STEERING YOUR BUSINESS TO SUCCESS DURING & AFTER COVID-19​

WATCH our Community Based Webinar

Steering Your Business to Success
During & After COVID-19

Thursday April 16, 1 PM pst

You'll learn

> The 5 Pillars to Diversify Your Revenue
 
> The Core Concepts to Protect Your Cash Flow TODAY
 
> How to Adapt Your eCommerce Strategy to Match Online Behaviour
 
> How TO Adjust Your Marketing to Match Your NEW Buyer’s Journey
 
> What’s Working in Influencer Marketing NOW
 
> Why Your Customer Service is Your Secret Weapon & How to Leverage it to Win
 
> How to Update Your Messaging For Tomorrow’s Consumer

Here is the text transcription:

 

0:06
Great,


0:07
thank you all so much for joining us today and taking your time. We are a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs much like some of you. We sort of coined ourselves the San Diego collective. We’re all here locally in San Diego. We have varied backgrounds and varied areas of expertise that we thought we could get together and give you one quick tip. We don’t want to take too much of your time. But again, this is very casual. We all sort of worked on it on our own time and took what we know the most about in our industry. To try to help you get through these ever changing times. We want to address kind of the most pressing issues and topics for small businesses and startups to consider while we’re adapting to this new, strange economic environment, new social distancing environment and actions to protect your cash flow to help re strategize your business decisions, adapt to the new sales channels, leverage customer experience, and to survive and grow during this time and optimize a new marketing mix. So again, we’re keeping it quick and casual. We have varying levels of expertise and backgrounds. And we hope you all just take away something that you’ve learned that can help you during these challenging times. Again, thank you so much for joining us. I’m going to start with this is our overall agenda and all the speakers involved have different backgrounds. We have Jennifer Barnes, who’s the CEO and founder of Optima office, Michelle, who is actually a customer service extraordinaire and will tell you how much that can play into your business. Cedric who is an e commerce specialist, consultant and mentor role, who you will see is quite seasoned at these things. And he is an author, a business strategist and coach. He will also run our q&a. Myself and my business partner, Tracey and Carrie, we are owners of a small agency for business startups and marketing strategy and execution. And at the end, we do have detailed BIOS if you’re interested. So with no further ado, we’re going to go to Jennifer and talk about your cash flow. important issue.


2:26
Yeah, hi, everybody.


2:28
Cash Flow is definitely on most people’s minds right now, as we’re all navigating through this COVID disaster. And we really need to focus on how much cash do we have now versus how much cash Are we going to have 13 weeks from now? And today I’m going to briefly discuss about business goals and how do we reset our objectives given the current COVID situation and to how do you do a cash flow projection? I’d like to help walk you through a 13 week cash flow projection and what makes for an effective report We should discuss re forecasting your revenue, I can imagine what you thought you were going to have in revenue in terms of what you actually have, for some of you may be substantially different. And for others, others of you maybe it’s a 20% drop 15% drop. But we’ve seen some customers with an 80% drop. So this is definitely on the forefront of many business owners minds. Next, we’ll just briefly talk about accounts receivable, which is money in all of us want money in right now. And lastly, accounts payable, inventory money out so what is essential and what is not? So moving on to the cash flow discussion. I really want everyone to focus on how much money do you know is going to be coming in over the next 13 weeks and take it week by week. So you want to forecast out 13 weeks you want to look at every single week, which customers are going to pay what bills are going to be going out. Really make sure that you have A very transparent view of your cash flow situation. You know, what are you going to need to do to stay afloat and to be able to afford everything that’s essential right now? And if you did receive PPP funds, or you’ve recently been approved, you know, how are you going to utilize those funds so that you can get as much forgiven as possible? If you’ve taken out an ideal loan, there’s obviously interest involved with that. And so you’re have to record interest expense and focus on how are you going to make those payments and what are you going to use the money for? The FF CRA is also essentially government funds based on Social Security tax that you’re going to get refunded to you with payrolls. While you look at your cash flow situation and understand what is your best case scenario? What’s your worst case scenario? And then what’s kind of mediocre what could or could not happen? And you might have to have a backup plan and most of you probably should have a backup plan. And you might need to borrow money. Can you as a business owner, put in five Can you loan money to your organization to get them through this really tough time.


5:06
So we’ll move on to the spreadsheet that I really liked this spreadsheet. And I know for you non accountants, it’s not, it’s not very fun putting together a spreadsheet like this, and it’s probably quite painful. Many of you might rather poke your eyes out and put together this type of a spreadsheet, and you rely on your accounting team to do a spreadsheet like this. So in order to cash flow out 13 weeks, I want you to focus on the top cell, which is on 229 of 2020. Let’s say you started with $12,500 in cash, that’s all you had in your bank account $12,000 you know that you’re going to receive $125,000 from customers. That makes your balance prior to spending on anything 137 500. Now, let’s take into account payroll. And if you have a 401k include your 401k amount. Then if you have independent contact Raptors health insurance, even credit card payments. So credit card payments, don’t hit your p&l. So you can’t think of your cash flow forecast as the same as you are thinking of your profit and loss statement, they’re two completely different numbers. Some of the things might affect your balance sheet and some of the things on your cash flow forecasts are gonna affect your p&l. So look at anything, all the money that’s going to be going out, you know, rent mortgage potential if you own the building, marketing, public relations, professional fees. So let’s say for that specific period, you spent $142,000. That made you have a deficit for the week of almost 17,000. And you ended the week negative. Now, none of us ever want to end the week negative but we at least want to be prepared for if we’re going to. Now if you look towards the bottom right of this spreadsheet in May, you’ll see that you have another deficit, you’re going to be losing having an ending balance of negative $5,000. Two weeks later, you’re going to have a negative balance and 17. Well, that’s when you really need to take advantage of some funding and some backup plans and look at Okay, well, am I going to be putting in the money, how much money is going in and how much money is going out, you want to look at your customers, and determine which customers are going to be able to pay me right now are people on a car credit card, obviously, your merchant fees might increase if more people are paying with credit card. So you’ll want to put merchant fees in your cash flow forecast as well. And then look and see if you’re going to have any customer deposits in your retainers. Any inventory that you can sell. So what cash can come in the door right now. And part of that will be forecasting your revenue, which we can talk about in a minute. But really look at your customer base, who’s affected, how much can they pay you and then look at what essential expenses have to go out right now, in order to keep your business running. Now you don’t want to start spending money on things that you could wait two months to spend on so that’s really how you’re protecting your cash flow right now is really Taking your focus on what’s essential,


8:04
we can move on to the next slide.


