survey

9 Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions That Will Reveal A Lot

Exploring employees’ satisfaction can be a daunting task— especially today, when work happiness is related to various factors. Different employees have different needs when it comes to the work environment. Therefore, the survey needs to consider the following: is the job meaningful or challenging enough, is the employee valued as a team member, and is there a balance between professional and personal growth?

When planning a satisfaction survey, consider some of the points below:

  • The goal of the survey – your questions should always support the purpose of the inquiry. Wherever you plan to do a quarterly check-up of the employees’ mood or annual performance review, tailor the query to the goal.
  • Indicators to watch – depending on the goal(s), indicators may vary far and wide. Use ones that translate to data more easily, like a self-assessment scale.
  • Guaranteed anonymity – Many people are uncomfortable with speaking directly, especially if the subject is sensitive. Make sure that answers are recorded confidentially.
  • Appropriate tools – In every job, you need the right tools to do it properly, and surveys are no exception. Use the best possible tools to obtain and keep the data. This is especially important if your company has a lot of employees.

Also, the question should be:

  • Short – long questions tend to confuse participants, and they can lose focus on the subject.
  • Non-implying – you do not need them to nod their heads. It would be best if you had their honest answers. Make sure that questions allow that.
  • Specific – resist the temptation to add several topics in one question. Each one should deal with one subject, allowing participants to stay focused.

What are the questions that will reveal a lot about the current state of your employees? Here are the ones that will offer the most inquiry.

  1. How would you rate your happiness at work on a scale of 1 to 10?

Research shows that happy workers are 13% more productive than the ones not satisfied with their workplace. Leave a possibility for them to elaborate on their choice so that you can get a better understanding of their current state of (un)happiness. If your employees rate their happiness low, use that info to initiate necessary changes.

  1. Would you consider your job meaningful?

Around 32% of people are staying with the company because of a meaningful job. If they perceive their job as meaningless, you will likely lose them even with increased salaries and benefits. Think about using employee engagement software to make it easier to analyze this aspect of work.

  1. How challenged are you at work daily, on a scale of 1 to 10?

Boredom is one of the prime motivation killers. If employees often get assignments that are below their capacity, they will start looking for opportunities elsewhere. Again, offer them the possibility to elaborate answers. For some, this may be a temporary situation if they are between the projects or the team is (re)organizing.

  1. How would you rate your work-life balance?

Rest and recovery are essential for the happiness and mental stability of the employees. Occasionally they may be asked to take overtime and help their team finish the job. Otherwise, there should be a clear distinction between work and rest time.

  1. Is there a space for personal growth?

Challenge is essential because it pushes people out of their comfort zone and enables growth. By acquiring new skills, your employees increase the chance for promotion and increase in salary. Professional development positively influences employee retention, so make sure your employees can learn and improve in the work setting.

  1. Is your team supportive and inspiring?

Cohesion is an important aspect of teamwork. If there is a lack of support from team members towards each other, the group will function below their capacity, and individuals will struggle with their tasks. If the team is lacking inspiration, collaboration, and creativity will also plummet.

  1. Would you recommend our company to your friends to work?

It is not just popular brands that thrive on word-of-mouth. The same goes for businesses, especially if the brand ambassadors are their employees. If they are not sure about recommending the company to others, it may be a sign they are rethinking their future with you. Try to get to the bottom of this to understand their motivation and needs better.

  1. Do you feel at home in our organizational culture?

Every company has its way of life, consisting of relations between employees and the work environment. Employees are expected to fit into it and find their comfort. A negative attitude towards it seriously affects productivity and satisfaction with work.

  1. Hypothetically, if you would quit today, what would be the main reason?

People usually quit because of job dissatisfaction or inadequate salary and benefits. But sometimes, it can be about working hours (the employee may need flexibility because of family issues) or coworkers (a conflict that has been brewing for some time). Make sure to find that one thing that may drive them away.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, so feel free to tailor your plan to help you fulfill your survey’s goal. Just be ready to act on the data you get and introduce change when necessary.

5 Ways Candidate Feedback can Improve Your Recruitment Process

Nowadays, you can’t have an efficient and productive recruitment strategy that doesn’t include gathering feedback from your employees as well as your candidates. Why? Because we live in a modern day and age when people actually want to interact with their favorite brands, and no longer will they want to work for companies that don’t respect them, or have an amazing company culture. But having a positive workplace culture is not the only quality candidates are looking for nowadays, which is exactly why you need to gather relevant insights, listen to what they have to say, and use that information to optimize your recruitment process. 

Do this right, and you’ll be able to leverage that information to take your company forward as a whole. Your HR experts have a unique opportunity here to ensure all employees are treated equally and fairly while at the same time optimizing internal processes to maximize productivity, team cohesion, and long-term success. With all of that in mind, here are the five ways candidate feedback can help you achieve your goals. 

