Monthly Archives: June 2016

The 4 Questions Your Customers Have for Your Employees

Among the many things that people want to know about the people who serve them, research shows that four specific items consistently remain at the top of the list. Here is what the studies have identified. Your customers want to know the answers to four questions. They are:

1. Do you like me?
2. Do you care about me?
3. Can I trust you?
4. Do you know what you are talking about?

The first question they want answered is that they want to know if they are sincerely liked by the person serving them. Your customers will know this from how the representative interacts with them. Does your employee use their name, does he or she really listen, and do they have sincere empathy in their voice?

The second question your customers have is that they want to know if the employee who serves them really cares about them. The customer can sense this from the questions they are asked, the tone of their voice, good eye contact, how helpful they are and all the little things your employee says or does that shows they really do care.

The third question your customer wants to know the answer to is, can they trust your employee. Indications of trust can be seen in how confident the representative is and does he or she follow through as promised. One example of how your company can lose the trust of a customer is by how promptly a phone call or email is returned to the customer. When there is a long period of time that elapses between the time the customer contacts your small business and is followed up with, or worse yet, not followed up, trust diminishes rapidly. A good rule of thumb is to have all phone calls and emails returned within 24 hours or less.

Finally, the fourth question people want answered is they want to know if the employee who serves them is knowledgeable and competent. Indications of these qualities are demonstrated by how familiar your employee is with the particular situation the customer is experiencing or the product or service they are purchasing. Customers want to know if this employee has solved similar types of problems for other customers in the past. If they have, it builds confidence in their buying experience.

In summary, to build lifetime customer satisfaction with the customers you serve, make sure your business is able to provide the right kind of customer service training that teaches the proper customer service skills. These skills should empower all of your managers and staff to treat your customers in such a way that consistently answers their four most common questions they have about your small business.

Secrets of Bonding 133: “Please Sign Here” (With Caution!)

We have written about indemnity agreements before (enjoy Secrets #19 and 79) but recent activity with our clients has inspired yet more on this vital subject.

As a follower of the “Secrets” series, you may already know what a General Indemnity Agreement (GIA) is, and that is a requirement all bond applicants face. Basically, it contains a payback obligation to the surety similar to a promissory note.

As a bond applicant, why should you be cautious when signing such documents?

    1. The first reason is that it may include companies or individual people who are inappropriate. Some examples: An affiliated company in which the bond applicant has a minority interest. Another would be an individual person with little or no ownership in the company and is not married to an officer, key person or major company owner.
    1. The second reason is that there may be clauses in the indemnity agreement that may be subject to negotiation – although underwriters will resist. Nevertheless, if you see something objectionable such as “Confession of Judgement” which is not even permitted in some states, you should ask for it to be removed. This would also be the time to ask for additions to the document, such as a dollar limitation on personal indemnity of certain individuals (Spouses? Minority owners?) or Trigger Indemnity that is only activated under specific circumstances. No harm in trying.
  1. The third reason is because of the gravity of the indemnity obligation. Through the GIA, the bond applicant company and its owners agree to repay the surety for losses and expenses. They are literally putting everything on the line. What is the dollar limit of this obligation? Is it a) The contract amount? b) The Payment Bond amount? or c) The T-list of the surety? Answer: The liability amount is unlimited.

This is a big deal. Keep in mind (see Secret #1!) “Bonds Are Not Insurance.” The surety is a guarantor of the principal’s performance. If the contractor fails to perform, the bond is not insurance to protect them from the consequences of their failure.

In conclusion, the bond applicant should approach the signing of a GIA with some caution. Certainly it is a document to read and manage where possible but this brings us to the final point: If you want surety bonds, it is mandatory that the surety be indemnified. Regarding the indemnity of spouses not active in the business, they too must sign. We tell contractors “Nobody likes it, but everybody has to do it.”

If you want bonds, but cautious, but get ready to sign on the dotted line.

Steve Golia is an experienced provider of bid and performance bonds for contractors. For more than 30 years he has specialized in solving bond problems for contractors, and helping them when others failed.

The experts at Bonding Pros have the underwriting talent and market access you need. This is coupled with spectacular service and great accessibility.

Why Professional Assistance Is Needed When Coordinating Group Events

Extravagant weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, and even corporate dinners are consistently shown in magazines and on television shows. This leaves people marveling at the idea of creating an affair of their own. Many who make the attempt soon realize, however, that the coordination of group events is not something that should be done without professional assistance.

The Venue

One of the foremost aspects of any successful gathering is locating and securing a venue. To save money, some people opt for event halls. Event halls are responsible for just about everything including food, drink, and decorations. These three things may not seem like such a big deal at first glance, but many soon realize just how much work and time it takes to put group events together.

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

When people choose locations that handle details, such as food and beverages, it saves them a lot of time and prevents unnecessary headaches. Depending on the amount of guests expected to show, preparing food for group events can be a big hassle. Not only can people end up spending too much money purchasing the food, they then have to figure out a way to cook it. If there isn’t reliable help available, a small group could end up tackling the task. Even after preparing the food, there still needs to be servers. Many times, this is left up to family members, friends, or associates, forcing them to miss out on enjoying the function.

Purchasing drinks and alcoholic beverages may not take as much time as preparing food. However, serving alcohol isn’t something that everyone is equipped to do. An inexperienced person could easily make the drinks too strong or too weak. Serving diluted drinks will leave party goers unsatisfied while making drinks too strong can cause people to become excessively intoxicated.

Decorating

Decorating can be fun if you have unlimited time to plan. Having to decorate for a function on top of all of the other necessary duties isn’t really enjoyable. Centerpieces, tablecloths, banners, floral arrangements, and chair covers are just a few of the items that could be used to decorate a space. Depending on the expected number of guests, the centerpieces alone could take hours to complete, especially if they are handmade, significantly cutting into the time needed to complete more important tasks.

