When customers have a question about your product or service, they want it answered quickly no matter the time of day. Few things are worse than having a problem or question, then needing to access a website and wait several minutes for the next live customer support member to arrive in your support chat area. The same is true with support ticket platforms or emails… it shouldn’t be such an issue to have customer support times of less than an hour, if not instant. Chatbots could be the answer to this demand for lightning-fast customer service, if they are used correctly.
With social media and on-site support leading the way for many companies, chatbots are a hot, modern way to take your business to the next level. They offer real-time customer service to an audience that needs it. But how can you actually leverage chatbots within your business?
To stay up with the latest trends and advancements in chatbot technology, we asked 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share the best ways to integrate a chatbot on your site, or what they’ve seen while browsing through the internet and visiting various other sites.
1. Automate Common Questions
Try to automate the most common questions you receive into the messenger/chatbot. The more you are able to provide people with direct information, the better. Still, though, you should try to provide them with a direct line of communication to a living person, should they need that urgently.
2. Give Them Simple Tasks
Though chatbots are useful, they should be used to complement your current customer service team, not replace it. Chatbots are best used to answer basic, routine questions and prioritize customer inquiries. Then, they should pass the more complex customer service problems to real staff members. This not only creates a seamless workflow, but it allows human employees to do their jobs better.
– Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Start With Really Good Research
Look at voice search analysis in your category. Look at site search data. Talk with your call center. Do keyword research. You want to figure out what your customer’s most important questions are. When executed properly, you can automate a lot of answers as many of your customers’ most pressing questions are direct and simple to answer.
4. Treat Customers Like Real People
Treating customers as real people rather than numbers is always going to drive loyalty and, therefore, sales. Designing an intuitive chatbot that is able to answer a few basic questions can go a long way toward upping customer retention. We recently took a deep dive into our onboarding process and noticed that far too many users were downloading the app, but not enough were completing the registration process. We found out the main questions users faced during the registration process and adjusted our chat feature and tutorial accordingly, to much success.
5. Test for Quality Assurance
If your chatbot can answer your FAQs in a fast, intelligent way, you are good to go. You want to encounter any irritating misunderstandings, which have made chatbots unpopular in some cases, before your customers do. At least the bots can be on call at all times. If nothing else, an automatic response telling customers when you are next available will prevent them from feeling they have been ignored.
6. Refer Customers to Your Portfolio
Automate your response to have customers call your office. That way, you can personally close the deal. Have your automation hyperlink to your portfolio and services so that the prospective lead has a good understanding of what you provide. In the meantime, you can personally close on the phone.
7. Offer Human Contact
Despite popular belief, many customers actually like chatbots. If they’re programmed well and provide valuable information in a short period of time, chatbots can be a valuable tool for any business. However, the most important thing in this situation is that interacting with a chatbot is a choice made by the customer. Provide the option for human contact so they can choose.
8. Preload the Chatbot With Questions
I like to preload the chatbot with questions so I know that moving the prospect from one stage of the funnel to another will be a breeze. Once I have an understanding of what questions most people are asking, I can use those as conversation starters to understand the new prospects. When you leave it open, prospects may not know which questions to ask. It’s better to leave it closed-ended.
9. Acquire Email Addresses
Have your chatbot ask the visitor for their email address to be able to follow up and convert them into a customer. Make sure the script cross-references your existing customers to keep your email lists segmented. This will ensure that you don’t email existing customers first-time customer coupons or the like.
10. Analyze Data
One way to leverage chatbots to offer better customer service is to analyze the data gleaned from the conversation. You can use it to educate yourself on your customers’ habits and needs, and then integrate that data into business operations to improve customer service.
11. Prioritize Customer Convenience
Chatbot technology has come a long way. For many businesses, it can be a way to better serve their customers. Improved service is the key. Though automating your business processes is usually a solid strategy, it can be tempting to take it too far. The primary goal is to give your customers the answers they need. It should be about their convenience, not only about streamlining or cutting costs.
