Category Archives: customers

Small Business Sales Best Practices: Chat Summary from 7/27/2010

What are the best practices for a small business sales effort? How do you get the best results? Read some new ideas in the chat transcript from our discussion.

  • We’re on alternate Tuesdays (in the summer) from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on August 10, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Hello everyone! Happy to join the chat. Gina w/ your content creativity solutions here! Tonight I learn. http://www.writeytidy.com #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Hi folks! I help small biz owners write masterful content for their newsletters and blogs http://ht.ly/1Z0o0 (Intro for #sbbuzz)
pmohara: Hi & welcome to all! Pamela here from @batchblue and hostess of #sbbuzz. Having network probs, so rebooting. Hope I come out the other side
TraceyHolinka: I?m a web designr/developr @chaostoclarity. I show small biz & freelancers how 2 take advantage of the web. #chaostoclarity #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Hi there! Liz J here, Partner Marketing Manager @VR4SmallBiz – I work on the BusDev team & I support our partner sales team #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Hello, all! I’m an entrepreneur in Oklahoma. Long time no #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: hello everyone I need more info abou sales. You can follow me for T.I.P.S. Tools for Improved Profit and Success #sbbuzz
PreciseAgency: We an advertising, PR company influencing pop culture through advertising. #sbbuzz
stellel: Hi, I’m Christelle, Customer Experience for @batchblue #sbbuzz
PintopPro: Hello everybody! Arelthia of @PintopPro, wordpress designer/developer/teacher. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Scott Blitstein – Customer Experience at @batchblue – prepared to be all salesy and stuff tonight. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I am Chief Mentor and Bottle washer at emenotrmarketing.com, looking forward to tonights chat. #sbbuzz
ryankuder: Nice to meet you #sbbuzz. My name’s Ryan and I’m VP of Marketing for @Bizzy. First time here, so I’ll probably do a lot of listening.
JoeCascio: #sbbuzz Does anyone use Personalized URLs for marketing? These are essential personalized landing pages.
mentormarketing: New Customers, trick 1 find out where they hang out, trick 2 fill a need. #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: re: Q1 – referrals are most valuable. 1 Happy customer is better than 500 cold-call numbers (sorry for all the typos) #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @JoeCascio define “personalized URLs”? I create specific urls for specific landing pages, but not sure what else you mean? #sbbuzz
ginabee: @foodiegrl I love referrals too! In their absence, I resort to networking with fellow writers. Amazing what they can provide! #sbbuzz
JoeCascio: Q1 Everything comes to me via Twitter and my social networking connections. #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: @ginabee “The Referral Engine” is a must-read – by @ducttape #sbbuzz
ryankuder: For the new guy–what kinds of small businesses are here? I imagine there are different needs based on type of business. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @foodiegrl Thanks – I’ll track it down! #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: A1: I pick pocket new customers for my consulting gig, by finding projects in distress and hijaking them, My #1 lead to close ratio #sbbuzz
JoeCascio: @BeckyMcCray Per-customer urls like: http://mysmallbiz.com/beckymccray #agchat #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: @joecascio – agreed re Q1 – Happy customers are the seed, but social networks are the soil (and the water and the sun)! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 What is your process for educating prospective clients about your product or service? #sbbuzz
JoeCascio: @foodiegrl Great analogy. You can’t expect overnight results. You’re planting seeds and good thing come to you in time. #sbbuzz
stellel: @sbbuzz Screencasts, webinars, super friendly Customer Service peeps… ;) #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q2 Lots of up-front data online if desired, coupled with quick response path if they just want to talk to someone. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q2 Talking their ear off. Letting them see the value of what I can provide and how I can help them. #sbbuzz
pmohara: #sbbuzz Q2 our process is largely educational. IE, best way to teach our customers advantages of Twitter is to host a weekly chat #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q2) Nothing better than experience. Provide a positive result in every interaction. #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q2 Also, a super-awesome education site with extensive videos and new webinars every week #sbbuzz
JoeCascio: Q2 Give them a little free advice or help without any expectation or sense of obligation. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 How do you communicate with existing customers? How do you encourage their help in “word of mouthing”? #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q2 – archive everything – educational materials (whitepapers, recorded webinars, etc) are durable and scalable #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q3 Twitter for main corporate identity, but also empowering employees to do it on their own (hence why “@foodiegrl” is here) #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Sorry for technical difficulties earlier – didn’t get a chance to mention topic is sales efforts best practices – send me any ?s #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Please stick around after #sbbuzz tonight to catch my live Twintrview at #twtv or http://twintrview.com (9-10 PM ET)
aptuscollab: @JoeCascio We do use PURLs in several companies. #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q3 also, enable viral at every turn- social share ur email contents, package tweets 2 b optimized 4 RTs, FB links in signature, etc #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: Q3 communicate with customers newsletter and social networking #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q3 my fave is to embed a “tweet this newsletter” link in my content and prepopulate the text for the reader-it’s a pretty easy hack #sbbuzz
stellel: @foodiegrl Good idea! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @RisingStarIdeas Newsletters are a great way to inform and get eyes on your content #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 Do you communicate with ex-customers? #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: A4: yes, they even do a decent job of sending referrals. #sbbuzz
prestonode: @sbbuzz Q2: Yes, I am partners with an ex-customer after 20 years #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: @prestonode wow – that is an awesome story #sbbuzz
prestonode: Oops I mean Q4: not 2: #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 who’s to say just because you were not the right for someone once, you won’t be next time. We get a LOT of returners #sbbuzz
ginabee: @mentormarketing Great point – who else knows the quality of your work better than those you’ve served before? #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: Q4 – what better way to learn for next time? We do periodic “churn surveys” – some have even resulted in “win-backs” #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: All – we are coming to a close soon. Sorry again for Twitter challenges, but thanks to everyone who stuck with us tonight! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And now it is what we affectionately call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at http://sbbuzz.net #sbbuzz
ryankuder: They’re not “ex-customers.” They’re just customers who haven’t come back yet. #A4 #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Don’t forget to come see my my live Twintrview at #twtv or http://twintrview.com starting soon #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I provide a comprehensive resource for business pros who want to learn about online marketing – My newish video http://bit.ly/cP2EaO #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night 8-9 PM ET by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
scoblitz: @foodiegrl of course not – was great to get your insights! #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: The Web Tools Wizard–Small biz tools guaranteed to save time & money. Gets, ideas, tips & reviews to grow your biz like magic! #sbbuzz
ryankuder: At @Bizzy, people create a list of their favorite businesses and get updates on deals, offers, tips, etc. Video at http://bizzy.com. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Thanks all for coming tonight! Come see me get Twintrviewed at #twtv or http://twintrview.com starting soon #sbbuzz
foodiegrl: @VR4SmallBiz provides award-winning direct marketing for SMB’s. We also partner w/ Salesforce, Intuit + others http://bit.ly/dBYAy3 #sbbuzz
ryankuder: Thanks for my first #sbbuzz chat. See you all again next Tuesday night. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Pitch: http://www.writeytidy.com I use my words to tell your story. Creative content creation for web, newsletters and much more! #sbbuzz
ginabee: @ryankuder I believe we are on an every other week summer schedule, so next one is in 2 weeks. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Yes – that’s right! RT @ginabee: @ryankuder I believe we are on an every other week summer schedule, so next one is in 2 weeks. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: @ryankuder You asked what types of Biz we run, I run a handful. ecom consult, biz strategy, ORM, @MentorMarketing, menu consultant #sbbuzz
stellel: Night all! #sbbuzz

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Filed under customers, sales, small business, summary, Uncategorized

Sales Strategy: Chat Summary from 7/13/2010

We’re chatting about Sales this month. We discussed Sales Strategies for small businesses and how to measure the results.

