Top 7 Benefits of New Customer Service Technology

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Woman at Work in Small Business

We all know that Customer Service has always been a critical component of all successful Businesses. However, you may not know about some of the latest Customer Service System Benefits.

If you are still using the same Customer Service Technology from 3 to 5 years ago, you may find this information helpful to help Increase your Customer Satisfaction, Improve Staff Productivity and Increase your Sales this year.

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The Number One Secret to a Successful Sales Demo?

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

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So how many times have you watched a Product Demo in a Webinar, Trade Show or in a face-to-face meeting and all you see is a Rep walking you through each feature and function on the webpage?

Then the Rep clicks on another page and does it all again. At the end of a 10 to 45-minute demo, they ask you if you have any questions.  Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, when you see this type of demo, you are watching a typical demo done by 80% of Sales Reps and Business Development Reps. Yesterday, I sat through another demo just like this.

There is a better way!

 

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Small Business Poll – Top Technology to Implement in 2012?

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Are you starting to think about planning for next year? Do you have any feel for the top cost-effective new technology that will boost your company sales and productivity?

During the fourth quarter, we asked Small Business Executives, Managers or Owners to share  the Top 3-4 NEW Technologies that they were thinking about implementing in 2012.  Based on the survey, the following are the top 4 technologies for 2012:

  1. Upgrading the Company Website with the Latest Technology
  2. Implementing Smartphones and Tablets
  3. Testing and Implementing Social Marketing
  4. Adding Video Content for the Website including: Customer Demos, New Product Announcements, Success Stories and Best Practice Tips

Note: The votes were  anonymous and we do NOT collecting any personal info.  All poll results are available now.

Please share the poll results with other managers or owners… and add any comments or questions in the comment field below.

Low-Cost Way to Share Files on the Web in a Small Business

Monday, August 1st, 2011

photo credit: freedigitalimages.net by nokhoog buchachon

Question from a Manager

I was looking to store some company files (powerpoint presentations, excel workbooks, etc) in the cloud securely and inexpensively.  That way my other managers and partners can access them and upload updates.  Sort of like a Microsoft Share-point without the overhead.  Any suggestions?  ….keep reading for the answer!

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Should I Buy iPad Tablets for my Small Business?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Question: Should I buy iPad Tablets for my Small Business? …or another manufacturer’s Tablets?

Answer: This is an easy answer – YES!.  For now, you should buy an iPad Tablet!  In 2011, 85-90% of all Tablets sold are Apple iPads. They own the market.

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The 15 segments of the ‘Core Green Economy’ in California

Monday, February 7th, 2011

A New Report was recently published on the Green Jobs and Green Business Opportunities in California.   Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages and empowers Californians to improve the state’s future. They did a good job summarizing the key segments of the green industry below.

1. Energy generation

2. Energy efficiency

3. Clean transportation

4. Energy storage

5. Air and environment

6. Recycling and waste

7. Water and wastewater

8. Agriculture support

9. Research and advocacy

10. Business services

11. Finance and investment

12. Advanced materials

13. Green building

14. Manufacturing and industrial support

15. Energy infrastructure

Source: Next 10 and Collaborative Economics. For a copy of the January 2011 report, go to next10.org

Sales and Marketing Teams Work Together to Increase Sales Productivity in 90 Days

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Here is a low-cost tip for quickly Improving Sales Productivity:  Get Sales and Marketing to talk to each other!

Unfortunately, Sales and Marketing Teams do not always work together very well.  Sales Productivity often suffers as a result of having different metrics and goals. When the Teams do work together to focus on improving the existing sales process… sales results quickly go up and the cost of selling goes down.  This is a “must-have” in today’s business environment.

Here is a simple plan on how to get Sales and Marketing to quickly work together and focus on improving sales productivity in 90 days.

