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I read an interesting blog this morning entitled ‘Customer service key to Christmas’.  It was music to my ears!  Is good service more important than discounted prices?  Yes – every time.  Of course we all like to get a bargain, but if a lower price means the level of service is compromised, it’s not a good deal.  In my opinion, communication is the key to great customer service.  What’s more, it doesn’t cost a lot in terms of time or money, but the rewards are huge.

As the executor of a will, I’ve recently had dealings with a fairly large firm of solicitors.  If you were to look at this company’s website and listen to the recorded phone messages, you’d probably be delighted to hear that I, as a client, am the most important person in the world.  At least that’s the theory … until it comes to communicating with me, that is.  My emails have gone unanswered and phone calls unreturned.  Eventually I couldn’t take any more and I made a complaint.  After a couple of letters, the gist of the senior partner’s reply was … ‘it wasn’t their policy to communicate because it cost too much money!’

How many small businesses can afford to take that sort of attitude? WORD-right certainly can’t.   Will I be recommending that firm of solicitors to anyone?  Not in a million years!  Will I be telling everyone about the poor service?  Of course I will!

It doesn’t take too much imagination to work out that, if your client, customer or prospect sends an enquiry, it’s because they need information … ignore it at your peril.  If you don’t respond and at least try to provide the answers, they’ll pretty soon find someone who will.  And that someone might just be your competitor.

Imagine this scenario … you’ve just walked into a restaurant or a café.  You find a table and sit down.  If, after 15 minutes nobody has acknowledged your presence, let alone given you a menu or taken a drinks order, what will you do?  It’s likely you’ll make a fuss or walk out, and you’ll tell everyone who’ll listen about the appalling service.

On the other hand, providing you’re welcomed with a smile … told they are very busy so there might be a delay in fulfilling your order … you’ll sit there quite happily.  In fact, if they keep communicating with you and perhaps offer you a complimentary glass or two of wine, there’s a good chance you’ll wait for hours and still rave about the service!

Communication doesn’t cost a lot.  If you haven’t got time to answer that email in depth, at least acknowledge it.  Send a reply saying you’ll answer fully after lunch or the next day … and be sure you do!  If you’ve promised to phone someone back at a given time, make that call.  If you haven’t yet got the information they want, at least phone and tell them so.  That way, you’ve fulfilled your promise, the client knows they are not forgotten, and you’ve bought yourself some time.  Apart from being good practice, it’s just common courtesy.

And finally, if you have got it wrong and someone complains, hold your hand up … admit you’ve got it wrong and do something to put it right.  Good communication skills will help you win new business, increase your professional standing, and most importantly … keep your existing clients and customers coming back for more.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

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Lynq logo BrandP red-smlLynq Ltd is a software house based in Fareham, Hampshire. As a strategic Exact Software Partner and leading distributor of Exact Software’s Macola manufacturing and distribution accounting systems in the United Kingdom and Europe, Lynq also has offices in the Ukraine and the US.

Lynq’s experienced team has worked with Macola for over 20 years and has as an enviable reputation as one of the best suppliers of Exact Macola products in the market today.

John Grima, Business Development Manager, Lynq Ltd

John Grima, Business Development Manager, Lynq Ltd

WORD-right had provided some copywriting services to Lynq in 2006. It was the combination of David McCarthy’s IT background and experience and Joy McCarthy’s marketing skills, which led to Lynq getting in touch again to help with a new marketing initiative in the summer of 2008.

Lynq was about to bring two new software solutions to the market: Visual Planner and HyperLynq. The systems, which integrate fully with Macola ES and Macola Progression, are unique in the market, and are generating a great deal of interest with Exact Macola users.

Visual Planner is a visual point-and-click tool which revolutionizes the way manufacturing production planning can be achieved with fewer staff. Unlike other tools available, it writes back the planning schedules directly to Macola.

HyperLynq accesses the Macola databases to present information in a way the user can configure dynamically on the screen, filtering and ‘drilling down’ with just a few mouse clicks. As this functionality isn’t available in Macola, HyperLynq will appeal to many of the existing Macola customer base.
While Lynq’s core customer base is in Europe, both Visual Planner and HyperLynq were to be marketed internationally, in particular in the US where Exact Macola has a large market share. As well as targeting Macola users direct, Lynq also wanted to break into the reseller market.

Working with John Grima, Lynq’s Business Development Manager, WORD-right produced a comprehensive marketing plan which included the management of the newly constructed Lynq website, regular email marketing and newsletter campaigns, a suite of professionally written marketing collateral, and both offline and online PR. To add credibility, WORD-right also worked on a series of Customer Success Stories, interviewing some of Lynq’s existing customers and writing comprehensive case studies about the service they had received.

