Teamwork = Customer Service Excellence for Small Businesses

20 03 2013

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. This is the message corporate managers try to convey to their employees.  That customer service is not just the right thing to do; it is a part of your job requirement.    Yet, we all have been to the local restaurant,  shopped at the small mom and pop retail store, had work done by a local contractor, and after a terrible customer service experience, we shook our heads in wonder of how the heck are they still in business!

If you are a small business owner and have just one or a couple stores, excellent customer service is of utmost importance to you.  Why?  Think about it, and the answer should be clear.  If you go to a Target or Pizza Hut and the service is terrible, chances are you will blame it on just the employee or that store.  You will often hear from friends and family in different areas that they ‘hate’ a certain brand because of continued bad experiences at that store, yet your own experience is good with that same brand locally.   With hundreds or even thousands of locations, national franchises and brands can, unfortunately, afford to have the occasional bad store and/or employee experience.  Yet if you are a business with one or two retail storefronts; a local contractor with only a handful of clients; or just one restaurant; your reputation is ALWAYS on the line.  One bad experience and the damage can be done, permanently. With reviews easily available on Google, Yelp, Foursquare, and many industry specific sites, all it takes is one pissed-off customer to downgrade your customer service rating. We have all heard the saying that a happy customer will tell ten friends about their experience, but an upset customer will tell a hundred.  With the ease of submitting an online review, that hundred can become thousands very quickly.

Teamwork

So now that we know the downfall of bad customer service, how do we prevent it?   The best way is by creating synergy and making sure all your employees have ‘bought in’ to your company. You will know when your employees have bought into the product and you as the owner.  Tardiness, turnover, gossip, laziness, and negative reviews will lessen, while teamwork, volunteerism, going the extra mile for customers, and energy will be displayed.  The return of investment (ROI)  in training and creating a teamwork atmosphere is easy to see, but only after it is implemented.  However, this strategy is not something to be done just once.  To successfully implement a teamwork environment, you must make it a continuous effort.  Here are some suggestions on how to drive your team to success by creating synergy:

  • Short, yet informative meetings (if there is nothing new to share, do not have a meeting just to have one!).
  • Training on new products and services done by employees, with supervision by the managers.  You want to create a team of superstars, then have your new workers do a training session on a product or service for the experienced workers.  Again, this should only be done when there is something new to share, or at least once every couple of weeks.
  • Training can also be cross-promotional.  Have your employees teach a different division on what they do.  If you own a restaurant, have the waiters teach the hostess, the cooks train the waiters, etc.  By having an understanding of the other personnel’s duties, it will create greater appreciation for that position throughout the organization.
  • Team outings during work hours.  That is right, shut the business down once every quarter for a team outing on a Friday afternoon. You may lose a couple hours of production (do it by department if you have to), but again, this is about long term rewards.
  • Recognize! If someone does something above and beyond, give notice to the employee.  If someone is promoted, do a simple press release and spread the news.  Everyone loves to see their name in print…well most of the time…and what better way than a simple press release that will give kudos to those who have helped your business grow.

The most important thing to do is to create an atmosphere that is rewarding and fun. Remember, all employees do not have the same motivators. Some may be energized by money, some by extra time off, some by just a simple “thank you” or “job well done”.  Have discipline and consequences for poor performance, but know that most customer service issues are preventable if your company’s employees have the right attitude.

What is it that makes a good Real Estate Agent Great?If you are ready to create a teamwork environment and would like more details on how to implement different team strategies,  please do contact us! From press releases to marketing plans, we can help your small business.   For more information, Tayloe Marketing WhitePaper





Understand your Consumer’s Behavior

5 02 2013

As a small business owner, you have probably desired to know how to reach your consumers. What are they thinking? Why did they choose your product, or a competitors, or decide to just not buy at all. Understanding your consumer’s behavior is not rocket science, but it is scientific.  The definition of consumer behavior is complex enough: “Consumer behavior is the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires” (Solomon, 2009, p. 7).

Consumer Behavior  So what do you take out of the definition? The most important takeaway is that consumers behave the way they do based on their needs AND desires. I think it is important to break those down even more. Humans have many needs, and even more desires. An example I like to use is this. I love Chevrolet  Corvettes and the Chevy Silverado. This sports car and truck combo is my ideal garage stuffer. However, I have one year old triplets. So unless they want to ride in the ‘trunk’ of the ‘vette, or in the bed of the truck, my desired vehicles are not exactly what I need. Just not practical. So I happily drive an Oldsmobile version of the “SwaggerWagon” and get my girls and wife where I need to. My consumer behavior would desire to own something that is not practical for my family needs, so I purchase what is needed.