Simple Action Plan

  1. Create a small team to focus on sales productivity
  2. Summarize your current sales and marketing metrics
    Click here for Five Key Sales and Marketing Metrics (or Ratios)
  3. Document the existing sales process – Keep it simple
  4. Brainstorm ideas on how to improve the process and metrics
  5. Prioritize the top 3 ideas
  6. Implement the top changes
  7. Create a spreadsheet with the metrics, measure your progress and report your results
  8. Celebrate your sales productivity successes together

When you are in the middle of this project, just think about this quote:

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” C. Malesherbes

Cloud Backup Best Practices, Services & Top Tips

Monday, September 27th, 2010
Small Business Working on a laptop and Smartphone - Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Cloud based Remote Backup Services for a Small Business or Home Office

Over the last five years,  we moved more and more of our important information from paper storage to our PCs, Smartphones and to Cloud Applications.   When we completed Spring Cleaning this year, we actually eliminated “two 4-draw File Cabinets” with folders  instead of typically adding more of them.

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Improve Your Productivity with Web-based Training

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

There is no better time than now to improve your skills and make yourself more valuable to your company.   We believe that training is the number one way to improve productivity, self-confidence and motivation in a company.

The better you know software, the more productive you can be.  Plus…if you are looking for a new job, it always helps to add this to your resume.

In January, we signed up for one year with Lynda Training Service to improve our productivity and to learn new software that we had just upgraded. We have lots of new software that we added and wanted to learn without the added expense and time of traveling to classes.

We’re amazed how wonderful the training classes have been to watch and use to improve our skill sets. The instructors have been excellent. They know their stuff and do a great job in making the subjects interesting.

The programs are broken down into short videos for each feature.   As a result, you can stop and replay a section…if you space out for a moment.  Tip: We watch one short video feature at the beginning of the day, during lunch or at the end-of-day… or when we have a little extra time to spare.  Because the Training is Web-based, you can also take unlimited classes when traveling, from home at night or over a weekend.

Here are a few reasons we all like Lynda Training:

  • Learn at your own pace 24/7
  • Access to 846 Training Courses for one low price
  • New training added weekly
  • Closed-captioning on many courses
  • Convenient video-web-based training
  • Instructors who are experts in their fields
  • No long-term commitment
  • Programs available for schools, home, travel and businesses
  • A smart way to stay up-to-date
  • iPhone and iPad Mobile Applications
  • Start learning the moment you sign up!

Access over 53,000 Online Video Tutorials instantly, including:

Facebook Essentials
Twitter Essentials
Microsoft Office (2010, 2007 & 2003)
Apple Apps

Digital Photography
Web Design
Web Development
Audio / Podcasts

Motion Graphics
Adobe
Photoshop
Illustrator
Creative Inspirations
Avid

3D Graphics
Dreamweaver
ActionScript
Final Cut Pro
Game Development

Plus Lots More….

Click on the banner below to give  the Lynda Training Program a try for 24 hours. It’s FREE today.

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Please comment if you have found other companies that provide excellent web-based lower-cost self-paced training for our readers.  Thanks.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Dumped my Android for an iPhone 4

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

iPhone vs Android Smartphone - photo source by freedigitalphotos.net

“The iPhone is Just Easier & More Fun to Use” - Quote from my wife

Let me start by saying that I highly recommend both Android and Apple iPhones to all of our clients, friends and family. I think they are the best Smartphones available for business and personal use in the marketplace today. The other vendors have great Smartphones. However, Android and iPhones are just better to use at this time. Sorry Blackberry, Nokia and WIndows users :(

In the past, I was an enthusiastic user (and fan) of the Blackberry and the Palm Smartphones.  For the last two years, I used an iPhone 3g. Unfortunately, it  was stolen out of my jacket pocket in San Francisco a few months ago. I was devastated. So my wife, feeling sorry for me, let me borrow her Android Smartphone for a few months (one of the many reasons why I love my wife). Since I always really liked the Android Smartphone, I took this opportunity to evaluate all the latest Android Smartphones to see if I wanted to buy one of them or to just buy the new iPhone 4 (FYI… our contract was up, so I was free to buy any mobile phone). I spent hours in the various phone stores and Best Buy asking questions and testing the new Androids. I read all the reviews, watched the video reports and asked everyone with an Android what they liked and didn’t like about their Smartphone.