Discover what motivates the best of the best

The top candidate of today is a tricky beast to catch, and if you’re not careful, they will slip out of your hands just when you think the deal is done, and they will take a job at your competitor’s brand if the offer is more appealing. What makes their offer more appealing than yours, you ask? Nobody knows, at least we can’t be certain without the right information in our hands, and that’s why you need to gather candidate feedback and research the market thoroughly in order to find out what actually motivates the best of the best in your field. 

If you think they left for a better paycheck, you might be right, but it’s more likely that the top candidates choose some brands over others because of the additional perks they offer. Perks like more vacation days, flexible work hours, or a better, more wholesome company culture. Keep in mind that they might have uncovered something about your brand from your past employees that doesn’t sit well with them, but you won’t know that until you get in touch and ask them.

Strengthen your value proposition and brand

You can learn a lot about your brand, its strengths, weaknesses, or the unique opportunities you have and the threats you’re facing, by simply talking to the modern job-seeker. Now, it’s important to get the whole picture by gathering feedback from multiple sources, and these include your employees, potential employees, candidates who have applied for a position at your company, and the digital world as a whole. Be sure to monitor your brand’s reputation in the online realm at all times to see in what context people are mentioning your brand.

As far as your candidates go, they definitely have an opinion of your brand, one that they have formed on first contact. Their opinions can prove invaluable in shaping your employer brand and helping you build a better value proposition in time for the next cycle of talent acquisition. If you gather enough feedback from all these sources, you can create a more detailed analysis of your recruitment process and even your entire brand.

Obtaining continuous feedback with VoIP

Nowadays, it’s no longer enough to simply gather some feedback, craft a report, and think that you’re done for the year. Keep in mind that recruitment trends change continuously, and that the things candidates say today might completely change in the following weeks or months. This is why you need to continually gather relevant feedback by using a comprehensive communication system, something cloud-based like VoIP.

Given the fact that voice over internet protocol is a modern phone system with plenty of perks and handy tools, you need to find a VoIP provider that offers call analytics so that you can gather information quickly, but also conferencing tools, surveys, mobile communication, and more. These features will allow you to stay in touch with employees, candidates, and all other important actors on the job market so that you can keep collecting feedback to improve all of your processes throughout the year.

Make your onboarding process more efficient and effective

Onboarding new employees can be a grueling task even when you’re all working under the same roof, but now that you’re most likely hiring remote workers, the task can seem insurmountable. Luckily, you can make onboarding a breeze by adopting smart techniques, one of which is gathering feedback from your current and past employees, as well as candidates to figure out which parts of your onboarding process work well, and which should be improved. 

What you will invariably discover is that there are definitely some areas where your HR managers can make the lives of your candidates and new employees easier. The only way to discover them, however, is by listening to what they have to say.

Learn how to cultivate a winning company culture

Finally, keep in mind that no modern employee will want to work for a company that doesn’t nurture a winning workplace culture. Even if everyone is working remotely, you still need to create and preserve a positive company culture in order to welcome the new employees into your brand. To do this, gathering feedback will prove instrumental, so be sure to ask candidates what they consider to the ideal company culture, and then compare the answers to the feedback your existing employees gave. Collate your findings to craft a culture that works for all.

Wrapping up

Good business decisions are made on relevant, timely, and verifiable data. Instead of following your gut feeling, be sure to start gathering candidate and employee feedback to take your business forward and elevate your recruitment and onboarding processes.

5 Ways HR Teams Can Take Advantage of VoIP to Take the Company Forward

In many ways, the HR department influences the growth and long-term success of a modern brand. Whether it’s through building a thriving employee collective and workplace culture, or helping the company attract top talent in the field, or any number of mission-critical processes, there is no denying that investing in HR should be your top priority. Specifically, your priority should be to focus on digital transformation within HR and invest in tech solutions that will maximize productivity, efficiency, and HR success in general.

Why is digital transformation so important, you ask? Simply put, technology is the way of the future even without a global pandemic forcing you to adopt a remote work business model. However, during the COVID-19 crisis and especially in the new normal, relying on cloud-based tech like VoIP will prove paramount to long-term survival and growth. That’s why today we are taking a closer look at VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and how this cloud-based phone system can revolutionize your HR department – and consequently, your business. 

Facilitating seamless collaboration

If there is a challenge that all business leaders are facing right now, it’s how they’re going to maintain the same level of collaboration and productivity through remote work. Now, to facilitate remote work and prevent setbacks, you need two things: good communication and a collaboration tool. Luckily, VoIP provides you with both, plus a few fancy features that will allow your teams to communicate and collaborate however they want, whenever they want. That said, one of the features that HR professionals should be most excited about is the built-in analytics and reporting tools that allow them to gather valuable insights.

Everyone knows that good HR decisions are made on relevant data, and VoIP allows you to use call analytics to gather as much information as possible before turning it into an actionable report. On the other hand, the built-in collaboration tools can replace any PM software you might be using, which is a great way to save money while preserving productivity.

