Living in a Connected World
By Shea Hambling
Like it or not, accept it or not, the internet is connecting us together as a society in increasingly more ways, day by day. And in each one of those days we are able to utilize the internet in a different way.
It is essential for businesses to recognize that this affects how we need to be managing our operations and interacting with our customers as a result. Not understanding how our customers are utilizing the internet will lead to lost opportunities. Not being proactive to harness the tools available to reach our customers and potential customers via the internet will surely hurt our bottom lines.
Industries have Been changed by the internet.
Entire industries have been changed by internet technology. Many thought that their industry could never be affected by it. Think of some of the changes. Many are ways companies reshaped themselves to better interact with their customers and clients.
It is easy to see how the internet has changed the retail industry. In my early career, I owned a three-store chain of bookstores. Retail, and especially books, was one of the first dramatic changes driven by the internet (Amazon started out as a bookseller). I remember one of my employees telling me, “Someday most books are going to be bought online.” I could never imagine that. By 2014, Amazon accounted for 54% of all books sold. That did not include other online sales sites or digitally downloaded books.
It used to be that we drove to the bank each payday and went up to one of the dozen tellers to cash our paycheck, keep some money, and deposit the rest. Now, through the power of the internet, we receive our pay through direct deposit. When we do get a check we just take a picture of it on our phone and the internet “deposits” it in our account for us. We don’t usually even need to go to a physical bank to sign legal documents or even open an account. It is all done online. Our banks are now available 24 hours a day. Our phone is our teller.
How could the internet affect the operation of a law office? Along comes LegalZoom, which makes available online many of the basic legal documents in a self-directed manor. Basic wills, incorporations, real estate leases, divorces are all available without going to an attorney.
When is the last time you used a physical map to get from one place to another? As we plan to leave for that meeting or to send one of our delivery trucks out on a run, we check one of the internet-based GPS maps on our phones to find the directions to get there. We don’t need a paper map.
When we needed a ride somewhere, it used to be that we would call a taxi service. The dispatcher would locate one for their cabs that would pick you up for your trip. Depending on where the nearest cab was and if they were already on a call, it could take 15 minutes to a half hour, sometimes longer before they got to you. If you were in a big city, you could try to hail a cab from the sidewalk if they did not already have a passenger. Along comes internet-based ride sharing. Now you can click the link on your phone and an Uber or Lyft driver will be with you in just minutes to take you where you want to go in nicer, cleaner vehicles than most cabs have on the road.
Many other industries, dare I say ALL industries, and businesses have been affected or have adjusted how they do business because of the interconnected society that we live in. Medical, construction, real estate, restaurants, travel to name just a few more.
Let Internet Connectivity Help Change the Way Your Company Finds New Customers.
You can now put that power of the internet itself into affect driving new customers to your company and retaining your current customer base. Even if you are technologically challenged, the power of the internet can put it into place for you.
Your online reputation found by the reviews left about your business and how you manage it can and will separate you from the companies you are competing with to attract and retain customers.
Referrals/Word of Mouth:
In today’s world, as compared to only a couple of years ago, the way people choose to try out a new business has dramatically changed because of internet connectivity. Referrals are where companies have traditionally acquired new customers. However, most referrals and “word of mouth” recommendations have been changed due to the internet.
First your location must be at the top of the search engine listings. Be honest, when was the last time you went to page two of a Google search you have made?
It has been said that “Word of mouth is the best advertisement.” In today’s world, that “word of mouth” (referral) is the online reviews that your company receives!
• For today’s businesses, these online reviews can drive the success of the company or allow it to linger as an insignificant player in its industry.
• For today’s consumer, they are the driving force in deciding who they choose to spend their money with.
• For today’s websites it can mean the difference between being listed at the top of the online listings or buried on page three or four of those listings.
The 9/10 rule:
• 9 out of 10 people check out online reviews before using a business.
• 9 out of 10 people trust those reviews as much as, or greater than, family/friend recommendations.
• 9 out of 10 people will use a local company if it has a 4-star rating or above.
• 9 out of 10 people will think twice before using a company with negative reviews.
• 9 out of 10 people trust recent reviews over older reviews to make their decisions.
Think in your real life. Your refrigerator stops cooling and you will soon lose all of your food. You don’t have a “go to” appliance repair company. Do you jump on the phone and call your best friend or brother to ask if he has a repair recommendation? No, you quickly jump online and type in “Boca Raton Appliance Repair.”
Yelp has pages of listings, but whom do you call? There is one firm real close that has a 3.4-star rating. The reviews say that they were rude, late for the appointment, often had to come back to “fix” the repair. Another firm was 10 miles away but has a 4.7-star rating. The reviews say they were prompt to get there, showed great professionalism, cleaned up after themselves, and even made friends with the dog. Who are you going to call?
How do you get listed high on the search engine rankings? How do you get your customer to leave those positive reviews? How can you address those customers who were not happy, and fix their concerns, before they leave a bad review?
With all of the review sites out there (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Four Square, industry specific, and dozens more) how do you get reviews on all of them?
Your business must be actively managing your online reviews, just like you manage your inventory, accounts receivables, or any other critical item that determines the profitability of the company.
As a member benefit, NRLA has made available to you the reputation management services of AirGrabZ. AirGrabZ can address each one of these essential challenges and more! The services will help optimize your online business profile.
Most customers will leave glowing reports or “I hate this company” reports after a rare negative experience. The bottom line is that they just want to be heard, good or bad. To satisfy this need, after a transaction with a customer, AirGrabZ will reach out to your customers to find out if they were satisfied and would recommend your company to others. If they say yes, they can respond on the 5-star rating scale. If it is positive, AirGrabZ will be able to record that on one of the dozens of review sites spreading your positive reviews across the sites that are most important to you.
You can enter the customer information yourself (name and email address) or AirGrabZ, with your permission, can pull that information out of your data for you. This makes one less step for you and lets you do what you do best…run your business.
If it is a customer that did have the rare unsatisfactory experience, AirGrabZ will send it to your email so you can contact the customer and address their concerns before they leave a public negative review. By addressing those concerns directly with the customer, you can retain them instead of having them just walk away. Remember, they just want to be heard and understood. By reaching out to your customers like this, you will also get more recent reviews, which review readers value more.
By adding more positive reviews, it brings up the star rating of your company to cover previous negative reviews. AirGrabZ searches the review sites for you to find any negative reviews that may have been left directly, so they can be responded to publicly.
The higher ratings will help raise your position in the search engines. Ratings are now a major part of being listed higher in the Google listings!
Contact AirGrabZ to learn more about your membership benefit. We are sure that you will give us a 5-star rating! Phone: 833-247-9464 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org