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No phone support? We have your back!

Some companies choose to only offer email support to their customers. We don’t fully understand it, so I’ll explain why we think offering our customers a chance to call us is critically important.

Good customer support comes down to four key things:

  1. Being available
  2. Being personable, friendly, and genuine
  3. Being knowledgeable (excuse the “be” verbs); and
  4. Never making your problem your customers’ problem

As a small company, we empathize with the struggles of other small to medium companies. That’s why we offer as many channels for people to get a hold of us as possible.

Calling at 2AM? Well, you’re not going to get someone via phone because, as a small company, we understand that it’s important for our highly-skilled team members to rest up.

It’s important to differentiate your ability to execute awesome customer support from your willingness to offer awesome customer support. If you’re not able to offer phone and chat support because you just don’t have the resources to do it (e.g. people, money, infrastructure), offer the best support you can with what you have, but know that it’s time to rethink your business model. If you willingly choose to not offer phone support to your customers, it’s time to rethink your priorities.

It’s entirely possible to express empathy, humility, humor, and sincerity via email, but we understand that some people simply don’t live in a world where they can just shoot off an email and hope it gets taken care of.

At Nutshell, we don’t have a receptionist and the person answering your call is the best-prepared person to help you with your question. Period. They’re probably really funny as well.

Here’s how we work:

  1. You call our customer support number, (888) 336-8808 (go ahead, give us a call!)
  2. You hear a friendly greeting letting you know we are ready to help
  3. Then, you’re immediately connected to one of our support team members
  4. We know who you are when you call (because Nutshell is awesome), and we’re ready to help troubleshoot your problem immediately

We don’t make you wait for anything. We appropriately staff our support team with the tools to handle a growing volume of phone calls, emails, and chats.

We won’t ever make our problem your problem. If we don’t have the resources to offer the best damn customer support we can possibly imagine, we’ll find the resources…fast! You’re paying for a service that is naturally going to require human interaction beyond email. That’s for us to figure out and it’s not even a question our customers should ever have to contemplate.

Are you in Ann Arbor or in the near-by area? We’ll meet with you in person, host you in our office, take you to lunch, invite you to our parties, send your kids holiday presents, and most importantly, make time to talk to you via chat and via phone if you’re not able to make it in!

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We’re also taking recommendations for new waiting music. We have ukulele music, but we’ll play Katy Perry if you want. On second thought, I think that’s copyright infringement?

Happiness thrives on person-to-person communication, and we’re always actively working to improve how we communicate with you. Companies like Amazon, Nordstrom, and Zappos know customer support. Can you imagine doing business with Amazon, Nordstrom, or Zappos without being able to talk to someone on the phone? We can’t either, and that’s why we offer phone (and chat) support.

Customer support isn’t just about solving your problem, refunding your money, or answering a few questions, it’s about establishing yourself as a company (group of people and faces and personalities) who cares about its customers’ growth, success, and happiness. It’s about connecting with you, hearing the happiness or frustration in your voice, and doing what we can to keep you and your team running at full speed.

Connect with me on Twitter! @charlessustaita.

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9 sites where you should verify your business

Why incorrect business information can hurt you

We may have all run into this in the past: incorrect business contact info. For example: you go to your search engine, you search for a business. You call, and you encounter an intercept message saying the number you dialed is not in service! You click another online source, and there is a different number, so you call it, and you’re connected with someone not related to the business.

Perhaps you pull out your phone, open Yelp, find a restaurant near you, and begin driving without calling ahead only to find that the address on the Yelp profile is outdated, and that location is closed.

If you’re like most consumers, who are presented with many alternative choices within that industry both online and offline, you would move on; find another business.

Having incorrect business information scattered online can drive your customers away and otherwise tarnish a long-established brick and mortar business. You’ve essentially turned away business before they even walk through your door or engage with your product.

It’s important to ensure you have the correct business info.

What information should you publicize?

Business Name
Make sure your business name is consistent across all sources! e.g., “Nutshell” (correct) vs. “Nutshell CRM” (incorrect) vs. “Nutshell LLC” (incorrect)

Phone Number
Some people choose to use tracking phone numbers to measure conversion, and this can lead to misinformation over time. Do your best to be consistent with the numbers and limit the amount of temporary numbers available to your audience.

Physical Address (if applicable)
If you’re a brick and mortar business, it’s important that you have the correct info so your patrons can find you.

Business Hours
If you’re in an industry where your hours change during the holidays, take the time to update them. Google My Business allows you to change your hours for holidays or other periods.

Email Address
If you want a public-facing email address, make it apparent, consistent across your platforms, and easy for people to remember. (e.g., info@website.com)

What is the best way to get your info syndicated?

Let’s start with the most obvious and easy to update sources:

Where should I start?

Start with the platforms readily available (i.e. The platforms you use on a daily basis). Remember, some sources like Google and Bing may require you to verify your business using a pin code sent via mail, which can add to the time it takes to verify your business.

Things to remember:

Avoid duplicate listings. Be consistent. Those with limited experience and power users alike should consider the 4 major data aggregators:

Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup and Neustar Localeze are regarded as the most important data aggregators, and they allow you to push data to hundreds of sites. There are TONS of sites out there that collect your business info, so it’s important to cover your bases. Moz Local provides a wonderful breakdown of just how powerful they are and how they comprise the The U.S. Local Search Ecosystem.

The Internet is a big place and you likely have competition. Just imagine: you and your competitor offer the exact same services, products, have the same patron count…the only difference is that one business has consistent business information and one does not.

Which do you think will be more successful?

If you can ensure your business information is consistent, you can focus on the things that really make your business successful: offering great products and services to your customers and potential customers.