Posts Tagged 'business'



Is your Customer Service The Best It Can Be?

Customers expect their suppliers to provide a product or service that delivers what they want, when they need it, at a cost that they are prepared to pay and to a quality level that meets their expectations. Enlightened businesses refer to this as the “Customer Promise”. Keep your promise and happy customers will return to you for more of what you delivered.

So how do you deliver what you promise? This breaks down into the following stages:

Pre-Sales 

When customers are looking for products and services, they look to the “Marketplace”. Make it easy for your target customers to find you, with effective positioning of your products and services.

• Have an effective marketing strategy in place

• Identify where your customers “go shopping”

• Undertake effective market surveys to anticipate their needs and wants

• Ask your existing customers what else you could do for them

• Make use of the internet and social media to get your business and its products and services out there

• Send out a newsletter with useful information pertinent to them on a regular basis

• Provide pre-sales support

Sales 

How effective is your sales process? Customers want you to respond quickly when they want information or want to buy. Make sure that an order does not sit on your desk waiting to be processed. The quicker you get the order processed, the sooner you can deliver and the sooner you can get paid!

Customers want buying from you to be easy. Make sure you understand the complete “order to payment” process from the customer’s point of view.

More and more companies provide the status of customer orders on-line. If you sell through distributors, treat them as you would direct customers.

Do you have an effective way of capturing customers’ requirements? A good Customer Relationship

Management (CRM) system will pay for itself many times over.

Delivery 

It is no good having orders if you don’t deliver on time. Make sure you have the resources and processes to do so. This is your supply chain and it can be the most challenging of tasks. If you cannot fulfill the order on time, communicate with the customer early.

Post-Sales 

Having sold to a customer, you need to take care of the customer. Respond to problems and complaints

quickly. A quickly resolved complaint can increase customer loyalty. Provide post-sales support as a way of cementing the relationship with the customer.

Seek customer feedback frequently. Do not forget your distributors. Keep them informed of what you are doing to anticipate their future needs.

Keep an eye on how the marketplace is changing. Internalise the customer within your own business by letting your people interact with customers, even those who do not normally see the customer.

Conclusion 

Customer service starts before your customers have ever bought from you. Understand the total end-to-end scenario and ensure your customer promise is present at every point.

This article was first published in the UKBA House Magazine “Boost Your Business” in August 2013.  Clink the link to download your copy.

Sc: UKBA, MGBA

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Is Your Customer Service The Best It Can Be?

Customers expect their suppliers to provide a product or service that delivers

 what they want, when they need it, at a cost that they are prepared to pay and to a quality level that meets their expectations.
Enlightened businesses refer to this as the “Customer Promise”. Keep your promise and happy customers will return to you for more of what you delivered.

So how do you deliver what you promise?

To find out, read UKBA Boost Your Business in this blog soon!

Sc UKBA, MGBA, Martin.Parry@mgba.co.uk

 

SMEs Miss Benefits of Apprenticeships

According to research by Barclays Small businesses are missing out on the benefits of apprentices . firms using apprenticeship schemes typically gain a £214 productivity boost every week. Despite this small firms are half as likely as larger organisations to take on an apprentice this year. Just 12% of small firms are planning to increase the number of apprentices they recruit. Additionally, 39% of small firms cite red tape as the greatest barrier to hiring an apprentice.

Read more about the research at:
http://www.newsroom.barclays.com/Press-releases/Small-businesses-missing-out-on-the-benefits-of-apprenticeships-a2e.aspx

Sc: MGBA. UKBA

HMG Pledge £200m to GrowthAccelerator

GrowthAccelerator is a new, premium service that is helping England’s brightest growing businesses achieve their ambitions with rapid, on-going and sustainable growth of 20% per year, year-on-year. It’s a partnership between private enterprise and Government. The Government has invested £200 million in this scheme to make it affordable for every entrepreneurial business as their growth will help the economy.

For more information complete the contact form below or email me

GrowthAccelerator on YouTube

Sc: MGBA, UKBA

Birmingham Home To Fastest Growing Businesses – Poll

According to a poll by GrowthAccelerator birmingham is home to the fastest growing businesses in the UK.  Closely followed by by Westminster, Leeds and Manchester.  If you think your business location is key to your growth and prosperity click here for a Guardian poll on the subject.

Marketing For Success

The only way to reach potential customers is through marketing. You

Marketing For Successshould have numerous channels to your market, all of which are measurable, so that you know which activity is giving you the best return and more importantly which ones aren’t delivering. Obviously you do more of what works and none of what doesn’t!

