The Simplest Solution To Customer Satisfaction

Thank you for calling XYZ Company. Your call is important to us but not important enough for us to answer it. Please hold for eternity or leave a message and a representative will contact you as soon as it is convenient for us.

If youve ever used the telephone to contact a business you can relate to the frustration that can result from voice mail or automated answering services. Undoubtedly, when they first became the way to do business it was extremely annoying; however, times are changing, folks are automating and imprudent business practices such as this are gaining acceptance (or at least tolerance).

Of course the ole time principles of customer services such as answering the phone before the third ring, avoiding putting a customer on hold if at all possible, and providing personal service are still superb solutions to customer satisfaction. But, in our automated world, it is vital to recognize the importance of responding to customers quickly and appropriately, especially if they have been forced to listen to a long recording and traipse through a jungle of push buttons in order to leave a message for you instead of being afforded the luxury of speaking to a warm-blooded human.

Whether a customer makes contact in person, via telephone or through email, businesses should strive to provide a timely, if not an immediate response. Customer satisfaction is reliant on responsiveness.

So, you may ask, What is a timely response?

Honestly, the definition of a timely response really depends on the customers perception. The urgency of their need may play into the mix or their idea of a timely response may be linked to their expectations.

For some reason there is a perception amongst business people that a 24 hour response to a customer inquiry is sufficient. From the customers perspective; however, having to wait 24 hours for a quick answer to a simple question or a viable solution to a serious problem is ridiculously aggravating and neglectful on the part of the business.

When customers have a bad experience, from the customers perspective, they are sure to seek other options for fulfilling their needs. Plain and simple poor customer service results in lost business.

Regardless of the type of business you are in and whether you receive customer inquiries via telephone, email or a website contact form, it is absolutely critical that you get back to your customers right away. Placing responsiveness at the top of your customer service objectives is the simplest solution to gaining a competitive advantage, producing satisfied customers, maintaining your customers through repeat business, and building your market share through client referrals. Responsiveness is the single most important factor to enhancing customer satisfaction.

Direct Mail Advertising: How I made $47,325 in 30 days

Direct Mail Advertising: How I made $47,325 in 30 days by mailing 2,200 letters

How do you create a direct mail advertising campaign that gets results?

The following tips on creating a direct mail advertising campaign have been street-tested and will bring you huge returns in a short period of time.

In Fact, these tips enabled me to generate over $47,000 in mortgage commissions in less than 30 days! Keep reading and I will share 3 key elements to creating an effective direct mail advertising campaign:

Key Element #1: The prospect list – Mail to a targeted list of prospects

Here are a couple of ways to find targeted prospect mailing lists in your niche:

Look in your industry trade publications. I found great list providers for my direct mail advertising campaigns in the back of Mortgage Originator Magazine A popular mortgage industry publication.

Or, search for: your industry + mailing lists. For example, I am a mortgage lender so my search would be: mortgage + mailing lists in

By the way, when purchasing a prospect list for your direct mail advertising, be sure to get some kind of personal information about your prospect to use in your campaign.

Here is an example of personal information I use in my direct mail advertising campaigns:

The prospects current mortgage company
The prospects original loan amount

Key Element #2: The Envelope How to get your letter opened

The envelope must entice your prospects into opening and reading the enclosed letter.

Here are some ideas for getting your envelope opened:

1. Insert a personalized RE: line above your prospects name in a window envelope.

I found that the original lenders name works well in my campaigns:

RE: ABC Mortgage
John Doe
123 N Main St.
City, State Zip
—Bar Code—

2. Use this text with your return address in the upper left corner of the envelope:

Administrative Office
1234 South Broadway Pkwy.
City, State Zip

Confidential Information

Personal and Confidential

Key Element #3: The direct mail advertising mail piece Get your desired result

The purpose of your direct mail advertising mail piece is to get your prospect to take a desired action. For me, that action is picking up the phone and calling me for a loan.

Here are some tips to help you get your desired result from your direct mail advertising mail piece:

1. Personalize the mail piece

If possible disclose small pieces of personal information about your prospect to get their attention and build rapport.

Here are some examples of personalized text I use in my direct mail advertising campaigns:

Based on your original loan with ABC Mortgage in the amount of $250,000 your new payment would be $924.05.

Based on our calculations, this loan program may save you $32,841 in interest charges over the next 5 years and $197,046 over the life of your mortgage!

2. Include a few bio lines under your signature. Tell them a little bit about who you are.

Here are the bio lines I use:

To your financial success,

My Signature
Hartley W. Pinn, Jr

Senior Mortgage Planner
10 Years Mortgage Experience
Licensed Financial Planner
Married with 3 children

3. Offer a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) in your mail piece

If you dont currently have a unique selling proposition for your direct mail advertising campaign Find one. What makes you different from your competitors? What makes you better? Why should a prospect use you over a competitor? Answer these questions and you will have your unique selling proposition.

Here are some sample USP lines that work well in my direct mail advertising campaigns:

No House Payment Until April 2006!!! Imagine what you could do by skipping your February and March house payments.

Additionally, we specialize in loan programs with No Points. We can pay this customary closing cost because we are paid directly from the new lender.

