Building Real Customer Relationships with Custom Social Network Sites

Many decry the loss of community, suggesting we’ve all lost touch with each other in a world of cell phones, video games, and other electronically based distractions; in reality, though, community is more important now than ever. People still seek the security and understanding inherent in close communities. What has changed is the appearance: instead of reaching out over the fence or sitting around a table, we reach out over continents and time zones. Our “neighbors” may be a world away, but the concept of community is still strong as evidenced by the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Instead of being connected by geography, millions are linked by interests, profession, and other defining factors.

Social Networks Are Less Confining Than Ever

The social networking site phenomenon also extends to businesses and marketing, specifically how businesses can build their brand without selling. These sites, which have been used with tremendous success, are based on a small business model. Small businesses typically cannot afford expensive television ads and aggressive marketing campaigns. Instead, they rely on word of mouth, repeat customers, customer referrals, and the like. Custom social networking sites do much the same thing for businesses of any size and have become one of the most effective brand marketing tools in the industry.

Why Custom Social Networking?

The goal of custom SNS is to build relationships. While it is true that the ultimate goal of any business is to sell a product or service, the objective of unique social networks is to establish a relationship between customers and the brand, and even between customer and customer. In other words, the goal here is not to sell. Through a custom social network, a company appeals to the sense of community that may tie their target audience together. By taking their interests to heart and by providing a resource through which consumers may communicate, a relationship – and trust – is founded. A by-product of that trust is sales. But again, the key to efficacy is focusing on community, not selling.

Existing social networks have been used by companies, especially nonprofits, to reach out to targeted consumer bases. A nonprofit, for instance, may have a profile on a popular SNS in order to encourage volunteers, raise support for a particular cause, or raise funds. The difference is that custom SNS are built by an organization specifically for the purpose of allowing their targeted audiences to communicate. These SNS are designed for a particular organization based on key factors, such as profession, age, or shared interests. Developing a successful unique social network is predicated upon knowing your audience, being willing to know them further, and motivating them to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

What do custom social networking sites allow consumers to do? It, of course, depends on the site, but they should allow individuals to post text, images, audio, video, join existing communities on the site, and create their own. They should be designed around the organization’s particular niche, and above all, should be audience-based. To do this, various options are available, including wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, polls, ratings, forums, widgets, chat, message boards, friendly interface, and much more. To develop the most user-friendly, interactive, and effective SNS, it is crucial that consumers have access to the tools they want and need. They need to both be able to take from the site and to give back to it. This is the essence of community.

The advantages of developing a custom social networking site are myriad but the key benefit is that businesses can reach out the community in a way that allows the community to reach back. A relationship is developed, and the trust that we normally see with neighborhood mom and pops can be built by Fortune 500 companies or small start-ups.

The concept of community is fundamentally unchanged. We still search for connections – though those connections may be thousands of miles away. Building a brand through custom social networks benefits both the organization and the consumer because all are given a place and a voice. A faceless company can no longer expect to thrive in today’s business atmosphere; by creating a unique SNS, you give your organization – and your consumers – a face.

Skye Bank Customer Alert – Beware Of Hackers

One of the features of online/Mobile banking is SMS banking services which are operated using both push and pull messages. Push messages are those that the bank chooses to send out to a customer’s mobile phone without the customer initiating a request for the information. For example push messages could be either Mobile marketing messages or messages alerting an event which happens in the customer’s bank account, such as a withdrawal of funds from the ATM or a payment using the customer’s credit card, etc.

Pull messages are those that are initiated by the customer, using a mobile phone, for obtaining information or performing a transaction in the bank account. Examples of pull messages for information include an account balance enquiry, or requests for current information like currency exchange rates and deposit interest rates, as published and updated by the bank.

The bank’s customer is empowered with the capability to select the list of activities (or alerts) that he/she needs to be informed. This functionality to choose activities can be done either by integrating to the internet banking channel or through the bank’s customer service call centre.
It is however sad to note that fraudsters and internet hackers have capitalized on this laudable innovation to rip people off their money. So it is important that as a bank account holder or intending holder you should be aware of this trend and choose the right bank to bank with where your money will be properly secured through adequate online security tips.

