All posts by Janice Schenk

Why Online Reviews Are Key & How to Leverage Them

Over the past decade, the way customers select goods and services has shifted significantly. While print ads and written commentary still have their place, online reviews have dominated how customers voice their personal opinions and individual experiences.

With 97% of consumers using the internet to find local businesses, and three out of four consumers using smart phones to search for local businesses in their area, it is no wonder that the importance of maximizing a positive online presence is now more important than ever.1

Why Are Online Reviews So Important for a Business?

Simply put, positive online reviews can generate new business and solidify your current customer base. Below are key statistics relating to online reviews and how they impact businesses of all sizes.

  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18 to 54- year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews
  • The average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision
  • The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.2

Do You Have Reviews Rolling In? Here’s How to Leverage Them.

Positive online reviews play a crucial role in the functionality and growth of your current business.

Potential, current, and longstanding customers are reading the reviews of other customers a business has served in the past, and they continue to make decisions based on past comments. Overall, they will avoid businesses with less-than-stellar evaluations.

Some ways you can leverage good reviews include:

1. Improving the customer experience and building rapport

If your customers are submitting online reviews, have you thought about engaging with those reviews to improve the customer experience? Replying or commenting on reviews (good or bad ones) in a timely fashion can boost customer loyalty and happiness.

When you respond to say thank you for the review or to acknowledge a complaint, you’re showing current and potential customers you care, you’re listening, and you’re committed to the connectivity of the community you are a part of.

Responding to positive reviews, in particular, is one necessary way to build rapport with customers and encourage them to:

  • Continue engaging with your company or brand
  • Advocate for your business to their friends, family, and social following

2. Turning reviews into helpful FAQs on your site

What are people saying in the reviews they leave for your business? How are they talking about their experiences with your products or services?

Pick them apart and create a user-generated FAQ for your website – a resource that is a true asset in helping potential customers, especially ones who are hesitating on doing business with you, get to know your products and services better and know what to expect when doing business with you.

FAQs generated from reviews can include:

  • How to use your product
  • How to choose different products based on a customer’s needs
  • What to look out for
  • What to expect from your services.

3. Improving your product/service & solving common problems

What patterns or common threads are you noticing in your reviews?

When you pay attention to how customers are rating and talking about your product or service, you can modify your product/service accordingly and offer more of what customers want.

4. Increasing your visibility across online platforms

Did you know good reviews influence Google search rankings? That’s right; the more good reviews you get, the better you could rank when customers search for a product or service your business offers or sells.

For example, when a potential customer uses the “best…in…” when searching on Google – such as, best mattress store in Cleveland, or best dentist in Denver – your positive reviews can get you noticed and highlighted in the returned search results.

5. Establishing trust

Got positive reviews? Don’t be afraid to show them off. You can include them on your website or in your sales prospect emails and TV commercial. You can even tell people they exist and where to find them.

Bad Reviews are Inevitable. Be Sure to Develop a Strategy on How to Address Them

Just as positive reviews can elevate your business to new heights, negative reviews can hold you back from achieving the goals you’ve set for business.

While it would be great to receive five stars from every customer you serve, the fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, some customers just can’t be satisfied.

Understanding that negative reviews will come at some point is important because accepting this reality enables you to properly address that negative feedback when it gets posted.

Having a plan to face this inevitability allows you to proactively face the situation and potentially repair whatever damage has been done. Three simple steps to implement when faced with a negative review are:

  • Apologize to the customer
  • Ask how you can make it right/tell them what you’re going to do to make it right
  • Fix the issue

This process allows you to address real issues that customers may be experiencing while also showing others that you care about every single individual you do business with.

Going forward, potential customers will see your positive attitude and consider you trustworthy—even if they haven’t engaged with your business yet. That’s the power of a customer review, and that’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of them.

Adding a Financing Payment Option Could Help Add to those Positive Reviews

Ultimately, the quality of your products and services is what drives your business and reputation forward. You know this better than anyone.

It’s important to keep in mind that all the extras you do for your customers don’t go unnoticed, and with something as significant as a sound and helpful consumer financing option – one that ensures your business and customers benefit – it can mean all the difference between gaining more positive reviews and not.

Get to know UCFS – a leading provider of consumer financing – and see how we can help grow your business.

