Author Archive

  • Phone vs email – Neopost expert article

    Any time in credit management that is not spent communicating with your customers is time not adding value to your business.

    Customer contact is what makes your customers pay faster and cash is the fuel of your organisation. In our years of experience offering customers credit management software we have seen a large portion of organisations spending excessive time in pre-call preparation and prioritisation. By the time you’re ready to contact you customer it might be tempting to just send an email reminder.

    But in our view, depending on how your policies are set up and which type of relationship you (want to) have with your customer, phoning can be more effective than sending an (e)-mail or text message.

    Here are 7 reasons why direct customer contact is the better way to achieve results within credit management:

    1. Proactiveness

    Phoning is a more proactive approach than an email or a letter. By phoning the customer you show that you are committed to your own cause as well as the customer’s – collaboratively removing barriers that are preventing them from paying that invoice.

    2. Getting the right person

    When you call the chances are higher you will get the right person on the phone. This is important if you are dealing with open invoices and payments. Getting the right person on the phone gives you instant access to all the facts and details about the barriers mentioned above. And this also allows you to keep your customer contact information current and accurate.

    3. Direct result

    In our experience no other medium achieves direct results like a phone call. When you have your customer on the phone you can do business instantly, rather than waiting for a response to an email or a letter. It takes the hassle out of putting next steps in place or letting the customer decide the next move.

    4. Two-way commitment

    Sending a letter or email asks your customer for commitment, but it does not mean that they will give you that commitment. If you call your customers and discuss options with them, you will end up with a two-way commitment, rather than a one-way request.

    5. Tracking dissatisfaction

    When you have your customers on the phone they can feed back any dissatisfaction that could stem from an invoice they have received. In this way you can move quickly to the root cause of the customer not paying, provide a solution and move on.

    6. Building customer intimacy

    You have an agreement with your customer. Stick to your policies and processes and let your customer know that you are expecting them to keep their promises. Communicate in a pragmatic business way but keep your communication friendly and personal. So stick to your agreements but don’t forget to apply the personal attention that a customer needs. Personal commitments by the customer take promises and performance to a different level.

    7. Picking up on the less obvious signals

    Speaking to someone allows you to pick up on emotions and behaviour. You might be able to detect “hidden messages” and ask that extra question to get to the bottom of the situation. In writing you do not know whether you are reading fact or fiction.

    All the above steps have something in common. By creating customer intimacy you start nudging your customers in the direction that you want them to go, by communicating and understanding. It is about achieving success through mutual commitment, rather than pushing through a process which could lead to conflict and jeopardize the long-term relationship.

    Sending emails and texts definitely have a place and can be very effective. Phone calls can often be seen as the more time-consuming option. But appropriate communication is what we are aiming for.

    Modern, focused credit collection software can help you free up the time to pick up the phone and call those customers who need direct contact, by: prioritising which communication is appropriate for which of your customers, at which point in time; automating your administrative tasks, to give you more time to focus on customers.

    Andrew Le Marchant LICM CCE
    Member Engagement Manager

    AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF CREDIT MANAGEMENT

    With thanks to Arnoud Visser of Onguard Software and Trevor Middleton of Cosyn Software.” Onguard is represented in Australia and New Zealand by Cosyn, OnGuard’s certified Business partner freephone 1-800-123 613 or email info@cosynsoftware.co.nz. Alternatively you can visit www.cosynsoftware.co.nz or follow @OnGuardHQ on Twitter to stay up to date with international best practice.

     

     

     

  • Digital marketing 101 – Neopost Expert Article

    Digital marketing may seem like the enemy of print, but it’s a channel like any other to be used to grow and develop your business. Diane Costa from Marketing Mechanics, one of the Neopost team of experts presenting a Technology Showcase in Sydney later this month, tells how it’s done.

    The game of digital advertising is becoming harder every day. More competitors, more digital advertising products and more new ways to capture leads and sell your products than you can poke a stick at! How do you find your way through the mountain of offers available through digital advertising? Which ones work, which ones don’t, how do you know which ones are right for your business?

    Do you start with re-marketing, try a small online budget with YouTube advertising, trial the Google display network, or give programmatic marketing a go? Where to start on the game board is a big question to answer. To help you navigate through this digital pathway, I’ve developed some useful tips to get you and your business on the right track.

    Firstly it’s important to understand you need a solid foundation to work from. Review your website. Is it mobile responsive as well as mobile optimised? Is your desktop site up to scratch? There’s no point investing in digital dollars until you get your foundations right. Sending potential leads to a website that is slow to load, or doesn’t show the exact information on the webpage the potential customer typed into a Google search query, will become detrimental to your business.

    So first things first – Review your website and ensure it’s optimal. Remember to have a good call to action at all times on your website page or landing page; be it be an offer, discount, free trial, and an easy form for the customer to complete so you capture the lead – most of all make sure your phone number is prominent in a couple of locations – all of these need to be considered on the webpage to get the best return on investment when directing customers via an AdWords or any digital advertising campaign.

