Wednesday Webs: Empowering the People

City of Toronto Archives, public domain

In the old days entrepreneurs were at the mercy of banks or venture capitalists for financing their innovative ideas. Nowadays crowdfunding provides resources at the grassroots level. It’s a “teamwork makes the dream work” approach that offers even the little guy an opportunity for success.

Maybe you too have a dream?

  • Likened to an old-fashioned barn raising, crowdfunding is successful when recipients work hard and give back in return. This restaurant owner offered free meals.
  • A creative print and design business became reality with the help of Kickstarter, the largest of crowdfunding communities.
  • Crowdfunding is also for non-profits. StartSomeGood, who actually prefers the term peerfunding, connects social entrepreneurs with people who want to help.
  • Kiva helps under-served and poor people around the world. Just a $25 loan empowers people to create a better life for themselves.
  • A top ten list of crowdfunding websites.

 

3 Ways to Grow Customer Satisfaction

how to grow customer satisfaction

For the past month I’ve been updating Chris Kirsch’s website. She needed a few tweeks (more on that later) and because she was having problems with her host provider, she wanted to switch companies.

Switch companies? No problem.

How wrong I was.

I won’t bore you with the technical minutiae of how a job that normally takes days dragged on to become weeks. But I will say it involved three different companies and each of them proved you can either grow customer satisfaction or you can kill it.

Personally, I’d like to grow it, because that’s the best way to grow a business. Duh.

1. Make it easy to be your customer

Chris found getting tech support from her former host provider was next to impossible. You know the routine— long wait times on the phone, then outsourcing to a foreign country. When she decided to change companies, they would only receive her request via FAX. (Who uses FAX machines nowadays?)

Both Chris and I found getting tech support from her new company was better because it was prompt. Yet, they only offer service via their own support page or an online chat. Sometimes, you just need the immediate back and forth of talking on the telephone. Plus—and this is important—people like to be treated like a person, not a piece of technology.

In the transferring process, I needed to involve my internet provider (strange, I know…don’t ask). They are Netwurx Internet and their customer service came through the best. I could email them. I could call them. I could even ask for service reps by name because I know who they are — I’ve actually been in their office and met them. They’re a local company based out of Hartford, WI, and no, I’m not affiliated with them.

So, what can I do to make it easier for you, my Adunate customers?

2. Take responsibility (even when it’s not yours)

When problems arose in the transfer of Chris’ website, the first thing all three companies did is blame us, the users. Then they blamed each other. This is a common complaint against most technology companies.

Recognizably so, problems often do lie with the customer. I can see that in the tech industry. I see it in my own. You probably see it in yours. However, when customers call with a problem, they feel frustrated and they’re looking for help. The last thing they want is to be interrupted with an automatic “It’s not us, it’s you.”

It would be so much more reassuring if customers could hear: “Hmmm, looks like together we’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed. Let’s see what we can do together to fix it.”

I’ve resolved to listen more, talk less. I’d like to be a problem solver for my clients, even if the problem is not my own, or of my doing.

3. Care about your customer. Show it.

When Chris told her former host provider she was canceling her account, not only was the service rep rude and made the process difficult, he also didn’t seem to care. As Chris wondered, wouldn’t a company at least want to know why its customer was dissatisfied? (By the way, Chris is the epitome of grace and civility. That service rep had no reason to speak to her in a rude manner.)

Contrast this with my internet provider:

Chris is not a Netwurx customer. Nor did she transfer her hosting to them. Yet when I, as Chris’ webmaster, was having problems connecting to her new site from my internet, Netwurx cared enough to stick with the problem and find a solution. They went out of their way. Not only am I impressed, Chris is too.

A good company shows that they care about its customers. And a smart company shows they care about potential customers as well.

I want Adunate to do both.


As a web designer, I’m often asked about web host companies. Online, I hesitate to recommend one over another. However, here is Web Hosting Geeks’ top ten list, or you can google “rate web hosting” for additional helpful information. 


 

 

Wednesday Webs 4-18-12

old typewriters

How many of you grew up writing on typewriters? I did. So when I recently saw these on display, I didn’t know what was more alarming—that they were in an antique shop or that they were surely priced higher than they originally cost.

Ah, typewriters. Weren’t those the days? (Not really. The delete key is much easier than white out tape.)

But as long as we’re on the subject of writing, here are a few sites:

  • Writing persuasive copy is an art: Here are 58 easy-reading elements.
  • “Your” vs “you’re” has become epidemic. We need to address this.
  • Should writing term papers be replaced with writing blogs?
  • Churches can learn a little something about writing too.
  • Visuwords: So much more fun than a thesaurus.

 

To QR or to Not CR (Code, that is)

 

QR code for law firm brochure, photo by Adunate When my client and I planned this brochure, one of our points of discussion was whether or not to use a QR code. QR (Quick Response) codes are those white squares of digital design that when scanned with a smart phone miraculously takes users to any number of data types. You see them everywhere, but it’s debatable whether people are really using them.

Actually the codes are pretty fascinating. They hold a huge amount of data—the detail of the design is determined by the amount of data—and they can be used to direct people to things like phone numbers, email messages, maps and locations, websites, YouTube videos, and so much more. Best of all, they’re easy and free to make with apps like QR Stuff or MyQR.

So, even though some speculators like this Mashable.com writer feel QR codes won’t last, we decided to go ahead with it. Here’s why.

My client, an attorney with Neuberger, Wakeman, Lorenz, Griggs & Sweet, wanted a brochure that would bring a personal touch to to their law firm. She also pointed out the legal industry is sometimes slow to adapt the latest technological trends.

True, a QR code is far from personal. And maybe people won’t even use it. But in this case, it represents a helpful service the law firm offers their clients—an easier, up-to-date way of accessing information. It also reinforces the message that Neuberger, Wakeman, Lorenz, Griggs and Sweet is prevalent both in technology and in law.

This QR code is working, even if not the way it was originally intended to.

Wednesday Webs 4-11-12

Little Free Library

It’s National Library Week! Celebrate by checking out your local library. Read a book. Use free online programs. Check out eBooks. Go for it!

  • Libraries are a necessity in hard economic times.
  • Is America’s free access to information in danger?
  • The free database information that libraries offer is amazing—here’s the list from my little ol’ Watertown.
  • A few months ago I wrote about Little Free Libraries. The one above is on Ludington Ave., in Madison.