Interview Questions That Dig a Little Deeper

With last week’s blog post, we were able to help you find potential employees to interview for your small business. Now that you have some candidates lined up, the most important thing is to make sure the employees you hire are top notch.

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How Loyalty Automation Will Drive Small Business Sales in 2013

Recently I wrote in TechCrunch about how loyalty automation is going to be one of the major benefits of big data and SaaS applications finally coming to small businesses. In this blog post, I want to explore more of what loyalty automation will look like for small businesses and how it will drive sales for small business owners in 2013.

Loyalty automation has evolved from marketing automation. With marketing automation, the lives of marketing managers at mid-sized and large companies were transformed as critical marketing tasks like triggered email design, landing page creation, and A:B testing were automated. Similarly, loyalty automation will change the lives of small business owners and automate tasks they previously did manually or inefficiently. Loyalty automation for small business owners will include: 1) Service Automation, 2) Rewards Automation and 3) Loyalty Marketing Automation. Let’s explore each one.  Continue reading

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Improving The In-Store Customer Experience

Long-lasting customer loyalty is established by addressing two key components: providing an enticing loyalty program to bring your customers back and dedication to improving your customers’ in-store experience for when they do. Implementing a engaging point-based loyalty program is easy enough. In fact, we can set one up for you in a matter of minutes. However, it’s the second component that often gets overlooked, but is usually the difference between whether or not a customer will choose you over your direct competitors.  In a recent study by Harris Interactive, a leading market research firm, they found that 89% of customers take their business to a competitor following a negative customer experience. Additionally, with the popularization of social media and review sites like Yelp, negative experiences are much more likely to be broadcast to other potential customers, influencing whether or not they visit your store.

While these findings can seem daunting to many a small business owner, there are some very easy steps you can take to build positive relationships with your customers. If they truly feel valued every time they walk into your store, your customers will be much more inclined to cut you some slack if (or when) you have the occasional customer experience mishap.

In this blog post I’ll outline the fundamental aspects of delivering a great customer experience, while showing you how the FiveStars POS Relationship Manager empowers you and your employees to make every customer feel special.  Continue reading

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4 Ways to Find Great Employees For Your Small Business

With the new year now full steam ahead, you want to make sure you have a great team to make 2013 the best one yet. Whether you own the corner coffee shop or an upscale boutique, in this 4-week series, we will give you some easy tips to make sure you build a great team for your small business.

Where do you start? First things first. Let’s find employees to interview.

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4 Ways to Kickstart Your Loyalty Program for the New Year

2013 is here! Let’s make this the year you truly connect with and grow your customer base. Here are a few quick and easy tips to help you get the most out of your FiveStars loyalty program:

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How will technology impact local businesses in 2013?

Tools in a local business owner’s marketing toolkit typically drive discovery, promotion, and loyalty for his/her business. For many business owners, this is also the typical order of operations. First, a business needs to be “discoverable.” This means it should be in a good location, have good signage, and be able to be found by customers looking for it—online and off. But business owners are not typically satisfied with the traffic that comes from Google search or Yellow Pages, so this leads owners to promotional efforts. In recent years, some merchants have tried daily deal promotions, but we all know that many local businesses have been burned by unprofitable bargain-hunting consumers who never return after a daily deal. Loyalty has often been the last marketing tool deployed, and the methods used to drive it have been rudimentary. Sometimes coffee shops will use a punchcard to drive repeat business and increased frequency of visits. In recent years, capturing relationships to drive loyalty has gone online with businesses posting their Twitter handle or Facebook Page at the counter. However, businesses continue to struggle with having their Facebook fan counts match their actual foot traffic.

So what’s next? Continue reading

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FiveStars 2012 Update — This May Be The Last Blog You Ever Read

THE END IS NIGH!!!  The Mayans have predicted:  2012 is the end!  I just hope I can still get presents…

world-end

As you enjoy earth for the last day, we knew the one thing on your bucket list was getting a holiday update from FiveStars.  Well, eat your last meal, bask in sunlit fields (before the sun explodes), and learn about what we’ve been up to here at FiveStars.

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