8:07
All in all, a cash flow forecast is really going to help you avoid any surprises, whether good or bad. You want to be able to predict, plan and prepare for how much cash you’re going to have over the next 13 weeks, which is one quarter. Understanding your cash flow in general is going to help add some transparency to your business, it’s going to give you a level of comfort or possibly a level of fear and a need to create a backup plan. And part of the cash flow forecast is really making sure that you have an accurate AR and AP report how much is going to come in how much is going to go out. And all in all by having a good cash flow forecast and by keeping sure your books are closed on time and accurate. You’re likely going to be able to qualify for loans easier. So I would definitely use this time to not get Behind, not fall behind at all, because if you fall behind, and then you have to spend two to three months cleaning up your books and getting things organized, you really are flying blind. And so doing the accurate financials, closing your books on time and getting your cash flow forecast put together is going to be crucial right now. Let’s move on to our revenue forecast. And this is just a really quick spreadsheet. Um, this is on accounting services, I put something together that’s actually very similar to my own company, Optima on accounting services, revenue and HR services. We go based on business day. Now many of you might not go on business day, you might actually go off of, you know, different types of products, different services, different departments, what’s generating revenue, you might want to go pretty granularly and look at which which customers are going to fall off which ones are going to increase services, what additional service versus can you possibly put together? What products can you sell? What inventory on your shelf? Can you sell? So you might want to go customer by customer product by product service by service and determine what is my revenue going to be now, my new revenue for 2020 I would bet that maybe 1% of businesses are going to have the exact same amount of revenue that they had planned back in February, January, that they’re going to have now after COVID. So this is just a quick example, put in your revenue for last year and this year, look at your business days, look at your products and then you can really forecast what your revenues are going to be. Moving on to accounts receivable. Everybody needs money in right now. So what are the best accounts receivable tips that you can get? make phone calls, send emails, and I’ve got a really fun trick that I’ve used probably for 15 years now and it works and no it sounds silly, but send all your customers are late. There. invoices physically printed on pink paper. accountants don’t like pink or yellow, you know when they when we see a pink or yellow paper sticking out of our accounts, accounts payable stack, we want to get that out of there. It’s like getting the pink slip. So it sounds silly, but customers are over 3045 days late, then go ahead and print it out on pink paper, literally put it in the mail with a stamp mail it off. They’re going to get it and it does create a little bit of panic with us accountants, maybe we’re a little OCD, but we don’t like pink paper in our in our inbox.


11:34
You might want to reconsider some of your payment terms. Are you giving people too much buffer? Is it 30 days right now? Or is it 20 days or is it 15 really make sure that your payment terms make sense and they may align with your payrolls. So if your payroll is on the 10th of the month, and your invoices gets done on the first or the second, and you have eight day terms are 10 day terms. So 30 day terms are a little bit tough right now but some of you are forced to do it because you work with some of the things box retailers and whatnot. And then work with your customers. Can you get some early payment discounts if they pay on time or early? Can you give 1% 2% 3% and then make sure invoices go out team as quickly as possible. Don’t sit on your invoicing. If your period ends on the 31st of the month, get your invoices on the first second third at the latest. I sometimes get invoices from the previous month, 30 days later. And I’m like, seriously? How do you operate your counting department on getting invoices out too late. So think about your timing of your invoices and how much money is going to be coming in from those. And lastly, we’ll briefly touch on accounts payable and come up on my time here. But I want you to really focus on the essential bills and the non essential and what do you need to pay right now? I’m not going to read these slides. But you know, take a look at them. I think it’s really important to determine, you know what, what expenses are recurring every single month and are they necessary, you know, sometimes you sign up for 10 different subscriptions and you don’t realize that some of that stuff you’re not even using so go through Your credit card statements right now you have time look and see what what things are you just paying for that that are not essential, or maybe that you’re not using. You also want to take this time to look at your vendor relationships, the last thing you want to do is really upset a lot of your vendors, you know, you need to treat them with respect and kindness and communication. So the more that you can be upfront about, Hey, I don’t have any funds, I’m gonna have to push you out. You know, think about that individuals sitting there and they’re small business and, you know, silence is a killer. So, you know, if anything, just communicate really well.


13:35
And then lastly,


13:37
you know, take a look at your inventory. If you do have if you’re a company with inventory, can you can you do flash sales? Can you get rid of that inventory? How can you be as efficient as possible and get some of that inventory off your books, and if it’s gonna spoil or go bad? No, maybe you can even donate some stuff and get some terrible deductions. So there’s my portion on cash. Sorry if it was a little faster. I will be giving you the templates and I’m happy to help. Feel free to reach out to me for any support you may need.


14:09
I believe we are. Yep.


14:13
Great. Tracey here with social currency. And I’ll be talking about how to update some of your strategy tools so that you can adapt your marketing to better resonate with customers given this new reality. So the first tool we’re going to look at is the buyer persona. a buyer persona is an archetype of a typical buyer based on research done on your target audience. And it really serves as the foundation of your marketing plan. A good persona reveals how your buyer thinks and acts so you can create marketing content that speaks to your buyers needs, at a time when you can trigger them to act. And it helps you place your marketing content where they’re already going for information. So clearly, the pandemic has affected everyone’s behaviors right now. Not only their behaviors, but their emotions, the challenges that they’re presented with and their needs. Many of these changes are temporary, and some of them will be permanent. So the persona itself should really be a living document. And you should take a look at updating it whenever your buyer changes. So another piece of strategy is your brand positioning. And then your positioning really describes how your brand uniquely meets your buyers needs. So for example, a beauty brand a couple months ago might have been positioning itself as a company that helps you make yourself look beautiful for when you’re going out on the town. And they might have shifted their positioning you know, temporarily for being a brand about providing self care for when you’re at home and a break from anxiety and boredom by taking care of yourself. So that’s just an example. The next tool we’re going to look at is a buyers journey.


