5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience

Customer Experience remains at the core of any enterprise’s success. Most businesses that built their enterprise from the ground up are already experts in customer experience. They have a deep understanding of their customer needs and the experience that will satiate their customers’ goals.

However, becoming an expert in customer experience is not one a time thing. It involves active customer engagement, which many businesses slip away from after 1-2 years of growth and found success. They do this by getting too caught up in the daily grind of managing a business.

Here are 5 ways to enhance the customer experience and actively engaging your customers:

 

1. Listen with a Beginner’s Mind

Develop tact for listening to your customers. The key is to adopt a beginner’s mindset. That is adopting an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions.  One way you can do that is to affirm yourself as a learner, rather than a knower, which makes you open to feedback and new perspectives. In customer service, for example, you could develop a survey that asks customers for their input on how your product/service can better their goals and exceed expectations. Repeat the survey periodically.

 

2. Schedule Periodic Reviews

Look through recent and past notes and take the time to reflect is key in order gain new insight. As you do this, pay attention to recurring comments and themes. Identify the who, what, where, when and why of each customer comment.  Bring the concerns up with the appropriate personnel and follow-up with customers once the issue has been resolved. Use your CRM tool to document your customer interactions through to the resolution.

 

3. Make People Famous

Take the time to highlight a power user in your community (with their permission, of course!) in a public way — social media, website, blog post, etc. Most people love to be publicly recognized, and giving a user a moment in the limelight is a powerful way to turn them into a brand ambassador and life-long customer.

 

4. Call Your Customers Regularly

Build a relationship with each customer. Occasionally give them a call or send them an email. As well, take notes of the things your customers say and organize each note by topics related to those comments. This will help you become proactive in resolving customer concerns and retaining customers for longer periods. A practical CRM tool can help you organize notes and enhance your customer experience.

 

5. Be Adaptive

Every customer is different. You should be able to handle surprises, sense the customer’s mood changes and adapt accordingly. This also includes a willingness to learn– providing good customer service is a continuous learning process.

 

 

 

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How to Back Up Business Contact Manager Data

The following is an inquiry sent to us via our contact form:

 I’ve been using Business Contact Manager with Outlook for a number of years. After upgrading to Outlook 2016 in September, 2016, I was told, via a pop-up box,  that BCM is no longer compatible with Microsoft Suites. I was not aware of the changes until after the upgrade. Now I’m stuck without the ability to downgrade to Outlook 2013 and no data. Can you please help me?

In August, we wrote about the changes Microsoft has made to Business Contact Manager.  We caution all readers who use to Business Contact Manager and are wishing to upgrade to Outlook 2016 to contact us first before making the switch. We will be able to custom import your data into our interface and will do the necessary steps for backup to make sure the integration is as swift as possible for you.

How to Back Up Business Contact Manager Data

The built-in method of performing backups and restores is very easy.  You can find the backup and restore option for BCM by doing the following:

  • BCM 2003
    Business Tools-> Manage Database…
  • BCM 2007
    Business Contact Manager-> Database Tools-> Manage Database…
  • BCM 2010
    File-> Business Contact Manager-> BackUp and Restore
  • BCM 2013
    File-> Business Contact Manager-> BackUp and Restore

From there, the backup and restore process is swift; select the backup location and provide the password for the backup of the database. You may need an external hard drive to host your data. If your backup is on the same disk as your original database and your hard disk fails, then your backup will be lost.

As well, we caution you not to make any upgrades to any software without backing up your data first in a safe location. If the upgrade fails and you are not able to access a certain program, you can easily restore it to a point when the program was working; hence where your backup comes into good use.

So if you are in a similar situation as one of our inquirers, do not panic. All you need is a copy of your backup and we’ll help you with the rest.

Why choose InfoFlo?

  • There’s minimal switchover cost
  • Training provided to all employees and managers
  • Affordable – Outlook Sync feature is only $69/user
  • Complete office solution with project management, social media, phone system integration and more.

No credit cards and long term commitments are required. Click here to download free trial.

