Icon representing a gift, deal or special offer

Free this, half price that, Two 4 One, Buy One Get One Free, 20% off…

There’s no getting away from it, everyone loves a deal!  Today, customers from all walks of like are fully engaged with the deals/special offers culture, taking great pleasure and comfort in getting that ‘great deal’.

But what’s in it for small businesses?  Historically, not a lot for some it seems, especially when it means being overloaded with customers paying discounted prices and unable to offer the usual great service and losing the business money to boot because you gave 50% or more away to a ‘deal broker’

Image showing deals and offer tagsHowever, it doesn’t have to be like that.   Imagine if you could offer an attractive deal or special offer, that…

  • Attracts new customers through the door
  • Costs just £1 each time a customer buys one
  • Is marketed free and available to customers 24/7
  • Instantly redeemable using any internet connected device

Miquando local deals have all the upside of the daily deal websites and coupon clipping but none of the downsides by allowing businesses to…

  • Get started with no up-front costs
  • Run deals & offers for however long you want
  • Avoid overloading and the usual operational havoc
  • Directly target under used capacity only
  • Limit availability – Stop, start or change a deal instantly
  • Make a deal/offer profitable

So how do I do it?

1st thing to do is give a little thought to what you want to achieve with an offer.  It might be any of the following.

  • Increase brand awarenessBeauty Bar deal image
  • Advertise a new product or service
  • Boosting sales
  • Attract a new set of customers
  • Convert new customers to repeat customers
  • Increase visits from existing customers
  • Using excess stock
  • Rewarding customers / buying loyalty

You just add a new service and tick the check box to highlight this as a special offer and add a great image or photo that really sells the offer.  If you want, you can limit when customers can book this deal so you are only discounting in quieter periods to help fill spare capacity e.g. a midweek early bird dining offer.  To do this, simply add a new resource for this service with limited booking times

Add a new Resource that is only available to be booked between 5:00pm and 6:30pm, Monday to Thursday

Image showing local deals pageThat’s it – we’ll start promoting your deal on the date your new service is set to start (immediately or a future date) and it appears on the relevant regional deals page (e.g. http://miquando.com/deals/isleofman).

Customers both new and existing, local or visitors to the area, are always on the lookout for deals and offers using our regional deals pages.  To keep a flow of new visitors, we regularly promote these pages through targeted social media and other online campaigns.

Ready to get started?  Give us a call on 01624 640393 or Click Here to send us an email

 

Still not convinced, look at these independent findings from Technomic’s research into online deals….

  • 48% of deal buyers used it for a business that they had never tried before
  • 25% used for a place that they have visited only once before;
  • 67% returned even without a deal;
  • 83% recommended the business to their friends and family
  • 34% wrote a review
  • 25% posted a status on their Facebook page
Find this useful?
miquando.com mobile site

Back in February we talked about how mobile (tablets & phones) had overtaken non-mobile (desktop/laptop) in terms of the devices used to access miquando.com.  This was slightly earlier than we predicted last July when we launched our mobile web app (http://m.miquando.com) to accommodate this changing consumer behaviour (more..).

Mobile Devices 58% v Non Mobile 42%Today, less than 6 months later (July 2016), we see mobile phones alone are now the most popular device for our visitors.  This is a critical tipping point, because if your business does not have a mobile friendly website, chances are you are undoubtedly missing out opportunities to engage with the modern consumer.

Analysis of the devices used, has revealed a second valuable trend.  2 years ago, tablet usage was in decline, but with the recent introduction of new devices into the tablet market, there is currently a resurgence in tablet use.  This month, analysis of our visitors shows almost 60% now using mobile devices.

Miquando mobile site images
This is important because, whilst your ‘old’ website might be just about usable on these large screen mobile devices, unless you have designed it to be ‘responsive’ i.e. respond according to the type of device being used, it will likely be a pretty ugly experience for your consumer.

The first great thing about listing your business with MiQuando, means that even if you don’t have that ‘responsive’ website yet, people searching for local businesses like yours, can find you on miquando.com, looking great on a mobile friendly web site.  That way you won’t be missing this rapidly growing group of customers.

The second, is that by enabling your business for online booking, you are opening your doors 24hrs a day to mobile wielding consumers across the globe.

 

If you’d like to learn more, arrange a call back today – http://bit.ly/DiscoverMiQuando

 

Find this useful?
Book Now Button

Many visitors to the Isle of Man are looking to enjoy the peace and tranquillity this fair Isle offers.  Some come for the breath-taking scenery, coastal walks and outdoor adventures available.  Others come for sporting challenges or to see the thrills and high speed excitement of road racing around the Mountain Course and Southern 100.  And then there’s business travellers and people visiting friends and family.

