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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Five Ways to Provide Mind-Blowing Customer Service

Five Ways to Provide Mind-Blowing Customer Service

Did you know that surprising and delighting your customers is something that starts before they are truly aware of your business and brand? Each interaction throughout the customer lifecycle is an opportunity to provide mind-blowing customer service that people simply must share with their friends. Creating true advocates for your business should be your goal, and that only happens when customers are over-the-top excited about your product and service offerings. How do you inspire that type of loyalty in what can be a fickle audience? These tips will get you started down the path to lifelong devotion from your fans.

1. Treat Employees Like Gold

Your most important asset when it comes to ensuring long-term customer loyalty is closer than you may realize -- your staff! When your employees are empowered to react quickly to negative situations and provide proactive support to ward off challenges, your customers will feel the difference. Employees who feel as though they're simply showing up to punch a clock are lacking something, and that will show up in their interactions with customers. Employees who are regularly rewarded for going above and beyond expectations will continue that trend.

2. Foster a Culture of Possibilities

When you foster a culture of possibilities for your staff, they will be much more likely to take exceptional care of your customers. Why? Because employees take more ownership, and "your" customers become "their" customers . . . and friends. Good customer service is expected (and even demanded) by today's customers. Going the next step to completely blowing your customers' mind takes extra effort to provide unexpected benefits. This could mean providing free custom proofs to clients, adding in 10% overages "just because" or delivering earlier than expected. On time and on budget are expectations -- you have to raise the bar to blow their minds.

3. Create an Easy Button

There will always be customers who are looking for the fastest and cheapest items. However, the customers you really want to cultivate are those who are willing to pay a premium for truly exceptional service and delivery times. The majority of people in America today have severely limited time, and when you're able to show customers that you respect their needs and move quickly, they will be surprised and delighted. Optimize each process, remove unnecessary clicks from your website and apps and generally think through the user experience at every turn.

4. Focus on What's Important

Customer-facing organizations are often looking for ways to reduce the amount of time required to interact with the public on each transaction. While this can result in efficiency for customers and staff alike, it can also cause a measure of frustration when poorly implemented. Forget the long list of meaningless metrics that don't impact service levels or profitability. Look for measurements that directly impact customer satisfaction such as the number of calls required to resolve a return, for instance.

5. Stand Out from the Crowd

Are your competitors sending out postcards? Take their concept and go bigger: send a unique mailer that is truly attention-grabbing. There are rumors going around that "direct mail is dead", but nothing could be further from the truth! As fewer competitors rely on print, customers are more likely to be engaged with the unique and interesting pieces that do hit their mailboxes. Have fun with your promotions and your customers will reward you richly.

The reality for businesses today is that customer retention is much less expensive than attempting to find and recruit new customers. Sure, you're always on the lookout for new customers, but shouldn't you also look for ways to create an over-the-top excellent service culture that keeps people returning for more?  http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Best Employee Benefit

The Best Employee Benefit

The Best Employee Benefit

"Quality is much better than quantity.
One home run is much better than two doubles."
- Steve Jobs


Work is life, and life is work. While most people wouldn’t say work defines them, employment certainly influences the pleasure or pain we experience. The average individual will spend more than 90,000 hours working in their lifetime. But we’re not necessarily enjoying it. Up to 80% of people are dissatisfied and 40% of people say their job is “very or extremely stressful.” Since work is a fundamental part of our existence, shouldn’t we seek to enjoy it more?

Millennials seem to think so; in fact, 60% of 2015 grads would rather work for a company with a positive social atmosphere even if it meant a lower paycheck. People are recognizing that today’s best jobs include not only great salaries and benefits but also a positive experience of fun and fulfillment. When employees are energized and engaged, they produce higher quality work. Keep in mind that over 80% of employees in Fortune 100's “Best Companies to Work For” said they work in a fun environment!

Bringing More Joy to the Job

A recent experiment by the University of Warwick tested the effect of fun on workplace productivity. Organizers randomly selected 700 individuals and showed them a series of 10-minute comedy clips or provided them with refreshments. After verifying that these opportunities brought a feeling of “happiness,” employee productivity was tracked through various tasks. For those with happiness triggers, productivity increased by an average of 12 percent. In some cases, it rose as high as 20 percent! For a business to thrive, an enjoyable workplace is essential, so how can we bring more joy to the job?

“Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first.”
--Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”

The physical environment is a critical component. An Arcadis study of 2016 Trends in the Workplace found that “staying well at work” was a primary focus of companies seeking to keep their employees happy and healthy. This included prioritizing work areas that were physically safe, aesthetically pleasing, psychologically nourishing, with several fascinating tips on how to craft well-designed workspaces which have a positive effect on mood, well-being, and productivity.

From birthday bashes to walking meetings and break-time trivia competitions, employers are also injecting more fun into each day. Manisha Priyadarshan, from Sparks experiential marketing, said employees should look forward to coming each day, so one of their core company values is, “work should be fun.” Here’s what that looks like at Sparks:

“We run a program called “Mix & Mingle”: employees selected from different departments have lunch and get to know each other. We also run a program called “Food4Thought”, where employees can learn more about Sparks over lunch by hearing presentations from people in each department."
“HR runs a program called “TedEd”: an hour-long live session including a screening of a Sparks-relevant Ted Talk followed by a round-table discussion."
“We have bimonthly “Flash Contests” to inspire people to think about our company’s codes, i.e. send a story of a time when “the client’s problem was your opportunity."
“We’ve hosted a number of fun events: Chili Cook-off, Halloween Party, Holiday Party, Valentine’s Cupcake decorating, Mini March Madness, Earth Day, and Summer BBQs."
“We have recently implemented a Bring Your Dog to Work committee, where a select panel of dog owners and dog lovers will help decide which employees’ pets would make great workday partners by spending a day at the office.”

http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Single Red Feather

A Single Red Feather
It was a brilliant start to a lasting legacy. Conference organizers work hard to stage successful events, helping worldwide professionals network in meaningful ways, with long-lasting benefits. One international conference intentionally introduced certain attendees online before their event. But there was a problem. How would this cohort take their connection offline in a sea of 8,000+ people?

Perhaps a simple, visible strategy would work: these participants placed a single red feather in their name badge. Red feather attendees committed to seek each other out in friendly, approachable, non-threatening ways. By the close of the conference, curiosity and goodwill drove hundreds of new people to request a red feather and to join this informal circle of friends. Why? Because everyone needs a great network to lean on!

Collect Relationships, Not Just Business Cards
Networking is important! A recent LinkedIn study revealed that 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a previous connection. But while 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success, 38 percent said they find it hard to stay connected to (or in touch with) their network.

How can you grow or maintain your personal networking tree beyond online networks like LinkedIn or Meetup? It doesn’t have to be difficult! Even simple steps like participating in webinars, attending conferences, volunteering your time locally, or actively following and commenting on your alumni newsletters can forge and strengthen connections. As one Cornell MBA reflects, “the concept is to stay connected even when you don’t need to, so when the time comes for that extra spark, your network will be able to ignite you on your path.”

Beyond the enjoyment networks bring, a web of professional relationships can be leveraged for great gain. As you strengthen bonds with a specific pool of people, you can enhance the quality of your services, increase customer retention, and gain important contacts and sales opportunities that you might never have accessed otherwise.

While many of us dread the idea of traditional networking, we often forget that building alliances is about collecting friends, not business cards. Remember, your goal is to come to know and enjoy people. If you’ve chosen relationships wisely, it should be fun to learn from others, gain management ideas and advice, and to spur on another’s profit and performance. As you and your colleagues update and encourage one another, the hope is that, ultimately, you’ll become each other’s salespeople!

