Making customer Service More Important


You probably already know that customer service is essential to a successful business model. However, most businesses don’t make it a priority. The problem is that customer service ties into all the other parts of your business including sales and marketing. It is on the front end of the sale and the back end too. A customer will make judgements about your entire company and whether or not it is a good one based on a few minutes working with customer service. So why aren’t businesses making it more important? Here are some ways you can do just that.


Hire the right people


Part of making customer service a more important part of business is making sure you hire the right people to do the job. While some candidates may be able to put on a show for their interview, most will be themselves giving you a good idea of their personality. If they aren’t respectful and polite to you, then how can you ever expect them to be that way with customers? Look for good signs like dressing appropriately, saying please and thank you, never speaking over you. Better yet, if they take an interest in you or the company with questions of their own, then you know they will be able to make a customer feel comfortable during an interaction. And if they can persuade you to hire them, they probably will do okay in the job.


Get the right technology


Customer interactions are not restricted to one type of conversation over the phone or in person with your representatives. In fact, most people prefer to have multiple ways of communication to best suite their current needs. For example, having customer service texting available makes it easy for your customers to interact with your business on their time and without having to set aside extra time during the day for a lengthy phone call. Social media interaction gives them a chance to either promote or put down your company based on their experience and also gives you the opportunity to respond to it. Email communication makes it easy to voice a long opinion about something and even attach documents to explain better.


In every situation, there is a different way your customer wants to speak with you. Making sure you have the technology available to meet those communication needs will make customer service much more important to your company and more valuable to your customers.


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Personalizing SMS Marketing with Emojis

SMS messaging is a powerful means to spread your marketing message to the masses. Millions of people have cell phones and use text messaging as a means to communicate. In fact, Forbes reported in 2013 that more people had cell phones that toilets. So if you are trying to decide between marketing through SMS messages or through bathroom reading material, you can be assured that marketing through SMS messaging will reach a whole lot more people.

We know that SMS messages are a powerful means to market to people. You can get marketing material in people’s hands within seconds or minutes that the message has been sent. But what kind of messages will be most impactful to those receiving your messages? To know what to send, we should understand how people like to message others.

Texting with Emojis

According to a report from Appboy, a customer relationship suite for marketers, the use of emojis is rapidly increasing in a variety of mediums. They also reported that people and brands use different types of emojis. For example, when people send messages back and forth, face emojis are the most frequently used. Emojis are used by people as a means of self-expression and to express their emotions. But no matter what emoji is used, the point is that people are using emojis. Despite the brevity that text messages already allow, emojis make messaging even more simple. When some texts a friend a joke, the friend can respond and say, “haha, that is so funny,” or they can simply respond with a laughing face emoji. Or if someone wants to show agreement to a message they received, they can write a message back or they can simply send an emoji of a thumbs up.

How Companies Use Emojis

Brands use emojis more to gain attention or to evoke an emotion. Companies want emojis to catch the eye of the receiver in their marketing messages. It is significantly easier to get a message across to someone if you have their attention. So are emojis a good way to catch people’s attention?

Since people use emojis within their own texts, companies have the opportunity to use the growing fad to their advantage. And companies are. Use of emojis in marketing messages has grown 20% a month, on average, this year alone.

Best Practices for SMS Message Marketing and Emojis

There is no harm in throwing an eye-catching emoji in your SMS message market campaigns. But if you do, there are ways to work them to your advantage.

Pair your company and brand with a correlating emoji. If you sell ice cream, make use of an ice cream emoji. For example, Domino’s Pizza used this idea to run a pretty successful Twitter campaign: they invited customers to order something by tweeting the relevant emoji. Use emojis that will make the most sense to your marketing campaign.

Most of all, make sure you know your audience so you know what messages to send and which emojis to use. Younger people might appreciate emojis more than older people will. Make sure the emojis you use match the audience and the message that you want to send.

People are using emojis in their various means of messaging. Companies have the opportunity to personalize their marketing messages and catch the attention of their readers if they use emojis that relate to their audience and to their message.

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SMS Messages Reach Everyone Everywhere


If you are wondering about whether SMS messaging is an effective marketing approach, you need to consider where you audience is and what they are paying attention to. If you go anywhere and stop to just look around or watch people, what do you see? People on their cell phones. Which means people are sending and receiving text messages.

