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The Top Reasons Customer Service is Your Company’s Lifeline

Is customer service the reason your business is suffering? Customer service is one of the most critical areas of your company, and when it hurts, your entire company will fail. Think about it; customer service representatives are the direct line between your business and your customers. Do you think that your team is representing your business well? In the highly competitive small business industry, your customer service team could be the ‘make it or break it’ aspect for your company.

Customer Service Puts You Ahead

Companies with highly trained customer service staff will always come out on top, compared to other businesses who spend their time looking to other avenues such as marketing and ads. Marketing and advertising are essential aspects of the company but did you know that it’s better to focus on your existing customers? It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. A loyal customer is for life, and when doing business long-term, loyal customers can make a difference in your longevity.

If you are still skeptical of the benefits of customer service, then read on to learn the top reasons customer service is your company’s lifeline.

1. You Save with Customer Retention

Customer retention by 5% can increase your profits by more than 25%. If that math seems a little wonky to you, think about it. If you have one loyal customer, they are much more likely to continue to purchase from your brand. If you sell tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels, they are much more likely to buy all three products dutifully every week they come into your store. Contrast that long-term purchasing with the customer who decided to try your product one time when it was on sale. If you gain enough customer retention, your brand will sell itself, saving you money on operating costs over time. What does all of this have to do with customer service? You gain loyal customers by being loyal first. Be available 24/7, listen to their needs, solve their problems, and always let your existing customers know that you appreciate them.

Customer Service
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2. It Gives Your Brand a Positive Image

You know your mission statement, but just because you’ve got it memorized, that doesn’t mean your customers do. Customers only know from your company what they assume about it when they view you on social media, see your ads, and interact with you on the phone. If you have a positive presence all across the board, they will see your company in a positive light. It’s as simple as that.

3. Happiness is Contagious

A big smile from a stranger can brighten anyone’s day. Imagine you were having a bad day and running late for work. Then, on your commute to work, a baby can’t stop smiling and giggling at you. It would be hard to continue focusing on your bad day when so much happiness has entered your sight-line. The same goes for customer service agents. A positive customer service agent on the other line can help set the mood for a disgruntled customer on the other end.

4. Word of Mouth

Money can’t buy you word of mouth advertising, but it is one of the most worthwhile forms of advertising. We’ve all done it when we are impressed with a brand; we can’t help but talk about it with our friends. If you have a pleasant experience with a company, it stays with you, and that’s why having a strong customer service team is so important. We revisit and reorder from the same places over and over again because something impressed us. Whether that’s a happy server at a restaurant or no-hassle, free-shipping on returns at a fashion company.

5. People Are Willing to Spend More on a Brand They Trust

This is something that is not very obvious, but very relatable. If you’re shopping online and looking for a particular product, you’re going to go with the brand that you trust over another brand with cheaper products but a bad reputation. When you’re looking for a restaurant to go to with friends, you might check out Yelp. If there are rave reviews for a more expensive spot you’re more likely to check that place out then to head to the dive bar with one star.

Communication, Credibility, and Trust When it Comes to Your Staff

Business leaders who win are those who communicate openly and regularly, have a clear and committed communications policy, initiate various programs to support communication and collaboration, and assess their own performance. Communication, credibility, and trust are all important to building a reliable team.

Leaders often talk about building trust. Trust is something that must be earned. It is not something that today’s business leaders can take for granted, because both internal staff and external customers and clients are increasingly less trusting. Establishing open communication, credibility, and trust when it comes to your staff is critical to the ultimate success of a business.

Trust is at the Foundation of Successful Businesses

With allegations of large corporations taking part in fraud out of greed, trust has been eroded in every direction and new rules have been set with regard to how businesses are expected to operate. This applies to communication, credibility, and trust when it comes to your staff as the internal workings of a business is where it all starts and where everything builds from.

Employees, investors, customers, government entities, and regulators are increasingly demanding greater corporate accountability and transparency. These types of measures are aimed at curbing excesses of businesses and protecting the public.

Despite these new developments and higher standards, business leaders of well-respected, high-performing businesses have long acknowledged the value of building and sustaining trust. Again, establishing solid communication, credibility, and trust when it comes to your staff is at the heart of all of it.

