Ever wonder why some products are listed for $199 or $299 instead of just $200 or $300? Does the extra dollar really make a difference? Turns out it does.
That’s the result of a study electronically published in 2019 by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. And its findings may change the way you price your products — and do business — forever.
The research used millions of online bargaining interactions, mostly from eBay, where one of the researchers works. The data compiled showed that items listed using even numbers — multiples of $100 — ultimately received offers that were 8-12% lower than similar items listed using odd numbers and created more back and forth negotiations.
The same explanation can be extrapolated to other businesses where there’s an offering price such as real estate, auto sales, consulting services and other similar marketplaces that require negotiation. When sellers offer a price that’s in round numbers, like $200, the counteroffer tends to come in less than when the original offer is more precise, like $199.
“What is going on here is ‘cheap talk’,” writes Joshua Gans in The Conversation. “That is, an easy-to-make statement that may be true or untrue with no consequences for dishonesty, and not an otherwise reliable signal. There are some sellers who don’t just care about price and, absent any other way of signaling that to buyers, they set their price at a round number.”
A huge $1.6 trillion is lost every year due to poor customer service! This statistic is alarming, not just because of its massive scale, but also because it’s entirely avoidable. Poor customer service has many roots, but at its most basic, it comes down to failing to understand your customers and their needs. Are there some problem customers who will always be unhappy? Sure, there certainly are. However, these people make up a tiny minority of your customers.
Most of your customers are reasonable people who just want a good experience from your company. After all, you already did the hard part – you got them through the door and to the checkout. Now you just have to keep them happy! Easy, right? Ok, we know it’s more difficult than that, but we’re going to tell you exactly how to avoid losing money to poor customer service.
Customer Service Statistics You Must Know in 2020
Before we delve into how to offer excellent customer service, here are some customer statistics you should know. The purpose of highlighting these statistics is to remind ourselves why customer service is so important. Sometimes when we’re stuck in the day to day running of the business, we can forget to look at the bigger picture and remember to stay focused on the “why”. The consequences of poor customer service can be severe.
90% of Americans consider customer service when deciding whether to buy from a company.
Acquiring new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers.
Almost 50% of Americans switched companies last year due to poor customer service.
Customers will spend 17% more on a company with excellent customer service.
Almost 80% of customers would recommend your company to their friends after a positive customer experience.
It takes 12 positive reviews to make up for 1 negative review!
How to Offer Great Customer Service
1. Nail First Contact
First impressions are extremely powerful. Getting your first contact off to a good start can determine how the rest of the conversation goes. You need to make a good first impression to develop a good relationship with the customer. Here’s how agents can create a great first impression on the phone or messaging service.
Watch your tone: Without body language, you have to try harder to convey your tone. You want to appear friendly, approachable, and confident. Over the phone, be pleasant and polite, rather than excited (this may seem fake). Over a messaging service, use a smiley face emoji in your opening message.
Thank the customer for calling.
Tell the customer your name because it helps build that relationship. It also shows that you are accountable and dependable.
Ask how you can help.
2. Actively Listen to Your Customers
Active listening is when you concentrate on, understand, respond, and remember what the customer is saying throughout the whole conversation. Active listening builds trust and rapport with customers. Agents will also be better equipped at solving problems if they fully understand the customer’s perspective. Here’s how you demonstrate active listening in customer service:
Give regular verbal feedback to the customer. If the customer is explaining their problem, show them you’re listening by saying “I see”, “go on”, “what happens next”, “That must be frustrating”.
Don’t interrupt. Let the customer explain their issue without interrupting them.
Repeat the customer’s problem back to them. This shows that you were paying attention and will also ensure that you’re both on the same page.
Ask relevant clarifying questions at appropriate times. Don’t try to rush the customer onto the next part where you find the answers you need to solve the problem. Ask questions when it seems natural.
As an executive coach, I work with many successful leaders who want to become even more effective. Recently, I asked a client of mine what kind of feedback she was receiving to help her be a better leader. She said, “My last performance review was really positive. My boss told me I’m doing a great job and I should just continue to do what I’m doing.”
