Tag Archives: Mobile phone

Using Your Smartphone for Direct Sales

These days, more and more people have a smartphone.  And while there really is nothing that can replace talking to a person, people are definitely trying.  Email and texting are very common these days, I find more and more of my customers prefer to text and I am leaning that way too.  My email does not always come through in a timely manner which makes it somewhat useless and I always have my phone for texting.

Audiovox SMT5600 with the new Qtek Smartphone

Audiovox SMT5600 with the new Qtek Smartphone (Photo credit: Josh Bancroft)

But there are other things that you can do with your smartphone to help you with your direct sales business and allow you to get rid of other items.  That said, for them to work their best, you need to know how to use these various tools properly and you have to remember to look at your phone.

Calendar/Scheduling

There is a good chance whatever smartphone you have, has a calendar on it.  You can use this to schedule your parties, events, meetings, whatever.  You can set reminders to come up in advance to remind me.  The great thing about this is that you can add notes and you probably have more room than in a paper planner for these.   A quick glance at your phone will let you know if you are free or not.

Notes

I know the ability to add notes into my phone can be a real lifesaver.  There are times I am somewhere and I do not have a pen and paper to make a note about something.  You can create a note or what I tend to do, email myself as a reminder for later.  It may be a customer question that I need to look into or an order that I need to check the status of.

Tracking

Speaking of orders, you can login to your backoffice while you are out and about and check the status of an order or shipping.  How easily you can navigate on your phone will be determined by whether your company has optimized their website for mobile devices.

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Five Terrifying Examples of Customer Service Nightmares

The majority of people in the country experience poor customer service from time to time. Some stories remain truly frightening. Understandably, these companies will likely be installing customer experience management software to try to recover from these examples. 

Delta Airlines

A Marine lost both legs in Afghanistan and boarded a Delta plane for the journey home. People in 1st class seats offered the soldier their spot. However, the Delta crew refused the switch. The offers occurred repeatedly as the attendant wheeled the veteran to a cramped area at the back of the plane.

Hertz

A CNN reporter, video camera filming, stood in line at an airport waiting for the opportunity of acquiring a vehicle. One customer service representative stood behind the desk. A row of kiosks in front of the desk, designed to facilitate customer requests stood inoperable. After approximately 25 minutes of standing in line, the customer service representative exited from behind the desk. The reporter approached the woman and inquired as to where she was going. While continually walking away, she repeatedly stated, “Sorry, I’m off the clock.”

Public Health and Safety

This story evolves around friends enjoying a meal at a local restaurant when during the course of dining, they see a mouse dart across the floor. They brought the matter to the attention of their waiter who exclaimed, “That’s cool.” Dissatisfied with the waiter’s response, the venue manager enters the picture. The manager replied that many establishments have mice and he would be happy to take care of the bill, but the rodent problem was out of his hands. The amazed patrons hurriedly left the restaurant and never returned.

Airplane Maintenance

During a flight aboard a major airline, a passenger experienced moisture dripping from the overhead vents. He promptly reported the problem to the flight attendant. The flight attendant informed the man that the vents in 12 rows contained paper towels because of a condensation problem. She told the gentleman that the entire fleet suffered from the problem and filing a report would not resolve the issue. Besides having an unpleasant flight, the passenger pondered the overall safety of the planes.

Defective Cell Phone

A consumer purchased a new mobile phone from a well-known cell phone provider. After a few months, the phone malfunctioned and the customer sent the device in for repair. A customer service representative told the individual that if the phone had not been dropped in water, the corrosion occurred naturally from air exposure. The company refused to repair the problem or replace the phone without charging the consumer.

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How to Set Up Your Business’ Toll-Free Number

Toll-Free numbers are a staple of any business looking to reach beyond the constricting borders of their own local area code. In the days of land lines and long-distance service they were absolutely essential to businesses that relied on customer contact – the value of allowing customers to call without incurring any long distance charges far outweighed the costs.   

Now, in the days of wireless phones, e-mail, and social media, fewer customers need to dial that toll-free number to reach your business at no cost. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that the toll-free number has lost its value – the convenience and ease of remembering a well-crafted toll-free number have supplanted potential customer cost savings as a primary reason businesses still rely on the toll-free number.

Getting a Toll-Free Number

At one time getting a toll-free number meant calling up your telephone provider and ordering a new phone line dedicated to your new number. Today there are many providers to choose from online, and they no longer require a dedicated phone line to use – they can forward to your existing land line. You can even set up a toll-free number that dials to your cell phone if you wish.

Cost

Costs vary among providers, but the common model of pricing is very similar to mobile phone pricing – a set number of toll-free minutes for a set price per month, with somewhere between 5 and 25 cents per minute in excess of the monthly limit.

