I'm advocating for each small business out there to ditch their ridiculous and irritating voicemail system. Unless you are a super large company, quit pretending to be larger than you are - or more important than you are - and just answer the phone.
You'll stand out from the crowd and most likely offer MUCH better customer service. Your customers will be happier as well. NO ONE likes to wade through the slog of your voice mail prompts and the offer of other languages. Just pick up the phone and say, "Hello, this is Susan, how can I help you?" Then actually HELP someone find what they need or who they want to talk to and do it quickly. Time is money and you are wasting client time and not making any friends, by making them wait endlessly to speak with someone who can help them.
Granted, there are probably a few companies that really need a voicemail system...but thinking about it more carefully... AT&T didn't have one for decades. They used live operators. It worked for them and it can work for you. Next, put a person on the phone who is pleasant and helpful. We all understand that employees are hard to find, but surely you can find someone with a clear voice, level head, and a smile in their voice.
In the future, perhaps AI will help us here. We can then ditch our voicemail system because it's antiquated and never has worked well. We can get a computer to answer the phone in any gender or accent we'd like. Personally, my smart phone uses a British male and I like to pretend I have this super smart guy at my fingertips who is always willing to help.
Here's a perfect example: calling a television station recently, I knew my brand new representative's first name but could not remember his last name. I got their voicemail system and it fed me into their employee directory and guess what, you were to plug in the first few digits of their LAST name to get through to them. I wanted to buy advertising on their station and could not get through to anyone and ended up hanging up and sending an email. It took twice as long if not longer.
Consider the fact that this same station used to have a wonderful receptionist who knew everyone and everything at the station. I often wonder what happened to that brilliant woman. I'd like to have her working at my place.
Finally, call your office and listen to your voicemail system and think of ways you can improve it. Surely you can find someone in the organization who can answer the phone as you ditch your voicemail system.
© 2023 Poole Communications
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Now more than ever people are searching for meaning, right down to what they buy and why. To connect with consumers in 2022, businesses must lead with values. Consider a plan and strategies to partner with like-minded organizations and individuals to show your customers how their buying power benefits the community and not just your bottom line.
First, make a partnership plan. Partnership by its nature is a win-win. However, it is important to plan exactly how and why a partnership will benefit both sides. This builds clarity, goals, and authenticity into the partnership. Review your company's mission and values and identify a non-profit organization, event, and influencers or affiliates that mirror your aspirations. Take the time to sit down with the non-profit director, event organizer, or influencer to talk about their objectives and needs to plot a course for how your two entities can work together. This can provide a framework and goals for both entities to implement the following strategies:
Intentionally choosing to put profits where your heart is will not only build business in 2022, but trust and community too. Poole Communications has built-in opportunities for any business to partner within the community. Contact us today to put your values into action.
© 2022 PooleCommunications.com
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Sir Winston Churchill
The COVID crisis will position every business for the "Next Normal". Will the position be positive, status quo, or negative? Visionary companies will use specific strategies to use any crisis to their advantage. According to research by global leaders like IBM, Deloitte, and McKinsey & Company, businesses that turn COVID into a (non-virus) positive will approach the future in these five ways:
A crisis is a magnifying glass. The people, products, processes, and relationships that are essential come into sharp focus. So do gaps in service and opportunities that may have been overlooked before. Businesses should enhance and elevate the “essentials” and find ways to:
It’s no secret that COVID has accelerated the use of digital or virtual channels and products. Companies positioned to advance will expand these opportunities, specifically after reviewing data on how and when they can increase efficiency and links to customers. This analysis, combined with anecdotal feedback will determine when to dial back on digital expediency and when to tune in to more authentic, in-person methods.
Finding a balance between virtual and in-person operations may be the biggest way to succeed in the long term. According to April 2021 business findings by McKinsey Management company, 60% of companies said that remote sales operations were 30% more effective than traditional face-to-face methods.
Companies that waste a crisis will slowly return to the status quo when it comes to operational pace and job descriptions. Businesses that refuse to return to life before COVID will:
McKinsey found that many leaders will check in more often with their teams to learn what is working and what is not. In a matter of hours, they will solve problems, pivot, and create new ways to deliver better service and more valuable products.
