Meet our Director of Technical Support: Ryan

November 19th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

I think a lot about what we do and how we can do it better

I recently sat down with our Director of Technical Support and asked him a few questions about Customer Lobby. Here are his answers:

What brought you to Customer Lobby?

The perfect intersection of circumstance and opportunity. Circumstances dictated that it was time for me to start looking elsewhere, and the opportunity presented itself.

To elaborate, I loved my previous job. I was being groomed for a managerial role, but at the same time I was growing weary of some of the people and the internal politics they brought to the workplace. Rather than focus on doing the best job I could, it was more important to have a paper trail for everything I did to protect myself from the people who wanted my job or the job I was in the running for. That’s not how I wanted to spend my days, especially at a place I cared about.

Meanwhile, a certain someone at Customer Lobby that I care about a lot had been working there for some time, and I’d already gotten to know a few of the folks and liked the vibe during my lunchtime visits, so when she mentioned they were hiring I jumped at the opportunity. That was almost 5 years ago, and here I remain today.

What is your current position, and what does your typical day look like?

I am the Director of Technical Support, and typically my days are pretty hectic, yet fulfilling. Between testing fixes, investigating bugs, acquiring systems, and responding to questions from every Customer Lobby faction – Sales, Member Services, Engineering – I try to find time to develop ideas and processes to address issues more effectively, expand on toolsets for our internal teams and external users so they can better help themselves, improve our existing products so that they’re easier to use for all, and keep everyone up to date about our ever-evolving suite of features. My favorite part of every day is telling someone that the thing they care about is working the way it should because we made it that way.

What aspect of Customer Lobby do you love best?

Our agility. We respond to our customers, provide solutions, and develop our product faster than any other service that I’ve personally come in contact with. It’s refreshing to know that when people call Customer Lobby during our business hours that we will answer, that when they contact us outside of business hours we get back to them ASAP, and most often within 24 hours, and that we have a rockstar development team that codes things up for us and our customers as lightning-quick as they can. And I’m just glad to be a small part of all that.

If there was one portion of our product you’d like all our customers to know about, what would it be?

Direct Connect, the software we developed to integrate with invoicing software, is the gateway to all the best features Customer Lobby has to offer. If there is any one portion of our product people should know about, it’s that. You can’t even talk about all the really cool stuff we’re doing until you’re connected, and while we offer a robust and proven service without it, there’s so much more once you get Direct Connect working for you. And that’s just it. It’s working FOR you. At a bare minimum, users won’t have to lift a finger to ensure reviews are coming in regularly once it’s set up. And beyond that, we offer Business Insights and Marketing Campaigns unlike anything on the market, and we’ve got more great, data-driven voodoo on the way. But again, none of it exists without Direct Connect, and that’s what our customers should know about if nothing else.

What do you like to do when you aren’t at Customer Lobby?

Away from Customer Lobby, I enjoy cooking, drinking, and playing video games. I also enjoy the same activities while AT Customer Lobby (we throw some great parties around here)! That said, there are a few activities that I enjoy exclusively outside of Customer Lobby, including beer brewing and rock climbing (party ideas, anyone?).  

There are times when I’m not at Customer Lobby when work follows me home, and I’ll admit I like that too. I think a lot about what we do and how we can do it better. Still, I do my best to keep home and work separate, although I do enjoy the occasional remote desktop support session early on a Saturday morning to troubleshoot a seemingly urgent, pesky issue… I love my job, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I like to do Customer Lobby things even when I’m not at Customer Lobby.

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Local Service Businesses Industry Reports: Q3 2015

October 30th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Local Service Industry

At Customer Lobby, we truly believe that local service businesses need more information about their customers and current industry standards. That’s why we recently used data from more than $4 billion in sales from over 10 million consumers in the United States and Canada to analyze local service business trends.

Do you know how your business stacks up against your competitors? Now you can. Based on data from thousands of local service businesses that we work with in North America, Customer Lobby has compiled industry-specific quarterly insights that will help you keep pace with your peers.

