World-Class Customer Service Tips You Should Never Forget

Customer service is something that all businesses today need to master. After all, it does not cost a lot to smile and provide a few friendly words. Of course, effective customer service goes a lot further than this. It is viewed as an opportunity to secure new customers and to strengthen relationships with existing ones. It is important to recognize that the way you act has a massive impact on your brand, and with the Internet how it is today, one bad move could be stuck with your company forever. With that being said, continue reading to discover some world-class customer service tips you should never forget.

You need to give credence to customer complaints – There is only one place to begin, and this is with handling customer complaints. No one likes to receive a complaint from anyone but it is part of being in business. How you deal with complaints makes a huge difference. View this as an opportunity to improve your company. You also need to make sure that you remain consistent in tone and process. The CARP method is a good one to use. This means you should control the situation, and then acknowledge the dilemma. Once you have done this, refocus the conversation and then problem-solve so that the consumer leaves content.

You need to communicate clearly – Another important tip to follow when it comes to achieving world-class customer service levels is to make sure that you practice clear communication. There are so many different factors that impact communication, for example, tone and styling, and your employees need to be aware of this. They also need to make sure that they do not confuse your customers with technical jargon, colloquialisms, or slang. You also need to make sure that you use positive language, avoiding negative words at all costs.

You need to recognize when it is right to outsource – The best businesses today are those that outsource and do so effectively. You should not just outsource any old element of your company. You need to make sure that it is something that is going to benefit your business. For example, a medical answering service could benefit a healthcare practice because it means employees have more time to focus on patient care.

You need to give your customer service team the right tools – Last but not least, you need to make sure that your customer service team has the right tools so that they can provide the right support to people that call. If you do not have any software in place that enables your customer service representatives to pull up accurate client records, for example, they are never going to be able to provide them with an efficient and effective support service.

So there you have it: some of the world-class customer service tips you should follow to help your business achieve more. Don’t overlook the importance of your customers and what they mean for your business. Without them, you would not have a business.

Keeping Remote Employees Happy And Productive

Keeping your online team happy, engaged, and productive doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, two-thirds of managers say their employees actually become more productive once they go remote, SurePayroll reveals. Being in control of their own schedule — and eliminating the daily commute — gives remote employees more time and flexibility, which increases motivation and productivity. However, remote teams still require conscientious management. You want them to feel valued and part of the team even though they’re not on-site. With the following tips, you can cultivate a happy, engaged, and successful online team.

Communicate effectively

Communication is key in every aspect of business — and online teams are no exception. In fact, poor communication is one of the prime reasons employees get frustrated in their jobs. It also leads to feelings of isolation which means employees are less likely to contribute to the team. The solution? Effective communication channels. Let your team know which situations require video chats or phone calls and which situations can be dealt with via online chat. Email is still useful, but not always ideal as messages can be missed. With online chat, team members can instantly ask questions and get answers if they need guidance. This is great for productivity since they’re able to continue with their work right away rather than having to hang around for an email response.  

Define expectations and goals

Although they’re not in the same building as you, remote employees need the same amount of guidance and direction as you give you regular ones. In order to encourage your online team to work efficiently and independently, you need to be clear on the specifics of their working arrangement. Defining the expectations you have for your remote team — preferably with them being mutually agreed upon — will help your employees stay on track with their work. This also includes explaining your mission and goals for the company. Your remote team will therefore feel included in the company culture, but be comfortable and efficient working elsewhere.

Recognize great work

If your remote team does great work, make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed! Failing to give positive feedback where due can leave employees feeling undervalued and even increase your turnover risk. Appreciating exceptional work can motivate your team to maintain that standard. You can also use bonuses or raises as an incentive. It can help to make the recognition public on company-wide channels, so your other employees are informed about the valuable work the remote team does each day. Your online team will then continue confident their hard work is going noticed and appreciated.

A productive online team can be a huge asset to your business, so make sure you take the steps to make yours the best it can be. While creating an engaged and motivated group of remote employees can be a challenge, once you put the above appropriate systems into place, it’s more than possible to achieve. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll soon have a motivated, engaged, and high-functioning remote team.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

4 Factors That Make a Comfortable Work Environment & How They Impact Employees

There’s no doubt about it—employees thrive better in more comfortable work environments. As a business owner, it is up to you to find creative ways to make the work space as cozy as possible without compromising on productivity. So, what can you do to spruce up the work environment? Here are four factors you should consider when considering a revamp.

Use Proper Lighting

Having the right type of lighting in the workplace is essential for creating productivity among workers. Lights that are too dim can cause employees to strain their eyes to see while extremely bright lights can cause headaches and dizziness. Find a warm, inviting lighting style that works with the rest of your office decor and doesn’t impede the ability of your employees to work in comfort.

Make Communication a Focal Point

What is the point in having a physically comfy workplace if emotional comfort is lacking? By opening up the lines of communication, your employees can feel like their presence within your company matters. Not only does this drive everyone to perform better, but it helps to build trust between workers at all levels.