When it comes to your small business, you must put out products and services that your consumers will both desire and need.  If you are a book store, you are competing now with a multitude of electronic devices that allow convenience and often free books online.  So how do you compete with this consumer desire to read the latest novels, but has a need to save time and money?  The key is in offering something that an e-reader cannot, such as book clubs and groups, a 30 day money back guarantee (think about this one, how many actually buy something and return it, even if they do not like it!), have a nice reading room, etc.  If you are an independent mechanic, how do you compete with the consumer behavior of taking it to the chains and dealers? Again, you must differentiate yourself from them, and the other independents. Have an online presence, do maintenance workshops, offer discounts for local residents, and offer courtesy transportation within say 5 or 10 miles of your location.  The consumers desire is often to do business locally, but out of time or knowledge of what and who can assist locally, they go to the chain store and dealers.

Capture the Consumer

Take the stress out of the equation for the consumer and make yourself visible. In real estate, there is a term called being a secret agent. This is someone who does not hand out business cards, have an online presence, network with other small business owners, or advertise at all, or very selectively.  This is YOUR business, you have to promote it, and again, make sure that your product is meeting both the desire and needs of your target market. Again, it can be something as simple as convenience that makes a different to a consumer. If you are a restaurant owner, and your competitor is bringing in more business, why is that? Chances are you both have quality food, an appealing curbside and interior, along with a pleasant staff. The difference could be something as simple as one has their menu available online, which allows the on the go parent an chance to easily see what to bring home for dinner, or who has a special going on that sounds appeasing to their family.  The desire would lead the potential customer to either of your stores, but the need to know ahead what their costs and choices are led them to another store. If all things are equal, all it takes is small difference to change the behavior of the consumer. Obviously branding, reputation, advertising budgets, and location are all important. But if you have made strategic decisions to set your business up with a good brand, strong reputation, and have spend money to make sure the community knows about, yet are still missing business, look at the little things. You may be surprised what a little extra effort can produce!

REF: Solomon, Michael R.. (2009) Consumer behavior: buying, having, and being. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall

If you have questions on how to better reach your customers, increase your brand awareness, and develop a winning inbound marketing strategy, please contact me: info@tayloemarketing.com Thank you for reading and “Make it a gread day”!





We are the Light to your Marketing Plight!

15 05 2012

Tayloe Marketing was founded on February 10th, 2011 by Bradley G. Tayloe. He has  a Bachelors degree in Public Relations and Marketing along with over 15 years in marketing, sales, promotion and research experience. Mr. Tayloe recently brought together a team who believe in principled relationships, strong ethical values and a desire to under-promise and over-deliver. This team has a deep belief that it does not matter where or when a person, a company, or an organization starts, it matters where they desire to finish. With this strong conviction, Mr. Tayloe puts his personal guarantee on his teams work to finish what they start, on time and with the quality expected.





Sarasota Agency Tayloe Marketing Joins Constant Contact’s new Business Partner Program.

10 11 2011

The New Email & Event Marketing Program Provides Small Business Clients with Effective and Affordable Tools to Build Strong, Lasting Customer Relationships. Access to email management, surveys, event marketing and other Internet marketing services.

Tayloe Marketing today announced they have joined Constant Contact’s Business Partner Program. Tayloe Marketing is able to provide their clients in the health, environmental, and education industries with easy-to-use email marketing and online survey products to help them build strong, lasting customer relationships. Constant Contact®, Inc. (www.constantcontact.com) is a leading provider of email marketing and online survey tools for small organizations. “Our customers are always looking for effective ways to grow their businesses,” said Brad Tayloe. “Constant Contact’s customer communication tools give our clients a valuable addition to our core services. Constant Contact’s ease-of use and affordability made the partner program a great solution to meet our clients’ marketing needs.”

