Ideas to Engage Your Employees and Customers in 2018

 

As we head into 2018, there is much cause for optimism. Stock markets are up, and economic indicators are all trending upwards. How you motivate and engage with your employees and customers plays a critical role in the success of a company.

 

Employee engagement remains a problem for most businesses. Gallup reports that only one-third of workers in the U.S. are engaged. The result is high turnover and diminished productivity. For businesses with engaged employees, they see better business outcomes—from better customer service, to happier customers, to better profit margins.

 

Much has been written on the subject of customer engagement in recent years. Unless customers are highly engaged and advocates of your company, products, or services, they could be here today and gone tomorrow. And you want to retain your customers; as reported in the Harvard Business Review, it is between 5x and 25x more difficult to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.

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How to Combat Holiday Stress and ‘Presenteeism’ In the Workplace

Holidays are supposed to be a time of family, friends, food, and fun. But for many business owners, it’s a time of pressure and stress.

Holiday Stress

A Healthline survey found that 65 percent of respondents from Generation X and 61 percent of Millennials feel some stress during the holidays. About 62 percent of Baby Boomers fell into the same category. If you feel stressed during the holidays, you’re certainly not alone.

“Stress is heightened during the holiday season,” Bill Scheinman, a San Francisco-based life coach who focuses on stress reduction, told Entrepreneur.com. “There is the existential stress that comes as the year nears its end. We assess the place we’re at in our lives and decide if we’re achieving our life goals or not.”

One of the biggest stressors is work. According to the American Psychological Association, work adds more stress to the holidays than home life. This could be in part because, during the holidays, people feel pressure to participate in holiday celebrations at work.

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6 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Virtual Business Services

6 Areas of Virtual Services to Explore

These on-demand, third-party services give small companies the ability to lower costs, drive efficiencies, build customer engagement and revenue. They can look and act like much larger organizations. There are numerous use cases when it comes to virtual services. For small businesses seeking ways to leverage virtual services, the following are some of the most compelling ones:

1. Virtual Addresses

Before the rise of virtual addresses, professional addresses were out of sight in terms of cost and simply a long-term dream entrepreneurs put on their list of targets. The same can be said of professional office and meeting space. Small businesses were relegated to permanent office space in subpar locations that made them cringe when clients and partners came to visit.

Virtual office solutions like Davinci Virtual Offices allow small businesses to secure professional addresses in highly desirable locations. And it doesn’t stop with headquarter addresses. Small businesses can seamlessly expand into new locations by leveraging virtual addresses.

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Live Web Chat Matters: A Business Case for Small Businesses

In the “2017 State of Workspace and Communications Services” report TIRO Communications jointly published with Davinci Virtual at the beginning of the year, we noted that technology has disrupted how customers want to communicate with businesses. It does not matter if the business is a global enterprise or a small business; Customers have the same expectations in terms of engagement—in terms of both sales and service. They want to anywhere, anytime, and on any device. They also want multiple engagement options. Offering them a phone number to call isn’t enough.

When it comes to customers on your website, simply offering them static content no longer is sufficient. They expect to have personalized experiences served up to them; product recommendations and content based on their identity and browsing behavior. They also expect to have multiple engagement options—live web chat, email, phone, text, online knowledgebase, and social media.

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10 Ways to Cross-Train Your Employees for Stellar Customer Support.

Cross training. It’s a term that’s become popular in the health and fitness world, but it originated in the business world. There is some similarity though—cross training can make your business healthier and more fit.

Cross-training involves teaching an employee who was hired to perform one job function the skills required to perform other job functions, according to Inc. magazine’s encyclopedia of business terms.

While you can cross-train your employees across many lines, customer support is perhaps the most vital focus if you want to create an Amazon-like culture of winning with customers.

Think about the big picture. Good customer service is a quasi marketing tool that can drive extreme loyalty. Customers are actively engaging in word-of-mouth marketing over social media channels in the same way news is propagating in near real-time via Twitter. And listening, truly listening, to what your customers are saying can help you retain even the most disgruntled customers—and attract brand new ones.

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Six Factors That Make a Top-Line-Driven Sales Team

Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her to solve a problem or achieve a goal—not of selling a product or a service. So teaches motivational speaker and sales expert Brian Tracy.

That’s the baseline mantra of any good sales team. But that’s just the baseline. There are many factors that go into building a strategic sales team that drives your top line and ultimately enhances your bottom line. Here are six other considerations:

1. Hire the right people.

Without the “right” people on the team, the team will never see the “right” results. Although you want skilled salesmen in your pack, skills can be taught—motivation cannot. Don’t be afraid to create a team with a blend of seasoned high achievers and less-experienced candidates who are motivated and eager to learn.

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3 Keys to Planning Your Startups Short- and Long-Term Success

US entrepreneurship hit a 40-year low in 2016. That compares to a 33-year low in 2010. Clearly, business startups are seeing a rapid decline in America.

Some blame the Great Recession but the startups didn’t start up again at historic levels after the economy recovered. Could it be the Amazon effect, where e-commerce is killing small businesses almost as fast as they can start? Are regulations to blame?

Whatever the reason, if you want to succeed as a startup you have one advantage: the landscape is less competitive. But you also have a challenge: it’s more difficult to succeed. You need a rock-solid plan.

A startup business plan has several purposes and goals, according to SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. First, it helps you clarify your vision, mission and goals. But it can also help convince investors or lenders to put some financial power behind your business.

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Your 9-Step Framework to a Successful Sales Meeting

Bla, bla, bla, bla.  This is what it sounds like when you’re in a meeting and you have no agenda, no end time, and no idea why you’re there. A complete waste of time, right? Well, keep this in mind when you are pitching your next client. Taking complete control over every step of the sales meeting will put your prospect at ease with open ears and an open mind.  Below is your Nine-Step framework for an incredibly successful sales meeting.  

First: Select a meeting venue and service support that reflects the caliber of your brand. 

There are thousands of meeting venues across the nation and indeed the world where you can choose the location, vibe and meeting setting that is in line with the impression you want to establish with your prospective client. You may reserve an intimate meeting room, grand boardroom or something in between by the hour or day.

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Customer Service Training and Amazon.com

Amazon.com has built a reputation for customer service. Yes, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has built a customer service-focused machine by looking at e-tailing through customer-colored glasses. Salesforce’s Desk.com put together seven statements from Bezos, with explanation, in a blog post entitled, “7 Lessons You Can Learn from Jeff Bezos About Serving the Customer.”

“Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer.” writes Kevin Baldacci. “Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.”

As you train your staff on the customer service front, be sure to keep these proven tactics in mind.

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Business Trends Every Startup Needs to Know About Right Now

Business trends come and go—and come and go. Companies need to be aware of and react to business trends, and startups have the clear advantage; they can often seize market opportunities large corporations are too slow to embrace.

Here’s a list of predictions business experts are offering that should be music to the ears of startups everywhere.

  1. It’s all about the niche.

“Business success will come from further focusing on smaller, very specific audiences,” says Kyle Golding, chief strategic idealist at The Golding Group. “Going extremely deep with customized messages and specialized platforms to a highly receptive and loyal audience will replace wide approach ‘shot gun’ marketing. [We’ll see] more soft or no ask/call to action marketing focused on community building, experiences and lifestyle over product specific messaging.”  

  1. Crowdfunding is the new black.

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