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Tag Archives: Business Services

Unreasonable clients: Who gets your best work?

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by Seth Godin -

If you reserve your best effort for the irritable boss, the never-pleased client and the bully of a customer, then you’ve bought into a system that rewards the very people who are driving you nuts. It’s no wonder you have clients like that–they get your best work.

On the other hand, when you make it clear (and then deliver) on the promise that your best work goes to those that are clear, respectful and patient, you become a specialist in having customers just like that.

One of the largest turning points of my career was firing the client who accounted for a third of my company’s work. We were becoming really good at tolerating the stress that came from this engagement, and it became clear to me that we were about to sign up for a lifetime of clients like that.

Set free to work for those that we believed deserved our best work, we replaced the lost business in less than six months.

Years ago, I heard the story of a large retail financial services company that did the math and discovered that fewer than 5% of their customers were accounting for more than 80% of their customer service calls–and less than 1% of their profit. They sent these customers a nice note, let them know that they wouldn’t be able to service them properly going forward, and offered to help them transfer their accounts to a competitor. With the time freed up, they could then have their customer service people double down on the customers that actually mattered to them… grease, but without the squeaky wheel part.

No, you can’t always fire those that are imperious or bullies. But yes, you can figure out how to dig even deeper for those that aren’t. That means you won’t take advantage of their good nature, or settle for giving them merely what they will accept. Instead, you treat the good guys with even more effort and care and grace than you ever would have exerted for the tyrants.

The word will spread.

[The other alternative is a fine one, if you're up for it... specialize in the worst possible clients and bosses, the least gratifying assignments. You'll stand out in an uncrowded field! The mistake is thinking you're doing one and actually doing neither by doing both.]

 

 

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How To Impress Clients With An Up-To-Date Office Workspace

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Image by blupics

First impressions are everything.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
And so on…

These well-known adages reinforce the importance of creating a positive image of yourself (and business) right from the off. In an increasingly competitive market, you must look as professional as possible to secure business deals – remember: there will always be another company ready to take on a deal you can’t clinch. Transforming your office into a stylish, tidy, and polished space can improve important client relationships no end.

Read on to discover what improvements you can make to your office today and identify just how they can benefit your business.

Your Office as a Reflection of your Mind and Capabilities

Ever heard that saying that a tidy office equals a tidy mind? Walking into a well-organised and professional space is without a doubt the best first impression you can have of a potential business contact. Knowing that you’re capable of maintaining order in your surroundings creates a sense of responsibility and can go some way to reassuring a client you are reliable and will get the job done.

What Do Your Design Choices Say About You?

In terms of the décor, it’s said that less is always more. However, having blank walls with no personality can look very bland and corporate, even suggesting you lack imaginative flair. Conversely, extreme decorations or gaudy colour schemes aren’t going to work in your favour or create a relaxing business environment. Creating a balance of professionalism and creativity could just manage to seal the deal – bear that in mind when choosing your new office scheme.

Show Your Client Just What You Can Do

Having a well-kept workspace is all well and good, but often clients will want proof of your achievements before they contemplate doing business with you. Having displays of your work in your office not only demonstrates your capabilities, but also shows that you take a sense of pride in meeting customers’ needs and expectations – it goes without saying that this can only promote your business image.

Taking (Tolerable) Pride in Your Achievements

Showcasing any awards or accolades you have received over the years is also a good way of reinforcing a sense of trust and professionalism. That said, there is a fine line between being proud of your achievements in a positive sense and being slightly too cocky or distastefully arrogant. Being confident is in no way a negative trait but displaying accolades in such a fashion that you seem a tad showy is not going to reassure a prospective client that you will be easy to work with.

Create the Perfect Business Conference Room

Calm and professional discussions should always be the aim of a meeting; therefore it is essential to incorporate a quiet place for negotiations in your office. Trying to talk business in a hectic environment with employees running here, there, and everywhere is hardly the polished impression you wish to create. Similarly, there should be minimal distractions so that the focus of your potential client remains on you and the task in hand.

Not only can the perfect office space improve client relations but it also provides you with a clutter-free area in which to work in a calm environment – ideal when those everyday stresses start to get you down.

Organise your office and improve your chances of success – what are you waiting for?

Have you noticed that an impressive office has helped with client relations? Would you agree that a tidy workplace is so vital? Share your comments and opinions below!

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Jade is an enthusiastic freelance blogger who enjoys writing on topics including travel, languages and the world around her. She writes for Applied Workplace.

