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B2B Sales

Building a Better Brand with Customer Service

Building a Better Brand with Customer Service

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service | No Comments

Communicating with your customers directly is one of the most effective ways a business can improve their brand and global outlook. Marketing efforts can only get you so far. Once a customer makes, or is close to making, a purchase, it is time to put extra effort in satisfying them in order to build a customer base that keeps returning for more. This is where customer service enters the picture.

Up to 76% of customers base their decision to make a purchase on their customer service experience. A large portion of revenue is reliant on communication and building relationships rather than product development. Some of the largest companies such as Apple and Google have now begun investing more in public relations and communication rather than R&D.

Brand quality is unmistakably tied to customer satisfaction. In this blog, we’ll be sharing how, in our experience, customer service can help companies improve their outlook.

Customer Trust

According to one research, direct human interaction is the biggest sales driver in a business. While automated customer response systems have certainly shown their potential, nothing comes close to a person directly talking to your customers. It is the reason why more than 91% of callers in any given customer service opt to speak directly to a representative rather than choose an extension. When asked why in multiple surveys, customers consistently responded that they find a company more trustworthy if they got a chance to speak directly with a person.

Trust is perhaps the biggest asset that a company can build. Having great products or services is one thing, making customers confident enough to make a purchase is a completely separate challenge. Customer support helps create that much needed bridge between sales and acquisition.

For online stores, high quality ecommerce customer support is imperative for building brand reliability. With ecommerce seeing its highest growth in the last 5 years, online users now have more options than ever when it comes to buying products online. With competition at its peak, the best way to stand out is with excellent customer service that understands and speaks to your target audience.

Any automated solution such as chat-bot or auto-responders will simply never be enough to gain customer trust. A well-trained call center or remote agent will always be the best representatives to connect your customers with.

Retention

In our experience, most businesses struggle with keeping existing customers returning for more. After customers have made their first purchase, most of them tend to bounce off without much explanation. Customers that stay tend to make more purchases than new ones and, therefore, are your most valuable client-base.

Retention can be achieved in a number of ways. The usual approach is to consistently create and diversify new products or services in order to attract your existing customers to try some of your other offerings. But perhaps the best and easiest strategy to retain customers is by consistently communicating with them, hearing their issues and then by responding in a timely manner. This is made simpler with customer service.

From a cost perspective, it is always a much better idea to keep your focus on retention. In one survey, it was found that companies would have to spend almost 700% more to find and gain new customers rather than keep the existing ones. Because of this, many businesses are now putting more focus on retention rather than acquisition. With a lower customer churn, companies can not only improve their trust factor, but also substantially reduce cost. And as mentioned above, the best way to increase retention is by having high quality customer support ready to respond 24/7.

Technology-Driven Insight

Customer service is more than just for answering calls and resolving complaint tickets. It is one of the best places to start when trying to understand your customers better. Call centers that utilize modern VoIP software usually have customer management tools retrofitted with their technology stack. This means that most agents aren’t just responding to phone calls and messages, they are also helping to maintain customer data. Everything from product preferences, demographics and common complaints are stored by contact centers for use by marketing and sales. This can allow many businesses to find key areas where their service is lacking or discover new opportunities.

When directly talking with customers, representatives can further solicit feedback with common questions to find what they like, why they chose and why they decide to stay with a brand. This allows companies to hone in on their unique selling points and find out how to further improve their offerings. Ideation is always fueled by insight and feedback. And customer support is perhaps the best way to unlock all that information.

Winning a Losing Customer

It is inevitable that companies will often face irate customers and unhappy buyers. A company’s ability to turn them into life-long consumers is what differentiates an average business from a forward-thinking and successful business. The only way to do this is by having exceptional customer service. Oftentimes the best response to unsatisfied customers is to simply talk to them, understand their pain-points and resolve their issues with kind words and a smile.

In one research, it was found that up to 80% of customers will return or continue doing business if their customer service experience was rated ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’. Most companies tend to bleed customers due to minor issues. For example, online stores observe a big drop in sales if there is a hosting issue that slows down their site. However, active customer support can quickly inform consumers of this issue, preventing them from abandoning their service. It is not easy to elegantly handle unsatisfied customers. Call centers need to have experienced agents that are properly trained and coached.

Conclusion

Building a high quality and effective customer support for your business is a challenging undertaking. For those who are inexperienced, it can be difficult to know where to start. With IdeasUnlimited, our goal is to help you streamline this process so you can start your very own customer service operation as fast as possible. Everything from deployment to extension can be handled by our experienced team who have served over 500 clients from around the world for more than 12 years.

For more information, be sure to visit our call center service page. And to get started, head over to our contact page and let us know how we can help.

Inflation: Strategies for Small & Medium Businesses

By | B2B Sales, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Globalization | No Comments

One of the inevitable consequences of COVID that many anticipated is the economic damage that would be inflicted on the globe due to supply shock. With an increase of over 8%, Inflation has managed to reach a new peak over the last 4 decades. Aside from homemakers, even small to medium-sized firms face significant challenges. Research shows that many company managers (almost 33%) main concern is the spike in cost. Many company owners have had to devise new ways of escaping inflation’s grip over their business. While there’s no silver-bullet approach for dealing with inflation, there are many proactive measures that can be implemented to minimize its effect.