People are constantly bombarded with marketing campaigns. When you walk through the mall, you see big signs for clothing sales, new products, and delicious food. Some of those signs might be bordered with neon lights or bright colors. But where are people really looking? They are looking at their phones. Whether they are walking through the mall and simultaneously pulling up a coupon from on online ad or they are comparing prices at another store, people are constantly on their phones. Reaching people on their phones might be the most powerful and effective approach to get people’s attention and market your campaign.

Reaching your Audience through SMS Messaging

SMS messages are short and powerful messages that can be sent directly to a customer or a potential customer. The reach of SMS messages is endless. People can read SMS messages while walking down the street. They can read SMS messages while on the bus, or on a train, or on a boat. You might even reach them while they are driving a car (though for safety’s sake, we hope you cannot reach them then). You can reach people in the most private situations: while they are lying in bed, while they are eating a midnight snack, or even while they are sitting on the toilet. People read texts more often then they read the weekly ad or an email or a social media post. So if you are still wondering if you should market through SMS messages, consider the people you can reach at any moment of the day wherever they happen to be.

The Limitations of SMS Messaging Marketing

While marketing through SMS messaging is effective, there are limitations that should be realized. For example, federal regulations require that people opt in to receive marketing messages before a company can send them any messages. Do not make the mistake of sending messages to people who have not officially opted in to receive text messages. There is a hefty fine for anyone who breaks the regulations defined under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In fact, Papa Johns and Clickatell Inc. are both facing lawsuits by consumers who claim they received text messages before they opted in or after they opted out. So if you do decide to reach your audience through SMS messages, make sure you know and understand the regulations.

Once you understand the limitations of SMS messaging, you can design an effective marketing campaign. SMS messaging limitations should not stop you from marketing via text messaging. If you have any concerns about the worth of SMS messaging marketing, remember that billions of text messages are sent, received, and read every day and that a global audience is in your hands since you are sending messages directly to the devices that are in people’s hands.

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Increasing the Practicality and Efficiency of Chatbots

Employees working in a call center
AI chatbots are used more and more to expand the reach and efficiency of customer and company relationships. AI chatbots, simply put, are software programs that imitate human conversation. AI chatbots are used in various mediums and by many companies. You can order a pizza through a restaurant chatbot or send in a customer service complaint via chatbot. There are incredibly useful, since they can be accessed and utilized at all hours of the day.

AI chatbots can have a frustrating side though—they are not human. They try and imitate human conversation, but they are a software program. In fact, chatbot programs failed to successfully fulfill 70 percent of user requests. That means that seven out of ten people who tried to communicate with company via chatbot, left the conversation without getting what they wanted, and likely left feeling very frustrated.

Facebook is encouraging those who utilize chatbots through social media to simplify the chatbot efforts to converse with users. Or rather, Facebook is telling people to make their chatbots less chatty. People who interact with chatbots are usually looking to quickly receive an answer or order a service. Since one of the advantages of chatbots are increased efficiency, people want to save time and effort—they are using a chatbot rather than calling someone. So if they come to the chatbot looking for a quicker and effortless response and end up getting messages that are not helping, users are going to get frustrated quickly, even to the point of avoiding chatbots. That is why Facebook is encouraging chatbot developers and users to scale back on the conversational aspect of the chatbots and provide more interactive menus for users to get to what they want more quickly.

Facebook itself is updating the chatbot feature options. Facebook is leaning away from the free-ranging chatbot, one who converses freely with users, to a more practical chatbot, one that quickly gets the users what they are looking for, whether it is an answer to a question, to receive customer service, or to buy a product or service. Companies should take advantage of Facebook’s findings and scale back to simply the chatbot conversation options and provide users with a more useful chatbot interface.

Companies who are currently utilizing chatbots should not be discouraged by Facebook findings of failed user and chatbot experiences. Chatbots are in the initial stage of launching. A recent Yahoo news article notes that only four percent of digital business professionals use chatbots. So while chatbots are still a work in process, their use will continue to grow as they are programmed more effectively.

