Demandforce Customers: Easy Ways to Collect Email Addresses

Collecting Email Addresses for Marketing

One of our best tools to convert current and prospective customers is our Email Campaign builder. Just like you experienced in your demo with your sales rep, you can segment your emails by products purchased and services received, or simply send appointment reminders and recall campaigns via email. But in order to get started, you have to collect email addresses from your audience. Don’t worry – there are easy ways to do this! Here are two options that the Demandforce portal offers you to help you collect email addresses.

Offline Form

Offline forms ask for the information necessary to send your customers emails and text messages. ‘Offline’ stands for customers who either don’t have an email address in your management system, or are simply not subscribed to your email communications.

The easiest way to tackle receiving email addresses from your current customers is by printing this form for the day they come in for their appointment. Go to your ‘Appointments’ drop down in your menu and click ‘Appointment Calendar’ to choose the day you would like to print your Offline Form. Then you can click the blue link ‘Print Patient Forms’ and choose if you want print forms for every patient that day, or a different audience listed in the drop down.

It’s recommended to add this to any other paperwork your customers are filling out, or have them fill it out quickly while they wait for their appointment to begin.

Email Finder

Email Finder is an add-on service we provide within your portal, and it’s a great option if you have little-to-no email addresses to start with, or your business is fairly new. It’s also helpful for a promotion or announcement that you want to extend your reach with.

This service searches through national opt-in databases using your customer’s name and physical mailing address. Once you start with Demandforce the Email Finder already begins searching, and let’s you know how many it has found. This happens every month and is no extra charge. Only once you click ‘Let’s do it’ are those emails purchased for $0.99 per valid email. The good news is – we give you 500 emails for free just to get you started! Be sure to take advantage of that deal no matter how big your email database is.

Outside of what Demandforce offers you, there are a variety of ways you can gather email addresses from current or prospective customers, including:

  • Business card fishbowl for a prize giveaway
  • Email signup field on your website
  • Social media ads

Just be sure to email your customers no more than once a week, and no less than around every three months to stay at the top of their mind.

Simple communications that will drive revenue to your auto shop

Auto Shop Communications Driving Revenue

Your customers are most likely driving their car everyday, and all that truly matters to them is the vehicle takes them to point A and point B when they need it to. It’s up to your auto shop to keep them informed on what their vehicle’s make and model needs to keep moving, and remind them when the time has come. Customers are more likely to want to receive communications from their auto shop than some may realize!

Research indicates 67% of vehicle owners are open to receiving text updates.

These days most people have their phone in their hand, or nearby, at all times. All you need to do is have their consent to send their number text messages recorded in your business management software. One way to receive consent is a checkbox on a new customer sign in form.

Using a simple software, your shop can easily send maintenance or service reminders pulling from the Mitchell database so they are specific to your customer’s vehicle. You can also segment these texts by active and lost customers in order to personalize the message. For lost customers, you may consider including an incentive in the reminder to further persuade them to bring their car into your shop for maintenance.

 

Cox Automative reported 45% of customers who did not take advantage of online scheduling did not know it was an option.

Don’t let your shop miss an opportunity to get an appointment scheduled, whether it’s from a new customer or current one. An online scheduling widget can bring in substantial appointments when placed on your website, or a popular social media channel like Instagram. According to WardsAuto.com, 23% of online customers schedule their visits outside of the business hours of a dealership. If you’re not offering online scheduling, your competitors may be getting those appointments.

When you are proactive and consistent in communicating with your customers, you can ensure that you are always driving revenue to your auto shop. Make it easy for them to choose your business, and then wow them with your high-quality services.

 

http://wardsauto.com/fixed-ops/car-dealership-vehicle-sales-down-now-what

Don’t be afraid of customer surveys

Don't be afraid of customer surveys

Customer satisfaction is the most important aspect of your business because without loyal customers your bottom line will suffer. The strategy behind keeping your customers coming back is ensuring that each touch-point in their journey is positive. Your business can track their satisfaction with customer surveys, a method that may make you nervous. But don’t be afraid of customer surveys. They can expose issues you may be unaware of like long hold times for phone calls.

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid of customer surveys.

Your online reputation will be protected

As customers are checking out at the end of their visit, have your front desk hand them a customer survey. Keep it short with 5 questions or less to ensure they complete it before they leave. This will give them the opportunity to critique any part of their visit that didn’t go well, and most likely prevent them from complaining about it on social media since they already got it off their chest.