Skye bank as a customer friendly bank knows about the activities of these fraudstars and has developed security measures to protect its customers finances. If you are a Skye bank account holder, you might receive emails that seem to emanate from the bank.The mail might even carry the names of Skye bank top Management staff or Director. Some of them may require you to send in information on your Bank details, Pin codes and even your personal information as contained in the bank’s database of you. They might also claim to have access to large sums of ($)US dollars for you domiciled with the bank. Please note that these are scam mails and you should be very careful to avoid being a victim to fraudsters.

As part of its commitment to online security, Skye bank has developed some security tips for all its customers to recognize when they receive emails or letters from potential fraudsters.

Please note that Skye Bank would never ask you to disclose your account number or Pin code on the internet. Also Skye Bank would never ask you to disclose personal information on the internet.

You should also note that Skye Bank site would always carry a security certificate which would be visible on access to the bank’s site and be sure that the site you are on is a genuine Skye Bank site.

In addition Customers should not open attachments or follow Web links in unsolicited emails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.

The official Skye Bank web address is If you are still in doubt, please get in touch with your nearest branch or call us on (000 234 1) 8531655, 8948103, 07028390633-5

Accepting Payment Online 7 Steps to Improve your Customers Buying Experience

Of course, the number one way you can improve your client’s online purchasing experience is to accept credit cards on your site, because most of your clients will prefer to use their debit or credit card, rather than send checks through the mail. Credit and debit card purchases are immediate and secure; paper checks are the least secure method of making a purchase from an online seller.

Accepting payments online will also make it far less likely that customers will forget about your site or its address, decide to buy from a competitor who accepts online payments, or put off making a buying decision.

Once you’re accepting credit cards online, there are several other ways that you can improve the buying experience, particularly for those who are new to the Internet and may be apprehensive about completing a transaction online.

#1 – Explain what will happen during checkout and keep the customer informed during the buying process.

Giving a brief description of the process, reassures the customer that they’re on the right track to a successful purchase and let them know when the transaction is complete. For many people, buying online is something they do with great hesitancy; anything you can do to lessen their concerns will be appreciated by your customers.

#2 – Let your customers know that their information is protected and their transaction is taking place on a secure server.

Ensure that your payment page can be clearly identified as a secure site. The components of a secure site include a web address that starts with https; that indicates that the payment page is located on a secure server, and the display of a padlock symbol or logo that can be clicked on to confirm that there is a valid secure certificate associated with the secure server.

It can also help if your secure page starts with the word “secure” as the first part of the web address.

#3 – Send automated Thank You Notes and Personal Receipts to your customers

The transaction isn’t necessarily over when your customer has paid their money and collected their goods. One of the ways you can follow up with your client is to send them an automated note thanking them for their business, as well as a means to contact you after the sale. This also allows you to mention other services and products that you sell, that your customer may be interested in at a later date. Many merchants don’t do this – going the extra mile sets you apart from the crowd.

Subsequent to the thank you note, give your clients another indication that you’ve received their order, by sending a personalized receipt once the order is complete. That way, they have an immediate record of what they’ve bought and can print it for their records.

#4 – Brand your Payment Pages

Having a branded payment page not only makes you look more professional, it will increase your conversion rate and reduce your abandonment rate. Customers will be more trusting and therefore more likely to complete a purchase online if your payment page has the look and feel of your web site. This is especially true of individuals buying online for the first time and those who are buying from you for the first time. Trust, comfort and confidence play a major role in the buying decision of all online customers.

Inventory replenishment for better customer service

The key to the success of any business is the availability of the product when the customer desires for it. Once the business plan is made and the marketing takes off the next most important step is inventory forecast based on the market reaction and eventually inventory replenishment.