The culmination of Lynq’s 9 month marketing campaign was Engage, the Exact User Conference held annually in the US.  The 2009 Engage event was held in Nashville, Tennessee in March 2009 and saw the launch of the 3rd generation of Visual Planner.

Lynq exhibited in the Engage Vendor Showcase and the WORD-right team created all the company’s promotional materials including print-ready PDFs for the exhibition banner and the delegate bag inserts. The PDFs were sent direct to Lynq’s print shop in the US for printing delivery to Nashville. During the Engage conference, WORD-right was in contact with John Grima to manage the distribution of Lynq’s ‘Live from Engage’ electronic newsletter.
Lynq’s product and brand awareness has risen considerably in the past few months, with sales of the new products now in the pipeline. WORD-right will continue to work with Lynq on an ‘as needed’ basis, and will continue to be in touch with John Grima at Lynq, offering help and support.

Word-Right are part of my team. I am constantly impressed by their high standard work, their marketing knowledge in areas such as ‘brand’, ’web’, and ‘campaigns’, and by their totally professional approach. Word-Right spent a lot of effort in analysing our marketing strategy and mix, taking a complete and honest view. Their subsequent report and proposals were therefore thorough, realistic and creative – as well as being affordable. I was particularly impressed by the creative proposals, which successfully addressed our problem in getting our offer noticed by potential customers in a crowded marketplace. We also believe our brand profile has subsequently increased, which will mean new profitable business for us.”

John Grima
Business Development Manager
Lynq Ltd

Team Attitude at Altitude (www.twin-peaks.co.uk), the four women who are aiming to raise £20,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer by trekking up Kilimanjaro, have received more pledges of support from local Oxfordshire businesses.

Kidlington-based Cherwell Graphics will be printing the Team’s promotional 2010 calendar: Chaps for Baps.  The calendars will be printed in October and will be available for sale online through the Team’s website http://www.twin-peaks.co.uk.

In the current economic climate, Deb Hunt and her fellow team members recognise businesses need to benefit from supporting good causes.  As one of the benefits to business sponsors, Bloxham Mill Business Centre near Banbury has offered to host a networking event in September 2010 before the trek.  This will give all the business supporters an opportunity to see the Team off and network with other sponsors.

In addition, businesses sponsoring Team Attitude at Altitude will be given a listing on the ‘Corporate Sponsors’ page on the Twin-Peaks website.   Sponsors pledging £1,000 or more will also be listed on the other four main pages of the website.  Cash donations can be made online, and anyone wishing to support the Team with gifts in kind can download a ‘wish list’ from the website.

Team Attitude at Altitude’s website, which is sponsored by Chipping Norton Internet marketing company WEB-right, went live on 13th August.  The site has attracted nearly 350 visitors from across the world in its first 5 days.

Deb Hunt commented, “The website has made a huge difference to our appeal.  It is particularly good to be attracting support from the business community and we’re working hard to give our supporters something back.  We’d have a lot of emails from well-wishers and potential supporters.  A company in Florida has even offered to help with some of our trekking kit!  I feel confident we’re going to achieve our £20,000 target.”

-ends-

Notes to Editors

Team Attitude at Altitude is the name given to four women supporting the work of Breakthrough Breast Cancer: Deb Hunt, Annemarie Smith, Helen Taylor and Audra Selley.

The Team will be taking part in a 9-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro on the Rongai Route, the hardest ascent, to raise £20,000.  To date, the total raised is £4,711: 24% of target.

Team Attitude at Altitude’s website (www.twin-peaks.co.uk) is sponsored by Chipping Norton company:  WEB-right.

For more information, please contact:

Joy McCarthy
Tel: 01608 642845
enquiries@word-right.co.uk
http://www.word-right.co.uk

Deb Hunt
Team Attitude at Altitude
Tel: 01869 340850
Mob: 07527 229739
Email: debs@twin-peaks.co.uk
http://www.twin-peaks.co.uk

No matter what your business, there is a good chance you’ve been asked to sponsor a good cause.  I’m not talking about the odd £10 to sponsor a marathon runner, or your PA’s five-year old doing a sponsored silence at school.  I’m talking about the requests for serious money, goods or services.  Next time you’re asked for support, don’t dismiss it out of hand.  Stop and think … what’s in this for me and my business?

A powerful marketing tool

Sponsorship of a good cause can be a powerful marketing tool.  It puts you in touch with prospective customers who might not have heard of you otherwise.  You are perceived as a ‘good egg’ and someone who is prepared to ‘give something back’.  If the good cause is well organised, you can reap other rewards … listings and links on websites, and on promotional materials and advertising.

