As we've said time and time again on our blog, communication is key to just about everything in a small business. No matter what line of work you're in, open and honest communication can help boost employee engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and boost profits!
In the spirit of helping your business succeed, we're back with another article to help you communicate more effectively in the workplace. In this blog, we'll look at the importance of feedback, and establishing a "feedback culture" for your small business.
Establishing a great feedback culture helps employees understand how they're doing - both where they're excelling and where they need improvement. It also promotes a healthier, more constructive working environment. So read on, and see how you can improve your business!
1. Ditch Annual Performance Reviews
Annual performance reviews have been used in businesses for decades - but research has indicated that they can actually impact employee satisfaction negatively!
Not only that, HR managers say that annual performance reviews “take up too much time” - and only 6% of all HR professionals think that their performance review system is "useful".
More and more companies are choosing to ditch annual performance reviews for either periodic or project-based reviews.
Periodic reviews usually occur every couple months, and are much less involved than a yearly performance review. This helps employees keep track of their progress over a shorter period of time, and get more regular feedback on what they're doing well - and what they can do better.
Project-based reviews are also quite simple. At the end of a major project, managers get together with their employees to examine overall performance. This provides regular, informed, and relevant feedback that's easily-actionable and useful.
2. Top-Down Method
You can't create a feedback culture without being willing to take some positive - and negative - feedback yourself. If you are a small business owner, or high in the management structure at a small business, you need to lead by example.
Don't just give your workers feedback - ask them to give you detailed feedback on what's been going well, and what could be improved upon.
When your employees see that feedback goes both ways, they're more likely to be encouraged to share their true feelings about your business. In turn, this can help you improve how you manage things, and boost employee satisfaction![click to continue...]
SMS marketing is extraordinarily effective. While folks may tend to ignore phone calls and emails, they almost never ignore a text message. In fact, it's been estimated that up to 98% of SMS messages are opened, and the vast majority of text messages are read within 2 minutes of reception.
SMS marketing is a great way to bring in more customers, advertise your services, and increase customer loyalty. But if you're just getting started in the world of SMS marketing, there is a lot to learn.
DialMyCalls has compiled six simple tips that will help you utilize SMS marketing. Take a look, and start marketing your business more effectively today!
1. Get Straight to the Point
When you're writing SMS messages for your business, you have 160 characters to work with. That's it. For comparison, an email subject line is usually around 70-80 characters. This means that you have to be very direct when creating your text messages.
You don't have much room to work with, and you want your customers to clearly understand what you are trying to communicate.
Minimize unnecessary or flowery language, and err on the side of simplicity when creating SMS marketing messages. Within seconds, your customer should be able to understand:
- Why you sent them a message
- What benefit it has for them
- What they have to do to take advantage of your offer
- When (or if) the offer will expire
If your SMS message doesn't fulfill all 4 of these requirements, go back to the drawing board, and think about how you can make it more clear and simple.
2. Don't Overdo It (NO SPAM!)
How many times should you send messages to your customers? That's a good question - and unfortunately, we don't have a clear answer for you.
However, we recommend that you use caution when sending SMS marketing messages to your customers - you probably shouldn't be sending a message every day, for example.
If you send too many messages to your customers, they're going to be angry at you for spamming them with unwanted offers - and they may opt-out of your SMS marketing list, or stop coming to your business altogether.
You should consider splitting your customers into different segments. Using an SMS marketing tool such as DialMyCalls, it's easy to make custom groups of phone numbers, and send out separate messages to each list.
For example, loyal customers who often come to your business may not mind getting a message from you every day or two.
On the other hand, customers who are less familiar with your company may not be as likely to appreciate regular messages. Send them one or two messages a week - and include attractive special offers that will bring them into your business, and turn them into a loyal customer.[click to continue...]
DialMyCalls is flexible, customizable, and can be used in just about any organization. From non-profits and sports leagues to restaurants, retailers, and even in hospitals.
With DialMyCalls, your hospital administrative staff will have access to a powerful SMS, email, and voice messaging system that can help streamline patient communication, and ensure that you provide the best possible level of care.
Here are just a few of the ways that your hospital or other healthcare institution can benefit from the power of DialMyCalls.
1. Patient Feedback
With DialMyCalls, collecting patient feedback is easier than ever. You want to know how your staff members are doing, of course, and whether or not they are meeting (and exceeding!) patient expectations. There's no such thing as perfect care - so it's critical to hear where you're doing well, and where you could use improvement.
With DialMyCalls, you can quickly set up a vanity phone number that makes it easy for patients to provide feedback via text message about their stay in your facility. By automating the feedback process, you can avoid paperwork and other administrative overhead, but still benefit from honest patient feedback.
