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StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Why You Should Consider Switching To a Direct Debit Service

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution ArticleDirect Debit is one of the safest and most cost-effective methods of conducting a financial transaction. It is an instruction from customers to bank or building society to collect specific amounts from their accounts after giving an advance notice of date and value of the transaction.

You give the authorisation by completing a Direct Debit Mandate form that can be either in paper or in the form of an online web page. Post-authorisation, the organisation can automatically take payments from you in accordance with their scheme rules.

Direct Debit makes sure all bills are paid automatically without delays or any hassle. It saves businesses plenty of time meaning they can focus on the importance of staying concentrated on their core competencies.

Use of Direct Debit

Direct Debit is mostly used for payments along with:

  • Paying regular bills of variable amounts. You will be assured with direct debit that all your bills are paid timely every month.
  • Safest and easiest way to make recurring payments like magazine subscriptions or membership offers.
  • Companies provide Direct Debit services as an option for spreading costs or paying on an account.
  • Other than regular and recurring payments, it is also used for one-off payments.

Direct Debit Payment

It’s hard to remember when bills have to be paid, but matters can be made easier using Direct Debit that allows hassle-free payments. It is the most preferred method of payment in the UK. It is not only used for paying household bills, but also by businesses to pay their day-to-day transactions and commitments. Payments are automatically taken from your account on a regular basis.

Direct Debit Collections

Direct Debit is the easiest way for an organisation to collect payments from customers and businesses. It reduces the cost of collecting funds directly from a bank account.

Here are some reasons why you should consider switching to a paperless direct debit service:

  1. Ease of use

It is very easy to set up. Once your business signs up with a direct debit provider, customers can get ready for payment collections through a one-off process. Customers receive a link where they enter bank details online giving customers the authority to make payments from their bank accounts. Direct Debit services are also optimised for mobile so customers can sign up on the move, making it very simple.

There is also an option of paying variable amounts at different intervals without having to do anything more. This feature makes it perfect for paying those bills where you are charged depending on monthly usage. The company AccessPay offer a Cloud-based Direct Debit solution (which you can view here) that adds an advantage and ease that I found few other competitors do. With their service, they make collecting funds faster, simpler and more efficient for you. With the cloud-based debit solution they allow you to set up a number of Bacs direct debits, which will help to manage the entire payment process with ease.

  1. Saves precious time

It is very challenging for some people who lead busy lives to find time to stay on top of their bills and other finances. Setting up Direct Debit can help you pay on time without having to remember the deadlines. Everything will be done efficiently and automatically. Once your payment mandate is set up, your job is done. Forget all about setting reminders for your payments because direct debit will do all that for you without you having to lift a finger.

  1. No more late payments

If you are running a business where customers are making credit payments and you are fed up of those people who never seem to pay on time, a direct debit service can make your life a little easier. With Direct Debit, your customers will pay on time every time. The entire payment process is taken care of automatically, so your customers will not miss a payment again. You can also give better customer service this way without any disruptions or awkward chase up emails. Save yourself from embarrassment and also from the cost and effort associated with tracking your debtors.

  1. Safe and Secure

Direct Debit Services are secure and protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee. It has modern encryption and secured firewalls to protect all users personal and private information. When the information is transferred from the bank, it is encrypted at the source so customers can be assured the safe security of their data. The Direct Debit Guarantee gives customers complete coverage of payments in case of unforeseen circumstances like fraud or payment errors. From all the payment methods in the UK, this is by far the safest for users. It also guarantees to give you the rights to immediate refunds for any incorrect charges that have been added to your account.

  1. Cost effective

Direct Debit Services gives you ample time, admin and cost savings. This money can then be further invested in the business or passed on to customers in the form of incentives or discounts. This will make your services/products more attractive to existing and potential customers. At the same time, it will improve your business standards giving you an edge over your competitors.

  1. Attractive Packages

More attractive payment packages can be made for goods that are expensive so that customers can pay back easily through affordable instalments. This will also avoid late payments and the added bank charges for exceeding the overdraft limit in banks. You can make more flexible payment plans for a faster, more efficient payment method.

Switching to a Direct Debit Service reduces the complexity of payment handling, saving your time and giving you peace of mind. So, start improving your cash flow and handle your finances smoothly.

