Beth Boen is on a mission at The Voice Customer Experience - to restore the lost art of providing exceptional customer service and turn the tide on poor customer service becoming the norm! Her blogs contain tips on how to provide exceptional customer service in everything you do!
10 Money-Saving Tips, PLUS 6 BONUS Tips!
10 Money-Saving Tips
Tip #1: Have a budget and use it! Preparing and using a budget is key to your financial success for both your business and personal life. Budgets help prevent spending unnecessary money on items you could do without. For a personal budget template, visit www.DavidRamsey.com.
Tip #2: When you need an outsourced service provider, get bids and compare apples to apples. Evaluate things like online reputation, quality of work and customer service. Don’t ask what a provider’s hourly rate it. The $50/ hour provider may be slower than the more experienced $75/hour provider. Get a bid for what you need, exactly. The provider should state in their proposal what is included. Compare apples to apples of what is and is not provided between the bids. Beware of the provider who includes bells and whistles of things you may not need, but it is part of their package price.
Tip #3: Enter trade agreements with caution. Get all trades in writing. Know the terms of the agreement. What if the other person defaults and you have already fulfilled your part of the trade? Vet the provider the same way you would if you were doing a cash deal. Do they have a good online reputation, how is their BBB rating, do they offer a top-quality product or service and is their customer service exceptional? Trade customers should receive the same quality and customer service as a cash-paying customer.
Tip #4: Get sponsors for event marketing. Event marketing can be a great way to promote your business and create good will in the community. Finding sponsors to offset costs of event marketing is a win-win. They get some publicity and exposure for their business in return for providing your business event with a venue, refreshments, etc.
Tip #5: Consider free versus paid software for your business needs. Even a small, solo-entrepreneur can afford the software needed to help them to run their business. Free and paid versions usually exist for Software as a Service (SaaS) business solutions. Whether you need a CRM solution, bookkeeping solution, email marketing solution, etc., you can find quality providers that are free or very low cost. Of course, the more support and bells and whistles you need, the higher the price.
Free SaaS providers that SHE Leads Group uses to keep costs down and time spent at a minimum are: HubSpot for CRM, WaveApp for bookkeeping and accounting, MailChimp for email marketing and JotForm for online forms.
Tip #6: Consider Reward Credit Cards. Choosing to use credit cards is a personal decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Consider the pros and cons of rewards credit cards to know if they will truly save you money. If you choose to use these reward cards, you should still stick to your budget and pay off cards monthly, otherwise interest could negate any rewards. One website to use to check out the various credit card offers is NerdWallet.com. One other item to consider when using credit cards in business, is the extra work it may create for your bookkeeper or accountant. Some bookkeepers and accountants charge more for their services if they have to also reconcile credit card entries and statements.
Tip #7: Re-shop your property casualty insurance. Bundling your home and auto insurance can result in a 15% - 25% discount! Go with an insurance agency that will automatically re-shop your rates each year to make sure that you are not overpaying for your insurance. Using an insurance broker versus a captive agent can often save money. An insurance broker can shop multiple "A" rated insurance companies and find out if there are any savings. Use an agent who knows other tips on how to save money on your insurance rates, without cutting necessary coverages. www.buycoloradoinsurance.com or www.trailstoneinsurance.com
Tip #8: Re-shop your internet, telecom and cloud services by using a telecom broker versus a captive provider. A telecom broker can audit what you are currently paying for phone, internet and cloud services and see if there are any savings to be had. Additionally, they are your liaison in contacting those companies and are an extension of your IT resources. www.COMtuity.com
Tip #9: Owning your website can save you money in the long run. There are many things to consider when building and maintaining your website. Should one “rent-a-site” versus owning a website? Be educated on the pros and cons of either option, how it fits within your budgetary and lead generation goals.
Tip #10: Be organized. Yes, a simple tip that can save you more time and money than you might realize. Being organized may sound cliché or so basic you might think this doesn’t apply to you. Even a fairly organized person can struggle to find things, or have lower morale when they walk into their office and feel like they don’t want to be there. This all causes lower productivity. Do a time study of how much of your time in a week is used looking for things. Be organized in your physical office space, files, electronic files, your business vehicle, your business briefcase or laptop bad, etc. If you need to, hire an organizer who has experience organizing offices.
Tip #1: Provide an exceptional customer experience with every customer, every time! Companies who consistently provide exceptional customer service can often spend half the money in marketing and become twice as profitable. Additionally, 85% of consumers will pay more for a product or service if they know they will receive exceptional customer service. Explore the use of a mystery shopping service to make sure when your phone rings, your prospects and existing customers are having a good customer experience. A professional mystery shopper service can record calls, provide reports and provide training to get better conversions and happier customers. www.thevoicecst.com
Tip #2: Conserve energy. Sounds simple, but many people leave lights on, have their heat set higher than necessary, don’t utilize LED light bulbs and travel about with no regard to mileage efficiency. When traveling for business, try to schedule meeting in the same geographic area each day to avoid unnecessary back and forth travels. Sure, you can write these things off, but it is still an expense that eats into the bottom line profits of your business.
Tip #3: Consider benefits of using a wholesale club. When using wholesale clubs, compare their pricing to Amazon and other online retailers. Wholesale clubs have promotions and those promotions can save a great deal of money. Evaluate each club’s benefits and offers to choose one or both that works best for your business. Costco has amazing travel benefits if you do a lot of travel for business or pleasure.
Tip #4: Keep receipts and good records of write-offs. Know what expenses you can write off. Work with a good tax accountant and know the pros and cons of writing off certain expenses.
Tip #5: Review annual contracts. If you have contracts with outside service providers, review them annually. Are they providing exceptional customer service, doing what they promised, getting the results you need and charging a fair price for the market conditions?
Tip #6: Use rewards programs and coupons. Consider rewards programs through stores and online retailers by signing up for email offers. No one wants all those offers cluttering up their primary business email, so create a non-business email account specifically for these reward programs. Also, consider Groupon.com for deals. Compare the Groupon price to other online retailers to ensure it really is the lowest price. As you use Groupon, they will send you more exclusive offers for more dollars or percentages off than their regular online offers.