  • We’re on alternate Tuesdays (in the summer) from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on July 27, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
pmohara: Hi all – Pamela from @batchblue here. I’m the moderator of the #sbbuzz chat, so let me know if you have any special requests.
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Hi All – Scott Blitstein, part of the @batchblue customer experience team. Currently air-conditioning-less here in Chicago. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: #sbbuzz @CraigElias I share insights on how to get new customers by harnessing Trigger Events #sbbuzz
ginabee: Good evening Everyone! Gina from http://www.writeytidy.com looking forward to once again partaking of the communal wisdom herein. #sbbuzz
stellel: Hellooooooo! I’m Christelle and I’m on the Customer Experience team too. Nice to see everyone this evening! #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Enjoy the extra tweets about #sales and #triggerevents as I attempt to participate in my first #sbbuzz
samuraivt: Hi #sbbuzz, I’m Anthony owner of Samurai Virtual Tours. Servant helping people and the businesses they work for.
lindadessau: Hi all, it’s Linda from the Content Mastery Guide – editor and ghostwriter (intro for #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Tonight we’re kicking off month long discussion of small business sales efforts. Send me any ?s you want included. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q1 Do you have a formal sales strategy? What does it include? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @JenPowter Welcome, Jen! Nice to see you here :) #sbbuzz
batchblue: @JenPowter Hi Jen, welcome! Your program sounds cool! #sbbuzz
JenPowter: @lindadessau Hi Linda – I SO owe you an email…to follow, I promise! #sbbuzz
JenPowter: @batchblue Hi, Great to meet you! #sbbuzz
CraigElias: My strategy is focused on relationships with those who are just like my best customers and those who typically become them #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
MHBoys: we have a 51-step marketing plan that works well when we have the time to follow – changes revolve around verticals and geography #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CraigElias Well said! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Our strategy has been to provide stellar service but we’re looking at formalizing it more. Adding some resources to support. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Every time I think of an answer, I realize I’m talking about marketing versus sales. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q1 Our sales strategy includes a great deal of customer education and service. That & my mom facebooking her friends :) #sbbuzz
MHBoys: @lindadessau how do you separate the effort between sales and marketing in solo or small companies? #sbbuzz
ginabee: @lindadessau That’s a great point – I wonder what the difference *really* is? #sbbuzz
CraigElias: To make #marketing relevant to #sales, make it 1:1 instead of 1:many. It’s amazingly simple and effective #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @MHBoys I’m just starting to piece this together, but marketing is what attracts people to enter into a sales conversation. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @lindadessau a very blurry line. I think of marketing as the flirting and sales as the actual date. :) #sbbuzz
lindadessau: I like how this article explains it: http://bit.ly/aZQ0iP #sbbuzz
lindadessau: I love the spiritual approach to sales (e.g., @MarkHeartofBiz), but I need more practice/awareness to bring it into the moment. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 from @MHBoys @sbbuzz How does a small business lower the cost of finding new customers? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: What’s occurring to me right now is that I need to have WAY more conversations (practice) than I’m having. #sbbuzz
JenPowter: I think of marketing as cre8ing awareness so people know what I do/what I offer. Sales is when they buy it & become a customer #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Focus on those who are most likely to buy in the short term based upon an #TriggerEvents that make it more important or relevant #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q2 – Creativity. Traditional methods are expensive and not even all that effective today. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Q2 Finding clients is very inexpensive with social networking tools. #sbbuzz
MHBoys: we have a combo marketing/sales plan and budget – it gets expensive when we work it (especially in labor) … #sbbuzz
JenPowter: Q2: Deliver exceptional value so you’re current customers become your raving fans and help promote you & your biz #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Another favorite strategy of mine is to follow up bounced emails. #sbbuzz
MHBoys: @CraigElias looks like I’ll be learning about #TriggerEvents #sbbuzz
ImAfterdotcom: On Twitter: sbbuzz: Q2 from @MHBoys @sbbuzz How does a small business lower the cost of finding new customers? #sbbuzz http://bit.ly/dseTrP
lindadessau: @CraigElias Tell us more about how you do that, Craig – my latest campaign had quite a few bounces! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q2: Look at actual costs on ads, events etc. & how it converts. Surprising how much it can cost to acquire new customers. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: You can turn every bounced in email into three or even four #sales opportunities #sbbuzz
CraigElias: #1 If they were a customer follow them, #2 If they weren’t talk to the person who takes their place – they want to change things #sbbuzz
CraigElias: #3 the person who took their place where did they come from? That company also has someone new in the job who want to make changes #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q2 (cont.) I’m reading @jaffejuice ‘s “Flip the Funnel” about creating customer fans, very relevant to this conversation! #sbbuzz
MHBoys: @lindadessau A2 I find more value in vendors and current clients than new clients with social networking tools (might be me). #sbbuzz
mriggen: @lindadessau Indeed, time is a challenge regardless of what you’re doing. Part of the problem (er…opportunity ;) #sbbuzz
stellel: @mriggen I might need to borrow that book… ;) #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 I’d also recommend @ducttape‘s Referral Engine. Awesome read. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Another strategy is to get better #referrals. Ask people for referrals to those who just got a job as… insert ideal job title here #sbbuzz
mriggen: @stellel I’ll put it in the @batchhaus library when I’m done – it’s quite good. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @samuraivt Good point. We forget how powerful a good website is. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @mriggen I guess I meant that because most of my marketing efforts are free or low cost, it’s important to measure my ROI of time. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 Do you have more than one sales channel (ie a product & a service)? How do you expand to new ones? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @MHBoys Referrals sources and collaborators also – though I’ve definitely gotten clients directly. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: To expand sales channels #1 add a service to your product and sell it to your existing customers. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Q3 Recently I re-branded to make sure all “channels” were housed on the same site. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: #2 Keep the product and target customer the same and expand your geography #sbbuzz
JenPowter: Q3: working on creating offerings/products at a number of different price points – great for my business, great for my clients #sbbuzz
elizabethcrouch: Q3 yes & looking for a PR/marketing/publicist person or firm 2 extend reach .. too much time spent on trying *free* channels #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
CraigElias: #3 Keep the product and geography the same but find a new market for what you sell. #sbbuzz
JenPowter: Or the reverse +serv 2 prod. RT @CraigElias: 2 expand sales channels add a service 2 ur product & sell it 2 your existing customers. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @samuraivt Totally true re: website. I’m a mentor for an incubator group, that’s one of the first things I tell ‘em. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @samuraivt we love Hubspot. Great advice – and very relevant for attracting new customers inexpensively #sbbuzz
CraigElias: #4 Focus on your competition not competitors. A jewelry store who views other jewelry stores as the competition is missing the boat #sbbuzz
MHBoys: @elizabethcrouch good point – at some level when the business grows we’ll have to delegate internally or externally #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Men buy jewelry for special occasions. The other things they buy – chocolates, flowers, perfume etc. are the competition. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @CraigElias This is what we @batchblue refer to as “hugging it out” :) #sbbuzz
samuraivt: @mriggen too many ppl and businesses wanting to get into social media but completely ignoring optimizing their website. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 How do you measure your sales results? #sbbuzz
samuraivt: Q3 developing new products we think about corresponding web pages or even new websites and URLs also FB pages. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q4 I had a great system going with BatchBook SuperTags to track where clients were coming from, but I haven’t been doing it :( #sbbuzz
CraigElias: You measure sales results first based upon activity and then based upon results. It’s a mistake to only measure results #sbbuzz
JenPowter: Q4: Can’t wait to hear the answers, need to get better at this #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CraigElias What do you mean by measuring sales activity versus results? #sbbuzz
kimpagegluckie: Re: Q3 I have services (consult & classes) – trying to put a product to my service, not the inverse. Growth curve for me! #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Analyze past wins to know which activities lead to winning customers and then do more of these activities. aka #WonSalesAnalysis #sbbuzz
samuraivt: A4 Show me the money. #sbbuzz
kimpagegluckie: Q4 Money is last measure. List growth, web traffic changes, direct questioning, referrals… all midpoint measures of sales process. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CraigElias Right, so aren’t you essentially measuring results (i.e., winning customers)? What am I missing? #sbbuzz
tiasparkles: @lindadessau @JenPowter @Elizabethcrouch I hear some bzzz bzzz #sbbuzz in my ears
elizabethcrouch: @CraigElias on Q4: how do you measure, then quantify activity that leads to results #sbbuzz
kimpagegluckie: Q4 Have a target date. Pick 3 time periods from start to then to evaluate how’s it working. If it’s not, tweak or change. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 Measuring sales results is looking at metrics (traffic, trials, usage, conversions, longevity) & spotting the patterns (or holes) #sbbuzz
mriggen: @samuraivt After they show it to you, they can show it to me! #sbbuzz
CraigElias: I am measuring results initially but I’m analyzing which activities lead to results and then focusing on those activities #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5 What sales efforts/strategies would you like to learn more about?#sbbuzz
samuraivt: A4 sales and marketing isn’t just about #’s, popularity, branding it is about closing sales and making some money. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CraigElias I see – yes, looking at all those numbers and metrics will make my head swim – need to put it in context. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: Even if you have a sales team on commission a good 5-10% of their total compensation should be based on activities completed #sbbuzz
articlemuse: Linda Dessau: I like how this article explains it: http://bit.ly/aZQ0iP #sbbuzz http://bit.ly/aJ6n5s
lindadessau: @samuraivt Absolutely – stats, etc. don’t mean much if you’re not earning enough to keep your business (and life) going! #sbbuzz
elizabethcrouch: @articlemuse thank you! #sbbuzz
kimpagegluckie: @samuraivt A4 – yes it’s about money, but some focus on money too fast & don’t know to brand, build reputation for longevity $$ #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CraigElias Take the action and let the outcome take care of itself :) #sbbuzz
MHBoys: A5 measuring social media impact on sales (but also branding and marketing efforts) #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 Agreed it is not just the numbers – but the stories behind #s. Why the big jump? How to replicate? #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Alas, we have come to the end of our chat. It is now Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
CraigElias: @lindadessau That’s a keeper! You said it better than I did. Lots to be said for being succinct in your messaging #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at http://sbbuzz.net #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q5 Interested to see info re: traditional sales now integrating w/social media. Who’s doing it well? Is there a difference? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CraigElias Thanks :) It’s been nice having you at our chat – I hope you’ll be back. #sbbuzz
elizabethcrouch: thank you everyone .. this goes so fast! #sbbuzz
JenPowter: Wow – that was fast! Thank you ~ #sbbuzz
pmohara: Thanks to everyone who joined in tonight – great to see some new friends here! #sbbuzz
MHBoys: On-Site Technical Solutions moves business to the Cloud for better & less expensive tech – become a fan at http://budurl.com/3bfp #sbbuzz
kimpagegluckie: @elizabethcrouch Thanks! I just discovered this just and dropped in at the end. So hello. Put it in my calendar. Great group! #sbbuzz
pmohara: I’m Pamela from @batchblue Social CRM and the lady behind the @sbbuzz bee #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Thanks for a great chat everyone, thanks @pmohara for hosting! Please connect with me at Content Mastery Guide http://ht.ly/1Z0o0. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Thanks to everyone for all the great discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at http://sbbuzz.biz
elizabethcrouch: @lindadessau is a super succinct writer! Each of you is courageous in biz! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Thanks all! I’m with @batchblue – we make software for small business and host this chat. Great info tonight! #sbbuzz
CraigElias: I’d love the chance to apply my ‘stuff’,at no-charge, to those who participated. Text or call my cell# +1.403.874.2998 if interested #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @elizabethcrouch Thanks :) #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night 8-9 PM ET by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
JenPowter: @andreajlee Hey Andrea!! We just had a little #wtlead reunion #sbbuzz
samuraivt: Goodnight all in #sbbuzz. Pleasure chatting with you all.
kimpagegluckie: That WAS fast. Abt me – I teach part time entrepreneurs how to grow their business no matter how limited their resources (marketing) #sbbuzz
MHBoys: thanks for the RTs @elizabethcrouch @lindadessau @ImAfterdotcom @stellel @sbbuzz @JenPowter #sbbuzz
mriggen: @CraigElias Wow that’s awesome Craig! Will follow up, thanks for offer! #sbbuzz
elizabethcrouch: @CraigElias thank you! let’s all stay connected in thought, word, actions! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Inspired by @CraigElias – if you sign up for new BatchBook account, use promo “batchfriend” for 30 extra free days! #sbbuzz