Place Emphasis on Organization

A disorganized and dirty work space is both inefficient and discouraging to employees. Your business doesn’t have to be spotless from floor to ceiling, but it should be kept tidy enough so that workers feel comfortable. Of course, it is always a great idea to hire a commercial cleaning team to come in and help keep the environment as clean and hospitable as possible.

Also, make it a point to encourage employees to keep their spaces organized. Offering incentives or playing games that emphasize cleanliness and organization can help employees stay on top of their productivity and feel valued by you.

Make the Break Room Fun to Use

Break rooms sometimes come off as stiff, stale, and ultimately boring. They become the rooms that employees don’t enjoy spending time in when the rooms themselves have very little to offer. Break rooms should instead be areas where employees can relieve stress and spend time chatting with one another.

To make a break room fun, try adding some activities, such as a putting hole and golf clubs or a pool table. You could even put in an old-school arcade game to create a sense of nostalgia.

Your work environment won’t be flawless, but it should be physically and emotionally comfortable and inviting to all employees and visitors. As a business owner, the standard for comfort begins with you.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

Improving Employee Morale: 5 Reasons to Throw a Fancy Company Party

You have been wanting to get your employees into the company spirit. You know that a festive occasion can be good for company morale. However, just throwing a huge company party for no reason may seem a bit odd to everyone involved. But, if you had a solid purpose behind doing so, it might really prove to be a wonderful way to get company morale looking up again. The following are five awesome reasons for throwing a fancy company party.

Getting Your Employees Acquainted

In large companies, it can be difficult to know who all your coworkers are. Throwing a fancy company party is one way to make it possible for your employees to have the chance to mingle and in some cases, meet for the first time. This can even give some employees a chance to learn how to work better together.

Honoring Important Accomplishments

Sometimes a major company win is worth celebrating. It is a time when you can throw a fancy party in honor of the achievements your company has made. Plus, it can be a nice way to reward the hard work that your employees are doing for your company.

A Merger

If your company is merging with another company, a fancy party might be a great way to bring the employees of two companies together for a smoother transition. Sometimes a function like this can help everyone to figure out where things stand as executives from both companies make their intentions for moving forward clearly understood. This is also a great time to unveil new project ideas and product releases that will be possible because of a merger, and it can be a good time to address how the acquiring company will deal with sustaining employee benefits.

The Holidays

Sometimes it is best to have a fancy party, complete with an experience company providing corporate catering, to keep people feeling up-beat during the holiday season. Especially when it comes to older workers in the company that may not have many relatives left, a company-wide function can be the next best thing for these employees. This can help them feel less lonely during the holiday season—especially when it is a company function in the Big Apple.

A Big Retirement

When you want to honor a visionary or beloved company leader, as they step down from their post, a company-wide party is a nice way to send such an individual off into retirement. It gives their fellow workers a great way to remember them before they go. It is also an event that can mark the beginning of a new chapter in a company’s efforts to move forward.

There are many great reasons to throw a party to improve employee morale. While it can be a great time for employees to let their hair down a little and feel relaxed, it can also be a good time to muster the troops to prepare them for bigger and better things to come. Of course, your employees will appreciate being pampered with a taste of living large on the company dime even if it is but for a short time.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

The Impact of the Office Layout on Productivity

Noise can be a serious distraction and have a negative effect on your productivity and desire to work, and one of the reasons why most offices are loud is the lack of privacy. However, the fact is that most people function better when they can focus on their own work. It may sound strange, but the office layout should be executed in a certain way in order to boost the creativity and the positive workflow between employees. Here are a few easy tricks that could help you take your office to a new level when it comes to efficiency and work ethic.

The open-space concept

This is the most popular setup at the moment, both at big corporations and small startups. It became popular in the IT industry and, soon enough, everyone else joined the movement. The main reason why this type of office functions well is that everyone is close to each other and it’s much easier to work that way. It welcomes collaboration and allows you to work individually and as a part of a team.

The employees will communicate better without physical barriers between them, so the open layout has a positive effect on the socialization between them as well. One of its negative sides, though, is that those who like privacy and work better when they’re alone might struggle with too many people crammed together.

The cubicles

This type of workspace is probably the least favorite option, but not everyone thinks it’s so bad. Sure, cubicles can feel tiny and claustrophobic, but they also provide the right amount of privacy and modify the space between employees, giving everyone a chance to work in a quiet and peaceful environment. Apart from that, there’s no chance important documents are going to get lost in a cubicle since it’s so small!

However, dividing your employees this way creates a certain barrier between them and it leads to bad relations and a lack of communication. It can also cause bad collaboration and some business projects could suffer as a result. Be careful with the number of things you include in this small space because it can get crowded in a second with all the documents spread around the table.

How to optimize the space

Whether you work in an open-space office or a cubicle, your desk needs to be impeccable and organized to perfection. The first thing you need is a system for filing documents and enough storage for such a system to work, so you’ll always know where everything is.

