Overseas Call Centres

I know that they are a necessary business requirement for really large companies that need phone support for huge number of customers, but boy do they make you mad!

I have an ecommerce website called Piel Frama Cases found here at www.pielframacases.co.uk which currently uses PayPal.

I decided that I would add Amazon payments to the site, so completed their application forms and waited.

After a week I needed to call to Amazon about the application.

The problem was that the Pilipino girl kept asking me for the last 4 digits of my credit card.

I had not entered any card details, the current screen said there was an issue that needed resolving and the girl just would not listen to me. Instead she just kept saying she needed the last 4 digits of the card!

No wonder people struggle to get things done when individuals just don’t step off their robotic platform and think outside the box.

I have no idea when or if my issue will be resolved.

I’m pleased my accountant doesn’t have a website!

Yes you read it correctly…

You see when you walk into my accountants its like going back into a time warp…. there are files everywhere, the office is very quiet, high ceilings, old fashioned lighting and chairs that give away their age.

Then as you look around the building there is just one company computer screen for the odd email.

Oh, don’t get me wrong they have phones, (not mobiles), they have fax and of course the good old letter box on the front door.

Are they any good? You bet… thank goodness they have a select client base.

They themselves admit that they are old fashioned, but confess that they also hate to be distracted by email and the pressure to answer them immediately.

So where lies the balance between having a website, dealing with clients emails and the other extreme of having nothing at all.

Well in 2012 you have to be living in a cave or time warp not to be connected in some way with the internet, but let’s face it keeping your website fresh and up to date and responding to countless emails is only a part of the picture and they are time stealers.

The website has to work for you not the other way round. Your emails should be a blessing not a curse and making yourself available should never be at any cost, time or indeed in preference to your core business.

Take some of the huge websites like Scottish Power. I recently visited the website and had a question. I was looking for a phone number but instead there was a virtual assistant. I typed in what I was looking for and it offered suggestions, indeed it even suggested other ideas and advise.

I found what I was looking for and saved myself the call and an email.

Now back to my accountant… well he could have a website and it could contain the latest tax advice, guidelines, dates for returns, telephone numbers for advice and much more.

Does he need email? It’s his decision to not be swamped by email so if I really need to get something to him I can send to a corporate address where I know it will be past on, but I can always call him if I need him. He’s always available to his clients.

So am I pleased that my accountant doesn’t have a website nor direct access to his personal email? Sure if he does the job as well as he does and always has time for me on his terms and we’re both happy then what’s the problem…. after all I’m not recommending him to you, as I’m quite happy for him to be available to me all the time.

So yes, I’m pleased that they have no website.

Internet World and what was on offer…

Well once again I found myself visiting Internet World 2011 held at Earls Court in London.

This is a fascinating exhibition where those offering the latest thoughts on Internet Marketing and activities can be found.

Of course there are more No1 SEO companies in this one room room than anywhere in the world! Everyone has the answers, everyone has their take on what you should do, what you shouldn’t do and why what you’re currently doing is wrong, not enough or even in one case too much!

Internet Marketing is without doubt one of the most fascinating subjects on the planet right now with regards to improving bottom line profits and ROI (return on investment).

So who is right. And how do you know if what you’re being told is correct.

Well if I wanted to know which was the the best and most recommended oil that I should use in my car, I would go to the manufacturer and ask.

There are times of course when new solutions come along that improve on old thinking, but in these cases you should look for what is tried and tested.

In the case of SEO all the No1 companies had their own take on what should and shouldn’t be done, but what they all failed to say to me was simply do everything that Google says is good practise and you’ll get good listings.

Even Googles own Webmaster tools give you guidance about your site, the problems experienced and which keywords the site is found under.

Of course if you’re selling apples and only talk about pears you have a problem, so picking the right words and phrases is critical.

Had lengthy one to one discussions with Facebook about business use and integration. Including discussions on advertising.

Discovered bizzy.co.UK where we can do free credit checks.

Also take a look at this website called etracker.co.UK they demoed the most fascinating analytics software I have ever seen. Take a look.

A lot of people pushing email marketing at very high costs but very clever tracking and many SEO companies including services from India.

Quite a lot of companies offering hosted solutions like Rackspace, but overall not interesting but not overly stimulating.

Would I go again…. Yes.

Are you really Head and Shoulders above the competition….

I know you know who you are…. but why oh why do I still visit websites that talk about themselves so much!

Look if you want to stand out in the crowd you’re going to have to try harder than this.

The crazy thing is that I rarely, if ever come across a site that says they’re a bad company.. now wouldn’t that be refreshing!

So what do you have to do to stand out above the rest?

Well you need credibility and that’s for starters…

1. Have you got Testimonials on your site? Do you really believe that anyone will buy your products, services or advice if you have nothing for them to reference by… here you need to get the customers you have to tell others in the form of testimonials what they bought, why and how it helped them. The quality of service and support.

2. Do you have genuine qualifications, degrees, specialist qualifications using specific equipment? Ok so are they on your site? They don’t need to be in your face but add them to the site and perhaps small icons at the bottom of your pages to add that additional credibility.

3. Have you got inbound links to the website? Go to Google right now and type links:www.yourdomain.com to see who links to you. Are you happy that what they say about you adds credibility to your business? If not then drop them a line and ask them to amend the listing where you can.

4. What key words are used in those Inbound links? Looking at those Inbound links to your site, what keywords are being used in the actual links? The reputation of your site is determined by the links to it… but do those links go to the correct page and do they match the topic of the page on your site.

I could go on… but price is not a form of Credibility and whilst some will buy on price not everyone likes or feels comfortable with a dodgy salesman!

So look at your site with new eyes. Do you have Credibility or are you just one of the crowd?