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Filed under customers, marketing, sales, summary

Topic of the Month: Sales

We’re halfway through the summer and things are heating up!!  This month we are tackling every small business owner’s favorite topic: Sales.  We will be chatting about the different approaches to small business sales, channel opportunities and staffing a sales team.

Please join us tonight from 8:00 – 9:00 PM EDT to brainstorm with us the best way to improve your sales efforts.

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Filed under business start-up, customers, marketing

Customer Service Chat Summary from May 25, 2010

We discussed small business customer service. The tools you can use, empowering your team, and strengthening your relationships with your customers.

  • We’re on every Tuesday from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on June 1, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
scoblitz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
scoblitz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: Hello Sbbuzz friends. Susan here from Selah Synergy ready to chat about small business. Oooops, did I forget my hat? #sbbuzz
scoblitz: I’m Scott Blitstein – Customer Experience with @batchblue and we’re going to talk all about Customer Service tonight. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Hello all! Gina from writeytidy.com writing & content creation. So happy to be here tonight with the sbbuzz gang once again! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Co-hosting tonight is friend and co-worker @stellel #sbbuzz
ginabee: @scoblitz So you’re wearing your Customer Service hat tonight… #sbbuzz
stellel: I’m Christelle Lachapelle Customer Experience with @batchblue and trusty hat-wearing side-kick to @scoblitz #sbbuzz
southrngurl6489: Hi. I’m Jenn, an aspiring business woman and full time student. Nice to meet you all. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…for a very important #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Our Bee is busy attending an event tonight so we’re jumping in with our Bee Hats to keep the conversation going. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @stellel Awesome Customer Service hats! Looking good for wrocking Customer Service!!! #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Mike here. Social media consultant with an ass-kicking passion. Expert or guru not in my vocabulary. #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: I am mark, and I write for icebluebanana.com. Also, I work as a consultant, which is very customer service intensive. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: OK – let’s jump right in and talk Customer Service. #sbbuzz
BlueDelivered: Hi I’m Dawn… didn’t know we were supposed to wear a hat to this party! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q1) How do you know when you need a dedicated customer service person? #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q1: When u can’t handle all the interaction ur currently getting. Customers are getting left behind. #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: Q1 – great question – likely when that is one think that you can’t keep up with – risky hiring someone you don’t know though. #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: A1. When customer service is suffering due to growth — time to add someone new. #sbbuzz
southrngurl6489: Q1) How do you know when you need a dedicated customer service person? When you are just keeping up with the CS and other tasks #sbbuzz
BlueDelivered: Q1: when you can’t meet the needs of your customers right away #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q1: Also, if ur current CS staff is overloaded. Time to hire. #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: @mikestenger Hey Mike. Nice to be here. Seems like a good group – tough subject, which is nice. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q1: If ur staff is overloaded, not good. Customers are neglected, really not good! #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Our business is two people right now — we both do everything — however, there r times I have to slow down b/c 2 busy. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @mikestenger Great – how do you monitor that effectively? #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @mikestenger I never want to neglect clients — CS is key in my biz. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Up for a GR8 discussion? Get in & join us here at #sbbuzz
stellel: @DiSnEyTRAVELmum Do you have customer service staff in your business? #sbbuzz
mikestenger: @scoblitz Pay attention to their workload & any concerns via staff. Many having same issue? Make changes. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q2) How do you stay in the customer service loop when you are no longer the one doing it? #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @stellel My partner and myself do CS, PR, Marketing, Booking, Writing, Itineraries EVERYTHING. #sbbuzz
southrngurl6489: Q2) You periodically check in with customers, customer satisfaction surveys #sbbuzz
AboutWDW: #sbbuzz Q1: If you are that busy, it may be time to reevaluate your prices — raising them may increase profit and keep you from going nuts.
BlueDelivered: Q2: I think this is the biggest challenge… finding staff that will care as much as you do (or close to it) #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: monitoring is difficult, and the reason you need at least one person you can trust (unless you have money for phone monitoring..) . #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q2: Keep in close touch with staff on a consistent basis. Don’t wanna get behind if any problems. #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: and @southrngurl6489 Q2) You periodically check in with customers, customer satisfaction surveys #sbbuzz (great!)
scoblitz: Q3) Follow up from @ginabee – How do you find people who will care as much as you do to help your customers? #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Im just going to retweet all your A2 since I don’t delicate yet. Sandra #sbbuzz
bostonmarketer: @mikestenger What’s #sbbuzz?
mikestenger: Q2: Regarding customers themselves, every once in a while reach out to them & ask questions. #sbbuzz
stellel: Surveys are a great idea! #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @bostonmarketer Small Business Buzz #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: We just hired a P/T sales person — she started with enthusiasm — but not much now. sigh. #sbbuzz
BlueDelivered: Anyone else having tweetdeck issues?#sbbuzz
BlueDelivered: @southrngurl6489 @scoblitz thanks for the info on tweetdeck #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Lets try again – Q4 -What specific tools do you use to provide customer service? #sbbuzz
southrngurl6489: Q4- I’d love to know….research for future needs :) #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q4: I don’t know…email, phone, Skype, those tools :-) #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: Q4 – face to face always best – tools = phone, then chat, then email – old fashioned, I guess #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q5: How do you empower your employees to provide excellent customer service? #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: Q5 – listen to what they think about improving the service & use suggestions if they are good #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @scoblitz Q5: Essential! The sooner every employee realizes they are empowered to create a customer experience, the better. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q5 – Seems to me that communication from the inner sanctum of the co. & great listening on both sides will arm cs w/ tools they need #sbbuzz
southrngurl6489: Q5: Give them guidelines to make decision calls, and stand by them if they make appropriate calls #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @selahsynergy I agree! #sbbuzz
stellel: @selahsynergy Great way to put it! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Feels like we got cut short but now it is what we affectionately call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @stellel @scoblitz Thanks.I think it’s more about creating a customer-focused culture than procedures (tho procedures help growth) #sbbuzz
scoblitz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder (including the topic) sign up at http://sbbuzz.net #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Thanks to everyone for the great but brief discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at http://sbbuzz.biz #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @scoblitz Thanks for the chat. Fun and informative as always. #sbbuzz
icebluebanana: lots of great ideas in here #sbbuzz
stellel: Thanks everyone! Great chatting with you all! #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Thanks to all – especially to @stellel for co-hosting and for the nifty Bee Party Hat! #sbbuzz
ginabee: Pitch: You know your business inside & out but can you write about it? I put your brilliance into words! http://www.writeytidy.com #sbbuzz
ginabee: Yes, thanks to @scoblitz & @stellel for fantabulous moderation despite the technical difficulties. Your hats were niftylicious! #sbbuzz