Is Your Brand or Business Making the Most of AI, Automation, and Chatbots?
It’s only a matter of time before your business will need to start implementing these methods into it’s day to day operations. While you may not have made the plunge yet, it’s very likely that your competition has. Take a moment to visit your top competitors and see how they are using their websites, blogs, and social media to better engage with their audience and customers. Once you’ve found out what’s working well for them, be sure to consider these same options for your brand or online business.
What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Cloud Computing Management
Cloud computing is the future. In fact, it’s already here! Millions of people depend on cloud computing technologies to back up their important data. Big data is the force that is driving this need, and it looks to be a technology that will be with us for a very long time.
Everyone from beginning online business owners to multi-million dollar corporations need to utilize cloud computing technology. The reason so many people rely on this technology is that you cannot afford to rely on only one storage method such as one computer or an external drive. If these drives or computers crash, you will lose all of your essential data.
For business owners, it is even more important to have this kind of backup. When you are an online site owner or manager, you are not only responsible for your data. You are also responsible for your customers’ data. This creates more liability for you and can make you suffer a loss of credibility if the data is compromised.
From Device to the Cloud
Cloud computing involves more than just managing and maintaining the data in the cloud. It also involves the data that is on your mobile devices or desktop computers and servers. Companies need to know what is coming in and going out of these devices as they are legally responsible for the security of this data as well.
For the site manager or business owner, this becomes a bigger challenge since so many people are responsible for their devices. This makes the task of monitoring what each is doing on their devices almost impossible.
This makes it necessary to put a platform and solution in place that will allow for cloud management across the various devices and platforms to avoid lack of consistency and functionality. At the same time, you must ensure that it is safe and that your networks are secure.
Too Many Devices, So Little Time
Another important challenge that online business owners face today is that employees, business partners, collaborators, and others involved in projects with your company all want to maintain the control they have over their devices. They also tend to utilize a large number of devices due to other needs or interests they have that involve their specific job titles or responsibilities.
This means you have to allow for variation in platforms, device types, and integration of a multitude of devices to keep the flow of information going and keep projects coordinated.
This puts a pretty large burden on the IT department since they are still responsible for many of the issues across multiple devices in which they are all connected to a centralized server. The IT provider must handle the individual issues on the devices as well as the data in the cloud and the software and hardware issues.
Colocation of Services
Today, with the help of “the cloud,” and other services, workers and project collaborators can log into a central server from the device of their choice and collaborate on a wide variety of projects and activities no matter where they are. This increases accessibility as well as productivity and workflow. However, you will need to update some software manually for each device to be in compliance with software licenses and to tweak individual devices to work correctly.
Tools in the Cloud
Just as much of the work we now do as business owners is “in the cloud” these days, so are the tools that we need to increase our efficiency and productivity levels. Gone are the days of needing to download or install software based on the different computers or laptops you might have. We are now in the next phase of website and data hosting and storing important data in the cloud. With all of this in mind, it’s important to be able to access such tools due to the need to keep software updated on all devices that are connected to the cloud.
If you can set up platforms that allow you to disperse critical software and security patches and updates from the cloud to all devices on the network, you will save yourself a lot of headaches in the IT and security department by avoiding having to install them manually.
When you work on things “from the cloud,” you are working remotely. This means a lot of added convenience for collaborators and managers, but it also requires more coordination and logistics management so that all systems are working properly across the board.
Smart AI Technology
One thing about cloud computing is that is it heavily immersed in AI. Companies such as nVidia.com and others have had a sudden rise in stock lately. This is because investors realize they are offering many more AI solutions to the technology world than other companies are doing. This includes cloud computing and big data management.
The smarter the technology gets in the future, the fewer business owners will have to do manually. Self-learning AI programs can correct problems as they go and even develop new solutions, rather than having to have engineers continuously check on how they are doing and ensuring that the data is safe.
With this innovation also comes more automation and less worry for the cloud computing IT manager as well as the business owner.