Tayloe Marketing Constant Contact Partner

Tayloe Marketing Constant Contact Partner

“Email marketing and online surveys are proven tools that help small businesses connect with their customers and build successful customer relationships,” said Len Bruskiewitz, senior director, Partner Programs, Constant Contact. “We are pleased that Tayloe Marketing chose Constant Contact to provide their clients with our products and services, and we look forward to working with them to help grow their
clients’ businesses.” As a Constant Contact Business Partner, Tayloe Marketing is able to provide their clients with email marketing and online survey capabilities. With SpeakUp!SM Email Marketing, Constant Contact’s email marketing product, Tayloe Marketing’s clients can quickly and easily create professional-looking emails, manage contact email lists, measure email campaign results from clicks to open rates, and review who joined email lists.With ListenUp!SM Survey, Constant Contact’s online survey product Tayloe Marketing’s clients have an easy-to-use tool to gain insight that will help them meet customer needs, generate new ideas, and grow their business or organization. ListenUp! Survey also helps Tayloe Marketing’s clients analyze responses quickly, create targeted email lists based on survey responses, take action, and follow up with relevant email communications.
About Tayloe Marketing: As a marketing, promotion and public relations company, Tayloe Marketing understands your need to communicate your message effectively. We help you design, develop, implement and maintain various ways of engaging your clientele and potential customer base.
941-483-6187
info@tayloemarketing.com
About Constant Contact, Inc.Launched in 1998, Constant Contact, Inc. is a leading provider of email marketing and online survey tools for small organizations, including small businesses, associations, and nonprofits. To learn more, please visit http://www.constantcontact.com or call (781) 472-8100.Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names

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Tayloe Marketing is a Venice based marketing and consulting firm serving the entire Sarasota County & Tampa Bay areas. We are focused on increasing the market share and efficiency of small businesses through the use of current and next-gen technology. Our marketing and public relations services include press releases, social media marketing, creative writing, website design, Internet marketing strategies, marketing campaigns, digital media maintenance, and much more! We will customize our services based on your unique small business needs.




Create the perfect marketing recipe for success for your small business

4 11 2011

veggies

 

 

 

 

 

I have a secret to tell. I LOVE the Food Network. While my wife would be the first one to tell you that my cooking skills are extremely lacking, I do love to eat and I love competition. Our two favorite shows are Chopped and Diners, Drive- Ins, and Dives. There are a few other shows such as Crave and Down Home with the Neelys that we appreciate as well. The fantastic dishes the contestants bring out on Chopped while under pressure, the special ingredients that lead to a small diner to have a reputation that crosses state lines, making a tasty cake without flour or learning how just changing the temperature a little bit based on environmental factors, all these things showcase just how special the restaurant owners, chefs, and staff all are on these programs.

So, what does my new found infatuation with a popular food channel have to do with marketing you may ask? A lot! Next time you watch the shows, or go to your own favorite restaurants, notice how the successful ones do some things similar, yet they all have their own unique way of presentation, they use herbs, spices, and mixtures that they developed over time for a remarkable cooking style, and a peculiar or quaint ambiance. Sure, McDonald’s, Denny’s, and Chili’s are all very popular and have huge revenue with their one size fits all approach. They also spend millions on advertising and whether a customer goes to the Waffle House one morning or IHOP the next will not really affect their bottom line. They are dealing with the masses, much like other large corporations in the realms of GE, HP, GM, Apple, and such. They strive for volume and quantity, with enough focus on quality and customer service to keep them out of the negative spotlight and retain just the right amount of customers.

   As a small business owner, you do not have millions, or probably even thousands to throw at a marketing campaign, nor can you afford to lose even one customer. Your recipe for success has to separate you or be segmented to differentiate you from your competitors. Just because John Smiths AC & Heating; does not have:

  •   an inbound marketing plan
  •   a social media strategy
  •   a website that engages
  •   a blogging campaign
  •   or a public relations consultant

does not mean that your small business should not either. These features combined or used with other ingredients give your company the benefit of staying in control, additional time management, brand awareness, and customer retention.

old recipe for success

   There is one exception to this recipe though, and that is if you don’t desire to grow. Believe it or not, there are some small business owners who are satisfied with the number of clients they have. This is perfectly fine, if you are happy with the revenue you are generating and do not desire to grow, then perhaps your recipe is already bringing you the results you wish for. Perhaps you feel this tried and true basic recipe of “all in” may be all you need.

  However, I know that the majority of independent minded thinkers who start their business do so for the following reasons: opportunity to grow, control their own destiny, and freedom to work when they want and how they want. Yet with all these wonderful perks, there often comes backlashes with time management, marketing strategies that are not bringing in the revenues, no forum for customer feedback, all of which can lead to stagnation, eventual customer loss, and worst case scenario, out of business or cutbacks. You can give all you got, but without proper direction, you will go in circles and wind up lost along your journey.

   If you are a small business and you desire to grow, ask yourself this: Is my recipe for success delivering the final product that my organization and my customers want?  If you answered “no,” then make the call to a marketing consulting firm you can trust and know will assist you in finding the right ingredients for your masterpiece.








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