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Social media and mobile technology can change the way companies manage customer service, so writes Neil Davey in the UK blog MyCustomer.com. Davey outlines “Your Six Customer Service Priorities for 2012”.

Davey says don’t cut the customer service budget because it is the critical differentiator in retaining customer loyalty. Instead, he delivers six strategies that can put your company at the forefront of good service while containing costs.

He quotes Helen Rutherford of 2e2, explaining that just moving everything online is not the way to go:

“Nothing can replace human interaction (whether it be face-to-face or on the phone) when it comes to resolving customer issues quickly, as online channels such as email and IM can sometimes lead to misunderstandings which in turn extend the time taken to deal with customer enquiries.”

On the other hand, using social media sites and mobile technology to access those can more closely meet customers’ expectations for problem resolution.

As Ernie Wallerstein Jr. notes for the Smart Business Online Business 2.0 blog:

“The 21st Century consumers demand first-contact resolution, regardless of whether they call, e-mail, text or chat with their service provider.”

Speedy resolution is the bottom line in customer service, however it is delivered.

Laura Abrahamsen February 3, 2012

Sponsored by Smart Business Network, the authority for business and management information http://www.sbnonline.com

Social media is an often under-utilized tool when it comes to managing and marketing a small business, but this does not need to be the case. The Small Business Trends article “Building Your Own small Business Platform with Social Media” offers links to a variety of Web sites that explore and explain a mixture of social media platforms.

The article states:

“Social media is a huge area of discussion in small businesses these days as a way to market, network and engage your clients and customers while boosting your brand.”

Effectiveness, however, is the key. To best boost your brand, the article highlights interesting topics such as managing your time online, the potential of Google Plus, using Twitter to maximize your business benefits, and some excellent reasons why Facebook cannot be relied upon to be a small business’s sole Web site.

While small businesses will find many benefits to effectively using social media platforms, they must also take care to protect their personal interests online. In the Smart Business article, “Your Personally Identifiable Information: it’s Valuable to Someone,” we find that using social media must be done wisely and small businesses must be vigilant in protecting their online information.

Harnessing the power of social media to benefit your business is an important skill that you can never know too much information about.

Jennifer Johnson, February 1, 2012

Sponsored by Smart Business Network, the authority for business and management information www.sbnonline.com

 

There are so many social platforms available to online users it is often difficult to determine which social media strategy is right for your small business. In the Business 2 Community article, “13 social platforms your small business should consider using,” author Ken Mueller, not only lists online tools that can be used to benefit your small business, but suggests ideas for using these tools.

Prior to listing his top 13 social platforms, Mueller states:

“I don’t just mean you should create an account or presence. I mean you should use them. Properly. And don’t bite off more than you can chew. Each platform I list has its own culture, language, and set of best practices and unwritten rules. You’ll need to pay attention to those as you seek to engage.”

Many of these tools are familiar, such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. However, others sites, such as Yelp and Foursquare, websites where small business customers may have already reviewed and ranked your enterprise, may not be as well-known, but are certainly worth the time it takes to create an account.

Just as important as choosing the proper social media tools when engaging your customers is ensuring that your company website is drawing traffic. In the Smart Business article, “Frequently Asked Questions About Websites and SEO,” Jonathan Ebenstein, Managing Director, Marketing Services Group, Skoda Minotti, informs on how you know if your website is effectively reaching your potential customer base.

Ebenstein states:

“Your website is a strategic marketing tool, just like an advertisement, press release or brochure. It must fit into the overall marketing strategy you have established for your company. It should be charged with accomplishing specific pre-determined marketing goals and objectives and communicate a consistent message that is tied to your brand.”

Creating a marketing plan that incorporates all of the 21st century technology that we have at our disposal is very important if you want your Web site and, more importantly, your business to be found by potential clients.

Jennifer Johnson, January 31, 2012

Sponsored by SmartBusiness, the authority on business management information www.smartbusiness.com

IBM is looking to expand its “social business” services by establishing new workshops and consulting services to develop a culture that fosters collaboration. The Business 2 Community article, “IBM Expands Social Business Services”  reveals that this term has been gaining momentum since its introduction in 2010.

The article states:

“The term “social business” has been gaining traction in the last year. Mentions of the term on the Internet grew from two million in 2010 to about 20 million in 2011, according to an informal Google search. Social business differs from social meda in that “Social media touches mainly on marketing and PR, whereas social business goes inside the organization to include the way you recruit and retain talent and how you work with your supply chain.”

Social business is different than social media in the sense that the former incorporates the social aspect in all areas of a business organization in how they do business. According to the recent SBNOnline report, “Frank Napolitano on Designing Success,”  designing new products and services can actually be the most valuable asset for a company because you will be in way will help solve your client’s problems.

As discussed in the report:

“Designing new products and services for customers takes a great deal of courage. Those of us who are tasked with that responsibility know that we are risking our reputations, and generally a great deal of our company’s money, recommending a particular design.  But there are some simple ways to improve our odds of producing a design that will be a success.”

A company’s innovative approach to new concepts and ideas are often based on the bravery to try new things. Therefore, IBM’s notorious global approach and strategic consulting are the key elements to their social business services concept.

M. Christina Madison, January 30, 2012

Sponsored by Smart Business Network, the authority for business and management information http://www.sbnonline.com

In an article excerpted from the Hotel Business Review, Frank Wolfe lists “11 Ways Mobile Technology Could Change Your Hotel Experience.”

Wolfe states:

“Mobile technology has the potential to make many things in today’s hotel room drastically different, if not obsolete. In the near-future, you could be interacting with your hotel room in ways you haven’t even though about – all because of your mobile device. And since many of these technologies are already available to implement in your hotel, it’s only a matter of time.”

Wolfe goes on to list ways that already-familiar smart phone applications could take the place of such hotel room standard equipment as desk phones, keys, alarm clocks and that funky TV checkout system. Smart phone apps could also replace the front-desk clerk and concierge. Wireless charging stations are becoming more important hotel room features than the 4-cup coffee pot.

In the recent SBNOnline article,”How Businesses are Evolving to Accommodate Changing Communication Needs,” Kurt Fennell notes:

“There are more traditional businesses that are not on the forefront of the adoption of technologies, and there are other more tech-savvy companies that always adopt technologies early on. There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to when to adopt a new technology, but it does make sense for a business to take advantage of those technologies that could improve productivity, enhance operations and save money.”

It looks like the hospitality industry is ready to embrace the advantages that mobile technology offers.

Laura Abrahamsen, January 27, 2012

Sponsored by Smart Business Network, the authority for business and management information http://www.sbnonline.com