one of the first in your field to try out Facebook. Maybe you could Twitter about the latest innovation your company has created. It’s all about getting your business out there and what’s more, often times the most you’ll invest is time as many of the social media platforms are FREE!

If you don’t understand the social media arena, ask around, people, like myself, specialize in helping companies set up professional social media solutions and would welcome the chance to clearly explain the tactics that will work for your company.

Look at your customer’s feedback.

One thing I always ask my client is  …

“Do you know what your clients are saying about you?”

Several clients will answer yes and others may have a blank stare. Bottom line if you don’t know how your clients feel about your product or the service you provide, now is the time to beef up on that golden nugget of info.  Positive testimonials from your customers are key and give your business validity. Here’s how you can gather testimonials:

·      Send out a survey through Survey Monkey that asks about their experience with your business.

·      Have them place a recommendation on your LinkedIn page.

·      Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your clients and record their thoughts

Bottom line before you ever publish their feedback in a brochure, on your website or within a letter, ask their permission to use their comments. This is also a great way to improve the product or service you offer. Many companies say it’s their client’s feedback that helped them craft their top-selling offerings.

Strategically plan your marketing budget.

When faced with a recession, it makes sense to create a detailed plan for your company. Your probably already have a fiscal projection in place for 2009, but many companies don’t generate a marketing plan. I have often heard people say, “If I have money left after the first quarter, I might place an ad in the local paper.” While this may have worked in solid financial times, it won’t work now.

You have to generate a buzz about your company and the only way I know to do that is to keep your business front and center of your target market. Creating a thoughtfully executed marketing strategy that has some component which places your company out there each month is vital.  There are many companies, like mine, that specialize in helping clients create a plan. However, if you feel comfortable charting out there here’s an article from Entrepreneur.com than can help get your started.

Bottom line … it’s time we make our dollars work harder for us. Through effective marketing and self-promotion tactics, you can generate a buzz about your company that grabs your target market’s attention and prompts them to buy your product or service. It just takes a bit of planning, a pinch of creativity and a sprinkle of customer insight. Walla … a recipe for success has been created.

If you want to know more about how to effectively market your business, let me know. I have lots of research on the subject and would be happy to tailor a solution to fit your needs.

 

Happy Marketing-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Business Development, Marketing, marketing in a down economy, Small Business Solutions, Uncategorized