 

 

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10 Ways To Make A Creative Workspace

downton_abbey_3_300x225Research suggests that you will spend almost 12 years of your life in the workplace. Nothing could be worse than spending those long yeas chained to a boring desk in dull and bleak environment, without anything to inspire you or to inject a little enthusiasm. This is why more and more businesses are shifting towards a modern business model that creates luxurious creative workspaces, with the aim of generating a more relaxing atmosphere for their employees.

Open up your business

Many people wrongly take the view that creativity is solely for the more artistic industries, yet creativity is simply problem solving and can be applied to any business. However, it’s not just a case of making your business environments look creative, your business must also support a creative concept of being open. Open means accepting ideas no matter how ridiculous or outlandish they may seem, there is no such thing as a bad idea, just one that hasn’t had the opportunity to fully develop. Using an open culture allows you to find out what your employees are thinking and to explore ground that you may never have dared to tread. Open is also about removing barriers at all levels and not just removing tangible partitions, but also about eliminating ego’s and hierarchy to build approachable relationships with all staff regardless of their role.

Build your creative workspace

To get you underway in creating your open culture, here are 5 creative changes you can make to your physical working environment.

Theme your space

Themed workspaces are very popular and can be as simple or extravagant as you like Lenstore.co.uk have opted for a Victorian styleDownton Abbey’ theme, incorporating a Georgian fireplace and seven piece dining table.

Location

With many companies trying to push locations to the extreme, businesses are no longer fixed between four walls but extending to boats, buses and purpose built outdoor spaces.

Somewhere to get comfy

Whether its bean bags, deck chairs or hammocks, having somewhere to get comfortable and relax is very important. These comfort zones can be used to chill out and unwind or as Idea spaces to energize the creative process.

Unusual decor

No creative space would be complete without a random piece of decor. Some offices opt for strangely decorated animals such as ‘spider cow’ that resides at What if? Innovations. Others such choose to play with the concept of perspective, enlarging or shrinking objects, such as the giant Rubik’s cube that has crashed its way through the office ceiling at the BJL agency.

Bold and bright

Last but not least is the appliance of colour, and plenty of it. There is no reason why any workplace should be a cold and bland environment. You can add colour through plants, feature walls with murals, or even to the furniture. Why not have a bright red office chair or a funky green desk to brighten the place up.

Once you have your new bright and trendy office space with an open culture, you’ll find that employee morale and productivity will take care of themselves. Simply by maintaining a fresh and clutter free environment, you can create a workspace which will benefit everyone involved with your business.

Featured images:

Adam Wray is a regular blogger and entrepreneur, when he’s away from his computer he enjoys visiting the galleries of London.

 

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How To Create An Office That Will Make You Money

money-changing-handsWhen considering redesigning your office or buying a new one completely, you may get a little overwhelmed by quite how much it’s all going to cost.

The price of hiring a professional to help you do the best job possible, as well as the materials, labour and admin costs can all add up.

However, there is not enough emphasis put on the importance of a well-designed office – the costs of redesigning or moving offices can actually create profitability in the long run…

Not only will a modern, unique office show clients and staff that you care about the environment in which you work, but it will also show that you are responsive to current trends and understand today’s market.

Having a new and modern office design will also boost staff morale and allow staff to feel as though they are part of a brand.

So, what do you need to consider when designing an office, in order to make it profitable?

Lighting

Lighting is a great way of creating an illusion of space, but can also act as decoration for your office. A bright-coloured, oversized or unique lamp is a great way of adding a quirky edge to your office design and could act as a conversation starter when you invite clients into the office for a meeting.

Window shopping

The general rule is that you should never leave your windows bare, traditionally you should have some sort of blinds or curtains up. However, a new trend of bare windows has come into fashion, creating more of an industrial look. If you are conscious about having bare windows, however, you can opt for quirky blinds or curtain, but keep them light coloured to allow natural light to easily shine through.

Art

No office is complete without a piece of art. Whether it’s a print or an original, no wall should be left bare without a piece of art. Again, art is a great conversation starter and talking point that people will always have an opinion on.

All the small things…

Indulge in the small things like beautiful vintage cups for tea and coffee (perhaps reserve these for meetings, as opposed to everyday use!), cloth napkins for lunchtimes or a quirky fruit bowl. Investing in these things will be worthwhile, because these are the things that people will remember about your company. It’s those finishing touches that might just win you the contract over your competitors.

Metre Squared Interiors specialises in office fit outs and office design in London. They’re experts in creating an office that will suit your business and boost your profit. 

