Lunes, Disyembre 24, 2012

The Importance of Live Chat Support on your Online Business

Importance of Live Chat for Online Business
Importance of Live Chat Support on your Online Business

If you have been browsing different websites, you may have noticed images with the word “live chat” posted conspicuously.  In some websites, it says “Need help? Ask us live.” Do online entrepreneurs need this tool?

Live Chat Support
Live Chat support buttons are images that are posted on the website.  When you click on these buttons or images, you will be taken to the live chat support provider’s Messenger Box which requires you to enter your name and your question.

Advantages of Live Chat Support
1.  Communication.  The Live Chat Support allows customers/prospective clients to directly contact the company and asks questions in real time.

2.  Sale.  For online entrepreneurs, being contacted by a prospective client allows them to communicate with them and answer their questions which are the initial steps towards concluding a sale.  They may ask you about how to place an order or how to pay for an order.  These questions are very important because if they are not answered quickly you will lose these clients.  If they are still in doubt whether to place an order, talking to them might convince them!

3. Follow Ups.  For existing clients, the live chat also allows your clients to follow up existing orders.

However, before your clients can chat with you, you need to log in to the system.  When you login, the live chat image will show that you are online.  When you log out the live chat image will show that you are offline.  When you are offline, the messenger will ask the prospective clients to indicate their questions and leave their email which is sent to the email address registered with the live chat support provider.

When you chat with your clients online, you can see on your console where they are, the pages they have viewed and are viewing, and their local time.

Live Chat Analytics
Aside from being able to chat with your clients, live chat support service providers give you a bonus feature that is very important in improving your visibility online which is the traffic statistics. Once enabled, it will allow you to:
1. Monitor the total number of visitors on your site
2. See the pages they viewed and the time they spend reading your post.
3. Find out the key words they used that landed them in your website/blog,
4. Learn about the top landing pages on your website
5. See if there are new visitors or returning visitors
6. Find out if they are referred by Google or Yahoo!

Why are these features important? The keywords that they used when they landed on your website are very important pieces of information for you. You can use that data and write an article about it to get more visitors landing on your website.  You could even include that keyword in your website or blog to get more hits!

Alternatives to Live Chat Support
If you are tight on the budget and you are still unsure if you can afford a live chat support for your website, you can simply post your email address conspicuously on your website.

Getting a Live Chat Support Service Provider for Your Website
In our case, we use as our live chat support provider.  We have been using it for almost 3 years now. The cost is very reasonable at $99 for a full year of service.  It is roughly P300 every month.

Before I paid for a full year of subscription, I used their 30 day free trial and the experience was great. I fell in love with the great service and the tool was very easy to use for me.  Unfortunately, you cannot avail of their service for a shorter period than 1 year.

For Filipino online entrepreneurs, having a live chat support on your website is very important not only to talk to client but also to understand the behavior of your visitors.  It is a bit costly if you are starting but the data it gives you more than outweighs its costs.

What is Your Take?
Do you have a chat support system on your website/blog? Do you advise others to get it?
Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.

Top 4 Reasons Online Entrepreneurs Should Decline Projects

Entrepreneurs should learn when to say "No"
Have you ever been in a situation when you hesitate to accept projects?

As online entrepreneurs, we have the habit of accepting projects.  Projects mean money.  If we turn down projects then we lose money. For this reason, as much as possible, many online entrepreneurs hesitate to decline projects.

However, are there good reasons to decline projects? Below are the top 4 reasons online entrepreneurs should decline projects/orders and the possible solutions:

Is the Client For Real?
When the client is new and he places a rush project to be delivered in a few hours and he is willing to pay huge bucks for it.  In my over 6 years of experience as an academic paper writer and as article writer, I have been victimized by scammers.  One thing I learned is that if a new client pays huge bucks for an order without asking us first, I should begin checking for signs of fraud.

Solution: To make sure that the client is legit, check the email that the client used to pay for the order and compare it with the email where the client wants the order to be delivered.  If they match then the order is good to go.  Try to contact the client using the phone number he gave you in the order form or require a confirmation email from the client.  This way, you are protected in case the client asks for refund from Paypal.

