So your business is on the rise, you get more and more customers each month, and people are actively contacting you. Some of them are new prospects, and they want to learn more about your product/service. Others are your existing customers, and they need some advice or help from you as an expert. At first, a mobile phone can be enough to handle all customer queries, but when the amount of calls gets overwhelming, you know it’s time to do something about it, preferably without spending a fortune.
Many business owners are tempted to think it will be enough to hire one person and have them answer calls and messages from customers. You can ask your clients to send you an email or leave a message on Facebook. However, people still prefer to make calls when they have an urgent issue. And at the end of the day, it’s not even about how much one person can handle.
Source: Statista (2016). What are the main drivers of growth within your contact center(s)?
According to the stats, 88% of contact center industry leaders claim customer experience and expectations to be their organization’s main driver of growth. Indeed, if your customer base is large, people will be calling on your inbound line a lot. They will be dialing simultaneously, but they won’t be able to get through all at once if all you have is a mobile phone.
This is a sure way to customer dissatisfaction, and you don’t want that. So here we are again. You do need an IP telephony with multiple channels and a call center software. In fact, it will bring a number of benefits to your company:
● you’ll have your own business phone number;
● you’ll be able to serve multiple clients simultaneously;
● you’ll have a dedicated customer support department, which will release some of your team members from this burden and let them focus on their actual job;
● you’ll enhance your brand image by providing excellent support;
● you’ll constantly receive new data about your leads and customers, and these are by far not the only advantages.
It all sounds great, but it doesn’t look like something you can get for free. However, if you think that setting up your own call center costs a fortune, you’re plain wrong. Indeed, some 10 years ago companies had to buy heavy on-premise equipment and hire extra staff to make it work. Now, you don’t even need to have a separate office space.
Setting up a call center with a minimum investment
VoIP technology combined with cloud-based call center software solutions will do the same job for a much lower cost. In case you want to establish a small support department at your office, all you need is to buy a call center software and a couple of PCs with headsets, ensure a stable internet connection, and then hire a few agents. This will already be much cheaper than the entire on-premise facility. To further reduce the cost, you can outsource a support department. This way, you’ll only need to pay for the service of remote agents. However, there’s a small disclaimer. Although outsourcing is great for such services as consulting, receiving applications, identifying needs and making appointments, it’s not very suitable for more complicated processes like sales of sophisticated products.
Most cloud-based solutions for a call center are very reasonably priced. You only pay for what you use, meaning that there are different service packs and payment plans, so your final paycheck is kinda customizable. In addition, cloud telephony software vendors take up the service and customer support of their product for the entire period of your cooperation for free. This minimum assistance will be enough for a small call center.
For a smooth start of a cloud-based call center, you only need to take three basic steps:
– set up a call center software and connect IP telephony;
– integrate a good CRM system;
– hire in-house or outsource a team of enthusiastic and professional agents.
Call center software and basic settings
First, you’ll need to obtain a virtual phone number that you’ll be using as your business line for incoming and outgoing calls. It will enable you to easily take calls from a smartphone or browser without the limitations of traditional telephony. Combined with functional software, it will allow you not only to answer multiple customers at once, but also to track call history, record conversations, leave voice messages, and much more. It all depends upon the kind of software you choose.
If you reached the point when you need a call center, this means you have people to serve. Some customers will call you multiple times, and they won’t be very thrilled by having to answer the same questions from agents every time they reach out. That’s why you need to integrate a decent CRM system to keep track of all the customer interactions. It’s great if your call center software supports API integration to coordinate multiple apps, but it’s even better if it already has a built-in CRM.
You can purchase software with all features in the world and integrate a CRM so fine it will automatically send out Christmas cards to all your clients, but it won’t do a thing to your business if you hire the wrong people. No matter whether it’s an outsourced support department or an in-house team, you must choose the people who’ll be capable of doing their job well. In reality, it’s almost impossible to find experienced call center agents to match your exact industry, but it is possible to recognize people who are capable of learning, and willing to do so. The essential abilities for a customer support agent include listening skills, patience, a positive attitude, and natural communication.
All in all, setting up a call center these days is not as expensive as it seems. With a little research and dedication, you can easily create a great support department that will become a decent face of your business.
No More Cutting Costs, This App Helped Me Improve My Standard of Living Big Time
I remember reading a quote once, “an empty room is a story waiting to happen, and you are the author.” This quote left behind a lasting influence on my mind and artistic soul. It made me realise how much we influence our surroundings and vice versa.
I started to appreciate the efforts that people put into transforming a house into a warm and loving home. It was almost as if our homes are a reflection of what we are on the inside.
India’s home decor and furnishing market has been flourishing. It was estimated that the sector would have a valuation of about INR 40,000 crores by 2020. Keeping this trend in mind, I decided to jump the bandwagon and kickstart a career in reselling home decor.
My Tryst With Home Decor
I was always fascinated by home improvement projects. It had become an obsession for me to scroll through Pinterest or watch home transformation videos on YouTube.
As much as I liked to watch such home improvement-related content, it was my biggest regret that I could not afford the posh and expensive home decor items.
