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Finnegan Pierson - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

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The Best Ways to Reward Your Top Performers

Every company relies on good teamwork and strong contributions from each individual team member. Recognizing your employees’ outstanding work is a great motivating force and can help inspire more outstanding work in the future. Not only will the individuals being recognized feel motivated, their colleagues will feel inspired to emulate them. Furthermore, it will benefit both your workforce and the company if people feel that their contributions are valued. It will foster positive sentiment and good employee retention. Here are some of the best ways that you can work your hardest working employees.

Present Employees With Awards

Honoring employees with corporate awards is a fantastic way to express gratitude and commemorate achievements. You might give awards for sales, leadership, and even tenure with the company. People can display their awards with pride, and it can also impress your company’s clients. When a client sits down to work with someone and observes one or more awards in that person’s office, it sends a message to the client that the person helping him or her is one of your company’s most important and valued employees. In turn, the client feels valued and reassured to be receiving the attention of someone who is capable of producing great results.

Promote Employees Who Exhibit a Strong Work Ethic

People who consistently work hard and step up when extra help is needed should be given the opportunity to take on a more challenging job role. Promoting your top performers creates a company culture in which people work hard to advance themselves. Moreover, it puts your best workers in leadership roles that can help guide other employees in the right direction.

Offer Compelling Performance-Based Pay Incentives

Rewarding individual efforts with pay incentives is a great way to encourage your personnel to meet and exceed goals. Employees who work in sales are especially receptive to incentives driven by good performance. In addition to their base pay, you should offer appreciably-sized commissions that should be a percentage of the total value of a sale or flat fee commissions for each individual sale. You can also structure incentives to be tiered. After an employee has achieved a certain number of sales, their commission can be bumped up higher. In the case of employees who don’t work in sales, you can offer performance-based incentives that can be attained after specific milestones in the completion of a project or a set volume of work produced. While it’s great to find ways to reward employees who go above and beyond in performing their job duties, you have to be careful about making the criteria for giving performance-based incentives seem arbitrary. If people can’t readily understand a system by which some individuals’ efforts are rewarded and some aren’t, they may feel as though they’re being treated unfairly. Disparity in pay could in fact serve as the basis of a discrimination claim, so it’s important that you have some form of methodology in how you give bonuses and incentives.

Provide Revenue-Based Pay Increases and Bonuses

Not all big wins for the company correlate with big wins for individual employees. For example, landing a big new account can be a significant financial boon for the company. If the new account means a lot more work for employees but doesn’t give them any benefit, it’s hard for them to perceive it positively. Resentments form when employees feel that their labor benefits the company much more than it benefits them individually. When your company is developing, you should share the benefits of growth with your workforce. It shows them that you care about how they contribute to development, and they stand to gain from continued growth.

Rewarding your company’s top performers can build a strong company culture and a team-driven environment in which people always strive to do their best possible work. People will appreciate knowing that they have the potential to earn more, advance in their job roles, and be commended for a job well done.

Publish Date: October 5, 2020 3:16 AM


5 Tips for Conducting International Business

International businesses fuel multiple economies and help foster better relationships between companies but taking your company global means taking on more risks and more work to generate benefits for your business. There are many things that you need to consider when going global such as who your partners and customer base will include, how communications issues and problem-solving will be handled and even which laws and regulations you will need to comply with. Getting started with the right set of tips can go a long way such as doing your homework and listening to the right ideas.

Evaluate Your Funds and Customer Base

Before you go global, you want to evaluate your current market position, funding and customer base. These will need to translate into a foreign market for growth while maintaining levels of success at home. There will be some risk to your domestic standing when you expand overseas and understanding how to manage those risks can help you better evaluate if your company is ready to go global as well as minimize the impact the move makes on your business. You can earn a Masters in Global Risk Management online to help you understand which criteria are the most useful and what warning signs to watch out for as you grow your international footprint.

Find the Right Team and Partners

Expanding into a new market, abroad or at home, means having a team and business partners on the ground to help with real estate purchases, infrastructure and marketing. This is especially important when going global because cultural differences and local laws or regulations can set you back if you are not prepared. It is a good idea to find a local mentor to partner with who can guide you through the process and help minimize miscommunication or translation problems. The better your team is on the ground, the less time you spend traveling to and working in this new market, and the less your domestic operations are impacted by the expansion.

Have the Proper Infrastructure

Your infrastructure should address everything from setting up IT at your overseas offices to which issues can be handled on the ground versus by the headquarters teams. Setting up a corporate structure which addresses key communications, translation and technology issues as well as security, currency exchanges and marketing across multiple locations and cultures is a key factor in success. This means hiring the best people for each location as well as at corporate headquarters to address and coordinate these issues.

Be Willing To Change and Adapt

It is not a failure to recognize that your current business structure or ideas will not work on a global scale, especially if you consult with experts on how to change and adapt it to new environments and challenges. You may have to overhaul your customer service department from the policies to the interaction platforms or adapt your shipping practices to better fit customs and border control policies. It is important to also be willing to fail and have a sound exit strategy when going global because you can learn and adapt from this experience for a better venture in the future. All these things can be addressed by moving a little of your company at a time to the global market, evaluating how that move is going, and changing what is needed to succeed. When you start small and adapt as you go, you can more easily exit the endeavor if needed and not bankrupt your company in the process.

Do Your Due Diligence

Doing due diligence on international business ventures means researching your potential partners and team members carefully, learning and understanding applicable laws and regulations, and even stepping outside your comfort zone to embrace cultural differences. It is important to anticipate miscommunication issues and technical difficulties in advance, so you know the proper etiquette needed to address them. During this phase, you are likely to find areas where the expansion means pushing past your boundaries to take expert advice or be open to new ideas which take your research into previously unconsidered areas, so be prepared to continue learning and researching as your company grows. Spending time on the ground in each market you expand into can give you a lot of insight into which niche your products and services will fill there, what the cultural expectations for a company like yours are, and even who the local experts are to partner with.