To be able to organize your desk, use a variety of affordable office supplies and find the best option for keeping track of your tasks. Create a planner and stick to your duties, and that will help you finish your job on time, but don’t forget to leave an extra day, just in case you run into a problem. Finally, add some personal items to create a more pleasant workspace area and these will also inspire you to be more productive.

A lounge area

Every office needs a space where employees can relax and take a break from their hard work. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and even a simple seating area with a coffee machine and some bean bags will be just fine. Even though it seems that having a space like this is a distraction, the truth is quite the contrary – some companies even like to add games to their lounge, giving everyone a chance to release the negative energy while playing games rather than feeling stressed out.

There’s also a possibility of creating a themed lounge by combining everything the employees enjoy: a small gym, an arcade heaven and a chill zone with some peaceful music. Nowadays, there’s a rising trend that includes meditation break rooms which are a great way to take a step back and breathe when things get too hectic.

The office layout surely plays a significant role in the company results and how the employees feel when coming to work. You can’t choose the type of office you’ll work in, but you can definitely make the most of the one that’s assigned to you – at least until you reach that corner office you’re striving for!

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

Dream of the Fortune 500? Process-Improving Tips for Small Healthcare Companies

Ever since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a few American healthcare companies have emerged as major Fortune 500 players. From pharmaceutical giants to insurance companies and from drugstore chains to medical equipment suppliers, healthcare companies are adapting to change and improving their processes. As the owner or executive of a small healthcare business, you should be following the examples set by these successful companies. Here are four recommendations to improve your processes:

Understand the Cycle of Improvement

You cannot expect to improve business processes with a single action. Quality improvement consists of making adjustments and changes that may result in new issues to worry about. When you set out to improve your processes, you should follow a cycle of planning, taking action, evaluating, and taking new actions. You should keep in mind that a single adjustment can have repercussions across your company.

Communicate with Your Staff

When you set out to improve your processes, it is important that your staff is aware of your intentions. At some point, you will want to implement certain measures that your employees and associates may not be in agreement with. If you simply push measures without consulting with staff, your efforts will become complicated.

Learn to Monitor Your Expenses

Let’s say part of your business consists of assigning medical professionals to visit patients who receive home care therapy. If you need to evaluate the costs involved in sending your associates to the field, you can use a solution such as MedPro Systems. Once you figure out real costs, you can adjust your insurance billing and reimbursements accordingly. In this case, MedPro Systems will provide you with real-time access to healthcare provider travel and expense data. Check to see if whatever service you use is able to provide that as well.

Approach Improvement as a Project

Depending on the scope of your company and on your business goals, improving certain processes can turn out to be a very complex task. By treating process improvement as a project, you will be able to determine how much effort and resources will be needed. With project management apps such as Asana, you can assign certain improvement tasks to your staff and associates.

In the end, your dreams of growing your small healthcare practice into a Fortune 500 company will largely depend on your ability to improve certain processes. The compliance aspect is bound to get more challenging, but there will always be opportunities for business expansion.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

Five Unusual Ways Of Staying In Touch with Your Customers

If you would like to market your company in a competitive marketplace, it is important that you choose your communication methods that make you stand out from the crowd. If your advertisement is displayed among dozens of others, it will make little or no impact. When Facebook advertising started, companies that jumped on board were winning customers. Now, however, you need to try harder to stand out. Below you will find a few unusual ways of staying in touch with your customers and marketing to them.

1.    Postcards

To really get your message across and show your appreciation to your customers, it is important that you keep in touch in a unique way. If you can keep a record of all your clients’ birthdays and special occasions, you will be able to surprise them with a unique postcard, reminding them that your company is there for them if they need it. At the same time, you can also use postcard marketing to send out promotions and special discount codes.

2.    Video Messages

If you would rather automate your marketing processes, you can create a video series and fill your autoresponder sequences with informative and educational content your customers will appreciate. Even if you are only sending out a branding message about moving to a new office, or positive changes in your company, you are giving your audience a chance to connect with you on a personal level, and you can strengthen your relationship with clients.

3.    Voice Recordings

A great way of making your marketing and branding messages stand out and get noticed is sending voice recordings to your customers. If you use any instant messaging service, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack, you can send out recorded messages, Personalize your content to each customer’s industry, so they feel that you are talking directly to them,

4.    Faxing

While some people believe that fax services are old fashioned and modern businesses should no longer use them, they can make a huge difference in your marketing and communication campaigns. You can sign up for an online faxing account and create unique letterheads, getting your personalized messages across this way. Because you are not using email, your message will have a much better chance of being read than simply creating regular newsletters.

5.    Text Messages

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Image via PxHere

A great way of getting in touch with local clients is text messages or push messages. Both of the methods will allow you to deliver the short announcement or promotion directly to your customer’s phone. As most of us check our phones multiple times a day, this can be a great way of enticing your clients to visit your shop for a discount or asking for feedback, recommendation, or simply informing them of the changes in your opening hours.

If you would like to make sure that your promotional and branding messages get noticed by your target audience, it is important that you are using unique communication channels. These will enable you to personalize your message and reach out, increase your conversion and open rates.