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Customer Service

So, you’ve attracted those new customers. They love your products and services! What’s next?

Join us for tonight’s chat where we’ll dive in to how to provide an excellent customer service experience, the tools you can use, empowering your team, and strengthening your relationships with your customers. What works and what doesn’t?

Please join us tonight from 8:00 – 9:00 PM EST to share your ideas about Customer Service.

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Filed under customer service, customers, small business

Show Your Customers Some Love! Chat summary from May 4, 2010.

We chatted about Customer Relationships. How do you show your customer love?

  • We’re on every Tuesday from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on March 30, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Howdy y’all – I am a small biz blogger and I also help small biz create their own blogs. Looking fwd to the chat! #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Hey everyone! I’m Mike & I do social media consulting for companies & small biz. How about u? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: I help coaches & other small biz owners write masterful content for newsletters, blogs, etc. http://snipr.com/t1pw5 (Intro for #sbbuzz)
ginabee: Good evening buzz friends! Gina w/ WriteyTidy joining the group. I create written content for the web. Glad to be here tonight! #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Susan here from Selah Synergy, Strategic Innovation Partner to Small Business. Nice to be with you tonight. #sbbuzz
urbanamulets: Deandra, developing a new small business, artsy handcrafted jewelry. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Hello everyone! Pamela here from @batchblue and the host of #sbbuzz. Looking forward to a great discussion of miy favorite topic tonight!
stellel: Christelle here, Customer Experience for @batchblue … where we show the customers love… <3 #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Happy Tuesday – Scott, customer experience @batchblue, blogger, music lover, and chief dandelion ignorer. #sbbuzz
jpwint: Hey there! I run a web maketing consultancy in La Verne, CA #sbbuzz
mikestenger: @scoblitz “chief dandelion ignorer” Love that! #sbbuzz
cjservia: Chris Servia, CBCP with Lighthouse Continuity Partners, LLC. We provide business protection services. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @scoblitz To my kids, dandelions are wishes. So my yard is just full of wishes. Isn’t that nice? #sbbuzz
ginabee: @scoblitz At least you noticed that you’re ignoring them! #sbbuzz
stellel: @ginabee hi Gina! See you soon! #sbbuzz
ginabee: @bradfordshimp Yeah, I *wish* the dandelions would go away! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Tonight’s topic is customer relationships. Not talking about tools, yet – just goals. Send me ?s you want discussed with the group #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: We’ll use tonight’s chat re: goals for improving customer relationships to shape the discussion agenda for rest of the month. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Evening #sbbuzz – I’ll be hanging out here for a while to say howdy!
scoblitz: @mikestenger I’m quite dedicated to the task! #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @ginabee My neighbor’s yard is dandelion free, so I always feel bad that I have so many. Ah well! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: I’m with VerticalResponse these days – self-service email marketing for small to mid-sized businesses. We rock. #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: When it comes to relationships in business, “care like you mean it”…overheard at #sobcon #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q1 What do you enjoy most about your relationships with your customers? #sbbuzz
ginabee: @bradfordshimp Your neighbor – too much time on his hands? Life’s to short to sweat the d-lions. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q1: The fact that they allow me to do what it is I do. They write the checks & I love helping them! #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q1 One thing I enjoy about working with my customers is that the thing I love doing the most is the thing they hate doing the most. #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: Their success #sbbuzz
cjservia: #sbbuzz Q1 – Personalization. One on one time resulting in the feeling I’ve helped someone.
rzazueta: Q1: I *LOVE* working with small businesses because they are BRIMMING with ideas and excitement. Best part of my job. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @bradfordshimp My 5yo told me w/every dandelion she wishes a princess would come to our house. Anyone have a princess costume? #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q1 to quote Mother Teresa “I served and I saw that all service is joy”…JOY to help them succeed! #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: Q1. Their problems are our opportunities and assisting them is what we’re passionate about. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q1: These days, I get to help innovative companies do really cool development. Geek heaven. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q1 Another thing I enjoy about my customers is that most are coaches and so we have a common viewpoint plus they’re NICE people!! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Hi guys, Michelle from @batchblue joining a bit late. Q1: I love pretty much everything about our customers. I’m smitten! #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q1 – That they respect my talent, abilities & time. Nice to be treated like a professional! #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q1 What I love most about our customers is hearing their stories. They are doing such amazing things. It’s really inspiring. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @rzazueta So true! Isn’t it awesome to observe the genius of entrepreneurs? #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q1 – I love that my customers want to improve their businesses. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1) I love how passionate our customers are about their work – it’s contagious! I also love when I can learn from them. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ginabee Nice, yes, one of the qualities of my “ideal client” is that they value me and my work – so important to feel that. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q1: The enjoyment of helping them reach their desired result. That’s TRUE satisfaction #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: Q1.Our Customers are authentic,hard-working,dedicated folks who R pursuing their passion in their own way.They’re inspiring. #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q1 I think especially helping folks figure out how tech can help them succeed. They’re doing such awesome stuff out there. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: @selahsynergy It is. I love the creative spirit and the can-do attitude that comes with. It’s infectious. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @lindadessau Amen. Appreciation is often as good as $. #sbbuzz
jpwint: Q1 The mutual respect and desire to acheive a common goal. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @amyaddventure @selahsynergy @rzazueta Agree whole-heartedly! We thinks small biz folks are super heroes, truly. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 What is most challenging about keeping good relationships with your customers? #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: @mriggen I like that, super heroes. Totally! #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ginabee Yeah, but money’s good, too :) Makes it much easier to keep showing up. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @pmohara I agree. Small biz is full of amazing, creative and inspiring people. U don’t have a pulse if u can’t catch the spirit #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q2 – Communication. Communication. And don’t forget communication. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q2 – I think it is challenging when customers don’t communicate the same way you do – ie. phone vs. email / text vs. twitter #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q2: For me, it’s always been communicating back. I get so caught up in the work that I sometimes drop off. CRM tools help #sbbuzz
ginabee: @lindadessau Well, I wouldn’t take it in lieu of $ of course, but it’s nice nonetheless. #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: Q2. The increasing demands on our time and resources. It is good but it’s hard until systems are ready to facilitate realtionships #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q2: I also find that setting future dates to return calls and emails or reminder task lists help me stay on top of things. #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: #sbbuzz sometimes I feel like I let them down. Even when not in my control.
mikestenger: Q2: I think it’s simply being in consistent communication but there are LOTS of tools to help do so #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: @rzazueta yep. I know what you mean #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Ditto – clarity & communication are key to good relationships – I haven’t always gotten it right but I’ve learned each time. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @amyaddventure http://batchblue.com/super-heroes.html Planning this year’s contest…coming soon! ;) #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q2 Clarifying expectations and requirements is the necessary evil of the job – getting communication structure in place #sbbuzz
amyaddventure: @mriggen Awesome. Keep me posted! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: @lindadessau Yeah, I’m constantly improving the process. Better now than ever before, but LOTS of room to grow. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @rzazueta Great! #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q2: I agree w/@selahsynergy & @lindadessau. Being clear & making sure both sides are on the same page. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q2 – I tend to worry more than I need to about details & consequently feel I’ve performed poorly when client is actually thrilled. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q2 #sbbuzz Most challenging is finding the time to just talk to customers (not customer service – just learning their goals & aspirations).
bradfordshimp: I always feel like I am not doing enough. How do you find that out if the customer doesn’t come out and tell you? #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q2: Tracking conversation in so many places, making sure folks are getting heard. You can’t be everywhere, but you can try! #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @ginabee Right there with you! #sbbuzz
jpwint: Q2 Managing expectations. Things change. Sometimes the result desired is not the result delivered. A good relationship must last #sbbuzz
BizMoneySaver: Q2 – Trying to anticipate my customers’ needs to be proactive instead of reactive to better serve them . #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
mikestenger: @bradfordshimp I think it helps to ask questions when you maybe feel uncertain. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ginabee That’s happened to me as well. It’s dangerous when I start thinking I can read minds! #sbbuzz
pmohara: @bradfordshimp SO true. And often silence it the real warning bell, but hard to listen for that. #sbbuzz
jpwint: @ginabee I can sympathize. It’s so important to have clear metrics for success #sbbuzz
ginabee: @lindadessau Drawback of being a perfectionist with my clients, I guess… #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: #sbbuzz. How do you transition. Work and still have that intimate relationshp
sbbuzz: Q3 How has social media affected your relationships with your customers? #sbbuzz