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AI: The newest trend in customer service

Purple Man Quality Customer Service Communication

Customer service trends are constantly changing based on the technology available and what customers start expecting businesses to do. For example, customers expect to be able to communicate with a business on social media, which means you have to have social media customer service agents ready and willing to help customers. Customers are beginning to expect to be able to text customer service, so your business has to offer that as well. But what is becoming the newest expectation and trend is using AI to communicate with customers.

Salesforce recent AI, Einstein

Einstein was introduced by Salesforce as a way to help customer service departments increase efficiency and get a better understanding of what their customers need. The artificial intelligence at salesforce has been in development for a long time, but now we are starting to see how the technology emerge in different ways at the company.

With Einstein, for example, a business can route calls to the best customer service agent based on the AI determination of what the caller needs. Einstein also compiles data for managers to view in order to figure out how everyone is doing. Not only is it a valuable customer service tool, it is also a valuable tool for managers.

Other uses for AI

Artificial Intelligence at Salesforce is new and expected to improve, but we are also seeing it many other places. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have started AI Chatbot services for businesses to use when messaging customers. There are also businesses using AI in their ordering process, including Starbucks who launched an app that allows customers to say what they want just to have AI break it down and order the drinks.

The best AI Chatbot available right now for every business is text customer service. It is an amazing way to communicate with customers because nobody at your business has to be readily available to answer questions. It also saves a lot of time because your customer service representatives aren’t wasting hours answering repetitive questions such as information about store hours or daily specials. And customers don’t have to waste hours waiting on hold while your representatives answer other people’s questions. Instead, customers text those questions in for an immediate response.

Don’t forget real people too

As much as we are a society progressing towards AI use in the workplace and with customer service, don’t forget that sometimes your customers just need to talk to a real person. Make sure you have real representatives readily available to answer calls when a customer needs it. You won’t be able to get rid of your customer service agents by adding AI to your business. But you will be able to cut down your access to real people to regular business hours instead of having to have someone all the time. Or if you didn’t have someone all the time before, now you have the ability to answer questions 24/7. You’d be amazed at how much you can do for your customers by simply adding artificial intelligence to your customer service department.

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3 Marketing tools to not give up


With technology pushing us further into the future every day, you may be questioning whether or not your current marketing strategies are worth the time of day. And while it is true that new tools coming out are often more effective in reaching your customers, some of the old tools will never go out of style. Here are 3 marketing tools you shouldn’t plan to give up on anytime soon.

1. Email Marketing

With text being such a prevalent source of communication these days, it seems almost as if email is becoming less valuable. Even businesses are using more texting to communicate around the office than ever before. However, email can still be just as valuable as ever before. Here are some reasons why:

* Mobile makes it easier than ever to stay connected to your email

* Deals through emails affect a customer’s shopping decisions

* Everyone still checks their email every day, even if they don’t have mobile alerts set up

* Modern marketing requires a variety of ways to stay in touch with customers

2. Text Marketing

If you thought text marketing was ever going out of style, you were mistaken. SMS remains one of the most common and fastest forms of communication, even with all the new technology being added. Add to that the fact that companies are incorporating easy texting capabilities into smartphones and personal assistants, and you can be sure it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Just think, how easy will it be in the future for a customer to contact you via text if all they have to do is ask their personal assistant to send your business a text? They won’t even have to pick up their phone, and they can get immediate answers to their questions.

3. Billboards

While print advertising seems to be going out of style, the truth is that people still drive to work every day past a ton of billboards. With mobile-free laws being put in place, drivers have nothing better to do on their drives than look at the billboards on their way into the office and back home again. By placing a billboard in the right place, you can get a ton of coverage and really increase your number of customers.

It is also a good way to get current customers into your shop. It is a call to action reminding them you are there and you have something they want. For example, you could get customers in for lunch that day simply because they saw your billboard on their way to work and decided they wanted it for lunch.

There are even electronic billboards you can use where you can pay to have your ad shown at specific times of day or for a certain length of time. Check it out and see what is available in your area.

Diversify your marketing

Just remember, reaching your customers these days is not about putting all your eggs in one basket. No one form of marketing is going to be your saving grace. You need to diversify and use different forms of marketing if you want to have a maximum impact and reach the most customers. Whether marketing to current or new customers, being in multiple places will help make sure you are head of the competition.