Cultivating a thriving workplace culture

If you think that ensuring collaboration between remote teams is a challenge, try preserving a positive culture when your employees are working from home. Now that your team members aren’t at the office to socialize and communicate face-to-face, they might start drifting apart, and your HR managers might find it difficult to preserve the usual level of employee happiness and satisfaction. To do that, they need to communicate with remote employees regularly, both one-on-one and via team video chats.

It is imperative that your HR staff is able to nurture a thriving culture in the digital workplace, and make your employees feel valued while being treated equally and fairly. VoIP allows your HR staff to communicate with all remote employees via different channels, whether it be phone, video, texting, or email, to easily check in on them and address their needs. 

Managing remote teams on the go

Speaking of communicating with employees easily, it’s important to note that just because people are working remotely now, that doesn’t mean that they are stationary. You can’t expect your employees to work from home all the time, otherwise they might start seeing prancing unicorns on the walls from spending too much time indoors. Instead, chances are that they are working from coffee shops, somewhere in the countryside, the local park, or even while doing chores around town.

Whatever it may be, you need to ensure seamless communication on the go for all employees, allowing your HR staff to stay in touch with them via mobile. That’s something that the leading VoIP provider Nextiva offers as a standard feature in its business VoIP plans, as they realize that having a dedicated app along with various mobile features is essential for managing remote teams. When researching VoIP plans, make sure that you and your HR department get full mobile functionality.

Organizing digital team building events

Another cumbersome challenge, one that can directly impact the team’s culture, is how to organize team building events now that everyone supposed to uphold the social distancing rules. Given the fact that VoIP offers numerous ways to communicate, this challenge suddenly becomes a little less daunting, though. Your HR staff can use its scheduling tool to pick dates and times that fit into everyone’s schedule, and then choose the team building games and activities everyone can enjoy via video. Easy as that.

Making the onboarding process more efficient

Lastly, your HR staff is almost definitely struggling to optimize its onboarding processes for a remote workforce, but VoIP allows them to overcome the challenge. Onboarding remote employees can be a difficult task, however, if your HR professionals use VoIP to establish clear lines of communication and welcome the newcomers into the team, they should have no problem ensuring productivity from day one. What’s more, onboarding is a continuous process, and VoIP allows HR to stay in touch with the new team members on a regular basis to address their every need and help them settle in quickly. 

Wrapping up

Voice over internet protocol is one of those tech investments that help companies reach new heights, but when it comes to HR, VoIP can prove invaluable for long-term growth and success. Now that you know this piece of tech can help your HR department, be sure to use it to take your business forward in the new normal.

Best Practices for Outsourcing Data Services

A lot of businesses today use cloud-computing in one way or another. Cloud-based services became widely popular over the years and companies of all sizes make use of them. Allowing a third-party vendor or a service provider to handle your business needs turned out to be cost-effective, beneficial for business scaling and, of course, convenient.

One of the most popular cloud-based services is data services, commonly known as DaaS (Data as a Service). But what does that mean? Simply put, data services are also web services designed to handle programming and logic for data virtualization in a cloud infrastructure. 

In other words, data can be delivered anywhere from a centralized spot or various locations, thus allowing companies to leverage data to its fullest potential in any situation. However, outsourcing these activities is the tricky part. Finding a reliable outsourcing partner is the first priority and sorting out any concerns is vital. With that in mind, here are a few best practices for outsourcing data services. 

Determine your needs

For some time now, many companies believed that only large enterprises could afford to outsource data services and other business operations. However, over the years, outsourcing became much more accessible and affordable. 

Therefore, the question isn’t about whether you can or can’t outsource but about why you should outsource. That said, you must determine your needs and the reasons for outsourcing before you actually commit to it. 

When outsourcing data services, take into consideration the fact that data is stored in the cloud and made available to anyone within the company on-demand. 

Data can be provided to users as information that goes through various tools, applications and analytics. Therefore, if your business need is to scale properly and grow, your main reason to outsource data services would be more informed and data-driven decisions this type of service can provide.  

Choosing the right outsourcing partner

There are many cloud-based data service providers nowadays. You have to find an outsourcing partner that will meet your business needs. That doesn’t have to be difficult if you commit time and effort to conduct some research, beforehand. For example, here are a few things you should focus on when choosing an outsourcing partner:

  • Look for a partner with experience and expertise to match your needs.
  • Check for any online reviews regarding their services.
  • Check if they use the latest technologies and solutions.
  • Make sure they follow the best practices.
  • Ensure that they’re transparent.
  • Check how they communicate with clients.
  • Determine how they secure data and if they’re compliant with regulatory requirements.

Consider the benefits and advantages

Not all providers are the same, even if it seems that they all offer similar services. Looking for unique advantages and benefits is vital when choosing an outsourcing partner. Everyone has a unique sell and it’s up to you to determine which of those unique offers will provide your business with the right advantage. 

For example, an enterprise cloud computing solution allows you to migrate vital business applications to the cloud while allowing you to leverage improved cloud architecture with enhanced security protection. 