15:58
That’s an excellent


16:00
So the buyers journey is essentially reflects the research project process that your your persona goes through from becoming aware of a need to considering various solutions to meet that need. And then all the way to making a decision. If you have a fairly simple offering, your buyers journey might look like the one at the top where they basically go through three stages. If you have a more complex product, like a b2b product that has multiple decision makers, or perhaps a very expensive product, you might have a more complex


16:37
buyers journey like the one at the bottom.


16:41
And let’s go ahead and take a look at the buyers journey in detail on the next slide.


16:48
Okay, for each stage of the buyers journey, you’re going to map the key questions that your buyer has when becoming aware of the need that you saw. So let’s say for example, you’re selling a marketing software, your buyer might start by asking, How do I generate more leads for my business? You might answer that by creating a lead gen one on one webinar. And then you place that webinar in one of the channels where they’re already going to for information like LinkedIn or an industry website or something like that. So essentially, this buyer’s journey is a roadmap to create in place the marketing content that’s optimized, that’s going to generate conversion for your brand. To optimize your marketing, you’ll want to go through and decide if you need to update any of those key questions channels based on the behaviors and challenges and needs that your persona has today. So overall, just to kind of recap, the reason that we start with the persona and the buyers for me and the positioning is simply because having your strategy updated, makes your tactical changes easier, faster and smarter so that you’re not just kind of throwing spaghetti against the wall. These strategy tools can you help you understand how to optimize your product or service offering. And so with that, I’ll turn it over to rose. Oh, thank you, Tracey.


18:07
So as Tracey was mentioning, there are certain behaviors right now they’re being exhibited by your customers. Some of those are forced to behaviors. But there’s two things that will be trending out of this. The first is not only the need, but the importance and the seat of importance of online, so people will be taking online even more seriously. And the second is the sense for community and the human need for connection. So we want to match those consumer behaviors with our business goals, which is to increase profit margin, without adding more money to your overhead and increase your revenue. By leveraging the existing assets that already exist within your company. That existing asset is your knowledge and your experience.


18:48
The next slide,


18:50
cool. So with knowledge and experience, you can leverage those assets, package them into creating value, add services or value added products, and you can apply Apply this into SAS, ecommerce, even retail as well as service based businesses. So what I’m gonna teach you are the five tiers to diversify your revenue. In order to package these informations into assets that you can therefore add value to marketplace, increase revenue, as well as you know, increasing profit to


19:17
customer lifetime value. Good at the next slide.


19:23
One more please.


19:25
Cool five tiers, the first tier that we’re going to go through is a wide acceptance offer. So here what you’re packaging is a small lower ticket item, but essentially your packaging your information that is easily accessible by a wide audience in your market. You want to price it anywhere as low as $7, as high as 497. And 497 can be a low offer, depending on your industry, depending on your market and printer your customer. But with the the key thing that you want to do here is you want to leverage your marketing efforts. Because if you’re marketing to people who only give you their name and their email, it’s a significantly different sale than those who have already made a transaction. with you. So you want to package information, either value course videos, or even software where they can add get value from you. But also now you have a pool of buyers that you can add even more substantial value and connection with. And that builds on tier two. When you want to build a community, a community for your buyers, so that you can actually establish and build on trust. And the cool part is not only are you building community for your front end customers, but you can also build community for yourself in the business as a strategic relationship. Perhaps you sell ecommerce products online, and you can either partner with other companies that sell at the same market, but it’s a substitute need. Let’s say you sell pens and notebooks, right? What happens if you partner with someone who sells mugs, or someone who serves that same target audience? Same thing for service based businesses, so you want to be creative? How can I create an engagement an engaged community, but also how can I strategically partner with other businesses that can serve my country at a higher caliber, then that leads us to tier three, where you can start building on group programs. In group programs, you got two options here you can either do a monthly recurring program where you have people pay you on a monthly subscription, or you can do a one time high ticket program or mid ticket to your program. So essentially for the one time programs you can charge anywhere from 497 5000 5000 is a starting point, but you can go higher again, depends on your market depends on your customer depends on the problems you solve in the marketplace. And then for the monthly recurring for from 127 bucks, no less than that because it does it dilutes value, but as high as it can be 1500 2500 a month. And the reason why you want to offer group programs is when you’re adding value to the marketplace. There are customers that will raise their hands and say I want more. You help me solve a problem at this level. What happens if I solve a problem or you help me solve a problem at a higher level and it also deep seeds the desire that your industry wants for country connection. Right. So you’re building value by connecting individuals in the same like minded community. But also you can create masterminds out of that. And even if you offer information or videos or trainings or programs, what I’ve seen people actually skip that and go straight to the community and straight to the networking, the connections


22:17
that leads to tier four,


22:21
where you can do private one on one coaching sessions, or one on one private sessions. And you can even do this as well for e commerce. For service based businesses. You can add monthly recurring for one on one private coaching, or just consulting hours. And for e commerce, let’s say you sell let’s say you’re in the fitness industry, you’re selling a squat rack or a weightlifting machinery. What if you gave them a video or three hours or a couple weeks of training on how to use the equipment properly, how to set it up, how to get the most value out of it, and people will pay for that exclusivity in that access. This isn’t again for wide acceptance reach because it’s going to be a little bit higher tier, more catered for a custom solution or custom problem. But again, you want to be having those offers ready on the back end, because it’s only a matter of time two customers asked you, how can you serve me at a higher level? And that leads us to our fifth tier. So the fifth tier is actually it’s very tailored for service based businesses. But I think it’s something we should talk about. For service based businesses, you the current actions that you already do in your business are getting leads


23:23
and servicing those leads,


23:26
getting leads, and servicing those leads. So how can you leverage that which you already do, and still make revenue? Let’s say you have a lead, who isn’t a good fit for the company or you’re at max capacity, you can’t take him on? What if you have a certification program, where trainees pay you to learn how you solve the problem in the marketplace, so there’s one income stream and then if you have that lead, you can hand them off to them, either sell them that lead and get a referral bonus, or get a commission 10% 15% 30% whatever works best for your industry of monthly recur for three months or 12 months. For giving them that lead, and they service that lead for you. So those are just creative ways that you can do this on the certification program. And all of this is diversify your revenue. And doing so you can add more value to the marketplace, increase customer lifetime value, retain customers longer, as well as just increase your revenue and add more value to the marketplace. So there we go. And I’ll hand it off to Cedric to teach you how to diversify or change your sales process and operations.


