Constant Contact Story – Hasty Decisions Can Cost Big

Constant Contact Salesperson got the better of me.

I decided to sign-up for Constant Contact through the link for the Savings Program link on my Elgin Area Chamber site. Check out becoming a member of this great chamber if you aren’t already. I would get a 25% discount and 60 days free to prep my list of contacts, setup my templates and mentally prepare to send emails.

The next morning, I received a phone call at 9:45AM from a Constant Contact salesperson telling me they were my “guide” to make sure I had blah blah blah. I told the person before they got into their spiel that I had a 10AM conference webinar that I was hosting.  I indicated to the person with which I was speaking that I had only a few minutes to complete the call before I needed to prep for my webinar. To be polite I stayed on the phone with the rep to answer some questions. He wanted to schedule a walk through call for me as I had previous experience with Constant Contact. He didn’t bother to tell me that that walk-through was part of the Email Plus plan and since I was in a hurry, I didn’t ask. He told me I needed to have a paid account before I was able to have that appointment scheduled. He made it sound like the appointment times were very rare and I agreed to get my account paid for right away. As I felt rushed I was not asking the appropriate questions about which level of account I was signing up for. I logged into my account and entered my credit card information because I refuse to give to anyone that initiates a call with me my credit card number of out of principle. I was charged $430. I was expecting $180. I finally hung-up on the guy at 9:57AM. I felt anxious, nervous and frustrated.

I had an out of office meeting to attend. When I returned, I saw a “Thanks for your payment” email. When I opened it and saw the $430 amount, I about hit the ceiling. I called and had to cancel my account because I was planning on using the 2 free months to get everything set-up and then pay for a year at the end of the trial period. Now I have to set-up a new account. Fortunately, the Customer Service Rep told me she would make it so that I can use my email address again to set-up the new account. She exported the list with all of the data points of the people I had already entered because I was only getting parts of the data. Let’s see if the CSR comes up with her end of the bargain!

So this is my story to you:

  • Don’t do anything in haste. Make them call you back.
  • I am totally disappointed in the practice that was demonstrated by the young man to whom I was speaking. AND that I let him.
  • I will set up another account,
  • I will use my 60 day free trial, and,
  • I will get my 25% discount.

In the survey I received, I let them know that I wrote this blog article and that it will get posted to my social media. I can’t fault the company, only their rep. I have to accept partial responsibility for this because I was less cautious than I normally am.

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Posting Job Openings

Where do you post your job openings?

How many responses are you getting for the job openings that you post? Are you paying a bunch of money and not getting the right candidates? Have you thought about hyper-local postings?

I teach a number of LinkedIn classes to job seekers as well as business owners about LinkedIn. For the job seekers, I also teach a class about using the internet to build a brand for themselves. After we get done with that part, I focus on where job openings can be found without totally relying on the major job search sites like Monster and Career Builder. I would advise business owners the same. Don’t depend upon or rely solely on those major job posting sites. The job seekers get frustrated because they are not getting responses from business. Business is getting frustrated because they spend big bucks and get either a gazillion responses that have to be weeded through or the matches are poor.

I would advise both business and job seekers to investigate some alternatives:

Local Chambers of Commerce

One of the local chambers to which I belong has a very robust job opening site. Members are encouraged to post their openings for free as a member benefit. A couple of job openings that I saw while grabbing a screen shot for this article included an accountant and a project manager. In all there were 31 listings. In 2018 the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce had  12698 views of the EAC Works page on the website.  These are considered hyper-local listings as the business is usually in the community of the chamber to which they belong.

Association Sites

Another place to post or look for job openings is association / organization  sites. Do you belong to an industry related association? Those are a good place to post job openings or look for open positions. Sometimes the business is required to pay for the postings, but the price to post is well below the price on the big job posting sites.  In most cases the job listing is free to the job seeker. These organizations may not be as hyper-local as a chamber of commerce, but are typically in an economic region of your area. Check out the postings from the Valley Industrial Association.

When posting to one of these sites, you are more likely to receive resumes from candidates who are in the field for which you are posting and are looking to the association site as a niche tool. You might even recruit an organization member who didn’t know they were looking for their next opportunity!!

Whatever your job opening is you may want to consider these opportunities for the next time you want to post.

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Time2Mrkt is Proud to Announce Woman Business Enterprise Status

Time2Mrkt recently earned Woman Business Enterprise status from the State of Illinois.

After working with one of my clients for a number of years, the procurement process changed. They now require all of their contractors to be on the Illinois Procurement Guide as registered business.