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Marketing to a business? Follow these trends


Your marketing approach is determined entirely by your audience and their needs. That is why your approach can change if you are focused on marketing to another business instead of the average consumer. You are dealing with someone who understands marketing trends themselves, so it is important you reach them in the right ways. Here are some trends you should follow for successful B2B marketing.

Marketing to one person

Remember, even if you are offering a service to a business, ultimately there is one person who will make the final decision in most companies. Even if there are a few employees that share the responsibility, you are still marketing to that specific person and their needs. With all that in mind, you want to use traditional methods of marketing such as:

* Social Media Marketing: Everyone is on social media, and they expect to be able to find you there. Your activity says a lot about your business, so other businesses will look for you there to see what they are getting.

* Mobile Marketing: Since you are working with individuals still, they will be doing research on their mobile devices. Optimize your website for mobile, and get text marketing set up. Being able to reach customer service through texting is a huge advantage, especially for other businesses.

* Influence Marketing: Endorsements are still very useful, even if the person who is endorsing your product isn’t a celebrity so much as someone in your industry who has experience. Try to find people who are influential in the industry or who your customers may be following on social media sites such as Twitter.

* Artificial Intelligence Chatbot: Using AI Chatbot to communicate with another business makes their interactions with you clearer and less frustrating, which is a win-win for both of you.

Branding consistency

One thing that is especially important to a business as a customer is that you are being consistent in your branding throughout all platforms you are using. Whether they are talking to a salesperson before the deal or a customer service representative afterwards, they want to feel like it is the same company. Make sure your design branding is consistent throughout your website and all social media sites as well. It also helps people to remember you.

Ultimately, your goal as a business should be to create an experience for other businesses that keeps them coming back. Everything from initial interactions to follow up calls after work is completed should reflect the same energy in your company and should give a positive experience to the customer.

Use marketing automation

Automation is everything in today’s business world, so adopt it in your business. It is an especially effective way to manage all your marketing to other businesses and to control what you are doing. There are a hundred different ways you can use automation to bring in leads, communicate with customers, and manage marketing tactics. Just start with one at a time, and you’ll quickly discover what you do and don’t like to be automated.

Ultimately, reaching a customer in the B2B community is similar to regular interactions, but should be tweaked a bit based on the business you are trying to reach. The most important thing to do is figure out who the person is that makes final decisions and market to their wants and needs.

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Optimize your mobile marketing efforts


Smartphones have amazing capabilities. With that small device in your pocket, you can contact nearly anyone in the entire world in just seconds, and you have all the information in the world available at your fingertips. They have completely changed the way we interact with each other, learn, and even how marketers reach out to customers. You can do more than just calling your customers these days. Here’s some ways you can optimize your mobile marketing efforts.

Text marketing

While it is an old tactic, mobile marketing is still one of the best ways to communicate with your customers through mobile. One example of this was Chipotle, a fast casual restaurant that had to shut down all of its stores for a training at the same time. The restaurant sent a text to all of its customers in order to inform them that there had been a problem and give them a coupon to use later. It was an extremely effective way of reaching every one of their customers, and it prevented them from experiencing customer service issues later.

Mobile friendly websites

There are many reasons that you would want to optimize your website for mobile, the most recent of which was a change in Google’s search algorithm. As of this week, sites will now be penalized if they don’t have a site optimized for mobile, and they will be seen further down when people search for them. On top of that, you want to make it easier for your customers to be able to view your site when searching on their phone given that many people do all their web surfing from their phones now. It is way easier to whip out your phone and search online than it is to set up a computer to do it.

Check your site on your phone to make sure it is showing up correctly. Check all the links to ensure they work properly. Get on other brands of phones to ensure it is showing up the same for everyone, and check it in multiple browsers. If you have texts that redirect to your site, check to make sure it shows up correctly. Make sure your site looks good even when they click on an ad through Facebook or other social media sites. Customers would rather stop looking into your site and move on with something else than try and figure out how to make it work right.

Social media

Most people don’t even look at social media on their computer, which means all of your posts and ads will be seen through a mobile device. It is important that you have them optimized for mobile viewing as well. Get on your phone and check out everything you post from there to make sure it is showing up correctly. Keep what you post short and sweet, so people don’t have to scroll down to continue reading what you have to say. And always try to get your entire post in before a “read more” button will appear, so nobody has to click that to see everything you have to say.