Many traditional processes and organizational charts are far from nimble. Even how companies match talent with tasks should shift to ensure a competitive advantage in the future. Deloitte, a global consulting group, shared that organizations are learning to connect the right employees to the toughest challenges, regardless of where they fall on the employee chart. According to both McKinsey and Deloitte research, successful leaders will:
5. With a Distinct Human Touch
If COVID taught us anything it is that we need thoughtful human connection. McKinsey and Deloitte share that progressive companies will use this lesson to focus on employees and customers. They will take the time to ask, consider, and review how employees perform best. In fact, 61 percent of CEOs in a 2021 Deloitte survey said they will re-imagine how employees work compared to just 29 percent the year before. People-centered companies will:
An IBM study showed that 80% of CEOs and 46% of employees shared that supporting the emotional and physical health of the workforce was important.
74% of leaders indicated to the IBM Institute for Business Value that they will invest in employees to help them learn the skills needed for the future of work.
To stay on the positive side of any crisis into the "Next Normal", it all comes down to perspective. Approaching the future in the five ways listed above will help any business turn any unforeseen circumstance into far-reaching and creative opportunities.
Need help planning for your future? Give Poole Communications a call. For less than 1 full time employee, we can handle all of your marketing needs. Let us be your Marketing Department and grow your business to the next level.
This past week Ray Harvey, muralist and owner of Ray Harvey Art in St. Louis got started working on his latest mural on the building just North of our office at 108 N 3rd Street in Hannibal. Ray is one of the artists who has been painting murals all around Hannibal. You can pick out his bold colorful style when you drive around town to visit some of these pieces of art.
His closest mural to this new project is the mural located on the East side of Hannibal's city hall. Ray Harvey did his first ever Go Fund Me page to fully fund the mural project through donations. It was amazing to see the people from all over the country who donated to the mural. No city funds were used to create or fund the project.
This project will honor all the people who immigrated to Hannibal to work at Continental Cement. We all love Hannibal and how it has been a place of inclusion and acceptance.
The next photo is of the mural close to being finalized. Ray has been a delight to be around. Look for him in your neighborhood and offer him a cup of coffee or lunch. He is good company and a talented artist making a living at something he loves. Look for the dedication and unveiling coming soon.
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Businesses can track when customers vote with their feet but may struggle to find the why behind the walk away. One reason that once-loyal customers disappear is more likely about a conscious choice than fickle buying habits.
These Conscious Consumers make buying decisions based on the positive social, economic, and environmental impact of a product or service.
From Gen Z to Baby Boomers, many consumers care more about the why and how a product is made than the number on the price tag. If a brand doesn’t intentionally connect with followers’ values, it’s likely sales may drop as much as forty percent according to a study by IBM Institute for Business Value.
Conversely, conscious companies that communicate their authentic focus on natural, organic, or sustainable products and practices have opportunities to build revenue. Nielsen findings show the trend in eye-opening numbers:
To communicate to this conscious crowd, share early and often the following about your product or service:
Local companies are at a distinct advantage to sync with these seekers of sustainability. Here are 10 ways to make the conscious connection:
Another tip to attract local, regional and global-minded group from the IBM study:
Conscious consumers shop when and where the mood strikes them, in what are called “micro-moments” while performing other tasks when they may discover a “micro-need”.
Let Poole Communications help connect your company to these mico-needs at the right micro-moment to achieve macro results! We can help you maintain and grow your relevance with the rising opportunities among conscious consumers.
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Sustained survival mode can shift anyone’s creativity and drive into neutral. To flip off fatigue and move forward when others are stagnant, tune into purpose and realistic goal setting. Here's how to make the S.W.I.T.C.H out of survival mode:
S - See what is working. Moving from a day-to-day approach to our next normal is daunting. Instead of allowing the enormity of tasks paralyze you, observe what is working right now. Write down some small tweaks that can be made to expand and improve those processes, products, and services that are moving in a positive direction.
W – Wonder about the greatest possible outcome of each task. Juliet Funt calls this approach laddering up. When confronted with something you aren’t wild about doing, ask yourself, “What is the best possible outcome of that?”
I – Insert Incremental goals. For those small tweaks to the processes, products, and services that are working – set one or two small goals to put incremental changes into action. How can you gain one more customer? What is one step you can take to deliver a service just a little better? Consider what new markets or customer options have developed while we have been in our "survival setting." What is one way to build on those markets or options for future benefit?
