Customer Insight 2014

Building a Truly Customer-Centric Approach

This brand new, must attend conference goes beyond the question of data, showcasing the opportunities, information and strategies to inform a comprehensive customer-centric strategy for your business. Providing unrivalled knowledge and expertise from industry leaders, revealing cutting edge research analysis, this event will provide an exciting forum to debate the future of consumer identity and it’s role in shaping the future of retail. 

In a time of tumultuous change, a dwindling economy and dynamic technological advancements, retailers are continuing to face a number of significant challenges. Using customer insight to build a competitive advantage is entirely necessary, but the question remains: how do you turn data into actionable insight?


Assessing the impact of the digital environment on consumer behaviour and highlighting examples of innovative best practice on generating consumer insight into customer needs and desires.

Understand consumers’ motivation to spend and how to redefine your marketing strategy utilising behavioural data

Retailer case studies and discussion will draw on recent experience and successes in relation to leveraging customer data analysis to deliver improved customer experience

What is more important and how this decision can make a significant impact on your future strategy?

Why understanding your customer is key and knowing what needs to be in place for them

What Makes A Great Car Insurance Company

delorian carIf you own a car, the Richmond and Henrico VA auto insurance law requires you to have a policy which meets the minimum liability requirements set out by law. However, you should not buy an auto policy just to meet the legal requirement. After all, car insurance protects you as the car owner. In fact, you want a policy offering liability protection above the legal limit for better protection on the roads. If you are involved in an auto accident, your auto insurance policy will cover every cost associated with the resulting damage to property and injuries. Having the right auto insurance policy, like Insurance Doctor, will ensure you are fully protected against all the risks you may face as a car owner. What is more important, however, is finding the right insurer.

Finding the Best Auto Insurer


car and handsAfter paying your auto insurance premiums without default, you expect the insurer to honor their end of the deal and settle claims without delays. For this reason, the most important factor to consider when choosing an insurer is their financing standing. You can look at balance sheets, income statements and financial reports, but that will tell you very little if you do not have a finance or accounting background. Ideally, you should consider the rating offered by reputable organizations, such as Fitch, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s among others. These ratings are usually an accurate representation of the credit worthiness and financial standing of an organization. Be sure to choose a highly-rated insurance firm to have peace of mind that the company will not close shop or refuse to pay a large claim.

Top rated insurance companies are not always the best. Some of them are known for their frequent neglect of small clients and delays in processing claims. Therefore, you should give more weight to reputation over ratings. Read reviews and talk to friends, relatives and neighbors about their auto insurer. You can make a shortlist from the names you get and start narrowing down the search from there. Reputable insurers, even if they are small, always manage to meet customer expectations.

The best car insurance company in Richmond VA must have an untainted past characterized by ability to meet customer expectations, speedy processing of claims, few lawsuits and a sound financial standing. By looking at the history and track record of auto insurers, you can easily identify the best firm and purchase a suitable auto policy.

Since there are hundreds of car insurance companies in any given city, the average person can easily find one that meets all their requirements in terms of insurance coverage. The following are some of the things to watch out for when purchasing an auto policy:

  1. Premiums: This in an indirect measure of risk you pose to the insurance firm. The higher the risk, the higher your premiums. Be sure to ask for a quote from all the auto insurers on your shortlist and compare them. Insurers with the lowest premiums should be given preference, but the liability coverage limits must also be checked.
  2. Liability Coverage Limits: Before you take out a car insurance policy, make sure the coverage limits exceed the minimum required by law. Be sure to check the liability coverage limit per accident as well as the limit per person. Remember to also compare the property damage liability coverage limit offered by different firms at a given price.
  3. Discounts: As mentioned earlier, insurance premiums are a reflection of the risk carried by the insurer. If you have a clean driving record, live in a safe neighborhood and drive a car that is fitted with state of the art security features, you can get a huge discount. The right insurer should therefore offer different types of discounts to eligible policyholders.

The Challenges Faced by Franchisees

franchiseWhen the economy is struggling, franchising often grows in popularity, as industrious people turn to tested principles to pursue their ambitions – while minimizing the risk to their capital. Nonetheless, all entrepreneurs will tell you that franchise opportunities are far from a license to print money. Here are some of the more common obstacles you are likely to encounter if you decide to follow this business model:

Unrealistic Expectations

Many people have unrealistic expectations about the profits they can make. Generally, once people start running a franchise operation, they find that it is more difficult than they thought. Lots of people purchase a franchise in the hope that it will quickly turn a profit – citing the growth of other sister companies. However, investing in a franchise opportunity is no different than any other form of speculative investment. It demands considerable time and effort before any success is achieved.

