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How to Handle Customer Complaints Before They Go Viral

Effective customer relations managementWith social media and the internet making it easier than ever to voice customer complaints, is your company doing what it can to prevent a potential PR disaster? Every day on Facebook and Twitter, people are discussing brands. Sadly, studies show that customers are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one, and in the case of today’s customer relations, this could be potentially fatal.

It takes just one bad experience for a reaction to be triggered. It could be a bad quality product, a rude sales person or even an issue with delivery. With the high level of smartphone usage throughout the world, that unhappy customer could be on Facebook before they have even left the premises. A status takes just seconds to post, and once it is on the web, it is almost impossible to prevent a potential viral nightmare.

The Dangers of Unanswered Customer Complaints

Now imagine that this unhappy customer who has vented their outrage at your company’s poor service gets replies from other people that they follow, each of whom also has something bad to say. That post could get shared on someone’s blog, or it may get shared on other people’s statuses too. They may even have voiced their complaint on your official Facebook page.

There are two ways that this situation could go at this point.

  1. Your company could answer promptly, and deal with the issue directly before it gets any worse.
  2. Your company could ignore the complaint, and wait to see if things eventually settle down.

What if this whole disaster could have been prevented in the first place though? With a good customer complaints system in place, the issue could even have been dealt with before the customer walked away from the sales floor where the issue took place.

How to Get it Right and Reap the Re
wards

What customer complaints management is all about is getting the process right BEFORE things get too big to control. Your customers keep you in business, and without them, you would not be in business at all. Happy customers mean better business, and of course, the opposite is true too.

Having complaints is not always an entirely bad thing either – this is how you improve your operations, staff training, products and overall business. It is how you deal with those complaints that predict whether you are a business who gets it right, or one who misses out on opportunity to improve reputation and build better relations.

Investing in customer complaints management software may seem like an added expense, but at the end of the day, you are investing in the very people who support your business. This can never be anything but valuable.

Christopher Stainow is Chief Executive of Lennox Hill; creators of isoTracker Quality Management System & hosted Document Control Software ensuring the quality of your business processes and documentation to assist in business efficiency.

 

 

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What Every New Business Owner Must Know

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Looking to start your own business? Want to know exactly what it is that you are in store for? You are not alone; no one likes to lie down and accept things that they do not know, or understand.

Thus, coming as close to knowing the future as you can is an important part of being a business owner. After all; the more you know about what to expect, the better the chances are that you will be able to handle anything that is thrown at you with complete and utter ease. Following, you will find some of the best tips a new business owner could ever hope for, tips that will allow you to better prepare for your future as a business owner, because it will be a bright one.

Lesson Number One: How to Deal

It may sound like the most basic tip, but learning how to deal is important. No one will ever willingly work for a hothead. And if you have a tendency to lose your cool under pressure, you will soon find that meetings will seldom go your way, that accidents can and will happen, and that employees, when treated poorly, will quit.

So learn to handle yourself just as well as you hope to handle your business. Research shows that a more level headed boss is the key to success in a business, and tends to rake in more revenue, consumers, and all the other goodies that make a business tick.

Lesson Number Two: Learning How to Work

Just because you are the boss of your business, does not mean you can sit back, kick up your legs and call it a day for the rest of your business’s life span. Because if you do do this, then your business’s life span will not be very long at all.

Hiring assistants can help, but you should never hand your company over until you are good and ready to retire in full. Until then, you are still the boss, and as such, you act as captain of your ship; all the big decisions come down to you. If you find that things that are happening within your company surprise you, then it means you do not have your hands far enough inside your company, and you need to crack down and start getting more serious.

Lesson Number Three: Keeping it All Together

Business is going to be stressful. This is something that you should accept, and come to handle as best as anyone can. No matter what happens, after employees’ safety, your business comes first. Every decision you make from this point onward will possibly affect your company. Even your personal life will have a direct impact on the success or failure of your company as a whole.

Think of it this way; if you saw your boss crawling around taverns all weekend, how would you feel come Monday morning? Your employees look to you for stability. As such, you need to exemplify the ultimate stability. Every time you are in public, you are representing your company.