Photo courtesy of Grace Stroke

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

So You Created A Product, Now How Do Your Get It To Your Customer?

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

When you come up with a great idea for a product, you can often find that you spend so much time putting your all into its creating, to then be left stuck wondering what to do when it’s complete. Well, even though it may not feel like it now, you’ll be glad to know that the hard part is over. You managed to come up with a product that was not only worth creating, but that was actually able to be made – so give yourself a pat on the back. So now, you’re going to need to work out just how you’re going to get it to your ideal customer – and that can involve a few different processes.

During the planning stage of creating your product, you would have identified the ideal audience that would be interested in buying from you. So now it’s all about getting your product in front of them and making those sales. Using a combination of marketing, sales, and operations, that can be easily arranged. As long as you’re ready to put a bit more work in and not aim for retirement just yet, your product will find a bunch of happy homes in no time at all.

Marketing

First up, you’re going to want to work on a proper marketing strategy for your product. This will not only get it in front of your customer but also help to create a brand image for your product and your business overall.

Deciding On A Strategy

Before you start with any kind of activity at all, you need to make sure that you decide on the right marketing strategy for your product. Now, this will entirely depend on what it is that you’ve created. But, it’s not always easy to know what strategy to formulate. As long as you have your intended audience at the center of your decisions, you should stay on the right track.

Creating A Brand

You should also think about your branding. It’s so important for every business to establish the right brand for themselves, but it’s especially important for startups or small businesses. Branding is often a way to assert your mark and differentiate yourself from the competition, so be sure to create a brand that will work for your product.

When To Launch

As apart of your marketing process, you’re also going to want to establish a set launch date for the marketing activity that you intend to carry out. This will often depend on the launch date that you also decide for your product to enter the market on. You may wish to coincide the two together or to start your marketing beforehand to work up some buzz around the launch. Either way, you need to have both dates in your mind to work towards.

Packaging

Next up, you’re also going to want to think about just how you’re going to get that brand onto your product and ensure that your customer receives it safely via the packaging you design and produce.

Incorporating Your Branding

One of the first things that you’re going to want to think about during the packaging process is your branding. As we established in the marketing section, you’re going to need to decide on a brand for your product. So, with that on its way to being created, you should also aim to add it into your product or your packing in some way. Again, this will depend on what product it is that you’ve created, but it should give you some food for thought.

Practical Packaging Design

However, at this stage, it is also very important that you think about the logistics of getting your product to your customer. You need to be sure that it is packaged safety and securely, so looking options. You may need a box for your technological device, foam padding for your breakable designs or even specialist intermediate bulk containers for your food product. Either way, be sure to do your research into what will protect and transport your product safely.

Supply Chain

But that’s not all; you’re also going to want to think of the operational ways in which you’re going to physically get your product to the customer. Not only does this involve how your customers will get their hands on it, but also where you will sell it.

Choosing Suppliers

To make sure that your product gets in front of your intended audience, it’s highly likely that you’re going to want to find the right suppliers for the job. Whether you have a B2B product or something for a consumer audience, working with retailers can provide useful to your sales forecast and for your growth. So you need to make sure that you choose the right ones to reach your customers.

Negotiating With Suppliers

With some ideal suppliers in mind, you’re then going to want to approach them. Sometimes, you can find it hard to get on their radar. However, if you’re looking to attend trade shows with your product, you might have better luck at accessing the right people. When you do get in touch, you then will have to work your way through negotiations so that you can get the best deal for your business.

Selling Online

You may also want to think about selling online. Going into ecommerce isn’t going to be for everyone, and it may depend yet again on what exactly your product is as to whether it will be a suitable option for your business. But, it’s often worth looking into. And if you’re not planning on having an operations ecommerce website, then be sure to have an informational site that allows interested customers to contact you.

Delivery Options

Whether you’re shipping to suppliers or directly to your customers, you then also need to think of another side of the supply chain – transportation. To physically get your product for your warehouse or manufacturing unit, you’re going to need some form of haulage, or a consumer delivery service. Or, you may even want to fulfill this yourself. Either way, they are all important decisions to make if you want to get your products out to customers.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

Six Ways To Boost Revenue By Building Client Trust

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

What’s the one way to guarantee repeat custom from a new client? Trust. All successful relationships, whether personal or business, have to be built on it. If a customer doesn’t trust that you’re genuine or that you have their best interests at heart, they won’t be back for a second round, and they certainly won’t recommend you to colleagues and friends. Building that relationship of trust between seller and buyer is essential for keeping a contract strong, and here are just a few ways you can guarantee it.