Inventory management was initially done manually that involved whole lot of manual calculation. The retail buyers too were experts in maximizing their sales while maintaining an inventory that was in line. There were many however, who struggled to maintain sales and inventory in line. These retail buyers turned their inventories at a very slow rate trapping in a lot of cash that would mean less profits and a whole lot of overstock every season. There were still others who sold at a certain rate without maintaining inventories. These retailers were unable to keep up the pace of sales due to less stocks loosing out in a long run.

The innumerable soft wares available today solve the problem of manual calculation. The availability of retail information system caters to the needs and the requirements of the retailer for inventories. Retailers in all the segments have utilized the advances made in retail information technology to maximize profits.

As the applications become more refined with exact details of demand forecast and inventory management models, it still depends a lot on the skill of the business person to interpret the data available in the right manner. The applications after all will not be able to do thinking for you. The thinking and interpretation needs to be done day in and out for profits. The applications will only facilitate the individual to take right decisions and make the inventory management work in the retailers favor. Sales planning and inventory replenishment modules too are usually incorporated in the sophisticated inventory planning packages.

ERP is an effective inventory management tool specifically aimed at the small retailers. These packages are however, not utilized to the fullest by the small retailers due to the limitations of the demand prediction and inventory management functions normally included in these soft wares. These tools capture the data provided and address the reporting in an amazing number of combinations. These soft wares have short comings that should be taken into account and not followed blindly. Demand forecasting should inventory management functions are just not sufficient to efficiently manage their stock.

The basic rules of inventory management and retailing remain unchanged. A successful business person has to understand the end customer well. Their needs, requirements and future expectation need to be taken into consideration. All this along with the data from past and the present day trend will help to formulate a basic successful inventory plan. The plan needs to be updated on a daily basis as the season progresses and specific trends have to be worked upon on urgent manner. Use the latest technology effectively for positive end results but do not solely depend on it.

Five Critical Steps to Be Customer Focused

In todays highly technical and fast paced world one piece of advice is very true listen to the customer. Unfortunately, selling complex technical products or solutions (or anything else), causes most salespeople to focus on product features rather that on their benefits to the customer.

This product focused approach to sales is from the old school. It focused on specific features and benefits that would be of interest to a prospective customer. Salespeople would immediately commit to memory as many of these product features as possible.

After a dissertation on the associated benefits that went along with these product features, the prospect is suppose to sign on the dotted line because the salesperson certainly must have found a “hot-button” during this product review.

But something bizarre happens. The prospect is often overwhelmed by all the facts and technical data that has been dumped on him. When you sell only on product features, you leave yourself open to price shopping by your prospect.

