6 Ways to Win at Social Customer Service

Social customer service is on the rise, and customers are increasingly turning to Facebook, Twitter, and other major social networks to make brand inquiries and complaints. While it may seem like extra work to have to manage yet another customer service channel, social media actually provides a unique opportunity for small businesses. When handled well, social customer service can boost your brand’s reputation, visibility, and engagement. The flip side is that when handled poorly, it can do a lot of damage to your image.

These 6 tips will help you use social customer service to benefit both your customers and your brand.

1. Respond Quickly

Research has shown that users who submit a customer service request on social expect an answer in real time—preferably within the hour the request is made. While you probably don’t have the bandwidth to follow up with customers hourly, you should monitor your social channels daily so that you can respond within 24 hours. A longer delay, and sentiment about your business will quickly decline.

2. Tag Users in Your Replies

Most social networks will trigger an email or in-app notification when a user is tagged in a post, so make sure to tag the customer in your reply to ensure that he or she sees it.

3. Provide a Resolution in-Network

If a customer asks you a question via Twitter, don’t tell them to call your store for an answer. If someone complains about a product on Facebook, don’t send them an email. Follow up with the customer on the channel where they originally inquired. Not only will it be a more coherent experience for the customer, but it will also allow other users of the network see the resolution play out—and positive resolutions can have a big impact on other consumers’ perceptions of your brand.

4. Be Specific

A generic cut-and-paste of an answer from your FAQ page isn’t enough to satisfy an online inquiry. Users expect a specific answer that takes their personal situation into account. Additionally, when you respond to a customer service inquiry on social, make sure that you’re specific about who you are, too. Reinforcing that you’re a real person being will humanize the experience and lend specificity to your conversation.

5. Show Some Love

As with any other customer service channel, make sure your replies are personal, sympathetic, and focused on solving the problem as efficiently as possible. Be genuine and helpful, and your audience will sense it—both the customer you’re helping and the spectators who are passively watching your interaction.

6. Listen up

Even if you aren’t receiving many active customer service requests, you can learn a lot just by listening to what people are saying about your business online. You can do this manually by looking at mentions on each social network, or by using a social listening tool to monitor feedback about your brand across channels. Listening to the online commentary about your business will provide valuable insights that can help you optimize your customer service and offerings without having to create a formal user survey.

The Bottom Line

Don’t think of social customer service as a headache—think of it as an opportunity. By providing your customers with timely, specific, useful feedback where they’re asking for help, you’ll show your social audience that customers matter to you. This is the type of brand reputation-boost that you can’t get from tooting your own horn. Let your actions convey your brand’s values, and you’ll start to build up a loyal consumer base on social over time.

Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help you today!

How to Create the Most Effective Call-to-Action Button for Your Website

For small business owners, finding new ways to initiate and drive online conversions should top your to-do list. Considering conversions indicate people are engaging with your business, ensuring you make it easy for them to do so by including a call-to-action on your website is essential in increasing reach and expanding your customer base.

Whether you want people to subscribe to an email list, book a reservation or appointment online, or purchase directly from your website, an effective call-to-action button can help your business achieve that.

To help your business increase conversions, here’s how to entice prospective customers to click your call-to-action button:

1. Do Your Research

To better understand what kind of call-to-action button would work most effectively on your website, research what your customers like best about your business. Whether you offer a best-selling deal on your service or a popular happy hour, research what draws customers to your business. This information is key in designing your call-to-action button; the better tailored your button is to the interests of your customers, the higher your conversion rate will be.

2. Clarity is Key

Once you decide what the best call-to-action is for your business, the copy on your button should be clear and concise. Directly state the action they’re about to take with no more than five compelling words; the most important aspect of your copy is that it’s straightforward. When a customer clicks a call-to-action button and it leads them somewhere unexpected, they may feel misled or lose trust in your business.

3. Location Matters

Considering 55% of people will spend 15 seconds or fewer on a website, the placement of your call-to-action button is extremely important. Ensure that your call-to-action button is one of the first things potential consumers see on your site to increase the likelihood they click it.