Each report includes:

  • Pricing trends
  • Lifetime value of a customer
  • Number of transactions per customer
  • Revenue percentage from repeat vs. new customers
  • Number of days between transactions

Download the report for free and compare your business to the industry averages. If you need help evaluating your own metrics, we will run a free analysis for you.

We currently have reports for 4 Industry verticals:

Feel free to download the Q3 2015 report that fits your industry, and reach out to us if you have any questions.

CTA HVAC button

CTA Plumbing button


CTA AUTO button

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Is Your Data Secure? (Checklist)

October 22nd, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Secure Data

Trusting 3rd-party vendors with company and customer information always feels risky. However, if you know what to ask, and how to determine what makes data confidential, you can feel secure when choosing partners.

Here is a checklist we’ve developed about keeping data safe. Make sure to ask any potential partner about their data security so you can accurately and confidently assess data protection.

HIPAA Security

The HIPAA Security Act (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) monitors the way companies deal with health information. This insures that Protected Health Information (PHI) remains safe and requires levels of security for physical information, network usage, and even process protection.

While this doesn’t necessarily matter for all local businesses, if you have customer health information make sure to ask if your vendors are HIPAA certified. For everyone else, just knowing that a company takes customer data seriously enough to be HIPAA certified demonstrates a commitment to security that can put your mind at ease.    


Along with HIPAA, the HITECH Act requires additional protection for health information. Ask your 3rd-party partners if they follow guidelines for both.   

PCI Compliance

PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a set of requirements designed to keep credit card information, processing, storage, and transmission safe. If a company has access to your credit card, or are processing your customers’ credit cards, check to make sure they are PCI compliant.  

SSL encryption

This is a great article outlining SSL encryption. Bottom line? SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) keeps information protected across servers and browsers when you put in sensitive information. Updating a credit card in an online portal? SSL encryption will keep it safe. When sharing data online to a 3rd-party vendor, make sure they have SSL encryption.     


While the checklist is small, even this much compliance and protection from a company demonstrates a level of data security you can trust. Make sure to ask questions when talking about customer data with an outside company. Don’t be shy to ask if they follow strict guidelines, and make sure you feel satisfied with their answers. Conduct outside research. Armed with knowledge and a checklist, you will no longer wonder, “Is my data secure?”

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5 Articles to Help You Understand Your Customers

October 16th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

5 Articles to Help You (1)

Sometimes we all need reminders about why customer satisfaction matters, and how to achieve it. Here are 5 articles that give some great advice and insight into consumer behavior.

1. Why Most Businesses Lose Customers (And How to Keep Yours)

This article, by Minda Zetlin, outlines some common mistakes business owners make regarding customer service – and how to avoid them. A quick read, it serves as a good check-in for anyone interfacing with customers.

2. Know Your Customers’ Needs

If you don’t yet understand your USP (Unique Sales Proposition) or are not sure why you would need one, read this. Info Entrepreneurs does a great job outlining what information you should already know about your target market. If you can’t answer these questions about your customers, it’s also a great roadmap for getting up to speed.

3.  2015 Is The Year Of The Millennial Customer: 5 Key Traits These 80 Million Consumers Share

If the thought of Millennial Consumers sends you into conniption fits, perhaps you should read this article. Micah Solomon thoughtfully looks at how the average Millennial spends and has surprisingly positive things to say about the generation that usually gets slammed as being selfie-obsessed and ego-maniacal.

4. 10 Consumer Behavior Secrets to Grow Your Sales

While this article from Jeanne Hopkins is a little old (2011 feels ancient in internet terms and recent for everything else), it has some great nuggets of truth. Keep this article in mind when planning to release a new product or service – or when changing how you currently do business.

5. 10 Things Customers Love About You

We ask your customers to review you on a daily basis. These are the traits our team hears about over and over when receiving a glowing review. Many of them are obvious, but it’s important to be reminded about what customers truly want from a local service business.


Dealing with customers will always be demanding, difficult, and sometimes downright confusing. However, with great strategies in place it will also be rewarding. Don’t we all love seeing our customers smile? We do.

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4 Hidden Gems in Your Customer Lobby Account

October 8th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Hidden Gems

Our Member Services Team spends A LOT of time talking to our customers. They answer questions, they help configure accounts, and they educate about the great things our service does. However, our entire team has noticed that a few Customer Lobby features are often neglected – even when we tell people about them!