Living on a shoe-string budget and wanting a dream home was almost an oxymoron. I took up a regular 9 to 5 job and slogged through the years.
I didn’t make a lot, but it was enough o make ends meet. However, through all these struggles, there was always a part of me that nurtured this artistic streak.
In this period, I would often frequent the local handicraft and flea markets to bag some cheap but pretty home decor items. Honestly, these rendezvous were very time consuming, not to forget that these markets were often overcrowded or located in dingy places.
However, it still could not dampen my dream of having a luxurious home with shaggy rugs, silky curtains, and walnut wood furniture.
Once while visiting a mall, I noticed that the home decor items on display were a lot more expensive than the bargains that I scored in the local markets. I saw a similar trend when browsing through online home decor products.
At that very moment, the idea struck me – I wanted to start a business selling home decor products at affordable rates.
Why I Chose Selltm and How it Helped me
I came across the Selltm app while looking for home decor wholesalers. It blew my mind how the app had a wide array of home decor products to meet every homeowner’s needs. Plus, everything was affordable!
The Selltm App was easy to set up and operate. In a couple of clicks, I had created my profile on Selltm and was ready to get selling! There are several reasons why I chose Selltm, but the primary reason remains the same – it had a variety of products at pocket-friendly rates!
All the home decor items available over Selltm were not only a treat to the eye but were high-quality products. How do I know? Because I started my business by purchasing a couple of items for myself! The experience was seamless and hassle-free, while the on-time delivery was excellent too!
After my trial run, I browsed through the collection and created a personalised catalogue for a friend and forwarded it to him over WhatsApp. He was massively impressed by my suggestions and ended up purchasing two items from the catalogue right then and there.
My phone’s notification informing me of my earnings was one of the sweetest sounds that I had ever heard. I almost could not believe that landing an online business was this easy!
Must Read: 20 Most Critical Facts About GST
As a start, I began displaying my catalogues on family WhatsApp groups. I asked my family to share their honest feedback on what they thought of the products.
The response was mostly positive, but the icing on the cake was when a few relatives started placing orders from my link. They got their favourite items at a cheap rate, and I got a cut on their purchase.
To test the waters further, I asked the members of my housing society’s group on whether they would be interested in purchasing home decor items. After receiving an affirmative answer by a few, I created a separate group for the interested individuals and began sharing my catalogue with them.
The society’s WhatsApp group paced things up for me. The cute and trendy home decor products on Selltm were such crowd-favourites that I had to place advance orders and keep stock at home!
In the final stage of setting up my business, I pooled in my office contacts and tried my luck there. And what do you know, my business took off to a whole new level!!!
How to Start Reselling Home Decor
If, like me, you want to get into a business of reselling home decor, here are a few useful tips to help you get started:
- Install Selltm on your phone: I cannot express what a blessing this app was for me right from the day I conceived the idea. The app is loaded with amazing features, and as a seller, you get daily payouts. Buyers get 7-day refunds and COD facility, which keeps them happy.
- Presentation matters: You are not selling a home decor item; you are selling a missing piece of a jigsaw that makes your client’s home complete. Share high-quality product images so that customers can scrutinise it thoroughly before making a purchase.
- Know your audience: As I have stated previously, we like to decorate our homes as per our personal choices. Hence, you wouldn’t recommend something modern and artistic to someone who prefers vintage items, right? Take the time to understand your client.
- Promote your goods: Everyone knows that you sell good stuff, but don’t just stop there! Customers don’t buy home decor products often. However, when they plan on doing so, you should be at the forefront of their minds!
I firmly believe that we are a product of our environment. Several individuals understand this fact and make an effort to create a surrounding that is nurturing. And I am here to help them achieve that.
Thanks to Selltm, I am no longer living from paycheck to paycheck. More importantly, I am finally living the dream of beautifying not only my own home, but everyone else’s too!
5 Interesting Facts about Running a Restaurant
The restaurant industry can seem like a bit of a mystery to those who do not run them. All the moving parts of the business can actually be rather fascinating the more you learn more about it! Are you interested in getting into the industry or even just curious about the ins and outs of a restaurant? Keep reading for some interesting details you might not normally consider affect food businesses!
The Technology Aspect is Actually Pretty Impressive
In today’s modern-day, technology is everywhere, and running a restaurant is no exception. Almost every aspect of your life is aided by technology, and restaurants can also utilize these tools to help to run a smooth and successful business. Without it, sales would not go as smoothly as they do today.
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant and the technology was down. It was hectic, right? You wouldn’t think of it usually, but easy tasks like payments, tracking inventory, and even managing employee schedules are all coordinated through technology. The best pos hardware systems can do all three so restaurants can provide an efficient, streamlined service.
Location is More Important Than You Would Think
It is always a bit annoying to find out that the one restaurant everyone is talking about is completely out of the way. For most restaurants, location is the determining factor for their success. It allows people to reach them conveniently, and if the restaurant is on a main road or busy area, people are more likely just to walk in to be served.
Concept Plays a Large Role in a Restaurant’s Success
Have you ever been to a restaurant that had no specific cuisine? How about a place where the ambiance was all over the place, making for a confusing atmosphere?
