Posts

How to Successfully Capture Customer Reviews

The global market has led to increased competition for business owners. Nearly every service and product available today can be easily duplicated and offered at a lower price. While big brands can outcompete their rivals with million-dollar advertising campaigns, small business owners find themselves at a loss for how to promote their brand and stand out from the competition.

One strategy that works and is extremely affordable is customer testimonials, or reviews. When your customers describe your product, service or customer service, it helps other people decide to shop with you rather than someone else. Did you know that 90% of shoppers check online reviews before frequenting a business, and 88% look upon reviews as personal recommendations?

There is no doubt that customer reviews are effective, but what is a good way to capture those reviews? Read on to find out.

Ask for Them

One of the biggest differences between businesses that have a multitude of online reviews and those that don’t is one simple fact – they ask for them. While some shoppers will turn to the internet to describe an extremely positive or negative experience, a large percentage simply won’t take the time to take this step. However, if the business owner or employee asks them to write a review, chances are they will!

The best way to ask is to do so in person, when the individual walks into your store or office. In fact, a source claims that an in-person request is seven to eight times more effective than a request via email.

If you don’t have the time or opportunity to ask for reviews in person, email would be your next step. This is a challenging tactic, however, because you don’t know the experience all of the people who have frequented your business have had. This is why it may not be the best idea to send an email to your entire database. Instead, send out a survey or request for feedback, and then only contact the people that provided positive feedback to ask them to leave a review.

Incentivize

To get better results, you may consider incentivizing your customers for the effort it would take them to write an online review. Offering a discount, a free item or service, or an entry into a contest can provide a push to the individual to leave a review.

This tactic can be tricky, however, because some review websites, such as Yelp, do not allow businesses to pay for reviews. Some savvy business owners have found loopholes in this rule by offering freebies, such as free desserts to restaurant diners who leave a Yelp review instead of a monetary discount. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Promote Existing Reviews

Most of us like to feel noticed, valued and special, which is why promoting existing online reviews is a great strategy to get more reviews. When you single out customers who have left you a positive review and blast it out to your email list or put it up in your store, others will notice it and want that same recognition. You can always count on a person’s ego to urge them to take an action they wouldn’t have otherwise.

If you need financial help in order to invest in incentives to provide to your customers to increase your online review database, let IOU Financial help! We can provide business loans in under 48 hours to help you grow your business in any way possible!

6 Ways to Know What Your Patients Think of Your Practice

We all have been told that it doesn’t matter what others think of us, and it should only matter what we think and know about ourselves. While this is good advice, when people are your bread and butter, knowing what they think of your business is important. In the healthcare field, what your customers are thinking could be the difference between success and failure. In this post we will reveal 6 ways to find out what your patients think of your practice. Let’s get started!

Ask them

healcare-2-blog-image-1

It may seem obvious, but have you asked your patients what they think? By simply asking, whether it is in general discussion, by way of online survey, or even in-office forms, knowing how your patients feel is important. Some may not be willing to share in person, but would be open to completing a survey while they wait to see you! Asking your patients directly what they think of your practice is a great way to see how they feel and what they like or do or do not like.

Ask others

Another way to know what your patients are thinking is asking what others have heard about your practice. Do your patients tell their friends they enjoy your service? Do other providers get back to you and share the feedback your referral patient brought to their office appointment? Patients are probably sharing their thoughts with others about your practice. It may even be most accurate to hear what patients think of your practice.

Follow their actions

Do your patients bring in referrals for you? Do they tell you that they shared the amazing care you delivered with their friends and family? Are they sitting in your  waiting room or are your seats empty? What your patients do can be very telling of what they think. If they are sharing your card, telling you about the referrals they may have made for you, or even asking feedback on their loved one’s care may mean they trust and value your perspective.