Storage Solutions in the Cloud
Cloud storage is one of the most important aspects of cloud computing. You can store mind-boggling amounts of data in the cloud which allows you to expand on your potential as a business owner in ways never before imagined. If you are a digital media producer, you can create endless videos, podcasts, and other digital assets and upload them to cloud storage without the worry of running out of space.
With so much storage available on most drives such as Google Drive, DropBox, and others, one wonders if someday we will all have illimitable space open. Google Drive allows you to purchase 2 TB of space for only $9.99 per month. This gives you an idea of just how cheap the cloud is when you need more space for storage.
Cloud management platforms like Cloud Management Suite understand the importance of having a cloud computing system in place. For example, Cloud Management Suite offers a wide variety of cloud services from security to data management. It’s primary features include patch tracking, remote control, software distribution, inventory discovery and history & reporting. With businesses relying on the cloud, it’s important to not only provide a cloud based solution, but also one that can scale and grow based on the needs of the end user.
The same holds true with other solutions, as it’s always important to offer excellent business phone services with a multitude of services that you can use for your business. All of this is in place, while also taking advantage of cloud computing, and catering to the end needs of the client.
Why use cloud storage?
Any online business (or offline business who needs storage solutions) should consider utilizing cloud storage today. The benefits are too numerous to mention. But basically, you’ll be covered if something happens and you lose your data or important projects on a physical drive or computer.
You don’t have to worry about system crashes or computer malfunction eating your data. If you have ever mourned the loss of files that you thought you would never retrieve, you can understand the need for cloud storage. If you lose your data on your physical drives, all you have to do is go “to the cloud” to retrieve and replace them.
As a business owner, this also increases your credibility and integrity with clients when you tell them you have cloud storage because they know that their data will never truly be lost.
Some companies that set up an “emergency plan” for loss due to fire, floods, or other natural disasters even include a cloud-based storage system as one of the factors in securing their business and often report this to insurance companies to get their rates down.
This shows the importance of using cloud storage to keep your data safe.
Grow Your Business with Cloud Computing
Additionally, you need cloud storage to grow and maintain your business. You never know how large your online company may grow over the years. Having cloud computer storage allows you to grow and expand to whatever level you can handle as you increase your storage space and online collaboration capabilities “in the cloud.”
When you depend on cloud storage as well as your offline tools, you have more security in what you do, and you can feel free to focus on your goals within your business and less worrying time about your security issues and loss of data. To learn more about each of these concepts and how cloud computing can improve your business, download this free ebook on the top ten security tips for IT managers.
Using cloud computing solutions also allows you to cut down on the amount of money you have to dedicate to your business infrastructure and on-site or in-house maintenance. Upgrades are often done automatically, and you can “set it and forget it.”
Cloud storage and computing options also allow you to put your business on automation in many ways while using the remote tools and accessibility that is necessary to expand without the worry of logistics.
Cloud computing is still a relatively new innovation that allows you to work from anywhere, have full access to your data, and keep your clients’ important data secure. Managing your cloud computing network is not difficult, but it helps to have tools that help you organize everything.
No matter what type of business or brand you are running, there are always going to be ways to make improvements and have better control over your customer data and day to day operation. Cloud computing can help you get there.
The Importance of Data Protection in the Workplace
What happens at work, stays at work — well, not so much. This is especially true when it comes to not just your personal data, but also those of clients, employees, advertisers and much more. With more data leaks and hacker attacks happening daily, it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ your data will be lost and sold on the darknet. It’s simply a matter of ‘when’ and what you are going to do about it.
With all of this in mind, do you know why data protection matters at your workplace?
Data protection in the workplace can no longer be an afterthought. In today’s world, many businesses have an online presence and store information digitally. No matter what you’re selling, you store data digitally, and that’s why data breaches have hit record numbers in recent years.
Even small businesses can be targets for data breaches. In fact, small businesses are more commonly targeted sometimes, because they often don’t have as many security measures in place for their data.
Don’t get caught off guard by hackers. Instead, keep reading to learn why data protection matters, and what you can do to protect your valuable data.