For customers whose satisfaction surveys are positive, your front office can utilize that to boost your business’s online reputation. The strategy is simple: send a daily or weekly email to happy customers asking them to leave you a review on Yelp, Google or any review site that is important to your business. Link directly to that site within the body of the email to make it as easy for the customer to complete as possible. This can be done more efficiently with an automation software.

The feedback can help your business

Surveys can expose process or team issues, as well as highlight an employee’s exceptional performance. Review your customer surveys once every quarter and meet with your team to go over good and bad experiences that stood out. It could serve as a training session in ‘what to do’ in situations that have arised, or may arise in the future.

At the end of the year you can also recognize an employee who handled a difficult situation well, or helped pave the way for a more efficient process that needed adjusting.

Customer surveys are a way to empower you and your staff with information on what your customers are truly expecting. Spend time perfecting the questions you will ask, and consider leaving the last question as a free form field so that the customer can be specific in what worked or what didn’t.

How to Have a Successful Conference Experience

How to have a successful trade show experience

Attending conferences is important for professionals in every industry. It’s a great way to dive in and hear about new technologies, tricks of the trade, and more. However, because conferences are jam packed with learning and networking for 1 to 3 days, it’s important to make a game plan so you can have a successful experience.

Here are some helpful tips to leave your next conference with an implementation plan.

Prepare for note taking and networking

Some attendees go to trade shows for one or the other, but really everyone should be soaking in the new information and getting to know their peers.

Prepare for note taking by bringing the tools that work best for you. That could be pen and paper, a laptop or a tablet. Taking notes helps improve attention to detail, promotes active learning, boosts comprehension, improves organization and increases creativity. This is all necessary when you’re on a learning spree attending back-to-back sessions.

Next is networking – something many people cringe at. But networking can be easy if you do it in the best way that works for you, and sometimes one conversation can help you solve a business problem you’ve been stuck on. Different networking methods include talking with attendees while you’re sitting waiting for a session to begin, attending networking events, or sitting with peers at lunch. Make sure to bring your business cards with you, and make a networking goal. It could be to swap cards with 4 peers, or to find a solution to a business issue.

Pick three topics to take away

Learning this much in such a short time frame can be overwhelming. Your best bet is to look at the conference agenda a couple of days before, and start picking each session you want to attend for each time slot. Some conferences actually require this because sessions book up so quickly.

Attend the sessions you feel you will get the most out of. Your choices should be a mix of new topics to learn, challenging topics for skills you may need to strengthen, and topics you may be knowledgeable on but want to make sure nothing has changed.

As you complete your schedule there will be sessions that stand out to you as important. Pick three learnings that you want to take away and implement when you get back to work. This will ensure you get your money’s worth, and expand your skills by putting your new learnings to the test.

Speak to vendors

It’s important to spend some time walking through the exhibit area. You may come into the experience thinking you don’t need anything new at your business, or that what you need doesn’t exist. But vendors at conferences vary from marketing communications softwares to banks offering small business loans, and it’s important to know what new technologies and products are out there. Stay up-to-date with solutions in your industry so you’re in full control of the possibilities for your small business. You may even be able to offer a suggestion to a peer when they are in need of a solution.

The most important thing is to be open. Immerse yourself into the conference experience and you’ll be surprised how much you can take away from it!

3 Ways to Modernize Your Practice and Become More Efficient

Patient Experience - Modernizing Medical Practice

More and more we are hearing about the importance of a positive patient experience. Patient behaviors are increasingly influenced by technology, so their expectations from their providers are changing. If you haven’t implemented technology into your patient experience yet, here are 3 ways to modernize your medical practice.

1. Discreet appointment confirmations

Although your patients may appreciate the courtesy ‘appointment confirmation’ phone call your front office makes every month, they may not always be able to answer and speak to someone at that very moment. Your office hours are most likely the same hours as your patients’ work schedule. But if you introduce more technology solutions into your practice you can offer your patients the option – voice, text or email confirmations. Which do they prefer?

You can also explain how each confirmation works, as none of the options require speaking to a representative at your practice. The patient simply needs to dial a single number to confirm, or respond to the text message. With a sophisticated communications software, your staff will receive these confirmations in real-time and will be able to easily transfer them to your management system.

2. Missed appointment reminders

You can send a reminder the day of a patient’s appointment, but life happens. Sometimes days get too busy and patients may still forget. What’s important in this situation is to remind that patient to reschedule their missed appointment. This is critical in whether or not this person becomes a lost patient, which is not good for their health or your business.