Minimal Flexibility

Franchisees often complain that the business venture stunts their creativity. Entrepreneurs tend to be creative souls, so this is a major sticking point for some. Franchisees are given standard tools and processes that they must comply with, so there can be less leeway for trying innovative, groundbreaking methods or ideas.


The risks associated with owning a franchise are problematic for many people. Although the risks might be lower than running a traditional business, they still exist. The product you are selling might be excellent, but this does not guarantee your success. Nor does it necessarily protect your business from outside threats, like new competitors or an economic downturn. You may find that a competitor appears, who can adapt better to the evolving needs of the market. Another risk faced by both franchisees and franchisors is brand devaluation. If the brand receives some bad PR, it will substantially reduce the advantages of running a related franchise.

Expensesfranchise expenses

Franchises are fairly expensive. All franchises for sale have to be bought with cash up front. Funds are also needed for the recurring license fees usually associated with revenue. Moreover, franchisors will typically control the training, equipment, suppliers, and in many cases, the rent as well. Because franchisors determine most of the operator’s overheads and there are no competitors to push prices down, franchisees tend to be left with modest profit margins.

To deal with these challenges, franchisees should base their business decisions on the brand’s requirements. Tactics that may be effective for a clothing store might not be so good for a fast food outlet, for example. While your brand is bound to have some public recognition, you will still have to boost your visibility with your local customers because of other similar businesses already in existence. The relevant issues here mainly center on your personal advertising methods and tactics.

Just like the difficulties you will encounter with increasing your visibility, you also have to set up an effective channel of communication where clients or customers can get in touch with you. This is especially true if you run a service-oriented business. When considering what kind of business to purchase, you should carefully assess the franchises for sale in your area. By doing this, you will identify scope for future growth. Ultimately, it is vital to understand that obstacles are unavoidable – however, you can develop the ability to deal with them over time if you learn from your own mistakes.

Take Care of Your Buyers

The Importance of Customer Service

When it comes to successfully selling a product, it obviously takes some sales skills, the right marketing, and a functional and valuable final design. But with mass manufacturing, it’s almost impossible to guarantee a quality product every time. That’s why it’s important to treat your customers well and handle issues quickly and with ease. Customer experience is the top priority, and part of their experience with any product is the way that you sell it to them and how you handle inquiries and problems beyond the sale.

One example of a company who got it right is Cobb Technologies. They do more than offer the top brands of office equipment around Virginia. They also sell their support team who will repair products and even help you implement their software into your company’s business structure. Furthermore, Cobb Tech started an IT consulting branch that focuses on a broader range of technical services. Here is how we recommend you stay ahead of the curve:

Make Yourself Available

Making yourself available to the customer means putting your support number out in the open for everyone to find. Have it on the home or “Contact us” page of your website, and also include the number on your social media channels and marketing materials. It’s also important to make sure that your hours are convenient to customers. No one is more irritable than the customer that had to step outside and make a phone call in the middle of their work day because you were closed outside of regular office hours. Most people would prefer to make calls or come to your place of business in the morning, during lunch, or after their work day is complete.

Have Guarantees and Warranties in Place

Make it easy to give dissatisfied customers their money back or a free repair by having a solid set of rules in place. If an angry customer calls and has to argue with an associate for 10 minutes to get a refund, you bet they will still be angry after you hang up.

Take a Caring Approach

Don’t be the cashier who rolls her eyes and sounds annoyed when taking your order. Talk to the customer calmly, answer their questions thoroughly, and keep a positive attitude. If they feel like chatting, engage in some small talk. If they simply want an explanation or answer, make sure you give them all of the information that they need so they will not have to call back or come in for another visit.

Always remember to stay positive when handling customer issues, and don’t get hung up on the little things. There will always be irritable buyers or those who are trying to scam you to get their money back. Let’s just try to get enough positive feedback to balance that out!

What are Home Warranties and Why Do I Need One?

If you are a current home owner you have probably come across a home warranty proposal before. However, for those that are unfamiliar and new to the home owner’s scene, a home warranty protects a home’s systems and/or your appliances if in the case where one of them should fail on you. They cover the sometimes expensive costs of appliance replacements and repairs that normal wear and tear can leave you with. Before a home protection plan is put into play, all the systems and appliances must be examined to make sure they are in working order. When preparing the coverage contract, it is important to review what is and isn’t business shakecovered so there is no confusion later down the road. There are different levels of optimal and premium plans that cover different things. Choose the one that best fits your situation.

