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How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Welcome to the iASP Central blog series that will teach you How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Social Media can be an effective tool for communicating and sharing information online with current and potential stakeholders in your enterprise.

When businesses promote or advertise through these platforms, it's called Social Media Marketing or SMM.

Social media marketing (SMM) is a great way to reach new and existing customers. It can also provide an opportunity to send important messages about your products and services.

Being active on social media and posting regular content isn't a guarantee that you will capture the attention of customers (unfortunately!)

There is a vast amount of content available on social media. It can be tricky to stand out. So it's essential your marketing efforts are generating the best results.

One of the best ways to make sure you're on the right path is to create a strategy!

A well structured strategic plan could be considered a vital starting point of any SMM initiative.

Developing a strategy can be a short exercise or a detailed and lengthy process, depending on what you aim to achieve with your social efforts. In either case, the exercise may prove to be invaluable. A strategy can provide direction, help examine customer behaviours and measure performance.

iASP Central's six steps to an SMM Strategy are:
  1. Auditing
  2. Goals
  3. Target Audiences
  4. Planning
  5. Execution
  6. Reviewing

We will cover all six steps in this weekly series, to provide you with guidance and tools to help create a killer SMM strategy!

Not sure where to start? Read on as we begin with part one, a Social Media Audit.


Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit 

Our first step in creating a SMM Strategy is to perform a Social Media Audit.

Why?

An audit is an opportunity to review, reflect and evaluate your current position in the social media landscape.

It can reveal which social media platforms and practices are working for your business and which are not.

Auditing can also get your social media efforts back on track and help establish a plan based on your required outcomes.

After all there is no point creating an action plan, unless you have reviewed your current performance!

The aim of this audit is to find out which profiles generate the best return on investment (ROI).

Some businesses make the mistake of having too many social media profiles. This can end up becoming time-consuming, costly to maintain or forgotten all together. This is not always the best practice and can impact the return on investment (ROI) that media engagement delivers.

Instead we recommend researching social media platforms most relevant to your industry and your customers. Invest time into the ones that work for your business.

If you are starting in social media, you may want to begin with one or two platforms. Facebook or Google + are commonly used for enterprises.

Then once you are happy with their performance, you can look for opportunities on other platforms.

To further help, we have compiled a list of online analytics tools and templates to get started.

Follow these steps and you could be auditing in no time!


Step 1 - Set up a Social Media Audit Template

The first step of this audit is to set up an audit template or spreadsheet.

Use an audit template to record the data in one place, which will make it easier to review later on.

You can download a template or even create your own simple spreadsheet.

Record, organise and compare data collected throughout the audit process on the spreadsheet.

A spreadsheet is also easy for team mates to access and contribute to.

iASP Central Tip: If you don't have time to create one from scratch, there are a number of free templates available for download. We have provided some links in the Resources list at the end of the article.


Step 2 - Identify Social Media Profiles

What social media profiles are you currently using?
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter Business Page
  • Google + Page
  • LinkedIn Company Page
  • Instagram Business Profile
  • Pinterest Business Profile

List them on the audit template or spreadsheet you set up in Step 1.

Remember that Pinterest account you may have created a few years ago but never used? Can't remember exactly? Could a past employee or family member may have set up a profile without your knowledge? Well let's find out.

How?

Perform a Google Search to locate the social media profiles associated with your business.

It's important to know which profiles exist, even if they haven't been maintained or updated recently.

This can help determine which profiles are beneficial and worth maintaining, versus those that aren't.

List the accounts on the spreadsheet, including the URLs and passwords.


Step 3 - Review Social Media Analytics

Reviewing analytics is an important step of this audit.

Analytics measure overall patterns, behaviours and performance.They convey how well a social profile is performing.

Analytics can include various metrics such as Reach & Frequency: The size and demographics of your audience and how often they were exposed to your campaign and Engagement: The actions users took such as new Facebook Likes or new Twitter Followers, sharing your content with others or visiting your corporate webpage

Where can you find analytics for social media?

Tools:
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter Analytics
  • LinkedIn - Company Page Analytics
  • Instagram Analytics
  • Pinterest Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • Hootsuite / Buffer / Sprout Social - These tools compile analytics from multiple social media profiles in one place


The Process:
  • Go through each profile and review analytics
  • Set time frame - How far back are you reviewing? Are you recording current metrics or including past metrics?
  • Decide on the most valuable metrics
  • Record data on your spreadsheet

Sometimes there is so much data available, it can be difficult to know what is the most valuable.

