Monthly Archives: May 2015

E-commerce and the importance of showcasing your products clearly

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

An online shop has many functions to fulfil: it is your product catalogue, your display brochure, and your call to action for your customers to buy your products. Make sure it is working for you, not against you, and is easy to navigate for both customers and staff.

A full catalogue of all your products can be a large, unwieldy thing. Before you start uploading product listings, make sure you have a clear plan of how your shop works for you, rather than being a list of everything that you sell. Flexibility is one of the key benefits of e-commerce as opposed to bricks and mortar shops, but it’s easy to lose track of what your store looks like. If there is a clear structure, it will be much easier for your customers to find what they are looking for, and for your staff to assist them with any queries they may have.

Begin by drawing up a list of categories – don’t worry if you think some categories won’t have much in them. You may well have more products that apply to the category than you thought, and if they still feel sparse when you have finished, you can combine them (for example, curtains and bedding, or textiles and fabric paints). Don’t worry about choosing between categories, most e-commerce packages will easily let you add products to multiple categories. Once you are happy with your categories, go through your inventory product by product and assign them. It’s worth enabling a breadcrumb trail so your customers know where they have ended up when they are browsing!

Product descriptions are key to your customers understanding what they are looking at, and also for your staff. If you are selling the same item in different sizes, decide whether they will be sold as different items (for example, large bookshelf and small bookshelf) or multiple options of the same product (bookshelf – small/large). However well your site works, there will always be customers who have a query, or who would just rather speak to a person, and if they are quickly able to identify the product they are referring to, it will be much easier for your staff to help them. Unique product codes that are clearly displayed online will help with this, and with order fulfilment.

Having easy to understand, common-sense product descriptions also means that you don’t need to use your specialised staff on routine phone calls; so you can employ the services of a virtual receptionist who will be able to reassure and advise your customers very efficiently.

Why customers still want to speak to a real person

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

In the 21st century it can be hard to remember that, even though most of your company’s transactions and communications may be conducted online, there are still people who prefer to speak on the phone, to a real person.

So who are these people? Often the main culprits can be customers who fall into a slightly older age bracket. If computers weren’t around when they were younger, it can be hard for people to get their heads around the internet, struggling to use it efficiently and often worrying about the safety or logistics of making payments online.

They’re far from the only group of people who might prefer to use the phone though; people with busy schedules also often prefer to place orders on the phone as it can be easier and quicker if your computer isn’t already fired up, or they’re placing an order from somewhere with a dodgy wi-fi signal.

Consider people who are blind or have poor eyesight – whilst some might have aids to help them to use a computer, it can often be far easier and faster for them to punch in a phone number than it would be to type their details into an e-commerce website.

Of course, some people simply don’t have access to the internet – it would be a shame to miss out on their custom.

By using our virtual receptionist service, you will be able to access those people’s business, rather than face them defecting to a competitor. Even if you have your own in-house staff to answer phones there will be times when your lines are busy, your receptionist is sick or your phone line is down. In these cases, using a virtual receptionist can reduce wait times for customers calling in and eliminate the risk of dropped calls, ensuring that your customers stay loyal and happy.

All of our virtual receptionists are highly trained, familiar with your account and systems and can answer calls instantly. They can then help out with order taking and payment processing – making a virtual receptionist service the perfect back-up system for any small business.

How integrated order taking can increase your revenue and improve your reputation

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Whether you offer products or services to your customers, taking orders and making appointments efficiently can prove to be a challenge, especially when you are first starting out or experiencing an increase in demand. This is where integrated order taking can really help your business increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.

What is integrated order taking?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a knowledgeable and friendly team standing by ready to help your customers to place an order or make a convenient appointment? Alternatively, you may prefer to have a web-based ordering system that fulfils customer orders and enquiries online. These are all services that CSnotepad can provide as part of our integrated order taking service.

The way it works is simple. We provide you with your own dedicated telephone line for your business. When calls come in to your business line, your customers will be greeted and assisted by a human being who is knowledgeable about your business and proficient in using your ordering system. This means you can focus on your core business and meeting customer needs without worrying about missed calls or unfulfilled orders.

Want to give your customers online ordering facilities, or streamline your own ordering system? We can help with that too, and give you more and more ways to attract business, take orders and ensure your customers come back to you time and time again.

Integrated order taking can help you to:

• give your customers more convenient ways to order from you
• ensure your calls are answered in a professional and timely manner
• grow your business without high personnel overheads or problems associated with sickness, holiday or other staffing issues
• earn revenue from customers who would prefer to order over the telephone than online
• eliminate the risk of dropped calls and subsequent lost orders or damage to your reputation

Never miss a call or order again – speak to us today to get started

Don’t let missed or dropped calls impact your business. We can provide you with everything you need to ensure your calls are answered by a professional, and your orders taken efficiently. Speak to us today to make integrated order taking a part of your business success.

Five key situations where we can offer an effective solution

Friday, May 1st, 2015

There is a famous scene from the extremely popular Monty Python’s Life of Brian which asks: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” The answers, of course, quickly mounted up. The point, well made, is that much in life is taken for granted and seldom appreciated.

One of our team mentioned this in relation to the key ways we can help a business, considering those situations that are often taken for granted or simply ignored until it might just be too late. Here are five that quickly sprung to our collective mind:

We can’t cope with all this extra business!

This seems like good news, a sudden influx of new customers, a dramatic growth in the number of people who want to order from you. You might not want to cope with the process of finding, hiring and managing a number of additional staff; indeed your business premises might not be physically ready to cope with them.

They expect to go on holiday!

Even if such absences are highlighted well in advance of the actual time, it can still be difficult – especially when your team is small and tightly knit – to cope as well as you should when those key personnel are enjoying sun, sea or sangria. This becomes even more acute if several of your team need to take these holidays around the same time, say to fit in with school breaks.

What do you mean you’ve got a bug!

A variation on the previous theme, although much less enjoyable for those who submit to “the dreaded lurgy” – incidentally a term brought to life by The Goon Show. The added difficulty here is in the lack of advance warning and the resulting instant pressure on your business operation.

Why can’t folk all just order online?

Customers; what can you do with them? If they just would behave in the way you want them to. It’s still true that many folk are reluctant to use online ordering processes and expect to speak to an order-taking real-life person, a commodity you might not want to supply in the required numbers to achieve full phone order fulfilment.

There’s nobody there! What happened to good old patience?

You reach the next incoming call in line and hear the joyful sound of a dial tone. Why can’t customers wait when you’re really busy? Here’s another question – how many people have they moaned to about your company without ever even speaking to anyone in your operation?

Just five of a wide range of business situations where we can provide an effective solution. So, if you’re having any such problems, please call us now on 01273 741400 and describe it. We’ll let you know how we can help.

Recent Posts


How to Block a Caller on an iPhone

Starting Up as a Self-Employed Estate Agent? How to Get the Work-Life Balance

What’s the Point of a Telephone Answering Service? Avoid the Dangers of Relying on Voicemail

What’s the Point of a Telephone Answering Service? It’s a Reliable & Professional Safety Net for Your Business

What is the Point of a Telephone Answering Service?


Blog topics




Call 01273 741400 or email
Opening Hours *Telephone answering is available for customers 24/7
  • Monday 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Thursday 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • CSnotepad
  • Gemini House
  • 136-140 Old Shoreham Road
  • Brighton
  • East Sussex
  • BN3 7BD