24:29
Hi, everyone, I’m Cedric fenders. Thanks all for joining us, Carrie, if you don’t mind switching to my part. Yep. So what I’m going to do today is talk about how you can adapt your sales channels and your operations with a specific focus on e commerce. And I wanted to start by giving you an overview of all industries. Well, not all industries, but most industries and how they’ve been impacted by COVID-19. And this graph is based on conversion rates on ads. But what we see essentially is that in green, you know, those are the industries that have been impacted positively by this crisis. So we all recognize the essentials and the groceries and beauty and personal care and food delivery. Those industries have all been doing really well right now. Then in the red, we see the industries that have been impacted negatively, unfortunately. And that’s mostly due to the lockdown and social distancing. And in yellow, we see it’s kind of a mixed bag, we see, you know, industries with mixed results. Now, if you look at e commerce specifically, it roughly follows those trends. But what we see is that sales and e commerce are up by 25%. Across the board, while overall spending in the economy is down. So the biggest takeaway from that is that ecommerce is up and that there is there are opportunities if we can adapt our sales channels and if we use the right messaging So, in the next part, I wanted to give you three critical steps for survival for startups but it can also apply to small businesses and medium businesses. So first of all, what you want to do is you want to limit your losses. And Jennifer already touched on this you know, in more detail than I’m going to do but you know, biggest the key takeaway here in terms of limiting your losses is really cost cutting. You know, take your financial models and and your your finances and see where you can, you know, cut some costs so you can keep your business afloat. And in terms of, you know, cash in stream or cash flow generation, you want to look at inventory and acids and see how you can create some extra cash for your business and this time, the second step is adapting your business and you want to adapt your sales channels and your marketing. And I’ll dive into this into more detail in the next couple of slides. But I’ve split it up into Existing ecommerce businesses and then companies that have little or no e commerce presence and how they can still, you know, change their sales channel to e commerce and hopefully profit a little bit from from what’s going on in e commerce. And the third step in this kind of survival kit, is you want to be ready for when the economy improves. And so what you want to do is Hopefully, you’ve gained some market share, you want to retain that market share by providing top notch customer service to your customers that you’ve that you’ve acquired right now. So customers that came to you, they came probably from somewhere else, you want to make sure that they stay with your company for as long as long as you exist this company. And then in terms of your inventory, you want to make sure you forecast everything, month by month, even week by week if you have to. So that when the economy improves that you can keep you know, selling it You’re really doing well or that you don’t don’t end up with a surplus in inventory if you know you see a little bit if you’re doing you’re doing really well right now, let’s say and once the economy improves, you know people go back to retail, you want to forecast that and make sure your finger on the pulse in terms of inventory All right, um, so as I said before, I’m adapting part I’m going to split it up into existing ecommerce companies and companies with little or no ecommerce presence but we’re going to look at the e commerce companies in general right now and if split it up into marketing, so omni channel presence and what you can do there to that and then operations and what you can do there to adapt as well. So um, first of all in marketing and omni channel and Tracey touched on this as well already a little bit. This is a great time to grow your brand and your audience and really show up you Your audience and your customers what your brand is about and why you exist. The Why is really, really interesting and interesting at this point. And you can really you know, adapt your messaging


29:11
on the on the current situation and spread that message through different social channels. Now you can use email has been performing really well for a lot of brands. You can use email to generate cash from inventory, for instance, but you want to limit that and don’t overdo it because people are currently getting a ton of emails. And then as I said, his experience is really more important than ever, you want to build loyalty, you want to make sure you provide top notch customer service with your customers so they can retain that market share. And then if we look at operations, so most you know, global supply chains have been impacted. A lot of stores or e commerce stores are out of the out of stocks. Amazon has not been able to, you know ship nonsense. by a prime, they’ve actually had to put a halt on non essential products shipping to their warehouses. So out of stocks, you know, that gives customers the reason to go look at the competition if they do have certain product in stock. So you really want to limit out of stocks and not give any of your existing customers a reason to go to the competition. So what you want to do there is you want to, again, forecast your inventory, make sure you don’t run out of inventory. And if you’re gonna run out of inventory, because you’re impacted by global supply chains, you might want to look at sourcing locally. Or if you really are in a you know, kind of difficult situation right now and you have absolutely no, no stock, no inventory whatsoever. You want to kind of refer back to the first part I was talking about in marketing. You just want to continue to build audience, spread the message about your brand across different social channels, and really tell tell your audience what your brand is about what it stands for. And you’d be surprised Trying to see how customers in this situation will support brands. You know, they, they believe it. And then the good news here is that Amazon has started to accept non essential products again, to its warehouses as, as of this week, actually. So, um, you know, for those of you who are on Amazon, you know, we should start seeing Amazon ramping up on on sales of non essential products pretty soon again, so that’s, that’s really great news. It’s going to open up, you know, the economy for Amazon resellers and brands are doing business on Amazon ecommerce. All right, so now the part about adapting if you have little or no ecommerce presence, we’ll dive into the next part. We’ll look first at leveraging existing platform before you get into building your own platform. So let’s say you are a brand that’s in retail, you know, what platforms Can you can you leverage to keep selling? Well, certain stores are closed. So you can look at your does your retailer have a platform can I get on that platform, that’s kind of a no brainer. You can complement that with your own website and then apply the marketing tactics that Tracey talked about and that I touched upon a little bit earlier. Obviously, Amazon is back up and running for non essentials as well. So that’s a good option as well. Let’s say you have small consumer goods, you can look at a platform like Etsy, there’s small retailers small boutique. You can look at Postmates you can do curbside pickup, you can just sell delivery, let’s say you have a surf store or a chain of surf store, surf stores. You can use post mates to do that last mile delivery to your customers and send them a nice email or set up some appointments for them to you know, having delivered to their their doors. For restaurants obviously we have doordash and grubhub for groceries. We all know instacart and shipped by now. And then if you have a service based business, I mean, I really would encourage you to take a good look at your website, adapt the messaging to the current situation, tell your customers, you’re available for service, and you can do video conferencing.