With the ever increasing cost of replacement and repair it is important that you choose the home appliance warranty that is right for you. There are many home warranty companies out there so make sure to find one that holds great reviews with satisfied customer comments. Look deep! The best home warranty companies aren’t always ranked #1. The top home appliance insurance companies out there usually have a large network of service technicians to choose from. This makes it quick and easy to get your appliances and systems fixed. Knowledgeable customer service is also a plus with these organizations because they further help with the efficiency of their services.

Some of these options offered are intended to benefit our environment by providing eco-friendly choices. Some of these home protection warranties will replace all of your covered appliances with more energy efficient Energy Star Products. These will also allow you to see a large drop on your current energy bill which would bring a smile to anyone’s face.

These protection plans are also great for reducing your mental stress. Knowing that you don’t have to worry about fixing any systems or appliances in your home can really relieve any tensions. You can save that money for other home improvement projects, other investments, or maybe just to go have a night out on the town. With all these wonderful reasons to incorporate a home appliance warranty into your budget, I can’t see why you wouldn’t buy one.

Marketing in the Service Industry

Making the Intangible Seem Tangible

When it comes to selling a service to consumers, there is always a challenge of making the service seem more product-like and tangible. Customers are usually cautious to put their trust in something that they cannot physically see or touch before they buy. We recommend these methods to making your service something that potential customers will feel comfortable purchasing.


Guaranteed satisfaction means that a customer can feel more relaxed that if something goes wrong, they can get their money back. However, a business who guarantees theirs services also appears as providing high quality. If they were frequently performing extra free work or were constantly refunding customers’ money, a company wouldn’t be in business. An organization that is confident enough to guarantee or warranty work is one that consumers will trust.


Offering packages also makes services seem more tangible. For instance, a landscaper who offers a summer package of weekly watering, weekly mowing, and monthly weeding is setting a clear expectation and picture of what customers will receive from a purchase. Having the option of different bundles also makes it faster and easier for people to decide what they would like to purchase and what price point they are comfortable with.

Online Presence

Before investing in your company’s services, people are going to look online to find reviews, pictures, and other tools to qualify your business. These are the most important elements of your business’s online brand image:

  • Website: An easy-to-use, modern-looking website is another way to show customers that you care about their experience and are using the latest practices. Many people assume that a company with an outdated website is less likely to be up to speed with the latest practices.
  • Reviews: This Seniors Helping Seniors in West Los Angeles has a testimonial page on their website to display examples of people who were pleased with the service. Google+ and Yelp reviews are two other ways to build trust in your company with a positive brand image.
  • Pictures: Having before and after pictures on your website is another way of showing consumers the great work your business does. A dentist who shows before and after pictures of bleaching, for instance, allows a researcher to picture their own teeth looking the same and feel more confident choosing this particular office.

Each of these methods are great ways to start making your business appear more trustworthy, up-to-date, and caring of customers. Show off your quality product with a great website, stellar reviews, a warranty, and plenty of packages for a customer to choose from.

How Document Management Can Help Your Business

When it comes to your office space, there are plenty of ways to save money. One of the top trends lots of companies are trying is going paperless. This means avoiding printing at all costs and storing files electronically. Is your office ready for this type of system? If not, your company may benefit from a document management system or some sort of software that will allow you to store and organize items more efficiently and help you reduce your paper use to ultimately eliminate it all together.

The Benefits of Using a Document Management System:

  • Keep your employees happy. No one likes sorting through paper all day, trying to find an order from 2 years ago. It can be nearly impossible to find and take much longer than necessary. A document management system sorts files in a way that makes sense and allows people to search for what they need with queries. This cuts down on time and makes things easier for people retrieving the data.
  • Better collaboration. Many document management systems organize data by cross-departmentally and allow people from different departments to see the changes or status of a project. Keeping track of workflow and edits makes it easier for everyone to understand the stages of a specific project.
  • Go green. Less paper puts your business in a better light, and it could make you feel better about helping the environment! Save trees by using less paper than ever before, and take advantage of customers’ appreciation for the “going green” trend.