So here they are, 4 “hidden gems” within our service that our Member Services Team wished more customers would take advantage of:

1. Appointment Requests

Did you know that we can put a button on your Customer Lobby reviews page that allows your customers to request an appointment with you? Well, now you do.

This feature adds one more great place to allow your customers/leads to contact you. When they submit a request, it is automatically emailed to you so that you can contact that potential customer and set up an appointment or estimate.

Our customers who use this feature love it – and for good reason. Capturing information quickly and efficiently (when the potential customer reads your reviews and is convinced of your great service) makes it that much easier to gain new revenue.

2. Private Feedback

Every time a customer leaves you a review with Customer Lobby, they have the option to leave private, unpublished comments. Not every reviewer takes advantage of this, but some do. However, we have noticed that many of our customers never check that section of their account.

Here’s how to access it:

  • Go to your left sidebar
  • Click “Reviews”
  • Select “Feedback”
Here’s how to find private feedback your customers have left for you.

Here’s how to find private feedback your customers have left for you.

Remember, it’s important to listen to what your customers are telling you – and here’s an additional way to do so.

3. Negative Review Support

We offer all our customers (and even non-customers!) free support when they receive negative reviews. Not only will our Member Services Team talk to you about your management options, they will also help you draft a response!

We take authentic, customer reviews very seriously, and we want all of our clients to feel supported when responding to less than positive feedback. If you are worried about a review, give us a call.

4. Direct Connect

Direct Connect is custom software we build to automate our customers’ reviews process. We directly connect into your invoicing software, and when a customer transacts with you we will automatically send them a review invitation.

Not only does this get you WAY more reviews than before, but it also saves you time. Now you don’t have to upload every customer you want to contact. Worried about the automated invitations? Turn that portion off – that way customers will be preloaded into your account, and you can choose which ones to invite (however, we strongly suggest inviting everyone).

We currently support over 70 invoicing systems. If you have a system we don’t connect with yet let us know. We want to support every customer we can.


We want to make sure we offer stellar support to all our customers. If you need help navigating your Customer Lobby account, call our Member Services Team (866-718-9549 ext 3). They can walk you through your features to make sure you are getting the most value out of your account possible.

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5 Time Management Tips for Service Businesses

October 1st, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Time Management

If you’re anything like many of our customers, you’re busy. Each morning you wake up and get ready for a full day’s work. Often, little to none of that time is spent inside an office. Instead, you are directing and managing your team, doing work in the field, or overseeing your shop. Perhaps, a few days a week, or a few hours a day, you steal back into the office to check over invoices, look at incoming emails, and respond to customer requests. You’re a time ninja – doing amazing things with little time left to spare.

With such an on-the-go schedule, how can you maximize your limited office time? Here are 5 time management life-hacks to make sure your office responsibilities run as efficiently as possible:

1. Utilize Email Filters

When I first get into the office and open my email, I want to read everything I’ve received. While most of my received emails are interesting (and some of them are even important), I don’t need to dedicate the first part of my morning to this task.

Does this happen to you? It probably does.

I bet that if you haven’t set up adequate email filters, you could be spending up to an hour sorting through and reading email before you get to the bulk of your work.

Instead of using precious, undisturbed morning time to email (or precious late night time depending on your schedule), learn to filter your inbox. I have various folders that emails automatically get sent into (bypassing my inbox), which I then deal with at appropriate times of the day. This minimizes email temptation.

Filters aren’t just for spam. Use them for all recurring types of emails that aren’t urgent – for me that might be recruitment emails, or employee scheduling requests.

Here are some filter resources:

2. Automate everything possible

What’s better than doing something efficiently? Not doing it at all. If there are any tasks that you routinely do that do not require your specific expertise, consider automating it. This can even extend to customer relations (<- video).

Learn to appreciate your unique skill set and honor your time. Many services automate various office tasks, so take some time to research what you would be able to delegate to a 3rd-party automation service.  

3. Create a to-do list BEFORE going into the office

It’s easy to get into the office, see a pile of paper, and get sucked into small tasks. Hours later we look up and realize that we haven’t accomplished the most important tasks of all.

