Customer Service – Balance Between Speed And Courtesy

Customer Service needs to change

A few years ago when a person went to a coffee shop, or a store, they were greeted with a smile, asked about their day, and then were told to have a nice day after they conducted their transactions. I work as a Paramedic in the city where I live and frequently I have to get things on the run. This means that I am running into coffee shops, and restaurants and convenience stores, and something dawned on me. I realized that almost never does anyone ask how I am, and beyond a what do you need? I get asked no questions. There is not even eye contact, and when they hand me my change, or receipt there is no have a nice day, and not even a smile.

A few years ago when I went into certain places that I was at often, I was greeted by name. I have spoken with many people and this is not just a me problem. It is a customer service industry problem that needs a change. I completely understand that businesses want service to be fast, because it is something that people demanded for years, but businesses have taken it too far.

It is time for a change

I am not upset with businesses, I believe we have pushed this demand to where it is today and it is up to us to bring the customer service industry back to where it should be. This starts with us. What we need to do as consumers is almost force the conversation. When you arrive at your coffee shop today or tomorrow ask the counter people how they are, and ask how their day is. Let us bring manners back to the customer service industry. Pay them with a smile and when they hand you your items or receipt tell them to have a nice day. By doing this we cause a change in the balance. This slows the transaction down just enough that less mistakes will be made, AND, it shows people behind that counter that it is OK to be interested in a person’s day.

I don’t know if people realize, but the loss of personal communication, and real contact is an epidemic in today’s society. This can be transferred into your home business work as well. The people you want to bring into your home based businesses will be far more responsive to a person that has the capability to communicate effectively. Network Marketing is all about the people, and this is something that you need to remember. When you remember that business is about people, you will start to see far greater success in your home based business.

Business Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs

Having a great idea and the motivation to strike-out on your own is a good first step in pursing the feasibility of a business. However, it takes more than motivation and a great idea to get things started. This article will reveal some of the simplest considerations that most would-be business-owners overlook.

The very first thing that should not fall under consideration is venturing out on your own without the proper tools beyond the scope of a great idea. According to statistics provided by the Small Business Administration, over 90% of small businesses fail due to a lack of planning. How many times have you heard or witnessed individuals that sat up over a weekend and wrote a stellar business plan then headed out on Monday morning to seek funding or investors? Impatience is the second thing that needs management. So often “I am tired of working for someone else” is the premise for people to start a business. This frame of mind will almost ensure failure because this approach to business involves looking backwards at getting out of a bad situation.

There is a prevailing philosophy that has to evolve, “Not all people are cut-out to become business-owners”. This is a harsh reality to face in a country such as the United States that prides itself on autonomy and ownership. Starting a business requires a commitment that may or may not pay dividends quickly. The key threat to small businesses is the initial funding or start-up cost and therefore many under-capitalized ventures hit the markets and get that rude awakening.

Before spending your first dollar a best practice is to do your “free research” on the Internet and in public libraries. Read recently published academic studies on the industry in which you plan to pursue. It takes more than just knowing a certain aspect of the business being that your competition may be more well-versed about the industry as a whole. You may want to ask questions such as “What are the regulatory requirements to do business within that particular industry?” You may want to research about “systemic exposure” or how the rest of the economy could or would impact that industry during troubled financial times. It is also a good practice to review some of the strategies of other potential competitors during The Great Recession of 2008. How did the industry leaders survive jn respect to operational changes and sacrifices. It is understandable that this may take several days or even weeks to accomplish, but by applying the best practices initially you will have a clear understanding of what to expect during certain economic times.

It is essential to understand who are the industry leaders within your business channel and what makes them unique. There should be an emphasis on this because your branding and marketing could benefit from such a consideration. A distinguishing characteristic may be customer service, quality assurance, product branding, or even presentation. These may sound trivial, but think about if you were a retailer for mens apparel and you specifically wanted to appeal to young urban males under the age of thirty. Labels equals status in many of these communities so a nice logo on the item that is visible may assist in the popularity and purchase of your garments. Even though this may have more to do with marketing and brand positioning, this is a must have against the competition.

