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0 comments | Posted by: Terri on October 22, 2012 | Categories:
AnswerConnect’s 24/7 availability depends heavily on a flexible workforce. We fully embrace the concept of remote work; some of our employees work in the office, some work from home and some switch between the two depending on the day. With so much fluidity in the workplace, we depend on many channels of communication, frequently chatting, video conferencing, emailing or calling each other to collaborate. We’ve discovered there are times when a quick chat or email is perfectly adequate and times when it’s best to just pick up the phone. Below are the four most common forms of workplace communication and the best (or worse) times to use them:
When you should use it: Chat is the most casual of office communication and easily the most convenient. However, it’s also the most informal. Be sure you already have an established relationship with the recipient. Chat is best used for a quick question that can be answered in a sentence or two. We’ve previously posted about proper chat etiquette if you need a refresher.
When you shouldn’t use it: If you find yourself writing paragraphs of information, you may be better off sending an email or making a call. And, remember, text is only 7% of communication. If there’s even the slightest potential of a misunderstanding, you shouldn’t be chatting.
When you should use it: Video conferencing has all the highlights of chat with the added benefits of visual cues and the warmth of a face-to-face meeting. It’s perfect for meet-ups between dispersed team members or meeting a co-worker/client for the first time. Putting a face to a name, especially amongst remote workers, can strengthen a sense of community.
When you shouldn’t use it: If you’re conversing with more than five teammates, it may be easier to share everyone on an email or cloud-based document. It becomes difficult to moderate a video chat when too many people become involved, and video/audio quality can start to degrade depending on the software you’re using.
When you should use it: Email is probably the most utilized form of communication, in or out of the office. If an immediate response isn’t required, it’s perfect for relaying general information while keeping a record of the conversation for later review. Email also gives the recipient a chance to reply when it’s most convenient for them, rather than forcing you to catch them when they’re in.
When you shouldn’t use it: Managing Partner at Kwittken + Company Worldwide, Aaron Kwittken, offered this advice in an interview with Fast Company, “Anything you have to think twice about it, anything you think might be sensitive, anything that you think requires your relationship skills requires a phone call instead of an email.”
When you should use it: Sometimes, the personal touch of a phone call is the best option. A phone call offers an option lacking in chat or email: the ability to listen. Always make a call when conveying a complex subject, when emotion is involved or when a two-way conversation is high priority.
When you shouldn’t use it: If you just have a quick question or need to divulge a short piece of information, it’s more convenient to the intended recipient to just send a quick message over chat or email. If the recipient has follow-up questions, they can call you.
No matter which form of communication you choose, remember: it’s all about connecting in a meaningful way. Be clear in what you’re trying to convey and remain open to replies. Being willing to maintain a dialogue is integral to any successful conversation.
Fact: one in five Americans have no idea what they’re talking about when discussing the cloud. Of those, 17% have gone so far as to lie on a first date. Fifty-one percent of over 1,000 adults surveyed by Wakefield Research associate the cloud with weather. Stop lying to your dates! We’re writing this blog to give you a general overview of the cloud and how you use it in everyday life.
Since the days computers were invented, data security was miles away from what we have today. Photos, documents, files – everything was stored in your computer. Data backup, security, accessibility, ease of use, sharing – these concepts were slowly evolving and nobody had a full-proof solution for protecting the data from intrusion, hardware or software failures, theft and other natural or digital threats.
Keeping all the technical talk aside, let’s try to understand what this “cloud” thing really is.
There are no shutterbugs quite as passionate as first-time parents. Every moment of a child’s life, from first breath to first day of school, is documented, curated and shared with the zeal of a new convert. Rather than store these pictures, videos, documents and files in a hard drive subject to viruses or degradation, parents have the option to use the Internet-based cloud as storage.
You may already be using cloud computing without realizing it. If you’ve ever uploaded a photo to Facebook or Flickr, posted a video on YouTube, or archived an email in Google, you’ve used the cloud. These files are accessible from any computer or smartphone with Internet access because they’re actually stored in a computer warehouse, technically called “data centers”. Inside one of these computer warehouses, there are hundreds of computers that are way more powerful than your computer and can store a behemoth of information and files.
Specifically, your files are stored and saved in multiple warehouses across the globe. The owner of every warehouse ensures that your files, documents, photos and videos are kept safe. If one warehouse is burned, all the data is available from another warehouse or data center, so the risk of losing your important files, photos and videos is reduced by a great extent.
So who is managing all these warehouses?