Resources:

1 Forbes. Online Reviews Are the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Small Businesses. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/04/11/online-reviews-are-the-best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-small-businesses/#2102bf12740a.

2 Think with Google. How mobile has redefined the consumer decision journey for shoppers. Accessed April 25, 2020. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/micro-moments/mobile-shoppers-consumer-decision-journey/.

UCFS OFFERS SUPPORT TO THOSE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

United Consumer Financial Services
Offers Support
to Those Impacted by COVID-19

Will Defer Payments – Call Us and We’ll Work With You


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


April 3, 2020 (Cleveland) – Amid ongoing uncertainty and concern during this time, United Consumer Financial Services (UCFS) is committed to assisting our customers who have been impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Customers who contact UCFS can request a 30-day payment deferral. Those on deferral will not incur a late fee and not be credit rated while the deferral is in place.  

President Nick Codispoti said, “Our thoughts are with those impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. UCFS customer support employees are working safely in the office and remotely, and ready to take calls or emails from our customers experiencing income loss or financial hardship due to the Coronavirus. This is how we would want to be treated if in a similar situation beyond our control.”

UCFS customers can call us at: 800-338-6507 or send an email to: customerservice@nullucfs.net.

David Girt, Director of Account Services said, “UCFS has provided help to customers before during times of need. Most recently, UCFS helped government employees during the 2019 shutdown and to individuals impacted by hurricanes or flooding. By moving a customer’s current payment to the end of their loan is how we are helping our valued customers, and without additional fees.”

UCFS is fully staffed, has not reduced hours, and call wait times are very short. Customers who call will be asked a few simple questions to confirm their situation, meaning that no report will be sent to a credit agency which could negatively affect a customer’s credit score.

About United Consumer Financial Services Company: UCFS provides businesses the opportunity to offer financing for their customers. UCFS serves a wide variety of industries including home products/cleaning systems, medical equipment and procedures, retail sales, tax relief businesses, funeral services and many more. UCFS is a Scott Fetzer company. www.ucfs.net  Contact: Janice Schenk, 440-835-6643 or jschenk@nullucfs.net.

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Click here to view a pdf.

U.S.-Based UCFS Opens Affiliate Office in Milan, Italy


U.S.-BASED UNITED CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANY OPENS AFFILIATE OFFICE IN MILAN, ITALY

Businesses Are Already Increasing Sales

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLEVELAND, OH, USA, February 4, 2020 and MILAN, ITALY, 4, February 2020 – UCFS Italia SpA, based in Milan, Italy, is now open for business. United Consumer Financial Services Company (UCFS) has provided consumer financing for 40 years in the U.S.A. The UCFS business model is to partner with companies that sell to consumers, so the company can offer low monthly payments with fixed-term installment loans to reach a wider range of consumers.

According to Nick Codispoti, President of United Consumer Financial Services Company, “We’re pleased to add this new location so Italian businesses can use our services. We have strong relationships with corporations here in the United States, and some with international locations sought UCFS out to open an office in Italy. This new office aligns with our strategic growth plan. From day-one in early November, Italian Kirby and Saladmaster Distributors started increasing their sales as a direct result of using our services.”

Katia Newman, Director of Operations, UCFS Europe, and instrumental in the launch of UCFS Italia said, “UCFS has many benefits over the competition, one being that we approve more consumers, and two, I always say, we are a small company and make sure every customer is an important customer.  We tailor our services to each business, build long-term relationships, do manual underwriting, meaning more personalized underwriting, and are always available.”

When explaining the meaning of more personalized underwriting, Katia explained, “Our underwriters truly take their time to examine credit files manually, so they can spot things that provide a better total financial picture of the consumer’s credit. Perhaps there was a lost job at one point or a life-changing event that impacted their credit rating, but they are currently employed. We call that ‘excellent customer service’ so we can extend that loan to help businesses serve more consumers and help consumers obtain their needed or desired purchase.”

UCFS Italia business customers offer products and services in a price range of €1,000 to €10,000 Euros. By adding an additional payment method for their consumers, businesses can typically increase their sale volume. Business types served include: in-home sellers of cleaning systems, cookware, home improvement, water filtration, home security/automation; medical/dental; retail products such as pets and jewelry; and services such as funerals.

