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[Event Recap]: Education & Healthcare Security Forum | Dallas, TX | April 2016

The Education & Healthcare Security Forum hosted approximately 315 one-on-one meetings at the Sheraton Dallas on April 25th and 26th,2016. Executives from companies including Colorado State University Police Department, Children's Specialized Hospital, Dallas County Hospital District Police, Henderson State University, Mission Regional Medical Center and South San Antonio ISD connected for informative meetings with solution providers, seminars and networking opportunities.

Face-to-face meetings kicked off promptly on Monday morning and ran throughout the next day and a half, separated by meals and seminars. "The one-on-one meetings with vendors allowed me to ask questions that pertained to my particular facility without interrupting or listening to others who had different needs than my own. The time allowed for these meetings was just right, enough to demonstrate the need for the product without it really being a sales pitch," explained an attendee from Hendriz College. Speakers including Tim Grosse, George Belich and Dominick Armato led discussions on energy management, capital forecasting and operational efficiency.

Prime networking continued into the evening with a gala dinner and casino games overlooking the stunning Dallas skyline. 

After a fun evening, attendees reconnected on Tuesday morning for more face-to-face meetings and additional seminars, ending with a closing lunch.

For more information, or to attend future events, contact VP of Operations Rob Muise here.


'Tis the Season: Holiday Season Productivity Tips

We are officially in the midst of the holiday season, which means that the art of balancing the stress of gift giving and entertaining with life at the office is being tested. According to the American Management Association, about two-thirds of 600 full-time employees surveyed said they experienced stress during the holiday season. 44 percent of executives similarly say productivity decreases during the holiday season. Workplace consultant Anne Grady says that employee frustration doesn’t come from having too much to do, but rather from unclear expectations. So how can we balance work and play this holiday season? Here are just a few tips:

1. Know and Balance Your Stressors

One of the biggest problems with the holidays is an overload of personal to-do lists interfering with the growing office to-do list. If you’re having a panic moment, regroup and make a list of what takes priority. Dedicate specific times to get your to-do list done and keep your work and personal list separate.

2. Get Flexible At Work

Employers can help boost productivity during work hours by compromising. Understanding the needs of employees can create a better environment and boost numbers over the holiday season. Managers should consider easing up on restrictions during this time of the year, offering incentives for good work and should the question arise – beware of opportunities to work from home. While groveling employees may be a temporary hassle, it’s worth it to keep customers happy.

3. Coordinate Calendars

This is optimal time for PTO. Beware that you don’t cut yourself short in the office by being too vacation happy. Make sure that calendars are aligned and the team understands the needs of the workplace in terms of absences and vacation days. Keep a shared calendar so that if there are any discrepancies – you don’t corner yourself too late.

4. Don’t obsess about hours

You’ve set a plan, you’ve set time off dates, and you’re giving your employees some leg room. Don’t stress about employees taking an extended lunch break or coming in a few minutes late, just be aware of their deadlines and work. If employees are not getting their work done, regardless of their time in the office, you will know and be able to act accordingly.

5. Relax!

Tensions in the office this season will show in your customer appreciation. Relax and remember now is the time to be grateful and enjoy your company and work friends. Setting a healthy environment is key to a positive holiday season.


7 Tips for Appointment-Based Networking


Appointment-based events challenge a traditional trade show in the sense that your presence matters. While sitting across from a potential client or solution provider, your interactions are vital to build a working relationship that will benefit you both. Event organizers work diligently to make meaningful introductions with the potential to build future business relations – we make the connection, the rest is up to you. Here are just a few tips to make your networking at these events a success:

1. Attend Your Meetings!

You wouldn't sign up for speed dating, and then stand up your date, so attend your business meetings as though your love life depends on it. Standing up a potential client or solution provider is not only rude, but it’s also a bad representation of your company. At an appointment-based event, you are meeting face-to-face with elite business professionals – a quality meeting like this is rare and deserves attention.

