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Customer Support Forums Can Save Money and Increase Customer Loyalty

Technical support of your company’s products or services can be expensive. There are several ways to cut tech support costs while improving service.

The first thing to do is make sure your product or service is easy to use and well documented. What seems obvious to you and others in your specialty may be confusing to even very intelligent and well-educated customers—especially if they are busy, tired, and distracted.

If you have help information on line (and you should!), make sure it is clear, easy and comprehensive. Get professional advice. We can help with that.

Once you have optimized your product, documentation, and online help, take a clear look at your support staff. Are they expert, friendly and patient? Or are they superior, dismissive or overworked?

Is tech support their main job, or just another task added to their workload? Try a few fake calls to test them with real-life user cases. Put yourself in the place of the customer.

Once you have done all that, consider starting an online customer support forum. Some products and services require them, especially complex products such as software or web hosting. This is not a substitute for a well-designed product, good user guides, and dedicated tech support staff; it’s a way to supplement them.

With an online support forum, one support representative can monitor many more customer questions. Best of all, customers can help each other. That creates a customer community that reflects well on you and increases customer loyalty.

Knowledgeable tech support and/or customer service people must regularly moderate the forum, of course.

We can design and set up the forum for you. We can also do the hosting, maintenance and upgrades to keep it running if you prefer. Or we can build it on your hosting and then show your people how to maintain it.

Talk to us. The price varies, depending on what you need.

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Why You Need Social Media Management, Part 2

In the 1990s, some very large corporations ignored the World Wide Web, calling it a fad, until after the best domain names were gone. Do you know how many businesses are called Apple? How many companies and products are called Phillips? There are only so many unique IDs on any given platform.

Even if your name or the name of your business is unusual in your geographical or business area, chances are there are at least several others with similar names in this big old world. What happens to your reputation if theirs is bad, and people think they are you?

With a bit of time and study you can learn to manage your own social media, but it does take time. It takes time to learn, and it takes time to do the work.

More than that, it takes a particular kind of mind-set to plan and execute successful reputation management strategies. Even if you were in the PR business, you might not be the most objective person to manage your own image. If you are not a trained PR pro, it can be extremely difficult to get it right.

Just as you hire professionals to file your taxes, repair your plumbing, and fix your teeth, it can be well worth the money to hire a social media professional to manage social media for you. It takes us less time and we get more effective results.

For more info, see our new site, Social Image Pro.

Why You Need Social Media Management, Part 1

There are two ways to control your reputation: haphazardly, and professionally. Haphazardly includes not doing anything, not joining the major sites, just sticking your head in the sand and pretending they do not affect your life and business.

Do you realize that if someone with the same name as you or in a business with a similar name gains a bad reputation on line, and you are not there with your own positive presence, people may think it’s you? So by not participating in social media you may damage your own reputation.

The best plan is to join the most important sites, create professional profiles, and maintain at least a minimal, positive presence. Reserve your name and your business name(s) on the major sites so that when you decide to be more active, they will be available to you.

Why Everyone Needs Social Media Management

Everyone needs some form of social media management. Here’s why.

Social Media Management is a new term for something that some of us have been doing for a long time under different names: community management, reputation management, image management, public relations.

Long before Twitter and Facebook there were online communities where an individual or organization could earn a good or poor reputation. There were Yahoo groups, Usenet groups, and list serves (group email lists), forums and membership sites, and others.

Long before the Internet, public relations experts were monitoring mentions of people and companies in print and broadcast media and taking steps to improve the recognition and improve the reputation of their clients.

If media exist in any form, your presence in them has to be managed. For example, just because you do not tweet, that does not mean people do not tweet about you, or post mediocre reviews of your products or services on Yelp.

You may hate Facebook, but your friends and customers are there, posting photos with you tagged in them, making comments, and so are many of your potential customers. And make no mistake, your potential customers are there.

If the members of Facebook were the population of a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. At 800,000,000 million members, the population of Facebook is over twice that of the entire United States.

Even if you do not have your own business, you should be shaping the image that your employer has of you. Nowadays more and more companies check LinkedIn. A positive online presence can help you get future jobs, promotions, and important professional connections.

That means even if you think the whole social media phenomenon is a fad (like radio, television and newspapers?), you still need to be there—on your own terms. You need to control your image, your message, and your reputation.

Social Media Management

Houston Blog+Web offers social media management in addition to our other services. The importance of social media management for individuals and for businesses and other organizations is rapidly increasing and becoming more and more complex.

It is no longer enough to have a Twitter account; you need a great avatar and a professional background on your Twitter profile pages. It is no longer enough to have a Facebook account; you also need a Facebook fan page for your business or organization.

Got a blog? You should have at least one. And it needs to be properly networked throughout the social media.

Social media are highly effective if set up and used correctly. And we can do that. We have dozens and dozens of accounts ourselves and we create and maintain many more for our clients. For further synergy we often connect social media between our clients, so that they help each other to their mutual advantage.

We offer a variety of services, including social media image assessment, setting up and/or redesigning social media profile sites, maintenance and updates, and turnkey image management. In other words, we can get you started, improve your existing image, or even create and maintain an image on your behalf.

Contact Kathleen at 713-868-5664 or email kathleen@houstonblogweb.com for more information.

Summer Special on Website and Blog Content

To introduce our services to new customers, we are running a Summer Special blog and web content package. Sign up for a monthly package of SEO-targeted daily (20 stories a month) content for your website and/or blog at a special discounted rate.

You pay a low monthly prepaid package rate and get top quality, keyword-focused content, written by a professional advertising copywriter and technical writer. Our experience shows.

Call us for more info: 713-868-5664 or 713-871-1288.

Houston Cheap Retail Space

Looking for a storefront location for your small retail store, insurance agency, tax service, repair shop, dental office, law office, or other small business in Houston? We were, and we found them, well, hard to find on line.

Oh, there were plenty of signs in front of strip centers and commercial buildings. But many real estate agents did not return calls. And the websites that turned up in our Google searches for cheap retail space offered only huge commercial properties, often not even storefronts at all.

So we started our own new site, Houston Cheap Retail Space. It is brand new, but growing. It includes a blog to help tenants find and safely lease good, inexpensive small commercial space.

If you are a landlord, you can advertise your properties.

If you are a real estate agent who does not mind working with small tenants, we welcome your listing. Our site will help you find tenants for small commercial storefront and office space.

Stop by and take a look: http://www.houstoncheapretail space.com

We think you will like it, but we welcome your suggestions. Let us know what you think.

Guest bloggers are welcome. If you would like to post useful advice to prospective tenants (with links to your website and email address, of course), please email your suggestions toinfo@houstoncheapretailspace.com.

We would like to interview Houston real estate attorneys for advice to small commercial tenants. We will link back to your website and give your email address and office address, of course.

Welcome to Houston Blog+Web!

Welcome to Houston Blog+Web. We specialize in clean, stylish sites that the site owner (you) can update yourself whenever you want or need to.

We can set up a calendar account where you can easily, simply add, change, or remove events from your calendar—and have them appear instantly on your website.

We design fun, exciting blogs and websites—with or without, matching integrated blogs—that allow you to quickly change your address, phone number, photos, etc.

We show you how to add blog posts—or we can post them for you.

We will maintain your site so that you need not worry about upgrading software (or risking being hacked if you do not keep up with the latest security updates).

We can design a logo for your business or website. We can use your photos or take photos for you. Write can write enticing professional web page content or blog posts for you—or post text that you provide.

As you can tell, there is a lot of flexibility in our services. We call it Infinite Possibilities. Let us show you what your options are. You may be surprised.

Call us! 713-868-5664

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