Archive for July, 2013

How Startups Can Ruin Their Customer Relationships

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

ruin customer relationships

Many startups go through growing pains, but customer relationships shouldn’t suffer from a company’s internal stress and adjustments. Establishing a loyal client base and solid brand reputation should be the highest priority for a startup, since those customers will sustain it as it moves into various levels of growth.

A firm can avoid a number of common pitfalls by taking precautions, watching analytics, and improving its operational systems.

Startups Mistakes That Can Ruin Customer Relationships

1. Miscommunication

Both internal and front-of-house miscommunications can break customer relationships. Leadership should be transparent with their teams, and impart accurate product and service information so employees can represent the brand effectively. Inaccurate retail information can lead to a negative purchasing experience.

In order to combat issues like these, make sure all website and social media communications are clear and candid. Include a Frequently Asked Questions page to provide answers for clients who need additional assistance. Your company may also wish to hire trainers and HR professionals to craft training programs, guidelines, and workflows for employees.

2. Inaccurate Records

There’s nothing more embarrassing than calling an important client and learning that your company has the wrong phone number on file. This can lead to unacceptable business delays in communication, which will have a negative impact your company’s pipeline.

Customer records should include precise information and relevant notes, such as purchasing trends, product preferences, and marketing campaigns.

Even if you believe a customer’s records are accurate, take the time to update them. You may learn that a customer has recently changed his or her address, which is crucial information if you are shipping a product to that person or firm. You can take a few moments during each phone call, email interaction, and in-person meeting to verify records and customer information.

3. Lack of Planning

A startup cannot adjust to its opportunities and success if the company is not measuring efforts and results. Analytics can provide invaluable metrics with regard to web, staff, and product performance. Marketing professionals, project managers, and leadership teams can get ready for upcoming product launches, industry conventions, and other substantive events by using business analytic software.

4. Delayed Responses

Startups can lose revenue if they do not dedicate enough staff to customer service needs. Clients who encounter a busy dial signal on the phone, automated email response, or closed door may decide to take their business elsewhere.

If your company is struggling to respond promptly to inbound queries, consider hiring an IT helpdesk and customer service specialists. If clients email, call, or drops in with a question, do your best to connect them with the best resource to fit their needs.

5. Disorganization

Once a startup gains enough of a following, it will need to purchase CRM software to manage contacts, develop pipeline, and close sales. Companies that neglect to invest in these solutions will soon run into organizational problems as data needs overwhelm them.

Excel spreadsheets can do only so much before they become bogged down with convoluted and unnecessary information. A CRM solution empowers teams to collaborate on client accounts, build invoices, and establish sales.

Another way for companies to avoid disorder is to go paperless. Explore servers, cloud solutions, and offsite backups to keep documents safe and secure. Protect CRM databases and other sensitive information by backing data up regularly. IT departments may add another level of security by performing routine technology maintenance, rotating passwords, and repairing technology.

Startups rely on word-of-mouth, online reviews, and client perception to grow their business. These relationships may be placed in jeopardy if your organization suffers from miscommunication, disorganization, or poor planning.

Avoid these stressful situations by investing in staff resources and technologies that fulfill startup needs.

Frustrated Photo via Shutterstock

The post How Startups Can Ruin Their Customer Relationships appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Study: Facebook Hashtags Aren’t Driving Engagement…Yet

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

hashtags on facebook

Since rumors first emerged of possible Facebook hashtags in March, there has been considerable excitement. Brands, marketers and business owners have known for some time how effective hashtags can be at driving engagement on platforms like Twitter.

So it might surprise you to learn that an initial measure of their effectiveness on the social networking site has been disappointing. In fact, a recent study of activity on the Facebook pages of the world’s top 100 brands shows there is no sign of increased engagement from hashtags on Facebook at all.

At least not yet, that is.

Hashtags on Facebook: Use is Up

The Facebook study by analytics firm Simply Measured looked at the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on Facebook between May 1 and June 30, 2013. It examined a range of methods these companies are using to drive engagement with their fans, and at which industries were most successful at driving that engagement.

Still marketers have understandably focused on how the new hashtags on Facebook are faring after their official launch June 12.

The study shows brands have increased their use of Facebook hashtags by about 20 percent since they were introduced, observes Amy Gesenhues of Marketing Land.

But the study also shows no evidence they have been effective so far in driving engagement among fans.

Conclusion

It may be too early to come to an absolute conclusion about the effectiveness of hashtags on Facebook.

The study suggests a better measure may need to wait until more brands are using hashtags and more Facebook users and fans get accustomed to finding content in this way.

The post Study: Facebook Hashtags Aren’t Driving Engagement…Yet appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Intuit Wants Your Biz to be Featured in the Big Game on Feb. 2

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Sponsored Post

Start putting on your game face. After supporting small businesses for more than 22 years, Intuit wants your small business to compete in the Small Business Big Game competition for a chance to win your very own 30-second television advertisement that will air during the Big Game on February 2.

First, check out this video for a pep talk from football legend Jimmy Johnson and then enter your small business in the Small Business Big Game here. To kick things off, your small biz will receive the Intuit Small Business Playbook, a guide on hot topics for small businesses, and an exclusive 30-day free offer for QuickBooks Online. On top of that, your business will also be eligible for several giveaways including $1,000 business grants. To win the Big Game spot, your business must face off against other businesses and be selected by the public (with some help from Intuit’s employees) in a series of playoffs.