To figure this out, ask yourself what you're aiming to achieve through each social media profile?

Example of aims:
  • To increase brand awareness
  • To generate leads
  • To increase engagement and audience growth
  • To increase traffic to website

At iASP Central, we focus most efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Our primary target audience consists of current and potential customers for the iASP Technology Platform, which facilitates publication of corporate websites, e-stores and enterprise software applications.

Our current strategy is to engage our social media community, by building a hub of informational resources valuable to our clients.

Therefore the primary metrics we measure audience and engagement, number of followers and the amount of mentions the content we publish generates.

This is some of the data we find most useful to record at iASP Central:

Facebook Insights
  • Engagement Metrics: Page Views, Page Likes, Post Engagement, Reach
  • Posts - Top performing posts and posting times
  • People Insights - Fan demographics such as age groups and locations

iASP Central Tip: Facebook Insights feature a data export tool, that allows you to export a summery of analytics to a spreadsheet. It features a date range and data type export option, that provides data specific information on engagement, reach, impressions and more.

Twitter Analytics
  • Engagement Metrics: Tweet Impressions, Engagement Rates, Profile Visits, New Followers
  • Twitter Audiences: Key demographics, interests and geographical data
Buffer / Hootsuite
  • If you prefer to view all your analytics in one place, we suggest using a social media tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
  • These platforms are designed to help manage multiple social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + Page and Instagram.
  • They feature real-time posting, content scheduling and more.
  • Both of these platforms offer free versions. The free version of Hootsuite provides basic analytics, however Buffer charges a fee to access analytics.

Links to these tools are included in the Resources at the bottom of the article.


Step 4 - Review Branding

Review branding across all social media profiles. Is the branding current and consistent?

Check for the following:
  • Logo - Is the logo high quality? Is the same logo used on all profiles?
  • Profile Images / Banners: Do they fit the space without being cropped? Are they consistent?
  • Profile Name - Is it consistent across all profiles?
  • Business Description - Is it current? Does it include relevant keywords?
  • Links - Are all links current and working? E.g. website, blog or product links
  • Brand Values - Does your branding reflect your core values?

Write down your findings on the audit spreadsheet.


Step 5 - Monitor Mentions

Find out when and where the business is being 'mentioned' online.

What are mentions?

Mentions are when your business name or relevant keywords are cited on the web. They can appear in social media, search pages, videos and more.

Monitoring mentions can provide more information on:
  • Social Media Audience - Who is citing, sharing and tagging your business on social media? What platform do they use?
  • Feedback - Are your fans supporting or critiquing? This can be an opportunity to reply to feedback that you may not be aware of.
  • Content - Which websites and blogs are referencing the business or keywords in their content?

iASP Central Tip: We recommend Mention.com. This free tool provides real-time alerts when your business name is mentioned on social media, websites, blogs and more.

Record top mentions on your spreadsheet.


Step 6 - Research Competitors

Now let's talk benchmarking!

It's time to compare your social media to industry competitors. By reviewing your competitors, you may discover potential strengths, weaknesses and other opportunities in the social media market.

Research Suggestions:
  • Who are your top industry competitors? Both local and national / intentional?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • What messages are they sending? Are they effective?
  • How would you rate their social media persona?
  • What are their strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How often are they posting? How many followers and likes do they have?
  • Do they use social media influencers to promote their brand? If so, who are they?

Tools:

Facebook Pages to Watch
  • We recommend using the nifty tool featured on Facebook Insights called Pages to Watch.
  • This tool allows you to add your competitors pages, to privately view analytics on their post performance, engagement and page likes. It compares your competitors analytics to your own page performance.

SEMrush Social Media Tool
  • The SEMrush Social Media Tool provides detailed reports on your competitors social media analytics and social media campaigns. The SEMrush tool can also track your competitors online mentions across the web.

Google Alerts
  • Monitor your competitors online mentions using Google Alerts. This free service sends an email report every time your competitor's business name is used online.

Step 7-Compare and Analyse

The final step of the audit is to analyse your findings! Let's take a closer look at your audit spreadsheet.

Review and compare the following:
  • Metrics - Key metrics including engagement, followers, likes and shares
  • Branding - Is it current or does it need to be updated?
  • Performance - Which social media channels are working? Why?
  • Competitors- How do you compare your performance?
  • Opportunities - Can you see any potential opportunities in the market? Do have a point of difference?
  • Conclusion- What are the top performing profiles? Which require more time and input? Should any be deactivated?

Audit Complete!