That felt nice to hear, I’m sure. But it is also completely unhelpful to her growth and development.
Feedback that indicates what they are doing well and what they are not doing well
Unfortunately, the feedback many leaders receive is not helpful. It’s often infrequent, vague, or unrelated to specific behaviors — and as a result, leaders tend to be less proactive about getting more of it. Low-quality feedback is not useful, positive feedback is undervalued, and negative feedback delivered unskillfully can actually cause physical pain.
Without clear performance targets and data measuring how close or far they are from reaching them, leaders will continue to find it difficult to grow and improve. When delivered thoughtfully, however, feedback can provide leaders with the actionable data they need to become more effective.
If you want to get the feedback that is necessary to improve your leadership, there are a few steps you can take.
Keep your guard up. As more people work from home, they could be exposing themselves to viruses and other online dangers that might not threaten their physical health but could put their business at risk. Individuals who don’t have the support of an IT team may be more vulnerable to scams. To protect your business, follow these tips from tech coach Burton Kelso, owner of Integral in Kansas City, Mo.
Ensure strong internet and Wi-Fi connections. Check your internet speed at speedtest.net. Download speeds lower than 30 mbps could lead to problems accessing an office’s virtual private network, cloud storage service, or videoconference calls. To increase Wi-Fi speeds at home, consider add-ons like Google’s Wi-Fi “mesh” router system, which can blanket an area with a stronger signal, or TP-Link’s Powerline adapter system, which turns the electrical wiring inside walls into an Ethernet network. When working remotely, use your phone as a mobile hot spot if your plan allows it. Whenever you have to log in using free, insecure public Wi-Fi, enable a VPN service, such as TunnelBear or NordVPN, to keep your data more secure.
Set up automatic data backup. Use a cloud-based product to protect your business from data loss, using such companies as Carbonite or BackBlaze (both cost about $83 a year). For Apple devices, you can use iCloud. Google Drive and Google Photos offer cloud services for PCs, Android, and Apple devices.
Emails sent by officials at DHS, which oversees border security and defense against hacking, were monitored by the hackers as part of the sophisticated series of breaches, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters Monday.
The attacks, first revealed Sunday, also hit the U.S. departments of Treasury and Commerce.
Technology company SolarWinds, which was the key steppingstone used by the hackers, said up to 18,000 of its customers had downloaded a compromised software update that allowed hackers to spy unnoticed on businesses and agencies for almost nine months.
The United States issued an emergency warning on Sunday, ordering government users to disconnect SolarWinds software which it said had been compromised by “malicious actors.”
That warning came after Reuters reported suspected Russian hackers had used hijacked SolarWinds software updates to break into multiple American government agencies, including the Treasury and Commerce departments. Moscow denied having any connection to the attacks.
One of the people familiar with the hacking campaign said the critical network that DHS’ cybersecurity division uses to protect infrastructure, including the recent elections, had not been breached.
DHS said it was aware of the reports, without directly confirming them or saying how badly it was affected.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, if you wanted real-time advice on how to style a trendy Rebecca Minkoff sweater with an equally fashionable handbag, your best bet was to head to a retailer, such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s, and track down a clerk. Post-Covid, Rebecca, the founder of the eponymous brand, will show you herself, right from her closet.
Minkoff is one of many retailers leaning into an e-commerce trend that the pandemic has helped accelerate: livestream shopping. Think of it as like a QVC broadcast where brands and influencers pitch products but specifically for social media and e-commerce platforms where you can instantly click through to make a purchase.
In China, livestream shopping is already a massive business, estimated at $63 billion. Thanks to Covid lockdowns, the trend is finally taking off in the U.S. Retailers now have a plethora of platforms to try. Google, YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, and Facebook have all launched live shopping offerings. Meanwhile, venture capital-backed startups NTWRK, Popshop Live, ShopShops, Moda Operandi, and others cater to more niche audiences. Some of these platforms are invite-only; others are open to any company that wants to start broadcasting.
Supporting Small Business Saturday with 2020-Conscious Marketing!!