Conducting international business means learning a lot about the applicable laws, regulations and markets. This can highlight the risks and benefits of expanding into each market as well as generate new ideas and foster better global business partnerships. It is important to do your due diligence, find the right team and partners, and be willing to change and adapt to new information, cultural expectations of customers, or even infrastructure issues. Global risk management professionals can help you identify these things and you can even earn a degree online in this subject to better manage your international expansion efforts.

Publish Date: September 17, 2020 12:59 AM


Staying Focused When Working From Home During Covid-19

More people are starting to work from home these days. Though working from home gives you a sense of freedom that working from the office doesn’t, there are a few unique challenges employees face. Chief among them is the struggle to make time for yourself without sacrificing your workday’s productivity. The temptation to keep working longer hours is very real, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your home life. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a better work-life balance while working from home.

Set Firm Work Hours

When you work from home, it’s easy to get sidetracked and distracted by your family, friends, roommates and even your pets. Those small distractions are easier to avoid when you set firm work hours. Let everyone in your household know when you’re going to be working and when you’ll be free. Keep these hours the same throughout the week whenever possible. This will help you create a routine and makes it easier for you to get into the work-zone when needed and disconnect when you’re done. If you find it hard to keep track of your hours or don’t normally work a set schedule, consider using a time sheet app to help.

Build a Dedicated Workspace

Though working from home does make it easy to work from your couch or your bed, it’s not in your best interest. Those workspaces are far from ergonomic and can leave you feeling stiff and sore at the end of the day. Worse, they make it hard for you to not think about work when you’re supposed to be relaxing.

Instead, create a dedicated workspace in your home. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can keep it as simple as taking over a dedicated seat at your dining table. However, if you have the time and the money, consider building a work area in a quiet spot in your house. Add a desk and an adjustable office chair to the space so you can work in comfort all day long.

Take Breaks Throughout the Day

When you work in an office, you’re expected to take at least a few breaks during your shift. This could be anything from a full half-hour lunch break away from your computer to microbreaks as you go to the restroom or refill your coffee mug in the breakroom. Try to maintain those breaks when you’re working from home. If you’d take a break in the middle of the morning at the office, do the same in your house. Step away from your computer and eat lunch in a different room to give your brain a break from work. You’ll be better able to stay productive throughout your shift so you’re not tempted to work overtime.

Keep Your Normal Routine

Without a regular commute to deal with, you’ll likely be tempted to set your alarm for a later hour or take your time eating breakfast and sipping on your coffee. Instead, try to keep to your normal routine. If you get up at 6 to commute to the office, set your alarm for the same time when you work from home. If your shift normally ends at 4:30, clock out at the same time when you’re working from home. This way, you’ll be able to separate work life from your home life clearly.

Get Dressed Like You’re Going to the Office

Believe it or not, getting dressed for the office does more than make you look presentable. It actually makes you feel like the professional you are. Though you’re free to work in pajamas or sweatpants when you’re working from home, try not to. Dress the same way you would if you were going into the office. You’ll find yourself being more productive and feel more confident throughout the day when you’re not spending your work hours in your fuzzy bunny slippers. Once you’re done for the day, you can unwind and relax by changing into your comfy clothes.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll find it easy to make time for yourself when you’re working from home.

Publish Date: September 4, 2020 11:57 PM


Writing Tips For Marketing Online

There are many ways you can approach marketing for your business, in fact  there are so many ways to market your business it can feel overwhelming at times, especially if you are just starting out. How do you know what kind of marketing is the most effective, and what's worth the investment? Developing a quality strategy for your business might feel like a stressful task at times, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are many approaches you can take, and combining them can often aid you in building a marketing strategy that will boost your traffic to your business. Here are a few things you can try if you are looking for ways to help grow your presence effectively.

Try Bulma

Having a website that not only functions well but also looks good can have a big impact on your business, particularly if a large part of your business takes place online. If a customer might feel put off by walking into a store or business that looked messy or dilapidated, it's not a stretch to imagine a customer might not feel encouraged by a website that feels out of date or confusing to use. One way that you can help to ensure your website both looks and functions its best is by trying a quality website building program such as Bulma CSS, which is a free CSS framework. One of its benefits is that it cuts down on typing code, which can allow the person building and designing the website more time to focus on developing the best site or blog for your business, rather than focusing on busywork like code.   

Advertise

While advertising might seem like an obvious part of marketing your business, not everyone takes full advantage of it. Some subscribe to the thought that if you build it, they will come. This might be true in some cases, but for most it is important to advertise. It can be vital not only to advertise, but also to regularly assess how effective your advertisements are. Making sure that you keep your advertisements updated and frequently try out new avenues can be a good way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your advertising efforts. 

Connect with Your Community

While it might feel counterintuitive to start on a small scale, getting involved with your community can often help give your business the boost that you're looking for. Reaching out and becoming involved with the local scene will not only help people in the area become more aware of your business, but will likely garner engagement with them as well. Getting in touch and involved with your community can be a good way to let your community learn what you and your business are all about. Needless to say, this can be an opportunity to gain new customers who may feel a personal connection to your business.