When you have finished conducting the social media audit, we hope you have a clearer understanding of:
  • The social media profiles generating the best ROI
  • Your current market position in the social media landscape
  • Other potential SMM opportunities

Continue to use your audit spreadsheet to track future data and examine the audit results.

Stay tuned for the next release in the series: How to set S.M.A.R.T Goals - Part Two








Have you completed a social media audit before? Were you surprised by the results?
Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


A More Secure Web

A More Secure Web

A More Secure Web

If you publish a website - especially one that allows visitors to login and ESPECIALLY if you operate an e-store and ESPECIALLY if you use the iASP Technology Platform - please take a few minutes to review this article and take the recommended action without delay.

Last year Google made an announcement that read in part:

"Beginning in January 2017, Chrome (version 56 and later) will mark pages that collect passwords or credit card details as "Not Secure" unless the pages are served over HTTPS..."

Read the related article: Moving towards a more secure we

What Does This Mean?

Google has made a game-changing decision to pro-actively inform website visitors that the information they are entering is not secure if the web page uses HTTP and not HTTPS.

You can see an example of a non-secure page from the screenshot that we took just this morning of the Vodaphone website (see the blog image in this article).

While Google is currently limiting this new security measure to web pages that collect passwords or credit card details, they plan to label ALL HTTP pages as 'non-secure' in the future.

Not surprisingly, the Firefox web browser (which along with Chrome accounts for around 70% of Internet Users) has already followed suite by labelling non HTTPS Encrypted pages as non-secure. It would seem inevitable that Safari and Microsoft Edge will also comply.

This means that websites that do not offer customers the peace of mind of HTTPS face the significant risk of turning customers away to their competitors.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS in an Internet Protocol that encrypts the data being send back and forth between a customer's web browser and a website.

Setting up HTTPS encryption requires the purchase, periodical renewal and installation of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate.

An individual SSL Certificate is generally required for every individual domain name resolving to a website, however, there are multiple domain SSL Certificate options available.

SSL Certificates have various properties such as the level of encryption they offer, the amount of warranty paid to customers if a Certificate is issues incorrectly and more.

The purchase and periodical renewal costs vary significantly from only a few dollars to many thousands of dollars. Some providers offer sweetheart pricing for the initial purchase that significantly increase on renewal.

The renewal period for SSL Certificates is either 1, 2 or a maximum of 3 years as determined by ICANN, the global authority for this area of the Internet.

In some cases longer registration periods offer discounted registration costs, and importantly, SSL Certificates must be re-installed each time they renew, which involves a multi-step process that must be coordinated between the Certificate owner and the system administrator managing the related website server or network.

SSL Certificate installation for both new Certificate registration and subsequent renewals typically attracts a cost and therefore the longer the registration period the less the associated installation costs.

What are the Benefits for HTTPS Encrypted Websites?

  • Visible Security - Sites with HTTPS encryption display a secure padlock icon in the address bar that when selected confirms the identity of the website publisher to the visitor.
  • Privacy - End to end encryption of all data entered by visitors into HTTPS pages greatly increases security and reduces the risk of data theft
  • Search Performance Advantages - Secure websites may result in higher ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) than non-secure sites

What are the Disadvantages for HTTP Websites?

  • HTTP pages will be marked as non-secure with an 'Information' Icon or 'Non-Secure' exclamation mark Icon
  • Search Performance - HTTP sites may be penalised in SERPs
  • Website Traffic - Website traffic may be effected if users choose to avoid non-secure sites

How Will This Affect iASP Clients?

Enotia Australiasia Pty Ltd. developer of the iASP Technology Platform, fully supports Google's new initiative to provide a safer web.

As a professional service provider adhering to best practice security policies and procedures, in addition to the actual security risks of non-compliance with Google's security initiative, our company's reputation, along with that of our clients, is at risk.

As all iASP Systems require an administration login via user-name and password, and are therefore already being flagged as non-secure unless they are HTTPS encrypted, as advised in the client bulletin distributed on February 21st:

From July 1st 2017 all iASP powered websites will be required to use HTTPS encryption.

This means all iASP Central websites will require an SSL Certificate to be purchased and installed prior to June 30th. 

As indicated in the client bulletin, all Enotia clients are free to purchase the certificate of their choice from any third party vendor, however, the Enotia Network Administrators must install all certificates on our network for which costs will apply.

Additionally Enotia is offering turn-key SSL Certificate registration and subsidised installation services as part of our on-going service offering.

Enotia clients are welcome to contact us anytime, but will be contacted personally regarding this important matter over coming weeks regardless.