ginabee: @jpwint Yeah, it comes back to that simple communication thing. Gotta spell it out so I know I met (or exceeded) expectiation #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @ginabee Don’t be so hard on yourself – nothing wrong with being committed to delivering customer satisfaction! #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Is it possible to have relationships w/customers without social media? Ha ha ha, I kid. Sort of. #sbbuzz
cjservia: Q3 I feel better able to more broadly provide customers information to help them. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q3 – They know more about the “real” me than they would in a strictly business setting. Let my hair down & be real. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q3: It’s really allowed me to keep more up-to-date with them & to answer quick questions. #sbbuzz
jpwint: Q3 Absolutely. Clients see we are engaged with the community. Not the best lead generation tool for us though. #sbbuzz #socialmedia
lindadessau: Q3 There’s a casual, informal rapport with people I’ve met via Twitter that warms up the relationship before we even talk business. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q3 – Social media makes it easier to have deeper and wider relationships with customers in many ways. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q3: It’s a new line of communication that helps keep your message from being missed. It’s improved my comm. with customers. #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: #sbbuzz filter always on. Don’t know who’s watching. But much more touch points. Good/bad
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q3 SM opens new markets for new customers, opens new communication channels with existing customers #sbbuzz
leoraw: Some clients I try to teach to use social media. Newer clients I’ve gotten because of social media. Different situations. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q3: But I don;t find it as appropriate for one-to-one communication. For that, nothing beats email or the phone. #sbbuzz.
ginabee: @selahsynergy Never ashamed to do that! I just makes things difficult for me. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q3: Having said that, it opens a conversation to everyone who happens to be listening, and that’s where the value is in SM. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q3: It’s allowed me to build deeper relationships at a much more rapid level. Lots of communication. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q3 #sbbuzz Social media has done so much – real time conversations, new insights into people, uhm, meet you fine people. :)
ginabee: @bradfordshimp Exactly! Multi-dimensional relationships can be formed thru SM. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @rzazueta I think it provides doors for further communication, like you said, via email or phone or in-person. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: @bradfordshimp Excellent way to put it, I totally agree. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @JodyPadarCPA Because SM is well, social, I don’t say anything that I wouldn’t say in any public forum. Just more natural convos. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q3 #sbbuzz Back to time issue, quick interactions on Twitter mean I stay in touch w/more folks. But e-mail better for real communications.
mikestenger: @ginabee Good point. We already have conversations, SM is just another place we do so. #sbbuzz
stellel: Twitter is more fun, friendlier… #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 from @JodyPadarCPA How do you maintain your relationships as you grow? #sbbuzz
BizMoneySaver: Q3: Has helped me share info that can sometimes lead to faster responses and future conversations #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q4 – Great question. One big problem is ignoring customers in search for new ones. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q4: There’s the struggle. If you’re growing to the point of hiring, make sure EVERYONE has good customer relationship skills. #sbbuzz
jpwint: Q4 A documented system for maintaining relationships is critical. You cannot rely on your brain. This is a good use of CRM. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q4 – I would say that you need to put a premium on current customers. Do something every day for them, blog, email, new service, etc #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q4: I tend to think everyone you hire should be customer facing and be able to represent your company well in person. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q4 My earliest clients hold a very special place in my heart. I never forget that they put their trust in me when I was new at this. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q4 Communications plan in place to match my biz plan. I organize, weed, prune contact lists, nurture by priority. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q4) That’s the million dollar question there. There are only so many hours, only so much time you can spend. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q4 – Also, always add a future task when you finish one for a customer (with your CRM (Batchbook, for instance)) – Maintain contact. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 #sbbuzz Can be harder to keep same level of personal interaction, so just hire amazing people who are equally awesome and personal.
ginabee: @bradfordshimp Yeah, there’s that “loyalty factor” you can’t turn your back on, even if you’ve moved on to bigger clients. #sbbuzz
BizMoneySaver: Q4: Schedule a set amount of time (1 hr) everyday to work on and improve relationships with customers. Additional training also. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Am I allowed to say the same thing as @pmohara? #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q4: Have a plan to keep in consistent contact. Keep track. Hire those w/ur same relationship ideals. #sbbuzz
pmohara: #sbbuzz Hmm, I think I just called myself awesome. I actually hire people MUCH awesomer than me. That is the real secret.
jpwint: @bradfordshimp re: future task. Great recommendation. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @mriggen I try to repackage what she says – makes me look smart. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @jpwint Thanks. You also might want to assign certain days for certain tasks, so they don’t all go on one day. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @bradfordshimp Ah, so that’s your secret to success! Good to know ;) #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: @pmohara Hard to find in Accountants ;) #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @mriggen Actually, I do that w/ every smart person I know. That IS my secret, now that you mention it!! #sbbuzz
pmohara: @JodyPadarCPA Not for me. :D #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Q4: Remember that relationships are ongoing. No “set & forget”. More like “communicate & keep at it”. #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: @CASUDI #sbbuzz so how do you incentivize(pay) that skill?
sbbuzz: Q5 What would you like to learn more about to help you with customer relationships? #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q5: Where to find awesome summer interns! Let me know if anyone knows anyone :) #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @JodyPadarCPA Make projects /work fun (even accounting)~ organize so there are many wins (accomplishments) your ppl wil do you well #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: @mriggen @bradfordshimp You guys are making me blush. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @mriggen Paid or unpaid? Virtual? I am surrounded by college kids. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q5 – Mind reading! (Ha!) But seriously, I’d like to learn more about how to gauge client expectation & communication style. #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: @mriggen #sbbuzz Try your community college…usually great but talk to professor and have them hand picked. I can find you a chicago one.
bradfordshimp: @sbbuzz That is why you wear the bee mask. #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @sbbuzz Q5: When is it time to cut your losses ~ no longer try & make an employee work (who will never work:-) #sbbuzz
pmohara: @bradfordshimp Yep. If only I could remember to take it off. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And now it is what we affectionately call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
BizMoneySaver: Q5: More systems in addition to CRM (i.e. live chats via website, etc) that can help improve customer relationships. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: On the topic of customers, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit is a great read. Review: http://tinyurl.com/esepreview #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at http://sbbuzz.net #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ginabee Yes – a good assessment, pre-selection process that helps everyone start on the same page. #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @pmohara So agree ~ build a team of players more talented & accomplished then you are #sbbuzz
cjservia: Solidify disaster plans for your small business. Follow @cjservia to learn more. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: I’m taking a stand for the quality of your content! http://bit.ly/content-creation-manifesto (pitch time on #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @bradfordshimp I’d like to add speed of response ~ quick makes clients/ customers feel important ~ slow the opposite #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Read my small biz advice at http://www.allbizanswers.com #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @CASUDI Good point. That is something I have been working on, slowly… #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: #sbbuzz I am your friendly customer service based accountant. We do Tax and Payroll and QB consulting http://ow.ly/1H3js
ginabee: I write your web content so you don’t have to! http://www.writeytidy.com (Sorry – I don’t do dandelions!) #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: If you are interested in blogging for your biz, I can help. Design, coaching, and a course coming soon. #sbbuzz
BizMoneySaver: For dollar stretching & money-saving biz tips tune in to my show on Blogtalkradio, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stretchingadollar #sbbuzz
pmohara: Pamela here from @batchblue – the social CRM that hosts this chat. Great, great discussion tonight. My favorite topic! #sbbuzz
JodyPadarCPA: @CASUDI But sometime they have not timely requests and are just itchy! How do you balance from your own work needs #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Thanks to everyone for all the great discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at http://sbbuzz.biz
CASUDI: Designing Success for Start Up companies ~ and having a lot of fun doing it esp. the team building #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz I’m Michelle from BatchBlue and I try to put three year-olds to bed during SBBUZZ. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @bradfordshimp Oh, & here’s the “o” I owe you from an earlier “to” instead of “too!” Hate when I do that! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
bradfordshimp: @BizMoneySaver Cool, I am going to check it out. If you do guest posts, that would be a great topic on http://www.allbizanswers.com #sbbuzz
CASUDI: @JodyPadarCPA My clients expect 24/7 response ~ even get back to you later works (always time for that via iphone :-) #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @ginabee I was feeling an “o” short. #sbbuzz
mikestenger: Social media consulting, minus the self proclaimed expert or guru status? That’s me. http://www.mikestenger.com #sbbuzz
BizMoneySaver: @bradfordshimp Thanks! I love guest posts and will definitely check it out :>) ! #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @BizMoneySaver Wonderful, just Tweet me! Working on putting up a formal guest posting page, but not there yet. #sbbuzz