Form Relationships

In the same way that it can be important to connect with your community, it can also be helpful to strengthen the relationships you have with your current customers. It has been said that it is easier to keep a current customer than it is to gain a new one. Providing excellent customer service, and letting the customers you already have know how much you appreciate them can go a long way toward fostering a good relationship, which can ultimately result in loyal customers and repeat business. Be sure to stay on top of what your customers are saying about your company online by looking at reviews, such as Thrive Reviews, and interact with them. This helps customers feel heard and strengthens relationships between your business and customers.

The Bottom Line

There is more than one way to boost the visibility of your business, often you can reap the most benefits from taking a multi-pronged approach and trying as many angles as you comfortably can. From upgrading your website's usability with something like Bulma, to quality advertising, to building healthy relationships with customers, there are many approaches available to you to help maintain and grow your business.

So, whether you have a small business and simply want to boost your bottom line, or have a large thriving company that you want to take to the next level, learning to implement some of these elements can potentially give you just the step up that you need.

Publish Date: August 20, 2020 9:15 AM


Your Company’s Next Business Building

Commercial construction may seem like a fact of life, and rightly so, but there are numerous factors at play in this field. Construction is resource and labor intensive, and commercial construction is even more so. Likewise, commercial construction is costly and potentially dangerous. Here’s what you need to know in order to successfully navigate a commercial construction endeavor.

The Equipment You’ll Need

When one thinks of building a house, one tends to imagine a modest sized house built by hand, but that’s not the case with commercial construction. Commercial buildings like skyscrapers tend to be massive, and that means that the endeavor must necessarily be machine assisted. Construction equipment comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with their own role to play. Search Washington rigging or “rigging near me” to get an idea of the size, cost, and use of this kind of gear, and it paints an incredible picture of what will be required on a commercial construction site. Arguably, the most pressing matter in this regard is the assembly of large, heavy pieces that have been manufactured off site by a third party, and that means that cranes and rigging are the order of the day. However, the height of skyscrapers can present additional problems, and therefore scaling the incomplete structure quickly requires the addition of temporary elevators.

The Materials You’ll Need

Skyscrapers are modern marvels. Not only are they massive in scope, but they are also made of only the sturdiest and often heaviest materials. For starters, skyscrapers need more than the standard concrete foundation and, in fact, use bedrock as a foundation to support the truly gargantuan weight of the structures. The weight itself is attributable in part to the sheer size of the structure itself, but it also comes from the support structures. Skyscrapers are supported by steel girders in much the same way that your average home will be supported by wooden planks, and these girders themselves are massive in size and incredibly heavy. On the other hand, the curtain walls associated with skyscrapers are typically made of glass or aluminum, a lightweight and inexpensive material that serves a few purposes. These materials help to reduce costs and weight, for starters, but glass curtain walls in particular have also become an iconic design quirk of modern architecture.

The Regulations You’ll Need to Follow

Construction is complicated and often dangerous, and the end result can also present potential hazards to occupants. For all of these reasons and then some, commercial construction cannot proceed unless the construction company responsible for the project has a construction permit. The requirement that construction companies obtain official documentation of permission to build is important for the safety of everyone involved. These permits ensure and confirm adherence to building code that are themselves in place to make commercial buildings safe for those who work within them. Likewise, there are safety regulations in place to protect construction workers during the building process. Construction sites are notoriously dangerous, and these regulations seek to mitigate possible accidents and injuries or even deaths that could occur on the job. There are construction industry regulations that cover commercial construction in particular, and all hazardous occupations are subject to the federal regulations associated with OSHA. While no regulation can prevent all accidents, these regulations provide ample coverage to reduce workplace incidents drastically across the board. However, safety regulations aren’t enough on their own, as each construction worker, including contractors, needs to possess a license to work in this field, thereby ensuring that they are familiar with these safety measures both in study and in practice.

 

Commercial construction is the modern equivalent of the construction of the ancient pyramids of Giza. They take years to build despite large crews using powerful machines, and in the end they stand as modern marvels. However, the information is there to make this kind of undertaking more plausible. It can be done, and this guide will help you get your start.

Publish Date: August 18, 2020 5:24 PM


Improve These Skills To See Better Results With Sales

Sales is far from an easy career path to follow. While you might have the natural abilities required to entice people into purchasing a product or investing in a service, it takes more than charisma to see long-term success in this field. Luckily, it is entirely possible for you to start seeing better results as a salesperson. All you need to do is dedicate a bit of time to figuring out which skills you need to work on improving. By adopting some new habits and adjusting existing practices, you can see better results in no time at all.

Look over these tips on how to become a better salesperson and start to get a feel for what to expect. With time, you’ll be ready to hone all of these abilities and tackle new challenges in the world of sales.

Consider the Buyer’s Perspective

One of the easiest ways to become a better salesperson is by thinking about the buyer. Not only do you want to think about what tactics or strategies to employ when trying to convince a buyer to commit to a sale, you also want to think about what the buyer’s mindset is. Why is this specific person coming to your business for help? How does this person feel? Does this particular problem have stressful factors that might make the consumer irritable or have any natural reservations to spending money on a solution?

The more you think about the mindset of the buyer, the easier it will be for you to develop a natural rapport with each person who comes to your business. It will help you appear less of a salesperson and more of a helpful employee who is looking to connect consumers with solutions to problems. Naturally, all potential buyers will have very different perspectives when it comes to purchasing goods and services. Still, you’ll be able to discover a lot about your key demographics when you start putting in the work.

Explore Financing Options

In many cases, a potential sale falls short when the deadline arrives because the consumer is worried about personal finances. It can be difficult to convince someone to invest money in a product or service when the economy is a mess, after all. To help guarantee more sales and encourage a sense of a trust with your customer base, you might want to start looking into different financing services that you can offer. Credit lines, for example, are a great way for businesses to encourage customers to make larger purchases.