Compare the numbers

Numbers are not everything, but they can be a sign of your success. Looking at your number of patients over time is a helpful way to decipher what your customers think about your business. With so many healthcare practices out there, options are pretty endless. If your numbers are on a steady decline, and it is not linked to remarkable healthy outcomes, it may be your patients indicating to you that things are not going as well as you think. Compare numbers over time to see if patterns exist and if there are ways to identify places to improve upon.

Website reviews 

healthcare-blog-image-1

Another key area for your customers to leave feedback in online.If your practice is listed on social media sites and review pages, seeing what the feedback says can be a big help in gauging your patients’ overall perception. Online reviews are usually a very honest depiction of a customer’s experience. Take an Internet stroll and see what is out there!

Check the seats

Are they warm? If your chairs are empty, filled with late cancellations and no-shows, it may be singling a lack of respect for you and your practice. By having chairs with rear-ends in them, patients who call ahead and keep appointments can signal a high degree of respect of your services.

Understanding what people are thinking about your practice can help you make decisions to keep that positive energy going or make some course corrections. One cannot really know what people think about your practice without looking at the various ways people express those options. By following the various methods to assess what your patients think of your practice, you can rest easier knowing you are meeting their needs. If there is room for improvement, you will be better equipped to fix whatever is keeping you from receiving the coveted “best provider out there” title.

Banks Aren’t Lending: Kevin O’Leary Interviews DaVinci’s Pizza Owner

Today’s small business owner can struggle for months with a bank to receive the smallest amount of financing. Kevin O’Leary understands small businesses and got involved with IOU Financial to ensure small business owners always have access to affordable capital!

O’Leary interviewed Jason, owner of DaVinci’s Pizza, who waited for months only to be denied by a bank for a loan. When Jason found IOU Financial – he was approved and funded in under a week!

If you are a small business and working capital is the only thing holding you back from expanding, give IOU Financial a call. We can help restaurants expand their seating area, retail stores grow their product line, doctors update their equipment, and so much more!

accomplish-more-with-IOU-Financial

Expand your Business through Greater Product Offerings

After two years of operation, Voodoo Vapor found itself with two successful locations. The company’s owner had recently moved into a larger brick and mortar store and expanded her business with a free-standing mall location.

In order to continue the successful growth and evolution of the company, Voodoo Vapor realized that adjusting the way inventory was managed would be crucial. Increasing foot traffic and building a larger base of loyal customers could be attained if inventory could respond quicker to the rapidly changing variety of inventory the market was demanding. This was going to require additional capital, but the books showed the potential for a great return.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH WERE OUTSTANDING

The vaping market has come a long way since the introduction of electronic cigarettes. Since 2013, vaping has been experiencing explosive growth. In 2015, the market was estimated to be approximately $3.5 billion, and some experts are predicting growth to $25 billion in just the next 10 years.

Voodoo Vapor already had some experience with alternative financing, and was interested in exploring options and restructuring a loan from their current lender to better match their current cash flow needs. Voodoo Vapor wasn’t initially looking for a second position, but when IOU Financial offered their terms combined with the opportunity to put that funding to work, it was too good to turn down.

“The online application process couldn’t have been simpler. It only took a few minutes to complete.  And the terms, specifically the daily payback amount, made it easy to put these new funds to use immediately. Working with IOU was a pleasure because our loan officer not only understood our business and market, he even came up with some great suggestions for us.”

Voodoo Vapor Owner

FUNDING POWERS GROWTH IN A COMPETITIVE MARKET

As an early player in the central Ohio market, Voodoo was one of 12 vaping retailers in 2013. Today, there are nearly 120 outlets. Previously, quarterly inventory cycles used to be enough to keep up with the latest consumable vape products known as e-liquid. However, today the lightning pace at which the products are changing requires constant updates to inventory and services to stay relevant.

While there are many innovations and new products when it comes to hardware, the market for the e-liquid consumable component is constantly evolving. There are literally thousands of flavor options and hundreds of potential vendors for this consumable product, and trends rise and fall in a matter of weeks. Voodoo Vapor knew that shortening the inventory buying cycle could increase foot traffic to their retail locations, translating to a growing, loyal customer base.

