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2016

Tax-Tips-Thumb.png Our new guide will help explain how data can enhance your customer experience and inform your marketing efforts. Also included: a brief overview on current software programs that are available to help you crunch the numbers.

 

Click here to read the "Turning Data Into Profits" whitepaper (PDF).

Unhappy_Customers_body.jpgBy Cathie Ericson.

 

Unhappy customers can sink your business. When word of mouth was king, we used the adage that one unhappy customer would tell 10 people about their experience. Today, customers have the ability to broadcast their opinions to unlimited numbers of people via social media and review sites.

 

And even if they don’t share their negative experience online, that one lost sale can translate into billions of lost revenue—an estimated $83 billion in fact, according to Business Insider’s Customer Service Report, which found that 60 percent of U.S. consumers have not completed an intended purchase based on a poor customer service experience.

 

“The customer might not always be right, but a savvy organization will work to help them feel as though they are right,” says consultant Elaine Allison, who helps corporations, government agencies, and schools improve their customer service.

 

Here are her top tips for handling an unhappy customer:

 

Use the "ask, don't tell” approach

When a customer is upset, the natural tendency for many employees is to tell them what went wrong or how their actions violated your policies. A better tactic, Allison says, is to investigate the root cause as a way to show your interest in their issue and your intention to fix it. She recommends asking questions such, as "Can I look into that for you?”, "What can I do for you?", or even “Can I get more details?” She says that even if the plight seems obvious, these questions show you are concerned.

 

Unhappy_Customers_PQ.jpgFind a way to say yes

When a customer is upset, he wants to hear the magic word, “yes,” rather than “no,” so find a way to incorporate it into your answer. “You might still be saying ‘no,’ to what they want, but by using the word ‘yes,’ they are going to feel more satisfied.” For example, you can say yes to a future discount, or yes to removing some portion of the cost of the product or service from the bill.

 

Look for a third way

There are many times when a company really can’t fix what’s wrong even after they’ve understood the reason a customer is unhappy. But it doesn’t have to be their way or the highway; often there is a third, mutually agreeable solution. “If you brainstorm enough, you can usually find a creative way to fix things to everyone’s satisfaction that is simple, free, or a minimal cost,” Allison says. Expert customer service people see a complaint as a challenge to find that third way. “They are always thinking ‘what else?’ even when they know the customer is wrong.”

 

Turn complaints into opportunities for continuous improvement

Customer service cultures that are on top of their game track, follow, and report their complaints, Allison says. They then feed the issues back into the organization to look for opportunities to improve. They also know that fixing a customer’s problem can ultimately make them even more satisfied than if they had received what they wanted in the first place. “It resonates to a customer when they see a company really hear them and take great lengths to fix the issue,” she says. “That is the story they will then share with their friends, family, and followers.” Allison says that the companies that will beat the competition are those that have a resolution culture and mindset.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

Programmatic_Advertising_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.

 

More than half the money being spent on digital advertising in the U.S. funnels through automated ad buying services. This is known as programmatic advertising, which promises advertisers that their messages will be displayed to highly targeted audiences identified by the use of customer data. Digital display ads are the most popular form of programmatic advertising, but the technology is also available to place video, social media, and even mobile ads. Here’s what small businesses should keep in mind:

 

Automating advertising brings costs down

Marin Software, a provider of online advertising, recently released a white paper analyzing the costs of ads purchased in person, by advertisers working directly with publishers, to those purchased programmatically. On a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, ads that cost $10 when secured by a person average just $2 when purchased programmatically. That’s good news for small businesses. “Programmatic advertising can help you stretch your limited ad budgets 10 to 20 times farther,” says George Deeb, of Red Rocket Ventures, a marketing and staffing consulting firm. “That’s music to the ears of most small businesses with limited marketing budgets.”

 

Programmatic_Advertising_PQ.jpg

Google and Facebook are the most well known providers of programmatic advertising

Many small business owners are already familiar with the process of buying targeted display ads. Additional marketing opportunities are available through ad exchanges such as DoubleClick and OpenX, which place ads across a network of publishers, ranging from very high traffic websites like CNN to totally obscure special interest sites.

 

Programmatic ad targets extend far beyond basic demographic information

“Many times, small business owners know they want to connect with an 18- to 35-year-old-males who makes $50,000-plus, or something similar,” says Lee Collins, president of Monkhat, a marketing firm. “But that’s not enough. You really need to delve into understanding your customers’ emotional perspective and identify the triggers that will make them take some kind of action. Otherwise, they’ll never click on your ads.” Programmatic advertising gives companies the ability to target based on consumer interests, context (displaying garden shed ads on a rose growing enthusiasts’ website, for example), and location. Additionally, ads can be targeted based on a person’s online behavior, including websites visited and social media activity.

 

Monitoring and measuring results remains important

While programmatic advertising streamlines the placement of ads, it in no way guarantees superior results. There are many factors for small business owners to assess regularly. Experts say the most important of these would be conversion rates, which detail how ads translate into actual customer action and sales. Plan on regularly reviewing the reports provided by the programmatic advertising platform. If the results you’re seeing aren’t in keeping with expectations, it may be time to adjust your messaging or consider another ad exchange. If you are getting satisfactory results, investing more heavily in that particular avenue could be a wise move.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2016 Bank of America Corporation

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