History has proven that while inflation is inevitable in an overheated economy, it is always temporary and is, infact, a precursor of an economic boom. The only question is, are businesses prepared to navigate through it? Raising prices, compromising quality and cutting-cost is a typical response in most organizations. While they might help, it’s important to ask yourself the following:

  • Are your customers upset over the price increase?
  • Is it harder for your workers to deliver results?
  • Do the above steps hurt your brand?

While inflation is a precarious time for businesses around the world, we always implore companies to respond to it optimistically. With a plan in hand, inflation can turn into an opportunity for SMB’s to grow, mature and improve. IdeasUnlimited is no stranger to inflation and has devised many strategies to mitigate its effects. In this blog, we will be sharing some of what we have learned not just from our experience, but from our clients as well.

Give New Talent a Chance

While enterprises announce massive lay-offs during inflation, we’ve seen the complete opposite happening in some of the smaller companies. SMB’s tend to go on a hiring frenzy during inflation for two main reasons. One, unemployment from the economic downturn places many high caliber and talented workers in the job market that smaller companies can bring onboard. And two, teaming up some of the older workers with new hires brings fresh, out-of-the-box ideas to the table that injects some much needed innovation and creativity into a company.

What’s unique about COVID is how it has elevated work-from-home to a new level. Thanks to the world-wide adoption of remote workforce, it is now easier than ever for companies to find workers from all over the globe to join their ranks. By hiring from other regions, companies can diversify their staff without raising their cost.

Tread Lightly when Increasing Prices

According to a survey, even when faced with a price increase in raw materials, transportation, or equivalent mid-level commodity, SMBs are hesitant to raise their rates promptly. In almost every case, price increase has a direct impact on customer retention so companies must be very careful where they target their price increase. A very simple rule of thumb is this; never change price on your most popular product or service. A great example is Costco’s $1.50 hotdog that has remained the same price for over 30 years. Despite taking loss, Costco knows that the $1.50 hotdog brings in customers that eventually buy their other products.

Your most popular product or service is usually catering to newer customers while your more loyal buyers are purchasing other things. Those are the ones who will usually understand and empathize with your need for price increase.

Cut Cost Smartly

Cost cutting is one of the most common techniques for dealing with inflation and bringing down production expenses. However, it can also backfire if not done properly. Many SMBs don’t take the time to analyze each of their value-adding operations carefully and thus end up cutting costs somewhere that compromise their brand. For example, many IT companies tend to cut costs in customer support during inflation. But reduction in customer satisfaction can be disastrous and could potentially lead to irreparable damage to a brand that has taken years or even decades to build.

IdeasUnlimited has seen the incredible cost-saving advantages of simply shifting to a remote work environment. Not only does your company save money on office space, it also allows workers to be more productive. SMB’s can also look at alternative software solutions to save on license fees and subscription costs.

Keep a Close Eye on your Finances

Normally, accounting analysis is done on a quarterly basis. During inflation, we suggest changing it to monthly. It’s important to constantly watch your finances since one may not fully understand exactly where cost is going up. For example, ecommerce, one of the most popular choices of startups, tends to forget the one thing that jumps in cost the most; delivery. Particular in this inflation we find ourselves in, rising fuel costs have put the burden most on delivery for online stores.

With so many industries and fields, it can be tricky to pinpoint exactly where the cost of operation is rising.  As a result, many tend to panic and cut costs everywhere they can. Inflation is the perfect time to slow down and self-evaluate. The best way to do that is by analyzing your financial report more frequently.

Invest in your Future

As we said before, inflation is simply a moment in time. As currency devalues, it gives everyone an opportunity to start investing. As mentioned above, one place where many companies invest is simply in themselves by hiring newer employees. But there’s so much more that can be done.

SMBs diversify and pivot during inflation in order to try new product or service lineups. This particular inflation has opened the door wide open for outsourcing. Because of this, more SMBs are hiring third parties and remote workers for their company. When inflation passes and costs stabilize, one will look back at how they built a strong foundation.

Conclusion

These strategies will assist you in minimizing the negative impact on your business. Switching your onsite business to remote or semi-remote is one of the simplest and most actionable steps that our readers can take. Deploying remote support is fast, cost-effective and carries minimal risk. Get started today with IdeasUnlimited by contacting us for more information on how your business can thrive during inflation. We’ve been in the business for over a decade and offer affordable call center services, healthcare answering services, virtual assistant services, and a variety of other services.

How TravelWifi Went Global

By | Administrative Support, B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Customer Service, Technical Support, Technical Support | No Comments

Within 10 years, TravelWifi grew from a London-based portable WiFi hotspot to one that provides fast and reliable internet in 100+ countries. Propelling this explosive growth are the twin engines of an exceptional product and 24/7 customer service through IdeasUnlimited.

Introduction

With coverage in over 100 countries, including many with notoriously bad connectivity like Bolivia and even Iraq, TravelWifi (formerly Tep Wireless) is one of the world’s most reliable portable WiFi providers. Partnering with IdeasUnlimited for support services since 2011 has allowed TravelWifi to focus on expanding its customer base and increasing coverage.

TravelWifi; Global Pocket WiFi

In 2011, the founders of TravelWifi envisioned leveraging the power of global internet to create the ultimate travel companion; one both for avid travelers and for those who merely wish to remain connected when traveling abroad. It was from this vision that the Teppy was born; a portable WiFi device that allowed people to remain digitally connected when traveling out of the country, without racking up huge roaming charges.