If you are concerned with the security of your website or would like more information on purchasing an SSL Certificate, please contact the Enotia Support team on 03 9855 8517 or Get in Touch.




Resources:





Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

2016 was an odd year for eCommerce in Australia.

The shopping year started off slow, and many retailers were predicting a lack lustre year for themselves.

Yet, the NAB Online Retail Sales Index has estimated that Australians spent more than $21 Billion online between November of 2015 and November of 2016.
If you recall, Australian online shoppers spent $17.6 Billion in 2015.

The statistics support both sides of the story though, showing that Australian consumers did ease off their spending habits for the most part of the year, but (seriously) made up for it in November and December.

The good news is the outlook for 2017 is for another year of positive growth for eCommerce in Australia, with the predicted trends suggesting that this will be a year for significant changes in the industry.

Mobile

Mobile eCommerce will continue to grow as it has been.

But the prediction for this year is that the focus will be on improving two keys areas: SEO and Payment Methods.

Mobile & SEO

Last year, Google announced that it will be splitting their current search index into two, one index for mobile search and another index for desktop search, with the mobile index becoming the primary search index.

In response to this, we should see eCommerce websites focus on improving their efforts in local SEO, as well as improvements to take advantage of the shift to Voice Search.

If you haven't heard the term Voice Search before, we suggest you read up on it. We've included a link in the list of resources at the end of this article.

Mobile Payments

New payment methods that aren't as cumbersome as entering Credit Card details every transaction are also predicted to trend this year in Australia.

Last year contained a lot of buzz about mobile wallets and mobile payments, but stalled once Apple and The Big 4 banks started to battle for control of the Australian market.

This caused a very slow uptake of mobile payment technologies by consumers in Australia, and online stores were happy to continue with the options they were providing.

Now that the dust has settled, online retailers should start to incorporate mobile payments into their eStores as they start to see more demand from their customers.

Traditional store owners will also move to align their offline payment method options with their online payment method options (such as PayWave or Apple Pay or ANZ Mobile Pay) as a way to improve their customer shopping experience.

Chat Bots

Chat Bots are predicted to be the next big thing in 2017.

Down here in Australia though, we don't predict that Chat Bots will take off as much as in larger markets, such as the United States or Europe.

The ultimate decider in whether Chat Bots become a useful tool for eStores will be the Australian customer.

If Australian shoppers don't find a Chat Bot to be both a convenience and a delight to their shopping experience, they will ditch them faster than an out-sourced call centre.

Unless they're done very well, Chat Bots may end up in the same vein as Chat Support plug-ins that were touted as the next big thing in Customer Service.

To the Australian customer, Chat Support has turned out to be more of a gimmick than true customer service and resulted in the technology (and the companies that use them) being viewed negatively.

Amazon Invasion

Of course, the big shake-up predicted for eCommerce in Australia this year will be the entry of Amazon Australia into the market.

Amazon announced last year that they were coming to Australia.

At the time of writing, Amazon had not yet officially launched their Australian arm, but no doubt every sharp business owner that sells products will be keeping a tight eye on them.

No one knows how the Australian market will change once Amazon officially open, but predictions are that it will hurt, and hurt badly.

Competition is good for the consumer though, so it will be interesting to see how Australian eStores respond to counter the hit to their business.

iASP Central Tip: The best way to prepare for Amazon is to refocus your business plan to offer something that Amazon cannot. Products, offers, experiences - anything that will differentiate your business from what Amazon can offer.




Resources:




Do you own an eCommerce website? What do you think will be key for eCommerce in 2017? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


Is the Pixel Perfect? We ponder the new Pixel by Google

Is the Pixel Perfect? We ponder the new Pixel by Google

Is the Pixel Perfect? We ponder the new Pixel by Google

Did you know Google launched a new smartphone device last week?
It was a surprise on the day, but now you can't miss it.

The new Pixel Phone by Google has arrived and it means business.

Set to replace their Nexus range of products, Pixel is "the first phone built by Google inside and out".

Regular readers will know that we at iASP Central are difficult to please.
We aren't the types to jump ship to the latest gear, only to the greatest gear.

In the past we've liked the Apple iPhone 6, loved the Apple iPhone 6S, laughed at the Apple iWatch, and didn't even review the iPhone 7.

So let's find out if the Google Pixel will stick, or if it looks to be a dead Pixel.

The Hardware

Just like the Apple iPhone, the Google Pixel is available in two sizes - The Pixel and the Pixel XL - with the Pixel XL being the iPhone Plus equivalent.

