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Business

Customer communication protocols

People running businesses sometimes fail to understand how inter-personal skills and business etiquette can help or hinder the acquisition and retention of customers.

Why?

Dealing with some types of business problem is relatively easy. 

Obtaining capital injections can typically be achieved through people such as www.wongaforbusiness.com and it’s always possible to take business development advice from centres such as your local chamber of commerce or even the government’s own websites.

Yet business protocols are less frequently discussed – sometimes with potentially disastrous results. 

So, here are a few basic business courtesy tips that it might be advisable to adopt:

  1. stay polite but formal with customers unless you have worked with them for a long time.  That means avoiding immediately starting to use forenames. In fact, you should normally ask the customer if they mind you calling them by their forename before doing so; 
  2. be cautious with humour.  Unless you know the other party well, it is easy to offend or be entirely misunderstood; 
  3. switch your mobile phone off when you are dealing with a customer.  Nothing infuriates people more than when you keep checking your mobile and pushing buttons while they are trying to talk to you about business matters; 
  4. dress smartly.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is old-fashioned. Looking as if you have just come straight off of a demolition site when dealing with customers is hardly likely to fill them with confidence – even if you are trying to sell them demolition services; 
  5. respond promptly to email and phone messages. People typically understand you may not always be able to respond immediately but they will expect at least an acknowledgement of their communication within a sensible time period; 
  6. don’t horse around. You may think your antics are amusing but you may be perceived as being either juvenile or flippant – neither normally considered to be desirable characteristics by customers; 
  7. under no circumstances should you lie to your customers. Leaving aside the ethics of telling lies, human beings can frequently detect when someone is lying to them by their body language, voice patterns or logical inconsistencies / implausibility in the story being told. If something has gone wrong, tell the truth, apologise and put it right quickly – but don’t lie! 

Even in our typically modern and informal world, the above practices will normally be very well received.

Business

Allow me to explain

Legal terms and notions can be difficult to understand if not working in this particular field and dealing with them on a daily basis. That’s why is it useful to do some research in order to understand what you have to resolve and what’s the best way to do so. 

The first term I’d like to discuss is professional negligence. This is closely related to the duty of care between professionals and their clients. Normally, one expects to be treated equitably by others, especially when assistance with legal matters is needed. The situation in which such professionals fail to provide top quality services leads to professional negligence for which they can be held responsible for. The worst case scenario when thinking about neglect is related to medical personnel and doctors. When they do things the wrong way, another person’s life is endangered and that it should not be left unpunished. Nonetheless, when a bank employee miscalculates the rates one has to pay, the financial situation will clearly be affected. But that cannot be compared with being healthy. 

Second in line is interest rate swap miss selling. This occurs when a client or a smaller company aims to borrow a certain amount of money from the bank in order to improve the financial situation and afterwards return the sum within a set period of time. The highest risk when it comes to such loans refers to terms, rates and conditions you are agreeing to when signing the contract. The person working for the bank might fail to provide all the necessary information regarding rate which can be excessively high leading to the client end paying double or even three times more than they originally needed to. Reading everything before signing and agreeing to anything is crucial in order to avoid such errors. When one is involved in such a case, legal action should be taken as soon as possible. 

Proceeding legally means that the client takes the case to court, suing solicitors and attempts to gain compensation for the loss he has suffered due to the mistakes done by employees. The case is then observed and researched by the judge who then decides if it is fair to provide the person pressing charges with certain amounts of money which help recover the financial loss.

Business

The Future of Business

As businesses struggle to cope with an ever changing world it can be hard to predict what the future holds. In any three month period there are normally dozens of political, economic, social and technological changes which can affect the way we do business. 

In March this year Yahoo produced an interesting article (full article click here) where leading journalists from The Telegraph and social media experts were asked to predict where SMEs would be in the next ten years. An almost impossible task you may think but the results were fascinating. Before they started to think ahead they took the time to look back over the last ten years and realised that SME’s in the UK had dealt with some unprecedented challenges including: Eurozone crisis, birth and explosion of Social Media, growth of online shopping, change of government and VAT rates, collapse of the high street banking industry, natural disasters affecting trade and the optimism of London 2012 Olympics.

In the next ten years businesses will certainly face similar challenges and as legislation increases regarding data protection, online shopping continues to grow and managing personal debt becomes an essential problem to tackle it’s bound to affect trade. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is the growth of interactive media solutions in the home, touch screen technology and digital devices evolving at home and in the palm of your hand will increase pressure on businesses to perform. 

The evolution of Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging has made consumers more demanding and impatient than ever before. Businesses must monitor these new channels of communication carefully and decide on their approach to ensure they can preserve their reputations, deliver excellent customer service and offer choice and depth of products to satisfy consumer demand. As the world becomes more advanced the ability to source products globally will increase, this in turn will put pressure on UK businesses to ensure they can keep up on a worldwide stage.

So what can we conclude from these predictions? It seems clear that the business that manage to survive turmoil have several qualities in common; excellent fiscal management, ability to embrace new technology, wisdom to only adopt change when there’s a clear financial or strategic advantage to their business, insight to predict future trends and adapt their business to ensure they survive.