TravelWifi entered a market hungry for the sort of device that reliably gave you fast access to the internet on multiple devices, no matter where you went. It nullified the stress of figuring out how you’re going to remain connected while planning trips. The very nature of the device meant that from the get-go, customer excellence was entrenched in device performance and after-sales service. Therefore, soon after launch in 2011, TravelWifi reached out to IdeasUnlimited for taking over some of its support needs.

How IdeasUnlimited Handled Support

In order to meet rapidly increasing coverage requirements and the demands of an exploding customer base, TravelWifi decided to invest in 24/7 coverage for support. Customers could thus reach out and obtain help at all hours of the day. While TravelWifi’s internal team handled day hours, IdeasUnlimited took on night coverage 7 days a week for customer support, tier 1 technical support, and order processing.

A new startup, like TravelWifi in 2011, requires a partner that goes beyond the brief while it quickly adapts services and processes to market feedback. TravelWifi did just that; and found the partner it needed in IdeasUnlimited. As TravelWifi experimented with platforms, support services, and resources, IdeasUnlimited recruited agents for 24/7 coverage, backend support, logistics support, chat and email support.

Throughout the first couple of years of TravelWifi finding its footing and changing training platforms and materials, the challenge for IdeasUnlimited was finding the right agents, helping with training, and motivating them to stay with the burgeoning project for the long run. IdeasUnlimited’s dedicated recruitment team threw itself into the task of putting together the right team that could adapt to frequent schedule changes and new learning material. Its HR management provided incentives, boosted morale, and reduced stress as workers provided 24/7 coverage during the holiday season, and swiftly scaled up coverage for the project as support needs increased.

Enhancing Value through Customer Service

TravelWifi and IdeasUnlimited’s relationship throughout the years has grown and diversified to become a true partnership; one where IdeasUnlimited is part of TravelWifi’s expansion strategies. Today, the services IdeasUnlimited provides to TravelWifi encompass the following:

  1. 24/7 customer support
  2. Multilingual support
  3. Billing support
  4. Technical support
  5. Backend support
  6. Logistics support
  7. Ecommerce support
  8. Admin support, and
  9. Quality Assurance

By drawing on a global talent pool, IdeasUnlimited schedules 24/7 customer support for all of TravelWifi’s customer support platforms. 26 of IdeasUnlimited’s agents are assigned to TravelWifi’s projects. These agents expertly handle chat support, call support, and email customer support 24/7. Customer support is currently provided in 3 world languages: English, French, and Arabic. IdeasUnlimited’s recruitment team recruits bilingual and multilingual agents to reduce training costs and increase flexibility across platforms. These IdeasUnlimited agents take brilliant care of the customer at every stage of their interaction with TravelWifi.

A dedicated scheduling manager makes sure that the required number of agents are available at each shift, even with sudden increases or decreases in the working hours for TravelWifi. On shifts where extra workers are not available to cover increased hours, managers step in and work on the shift to ensure that all customers have assistance.

At IdeasUnlimited, Team Leads, Project Leads, Project Managers, and Operations Managers all keep an eye on the project performance at different levels. Alongside that, we have a dedicated Quality Assurance team, who in their objective capacity as outside assessors, closely monitor calls, emails, and chats. This combination of oversight ensures that each customer service agent has feedback at every step of the process, and any errors are rectified in real time.

Team Leads and Project Leads for the TravelWifi project have come up with a performance matrix, customized to TravelWifi’s brand. This is used to grade each agent’s performance, identify weak areas, and work to overcome them.

The Performance Matrix starts with identifying specific situations where errors occur, then eliminating those errors by preparing the customer service agents for those situations. It pushes the envelope and encourages the agents to strive for greater excellence by focusing on customer happiness within a call or chat. This, in turn, improves TravelWifi’s customer satisfaction.

IdeasUnlimited’s quality assurance team provides a fully customized quality assurance experience to TravelWifi’s projects. Real-time quality assurance analysis has helped TravelWifi as a brand increase its value to customers. It has made customer support and feedback an integral part of the brand, assuring that the brand message going through to customers is consistent across all agents and times.

Hence, TravelWifi and IdeasUnlimited have grown together. IdeasUnlimited has been providing omnichannel support to TravelWifi for years, growing the support operations as TravelWifi’s operations have expanded.

The TravelWifi support project has been scaled up to meet demand; call volume has soared from approximately 100 per month in February 2012 to over 4600 per month in September 2019. Chat volume has risen exponentially as well. Despite this swift scale-up, IdeasUnlimited’s TravelWifi agent support ratings have always been consistently high. That is because the combination of best-in-class recruitment policies, consistent training, and constant project management support and oversight that IdeasUnlimited provides, create a support work environment where excellence prevails.

Here are some of the reviews for the customer support IdeasUnlimited provided for TravelWifi.

Long-Term Project Management; Minimal Turnover

One of the major problems with operating in the customer support industry is the high turnover, which amplifies recruitment, onboarding, and training costs, while at the same time lowering productivity. IdeasUnlimited’s unique remote workforce optimization model focuses not only on hiring the best talent for the project, but also overseeing their work, and motivating them to consider the project they are working on as a long-term career, instead of a stepping-stone.

IdeasUnlimited’s recruitment policies ensure that hiring the right customer service representative for a project is a short process since HR department takes note of the client requirements for any open position and draws on a global database of skilled agents.

