Collaboration, but not as you know it
by Jacob Heinz, Executive Marketing Director at Verizon Business Markets
Twitter | @jlheinz
Working with people in other offices—whether that’s the other side of the country or the other side of the world—is a reality for most of us now. It might be a distant branch, a home worker, corporate headquarters, or an overseas supplier. The pace of modern business means that we can’t wait to see people face-to-face—that would be massively expensive too—and sometimes email just doesn’t cut it.
94% say video collaboration increases productivity.
But we’ve all suffered bad online meetings, right? People scrabbling around under the table for the right cable, noisy mobile connections, the list goes on and on. Only the other day a friend was telling me how the post-merger integration project she’s been working on has been held up by problems doing something as simple as sharing a large file. She reckoned that close to half of each meeting has been wasted. It’s such a common experience that it’s been parodied many times—like in this great video.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Good technology isn’t a “nice to have”
We all have fantastic communication tools at our fingertips these days. Smartphone messaging and videocalling apps are now incredibly powerful and easy to use. That’s why when we—especially the millennials among us—come across outdated collaboration tools we find it so shocking.
So why are business collaboration tools still such a laughing stock? The answer is that they’re not—at least not all of them. If you’re still suffering from a bad user-experience then it’s time to upgrade. The days of hunting around for dial-in numbers, poor-quality audio or video, and cumbersome reservation systems are gone.
By 2020, the majority of the workforce will be millennials.
It’s not only staff productivity and morale that can be affected by not keeping up. If your technology is out of date then you’re going to struggle to recruit the best new talent. These days candidates aren’t just looking at your latest earnings figures, they want to know about your culture too. And if you haven’t invested in the technology that they expect, then it might be them sending the “thanks, but no thanks” email.
The answer is out there
There’s no need to put up with technology that wastes your time and gets in the way of you achieving great things. There’s no need to leave your desk, the tools available on the desktop are now pretty impressive. And it’s not just the big screen, you can do a lot on your smartphone—including sharing applications.
Services like video conferencing have become much better as connectivity and network management have improved, but some of the biggest improvements have been in the user experience:
- “Call me” services eliminate the need to scrabble around for dial-in numbers.
- Screen sharing and whiteboarding are now easier to setup and more intuitive to use.
- Instant meetings and personal meeting rooms make it a piece of cake to start an impromptu meeting.
- And capabilities are expanding all the time. Products like Microsoft Surface Hub and Google Jamboard mean that conferencing can be almost like being in the room.
So what’s holding you back?
The technology is there, but implementing it well takes skills that many businesses don’t have. And no matter how good the technology, a bad implemention can damage return on investment. That’s where a specialist IT services provider, like a Verizon partner, can add tremendous value. Their experience can help you accelerate deployment, avoid common problems and build better a better user experience.
Taking Command of Push-To-Talk – With the Casio G'zOne Commando
In today’s business environment, “instant” and “at the push of a button” seems to resonate across the ecosystem when it comes to communication. Fortunately, through Push-to-Talk (PTT) technology, businesses can make an instant connection with someone on their call list, and speak about the issue at hand without waiting for a phone to ring.
No matter what line of business you are in, construction, transportation, medical, manufacturing, professional services, etc, a mobile phone with Push-to-Talk offers many features and top line benefits including:
- Instant two-way communication for mobile teams on the go. Communicate with one person or the whole team with the push of a button.
- Group calls with up to 50 participants.
- Online contact management for the entire company.
- Presence (the ability to see who's available for a PTT call).
- One number, one phone for Push-to-Talk and voice calls.
- Manage contacts for the company online: Add, delete and assign contacts, create groups and more.
Now all of these benefits are available on the Android platform via the Casio G'zOne Commando from Verizon Wireless. For those who want a viable method of communication to deploy in their SMB, the Push-to-Talk feature allows you to use your phone like a walkie-talkie to communicate with an individual or group of other Verizon Wireless Push-to-Talk subscribers. No matter if in the office, traveling or on-site at a meeting, users can quickly connect with one or multiple team members at the same time with just a push of a button.
For those who are already Casio Commando owners, a simple process gets you into a PTT device. Customers can activate the PTT feature Verizon Wireless store through: retail, indirect, business, customer service, and telesales channels. Additional information is available here.
Customers can also add the feature through:
- Business: Log into My Business Account or call 800-VZW-4BIZ
- Enterprise: Call 800-VZW-4BIZ
- Consumer: Log into My Verizon, My Verizon Mobile or call 800-922-0204
As a company, Verizon Wireless’ Push-to-Talk capabilities continue to play an important role for our SMB customers in industries where one-touch communication aids in swift decision making in the field. Push-to-Talk functionality is ideal to make reliable connections regardless of challenging terrain or diverse infrastructures.
If you are already using the PTT feature, please share how you have used it in your business.