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Filed under customers, small business, social media, summary

Small Business Success Index Discussion Led by Guest Moderator Anita Campbell

As a part of our ongoing Market Research discussion, we are very lucky to have guest moderator Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends), editor of SmallBizTrends.com leading a discussion of the new Small Business Success Index™ (SBSI) report sponsored by Network Solutions® and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s  Smith School of Business.

This report is the third in a series of surveys Network Solutions has done over the past year and focuses on the rapid growth of social media efforts in the small business community and how these efforts are helping small businesses weather the tough economy.  Anita, who has been a leader in the social media education of small businesses and a past participant and speaker at #sbbuzz, will moderate the discussion to provide additional insight on how to effectively use social networks to generate results.

Please join us this Tuesday, February 23rd from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EST to learn more from Anita and the #sbbuzz small business community about using social media to grow your small business.

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Filed under customers, marketing, networking, small business, Uncategorized

How Small Business does Customer Service : Summary from June 9th, 2009

This week sbbuzz focused on the things that make our business possible…..our customers!  From building relationships to solving problems, each business interacts with customers differently.   Some have unique customer service process and others are all hands on deck for interaction.

How do you interact and build relationships with your customers?

Want to participate or have a small business question that other small biz owners can answer? Here’s how you can join us next week!

  • Next buzz-up is Tuesday, June 16th from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Eastern Time. Join us – We’re here to facilitate the conversation between small business owners.
  • Know small businesses that need help? Let them know when this chat happens, help them get started on Twitter and let’s talk!
  • Instructions for participating are at http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Below is a summary of the most recent discussion. To see the full conversation, go to: http://bit.ly/18YJPo

sbbuzz: Tonight we’re talking all about customers. Q1: How do most of your customers contact you? Initially and ongoing? #sbbuzz

  • desireescales: Q1: Most customers contact us via our web form or on the phone. Lately phone is winning. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q1 – Customers contact us with a mix of phone and email. Email is becoming more and more popular. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q1 Customer contacts come in primarily via email, but also Twitter and our forums. And phone :) #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q1: Our customers primarily contact us by phone since we provide mainly detailed phone consultation. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q1 Most new clients contact me via email – it is always a pleasure when someone reaches out by telephone. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q1 Email and online are most common especially since calling me through the relay service isn’t so easy and fast. #sbbuzz
  • amistaff_coo: Q1: Most customers contact us via our web form connected to our crm or on the phone. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q1: Twitter is the number 3 referrer of visitors to our site. Google number 1 and our domain number 2. #sbbuzz
  • NJinsuranceGirl: Hi all, glad to be here. Q1: phone still #1. Email and web close 2nd. Just started gaining speed with social media — high hopes! #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Email and web forms are often easier, but I think we can do better solidifying the relationship via phone. Or Skype. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1 Phone is most common method for initial contact. Some ongoing clients transition to email though. #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q1: Most contact by phone via referral. Website is second. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q1: most come in over e-mail or Twitter. But agree w/@lindadessau that I love the phone. Fun to get the backstories there.
  • PricelessTeam: Q1 Email is our primary method of contact with clients. Some follow-up phone calls. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q1: Mostly by phone or web form here too. #sbbuzz
  • mylifeatthetop: #sbbuzz referrals, and friends of referrals are my highest lead resul
  • rogersanchez: from vendors we have an ongoing relationship with #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q1 our customers contract use by email thru our website #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q1 Most of our #mrchsrvcs prospects arrive by delighted client referrals. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q1: We qualify all leads by phone and make all appointments by phone #sbbuzz
  • SunSwept: #sbbuzz Q1 Many of our customers come to us through our website. it’s optimized and we use quick lead gen forms.

sbbuzz: Q2. Are your customers using social media? If so, which ones? #sbbuzz

  • nrohrbach: Q2: My customers are certainly using Twitter, but it hasn’t caught on in my town, a lot more on Facebook. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q2 Yes. Twitter and Facebook. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2: Our clients use twitter, myspace & facebook. But many just started since the beginning of this year #sbbuzz
  • amistaff_coo: Q2: Not sure if our customers are using social media…any of our customers want to comment? #sbbuzz
  • Whistletree: Hello! Q2, like many of you, we have a link for customers to “follow us on Twitter” and “become a fan on facebook”. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q2 Most are not – but I’m working on it!! #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q2 Twitter, FB, MySpace (for music), and several other niche platforms, not to mention some international sites as well. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2: Many have dropped off myspace and switched to facebook #sbbuzz
  • PricelessTeam: Q2: About 75% to 85% of our customers use Twitter and Facebook – more so Twitter. #sbbuzz
  • TSFsmallbus: Some of our clients use SM but most don’t have the time to dedicate to it. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q2 Twitter, blogs, Forum. Facebook, YouTube & Flickr we’ve tried with less success (though we have fun trying everything!) #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q2: We use twitter the most it seem to work the best. We see daily results from the interaction we have with other followers. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q2 Some of my clients are using social media and most are trying to blend it with their marketing plans. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Most of our customers do not use SM. Many homeschoolers are in Yahoo groups. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: We’re leading the way with soc med over here and clients are slowing following us. Facebook is 1st, then LinkedIn, then Twitter. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q1: Most of our clients find twitter to yield the best results once they understand how it should be used. #sbbuzz
  • TSFsmallbus: Many of our clients and the people we meet prefer face to face meetings. SM is a good introduction but we follow up to meet. #sbbuzz
  • SassyMichelle: #sbbuzz Customers of Sass use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs. not so much Ning or YouTube Yet!
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q2 – many of our customers are on social media, but probably because we spend time there, so building good relationships

sbbuzz: Q3. How do you handle irate customers? Ever had a “disgruntled customer” post something bad? How did you respond? #sbbuzz