And on paper, the new Google Pixel defeats the Apple iPhone 7 hands down.

Just the presence of a headphone jack will be enough for some to consider the argument over, but there are more important things to consider.

When you compare the two side by side, the Google Pixel is always slightly better than the Apple iPhone. Not surprising really.

This means the biggest differentiator will be between the operating systems and their ease-of-use.

The Software

As you know, Apple's iOS has won the global market in terms of usability.
The simplicity in learning how to use an iPhone for the first time is the root of the iPhone's success.

And while the Android OS has been available on several different devices (most notably the Samsung Galaxy), Android devices still haven't reached the benchmark set by the iPhone.
Nobody is walking around saying "I want it to be as simple to use as an Android".

Google's latest phone might just change this perception however.

And as always, it's the little-big differences.

For example, the Pixel is the first phone that has Google Assistant built into it.
And when you look at it, this could be a game changer.

Google Assistant is more than just a voice activated bot that you give commands to.
Imagine Siri, but with AI learning capabilities that enable it to remember past conversations, and understand you better each time you use it.

Plus, Google Assistant can be used in everything from your smartwatch, to your smartphone, to your car, to your home. It isn't just limited to one or two devices like Siri or Cortana. So you can ask Google Assistant to turn on your TV and start playing a Youtube video, from your car as you're pulling into the driveway.

Apple doesn't appear to have anything close to this capability... yet.

As Google's chief executive said during the launch, "Our goal is build a personal Google for each and every user."

This might be a little spooky for some people, but it does seem to be the future we are heading towards.

And what might just be the final nail-in-the-coffin, is the Quick Switch Adapter that comes standard with every Pixel phone.

One long-standing excuse for iPhone users to stay with iPhone was the excruciating task of transferring "everything" from an iPhone to an Android device.

Not anymore.

The Quick Switch Adapter allows you to transfer just about everything from any device running Android 5.0 and up, and iOS 8 and up, across to the Pixel phone.
And it doesn't involve any great depth of geek knowledge to do it.

The Verdict

The new Pixel Phone by Google is definitely a new challenger in the smartphone market. With features and functionality that is on-par with the Apple iPhone, the line that once clearly separated the iPhones from the Androids is becoming blurry.

If you do have an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 7, you won't find much reason to go out and get yourself a new Google Pixel today.

And if you aren't across all of Google's latest technologies (you're still a way off buying your first smart car, and building your first smart home), you probably won't get much more out of a Google Pixel phone than you would from an Apple iPhone.

But if your smartphone is getting on in years, and it's time to upgrade, you might want to give the Google Pixel a test run.

The Google Pixel is very comparable to the latest Apple iPhone.
The differences between the two for the average person will come down to your personal preferences.

Smartphone users now need to start considering the other smart-devices they use, and put device compatibility at the forefront of their buying decisions.

You'll either be an Apple user, or a Microsoft user, or now perhaps, a Google user.

What do you think about Google's new phone? Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


How to Provide Basic Website Support Like a Legend

How to Provide Basic Website Support Like a Legend

How to Provide Basic Website Support Like a Legend

How many times have you walked out of a retail store after waiting too long for someone to help you?

I don't know about you, but my patience for that type of customer service is extremely low.

So imagine what the experience is like when you need to ask a retail website for help.
Only to receive the reply "Thank you. We've forwarded your enquiry onto our Web Developer. Please wait 2-5 days for a reply."

2 to 5 days! Ain't nobody got time for that!

The time it takes to help your online customers can be make or break for your online business.

Just like in the real world, it can be the difference between keeping customers, or losing them forever.

Don't be powerless in this situation however.
There is something that you and your staff can do to get the ball rolling while before you contact your Web Developer.

You can go through some pre-checks with the customer to see if there isn't a quick fix to the problem they are having.

In the industry, this is known as basic website support or level 1 support.

Providing basic website support is a straight forward process that just about everyone can do.

Let's break the process down into steps.

Step 1: Calm the Customer

Not every customer will need to be calmed, but you will get an angry, demanding customer from time to time.

So the first step is to try to bring the customer back onto your side.

Keep in mind that every website has it's moment. Every customer has their moment too.

But at the same time, you aren't the business, you aren't the website. You are the person trying to help them right now.

Communicate to the customer that this isn't a big deal.

The website could very well be broken, or it could be something else entirely.

But before you call in the Cavalry, you're going to have a look together to see if you can find what's going on.