These visitors come from far and wide, and like most people they will have researched and probably booked all or some of their travel arrangements online.  What we are now seeing is, an extension of this online behaviour with visitors looking to firm up their plans and make arrangements online at their destination before they travel.  And this is where significant numbers of people are taking advantage of online booking from MiQuando.

Thank you image to our 10,000 customers

In recent months, we have seen a wide range of Isle of Man businesses receiving online bookings (over 10,000), from visitors far and wide across the globe.  Whether it is the business visitor setting appointments with Advocates and Accountants, someone needing to hire a wheelchair for a week, groups celebrating and hiring a hot tub for the weekend, sportsmen and women needing a bit of physiotherapy or a soothing massage, the bridesmaids booking in for those special treatments in the beauty salon and virtually all of them reserving tables in local restaurants.

In short, customers just love the convenience and flexibility of booking online 24/7/365.

The visitor economy plays a huge part in, and is a significant contributor to the economies of not just small Islands like the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, but also Great Britain as a whole.  As such it is vital that every business from the smallest up, needs to be in a position to take advantage of this visitor behaviour.

And that is where Online Booking powered by MiQuando comes in to play.  A simple, reliable, low cost online booking service that works for virtually any business, opening the doors to customers worldwide, all day, every day without adding a penny to the wage bill.

If you want to learn more about miquando.com and how online booking can help grow your business, arrange a visit or book a call back today at miquando.com

 

#bookingeasy

 

Find this useful?

Because we offer so much for local businesses it’s not always easy to answer the question “so, what does MiQuando do?’

Extract from facebook post about miquandoThis post on Facebook is a great example of just one zero cost way that MiQuando can help, by working together with local business owners.

L’expérience is a popular local French restaurant that uses miquando.com and a widget on their website for online booking and reservations.  They owners wanted to offer a customers a deal on a Chateaubriand meal for two.  They posted this on Facebook, using a link that lets customers book online (Try it!).

The restaurant owners also let us know posted about on our local Facebook page, again including the ‘call to action‘ link for people to book online.  As you can see in the post we have shared here, one of our Facebook followers, saw our post and immediately reserved their table online using the link we included.

This is just one simple, but highly effective example of how MiQuando works in partnership with any and every local business to help promote business and gain them customers.

If you would like to discover how MiQuando can benefit your business book a call back or a demonstration, or give us a call on 01624 640393.

 

#bookingeasy

 

Find this useful?

For any business using online booking, making sure your online calendar is up to date is essential in order to be able to deliver a real top class service to the customer, even before you’ve met them.  Let’s face it, if your booking system lets them book an appointment at their preferred time, only to later be told “hey, thanks for your booking, but we’re a bit busy then can we do it later”, that’s not great service.

Keeping your online calendar updated (even if you still use the old paper diary), means that when people make a booking online, you can honour the request, meaning you deliver exactly what the customer wants, each and every time.  You can respond to booking requests instantly (or even automatically), delivering blindingly fast confirmations and dazzling customer service before you have even met them.

3 Availability Options

 

 

As ever, we are continually working to make things quicker and easier, so we now offer you 3 places from where you can quickly update your online calendar…

 

 

 

Here’s what the new ‘Availability’ feature looks like.  Use it to quickly add when you’re fully booked, update any non-standard opening or closing times, or make changes to your online booking calendar, for example adding in a late night opening event.

Set Availability

The first thing to point out is the two links at the top of the page…

The “Times” link, takes you to your opening hours page, from where all your active calendar updates can be viewed and amended, and the “Home” link which will take you straight to your dashboard / home page, from where you can access all the other great features of your miquando account.

When the page loads, the default settings of “We are…” and “Fully Booked” are highlighted as shown.  This is simply to make it as quick and easy as possible for you to update your online calendar when you are busy or on the go.

The “from date” field will show today’s date and the current time will show in the “from time” field

The “To date” will again default to today’s date, with the “To Time” initially set to your closing time for the day.

To choose new values, simply click or tap in any of these date / time fields.

When you’re happy, click the update now button.

For example, you’ve just taken a phone booking for a party of 6, which means that’s you pretty much full tonight  Use this new “Set Availability” feature, using the defaults “We are…” and “Fully Booked”, simply change the from time to say 6:00pm and click the big blue “Update Now” button.

That’s a grand total of 4 clicks or touches, less than 10 seconds and your online calendar is all up to date!

