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5 Ways to Turn Incredible Customer Support Into a Profit Center

This post is one in a series of tips for making your small business run better and is sponsored by UPS. UPS is all about logistics — the logistics that makes your business run better and faster

customer support

photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc

Providing customer training and support is costly, but it’s also quite important.

Some organizations view it as a necessary evil while other, more innovative thinking companies, view it as a way to differentiate, up sell and create additional profits.

The key to creating support that generates profit is to create support that’s worth paying for. The way to do this is make it a formal package, think about it like a product and offer it either as a tangible added value or as an à la carte offering.

The Apple Genius Bar is a great example of how to generate profits from support. They sell service packages, offer training programs and even take back and recycle old products when you upgrade.

There are many ways to tap this mindset. Below are just five examples of how to turn extraordinary customer service into a revenue stream.

Live Q and A chats

When someone buys a product or service of any kind you can offer reassurance that they will receive full value from their purchase by implementing regularly scheduled chat sessions where users or customers may ask questions about their purchase and receive help with features or implementations.

Of course this is also something you could offer as a pre-sales education tactic as well as a paid subscription add-on.

There are many tools available that make this tactic somewhat easy to implement. If you are a 37Signals software user you probably already use their integrated chat tool Campfire. There are other tools such as Chatroll that allow you to embed a group chat tool on your website for a simple branded option.

Drop in Fridays

If your customers are primarily local you may want to schedule a time where customers can come in or bring a product in and receive additional advice, specific training or simply a chance to network with other users.

Trade in days

If you sell a product that is upgraded frequently, such as technology, or has you going head to head with competitors, create and promote specific times when customers or prospects can come in and get credit for recycling an old version or upgrading to your product over a competitors.

Be prepared to offer a service that makes it both very attractive and very easy to switch.

This tactic lends itself to hard goods, but certainly software and other process driven services could benefit from this approach as well.

Weekly Hangouts

One of my favorite tools right now is Google+ Hangouts. Using this tool you could easily create video Q and A chats, offer weekly lessons or simply create a series of expert adviser knowledge sharing sessions to benefit your clients.

One of the reasons I really like this tool is that you also broadcast these sessions publicly or password protected and archive them on YouTube to instantly create a library of customer service and training videos.

Online courses

Once someone buys a product or engages you to provide a service you easily establish a relationship of ongoing support through online courses.

The technology to create, manage and deliver content using full-blown membership site tools such as Kajabi or WordPress plugins such as Premise or Wishlist Member makes this approach something that every business should consider as a way to expand offerings and generate a residual stream of revenue.

Most content delivery applications today integrate with leading eCommerce payment systems as well as shopping cart, CRM and email service providers.

The need to provide basic support and training will always be part of the deal, but by creating even greater levels of support, delivering it in new and exciting ways and making is worth paying for is how you grow your profitability in ways that also makes your organization stand out.

5 Reasons Why Landing Pages Are a Must

Online marketers have used the term “landing page” for many years to describe a sales tactic focused on getting people to take one, specific action. Today, landing pages have simply become a required element in the marketing toolbox for every imaginable business, including local brick and mortar types.

Landing page

Example of a personalized lead capture landing page

A landing page is just the page people land on because an ad or email directed them to that specific page as opposed to your site’s homepage.

Effective landing pages make it very clear what a visitor is going to get from a page and how to get it. That’s it plain and simple. There are many great articles on how to create better landing pages (including this one from Unbounce) but today I want to focus on why you need to create and use landing pages as a core online tool

Local content

One of the best ways to get your site to rank higher when people search locally and on mobile devices is to have lots of local content. Creating landing pages that feature very localized, down to the neighborhood perhaps, content is a great way to start building the local content and link necessary to have your pages move up in the search index for local search.

Social content

Sending your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook connections to landing pages that are personalized to each network is a great way to deepen the connection. By running Twitter and Facebook feeds on these pages and acknowledging the connection with those that come from those networks you will also find a much higher degree of engagement in those networks.

Smart content

By creating landing pages that address the specific market segments, product segments or key content segments for your business you can begin to better funnel people to the specific types of content they desire. Using a tool like Survey Funnel in conjunction with your landing pages could allow a visitor to tell you what they are looking for and be directed to specific content based on their choices.

Lead capture

Landing pages are your lead capture workhorse. If you have a great eBook or free workshop to promote you may want to create signup forms for most of your web pages, but your signups will soar when you create a page that details, sells and demonstrates the benefits of acquiring your free report. A landing page with video, audio, images, descriptions and very intuitive call to action is a must for lead capture campaigns.

Advertising conversion

Any form of advertising will be much more effective if it is targeted to a page that contains nothing but content that supports the message in your ads. The more relevant the page to the ad, the more effective. Smart marketers constantly experiment with ad and landing page combinations, including creating keyword optimized pages for specific groups of PPC ads.

Get Premise

There are many resources geared towards helping you create landing pages, but my favorite at the moment is Copyblogger’s Premise. I run my entire website on WordPress and Premise is a WordPress landing page plugin that gives me total flexibility in the creation of landing pages. The tool includes predesigned configurations for sales pages and opt-in pages and is very easy to configure and style. A tool like Premise is a must if you plan to take today’s advice to heart.

Weekend Favs April Two

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

joyosity via Flickr


Image credit: joiseyshowaa

Good stuff I found this week:

Premise – a tool from copyblogger that allows you to easily create and optimize a number of landing pages in any WordPress theme.

Nurph – Twitter add on that allows you to create a chat room on the fly and bring real time live chat to any conversation. Conversations are still public, just gives you space to go longer.

Triberr – Interesting looking tool that allows you to create private networks or what they call tribes and create a group that amplifies each other’s content and social media activity.