 

 

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6 Ways to Maintain Customer Loyalty Like a Pro

In virtually every industry, the cost of retaining a loyal customer is far less than the cost to acquire a new one. Therefore, encouraging customer loyalty can mean big savings for your business. Here are a few things to consider when trying to maximize customer loyalty:

 

1. Feature Your Customers & Success Stories in Your Content

Feature your customers or people who say great things about your brand in the content you write. Put them in the spotlight and let them know how much you appreciate their loyalty and endorsement. Once they see the reciprocity, they’ll make your brand a priority and, in the process, will become your biggest advocates.

 

2. Gift Them With Care

If your customers take an interest in what you’re talking about and what you do as a company, it’s only fair for you to reciprocate. Take a look at their social accounts or distribute a survey to see what kinds of things they really enjoy, and then send them something you know they’ll like and will not be able to put down. They’ll definitely talk about it through their social accounts and, more importantly, they’ll talk about it in person with their friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else who will listen….and put your brand in the spotlight.

 

3. Invoke the Inner Ego

Most people prefer products and companies that slightly resemble the self. This preferences, also known as implicit egotism, is an key concept to keep in mind when talking to customers. To attract meaningful customers, you need to identify your target customers down to the nifty gritty, then craft a message “deal” that matches their painpoints and goals. What we’re implying is that in order to be successful in customer retention you have to make each customer feel special with a solution that no one has but them.

 

4. Don’t just sell, educate

According to distinguished entrepreneur and blogger David Skok, sales is more effective when you have an existing relationship with a customer, and when you’ve already provided the value to them. This argument is consistent with the research of TARP Worldwide, which shows customers do enjoy receiving helpful recommendations on new information and products that will help them achieve better results.

 

5. Invest in a CRM System with Good Insight & Analytics

The best way to retain customers and prevent them from defecting to competitors is to prevent them from leaving in the first place. If you pay enough attention, you can always see the signals of your customers impending departure ahead of time. All you have to do is to identify the key variables such as purchase patterns, product usage and service calls – Capture the signals and then put actions in place to stop them from making the switch.

That is where your CRM tool comes in handy. Let’s say you want to know how many of your VIP clients have not purchased anything from you in the last 6 months, which might be a sign of low retention. First, you create a list of all of your VIP customers and their typical purchasing habits and then you create a list of all sales made within the last six months using your CRM software. By creating these lists and doing proper comparisons, you will end up with a list of VIP customers who haven’t purchased from you in the last 6 months. Using the analytics and insight your CRM tool has provided, you can then follow up with these customers and find out the reasons why they were not purchasing and look for ways to get them to reconsider their decision.

 

6. Enhance Customer Service

If you’re anything like me, the number of personal details you’re able to retain in your mind is limited. Without reminders from my Facebook account and virtual calendar, I would likely miss 90% of the birthdays, anniversaries and other social gatherings around me. Since most businesses are not friends with all of their customers on Facebook and most people don’t add too many details in the calendar, a CRM tool can come into very good use. This platform allows you to keep track of individual customers with pertinent information like their contact details, last purchase date, and any personal notes your staff makes, such as birthdays, anniversaries, allergies, and favorite item. Use this information to enhance your customer service! I.E., Send a birthday card, celebrate anniversaries of business deals with discounts and savings, send an occasional thank you email and check to see how their use of your product/service is coming along.

 

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Our flagship product, InfoFlo – is a central management system specifically designed to combat one of the biggest technical challenges facing any professional organization, how to efficiently organize, archive, filter and search the vital information that bombards our desktops on a daily basis. Our infrastructure allows all office activities to coexist together under one umbrella, making all critical information readily available at your fingertips.
All interested parties are welcome to download a free trial version of our CRM application.

No credit cards and long term commitments are required. Click here to download free trial.

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10 Steps To Successful CRM Implementation

Here are our 10 essential steps to successfully transitioning to a CRM-centric enviornment:

CRM Software

1. Build Your Team

Your implementation team should comprise of the following people: a member of the executive team, a project manager, an IT administrator (if applicable) and 3-4 representatives from the front line and sales teams.

 

2. Identify and Document Existing Processes

All companies rely on a set of processes that help move their business forward. Part of initial deployment process will consist of asking yourself these questions:

  • How does my company collect leads?
  • How are our deals guided through the sales process?
  • How does my company maintain relationships with current customers?
  • How does my company identify our most important clients?
  • How does my company handle customer service inquiries?
  • How are contacts stored and shared?