Overall, using these systems helps you save time, which ultimately saves you money. If you aren’t sure which system will work best for you or where to begin, choose a company that will both advise, sell, and provide support for the system. For instance, Cobb Technologies helps you find the best document management system for your business, will help you implement it, and are there for further assistance beyond the initial stages.

Entering a New Market

Have you ever considered opening your own business? Getting in the mind of the consumer is a great place to start. As a consumer of certain products- what would you change? Maybe you are tired of toothpastes’ minty taste and want to make a line of toothpaste with unique flavors. There are plenty of other factors that come into play when thinking about developing a new product.

store productsFirst of all, avoid the common mistake of starting a business that is already popular. Many people immediately decide they want to open a restaurant, clothing store, or cupcake shop. Did you know that restaurants have the highest turnover rate out of any other industry? Think about how many restaurants around you have closed in the past year. Instead, look for a niche market. For instance, Method cleaning products are high-end organic agents that use a chic packaging. These cleaners appeal to people who are willing to spend extra money for a product that appears to work more efficiently.

Next, if you happen to stay in a high competition industry, make sure that your product is unique. For instance, Seniors Helping Seniors found an original approach to senior home care. This franchise allows those in need of a little help to keep their independence by staying in their own homes. Aids drop in daily, weekly, monthly- or however often a senior would like to receive help. Furthermore, the actual care providers are other seniors. This creates friendships in the senior community and is a great way for active older folks to make some extra money.

If you want to start a business in a competitive industry, it may also be wise to consider franchising. Having the national brand name recognition, the support of corporate, and a business plan laid out for you is a great balance. Independently make decisions about local marketing, hiring talent, and more. These businesses are also easy to start quickly with predetermined operational processes.

Starting a new business is an extremely risky encounter and a huge investment. Make sure you do all of industry research, financial projections, and networking necessary to accomplish this goal.

Being Frugal Even With Home Repairs

saving money by living frugalI’m a pretty frugal guy in a lot of ways. I would much rather cook a cheap and healthy meal at home than go out and pay for service or overpriced drinks and pocket the extra cash any day of the week. In fact I have quite a few different money saving strategies I use all the time, some of which are more inconvenient than others. For instance, I ride my bike to work every day because it saves wear and tear on my car and I don’t have to use any gas to get there (not to mention I can skip the gym at the end of the day). When you are used to living like this, I don’t see how anyone could want to live any other way.

Another thing I like to do is buy thing used whenever possible, after all one man’s trash is a way for me to save a buck. So when I moved and had to buy a refrigerator a few years back of course I looked around for an extremely cheap used option. I figured as long as it kept things cold and was not moldy that was all I needed. Unfortunately, I have had more than a few different issues with this used fridge over the past few years, and similarly have had issues with my oven and washing machine. I’m pretty sure they were all name brand and purchased by sears or another big appliance store but not by me and this was probably years and years ago so there was no way they were under any type of warranty anymore.

I’ve looked into buying a different used appliance whenever one breaks, and often wondered if I would save more money in the long run if I just broke down and purchased a new one but have found Mr. Appliance of Houston an appliance repair service local to my area to be very reliable. They can almost always fix the problem the same day I make the in-home appointment because they keep almost every appliance part imaginable right in their truck. It makes me envious I can’t make the repair myself to save another buck but I can’t complain about how much they charge either.

Living the frugal live is not for everyone, many people prefer to drive their SUV’s to work, go out an enjoy the fruits of their labor by going out frequently, and buying new things whenever they have a spare buck or can get a loan. If this is how you usually are and are trying to save money I would recommend trying at least one of my money saving tips.

Advantages of a Professional Search Engine Marketing Company

online marketing word cloudManaging online advertising well for your business is one of the most important things you can do these days in a world where everybody is online. Of online marketing has the highest return on investment of any type of advertising that’s available. That’s because instead of for your advertisement in front of people who are checking their mail, trying to watch television, or listening to the radio as in the case with direct mail marketing, TV commercials, or radio advertising you are only getting a message to people actively looking for the products, services, or information that you have. This is extremely powerful, and your business cannot afford to the unseen the potential customers are looking for you.

