customer service

Turn Square Receipts Into A Big Opportunity

Oh, receipts. Not typically the most exciting part of running a business... until now. Earlier this month, Square introduced a new receipt feature called Square Feedback for the Register app to help business owners capitalize on that little printed (or digital) slip. receipt

We know many of you are already familiar with Square receipts, but if you aren't, here's how it works: As a customer, Square saves your information (based on your credit card swipe) and saves email address and allows you to choose whether you wan't your receipt emailed to you or printed at the store.

Until recently, this was just a missed opportunity for business owners—an under-utilized point of contact with your customers. Now, in addition to the standard receipt information, Square merchants can add something else to the receipt—a feedback request. It's an additional $10/month subscription-based service for business owners, but that investment could allow you to resolve customer issues right away before they pop up in an online review later.

With this service, your customers will be able to tap on a smiley face or frowny face and take a short checkbox survey based on multiple aspects of the purchase. You can ask customers about wait time, customer service, quality and "other." The most useful part of this feature is perhaps the text box where they can leave some details about their experience at your shop. It's like a digital comment card!

The receipt then becomes a platform, giving your customers an extra opportunity to communicate with you, provide you with new ideas, identify problems (before they show up in a Yelp review later) or just send you a smiley face right back. It doesn't take the place of human interaction—of course—but the more avenues you can provide to communicate with your customers, the better.

Have you tried this receipt feature yet on your Register app? Let us know what you think so far in the comments?

4 Reasons eCommerce Product Reviews Matter For Any Size Business

Online reviews matter. They matter a lot. If you don't know that by now, we're guessing you have spent the last two decades under a rock—nay, a noise-canceling boulder. Your business may already have a solid presence on Yelp, Facebook, Google and other brick-and-mortar local business sites, but if you're selling online, product reviews also matter a great deal. In an article by Inc, Michael Fertik reported "89% of consumers viewed online sources of product and service reviews as trustworthy--and another 80% have changed their minds about a purchase based solely on the negative reviews they read."

You'd probably never dream of buying something from Amazon without at least skimming a couple reviews first, yet most small online businesses don't bother with eCommerce product reviews at all.

via springwools on Flickr

Why does every online retail business need product reviews on their eCommerce website?

1. Quality control. Product reviews empower your customers to let you know what they really think. It can be scary, but it can also help you make smarter inventory decisions. When you see a pattern of negative or lukewarm reviews, it's an opportunity to fix whatever's not working—or stop ordering it altogether and focus your assets on moving those products that everybody's raving about.

2. Genuine customer interaction and trust. Some customers will call, email or return a product when they have a negative experience with it. Others will simply curse the heavens and then move on, perhaps replacing your faulty product with another product from another business—never to be seen on your website again. When customers are prompted to give feedback, however, those relationships become a little more salvageable. You have a chance to make things right and rebuild trust with that customer—as well as earning the trust of potential customers who will be impressed by your outrageously helpful service.

3. Fewer product returns. A product with 50 reviews is 135% less likely to be returned than one with less than five reviews. The nature of peer reviews is that they help inform people about each product in a richer, more detailed way than you could hope to do with an inherently rosy product description or FAQ. When customers know exactly what they are getting into (i.e. "This sundress is so cute, but runs a little small!"), they are more apt to make purchases that will make them happy.

4. Increased online search traffic. More content means more traffic, especially if your product review plugins give customers the ability to add their own photos as well as ratings and reviews. Plus, we're all more prone to click on a link with bright and shiny stars sitting next to it!

If you're interested in setting up product review capabilities on your site, we recommend trying out the WP Product Review Plugin, which helps you turn your Wordpress eCommerce site into a rich knowledge base of honest customer feedback and reviews. If you'd like to go further, Author HReview is another Wordpress plugin to increase search traffic by showing star-ratings from the WP Product Review plugin in your search results.

Have any other tools you use to make the most of online product reviews? Let us know in the comments!

How Do You Define Great Customer Service?

In Ruby Newell Legner's "Understanding Customers," she finds, "It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience." Are you awake yet? bear

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

According to research, customer service seems to be the strongest factor affecting the star-rating of Yelp reviews. A customer who praises service is more than five times more likely to give that business a 5-star review than a 1-star review. Nearly 70% of "bad" customer service experiences are given a one-star rating. Your reputation (online and off) directly correlates to sales. In a Harvard Business School study, a one-star increase in Yelp ratings leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue in independent restaurants.

Not only are good customer service experiences leading to higher revenue, but Bain & Company found "a customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price- or product-related."

A customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price- or product-related.

We know just how important customer service is to a business. It can mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closed. How can you approach customer service to create a band of loyal customers?

1.  Relationships: Think about the last time you liked being sold to—trick question, because we're fairly sure that's never happened. We imagine you probably started your business to help people do something, so put that mission first and your customers will sense that you really care. Make the relationship the priority over the sale and people will love you for it.

2. Consistency: Quite simply, be there. Keep regular hours, respond to questions on social media, do what you say you will do, be the face of your business and hire the best, most reliable people you can to represent you day-to-day. True customer loyalty takes time, and you might have many interactions with someone before they decide to never shop anywhere else.

3. Reciprocity: Help Scout discusses reciprocity as the one defining and driving force that creates loyal customers. It solidifies a positive social relationship just like it would when you always drive your friend to the airport and she always picks you up when your car is stalled. In other words, treat your customers like you would your friends and they will be your best friends.

How do you define great customer service for your business?