Great Communication Fosters Trust

Building trust in a business’ leadership requires a personal effort on the part of the business leaders themselves. It is a team effort as well, but it starts at the very top. The corporate function that is most likely to support business leaders’ efforts to build and sustain trust in the long-term is communication.

Communication contributes to the creation of a business environment of trust around the leaders themselves and enables them to lead more effectively, engage their employees, and ultimately deliver the best possible results. Communication serves as the primary positioning agent for overall message delivery and leadership development for managers. The most successful business leaders have learned this fact from the first-hand experience.

Communication Credibility and Trust
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Excellent Communication Leads the Way to Credibility

Communication cannot alone make a person trust someone who is not trustworthy, but it can help to create a culture in which trust can thrive. Building communication, credibility, and trust when it comes to your staff is absolutely essential.

Breaking it down to the basics, leaders are people who are followed and people will not follow a leader they do not trust. Trust makes it easier to get into alignment and stay there. Trust is an extremely powerful force that builds loyalty, increases overall credibility, and supports effective communication within an organization. Trust gives you the right to benefit of the doubt in a situation where you would like to be heard, understood, and believed.

As any business leader or employee knows, trust can be severely tested when there are periods of high uncertainty and change during mergers, acquisitions, and other periods of transition. Despite a business leader’s best intentions, during these times it is often nearly impossible to communicate as much information as one would like. If one has a well-established system of communication, credibility, and trust when it comes to your staff, this reservoir of trust that has been built will carry you through these times.

At the very epicenter of building trust, is communication. Today, with public confidence in many organizations failing, solid leadership, communication, trust, business performance, and reputation are all inextricably linked. A workforce that trusts its leaders and really understands what is happening within the organization will be more satisfied, more productive, and also better able to communicate and contribute ideas for improvements.

Leaders of successful organizations know that in order to create a culture of trust, one must share information quickly and freely, and build relationships with employees and other stakeholders, allowing for their businesses to thrive.

It is not just about providing information. Building trust also involves managing communications and consistently encouraging discussion around what needs to be done. Always providing opportunities for feedback is a great example of how this is done.

Communicating sincerely, honestly, and regularly may be challenging for some business leaders and managers, but the return on good communication is high. For leaders of large corporations, human resources and communications channels within an organization, a regular self-assessment of whether or not you are acting as a communications champion within your business model helps to cast light on what you are doing well and also helps to focus on areas that may need some improvement.

Measuring progress, getting feedback, and giving feedback are all supportive of the goal to strengthen communication, credibility, and trust when it comes to your staff and every effort will be well worth it.

Accountability: Why Your Business Needs It

To effectively carry out a complex project or implement a strategic business plan, a culture of accountability must be developed throughout an organization. In order to achieve success, everyone within the organization needs to understand the organization’s strategy, their individual roles within the organization, and all specific tasks they are responsible for. Accountability is not limited to staff members within an organization. Managers and business leaders must also follow through on their promises and maintain a commitment to their organizational goals and to their individual performance.

How To Build Accountability in Business

When accountability is absent, the effects can snowball through an entire organization. Particularly when there is a large team with multiple people working in various roles on a project, this can pose issues. The result will be delays in project completion (if the project is completed at all) and negativity eroding attitudes of team members. A lack of trust could develop and both the performance and overall culture of an organization can suffer greatly.

If you want a high-performing team that is committed to taking ownership of their tasks and projects, read on. Here are some tips regarding accountability and why your business needs it.

1. Accountability means creating and nurturing an environment of trust and openness

When team members are behind or make mistakes, it is important that they feel comfortable enough to approach others on the team or a leader of the team for advice or help, with enough time to address and correct the issue. Asking for help can be very difficult, but it can also help to build trust, understanding, and autonomy, which leads to the development of strong teams that are very productive. This is just one tip, which highlights the importance of accountability and why your business needs it.

2. Understanding staff and what individually motivates them

Everyone has different motivations. Despite this, there are specific business culture traits that will lead to increased workplace satisfaction. When team members are given the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop in their roles, along with being made to feel that their contribution is essential, this is a plus for everyone. To help sustain a business culture that supports these values in conjunction with accountability and performance, business owners can avoid micromanagement, stay open to communicating, encourage collaboration, support employee education, and growth, and continue their own educations through conferences and workshops.