The smarter method of selling that is much more effective is called customer focused selling. Simply stated customer focused selling is first finding out what the customer wants and then providing the solution for his or her situation. Sound simple, yet it is surprising how few salespeople practice this method. Perhaps its because they spend so much time learning about the hardware and software features they sell, that they would burst open if they couldnt tell their prospect all they know. Another reason is that salespeople sometimes (too often) would rather talk than listen to their prospect. Here are the five critical steps to be customer focused:
Customer focused selling means the customer does most of the talking. How does the customer do most of the talking? The salesperson must probe and ask open ended questions to determine the customers business needs and personal wins. Open-ended questions ask the listener for more specific information. Open ended questions begin with words like what, when, how, where, why, and when. They ask for peoples opinions, facts and feelings. They open the conversational door. Examples: “What results are looking for in a new supplier?” ” What makes that business issue so important to you?”
To get the prospect to be more receptive to your probes and questions, try to cushion it with a softening preamble. Try, “May I ask you a question? ” or, “In your opinion, what factors do you consider most important in selecting a new supplier?” Be creative and ask a few thought-provoking questions that will provide you with information about this person as well as facts about their company. Differentiate yourself from other salespeople by asking what important challenges the prospect is facing this year and how they differentiate their company from the competition.
Probe to understand the business issues that are most important to them. For example, a General Manager might say Improving Productivity is a top priority. Probe to see what makes that issue so important, exactly what “improving productivity” means to him or her. Once you understand the important issues facing your prospect, ask open-ended questions to uncover problems with their present system or approach and identify the benefits they need because these will become opportunities for you.
Then probe to find their personal win. The owner of the store on the corner dreams about the day her business will expand from 1 shop to 2. Then from 2 shops to 3, to 5, and more. Think about your dreams; where you are today and where you want to be next year? Your customers also have dreams about their businesses and their careers. Who knows? They know, and uncovering their dreams is a critical step in the customer-focused sales approach. If you can find their dream, you can identify their personal win. When you do, you can then bring together a “customer focused solution” that addresses their business issues. More importantly, your solution will help them fulfill their dreams.
Finally, it is vitally important to listen actively, take notes, provide feedback when your prospect is responding to your questions. All too often, salespeople will ask a good question, and then not listen to the answer. This hardly builds credibility and trust with the prospect. Salespeople can significantly improve their listening and establish credibility and trust faster by providing feedback that creates an agreeable atmosphere with their prospects. Asking material questions and then listening actively to your prospect is one of the best ways to avoid these problems and differentiate yourself from the “not-so-great” salespeople. Increasing your ability to probe and ask questions and then listening to the prospects answers provides you with the information you need to identify needs, goals and priorities. Armed with this information, you can create a “Customer Focused” solution that addresses your prospects issues. Good luck and good selling!!!

Customer Service – Implementing Customer Service Excellence

Customer Service Excellence is what it takes to bring Customers back to our Company and it is excellent Customer Service that will make them want to buy more of our products or services. Implementing Service Excellence involves the whole organisation, from Managers to front-line Teams. This article teases out some of the key areas of focus in implementing top of the class Customer Service for our Customers.
Customer Service Excellence is not just about our Customer Service people or our Sales staff, though these front line employees are critical. It involves creating a culture and a leadership structure that will empower, nurture and motivate all our people to deliver that want to stay Customer Experience.
Customers are the judges of any organisation, and they vote with their money, or their feet. They judge the Company based on their cumulative experiences of the product, the service and the people. For example, they may evaluate the quality of the product, or its value for money. But they will also notice the car park and the ease of access, or the cleanliness of your display area. They will certainly notice the responsiveness of your staff, their courtesy and helpfulness. They will even judge your Company on the way your staff talk to each other, and relate to your Manager. It all counts!

Leadership Leads the Way
Everyone in an organisation takes their lead from the top. The Leadership are role models; they model the attitudes, values and behaviours that their staff will adopt. If the Leadership walks the talk, praises and recognises going the extra mile for the Customer, the Customer Service Teams will feel more positive and confident in doing the same. If the Leadership demonstrate irritation or annoyance about Customers, or worse still, treats them as irrelevant to the Company, this will be reflected in the front line Teams.
What Management measure is also vital. What gets measured gets done also still stands, and Leadership needs to be measuring the right things. Think of the shop attendant who does not make eye contact, finishes stacking shelves before serving, or puts the money down on the counter instead of in to your hand. The Manager of that shop attendant is almost certainly measuring efficiency and might say he or she was being more efficient, handling more Customers in a much quicker way.
The Manager ought to be recognising that this attendant is efficiently and effectively sending Customers to the opposition!

Effective Leadership Processes and Measures
An effective Leadership will have processes to discuss, monitor and measure Best Practice with Customers. They will have project Teams seeking to find that extra 10%, that extra positive experience for their Customers. They will use tools, like mapping the Customers Journey through the Company, to generate ideas at each contact point always seeking the opportunity to make life easier or more pleasant for the Customer. Quality and process improvement is top of their agenda, and they give quick recognition to employees who demonstrate valuable improvements.