For the TravelWifi project, IdeasUnlimited has dedicated workers and management at one of its call centers in South Asia, as well as a remote workforce. The IdeasUnlimited management is responsible for the performance and productivity of talent recruited for the TravelWifi project, in several languages, and across several time zones. Once recruited, agents are shadowed by Subject Matter Experts to ensure that they are implementing the learning material and guiding the clients in a manner best representative of TravelWifi as a brand.

As the agents learn, their performance is periodically reviewed by the Subject Matter Experts, the Customer Support Manager, and the Quality Assurance Analyst. Their performance reviews are directly linked to bonuses, appreciation ceremonies, and other markers of professional achievement. Eventually, they can be promoted to Subject Matter Experts themselves. The TravelWifi project currently has 7 Subject Matter Experts, each of whom have been working on the TravelWifi project for several years. They know the ins and outs of the product, logistics, potential problems and resolutions, and personify TravelWifi the brand when dealing with clients.

IdeasUnlimited’s partnership with TravelWifi across all functions of support covers each aspect of project management. IdeasUnlimited’s long history as a global support services provider has enabled it to fulfill any gaps that TravelWifi needs filled as the business grows and more support functions have to be delineated.

The TravelWifi brand, with added value through IdeasUnlimited customer service, kept increasing its market share and value throughout the years, eventually becoming an attractive acquisition target. In October 2018, it was acquired by US-based DHI Telecom to expand DHI’s international market beyond Sapphire. TravelWifi Wireless now operates as a subsidiary brand under the DHI Telecom umbrella.

In 2019, DHI Telecom acquired South America-based Trinus, France-based Travel WiFi, and Singapore-based Yogofi Mobile Wi-Fi. Tep and Travel WiFi were then later combined to form TravelWifi. The customer support operations of all five brands are being handled by IdeasUnlimited. In addition to this, IdeasUnlimited now handles TravelWifi and Sapphire’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 tech support as well.

In the spirit of complete collaboration and a synergistic partnership, DHI Telecom visited IdeasUnlimited’s call center in South Asia for a training workshop in November 2019. They met the agents and managers working on their project, along with IdeasUnlimited’s CEO.

Freedom to Focus on the Core Business: Support Quality Assured

With IdeasUnlimited’s help, TravelWifi has grown into one of the foremost providers of global pocket WiFi. TravelWifi, by focusing on its core service, has exploded in growth and reached a standard of excellence few young companies can boast of this early in their lifecycle. TravelWifi specializes in what it does best, and IdeasUnlimited assures it of extraordinary support quality. In the future, the sky’s the limit.

IdeasUnlimited looks forward to crossing future milestones together with TravelWifi.

“We would love to continue to assist them in their growth,” says Shahzad Yaqoob (Nick), Founder and Managing Director of IdeasUnlimited. “TravelWifi is one of the projects that have been very close to me personally from the beginning. I have always worked on it as it was my own and also taught the agents to do the same.”

At IdeasUnlimited, we simplify running a successful business by fulfilling all its support needs. We deliver support systems that diversify our clients’ value propositions and increase their brand value. Take this chance to check out all the support services we provide, and, if there is any project that you think we can help with, feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to use SEO to be on Top of Google

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Social Media | No Comments

Whether you’re new to SEO or just looking to refresh your fundemantals, you’re in the right place.

Google’s search engine algorithm is one of the world’s best kept secrets. Years of updates have ensured that it’s secrecy remains intact while also forcing marketers to constantly change their approach.

Through many years of trial and experimentation, people have slowly figured out how the algorithm works (though not a 100%). One thing that is for sure though is that the best practices for SEO are constantly changing.

Being tasked with ranking up your website can be daunting, especially if you don’t know where to begin. The plethora of updates to the algorithm certainly doesn’t make learning SEO any easier.

In this blog, I will attempt to present a clear, no-frills guide on how you can get started with optimizing your website, content or any other digital channels to become popular on Google. So here we go.

Keywords

This one’s a no-brainer and something everyone is tired of hearing. So let’s just get it out of the way first; keywords!

Here’s a quick summary on keywords. Try to guess what people are typing into Google the most. Add those phrases to your website. The better you guess, the higher your website ranks on Google’s search index. All digital content should be focused around keywords. This is SEO-101.

Of course, no one will ever be able to accurately predict what 4 billion internet users are typing into Google. Later we will touch on some of the ways you can improve your guessing game. For now, remember that keywords are just tools. Using them is one thing, using them correctly is another. Keep your keywords clean, simple, relevant and pleasant. Here’s a quick test: 

WHAT’S A GREAT HOME PAGE TITLE FOR A “FLOWER SHOP”?

a. ‘Splendid Botany Emporium’

b. ‘Gift Beautiful Flowers’

c. ‘Affordable Flower Shop Selling the Best Flowers for Flower Lovers’

d. ‘The Flower Shop’

A common rookie mistake is overusing keywords or ‘keyword stuffing’. Some are tempted to go all-in by adding a ton of keywords on a single page and hope that one of them lands a click. If you’re one of these people, you’ve got a lot to learn.

Quality Over Quantity

As of 2011’s Panda algorithm update, Google has shifted its focus towards favoring high quality, low volume content. This essentially makes keyword stuffing obsolete.

