Ultimate Guide to Customer Reviews and Testimonials

When thinking about purchasing a new product, who should you trust more between a salesperson who profits directly from your purchase or a customer who has experience with your product you are considering and can give an honest review about it? There is no doubt you would pick the latter. Stats show that only 3 percent of consumers consider salespeople and marketers to be trustworthy. For the truth about your product, consumers turn to customer reviews.

People look into reviews and testimonials to determine whether or not they trust a product, service, or seller. On average, buyers read seven reviews before making a purchasing decision. Today, customer reviews are easier to find than ever, especially with the popularity of social media. Let’s break down some key points.

What is a customer review?

A customer review is a written reflection of customer experience and feedback on the use of a company’s product or service. Reviews are found on sites such as Google, Yelp, Amazon, and social media. Consumers make use of reviews during a purchase process to gain an understanding of how your product works, and conclude whether it’s worth it.

If you are a business, here are some of the steps you can follow to ask for customer reviews.

Bring it up naturally in conversations

If you are talking about your business with someone, or they tell you how they feel about your product or service, you get an opportune moment to ask them if they would be willing to leave a review about your product. If your product or service has superior performance, customers will be more than happy to leave a review of the whole experience.

Ask in response to praise

When someone tells you how much they love the experience or the purchase, be it in-store, online, or over the phone, request them to kindly share that information on a review. You can make it easier for the whole process by providing a link to your business review page.

Send an email blast

One of the best ways to market your products and services is by having an email list. If your company has an email list, you can send a message asking for honest feedback. Provide email recipient and easy to follow link or direction on how they can complete the review. Since reviews are not always anonymous, you can provide your reviewers with some rewards or just say thank you!

Apart from reviews, we also have customer testimonials. Customer testimonials are honest endorsements of your product or service. Testimonials are posted on a company’s website and are used as marketing materials. Testimonials will include information on someone’s overall experience and how your products provided value. They highlight the specific cases that can help prospects feel more confident in doing business with you.

All testimonials are unique, but should always be relatable, sincere, and specific. With these kinds of testimonials, a company stands large in building credibility. Customers trust other customers for their genuine opinion and advice.  Do all it takes to request your customers to record a 30-second video on how they found your product, then post these videos on your platforms

Strategies for Running a Lean IT Department

In this pandemic period, were are facing a lot of uncertainties. Businesses have tightened their belts and are being forced to implement hiring freezes. For IT leaders, this change means they are now managing heavier workloads with smaller IT teams. Tech leaders are being forced to find creative solutions to keep their departments going until the full recovery happens.

That said, here are a few strategies businesses can put in place to run a lean IT department while facing challenges in hiring.

Enable employee cross-training

There is a need for lean teams to be cross-trained to support more functions. This means leaders need to arrange training and up-skilling. You need to help your team learn new skills so that they can optimize their work, and do all essentials. With a cohesive work culture, you will keep your motivation high and employees will be more focused to deliver more.

Automate as much as possible

You need to focus on automation as much as you can. You can do this with vendor solutions that are focused on reducing your teams’ workload to focus on other areas where human attention is much desired. With proper automation, you will put yourself and your team in a position to deliver more with fewer resources. You need to focus on future business needs with a key focus on how you can automate as many tasks as possible.

Create more partnerships

You can partner with a staffing company to implement a contingent workforce. Doing so will help you target different talent segments and align your tasks with your current needs while at the same time taking advantage of the best available talent in the market. A staffing partner will help you to create a work environment that is collaborative, agile, inclusive, and safe, with the potential to attract and maintain top talent.

Look for cost saving opportunities

You need to look for cost savings for long-term managed services. With managed services, they can help you cut down on capital expenditure. You can also rely on managed service providers to do most of your IT work. Most managed service providers offer excellent deals to your problems. You need to take advantage of them by negotiating better rates and long term contracts.

You need to think of redesigning your organization’s structure and outsource where needed. First, redesign the IT organization structure to ensure its more efficient in delivering the required services. You can identify which services, be it security operations, desktop services support, among others, that can be outsourced to competent service providers. You also need to improve staff competency to manage any new technology without hiring new talent.

Think of restructuring

You also need to figure out what your core business entails. You need to be as lean as possible in product and service delivery, and avoid offering anything that eats on your resources without delivering value. If your core business is just running a health care company, then there is no need for you to run a data center in your premises.  Outsource any service or program that is eating on your resources so that you are left with fewer tasks to help you grow.