UCFS Announces Promotion of Nick Codispoti to President


UCFS ANNOUNCES

PROMOTION OF 

NICK CODISPOTI

TO PRESIDENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLEVELAND, OH, October 8, 2019 – United Consumer Financial Services (UCFS), a leading global provider of consumer financing, is pleased to announce that Nick Codispoti has been selected to replace Joe Francesconi as President.

Nick has more than 25 years of senior management experience in consumer and commercial finance and most recently was UCFS’ Vice President of Finance and Operations. Nick joined UCFS in early 2016 and has been actively involved with client services, underwriting, international expansion and driving organizational changes to improve service delivery and automation at the point of sale.

Before joining UCFS, Nick held leadership positions with Diebold, Magna Entertainment Group, Kings Medical and The Associates, a Finance Company. Nick earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron and his MBA from Kent State University. He is married and has four children.

About United Consumer Financial Services Company: UCFS provides a multitude of financing programs and services to distributors and consumers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Italy. UCFS is committed to integrity, responsibility and respect.  UCFS is a Scott Fetzer company.  www.ucfs.net

Click here to view a pdf.

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InPAINT Magazine – Consumer Financing: A Powerful Business-Generating Tool

InPAINT Magazine regularly advises their readers – paint professionals – on topics such as tools of the trade, bidding tips, recruiting, paint quality and colors, technology and industry trends. InPAINT MAGAZINE May/June 2019 issue quoted UCFS president, Joe Francesconi in their article In-Home Financing: A Powerful Business-Generating Tool. Mr. Francesconi offers advice on choosing a highly reputable partner to help your business grow. No matter what industry you serve, these words are great advice.

 

Posted with permission by InPAINT Magazine

IN-HOME FINANCING

A powerful business-generating tool

Sales financing is nothing new. Furniture stores, car dealerships, home appliance merchants and other retailers have been using financing for years to help close deals and, in many cases, increase the size of a purchase.

Over the past few years, a number of finance companies have begun offering financing options to service industries, including home improvement and painting contractors.
Click here to read the full article.
Click here to read the May-June InPAINT issue online

 

Want to learn more about how your business can partner with UCFS to grow, get more customers approved for low monthly payments and how you can start a new customer’s next project right away, call UCFS at 877-373-3482 or email us at info@nullucfs.net.

 

Deferred Payments for Workers Affected by the Government Shutdown

ALERT TO GOVERNMENT WORKERS
AFFECTED BY THE SHUTDOWN

UNITED CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES
WILL DEFER PAYMENT

COMPANY SAYS “CALL US AND WE’LL WORK WITH YOU”

January 14, 2019 (Cleveland) United Consumer Financial Services wants to tell its customers who have been furloughed and otherwise impacted by the shutdown of parts of the federal government that the company will defer their monthly payment for 30 days and will work with customers who contact them.

“It’s the right thing to do,” says President Joe Francesconi. “It’s how we would want to be treated if we were in a similar circumstance beyond our control.” UCFS works with merchants to provide financing for their consumers. UCFS serves a wide variety of industries including home products, medical procedures and equipment, home improvement projects, retail sales, funeral services and many more.

The company said it did not know how many of its customers were affected by the shutdown and said customers who call the company would be asked “a few simple questions to confirm their situation.” Then customers would be extended the courtesy of deferral, would not incur a late fee and not be “credit rated,” meaning that no report would be sent to a credit agency which could negatively affect the customer’s credit score.

David Girt, Director of Account Services, noted that the company has done this before with individuals impacted by hurricanes in Texas and Florida and flooding in Louisiana, providing as much as 90 days of deferral. “We value our customers and are glad to help during this difficult time,” Girt said. “We ask anyone affected by the government shutdown to give us a call at 1-800-338-6507.”


About United Consumer Financial Services Company:
UCFS is committed to integrity, responsibility and respect. UCFS provides businesses the opportunity to offer financing for their customers.  UCFS supports a broad range of businesses including retail merchants, professional service providers, distributors and in-home product/service providers within the medical, healthcare, home product, home improvement, pet and funeral markets.  UCFS is a Scott Fetzer company.  www.ucfs.net  

Contact: Janice Schenk, Manager, Marketing and Communications,United Consumer Financial Services, 440-835-6643, jschenk@nullucfs.net.