2. Visiting Hours Reminders
The families of patients can often be frustrated by short visiting hours, especially in the emergency room or critical care areas. But limited visiting hours are very important in the ICU, because patients need round-the-clock care, and cannot handle the strain of a constant flow of visitors.
To help address this problem, you can create a customized list of family members using the DialMyCalls web application, and send voice, SMS, and email messages to them - informing them about when visiting hours are open for the day.
This way, you can make sure that your patients can see their loved ones, but still give them plenty of time to rest and recover.[click to continue...]
Utility companies are, traditionally, in a tough spot when it comes to customer satisfaction. Though strides have been made in recent years, utility companies suffer from some of the lowest overall customer satisfaction rates - placing behind industries such as airline companies and auto insurance companies. Common complaints include difficulty paying bills, late technician appointments (or no-shows), and poor overall customer service.
To continue to compete in the competitive, low-margin landscape of utilities such as gas and power, it's important for utility companies to take the proper steps to increase customer satisfaction - and make the monthly payment of utility bills more than just a boring, unsatisfying chore.
Here are a few ways that utility companies can increase customer satisfaction - and get a leg up on the competition.
1. Offer Online Bill Payments and Paperless Billing
In our modern, digital world, customers have a certain set of expectations. One of these expectations is that it will be possible to set up online, paperless billing - or at the very least, pay a bill online with a credit card or a bank withdrawal.
Fewer people than ever want to pay for their utility services with a check, or by mail. Today's consumers have the option of buying almost everything online - and utilities should be no different.
Because of this, your company should take steps to offer online bill payments and paperless billing, at the very least. Other things you should consider including on your website is a usage monitoring system - so that customers can see how much they owe before they have to pay - and options like autopay.
Offering these services makes it easier for customers to pay. This reduces the time they have to spend doing things like mailing bills and writing checks - and increases their customer satisfaction. Even if they choose not to use your online payment services, it's wise to provide them with the option to do so.
2. Ask for Customer Feedback
Do you really want to know how you can improve? You could implement a system to allow you to gather honest feedback from your customers - even if you hear things that you'd prefer not to.
Creating an anonymous call line or feedback line is a great way to understand the way your customers perceive your company. Using DialMyCalls, your company can quickly set up an anonymous vanity number "hotline", where customers can call to give feedback about your services. You can also use advanced SMS text messaging from DialMyCalls to conduct text-based surveys, and get even more feedback from your customers.
Even if you have relatively good customer feedback and satisfaction rates, it's always valuable to gain a deeper insight into your customer's mindset, and attempt to elevate your standards and provide better service.
So consider using DialMyCalls for customer surveys - you're sure to discover valuable business insights that will help you improve the quality of your customer service.[click to continue...]
SMS marketing is incredibly powerful - especially with short code SMS marketing services from companies like DialMyCalls. Using DialMyCalls, your business can quickly send hundreds of custom-tailored SMS marketing messages directly to customers - providing you with an extremely valuable marketing tool.
It's been estimated that nearly 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received. When you compare this statistic to emails, which have only about a 25% open rate at best, it's easy to see the value of SMS marketing.
However, text message marketing isn't foolproof. It's easy to make the mistake of using this technology incorrectly. So, to help you market more effectively, we've put together a list of the most common SMS marketing mistakes - and how to avoid them.
1. Improper Call to Action (CTA)
The problem: The Call To Action (CTA) is the heart and soul of your SMS marketing strategy. This is the text that asks a customer to do something - come in for a discount on a meal, enjoy a half-price haircut, bring a guest to your gym for free, and so on.
The CTA is the most important part of your SMS message. Without a strong, obvious CTA, your customers won't understand what your marketing message is trying to say, which results in an ineffective campaign.
How to solve it: To solve this issue, it's best to follow CTA best practices. This article from Hubspot Academy is a great resource. Basically, you want to make your CTA:
There's more to it than that - so dig into the above article to learn more![click to continue...]
Did you just finish setting up your DialMyCalls account? Congratulations - you're now using one of the most effective marketing tools for your small business!
Text message marketing is a powerful form of communication. In fact, around 98% of SMS messages are opened by customers - nearly quadruple the rate of email newsletters.
But you can't expect to achieve marketing success without a basic understanding of SMS marketing strategies. That's why DialMyCalls is here with a quick, simple guide to help you communicate more effectively with your customers using SMS. Read on, and learn with us!
1. Ask Customers to Opt-In to Your Messages
The first step to communicating with your customers is to start building a list of peopel who have "opted-in" to messages from your company.
If you already have a list of phone numbers, that's a good place to start - send a message to that list of individuals asking them to opt-in to your SMS messages. Some may say no - but the vast majority will be interested in receiving messages from you, especially if you offer a discount or a special offer to those who sign up.
You should also try to get more customers to opt-in, in person. Create signage for your store or business that lets people know about your SMS marketing campaign, and mention it to them when they're checking out.[click to continue...]
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