As a company, WORD-right is very much in favour of sponsoring good causes.  I take the view that, while a cash donation might help, offering our copywriting, Internet, and marketing skills can bring far greater benefits.

Chippy Lido Auction website a success

WORD-right and WEB-right recently created the Chipping Norton Lido Auction of Promises website, which was very successful.  The auction, with Jeremy Clarkson as auctioneer, was held in July.  Although the site is still live, our input won’t be needed for a year.  This meant our ‘sponsorship time’ was free and we were looking for another good cause.

Climbing Kili for breast cancer

Team Attitude at Altitude raising money to fight breast cancer

Team Attitude at Altitude raising money to fight breast cancer

We recently heard of four women, based in Middle Barton in Oxfordshire – Team Attitude at Altitude – who are planning a trek up Kilimanjaro in September 2010.  They were selling advertising space on the back of a promotional calendar and had some good newspaper coverage.  Their goal is to raise £20,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.  One of the team, Deb Hunt, was successfully treated for breast cancer in 2008.  Since then she has become a very pro-active fundraiser.

Sponsors of Twin-Peaks website

WORD-right and WEB-right offered to build Team Attitude at Altitude’s website FOC, and help raise their profile in the community with Internet marketing support and PR. We pulled out the stops and the website (www.twin-peaks.co.uk) went live in just a week.  In that time we also set up their blog and the template for an email newsletter.  In just the first day, the site attracted 120 visitors and more offers of help and support.  Within a few hours, the girls’ appeal had prompted a blog posting from the ‘other side of the pond’.  You can read the post here.

Does sponsorship work?

So the big question … does sponsorship increase business?  WORD-right’s answer is a resounding ‘YES’.  Not only does it generate enquiries, you are perceived to be active in the community, and it increases your business network.  But apart from all that, it’s fun!  We’ve had a very busy but hugely enjoyable week so far and already made a lot of new friends along the way.

If you’d like to get involved and use sponsorship as a marketing tool, pop along to the Twin Peaks website and take a look at their wish list … there’s still plenty more you can help with.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

Pevensey Bay - birthplace of WORD-right!

Pevensey Bay - birthplace of WORD-right!

There’s nothing so controversial as Broadband Service Providers.  If you check out the forums, you’ll see they’re full of complaints and gripes.  That was us too until 2005!   Our broadband was provided by one of the major companies and we’d been with them for some time.  In all fairness, we didn’t have many problems until we moved to Pevensey Bay, just outside Eastbourne. 

Although a lovely place, Pevensey Bay is nothing if not windy and that’s when the problems started!  With every bout of high winds and rain, our connection dropped.  I’m sure we weren’t the only ones affected, but our provider was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard! 

In time, we found out the problem was with the BT infrastructure but, getting our provider to contact BT was a constant battle.  The problem was, if they called out BT and it turned out to be a different problem, BT would bill the provider for the call-out.  When we lost our connection for a fortnight and, despite constant phone calls (to an expensive premium rate number) and countless email ‘tickets’, nothing was done about it, we came to the conclusion they had to go! 

A business contact recommended we speak to Hasting-based company, Beaming.  I was given a phone number and told to phone Stuart.  What’s this … a broadband supplier with a phone number and a real person with a name?  And guess what?  Beaming does have real people, they answer their phones and what’s more, they do amazing things like … phoning you back! 

Needless to say, we’ve been recommending Beaming to everyone who’ll listen, ever since.  Of course we’ve had the occasional problem and lost service, but each time it’s dealt with quickly and professionally.  When we moved back to Chipping Norton, good old BT couldn’t be persuaded to connect our phones, let alone our broadband.  Stuart from Beaming stepped in and helped resolve the problem.  And because Beaming is big on communication, Stuart phoned us regularly on our mobile to give us updates on the progress.

Beaming’s service has been exceptional from day one.  Here’s a recent example of the Beaming customer care … we started to experience problems with our broadband connection one evening.  We tried calling, but didn’t realise Beaming’s technical support line closes at 9pm.  No problem!  We left a message, knowing it would be picked up and dealt with in the morning.  Imagine our amazement when Stuart from Beaming phoned us at 9.45pm … he was at home, but checked his messages before shutting down for the night.  He then went on to check our system from his end! 

That level of customer service deserves a great big bouquet and a sincere thank you to Stuart, Marcus and the rest of the Beaming crew from us here at WORD-right. 

So take it from WORD-right … if your broadband provider is not delivering  that level of service … try Beaming!  You’ll find real people (with names!) who answer their phones and care about their customers.  They’re a rare beast indeed!

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