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.
4 Ways to Make Your Cannabis Dispensary More Profitable
The cannabis market is one of the fastest-growing businesses worldwide, but for dispensary owners, the proof of success is in the profits. Also, the success of a cannabis dispensary is reliant upon a regular flow of loyal customer base. And in these times, a business owner can not only rely on in-store purchases but must have a multifaceted sales strategy to help your business succeed.
Although medicinal marijuana is now considered essential and demand for its products is higher than ever, realities like marketing limitations can make it difficult for your business to excel, especially when talking about today’s digital environment. However, dispensary owners can make their operations more efficient and successful by utilizing some essential cannabis dispensary profit strategies.
In this article, you’ll learn how to minimize costs, build the average cart size for each customer, avoid out-of-stock inventory, and increase customer base and product range. Let’s begin:
Minimize Operational Costs
Operational costs are the first place you need to look when the profits are not according to your expectations. Expenses like rent and utilities are unavoidable, but many other costs are within a business owner’s control and should be adjusted and reviewed regularly. Utilizing your dispensary point of sale system to find sales information and which products are in high demand is a great way to manage your expenses. Additionally, staying up-to-date with sales reports and inventory data facilitates owners to find out and eliminate slow-moving products. As a result, you free up money to invest in a product range in high demand and sell better with higher profit margins.
Additionally, by working with a well-designed POS reporting system, you will find that it helps you optimize your inventory management and valuation while helping you minimize operating costs simultaneously.
Bump up Your Online Presence
Your website and social media presence are most likely the first points of contact with your customers in this day and age. And when you have an eCommerce platform to sell your products, you have already taken the most crucial step towards increasing your profits. Also, designing a successful social media strategy is equally important to connect with your target audience.
By enhancing your online presence, you’ll be making your buyer’s journey more engaging and interactive. Make sure you regularly update your social media pages, publish SEO-optimized content on your website, and share newsletters with your customers. Implementing all these strategies will help your customers to remain aware and loyal to your brand. Therefore it becomes crucial to bump up your online presence and provide your customers with an omnichannel buying experience.
Avoid Inventory Stockout
Dispensary owners utilizing POS (point of sales) data to keep track of store trends should also keep a close eye on future inventory stockouts. Running out of stock of a particular item tells a customer that you can’t help them, giving birth to a missed opportunity and telling them you cannot help them. As a result, they go elsewhere and never come back to your facility.
On the other hand, if you review sales data regularly and make sure you have plenty of inventory to satisfy the demands of your customers, you will always make your customers happy. To avoid inventory stockout, you must place additional items according to the need or limit customer purchase until fresh inventory arrives.
Provide Customers With Delivery and Pickup Services
Cannabis consumers are always looking for safer and convenient buying options. With delivery and pickup services, you satisfy this need and help generate your business better revenue. And as more states in the US offer dispensary licenses to dispensary owners, you can’t afford to miss out on this opportunity to win more customers for your business. Moreover, providing this kind of service to your customers will be appreciated by your customers and add more value to your business while ensuring safe transactions.
Additionally, a store or curbside facility is an essential service that you need to provide on your website, so your customers can schedule a pickup whenever they can or need to. However, when you are new to cannabis delivery services, make sure you follow all the local rules and regulations and have a trustworthy delivery partner that offers quick delivery options to your customers. Providing your customers with fast delivery options will help you in earning more profits for your business. Additionally, if you find a reliable delivery partner that ensures quicker and safer delivery to your customers, you’ll be adding more to the goodwill of your cannabis dispensary. And that is a great way to increase your profits and your customers.
Helping your brand grow is not always easy. However, some essential pointers can help you achieve the desired goals for your business. The methods mentioned above will serve you that purpose and help you make your dispensary more profitable in the long run.
Choosing The Right Low Melting Point Alloys For Your Small Business
Are you struggling to find the right alloy for the business? Whether it’s a small or large company, you need the proper equipment to create products.
Every manufacturer relies on the best quality materials to make equipment, parts, and products for a small business. During assembly procedure, those materials need to be joined as a tight seal, molded in the required structure, or bent correctly without breaking. For this delicate task, most manufacturers prefer low melting point alloys. But why?
