Thursday, October 20, 2011

Google's Business Suite

Tools of the trade starts with professional email. 

You can't start to be professional if your email address is still the one you had from high school. 

If your replies are signed from "" your first impression isn't the impression you are hoping to make. 

I suggest any small business consider Google Apps to manager their email, and more.  There's a great free package that allows you to create up to 10 custom user accounts that will all have access to the following features under your business domain name.

Gmail Get custom email like

Google Sites Create websites and group wikis.

Google Calendar Organize your schedule and share events with friends.

Google Docs Share online documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. 
If you already have a website (domain) then you can assign that as your email address.  If you don't have a plan to purchase a domain (just $10 and you can purchase your own domain from the Google Apps set up screen) then you can still use GMail and create and email address like this

Important links:
  1. GMail for Business:
  2. Google Sites (websites):
  3. Google Calendar:
  4. Google Docs: (Word processor, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, etc)
What's possible when I use Google apps with my Business?

It all starts here

It all starts right here with you happy clients.  If you don't have happy clients as a result of high standards of customer service, quality products, and knowledgeable, professional and friendly staff to back it all up, stop right now.

You can't think about getting into Social Marketing with out first building a solid foundation to grow upon.  If you have problems with dissatisfied clients you need to take a step back and build you customer service foundations first.

Who doesn't, on a regular basis:
  • read newspapers and magazines?
  • listen to the radio
  • read email
  • or check social networks like facebook
As businesses we try to reach our clients through:
  • print ads (newspapers, magazines, posters, billboards, etc)
  • radio ads
  • designing a website
  • social marketing
but who has actually developed a budget or hired someone to manage their social marketing?

The big question:
Q) I often get asked "but what if a customer posts something bad about us online"?
A) My answer is often "is there bad things about you, that customers might post"?

This could be a number of things.  Some you can predict others you can't.  The answer is to have in place customer service strategies that deal with these issues when they arise.  Just like customers in your store, online customers expect to have their problems solved by you.

Many people worry that this just makes customer service problems public for all to see.  I agree it does, but at the same time it also brings the solution that you provide into public view.  This might provide a solution for other customers and resolve their problem with out you having to deal with it.

I always make sure we resolve customer problems, face to face and online in a timely manner.  Once it's resolved post the solution on your social network and invite the customer to also post a reply to it online.  Often this will result in them posting positive feed back as you have now solved their problem.

We have used both Twitter and facebook to resolve customer service problems both publicly and privately and in all cases the customer has responded by posting great follow up about how we resolved their problem.   And in one case came into our store and spent $700 just two days later.