Customer Service Training Small Investment with Big Pay-off
Companies often assume that investment in Customer Service Skills Training is a waste of money! It is unfortunate that these Companies do not ask their former Customers for their view! Everyone can give examples of bad Customer experiences that would amaze the Company Leadership. Effective delivery of Customer Service Excellence will keep Customers, and generate profits and Training plays a key part in achieving this.
Customer Service Excellence is about processes, knowledge and behaviours. Good Customer Service Training should address each of these 3 elements, whether this is internal or external training.
Above all, training adjusts the priorities and aligns the focus of all personnel, whether Customer Service, Sales, Administration or Managers. It helps all to have a pinpoint clear focus on what they want to achieve with each Customer. They align to their shared purpose of keeping Customers coming back, and they learn the importance of their role in ensuring Company success.
Focus drives attitude and behaviours throughout the Organisation. Managers will be much more aware of desired attitudes and behaviours, and therefore will be much more likely to praise them. The Customer Care Teams will heighten their awareness to core skills and techniques with their Customers, as well as positive actions that will deliver Customer Service Excellence. Interest, support and encouragement from management will motivate them to want to perform well with their Customers. Everyone in the organisation will be singing off the same page.

Continuous Improvement and Best Practice
Customer Service Excellence is about managing, meeting and exceeding expectations. Customer Expectations are constantly changing, the bar is forever being raised. This means that Teams at all levels in the Company must respond to this by continuously seeking to identify opportunities to exceed.
Teamwork sessions held quarterly to brainstorm and generate improvement ideas are essential to achieving excellence. The Customer Care Teams themselves should be encouraged and empowered to continuously seek out Best Practice, to review and improve.

Achieving Customer Service Excellence is a continuous process that should be energetically pursued by all in the Organisation.

Best Customer Experience- Outsource to Go4customer Today

Customer Service Call Center helps the business to be pleasing and sustaining brand. A good customer support is the face value of your business as the customers serve as the final judge for any business undertaking.

There are several outsourcing companies available in the market that is offering quality customer services. If you are planning to outsource any of the call center service specially customer support then you must research and must try to find out for the factors to be considered before doing so.

The customers want their issues to be considered important and they demand immediate response from the service representative. A good customer care representative is capable of understanding the exact needs of his customers. He must be able to handle the situation properly, whatever be the condition. We know that customer is not always right but they do deserve the right treatment, reason behind being if you dont, there are plenty out there trying to take away your customer from you.

It is astonishing why people create new strategies to win new customers; retaining customers is so much easier than winning as well as convincing new prospects. There is less expenditure in terms of cost as well as time when you retain customer. In all cases it is important to treat customer in a special way and to take exclusive care that they are happy whatever you do.

The best way to this is through Call Center Customer Service. Such service providers have skilled professionals deft at observing the customers, listening to their issues and getting things sorted out. They give regular trainings to their employees and deploy the latest tools and gadgets. These service providers are deft in field of customer care and ensure that their customers are satisfied. Since language skills are very crucial while handling customers, these providers ensure that their customers are treated the best way by giving sessions to the employees on languages and proper customer handling etiquettes.

These service providers benefit the investors as they generally employ people who are efficient with computer and can handle calling the customers efficiently. As a business owner the last thing you would want is your customer waiting to talk to your representative. Customer service call center generally have employees deft at handling calls. They have enough workforces to handle call flow and the latest tools help them to manage the calls effectively.

Hence opting for a good outsourcing partner can not only help you reduce costs but also ensure proper customer relationship management for your business.

Delighting Your Customers

The reward of delighting your customers is you capture a sustainable customer-base. From experience, the absolute heart of money making 123 on the Internet is having a sustainable customer-base. This is true of any business and the foundation of real personal wealth from the Internet. A sustainable customer base is one that is interested in your specific niche and finds value in your blog, newsletter, and emails. Your value to this base must be demonstrated with each and every communication. No one, even your loyal customers, wants to read “filler” on your website, in your newsletters, or in your emails. Do your customers a favor and provide some new information, new insight, or better yet, a free report or video for the niche.

