As we are entering a new realm of cloud-based internet services, we are seeing the disappearance of installed software. It is now believed that the convenience and ease of these on-line services will eventually lead to software being sold as a service as opposed to as a product.
This SaaS (Software as a Service) approach is being embraced by businesses and industries of every type and size for a number of compelling reasons:
When you use web-based software there are no upfront costs or investments needed - you no longer need to buy multiple software packages for all of the desktops used in your business. Ongoing costs are also minimized as the provider of your online service is taking care of any maintenance issues. With traditional software you might need to install additional hardware to support the program adding to the overhead.
Web-based programs are typically sold as a monthly service that can be absorbed into your company budget. Most are very low cost and will even offer features that allow you to pay per use as opposed to a monthly plan. DialMyCalls is a great example of this. You can use the web-based notification system completely free, or you can buy credits that allow you to send messages via phone call, text message or email. You control how much you pay each month, if anything.
Everyone has experienced issues with software programs installed on hard drives that suddenly stop functioning right. Not only is this effecting the productivity of your business, it is costing you more money to have fixed. On top of that is having to ensure that everyone is running the same versions of the installed programs. With a web-based program the entire business is utilizing the exact same programming tools at all times.
Web-based software is also faster than your typical boxed set. Access is easy and can be adjusted to suit the needs of your business as you see fit. Take for example the web based notification system offered by DialMyCalls, it is a high speed service that thanks to its location online can be accessed through your mobile phone, laptop or desktop. You will not get that type of flexibility and efficiency from an installed broadcasting service.
The flexibility of web-based software allows employees to work in and out of the office with ease. They see what you see so there is no worrying over missed data or miscommunications. Most of this innovative software also encourages on-line chatting among users as well as messaging services. This helps to encourage your teams to work together making for a more productive work environment.
When you use an online software program there is no worrying about the security of the information being stored there. These sites are protected by sophisticated programs to ensure that your data is safe. As an administrator, you have the power to control which users are able to access what information, eliminating the fear of an employee accidentally falling into confidential information.
Now is the time to consider upgrading your company to web-based services. As an administrator you will have the ability to track your employees progress. Productivity is increased while at the same time you are saving your business a lot of money.
Staying in touch with your class room parents and maintaining positive communication is a top priority for every teacher. You can make it easy on yourself and the parents by using modern methods like SMS text messaging regularly. By setting in place clear lines of communication from the start of the school year you can expect a supportive group of parents who are willing to work with you in educating their children.
The First Week
In order to effectively use SMS text messaging to stay in touch with your student's parents, you will first need to ask for mobile phone numbers. Use open house night at school as your opportunity to first broach the subject of text messaging with the parents and ask that they provide you with the information you need. You will be surprised at the large number of parents who will show enthusiasm for your innovative approach to staying in touch with them.
Getting Set Up
Once you have the phone numbers you need, you can add them to your DialMyCalls account. Make them a special group to make it even easier when you want to send a message. Have fun with the first message by sending a welcome SMS broadcast, thanking them for their cooperation with your communication efforts. Also remind them to make a note of unique SMS keyword for future communications. This message should go out within two days of your initial meeting.
Keeping parents up to date on what is going on in the classroom helps to foster the teacher-parent relationship. Have a message ready for the end of the day every Friday that lets the parents know how the week went for their children. Highlight one or two activities and mention any pending assignments that may need to be done over the weekend. This not only gives the parent an idea of how school is going, it could serve as a basis for a dialogue with him and his child.
Parents and teachers both know that kids are notorious for waiting until the last minute. Especially when they need special items to make a school project. Stay one step ahead of your students by sending your parents a monthly shopping list of what their children will need to complete assignments.
Two-Way Text Messaging
DialMyCalls offers 2-way SMS texting that can further engage parents in classroom activities. If you need volunteers for an upcoming field trip or would like ideas for improving spelling scores you could pose the question to the parents in a SMS text message and then track the answers from your account. You benefit by getting the support you need from the parents and they benefit by being able to actively participate in their child's education. Most importantly, the students benefit by having the advantage of a classroom that is focused on their best interest.
Being consistent and positive with your school text messaging ensures that they will be well received all year long. Use them to create parent-teacher relationships whose main purpose is to foster the growth and education of your students.
The new revolution of business has become faceless. With the amount of sales being done online and through phones it has become difficult to retain customers with a friendly smile and hand shake. Today's retail and service industry has to be creative and use modern technology to build and then retain a strong customer base. Not just one that keeps coming back, but one that will also feel so good about you that they refer you to their friends.
The most effective way of retaining customer loyalty is to gently remind them of your goods or services. This can be done discreetly and without being obtrusive using a customer notification system. Unlike push notifications, automated customer notifications can relay a sense of personalization that is more appealing in this cold computer age.