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo – these are some, if not all of the Internet companies that provide services and cloud-based applications, mostly for free. For example, Google lets you store documents in Google Drive, photos in Picasa, videos in YouTube and emails in your Gmail account. Facebook lets you store photos and videos and makes sharing super easy, you can also play games on your web browser, video chat with friends and send virtual gifts to anyone.
To use all these services, you don’t have to download anything on your computer, and you’re not limited to a single computer. You don’t have to buy software or worry about upgrades and routine maintenance. They do all the “geek stuff” on your behalf while you just use the cloud and spend time doing things you really love.
0 comments | Posted by: Jennifer on April 29, 2011 | Categories:
Your business needs a website. “A website today is as essential as the name of your business, your phone number, or the façade of your retail store. Every business — from a restaurant to a biotech research firm to an industrial laundry — needs one.” says Tim Stevens in an article posted on Technology.inc.com.
If you think all small businesses are on the web, think again. An Ad-ology survey found that 46 percent of small businesses did not have a website. What could be keeping half of you from taking the plunge? It is possible some of you don’t know where to start. By following this step-by-step guide, getting your website started will be a piece of cake!
1. Brainstorm: What type of company do you have? What are you trying to accomplish? What do you think of websites for your competitors? What makes your business different? How do you want your clients to perceive your business? Take these details and use them to shape the site you will create!
2. Optimize: Make your content work for you! See the tips listed on entheosweb.com for tips on writing your content. If you will be marketing with key terms, make sure these are embedded in your site. Wordle.net can help you easily display your data visually in a clear, accessible way.
3. Social Marketing: You have to find ways to drive traffic to your site! Social Marketing has become very popular, and according to Forrester Research, spending on Social Media Marketing will increase to $54 million in 2014, which will mark a major increase from the $11 milli0n spent in 2009, via eMarketer. There are many avenues for social marketing: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, For more information on why you should be tweeting, read our post.
If you would like assistance with any of this, talk to an AnswerConnect representative today about our Full Site offer, which helps to create new sites with beautiful designs, improve existing sites, and maximize results! Click here for more information, or call 1-800-525-1315.
0 comments | Posted by: Jennifer on April 12, 2011 | Categories:
Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com are very popular these days, and clones are popping up all over to cash in on the trend that is being called “coupon marketing.” They offer an extremely valuable service for business owners and consumers alike. For consumers, it allows them to purchase premium goods and services they might not otherwise be able to afford. For business owners, the deal can be more complicated, and working with them should be considered carefully. Groupon presents some enticing statistics, but there are a lot of things to consider before getting started with them.
Here are some quick tips on taking advantage of the social coupon craze:
1. The company promoting you takes a percentage of the profits from your deal as their fee. The rest is paid to you in three installments. You need to know this, and plan your deal accordingly. Offer your services with the highest profit margin to make sure you make at least some profit. That way if you get overrun with customers you won’t take a loss on top of it.
2. Any offer is a good offer. 35% off may not be as attractive as 50% to as many bargain hunters, but you’ll be just as attractive to people who need your service or product but need help choosing a vendor.
3. Seriously consider putting a limit to the number of coupons you’ll offer. Many of the “Groupon killed my business” stories floating around are from businesses that weren’t prepared to handle the surge of business it presents. If it’s successful, use your experiences to mount an even more successful second campaign.
4. Come up with a way to ensure repeat business or utilize the new customers effectively. One idea might be collecting email addresses for your mailing list. Make one if you don’t have one. You know these people are bargain hunters and have been interested in what you sell; offer them 10% off coupons periodically, or ‘special offers’ at the usual price. You’re bound to get at least some of them back.
5. Prepare your staff for an initial surge of business followed by a reduced increase over time. Make sure they know that these are people you want to come back, and should be treated with the utmost respect. Consider outsourcing, hiring temporary employees or scheduling more help than usual.
6. Talk to other local business owners who have used coupon marketing. Try to learn from their successes and failures.
Coupon marketing can generate a lot of business very fast, and it can bankrupt you if you’re not prepared. Follow these tips and you will be!
0 comments | Posted by: Scott on March 16, 2011 | Categories:
As an Account Executive in the Sales department of AnswerConnect, I get the opportunity to talk with many business people from all over the country on a daily basis. Talking to such a diverse group of business people from all corners of the world on such a regular basis has shown how much technology shapes our world today.
Most of the prospects I speak with are looking for a professional, affordable solution to handle their business phone calls. The main concerns are typically to make sure every call is handled by a polite, professional person who sounds like an extension of the office they’re answering for. Other concerns generally deal with technology, infrastructure, and scalability. There are, however, other concerns.