Why am I mentioning an update from almost 10 years ago? Because it is shocking how many out there are still cramming keywords in their content!

So if you haven’t figured out by now, ‘c’ is absolutely the wrong answer in the above exercise. Why is that? Because Google’s search algorithm will think that it’s too aggressive and redundant. A better way to describe it would be ‘desperate for attention’. The 2011 update will make sure that such pages appear as low as possible in the search result.

Moral of the story; avoid keyword stuffing. It’s an archaic practice that needs to be forgotten as soon as possible.

Google Trends

While we’re on the subject of keywords, let’s talk about Google Trends. It is the bread and butter in the life of a digital marketer.

So far we’ve learned that keywords are good, but too many keywords are bad. So the question is how do you focus your keywords and pick the right one?

This is where online keyword research tools come in handy. Many of them require a premium but Google themselves have kindly provided Google Trends; a free keyword analysis website. Simply plug in the keyword and instantly see its popularity anywhere in the world.

I personally use Trends to polish my content to be as SEO friendly as possible. Here’s an example.

Let’s say you are writing content for an online shopping website. A common keyword you may want to focus on is ‘e-commerce’. However, many prefer typing ‘ecommerce’ (without the dash). So which one should you use? This is where Google Trends can help. A quick comparison reveals the following:

‘E-commerce’ performs much better than ‘ecommerce’, therefore this is the one to use. Small optimization tricks like this can make a big difference.

Backlinks

Stepping away from keywords, let’s talk about links. One way Google ranks a page higher or lower is by checking if other websites link to it. It makes sense if you think about it. If others are referring to a page, then surely it must be good.

Google sees backlinks as a seal of approval. Having others link to you is a powerful way to get into Google’s good graces.

Inversely, external links can also help (but not as much as backlinks). If you know a credible website that could help your visitors, add a link to it. Ideally, one external link should be enough on a single page but there are exceptions. Especially if you can create a link exchange. 

If someone else is willing to link to your website, you can link to theirs. This kind of link building activity can strongly improve your standing so add it to your daily to-do list.

Unlike keyword optimization, link building is a completely different type of work with it’s own set of challenges. You will need to rely purely on reaching out and connecting with others.

Link Building

Fortunately, marketers all over the world are actively looking for referrals and usually welcome a proposal for link exchange. So go out there and see which websites are most similar to yours. Invite them to connect with you while helping them out as well. You can email or send them a direct message on one of their socials. But keep your messages brief.

Normally, most marketers are quite welcoming to such offers since it’s an opportunity to boost their SEO ranking for free. But many are also careful. Especially if they are from a reputable website. They know the power of their backlinks and won’t be so receptive to a referral.

If there was a 100% successful playbook for link-building, trust me, I would share it with you. Truth is, link building takes time, patience and good old salesmanship. My suggestion would be to just start with a short list and see who responds and who doesn’t.

Keep Updating!

Google despises websites with low activity. Pages that don’t regularly update with new and exciting content will end up at the bottom of the search result ocean. Write blogs, announce news, update images. Whatever you do, just keep digital channels busy. 

According to our backend support research, it is best to add meaningful content at least 5 to 10 times a month with an extra emphasis on ‘meaningful’. Don’t just add content for the sake of it. Try to be engaging. Perhaps touch on a recent development in your industry. Or maybe guide folks that are new to your business. Show your audience that you care.

However, don’t get carried away with engagement. Remember, our goal is to beat the algorithm. Google is updating their search engine to recognize more meaningful content (as we discussed earlier with keyword stuffing). But it’s still not perfect.

When it comes to updates, it’s still a numbers game. Always keep the 5-10 quota rule in mind and just keep updating.

Watch for Bots!

While it would be nice to have only humans surfing the web, the reality is very different. Almost half the internet traffic is actually just bots (why else do you think all the websites keep asking you to prove that ‘I’m not a robot’?).

Bots are constantly crawling all over the internet, looking for any place they can plug in ads. If they are not dealt with swiftly, you will soon end up with a website cluttered with shady links. Bad external links are a serious red flag for Google.

Therefore, always stay vigilant for bots. They are more prevalent than you think and can substantially hurt your SEO ranking.

Plugins

If you are using a CMS to build your website, then be sure to take advantage of SEO plugins. There’s Yoast for WordPress and SEO Wiz for Wix. If you’re on a different platform, then be sure to see which plugins are compatible.

SEO plugins are incredibly handy but sorely underutilized. I’ve seen so many people blindly submitting content on WordPress pages without even paying attention to Yoast’s recommendations. Taking some time to improve your content based on SEO plugins certainly makes a difference.

In Conclusion

Hopefully there’s enough here to help you get started. But this shouldn’t be the end to your journey to understand SEO. As I said in the opening, Google constantly updates their search engine. So keep on learning!

We would also love to learn from you. Let us know in the comments below how you feel about SEO in today’s digital landscape. Also, be sure to check out our other blogs.

Get IU Ecommerce Support Services for the Holidays

Get Expert Ecommerce Support Services to Boost Sales This Holiday Season

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Ecommerce Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Holiday Season | 2 Comments

Hire ecommerce support services to stay ahead of the curve this holiday season. Holiday season sales can often eclipse the rest of the year’s sales combined, several times over. Holiday retail sales crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018 — up from 5.8% the year prior. So you need to make sure you are fully prepared to handle the surge of orders. You will naturally need skilled Ecommerce Support Services to help with ecommerce product research and listing, order processing and fulfillment, and ecommerce customer service.