T – Take stock. Take the time to write down what has been accomplished and overcome in the last several months. The list will be long and is guaranteed to switch your team from stagnation to inspiration.
C - Connect with others. When possible, find your way out of zoom rooms and make a connection with a colleague or trusted mentor - in person. You'll find strength and energy in strategizing with others who understand our challenges and view things from a different perspective.
H - Hurry. When setting realistic, incremental goals, set a quick timeline so you can experience immediate results. Then set more short goals and claim your victory by achieving sustained success.
Switching out of survival mode may be easier than you think.
"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
Visit our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.
If you’re reading this, you are clearly acquainted with blogs. What you may not know is how to park your expertise, personality, tips, and tricks into an online space where new and loyal customers stop by for advice they enjoy and trust.
And, if you build this blog will it bring business or just bystanders?
A blog will do both and is one of the most cost-effective ways to turn bystanders into customers. According to cbo.me, there are five key business benefits of blogging, they include:
Perhaps the most relevant blogging statistic is that posting your expertise online can be more effective in promoting your company than investing in paid advertising.
Statistics also point to the big-time benefits of blogs. The SEO Tribunal shares the following data on the booming blogosphere:
It’s clear that opportunities abound in blogging, but where do you begin?
How to start writing a blog:
Where to post your blog and how:
So, what are you waiting for? Turn that blank page into a blog – it might be your business’s best friend. Need a little help? We have writers who can provide you with blog material on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Give us a call at 800-900-3635.
© 2020 Poole Communications
First, According to 2020 data from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Businesses), companies with above-average diversity earned 45% of revenue from innovation. Those that had diverse management teams achieved 19% higher revenue based on their progressive leadership.
Because diverse teams focus on facts, SCORE’s data found that such teams make decisions twice as fast in half the number of meetings. Plus, the decisions made in those meetings deliver 60% better results.
Second, the size of a company or its location may appear to be a roadblock to achieving a diverse workforce. However, planting the seed of creative thinking can yield new options, products, and results long term.
An article by Takeflyte.com asks businesses to consider age, race and ethnicity to encourage diversity. It also challenges companies to widen the definition to realize that existing differences among employees can bring value to the organization.
Third, many small businesses may not be able to hire a more diverse workforce right away. However
Tuning up your marketing should be like maintenance on your vehicle. Marketing is the fuel that keeps the customer engine running. The good news is that unlike vehicles, marketing inspections don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Here are 5 tips to tune up your marketing:
When was the last time you viewed your messaging, processes, discounts, service and overall company experience from a customer’s point of view? Click on your ads, sign up for offers, send a family member into your business, email a staff member and review the results. You may find some small tweaks to help you pick up more miles per gallon.
Digital advertising campaigns pinpoint the customers most likely to connect with you based on their online behavior. Combined with relevant offers, creative ads and corresponding landing pages, digital advertising is the best way to diagnose if your campaigns are running smoothly or need some tinkering. Check to see if you are getting the impressions, clicks, website visits and leads you deserve.
Marketing is now more science-based, and while it's still also still an art, you can count on the numbers for truth and finding the best path to success for your company.
Next, review your competition’s website or walk-in to see what gets their sales motors running. Compare price points, review their discount and take an inventory of where, when and what they are marketing. You are sure to find at least one idea to beat them to the finish line.
It's pretty simple to set up a search that flags you whenever your competitors name in mentioned in the news. Set one up today and start tracking.
Look at your business’s exterior touch points. Do your ads, website and displays have a cohesive shine or are their a few chips in the paint? Maybe a quick run through the branding car wash is all you need, or perhaps you can buff a few images to freshen up your look.
Chips or dings? Address them immediately. Don't cover them up. Fix the trouble and polish out the finish.
Finally, ask new and old customers some key questions.
Finally, listen and respond. Use their responses to inform new offers, events and products so they know you made all the right fixes.
Use this five-point inspection any time you need to tune up your marketing and keep your sales engines humming. Need 5 tips to tune up your marketing? Contact us today or call 800-900-3635.
When you're done go to our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.
© 2019 Poole Communications