However, before we get to marketing and branding there are other things needing consideration such as your mind-set, ego, time-line, available start-up capital, and feasibility. After you have trolled through the data and information from your research, the next step is the feasibility study. It is suggested that you do this prior to writing a business plan. In this way you can quickly determine whether or not you can enter the particular market or not and if so, at what level. A common mistake for new business people is to envision competing with the industry leaders. This is an ideal way to go broke quickly. In stead, set more realistic goals for yourself and get the notion out of your head that the Internet is going to make your business global. Facebook and the other social networks became popular because they were free to the end-user first and while trying to figure out a way to capitalize or convert those users into revenue. This would be a bad business-model to follow. Think about your region and the local competition first to see how much it would cost for you company to operate for the first 3 to 5 years without constant revenue.

Again this will require more local research this time on your specific region and take not of the deviations between your first broader macro research and the more localized micro research. The deviation between those two areas may actually become the niche that needs filling. In this way you can actually have a specialized niche within the region and a hybrid on a larger scale. Now, you may ask yourself “Why?” Simply put, the goal is to avoid what others are already doing in the sense that giving a “Thankyou” to a customer in a better way that the competitor is not enough. Another temptation to avoid is the centric mind-set that the business and industry has to behave according to your own belief or philosophy. This strategy rarely works out in a positive way. You have seen these business owners that rarely listens to their customers and as a result they have a revolving door of both customers and employees and the business stagnates and does not grow.

Growth must have a major role in the definition of your business because that is the incentive to attract customers, employees, and even investors. As a potential business-owner you will have to cleanse your mind of working for a company and view your company as your tangible boss. This may sound counter intuitive, but the cascade is like this, the economy drives the consumer or businesses that drive behavior which drives your company which eventually drives you to make the right decisions to meet the demand.

So far you have done your research, and you know how much it will cost you to compete in your local market. The next thing is to consider your liabilities as it relates to the company. You may use this also to determine what form of business ownership will work for you. It is a good business practice to incorporate whenever possible and in some states there are differences in levels according to projected revenues. Incorporating also gives you more protection than a DBA or partnerships. At this point you will learn another strategy that many successful business-owners do, delegate tasks that require professional expertise to professionals with their fields. A good business attorney, accountant, and business consultant are essential for start-ups. This is a gap that many would-be business people fall through the cracks. Another benefits is that these professionals may also assist in giving information that may be crucial in developing a comprehensive business proposal. They can help with the work you have done to reflect the requirements needed.

In review, you have your research, feasibility study, chosen your business ownership type, adjusted your expectations, hired professionals that know the laws and regulations better than yourself and you are ready to get started on the business proposal. Not so fast, “Where are your customers?” You guessed it, marketing research needs to take place for the particular individuals or companies that will use your products and or services within your area or online. One question to ask yourself, “How much will it cost me to contact a potential customer before a sale is completed?” And secondly, you need to discover the best way to contact these people or businesses. The prevailing statistics are that radio advertising a person is a passive-listener and only hears about every fourth word, direct mail only about 9% responds. Signs and other ad-hoc methods vary and television may be expensive depending on stations and providers. This means that a considerable budget may need to exist in order to solicit business. Again, this is another area where many would-be business people fall off the wagon and failure is waiting to catch them.

There is not an exact science to forecasting revenues so the goal is to have a very plausible theory and approach to this process. Avoid the temptation of raising expectations too high as some did in the dot com era for instance and went broke. The increases in expected revenue should be modest and function on the Standard Rule of 10, meaning that expenses should never go over 10% of revenue. Now, there are some businesses with a lower profit margin at 50%, but that is akin to paying US$10 for every US$20 received in revenue. As you can see pricing strategies for your products and or services are important and trying to make profits off of volume only works for those entities with high capacity transactions. This is the reason why 99 Cent Stores do so well low inventory cost and high turn-over of products. As a foot-note the difficulty with starting a business with very low prices is that it usually attracts the cost-conscious customer who is rarely brand-loyal and will use a comparable competitor. You see this behavior in customer that may shop at Wal-Mart, but purchase other specific items at the 99 Cent Stores. The danger in depending on these cost-conscious customers is that when prices rise they usually leave. Therefore, your pricing model needs to be established as feasible to sustain the business based on the value-added customer that you can possibly up-sell items or services. This is essential to your company’s growth and expansion.