33:19
So the very last part I want to talk to you about is again, you have little or no e commerce presence. And there’s none of those platforms apply to you that we just talked about. And you say, Okay, I’m going to switch to e commerce and I really want to make the best of it and you know, build my own website or really improve my website. So I want to share a list of useful tools what you guys to build a web page and really make it as performant as possible. So to build your webpage, you can use Shopify you can use WooCommerce, big commerce just to name a few. Then for your product shipping if you if you are shipping products, you can use Shopify shipping. or shipstation, or shippo. For customer support for all those questions you’re going to get, you can use Zendesk and Freshdesk. And Michelle is going to talk in just a couple minutes about, you know, improving your customer service. And then last but not least, metrics, you really want to measure the efforts you’ve been doing online and through e commerce, and measure your performance and see how your business is doing. So the first software comes to mind here is Google Analytics, obviously, you want to make sure you have your Google Analytics pixel embedded into your website, so you can follow those metrics. And I wanted to share with you guys a couple of metrics that really are super important in e commerce in general and that are used, you know, across the industry in e commerce, one of them is click through rates. customer acquisition cost is another one that’s really important number of sales either per day, per week or per month, conversion rates and then average order value. Those are really your key metrics, I might have forgotten some, you can do some extra research online or reach out to me if you want to. But those metrics are super important to keep your finger on the pulse and see how your business is doing online. And in terms of timing you if you’re asking yourself now, how do I do this, and how long it’s going to take me, you know, setting up a web page and implementing all those tools. You know, in about a week or two time you can have a website up and running, it’s going to be a very simple and lean website, but it could perform. And then once you get your ads running online, through Facebook, or Instagram or whatnot, you know, you can start seeing results as as early as you know, from two to four weeks. So it’s really something you might want to think about if you’re, if you’re a brand you like you think your brand can do well online. And so with that, I’m gonna hand it over to Michelle to talk about customer experience.


36:00
Thank you so much, Cedric. And thank you guys for being on our webinar today. My name is Michelle Crocker, sometimes called also known as the customer service Wonder Woman, but I don’t have her outfit. I wish I had a buddy, but I don’t ever outfit. But what I’m going to talk about for the next five minutes is why Customer service is your secret weapon. And it is not just because we’re in COVID-19 now, but Customer service is 365 days a year, your secret weapon. So we’re going to talk a little bit about that. So let me start with winners and losers. Your customers have been in the same pain as you’re feeling. They’re feeling the same anxiety. And they have the same fears, as all of us on this call have. So one of the things that’s come out from all of the speakers today is communication. Even Jennifer, our finance guru said silence is a killer. And that is very true. Now when we’re talking about the customer experiences. So let me talk about we have an opportunity, every single one of you, as a business owner has a choice do you want to be the winner or the loser in customer service. So for example, winners, these are big companies, but there are I will cite some smaller companies. An example of winners who pivot and full and lean into this situation flight hub just fly. They were proactive in understanding customer pain points and trying to remove friction for customers and making it easy to do business. So in February, they identified COVID-19 was spreading, they realized global travel plans were getting canceled left to right. And so they put a lot of programmers into this and made it easy for customers just to go online and make a refund. So that’s a that’s a simple example of how companies are winning. During this time, I can show you customer service. The history of customer service is going to be rewritten. During this period, because the way we work and the way we support our customers has changed. And it is important all the speakers talk really about trust and loyalty. It’s so important for your customers to trust you, they have to care, they have to know that you care, they don’t really care how much you know, until they know you care. We also know retention lifetime value, how hot it is, Ralph talked about it’s creating leads, it’s creating customer acquisition, that is hard. Keeping a customer is much easier once you get them in. And then you can create lifetime value. This is also important for your company because the lifeblood of your company and customers. And so if you’re losing customers, then that’s not the direction any company in any state would want to be in. And then the other thing is I’m going to share with you it’s the right thing to do. Your employees will remember how you lead during this time and you’ll Customers are really good to remember who showed up by who were the winners, and what you did and how you made them feel. So this is really important. And when I used to run a lot of customer service training programs, one of the questions I would always ask folks was, think of a time where you’ve had really good service. And invariably, the group would sort of scratch our heads and struggle. And then when you say, think of a time when you’ve had bad service, everybody’s hands would go up, and everybody would be so expressive about how bad their services and when you have to look at the digital soapbox or social media to see that a lot of times, most of the comments are, you know, hashtag Airbnb sucks, or, but it’s not about how great we are. So just remember that if there’s one takeaway from this, it’s


39:49
customers will remember you if you remember them. So if we move on to the next slide, let’s now think about some of the things that you could actually do right now. Set up work from home. Support. Really important, it does not have to be sophisticated. Or there’s so much technology out there that’s inexpensive. You all you need is a software service a cloud based telephony provider ringcentral if you have ringcentral, they do it. And some of these companies are offering you know, well under $100 per seat per person a month, and that includes everything because it’s software as a service. And you can take a call anywhere in the world at any time of day. So setting up work from home and I just helped to one of my clients, they have 150 call center operators in 48 hours we move from from Tampa, one building in Tampa, to everybody’s houses and it was invisible to the customer. And that’s how quick this can go. So it’s not complicated. You know, as long as someone has a desk I’m working right now with the City of San Diego. There’s a lot there first response line after 911 is to online and you know They’re, they’re having to maintain the best service ever. Because folks need support around housing, they need support around benefits. And they’ve managed to move pretty much their whole operation work at home. And it’s amazing. And so it’s not complicated. It’s easy to do. You just need to make sure that you have the right cloud phone system to do it. And then the second thing is, you know, what, what sort of things can you do as a business to really in the moment of truth, in the moment of truth when your customers are interacting with your company? What can you do and I talk about Ed’s bakery because I know it’s Baker it’s my favorite bakery. Believe it or not, it’s in Whistler, Canada. I used to frequent there a lot when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, and they have the best bread on the planet. And of course, when COVID-19 hit them, they they immediately pivot to how can we serve our customers and engage more with our customers. So they did online ordering, you know, ecommerce, etc. At the same but beyond that. They shared recipes that would go with their bread. So if you ordered the lavender bread, here’s a recipe that would go with that. So they were doing things that were really low cost to them. Actually low cost if no cost, but high value to the customer gift cards, they would do windows for pickup. We have my local ice cream store down the street or Joe Joe’s Creamery. You go online, there were online ordering or picking it up. They’re sending thank you notes, and they’re giving me points. So there’s a lot of things you can do which are low cost to you and high value to your customer right now. The other thing is to also address what are those most important critical contacts that you want a human right to do to handle? If I think of certain calls, like for example, an emergency call, or I need a human because I want to find out about benefits. I really don’t want to go through, you know, 15 pages of on a website, so I really I’m scared. I’m frightened. Want reassurance with a human? versus, Hey, you know what I might just want to find what type of food bank is open so I can self serve that and look online look on someone’s website. So really, I think my message to you in terms of customers look at in your customer journey, what are those most right now? Because the needs of your customers have changed? What are the most important contacts that you want the human to, to actually resolve and care for? versus what can you drive through a self service? That’s also really, really important.