Client Asks for Unreasonable Discounts
Some clients ask for unreasonable discounts.  While you may be tempted to agree to the client’s requests just to establish business relationship, it may eventually backfire because he may continue asking for the same rate over and over again.

Solution: First, discuss with the client that the rates being charged is reasonable compared to the prevailing market.  If he insists on getting on much lower rate, try to negotiate with him to change the scope of the project.  Or, you can ask for longer deadline to give you more time to finish the project.

The Project is Outside the Scope of your Expertise
There will be situations when you will be offered to work on a project that you are unfamiliar with. If you try to complete these projects knowing that you are venturing into unfamiliar territory, chances are the clients will not be satisfied with the output.  He may either not return or he may ask for a refund or tell about the poor output online.

Solution: Try to ask other writers who are experts on the field to work with you.  The other freelance writers will appreciate the gesture.  If you cannot find a collaborating writer, it is better to reveal to the client that it is something that you cannot handle.  I am sure your prospective client will appreciate your honesty and come back with you next time he needs your help.

You Cannot Deliver the Project on Time
For many clients, time is of the essence.  When they give you projects and tell you that they need the output on time, they mean it.  A few hours of delay will irate your clients and seriously damage your online reputation.

Solution: You should check your schedule and see if there are projects that can be moved to a later date.  Determine if you can finish the other projects at an earlier date so you can work on the new project.  If there is nothing that can be done at your end then it is the time when you should either tell the client beforehand that you will not be able to make it on time or you may ask other writers to help you finish the project on time.

To Accept or To Not Accept
Declining a project should be the online entrepreneur’s last resort.  Before you make that decision, make sure to exhaust every possible means first. But be brave enough to tell the client that you cannot meet the requirements of the project after you have done everything.

What is Your Take?
Have you ever declined a project? When should a freelancer decline a project?
Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.

Benefits of Going Small in Business

Managing Small Online Businesses has its Advantages
One of the many reasons why individuals hesitate to venture into online business is fear.  They fear that they will not be able to accomplish anything because they will be working on their business alone. They fear that it is not possible to compete with bigger and more established organization.

It is true that working in an online business alone has its disadvantages.  Some of these disadvantages are the lack of financial and other valuable resources needed to run a business.

But, running your online business on your own does not mean that you will not get things done. 

Below are some of the advantages of managing an online business on your own:

1. The overhead cost of managing your business is smaller.  A typical corporation pays for office rent, utilities, wages of its employees and other expenditures. On the other hand, managing the online business on your own means you can run your business at your house.  You also do not have to be concerned about paying for rent, utilities, phone bills and payroll.  Having lesser overhead cost means you can afford to lower your rates to attract more clients for your business.

2.  The decision making is faster.  As the sole owner, you make the important decisions for your own business. You do not have to seek approval from a supervisor, manager or the members of the board.  Faster decision making means you can implement immediate changes on your website/blog or post new content without the bureaucracy and hassle.

3. More motivated and determined to succeed. An employee who works for a company does not have the same level of commitment, determination and motivation to work.  When you manage your online business, you are willing to go to extra lengths to make your business successful.

4. Work hours are more flexible.  When you work for your own online business you are more flexible with respect to the work hours.  In fact, you can choose your own work hours so long as you meet your client’s deadlines.  You do not have to worry about being late for work or pleasing your supervisor or manager.

5. Small steps in meeting goals. Small online businesses have lesser expectations of their business. They are also more accepting of gradual developments in their marketing strategy compared to bigger businesses which set higher targets and goals.

Small is Cool
Working on your own online business does have its advantages.  It is up to you to take advantage of these benefits and find a way to minimize the disadvantages of being small.  Be proud and overcome the barriers!

What is Your Take?
Are you also a small online business owner? Do you manage your online business on your own? What are its benefits?

Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.


Common Misconceptions About Engaging in Online Business

What is your reason for starting an online business
Have you ever ventured into something new without being prepared for it?