Since I wanted to keep my contract viable with them, I went through the process of completing the application. This was an involved process! It took a couple of weeks from start to finish. I was totally confused but a webinar I attended about completing the application gave me enough information to assuage my trepidation with the applicaiton.

Thankfully, I save emails and documents, so gathering the information they needed was time-consuming but relatively painless. I had to  contact my attorney for copies of incorporation documentation, my CPA for some tax documentation, and get a couple of documents notarized. I happen to be a notary, but I am unable to notarize my own documents.

After everything was uploaded, and all of the questions responded to, I participated in a phone interview. They wanted tax information about our construction company and I asked why. The response made me laugh out loud. Apparently, all business in which you hold a shareholder stake have to be tracked because the total income cannot exceed $75 million. If I was making $75 million in either of our businesses…

All in all, this is a great opportunity that may open up the clients with whom I might do business. Since I have the Woman Business Enterprise certification, I am able to potentially meet quotas for business with government contracts who have to track those sort of things.  It also allows me to complete applications in other states and agencies in the state based on the documents that I have already submitted for the current certification.

If I had know that the state process was this easy, I might not have waited so long to complete it. They also have veteran owned business certification, along with minority and minority woman categories. Something to think about when you are looking for a new service vendor.

FYI – they don’t have a logo, so I created one of my own. I think I will submit it to someone to see if they would like to use. Give me your feedback on the design.

 

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Essential Skills are Best!

Essential Skills, workplace skills, soft skills, people skills are all names for the skills we continue to use no matter the technology.

This morning at a Small Business Advocacy Council meeting of the Fox essential skillsValley Chapter, I was leading a discussion about what has changed in your career pathway and what has remained the same. In almost everyone’s discussion it was one of the essential skills that employees need to demonstrate in the workplace that remained the same.

Everyone mentioned that technology was a big change – computing power in a phone, being able to get an insurance quote in 10 seconds vs. what used to take hours to compile. Faster, smaller, more precise, flexibility were all mentioned in the conversation. The few things that remained were things like customer service, standing behind your product, the know – like – trust factor of sales, and building relationships. These are such important elements that cannot be short-changed. If someone does not have these skills, they are more difficult to teach than the technical skills it takes to run a machine or an accounting program. In the picture, you can teach a dancer the steps, but can you teach them the value and responsibility of being a team player, or being proactive and ethical.

If you or your business need assistance with social media marketing, I am your girl. If you or your employees need help with essential skills (workplace skills or soft skills) use a resource of one of my clients – Illinois workNet. Check this guide for more information that can help you. If you are wanting to improve your computer literacy or train a member of staff to deal with your IT services, I would recommend a visit to itsm.zone. They offer introductory and advanced courses, catering for all levels of computer literacy an individual may have.

A small commercial about the SBAC IL – this group advocates for  small business at the local, state and federal level. They are a non-partisan group founded by a Greater Chicago Area attorney. If you are interested in supporting local small business, consider joining us at an upcoming meeting. You can find out more information by clicking the link in the first paragraph.

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Another Example of how to do customer service correctly

Sharing bad examples of customer service is the norm.

I want to break that mold. I want to share an example of how a company did customer service correctly!

My husband wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want the left-overs I was going to prepare for dinner. He suggested pizza. Since I am gluten-free, we have limited choices of places that can serve both regular for him and gluten-free for me. I called around a couple of places looking for some new options, but we finally settled on Lou Malnati’scustomer service

I went to the website and ordered through the on-line system and picked a time to pick-up. I double checked the order because of past experiences.

At the appointed time, I made my way to the Elgin carry-out location. I only had to wait about 2 minutes. I saw my small gluten-free box and a larger box for the deep dish. I didn’t check inside either box because Lou’s is always very good about getting things right. I should have checked! Note to self: always check – people make mistakes.

I got home about 10 minutes later, opened the box and discovered there was only one ingredient correct from the order. I called the store right away. I had printed out the order that I had placed. Double checked that to be sure I hadn’t missed checking an appropriate box.

They asked me if I wanted a rush order, I said that would be too late and they immediately offered up a coupon for the next time we ordered. On top of that they credited my charge card for the wrong pizza that we received.

The best part was I didn’t have to ask. I did request some clarification because, I thought I was just getting a coupon for a free pizza, but then they said they will credit my card AND the coupon.

I just wanted to give props to good customer services and a company that empowers its employees to make things right for the customers.

Instead of Lou to go, it is way to go Lou!

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