Advantages

While many customers no longer actually need a toll-free number to call your business with no charge, do not discount the attractiveness of providing one to potential customers – it is still a free service! Toll-free numbers are convenient, easy to remember (especially in cases of “vanity” numbers), and present a “big company” feel to your customers. Toll-free numbers move with you – to new facilities and land lines – very easily, ensuring your customers reach you even if you change or add or move phone lines.

The cost to a small business with low toll-free usage is very low, and is expandable – a business only pays more as its usage grows, keeping costs from being prohibitive to start-ups and smaller businesses. Nearly everyone can afford toll-free numbers now unlike in the past.

Technology has changed the way businesses operate, especially in how they maintain contact with their customers. The toll-free number, while now one of many contact options, is still a valuable addition to any business looking to expand its customer base.

Author Bio

Lyndsi Decker is a freelance wrote and is currently promoting Bell long distance plans. When not blogging about business she is training for marathons.

 

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Creating a Good Voicemail Message

These days with people constantly on the go, getting voicemail is a common thing.  But if you want people to actually leave a message and not ramble for five minutes, there are some tips and techniques to help you.

Make the Message Brief – The message your caller listens to should be short.  It should state who they have reached, any alternatives and instructions on what they should do (explained further in the article).

Who Are You? – While this may not be as important in direct sales as for a corporate office, it can help to indicate in your message that you are.  This hopefully would help to eliminate messages that are not for you.  For instance you might have a message such as “You have reached the voicemail of Sharon, owner, at My Company.  I am not available right now but please leave a message after the beep and I will get back to you.”

Offer Alternatives – This one can be especially helpful these days with people having cell phones.  Granted, many people have gotten rid of their land lines and gone to a cell phone only.  If you do have more than one phone number that you use and monitor, you may want to change up the message a little bit.   “You have reached the voicemail of Sharon, owner, at My Company.  I am not available right now but please leave a message after the beep and I will get back to you.  If it’s urgent, please contact me at 123-4568.”  You might want to suggest that people contact you through email if you do not have an alternate phone number.  This may help to cut down on some of the calls that are not relevant as people may not want to bother with that extra step.

Sound Positive – When you record your message, you need to sound happy and cheerful. If your message sounds like it is forced, bored or cranky, people are less likely to leave a message.  Not only that, but they will hang up and feel cranky themselves.

Tell Them What to Do – In the examples above, I have included that the person should leave a message after the beep.  While this is obvious to most people, you may want to give your callers some specific instructions.  Hopefully this cuts down on the long, rambling messages some people will leave and prevent you from having an overflowing mailbox when you do get to check it.  You could expand your message to the following:

You have reached the voicemail of Sharon, owner, at My Company.  I am not available right now but if you leave a message after the beep with your name, why you are calling, if you need me to return the call, and your number, I would appreciate it.  If it’s urgent, please contact me at 123-4568 or at Sharon@myemail.com.” 

Have you implemented any of these techniques with your direct sales voicemail?  Do you find they help?

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Leave Voicemail that Gets Results

Not only is the phone a hated object in direct sales, but the dreaded voicemail is high up on the list.  For many, this is due to the fact that they do not feel that they are getting any results when they leave a voicemail as the majority of calls will not get you a callback.  But, if you do it correctly, you can leave a voicemail that will get you a call back as well as the results that you crave.

Be Quick – Make your message quick.  Have you ever had the machine ding and cut you off?  That means that you have spoken too much and you likely missed something that you wanted to say.  So change it so that you are quick and to the point.  Write a script if that helps you that just outlines the key points.

Context – It’s important that your recipient knows who you are.  They may get a lot of calls each day or it may have been a while since you talked.  Start with something like “HI Jane, its Sharon Lastname, we met last week at Susie’s Company Party.  You had indicated you wanted more information on having your own party”

Why? – You want them to return your call.  What should they bother?  Give them something that is compelling and makes them want to call you back.  Maybe you are holding the date that they indicated they were interested in but you can only hold it for so long.  If its near the end of a month, it could be that the sign up special will expire at the end of the month.

Mention the Time – Quite often the machine will note what time you called, but many people do not listen to that or the time stamp that is set can be wrong.  The message could state something like “It is currently 5 pm and I will be out of the office for a few hours, but you can call me back between 7 and 10 pm this evening.”

Give Alternatives – Give them a few methods to get in touch with you.  If you use a landline and a cell phone, you could leave a cell phone number or even an email.  Another option if text messaging your cell phone but this is a pet peeve with me as not everyone uses cell phone texting and may be charged for receiving a text.

Consequences – Include in your message the consequences of them not returning your call.  For instance, the message could be “I need you to call me back within 24 hours to confirm this date.  I know you really wanted it because your sister is going to be in town but my days are in demand and I cannot hold it longer than that.”  Using the words “I need” lets your customer know that they need to do this.

Try these small changes when you are leaving voicemails and see if your calls returned rate increases.  Please let me know what you find!

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