If you are an aspiring online entrepreneur, you may have read a lot of success stories from business gurus, experts, coaches, and advisers.  Most of them emphasize how easy it is to make money online.  In their desire to sell you into becoming an online entrepreneur they forget that fact that there are other entrepreneurs who fail to succeed.  In fact, it is safe to say that while there are a handful who have succeeded the rest have failed to cause a ripple in the online world.

There are a lot of benefits of going into online business.  However, it is not all a bed of roses.  So, what are the common misconceptions about becoming an online entrepreneur?

“You will have more time for yourself”
Though it is true that becoming an online entrepreneur will free you from the rigors of an 8 am to 5 pm schedule, becoming an entrepreneur does not mean that you have lots of spare time. In fact, if you are starting, you need to devote so much of your time just to make your website/blog visible. You need to partner with fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs for better exposure online.

“You will be rich”
If your plunge into online business with the mind set that you will be rich in a matter of weeks or even months, you will probably realize that you are wrong.  Many successful entrepreneurs have websites/blogs because they love what they do. They share their expertise on a particular field so others will learn and the people look up to them as their leaders.  Though they earn money from what they do, it is not their primary consideration.  Going into online business without having established yourself as an expert with the idea of engaging in direct selling efforts is not the way to go.

“You have no employer”
Sure, engaging in an online business makes you your own boss.  However, it can be difficult to do everything on your own knowing that there is nobody to help you if you encounter obstacles.

“Online business is easy”
Some marketers say that the first thing to do to succeed online is to build a blog or website.  The truth is, having a website or blog is not enough (no matter how expensive it is).  Right now, there are probably millions of blogs and websites in the world wide web.  Most of these websites and blogs do not attract traffic and have no readers.  If nobody is reading your blog then you cannot establish yourself as an expert.  You cannot sell anything.  Getting followers and establishing yourself as an expert in a field, however, is not easy. It takes time and a lot of effort.  Even if you exert effort, there is no guarantee that you will succeed online.

“You have more time to rest”
Becoming an online entrepreneur entails a lot of sacrifices.  It means giving up your weekends just to meet people and get clients.  It means waking up in the middle of the night just to meet deadlines.  It means taking call from clients even when you are on vacation just to conclude a sale.

I Love What I Do
Being an online entrepreneur can be a very rewarding and fruitful experience.  But you need to get ready for the worse.  Personally, I suggest that you try to get a stable job first and do it on your free time.  Try to establish yourself as an expert on a chosen field and establish partnerships with people who started their business longer than you.

What is Your Take?
Are you an online entrepreneur? What is your reason for venturing into this business?
Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.

Reasons why Online Entrepreneurs Fail

Find out the reasons why online entrepreneurs fail
Nobody in his right mind wants to fail.  It is a fact.  But in the online world, the number of individuals who have failed greatly outnumbers the number of individuals who have made it.

Though we don’t want to fail, the reality is that many online entrepreneurs tried and only a few have succeeded.

So, what are the reasons why online entrepreneurs who are willing to invest capita and time on their websites/blogs have become failures?

Lack of access to the right information
Sure, there are a number of helpful materials and information available on the web.  Finding them, however, is not easy.  There are only a handful of really influential leaders out there and finding them among the see of self-proclaimed experts can be difficult.
Find a good mentor/s and listen to him/them. These experts will help you navigate your online business through uncertain territory.  Stay away from self-proclaimed experts who have not established solid reputation online.  In many cases, listening to the wrong advice can be a pitfall if you fail to immediately rectify your mistake.

Fear of the Unknown
The comforts of getting a fix monthly wage can be very enticing that online entrepreneurs may find it difficult to walk away and find their true passion.  Indeed, many aspiring online entrepreneurs have refused to venture into business because it is too risky for them.
Try to find a way to fit your online business into your busy work schedule.  Make it a part of your daily routine.  Doing something that you love should never be a burden on your part.