Local SEO | Marketing Industry
Image credit: Elvert Barnes
“Conscious spending with the community can contribute to neighborhood sustainability.” — Christine Araquel, The Park’s Finest
I encountered this quote from a restaurateur on the American Express Small Business Saturday website, and just these few words called a vivid image to my mind: local business owners and customers gazing together toward the horizon, hoping to pierce the clouds of COVID-19 and see them clearing away, revealing communities that are still standing, and still capable of sustaining our hometowns, our cities, and our dreams.
72% of consumers believe they will frequent neighboring businesses more after the crisis is over, but that will take all of us doing our part now to ensure as many SMBs are still there to greet us when better days return.
In Q4 of 2019, I used my column to encourage local business owners to start having meaningful conversations with customers about how “conscious spending” at independently-owned enterprises impacts local quality of life. Buying local affects everything from mental and physical health, to emergency services access, diversity, democracy, and climate change.
In 2020, it’s time to turn up the local SEO industry’s dial on conscious spending. Today, I’m urging every business owner and marketer to consider dedicating space to a concerted educational campaign on the topic on their websites, social profiles, local business listings, reviews, and real-world interfaces. Your work, and mine, depends on sustaining independently-owned local businesses through and far beyond Small Business Saturday. With the right strategy, we can make an impactful effort together.
What is Small Business Saturday? American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 in response to the Great Recession. This annual event invites communities to shop at small, local businesses on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday’s date this year is November 28th.
Americans spent $19.6 billion at independent businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2019. In 2020, AmEx is placing special emphasis on shopping locally to help SMBs remain viable amid the challenges of the public health emergency. AmEx is also strongly encouraging shoppers to support Black-owned independent businesses this year.
Practical tactics for Small Business Saturday preparation To ensure your local business is ready to welcome the maximum number of shoppers on the big day, check these off your list:
Do a quick audit of your website to be sure all contact information and hours of operation are current and accurate for each location of your business. Do the same for your local business listings on the major location data platforms. Write at least one Small Business Saturday Google Post to explain your special offers for the day. Post a Google Q&A about your participation in Small Business Saturday. Publicize your Small Business Saturday offers on your social channels. Respond to any recent reviews that mention Small Business Saturday. Make use of any appealing partnership deals you qualify for by participating in AmEx’s official Small Business Saturday program. Make use of AmEx’s tutorials on topics like contactless payments, answering COVID FAQs, and implementing digital shopping. These are all standard good practices to ready your company for this major shopping day, but amid the severe challenges of 2020, it’s time to go beyond common techniques.
Online education has been one of the hotspots in the tech world this year, as people turn to e-learning tools to fill in the gaps variously arising from closed schools, closed offices, social distancing and more time on our hands at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And that is giving a big bump to education startups, which are raising money to capitalise on the growth opportunity.
In one of the latest developments, Udemy — which provides a marketplace currently numbering some 130,000 video-based courses across 65 languages, ranging from learning Python or how to photograph better, through to mastering mindfulness and business analytics — is raising up to $100 million in a Series F round of funding that would value the company at up to $3.32 billion.
Dutch-born Sid Sijbrandij built a developer-tool business valued at nearly $3 billion without ever opening an office. Now he’s cautioning companies against doing telecommuting halfway.
Sid Sijbrandij knows the perils of working from home. In 2018, after years of toiling exclusively from a small room in his 47th-floor apartment in a San Francisco high-rise, the entrepreneur developed foot problems. So he moved in a treadmill desk alongside his Zoom-friendly green screen and three monitors.
But GitLab’s CEO says the problem isn’t remote work, but how it’s practiced. Unless you’re employed by one of the handful of companies that have fully embraced the new work reality, Sijbrandij (pronounced see brandy) thinks you’re probably doing it wrong. His radical take on remote work: It’s effective only if you go all in. Partial measures will create tiers of employees who will split the workforce over time, driving away top-performing remote workers who don’t want to compete with lesser-achieving on-site colleagues. “We’ll see some companies . . . go back [to the office] and try to make the best of it, and I think they’ll struggle,” he says.