This type of service provides more benefits than simple data services. Moreover, considering other advantages that will benefit your business in some way is also important. Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for: 

  • Support for remote work – Delivering information via data services means data access on any device regardless of the geographical location.
  • Data backups – Ensuring there’s no data loss in case of a server failure, disaster or other issues.
  • Ability to boost organizational transformation – Supports companies in the process of digital transformation.

Addressing concerns

Your outsourcing partner should be able to address any concerns you might have regarding outsourcing data services. Every company is concerned about something, especially when it comes to allowing a third-party to access, store and manage your data. 

Therefore, talk to a potential outsourcing partner about those concerns before you decide to partner up with them. How they approach those issues should tell you a lot about their capabilities. Here are a few common concerns companies have when outsourcing data services:

  • The security of data and usability of services
  • Hardware resources and server environment
  • Control of data and data retention in case of a disaster
  • Server downtimes
  • Reusability of data for future development
  • Hidden costs and additional fees

Every cloud-based service provider should have policies and practices that will address such concerns. After all, outsourcing relationships should be based on trust. If your potential outsourcing partner cannot ensure that they can meet your expectations, you should look elsewhere. 

 

Choosing an outsourcing partner isn’t difficult but it’s a time-consuming task. If you don’t conduct the necessary research, you may make a mistake. Therefore, an outsourcing partner for data services isn’t just a service provider but, indeed, a partner that will help your business grow, develop further and make the best possible use of data.

Interested in working in the IT industry? Tips to get you started

With so many people transitioning into the IT industry, it’s only logical that you’re thinking about following in their footsteps. There are many reasons why you should consider this idea. To begin with, there is an increasing demand for professionals in this field (and the trend is very likely to continue), the salary is decent (to say the least), it won’t take you long to acquire the skills required for working in the IT industry and you will have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world for employers who could be thousands of miles away. So, if you’re stuck in the rut or simply want to make a change, take a look at the following tips designed to help you start a career in the IT industry.

Apply your knowledge

Regardless of what kind of job-related experience you may have, there are some skills and knowledge you can apply when it comes to working in the IT sector. For example, you’ve already developed certain soft skills at your previous job and those might be extremely useful as you try to make a transition. Especially if you start in a help desk position (which is one of the most common entry-level IT roles). You’ll have to communicate and deal with customers and their enquiries. Also, if you’ve already used Microsoft Office or similar software packages, you’ll see that it will come in handy as you learn the ropes. Just make sure you point such things out in your CV.

Get certified

If you’ve already spent years studying and now you realise your job opportunities are limited, you shouldn’t despair. A career change and transition into the IT industry doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend several years more at college. Luckily, you can get relevant knowledge and certification in a matter of weeks or months if you choose the right institution. Find a reputable institution that offers courses relevant to you. For instance, many people Down Under are now working towards getting online diplomas in Australia, hoping that their investment will be paid back quickly and generously. Chances are, they are right. Prospective employers appreciate candidates who have invested time, money and effort into learning something that is useful for the job they’re applying for. Last but not least, certifications offer a much wider choice of jobs in the industry.

Your degree might be relevant

Don’t reject your diploma too quickly. The IT industry is growing rapidly and looking for individuals from various backgrounds because of their unique perspectives. Even a psychology major can use something they learnt during their studies, such as a deep understanding of interpersonal interaction, to offer fresh insight when it comes to approaching challenges. So, use what you know and what you’ve done to help you make this transition more smoothly.

Be ready to start from the bottom

Patience is the key when you start a career in IT. No matter what position you held before you made the transition, you’ll probably end up at a lower level position and have to roll up your sleeves to work your way up. This is normal and logical, but you have to be ready for the challenge. As you progress up the career ladder, you’ll notice how the number of options is rising, along with your salary. All this comes as a result of your effort, as well as the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired along the way. So, be ready to work hard.

Networking

You are probably aware of the importance of knowing people who can help you. Just like in private life, we often rely on others to provide assistance when it comes to finding a job. You could explore this option and ask people you know to put in a good word for you. However, for that to happen, you need to know those people and they need to believe that you’re worthy of their recommendation. That’s why having a network of friends, colleagues and business partners is vital when looking for a new job. You can even post on social media that you’re trying to find a job in the IT industry and ask your friends for help. They might not be able to help directly, but they may know someone who can. The wider the network, the better your chances of starting a career in IT.

Self-help

No-one can help you more than you can help yourself. Just like so many people use modern technology on a daily basis without any formal training, you can turn to YouTube tutorials, free online courses and other sources of information that allow you to learn the basics of your future job. Feel free to try and experiment. Expect to make a few mistakes along the way, but don’t give up easily.

The IT industry is now open to people with more diverse background that ever, which is a great advantage for someone looking to transition. Still, you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard, be patient, learn and hone your skills. That’s the only way to make progress in your career and the IT industry is certainly one of the environments where professional growth and development are always appreciated and rewarded.