 

 

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3 Suggestions To Help Your Company Fulfill It’s Corporate Potential

7650804342_9715bb425fIf your business is expanding and on the verge of a pivotal turning point, you are undergoing an intense professional shift. It is great to have the opportunity to put forth ideas and efforts to contribute to a larger and more successful company. This means that the business plan that you have is working to your benefit. However, you may want to consider a few areas of focus, so that your team and tools will be able to keep up with growing demands. Here are three suggestions that may help to guide your company to fulfill its corporate potential.

  1. Uproot: The space from which you operate will need to be larger to accommodate more employees and equipment. If you are choosing a new office or workspace, you want to think in terms of corporate relocation. This means outsourcing and obtaining a space that is perfect for your company. This might entail adding new structures or interior remodeling for optimum benefit. Your new space must be able to accommodate your existing needs while providing space to inspire possibilities, as well. If you are moving overseas or adding new branches to an already existing store, check out international moving services to assist in a smoother transition. There are great companies that specialize in international move management, and they can help you with every step in your process.
  2. Upscale: A bigger and faster growing company will require new materials and a more streamlined mode of operation. You may want to look into implementing a new management system to keep all of your files and data congruent. A more sophisticated system of organization will allow for innovation. Modernizing your system of management will also help keep better track of your finances. Monetary organization can make an enormous difference in your revenues. Keeping databases cohesive throughout each region of the business is key when aiming to make corporate additions. You want your new corporate machine to be sleek and polished, with a team of individuals who know what one another are doing. This means keeping one another apprised of new developments. Software is a great tool for this.
  3. Upgrade: In addition to a new space and better systems, you will also want to employ new methods of technology. Taking advantage of contemporary modes of communication and more advanced software is crucial to your corporate expansion. Consider hiring a specialist to help you maximize the technology that you already have and evaluate new possibilities. A new set of eyes and extra training will bring a new perspective to your developing business. Taking extra steps to evaluate the effectiveness of your operating systems will allow you to be more thorough and precise. Employing new technology, while it may be an expense, will allow you to reach a broader clientele demographic.

When Jaime found out his company would have to relocate overseas he got a little concerned. He didn’t have any idea where to even start when it came to moving abroad. After doing a little research, he came across unigrouprelocation.com. These guys were able to help him with everything his company needed.

 

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How Important Is Support On Your Site?

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In the modern era of technology, one of the things that a lot of websites will now offer is a 24-hour support service to all of their customers and potential clients. Although this seems like a good thing to have, there are a number of points that you need to take into account before you decide whether it would be something that would be worth it for you in the long term. Here, we will explore more about if having on call support regardless of the time of the day is right for your business.

What queries will you have to deal with?

The first thing that you need to consider is what kind of queries may be asked. If the usual things are quite general, then you might find that it is sufficient to simply have a page where common questions are answered, and a call line or email support that aims to respond to users within a 24-hour period. There are a number of very successful websites that choose to do this, and it can work well.

What about if there are urgent issues?

If it is likely that your customers would have urgent problems, then you might find that offering 24-hour support is worth it. A live chat feature or a phone line may be sufficient. However, it might be that you can offer a 24-hour call out service where you charge premium rates. This could be ideal if you offer a service that people require all hours of the day.

How many customers do you have?

You also need to consider the number of customers that you have who are active at night. It is likely that you would have to pay somebody a wage if you wanted an all day and all night support contact, and this means it is important that you ensure you are making the right choice. Hiring somebody is going to cost a lot of money so you would need to do some sort of feasibility study. If you are only a small company, you might find that it would not be worth it. However, if you find you are getting a number of email queries during the night that are urgent, and that would be beneficial to hire somebody this will be the right move.

Offer the customer what they want

The most important thing to think about when you have a website that aims to sell services is whether you are giving the customer everything that they need. If you are, this means that not only are they going to be happy with the service that you’re providing, but they would also be much more likely to recommend you to other people in the future. So, if you feel that it would be worth it in the long term, support would be a great idea. However, it very much depends on your company, the size of the customer base, and the nature of the queries that would likely be handled.

Kristian has plenty of experience working with those offering IT support London. He has worked with several developers, and also offers some of these services as well.

 

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‘Jetson’-Age Tools Click with Big-Event Planners Trade Shows Expert Shares 3 Cutting-Edge New Technologies

jane-jetsonMost of us think about technology on a mostly two-dimensional plane as we flick our way from screen to screen on touch glass. But today’s tech includes applications that are far from flat, says major-events expert Ann Windham.

“What if you could control all primary aspects of major events like trade shows, big weddings and awards ceremonies through your iPad or smartphone; imagine shutting everything down at the end of a long and exhausting night by pushing one button on your phone – that’s just some of what’s possible with today’s software,” says Ann Windham, president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc. (imaginexhibits.com/events).

