No two words spoken at home can cause the paradox that "snow day" does. Kids are thrilled to learn they get to enjoy a free day off from school, while mom and dad are terrified to find out they have an unscheduled day where they must provide entertainment at home. Take the terror out of a snow day alert by being prepared with some entertaining ways to keep the kids from burning up with cabin fever:
1) Let the Morning Pass By Slowly
Embrace the impromptu day off with nothing planned, and stay toasty in your pajamas for a few extra hours. Let the kids turn the living room into a campsite using blankets and couch cushions. Drag out the sleeping bags and spend the better part of the snowy morning just snuggling, telling stories and snacking on foods that are normally a no-no in the morning.
2) Frolic in the Snow
Midday is the best time to get out into fresh snow, as this is likely going to be the warmest part of the day. Pile on the winter gear and let the kids burn off their energy outside. You have to shovel your driveway anyway, so why not let them build a snowman or make snow angels alongside you. Bigger kids can even help with the shoveling task, giving you some free time to throw a snowball or two before it's time to head back inside.[click to continue...]
As we've said time and time again on our blog, communication is key to just about everything in a small business. No matter what line of work you're in, open and honest communication can help boost employee engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and boost profits!
In the spirit of helping your business succeed, we're back with another article to help you communicate more effectively in the workplace. In this blog, we'll look at the importance of feedback, and establishing a "feedback culture" for your small business.
Establishing a great feedback culture helps employees understand how they're doing - both where they're excelling and where they need improvement. It also promotes a healthier, more constructive working environment. So read on, and see how you can improve your business!
1. Ditch Annual Performance Reviews
Annual performance reviews have been used in businesses for decades - but research has indicated that they can actually impact employee satisfaction negatively!
Not only that, HR managers say that annual performance reviews “take up too much time” - and only 6% of all HR professionals think that their performance review system is "useful".
More and more companies are choosing to ditch annual performance reviews for either periodic or project-based reviews.
Periodic reviews usually occur every couple months, and are much less involved than a yearly performance review. This helps employees keep track of their progress over a shorter period of time, and get more regular feedback on what they're doing well - and what they can do better.
Project-based reviews are also quite simple. At the end of a major project, managers get together with their employees to examine overall performance. This provides regular, informed, and relevant feedback that's easily-actionable and useful.
2. Top-Down Method
You can't create a feedback culture without being willing to take some positive - and negative - feedback yourself. If you are a small business owner, or high in the management structure at a small business, you need to lead by example.
Don't just give your workers feedback - ask them to give you detailed feedback on what's been going well, and what could be improved upon.
When your employees see that feedback goes both ways, they're more likely to be encouraged to share their true feelings about your business. In turn, this can help you improve how you manage things, and boost employee satisfaction![click to continue...]
SMS marketing is extraordinarily effective. While folks may tend to ignore phone calls and emails, they almost never ignore a text message. In fact, it's been estimated that up to 98% of SMS messages are opened, and the vast majority of text messages are read within 2 minutes of reception.
SMS marketing is a great way to bring in more customers, advertise your services, and increase customer loyalty. But if you're just getting started in the world of SMS marketing, there is a lot to learn.
DialMyCalls has compiled six simple tips that will help you utilize SMS marketing. Take a look, and start marketing your business more effectively today!
1. Get Straight to the Point
When you're writing SMS messages for your business, you have 160 characters to work with. That's it. For comparison, an email subject line is usually around 70-80 characters. This means that you have to be very direct when creating your text messages.
You don't have much room to work with, and you want your customers to clearly understand what you are trying to communicate.
Minimize unnecessary or flowery language, and err on the side of simplicity when creating SMS marketing messages. Within seconds, your customer should be able to understand:
- Why you sent them a message
- What benefit it has for them
- What they have to do to take advantage of your offer
- When (or if) the offer will expire
If your SMS message doesn't fulfill all 4 of these requirements, go back to the drawing board, and think about how you can make it more clear and simple.
2. Don't Overdo It (NO SPAM!)
How many times should you send messages to your customers? That's a good question - and unfortunately, we don't have a clear answer for you.
However, we recommend that you use caution when sending SMS marketing messages to your customers - you probably shouldn't be sending a message every day, for example.
If you send too many messages to your customers, they're going to be angry at you for spamming them with unwanted offers - and they may opt-out of your SMS marketing list, or stop coming to your business altogether.
