How a trip to Berlin confirmed my ideas about customer service and branding: how's your business doing?
For October half term I was lucky enough to get away for a few days on a city break. This was a trip much needed (without the kids!) so my excitement levels were pretty high. The thought of having the freedom to eat, sleep and wander around of my own accord pushed me into the realms of surreal joy....as I said, this was a break that was long overdue!
Berlin was our chosen destination. It had always been on our list of places to visit and was a quick plane journey by City Airport so the decision was made. So, what’s my trip to Berlin have to do with telling you about websites?
Well, throughout my trip I was struck by two things that made me reflect on what we offer at Perfect Layout.
From the start to the end of our trip I was taken with the high level of customer service. At least 98% of our interactions with employees at our hotel, in restaurants and in supermarkets etc., had excellent customer service skills.
We were greeted with warm smiles, direct eye contact and the ability (by everyone it seemed!) to flit to English as I stumbled over the most basic of German words.
How did this make me feel? Super relaxed, welcomed and embraced by a nation that has a past that will never be forgotten.
By speaking my language and having a basic understanding of where I was from, they were able to fulfill my needs. They took away my nerves and lack of German vocabulary and supplemented my requirements so that my effort and output was minimal with the same end result. I got what I wanted!
As you know Perfect Layout is still in its infancy. We are a company born from a belief that we can fill a gap in the market that provides good quality websites for local businesses that’s affordable. It’s experiences like this, that remind me that we are on the right track.
Speaking your language is something we do with our eyes closed. We may not be fluent German speakers but we are fortunate enough to understand the needs of our local business community in Essex, London and across the UK.
We absorb your language by listening to your website requirements as well as the details of how your business works. The service/s you offer and product/s you have on sale. The more we understand your business, the more we understand you which allows us to create a bespoke website that shows your business off at its best.
To sum up, principles of good customer service are:
Berlin, the Capital of Germany, comes across as a cosmopolitan, chic city area. It boasts great restaurants, museums and a Palace. It is home to many ethnicities and welcomes tourists from all over the world.
Given this current environment, it feels very surreal that part of its tourist attractions contains museums and exhibitions about Nazi activity during World War II and the more recent historical event of the Berlin Wall
Whilst I found both events horrific on scaling levels, it’s the latter that I found more perplexing. A country that was once whole, split itself into two overnight causing mayhem and disruption to the everyday living of thousands of people. Attempts to cross from either side was met with imprisonment or death.
The Berlin Wall came down on 9 November 1989. This month will be its 29th anniversary.
This Capital city is now an area that (to me) feels united in its past and is unashamed to show others mistakes made. Part of its branding as a modern city is how it’s taken accountability of past actions. It’s current success as a city break destination is how it tells its story. What happened in its past has given it the character and personality it emits today that makes it stand out and attract new and returning visitors.
When Perfect Layout was established, we thought long and hard about how we branded ourselves; how we came across in the web design market and how we could attract and retain loyal customers.
To be honest, this has not been a straightforward process. It’s a job that continues to evolve as we improve our systems to reflect the needs of our customers and market our unique selling point (USP).
We want our customers to know that part of our USP is our; expertise, professionalism, down to earth/friendly attitudes, honest compassion and the willingness to go that extra mile to understand you and your business. We really are on the other end of the phone ready to help and answer queries.
Our aim is to serve local companies across Essex, London and the UK with competitively priced websites that will improve the performance of their business. I’m pleased to report that our branding has started to work as our name and service is being recommended to others and new clients keep on coming. Small, steady steps forward - we’re happy with that!
How’s your levels of customer service and company branding working out for you?
Could the marketing on your website be more targeted?
Let us know your views and opinions by leaving a comment below.
If you can’t remember the last time you reviewed the website for your business, now may be the time to undertake this task. Not having a new website could be the reason for your business lacking traffic and your competitors getting further and further ahead of you in the game.
It is now more important than ever to have a website that your customers will look forward to visiting. Consumers have a high expectation that a website will be visually attractive, easy to navigate, simple and informative. It should also be a website that works on whatever device the consumer feels like using at the time, wherever they might be.
But my website looks okay…
Recently, we were contacted by a client that had a very nice website. It had some great photos and was clean and easy to read. It was a business that worked mostly on referrals and chance passers-by.
There was no strategy behind their actions and they simply undertook tasks to keep their business afloat as opposed to thinking smart about what would work to promote what they offered and ultimately get more customers walking through the door.
They were working in the business, not on the business.