The most efficient way to send this reminder is via email. Include a ‘Request Appointment’ button within the email so the patient can get back on your schedule easily, and during a time that’s convenient for them.

3. Appointment opportunities when booked

Most patients understand that they may not be able to make an appointment on short notice. However, if your front office is organized, you could add them to your Hot List. A Hot List is a list of patients who have requested an appointment, but the date and time they requested is not available. This comes in handy if there is a cancellation, and is most efficient when tracked digitally. Your staff can access this list at any time, and contact the patient with a pending appointment via email or text with just a couple of clicks. This accommodates your patient’s schedule and helps you reduce no-shows.

 

Implementing technology into your patient experience is the most efficient way to make it positive, and keep them coming back. The idea is to make visiting their doctor as simple as possible, while still communicating in a way that isn’t time consuming for you and your staff. Learn about other digital solutions that can help modernize your practice at www.demandforce.com.

National Doctor’s Day: Appreciating our Doctors

National Doctor Day- Appreciating Doctors

March 30th represents National Doctor’s Day, a holiday declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 as a day to recognize the hard work and dedication physicians provide us everyday. Proclamation 6253 by the 41st President was written in the spirit of recognition:

“All those Americans who serve as licensed physicians have engaged in years of study and training, often at great financial cost. Most endure long and unpredictable hours, and many must cope with the conflicting demands of work and family life.”

Ways to recognize your physician

Whether they are your co-worker, boss or primary care doctor, this is a great time to give a token of your appreciation. Here are some ideas:

  • Send a thank you card

The art of a hand-written note will never get old. Write your doctor a special message and have family members sign as well if they also see this physician.

  • Order custom balloons

There’s no better way to mark a celebration than with big, bright red balloons. The Southern Medical Association makes these balloons just for the occasion.

  • Have red carnations delivered

The red carnation is the official flower for Doctor’s Day. Send those to your favorite physicians and be sure to include a special note.

  • Gift them a special pen

Doctors write prescriptions everyday, so gifting them a custom pen would go to good use. Monogram it with their full name or initials to really make it personal.

 

National Doctor’s Day is a great day to not just recognize their hard work and long hours, but also the service they have provided to our personal health. A special Thank You from the Demandforce family to all of the doctors and physicians who have made an impact in our lives!

 

Tax changes your small business can’t ignore

Tax Changes Your Small Business Can't Ignore

This year the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 should be top-of-mind for small business owners.

There were changes to both tax and pass-through deductions that may affect the daily decisions you make as a business owner. The good news is none of your standard deductions were taken away – only slight updates were made to two of the many. The iffy news is on the 20% pass-through deduction – it’s great to have, but who qualifies?

Let’s get into it.

Tax Deduction Updates

Meals and entertainment

  • Entertaining clients or employees is no longer a deductible expense. The meals you purchase when entertaining are still covered, but those tickets to Hamilton are coming out of your pocket. It’s probably best to keep client or employee engagement to dining experiences only.

Business automobiles

  • If you own or lease a business automobile, or was planning on doing so, the deductible just increased. With the new tax plan, you can deduct $18,000 the first year you own a new car. If your business needs a truck or SUV, the vehicle is 100% deductible. Now is the time to get that business car, and make sure to negotiate to start off with a great price.

The Pass-Through Deduction

What does it mean?

  • A pass-through business is one where tax laws ignore the separate existence of the business itself, and allows any income, deductions, credits or other provisions to pass directly through the owner instead. This doesn’t include most corporations, but does include limited liability companies, partnerships and sole proprietors.

Now if your business is a pass-through entity, the new tax law is implying that you can deduct 20%, or one fifth, of your qualified business income until it expires in 2025. To be clear, as you’ll find the law currently is not, qualified business income is the net amount (or taxable amount) of income, gain, deduction, and loss that is tied to your operating business.

What businesses/industries qualify?

  • This is the biggest question that many, including tax professionals, have raised. The stipulation on exactly what type of services are excluded from the deduction is very narrow:

Health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting athletics, financial services, brokerage services, or any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of 1 or more of its employees.

The specific exclusion of the principal asset of the business being a skill of 1 or more employees is really what has America’s small businesses up in arms. Because of this – the American Institute of CPAs has written a letter to the IRS asking for immediate guidance on the entire pass-through deduction. According to the LA Times, the IRS plans on providing guidelines by June 2018.