The answers to these questions and others will help you gain an understanding of your current business processes and allow you to understand how a CRM solution can help improve and automate some portions of them.

 

3. Conduct a Gap Analysis

Conduct a gap analysis. Take a look at where you are currently standing, where you are willing to head and examine the gap between the two paths. Think of how you can close that gap using CRM tool.

 

4. Define Your Vision

Set high goals and make sure that they are viable and measurable. Example of goals may include better reporting, increased conversion, improved retention rates, more marketing leaders etc. Make sure to also define how CRM will fit into the overall direction and strategy of your organization.

 

5. Prioritize Your Goals

Plan your CRM implementation with a staggered approach that focuses on quick wins for your team.  Goals that you feel can be most improved with the implementation should come first. Remember, Rome was not built in a day and neither will be your CRM. In the implementation phase, your project team will need to determine what you want CRM to do for you. Think big picture.

 

6. Partner with the CRM Consultant

Buying and deploying a CRM tool can be made easy with the guidance of an experienced CRM consultant and vendor.  If you want to have the greatest chance at success and the highest ROI from your investments, it is wise not to go through the process alone.

 

7. Share your Vision

Share your vision with the rest of your team. It should be no secret that you are trying to improve businesses processes and make working more productive. Don’t forget to also provide training to staff who will be utilizing the software in order to ease their mind and prevent reluctance in adopting the change.

 

8. Data Migration

Depending on your current processes and the tools you use to store your data, data migration can be the most challenging and expensive part of the entire deployment. The cost of your data migration effort can be affected by a number of factors, including the size, complexity, and format of your existing backend database. A savvy CRM consultant can help you do it in the most cost-effective way possible.

 

9. Test

The second last step is to test the system thoroughly before it enters into production in order to avoid the heartbreak of failure or unexpected glitches.

 

10. Don’t Stop!

CRM is an ongoing effort that never stops and neither should you. To be successful you need to continually coach users, re-state expectations and introduce new features. Offer a “suggestion box” within CRM that users can request new features and then give them credit when those new features are rolled out.

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9 Steps To Writing The Perfect Email Pitch

You’ve come up with the most amazing product or service and now want to promote it via email marketing. Now what? In order to be successful, you have to understand a few things about selling and email marketing, so you can connect with and engage eager buyers. The following are 9 steps you can follow to creating the perfect email pitch for your email marketing campaigns:

 

email marketing pitch tips

 

1. Gripping Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing that people notice in an email, so it is clearly a very important thing to get right. The most successful subject lines are those that are under 50 characters and stand out by invoking a sense of excitement and urgency.

 

2. Design

The next thing in order of importance is the design. If your email looks like it is from the past, you’ll find a lot of readers sending it to their spam box or trash bin. You do not need to hire a fancy shmancy designer. All that is required is a bit of time to properly format the content and making it readable and user friendly.

 

3. Customize the Message

It is very unlikely that every email you send is going to appeal to ever sender in your email database. Keep your lists in separate categories so you can customize each email to work for each particular group and prevent annoying your readers with things that do not interest them.

 

4. Make It Mobile Friendly

65% of emails are read first on mobile devices. That means if your emails are not optimized to look good on mobile devices, you’re going to miss out on a big chunk of potential readers.

 

5. Avoid Spam Trigger Words

You can craft the greatest email ever, but if it gets picked up by the recipient’s spam filters it is not going to do much good for you. Avoid using all caps and exclamation marks in your subject line and use common sense when writing the copy.

 

6. Add Call To Actions (CTAs)

Make sure that the actions you want your readers to take are clearly stated and easily accessible. Whether it be signing up for a service or calling a phone number, you don’t want readers to miss out on the point of the email.

 

7. Get To The Point

Everyone’s inboxes are overflowing and their attention spam is at the bare minimum. Skip the fluff that will clutter the email and focus on the quality of information and clearness of the call to actions.

 

8. Include Social Media Buttons

Social media is a great way to get your message across to people who are not subscribed to your email lists. Just by having one strategically placed “Share” button, you can potentially have your emails seen by thousands of people when clicked on.