We have compiled this simple checklist of items to ensure that you are fully prepared for this holiday season.

Holiday Sales in 2018 - IU Ecommerce Support Services

Your Holiday Season Preparation Checklist

Kick off your ecommerce strategy and marketing planning in September. Lead the market and don’t respond to trends and competitor strategies. Use this checklist to ensure that you are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the entire holiday season and especially the Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays.

Are you running a little late? That is perfectly all right! Jump to this section and see what you can do now to get expert ecommerce support services.

null Do Your Research:

1.   Review your marketing channels and see which were the most productive, which drove traffic but not sales, and which had the highest conversion rate. Multichannel customers spend 3 to 4 times more than single channel customers, so optimize your omnichannel strategy.

2.   Review your historical data to see which products were most popular in last year in the holiday season. Make sure you stock enough of these.

Cyber Monday Expected Sales - IU Ecommerce Support Services

3.   Do some ecommerce product research to find the hottest purchases this year and analyze your competitors’ product lines. Use this information to decide on your own product line for the season.

4.   Figure out which products in your store are purchased together and create discount bundles to encourage more purchases.

5.   Analyze the gaps in your ecommerce storefront and customer experience.

6.   Figure out how busy was your support desk during peak season last year and staff accordingly. Hire seasonal ecommerce support services to handle the overflow in the holiday season.

7.   Determine the biggest mistakes you made last year and how you can avoid them this year.

8.   All in all, conclude on the lessons learned and insights gained from last year. Use this research and analysis to fine-tune your strategy for the season.

null Look into Ecommerce Website Development:

1.   Minimize your website’s loading speed to ensure that visitors stay on your site.

2.   Ensure that the shopping cart is functional, secure the payment gateway, and make it look seasonal.

3.   The fewer clicks to purchase, the higher the conversion rate, so shorten your purchase process.

4.   Optimize your website’s mobile capabilities to further facilitate your shoppers’ experiences. This will maximize revenue in the holiday season.

5.   An ecommerce website development expert can handle all of this in a couple of days, so find one to suit your business’ needs today.

Importance of Website Loading Speed - IU Ecommerce Support Services

null Optimize Your Site for SEO

1.   Optimize your website for SEO after updating the images, keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions to help shoppers find your business in search results.

2.   Make sure to optimize them for the holiday season and include your promotion schemes to increase click-through rates (CTR).

3.   Create “evergreen” holiday URLs or revive ones you’ve used previously. If you use the same URLs year after year, you begin to accrue more authority to that particular page—which is crucial to SEO success. Go back to your analytics for last year and find out what URLs or landing pages you used for those events. Either re-enable the same URL or redirect it to a more permanent URL that you can use going forward.

4.   Avoid date specific URLs when you can. For example, in most instances /black-friday-sale/ is better than /black-friday-sale-2019/.

5.   Develop an internal linking strategy that increases the number of links to your key holiday landing pages.

6.   Work on your off-page ranking. A lot of SEO strategists make a grave mistake by emphasizing only your primary domain for their ranking efforts. Create and optimize video content around holiday keywords. Try running through a few of your priority keywords in search today, and see what sites and platforms turn up! You may be able to feature your content on these third-party websites to achieve rankings you may not otherwise have a shot at.

7.   Hire an SEO agent experienced in popular white-hat techniques to assist you today!

null Invest in a Mobile App: 

Mobile conversions are expected to outpace desktop conversions for the first time ever this year, so you must make sure that you have a mobile-friendly site. If most of your traffic originates from mobile devices, having an app will draw more customers.

1.   Your app should have key features such as enhanced in-app checkout options and personalized communication features.

2.   Targeted messaging through push notifications have a high success rate. Customize your app to send one-time push notifications for a specific product or service sale or discount. You can have ongoing ones for month-long or season-long events.

Jump in Mobile Commerce - IU Ecommerce Support Services

3.   Stick the landing by making sure product notifications and emails take customers to the product page. Cart notifications should take them to the cart.

null Engage the Best Ecommerce Support Services: 

Make sure you have experienced ecommerce support agents to handle each aspect of your business—from ecommerce customer service to product research and ecommerce product listing. They should also be experienced in handling the pressure of holiday sales.

null Accurately Plan Inventory:

Make sure you plan inventory ahead of time so it is available for sale before the holiday season starts—at the latest by September. You should have an extra margin to cater to unexpected surges of demand for popular products. Don’t forget to stock up on any supplies your shop might also need—items such as delivery labels, boxes, stickers, packaging materials, wrapping paper, and so on.

null Schedule and Staff Sufficiently for the Holiday Season:

Scheduling for the holidays is another nightmare that you must plan for ahead of time. With most of your in-house employees going on holiday leave, you need backup ecommerce support services to handle the surge of orders in a timely fashion. You may need to consider hiring 24 hour call center support.

null Get the Right Backend Technology:

Make sure your customer and inventory information is updated in real time by using a good CRM and inventory management system. Your agents should be well-acquainted with the platforms that you are using.

These are some of the major platforms and tools used by ecommerce businesses.

null Develop Engaging Ecommerce Product Listings:

Create an engaging ecommerce product listing for each item that you want to sell. Unless you convince visitors that your product is the best option available, you will not be able to close a large percentage of the sales, so this step is crucial.

null Optimize Ecommerce Customer Service:

1.   See which customer channels are used most often by customers and invest in omnichannel customer experience management.

