Everybody Clicks: Keeping in touch with your business online

Everybody Clicks

Keeping in touch with your business online

In today’s technology focused market, it’s hard to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Making that effort to communicate with clients is more than just sending them a quarterly newsletter or email. It’s about evolving your business to meet their needs. Everyone wants everything online these days. It’s not just convenient anymore, it’s expected.

If your business doesn’t provide your clients with the level of online service they have come to expect, they probably won’t stay your clients for very long. If you want to make sure these new expectations are being met it means building and maintaining a presence on the web. That’s right; your website is the new face of your business. It’s often the first thing new clients see so it has to make a good impression. As the old saying goes, “you only get one first impression.” This adage is just as true for your website as it is for you. Old, outdated websites just aren’t good enough anymore. People want somewhere they can go to get the latest updates on the services your business provides, and they want it to be easy to find that information. Maintaining your website, keeping it up to date and full of useful information is important. It can also be time-consuming or expensive.

As a business professional, probably a bookkeeper or accountant, you probably spend as little time as possible managing your website and composing newsletters. Now, imagine that you just got back to the office after lunch and you want to do some work on the company website, maybe check on the traffic statistics while you’re at it. Normally you’d go and log in to three or four different places, one or two to do the work on the site and the other one or two to look at your statistics. This is a waste of time and energy, but not one you can avoid. Now let’s say you have some time left before you go home for the night and you realize you haven’t sent out this month’s newsletter. That’s another site to go log into. Site after site, a new interface or dashboard each time. Not to mention the hassle of entering your new contacts into your CRM or selecting the right recipients for the newsletter from your contacts lists. Everywhere you go there is another step to the process of staying in touch with your clients, to keeping the website updated and accurate. Login after login and dashboard after dashboard. What if there was something that could streamline everything? Keep your company’s blog in the same place as your site traffic statistics or web-based CRM solution? (Wouldn’t that be neat?) One login to get to everything. Keeping your clients informed, organized, and satisfied. Everything you want at the click of a mouse.

Your time is your money, so saving time is saving money. Having all of your online tools in one place would do just that. No wasted time, no need to repeatedly log in. Just getting everything taken care of, from one place. Not to mention your clients’ needs. Every business has a website nowadays; online payment options, blogs, forms to request information, the list goes on and the need for them is not confined to accounting and bookkeeping firms.

Let’s say you’re a small hobby shop, selling model trains and cars with all the odds and ends needed to build or maintain them. Do you rely solely on word of mouth or paper ads to bring you the business you need? Of course not. You get a website. The problem is you don’t know where to start. So, you hire someone to build it for you and to make changes when needed. That gets expensive. Ok, so you build it yourself using one of the many solutions available on the web today. Now you control everything, from the colors and graphics to the content but how do you track the traffic your site gets? Or what information your customers look at the most? Analytics of course! Unfortunately that means another thing to buy and another page to log into. The same goes for CRM solutions or email domains. Each aspect of your business is locked away in its own little corner. Frustrating, isn’t it?

Wouldn’t it be grand if you could change your homepage, send a newsletter, and track today’s site visits all from one place? Well, that’s where Nakea.net comes in. Nakea.net is a solution that is perfect for any business. It has web design, analytics, email marketing, contact management, and much more all in one place. That’s right.  One login and you have your world at your fingertips.  Just click to log in, and it’s all right there, with easy to use features and templates that allow you to gear your website, and your communications, to your clients and customers.

Make Sense?

Nakea.net, delivering the smartest social website your business can build, is a sponsor of Cloud Summit 2012.

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Understanding the Customer Journey: Know More and Assign Proper Credit

Understanding the Customer Journey: Know More and Assign Proper Credit

There is a fascinating video of a presentation by Neil Hoyne (self-designated “student of the customer journey”, and Global Program Manager at Google) where he discusses customer attribution and how businesses should more closely measure, analyze and understand customer behavior to understand why some people do or don’t click, buy, or come back for more.  While the conversation focuses on website performance and link tracking, the underlying message applies to all aspects of business relationship development.  In short, it doesn’t usually take just one thing to compel someone to do something.

Neil’s session “encouraged companies to identify more actionable performance metrics and build stronger industry relationships as the advertising market continues its rapid evolution away from last-click valuation.”  In concept, it means that there are many interactions that may occur before someone makes that decision to actually click or buy.   They likely received impressions from various sources (ads, word of mouth mentions, etc.), or performed searches or perused various discussion or information sources at some point before that final “click”.  So, why is that “last click” considered to be most valuable?

If you compare online sales and marketing to people-based sales and marketing activity, you’ll find that users will follow similar paths and interact in similar manners with both mediums.  This is due to the fact that, as Neil puts it, “every customer has a story”, and each is taking their own individual journey.   The path they follow is as individual as the person, but there are ways to identify trends based on how users interact with the business if the data can be appropriately captured and analyzed.

If we turn the conversation to customer management, similar truths are revealed.  For example, in many businesses sales success is attributed solely to the sales team, and compensation plans support the belief that the front line is the essential source for new revenue.  However, the truth may be that the sale was made based on a personal referral from a satisfied customer or perhaps due to a discussion where the service and support was said to be exceptional, or even because the login portal is a pleasant shade of green instead of a dull grey.  Not giving appropriate credit to all of the factors which impact the sale presents a risk to the business, because changes in the approach may result with unintended negative consequences.  Remove the element which supports or encourages the action and you may lose the action, which is more likely to occur if the business doesn’t really understand why it happens in the first place.

For example, a business may decide that a direct sale approach is better than giving up revenue to affiliates or resellers.  However, the business may very well find that it takes the involvement of that affiliate or reseller in order to get the sale.  Pouring more money and resources into the direct sales force won’t make up the difference if the target customer isn’t connecting, or if the company isn’t offering the additional service or value-add delivered by the partners.  Also, if the sales organization is focusing exclusively on new business, where is the attention to current customers?

Businesses are spending tremendous resources in time, money and personnel to try to find ways to reach new customers and markets, yet often fail to fully understand what it took to get the existing customers on board.  Even worse, many businesses resist analysis of EXISTING customer behavior, not taking the time to understand how that customer interacts with and uses services provided, and failing further in identifying and delivering additional value to keep the customer satisfied and coming back for more. Many businesses only address existing users from a support standpoint, yet fail to explore ways to improve retention or up-sell revenues through front line sales efforts.  Again, it is the failure to understand when and why people take action that causes investment and effort to be misplaced, and desired results to not be achieved.

The whole point of this is that the business should KNOW MORE about the various ways users interact with them, and GIVE CREDIT to all of the elements involved in the chain.  If every user has a story, then the business should closely listen to those stories to learn how to increase reach and service delivery to customers of a similar theme (what the customer needs now), and to keep listening and learning in order to understand what the customer needs next.

Make sense?

J

Link to Neil’s presentation here: http://googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.com/2012/08/accelerate-deeper-look-at-attribution.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GoogleAffiliateNetwork+%28Google+Affiliate+Network%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Is great customer service the entire customer experience?

You know those car commercials on TV, where the sales person is telling the customer about how great the warranty on the vehicle is?  Yeah – the one where the customer wants to know if they should buy a good car, or buy a car with a good warranty.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Read more about using the cloud to extend your access and collaboration beyond traditional boundaries.