 

9. Track

After the email is sent out, don’t forget to track the analytics and use the stats to craft the next email blast.

 

For just $49/user,  InfoFlo’s email marketing add-on allows you to easily create professional email marketing campaigns and email templates, manage subscribers, and send to unlimited contacts. Click here to schedule a live demo.

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How to Establish a Routine with CRM Software

routine tasksOne key thing that successful enterprises have in common is an established routine. In every job and industry, there are things that must be done. Some of these tasks can be done daily or weekly, while others can be completed monthly or annually. Nonetheless, they must be done.

The best way to ensure that they are done is to create what I call a “wheel” that all employees and managers follow, including you. And set up a little procedure to help you manage them.

For example, if you have a list of website you must be checking every morning, it could be helpful to bookmark them in the bookmark folder of your browser. When you click on the folder, all the websites open up and you can easily go through them one by one.

Unfortunately not all procedures are website based and cannot be easily bookmarked like websites. So it is definitely a good idea to make a list. A good Task Manager in a CRM Software will help you do that. With the task manager you will never forget what you are supposed to do because you will get reminders before and after the time the tasks were scheduled to be completed.

While taking note of the routine tasks you need to complete, it’s also important to learn to delegate. Making these lists will help you manage staff and delegate tasks you do not have time to complete, and in the process, make your office a productive and more streamlined one.

One of Carmel Vision’s InfoFlo Software features is the task manager. The Task Management feature allows you to create and manage tasks with ease, attach files and set email and pop up reminders. You can also share tasks, set priority levels and tag by type or status. Try it for free by clicking on this link.

 

Unnecessary Routine Tasks

Unable to get through the day without constant interruptions? We found this very useful Entrepreneur Magazine article that highlights 9 Routine Tasks you should eliminate from your workday.

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InfoFlo Ranked Among the Top 40 CRM Software Vendors of 2015

Business-Software.com just released its report of the Top 40 CRM Software Vendors of 2015. We are pleased to announce that our flagship product, InfoFlo, made the list.

Business-Software.com strives to be the most comprehensive and trusted online resource for buyers and vendors of business technology. The goal of its ranking reports is to simplify buyers’ research and help connect them with the correct software that suits their business needs. The independent research team is not related to any of the companies they rank and their advice is created based on countless hours of analyzing industry trends and market research.

This is the second time in  6 months that we’ve been recognized by a major online resource for our abilities as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software vendor. In September, 2014, G2Crowd nominated InfoFlo as one the top 13 Top Performers in the industry.

Our team of professionals are honored to receive this special recognition. We remain  committed to bringing you the best solutions available on the market. We’re always updating and improving our software with new features for the best functionality. We invite you to check our Upgrades page on a regular basis to see if any new features and upgrades apply to you.

Please click the following link to view the 2015 report: Top 40 CRM.

Interested in learn more about our central management system? We are currently offering interested parties a free, no-obligation 30-day trial. Fill out the form to receive download and installation instructions by email right away.

 

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5 Ways To Automate Business Processes

When routinely speaking with businesses I find that many are still not fully taking advantage of the features of their CRM Software.

CRM Software is not just an address book and those businesses that use it to just store contacts are scratching the surface in terms of meaningful functionality. The biggest opportunity many organizations miss out on is automation. One of the main functions of CRM Software is to make life easier through automation.

It’s important to remember that sales are all about people, communication and interactions and there are some things that automation cannot assist you with. For example, automation may help you remember special dates and birthdays, but it will not be able to automate information that a death in the family has occurred and it’s not the right time to make a call. Remember: mix humans and computers, but don’t remove the human aspect out of CRM.

That being said, here are 5 tips to follow when automating processes using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.

 

Business Automation

 

 

1. Encourage All Staff to Embrace Automation

This tip applies for businesses of all sizes. Front line staff is often reluctant to automate processes because they’re concerned that their jobs will be on the line. That’s not necessarily true because in most businesses the highest performers tend to automate the most and automate themselves from their current job into the next. When introducing automation, talk about the benefits and how it will help your staff grow into higher-level positions.