Financial Education Services Review

Financial Education Services also known as FES is headquarter in Farmington Hills, MI and has approximately 200 plus employees worldwide. The majority of the services offered by FES are proprietary products developed by FES. There are as well some partnerships most notably, LifeLock the number 1 provider of identity theft protection.

The founders of this company, Mike Toloff and Parimal Naik come from a very successful background relating to the financial services industry and over the last 9 plus years have taken what was once an operation ran from a small back room in a shopping mall to a state of the art facility with representation across the country

Financial Education Services Products

Today’s market place demands products that will not only help consumers reenter the market place but as well help to educate them on important factors related to financial literacy that were never taught during formal educational years.

It is this combination of products, service and education that has helped FES to become a powerhouse in the market place today and what separates them from there competition. When you educate your customer base you have a potential for not only referral business but as well retention of existing clients.

Financial Education Services products consist of Credit Restoration, Positive Credit Building, Pre-Paid MasterCard, Wills and Trusts and the inclusive FES Protection Plan Membership that includes previous mentioned services along with DebtZero (Debt Pay-off System) and My Financial Lockbox.

Financial Education Services Business Model

The business model or distribution of these financial services is delivered through a network of independent distributors or what FES refers to as “Agents”. Agents are compensated for the sale of these products and also have the ability to build teams of agents and receive overrides and bonuses based on their team production.

The business model is a form of MLM or as more commonly referred to as Network Marketing. The unique thing about the FES model as that agent’s can opt to simply sell the products and not participate in the team building aspect of the business although to maximizes the compensation plan you will want to participate in both sales of products as well as team building.

Is Financial Education Services Right for You

Well let’s examine the facts; it is estimated that over 50 million Americans have less than a 599 credit score (Sub-Prime Credit), 90% of the population does not have a will and trust combination, the average consumer household debt is approximately 20K with no plan in place to pay it off and identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. With that being said, it’s almost a certainty that most people know someone that can use the services that Financial Education Services provides.

The most likely candidates for the FES business opportunity are professionals in the financial services industry such as mortgage brokers and Real Estate professionals. There has also been a recent surge in interest from the insurance industry.

This opportunity just like any other home based business is great for anybody looking to enter the network marketing industry. There are no license requirements for the agents since FES is licensed and bonded in all 50 states including Puerto Rico.

The bottom line is if you’re the type of persons that needs the services offered by FES, will to sharing products that can benefit others or enjoy working from home than the Financial Education Services opportunity could be right for you.

Internet and Small Business

Technology has played an imperative role in business operations. The advent of internet has given a new methodology to conduct business faster in a cost effective way in a limited time and space.

Internet is wrapped up with thousands of interconnected networks connected worldwide. The deployment of Internet in business has given rise to perform business worldwide to unlimited audience and it is one of the best methods for globalizing business. Internet is a powerful tool for winning a business strategy that assists companies to compete with their competitors and to improve customer satisfaction and hence internet business model has been formulated to assist companies to choose the right model at the right time.

Internet business is simply not designing websites to promote the products it has its unique process to automate. Internet business helps manufacturers to understand the customer’s wants and needs by understanding their behavior when they visit company websites or research any relevant information and this in-turn helps manufacturers and marketers to produce customize and personalize product.

Internet business has changed the marketing practices of company to the great extent and hence marketers need to be more and more proactive and creative to reach and convince their audience to buy products.

Today many companies have also set up extranets with their suppliers to facilitate information exchange, transactions and payments. Internet business has given birth to e-commerce which is more and more specific when compared to internet business or e-business. The term e-commerce encourages companies to sell their products or services through internet. To be more precise about internet business; it is simply performing business using internet for worldwide audience in order to globalize business.