You should consider splitting your customers into different segments. Using an SMS marketing tool such as DialMyCalls, it's easy to make custom groups of phone numbers, and send out separate messages to each list.
For example, loyal customers who often come to your business may not mind getting a message from you every day or two.
On the other hand, customers who are less familiar with your company may not be as likely to appreciate regular messages. Send them one or two messages a week - and include attractive special offers that will bring them into your business, and turn them into a loyal customer.[click to continue...]
The goal of a homeowner's association is to protect everyone's investment in the property they own in the neighborhood or subdivision. Unfortunately, homeowner's associations are notorious for stringent and misguided rules and regulations, and there's a stereotype of enmity and adversarial behavior surrounding these otherwise useful organizations. One of the best ways to keep your HOA productive to your community is to get as many people involved as possible. But to do that, you need to organize productive, streamlined meetings that actually get things done, and lets everyone have a voice. These tips can help you plan and organize streamlined, efficient, and effective homeowner's association meetings.
1) Prepare an Agenda and Stick to It
Planning can help you avoid needlessly lengthy and chaotic meetings that, in the end, don't actually get much accomplished. A good meeting agenda provides a "road map" that everyone can follow to make sure objectives are met. Here are some of the things you may want to include in your HOA meeting agenda.
- Executive session. This part of the meeting is only for leaders, and can be either before or after the open board meeting. This part is confidential, and you can create and disseminate your own materials for it beforehand. The Davis-Stirling act actually limits what you can discuss confidentially at these times. This can include legal issues, contracts, disciplinary hearings, issues with personnel, payments, and foreclosures.
- Call to order. This initiates the board meeting.
- Ratifying the last meeting's agenda. This part is for discussing what happened at the last board meeting.
- Old business. You can set aside time to discuss unresolved issues from the last meeting, or things you tabled because you ran out of time.
- New business. This section is for new items that you're introducing for discussion at the current meeting. This can include things that are covered at every meeting, like budgeting or financials.
- Open forum. An open forum for members allows everyone to have a chance to bring up things that they'd like to discuss. You can introduce time limitations to avoid overly long meetings.
2) Create a Community Suggestion Box
One way to avoid overextending your HOA meetings is to ask members to submit items for discussion in writing, in advance of the meeting itself. These proposals should ideally include enough information and background to help you anticipate how much time might be spent on questions and discussion. This prevents your meetings from bringing time-consuming surprises that drag out the meeting long into the night.[click to continue...]
DialMyCalls is flexible, customizable, and can be used in just about any organization. From non-profits and sports leagues to restaurants, retailers, and even in hospitals.
With DialMyCalls, your hospital administrative staff will have access to a powerful SMS, email, and voice messaging system that can help streamline patient communication, and ensure that you provide the best possible level of care.
Here are just a few of the ways that your hospital or other healthcare institution can benefit from the power of DialMyCalls.
1. Patient Feedback
With DialMyCalls, collecting patient feedback is easier than ever. You want to know how your staff members are doing, of course, and whether or not they are meeting (and exceeding!) patient expectations. There's no such thing as perfect care - so it's critical to hear where you're doing well, and where you could use improvement.
With DialMyCalls, you can quickly set up a vanity phone number that makes it easy for patients to provide feedback via text message about their stay in your facility. By automating the feedback process, you can avoid paperwork and other administrative overhead, but still benefit from honest patient feedback.
2. Visiting Hours Reminders
The families of patients can often be frustrated by short visiting hours, especially in the emergency room or critical care areas. But limited visiting hours are very important in the ICU, because patients need round-the-clock care, and cannot handle the strain of a constant flow of visitors.
To help address this problem, you can create a customized list of family members using the DialMyCalls web application, and send voice, SMS, and email messages to them - informing them about when visiting hours are open for the day.
This way, you can make sure that your patients can see their loved ones, but still give them plenty of time to rest and recover.[click to continue...]
Voice broadcasting for your school is an innovative method of contacting parents, students, teachers and staff anytime an alert or message needs to be sent out quickly. This cutting edge technology lets you automatically transmit any type of phone or text message using an automated system, customized to meet the demands of your school.
What Types of Schools Benefit from Voice Broadcasting?
With the busy schedules of parents, teachers and students, it is difficult for any type of school administrator to stay in touch with them. Voice broadcasting works with small, private facilities for preschoolers, all the way up to major universities. Each school type is able to customize the service in order to meet their exact needs.[click to continue...]
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