Accountability Why Your Business Needs It
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#100050738501

3. Set clear goals that are actionable and provide metrics for success

When a team leaves a meeting or a conversation, it is important that they leave with a clear understanding of what their specific tasks and responsibilities are. This involves going over timelines and deadlines. By defining these aspects clearly, a team can leave a meeting with an understanding of what the next steps to take are, how much time they should spend on these tasks, and what the resulting product should be. Again, this is another critical step in establishing accountability.

4. Track and periodically review your progress, notice successes, and failures

In order for a team member to know when a project is completed and the level of quality that is expected of them, there has to be some form of tracking in place. This tracking method must have clearly defined definitions of success worked into it. Whether the progress is monitored on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, it is important to do this to figure out if the project is on track and within scope.

Even leaders need to remember that they need help in staying accountable. A leader may become too focused on day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the big picture or, in contrast, they may develop such a wide scope that they have a hard time understanding the more intricate aspects of the organization. On the short-term, this may not necessarily cause a problem, but if this continues, this could lead to great difficulty in maintaining accountability to the organizational strategy.

Working with a partner that helps with strategy from outside of the organization could assist in this area. A partner could help leaders to maintain an understanding of where the business is going, as well as to maintain momentum. This outside partner could also help in keeping the team motivated and aligned with the company vision and strategies.

When leaders are committed to their accountability, it can make a huge impact on their organization, which leads to alignment and the overall success of the organization.

Building Credibility When You’re Fresh Out of College

You are fresh out of college and looking to build credibility with little to no work experience. This can understandably be challenging. The secret to building credibility when you’re fresh out of college is to show that you are someone with sky-high potential. You should aim to come across as a promising professional that is deserving of investment from the company and worthy of being afforded the best opportunities in embarking in the process of professional development. It is no simple feat, but not impossible either.

Building Credibility After College Graduation

Here are some key tips to building credibility when you’re fresh out of college:

Build Credibility by Making yourself available

When you join a company, do not assume that opportunities are just going to fly onto your lap. It is up to you to show your tenacity and go in search of new tasks to take on to show what you are capable of. If the company needs to carry out a survey to gather information on the performance of a specific product, volunteer to interview people. If the leader of the business asks for an analysis of the prior year’s sales figures, put yourself forward and offer to get it done. In other words, building credibility when you’re fresh out of college will mean putting yourself at the disposal of the team and earning trust with a smile. You will certainly come across as willing, enthusiastic, and determined, even as it relates to seemingly boring or mundane tasks.

Search out and process information

You are fresh out of college. This means that your ability to seek out and process information is at an all-time high. This is a great time to focus on your analytical skills and show your team and business leaders what you are capable of. Treat this as a key competitive advantage and make your abilities available to the company. You will be able to project yourself as a professional that is more than capable of analyzing market insights and consumer behavior, which translates into uncovering information that is helpful to all areas of the business.

Maintain a professional image

A key factor in building credibility when you’re fresh out of college is to project a professional image. In order to make up for your lack of experience, put your “soft skills” in the spotlight. This includes being reliable. As a newbie aiming to prove yourself, do not make the mistake of taking on more than you can realistically handle and subsequently dropping the ball on one or more of the tasks. Do not be afraid to put a red flag up for any problems you may come across or issues that you discover while you are completing your tasks. Also, never miss a deadline or turn in incomplete work. While this may mean that you take one step at a time, always aim to take responsibility for any work you are assigned and make sure to perform the task to the best of your abilities. The step from being reliable to building respect to being credible is a small one.

Building Credibility When You're Fresh Out of College
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#100142901007

Recognize Your Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Identify and embrace your strengths and contributions. This includes considering your personal background, including your geographic or demographic background. You want to avoid being typecast as someone who has a narrow skill set or only speaks from one specific perspective that is informed by their background, but using your background as a launch point can be a particularly effective tool in building initial credibility and positive regard within the organization.
  • Communicate proactively. Do not be afraid to ask questions and if you anticipate any difficulties in meeting a deadline or completing a project altogether, discuss the difficulties with your superior as soon as possible.
  • Make it a primary goal to build a deep and varied network of trusted colleagues who will provide you with advice, mentoring, and positive feedback.