43:33
And then


43:34
how do you when you have if it’s one person in your company sitting home and you included or two, three or 500 It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you decide how you want to use your people. How often do you want to make proactive outbound reach because when your customers are calling you, it’s a bit like a roller coaster. The calls come in peaks and troughs. So really understanding when might you know When my folks who are not responding to customers, what else can they be doing in an eight hour day? So as a business owner, I feel like I’m getting bang for my buck. So what other things can they do? So outbound proactive calling is a really good example. So it could be Thank you calls, thank you for your order could be, you know, customer satisfaction calls. It could be general feedback around service. So there’s a lot you can do to keep your customers engaged and keep wowing them and keep delighting them. Also, modify your processes. Please don’t make it difficult for whoever it is, whether it’s yourselves or your, you know, your your frontline people. And by the way, we’re all in this together, right. So I’m working with companies who accountants are on the phone right now doing service calls. This is a time where everyone has to be flexible and pivot and do everything we can. So make sure that your processes allow the people on the phones to service the customer. Don’t have to behind our policies and procedures, protect your company for sure. But where I’m seeing a lot of results with companies is where there’s some latitude and empowerment around new ways of working and you know, be okay to say, Hey, we’re not looking for perfect here, right? And your customers, look, we we’ve just hopped on this WebEx, because we’re given we want to get back to everybody in our community. And nobody I think in this stage right now is looking for perfect, what they’re looking for is hope what they’re looking for is health, and they’re looking for value in partnership. So think about modifying ways. I make sure that your frontline leadership all communicated no surprises. Don’t change something without telling the people that are servicing your customer what’s going on. And then the other thing you need to be thinking about right now today is post COVID-19. What does my business look like? What does my customer experience and my customer journey like? How has it improved as a result? The space that we’re going through, and I’ve seen so many countless situations where we sit down and we talk to companies about how was your customer service prior to this? And they’re like, Well, you know what, we always wanted to do that. But now, we have to do it. So we’re moving quickly. So there’s an opportunity, I think, for companies who are nimble, such as yourselves to be able to really pivot into this and grab that, and the right to grow through service. So if we look at the next slide, things that you can really move quickly with I’m about just get on with it and get it 80% and keep reiterating and reiterating. So in 48 hours, you should well within 72 hours, you should be able to get work at home people you can actually do in a day, if you’re just talking about one person on the phone, but no problem to get work at home folks. So customers,


46:50
you know,


46:50
everyone has one of these phone, that’s all you that’s the defense, he hears technology and you know, a lot of Providers today. They don’t ask for any minimums. They don’t ask for, you know, an annual contract. And it’s just pay as you go. Right? So it’s like, you know, Disney Channel, I can turn it on and off. Right now with my kids at home, I leave it on. So then five days, we should really be thinking the next five days, really pulling on what Cedric said, you know, how do we how do we really drive the conversation and the communication and the community online? versus, you know, virtual customer support? And then two weeks, what does my customer service life look like today? I will tell you now, I think call centers will continue to keep people working at home. Because there are so many benefits. We’ve been doing work at home. I’ve been doing work at home for the last 20 years. So


47:49
it seems


47:50
so you know if we’re brave enough to do it. I think that when companies go back, they are going to have a blend. They’re going to send some people back to the office. But they’re also going to keep the work at home, they’re going to keep a lot of the benefits that work at home does from a customer service standpoint. So on the final slide, what I’d like to leave you with and this is really important, there’s two buckets. One is right now we need to just get it, just do it, right, just getting up and running, and improve it, improve it, improve it, right. So just get the phones go and get some get your folks talking to you, talking to your customers, lean into this, communicate with them at every touch point that you think makes sense for your business, learn from it and just continually improve. And, you know, and then I think this will probably right up in the new normal for many of us, and then at the same time, say how can I build on this? What worked well from this, and what does my service look like? Post COVID-19 and I think with that, I would just like to I think I’ve run out of time. I’m obviously around for questions, but Just the it’s really a time now more than ever to be reaching out to your customers and, and letting them know that you’re here and letting them know that you care and finding ways that that a low cost to you and high value to them. So thanks and I think I’m gonna pass it on to Carrie now.


49:22
Thanks we’re gonna actually head over to Tracey.


49:24
Oh, Tracey. Sorry, Tracey.


49:26
No problem. Thank you, Michelle. So I’m going to quickly talk about ways to adapt your marketing and take advantage of some of the opportunities that are out there. So the economic downturn has caused many companies to react and cut back on adspend. So ad rates overall online ad rates are down 20 to 50%. So it’s a silver lining. And then Meanwhile, everybody’s at home and watching lots of media and online all the time. So their media consumption is up over 50%. So with lower ad rates, more eyeballs on those ads, there’s actually an opportunity to achieve a much better return on adspend. And we’re going to quickly take a look at how. So in the top, green section, you’ve got those essentials, groceries, etc. Those are the things that people are searching right now. So if you’re in one of those businesses, it’s pretty simple. You want to make sure that your business is easy to find. And then you’re probably going to do pretty well. In the next category. If you’re in nonprofits, finance, screenings, flowers, gifts, all those, those conversion rates up as well. You don’t want to focus on search, if anything, take your attention away from there because it’s being dominated by those essential categories. And you want to increase your focus on display advertising, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, influencer marketing. And then also you want to look at Google Trends and monitor the emerging COVID-19 related keywords and may create negative keywords if you are still doing search because you want to make sure any traffic that you’re driving is not based on irrelevant search terms. And if you’re in one of these red industries, your first move may be to decrease your overall ad spend if there’s just nothing that you can do to drive sales right now, however, if you can pivot your business to ecommerce delivery, or even pre selling a service that can be used after the pandemic, you should keep advertising or at least keep marketing to those people who have raised their hand and signed up for your email list. So it’s really important for really all of these industries to keep in mind on customer nurture programs, mostly done through email, but you know, perhaps through customer service as well.