 

How Chatbots Can Help You Increase Conversion

Chatbots have evolved impressively thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence. Many brands have recognized the potential of these sophisticated tools and now use them to provide seamless user experiences. Studies predict that 85% of customer interactions with brands will be handled without a human agent by 2020. 

From immediate feedback to humanizing brand presence, chatbots can improve your conversion rates on multiple levels. Here is what to know.

Providing Excellent Customer Support

With the advent of mobile technologies, social networks, and natural language processing, online customers’ expectations have also grown. Being held on hold while trying to connect with a customer support representative is not an option for them anymore. They want brands to provide exceptional customer service 24/7, across multiple online channels. Research says that most customers want brands to address their problems and questions within 24 hours.

This is exactly where chatbots shine. They are available to your prospective customers 24/7, providing them with real-time assistance. Chatbots will ask customers relevant questions to learn more about their needs and problems and provide clear, accurate, and helpful feedback. Precisely because of that, online users often consider them a faster, more convenient, and real-time resolution to their minor problems.

Another great benefit of chatbots lies in the fact that they streamline your customer support assistants’ jobs. By automating many repetitive tasks, they help them focus on more challenging tasks and, therefore, boost customer satisfaction.

Simplifying the Customer Journey

Statistics say that one of the most common reasons why people ditch shopping carts is a too complicated checkout process, as well as the fact that they need to create new accounts. They often need to fill out a lengthy form and then verify their email address before finalizing the purchase. This is a tedious process that may frustrate your target customers and prevent them from buying from you. 

One of the easiest ways to optimize your checkout process is to use chatbots on your website. Use them to simplify buyers’ journeys and provide customers with guided task completion. One such example is Ebay’s ShopBot. It asks customers numerous questions, such as what brands or product features they are looking for. The bot interactively guides users, encouraging them to complete the purchase. Another amazing example of using chatbots to improve sales and user experiences is Lyft that lets users request a ride via their Messenger bot, Slack bot, or Amazon Echo. The bot provides data about their driver’s location and sends the photo of the license plate and the car model to ensure a client’s security.

Evoking FOMO

In today’s oversaturated digital marketing landscape, when your prospective customers are bombarded with different brands and products, getting yourself noticed can be extremely challenging. To engage users and entice them to convert faster, many brands focus on triggering customers’ fear of missing out, or FOMO. For example, they offer time-sensitive deals, exit-intent popups, exclusive offers for VIP customers, etc. Many SaaS brands rely on social proof tools like Cue that displays real-time notifications about new webpage visits or product purchases. 

Combining your most powerful CRO tools with chatbots can also be highly effective. For example, you could use bots to inform users about your brand’s latest news or trends. Chatbots help you promote exclusive content to generate leads and time-sensitive offers to inspire impulse purchases. 

Providing Personalized User Experiences

Research says that 63% of online users don’t know that they’re talking to a bot. While your goal shouldn’t be to deceive your prospective customers, it is still good to know that chatbots can provide reliable user experiences and humanize your brand. 

This is exactly where you need to hire reliable content creators. Their task is to create an engaging chatbot script that reflects your brand’s personality and values. Your goal is to keep users’ conversations with your chatbot more natural and consistent. To humanize your chatbot, consider giving it a human name, such as Ross, Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. 

Apart from using chatbots to make customer conversations more relaxed, you could also provide more personalized product recommendations. For example, Sephora’s bot asks users about their needs and preferences and, based on them, recommends the right products. A user can even upload a photo and try out different makeup products.

Collecting Feedback from Users

Online businesses are continuously trying to understand their customers. They use numerous techniques for collecting customer feedback, such as surveys, online reviews, social media polls, quizzes, website analytics, heatmaps, and so forth. 

This is exactly where chatbots can help. For example, if a user is leaving their shopping cart, a chatbot could ask them why they are leaving. It could offer several options for users to choose from, such as “not interested,” “the price is too high,” or “I want to explore other options.” Or, you could create a one-question survey in your chat to assess users’ satisfaction with your website, products, or brand. 

This sort of feedback is immensely important to any marketer wanting to improve their conversion rates. By gathering honest feedback directly from your customers, you will be able to identify the most common user experience issues and resolve them fast to improve conversions. In the abovementioned scenarios, a chatbot can even help you save the sale. For example, if it finds that the product is too expensive for a customer, it could recommend more relevant products that suit their budget.

Over to You

With the rise of artificial intelligence, chatbots have become an inseparable aspect of your conversion rate optimization strategy. They give you the opportunity to simplify buyers’ journeys, provide personalized product recommendations, and evoke their emotions. Above all, you can collect customer feedback easier and use it to improve user experiences and sales.

 

How do you use chatbots to improve conversions?