  • jonedm: Q#: Never had one, knock on wood. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q3: No thank goodness we have not had irate client. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q3: The power of social media is that you have a tool which allows you to respond to upset customers quickly on many levels. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q3 – It is my opinion that you should handle upset customers head on. Also, pick up the phone or get there in person. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q3 I’m knocking on so much wood right now, it’s ridiculous – but not yet. We will, I’m sure. Had some annoyed maybe. #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q3 best way to handle a ‘bad’ posting, say on Yelp is to not respond – post something asking if you can make it up to them #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: As for nasty comments – meet them with level-headedness and transparency. Readers will be able to see who they should trust. #sbbuzz
  • TSFsmallbus: We handle upset clients with personal contact. Our CEO is a big fan of looking people in the eye to see what they are thinking. #sbbuzz
  • DenLuDistrib: I never have had a disgruntled customer anywhere online or off we always have been able to make right with the customer 1 on 1 #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q3: As a business you should screen all your comments before the go live for that very reason. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q3 Nobody irate that has made it visible to me. Honesty and personal followup would be my response. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q3 Respond to the customer as soon as you can, don’t wait until you find the answers. If you wait, he’ll think you’re ignoring him. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Our most unpleasant blog post was actually from a competitor. We sent him pizza (ha ha, we didn’t but should have!) #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q3 I advise clients to investigate, make amends if necessary, respond like a pro, monitor reputation regularly. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q3: irate customers: I respond with sincere apologies and a discount of some sort. Usually sleep on it 1st, I have a Mr. Hyde in me #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q3 It is important to set expectations from the very beginning – and keep open lines of communication – and admit mistakes #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q3 one problem we have is “give me what I want or I’ll post about you,” when what they want is inappropriate, we just stay calm. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @helpbusinesses You’re never going to be able to screen *all* comments (i.e. Twitter). People will say things out of your control #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q3: and our money-back guarantee that we say is 90 days, is really forever. If you don’t get our product, we’d don’t want your money #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q3: I heard from a hotel owner that somebody was playing protection: “give me $500 or I’ll flame you on Yelp and friends.” #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: I suggest setting up a Google Search for your company name, ur name and products/services you have. Makes it easy to catch it early. #sbbuzz
  • vpbx: Q3: Agree with @Timberry. Stay patient. Be empathic. Put yourself in the role of a support agent: solve the problem gracefully. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q4. from @nrohrbach: If you get your customers to soc media, how do you keep them interested? #sbbuzz

  • helpbusinesses: Q4: The results keep the customer interested but our customer come to SM to find talent they need. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q4: so true it’s boring: real content, authenticity, and if you don’t have anything to post, or tweet, then stay silent. No clutter. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4: Social media while it is a tool to continually connect with some customer isn’t that tool for all businesses. Its a introduction #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q4 Great question. That is why it is important not to push them, they need to be ready and engaged in the process. #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: Q4: (just jumping in) once clients are on Social Networks we create conversation starters & I hold accountable 4 continued comm. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q4 – Invite them to join you in things, like tweet chats and discussions, rather than to just sign up for your sales pitch. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q4 I think helping people see the business value of social media goes a long way. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Show them Google Analytics. They’ll be converted forever once they see the referral rate of these tools. #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q4, Buzz … I try and stay mindful of WIIFM from THEIR viewpoint, not mine. Stay interesting and informative for Them. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4: social media is a connection tool for some businesses but not all. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q4: For us, it’s more what do we *not* do to engage customers in social media? We have contests, we host chats, we laugh, we cry …
  • mattharrell: Q4: It’s also a matter of education too. Be willing to take few minute to explain SM and have some links/resources hand. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: I think we need to be clear. Some people may not adjust to social media, which is fine, but I think any business can benefit. #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: Q4: Most clients have so much fun because of the connections the get addicted. Then I have to remind them of OTHER mktg #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4: SM is a tool for some biz to easily stay connected to their customers. They should drive that traffic to their website. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz I think soon questions about who is/isn’t using won’t exist. Twitter, blogs just new set of tools, like websites & email. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q4: I get customers involved during projects, when it’s over they disappear. It’s not a interaction issue, they’re just GONE #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q5. Have you ever had to “break up” with a customer? #sbbuzz

  • TSFsmallbus: @sbbuzz We’ve ended a couple of engagements because the client was not working with us to achieve their stated goals. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q5 Yes. I believe if you find that things don’t work — it’s better to let go than run yourself into the ground. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q5 – Break up with a customer, or break a customer’s nose? #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q5: In the early days YES. Now our screening process projects the longevity of the realtionship. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q5 Not at this job, but in previous job had some “toxic” customers. I think that might have been code for…kinda crazy. #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: I haven’t broken up with a customer, but I’ve come close. I do love knowing it’s always an option as a solopreneur. #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q5 #sbbuzz Might be “firing” an unusally difficult client right now. We’ll see. Giving her/her Co a second chance …
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q5 I think it’s fine to say “We may not be the solution you’re looking for” b/c it could very well be true. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q5: I had a bad breakup with a non-paying customer. Learned a lot, but took their site off the map at the worst time for them. #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: Q5: Yes, many times I’ve broken up with customers. When the relationship doesn’t work, I’d rather say goodbye. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q5: In real estate you break up with customer every day LOL. To be successful U R married to the property not the customer #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: We’ve learned 2 prequalify clients through good questions. Its not worth their time either if they aren’t comfortable with us. #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q5 #sbbuzz Interestingly, the clients who HAMMER hardest on pricing invariably turn out to be the most labor-intensive and demanding.
  • Kmacopy: Q5: Oh yeah. nonpayment breakups. Had those before! #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: #sbbuzz Q5 Once. We gave them a lot of ‘freebies’ and they were just NEVER happy. Better to break up than everyone involved be miserable.
  • perfectquarters: Q5: Technology has changed the buyer being dedicated to the relationship. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q5 I’m going through that now with one of my first clients. As both of our businesses have evolved we’re not as compatible. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q5: My “Terms & Conditions” got an extreme makeover thanks to bad breakups. Something about “learning the hard way” #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q5 #sbbuzz I LIKE all the Pre-Qual Q’s you guys! Also — define your ideal client and find ways to maximize exposure to that profile.
  • pmohara: @bradfordshimp Q6 Who loves the bee? Q7 Why? Q8 Where? Q9 When? Q10 What? Q11 How? I’m done. I win. :) #sbbuzz
  • sagemedia: Q5. Unfortunately, yes we have had to ‘break up’ with customers. You can only bend so far before you risk breaking your own back. #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: #sbbuzz Q5 Again is all about setting expectations. If you can set them on both sides, then you shouldn’t have to break up.
  • merylkevans: Income isn’t worth it with difficult clients — energy with two good clients can surpass it. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: @merylkevans AGREED! Why spend 100 hours on what’s going to be a 1 time client, when you can build a relationship w/ 2-3 residuals? #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: My pet peeve is customers who think they are entitled to things because they are “big” and sales reps who cower at that. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Firing clients doesn’t mean you failed. It just means your goals and personalities don’t mesh with theirs. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q6 from @leoraw If you are a very small biz, how do you deal with too many customers at once? #sbbuzz

  • helpbusinesses: Q6: You hire someone to help you. that’s consider business growth. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q6 Generally, it’s not a problem. A lot of times you’re waiting on info from client. So it evens w/ occasional craziness. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: @sbbuzz I LOVE this question. I would add, how do you manage extra work when you also have a full time job? #sbbuzz
  • DenLuDistrib: I have a small business and I handle too much business by recruiting my best customers to being IC’s to work with me #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: @merylkevans I like your response to “firing clients”! Yes, work really smoothly with some, others more difficult (&notwortheffort).#sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q6 – Great problem to have!!! Hire an assistant to do the admin stuff. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: I advise clients to identify and characterize their A clients, figure out how to find more like them, spend less time with Cs and Ds #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q6: raise the pricing. Think of pruning. And, by the way, high class problem, one of the best to have … #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q6: Don’t get yourself in that position in the first place. Know your limits. Create a waiting list perhaps. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6: If you don’t want to hire permanent worker, hire temporary works. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q6 We’ve both added staff and tightened processes. It’s not a bad problem to have, but you don’t want service to suffer. #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: Q6: Great Q! Hard 2 manage expectations, workload of many customers. But the kind of problems I like to have!! Communication is key #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q6 I take a strong look at what I can outsource, evaluate priorities, make sure I can commit to deadlines. Partnerships. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6: @Timberry I don’t necessarily agree with your response to raise prices that can back fire. That is a specific pro/ser move! #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q6 – Focus on the type of work that you are most passionate about, and learn to say no (or later) to the other. #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: @leoraw Q6: Systems! Project Management programs like http://www.basecamphq.com were life savers b4 I added my team! #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: Q6: I agree, learn to say no. Or, provide an option: not tomorrow, but how about next Friday?? #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q6: I am luckily friends with my competition, we scratch each others back now and then with the burden it too heavy #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6: Because you started your biz & have tons of customers may mean you are meeting a huge need & underestimated the need. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q6 For me I’ve found that is a great time to partner up. Share the work and get things done. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q6: Find good people to add to your team be it employees or virtual. They’re out there now, that’s for sure. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: Q6 We’ve actually found our last two hires via Twitter – go figure! #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6: This is where having the right plan & team in place is an advantage to your grow. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q6: We usually do our research and end up dropping prices not raise them. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q7 Will your current customer service efforts scale? #sbbuzz

