BOSTON, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of National Small Business Week ( May 20-26), Carbonite, Inc. (NASDAQ: CARB), a leading provider of online backup solutions for consumers and small to medium sized businesses, offers tips from David Friend, Carbonite CEO, for maximizing the benefits of online services. Recognizing the nation's small businesses for their positive impact on the lives of their customers, their employees and the economy, Carbonite extends a special discount on Carbonite Business products to help small business owners protect their valuable data.
"Small businesses are the heart of the American economy, and at Carbonite, we work every day to deliver an online backup solution that meets their specific needs to safeguard their critical data," said David Friend, Chairman and CEO of Carbonite. "Most small businesses are already making use of online services, but there are a few tricks for maximizing these services that can make a big difference in how small business owners manage their company and their customers."
An entrepreneur at heart who has founded six companies, Friend offers the following tips for helping small businesses best leverage online services:
- Social media platforms connect you with your customers. Whether it's Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest, it's important to leverage the social media channels you have in place to connect with your customers. These channels may be one of the quickest ways to let your customers know about your offerings and to remind them of your services. However, be mindful that if you don't use them regularly, people will stop paying attention to you; sharing an update once a week will keep your followers engaged.
- Listen with your eyes. The internet has given consumers a new way to voice their opinions. They are now sharing recommendations and reviewing your business and services via a multitude of online review sites. Look at these sites regularly to see what customers are saying about you and set up feeds and alerts where possible so you have real-time updates. Use this as an opportunity to respond to criticism and accept compliments from customers.
- You've got mail. In today's fast-paced times, consumers may find it easier to fire off an email asking you a question than to actually pick up the phone and call. Try to answer emails quickly, which will show the customer that you care about them and that you are able to help them with any issues. A quick response can improve overall customer satisfaction.
- Beware of data thieves. With more business conducted online than ever before, cyber security should be top of mind. To protect your data do not open suspicious emails, use strong passwords, and also make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware signature database is up to date.
- Make sure you're protected. Results from a recent study by Carbonite revealed small businesses have big gaps in their data backup plans – putting them at risk for losing valuable information in the instance of power outage, hard drive failure, or even a virus. Despite known shortcomings, the study showed small businesses continue to choose a range of risky and unreliable technologies, often using multiple strategies because they worry about their reliability:
- 50 percent use external hard drives, yet 40 percent of those didn't start backing up until they had already experienced a hard drive failure.
- 42 percent use USB/flash drives primarily because it is perceived as easy, yet only 6 percent believe USB/flash drives to actually be reliable.
- More than one-third use CDs/DVD drives to backup data, even though 62 percent feel they are inconvenient or risky.