Calming the customer might not always be possible. Some people will insist on being angry.

In these cases, just proceed to Step 2 as well as you can.

Pro Tip: The best way to disarm an irate customer is to be extra nice in return. Customers like these want to get a reaction from you, they want you to get as angry as they are. As soon as they realise that they won't get that reaction from you, they generally start to calm down.

Step 2: Identify and Reproduce "The Problem"

The second step is to identify the problem, and see if the same thing happens for you.

This will help you to determine where the problem is, and likely what the solution will be.

9 times out of 10*, the problem is from an external cause. User error, or an incompatible web-browser setting, or an up-stream issue with a service provider your website uses, or an issue with the customer's computer or Internet service.
(*Used as an expression, not statistically accurate.)

These are all issues you can't fix, but basic website support is about finding the cause of the problem, solving it if you can (or pointing the customer in the right direction). And if you can't solve it then and there, then you pass it on to the experts.

If the customer hasn't provided enough information for you to start investigating, ask them.
- What is it that you are trying to do?
- What steps are you taking to do it?
- Is any feedback provided, such as an error message?

Once you have this information, follow them step by step to see if you get the same result as the customer.

If you can reproduce the problem, then you know what it is and you can proceed to Step 4.

Maybe it's some bad data that is breaking website functionality. Or perhaps the customer was doing something incorrectly.
Either way, you've identified the problem, and you can communicate this to the customer. Problem solved.

Sometimes you won't be able to reproduce the problem, and everything will work for you as you expect it to.
This is where you need to put yourself in the customer's shoes.

Here you try to identify what else they COULD be doing to produce the problem they're having.
- Are they clicking a button too many times?
- Are they trying to do something on the website that they can't do, or aren't allowed to do?

If at this point, you're still unable to identify what is causing the problem, it's time to move onto Step 3 - basic troubleshooting.

Step 3: Basic Troubleshooting

If the customer is doing something they should be able to do, and the cause of the problem they're experiencing isn't immediately obvious, then it's time to go through basic troubleshooting.

Basic troubleshooting is a list of steps to start ruling out possible external causes for the problem (or hopefully identify and fix it).

For most websites, basic troubleshooting involves the following steps:

  1. Empty the cache (& cookies) of the web-browser, close down the web-browser, and try using the website again.
  2. Ensure that the web-browser has the correct settings and plug-ins required to use the website and that they are enabled. For example, check that Cookies are enabled in the browser,and Javascript is enabled, and that the browser security settings aren't set too high.)
  3. Try using the website in a different web-browser.

By now you have hopefully fixed or found the issue while trying the basic troubleshooting steps and you can proceed to the final step.

But if not, you've now ruled out those possible causes as being the cause of this particular problem.

So now it's time to escalate this problem to Level 2 Support, and proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: Inform the Customer of the Outcome

Step 4 is the most important step. Here you inform the customer of your findings and what happens next.

Clear communication is the key to this step.
Not everyone is a whizz on the computer, so try to explain the problem to the customer in a way that they understand.

Your findings will fall into one of the following categories:

  • You have identified the cause of the problem, and it is a problem that the customer must fix at their end.
    (User error, a problem with their computer or Internet, etc)
  • You have identified the cause of the problem, and it is not a problem the customer can fix.
    (Website error/issue, upstream service issue)
  • You have been unable to identify the cause of the problem, and need to escalate the issue to Level 2 Support.

In every case, inform the customer of the cause of the problem if you know what the cause is.
For example, the issue might be have been caused by a corrupt cookie in their web browser. Or it might be caused by a service outage that is affecting your website.

If your findings fall into category one, provide information to the customer that will explain what they must do to fix it.
You can provide links to webpages or forums with instructions that will help the customer. Or you can write up instruction templates or an FAQ for common issues.

If your findings fall into category two, then explain what you need to do to fix the issue for the customer.

And if your findings fall into category three, then explain that the issue looks to be serious, and you have sent it on to Level 2 Support for investigation.

When you can help the customer to understand how the problem came about, and what needs to be done to resolve it, most people will accept the outcome and be thankful for your help.

And There You Have It

Providing basic website support really is that straightforward.

So don't leave your customers waiting days to receive help to use your website.
Get the ball rolling by providing them with basic website support yourself.

Most website support is just a case of helping the customer get back to shopping again.

Sometimes the problem really is a bug. Many times though, it's a small glitch that can be fixed in minutes.

But by providing basic website support to your customers, you can keep the customer on your side, rather than get them walking off to another eStore.




Agree? Disagree? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.