4. Contrasting Colors

While the location of your call-to-action button is important, contrasting its color against your website to make it stand out is key. While research hasn’t concluded what color is most effective, green and orange have been reported to perform the best. Not only is the color of the button important, creating white space around it is another attention-grabber. Ensuring your call-to-action button can be easily picked out on your page will ultimately increase clicks and drive conversions.

5. Urgency is Important

Motivate people to convert by creating a sense of urgency. This is a simple way to reach your business goals faster. When people feel a product or service will soon be unavailable to them, they are more inclined to sign up, make an appointment, or purchase right away. Using phrases like “limited time offer” and “today only” in your call-to-action copy will provoke a sense of immediacy, motivating them to act now rather than later.

Understanding how to incorporate your call-to-action button into your online presence will encourage your customers to not only interact with your business, but also take the steps to convert with it. Use these tips to design your call-to-action button to increase your business’s conversion rate, while simultaneously helping you fulfill your business goals. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your business.

3 Ways Restaurants Can Avoid the Midweek Slump

If your restaurant is like most, you depend on increased sales through the weekend to keep you afloat Monday through Thursday. While it may never be possible to recreate your Saturday night rush on a Wednesday afternoon, there are steps you can take to get the most out of your slowest hours. Follow these tips to boost your sales through your Midweek slump.

Unique Happy Hours

While standard happy hours usually start when office workers can leave their cubicle, there’s no rule that says they have to be. If your restaurant is having trouble filling the house at 2pm through out the week, start offering a deal. Not all happy hours have to be alcohol based. Want more customers on Monday mornings? Try offering a free side of bacon with any entree weekdays between 9am and 11am.

Weekly Events

Who doesn’t love a good trivia night or a fun game of name that tune? Restaurants are not only a place to eat but also a place to connect with your community. Consider hosting events that will appeal to your neighbors and drum up business at times that you wouldn’t normally see a crowd. Monday night football is a lifesaver for many a sports bar; maybe a few TVs and some creativity could really boost your business.

Incentivized Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs—either old school punch cards or new school apps—can help you attract repeat customers any time of the week but these programs can also help you incentivize non-peak hours. Reward customers who visit your business during off hours with an extra punch on their loyalty card. You help them get to their freebie or discount faster and they help you fill seats during lulls.

Don’t suffer through midweek slumps and lulls anymore. Take action and attract more diners today. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help you get discovered and chosen today!

Encourage Employee Engagement

Taking measures that establish and advocate for your employees’ happiness on the job is an important aspect of running a successful business. Employees with lower engagement levels at work are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those with a higher level of engagement at work, according to a recent article by Forbes. In contrast, over two-thirds of highly engaged employees had no plans to leave their company. Simply by instituting changes in your business practice that focus on employee satisfaction you can increase your employee retention rate and cut down on overhead cost of recruitment.

How much does the rehiring process cost your business exactly? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, it can cost your business upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement–a cost that can be easily avoided by implementing these employee engagement tips:

1. Keep Things Candid

Management transparency has a direct 94% correlation with employee happiness. Honesty truly is the best policy and being open with your employees about the direction of the business can empower them. If your employees feel a greater sense of involvement within your business, they will feel more important and valued. Employees who feel valued will stick around.

2. Be Supportive

Your employees play an integral role in the success of your business. As hard as you try, this can’t be a one-person show and as hard as they might try, no one’s perfect. When a team member is struggling, instead of reprimanding and punishing, support them through this challenge. This can be a learning moment for them and an opportunity to strengthen your team. Apart from creating a supportive environment, you decrease employee turnover; employees with supportive supervisors are 1.3 times more likely to stay with a company.

3. Set An Example

Embody the characteristics you expect from your employees. According to a recent article by Entrepreneur, in companies where leaders modeled the behavior expected of everyone else, employees were 55% more engaged, 53% more focused, and were more likely overall to stay with the company.