Building credibility when you’re fresh out of college is essential. Expertise does not build on its own, and your teammates and the leaders of your business will not see you as a vital part of the business until you prove yourself to be one. Develop confidence to leverage the assets, tools, and capabilities you already have and you will be able to overcome the challenges of lacking experience and be well on your way to a successful career.

Secrets of Using a Toll Free Number to Boost Your Business Calls

Do you have a toll free number for your business? If you do, then are you using it to its full potential? Toll-free numbers can benefit your business in numerous ways, and most importantly, they can boost your business calls.

Smartphones ended the era where we memorized phone numbers. If people are no longer memorizing phone numbers of loved ones, do you think that they will remember the phone numbers of businesses? Definitely not. A company that relies on phone calls to find new customers could suffer from these problems if they are not using a toll-free number in their marketing strategy.
The digital age had a very quick rise to the top, and many businesses shelled out a lot of cash to increase their search rankings or spent a lot of time trying to find followers on social media. Many companies realized that marketing online is not easy and have now turned back to traditional channels of marketing. Currently, there are more radio, print, and TV ads because they are secure means to measure ROI. Broadcast, print, and television can help to get your name out to potential customers, but if you’re looking for callers, then they need to get your phone number, too.

Making Your Business Number Memorable

So, how will a potential customer remember your phone number when they won’t even bother to memorize their mother’s phone number? The answer is with a vanity number!
A vanity number is the best way to get a customer to remember your phone number. Vanity numbers are toll-free numbers that use the letters that are placed on a phone’s keypad to spell out something related to your business. For example, if you are a baker, you might use 1-800-COOKIES. Vanity numbers stand out among the crowd and don’t look funny printed on an ad or spoken about on television. Many successful companies will attach a jingle to their vanity phone numbers when advertising on radio and television as a new way to help commit the phone number to people’s memories.

Using a Toll Free Number for Business
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100211230098

Vanity Numbers Have Seen a Rise in Popularity

Vanity numbers are gaining popularity again because they are so simple to remember and can be used anywhere. If you’re driving past a billboard, you can memorize a vanity number, or if you’re listening to a radio ad, you can memorize a vanity number. Vanity numbers and toll-free phone numbers have always been an excellent choice for businesses, but the recent gain in popularity means that the best names are going fast, so don’t wait to secure the best vanity number for your business.

Make it Easy for Customers to Contact Your Company Using a Toll Free Number

Customers do not want to put in work to contact your business. And why should they? It is your job as an excellent company to make it easy for them to get into contact with your business. Your company should advertise its number in as many places as possible so that it is not hard for your customers to find it. It can be very frustrating for customers when they can’t find a way to contact a business. Once they find your number, make sure that you are available for their calls at any time of the day. Toll-free vanity numbers are also beneficial to customers because it does not cost them anything to call a company. A customer probably won’t choose your business if they have to pay to get in touch with you when they can call another business for free.
Vanity and toll-free numbers are also great for credibility. A customer will assume a company that uses a toll-free number is a large company or corporation, but in reality toll, free phone numbers are so affordable that any size business, whether it is a very small start-up or a large corporation, can afford to get one. If you are working from your kitchen table, you can still have the same credibility that a Fortune 500 company has, and that ability will give you the edge over your competition.

Effective Problem Solving to Build Customer Confidence

Having your own business is a competitive environment. One wrong move and you could be losing customers to your competition. That’s why it is essential that your business focuses on problem solving to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. But what happens when your company makes a mistake, such as not allowing a customer to return a damaged product or putting your customer on hold for a lengthy amount of time? Your customers may take that very personally.

Building Confidence while Problem Solving for Customer Satisfaction

Your business should be focused on keeping the customers’ confidence because once you lose the confidence of a customer, you can lose everything that you’ve worked for. According to marketwatch.com, Comcast, Wells Fargo, American Airlines are the companies with the worst reputations. How did they get placed on that list? The reasons range from poor customer service, cutting employees’ salaries, cutting jobs, and in the case of BP, it is still reeling from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which tarnished their reputation beyond repair. If you have found that your business is suffering from poor customer service reviews, public relations, or consistency, you could be in danger of losing your customers. When you lose your customer’s confidence, it can cost you everything. If you think you may be at risk of losing customers, you need to inject trust back into the relationship.