 

2. Automate the Easy Stuff First

The most important automation tool at your disposal is the task manager and task scheduler. Choose rote tasks that require little or no human input. Automating the easy stuff will also help you walk the talk and build a culture that is not reluctant to embrace automation.

 

3. Document Everything

A good Customer Relationship Management tool will help you document everything you do with each customer: where you began, what you’ve spent, what the results are and what the next goals should be. Organizations that don’t properly document their projects often take how far they’ve come for granted and become tempted to pull the trigger on projects that may yield large ROIs later on.

 

4. Batch Processing

One way to make your business run efficiently is to batch processing. Batch processing can be defined as the grouping of activities and doing them all at once instead of spreading them out throughout the day. Examples of processes that can be batched include paying bills, social media posting, emailing, and ordering supplies.

 

5. Monitor & Adjust

In order to evaluate how the process of automation impacts the company, it is necessary to define the performance indicators that you hope to improve with the initiative, comparing the results of the current scenario with the ones after the change. Choose the most important metrics for your business, which will show the performance of the company towards the strategic objectives. This will allow for more accurate testing and greater control of the processes.

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12 Ways To Increase Productivity

I was rebranding my Pinterest page this weekend when I received a notification from the social network that I could upgrade my account to Pinterest for Business. I came across this very interesting infographic titled “12 Ways to Increase Productivity”. As a content marketer, I was immediately inclined to share it with my readers:

productivity infographic

 

(c) successfulgroupsystem.com

Browsing through the methods for increasing productivity, number seven was the first one to stand out from the crowd. I am a proponent of the Pomodoro Technique and this technique is at the heart of my strategy for staying productive at work everyday.

 

What is Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique that assists users, like me, with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less interruptions and little exhaustion.

The process is simple. For every project throughout the day, you allot your time into short intervals and take breaks in between. Essentially, you work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, Italian for tomato. After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a break (15-20 min). The technique encourages its users to use a timer to ensure maximum productivity.

Every time you finish an interval, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had a tendency or push to switch gears to work on  to another task. Your goal is to eliminate  or reduce those tendencies as time goes by.

Try it for yourself or perhaps you want to know more about InfoFlo’s Task Management feature?

InfoFlo’s Task Manager allows you to create and manage your tasks or ‘pomodoros’ as the Italians like to call them.  Users can easily attach files, set email and pop up reminders, share tasks, set priority levels, tag by type or status, and more. Check out our video for more information on task management.

 

About Carmel Vision

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Our flagship product, InfoFlo – is a central management system specifically designed to combat one of the biggest technical challenges facing any professional organization, how to efficiently organize, archive, filter and search the vital information that bombards our desktops on a daily basis. Our infrastructure allows all office activities to coexist together under one umbrella, making all critical information readily available at your fingertips.

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4 Secrets to a Stellar Business Presentation

One of the best ways to succeed at owning a business is to acquire top-notch presentation skills.  Use these tips to get your next stellar presentation well underway.

1. Creatively Transfer Enthusiasm

It goes without saying, the boring presentations are often the ones that convey the least enthusiasm. Presenting a monotone, or overly wordy Power Point can leave an audience feeling their valuable time has been wasted. If you’re thrilled about your business strategy or product, find creative ways to transfer that enthusiasm to your audience, so that they can be, too.

2. Use Impact Stories and Anecdotes

Of course, this doesn’t mean spewing lengthy historical run-downs or sharing company quips that really only make sense to employees and co-workers. What it does mean is submitting relevant background that makes powerful impact and succeeds at bringing presentation points home.  These will serve to illustrate your position in a practical and down-to-earth way.

3. Bring in Meaningful Props or Statistics

That perfect photo or even a product prototype never hurts to spruce up an otherwise mediocre business presentation. Props give presenters a chance to be creative and to give their presentation personality. They also help visual learners in the audience identify quickly with the subject matter. Plus, they lend a degree of variance to what the audience eye beholds, keeping things interesting and on-point.

4. Use Natural Delivery Techniques

Relaxed body language and simple diction convey a sense of everyday charm to audiences – even in business.  The corporate world is full of formal stiffness and robotic sound-bites. Make a difference and stand out with a delivery style that’s both natural and professional. By rehearsing several times before the presentation, this style can easily be mastered in no time.

 

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