No double bookings, no awkward “sorry, we need to change that” conversations, just a smooth running business and happy customers.  Neat or what?

 

Want more info?  Watch a short video on how to use the new availability feature or download the Quick Guide PDF

 

#bookmeitseasy

Find this useful?

Remember your mum telling you to “never judge a book by its cover.” Well, as much as we’d all like to say we stick wholeheartedly to ma’s advice, living in the age of the “Selfie” have we all become armchair critics?

Book cover - games you can play with your pussy (cat)Over the last 5 years or so technology has played a larger and larger part in our lives and in recent years in particular, it has changed the way we get information.

We seem to have less and less time to find the information we really want.  Mum and dad may have had the time to get the right information from the right sources but nowadays, well, “I ain’t got time for dat”. Today, information is drawn from everywhere — the web, social media, email, SMS, video content, the list goes on —  so whether we like it or not the information we’re drawn to is the information that can be grasped in seconds, if not instantaneously.

It’s generally agreed that people don’t really read on the Internet. A recent study claims that most users endorse and share posts after scanning only a few first words, or even just a headline.

If your last Facebook rant got a ton of likes, don’t assume your ‘friends’ actually read it.  The endorsement may be more of a pat on the back “good effort” — especially if you have a great image to go alongside it. 90% of all information that gets transmitted to our brains is visual.

The colour, size and shape of visual elements infer numerous emotions — anything from excitement to despair — and can influence us to engage with a brand, share a post or buy a product. An image connects directly to our emotions getting fed straight into our subconscious – no unraveling needed.

So, when using images, have a quick word with yourself “am I using the right cat image?”. Don’t just use them to fill a gap or because you’ve heard that people like them. For every image on your site or profile, you should be able to answer the 64 thousand dollar questions. “Why did you choose that image and not a different one?”  Bear in mind that images that support your content are more effective than ones that don’t.

In short make sure your cat image supports your message.

 

Find this useful?

Customer service is dead, long live the “Customer Experience”. In the jungle of the online world, the opportunity to enhance what used to be customer service is gathering speed.

Not eighteen months ago, we were still telling each other that sms, emails and even chat bots were a flimsy substitute for a good face-to-face conversation. The noise about how impersonal electronic communications can be is now becoming a distant hum as perceptions are changing, thanks to a new generation of businesses.

This new breed of business focuses on the customer service experience, in relation to the product, service and overall business model; this of course takes the focus away from large and expensive marketing strategies. The old adage of “personality goes a long way” really can go a long way.

“I might not have a flawless complexion but everyone wants me at their party baby!”

Focusing on the customer experience affords the business the opportunity to develop its personality / USP in a more meaningful way. 58% of consumers are destined to become returning customers if they have a great experience; and, as with any great experience, the customer is going to talk positively to a handful of people about the experience. Empathize with them and understand what they want, value them and show them you appreciate them, a special offer here, a gift voucher there.

Image of steaming mug

The best companies don’t use excessive marketing campaigns they just deliver fantastic experiences for their customers. Adopting practices that develop the customer service experience provides a solid base to build business from.

“So err, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced?” – jimi hendrix

Find this useful?

The team has been busy over the winter month, beavering away behind the scenes to bring some great new additions to miquando.com.  We’re now into the final stages of development and testing, getting ready to release our latest updates into the wild.  Here’s a quick preview of some of the updates coming soon.

Email Icon

Better Informed

After listening to feedback from our members, we are making some small changes to our emails, to make sure everyone receives all the information they need regarding their bookings.  We’re adding more information and making it easier to read for businesses and online bookers alike.

 


Shield and folder with padlock 

Enhanced Data Encryption

We know how important is to keep your information safe and sound online, so we’ve been busy working to add more and stronger encryption to all your personal information you provide for your online bookings.

 


Tools IconPrivacy Tools

In addition to the improved data encryption, we now offer businesses more choices as to what customer information their staff and our support team are able to see.  The ‘High Privacy’ option suppresses names and contact information for customer bookings, whilst the ‘Very High’ option blocks all visibility to customer booking information, except for authorised accounts.

 


vectorstock_1676929

Restaurant Booking Capacity Tools

We’ve been working alongside some of our busiest restaurant partners to develop some very clever algorithms and a new graphical interface for our Restaurant Booking services.  We’re really pleased with the capacity management tools we have added that make it so much easier for restaurants to manage their bookings and prevent overloading both the kitchen and the front of house.