Loyal customers can make or break a business because returning customers account for much of your profits. Additionally, they are great for word-of-mouth marketing. Losing the trust of a customer who pays money for your product or service means that you could permanently damage the reputation of your company. If you’ve made a single mistake or just suffered a miscommunication, there may be a way to win your customers’ trust back. If you don’t want to see the end of your business, here are some key tactics to execute to regain that trust.

Problem Solving
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100200144052

1. Effective problem solving techniques

To begin problem solving, you must find out where the leak is. Once you have figured out the source of your issues, you can take steps to rectify the problems. Sometimes you will get customers that are open about the issues that they have and will voice their opinions directly to you. However, many customers will simply switch to your competitor without saying a thing. You can find out feedback from these customers by asking customers to fill out surveys, following up with your customers after a purchase, scanning Yelp for reviews, and reaching out to once-regular customers who haven’t purchased in a while.

2. Take responsibility

Once you’ve found out where you’ve gone wrong with a customer, it’s time to own up to your mistake. Never get defensive with a customer or blame the issue on something else. Apologize so you and the customer can move on. Think about it, if you were the unsatisfied customer, would you want to the company you’re giving your money to, to get defensive when you contact them with a problem? Absolutely not. Apologizing is always the best solution.

3. Remedy the situation

While an apology is the first step to begin to remedy a situation, the next task is to rebuild the trust. Be sure that you do this by ensuring the problem never happens again. There might be a flaw in one aspect of your business, and if you do not fix this issue, you may have future problems with other customers. Retain feedback while you source out the issues and make the appropriate changes, that way you know that your business is on the right track.

4. Offer the customer something for their troubles

Problem solving issues, so it never happens again may help you to retain other customers, but if the problem was very bad, then you may have to do more to regain the customer’s confidence. Provide the customer a gift along with your apologies such as a discount or a free sample. This little act of giving shows to your customers that your business will go above and beyond for their customers’ happiness.

Your Digital Footprint: What You Should Know About Your Online Presence

Your digital footprint, or online presence, stick to you like glue and will be with you for your lifetime. You need to make sure that your online reputation is upstanding, particularly if you own a company so that your brand is not affected.

The Importance of Online Presence for your Business

Your digital footprint is comprised of anything you put online, and anything put online about you by others. That includes business information, photos, comments, social media posts, customer reviews, and complaints. It also includes all your websites, and any articles or blogs you have written and posted online. Once it’s accessible on the internet, it is potentially there forever, which is a very good reason to stay on top of it.

Who is looking at Your Digital Footprint?

Anyone who is looking for information about you can access your online presence. It will usually carry information about your location, political views, demographics, affiliations, and interests. Your digital footprint is used by headhunters and prospective employers, recruiters, marketers, businesses, and if you’re a business owner, your customers. That gives you plenty of reasons why you need to maintain a good online reputation.

How to Make the Most of your Digital Footprint

Here are some tips to help you manage your digital footprint and keep control of your online reputation.
Google yourself: Yes, it sounds self-indulgent, but it’s the place to start if you want to find out what’s out there for people to see.

Get alerts: You can set up a Google alert for any keyword phrase, so why not create one for your name. This will tell you when a post crops up with your name in it.

Stay private: Don’t post your personal information such as your phone numbers, personal address, bank account details or credit card numbers. If you own a business, consider getting a virtual phone number for your company, so you don’t have to give out your personal number.

Lock up your login: Don’t share your login and password details with anyone.

Use your discretion: Always stop for a moment and think before you post. Don’t post if you are angry; your feelings will pass, but your post will be permanent.

Avoid pictures: Unless they are promotional pictures for your business, avoid them altogether. Personal pictures can be pulled up and used to your disadvantage when you least expect it.

Digital Footprint Online Presence
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100185868144

Benefits of a Digital Footprint

It’s not all bad; your digital footprint can be beneficial. In today’s competitive job market, a healthy online presence can be a big asset for your career. These days, most employers conduct online searches to supplement resumes and cover letters. The reason for this is that a search can reveal much information about prospective hires’ interests and involvements, as well as how good they are at marketing themselves.