Client Communication: How to Do It Right

Communication, they say, is the basis for any healthy relationship. Much like in romantic bonds, family relations, and our friendships, transparency and honesty are necessary for all parties involved to feel appreciated and to know each other’s expectations. It’s not much different with professional bonds, isn’t it? The clients that give you the most trouble are the ones that send you lengthy emails with zero useful feedback, the ones that bombard you with information you cannot use, and the ones that don’t know what they want. 

Whether you’re working as a solo freelancer or you’re a part of a larger agency, if your role involves any amount of client interaction, you know that misunderstandings can cause more headaches than any amount of actual work ever could. Implementing certain rules, sticking to specific habits in client communication, and setting boundaries are all very important ways in which you can ease those headaches and make sure that your collaborations are more effective.

Define the process

Some companies and freelancers still assume that every single one of their clients has the same idea of the services they provide. For example, the field of digital marketing is a vast one indeed, and if you haven’t specified which particular areas your expertise covers, you can expect your clients to either come to you with a slew of questions, or to assume that you do exactly what they need and want. In both situations, you’re already in a mess. 

First of all, make sure that every touchpoint of your communication entails clear information. Your website, for starters, should have a clear page explaining your services in full. When someone reaches out to you, before the collaboration even begins, you should make sure that they know exactly what you can do for them, and what your business doesn’t cover. That way, you’ll prevent many misunderstandings and you’ll be able to qualify client leads more efficiently than ever. This can be done by using proposal software that will allow you access to a variety of client proposals.

Establish boundaries

We’ve all been there: a client sends you emails in the middle of the night, with no regard for your personal time off, expecting you to reply as soon as yesterday, and constantly in need of changes and alterations to your original service. Some clients are needy, others are borderline certifiable, but sometimes you cannot assess if they are a good match for your business until very late in the collaboration. 

In any scenario, setting those boundaries early on can help you manage those complicated relationships better. For starters, you can emphasize your work hours and when you’re available for communication via chat, phone, or email, and how long it typically takes you to respond. You should also let your clients know that when they need changes to your provided service or product, you have a process to stick to, and explain how long it takes. All of these details could be beneficial for letting your clients know how to get the information they want without disrupting your workflow. 

Embrace discovery

Especially when you’re in a creative industry, delivering something that will be in line with your clients’ expectations and needs can be tricky. Creative work is very individual, although based on expertise, and if you’re running a web design agency, for instance, you can often go through several stages of back-and-forth communication before you actually complete the work at hand, by no one’s fault in particular. Those interactions can still take away a chunk of your valuable time, and preventing that can be beneficial for you and your clients.

You can create and send out a customized web design client questionnaire as a part of your discovery process in an attempt to cover all of your bases and prevent all those changes early on. Of course, it’s always possible for your client to send the design back for tweaks, but you can at the very least prevent major, time-consuming changes that can affect your productivity. This is especially handy if your customers aren’t familiar with the industry and wouldn’t know what kind of details you need to begin with, so some guidance is essential.

Ask for feedback to improve 

Some clients like in-person meetings, some love Skype, while others enjoy the email correspondence that comes with clarity and transparency. In any scenario, you might not be perfectly compatible in terms of those preferences with each and every client, but you can find ways to accommodate their needs without disrupting your own process. A great way to avoid conflicts would be to ask your clients for feedback regarding your performance but also your communication and availability. 

Insights collected in that way could be helpful in defining your future relationships and in redefining expectations in your existing collaborations. In a similar manner, you should feel free to provide your own comments and feedback if you feel that your client should give you more space or that they aren’t available enough to the detriment of the project, causing missed deadlines and the like. Transparency in the form of regular feedback is a healthy way to let your client relationships blossom over time.

 

Although it takes time to evolve as a freelancer or even as a part of a team within an agency, you can certainly find ways to improve how you interact with clients. Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll be able to ensure long-lasting bonds and more satisfied clients down the line.

How to Make the Most out of Business Conference

Business conferences are still events which provide excellent opportunities for professional development, establishing contacts and growing your business, but only if you know what to do and how to do it. Not only can you learn a lot, but you have so many chances to meet people from the industry who might become your clients or who can recommend you to others. However, you shouldn’t leave anything to luck, but prepare well for each and every conference you attend. Here are just some of the most important things you should do before, during and after a conference, which should help you make the most out of it.

Set your goals

There must be some very good reasons why you’ve decided to attend a particular conference. Think about them and consider what you’d like to gain from the experience. You may wish to introduce your company to a wider audience or improve brand perception, for instance, which is why you need to go to the conference with a list of goals you’d like to achieve during the event. Don’t forget your goals and work towards reaching them.

Manage your time carefully

Just like you plan your vacation, you need to do the same when it comes to attending conferences. Every conference organiser issues the conference itinerary ahead of time and in most cases you have both a print and electronic version. Look carefully at the sessions you are most interested and make sure you allow yourself enough time to move from one venue to another. You need to plan all that before the conference in order to avoid confusion once you get there.

Get your materials ready

You need to represent your company in the best possible way. Everyone will base their opinion of your brand based on the impression you leave. So, make sure you have enough business cards and all other advertising material ready. If you need great product catalogues and brochures, turn to professionals who do great print advertising material.

