Welcome to the first issue of the Virtual Assistant/Home Business Blog Carnival! We’ve had a great response for the first time and there are some wonderful articles linked below. This will be a weekly carnival. If you would like to participate, just keep an eye out for the weekly call for blog posts and submit your article. Now, on to the carnival! (note: all links below will open in a new window)
- Janet B of Organized Assistant provides some great free online tools that are quick and easy to use.
- Kathie of VA Directory provides a simple tip to help you work out who you paid money to when you forgot to write it down!
- MBB of Money Blue Book Personal Finance Blog tells you how to get a virtual business office for cheap or free.
- MBB of Money Blue Book Personal Finance Blog tells you how to obtain business credit for your small business.
- Laurie of Halo Secretarial Services discusses that solo entrepreneurs need to use an assistant to be successful.
- James Lee of Online Business Freedom presents a summary of The Journey of Entrepreneurship Event at USC.
- Fred Black of Fred Black: Internet Business Blog tells you If You Can’t Sell Crap-In-A-Box, You Ain’t Selling!.
- Cindy King talks about The Phases Of Cultural Communication You Go Through To Increase International Sales.
Want to participate in upcoming carnivals? Submit your article here.
by Eliezer Gonzalez
For those business owners who realize the true importance and wish to help themselves keep the customers that they have as well as add to their client base, there are many different ways to promote customer retention. Some businesses will find certain ways more successful than others and the best way to truly know their success is to try them all. The following are some of the more successful ways of pursuing customer retention when it comes to one’s business.
One way to promote customer retention is to offer products and services which clients want. The best way to go about this concept is to look at the products which your business sells or services that your business offers and determine what the general consumer public is truly looking for in that category of item or service. In order to gain this insight you and your company representatives should engage in various forms of research so that you may discover what individuals are buying. Perusing the Internet, taking surveys, reading business venture magazines on popular products and taking note of your stock and what is being sold can all aid in figuring out which products and services customers want. By knowing what your customers want from your business, you will ultimately be able to keep the customers that you have by providing them with their desired items.
Another very important way of promoting customer retention is to provide top-notch customer service to your clients. Customers want to shop at stores and deal with businesses which cater to their needs. These individuals want to purchase items at stores where the employees are friendly and helpful. For the owners of online businesses, customers who utilize these businesses to purchase items and obtain services want to have easy access to customer service representatives whenever they need it and for whatever reason they request such assistance for with regard to the business relationship. Whether dealing with customers via the telephone, Internet or in person, providing helpful, friendly service is a key component to retaining customers.
And beyond the customer service, there are the crucial issues of how regularly you stay in touch with you customers, and whether you do this in relevant, meaningful, personalised way. Of course, you need to make sure that your customer data is up to date!
Online accessibility these days is another important customer retention tool. As more and more individuals become Internet savvy, having access to businesses via the World Wide Web is an ideal notion to many customers. If your business is one which can be technologically advanced in the form of Internet access and website capabilities, it is a wise idea to do so as more customers will tend to stay with a company that is up with today’s technology. Although the mom and pop shops of the past have a unique character to them, the truth of the matter is that technology is advancing and so should businesses if they hope to keep their customers.
An additional factor which can determine whether a business keeps the customers that they have is the price of the goods or services offered. For most individuals, the price is the make or break component which will dictate whether they stay with their regular company that they deal with or move on to a new one which offers better deals. Since many individuals live on a budget, price is an extremely important factor. A business which offers competitive pricing is much more likely to retain customers than one which does not.
The location of the business is another factor to consider with regard to retaining customers. If the business is located in a far away place where customers may have a difficult time getting to and from the location, this may lead to customers leaving the business for one which is more accessible. As mentioned above, Internet capabilities may also play a part in retaining customers as the physical location of the store may not be an issue if the company offers online access, ordering and service. Also, a business which has more than one location may be more likely to see customer retention than one which has a single locale.
copyright notice © 2008 Sumit Pty Ltd All rights reserved. Eliezer Gonzalez has written and edited several books and numerous articles. The article may be copied and used freely. For More Information: http://www.retentionofcustomers.com
by Stephanie Foster
Spring is here and I’m already thinking about summer. In my area that’s easy, since days get over 80 degrees F with some regularity already. But summer presents some challenges to living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Today I’d like to share some of my tips for keeping cool during the summer without using a lot of electricity.
Tip #1: Set the air conditioner thermostat to 78 or higher (if you use it in the first place)
The higher you set the thermostat, the less energy you’re going to use, obviously. If you’re finding it difficult to endure a warmer house, work your way up to it. Remember that people got along for a very long time with no air conditioning at all.
My own thermostat is typically set somewhere over 80, but the air conditioner is also generally turned off. You can get used to very warm temperatures if you don’t insist on adapting to air conditioned temperatures.
Tip #2: Try to keep the house from getting hot in the first place.
Good insulation really helps, but another key is to keep the heat from coming in through the windows. I have old cardboard boxes from the last time we moved. As the days get warmer, they get put into windows to help keep the heat out. More ambitious people cover cardboard with black cloth or aluminum foil to keep still more heat out.
Curtains also help. My office gets direct sunlight all morning in summer through the French doors, which are much harder to block with cardboard. But heavy curtains, sometimes supplemented by a sheet or blanket on really hot days, do quite a bit to control the heat.
Tip #3: Use fans.
While fans don’t really cool a room, they do make it feel cooler, and they use much less electricity than air conditioners. Ceiling fans are my own preference, but portable ones are nice if you don’t have a ceiling fan available.
Tip #4: Dress in cool, light clothes.
Should be obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that lighter and more breathable fabrics really are more comfortable in warm weather. Cotton can be wonderfully comfortable.
Tip #5: Install or start using a clothesline.
In some areas this is more challenging than others, as homeowners’ associations often have rules against clotheslines, but do the best you can. If you can’t have one outside, take advantage of the warmth of your house and use clothesracks indoors. Line drying is gentler on clothes and is very kind to your power bills.
Tip #6: Think before you cook.
During the summer my crockpot gets a lot of use because it doesn’t heat the house the way the oven does. And of course there’s always grilling outside or even using a solar oven. There are a lot of resources online on how to build your own solar oven, or of course you can buy one.
Tip #7: Drink a lot of water.
You will feel better if you keep yourself well hydrated. Get a good quality water bottle that you can keep filled throughout the day. You can keep a bottle of water in the fridge or just use tap water and ice cubes to ensure easy access to a cold drink of water all day long.
Obviously, don’t buy individual plastic water bottles from the grocery store if you’re trying to be green about it. If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water it’s better to get a filter for it. Filtered water is still cheaper than buying it from the store.
There’s plenty more you can do, depending on the commitment you want to make, but these tips should help you to get started. Long term possibilities include things such as planting trees or adding insulation to your home. Now is a good time to start so you’re ready before the weather really heats up.