Think about the service you offer and see what financing exists in your industry. If you own a business that specializes in the construction of pools, for example, you’ll want to get to know the names of different pool financing companies in your area. When you know who a customer can turn to for financing assistance, it can help to guarantee a sale on your end and create a strong relationship with the lender you are referring customers to. Conduct a bit of research and see what makes the most sense in your industry.

Keep Calm

Finally, be sure to stay cool and collected whenever meeting with a client. If you’re worried about sealing the deal or are feeling nervous, it might make the customer uncomfortable or feel pressured. No matter how concerned you are about completing the paperwork and finalizing the deal once and for all, you cannot allow your emotions or anxieties to get the best of you and sour the entire experience. The more patience you have, the easier it will be for possible customers to see you as a calm and trustworthy person to conduct a bit of business with.

There are plenty of different steps you can take in order to start seeing better results as a salesperson. Following the right practices and having a robust set of resources at your disposal can be crucial to your success. Take time to review your options and see what choices will benefit you the most down the line.

Publish Date: August 13, 2020 7:54 PM


Helpful Tips to Create a Healthy Work Environment

One of the best ways to motivate and engage employees is by creating a healthy company environment. The question is, how can you create an environment where your team members are encouraged, happy, accepted, and productive? To answer these questions, learn a few tips to develop a healthy company environment, which can be found below.

Create More Trust

According to a recent survey, approximately 90% of workers, trust, fairness, and honesty are considered crucial attributes and ones that are valued in the workplace. The question is, what can you do to create a sense of trust in the workplace?

 

You can do this by making promises and keeping them. Never over-promise and then under-deliver. You should also make firm commitments. Don’t use words such as, “I’ll do my best,” or “I’ll try.” Be sure to always follow-up and keep your team members updated and communicate any obstacles to talk about how you can overcome problems with your team.

 

You can also build more trust when you own up to the mistakes that you make, show compassion, and make amends when needed. When in a meeting, start by discussing the professional or personal lives of your workers.

Communication is Key

Communication is one of the most important factors in effective and healthy work environments. In fact, in a recent survey that involved over 210K employees, it was discovered that under 50% were fully satisfied with the information that they received from upper management.

 

Before you are able to open up communication lines, you must ask the right questions. Keep this in mind. Remember, people aren’t going to give you the entire truth unless they have a connection with you. Be sure to start with easy questions and remember that empathy can go a long way in improving communication.

Offer Rewards, Incentives, and Benefits 

When it comes to ensuring workplace satisfaction, you need to consider a few things. For example, just 24% of employees will be fully satisfied with the recognition level they have received while at work. Also, 70% of workers have stated that real, meaningful recognition doesn’t have a dollar value. It is up to you to figure out how you can motivate your workers.

One way is with bonuses. Most employees will respond to this. If not bonuses, you can use other financial incentives to reward great performances.

 

Another option is perks. For example, if you are encouraging a healthy workforce, you can add perks for those who follow the recommendations. For example, you can give those who sign up for a company exercise event samples to supplements, such as the multi gi 5 by Randy Jackson. The key is to make it something they will appreciate and find beneficial.

 

You can also improve the amenities in the workplace. This may include a gym, a daycare center, or a cafeteria. These are all quality incentives for workers who are focused on the projects they are working on.

Promote Improved Wellness

A wellness program is directly linked to a higher level of productivity. It can also lead to less absenteeism and a reduction in long term health-related costs. Even though there is no denying that providing encouragement for the wellness and health of your workers is beneficial, you may wonder how to make this possible.

 

One option is to promote preventative care. For example, you can offer flu vaccinations at the office. You can also encourage workers to get more exercise, put an emphasis on education, and bring in a doctor to offer on-site health evaluations.

 

When it comes to creating a healthy and happy work environment, there are more than a few factors that you have to keep in mind. If you want workers who are ready to “take on the world” and provide superior services to your clients and customers, use the tips and information found above. This is going to pay off in the long run and help your company achieve a higher level of success.

Publish Date: August 7, 2020 6:49 PM


5 Tips For Web Design and Content

 

 

Web design has changed drastically since its inception in the late twentieth century. Gone are the days of bright, blocky patterns assaulting your eyes with barely visible text in favor of sleek, modern designs that are far more efficient and easier on the eyes. The design of your website is the first thing that potential patrons will see, and a pleasant-looking design can entice them to buy from you. Here are five modern web design tips.

 

1. Web Safety

The best way to make internet users feel comfortable on your website is to make sure your site is safe and secure from hackers, data collectors, or any other malicious activities. There are several software options for all kinds of web safety purposes, such as data cleaning, that are cheap or free to keep your users safe and your data relevant. It is also important to ensure that you practice good password habits. Make sure all of your passwords are distinct from each other and unique enough that others cannot guess them. Keep your data and the data of your customers safe.

 

2. Simplicity

As people move away from the web design of the past, they have realized that it is much more pleasant to look at minimalistic designs. Simple designs draw attention to the information being presented rather than the design surrounding the words. Use a background with a single vibrant color, and separate important parts of the text by color as well. This way, you can control where people look when they first come to your site, and your website will be easier to navigate in general. With fewer options for where to look, your patrons will not feel overwhelmed.

 

3. Patterns

If you want something a bit more complex than a single-colored background and simple site directions, there are some types of patterns that are still in style. Geometric patterns with crisp, sharp angles are simple enough that they usually will not distract from the otherwise simple design of a site. Gradients are also more common than ever today with the simply-colored backgrounds gradually fading and becoming transparent as they run into another part of the site. Despite the recent emphasis on simplicity, small, understated patterns and effects can still be effective in keeping your website enticing and easy to use.