Their website lacked:
We also advised our client that if he wanted to attract customers to his business he had to get his website working in a way that would get his company appearing when searched for. Specifically creating pages on his website that targeted his local areas would help raise his profile.
Even though he had competitors in the local area, he had a unique selling point that he had never seen before. Perfect Layout was able to open his eyes as to how he could exploit these assets and show potential customers the benefits of going with him as opposed to his opposition.
We also discussed the websites of his larger sized competitors. What they had to offer as well as the pros and cons of their websites. Once the comparisons had been made he was very quickly able to see that his site was outdated.
Even though making the changes we recommended looked scary and trying to take on his competitors looked intimidating, we reassured him that with the right digital marketing approach (some of which are mentioned above) we would be able to increase his visibility and potentially turn those online visits into sales.
Be inspired to revamp your website:
Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Perfect Layout Digital Marketing
...what do they all have in common?
Two legends of the track hung up their running shoes this year at the World Championship Athletics meet in London. Usain Bolt, Jamaican born and currently the fastest human in the world is considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. He is an 8-time Olympic world medallist and has many other amazing track achievements.
Or how about admiring Mo Farah? He is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He won gold in both the 5000m and 10,000m in 2012 and defended his status in 2016. He is the first person in history to defend both distance titles in the Olympics and World Championships Athletics. Very impressive!
So, what do they both have in common with our company Perfect Layout? Change. They knew that their bodies had had enough. It was time to be brave and take a new direction in their life, out of their routine, out of their comfort zone and out of the limelight.
Sound familiar? Are you a company that was once:
Have your sales now dropped?
Do you feel out of your depth when thinking about how to increase your revenue?
Are you at a loss as to how you can get new customers in through the door?
Then you need go no further. Bite the bullet and give us a call now to find out how we can help be your catalyst of change. Creating a new website or improving what you have is just one important facet to building your business up to where you want it to be.
Take action and be like Usain and Mo. There’s a time for thinking and a time for doing - let your time of doing be now!
How could your business benefit from having a new or revamped website with SEO? Why not make a list of the pros and cons to taking immediate action.
On Monday 9 October, The Havering Chambers of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) ran a local networking event at the Queens Theatre, Billet Lane, Essex. Despite having to make a mad dash to get there on time (it started at 6.30pm) this free event was a ‘must attend’ activity in the Perfect Layout calendar.
So who are the HCCI?
The HCCI works in partnership with the London Borough of Havering and was formed over 20 years ago. It represents more than 200 different businesses that together employ over 2,750 staff. Its members are provided with networking opportunities to meet new customers, suppliers and business partners.
Their mission is,
“to promote a positive, balanced, vital economy and preserve those unique qualities that are good for business and make Havering a very special place in which to live and work”
According to their website these are the benefits of becoming a member:
If you are keen to expand your business and engage with likeminded entrepreneurs in Havering, this could be the networking organisation that’s right for you. But before you make any decisions be aware that the HCCI is not the only networking membership company that exists in the Havering area.
The Havering London Borough has a list of other networking companies that are set up to help businesses build good relationships with other businesses. If your business is set up outside of this borough, check out the details on your Council website, or search google for ‘networking groups +your area’.
Was making the mad dash worth the effort?
Yes! Set in the atmospheric foyer of the Queens theatre, there was a lively buzz as we arrived. We were greeted with an option of wine or orange juice and then there was a gentle hush as the mayor went on stage to say a few words about the night ahead. He said that Havering was a good location that was continually being regenerated with local businesses emerging like the new leisure centre in Romford due to be opened very soon.
He said that Havering had met the demand for new school places following a rise in the population. Transport links were expanding with Crossrail finishing in 2018 and there was also going to be a new station opening in Rainham alongside the upcoming redevelopment. It was hoped that there would be better transport links created from north to south of the borough in the coming years. He also mentioned that Havering’s location was good for its proximity to London Riverside Deep Sea Docks and Stansted International Airport for improving business links for local companies.
The evening was well attended and once the formalities were over it was time to get chatting. There were various businesses in formal attendance, sat behind tables, their stands laden with brochures, business cards and free pens. Ready to give you their time, cards and advice, smiles were abundant and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere made it easy to mingle.
Attendees were also treated to a lavish buffet that could have fed three times the amount of people and further socialising was done around these tables. What really came across that evening was the feeling of comradery of the attendees and exhibitors. There was a real sense of community. We were there to help each other; get to know each other and connect with businesses that we might well need one day in the future.