51:50
And and


51:53
if you’re one of these yellow industries as separate kind of mentioned, it’s it’s sort of a mixed case. So for instance, in real life estate open houses are down. It’s it’s difficult but not impossible to sell a home right now. However, ads are performing really well for real estate agents and brokers that can position themselves as an expert that can kind of guide their clients through a difficult decision process. So with a little bit of changing positioning could do really well there. For home improvement, big expensive projects tend to be put on hold at this time. But people really care about their home environment because they’re spending so much time at home. So if you can change your focus on what’s relevant today, ads are still converting well, so maybe that’s something like, you know, pimping out your home office or creating a spa like environment at home. For example. For Business and legal services, the ads are performing well. But conversion to an expensive or a complex service often requires a human touch. So for example, legal services, the address Converting really well but as many as one third of the prospects are falling out after they’re not getting a phone call back from that firm. So, especially when you have a high a buyers journey that requires really educating your prospect, you want to analyze each stage of your funnel and find out where people are falling out of the funnel and fix that stage. And now pass it on to Carrie for influencer marketing. Hi, guys, thanks. We went a little long and we really appreciate you all staying on and being with us. As you can see, there’s a lot of expertise on the call and you can definitely reach out post call but the ever elusive influencer marketing I’m not sure how many on the call it applies to but if you’re already working with influencers, they too have been affected like all of us small business owners or each individual business owners so they’re suffering brands are not spending the kind of money there are opportunities to work with influencers. Now that may have not been in the more favorable pricing on the upfront pay for play a relationship, then there might be a little bit more of an opportunity and what they call affiliate sales link through sales or once they’ve engaged with the product and then are selling to their audience, you may be able to avoid what’s called the upfront fee for them for two reasons. One is they’re more apt to work with people now than they used to be, along with the fact that they don’t have to place it as an ad when they don’t take upfront money. So there’s opportunities there to maybe go after people who you thought were too expensive in the past. Another thing to really consider and something that we’ve found to be true over the past 10 years and influencer, which has evolved, you know, bloggers all the way to modern day influencers is that oftentimes brands go for their person that they consider in market so a beauty brand would go after a makeup artist or


54:56
American Airlines would go after, for example, the points guy who was A travel centric person. However, we’ve seen it perform very well with these very dedicated influencers, to go cross brand. So, for example, a beauty brand, maybe using a lifestyle or fashion or cooking, influencer, could potentially place a product with them. It’s a one time thing. So you have new eyeballs on your brand, and it tends to perform very well. So right now anyone who is considered a travel event or fashion influencer has been affected greatly. A lot of their events are not happening. Clearly travel is put on hold on. So they also have very strong engaged audiences. And they’re looking for content, as as much as you’re looking for content. As we’ve said, you know, time spent on the Internet and social platforms is way, way, way up. And so I would consider going after some of them, they’re going to be a lot more affordable and they’re looking for work. Again, as who’s Cedric and Tracey He mentioned what’s up his Fitness, Health, beauty, wellness education, all are up and in high demand. So their rates are probably going to be pretty similar to what they’ve been in the past. One last thing that we’ve all sort of briefly touched on is sort of messaging. Right now, people do not want to be directly sold to if you can avoid a direct sale message. If you can talk about how your brand or business is helping during the crisis authentically, that resonates really well with the audience. If you can talk about your charitable mission that you may have had pre COVID, but maybe are now focusing a little more intently on during COVID or your mission as a brand or product in general. Those things resonate with your audience are resonating better and more effectively, brands who have taken that on. Also it’s an opportunity to work with a past influencer, you’ve already paid for an opportunity to maybe go back to them and say, Hey, listen, we’re giving back a certain amount during this time to you know, feeding, feeding people who are In need of food or or whatever the mission or Chery angle is, that might be an opportunity for the influencer to do it for free, or for a very reduced rate, because it’s not a sell. It’s really about messaging for your brand. So that’s something to consider kind of overall in general as well. But now is the time if you haven’t engaged an influencer, you might want to try it for either a message or a brand or to create a relationship. Now, that will, again, as we mentioned, be relevant post


57:27
the pandemic.


57:29
So with that,


57:30
we want to go ahead and thank you, again, all so much for your time. We know we’ve taken up quite a bit of your time, we hope you learned at least one takeaway that will help you during these tough times. And please, if you have any questions, Robert is going to go ahead and take over and do your questions. Right now.


57:46
Yeah, so if you have any questions, there is a q&a section at the bottom of the zoom, you can click on that or you can click the chat button. And from there, submit your questions and we’ll be here to facilitate. Absolutely, Patti, thank you. Thank you for being on


58:12
Check here for questions.


58:21
Okay, here is one from David. So David’s asking Carrie This one’s for you. How do we find influencers?


58:30
That’s a really good question. Um, depending on your industry and what you’re doing, obviously, there are agencies that represent influencers. A lot of them are la in New York based so you can go through the agent. A lot of the smaller what are called micro influencers don’t have agents and you just literally have to find them by searching on Instagram or YouTube, Instagram and YouTube are both places that influencers content lives and often one or the other has a higher following depending on their niche skill set. So I would say first just having someone in your organization, oftentimes that’s just ourselves for our, for our organization, it’s just me that looks for our influencers. And you can do search terms with hashtags based on your industry, it’s a really good way to see who falls under that category. or calling the agent and just searching Also, if you start following bigger influencers, you’ll see the smaller influencers also follow them back. So you’ll start to see and then obviously, I don’t know who knows this and who doesn’t, but the little blue checkmark in the corner means that they’re someone of interest to Instagram. So that’s how they quantify an influencer on Instagram.