Click here to view a pdf.

Susan Crawford, HR Director, Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award Finalist

SUSAN CRAWFORD, HR DIRECTOR,
SELECTED AS A FINALIST FOR
CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
ARCHER AWARD

WESTLAKE, OH, August 6, 2018 – Susan Crawford, Director of Human Resources at United Consumer Financial Services Company (UCFS) has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award in the Organizational Development category. The annual Archer Award recognizes outstanding human resources professionals in Northeast Ohio for building companies with the “best people, talent, development and culture.

Ms. Crawford said, “I am honored to have been selected as a finalist for the Archer Award. I’ve spent the past 25 years studying, engaging in and implementing programs to optimize the human element of business success and there is still so much more to discover. HR has become a strategic and valued partner in my organizations and I look forward to supporting and driving organizational success through employee engagement at every level. With each new generation we’re challenged to learn and do things better, so to optimize results is essential to understand talent and how to get the best out of each and every employee.”

Susan is an accomplished human resources professional with exceptional expertise and skills in organizational design, employee development, HR process compliance and talent management. She ensures UCFS employees are equipped with the right tools, the organizational design is aligned with company goals and that UCFS is positioned for long-term growth and success.

“As a direct result of Susan’s efforts, we are a better organization!  She has played a vital role in helping to transform our organization, bringing a higher level of professionalism and expectation of our human resources team,” said UCFS’ President, Joe Francesconi.  “Susan adds tremendous value, ensuring care, nurturing and discipline in all our HR efforts, while building trust at all levels of the organization.  She is an exemplary achiever, passionate leader and strong role model for managers throughout our organization and a key member of our leadership team. It gives me great pleasure to see Susan recognized outside the organization as a leader in her profession.”

The Archer Awards Reception will be held on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the Intercontinental Hotel with over 450 attendees.  Other companies with human resources professionals being recognized in the Organizational Development category include Lubrizol, FirstEnergy and Shearer’s Snacks.  The Archer Awards Title Sponsor is Howard & O’Brien Executive Search.

See Crain’s Cleveland Business article:
http://www.crainscleveland.com/awards/susan-crawford-archer-2018

 

 

UCFS and John Carroll University Partnership

JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY’S BOLER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND UCFS FORM NETWORKING AND RECRUITING PARTNERSHIP

 

Summer 2018 UCFS Internship Program

WESTLAKE, OH, July 26, 2018 – United Consumer Financial Services Company (UCFS), a leading consumer financing company, offering business partners the ability to finance their customers’ purchases, has partnered with John Carroll University’s Boler School of Business to provide networking, mentoring and employment opportunities for outstanding students. As one of JCU’s Boler Corporate Partners, UCFS participates in college events including: Career Fairs, Meet the Recruiters events, Network for Success and on-campus interviewing.

Summer 2018 UCFS Sales and Marketing Interns with UCFS Sales and Marketing Leadership Team

“As local business leaders and alumni, UCFS President, Joe Francesconi and I connected with John Carroll to form a strategic partnership,” said Joe Drake, UCFS Director of Sales & Marketing.  “Our goal of engaging and recruiting top talent to create a pipeline of future candidates – undergrads for internships as well as graduating students – is being accomplished as we build brand awareness of UCFS on campus.”

United Consumer Financial Services hired two sales and marketing interns this summer, both rising seniors. Annina DaFonseca, John Carroll University Senior said, “Interning with UCFS has provided great hands-on experience in marketing and sales support, aiding me in job readiness. One of my projects is a deep dive into our website SEO and research in Google Analytics – both bringing great value to the company – beyond classroom textbook studies. I’m very thankful for the opportunity.”  The 3-month internship program is mutually beneficial with interns also handling:
– Competitive analyses               – Streamlining customer onboarding
– Trade show effectiveness         – Customer communications.

“Interns gained a wealth of knowledge this summer through real world experiences on topics not necessarily learned in the classroom.  From an HR perspective, we’re supporting the professional growth and development of our future leaders, in addition to creating mentoring opportunities within the organization. Interns bring a fresh perspective to all we do which also helps the company move forward. This partnership is a win-win-win for JCU, UCFS and students,” said Susan Crawford, Director of Human Resources.