As a new business owner, your younger days may very well be your most important. The things that you do now, at the start of your company, could come to haunt you one day in the near future if you are not careful. So as the captain of this ship, you need to display all the professionalism, strong will, level headedness and other traits that one would expect from their employer, no matter where you happen to be.

Trevor Graham writes for celebrityspeakers.com.au who have hundreds of industry leading business speakers available.

 

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How YOU Can Attend 2013’s Hottest Trade Shows

0412_tradeshow_630x420Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to see what is happening in your industry. You get the chance to play with new gadgets, make connections and talk about what you have going on. Trade shows are not open to everyone, however. You need to know how to get into the hottest trade shows of 2013 to ensure you are there.

Getting Registered

To attend a trade show you have to be registered to do so. It is critical that you get registered as soon as possible to ensure a spot, a plane ticket if you need one and a hotel room close to where the show is being held. You need to be sure that you will attend before committing because many trade shows, such as SXSW, will not refund the registration fees.

If you remain undecided until the last minute, some shows that still have space will allow you to walk in during the show and get registered. This is not nearly as beneficial as planning far in advance though.

Go for a Speaking Gig

Those that attend the shows solely to speak almost always get out of paying an attendance fee. You will be able to talk and give some promotion to what you have to offer, as well as connect with those that could possibly help you out in the future. If you want to attend a trade show purely to network and get your name out there, speaking may be a great option for you.

Now, trade shows will not just let anyone walk in and speak. You will have to work on your speech well in advance, get it to the show organizers and wait for their verdict. To give yourself the best shot of getting a speaking spot you need to get a client that you can include in your presentation and do not focus solely on your company. This speech must be original, educational and something that people will remember.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

You have to make sure that the stuff the show organizers need is in their hands as soon as possible. Forgetting a piece of paperwork could result in you not being able to attend. When you speak to the event coordinators, take a detailed list of everything they say that you will need. Keep this list with you and bring it to the show. You also want to jot down the names and contact information for everyone you speak too. People make mistakes, but you do not want to get burned by someone else’s mistake.

Choose the Right Event

If you are a foodie, then the American Food Fair is where you want to be. If you love film and music, SXSW is the coveted trade show. To get the best opportunities to network, you have to be at the right show. Throughout the year there are often many different shows for the same industry. For example, there are car trade shows everywhere throughout the year. You need to do your research do determine which one is best for you to attend and not all trade shows are created equal. Once you figure out the right show, do research on places to stay, how to get registered and what you can expect once you are there.

About the Author: Thomas has been writing about trade show topics online for companies like nimloktradeshowdisplays.com for the past 10 years. When not writing or attending shows, he can be found at home with his family or out at the gym practicing his boxing.

 

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Instagram loses users in photo rights backlash

Published: 9:15AM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: ONE News

Instagram loses users in photo rights backlash  (Source: ONE News)Instagram backtracks on some changes

Photo-sharing application Instagram has lost nearly half its daily users in a month after publishing updated terms and conditions which said it would have the right to sell users’ photos without notifying them.

Following an instant backlash among social media users, Instagram quickly backtracked on its earlier statement, saying that sweeping changes was not what it intended.

Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for US$700 million in cash and shares last April, added that it was not their intention “to sell your photos”.

But the damage was already done, with many users’ threatening to quit using application.

And it appears they have stuck to it – new figures reveal Instagram’s active daily users – the highest frequency user group – has dropped to 8.42 million this week, from 16.35 million on December 17, the day the controversial news broke, the New York Post reported.

The statistics were compiled by AppStats, which measures app usage by tracking users who are logged into Instagram via Facebook.

AppStats CEO Sebastian Sujka told The New York Post: “The main loss will be most likely due to the terms of service changes, given how much attention and controversy the terms of service change has brought, and seeing how clearly the Instagram app dropped after the terms of service change.”

Facebook has described the findings as “inaccurate”.

“We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram,” Facebook said in a statement.

It appears that some changes to the application will still take place on January 16.

 

 

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How To Use Facebook To Draw Excitement For Your Upcoming Trade Show

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Trade shows are an exciting time when industry leading companies and experts come together under one roof to promote their offerings. Yet, they can be challenging to market to prospects who may be interested in the information as many trade shows are advertised in limited groups. Trade shows can be expensive and time consuming to market because they are oftentimes huge events involving large groups of vendors all competing for business.