Join the Small Business Big Game conversation on Facebook and Twitter with #TeamSmallBiz.

The post Intuit Wants Your Biz to be Featured in the Big Game on Feb. 2 appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Lot 2 of Bulgaria’s Struma Highway To Be Completed In 2015

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The section of Bulgaria’s Struma Highway connecting the towns of Dupnitsa and Blagoevgrad is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

The construction of the section Dupnitsa – Blagoevgrad which is 37 km long, is expected to take 22 months to be finished, announced the Bulgarian Minister of Regional Development, Desislava Terzieva.

The first sod was made on Wednesday, 31 of July 2013.

In the mid of 2015, the construction of the next section connecting the towns of Blagoevgrad and Sandanski is expected to begin, predicted the Bulgarian Minister of Regional Development.

The Dupnitsa – Blagoevgrad highway project is implemented by Consortium “Struma –Lot 2″ consisting of two Bulgarian and one Italian companies. T

The contract is worth BGN 358 722 000.00, VAT included.

Along the route of the Dupnitza – Blagoevgrad highway section there are 4 road junctions and 2 underpasses.

One week ago Lot 1 of Struma Highway, the section connecting the village of Dolna Dikanya to Dupnitsa , was inaugurated.

The total length of the Struma highway from the village of Daskalovo to the Greek border is 150 km.

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Sofia Airport’s Terminal 2 Closed over Bomb Threat – Report

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Terminal 2 of the Bulgaria’s Sofia international airport was closed Thursday evening over a bomb threat, according to media reports.

No airplanes have landed at the airport since 6:30 pm EET, when a Bulgaria Air flight arrived from Berlin, according to Dnevnik.bg.

All arriving and departing passengers have been evacuated from Terminal 2.

Cars are currently not allowed to park at the Terminal’s parking lot.

Flights have been reportedly redirected to the airport in Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv.

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Bulgarian Rapper Lashes Out in Anti-Semitic Rant against Ex-FinMin

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Bulgarian rapper Misho Shamara burst out in an Anti-Semitic rant against former Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov on the air of a Bulgarian TV channel on Wednesday.

The Bulgarian rapper, who recently proclaimed himself as a supporter of the Socialist-led cabinet of PM Plamen Oresharski, outraged the public of Bulgarian TV channel TV7 with his remark against Djankov.

“It is normal for a budget prepared by Simeon Djankov to be revised. He is the most incapable Jewish vermin,” said Misho Shamara on the air in TV7.

The Bulgarian rapper’s anti-Semitic expression was cited by the Bulgarian information agency “Blitz”.

The TV presenter did not have any comments and reactions towards Shamara’s statement.

Massive anti-government rallies in Bulgaria started in June 14, with protesters demanding the resignation of the Socialist-led cabinet of Plamen Oresharski over suspected ties with oligarchs.

New Finance Minister Petar Chobanov, decided in mid-July it was necessary to revise the budget prepared by Simeon Djankov, Finance Minister in the previous Cabinet of the center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

Misho Shamara (AKA Big Sha) is the self-proclaimed leader of a series of pro-government counter-rallies.

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Tullow Oil to maintain discoveries record

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Oil and gas exploration and production group makes pledge in spite of a run of exploration well disappointments and trimming production guidance

Potash row set to hit producers’ profits

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

An unexpected decision on Tuesday by Russia’s Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer by capacity, to pull out of one of the industry’s two export cartels is threatening to unleash a price war

Snowden’s Father Thanks Russia for Taking Care of His Son

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The father of former NSA employee Edward Snowden has thanked President Vladimir Putin and Russia for helping his son.

Lonnie Snowden told Russia’s state-owned Rossiya 24 television he was grateful to Putin and the Russian government for their “courage” and “strength” in protecting his son, who has been holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

He said FBI officials had previously asked him to fly to Moscow to see his son a few weeks ago, but he declined. He said in remarks translated into Russian that he might still decide to go to Moscow to meet his son.

Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking classified data about the NSA’s intelligence gathering operations, requested temporary asylum in Russia earlier this month. Russian officials have not yet issued him with a document that would allow him to leave the airport’s transit zone.

Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is assisting Snowden’s asylum request, said in an interview broadcast Wednesday that he planned to send an invitation to Snowden’s father to support his visa application.

“I will do my best to do this today,” Kucherena told Vesti FM radio station, a sister outlet of Rossiya 24. No particular date has yet been set for Lonnie Snowden’s visit, he said.

Kucherena also said it was still unclear when Russian officials would issue documents for the fugitive, adding it should happen in the next few days.

Lonnie Snowden said in his interview that his son should stay where it is safe for him.

“I hope to see you soon. But most of all I want you to be safe,” he said. “I hope you are watching this… Your family is well. We love you,” he added, as cited by RIA Novosti.

He reiterated that he did not expect his son would have a fair trial if he returns to the United States.

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Genel confident over Kurdistan oil plans

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Oil exploration group, which has invested in developing huge reserves that are available in the region, is certain of pipeline plans being a success

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