  • helpbusinesses: Q7: You have to maintain your customer service to maintain the business. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q7 – I just helped a client implement an email system to help with customer service, which should help keep volume down as they grow #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q7: We make great effort to say ahead of what our customer expect and want otherwise we’ll loose them. #sbbuzz
  • DenLuDistrib: You have to excel at customer service always #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q7 We’re really working on that now with implementation of a help desk / knowledge base. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q7: Challenging question for us. We love the personal touch. It will be hard to scale our current level of customer service/support #sbbuzz
  • DenLuDistrib: lack of customer service is the number one reason our customers have given for why they left our competion #sbbuzz
  • Whistletree: Our goal is to cont. current cust service as we grow… answer the phone, send handwritten thank you’s etc. #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: @sbbuzz Q7 Customer Service has different levels depending on where biz is. CS changes/grows as biz does. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q7 Core principles, methods scale. IMHO scaling issues in custserv r w/systems, procedure reflecting culture. Training! #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q7: enter social media once again, I certainly feel social media will help me scale CS, and quickly if necessary #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q7: People do buziness with people because the solve a problem or fill a need. That maintenance is crucial #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q7 That’s a toughie. We want to give the best customer service we can & feel we do that now, but times ten? 100? #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q7 – Never lose that personal touch for customer service and it should scale nicely! #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q7 Time spent working on a well defined CS process and system early on will help us later, when we really need it. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Maybe via Twitter and Social Media, you can empower every employee to be in customer service. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q7: Our moto is we are your real estate broker for life not just for a deal. Come back to us even of debates with friend & family #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q7 I learned long ago to treat people how THEY want to be treated, not how YOU want…listen and ask, “How can I help you?” #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q8. Do you do customer testimonials on your site or newsletter? How do you get them? #sbbuzz

  • DenLuDistrib: We get comments all the time from people that we send gift certificates to for their birthdays about how it was so wonderful! #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q8 – We get testimonials by asking for them in a survey, and sometimes just out of the blue. Working on using them better. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q8: We videotape our testimonials and put them on our site. Its like our client is in the room talking about us. Powerful! #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q8: I want to do testimonials, but I’m struggling with it because I don’t usually trust them on other sites… #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q8: the customer testimony is in the sale and if they choose to have a potential buyer just call them. #sbbuzz
  • DenLuDistrib: We haven’t but we should. It is something I have been debating as I don’t want to give out information without asking #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q8 I use testimonials on any appropriate marketing collateral. They come from customer communication & I ask to use it #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: Q8: I’ve been writing a ton of customer testimonials for a client. Had 1 interview tell me they bought services because of one. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q8: We are putting together a testimony video for youtube #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: @sbbuzz Q8: yup there are testimonials on my site. I create surveys 4 clients & I ask clients 4 permission to quote & link back. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q8: I regret that we haven’t done better to catalog and manage customer testimonials. Great resource, too easily wasted. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q8 My web site has one testimonial on the home page with links to more. Also have recommendations in LinkedIn. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q8 I love my testimonials and am thrilled to get them. Some have come unsolicited, others we have asked for. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q8: Customers ask for reference they call our client who are happy to talk with them. But from free phn consult they see the value #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q8 A great way to get a testimonial – Ask for one in return for a ‘freebie’ to your customer or a small discount on their final bill #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: Q8: the testimonials we’ve been doing focus on the customer, NOT the services they buy. They inspire not sell. Show not tell. #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: Q8. Testimonials – yes, but I haven’t gotten them in a while. Was easier when I worked for less busy ppl or volunteer work. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: @Whistletree In the middle of a project, ask how you’re doing. Sometimes that leads to testimonial. Ask at end. Keep compliments. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Actually, this post on customer testimonials by @smallbiztrends inspired tonight’s theme! http://tinyurl.com/ovcj6g #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q8: But testimonies should be kept current too. If you use them no matter what media you display them in. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q8 Am also looking to do some more in depth case studies as well – highlight our clients and how we have worked together. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Joined late. Q8. We have them on our site. Want to migrate to podcasts to take get credit for blended search. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q8: speaking of testimonials, I HATE when folks ask me for a referral on LinkedIN and don’t write one back (you know who you are!) #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q8: HA! I was offline for a minute e-mailing a customer asking for an “on the record” version of a comment. Yes, we use them a lot! #sbbuzz
  • selltoronto_com: @sbbuzz q8 I use testimonials on selltoronto.com usually I just take their thank you quotes but sometimes I ask 4 them. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz Q8 If we get something nice via email, we’ll follow up to see if it’s OK to use in newsletters etc. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Businesses with local clients should look to local sites for reviews. Daycare asked parents to review on a city’s site. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q8: We also ask our customer to give testimonies our our social networks such a twitter.They write on our http://www.twitwall.com #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: Q8: I’m finding great testimonials tell a story of how the customer uses your services and benefits. Like a feature story approach. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: Q8 Incorporate surveys in your customer service processes. Provide a place for open comments. Ask to use the positive ones on ur web #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q9. What do you do to show your customers you love them? #sbbuzz

  • helpbusinesses: Q9: Our job lol #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: @sbbuzz Send them a gift (last year, it was a book) and a handwritten note. #sbbuzz
  • Whistletree: Q9 – We send handwritten cards and Starbucks gift cards. We’ve also given away iPods and Visa Gift Cards. #sbbuzz
  • DenLuDistrib: We show our customers that we love them by automatic discounts for return customers, birthday, anniversary and holiday cards #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q9: All jokes aside. We always throw in extra stuff not penny pinching them but show the comp service on the invoice so they know. #sbbuzz
  • mriggen: @sbbuzz We send little presents: coffee, coffee mugs, t-shirts. Want to do more, a little love goes a long way! #sbbuzz
  • Kmacopy: Q9: Keep giving them above and beyond service. I try to show love by moving heaven and earth every time for those special customers. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q9: often throwing in something, if they want biz cards, maybe a free letterhead, a website, maybe a free gallery or flash banner #sbbuzz
  • lisamcg: Q9 Bring breakfast or lunch in for their office (if it isn’t too big) , gift baskets ‘just because’, and always do our best! #sbbuzz
  • life_enthusiast: @sbbuzz Q9: I’m going to be adding gifts in the future. For now, the get lots if e-mails & occasional e-cards with our thanks! #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q9 – Showin’ the Love — one of the best ways I know … Send ‘em Referrals! #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q9 I tell them, give out some promo items, send a gift for no reason, etc. Need to do more. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q9: We include handwritten notes in orders. We also throw in order-appropriate gifts for special orders or “firsts.” #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q9: Some buyer/ homeowners simply call and ask us for them. We don’t mind it keep us in their thoughts. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q9: We give out 4/6 movie tickets. People are bound to use them or it’s something they can give away to someone who will use it. #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: Q9 – I give my best customers work they need done as soon as humanly possible – they ask at the last minute, I do 2 minutes later. #sbbuzz
  • Dr_Cards: Q9 #sbbuzz Handwritten notes on their special dates, along with goodies during the Holidays.
  • mriggen: Q9 We’re huge fans of the hand-written notes as well, being the proper New England and Southern ladies that we are. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q9: “Don’t worry so much about the ‘what’, just realize that appreciation goes a long way w/ people.” From ReferralFlood #sbbuzz
  • snakejw: Q9 – Provide amazing service. Gifts and other token appreication isn’t as big of a deal. #sbbuzz
  • brownjc0: Q9: wW give away personalized M&Ms sometimes #sbbuzz

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