To avoid this, write a to-do list BEFORE coming into the office. This will keep your mind on task and in check.

4. Focus on one task at a time

Speaking of focus, it’s important to keep your brain on one task at a time. But what about the all-important skill of multitasking? Overrated. Do one thing at a time, focus intensely, and do it well.

Productivity will go up, and stress will go down when you have clear focus and dedicated attention.

5. Use only one program/notebook to organize

Do you ever find yourself frantically looking around for that all-important note that told you exactly how to do the one task that you need to get done RIGHT NOW? I have. Now, to avoid those panicked moments of adrenaline and self-loathing, I keep everything in one place.

If one system doesn’t work for both notes and to-do lists, separate those functions out. But be consistent.  


While each of these tips seem simple at face value, they combine to create an extremely disciplined and focused office strategy. Value your time, focus your energies, and create an organized, automated structure to support you. Pretty soon you’ll level up your time-ninja skills to pure wizardry.  


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Engage Employees to Boost Customer Satisfaction

September 24th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Engage employees to maximize

Personalized marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and active customer service programs can all be essential to keeping customers happy, but don’t forget where customer service starts: employees. Your employees are the face of your business – quite literally. And if you don’t have happy employees, chances are you won’t have happy customers either.

According to HubShout, 86% of consumers stop doing business with a company because of bad customer service. So what to do? Start investing in your employees – and it doesn’t necessarily need to be strictly financial.

A great place to start is to think of your employees as Internal Customers. After all, without them, you probably wouldn’t have a business (unless you’re a one man/woman show, in which case, start prepping for the future!). As Internal Customers, many of the same customer service rules apply. Engagement, satisfaction, and happiness are where it’s at.

Here are 3 strategies to keep your employees happy and, by extension, create a positive customer service experience for all your customers.

1. Create clear and attainable goals

Employees without clear goals and priorities find it is easier to disengage from work. With a target in place, employees quickly understand what they need to do and take pride in attaining the mark. Without goals, an employee can easily slip through the gaps and maintain bad or mediocre service – even if they are clearly capable of excellence.

Create goals together, and regularly check in and provide support to ensure your employees are hitting their objectives.

2 Outline an advancement plan

The second step to keep employees engaged is to make sure there is room for advancement – both financially and hierarchically. Take an interest in each employee individually, and come up with an advancement plan together. This gives the employee joint ownership and responsibility of their own promotion. Additionally, this provides motivation to stay engaged and on task.

Make sure to set realistic expectations. Transparency is key. If your business doesn’t have availability for promotion financially, clearly state that. Instead, find other creative ways to reward your employees – special projects, paid days off, or paid training.

3 Allow autonomy

By creating clear structure to a job, and regularly checking in, both you and your employees will know what is expected. This means you can step back and allow them to have autonomy in their position. Nothing kills motivation like micromanagement. Give your employees room to breath. Trust your employees to do a good work, and they will appreciate the autonomy and take ownership over their own job.

While most business owners worry extensively about customer satisfaction, many forget that all customer relations start with employees. Take the time to make sure you are treating your Internal Customers as well as every other customer you have.


6 Creative Ways to Leverage Customer Reviews

September 17th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Celebrate Customer Reviews

At Customer Lobby, every time we get a positive review we celebrate. We glow for the rest of the day. Knowing that your hard work pays off for your customers in meaningful ways always feels great. In order to keep that glow going, and gain a loyal following, here are 6 ways to get the most out of positive reviews.

1. Use Reviews in Online Ads

Aimee Millwood, on Social Media Examiner, wrote an article about using customer reviews in Facebook ads. A great DIY Facebook advertising article on it’s own, it makes such a compelling argument that it would be worth it to try this in other forms of online advertising as well. While great copy and compelling images can do a lot to attract attention, well placed social proof takes your ad to the next level.  

Tip: Running Google Ads? Here’s a help article outlining how to highlight third-party reviews.

2. Create Videos Highlighting Employee Achievements

Customers often mention specific employees by name. Not only does this make your business look great, but it’s a well-earned pat on the back for your employee. This is a great time to showcase a review as much as possible – because it’s no longer just about you.