Lights, climate control, projectors and monitors, curtains, fountains and much more can be controlled with an app, and the data that you take away from trade shows can be used to quickly follow up on sales leads, says Windham, who will be showcasing this cutting-edge technology July 9 at Trade Show Technology Summit 2013, to be held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

The summit will show attendees how to manage technology such as QR codes, mobile apps, virtual trade shows, social media, on-line asset management, interactive media and live stream video on electronic devices as simple as a mobile phone, she says.

“We’ll show planners the newest event management tools for efficiency and streamlining tasks before, during and after their event. We’ll also have hands-on, educational workshops to show them how to use management,” she says.

Windham shares three of her favorite new technologies:

• Pre-show – Event Management Software: This one-stop source for managing every detail about your event – from Fed Ex tracking numbers to vendor contact information to photos from the show – even allows you to manage multiple events from any location. “In the past, we carried all the details for each show in one huge binder. If you were at a show in Texas and someone called with a question about the show in Oregon, you wouldn’t have that information handy,” Windham says. Event management software relies on cloud storage, so members of your team can access it from their smart phone or iPad no matter where they are. Another benefit: You’ve got just one place to input all that data.

• During the show – Remote Sensors: Sensors built into the walls of an exhibit allow you to control all of the electronics from your smart phone or iPad. Not only does it save time, it’s an easy way to add valuable theatrics during a demonstration. “Say you’re standing at the back of the room and you realize the speaker can’t be heard, you just turn up the volume on his mic, right from your your iPad,” Windham says. “Or, if you want to create special effects using lighting and room temperature, you can dim the lighting and drop the temperature.” Her favorite feature? At the end of a long day, rather than walking from one device to the next, shutting off each, you press just one button and turn everything off while walking out the door.

• Post-show – Sales Leads Follow-up: Seventy percent of percent of exhibitors who capture sales leads at trade shows don’t collect qualifying information, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).Scanners collect only the most basic data from visitors to each booth – there’s no way of knowing whether they were a “hot” lead ready to buy, or someone who stopped by for the free T-shirt, Windham says. Now, however, event management software allows exhibitors to include qualifying information every time a visitor’s badge is scanned. “At the end of the event, you can quickly see who your hottest leads were and send them an email or postcard before you’ve even left the event,” Windham says.

For planners who’ve been hamstrung by personnel cutbacks in recent years, these new tools are lifesavers, she says.

“The days of ‘The Jetsons’ has arrived.”

About Ann Windham

Ann Windham is the president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc., a full-service trade show marketing company that offers custom design exhibits using modular components. Windham’s company offers customers more than 50 percent savings on operating expenses; expert face-to-face marketing consultants that will work to increase ROI with four-step marketing; quarterly seminars offering continuous education by certified trainers; in-house design services for custom structures, graphic design and brand development; turn-key services and exhibit management program for all logistical needs; and a one-stop shop for meeting planning, promotional products, collateral web-site and more.

 

 

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The Key To Happy Customers

Happy pretty young girl with friends in the backgroundIf you want your business to do better, you really only need to have one thing: happy customers. While customers in general will support your business, happy customers, the ones that are completely satisfied with your service, your products, and the experience you offer, will make sure your business succeeds beyond your wildest expectations. If you’re looking to put a few smiles on some customers, here are some tips you might find useful.

Don’t Bombard Them

Happy customers also mean satisfied customers. They’ve received the information they needed from you, nothing less and nothing more. While more content, more deals, and more emails might sound like a good thing from a business owner’s standpoint, you have to consider the perspective of the consumer. Most likely, you’re not the only business they’ve subscribed to. This means that in addition to your one or two emails per day, they’re also receiving emails, status updates, texts, and seeing advertisements from various other businesses. The last thing you want to do is be the business that goes overboard because they won’t hesitate to unsubscribe from your updates.

After you’ve gained a new follower, like, email subscriber, or blog reader, thank them for their support and then give them some space. You’ve captured their attention, which means they’ll be more aware of the amount of content you send their way. If that content is too few and far between, they can quickly forget about you. On the other hand, too much content can be overwhelming, annoying, and misinterpreted as lower quality. None of these bode well for your business development purposes.

Instead, find the right balance between the amount of content you send out and the time you send it out. Sending out smaller amounts of the right content at optimal times means that you have a higher chance at the success of that email, blog post, status update, or otherwise.

Ask For Feedback

If you’re sensing that your customers aren’t happy or you’d like to find ways to improve their experience with your business, the simplest way to find viable data is to simply ask them. That’s right; your customers partially hold the key to their own happiness. But it’s your responsibility as a business owner to unleash that insight and analyze it.