1. Listen, don’t talk

It’s impossible to offer the appropriate products to a customer if you think you know better than they do about their needs. Listening to them talk about their wants and their concerns can better help you to understand exactly what it is they require, so when you come to talk, you’re offering the perfect solution. A client wants to know they’re being heard, so practice your listening skills and prove to them that they’re important.

2. Be realistic

Promising the Earth might make you look good at the point of sale, but when you can’t actually pull it off, you’re going to look like a fool whose mouth is too big. If you promise a specific product within a specific timeframe, just to secure a deal when they are stalling, knowing deep down that it’s impossible, you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. They are being honest with you about their expectations, and unfortunately, it is your place to explain to them if their expectations are unreasonable. Sooner that than having to let them down in the future.

3. Be identifiable

Customers like knowing who they are dealing with, whether over the phone or face to face. On telephone calls, always introduce yourself at the start and end of the call – you put a name and a responsibility to the transaction so they feel they can call back and speak directly to a recognisable person. In face to face communications, always wear identification like a name badge or ID on a lanyard such as those in this catalogue. This allows customers to take note of your name, but it also reassures them that you’re a professional, and you are officially associated with the company.

4. Don’t make excuses

Sometimes things go wrong, through no fault of your own, and your customer has to to find out. In these situations, don’t make excuses. Simply explain what has happened, offer your apologies, and move on to explaining your proposed solutions. Excuses sound like you’re trying to wriggle your way out of responsibility, and your customer just won’t appreciate that.

5. Don’t bad-mouth the competition

If you ever have to talk about your direct competition, keep it civil and cordial. Even if you think they’re dreadful as an organisation, your customer doesn’t need to know that – it just comes across as petty and insincere.

6. Keep your promises

Finally, never ever renege on a promise unless you absolutely have to. If you’re building trust with a client, you want them to know that you’ll always keep your word. Once you break that, it’s almost irreparable, but if you put your neck on the line and make promises, only to keep them, you’ll be placing yourself far beyond the competition.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

A Customer’s Wish Is Your Command

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

The way that customers view your business is paramount to it’s success. If your customers are unhappy with the way that they’ve been treated; you will find that they never come back to you again. Some people in this world are incredibly petty. And, the littlest thing can cause a whole lot of trouble. So, it’s worth making sure that you cover all the bases when it comes to your customer’s service. To help you out, this post will be going through three areas of customer service. And, the ways that you can make sure that they’re running at optimum efficiency. Now, all you have to do is get to work!

Social Media

Social media is one of the greatest gifts given to businesses. For one, it can help loads with marketing and advertising. But, along with this, social media can also be a great place to host some of your customer service. Most people have a social media account of some sort. So, you have a good chance of them being able to reach you through this method. Twitter is probably the best place for customer services. It pairs a simple platform, with a good messaging system and no fuss. Unfortunately, as your business gets bigger looking after customer service on a platform like this will become a fulltime role. You will need to have a staff member dedicated to this job. But, they can also do some other work with social media.

Part of treating your customers well is providing them with easy and accessible information about your products. Customers won’t often go out of their way to learn about your business. But, if they find a Facebook post that they like the look of; you might just real them in. Thankfully, this won’t take as much time as customer service on social media. And, there are even tools available to help. If you can dedicate a day to working on social media, you can set yourself up for months. Making loads of posts at once is a great way to make sure that your content remains consistent. Once you have a stockpile, you can use a tool like Buffer to have the posts that you make automatically posted onto the sites of your choice.

Email/Livechat/Phones

Support comes in various forms. And, one of the best for small businesses is email. A lot of companies have email support because it gives them a way to have cases handled in a timely fashion. Agents won’t be stuck on the phone or on livechat. Instead, they can read an email and get to work. When you provide you users with the chance to email you, it’s critical that you have the right kind of email address. It should match the web-address of your website. And, it should include a word like support somewhere. Most customers will prefer to get their support like this. It enables you to give them all of the information they need in a way that they can use it at their convenience.