2.   Make your business easy to contact on your website. Adding live chat support gives you an edge over the plethora of other ecommerce businesses competing for the same customers.

3.   Create FAQs and answer templates for the most common questions and requests. This will make ecommerce customer service much more efficient.

4.   Delineate SOPs for handling and escalation of customer cases.

null Make Order Fulfillment Fast and Accurate:

Fast and accurate order fulfillment is necessary to make sure your customers get their purchases on time for the holidays. Consider offering shorter delivery options, not only satisfying but delighting customers with your speed of delivery.

null Create and Schedule a Content Calendar:

Create social media and blog content for the holiday calendar, focusing on product images, videos, and holiday promotions. Link all these back to your website. Hire seasonal ecommerce support agents with expertise in graphic design and content writing for a cost-effective approach.

null Engage Your Target Base:

In October, engage your customers across all devices and platforms. Go for a combination of organic growth and paid digital marketing strategies. Re-target your ads and improve your ad quality score so you are not overcharged for CPC during the holiday season.

null Create Quality Marketing Content:

Create direct marketing flyers and brochures, email marketing campaigns, landing pages for promotions, coupons, site headers and banners, and sale promotions. Update your “About Us” section and policies pages. Best of all, you don’t need to do it all yourself, hire a marketing VA to do it for you.

null Develop a Discount and Sales Strategy:

Create discounts and sales that span a specific length of time, rather than the whole holiday season. Such a strategy performs better because it develops a sense of urgency in customers.

null Fine-Tune Your Returns Policy:

Craft an easy-to-understand and generous return and exchange policy. You should have an extended return window around Christmastime (usually until the end of January) so consumers have time to return gifts. This will increase overall customer satisfaction and keep them coming back even after the holidays are over.

null Inspect Your Website Hosting:

Make sure your website is capable of handling the expected traffic to your store, so it doesn’t crash at the worst time. Perform any necessary website migrations now so that everything is set up and ready, with easy expansion capabilities. No need to be alarmed—hire ecommerce website development experts to optimize your website and manage backup hosting.

null Make the Checkout Process Easy:

Your app and website checkout processes should be easy and hassle-free to ensure that your visitors are converted into sales.

null Personalize the Shopping Experience:

Make your customers feel valued by personalizing recommendations for them as well as all messages, emails, and push notifications.

Reasons for Abandoned Shopping Carts - IU Ecommerce Support Services

Got Late in Your Planning? An Easy Solution

Running a little late on your preparations for the holiday season? Instead of trying to sort everything out yourself and overburdening your current staff, hire an expert agency to provide ecommerce support services. They will not only find you the most suitable workers, they will hit the ground running due to their experience in doing the same for numerous other businesses. Don’t delay any further and make the decision today, so you don’t miss out on holiday sales till next year.

5 Tips for Winning the B2B Sales Marathon

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Marketing Virtual Assistant, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Sales is tricky and difficult; and when you throw in a whole board of stakeholders and a hefty analysis for ROI, it becomes a lot more complicated, expensive, and strategic on both ends. B2B sales are a marathon of researching, connecting, marketing and selling, and certainly not a sprint.

B2B sales involve selling the idea of your product/service up the line towards the CEO or across the line towards the manager, depending on the size of your prospective client’s business. Despite the direction, your pitch has to go across many individuals and has to be convincing for all of them to be closed successfully.

It is more difficult in the B2B sales environment to plan your pitch and offer value to your clients. Generally, a B2B sales pitch is presented to a group of 6-10 stakeholders. Here your sales agent does not face an individual but a board or committee of different individuals who have diverse personalities, perspectives, and stakes regarding your offer. As an individual consumer has changed over time, business as a buyer has also evolved. B2B interactions have become more refined and are not linear anymore.

There are some general techniques that are followed by almost all sales teams to pace the first miles of their B2B marathon. The following checklist can help you warm up and build your momentum:

  Shorten response time for the buyer query

  Undertake detailed research about the buyer

  Understand your buyer’s preferences and resources

  Research your competitors

  Prepare your sales team

  Take the marketing team onboard

As the marathon crosses to the last few laps, the competition gets tougher. That is when your prospective client has gathered the information they were looking for and has shortlisted the options for their purchase decision. It is this time when losers and winners will be distinguished on the basis of their agility and technique!

These are 5 very important basics that you must know for winning your B2B sales Marathon:

  1. Easy, High Quality Information

Key Lesson: Make sure you provide the right information in the right way and at the right time, to earn trust, leverage consensus, and win sales.

As a basic step, look thoroughly at all of your company’s media and mediums to ensure that they dispense high quality information about your products and services. This can also include information about your company, completed projects, and old or existing clients.

Moreover, this information should be easily accessible by your clients. Your potential client should not have to flip page upon page to find the information they require.

Research proves that the easy availability of high-quality information for the business buyers can help make their purchasing experience less complex and difficult. 77% of businesses report their purchasing process as tiresome and complicated. Also, each member of the buying group searches a few sources and then cumulates the information together to understand the pros and cons. 95% buying groups reported that they often need to reconsider their decisions because they chance upon some new information due to inconsistencies.