Poor Time Management
Once you accepted a project and agreed to deliver it within a specified time, you must exhaust all efforts to meet your deadline.  Failure to meet client’s expectations and even standards contributes to the failure of an online entrepreneur.  Accept only those projects which you can handle or get help from fellow online entrepreneurs.

Find Ways to Succeed
There are risks associated with any business venture. Personally, try to do this as a hobby first or as a side job. Try to find out if this is what you really want before you venture into online business full time.

What is Your Take?
Do you think there are other reasons why online entrepreneurs fail?
Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.


Lunes, Agosto 20, 2012

How to Handle Customer Complaints

Handling customer complaints is an art
Every company that deals with customers have to know how to handle customer complaints.  Let us face it, no matter how online entrepreneurs try to satisfy their clients, there will always be some who will feel that they did not get the kind of service that they deserve.  It is simply not possible to please everyone all the time.

For every 10 clients who are satisfied with your service, there will always be at least 1 who will send a series of emails and complain about the service they receive.  Some of these clients will find a way for their complaints to be heard by the public.  They will talk about their ire in Facebook or in Twitter or in any other social media which may seriously damage the reputation of your company.

In my over 6 years of managing my own website, I have received several complaints from my clients. However, I have learned to control the actions of these dissatisfied customers so they do not vent about their complaints in the social media.  In many cases, these complaining customers have been my most loyal customers. 

Why is that so? Because I have made it a point to listen to their complaints and to address them right away.  

Below are the ways by which online entrepreneurs should handle complaining customers:

1. Set up Google Alerts.  Google Alerts is a free tool that allows online entrepreneurs to monitor online conversations about their business.  Using this free tool, online entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the pack by knowing how their customers feel about the service they received from the company.  Knowledge is power.  By knowing about these comments, you can immediately talk to the customers involved and respond to them.

2. Dissatisfied customers want to be heard.  Dissatisfied customers have one thing in common.  They want somebody to listen to them.  If you do not want your dissatisfied customers to talk about their complaints in Facebook or Twitter and let their friends know about it, you should make it a goal to listen to your customers' complaints.   

Make sure that the person who will talk to the dissatisfied customer is somebody who can actually make decision for the company such as replace a product or send refunds.  A dissatisfied customer wants to know that he is talking to somebody who can actually address his concern not somebody whose task is to file a report.   

3. Address customer complaints immediately.  If there is one thing that will annoy dissatisfied customers it is slow response to their complaints.  If you react to customer's complaints slowly these customers will think that you are not interested in addressing their problems.   

If you receive an email from a dissatisfied customer make sure to respond to it right away and find out how you can appease the client.  Avoid letting another day pass before you will address the dissatisfied customer's complaints. 

4. Be irrationally generous to your dissatisfied customers.  An authority in Internet Marketing once said that online entrepreneurs who really want to satisfy their clients should be irrationally generous. This means being ready to send full refund to complaining customers even if they are not deserving of it.   Think of it as a cost managing an online business.   

You may think that it is absurd to apply this policy to your online business.  However, the long term gains you will receive from adopting this policy will outweigh the loss you made from refunding your client's money.  Think about it.  An unhappy customer tells about his friends about the service he received or he posts a review online about the poor service he received from your company.  This one customer's complaint will bring serious damage to your company's online reputation.   

However, if you decide to give out a full refund, you make him happy.  He may eventually make another purchase or he could tell his friends about the great experience he received from your company.

Knowing how to handle customer complains is an important part of doing business online.  Because of the speed by which bad reviews can spread online, it is indispensable for online entrepreneurs to find out what others are saying about their business and to address them right away.   Listen to your customer's needs, address their concerns immediately and be ready to send refunds. Those are the secrets to handling customer complains effectively.

Sabado, Agosto 18, 2012

Tools Online Entrepreneurs Need for their Online Business

Even Online Entrepreneurs Need Tools

Everybody needs to have the right set of tools.  Carpenters have their own tools. Mechanics have their own set of tools. Doctors also have their own tools.  These tools enable them to do their job easier.  The same is true for online entrepreneurs who need to have the right set of tools for their business. Without these tools, its very difficult to start and even maintain an online business.