Capturing the attention of customers is the first step with informative “squeeze pages.” This is a simple, informative graphic and message that captures the visitor in two seconds!!! Yes, two seconds. Would you prefer to design these pages yourself or use what has been tested and known to work? This is the ad stage of sales and needs to be memorable. This free report Clickbank Treasure Map explains one of the most important benefits of Clickbank Pirate membership professionally developed “squeeze pages” and free reports for your customers.

Minimum customer data is required for communications and this is the email address. For a friendlier message a username is nice to have. With the minimum of customer information, you can invite visitors to read informative and useful sites for more information of the specific subject. Do you have the tools and money to gather and maintain a database of customers or would you prefer someone to provide the service? This is the qualification stage of sales and should be as friendly as a hand-shake in the showroom when you are buying a new car. This is another feature of Clickbank Pirate membership. The system manages your customer interface based on a natural sequence of communications and follow-ups.

Follow-up communications are critical to keeping a customer comfortable with a product and with deepening the customer relationship by building trust. Trust can only be sustained if each step delivers the “goods” promised. This is why your personal plug-and-play blog from Clickbank Pirate is your repository of information on new products, techniques, and freebies. Learn to use and promote it during your traffic generation efforts.

The communications must be timely (pre-determined schedule) and helpful (new information). Do you have the tools and time to be consistent and provide value to the visitor? This is the on-going relationship part of sales management. Your personal blog needs to stress your specific value and plans for the reader. If you have monthly news state the schedule and what you will be reporting in advance. If you have plans for free reports or videos, also announce your plans for offering them to your readers.

Clickbank Pirate includes your customer database in the membership. You do not need to independently subscribe to an auto-responder which may cost as much as $30 per month. This is one of the major, major benefits of Clickbank Pirate. I figure it saves at least 10-15 hours a week because you do not have to prepare follow-up communications. You are on auto-pilot!

How to Keep Existing Customers Happy and Buy More from You


Stay in touch with your customers and communicate with them on a frequent basis. It is not easy to determine the optimum frequency for contact initiations that you contact them often enough that they do not forget about you, but not too much that they get annoyed by it and start ignoring it or worse, consider it spam and filter it out by automated means. This is a science by itself. Next to the frequency is also the message itself very important. Not every customer has the same needs or interest. The “one message fits them all” approach is not only less effective and converts poorly, but also increases opt-outs and filtering out of those messages.

Making a message personal for every customer is not easy, although it is the ultimate goal, but you can at least make customers feel as if the message is personal for them. The easiest thing to do is to address them with their name rather than addressing them like “Hello Customer”. To provide messages that are as relevant as possible, is it useful to segment your customer base. The segmentation can be done based on a number of criteria and depend on what you offer and the types of customers, their interests, financial status etc. A single customer can be assigned to multiple segments, which overlap and serve different purposes.

There are numbers of methods you can use to contact your customers. While a phone call or snail mail can be appropriate and useful so is email still the most common and cost effective way of communication between e-tailers and customers. There are tons of services out there that let you manage your email lists, segment your customers and keep the list clean and up to date. The cost vary significantly and depend on the number and type of features you need, how much of the work the services will do for you, if you can’t or do not want do everything in-house and from the size of your mailing list and frequency of mailings (= email volume).

CRM Software Real Time Access and Decision Making for Marketing, Sales and Customer Service

Additionally, a detailed CRM software solution will help you:
Reduce your customer service costs. You can identify, prioritise, and address the most costly aspects of your service process. For example if you have contact centres or agents, you can quickly identify better processes and so cutting training costs and develop a rewards program for efficient work practices.
Improve your service metrics by reviewing a real time dashboard. Monitoring the performance of service processes, centres, and agents will allow you to adjust resources and processes to address the most important issues. CRM software solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, whether you choose an in house solution that integrates to your other business systems or a web based CRM software solution will help you monitor, measure, manage and drive your business. CRM can give you access to real time customer information in a simple drill down dashboard view. As such it is an essential management tool that allows you to analyse customer information and make more effective business decisions at the right time.