59:49
Thank you for that good Yeah.


1:00:00
Any other questions, and we went through a lot today. But any other questions, just type them in the chat.


1:00:08
The keyboards might be on fire right now. typing away. Now we do have, we do have other questions that we have here. I’ll check the Google Form, but this one is for Cedric. So let’s see. Can you give example Cedric of content that works well during this time for the econ brands that you work with?


1:00:31
Her? Um, let me see. Am I not on mute? Okay, great. So really hear me hopefully. So content that works really well. So So one thing that I keep hearing is email, email works really well. So as I said, people are window shopping and it’s kind of virtual window shopping obviously, it’s not in streets, it’s online and they’re looking at brands and they have time on hands. But if you if you are with a specific brand that you really believe in your customer of that brand, you know, engagement and content that’s helpful as Carrie and Tracey talked about earlier and I think even Michelle talked about it. If you if you can engage with your customer, you most people are bored out of their minds currently from from sitting inside there trying to find ways to, to cope with the situation and if you can engage and give people that content that they’re looking for and, and engage with them in a constructive way. They’re going to validate your breath, they’re gonna they’re gonna love your brand and and you can you can get to sales conversions with that it’ll you will be on their mind and they will love you for them and make a purchase. I mean, I hear you know, people buying stuff from from from companies just to support them. My wife got me a T shirt from one of my favorite record stores here in Encinitas. Just I love going to that store once a week. Um, you know, I don’t know if they had an email address or how she found about it, but she got me a T shirt from that shop and I was super happy. So, you know, it’s a it’s a psychology that we’re currently in it and people really want to want to help out. And and yeah, as far as content, it’s really adding value and email, using email and obviously social media chat. Awesome.


1:02:26
If I sorry, I love you. Can I add to that too? Well, okay, so just we both live in Encinitas, but you know, even the website next door, you know, there’s a photographer, and her business is family photography. And she just did a post today in about 600 neighbors saying, I’m going to take family portraits on the doorstep, I promise to keep 10 feet away. It’s 50 bucks to set in and the entire proceeds goes to you know, the food bank of San Diego. So I Again, I think it’s like and then I know I’m going to do it because although my teenagers will hate it, but next time I need a photographer, you know, she’s gonna be my go to photographer. So I think that’s another good example.


1:03:12
Right? It’s taking the macro actions today that will yield the dividends after this thing is over. Yeah.


1:03:18
Yeah. Remember, going back to your your persona, remember that they have emotional and functional needs, and think about how your brand can meet those needs. You know, even if you’re a b2b, you know, service, you might be able to message with an emotional message and you just want to be meaningful and useful.


1:03:43
Excellent. That’s a good point there. For Jennifer, I think we kind of answered this. But Jennifer, just quick question in the businesses that you help what are some of the things that they should cut out right away in order to save on cash?


1:03:58
Oh, that’s a tough one. You know, I think it’s going to vary on on every every business. I mean, they’ve probably already cut travel and mileage and meals and entertainment and all that kind of stuff. So that should already, you see some reduction. But I mean, I nessus I wouldn’t necessarily say cut out marketing and public relations and that kind of stuff, because that is maybe a short term, short term savings, but longer term, it’s not going to benefit you. So, you know, some companies, if you’re Dire Straits barely making payroll, then you might have to cut out more than a company who, you know, maybe they need to save $5,000 Well, what can you do to save $5,000? You know, it’s, it’s just kind of a case by case basis. Yeah. Looking at your individual bottom line and kind of putting things into two buckets, essential versus non essential,


1:04:52
okay? for operating and also looking at what happens after, you know, the next two, three months


1:04:57
to keep around


1:04:59
right? I mean, if you did get a PPP loan and you got it funded, you have to be ultra cautious, you know, what are your perils going to be? Are you going to meet that threshold and making sure that you’re not spending money on some things, but then you don’t have enough, you know, to cover all your payroll and rent utilities and health insurance, those are all things that will not pick up funds, you have to you have to use it accordingly. And so it’s it’s really taking a look at, again, what’s essential, what’s payroll related? What’s going to keep your business up and running. And, and what might not, you know, if you were about to do a software conversion, for example, and you’re going to spend $100,000 on a new software, could that wait?


1:05:39
Yeah, I make sense since a lot of sense. And there’s a lot of parameters also with the PPP. So that’s, that’s good to know.


1:05:48
Excellent. So we’ll finish up with one final question. If you have any more, please send them in. But I have one here for Michelle.


1:06:00
Get myself off mute. Yes.


1:06:02
Let’s see. So if I have no dedicated customer service, how do I add one? quickly and low cost for the time?


1:06:12
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I’m, you know, I’m used to bootstrapping customer service. And I’d be happy to, to call you later to walk you through whoever asked this question. But it’s not that complicated. You just need to first of all, have somebody to do the work. Right. So that’s a an hourly employee, typically, customer service reps, you know, not highly paid. Again, it depends on the nature of your business. But you know, I’ve been in call centers where they’re offering 14 $15 an hour, then you just need to get a phone system to them. And again, that’s inexpensive per month. And then you have to train them and then you just have to decide, you know, if it’s just one person, what do you want them to be doing? You want them to Handle inbound inquiries outbound or both. But really it’s just get get to somebody accountable for it and go for it and and just realize that you’re not looking for 100% right now. You’re looking to reach your customers and do a best job as you can. So, you know, the other thing I’ve seen companies do is they’ve taken folks from the company and cross train them into being customer service, I believe, believe it or not, we’ve got in the in the county right now we’re cross training librarians and and and city work as good as what else to handle phone calls. So you’d be surprised. Look inside of your company and see if there’s anybody that you could use. And then just get them up and running. Again, my contact details are here. I would be happy to help.


1:07:48
Awesome, thank you, Michelle. Well, everyone, thank you for being on today. This call is recorded. So we’ll post this on the email as well with the slides and the transcriptions. You have all access to that but thank you for being on I know we ran out A little bit over. But again, a lot of great experts and panelists here with us today. So thank you again for your time and we’ll see you next time.

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