READY FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Attracting new customers with a wider variety of inventory isn’t the only way Voodoo Vapor has been putting IOU Financial’s funding to use. With the extra capital available, Voodoo was ready to act when the opportunity presented itself to expand the product line.

Voodoo has now entered the e-liquid game with its own product. The new e-liquid has become a huge success in her own store and has even landed on shelves of several other stores.

“I’m thrilled to say that we now actually have a waiting list of stores that are interested in carrying it. This exciting new venture wouldn’t have been possible without the funding we received from IOU.”

Are you looking to expand your inventory and reach your target market? A fast, fair and affordable small business loan could be right for you.Call 866-217-8564, or visit IOUFinancial.com/our-loans/ to learn more.

DOWNLOAD THE CASE STUDY HERE

Cash Flow Assistance for a Growing Small Business

Specializing in LED lighting and solar electric panels, Ohio Valley Electric has tripled its growth in the past years.  With five-plus years in business and an A+ BBB rating since the start, John, the owner, counts his success to always going the extra mile for his customers. “We started the business to help people, and when customers send you a payment in the mail and attach a thank you note; it makes all the hard work worth it,” said John.  solarpanels

Recently, the Indiana-based company sought additional working capital from IOU Financial. “Turn around for us on large jobs is often weeks or even months from ordering product to completion.  This causes our funds to become too tight to operate on,” explained John. The IOU capital allows the small business to finance the jobs that come its way in a proactive manner. “IOU gave us the funds to order material for existing jobs, as well as money to get our message out to more people,” said John.

“IOU seemed to be more flexible then the other people we talked with.  As a small business, you need to work with people that are flexible and helpful,” explained John.  “Some places require so much time to go through the process, and as a small business owner, time is too important for me to waste.”

ohiovalleyelectric

Follow Ohio Valley Electric!

facebook-icon  linkedin

Customer Feedback – The Good and The Bad

As a small business owner, one thing you can always be sure of is that you will receive customer feedback. And while getting accolades from customers feels great, it is also important to recognize that customer feedback may not always be complimentary.  But whether the feedback is good or bad, it’s necessary to respond to the customer feedback so your customer knows you value his/her words.

First, let’s start with positive feedback. When you hear something good from a customer about your company, your service, or an employee, you should always recognize that feedback. If it’s given in a forum where you can respond, then certainly do so.  Think about this, you loved getting that positive customer feedback so the person providing it will also love receiving your thanks for it. Not only is it common courtesy to do so, it is also makes good business sense. By thanking your customer, you are showing your appreciation and possibly enhancing the chances of receiving positive feedback in the future as the customer knows you appreciate his/her time. Handling positive feedback is very pleasant, and easy! On the flip-side there will be times when you have to deal with negative customer feedback.

When a customer has an unpleasant experience and lets you know about it, there are a few important steps to take.

  1. Try not to be defensive! Honestly look or listen to the comments, and if the points are valid, address those situations in your company and make changes for improvement if necessary.
  2. Get back to the customer. Obviously, if the feedback is in person you can respond immediately. But if the comments are online, make sure to recognize the feedback, and get back to that customer. If the points made are valid, let the customer know what you can do to make things right.
  3. Always consider the source. Sadly there are some people that will never be satisfied, and they just enjoy putting others down. Even if you feel this is the case, always treat your customers with respect and with a calm demeanor. In today’s online world, even words that may not be true can have far-reaching impact. You want to always counter, even anger, with an even, calm tone – your future customers that may be reading the comments will take note of that and hopefully not be swayed by the initial comment.

Feedback from a customer in whatever form … in person, online, on the phone … must be addressed, both good and bad.  Feedback is really invaluable because it tells you what your customers actually think. So take that info as a means of recognizing what’s excellent with your firm, and what can use a little tweak, and make any changes when necessary.

 

Newsletter Sign Up Large