Benchmarking Customer Expectations – What’s the Right Yardstick?

measuring customer expectationsSo you benchmark your company against others in your industry. Maybe you look at maximizing revenue per full-time employee, increasing first call resolution in your contact center or IT expense as a percent of revenue. How do you compare to your competitors? Is that the right comparison?

Your customers, whether they are consumers or businesses, rarely measure you against others in your industry. Think about it. When you pay your doctor bill, do you compare that process against other doctors, or do you think about being able to pay your credit card bill online? Health care organizations get compared by consumers to their auto insurance company, their bank and their cell phone companies.…

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Email Marketing Tips For A Valentine’s Day Sales Boost

valentine's day email marketing tipsValentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and whether you personally view it as the most romantic day of the year, filled with love and hope, or an annual ordeal splashed with tacky red and pink décor, there’s no question it can have a positive effect on many small businesses.

One of the best ways to take advantage of this potential bump in profitability is through email marketing. Email is a very effective way to bring highly-tailored messages to specific audiences. And since many people are prone to read into the gifts they receive from a significant or semi-significant other, it gives you an opportunity to use Cupid’s arrows to target your customers and prospects in order to move them to action.…

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Four Secrets to Productivity When You’re Away from the Office

productivity tips for working away from the officeMaybe you’re working the tradeshow at the industry’s big annual convention for the next four days. Perhaps it’s a long-planned romantic vacation to an exotic resort in the Caribbean. Or maybe you’re just calling it a night and are heading home for the evening. No matter what your situation, there’s likely to be a time when you aren’t at the office, but you need to access something that’s on your office computer.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options for working and being productive even when you aren’t in the office-and none of them involves packing up your office computer and lugging it with you everywhere you go!  …

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Take A Look In The Mirror

A client recently asked me to help her analyze the overall state of her company. Her decision to conduct this productivity audit was prompted by an unexpected personal opportunity that would take her out of the country for the better part of a year. For continuity and efficiency reasons, and to make sure her managers had their marching orders throughout her absence, my client wanted to make sure she was “doing things” as well as possible.

conducting a business productivity audit

As it turns out, she wasn’t. She was doing great, no doubt; but she wasn’t operating as efficiently and productively as possible. The subject business, a relatively straightforward, mom-and-pop, retail operation, had just shy of two million dollars of annual sales.…

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11 Tips For 2010: Taking Control Over Time

tips for controlling your time in 2010Happy New Year!   Wouldn’t it be great if this year you could buy extra hours on Ebay or Overstock.com?   It would also be great to win the lottery but that’s not going to happen (at least not today).   While I can’t give you more hours in the day, I can give you some tips for saving time.

  1. Don’t rely on your memory. No matter how small the task, put it on a to-do list. Without a list, you run the risk of letting smaller tasks fall through the cracks.
  2. Throughout the day, evaluate your priorities. Face it…you can’t do everything.
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Integrating Traditional and New Media Marketing

fresh marketing ideasA simple social experiment, IGotAnEnvelope.com, demonstrates that not all social-networking needs to begin on-line and how to successfully integrate traditional marketing with new media.

“Igotanenvelope is a continuous art project where people leave empty self-addressed stamped envelopes in public places to be picked up and filled by others, who then send them back.”

Once an envelope is returned the contents are displayed at IGotAnEnvelope.com. So what’s the point? …

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Taking Time Out for Leadership

making time for leadershipSmall businesses are never too small or large, to execute the most vital part of business, face -to- face communication.   Having discussed aspects of communication here before, this aspect of communication involves having company meetings, not department meetings, to hear the company news from the owner/operator.

Company news delivered during robust economic times means the company is busy and bustling making money. The owner/operator of a small business is more than willing to speak and conduct in-house company meetings. However, during weak economic times, the company is a little slower and the worrisome aspect(s) begin to form around the business. The majority of owner/operators tend not to take on the in-house meetings, and/or cancel them in an attempt to encourage others to just do the job.…

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Don’t Make a Federal Case Out of It

business disputes and lawsuitsEven as we’re starting to see the early stages of an economic recovery, businesses and individuals continue to trudge through the ugly legal fallout of deals-gone-bad.   Countless lawsuits have resulted from soured joint ventures, alleged breaches of contract, and plain old disputes over who owed what to whom.   These lawsuits can be costly, time-consuming, and counterproductive.   Worst of all, they can distract you from what’s truly important: tending to your business’s current needs and helping it survive-and thrive-for the future.

As reported in the New York Times on December 28, 2009, recession-related lawsuits, even apart from home foreclosures, are on the rise.  …

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Expanding On The Grapevine Method

communication with consumersThe small business world is collectively holding their breathe in anticipation for what could possibly happen with the health care reform bill.   Till that time comes to pass, it is all about communications.

All business sizes rely on the classic concept of communication. The aim of communicating that a business exists involves television, social media networking, Internet advertising, business websites, and a slew of other methods.   However, the old ways are still the best ways for small businesses.

The power of communicating, via electronic methods, are well-documented to hold new keys to success.   Businesses that have something to offer to the public have taken to the net and expanded mega empires.  …

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Avoiding A Pain In The Neck At The Office

avoiding a pain in the neckSitting in front of a computer all day can be a pain in the neck…literally. There are a few simple changes you can make to your office to give your back, neck, eyes and even wrists a break.

“¢ Use a desk or a computer workstation that is ergonomically correct. Look for a non-reflective work surface (if you have a glass desktop, add a desk pad to cut down on glare) and a pullout keyboard tray. An articulating keyboard tray makes it easy to adjust your keyboard to the height that’s right for you.

“¢ Use an ergonomically correct office chair that supports your back while absorbing and distributing your weight.…

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