Prepare questions

If there is an interesting talk you’d like to hear or a chance to meet someone you can really learn from, make sure you brainstorm the questions you’d like to ask them. This is also a chance for you to voice a question on behalf of your team, as well. So, ask them what they’d like to hear and add their questions to your list.

Get into right mindset

Some conference attendees shy away from the opportunity to create new connections because networking makes them inauthentic. Those people can never really benefit from such events unless they change their mindset. You’re not establishing connections because that is what you should do, but because it’s great for your career and future success. A conference should not be seen as an obligation, but rather as an opportunity to expend and diversify your network and acquire new knowledge.

Hunt for information

It’s vital to speak with as many people as possible at a conference. You might hear more about the topics that interest you or get inspired by some new ideas and concepts. In order to do this, you should try to attend as many sessions as you can, even if a topic doesn’t seem directly related to what you do. You never know when you might learn something, especially when it comes from a different angle. Needless to say, if an opportunity arises to talk to one of the keynote speakers, grab it. Ask them all the questions you’ve prepared or discuss a point they made during their presentation.

Build your network

A lot has already been said about the importance of networking. It’s probably the most beneficial aspect of every conference. That’s why you should not shy away from introducing yourself to new people, even if you are introverted in nature. All successful businesspeople believe meeting face-to-face is crucial for nurturing and maintaining long-term professional relationships.

Follow up

One of the things many people fail to do is follow up on the groundwork they did at a conference. If there is a logical and natural opportunity for you to get in touch with someone you met at the conference, use it. However, be careful not to come off as overbearing or desperate for a business connection. You should start a professional, yet friendly conversation and turn that into a connection that will last. Pay attention to what they say and don’t be aggressive in your approach.

Naturally, these are just some of the most important and basic tips you should follow regarding your presence at a business conference. As the number of conferences you have attended rises, you’ll surely come up with some additional ones, which might actually help you gain advantage over your competitors. Business conferences are still very important because they provide so many benefits. It’s only up to those attending them to make the most of their time there, which includes careful preparation, proactive behaviour and following up. Only then can you say you’ve truly reaped all the benefits. 

The Relevance of Talent Management and How to Develop Your TM System

Most businesses treat their hiring efforts separately from their accounting, not to mention their overall organization and goal-setting. Strategizing your entire business should include this one element that can boost your employee retention rates and help you build a more stable reputation in the role of an employer. Talent management is a strategy that encompasses everything from taking care of your employees’ perks and benefits, their compensation, workload, hierarchy, all the way to training, collaboration, and feedback. It aims to help your business find, hire, and retain talented individuals in line with your culture and values, people who will be your brand ambassadors. 

To develop such a system, you need to apply your strategic mindset and reform your HR practices from the ground up. The importance of this single system within your business cannot be underestimated, since you cannot afford losing valuable human assets over missed opportunities or misunderstandings in the workplace. Here are a few solutions to keep in mind for your talent management system, and how you can develop it more effectively for your brand to grow.

Form a feedback cycle 

Hiring and retaining employees is certainly not all about money. More than ever, employees cherish their freedom to express their opinions, to work with leaders that have a cause at heart, and to grow under your roof, not just continue earning their salary one month at a time. To truly empower business-wide transparency, you should build a feedback cycle that enables and encourages all of your staff to share their thoughts, criticism, suggestions, and ideas. 

Add to that, you should feel free to provide guidance, praise, and constructive criticism within that very same loop, and ensure equality in this exchange, so that all of your talented employees can get the chance to improve – yourself included. 

Start building your employer presence

Talent management starts with allowing your business to behave like a multifaceted creature that it is – not just aimed at customers, but at your employees, too. Your capacity as an employer greatly impacts the brand development process. To truly allow your business to attract the right talent and keep them happy, you should focus on employer branding as one key aspect of your talent management strategy and overarching brand development, too. 

Create the image you want to portray among your employees, and make sure that your employer brand genuinely embodies all those key values you want to see in the people that work within your business. To properly manage your talent, you should be prepared to position yourself not just as a customer-centric entity, but one strongly devoted to its employees. Send a consistent message over all social platforms, your website, and all other job platforms where you go talent-hunting. Your employer brand will do the rest.

Define your goals clearly

Unlike managing financial assets, tools, or anything abstract, you need to treat talent management as a process that is firmly focused on people in your business. That is why you need to rethink how you define goals that drive your talent management strategy. For starters, instead of sticking to numbers and statistics only, you should also think in people: who of your employees is best for which business task? How many people would you need to handle a new client? Do you have a risk mitigation strategy based on your employees’ skills and strengths?

Above all, this is not something you decide behind closed doors, or with a handful of managers who barely ever see your employees in action. The TM strategy only works if you create it with your employees present and suggesting ideas that make sense to them. While you’re defining your TM strategy goals, make sure to think about preventing issues among your teams, too. That’s yet another part of your strategy that matters to your employees and your management team, too.