Next up in the mix comes live chat. If you want to have live chat support for your customer; you will have to have some staff to cover it. Thankfully, though, you won’t have to have many. It’s not uncommon for live chat operators to be working on 5 or 6 chats at once. This gives you the opportunity to cover a lot more ground. And, will enable you to have issues resolved very quickly. You can have software added to your website that will allow you to have live chat features. This sort of extension will have to be installed by a professional developer, though.

The most traditional form of support comes with phones. Having your customers being able to call your business can have a huge impact on the support that they get. Talking to a human is one of the easiest ways to have something resolved. And, a lot of people know it. Most small businesses won’t have the resources to cope with this on their own, though. So, the help of a virtual call center company could go very far. This sort of service will enable your calls to be mainly handled by a computer. Then, only the ones that need to come to the business will.

Feedback

The feedback that you get from customers is invaluable to your business. It gives you an insight into how your customer think you are doing. And, it can provide you with new ways to improve your business. So, it’s critical that you read the reviews you get. And, in some cases, it can even be worth directly asking for reviews. This should always be done when you’ve had a customer experience encounter with someone. Gathering feedback can be done on your own website. Or, you can use a survey making tool to collect the data for you. The data that you receive is very important, and you should always have a record of it.

Feedback can be a hard game to play. It’s easy to monitor the feedback that you ask for. This information will be stored on your own servers. So, you’ll be able to access it whenever you want. But, the reviews that you get on websites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews won’t be. Instead, they will be in some far off part of the internet. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to go through every last site to find them. Feedback management software comes in loads of different forms. Some services can monitor different sites for you automatically. But, some will have to be set up by hand. Either way, these are very powerful tools that can give a clear picture of your businesses reputation.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to start trying to improve your customer experience. It’s important to take into account what people think of your business. A lot of companies will let these areas slip and end up with a very bad reputation. Unfortunately, companies can only work like this if they provide a service that no one else does.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

The Hospitality Business Bible

People running businesses in the hospitality industry have to work hard to ensure they maintain standards. There are lots of tools and concepts that help them to achieve that goal. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on the management of hotels. However, much of the advice on this page applies to all companies under that umbrella. So, take some of the suggestions and tailor them for your company. At the end of the day, people who build a negative reputation will struggle to turn things around. That is why it’s imperative that everyone pays attention.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article
Photo courtesy of Kristoffer Trolle via flickr

Use technology to your advantage

Firstly, all hotel managers can make their lives easier by using the latest technology. Developers from Mingus Software say it’s the best way to keep on top of essential duties. There’s no point working harder than is necessary to create the best experience for guests. The right software could handle everything from the moment they check in until they leave. Also, there’s no need to spend time entering data into multiple systems. You can manage everything from the same page, and that will help to save a lot of time.

Ensure all guests leave with a smile

As a hotel manager, it’s your duty to ensure all guests leave feeling satisfied. That means you need to work hard to ensure they never have any issues. Of course, some people will make complaints no matter how much effort you make. Still, you will keep a clear conscience if you know you did everything possible to assist. It’s wise to ask guests to fill a short questionnaire during the checking out process. It could be all you need to do to make your business a success. That way, you give them the opportunity to highlight some of the ways in which they think you could have improved. Feedback of that nature is the best tool at your disposal for making sure you don’t keep making the same mistakes.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article
Photo courtesy of Martin Dube via flickr

Go above and beyond the call of duty

It’s vital that all managers strive to go above and beyond what their guests expect. That could mean something simple like leaving a birthday card in a room. You could also place a bottle of wine in a cooler when you know someone is celebrating an anniversary. It won’t break the bank, but you could ensure future custom from the happy couple. Also, you’re going to see some pretty pleasing reviews on TripAdvisor if you do things like that. With a bit of luck, other people will see the effort you made, and that will encourage them to make a booking too.

You should now have some excellent ideas about what you can do to become a better manager. The tips should apply to any business within the hospitality industry. So, consider the advice and try to put it into action as soon as possible. Your company will build a positive reputation, and you’ll have lots of returning customers. Of course, there is always more to learn, and so you should continue your research after leaving this page. There are plenty of other articles on this blog that could help you to take things to the next level. So, have a look around before you leave.