 

4. Bold Fonts

As mentioned above, the information provided on your website is more important than the design of the site itself. So, make the information interesting to look at. There are interesting and free fonts available online, and if you have the means, you can hire a digital artist to make a header or other important graphic. You can even put pictures inside of your words by cutting letters out of a photograph. No matter what you decide to do, make your words big and bold so that they capture the attention of the people reading them.

 

5. Personality

Your website should do its best to connect with its audience on a personal level. Companies often accomplish this by putting a relatable story about the history of the company or a mission statement on the home page. These stories make the business seem more human. Your story should be touching and sympathetic, but it should not lie about anything or come across as pandering to your customers. It should also make your customers feel safe and cared for in your hands by reassuring them that you care about the quality of your products. These stories are present not only on websites but also on physical products, such as small-brand food packaging. Businesses use these stories because they work.

 

The Bottom Line

Online marketing is a complex business. There are countless nuances that a business needs to know about, but when you are preparing to create a simple website, a basic knowledge of design trends is all you need. Take a look at the layouts of other business websites and figure out what you like to see so that you can implement those aspects into your own website.

Publish Date: August 1, 2020 3:17 AM


Ways to Fund Your Business

Running a business is both incredibly rewarding and exhausting all at the same time. While you might love what you do and love the fact that you’re your own boss, you have countless things to keep track of. One such thing is money.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been running your business for years, there’s always a chance you’ll need some financial assistance. You might be trying to get your business off the ground, or you might be trying to grow. You may need more inventory, additional staff, or even another location. No matter what, these things require amoney. Fortunately, you have options. Here are a few ways to get the funding your business needs.

Small Business Loans

There are several types of small business loans available. You can go the route of a traditional bank loan, which offers some of the best rates and terms. These loans, however, often come with strict requirements. Fortunately, there are other options.

If you’re interested in a bank loan but don’t quite meet the requirements, you can check with a local bank or credit union. These lenders typically have more leeway when it comes to lending to businesses. You can apply for an SBA loan (a government-backed loan) through a bank or credit union.

You can find small business loans through online lenders. While rates and terms might be a little higher, they generally have fewer requirements, and the application process is much more streamlined. If you don’t need a long-term loan, you may also be able to apply for a working capital loan, which offers shorter terms.

Crowdfunding

There are a few different crowdfunding sites out there, some of the most well-known being Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Fundable, CircleUp, and LendingClub. Using these sites, you set a goal of how much you want to raise over a set period of time. You then provide information about your business and your project and ask for donations.

With sites like Kickstarter, you provide your backers with a reward. For instance, if you’re creating a product, backers that pledge a certain amount get a copy of that game once you make it. With sites like LendingClub, you repay the money investors put into your business, not unlike a loan. LendingClub has specific requirements, and you do need to pay interest.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are successful business owners who want to invest some of their money into an up-and-coming new business. They don’t choose just anyone, however. You need to prove that you’re worth the investment.

To attract an angel investor, you need to show that you know your stuff. You need to come prepared to a pitch with a solid business plan, market assessments, marketing plans, and more. Potential investors also want to know who you and your team are, and that you know what you’re doing.

Keep in mind that some angel investors want to be silent partners, while others want to be active participants. They may provide tips and tricks, and they may stop by from time to time to make sure that you’re meeting your end of the bargain.   

Ask Family or Friends

While not always the favorite solution, some business owners, particularly in the early stages, may ask friends or family for help. It’s not impossible, but it is more challenging for fledgling businesses to secure financing through a bank or online lender. A willing family member or friend can help you to get the startup capital that you need to get your company off the ground.

If you do want to ask a family member or friend for help, you can always draw up a contract. Put the agreement in writing, including the total amount borrowed, the payment terms, and any interest you agree to pay back. You can also get the agreement notarized for extra security.

Many businesses, regardless of size and how many years they’ve been open, need some financial help here and there. With so many available funding options, you need to take the time to consider what’s best for you.

Publish Date: July 31, 2020 9:08 PM


Customers Play an Important Part in Your Company Culture

Company culture is a huge factor in how well your company runs, and discussions surrounding culture are still on the rise. If the morale of your employees and the experience of your customers matters to you as much as it should, you have certainly considered the topic of your business culture. The conversation generally focuses around how owners and managers can work to provide employees with a positive workplace environment, or how you can foster values that your customers will appreciate. However, while your culture is certainly important to many of your customers, your customers also have the potential to have a significant impact on your company culture, for better or worse. 

 

How Customers Impact Your Culture

 

Relationships are reciprocal, including professional relationships, so it makes sense that while you are focused on cultivating a relationship with your customers, they also change the landscape of your business. Any customer-facing employee will tell you that the interactions they have throughout the day have the potential to impact their mood and, ultimately, their productivity. Providing a framework and a culture that provides great service and meaningful customer relationships can go a long way in improving these day-to-day experiences. On the opposite side of the equation, providing your employees with a positive and person-centered culture gives them the ability to better provide for your customers. Employees and customers who feel taken care of are more likely to stay or return with your company. On the other hand, if you fail to meet their expectations, or provide lackluster company values, neither your customers nor your employees will want to stick around. 

 

The Role of CRM

 

If you truly want a customer-centered approach supported by a great team, a customer relationship manager (CRM) is an essential tool for your business. The benefits of CRM are enormous, both for your customers and for your business. These databases track anything from simple customer contact information to in-depth sales data and customer behavior reporting. Many CRM’s also offer incredibly powerful tools such as automated marketing campaigns, and suggested follow-up for your sales and marketing teams. Working with a CRM will allow your employees to have detailed information about a customer available to them, while also allowing for large-scale views that help you understand the needs of your entire customer base. Ultimately, using a CRM can help you to provide better service, easier follow up and more personalized marketing.