Low melt alloy, also knows as fusible alloy, melts at a low temperature (below 300ºF) than solder alloy. Its chemical composition turns metals into liquid or semi-liquid form first and re-solidify later. Therefore, working with these alloys is helpful to fuse or mold different parts at the lowest temperature.
However, depending on the application, choosing the right low melting point alloys for your small business is important. In order to maintain the durability and strength of the cast or fused part, make sure you get the correct alloy. That’s why as a business owner, you need knowledge about low melt alloys in the market.
Don’t worry. This article presents you with some popular alloys to guide you through.
Low Melting Point Alloys For Small Business- An Overview
Although there are various options for low melt alloys, certain characteristics restrict their usage. The melting point, reactivity, toxicity, or brittleness are the main factors you need to consider before choosing.
Moreover, fusible alloys are typically made of some post-transition metals like zinc, tin, gallium, antimony, bismuth, cadmium, etc. Manufacturing companies use many of these elements as additives while creating a low melting alloy. Additionally, some centrifugal casting equipment over the final product protects it from damage, ensuring more life span.
Let’s discuss some common alloys.
- Tin-based: In tin-based low melting point alloy, more than 50% major element is tin. Most manufacturers prefer this due to its malleability and ductility properties. Correspondingly the metal can be precast and reshaped without crumbling.
Pewter is the most popular tin alloy for decades. However, many other tin sheet metals suppliers provide high-quality and custom tin materials. They have wide application areas like coating for food containers, automobile parts, etc.
- Indium-based: These alloys can wet and adhere to both metallic or non-metallic surfaces like ceramic, glass, and gold. Moreover, indium-based low melt alloys have ductile features providing a wide range of melting points and fatigue resistance. For this reason, manufacturers use such alloys for bonding and sealing applications.
- Gallium-based: They have more than 50% gallium as a major constituent. Due to its very low melting point, even in unalloyed form, gallium melts on your hand at normal temperature. Additionally, gallium alloys can also wet metallic and non-metallic surfaces like glass and ceramic. That’s why these are generally used for thermal management purposes, like in semi-conducting applications.
- Bismuth-based: Bismuth-based low melting point alloy is desirable due to its unique characteristics. The pure bismuth can expand up to 3.3% during melting and solidifying. Henceforth, manufacturers prefer such alloy where necessary expansion or shrinkage of a product is desirable.
Additionally, bismuth is less ductile or brittle and has lower thermal conductivity than tin. Also, it costs less than the other low melt alloys. Not to mention, its toxicity level is lower for humans. That’s why they can be used clinically to treat many diseases.
On a final note, before choosing the right low melting point alloy for your small business, determine its purpose. If you’re in jewelry making business, you can’t use an alloy expanding too much. Therefore, you need to study the characteristics of each alloy carefully.
Further, you need to pay attention to its strength, flexibility, elongation, and tolerance with the temperature variations. Some alloys liquify instantly, whereas some go through a semi-liquid state before the manufacturer can mold it.
In addition, low melting alloys changes in density during solidifying. Such as, bismuth-based alloy expands greatly in the liquid state but gets dense in its solid form. In order to resist the severe thermal expansion of the metal, selecting the proper low melt alloy is vital for your business.
Learn How To Streamline Your Business Processes To Make IFTA Reporting Convenient
The processes and regulations of a trucking business are as complex and intricate as the size of the business itself. It is not possible for a single person or a small team to oversee and run everything in a trucking company. So, any small upgrade or tool that would help in making the business processes easier is readily absorbed by the industry as long as they are economical.
When the IFTA was created in the 1900s, it was aimed to:
- Quickly and effortlessly log data
- Eliminate extra personnel.
- Set up a clear process.
- Automate repetitive tasks.
- Help keep things organized.
A wave of happiness flowed across all personnel in the trucking industry. It had just made many of the processes and documentation that much smoother.
Also Check: 20 Most Critical Facts About GST
What is the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)?
IFTA was created in 1996. It stands for the International Fuel Tax Agreement.
According to the South Carolina Legislature, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an organization of states and the Canadian provinces under which the fuel use tax obligations of interstate and international motor carriers are administered.