Generating sales, and profitable sales at that, must be the top priority for any business. A passive approach, waiting for repeat business and referrals from existing customers, can take a business so far.

A proactive approach is necessary to build a growing business that can thrive even when times are tough. Such an approach has four key elements.

The Marketing Plan

Adopting a customer-focused business ethos is a proven method to increase the chances of a sustainable and profitable future.
Developing a marketing plan is at the heart of any truly marketing-oriented company, and ensures the customer is at the centre of key decisions. The plan needs to be a written document that specifies how your business will generate profitable revenue. It does not have to be lengthy – an excellent plan can be written on one or two pages.

Before you start writing your plan, you will need to do some research and
planning to discover the following:
• What is your current situation?
• Who are your current and potential
customers?
• What marketing environment (both  externally and internally) are you
working in?
• What are the opportunities for growth?
This part of the process will enable you to get a clear understanding of where you are starting from and the paths to growth that are available to you.
The next step in developing your marketing strategy will call on you to
make a choice about the path(s) to growth that you will follow. An excellent tool to use to help bring clarity to your thinking is the Ansoff Matrix that specifies four broad approaches as follows:

• Market penetration takes a product that you already have and increases
its market share. This is usually the easiest and least risky approach.
• Market development takes one or more existing products into new
markets.
• Product development involves developing a new product for a
market you are already in.
• Diversification would have you develop a new product for a new market.
As such, it is the option that takes you furthest away from your comfort zone and area of competence. While you are considering your options and
developing your marketing strategy, it is critical that you are clear about how you are going to compete. There are two elements to this – deciding on your target audience and identifying your most promotable competitive edge.

Your Target Audience
Who you are going to seek to sell to is often not as straightforward as you
might at first think. Usually there are middle-men, as well as end-users and different types of end-users and different types of middle-men.

It all starts with a marketing plan that specifies effective methods of lead generation, supported by a solid lead conversion process and a commitment to actions and measurement of all marketing and sales initiatives.

Your Most Promotable Competitive Edge

Similarly, identifying your most promotable competitive edge is worth
spending time on. What is it that makes you stand out from your competitors that you can promote to win business?

If you have a patented product or similar, the answer is obvious, but if
not, the answer often lies in your customer service. But don’t stop there! What aspect of your service makes you stand out? The more precise you are, the sharper your marketing can be.

A Powerful Message


When you have decided what your target audience and your most
promotable competitive edge are, you need to go to the next stage and turn them into a powerful message.

So, for example, the competitive edge of “the most technically-trained staff in the industrial fasteners business” might become “We’re nuts about bolts”.
Finally, you need to bring that powerful message to your target audience at every available opportunity. At this point, it is time to consider your
marketing tactics or, as they are commonly referred to, your marketing
mix.
Your marketing mix is your selection of
the 7 P’s:
• Product
• Price
• Place
• Promotion
• People
• Process
• Physical Evidence
Your marketing plan should summarise how you intend to use each part of the marketing mix. When deciding on your marketing mix, keep in mind the two stages of marketing – targeting and positioning.

Targeting


Defining your target audience involves breaking down your customers into different groups (segmentation) to ensure that the specific needs of each are catered for by tailoring your marketing mix accordingly

Positioning


Positioning comes through communicating your powerful message
(derived from your most promotable competitive edge) to ensure current
and potential customers perceive your company in the way you would like them to.
In simple terms, you need to:
• Find your most promotable competitive edge
• Turn it into a powerful message
• Deliver it to the right people
Once you have completed your Marketing Plan, you need to start to
use it to generate sales through the two-stage process of lead generation
and lead conversion

This article was produced by UKBA as part of their Boost Your Business series of articles.  To download the full article click here:

More information on UKBA and MGBA in the Midlands

Comments and questions can be placed in my comment box or you can email me at martin.parry@mgba.co.uk

Portsmouth Businesses to Hear About GrowthAccelerator

Manufacturers around Portsmouth are being invited to an event to learn how HMG’s GrowthAccelerator programme can help them.  The event, organised jointly by Portsmouth City Council and Business Growth and Support, is to be held at the Portsmouth Enterprise Centre will be addressed by Pauline Rippon of UKTI; Mark Barber and Richard Cooper of GrowthAccelerator and Patrick Lee of MAS.

thev event is being held on 29th May and doors open at 2.30 pm.  for more information you can call Madeline Morton on 07425 133084 or email her on madeline@businessgrowthandsupport.co.uk.

Sc: Portsmouth News

Sc: MGBA


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