However, after using an Android Smartphone for 8 weeks and after all the research, I dumped my Android Smartphone for the iPhone 4.  At this time, I greatly prefer the iPhone 4 to any of the Android Smartphones. Everyone kept asking me why I switched… so here are my Top 10 Reasons:

  1. Silent Mode Button – Every Smartphone should have this button. I use it every day during Movies, Meetings, Phone Calls and Meals. One click and the phone is OFF. One click and it’s back ON. Most other Smartphones require you to enter passwords and click several times through menus to turn off the Smartphone sound.
  2. One App for all Music, TV, Audio Books, Movies & Podcasts – This is a very BIG reason why I love the iPhone (and yes… I’m using the word “Love”).  I use ONE App to download, buy, back-up and play all Music, Movies, TV Shows, Videos, Audio Books & Podcasts.  It is fast and easy to use each day. If you have a simple question,  just walk into any Apple Store and someone is usually available to help you.If you use an Android Smartphone, you need to find, evaluate and download 2-10 different Apps to buy, play and download multimedia.  When I go into the other retails stores to ask which Android App should I use to: Buy, Back-up, and Play Music, Movies, TV Shows, Videos, Audio Books & Podcasts, the Store Reps all have different answers and typically  recommended 2-4 Android Apps.  Bottom-line: With the iPhone, there is only ONE iPhone App to learn and use… and only ONE company to ask questions.
  3. One Simple User Interface – All 100 million+ iPhone iTouch and iPad) Users have had the same simple user interface for the last 3 years. Almost every Apple employee and iPhone user can help answer questions on how to use the iPhone… because they all work the same.  You can also ask almost anyone at work or friends that have an iPhone for tips and help.   The Apple iPhone is simple to learn, use and upgrade. Almost every new Android Smartphone User Interface has a different (or sometimes significantly different) interface to learn.  The vendors add their own look and feel to the basic Android operating system on each phone. When you upgrade to a different brand Android Smartphone, there is a high probability that you will have to start all over learning a new use interface. Most people HATE  having to learn a new mobile phone.
  4. Apple Retail Stores –  I can’t get over how wonderful it is to go into an Apple Store and ask anyone for help. It is even a better experience when you make an appointment with a Genius Support Rep to help answer (for free) any questions about the iPhone. There is even an easy-to-use special Apple Store App (that you can download for free from the iTunes Store) to schedule Apple Store Training and Tech Support Appointments. The FREE weekly Training is pretty terrific as well.  I went with my wife to the Apple Store iPhone Trainings after she recently got her 1st iPhone.  She loved the training. I believe it is always better to have someone else teach your Spouse how to use new technology… if possible. Don’t you agree? :)

    I have a dramatically different experience when I go into many Verizon, Best Buys and Sprint Retail Stores for help & demos on the new Motorola Droid X, HTC Incredible, the original Motorola Droid, Samsung Android or various Blackberry Smartphones.  They can usually tell me all about their rates and plans.  However, the Reps are not much help answering standard “App questions” on how to use a Smartphone.  To be fair, there are so many models, options and versions of the Android, it is hard to know them all.   This goes back to the fact that too many versions of the Android operating system makes it very hard to provide an excellent customer experience buying and learning how to use a new Smartphone.  Even if the Sales Reps own one Android phone, that doesn’t mean that they know how to use an App on another Android smartphone because the interface will be different.
  5. App Store & Security – The Apple iTunes Store is very easy to use.  In addition, Apple Engineers Review and Approve Apps before I even see them in the iTunes Store.  Why do I prefer this as a user?  Read the recent two examples below.