I’m pleased to report that quite a few of our cards were handed out that evening with follow-up emails sent by us to companies that we felt could improve the performance of their website. Whilst networking in such a manner is important, it’s also imperative to give your online customer the best user experience possible when accessing a website.
This means that your website should:
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg but they represent good visual tips that anyone can do when thinking about revamping their website. If you feel that your website doesn’t meet some of the above points, give us a call and we’d be happy to give you a free analysis of what improvements could be made and where.
Whether you’re a small start-up business or an established company looking to increase your profits being visible must be one of your primary objectives if you want to achieve this goal.
Spreading the word about what you do, the service you provide and the products you sell can be done in a variety of ways and advertising in print still a popular option. This can be accomplished through:
If you have a shop on your local high street, you will continually be advertising your brand with your logo above the door and your wares in the front window. But how many of us have a traditional shop front to be visible to passers-by?
The fact is, the way we shop is changing with an increasing number of high street shops going out of business every day. In 2016 there were a reported 15 shop closures a day across the UK and online shopping is one of the factors contributing to this outcome. With the demise of the traditional physical shop and the increase in businesses going online, the way one advertises a business has transformed. Having an online website window can offer far more sophisticated ways to reach an endless, much broader, supply of customers potentially from around the world.
Print advertising not working for you? Then try something new…
Networking is a way of getting your company advertised by business owners and being open to doing the same for someone else’s business. If directly reaching out to like-minded businesses isn’t your thing, or if talking to friends, family and strangers fills you with dread, one option (to start you off gently) is to go to a conference. They are full of people open to being spoken to, having an exchange of ideas and maybe most important of all - exchanging contact details. Who knows, you could be talking to the next Bill Gates!
The Perfect Layout team recently attended the free Mums Enterprise Roadshow event in London and we were delighted to see how many people attended. There were numerous stands offering various services and franchises and talks given by industry experts every half an hour. It provided the perfect opportunity to have a chat with other aspiring individuals who were keen to follow their passion and soak up as much information as possible. Whilst the topics were of a preliminary advisory level, looking beyond this, it was a brilliant place to do some networking and get our name known! Read more about our experience here.
Online social networking involves working from social media platforms such as, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have something interesting and unique to say about what you do, then use these methods to get your message out there.
As long as you stay within the terms and conditions of each social media platform, you will be able to attract new and repeat customers through what you say. You can also run advertising campaigns, gain followers and engage deeply with your customers and get to know them. They then ‘like’ or recommend what you’re offering, your credibility and reputation grows and so will your visibility and profits. The cost for using this method is mainly your time. You really do get out, what you put in, so make the effort (or hire someone to do it for you!) and start writing.
2 Google AdWords
If spending money on advertising is not a problem, running a Google AdWords campaign is another option to increasing your visibility. Also known as Pay-per-Click (PPC), it allows you to be seen above your competitors when a search is made using keywords related to your business. A big plus is that you can track the number of clicks people make on your advert, measure the cost and pay Google only made when a customer visits your website.
The cons of undertaking a Google AdWords campaign are that you need to really understand your business, your customers and, to a certain extent, how the internet works. For example, what words will people use when searching for your business? Choose those terms and then you can set your budget. If you have numerous search terms then your budget will need to be set accordingly. It may take a while to see a return on your investment (ROI), but over time, with some tweaking, this can be achieved.
3 List on local directories
If your business hasn’t done so already, claim your spot on online directories like Google My Business, Yahoo Local and Bing. There are many others, all free, including Thomson Local, Yell and Yelp. They all help increase your visibility when search engines like Google and Bing, crawl the internet looking for sites that your website is linked to. If your business is cited on these directories, the search engines will see this and view you as being more trustworthy and credible than someone who isn’t listed. The result – your rankings improve.
4 Blogging and Newsletters
Another way of getting your website more visible is to Blog or provide regular Newsletters for your customers. The more regularly you post, the greater your rate of online traffic will be. Depending on your type of business, this may be easier said than done. It’s important to gauge the type of things your audience may want to hear about against your ability to provide them with interesting ways to share your expertise. So, get creative and start writing about how the life of your business can add value to the life of your customers.
So, step out of your comfort zone and try one of these techniques. If you want your business to be more visible online you must develop ways of reaching your customers. If investing in social media platforms isn’t your thing, then take the time to master something else first. You’ll probably surprise yourself with your own creativity and ability at thinking outside the box. The more confident you become, the more skills you’ll attain and the more your business will benefit.
If you need help with that journey – you know where we are.