1. Human Errors Happen
It’s tempting to think that as long as you have the right company guidelines, you won’t need data protection. You know your employees would never break the rules and make data available to people who shouldn’t have it. But has it occurred to you that they might accidentally create a data breach?
Everyone can make mistakes, even your most experienced employees. And the consequences of human error while handling data can be dire. What happens when a personal phone used for some business purposes gets stolen? How about when someone accidentally posts a password on their social media account?
Human error can take many different forms. You should definitely educate your employees on how to avoid security breaches. This includes guiding them on best practices, password protection, and more. But this won’t eliminate the room for mistakes.
Have a layered system of protection measures, so a single mistake can’t make your data completely available to the world. That way, human errors won’t create massive problems.
2. It Could Be Legally Required
Did you know that legally, you must protect your data in certain areas?
According to the European Data Protection Act, you have to take certain steps to keep people’s data safe. This means, among other things, that you can only use data in approved ways, that you can’t store it longer than you need it, and that you have to keep it secure.
Of course, the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply everywhere. But many governments have laws regarding the use of data, and you can also be held liable for data breaches. Even if data protection isn’t required by law, you don’t want to get sued in the event of a breach.
3. Employees Can Use Data for Revenge
The bigger and broader your team of employees, the greater the chances that one of them will break the rules in a serious way. No matter how much you trust your team, though, you should keep in mind that a dissatisfied employee with access to data is a huge liability.
No matter how great your company culture is, there can still be that one employee who has issues. Maybe their problem is with their job description, or a specific person they work with. No matter what the reason is, you don’t want to give a revenge-seeking employee the power to use data against you.
An angry employee with access to data might deliberately share it or use it in ways to harm your business. For some small businesses, a data breach can spell the end.
Make sure to keep employee account privileges tightly controlled, so no one has more access than they need. This helps reduce the chances of a deliberate breach. If an employee is no longer working for you, be sure that their account privileges get shut down right away.
4. Your Reputation Can Suffer
Even minor data breaches can have a huge impact on a brand’s reputation.
If your customers’ data has been compromised — even if it doesn’t lead to anything bad happening — they’ll feel like they can’t trust you. As the word spreads, your company will become known as the one that doesn’t handle customer information with care. It’s very hard to get your reputation back after an event like this.
5. Data Must Be Kept Accurate
Without data protection, inaccuracies in the data can start to create problems. Even if there’s never a data breach, you might find yourself working with outdated, inaccurate information because you didn’t effectively protect what you had.
You need complete data that’s reliable and accurate. One way to achieve this is to always have backups of your data, so replication won’t leave you working with data that’s different from the original. Lost data can also be a huge liability — click here to discover more about data protection.
6. Employees Might Use Their Own Devices
Does your company allow employees to “bring your own device,” or BYOD? Then you definitely need more security measures.
Today, it often makes sense to allow BYOD. You don’t have to buy computers and smartphones for business purposes when people can use their own. Employees can often work faster on the devices they’re familiar with, too.
However, the risk is that sensitive data that’s used on these devices can easily get compromised. To avoid this, you’ll want to set some BYOD standards. For example, you can require employees to put a password protection on any device they’ll use for work purposes. That way, if it’s lost or stolen, other people can’t access the information.
Implementing Data Protection in the Workplace
Now that you can see why it’s important, you need to decide what kinds of data protection in the workplace is right for your company.
The best data safety strategies will vary depending on your industry, the size of your business, and more. But a carefully planned out data protection strategy is always necessary, in all industries, and in all business sizes.
Need to build a site that will keep sensitive information safe? I can help — learn more about my web and site development services here.
The Secret Behind Effective Human Resources Marketing
For many entrepreneurs and business owners, ‘human resources’ can mean a lot of different things. For example, if you’re a solo-entrepreneur/blogger/affiliate marketer, you will likely never need to deal with the issues a corporation with a full HR division needs to. And for most, this is a plus! However, as businesses and organizations grow in size, so do their responsibilities and how they address the needs of different individuals within the company.