If you own your own company, your digital footprint will reflect the strength of your business. Make sure you address all customer comments, even negative ones. If you are getting negative comments or reviews online, make sure that you address them straight away in a positive way. Always apologize and correct the issue, so that other customers will see that you care about them.

Keeping Your Digital Footprint Strong

Now that you see the advantages of a strong digital footprint, here are some ways to maintain a good online reputation.

Be deliberate and plan for the long-term: Build yourself a positive digital footprint from the beginning. It’s much easier to start out right than to have to try and clean up your image later. This might be something you also want to talk to your children about if they are old enough to use social media.

Don’t over-share: Of course, social media is all about sharing, but some things are best kept out of the public eye. Check your social media privacy settings before you start posting. Remember, if you are having an issue with someone, sort it out offline.

Say no to tagging: Even if you are keeping your online reputation pristine, it doesn’t mean that your friends are. If you’re getting tagged in videos or photos, it might give the wrong impression. Go to your social media settings and turn off tagging, it may save your reputation.

Positive can go public: If you have already established a great digital footprint, then you should make the most of it and share your successes and accomplishments. These are the posts that you want to be making public both on your professional profiles and your social media channels.

Be articulate: Always speak clearly and with respect when you post online; whether it’s your own social media channel or someone else’s. Let loose your talents and creativity and make sure to check your posts for clarity and correctness before you put them online.

Make the most of your digital footprint and always remember: what goes on social media, stays on social media.

How to Earn a Reputation Based on Credibility in Your Industry

There are a number of traits that can help a business earn a reputation to become more successful. Credibility is at the top of that list. Credibility means others look to your company as a reliable source and if others rely on you, they trust you and do business with you, and this propels your business ahead.

Being credible means that you establish and nurture a very specific set of qualities. It really doesn’t make a difference which type of organization or industry you are in – these qualities work the same across the board.

Learning How to Earn a Reputation for Credibility: Step by Step.

If you are serious about establishing yourself as credible, here are some tips regarding how to earn a reputation based on credibility in your industry:

1. Build trust: If you are wondering how to earn a reputation based on credibility in your industry, you have to start with trust. In order to cultivate credibility, you have to build trust, earn it, and maintain it. If people like you, they will trust you and they will be more willing to do business with you. The trust you build with your market is more important than your bottom line.

2. Become an expert: Being competent within your industry means having the ability to analyze a situation and develop several potential solutions. Being confident in your capabilities is important so that others know they can count on you.

3. Consistency: Another important tip regarding how to earn a reputation based on credibility in your industry is related to consistency. Everything that your company states and does should be consistent. The messages that your organization is sending out, the actions that you take as an organization, and the things you allow in your organization should all be in complete and total alignment. In figuring out how to earn a reputation based on credibility in your industry, this should be carefully considered as people do not trust a person or company that “flip flops.” They feel safe with consistency, knowing what to expect, and whom they can rely on.

4. Authenticity: In mapping out how to earn a reputation based on credibility in your industry, you need authenticity. When trying to earn trust, you cannot rely on the “fake it until you make it” approach. This will lead to disaster. The basis for establishing yourself as a leader and your business as a leading organization is a solid foundation that offers others long-lasting stability, no matter what challenges are faced.

5. Sincerity: Being credible equals being sincere. This means that you don’t necessarily say everything that you think, but you do mean everything that you say. True sincerity requires commitment and a willingness to be unmovable and straightforward no matter what.

6. Respect: Truly considering the feelings of others could mean everything to them. Treating others with respect because they deserve it and understanding why that is important is paramount. Respect earns credibility.

7. Accountability: In order to establish credibility, you have to be accountable for your actions and decisions. When making mistakes, it is important to own up to them and correct anything that stands as an error.

8. Loyalty: Credibility is connected to serving and protecting others. When you have the best interests of others in mind, and this is clear, this tends to build loyalty and credibility.

9. Honesty: In figuring out how to earn a reputation based on credibility in your industry, it is extremely important to be honest. Total transparency is a fundamental keystone to business and it is at the core of credibility.