While you wait, it’s recommended you make an appointment with a tax adviser for a date after the guideline has been provided. It’s an important time to learn what can and cannot be considered tax deductible for your business.

Blog sources:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pass-through-tax-deduction-20180312-story.html

https://www.fool.com/taxes/2018/01/03/can-you-win-from-the-pass-through-deduction.aspx

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/309096

Implementing Your Online Reputation Strategy

Implementing your online reputation strategy

In the first part of this series, Getting Started: Taking Control of your Online Reputation, we kick off where to begin when building and monitoring your online presence. Now that you have your reputation marketing plan mapped out, here are some tools to help you implement your strategy.

1. Claim your business listings and social pages

Customers are searching you online for two reasons: to get your contact information, and to see what other people are saying.

There are some top sites for business listings depending on your industry. Review the ones that show up on the first page of your search and make sure your contact information is correct. If there are other important sites you know as a professional that your business should be listed on – add it! No stone should go unturned.

When it comes to what people are saying about their experience with you, managing your reputation is huge. First, claim your business on Yelp and Google.

If your business doesn’t show up – create your profile! Add your logo and put up some pictures of the inside and outside of your business. It wouldn’t hurt to have a picture of the team either. Customers like to see what they are walking into – it gives them a sense of familiarity.

2. Listen to what your customers are saying

After you’ve claimed your online presence, read any existing customer reviews. Were the reviews accurate to your product or customer service? Are they pointing out areas that you need to improve? It may be hard to read opinions or experiences that aren’t sugar coated, but use it as helpful feedback. It could be really beneficial to your business, and could start bringing in more 4 or 5 star reviews instead of 3 or less.

If there are a couple of unhappy customers that you feel you can help, respond to the reviews and offer them a solution. Thank the customer for their feedback, explain your process and why that may have happened, and possibly offer a solution. But it’s important to know that once you start review management you have to commit to it. Customers will begin to expect a response from you – even the happy ones!

Do online reviews still make you a little nervous? Here is the secret to online reviews.

3. Create targeted messaging for happy customers

Happy customers can be gold for your online reputation. There are a lot of different ways to encourage customers to leave you reviews. Your front desk employees can encourage it verbally at the end of a service, or you can have them send automated texts or emails if you use a marketing software. These messages are normally triggered after an appointment, and if you use a reputation management software, the reviews will be sent straight to Google. And all your staff had to do was click a button!

 

 

 

 

Getting Started: Take Control of your Online Reputation

Getting started with online reputation strategy

What exactly does online reputation mean to your small business?

Think about when you first put up your ‘Open’ sign. Potential patients or clients drove by and considered stopping in, and friends and family showed their support by bringing you business to start you off. Your business’ presence in the community was building – but when attracted customers wanted to learn more, they searched the internet and found an old business listed under your address. Or worse – they found one negative review and nothing else. Now your online reputation is working against you and your new presence in the community.

Taking control of your online reputation may seem overwhelming, so we’ve gathered some tips on where you should get started.

1.  Run a search on Google and Bing

The best place to start is running a simple search on the main search engines. Search your business name alone, and with other important terms like ‘reviews,’ ‘pricing,’ and ‘customer service.’

Right off the bat you’ll get a pulse for what customers are – or are not – saying about your business. You’ll also be able to see where your company website lands in the search engine results. Hopefully it’s the first!

2.  Is the look of your brand consistent?

Your brand’s color palette helps people know they are in the right place. Just like when you order a soda and you are handed a red cup with white lettering – you know right away you’re drinking a Coca-Cola. Make sure you’re seeing consistent colors and logos on your website, social media channels, and business listings. Your brand is a huge support to your online presence, and really acts as the face of your company.

3.  Set reputation goals you want to accomplish

A great way to not be overwhelmed with managing your online reputation is by setting some attainable goals. This will also help you measure your success. Maybe you want to increase the amount of positive reviews you get online to three a month. Pick a review site and detail a plan on how you want to accomplish that. Our Choice Plus package is a great tool to help you set goals. The online reputation dashboard gives you a view into your competitors online presence, your business listings on top sites, and all of your customer reviews in one place.

Be sure to include your employees in these goals so everyone knows what the company is trying to achieve, and consider rewarding them when the goal is met. Taking control of your online reputation should be an enlightening and rewarding experience for the whole team!

Stay tuned for part two of this blog for a roadmap on how to implement your online reputation goals.