Being a neophyte in the business, I had a very difficult time managing the website.  I tried to ask around but  my competitors were unwilling to share the secrets of the trade.  Eventually, i came to the realization that i can only count on myself to make things happen for the online business.

I started to observe the websites of my competitors. I tried to take note of what they have and what i did not have.  I tried to research over the internet about the features that could help me improve my service to my clients.

Based on my experience, looking for the right service provider that could meet my needs was very difficult because I had to balance the price and functionality.  After several trial and errors, I have discovered these service providers which I consider as partners that gave me the tools to manage my online business.

Below are the tools that have helped my online business a success.  

1. Online businesses need a domain name and a hosting account.  The domain name is the name of your blog or website.  The web hosting provider is the company that manages the hosting for your domain name.  In my case, I have chosen for my web hosting.  Costs for the registration of the domain name and web hosting for 1 year is less than 3500.  The best part about my partnership with is that they have a live chat support system that allows its client to talk to their representatives about how to set up the blog/website.  Not being knowledgeable with the technical stuff, their representatives helped me through the entire process of setting up my blog.

If you want to test the waters first before you actually part with your hard earned money, you can check you just need to create a gmail account.  It is free so you do not have to worry about the yearly fees. However, when you use a free account with blogger, will always be added to your blog' s name.  This could prove to be a hassle if you want a short name for your blog.  You may also create a blog using a free wordpress account.  In this case will appear at the end of your blog's name.

Both wordpress and blogger give you the tools to customize your blog and add features that will help improve its functionality and user-friendliness.

2. Online businesses need Web developers. There are a lot of skilled and experienced web developers in the Philippines.  In Google, type the keyword web developers in the Philippines. You will see a number of experienced web developers who can create the right website for your needs.  You just need to talk to them and discuss with them your goals and the features of your website. The costs range from 20k to 100k depending on the features of your website.  

3. Online businesses need a live chat support.  When you have a live chat support system, your prospective clients can talk to you when you are online.  You can converse with them and chat with them in real time.  If you are offline, the clients can leave their message and email address that will allow you to respond to them.  Many of these companies providing live chat support system also has a built-in analytics feature that allows you to monitor how many clients see your website at any given day, what keywords they use to arrive at your site, where they are, what pages they have viewed and how much time they spend in viewing your site.  These features are indispensable to somebody who wants to understand the behaviour of their clients and how he can utilize it to his advantage.

My live chat support service provider is  They have a 24 hour support system so their clients can easily contact them should they have queries.  They have a 30-day free trial which you can discontinue anytime. The yearly subscription costs $99 which is pretty cheap given the information they can give you.

4. Online businesses need toll free numbers.  In my case, my clients need to call me and talk to me.  I have a toll free number which my clients can use to call me anytime during the day or night.  The toll free number is linked to my own cell phone number.  Every time a client calls using the toll free number, the call gets forwarded to my cell phone. My clients do not see where the calls are forwarded to. They only know that they are calling a toll-free number.

I obtained my toll free number for  The minimum yearly subscription is $84 for a plan of 7 minutes per month.  This means you can only get up to 7 minutes of phone calls per month.  If you exceed the limit, you will be billed an extra amount.  If you receive more than 7 minutes of calls a month, you can always upgrade your subscription.

5 . Online businesses need to have email marketing software provider.  I am a firm believer in email marketing campaigns.  It allows me to stay in touch with my clients and give them updates about important news and events.  It also allows me to send to them coupons for discounts and other offerings.  

I have found a free email marketing software provider which is  If your email list is not more than 100, will send to your clients your newsletters and email messages for free.  You can actually send unlimited number of messages for free. also allows you to customize the newsletter and inset your logo to your newsletter.  it is a good option if you want to try whether email marketing fits your business model.

I am not suggesting that these service providers are indispensable for all types of business.  But i suggest that you check them out first before you start looking for other service providers.