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2017: The year of the Millennial buyer


As the new year approaches, it is a good time to reflect on what has happened over 2016 and what you can to improve in 2017. Analyzing where you went wrong in the past and where you can go right in the future is a huge part of any business’ success. It could make the difference between repeating the past year or having a much more successful one. One of the things you’ll definitely want to take into account is your audience for the new year. While you may still be trying to market towards baby boomers or are gearing up to sell to Generation Z, Millennials will be the major audience for 2017. That means figuring out how to market towards them in the new year.

Working technical services

One thing Millennials thrive on is technology. They grew up in an age where technology changed rapidly from the desktop computers in their living room to a smartphone in their hand. Not only are they good with technology, they are interested in it and adapting to it. That means you have a huge group of people that are likely a large portion of your buyers that want to see more technology incorporated into their everyday transactions with your business. Provide them that by updating your in-store technology with more self-serve options. You’ll even want to give them self-serve customer service such as automated texting with AI Chatbot. Make sure the technology you use is not just innovative: it must also be seamless.

Company values

One thing we’ve found in the Millennial generation is that they care very much about your company’s values and what you are going to do with the profits. There have been a lot of businesses popping up recently that offer products that donate to certain causes with every purchase or that provide jobs less fortunate people by allowing them to produce the products. When a Millennial buys something, they want to feel like they are getting what they need while also helping someone or something else out, even if it isn’t necessarily a cause that is near and dear to their heart.

Millennials have kids

While the Millennial generation seemed like they were never going to start their own families, they are now starting to become the generation of parents. Of course, many still don’t have children, but it is becoming the norm. This means you can market to them through their kids. It is especially powerful marketing because they are on social media a lot, often posting pictures of their children and their daily lives as a family. Keeping up with the Jones’ used to be a concept related solely to your neighborhood, but now it is something they do every single day with everyone they know on the internet. You can much more easily target them through marketing efforts related to parenthood or family, and it could have a big impact on your sales in 2017.

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Text marketing: The best way to reach customers


Customer service is a hard business because part of it is proactive and part of it is reactive. But it is both part of the business, and there are good and bad parts to all of it. Using technology to reach those customers and to better communicate with them is going to be very useful, especially in the coming years as technology becomes even more integrated into our everyday lives more than it already is. Here are some things to consider when adding more technology to your customer service department.

Proactive customer service

To be proactive with your customers, you want to reach out to them to see if they are happy before they get mad. Companies that deal in service and larger purchases know more about this than the everyday product company because when someone has spent a lot of time and money with your product or service, you always want to reach out and make sure they are happy with their purchase afterwards. It is a good way to get ahead of the curve. But it is a double edged sword. While it will help your customers to feel like you are taking care of them, it will also give them more opportunity to complain about problems they may be having but wouldn’t have addressed had you not asked. Still, at the end of the day, it is better to be proactive and get your customers everything they need.

Proactive customer service also deals in marketing where you are reaching out to your customers to try and get them to come back. Text marketing is a very good way of doing this because it reaches them immediately but allows them to look into it at a time that is most convenient to them. Not to mention, according to VentureBeat, over half of customers prefer to conduct their customer service through chatbot messaging.

Reactive customer service

The rest of the customer service you are likely experiencing is reacting to customers. This could be reacting by simply answering questions about store hours or the soup of the day, or it could be fielding calls from angry customers wanting to get their money back. This is one place where technology comes in handy very well. If you are using AI Chatbot texting with your customers, you are able to get their questions answered immediately and without wasting the time of your customer service reps, and it is especially helpful when they are simple, repetitive questions. Your customers will appreciate the quick and clear response in texting as well. You can save your customer service representatives for more important problems and concerns that can’t be easily resolved with an AI Chatbot.

Keep technology simple

VentureBeat makes it very clear that simplicity is important right now when AI Chatbots are very capable but aren’t able to understand or answer more complicated issues a customer may have. It is recommended that companies stick with simpler ideas with AI such as answering repetitive questions (e.g. What are your store hours?) or offering ordering services such as Starbucks. Always make sure there is an easy connection to a live person available for your customers, so they always know they can get a live person if they are unhappy with the messaging.

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