    Google offers free speed tests as does pingdom. Speed is one of the keys, and people expect your site to load within three seconds, longer than that, they may click away. Try running your website through the Google developer tool here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

    This will immediately tell you what your score is for both your mobile and desktop sites and will also tell you what you need to fix. By gaining a higher score, it will assist with your SEO rankings as well so worth a visit.

    Now you have all your foundations perfected, the next step is to sift through the barrage of digital advertising option. I recommend you firstly look at two main things; who you are trying to target (as in your target market) and what is your main objective once you have reached them.

    Let’s use an example here:

    You have a new product that’s state of the art, and you just know if you can get the word out there, people will call you, and you will grow sales by 10%. So that’s your objective. Your target market are companies with 20 staff or more, but you need to get to the person in that company who will be looking for your product. Maybe it’s the general manager’s personal assistant who has been asked to research on Google for companies who sell your new whizzbang printing product or maybe it’s the marketing manager who is looking for new ways to develop expo stands or display marketing materials for their clients. Once you have established these two objectives/outcomes, you can then make a more informed decision on which digital advertising platforms will best help your business and what messages to communicate in the advertising.

    In general, you cannot go past Pay Per Click advertising such as Google AdWords because your target market is typing into the Google search engine right now as you are reading this article. They are typing in keywords matching the search for your new whizzbang printing product. These are hot leads, people ready to make some informed decisions on purchase. So it’s best you are there at the top and capture that person and direct them to a page specific to your new innovative product that matches the potential clients search query in Google.

    Many companies make the error of simply sending people to their company’s home page, but remember, the 21st century has made us all an impatient lot, so when the potential customer clicks and doesn’t get the exact info they want without having to look, it’s a potential sale lost. Remember it’s not how much money you have in your advertising budget, and even being the highest bidder for your Google AdWords key words that will get you rated in the top three or so listings. Google also wants to ensure that pages advertisers are sending customers to are relevant, so sometimes the lowest bidder may have a more relevant page, pay way less than you for those keywords and get in the top position. It’s about making your AdWords campaigns work for you, and there are some great videos on YouTube on how to get the best out of Google advertising. Google also has an excellent help page here: https://support.google.com/adwords, which can shed a little more light into helping you get the best return on investment from your AdWords campaigns.

    With mobile searches in Australia overtaking desktop searches in 2015, mobile advertising and having a specific mobile website can only benefit your business by offering a very fast and easy to navigate user experience for potential clients. Over the years we have seen clients spend anywhere between $300 a month to $ 100,000 a month on Google AdWords. The idea is to start with a smaller budget, make that work for you and then increase it a month on month as you improve your campaigns effectiveness. I know we all would not mind if we were spending $ 5,000 a month on Google AdWords if we were selling $100,000 worth of products / services in that same month, all delivered by Google AdWords. So start slower and build up.

    There are so many ways to make digital marketing work for you and give you that edge you are looking for, and the best thing is your digital campaigns are entirely measurable down to the cent. How terrific if we could do that with all advertising!  If you have a question you’d like to ask, feel free to drop me an email anytime or why not join one of our free digital webinars.

    Good luck with your Digital advertising, but remember you have to be in it to win it!

    Diane Costa and Marketing Mechanics are teaming up with Neopost Australia to offer a free Google clinic at Neopost ‘s Technology & Training Event, taking place on 20th & 21st July at Neopost HQ. Register for your free place.

     

  • Should offset printers diversify into wide format?

    Fujifilm puts the case for printers expanding their horizons into different product segments in the first of a series of sponsored Graphic Arts Blogs  

    The concept of an all-encompassing Print Service Provider (PSP) has been around for several years but few have embraced the one-stop-shop concept successfully. Segmentation of printing processes is culturally ingrained from the days of duplicators, small offset, big offset, web, flexography, gravure, screen process, photo-chemical and if you want to go back far enough; letterpress.

    With the advent of digital print, came the democratisation of process outputs. Digital unifies and breaks down barriers to entry into markets previously considered taboo – a large sheetfed offset printer would once never have considered becoming a screen process printer as well, unless by acquisition of a going concern business.

    With most workflows all-digital today, it has never been easier for an offset printer to re-format design files to an output device, other than the computer-to-plate setter. But should they want to?

    Of the multiple possible printed outputs that a PSP can offer, perhaps digital wide-format printing makes the most sense – after investment in a digital sheetfed printer. Digital sheetfed takes care of the customers asking for short-runs of existing offset offerings, printed on-demand and maybe with variable data.

    Most customers would not be aware of which process was used to produce the job; one day they ask for 10,000 copies and the next day they want only 100 and it just happens somewhere inside that darkly mysterious place called a print shop.

     Read more…