Concepts are essential in the success of running a restaurant. Without a cohesive idea for food, location, and overall offering of the business, it is highly likely that the restaurant will not succeed. If you think about it, the restaurants that become well-known are those with a precise concept-such as an Italian restaurant with its food names in Italian, good music, and a traditional Italian dining room that serves food family-style, for example. This is the type of concept that creates an experience that the customer is more likely to enjoy than one that does not focus on one aspect.
The Anticipation of a New Restaurant Is Key
If you are looking to begin in the restaurant business, marketing is vital to your business’ success. Before the doors open, you should be sure to get the word out about your business, especially to places that will promote it. Word-of-mouth marketing works great as well.
The first month is incredibly important to gauge the number of customers you will bring in, as well as identifying any issues that prevent running a smooth operation. Everyone wants to try a new restaurant, so spreading the news of your opening can help to bring in a steady customer base. Who knows, maybe your first customer will be a regular!
Family Can Make or Break Your Business
When it comes to opening a restaurant, it can be tempting to hire those closest to you instead of trying to outsource for employees. While this works in some cases, it is important to remember that your closest relations may not turn out to be your best workers.
Running a restaurant can be challenging to start with, and the last thing you want is for your business to be in peril due to straining relationships. Keep business where business belongs, and personal ties separate.
Of course, it is absolutely possible to work with your family, but tight boundaries should be drawn to ensure a lasting vitality for your business.
Remember to Stay Passionate!
The restaurant business is tough. There will be many highs and lows, and it is easy to get stuck in the mindset that things will not work out the way you envisioned them.
When times like this hit, remember why you started this business in the first place: your passion. Without that, it will be easy to decide to give up. If you have a solid reason and dream for your business and you work toward it every day, along with remembering these five steps, you are sure to find success in your future.
Where Is The Recycled Paper Market Headed In 2020?
The recycled paper market in India has been estimated to grow at a CAGR of the compound annual growth rate of 9.3% according to the market intelligence report by Beroe. As the demand for recycled paper increases, there are chances that the exports will increase. High margins are a driving point for Indian paper mills as these provide them with the opportunity to grow. The recycled paper market in India is fragmented as the mills are located in locations such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh. However, the constant increase in demand shows a bright future for the recycled paper market.
The market drivers are incomes, exports, China ban, and end-use industries. There is expected to be an increase in demand as the disposable income has increased and more people are earning. India exports to the US, Europe, Middle East, and Sri Lanka. As the demand from these regions increases then so will the number of exports of recycled paper. Beroe predicts that the demand will increase further. China has banned waste paper which means it is a big opportunity for India as it can increase the supply. End-use industries such as agriculture, e-commerce, electronics, and FMCG have a high demand for recycled paper.
When it comes to the cost drivers there are four main ones; utility cost, raw material cost, exchange rate, and demand and supply. Utility cost accounts for up to 6% of the production cost and it does impact the price. Paper mills in India use coal for generating electricity. South Africa and Indonesia export coal to India and these prices have increased in the past according to Beroe. The raw material cost is an important one because up to 70% of the production cost is waste paper. When the prices of the waste paper increase, so do the cost of the recycled kraft paper. Hence, any fluctuations in the imported price have an effect on the total price.
The exchange rate impacts the recycled paper market as a stronger dollar will cause the price to change domestically. As the recovered paper prices rates dropped so did the price of the recycled kraft paper. The demand and supply are factors that directly affect cost. When China introduced the waste paper ban then Indian exports increased as the demand increased. Another reason was the US and China trade war that caused an increase in demand for recycled paper. Since 2018 there has been a steady increase in demand for recycled kraft paper. Many countries in Africa, China, and the Middle East saw an increase in demand. These affect the cost of recycled paper.
India imports about 40% of the waste paper from the US, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the UAE. The reason is the increase in domestic demand and the growth of the economy. According to Beroe, the prices of raw materials stabilized which lead to a stabilization in recycled paper. Earlier, one of the paper industry trends was the high cost of raw materials which led to high prices of recycled paper. In 2017, there was an increase of 3.6% in imports because of the hiked prices. Although the paper mills had low demands at the time, things fell back into place after the prices went back to normal. India’s kraft market share has improved now.
While this may seem like a positive outlook there are some challenges along the way. The plastic packaging market is growing at a faster rate than the recycled paper market. The paper industry is constantly changing and evolving. While the demand for graphic paper has slowed down, sustainable packaging and digitalization are providing more opportunities. Changing the way people shop has provided a boost for recycled kraft paper as people are more comfortable with the recycled paper used for packaging. This has increased the demand for recycled kraft paper even further as more and more industries are adopting this approach.
The paper industry outlook is positive globally and there are chances that innovation will further accelerate the growth of the recycled paper market. Technological processes can be used to improve the manufacturing processes and make them increasingly efficient compared to how things are done now on a global scale. For example, digital manufacturing processes can be put in place and this can positively impact the recycled paper industry in a big way. Another example is the use of mill automation that can lead to improvement. Moreover, responding to the changing demand in the market will help the recycled paper industry to grow faster and meet the increasing demand.
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