10. Communicate: Communication is at the core of establishing credibility. This means that you need to make sure you are effectively communicating the vision of your business, helping your market to understand what sets you apart from your competition, and helping to carry your brand message through each of your marketing initiatives. This is also important within your organization, in building credibility with your staff and other team leaders.

Earn a Reputation Woman on Laptop
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100070154817

Credibility Builds Better Business

Credibility as a business leader allows your staff to look at you as a reliable resource for decision-making and information. A leader that is credible has gained the respect of their peers and their staff by displaying positive and strong attributes. Credibility translates into improved employee morale, improved staff performance, and the ultimate success of an organization. Credibility is essential in building relationships within your industry as a business leader and as a brand.

Whether you own a brick-and-mortar shop, a virtual consultancy, or another kind of business, all businesses need to display honesty and credibility in order to gain trust and earn a reputation based on credibility within the industry they are in. Credibility has to be earned. It takes time and consistency to establish it, along with an effort to maintain it, but it is necessary on the ultimate path to success.

Building Credibility with Professional Toll Free Numbers

If there’s one thing that new businesses need when they enter the market place, it is the credibility to attract customers. And there’s no better way to do so than with the help of professional toll free numbers from Global Call Forwarding. In this article, we will explore a number of ways that professional toll free numbers build credibility with customers around the world.

Getting Professional Toll Free Numbers

Think about the last time you contacted a high-level organization, like a government organization, non-profit, or multinational corporation. Or, what about a high-volume business, like law firms and large retailers? Chances are that in each case, those entities offered a toll free number to the public to enable communication that would otherwise be pricey – or impossible.

As you may be aware, toll free numbers help accommodate the broadest audience for your business by picking up the charges that would normally be incurred by the caller. Instead, your business foots the bill to enable all callers to reach your business. By offering this service, your business gains an edge over lesser organizations that demand more out of prospective customers. Even subconsciously, customers immediately appreciate a business that makes it problem-free to contact them.

Geographical Agnosticism

One way to build credibility is to have a national presence instead of being tied down to a specific area code. With toll free numbers, your organization’s toll free numbers help to create something called “geographical agnosticism.” This component enables your business to gain a professional sheen that automatically implies that your organization has the capabilities to handle inbound calls from nearly anywhere.

And because most toll free numbers are national, geographical agnosticism can help obscure where your business is calling from, particularly if it is located in a less-favorable location or one not known to carry the same weight as major cities.

Accommodating International Customers

One particular challenge that comes with offering toll free phone numbers is that international callers are not able to receive these benefits when dialing a phone number located outside of their country and/or numbering plan. Instead, these callers are saddled with long-distance fees, saddled with the chore of dialing outside of their country, and may not be able to complete the call depending on their telecom service providers’ requirements. This can reduce credibility in the eyes of international markets and may render your efforts useless. Is there a better way to guarantee ease of communication?

Yes, there is. Luckily, with the help of Global Call Forwarding’s services, you can use two forms of toll free numbers that help bridge the gap: ITFS numbers and UIFNs (International Toll Free Numbers and Universal International Freephone Numbers, respectively). Both types of toll free numbers enable international callers to reach your business without incurring charges or service blockages. In most cases, these phone numbers match the area code and remaining digits identical to “normal” toll free numbers that those customers are already used to, which is something your international callers will certainly appreciate.

Professional with Toll Free Numbers Customer Service Directory
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100077897772

Adding Professional Toll Free Numbers Directories to Your Business

Going back to our first example, another component you’ve probably encountered with large, high-volume organizations is first encounters a directory that allows you to self-select which person and/or department you’d wish to speak with, as well as provide information relevant to your inquiry (i.e store hours, frequently asked information, voicemail services, staff list, etc.). One common form of directory available from Global Call Forwarding is called Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which uses spoken voice commands to navigate through your company’s directory, which can reduce the hassle of constantly dialing numbers to navigate (or eventually dialing ‘0’ to reach an operator to guide you, if available).

Global Call Forwarding also offers PBX services, which is short for “Private Branch Exchange.” Essentially, by using a PBX, you can expand one phone number into many sub-directories for callers to reach various departments and staff members, usually by dialing * and the appropriate digits. Callers appreciate this and it helps build professional credibility, particularly when multiple calls need to be made quickly and directly.