Let your customers know that you offer automated notifications via phone call or text message and have them opt-in to receive those messages. Opting in can be done via SMS keyword for text messages or by having them agree to receive the phone calls with a sign up form on your website or in your store.
The most obvious text message you can send to a group of your consumers would be to inform them of a sale or special offer that is just for them. To make yours stand out against your competitors make sure it has a personal touch.
- Make the automated text message relevant to the customer. If you are a clothing store, don't send messages to the men in your contact list about a sale on skirts and dresses and vice versa. This shows you are not paying attention to your clients. Organize your contacts into specific groups so that you can choose the right recipients for the right promotions.
Consider Your Customers Other Interests
Not every interaction with your customers should be centered around sales. Otherwise you may be perceived as pushy rather than engaging.
- Try and find other topics that may interest them based on your goods or services. For example, a small sporting goods store could send a text message mentioning an upcoming 5K race in the area or the opening of a new sports center.
Reminder messages via text message or phone call can be very helpful to busy customers.
- Service based businesses can use automated customer notifications to remind their customers about making maintenance appointments or preparing for changing seasons. A pool cleaning company for example could send out a message in May reminding their customers to schedule their pool opening appointments before the weather gets hot.
To better understand the wants and needs of your customers, you should always invite them to share feedback.
- With telephone polling available through DialMyCalls' customer notification system you can easily ask your customers to take a few moments and answer some questions about their experience with your store. You could even offer a coupon as an incentive to participate. This will not only generate much needed feedback, the coupon will bring the customer to your store where you need them most.
The overall goal of staying in contact with your customers is to keep their business and hopefully have them recommend you to others. Engage with them in ways that show that you see them as more than just another consumer and you will build a better business based on loyalty and respect.
Any professional or personal service company can benefit from an appointment reminder service. The bottom line is a suddenly empty slot in your daily appointment calendar is hurting your bottom line. One easy way around this is by using an automated service that can remind them of the date and time scheduled for your next appointment.
The industry being hurt most by missed appointments is the medical industry. Patient no-shows and late call outs can be as high as 8%. Patients may not realize that they are costing you money when they don't show up because they are not considering the overhead costs that it takes to run your office. If you are finding that you have blocks of unprofitable free time throughout the day due to missed appointments, you should be considering implementing an appointment reminder service to help eliminate them.
Automated phone messages can serve as a reminder of the details of your scheduled appointment. The message should be short and to the point, mentioning the purpose of the appointment, the date and the time. You could also politely mention other useful information such as if they are a no-show how they will be billed.
Schedule your voice message to go out at 48 hours before the scheduled appointment time. Mention that in order to avoid being charged as a no-show they should let your office know no less than 24 hours ahead of time if they need to reschedule and give them a phone number to call to do that. Or better yet, ask them to answer yes or no to the question of whether they can be expected to show up. A telephone polling feature offered by an appointment reminder service like DialMyCalls can track the response for you and send it straight to your account.
If they answer no, or call and cancel on time then you have time to fill a slot that they have now vacated.
Other businesses need this type of appointment reminding system as well. Nail and beauty salons lose money on walk-ins when they hold a spot for a customer who made an appointment and then fails to show up. Law offices too are plagued with clients not showing up for scheduled meetings, potentially costing the attorney hundreds of dollars in fees he or she could have been collecting.
Appointment reminding with recorded messages will also improve the way an office is run and make it more pleasurable for clients who do show up on time. To combat missed appointments, many offices will overbook time slots, anticipating that a certain percentage will not show up. This leaves clients in the waiting room longer then they should be, causing delays that could take hours to catch up on.
It is an unfortunate fact of business that the occasional client is going to completely forget about a scheduled appointment. Your client's lives are probably busy too and it could be easy to overlook a visit to the doctor's office or an appointment to get your hair dyed. You can substantially decrease the odds of missed appointments by sending clients a polite automated appointment reminder beforehand. At the time of scheduling the appointment, let your patient/customer know that they can give you their phone number to opt-in to receiving a reminder call and/or text regarding their upcoming appointment - of course they always do have the option of opting out of any appointment reminders from you.
When a product is suddenly found to be dangerous to the public, getting that information out to the public quickly is of utmost importance. Especially when it involves food items. A product recall is enacted when the discovery of a safety issue or product defect is discovered. The public is then encouraged to return the product back to its producer.
As soon as a safety issue is detected, stores and distributors are alerted to remove the product from the shelves immediately. This process can take time as the initial notification is usually made as a press release. Manufacturing companies could do a better job of protecting consumers by broadcasting a phone call or text message to the affected outlets.