Motor carriers across the country had to maintain a report of the miles they drove and how much fuel they consumed all the time. This was particularly bothersome when carriers had to constantly cross different state borders.
Before the IFTA was created, the trucking company had maintained tremendous amounts of documents, paperwork, unit conversions and much more every time their trucks drove across different jurisdictions in order to file the fuel tax reports, i.e., each jurisdiction had its own rules and regulations for filing the fuel tax reports. This meant the vehicles also required multiple fuel tax licenses.
The creation of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) in 1996 brought together 48 states of the United States of America (USA) and 10 provinces of Canada together to enable trucking companies to file their fuel taxes under a single license. This saved the trucking companies a lot of time and money. Visit Samsara for the complete list of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) member jurisdictions.
Some jurisdictions where the IFTA credentials are now valid are Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.
Despite all of this, there can sometimes be mistakes in the IFTA reporting process. But the quest for perfection never stops.
So, what are some ways that can help to make the reporting more convenient? An effective way to go to the roots of the problem – Business Processes. Streamlining business processes has the potential to substantially improve efficiency and speed of any associated task, and filing IFTA reports is no exception.
Streamline Your Business Processes
By undertaking simple, yet significant measures, business processes can be effectively streamlined to make the reporting process of IFTA buttery smooth. Their benefitting consequences result in making the IFTA reporting process more convenient.
Here are 5 measures that you can take:
1. Process Monitoring and Control
Process monitoring and control can radically transform the way your business works. It brings with it:
- The motivation to collaborate.
- Improvements in team management.
- Enhancements in communication, visibility, and transparency.
- Advanced data analytics, pattern recognition, and more.
- Ease of data access, transmission, and maintenance across people and platforms.
- Automation of repetitive tasks and periodic error corrections.
- Design and form tools to customize dashboards and profiles.
- Safety and security from hacks and data breaches.
2. Maintaining an Accurate Record of the Miles
Maintaining a record of the miles and fuels consumed is vital to file the IFTA reports.
You might be tempted to provide a rough estimate of the fuel consumed, and miles driven as the tax filing deadline closes in on you. But do not make this mistake, because the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requires you to be as accurate as possible. Failing to do so can put your company and the fleet at the risk of an audit.
3. Good GPS Tracking
The incorporation of a good GPS vehicle tracker will surely benefit in the long term if not in the short term. Samsara’s GPS tracking helps to provide real-time vehicle visibility. This reduces the scope for any falsification.
The benefits of GPS tracking are not just limited to real-time vehicle tracking and visibility, but also extend to the following:
- Optimization of routes to improve efficiency and decrease time.
- Improving security to lower the risks of losing assets.
- Improving customer service by providing features such as live sharing.
- Reducing costs by providing insights to help make better decisions.
4. Using ELD and Fleet Management Software
Failure to file reports on time can cost you a lot. They can result in the suspension of the license or heavy fines for the company. However, paperwork is tiring, uninteresting, time-consuming, and repetitive.
Turning towards technology to track vehicles, miles, and fuel purchases can do wonders in making the experience of filing tax reports effortless by seamlessly integrating into your workflow to improve efficiency, strengthen safety and ensure compliance.
Modern innovations in the logistics industry, like ELD compliance solutions and fleet management software, made the process faster, streamlined, and efficient.
5. Using A Dedicated IFTA Software
A dedicated IFTA software will help you ease many things starting from:
- Maintaining a directory and organizing all your fuel receipts.
- Accurate and updated logs.
- Recording all the miles driven.
This will help you file reports faster and better.
It is not easy to log each and every small and minute mile of your truck. A dedicated IFTA software takes care of them for you by helping you log data incrementally without any hassle.
The aforementioned processes will have thoroughgoing reforms in your business to make IFTA tax filing and reporting more convenient than ever before.
Modern technological innovations improve speed, efficiency, increase accuracy, decrease errors (especially human errors) and ensure compliance to the Hours of Service (HOS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
This article helps guide you through a process that can otherwise seem intimidating and can become a challenge.
All of this works in synergy to eliminate paperwork and repetition, enabling you to dexterously file quarterly IFTA reports for your company.
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