Local Business Networks Bring Life

Another natural way to overcome networking barriers is to intentionally sow into local business relationships. Local business networks are a refreshing antidote to the isolation we often experience in today’s culture. A thriving local business community helps each of us because it empowers us to grow in our goals, to access important relationships, to collaborate on custom solutions, and to bring inspiration or motivation on the days we need it most.

http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html 

Monday, March 19, 2018

10 Horrible Habits You're Doing Right Now That Are Draining Your Energy
One of the greatest ways that you can improve your daily productivity is to cut out habits that drain your motivation. They give you less energy to tackle the day and decrease happiness levels. The challenge is that life is full of distractions.
That being said, letting the distractions consume you will make going through each day much more difficult. You should, instead, look for places in your life that you can change in order to have more energy and motivation. Doing so will increase your output and your well-being.
Here are 10 habits you can quit today that will dramatically increase your energy and motivation, which will lead you to a more productive lifestyle:

 

1. Worrying About What is Out of Your Control

There will be hard times and tough situations that you will find yourself in throughout life. Worrying about something that is out of your control, though, does not accomplish anything.

You cannot control the decisions that the government is making or an unlucky event that happened to you. All you can do is decide what to do next. Although it is challenging to get rid of the angst and constant nagging in your mind, accepting whatever has happened as a given will free up a significant amount of mental space and energy.

 2. Always being a perfectionist.

Not everything is going to be perfect. That is inevitable. There are times when perfection matters, but typically it does not. Therefore, do not let yourself become obsessed with perfection. It is draining because getting something from 95 percent to 100 percent can often be as much work as getting from 1 percent to 95 percent in the first place. Instead, pick your battles. You will free up energy and increase your motivation.

3. Getting sucked up in what others care about.

There will always be people talking or complaining about something. When it is an event or situation that you do not care about, getting caught up in it is draining.
Even 20 minutes with your friends, while they complain about their bosses, will take energy away from you. It is tiring to listen to negative people. You might even be influenced to think the same about your boss when that is not the case. Instead, avoid situations like that. Do not let yourself get distracted or tired from things that you do not care about.

4. Helping people who don't want to be helped.

You might have a loved one that is going through a hard time. It is important to support them however you can. That being said, you cannot change them. The change has to come internally.
Plus, it is exhausting to support others through challenging times. Deciding who to help is at your discretion. In situations where you cannot help, though, it is illogical to try. Sometimes, people refuse to be helped. In these cases, you will only walk away frustrated, tired, and the other person will be no better off.
Look out for these times. Doing so will save you a lot of energy trying to help when it will not achieve much.

5. Paying undue attention to all the subtle actions and words of others.

The words and actions of others can get us down. In some cases, those words and actions can teach us things about ourselves that are valuable to know.
In most cases, though, we read too much into it. Do not worry about the tone of the text message that your friend sent or the small interaction you had with them the other day. They could have just been in a rush or in a bad place.
There are times to worry and think about these words and actions, but pick your battles and understand that the little things are often insignificant. When you are unsure, instead of letting it get to you, just ask.

6. Spending time with people who bring you down.

Over the past few years I'm surrounded myself with only people I really enjoy being around. This wasn't always the case. When starting out my entrepreneurial carreer I surrounded myself with people who would make me money. This was the wrong approach to life. I hated myself each and every day. I dreaded not living up to their expectations. This would always bring me down. 
Instead, surround yourself with people that lift you up. People that accept you for who you are. I would even go as far as to manage your calendar to find a time where you can all be together in person. These times are some of the best times in my life. Times that I live for and get me through the hard times.

7. Doing work you do not enjoy.

It is inevitable to have work we do not enjoy occasionally. If this is your full-time job, though, you should try and change your situation. We work, on average, 40 hours a week. Often, it is a lot more. Therefore, I highly recommend finding work that you love. Spending 8 hours a day doing something that exhausts you without much in return is extremely counterproductive.
I'm not saying to quit your job, but, rather, to try and find something you enjoy more.

8. Skipping your workouts.

It is easy to hit snooze on your alarm or to go directly home after work instead of the gym. Doing so, though, will leave you worse off. Working out releases endorphins, it gives you time to decompress, and it leaves you feeling more healthy.
Missing workouts is an extremely negative habit because of all that it takes away from you. Instead, push yourself to workout a few times a week. It might be tough to motivate in the moment, but it is always worth it.

9. Thinking about unfortunate past events.

 Harping on the past is easy. It gives us a place to point fingers, make excuses and wish for different outcomes. Similar to worrying about what is out of your control, though, thinking about the past does not accomplish anything. It just takes away motivation from the current moment. It will get you down about your situation and wishing that things had played out differently.
Instead, all there is to do now is move forward. 