Advantages of Internet Business – Internet Business has its unique advantages

There is no need of physical location and hence you don’t need to have your own or rent place for starting up business as how traditional business requires.

Of course you need location that is DOMAIN NAME for website registration and its very cheap you can get for about $5 to $25 with free web hosting service.

You need website for selling your product or service. If you know programming and designing you can always do it on your own or you can hire a web developer and/or designer based on your requirement or even you can become an affiliate of some site which needs no website since your merchant will provide you website.

You can advertise your products or services for free in most of the websites say free classified advertisement site.

Since internet works on the principle of 24×7 you can reach your customer at any time.

Internet business is not geographic specific and hence you can reach global audience.

Disadvantages of Internet Business -Of course, internet has major advantages but it has some disadvantages too.

Through internet it is very difficult for the user to recognize what is genuine and what is not because users will not have the ‘Touch and feel’ of some product before they buy.

Internet makes you feel isolate and hence it separates manufacturer and customer, and this ultimately end-up in lack of trust between two parties.

It is also difficult for the user to choose the product as there may be many products with different varieties advertise through internet.

Business Models:

Every Business needs model to run its business and operations. When it comes to internet it is not that companies have design or built their own models Most of the companies sustain with the following business models through internet.

Products

Professional Services

Information Business

Internet profession

E-Publishing

E-Advertising

Let’s understand the above six proven internet business model.

Products: This Internet business model includes stuffs like electronic goods, books, computer hardware and software, household, jewelry, etc. Companies may already use direct marketing to market its product.

Adopting this model is most inexpensive method to communicate universally, and consumers can look into the product through company’s website or online catalogue as it cost only the fraction of what printed catalogue cost and the duplication is achieved virtually. The vital part is to note that internet is not the business strategy. However, it helps business to formulate strategy more effectively and efficiently. These are none other than the Internet or Online retailer.

Professional/Specialized Services: This model includes Professional services such as accountants, consultants, architects etc. The use of technology has encouraged service business to devise innovative strategies to support the very nature of the business.

Service industry advertise its services electronically that is through internet and since internet reaches global audience by breaking the geographic barriers and hence today service sectors enjoy massive profit and growth since internet has out-performed the traditional advertising and it directly reaches its prospective audience.

Information business: This E-business model is for those who gather, create and sell knowledge. Internet has given a new room for this kind of business. Today people use internet for many reasons and information search through internet ranks top. Many netpreneur today adopted this business methodology and has created a success because there is lot of scope for business in this digital era and information business is one such businesses which grows with a full pace.

Internet Careers: Many people have started making careers in internet itself. This business model includes graphic artist, web designers and developers, software programmers, computer and software trainers through online, Internet marketing professionals etc. This is considered as fastest growing business and many people have started business model.

Electronic Publishing: Today people can find free news, magazines, and newsletters in the digital format. In this business model any factual written material can be published in digital format and uploaded in the website. Online or Electronic publishing is exploding since its too cost effective when compared to the printed version of newspapers, magazines, newsletters etc. There are many innovative ways that a company can generate revenue from this business model.

E-Advertising: Electronic advertising, the business model which grows constantly and is expected to out-perform the traditional advertising methods. From this business model companies can simply sell advertising space on the web which in turn generates a mutual understanding to both the parties (advertisers and publishers).

Advertisers get revenue by posting advertisement in their website and publishers gets traffic to his website and/or brand awareness of his (publishers) product through advertisement. This is really a big business and one can monetize his/her website (if available) by just selling the website space.

The above mentioned internet business model has been adopted by many companies and have created a history in this digital era. Thus internet has become the right source and a powerful tool for the businesses to create a new and innovative business strategy in order to sustain the market.

Different authors have defined Internet business models in a different manner but the actual proposition and meaning is same. To see the different internet business model terms have a look at this article. Read Here

As a Wannabe internet business you have to analyze which internet business model is best for you or where you actually fit in the whole scenario.