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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Mobile Apps SEO: A complete guide for App Owners

In today’s business world, it is important to have an app. We may understand search engine optimization – or SEO. However, app owners who apply this knowledge can easily create one that improves visibility, which will increase business. As you will see, applying SEO knowledge to apps may take some tweaks.  But, the rewards are plentiful.

Getting Ranked In SERPs

Using website SEO has become common. However, according to searchengineland.com, anyone who understands how to create good search engine optimization to get mobile apps ranked will improve their business. After all, good SEO increases your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. These pages are the results of your search terms.  Whatever search engine you use, you will see similar results based on rankings.

In order to help you increase your chances of your app getting higher on the SERPs, there are several things you can do:

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Why Having a Local Business Address is Important

Many small businesses, particularly sole proprietors with service businesses, do not have a professional business address but instead use their home address. However, there are some downsides and potential legal issues when doing so. Intuit spells out some of the more prevalent ones in a QuickBooks posting:

  1. Lease and HOA Rules.

    Apartment and condo complexes restrict the ability for residents to run a business out of their home (or in this case apartment or condo). Check your lease and home owners’ association (HOA) rules to confirm if there are any restrictions.

 

  1. Zoning Restrictions.

    Local municipality codes (zoning regulations) in some cities may restrict or prohibit home owners from running a commercial operation out of their homes.

 

  1. Liability Issues.

    LLCs and corporations may negate the benefits they received by forming a limited liability company or corporation. Those protections only apply if business and personal activities are kept separate. If the courts deem the two are intertwined, then you could be personally liable for business debts and obligations.

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Presentation Software Options for Small Businesses and Solopreneurs

Presentation options for businesses and solopreneurs are no longer restricted to Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Docs. And for Mac users wed to non-Microsoft tools, they also have expanded to choices beyond Apple Keynote. Alternatives like Prezi and Emaze provide users with new, innovative ways to tackle presentations.

PowerPoint—and the various alternatives—serve much broader functions than just sales and marketing presentations. As a result, there are myriad ways for which businesses can use presentation solutions. Possibilities include:

  • External Business Presentations. Common business scenarios such as sales, analyst briefings, webinars, seminars, briefings, and investor pitches.
  • Trade Show and Conference Presentations. Conference track and keynote presentations at events and conferences.
  • Internal Business Presentations. Training, reports on research, activity updates, and internal pitches.
  • Project management, status reporting, and spreadsheet reports.
  • Non-Presentations. There are many use cases here such as online photo and image albums, simple brochures or flyers, and even animations.

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Chatbots: Their Benefits for Businesses

In 2017, companies are doing everything they can in order to improve their business.  One of the things that they have started implementing is chatbots.  As you will see, using these devices can certainly add to the way your business communicates with customers.

What Is a Chatbot?

Before we can discuss what a chatbot does for a business, we need to define what it is.  Chatbots are a service running on rules or artificial intelligence that users interact with using natural, conversational, language.  They can be used, in conjunction with staff members, to assist in customer support, and with purchasing items.

If you’ve ever used Facebook Messenger, you’ve already used chatbots to do these tasks.  Utilizing a chatbot during non-business hours will allow customers to get their first questions answered.  As a result, they can start detailed conversations with staff members during live chats.

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