Some Feedback and the Busiest Time of the Year
Regular readers of my articles will recall that over the past few months I have been putting in place various systems to try and minimize the level of emails and support queries that I receive from my customers. My intention was to reduce my own workload as well as trying to give my customers a faster answer to their most common questions.
The first thing I did was set up a dedicated 'Helpdesk' which has the answers to many regularly-asked questions as well as the facility for customers to raise a support ticket if they require further assistance. I also made some fairly drastic changes to the way in which my email is handled in order to reduce the amount of spam and junk that I was receiving.
One of the main reasons that I made these changes was because I was due to take my annual holiday and I did not want a repeat of last years experience! Let me explain ….
In 2004 I visited the Maldives which are a group of tiny islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean (when I say tiny, I do mean small – you can walk around the major of the islands in less than 10 minutes!) Anyway, I was assured that there was Internet access on the island that I was visiting and so I was fairly comfortable about running things from there. In the end, my problem did not turn out to be the Internet connection (which worked fine albeit somewhat slowly) but the time it was taking me to delete junk mail and deal with the same questions over and over again. I ended up spending at least an hour a day handling emails from a dark little office when I should have been soaking up the sun 🙁
So I wanted to make sure things changed this year and I am pleased to report that the above steps worked a treat 🙂 In a nutshell, the systems that I put in place cut my Internet time each day from over an hour to about 15 minutes!
My advice therefore is that if you have any type of online business you should definitely be looking at ways of automating your customer support and reducing the number of emails that you have to handle. This is the case even if you do not have plans to work away from your office – the time savings are just as valuable to me now that I am back home ….
(If you missed the previous newsletters and want to know exactly what I did to achieve the results above, just browse through the recent newsletter archives which you will find at: [http://www.thetraderonline.com/arcnews88963.html]) .
Ok, now back to the business of making money …..
As always seems to be the case these days, the summer months have shot by and we are in the closing stages of yet another year (and the old favorite phrase, 'I do not know where the year has gone ….' seems to be on the lips of every second person you meet!)
But before you write the year off and start planning for 2006, just remember that the period from October to December 24th is often the busiest time of the year for many businesses – especially those in the retail sector. I have noticed that in the past week alone the number of searches being carried out on my wholesale search engines have shot up as buyers look for new stock to sell during the next couple of months.
The run up to Christmas offers a huge opportunity to make some serious money and if you are working online, you have many advantages that our offline friends do not. For starters, even if you have not actually started an online business, there is still time to cash in – it does not take very long to create a simple website and even if you do not have the ability / time / inclining to build your own site, there are numerous other places to sell online such as eBay etc.
The point I am trying to make here is that between now and Christmas Day there is a window of opportunity to earn some money but the only way that this is going to happen is if you actually take some action. It does not matter if you do not actually have a physical product to sell – in my experience, the Internet in general looks to get busier towards the Christmas period (certainly my own traffic stats for the past couple of years support this) so even if you are not selling a Christmas-related product, there is, in theory, more opportunity to get a buyer to your website simply by virtue of the fact that there is more surfing activity.
Of course, if you can base a site around a Christmas theme, you probably have an even better chance of 'cleaning up'. I read about a chap who set up a website last year which allowed parents to submit their childrens' letters to Father Christmas and in return for a small payment (from memory around $ 10), the child got a personalized letter through the post from the man himself. I forget the exact figures but this guy made something like $ 20,000 or $ 30,000 in the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas and I bet he is going to earn considering more than that this year!
A simple idea and somewhat seasonal (to say the least!) But a very nice contribution towards his own Xmas expenditure nonetheless. What will you be doing this year to contribute towards YOUR seasonal expenditure ….?
Copyright 2005 Richard Grady