How to Write an Executive Summary That Gets Your Business Plan Read

An executive summary of any business plan provides a detailed overview of what is contained in the plan. Its purpose is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers and have them saved in an accessible format. An executive summary is more of an advanced organizer for the reader. It must be clear and concise and also entice the reader to get engaged with the rest of the business plan.

This proves the point that an executive summary is the most important part of any business plan. If it doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, the plan will be set aside and become unread. It can be a disaster if you write a business plan to get funding but it happens no one is ready to read your plan. Note the getting money from investors should not only be the motivating factor behind writing a business plan. A business plan should also act as a guide to see you through the life of your business.

What to write in the executive summary

The information that goes into the executive summary varies depending on the type of business you want to establish. For startups, one of the main goals of a business plan is to convince financing institutions to invest in your business by providing the much-required business capital, which normally comes in the form of debt or equity financing. To do so, you will need to provide a solid case for your business, and this is what makes executive summary a very important part of your business plan.

A typical executive plan will have many parts including;

  • A description of the business opportunities
  • Explanation of how your business will serve the market
  • A description of your customer base and target market.
  • Description of your business model, including the products and services you intend to sell.
  • A brief outline of your marketing and sales strategy
  • A brief description of the market and competition and your strategy for getting market share. This includes your competitive edge and the difference you intend to make upon your entry to the market.

For Established Businesses

For established businesses, the executive summary will typically include information about the achievements and growth plans. A typical executive summary will include information such as;

  • The mission statement articulates the purpose of your business. In a few sentences, you should describe what your company does and the core values and philosophies for your business.
  • Company information gives a brief history of your company by describing the products and services and when as well as where they are formed, the owners of the company, and other statistics such as the number of employees and business locations.
  • Business highlights are a description of the evolution of your business, how the business has grown, year over year revenues, profitability increase in market share, and stats about your customers.
  • Financial summary whose purpose is to update the business plan and seek additional financing for expansion and give a brief financial summary.
  • Future goals of the business. This is particularly important if you are seeking financing. It will explain how additional funding will be used to expand your business and otherwise increase profits.

How to Master the Key Elements of Effective Project Planning Today

Project planning is very important for the success of anything you want to carry on. Project planning forms part of the project management cycle and ensures there is consistency in four distinct areas including initiation, planning, execution, and closure. The importance of planning can never be overlooked.

With proper planning, projects run smoothly according to plan. You will be able to deliver projects on time and budget and everyone will have a mutual understanding of the objectives of a project. Everyone will understand all the roles in achieving their objectives and you will be able to manage time, costs, and risks more efficiently.

Here are some key elements to effective project planning;

Identify stakeholder’s needs

The first step to delivering projects in the right manner lies in identifying all the needs of stakeholders. Stakeholders include anyone involved in a project including end-users, clients, and project sponsors. You need to identify the stakeholders, meet with them, and write down their needs. You can use a decision matrix to ensure you prioritize tasks in the right manner. When meeting with stakeholders, ensure you lead structured conversations and get everything in order.

Set out objectives

You need to set up smart project objectives. There should be clear deliverables and deadlines. You need to understand the specific products and services you must deliver to your clients. All deliverables need to be well written on what must be delivered and the time allocated for each item.

Come up with project schedule

You must come up with a detailed project schedule. Tasks must be assigned to each deliverable. You must specify due dates for tasks as well as who is responsible. By specifying who is responsible, you will be avoiding misunderstandings in the future. You should also identify dependencies. Are there any specific tasks that depend on the completion of other tasks? There might be chances where you need client approval on a design so that you can carry the tasks ahead.

Define roles and responsibilities

You need to be specific on who’s responsible for each task. Additionally, you must define all the roles that need to be taken up. Indicate who is responsible for the entire project, and each deliverable as well. Define the client roles as well as the reporting structure. When you have well-defined roles and responsibilities, you will need to perform regular check-ins to ensure everything is going per the plan. The check-ins may be in the form of meetings, weekly reports as well as daily conversations.

Have a well-defined budget

With a well-defined budget, you will be able to work on project costs and identify any shortfall. All plans must specify the upfront costs so that you can allocate budgets in the right manner and identify any shortfalls. Additionally, you must have a plan for monitoring and controlling costs. With such a plan, you will be able to remain on budget and keep the project running. There should be a solid communication plan in place as well, that will help to keep the project forward.