This is why having a search engine marketing company if then is the best ways to advertise online for your business is critical. This can be the difference between breaking even and having a hugely successful year for your business. The first is step of course is to make sure her company has a web site, that having a web site is not enough. Without the right ways to promote your site it’s like a ghost town on and the Internet that nobody knows about. This is the struggle that many business owners go through and understand its way they’re not getting business through their online presence.

online advertising stept

Difference Between Search Engine and Traditional Marketing

If an online marketing company can get your website in front of the people who are looking for the exact products and services that you have to offer. They do this primarily through get to your site listed on popular web sites, directories, and search engines across the web. The two most powerful and most common types of online advertising are search engine optimization, and pay per click advertising. SEO for short, search engine optimization get your website ranked on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo or customers are actively searching millions of times every day for products and services. This is done through a process of making sure your website is seen by the search engines as highly relevant for search terms people use to look for companies like yours.

Pay Per Click or PPC advertising is similar except, you spend money with the search engines to show an ad for your website alongside the search results. While very necessary, these processes are also complicated to master. Experts in the industry are constantly adjusting their techniques, split testing, and reacting to the many changes from search engine updates. Because of this, it’s usually necessary to hire a professional online marketing service. Otherwise you will most likely never see organic and rankings for your website that meets its potential or be able to optimize a pay per click campaign so that it’s profitable.

Courteous Service And A Clean Home

Why Professional Carpet Cleaning Consumers Should Value High Quality Customer Service

carpet cleaning technician showing quality customer service skillsWell any skilled professional carpet cleaner can remove the stain from your carpets or rugs, there’s a lot more to being a true professional than simply removing stains. With many service industries forgetting about the service aspect of their job, it’s always refreshing to see a business who didn’t forget about how far a little bit of courteous goes went on the job. That’s why I wanted to share my experience with these carpet and rug cleaning professionals, A local home and carpet cleaning Business near my hometown of Chesapeake Virginia.

What sets green dog park from other carpet cleaning companies is their process and attention to detail. First of all they wear a uniform and arrive in a branded truck so you know who is pulling up to your house and knocking on your door. When they came inside they were very friendly and were very careful about moving some of my furniture out of the way so they could get to every spot that needed to be cleaned.

I noticed they went over each area multiple times with the cleaning machines that were mounted to the trucks. When I asked him about this the carpets after chemdrytechnicians let me know they were able to get a lot more cleaning power for the truck-mounted system, something many other carpet cleaning companies are not utilizing. This, and the care in which they went about their work made me feel like I was definitely getting my money’s worth from their service.

So while some people might disagree about what’s really important when having something as simple as getting your carpets cleaned, I think that friendly service and attention to detail is almost as essential as the work being performed. That said, when Chem-Dry left my home I could not find one spot that was left, and there were many when they arrived. I’m very pleased with the service I got and if there is a location in your area check them out and hopefully your local chem-dry does us high-quality work as mine.

The Struggles of Finding the Right Auto Repair Shop

Consumer Car Repair Advice

I have lived in the same city for four years now and only recently found a reliable auto repair shop, the one I trust now is called arrow transmissions & automotive repair. For some reason, companies in the car repair industry can vary a lot in price, quality, and the services they perform. I’ve had quite a few different struggles over the last few years because unfortunately my car has not been very reliable. Here are some of the problems I have had while trying to find a mechanic to work on my car.

First, some auto shops only work on certain makes and models or have a specialty and perform subpar work on other brands and makes that they are less familiar with.

Second, some of the smaller shops can be very reliable. Their hourly rates are either high, they never seem to have the right part, or the quality of work varies a lot depending on who is working on your car each time you bring it in.

mechanic working on fixing a carWorking with the dealership can be a struggle to especially if your warranty has run out and that wasn’t the store you originally bought your car from. When this is the case, service of these places can be pretty expensive and I have found they want to hold your car for days while they get around to doing the work even if it’s something relatively simple like fixing or replacing the brakes.

There are also specially shops who only do oil changes, mufflers, electrical work, or body damage repair. Sometimes these companies are not the best at describing what they do and don’t do on their websites. This can be frustrating when you try to drop your car off only to find they do not perform the work you need to be done on your vehicle.

I have also had a friend or two try their luck at fixing my car when it breaks down or need some routine maintenance. And unfortunately, things have not always turned out so great when I trust friend with my automobile. When they break something else in addition to not fixing the original problem I have nowhere to turn and can’t get mad at them because they were doing the work for free or very low-cost.

One of the biggest recommendations I can make so you don’t go through the same three-year struggle with finding a reasonable quality car repair business is to do your research before your car breaks down and you’re forced to take your car to the first shop that will take it. This is why I have been to so many different service and repair shops over the years when I could’ve been taking into one reliable place the entire time.