However, social media tools such as Facebook have become a cost effective and useful method to invite others who are not directly related to trade show publications. This makes Facebook a great way to draw attention to upcoming trade shows, months in advance, across multiple online networks. Here’s how to start using Facebook for trade show marketing.

Create a branded, group Facebook page for the trade show network.

Your very first step as a social media marketer is to develop an actual group page on Facebook that displays the trade show information in all its blazing glory. You’ll want to develop a nice header image and a logo that tells others in an instance what your trade show is about and how it can benefit attendees. The idea is to stand out from other trade show producers by developing an online brand that captures the essence of your industry and your expertise as a trade show manager.

Integrate the Facebook page with other advertising methods.

Once you have your Facebook group page established, you can then start sharing it with all of your networks. A good way to do this is to add a Facebook button to all your other marketing materials, like your website, your print promotional items, and even letters you send out to potential vendors. If you run radio or television ads, make sure to mention you are on Facebook and to follow you for exclusive updates.

Schedule vendor events prior to the trade show date.

Facebook is an ideal platform for creating trade show events and inviting others to learn more. Take the time to plan events months in advance with a monthly vendor webinar to explain the benefits and opportunities at the trade show. Offer special deals that are exclusive for participants, such as reduced table fees and marketing premiums. Create a buzz around upcoming trade show events and ask your social followers to share with those who may be interested in being part of your network.

Use the Facebook page to share trade show information and images.

In addition to the other methods you use to advertise your trade show events, your Facebook page is the ideal place to share lots of exclusive information, imagery, and offers to your followers. Post at least daily about your trade shows, how successful they are, what vendors are attending, and your focus on building quality events for businesses to launch their offerings. Get in front of your market through strategic posts by region and industry.

Any trade show can benefit from exposure on Facebook as well as other forms of social media promotions. Take the time to develop a brand across all your marketing methods, but be sure that you share your Facebook account to draw the right people to your events.

About the Author: Thomas has been writing about trade show topics for companies like Nimlok Online for more than a decade. When not writing, you can find Paul at home with his family or training at the gym for his next triathlon.

 

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It’s Raining in My Cubicle

iStock_000011187812XSmall-300x198It was a beautiful sunny day when I walked into work, but by noon I was drenched to the skin. Which was bad enough, but my desk drawer was a doll swimming pool and as for the computer, I was sure it was ruined. The entire office staff ended up outside in the sun wringing water out of our hair and suits. You’d think such a thing could only happen if a tornado came through, taking the roof off the building or shattering all the windows. Certainly none of us could have predicted such a heavy downpour on a day without so much as a wisp of cloud. It happened, though.

Take a Step Back

I should start at the beginning, I suppose. It wasn’t really an ordinary day anyway. It was bring your child to work day, intended to interest kids in what their parents do for a living and give them career ideas. The noise level was much higher than usual when I came in, all the kids were chattering and being shown around the office. I went straight to my desk, not having a child of my own to bring in yet. Things settled down slowly as parents took their offspring back to desks and started explaining what they actually did all day. There were scattered complaints of boredom.  The questions of how grown ups could stand to do this every day that triggered stifled snickers from the nonparents in the office. Looking back we should have been paying more attention to the bored kids.

How Does That Work?

Actually it was only one bored kid that caused the trouble. Eleven-year-old Tom, who was with his dad in the cubicle next to mine, was to the point of kicking his feet on the cubicle wall and asking about the fire extinguishers and the sprinklers in the ceiling. I took advantage of his trip to the bathroom to make a call without the background complaints. My phone call was interrupted by the shriek of the fire alarm. Startled I looked up to see Tom balancing carefully on the corner of an empty cubicle by the door. He was holding a wad of flaming toilet paper and towels from the bathroom right underneath an emergency sprinkler. I wasn’t the only one to notice him right about then. I heard Tom’s dad shout his name with all the force an angry parent can summon. Tom dropped the still flaming blob of burning tissue and lost his balance.