You can ask for customer feedback a number of ways. The most obvious is through online surveys. But this requires asking the right questions in the right format. The trick is to figure out what you’d like to know the most and then ask it in the simplest way. For instance, if you’d like to find out how your customer service team is doing ask how customers would rate their experience when deal with them. Asking for an answer on a number scale like 1 being the best experience and 10 being the worst experience would make the question even simpler. Also, try asking the question again but in a different way. This gives you more data to base your analysis off of. For a similar question to our previous example, you can ask how likely your customer is to recommend the customer service team. Again, use a numbered scale for easy answering.

You can also request feedback through social media, email newsletters, and posing questions at the end of blog posts on your website. Engage your customers and have them take interest in making the business they patronize better for their own benefit. You might want to offer deals, discounts, coupons, and other prizes for those who fill out the surveys. This will generate more interest, giving your surveys a variety of people to request feedback from.

Offer Occasional Deals

There are only a handful of companies that can get away with not offering any deals to their customers, but those companies have spent decades building up a reputation to do so. Apple, for instance, is know for it’s incredible customer service and top-of-the-line products, so customers are happy even though they almost never get a deal on a new mac computer. However, the rest of us have to find a way to compete and keep our customers coming back.

Offering deals, exclusive memberships, coupons, discounts, or another type of content is a way to reward your customers. Don’t think of offers as giving money away, think of it as an investment in the happy customers you’ll make along the way. You could either start with small offers to get your customers buzzing or go for a great big sale or deal to get them really excited. Afterwards, you will have established long-term relationships with many customers that might even do some word of mouth marketing for you. Offer rewards every now and then to keep customers looking forward to coming back into your store or onto your website.

Turning regular old customers into happy, satisfied customers means your business can do more and more. Instead of worrying over the perfect product, the perfect website, or the perfect Twitter account, worry yourself with how to make your customers smile every time they think about your business. Happy customers like that will keep your business alive for years to come.

Pete Wise is a copywriter working for Luminar Insights, a source of hispanic data. When I’m not writing articles, I’m posting to my LinkedIn page.

 

 

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Are Serviced Offices The Best Solution For Your Small Business?

Serviced-Offices

When you’ve just started out with an idea for a new business you need a quiet space where you can get away from it all and concentrate on establishing your business. For many start-ups, the perfect solution to this quandary is a serviced office. In this post we’re going to have a look at why serviced offices might well be the perfect solution for your small business.

Flexibility

One of the key requirements small or start-up businesses should look for from their office space is flexibility. Small businesses are plagued by uncertainty. As a new entrant in any market you will be entering the unknown: Will customers flock to your products or services? Are there barriers to entry you had not anticipated? Is there room for another player in the market? Whilst you are finding your place in the market it is important not to tie yourself into a long term lease for a business premises. You might expand more quickly than you had anticipated, or need to work from home if your costs grow quickly out of hand. Serviced offices provide short term leases with little or no start up costs, allowing you to hit the ground running or leave at a moment’s notice.

Location

When choosing the location for your commercial premises there are plenty of considerations for business owners. If you plan on meeting clients at your offices then good transport links are a must. On the other hand, you may conduct client meetings offsite, in which case offices in close proximity to your home may be worth a look. What about status? Are you operating in an industry where the right address will carry clout with your clients? If so, you might need to pay a bit more for offices in the heart of the city. Regardless of your specific needs at the time, the beauty of a serviced office is your ability to meet the changing demands of your business, quickly and without additional expense.

Easy to expand

With a start-up you never know quite how quickly business will take off, if at all! Many companies will turn from a one man band to a business with 10 or so employees in the first year, and will grow exponential thereafter. Obviously serviced offices are not the most cost effective solution for your business once your company gets much bigger than 10 employees, but in the early days whilst you are growing serviced offices are perfect, as they allow you to move from a small office to a larger office without having to take all the furniture with you or worry about other business infrastructure. A move can be completed in an hour, simply move your computers across and can carry on working with extra space and increased capacity.

Infrastructure is included

Growing a small business demands the owner’s full attention. The last thing you want is to be spending your valuable time organising office furniture or fielding calls you really haven’t got the time for. The majority of serviced offices will provide you with a receptionist service, so any clients you are due to see will be greeted by the in-house receptionist, helping to build a professional first impression and create the illusion that your business is bigger than it really is. The receptionist will also be able to field your calls for you if this is a service you require, which can help to reduce the time wasted on calls when it could be better spent elsewhere.

Charlie Maine is an employee of D&G Office Interiors. They specialise in high quality, ergonomically designed furniture, creating fresh and attractive spaces.      

 

 

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