4. The call to action

Ask them to take your desired action:

Call now and ask for me personally so we can discuss your individual needs and goals.

Well, thats it! I wish you all the best with your next direct mail advertising campaign. The only thing left for you to decide is how much money you would like to make over the next 30 days? Mail more letters and you will generate more sales!

Why You Should Have A Merchant Account

If you have been running a web-based business successfully without the use of a merchant account, you may wonder why it is necessary to have a merchant account and all. After all, you can accept checks or money orders via snail mail; therefore, you may ask yourself, Why should I bother with the hassles of signing up for a merchant account? Nevertheless, you would be surprised to find that there are myriad benefits in having a merchant account; in fact, making more money through your Internet business is just one of them.

First, in not having a merchant account, you are severely limiting the amount of income that you can make from your online business. For example, with a merchant account you can accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express once your initial application is approved. In the case of the latter, you will be required to fill out a separate application for American Express approval.

The approval process for a merchant account is usually five to seven days and the wait is well worth it; once you are approved immediately increase the type of payments you can receive and therefore increase the number of clients who were willing to buy your products online.

The most obvious place to get a merchant account is from your local bank. Simply stop and your local bank or visit the bank where you hold a checking or savings account and speak to one of the bank representatives about their merchant accounts. Conversely, your local bank will probably be more than willing to send you brochures or pamphlets that describe their merchant account programs in great detail.

When you are looking to apply for a merchant account with a local bank it is a good idea to ear in mind that if you already have an existing account with a bank, that bank will probably be more willing to provide you with a merchant account based on their experience with you as an existing customer. If you have exhibited responsible behavior with an existing checking account of loan with an institution, the bank is quite liable to take such information into consideration when determining your eligibility for a merchant account.

Having a merchant account also keeps you at an even keel with your competitors. By simply researching the competition, you will soon find that many of your competitors have merchant accounts as a payment method for customers. The reason that your competitors maintain a merchant account is to primarily provide an added convenience for customers desire to pay by credit card. Not only is the authorization process fast, but allows the customer to place their order in the fashion that they’ve grown accustomed to while paying for their purchases.

Another added benefit derived from having a merchant pertains to this simplification of record-keeping. Let’s face it, when it comes to paying taxes no one considers it a good time. Nevertheless, paying taxes a necessary evil and it pays to be well organized when tax season comes around. With the detailed monthly statements that you receive with a merchant account, you can access your expense records quickly and easily.

Many merchant account suppliers offer software applications with their merchant account program that will allow you to improve the look of your website. For example, you can add a shopping cart to website or the ever popular buy now buttons. Such graphics give your website professionally designed to look and help your website appear easy to navigate and user-friendly: if customers find your website user-friendly they’re more likely to return again and again.

Planning for the Unthinkable

As a child I can remember going through the tunnel that connects East Boston with Boston holding my breath. Absurd behavior? Sure, but in my mind I was preparing for the time when the tunnel would run out of air.

A friend told me that as a child he taught himself to write with his left hand even though he was right handed. His reason was that he wanted to be sure he could write even if something happened to his right hand.

Emergency planning, disaster recovery these topics have been in the news a lot lately in the United States. Inadvertently I did it as a kid but it isnt a subject that as an adult I like to think about. In fact I avoid it!!

As an account executive at AT&T one of my responsibilities was to be sure my customers had disaster recovery plans. Everyone wants their telephone to work no matter what happens. And yet even so it wasnt something my clients wanted to address. Many thought the possibility too remote. Others had too many other projects on the table that they said took priority.

It is hard for an estate planning attorney to convince someone he or she needs a will. It is only when something happens in a persons life like a serious illness or death that suddenly what was on the back burner comes to the forefront.

It is only when something dreadful happens that suddenly we wake up to the fact that planning for an emergency is important. When Terry Schiavo was in the news many who didnt have health care proxies took the opportunity to sign one. After Hurricane Katrina suddenly people are now looking at contingency planning.

Governments too have been challenged where contingency planning is concerned. If there are disaster recovery plans my guess is that few thought about the possibility of everyone having to evacuate their homes. If there were evacuation plans at all then most likely they would have ended by everyone going to a public building. Who would have considered busing people away from the area entirely?

Katrina has been a horrific event for us all. Looking at the lessons though and making our plans accordingly is extremely important.

So one lesson I know I have learned is that I want to be sure that federal, state and local governments have a really clear plans that are coordinated with each other. I want to know about these plans too because I have a responsibility for myself, my family and my business.

As I think about this however I am uncomfortable about my own planning. What do I do in the event of a disaster? I can feel my own resistance in even thinking about it!

Several months ago my mastermind group was talking about backing up their computer files. One member of the group actually took his back up disc to another location to be sure that if a fire or flood hit his office he would still have his files. I was really impressed by that and started to think about it for myself. The possibility seemed remote then but certainly now I do see the point.

What are your plans for your business, yourself and your loved ones? Start to put your own disaster plan together now.

Take action

1. The SBA has an excellent website for preparing for a disaster in your business. Check it out

3. Make a list of the people who must know this plan and review it with them.
How frequently should it be reviewed? Select a date or dates and put them on your calendar.