    Android recently had 1+ million people download and install a free nice looking wallpaper Android App. The App looked perfectly normal in the Google Marketplace Store. Unfortunately, the Android App sent user passwords and personal information to a website in China without their knowledge. Google started looking into the “high security risk” App after a million+ Android users’ data was stolen. Most experts predict that this problem will get worse… not better in the future.
    Here is another Android App issue: Since no one checks Google Marketplace Android Apps before you download them, many poorly designed Apps keep running in the background after your think you stopped using them.  The problem is very common on many Android Smartphones and can cause the Apps to quickly drain the battery.   To fix this, you need to find and download a special Android App to kill other Apps. This is just great for non-technical people that just want to use their Smartphone phone.
  6. Camera & Video – I don’t know what Apple did… but the new iPhone 4 camera has a fast shutter speed and takes great photos during the daylight. Night shots are good but not great.  The Camera App has one switch that changes from a Digital Camera to a Video Recorder within the App.

    Most of the the Android Smartphone Camera and Video Apps work slightly different on each Smartphone and the camera shutter speeds are much slower. On the Android Smartphone you need two Apps to do the same thing as the iPhone one Camera App.  You have one App for the Camera and another App for the Video.
  7. Design & Screen – The iPhone 4 is beautifully designed.  It is the right size and feel for most users.  As a result of the iPhone 4 being 25% thinner than the older iphones, I replaced my iPod with the iPhone 4 when I work out. The extremely high resolution and quality of the screen really makes a difference with everything you do on the Smartphone. I love reading and watching HD Videos a lot more since I upgraded to the iPhone 4.

    The new hot Android Smartphone operating systems are rough around the edges, the hardware has a plastic feel and many of them are huge when you hold them. If you have small hands, you need to use both of them to hold some of the new phones.  I don’t like the “Geeky Look” when I am on the phone.   When  you hold one of the new huge Android phones to your head to talk, it looks like you are holding a brick. If you put it in a case and try to wear it on your belt or clipped to a purse it looks ridiculous. Women will have a hard time fitting a Droid X or Sprint HTC EVO into a small purse going out at night.
  8. Bloatware, Crapware & More -  Apple doesn’t install lots of extra Apps (Bloatware and Crapware) on your iPhone. There are a few Apps Installed when you first get the Smartphone.

    When you buy an Android Smartphone from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, they install lots of extra Apps from paid Advertisers and their own Apps.  The first thing you have to do when you leave a store after buying your new phone is to go through the phone and figure out which Apps to delete and which Apps you need.  I hate when HP and Dell install Crapware and Bloatware to a new Windows PC. Unfortunately, Android Smartphones are now sold using the same bad practices.
  9. Facetime – This App is just a wonderful “Game Changer” in Smartphones.  Apple made this video phone App so simple to use compared to any other smartphone or laptop solutions. Touch One button and you are seeing and talking to a loved one. If you travel for business, have a child at college, a loved one in another city, or just stuck late at work, I cannot describe how wonderful it is to see someone you care about on your phone.

    A few other Android Smartphones have video Apps. However, they are much more difficult to set up and use… so the App doesn’t get used.
  10. It’s just Easier to Use –  This is a quote from my wife after using her new iPhone 4 for four weeks (Note: She replaced the android smartphone that she was using for the last year)  The bottom line is… “It’s just easier… and more fun to use.”

Recommendations

I think the Android Smartphones are ideal for Tech and Gadget minded users. It appears the newer Android phones will continue to have a few more new features and gadgets when compared to the iPhone.   You can customize an Android Smartphone every hour just for fun and you get to learn a new user interface each time you upgrade.

If you have a contract with and like Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint, I would buy an Android Smartphone over any of the other Smartphones today.  I personally like the HTC from Verizon at this time.

No surprise here… If you are with the AT&T network, I would buy an iPhone over an Android Smartphone.  Apple has clearly set the new standard for customer service and retail service. And… quoting my wife – “The iPhone is just Easier and More Fun to use”

Photo source: stockimages @ freedigitalphotos.net

Any Feedback or Comments are appreciated from all you Smartphone Users.