Make smart investments in employees

One segment of every strategy that most business leaders fear the most is the budget. Alas, too many neglect to address that particular segment of their talent management strategy, which is a mistake you shouldn’t make. Why? Because selecting optimal funds for your TM strategy will help you allocate your budget towards employee training, advertising available job posts, employee bonuses, and setting up team-building workshops. 

Your employees should mean more than their salaries. That means that even if they’re happy with the number of zeros on the check, you should always focus on what else you can provide that will ultimately inspire them to stay loyal to your business and bring more clients your way. Plus, when you educate and train your staff, you’ll be able to help them climb the ladder and assume positions that will give them more challenges and help them grow. Today, every single employee craves such an approach over that old-fashioned stagnant career path with no room for improvement. 

 

Nurturing your employees and your candidates, and allowing them to be your brand advocates is one of the best strategies that can transform your business. It’s up to you to define your TM strategy from the beginning and implement it mindfully so that each hire you make and each time you let someone go, you do so in the service of your business and your culture. Keep these handy tips in mind to refine your TM strategy for upcoming years of success. 

Ways Brands Can Achieve Successful Personalization

In a competitive industry, it’s vital that you find a way to set yourself apart. The first method that will help you do so is to increase your marketing spending. The rule of thumb is that you should take about 10 percent of your average annual profit and dedicate it to your marketing. If the industry is particularly competitive, however, it’s probably smarter to go for anywhere between 20 and 50 percent instead. Another thing you can do is personalize your business. This method is quite effective, even though it’s far from simple. Here are several ways in which brands can achieve successful personalization. 

Brand awareness

A lot of people make a distinction between brand recognition and brand awareness, however, not a lot of them keep in mind that brand awareness has different forms and levels, as well. You see, brand awareness means that your audience knows a thing or two about your products, still, it is your job to make this learning process as simple as possible. How? Well, by focusing on those features that really matter – features that go into the decision-making process of your audience. Is your product cheaper, of higher quality or more versatile than those of your competitors? This is one of the first things that your audience has to learn about it.

Encourage active dialogue

The only way to personalize your brand properly is to give your audience what they want. The only way to figure out what they want is to ask them or let them tell you on their own. So, encourage active dialogue with your audience. First of all, you should implement chatbots, seeing as how they are the optimal tool of customer service in the 21st century. Second, start reading comments and monitoring brand mentions online. Get engaged in this discourse but avoid online arguments at all costs.

Experiment with formats

In order to get really close to your audience, you need to start using all the content formats that you can come up with. Why? Well, because the majority of marketers get lazy and opt for either text-based or video marketing. First of all, you might want to consider a podcast and infographics for your digital marketing. Second, you need to start thinking outside-of-the-box. What we’re mostly focusing on is offline marketing. Agencies like PostcardMania specialize in postcard advertising, which is one of the simplest ways to personalize the approach to your audience.

Focus on the product

Another thing you need to do is focus on the product. A lot of brands make a mistake believing that the most important brand feature is the logo or the company colors. The truth is that the product itself needs to be something that makes people come back. Take, for instance, Coca-Cola, their colors, logo and packages are recognizable all over the world. These visual traits are not the reason for people to buy Coca-Cola’s product. Their unique beverage is the key ingredient in this branding strategy.

Play on the nostalgia card

Previously, we’ve talked about Coca-Cola’s approach to branding and there’s one more example that you could learn on – playing on the nostalgia card. For years and years now, Coca-Cola has a unique and impactful Christmas strategy. This is particularly effective in their case, seeing as how Santa Claus shares their brand colors – red and white. Therefore, the Coca-Cola has all but become the official beverage of Christmas. Even if your product is not as old or impactful on the market, you can still associate it with something more familiar. We’re talking about an era, a holiday or a particular activity. 

Employ storytelling techniques

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that there are various storytelling techniques that could make your content more immersive. For instance, when writing about your business, it’s important not to portray the brand or even your staff as protagonists. A business, any business, is merely an agent. The role of the protagonist always goes to the average buyer. This everyman is a person that your audience will have an easier time identifying with, which makes your job of reaching out to them a lot simpler.

Stand for a cause

In the end, you could try to offer your audience something beyond the product itself. You see, you’re not actually selling a product but an idea. This idea is something that your audience can stand behind. So, take up a cause. First, it’s important that it’s something that your audience cares about. Second, it’s vital that it’s something that you care about, seeing as how genuine engagement is something that you just can’t fake. Also, this will humanize your business, thus showing your audience that it’s more than mere profit-generating machinery that they initially saw it as.

Conclusion

The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that there are so many factors to take into consideration. This ranges from the nature of your audience, the characteristics of their demographic, the nature of the industry and many other issues. Therefore, you can use the above-listed as guidelines and turn their implementation into a successful branding strategy. As the end result, you’ll bring your brand closer to your audience than ever before.