This is where human resources come into play, and for big businesses and corporations, it’s serious work! It’s not just about making sure everything is in place, it’s also about exploiting the positives of having a great HR department within your organization as well.
Marketing the work of your HR Department has many benefits. You’ll attract better candidates, make positive impressions, and improve your company’s reputation.
But developing a marketing strategy for HR can be challenging, as it’s not like marketing a product. Yet, with the right approach, human resources marketing is often pretty straightforward.
Keep reading to learn the secrets behind effective human resources marketing. When you’re done reading, you’ll know how to improve the reputation of your company, thanks to this marketing approach.
When trying to market your HR Department, one of the best things you can do is create some content.
Ideally, you’ll want to create content that helps to portray the stories of some of your employees. You could feature someone who’s a recent graduate, for example. Or you might want to tell the story of someone that’s joined your company at a later age.
If you can, have a page on your website that’s dedicated to these kinds of stories. Consider writing content around these stories too. This’ll help improve the chances that people come across this content when they’re browsing Google.
In a similar light, you should also consider producing some content for YouTube. If the employees in question don’t want to be in a video, that’s fine. You can just tell their stories using an animation.
You might even want to think about posting this content onto LinkedIn. The best way to do this would be to create a “Career Page.” This’ll give you the chance to highlight the experiences of your employees.
You could also tell the stories of employees that have undergone some kind of training to make themselves more qualified. For instance, employees could take training such as the one found on this website. As a result, they’d more qualified and hence more marketable if they ever chose to find work elsewhere.
Express Your Expertise
The best people want to work in places that are going to challenge them and push them to be better. So, you need to show people you’re working on interesting problems and you’re trying to do new things.
The best way you can do this is by creating content around the work you’re doing. You don’t need to produce a technical paper to impress employees. What you should do, though, is create some blog posts that explain the kinds of things you’re currently working on.
You should try and get relevant people to write these blog posts. This means that if you want a blog post covering a specific topic, ask the person working on that project to write the post.
Ask them to write freely. If the writing is technical, this is going to work in your favor and it will help impress potential employees.
Internal Focus vs. External Focus
You also need to consider the internal reputation of the HR Department.
This is a big deal since people want to feel as if they’re taken care of. They’ll talk about their experiences on social media and among friends. This could lead to more people wanting to work for you and you may attract better talent.
If people don’t feel you aren’t taking care of them, they may decide to work elsewhere. You should create a weekly email that lets people know what the HR Department is up to.
This email should also let people know what they can do if there’s an issue. You also want to make sure you have a good process in place to deal with any disputes. You may want to ask for feedback on how you can make the workplace better.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should have a good process for dealing with potential hires too. This means you need to think about making the process smoother as they go through the hiring steps. Even if you don’t hire them, they’ll have a positive opinion of your company which they may share with others.
One way you can do this is by following up with candidates when the interview is over. If they didn’t get the job, let them know exactly what went wrong. This can then provide the individual with the knowledge needed to solve this issue so it doesn’t affect them at their next interview.
How Can You Help Former Employees?
You should also put some thought into how you can help former employees. If you do a good job here, these individuals will promote your brand for you.
One thing you can do is try to look out for someone if you have to fire them due to downsizing.
Consider how you can help this individual get another job. This might mean reaching out to some of your existing contacts. You might even want to take a look at their resume and suggest some things they can do to make it better.
Is Human Resources Marketing Important?
Initially, marketing the Human Resources Department of a business can seem like an odd idea. But the more you explore this concept, the more it begins to make sense.
In this post, we have examined how you can go about developing a human resources marketing strategy. Telling the stories of employees is a great way to let people know about the experience of working for your business. You can also create content which highlights the nature of the problems your business is trying to solve.
It also helps to focus on how you can aid past employees too. If you can do this, you’ll create a lasting positive impression on people.
Worried your HR Department is making some mistakes? Check out this post for some tips on what you can do to reduce the chances of this happening.
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