Better Functionalities with Add-ons from Global Call Forwarding

Because modern professional toll free phone numbers are powered by cloud computing (supplanting the limitation of landlines), there is a host of new advancements that can be added to regular phone service to augment how your business operates. Let’s cover a brief list of some of the most popular add-ons to build credibility:

CallMe Click: As the name implies, when you use CallMe Click, a visitor to your website can initialize a call from their device to reach your business with a simple click. This makes contacting your business more instantaneous instead of having the customer dial the number manually. This allows for fast action, allowing for almost-instant connection with a customer, and wasting no time.

Time of Day Routing: This add-on enables inbound calls to be routed to a specific destination depending on when a call is placed. For instance, if callers reach your business outside of regular business hours, those calls can be forwarded to another destination, such as a call center in a favorable time zone or voicemail.

Call Recording: This add-on records and stores calls made between your phone number and the public. By using call recording, you can more adequately assess if your staff is following company protocol to establish the best customer service possible and follow best-practices – a crucial component to building credibility.

How Toll Free Numbers Can Be Used to Build Customer Loyalty

As your business grows, you may notice that your current phone number can’t handle the influx of new customers. Or maybe you’re missing out on customer calls because you’re using a landline and your customers are upset that they have to pay to call your business in order to make customer service calls. Perhaps you don’t want to take business calls on your personal phone line anymore. When these thoughts begin to creep in your mind, it’s time to think about getting a separate business line. Doing so can help increase customer loyalty and business credibility.

Benefits of a Toll Free Number for Customer Loyalty

So what is the best option for a separate business line? A toll free number has several benefits for a small business. The number one benefit of a toll free number is that it is a great way to begin building a loyal customer base.

Toll-free numbers or 1-800 numbers, as you may remember them as, grew in popularity in the 90s, but they are still prevalent today. One of the reasons is that they are a free way that your customers can make customer service calls to your company with. A toll-free number also gives your business the ability to reach a national audience no matter how small your company is.

So how does a toll free number build customer loyalty?

Recognition

Toll free numbers are easily recognizable, and therefore people have an ingrained trust of a business with a toll free number. Toll-free numbers have been around long enough that people know that they won’t get charged for calling one and therefore have no qualms about making a phone call to your business when they need to.

Branding

Toll free numbers were created to serve the people of the business that uses them. It also helps to brand your company as a trustful company because a company that chooses a toll free number is associated with a larger company. You get access to an entire nation of customers, too. You can take the number and advertise it on all of your marketing materials. From business cards to billboards, when people begin to see your number everywhere, they will start to recognize your brand and associate the number with your company.

Customer Service

Toll free numbers up to the ante on your customer service. Most people prefer to interact with a live human on the phone when they have a problem with a product or service. They want to speak with someone right away, and they want their issues handled immediately. When you refer to the web for customer service there can be delayed responses. Choosing to staff a friendly customer service representative will do wonders for your business because it helps to put an angry customer at ease. Since many of the issues in a company can be solved over the phone, your customers will be happy with the swift response time and help. You can also offer support to your customers around the clock. Only with a toll-free number can you provide 24-hour customer service which in turn builds customer loyalty.

Customer Loyalty Toll Free Number Call Center
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100185868144

Did we mention it’s free for customers?

Again, customers do not want to have to pay to call a business that messed up their order. A customer service line should be free if you want your business to be taken seriously.

Memorable

Choosing a vanity number for your toll free line can also make your company much more memorable. Using a vanity such as 1-800-FLOWERS shows your customer base exactly what you are selling. Even if they forget the name of your company, they’re not likely to forget a vanity number like that.

It’s better than emails

When customers are frustrated with your company, no matter how polite you try to sound in an email, it is not going to come across well with an angry customer. Customer service lines are the best way to handle upset consumers. A brief email is no match for a charming human on the other line.

Trustworthy

If you are running an e-commerce website, people may be wary of your business. Many of these e-commerce sites are untrustworthy and sell damaged products. When your e-commerce company provides a customer service phone line, a person is more inclined to trust your company because you have provided them a way to get in immediate contact with your business in case something goes awry.