Not Part of Manufacturer Specifications

In his panic Tom grabbed for the nearest thing available to try and keep his balance. Unfortunately that happened to be the sprinkler hanging from the ceiling. Tom’ s feet slid off the cubicle walls and he dangled for a few seconds before he came down. The sprinkler was still clutched in his hands. Water gushed from where the sprinkler had been. Apparently the system took that to mean that there was a true emergency and all the sprinklers in the building came on. Everyone grabbed for jackets or files to as a shield against the deluge, hitting the off switch on anything electrical before dashing for the exits. I helped Tom’s dad carry him outside with the rest of the evacuation. His fall had snapped his ankle.

Roll Cameras

I don’t know how the local news station heard about it but there was a shot that night of everyone out on the lawn looking like drowned kittens. The headline was Water Damage, Cincinnati Office Eye of the Storm. Both the company president and Tom’s father refused interviews. It took several weeks to get the office dried out and back to normal. The next year the boss neglected to announce bring your child to work day. He banned Tom from the building for life, though. By Heidi Grover

Bio

Heidi Grover often writes about mishaps at work. She always gets nervous on bring your child to work day. She has sent recommendations to engineers about designing emergency sprinklers that will hold a person’s weight. She also writes on behalf of clients like Water Damage, Cincinnati.

 

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All You Want to Know about Trademark

Trademark serves the purpose of indicating that products and services offered by an individual or a business organization are unique and different from those offered by other entities. A trademark is often accompanied by symbols such as TM, SM and a circled R. While TM indicates that the trademark is an unregistered one used for promoting the goods, SM promotes services. Circled R indicates that the trademark is registered. Coming to the form of trademark, it can be anything such as a name, logo, design, symbol, image or any combination of these. Some other trademarks are different from these and are based on abstract qualities such as color, sound and smell.

Most of the countries require a formal registration for the usage of trademark and the owners of these registered trademarks can initiate the legal proceedings against the person who made unauthorized usage of it. However some countries like USA and Canada do provide protection to those trademarks that are widely in use but not registered. Though most of the times mark, logo and brand are used as synonyms to trademark, there are many other things that can be used as trademarks. For example, the shape of a good, or its package, sound, smell, color or anything that can distinguish a product or service from that of others can be used as trademark. The trademarks also have some specialized types such as certification marks, defensive trademarks and collective trademarks.

Unclear on the Concept

Origin

The origin of the trademark can be found in the Roman Empire where blacksmiths used trademarks to distinguish the swords made by them from others. Another important trademark that can be quoted here is Lowenbrau’s lion mark which is use since 1383. The above two are the examples for unregistered trademarks. The other type known as the registered trademarks are those registered with the government of a respective country. In UK, the first registered trademark was used by Bass Brewery. Their trademark included a red triangle with the words “Bass” written under it. This was the first registered trademark registered under Trade Mark Registration Act, 1875. In US, a rope making company by name Samson had the first trademark in 1884 which is in use by that company even today.

Proprietary Rights

Trademark can be considered as a property as per the law and one can acquire proprietary rights to it either by using it in the market place or by registering it with the trademarks office. However, the trademarks in use are not protected under all jurisdictions and also the owners of them cannot make proceedings against those involved in trademark infringement. Often in these kinds of disputes, the verdict will be in the favor of those who filed the complaint first instead of those who started using it first. However in some countries like Germany, protection is available to the unregistered trademarks to certain extent only when the products and services are quite known in the market or occupies a significant market share of more than 40 percent.

Registration

Registering a required trademark involves various steps the first of which is applying for it. The application is then placed for scrutiny by the examination attorney only in the order in which the applications are received. The application is then checked for the fulfillment of requirements and also the required trademark is checked if it similar to the already existing trademarks in any manner. Then the application will be published welcoming any opposition from the third parties affected by it. The Trademark Trail and Appeal Board will decide if the case filed by the opposition is valid or not. In case no such opposition arises within the time period allowed for it, the applicant will get the required trademark registered.

Even before forwarding the application, the individual or the organization can search if the required trademark is already registered by anyone from the database of registered trademarks maintained by the concerned authority which is USPTO in case of the US. Often it is advised to go to take the assistance of licensed attorney while searching for the trademarks that are already registered. In many jurisdictions, the proprietary rights associated with the trademark expire if it is not used for a long period of five years.

Featured images:

John Smith is a business writer and businessman who helps to set up businesses in Thailand, and an expert in Thailand trademark law.

 

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