Employee engagement is crucial to the success of your employees and your business. Promoting your employees’ engagement with your business not only saves you the time and money, but also cultivates a work culture that motivates employees to work harder, and stay with the business longer. Get tips and tricks for running your local business sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter below:

Attract More Diners This Halloween

It’s that time of year again. Pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider donuts are on the top of everyone’s mind and Halloween is right around the corner. While the kids in your town are getting excited about picking out costumes and planning trick or treating routes, your restaurant needs to make the most out of this Halloween.

Spooky Decor

From jack-o’-lanterns to skeletons, Halloween is the perfect time to add some festive decorations to your restaurant. Not only will the provide a fun mood to your restaurant but it will inspire Halloween lovers young and old to stop by for a bite.

Kids Menu

While people of all ages can enjoy Halloween, it really is a holiday focused on kids. Make your restaurant a child-friendly place by offering a kids menu with a few Halloween inspired twists. You can offer mac and cheese with bat-shaped pasta or rename your hot dog entree ‘Witch’s Fingers’ to add a fun and spooky element.

Coupons for Costumes

Take a note from Chipotle’s Boorito promotion and offer deals or discounts to customers who come in costume. Not only will this increase foot traffic on Halloween, but also will provide some really fun material for your social media accounts. A picture of a restaurant full of happy, costume-clad diners is gold for your Instagram.

With these three tips, your restaurant is sure to see an uptick in diners this Halloween. For more tips and tricks to make your restaurant the best it can be, sign up for our newsletter.

Boost Your Pet Grooming Business this Halloween

Halloween is only a few weeks away and that means there is one thing on everyone’s minds: costumes! While traditionally Halloween is a holiday focused on children getting dressed up in costumes and adults dolling out sweets, recently more and more furry friends have been getting in on the holiday action. Pet groomers should seize this opportunity by following these Halloween tips.

Costume Specials

Whether you offer crazy fur-dying options or more subtle cuts and trims, Halloween is a time when pet owners want to make sure that their pets are looking their best. Start offering creative grooming to go along with pup’s costumes, such as geometrics trims or bright dye jobs.

Discounts on Parade Day

Many cities and towns have started hosting their own Halloween parades for our furry friends. Does your town have one? If so, this is a great time to reach new customers. Pass out coupons to puppy parents on parade day and watch the new customers roll in.

Host a Pet Party

If there are no pet parades in your town, all is not lost. You can host your own! Having a Halloween–themed party for your clients and the furballs of your town gives pet owners a great excuse to get their critters dressed up for the holiday. While they’re in your store, this is an opportunity to inspire some loyalty. Hand out coupons or loyalty cards.

Halloween is more than just trick or treating and if you get creative it’s a perfect time of year to boost your pet grooming business. Want more tips and tricks to make your business more successful? Sign up for our newsletter today!

Manage Customer Reviews: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

For the average small business owner, reputation is important. What customers think, write, and say about your business can easily influence the decisions of others. Thanks to the internet, critics are not the only people talking. Between social media, blogs and review sites, your customers are speaking out whether you like it or not. Yes, we have all encountered the detrimental 1 star review from an irrational unsatisfied customer. But customer reviews are not all bad, and if handled properly, they could actually help your online reputation. Here are a few tips:

1. Don’t Neglect Bad Reviews

Whether it’s a good or bad review, customers love to know that they’ve been heard. If a customer has left a negative review for your business, be careful of how you respond. Even if you don’t agree with the commentary, acknowledge their concern and offer an opportunity for redemption. In addition, try to respond internally to the root of the problem. What went wrong? How can you prevent this issue from upsetting another customer?

2. Encourage Positive Reviews

If the customer is leaving a positive review, respond to it! Let them know how happy you are to hear from them and encourage them to come back. Customers love to connect with local businesses on a personal level. This type of communication is the foundation of customer retention. Even better, repost their review. For example, if someone had left an outstanding review on your Yelp page, copy and paste it in quotations onto your Facebook wall for others to see.

3. Enhance Your Listings

Add your menu, photos, and other informative details to your online listings so that your customers are getting more information about your business. When surveyed, the majority of consumers said that when deciding where to eat they look for a menu online. Put your menu & photos online and start taking control of your online content.

SinglePlatform can help you take control of your online presence. Learn more abut how we can help you get discovered everywhere that matters online.