Therefore, it is not only important to have valuable information for your clients but also to detangle it and provide it to them in a consolidated, easy, and presentable form to save their time and efforts. This builds the supplier firm’s credibility as well.

  1. Buyer Enablement

Key Lesson: For winning more B2B sales deals, look into ways of providing prescriptive tools and immediate practical support for each critical buying step of their entire buying process.

The concept of Buyer Enablement refers to facilitating potential clients in undertaking buying tasks. It shifts the responsibility to the seller’s side to provide relevant and useful information to the clients and create processes that favor their client and not their salesmen.

This has become a competitive edge, a differentiating factor for B2B sales. With so many alternatives and options available, it is crucial for a vendor to quickly respond to the buyers and not let them suffer through a tedious and poor experience to get information about hows or whats.

Business buying is a complete process that is divided into several tasks and jobs. In order to win big in today’s B2B sales environment, supplier organizations should facilitate the clients in their buying processes. It goes beyond provision of consistent quality information.

This may include augmenting their research and information by providing on-site tools for:

  • Simple data analysis
  • Basic diagnostics for assessing performance
  • Basic diagnostics for analyzing alternatives
  • Connecting to other stakeholders
  • Data for comparisons
  • Simulation: how the solution will help the client’s specific needs

Look at it this way, as a supplier you study and anticipate the needs of your modern buyer groups. Resultantly, you are curating a set of interactive and analytical tools for your clients to use on the spot. This is in addition to easy-to-navigate and relevant information that is provided for them to be able to make appropriate decisions faster and without difficulty of moving back and forth.

  1. Trustworthy Digital Presence

Key Lesson: Tap into all the opportunities of B2B Ecommerce by partnering with an experienced Ecommerce Support Services providing company.

Since you are aiming for many closed deals and increasing positive leads in the pipeline, give priority to your digital presence as well. Ensure the credibility, trust, and authenticity that is generated through your online channels.

This is a part of buyer enablement: you help them find the insights that will enable them to better understand the features and relevancy of your offer. Millennial buyers will not trust your sales representative as much as they will trust the reviews on

your social accounts. 15% of a buying process time is spent on gathering information and discerning the truth. Therefore, it is imperative that you work on generating authentic reviews and materials such as relatable case studies and case reviews for your clients to read.

Let a specialist take care of social media accounts and website creation and maintenance. It is never a one-time cost to keep your online presence relevant and updated. Therefore, to stay focused on clients’ preferences and to avoid the added burden of keeping up with the social media trends, it is better to consider contracting options. This will ensure continuous sales, digital and omnichannel support for your business.

  1. No one shoe fits all

Key Lesson: Let clients be the choosers. Offer them communication options and solutions and let them select.

Another important factor is how you communicate and build different channels of communication for your clients. Your organization as well as sales team should be able to offer several ways for communicating with the prospective buyer.

Rapport building is a must for sales, right? However, in order to facilitate the buyer and to keep the information crisp and precise, let your client have his own time for gathering and processing information. Let them choose their preferred way of communication, be it on call, email, or chat. Some people might prefer a one-on-one meeting each time to gain confidence in you.

Similarly, it should be only a click away to get a response, solution, or an explanation from your sales team. This means instead of leaving a form to be filled, which will receive a response in 3-5 days or may be even later, give them a direct link or call option that will be catered to right away by the right people at your organization. For example, giving choices, something like this, to the buyer to connect with your organization according to their needs and convenience puts them at ease and lets them choose what suits their buying job (and schedule) best.

The idea is to not try and fix every buyer group with same options. Customize your way of dealing and solutions as per the client’s requirements.

  1. Train the Sales Team to Listen and Help

Key Lesson: Never undermine the importance of a competent sales team in a B2B sales environment. Invest in continuous training or contracting a reliable service provider to build a talented and professional workforce.

Here comes the most important part. It is all-encompassing and all-inclusive. All the relevant and easily available information will be, in fact, counterproductive if your sales personnel are not able to demonstrate authentic customer success.

Your sales representatives should be able to anticipate the needs and navigate through the buyer’s purchase cycle. They must be able to communicate effectively and understand the demands of your clients and how they view themselves and their challenges. Listening to them will enable the sales team to work on the clients’ success and show them how your products or services can elevate their operations. 69% buyers say that the only way to convince them is by listening to them.

Working through a purchase cycle and listening to the clients may not actually lead to sales. But it is crucial when you consider long term growth of your company, positive word of mouth, and professionalism.

To meet the expectations of your contemporary clients, build or hire a team that is competent, able to multitask, can converse in multiple languages, shows curtesy and understanding, and professionally handles queries and clients.

Moreover, depending upon the size and type of your operations, your sales team needs to be equipped with a set of analytical and virtual tools to help them become more productive, collaborative and results oriented. For quality leads in the pipeline and to score more sales, investing in your teams’ skills is crucial. It requires training them to satisfy multiple concerns effectively and in a timely manner. It also involves focus on training and mentoring your sales operators and sales teams to create a pleasant experience for your potential clients, which may or may not convert into closed sales.

As B2B sales is becoming digital and more complex, work on the strengths of your organization and portray them in the best light to your prospective clients. Collaborating with a support services provider takes away the worries of specialized tasks that can be expensive and an added burden if handled in-house. Investing in your website and social media management, sales team support, multilingual support and data entry, and analytical backup can take you a long way in achieving growth and an enviable market standing.