A fun way to get the most out of these types of reviews is to make a short video.

Some ideas:

  • read the review directly to your highlighted employee and film their reaction
  • have the highlighted employee read the review directly and/or tell the story behind the great review
  • do a short thank you video directly to the customer from the highlighted employee

While this may take a bit more time than some of the other options on this list, it can be well worth it. Videos and video links boost SEO and drive customer engagement. This gives your business a big boost in personality and accessibility to your customers.

Tip: Free (and paid) services like Wistia can help you host/edit videos for your business.

3. Include Reviews in Marketing Collateral

In addition to adding reviews in online ads and creating videos, use customer reviews in other marketing collateral. Sending a mailing? Embed customer reviews. Creating a flier? Include customer reviews and where to find them online. Own your customer feedback. Even a negative review can end up as marketing gold.

When we send targeted Postcard campaigns for our customers we always include snippets of their great customer reviews. It looks slick, shows social proof, and builds interest. Consider following this practice in all aspects of your marketing efforts.   

4. Start Conversations on Social Media

Sometimes customers provide feedback of epic proportions. Maybe you helped them out of a dire plumbing situation, or rescued them while they were stranded on the road. When they write reviews about these experiences they are worthy of more attention.

Did a customer have a particularly compelling story in their review? Or did they mention a funny tidbit of information? Share it on your social media sites, and ask if others have had similar unfortunate, yet salvaged experiences. Make sure to thank your customer and be tactful with the type of information you share.

5. Generate Blog Posts

Do your customers talk about certain aspects of your service or product often? That probably means other potential customers would like to know about this information as well. Read all your customer reviews, and then take the opportunity to write up interesting articles that explain those products and services. Remember to link back to your great reviews.

6. Direct Product Feedback and Development

In our reviews, customers often talk about ease of use and the dissemination of their reviews across the web. Whenever we roll out new products, ease of use remains our most important feature. And we are constantly trying to find new and better ways to get our customers reviews around the web.

Reviews like this one help us focus on what our customers love most about our service.

Reviews like this one help us focus on what our customers love most about our service.

What do your customers value? Find out by listening to what they say in your reviews. What do your customer talk about when they praise your service? Take this feedback into consideration when making decisions for your business.   


Though customer reviews are incredibly valuable as marketing material, they often remain one of the most underutilized tools. However, proper management will increase engagement and build loyalty with your customers. With some creativity and minor adjustments you can begin to truly get the most out of your customer reviews.


5 Articles to Step Up Your SEO Game

September 10th, 2015 By Brinda Lee

Step Up Your SEO Game

SEO. Three letters that induce varying degrees of excitement, loathing, fear, hope, and complete confusion. Almost all service businesses know that they need some type of SEO (search engine optimization) strategy for today’s internet-driven world. However, deciding how to approach this subject, filled with so many voices and varying opinions, can be daunting.

With this in mind, we’ve collected 5 articles that do a great job of laying out some awesome SEO strategies. Some are more technical than others, so each article has a synopsis to give you an idea of where you want to start. Hopefully this will shed some light on a subject so often veiled in uncertainty.   

1. Top-3 Local SEO “Content” Wins for People Who Hate to Write

Often as a small to medium sized business owner (or marketer), you juggle too many plates to really have time to focus on a company blog. But you do want to have content available for your customers. If that’s you, start here.

This post does a great job of simply and quickly outlining some great steps for you to follow. Focus on small wins first – it will eventually snowball into larger strategies.

2. 5-Day Plan for Improving Your Local SEO

While the title of this post is a little misleading (it will probably take longer than the promised 5 days), it’s still golden advice. If you are serious about increasing your visibility online, read and apply everything in this article.

3. 3 Growth Hacking Strategies for Bloggers to Quadruple Their Blog Traffic without SEO

What!? It says right in the title, “without SEO.” I know. But this blog focuses on driving more traffic to your company, which is the reason you are interested in SEO at all.

If you have a company blog already, but you can’t seem to build interest or followers, this is the post for you. In 3 clearly outlined steps, with incremental steps in between, Anil Agarwal lays out how to squeeze the most out of your content.  