 

Cultivating Positive Relationships

 

A CRM makes the job of forming great business relationships and customer loyalty easier, but as with all tools, it only does some of the work. The relationship itself is always more meaningful to your customers when it is tied to the face of an employee. Depending on the type of business you run, this could take many forms, including a dedicated customer success manager that your client can get to know and love or a well-trained customer service staff that provides helpful advice and problem-solving. Your primary obligation as an employer is to provide your employees with the tools, training and culture they need in order to provide a seamless experience and a fantastic product to your customers. Despite the fact that providing employees with extra training and state-of-the-art equipment and programs can cost more up front, your customers will notice an improvement. Interacting with well-trained, knowledgeable and positive employees will make a difference that could set you far above your competition.

 

Customers are a vital part of any business, and they play an important role in your company’s morale and culture. Providing a great experience for your customers is essential, and can be made easier through CRM and other tools as well as world-class customer service. Top-notch employees can be cultivated through training and will thrive in a culture dedicated to giving them and your customers experiences of value. Using everything at your disposal to create strong business values will foster a strong workforce, customer base, and positive impact on the world.

Publish Date: July 29, 2020 3:25 AM


5 Companies Using Call Centers for Customer Relationship Management

There are over 3.3 million call center workers based in the United States,  providing customer service support to dozens of businesses around the country. While the U.S. operations are running with significant capacity, the field continues to expand through corporate onshoring and reshoring initiatives. With close to 7,400 call centers located in the U.S., this is a service that provides jobs to millions of Americans, both in work-from-home positions or physical locations. Companies both large and small rely on the call center operations to provide the highest quality services to their consumers. For this to happen, having a qualified and diverse labor pool is extremely important. Site strategies, or where to host the next center, are crucial to finding the best labor markets. Multiple studies are conducted, evaluating things like military presence, wage inflation, labor laws, quality of life, college graduate output, real estate costs, economic incentives and labor market longevity. The companies with the most resources tend to find the best locations and employ the largest number of call center employees. Here are five of the most well-known companies that rely on call centers for their customer service support.

Alorica

This company employs around 47,298 call center employees, but these individuals are working contracts for other partners. The goal is to provide customer experience solutions for every stage of the consumer lifecycle, but with the quality and experiences that top the competition. Some of the customer relationship management options include tech support, billing, and generalized customer assistance with products, complaints and purchasing. There are aspects dedicated to healthcare solutions for the providers, payers, benefits managers and pharmaceutical clients. Alorica relies on digital services for its delivery of analytics, reporting and omnichannel solutions.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

This healthcare insurance provider is actually a conglomeration that includes 36 separate health insurance companies across the United States. Their reach provides health insurance coverage to more the 106 million people, and they assist their clients by employing over 40,000 call center workers. Their agents are dedicated to reviewing customer claims and providing information concerning benefits, eligibility and providers to both healthcare partners and the insured. Employees are able to be employed in a call center directly or there are remote positions also available. Reviews of the employment perks rate excellent benefits as one of the most important.

Young Living

The Young Living Essential Oils brand is a world leader in the natural essential oils, and it also relies on call center operations to assist their customers. Though it doesn’t employ nearly the number of employees that some of the larger corporations do, the last few years has seen incredible growth for the company. So much so, that the company recently opened a new call center in Utah. The location provides the space for 700 employees to train and provide consumers with superior and efficient service. This center is close to the Lehi, where the headquarters are located. Call center locations rely heavily on the approval and support of the local community, and in American Fork where the new center was located, the city provided tax increment financing the help alleviate some of the cost for development. Communities benefit from the establishment of a call center because of the employment opportunities they bring and the additional exposure to local businesses.

Comcast

As one of the largest multi-service providers in the country, Comcast relies on nearly 18,000 call center employees to support their customer base of over 20 million subscribers. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, the company is promoting its self-service online portals and their agents available through chat functions. The company promotes its Xfinity Assistant as being available for consumers to use 24/7.

Verizon

The mobile communications giants have over 40,000 call center employees to meet their customer service needs, but COVID-19 has impacted their operations. In March of 2020, one call center temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for the virus. They have also reduced their call center locations in order to support more work-from-home positions.

Call centers have become the backbone of the customer service industry, with locations at home and abroad handling the workload. Call centers provide stable employment and can improve the economic conditions of communities where they are established.

Publish Date: July 28, 2020 3:00 AM


4 Steps to Combatting Racial Injustice in Your Workplace

Since police officers killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, civil unrest has gripped the United States. Communities try to find ways to move forward and create a more just society, while some people resist these attempts at progress. As a business owner, you have a duty to support your Black customers and workers now more than ever. Use the following guidelines to create a work environment that welcomes, celebrates and respects the African American community.

Consult Professionals

As you craft your company's response to the civil unrest around the country, consult experts to make sure that your actions are not accidentally racist or insensitive. Explore different companies to find the best CRM for small business and have diversity experts hold trainings at your office. When you meet with these professionals, give them your ideas for your company's next steps, and ask for their feedback. Never hesitate to edit one of your plans based on their opinions. 

Listen to Your Employees

Before you can support your customers, you need to support your employees. Your first step in this process is to open the door to dialogue with them about issues of race. Do not approach individual employees, but rather hold a meeting or send an email in which you explain that you want to create an environment that supports the African American community. Tell your employees that you want to hear what their perspective on your current environment is and ask them to share any relevant experiences they have had that are important to them. Do not pressure anyone into talking in front of the entire company, and do not single out your employees of color without their consent. Instead, establish yourself as a listener who wants to learn from the experiences of people with different backgrounds. Once you have made this announcement, make sure you follow through by making time to listen to your employees when they share meaningful stories with you, even if those narratives criticize your leadership style. Focus on listening rather than critiquing their experiences or sharing your own perspective.