To Truly Keep Customers, Offer the Best Customer Experience
Guest blog post by author Alan Gregerman who wrote Surrounded by Geniuses, he has been helping companies and organizations unlock the genius that exists in all of their employees.
If you're like most businesses you realize that providing excellent customer service is essential to your success. While you might win customers based on the quality, reliability, and price of your products, services, or solutions, you're likely to keep them by delivering the best customer experience in your marketplace. And you don't have to be a large company to provide world-class service. In fact, as a small or medium-size business you have some distinct advantages in building a more customer-centric business. First, you're closer to the customer and can engage in an ongoing "conversation" to understand their evolving needs and the best ways to meet them. Second, you can tap your entrepreneurial spirit to do new things more quickly and effectively without breaking the bank. But it all begins by acknowledging the importance of customer service and your potential to be innovative and remarkable.
And that's what this Wednesday’s webinar is all about. I will begin the webinar by looking at a couple of companies that have two different and very successful customer service models to give you a sense of how you can create your own winning customer experience. Then I go over service from the customer's perspective and show how you can identify the critical "moments of truth" in your relationship with customers--moments when you have the opportunity to make a powerful and lasting impression. Next, I'll explore six big ideas that could provide a framework for enhancing your customer experience and provide practical guidance on how to bring them to life. These ideas can be adapted to your budget and industry to achieve brilliant results. And last, I'll review the eight keys to building stronger relationships with your customers. And if you have questions at the end I'll tried to offer as much specific help as possible.
So please join me on this free live webinar tomorrow Wednesday April 27th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time for "Customer Service -- Winning in Your Market by Creating the Most Compelling Customer Experience."
PS, if you can’t make the live, free webinar, watch the replay as my webinar will be taped and archived so you can view it later. And follow @VzSmallBiz or fan VerizonSmallBiz to get a copy of my latest book titled "Surrounded by Geniuses" which offers even more ideas for unlocking the brilliance in yourself, your colleagues, and your company.
- Everyone's Tags:
- Customer loyalty
Small Business Unplugged – Earth Hour March 26
Green is the color of spring and it’s also a reminder that energy conservation is an easy way to reduce global greenhouse gases. This Saturday is the 4th annual Earth Hour worldwide. In 2007, Australians began a movement where more than 2 million people and 2,000 businesses turned off their lights for an hour. Earth Hour has since grown to embrace people in 127 countries around the world who are concerned about the environment.
On Saturday small business owners across the country have an opportunity to show their support at 8:30 p.m. local time. Shutting off the lights isn’t complicated and Verizon will be doing it, too. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time, Verizon will darken millions of square feet in more than 500 company locations worldwide to help raise awareness of energy efficiency opportunities. As a result of turning off non-essential lighting, Verizon expects to conserve more than 45,000 kilowatt hours of energy.
Most of us know that using renewable energy is a goal but, in the meantime, reducing energy consumption means both energy and monetary savings, so it’s an easy thing to do. Improve the bottom line for your business and your customers Saturday evening – it’s a great way to get growing!
- Everyone's Tags:
- green costs conservation
Have You Made Changes To Bring In More Business?
After several “hints” from mom, I took my parents out to dinner to one of their favorite Italian restaurants the other night. After all, the restaurant shaves 50 percent off entrees on Mondays. The first thing I noticed was all the buzz in the dining room on that chilly, drizzling Monday night and that they changed the bread.
Instead of the boring – but very good – rolls, the basket came with four different variety of breads… one almost in a shape of a croissant, the other with a little bit of sauce on it… how refreshing I thought. It got me thinking that this is what all businesses should do, but don’t do enough: change things up.
No one likes the same old, same old… yes, ‘same old’ is comforting and good, but make it your blanket – not your business. Dining at a restaurant is an enjoyment, a treat, a time to celebrate or a time to reunite, catch up or get to know someone. To change up the dining experience surprises regulars and may be the very thing that keeps them coming back – to see what’s new. And if the change is less than welcomed, a smart business owner turns that into an opportunity to engage their customers and ask for their feedback.
Changing the décor slightly; changing or adding on to the menu with “specials” – consider and interpret your customers’ historical feedback to help you shake things up a bit -- like the new bread. (Of course, the 50 percent discount helped get us in the door.)
This restaurant’s business has been booming since they implemented the discount years ago and a competing – also Italian restaurant a few doors down (no lie) – also offers 50 percent off its entrees on Mondays. On the way out, I noticed on their board that they had expanded the discount to two days, including Tuesdays now.
Bottom-line, if you are running a restaurant or any type of business consider changing things up. Perhaps change is a new website – to keep your place up to date and to give patrons, clients or customers a sense of newness. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic or huge… something as simple as changing the bread catches people’s attention. It caught mine and I was pleasantly surprised. Now, I’m wondering what they will change next. Who doesn’t like experiencing something new?
Tell us below what you’ve done to keep your business ‘fresh.’
- Everyone's Tags:
- business marketing