2. Ditch the Sales Pitch

Appointment-based events are a ‘no-hard sell’ zone. Networking at these events is primarily about building relationships rather than immediate sales. People do business with people they like – get to know the person you could potentially work with and their company, then pursue a working relationship.

3. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is key when meeting new people, especially in a business setting where you are learning about their company. The more you ask, the clearer vision you will have, and even more importantly – the better conversation you will have! The more you learn, the better advice and solutions you can give and as Joshua Krane, the CEO at Ciplex says, “If someone likes them [your ideas], chances are they will hire you to execute them.”

4. Listen!

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Listening on both sides of the table is effective in identifying needs and finding solutions. As Megan Duckett of Sew What, Inc.? said, “Not every communication is an opportunity to blow your own business trumpet. Sometimes you may find yourself sharing information about another company or service that you have heard of.” Listen, learn and find solutions.

5. Relax & Enjoy the Experience

An appointment-based event is a less stressful environment. You are not overwhelmed by booths and numerous representatives, it is an intimate and luxurious experience designed so that business executives can have productive and quality meetings. These events are also jam-packed with other networking activities, all of which take place in a beautiful venue. Enjoy it – because a month down the line, when you reconnect with your new contacts, you will have a shared experience to build the foundation of a fruitful business relationship.

6. Smile!

The energy at these events is electric – a positive attitude and approachable demeanor is vital! Again, people do business with people they like – so be likable, polite and have meaningful meetings – whether you think there’s a business relationship to be had or not, a positive representation goes a long way!

7. Follow Up If You Say You Will

If you tell someone you’re going to email them, email them. If you say you’ll reach out to them via phone, call them. From beginning to end, leave a lasting impression – make your attendance work for you and follow up with your new business connections promptly. 

 


The Pulse of Social Media

Change is coming for the customer service world. A recent study found 50 percent of consumers prefer using social media to reach their service provider than calling a contact center. Long gone are the social media skeptics as large, growing companies turn to these outlets for customer engagement, lead generation and brand development.

Amdocs found using social media as a platform for customer service is beneficial for multiple reasons: one, it cuts down on call center costs, and two, it improves the customer experience by boosting engagement. Emerging software connects customers’ social media identities to their profiles stored in the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Using and managing the data from social media outreach, companies are able to analyze trends and media shouts, identifying and resolving problems in just moments.

Contact Center software like Five9 is constantly introducing new technology that includes social media integration and social engagement tools. To prove that social media is here to stay – Five9’s Summer Release 2014 raised $73 million.

In a study by BI Intelligence, they found that social activity is the top internet activity. This means that Americans spend more time on social media than any other major internet activity – including email. Of that time, 60% of social media is accessed on smartphones and tablets, not desktop computers. Of the social media networks, Facebook attracts roughly seven times the engagement that Twitter does, meaning that user interaction on Facebook is more influential.

Here are some key facts regarding social media in the customer service world and correlating tips to improve the consumer experience:

  • Speedy Response: 52 % of consumers expect a response within 30 minutes of their social media contact, but only 24 % of service providers say they respond within that timeframe.
  • Invest in a CRM system with innovative social media software: 64 % of customers say they would be willing to share their social identity with their service provider, in return for better service and 48 % would like to receive relevant, personalized offers from their service provider via social media.
  • Link customers to their virtual identity: There’s still plenty of room for improvement in the social media world – 93 % of service providers say they cannot identify customers from their social media profiles and 64 % of service providers do not store social media interactions in their CRM database.

“When people take to Twitter or Facebook to ask questions, or worse yet, complain about their service provider, that’s an opportunity the service provider can take to proactively resolve that customer’s issue – if they know that customer’s real identity.”
- Rebecca Prudhomme, VP Product and Solution Marketing at Amdocs

For more information on customer service via social networks, check out the infographic below.

 

Click to Enlarge Image

The Industries With the Most Customer Complaints — Brought To You By Desk.com
 
 

When (Corporate) Social Media Goes Horribly Wrong


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