These Mistakes are Hurting Your Small Business Communications

Avoiding these small business communications mistakes will enable customers to have a positive buying experience and will affect when they will come back.

How companies communicate with their customers is the key factor in determining if they will have a positive buying experience and when they will come back to purchase again.

The single biggest competitive weapon that small businesses have over large competitors in this area is the use of technology. Big companies are slow to switch since they have invested millions of dollars in their systems. Alternately, small business owners can invest a fraction of the cost with cloud solutions to create a solid and growing infrastructure. It is actually easier now than it was years ago to provide an excellent customer experience with a small technology investment.

Small Business Communications Mistakes

Here are the areas that must be addressed:

1. Phone Communication System

Don’t get stuck with old PBX switches or just using cell phones for company business. Selecting a robust “Voice Over IP” (VOIP) system with a company like Nextiva will make a business seem large and professional even when they are small. I remember in one of the companies I started, we had alot extensions for different staff members that didn’t even exist (yet!) to make us seem like a more established company. By getting a central business number and an automated receptionist with an auto attendant menu, customers will become more comfortable buying from the start. Most importantly, Nextiva solutions will simplify a small business with a single, seamless source for all its email, voice, instant messaging, and conferencing communication.

2. Team Collaboration

The single most important factor in a company’s productivity is how easily they can collaborate together even when they are not physically in the same place. Nextiva Drive allows team members (and customers) to collaborate on documents in a secured environment.  It becomes easy to access, edit, share, and back up company data from any device.

3. Call Data

Data analytics is critical if a small business is going to understand their customers. With Nextiva, a company can know who is calling, how often, and how long they are on the line. It can also track the staff’s activities of inbound and outbound calls on a scoreboard to measure their productivity and results.

4. Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)

Knowledge about the customer used to be based on the collective knowledge of a company’s team. Unfortunately, when those people would leave, the information would go with them. Now, it is very simple to keep track of thousands of prospects and customers with an effective CRM system. This should be the repository of all information including their last conversation or interaction, how they responded to various marketing campaigns, and where they are in the selling process.

5. Social Media Management System

Managing a company’s social media presence needs to have a strategy and process to it. Customers need to be responded on social media. There are various tools to help you manage this, like Zendesk. Instead of being only reactive on social media, content can be scheduled strategically weeks in advance using Meet Edgar or Hootsuite on Twitter and Facebook.

What business communications tools do you use with your customers?

Handmade Soap Photo via Shutterstock

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Yahoo Communications Chief Leaves in Advance of Verizon Takeover

Yahoo Communications Chief Leaves in Advance of Verizon Takeover

Anne Espiritu, Yahoo Inc.’s vice president of global public relations and communications, is leaving after four years at the company that’s now selling its core assets to Verizon Communications.

Espiritu was the first person hired from Google after Marissa Mayer left the search giant to take the job as Yahoo’s chief executive officer in 2012. Espiritu and Mayer had been discussing for some time when Espiritu might leave Yahoo, according to a person familiar with the matter.

“We are incredibly grateful for her hard work, dedication and unwavering support over the past four years,” Yahoo said in a statement. “We wish her luck in her next adventure.”

Sheila Tran is being promoted to become Yahoo’s head of global public relations, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the appointment hasn’t been made public.

Espiritu’s departure follows Verizon’s announcement July 25 that it will acquire Yahoo’s Internet assets for $4.8 billion, bringing the web portal together with longtime rival AOL. The telecommunications company will add Yahoo web services that still draw 1 billion monthly users, including mail, news and sports content and financial tools.

Espiritu was a key figure in helping shape and manage the communications at Yahoo during Mayer’s tenure as CEO, which included heightened criticism on Wall Street and in the press as sales growth sputtered over time amid market share losses.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Internet, Marissa Mayer, Verizon, Yahoo



US Says Cyber-Attacks Can Expose Islamic State Communications

US Says Cyber-Attacks Can Expose Islamic State Communications

US cyber-attacks to disrupt the Islamic State’s communications and overload their networks could force the militant group to use older technologies that are easier for the US to intercept, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday.

Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided details about how the Pentagon is using its new, aggressive cyber campaign as part of military operations against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

“As we disrupt the ISIL communications via cyber or other methods, sometimes we do drive them to other means,” Carter told Pentagon reporters. “Sometimes, those other means are easier for us to listen to.”

US officials told The Associated Press last week that the military had increased cyber operations against the group. The operations include efforts by US Cyber Command to prevent the group from using the Internet and social media to communicate and distribute propaganda aimed at attracting and inspiring recruits. The efforts could also force IS back to technologies like cell phones to communicate.

Dunford said that using the computer-based attacks alongside bombings and other military actions allows the US to “both physically and virtually isolate” the group and limits its ability to command and control its fighters.

That type of coordinated offensive, he said, will be used to support Iraqi security forces as they try to retake the northern city of Mosul.

The surge of computer-based military operations by US Cyber Command began shortly after Carter prodded commanders last month to accelerate the fight against the Islamic State group on the cyber front.

Dunford and Carter didn’t provide a lot of details Monday. Dunford said the US doesn’t want to reveal too much.

“We don’t want the enemy to know when, where and how we’re conducting cyber operations,” said Dunford. “We don’t want them to have information that will allow them to adapt over time. We want them to be surprised when we conduct cyber operations.”

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Tags: Cyber Attacks, Internet, Isis, Islamic State, US