Listen to Your Customers

Once you have an idea of how your employees feel about racial issues, it's time to engage your customers. Send out a survey asking for their feedback on your company's response to racial injustice and how you can improve. Would they like you to hire more people of color or diversify the people who appear in your advertisements? Would they like you to donate a portion of your proceeds to Black Lives Matter or a similar organization? This feedback is harder to collect because your customers may not see the survey for a while, but it is vital to understanding your company's public image. 

Release a Formal Statement

A critical way to support your African American employees and customers right now is to release a formal statement condemning police brutality and other hate crimes motivated by racism. Avoid using rhetoric that belittles the African American experience or states that all lives matter, and if rioting has taken place in your town, do not address it in your statement.  Instead, state clearly that you and your company condemn the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and that you are working to do your part to combat racial injustice. Before releasing this statement in an email to your employees, customers and investors and on your social media platforms, have your human resources team look it over. Doing so ensures that it is not poorly worded or unintentionally offensive. If employees approach you and tell you that they are upset about your statement, listen to their grievances and figure out how you can alter your words to better support your community.

In the aftermath of police killings, it's tempting to stay quiet to avoid offending anyone. However, you owe it to your African American employees and customers to take these steps and make a firm stand against racism and discrimination.

Publish Date: July 27, 2020 11:50 PM


5 Ways To Improve Corporate Workplaces

Millions of Americans are transitioning from being allowed to work from home to working in an office. Everyone wants their environment to be as positive as possible. It’s possible to make an office a great place to work; it starts with the individual making choices to simplify their day and benefit co-workers. These five tips can transform a toxic workplace into an enjoyable one.  

Use Breaks Wisely 

Most workplaces give their employees a lunch break. People gather in areas to eat and chat. Many consider their lunch break the best part of their workday and it’s a good opportunity for employees to show up engaged and ready to make a difference. Most breaks are between 30 minutes and one hour. Instead of checking out and playing on their phones, employees can chat with others without succumbing to gossip or rumors. If everyone makes a point of brightening up a co-worker's day by telling a funny story or giving a compliment, then breaks can be an opportunity to get to know co-workers better instead of anxiety-inducing experiences.  

Encourage Transparency 

Honesty is the best policy. Most corporations offer training to their employees. Ideally, there should be clear regulations about what to do about toxic behavior, such as bullying, inappropriate sexual advances or illegal activity. Employees should be able to report problems to sympathetic ears and with confidence that their complaints will be followed up on. Not giving people an outlet to voice their concerns opens the door to criminal activity and legal consequences. When companies encourage employees to come forth, then everyone benefits.  

Plan Fun Team Events 

People want to feel like they’re an integral part of an organization. Instead of sitting at a desk all day or completing mundane tasks, they relish an opportunity to have fun with their co-workers. Team events and volunteer causes are an opportunity to let off steam while doing good for an organization or community. For example, a company might participate in a local marathon run to help fund cancer research or an environmental cause. Employees can appreciate doing something outside of their typical routine and for the greater good. Team events also show that a corporation cares about its employees and wants to foster memorable experiences.  

Give People Power Over Their Pay 

Let’s face it, most people go to work for the money. Many corporations offer perks such as direct deposit or an online account where they can look at their paycheck and dispute time card discrepancies. Additional tools such as a paystub generator can give people even more power over their finances. People need pay stubs to apply for loans or apartment rentals. Occasionally they might need them for tax purposes. Giving employees access to an automatic paystub generator empowers them to make their own and print them out in a few clicks instead of going through a drawn-out administrative process. It’s a unique way to gain trust with employees and quickly resolve pay issues.  

Make Physical Health a Priority 

Exercise is an important part of health. Workplaces can be high-pressure and stressful, so employees need an outlet where they can let go of steam. Exercise is a great way to do that. More and more corporations are beginning to offer gym memberships or discounts to boutique studios. Employees can go there during their break or after they clock out for a little “me” time. Exercise can promote good health and boost mood. It’s amazing how many office grips and small problems can melt away after a good sweat session; some corporations are even going beyond gym memberships and offering yoga, meditation and reiki healing.  

Creating a career isn’t easy. Human relations are not black and white, and a degree of conflict is inevitable. People spend the majority of their day in offices, however, and they must get along with each other to get work done and have a good quality of life. These five tips are simple to implement and can make lasting change. 

Publish Date: July 22, 2020 11:02 PM


How to Gain and Keep Customers and Employees

Running a business is a great way for people to take control of their financial destiny. However, while owning a company can be beneficial, it’s certainly not without risks and challenges that must be overcome. One of the underlying challenges of managing a company is that of making the company appealing, something that applies to your clientele and employees alike. Here are a few ways to build an approachable and profitable business.

Maintaining the Appearance of Your Workplace

In order to bring people in, be they customers or applicants, your place of business needs to be well kept. This can mean any of several factors need to be tended to, many of them purely aesthetic in nature. For starters, consider the exterior. Start by employing a lawn care service in order to aptly maintain the grounds of your company headquarters, and consider the added benefits of growing flowers on the premises. Landscaping can be useful in situations in which your building sits on rough terrain. The exterior of the building itself is also important, however, as apparent flaws with the building’s exterior speak to a lack of maintenance. The evidence of maintenance is the evidence of monetary stability or success, as well as that of investing in your business.

