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8 Simple Ways to Cut Customer Service Costs (Hint: Use Pinterest)

Simplicity.  We all want simplicity, right?  As customers we want simplicity when we have an issue.  We want to contact customer service at the time it is convenient for us.  We want to connect with customer service using the channel of our choice.  After all, we are the customer.  As business owners and managers, we want efficiency.  We want to cut costs through reduced call time, first call resolution, etc.  Ironically, there is an easy way to meet the expectations of both customers and businesses: use Pinterest.  Not sure how to do that, read on to learn 8 Simple Ways to Use Pinterest for Customer Service.Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.56.29 AM

Pinterest continues to be popular and contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is not just for women.  In fact, when a businesses uses Pinterest properly they have access to a very powerful tool.  Depending on what research you use, we know that at least 65% of the population are visual learners.  So, as managers, let’s leverage Pinterest to reduce costs while also meeting (or exceeding) customer expectations.

1.  FAQ Boards

What are the questions asked most frequently by customers?  Every business has a list.  Sometimes it is available on the website, sometimes not.  While this is good, many websites have become labyrinths to navigate.  Why not make it easy and have a Board for “just” FAQs on your Pinterest Page?

2.  How-To Boards

As businesses move away from printing user manuals and/or how-to guides, create a board specifically for your visual representations of your products.  The visual aspect will always be appreciated.

3.  Special Offers or Sales

There are two great opportunities with this type of board.  Customers are rewarded for visiting your Pinterest page and will be able to see special offers and or sales at any given time with great visuals.

Additionally, businesses that use the merchant version of Pinterest can make use of the automatic alerts for specials and price changes that go direct to those following your boards.

4.  Customer Board

Creating a customer board can showcase how your customers are using your products.  Such boards not only give your customers new ideas, but they act as testimonials of your product at the same time.  Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.57.21 AM

5.  Contests

Another way to reward customers who focus on your Pinterest page, is to have contests that originate on Pinterest.  This is a great way to inform and educate customers about all the great content and resources available for them.  Giving them a great one-spot source will ensure that they visit your Pinterest page frequently.

6. Customer Insights

Want to really learn about your customers and the things that are interesting to them? Take a look at their boards.  Use this information to build better boards for them to use on your page.

7.  Collaboration Tool

Want to really impress your customers and show that you are listening and want their input to improve customer service.  Create a collaboration board.  Invite your customers to pin ideas, information and issues directly.  The key of course is to monitor and act in a timely fashion.

8.  Product Reviews

Want to really demonstrate your confidence in both your product and your customer service?  Have a product review board.  Let your customers share their experience. Not only will you learn new insights, but you will build trust and create ambassadors for your product.  Product reviews occur outside your marketing channels, but when you create an environment inside your environment, you demonstrate confidence, openness and the willingness to listen to others.

These are some simple ways to cut your customer service costs, while increasing communication with your customers and reaching out to them in the channel they prefer.  What are your thoughts.  Have you tried Pinterest?

5 KPIs Every Small Business Needs to Know

Let’s face it, running a small business is challenging but exhilarating!  There are many initiatives that need your focus and many others that take your attention.  When it comes to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), there are many that you need to know and understand, but here are 5 to really focus on when just getting started:

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

1. Cost per acquisition (CPA)

With limited budgets, knowing where to focus your marketing dollars is critical.  Spending on the right media is essential.  Therefore, knowing your CPA will help you focus your limited dollars.

For help calculating your CPA, check out ClickZ

2.  Customer churn

Do you know how many customers are repeat customers?  Keeping customers is far more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.  While you need both for a business to thrive, you need to focus some attention on keeping customers.  Churn measures the percentage of customers that leave during a given period of time.

While there are different ways to calculate churn, check out  Churn-Rate 101 to get you started.

 3.  Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)

While there are different inputs to calculate a CSI, companies should be looking at what is important to their business and to their customers and ranking that performance.  For example, you may consider response time, safety messaging, and transaction accuracy as your top areas where you wish to measure customer satisfaction.

A CSI is a great way to take a pulse of customer experience and learn what areas of the business may need improvement.

To learn more about CSIs, check out the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

4.  Lifetime Value (LTV)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, LTV is worth much more.  LTV estimates the value of customer-worth to your company.  For example, if you charge a monthly subscription or maintenance fee, you will want to find out how long the average customer will actually be a customer.

To calculate LTV, check out this article on Entepreneur.com

5.  Operating Cash Flow 

The operating cash flow ratio is one of the most important cash flow ratios. It is a clear indication of how money moves into and out of the company and how the company pays its bills.  Understanding your cash flow will help you understand just how liquid your business is and how quick you can move.

These of course are just five of the many business KPIs that are important to a business, but they are great ones to think about when just starting out.

For more small business tips, visit www.taylormadecanada.com