The Need for Assistance

Professional assistance can easily resolve all of the issues mentioned above. For starters, many venues handle almost every aspect of an event. Therefore, the hosts of the functions can focus on other elements, such as their guest list and the agenda. They won’t have to spend time working to prepare and serve food and drinks or making floral centerpieces. Instead, they will be able to sit back, relax, and see their event come to life.

A System Designed To Manage Documents Effectively

You can do so much more when things are organized. This efficiency is only possible when everyone has the similar objective towards management. Managing the business documents has never been so important before. The organization of documents offers control over the proceedings. The centralized nature of document supervision through technological tools is the foremost requirement of any organization in whatever industry. The different nature of business information generated must be classified accordingly. What should be available to an individual employee must also be categorized? Furthermore to what extent you want people to get access to the available business information?

The different emails and other generated communication must also be stored and protected at a secured destination. The access to inaccessible documents must be controlled comprehensively. The safety of business information is as important as any other process of the organization. As the scope and size of the business expands the necessity to manage the business information will increase automatically. You have to make a decision. What to save and what to delete. Even if information is of lesser importance you will prefer deleting it permanently. A safe system must be enacted that can offer better management of business information.

You will not want out of bound people to get their hands on the information. The sensitivity that surrounds the security of the business information is well documented by experts. The archival information that is stored in databases is also critical for business from time to time. The worth of a document becomes imminent when it is immediately required by the concerned people. This is the value that is associated with a dedicated system that can store, access and distribute information on need to know basis. Just imagine how frustrating it could be when no definite system is enacted by the organization.

The allocation of different resources through business information is a mandatory consideration. The needs of different departments are unique and it is important to generate the desired information in a timely manner. A well established system can save considerable time and resource for the organization. Putting it simply you will simply save valuable resources if a well designed secured system is enacted that will store and safeguard the data for you. Unnecessary time is lost when communication is not productive. People might save the same information more than once. Such a procedure will be frustrating for everyone.

The needless efforts to supervise the business information can be prevented. Indexing of the available information will assist in searching for the right information effortlessly. The time to publish the information to the right group of people will decrease significantly. You are better prepared to assimilate the business information in the right context. The workflow will enhance substantially which the prime focus of incorporating a technological tool in the organizational operating procedures. The ability of technological tools to perform multiple tasks for the user is also a significant value proposition. The acknowledgment and reception of information is better recognized between employees.

The most embarrassing situation we have all confronted at the workplace; the boss asking ‘where is the document?’ Searching for the document from the heap of files is an annoying task. How convenient it would have been if a simple keyword had searched the desired document for us? A Document Management System saves the user from pain and distress by incorporating valuable features that can simplify the management of the business information. The faster and reliable solution is the foremost advantage of enacting the system. The highly sophisticated system allows the user to generate what is required at that moment. People working in big team groups can exploit the maximum potential of the aforementioned system. The different types of files, spreadsheets and worksheets can be shared and accessed between relevant people.

The design of value oriented database is a necessity. The different types of information, their relevance and their date of submission are also vital ingredients. The compliance procedure will improve appreciably and information on the basis of their significance can be categorized systematically. You can procure new versions of the systems that can offer tailored solution that correspond with the scope of your business. The cost of unwanted administration will trim down. The supervision of your data center is the core activity that will enable the smooth administration of the system. A Document Management System is a facilitator of productivity that offers extensive leverage to the data managing capabilities of the organization. Find out how you can utilize the system to derive the most favorable outcome.

How To Find The Perfect Venue For Your Event

When planning an event, you will need to find the most suitable venue to host in. The venue should be good enough to serve the needs of the event. For instance, if the event that you are planning is expected to take more than a day, then you must think about accommodation alongside the venue. You can choose a venue that has some sort of accommodation arrangements or one that is near good facilities where your event attendees can enjoy better services. Whether what you are looking for is a small meeting venue or a large conference venue, there are things you must consider to find the best.

Think about venue location – The location of any event does matter because attendees will want an event they can easily get to and also enjoy the good parking too. Choose the event location with accessibility in mind therefore and if need be, then also make transportation plans so you have specific pick-up and drop-off points for your guests. The more convenient the location of the event, the more the delegates you are likely to get.

Match up venue size with the number of invited guests – It helps to confirm the number of delegates that will be attending your event so you can find the perfect venue size for them. This also helps you in selecting equipment such as public address systems that will work for the number of attendants appropriately. But to be on the safe side, always expect more guests than you invited; there will be instances where some delegates grad their friends along to the event and the last thing you want in a venue that is overcrowded and uncomfortable.

Think about technology – People value Wi-Fi today, so let this be among the elements that you embrace when looking for the perfect venue for your event. With such important technological elements taken care of, you will make it easier for your delegates to use smartphones, tablets and laptops they carry in the event. Apart from offering you good technology, the venue should also offer you the technical support that you could need when the event is on.

Check your dates and times when planning – Before even designing invitations, you want to make sure that your venue will be available for your use during the time you wish to use it. When planning the dates and times for the event, it is best that you choose days that are free in that there are no other public events that could interfere with the attendance. Check to see that nothing specific will cause any hindrance for your event and then set the dates and times to match with the availability of the venue that you find most suitable for the event.

Have an interior design plan – Apart from getting yourself a venue that is easily accessible, you should make it as inviting as possible. Get the appropriate furniture for your delegates and ensure that the lighting is ample and suitable enough for the event. Lighting plays a major role and it can create certain moods; get an expert to help you if you are not very sure about event lighting.