The interior of your building is arguably much more important, at least once you’ve gotten people through the front doors. Therefore, an equal or greater level of attention needs to be given to the building’s interior. For starters, the interior of your building should speak to the established branding associated with your company, and this can have an influence over the color palette of your building. For example, consider retailers like Target. Target’s branding heavily uses the color red, and that color is seen throughout their stores. The specific colors used both in your branding and in your interior design need to be given immense thought, as color has been shown to impact mood. In addition to the palette, one needs to ensure that comfortable seating is available that doesn’t sacrifice an elegant appearance. However, leaning too heavily into class can turn off consumers in a business that offers a more universal product or service.

Offering Incentives

Incentives offered to both customers and employees are shown to provide more long term brand loyalty, which tends to offset associated costs that might drive business owners away from this practice. In order to incentivise customers to choose your business over other options, you can offer reward programs, for example. Take into account programs like CVS’s extrabucks in which purchases are often rewarded with a currency that is exclusive to CVS and equates to occasional savings or outright free products once enough points have been saved. Programs like these encourage additional shopping by making each purchase a chance at additional savings.

Keeping employees on your roster can be an even greater concern, because fewer employees means that each employee counts for a greater percentage of your workforce. While employees can be replaced, there are costs associated with doing so, including time in which their absence can be felt. One way to incentivize employees is to offer benefits like health and dental insurance. These valuable services can be prohibitively expensive to some, and a business that offers to pay for these services or even merely help pay for them stands to gain the loyalty of their employees. This creates a reason to keep doing the job beyond simply a paycheck that one can pursue elsewhere, for example. It will also improve the morale of your employees, which may in turn boost productivity.

Marketing Your Business

Marketing is one of the most fundamental aspects of any business precisely because it heavily dictates the public’s awareness and opinion of the brand in question. Therefore, your marketing strategies need to be on point in order to gain clientele and applicants. Marketing encompasses several distinct methods that all seek to accomplish these goals, the most well known of which is advertising. However, the foundation of marketing is knowing who to market to. Establishing a personality for your brand influences everything else, and your brand’s personality needs to speak to the people around you who are your potential customers and employees. This means that you need to do some market research in order to determine the demographics to which you’ll be tailoring your brand.

While running a business successfully depends on managing the intake and retention of customers and employees, there are a plethora of proven methods to do so. Research into this topic is an essential part of any successful company, especially a fledgling company that has less to fall back on in case of mistakes. Using these tips as a jumping off point, you can drastically increase traffic to your business, as well as the loyalty exhibited by customers and employees.

Publish Date: July 22, 2020 5:40 PM


4 Ways Meditation and a Healthy Lifestyle Are Beneficial to Full-Time Employees

You know a healthy diet and exercise regime leads to a longer life. That isn't always easy to follow, however, in a world of fast-food and high stress. Along with diet and exercise, meditation plays a crucial role in aiding to your overall health. Discover four ways that being healthy can significantly benefit and improve your life.

 

1. Lowers Blood Pressure

Your heart is responsible for pumping blood to every other part of the body. Blood delivers the vital elements your body needs for survival, such as white blood cells and oxygen. Blood pressure is a measure used to check the efficiency of the heart. The two numbers generated tell health professionals whether your heart is under duress. High blood pressure indicates the heart is pushing blood against the arterial walls too forcefully. High blood pressure can eventually cause significant strain on the heart, causing arteries to narrow and things to develop, such as:

 

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

 

Taking care of the heart should be at the top of your list when it comes to self-care. A balanced diet that includes plenty of lean protein, healthy oils and lower sugar can help keep your heart in shape. Meditation helps decrease blood pressure as well. The relaxation generated by meditation helps control nerve impulses from firing too quickly. Since the nervous system sends messages to and from the heart and brain, slowing them down may slow down the beating of the heart and, thus, blood pressure.

 

2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety is a mental condition that may have a dramatic impact on your life. One of the biggest side effects of anxious thoughts is an increase in respiration. When you breathe quicker, your heart pumps faster. Do you often feel like your heart is pumping out of your chest? Stress can generate the same physiological result in the body. A meditation practice may help you regain control of your breathing and lower your heart rate in times of high stress or anxiety. The attention to breath reduces the heart rate dramatically. A great benefit to using meditation to control your stress and anxiety is you can do it anywhere and at any time. Some people may find that meditation, in combination with physical activity, such as running or yoga, may further alleviate stress. If you regularly exercise, remember to stay hydrated and use protein powder to assist muscles in repair.

 

3. Improves Focus and Concentration

The health of the body plays a significant role in how well your mind can function. Focus and concentration are generally better in individuals who eat a balanced diet and partake in moderate exercise. The reason for this is due in large part to the release of natural chemicals in the body soon after physical activity is complete. Endorphins are considered the feel-good hormones of the body. They soak into the brain, giving you a natural high. Your mind is better able to concentrate when in this euphoric state. The alternative is a depressive state, something that works against your focus and ability to remain on-task for more considerable amounts of time. A diet rich in fish oil and other healthy vitamins and minerals only enhances the brain's function.

 

4. Aids in Better Sleep

While you sleep, your brain works hard to restore the body. If you wake up feeling sluggish, it means the brain didn't get to do its job correctly. Too many times, you may find that you are going to bed later and later, but waking earlier. Meditation before bed can help calm the body and ready it for a restful night's sleep. The food you eat can also affect the way you sleep. Diets high in fat and sugar may lead to painful stomach issuesthat leave you restless. Too much caffeine before bed may make it impossible for your brain to shut down when it needs to.

 

Conclusion

If you are looking to make a change to your lifestyle, start with improving your diet, moving more and starting a regular meditation practice. The keys to a longer, happier and healthier life involve an effective brain-body balance.

 

Publish Date: July 21, 2020 4:32 AM

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