4. The True Cost of Local Business Directories

SEO experts frequently talk about the importance of listings in Local Business Directories. But which ones? And how worth it are they? Kristi Hines on Moz Blog will tell you.

5. 22 Local SEO Tips and Tricks for Small Businesses

While 22 tips might seem a bit overwhelming, this post does a great job of quickly summarizing them to move you right along. Great place to start a site audit or get more ideas for optimizing your online presence.


The internet abounds with information about SEO. Hopefully these articles will give you a solid understanding of how to up your SEO game without getting blacklisted.

P.S. If you’ve ever thought – “What’s the deal with long-tail keywords?” – check out our blog post clarifying the strategy behind using long-tail keywords for your business.

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Storytelling Tips for a Better Brand Story

September 3rd, 2015 By Jasmine Reynolds

storytelling tips better brand story


“Too many brands treat social media as a one way, broadcast channel, rather than a two-way dialogue through which emotional storytelling can be transferred…For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.”
– Simon Mainwaring, Award-winning branding consultant


 To Sell a Service is to Tell a Story

Stories have the power to connect all kinds of different people to a singular experience. This is powerful for marketing. No matter what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, or why you’re selling it, you have to tell a story. This is how you truly stand out and capture the customers your business needs. To do that, you need a brand story.

Thankfully, it’s easier than it sounds because guess what? You already have one! A brand story is how customers perceive you. Your branding includes, but is not limited to, your logo, the colors you use, your website, the website’s copy, the header image on your Facebook page, your Tweets, your reviews–everything they’ve come across with your business’s name attached to it.

You can take control over how customers perceive you. Your brand story will underscore your entire web presence. This is more than just marketing materials. You will engage with your customers on a personal level.

There are many directions you can go in telling a compelling brand story. What I will focus on here is how to tell a story of trust. It’s a valuable asset for a service-based business. Potential customers will choose a service they can trust in their home or with their vehicle. And that trust will make them more likely to return to you in the future.

Share Your Character

Every story needs a character. The character of your brand is your company. Write a compelling company origin story. Highlight moments that have emotional or cultural meaning.

Also consider looking at your customer feedback. Look for definable attributes used to describe your service. These are your company’s “personality traits”. Take those highlighted traits and skills and utilize them for your brand story.

Questions to consider:

Who is your business and where did they come from? What are some the definable attributes customers associate with you already?

better brand story steven spielberg

Share Your Process

One of the unique characteristics of service-based businesses in comparison to product-based businesses is consistency. You can’t replicate a service exactly the same way you would replicate a product. You can still confidently ensure customers that you provide quality service.  When crafting your brand story, you want to communicate how that process will always deliver results.

Some brands choose to romanticize how their product or service works. When you go to the website of a carpet cleaning service, they will likely display bright, high-quality images of families and their pets lounging on freshly cleaned carpets. That’s romanticizing your service.

Focus on your strengths but give meaning to your brand’s weaknesses as well. Old Spice adopted a new marketing campaign in recent years to attract a younger customer base. They advertised the strength of their product but also acknowledged the weaknesses that could prevent a desired demographic from considering them.

Think about the perceptions your potential customers could have for the type of service you provide and use them to your brand’s advantage.

Questions to consider:

What are some of the perceptions potential customers have of your service and industry? Can your brand benefit from standing with or against this perception? What are elements of your process that can complement your brand story of reliability?

Your Story’s Resolution

Crafting your brand story is an ongoing process. It will involve input from every level of your business from sales to technicians to customer service. It will involve having a style guide and records of how to properly carry the brand everywhere someone takes your business.

Customers bring their own unique experiences to your business but your brand story will give you something to connect with them.

Below are some tools and resources you may find helpful to further craft an engaging brand story:

26 Universal Questions for Positioning Your Brand (and Creating Your Brand Story) – Marketing Profs

The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing: Chapter Three – Tell Your Brand’s Story – Quicksprout

The First Step to Understanding Your Customers: Listen Up! – Customer Lobby

10 Things Customers Love About You –  Customer Lobby

Positioning-Roulette web-based app for brand story crafting

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