While not every business has access to live radio or T.V. during the day, they all will be accessible by phone. This makes the automated product recall notice a more viable means of communication during this critical time. Manufacturers who need to pull a product quickly can accomplish this more effectively with a phone call or text message.
For the message system to work, a company would need to have developed a database of all of their distributor's phone numbers and import it into a service like DialMyCalls. If the information is available, they should also store any phone numbers from their customers. These could found by using credit card applications and payments as well information from customer satisfaction surveys - customers can be made aware that they are opting in to receive emergency alerts in the event of a product recall.
In the past years, there have been major recalls on such items as baby foods and juices. A manufacturer would want those products gone from the shelves as soon as possible. Since the numbers are already stored in their DialMyCalls account, they simply would have to record one message and it would be sent to everyone in their contact list. Furthermore, they will receive a report showing how many of those calls made it to an actual person. This allows the company to quickly follow up with another round of calls to those distributors who did not answer or receive the initial message.
Time is of the essence in these situations, and everyone involved needs to act as quickly as possible. DialMyCalls is the perfect solution for these types of situations. The faster you act, the less likelihood that an innocent consumer will be harmed. By sending the product recall notice out quickly, and therefore preventing consumer's access to it, you are not only protecting your clients from harm, you are protecting your business from potential legal action against you.
This technology can also be utilized in other types of product recalls that don't involve food. For example, you could encourage consumers to fill out customer information cards when they buy your product. This way, if a recall on a part of your product or the entire thing is necessary, you have a bank of communication information that can put you in direct contact with the consumer.
This can be extremely useful in products that are manufactured specifically for safety purposes, such as infant car seats.
As the benefits of using automated product recalls become more evident, expect to see more manufacturers taking advantage of services like DialMyCalls to protect their consumers from defective products.
Learning how to organize and execute an effective meeting is a skill that is often overlooked by executives and managers. The end result being a large group of employees who walk away from the meeting without taking in any of the important points. A company meeting should be more than just an exchange of information, it should be used as an opportunity to inspire and motivate your employees to perform at a higher level.
Whether a general staff meeting, problem solving meeting or company goal meeting there is a basic outline a leader should be following to make it as much of a success as possible:
Who Is Invited?
Just like a party, you want to make sure that the right group or groups of employees are asked to participate.
- It might seem obvious, but many company meetings are unproductive due to the right groups of people not being asked to participate. Give a lot of thought to what the goal of the meeting is and exactly who will be affected by it. It is better to have employees there who might not need to be, then to miss out on the chance to relay information to a group that needs it the most.
The tone you set with the announcement of your meeting will carry over into the meeting itself.
- As soon as you have settled on who needs to attend your meeting, send out an announcement. The most effective way to do this is with DialMyCalls' staff notification service. Choose the groups from your stored contacts data base and then record a simple message letting them know about the upcoming event.
- Use your own voice on your recording and make sure that as you talk about the meeting you are upbeat and positive. Your excited tone of voice will relay over well and get your employees interested in what you have to say.
- Don’t bore them with agendas at this time. The first call should be basic information only. Where, when and what time followed by an enthusiastic "I look forward to seeing you there!" should suffice.
- Two days before the meeting send a text message reminder. Again relay excitement but also be more specific about what will be discussed and what, if anything, the employees should bring with them. If there are different needs for different groups you can personalize the text messages by managing your contact lists.
Getting Your Meeting Started
Make sure that you are well rested and well presented for your meeting. This invokes a feeling that you care about the information you are about to relay to your employees.
- Always start on time. It is very disrespectful to those who arrive promptly if you make them wait for those who didn’t.
- Give a warm welcome and thank everyone for coming.
- Give a brief review of the agenda and hand out any pertinent paperwork at the beginning. This will save time during the meeting.
Keep an Eye on Your Watch
Just like you had a set time to start your meeting, you should have a planned completion time.
- A manager who allows a meeting to run too long is going to lose his employees interest, no matter how captivating he or the subject matter is. If the circumstances call for a unusually long meeting be sure that you have planned break times at opportune moments.
- To keep the meeting from running over time, keep focus and maintain your momentum. If you feel like the main goal of the meeting has gotten off track quickly redirect the conversation back to your purpose.
A Strong Close
You should always end a meeting on a high note.
- Sincerely thank everyone for attending and participating.
- Ask one last time if there are any questions or concerns.
- Use the last couple of minutes to point out any individuals or groups whose work has recently stood out as superior. Saving this for the end will make a lasting impression and serve to motivate those not mentioned to try better for next time.
The most engaging leaders are those who show a true passion in what they do and want to share that passion with others. When you have a message that needs to be relayed to a large number of your employees, let that enthusiasm show from the very beginning.
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