 


Chart for Bookings

Graphical Interface for Bookings

The new graphics and interface, mean it is easier than ever to see at a glance all the reservations for a particular day and service, view details of each individual booking in an instant, or update a booking with a single click of the mouse or tap of a finger.


Busy Diary

 

Diary / Calendar Management

Perhaps the hardest part of managing a busy diary is making sure everyone is up to date with everyone’s appointments and working hours.  It’s pretty much impossible to do with a paper diary, but we’re making it as easy and flexible as possible with our smart new Free/Busy Scheduler wizard that works with your online bookings calendar/diary.

 

 

All these new features and the great benefits they bring to consumers and businesses alike, are pencilled in for release mid April.  We’ll add a system news to let everyone know exact dates once all tests have been completed and signed off!

Find this useful?
#bookingamazing

In a previous post we talked about 5 things you can do to help your online visitors become paying customers, and in that we briefly mentioned ‘Calls to action’.  This post expands on that topic.

What is a ‘call to action’?  Basically a Call to action (CTA) is something you add to your website or Facebook page or include in an email or social media post that prompts your visitors and customers to take some action.  It is literally something that shouts out for people to take an “action.”

That something might be a line of text, an image or even better a ‘widget’ that allows your online visitor to do something that benefits them.  The most obvious place where you probably already have your basic CTAs is on your contact page where you say “Call us”, “Email us”, “Like us” etc. or maybe even have a contact us form.  So you’ve given your customers a few basic choices.

Here’s some simple examples:

1. Call 0845 564 0000 now to talk to one of our friendly team members and learn how miquando.com can help your business grow 2. It is essential to actively manage your online reputation.  If you would like a copy of our PDF on how to deal with negative online feedback, simply click the Download button below.
3. Email us at mail@miquando.com with the subject “Call me please”, and one of friendly team members will give you a call back.  Download Button

Now if your business is an online retailer, your most important CTA will likely be along the lines of

Add to Basket Button

Unfortunately, that doesn’t really work if your business is service driven, rather than product driven.  In a service focussed business e.g. restaurant, beauty salon, physiotherapist, opticians, solicitor, or virtually every other service orientated business you can think of, the most effective Call to Action is going to be…

Book Now Button

Book Now Button with days of the week showingThe Book Now button is a brilliant Call to Action for any service orientated business, simply because it is the end game for almost all customers.  It gets even better when you can give customers and indication of days they can “Book Now”, as this improves both the customer experience and your conversion rate (after all, that’s what your CTAs should do) e.g.

Now think about how good it would be, if the first thing a prospective customer, visiting your website sees, is something that makes it so easy for them to achieve their objective, it’s almost too much for them to resist. Adding a real time calendar/booking widget on to your home page or landing pages, makes it incredibly easy to convert visitors to customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Snapshot of A Cut Above website

 

Try our Online Booking Widget right NOW?

 

#bookmeitseasy

Find this useful?

When we use the word ‘best’ here, what do we mean.  It’s not the “5 Star, simply amazing” kind of review, it is the most honest and useful kind of feedback.

At miquando.com we believe the ‘best’ reviews are ones that are not just useful to other consumers, but are equally be helpful to the business too.

  • Help customers make better informed choices
  • Help businesses identify both what they do well and areas they can improve

So where do we get the ‘best’ reviews?

It’s probably easier to start with the least useful ones:

  • Paid for reviews

Consumers generally seem to be sceptical of paid for reviews and in many cases will dismiss them as irrelevant.  It doesn’t really matter if it is an honest review or not, the fact it is paid for appears to devalue it.

  • The stand out reviews

It’s not unusual to find on overly negative or positive review that stands out from the crowd.  Business owners are understandable wary of an over the top negative review, but welcome the effusively praising ones.  In reality the buying public are smart enough to realise that these stand out reviews are unlikely to reflect reality and will largely ignore them.

  • Reviews that aren’t reviews

You know the ones.  “1 STAR – don’t bother” or “5 Stars – always brilliant”.  They give you nothing useful, and leave you wondering why they bothered leaving anything at all.  We’re left thinking someone’s a grumpy git or mate of the owners – that’s about it.  Unless they just needed that one more review to earn their “Pro Reviewer Badge”

 

Back to finding the ‘best’ feedback?

Where can you find the most useful (‘best’) reviews?   We believe the evidence points to places where people leave feedback after having been specifically invited to do so after consuming a service, and it will come from people who feel they have something constructive to say (good or bad), and crucially, what they say can be used and acted upon by all concerned.

 

So to try and answer the question in the headline, we reckon ‘The Democrat’ reviewers win this one!

Find this useful?