10. Struggling to say no to people.

We, overwhelmingly, feel a need to please those around us. That is why it is so tough to say no to others. Sometimes, this is good because it pushes us out of our comfort zone. Many times, though, it is harmful. You end up taking on responsibilities or doing things that you do not want.
The solution is to learn how to say no. The transition is difficult at first, but people will respect you for it. Plus, it will give you significantly more time and power to commit to other things.
http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

You Shouldn't Fear Your Competitors. You Should Learn From Them.

 Shouldn't Fear Your Competitors. You Should Learn From Them.
As is true in most industries, there are days where it probably seems like every time you turn around you've got some new competitor to deal with. Your market space was already a tight one - now you've got to worry just as much about the companies that are vying for the same market as you do about the market itself.

For as frustrating as this can be, however, it also represents a fantastic opportunity that is just waiting to be taken advantage of if you really know what you're doing.

At the end of the day, you shouldn't actually fear your competitors at all. You should see them as a source of education and inspiration.


The Canary in the Coal Mine


One of the biggest reasons why you should try to learn from your competitors instead of fear them has to do with the fact that you're trying to accomplish the same goal. You just have two completely different approaches about how to best do that. You're still operating in the same industry, and you're still trying to reach the same basic audience. From a marketing perspective alone, this is much more exciting than you probably realize.

Remember that success in marketing comes down to knowing as much about your audience as possible to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time. When your closest competitor launches a particularly successful marketing campaign, sit back and ask yourself "why?" Dive deep into exactly what they did and how they did it. What language choices did they make? What print avenues did they explore? What part of their timing played a roll in their success? Did they do anything particularly noteworthy in terms of font or other design selection?

The same is true when your competitor's campaigns fail, too. Why did your competitor's campaign fail to strike a chord with your audience? What mistake did they make? What incorrect information were they working from? How can you avoid this problem yourself?

From a certain point of view, it's almost like you get to naturally A/B test every campaign that you run without spending additional money because you've always got someone trying to hit targets that are very similar to yours. Pay attention to what they're doing and see what works and what doesn't. Then, figure out how to adapt this information to your own efforts. Rest assured, they're probably looking at you in the same way.


You're All in this Together


An even more important reason why you shouldn't fear your competitors is also a simple one: you're truly all in this together. Think about it like this: the audience that you're trying to serve and the audience that your closest competitors are trying to serve are one in the same. You've both pledged to make the lives of these people better through your products and services. Make no mistake, this is a terrific situation to be in for everyone involved.

For starters, competition is healthy. Every time your closest competitor hits a home run with a new product launch or marketing campaign, it shouldn't make you depressed - it should make you want to wake up tomorrow morning and try that much harder.

Your audience will absolutely benefit from this healthy sense of competition and that is an incredibly important position to be in for all of you.

http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Branded Promotional Products Make a HUGE Marketing Impact

Branded Promotional Products Make a HUGE Marketing Impact
People love free stuff; they always have, they always will. This is why branded promotional products are so effective. It doesn't even necessarily matter what "it" is. So long as it's free, people are going to come running.


Choosing the right type of promotional products can have a huge marketing impact because of their longevity and because they're functional in a way that people truly appreciate. If you're thinking about experimenting with branded promotional products but aren't sure if it's something that will be worth your time and effort, here are a few key reasons why now would be an excellent time to start.


Branded Promotional Products Earn You the Right Kind of Attention

 
According to a recent study, 53% of people used some type of promotional product at least once per week. More than that, six out of every 10 of them said that they tend to keep promotional products for up to two years.


This means that when you invest money in creating that attractive and helpful branded tote bag, you're essentially putting a piece of marketing collateral out into the world that someone will carry with them for around two years. That is 24 months worth of opportunities for them to use that bag in public, acting essentially as a walking billboard. That's a long period of time to effortlessly keep your brand at the forefront of someone's mind.


Integrating Branded Promotional Products Into Your Larger Campaigns

 
Branded promotional products compliment your other marketing efforts and earn a place among all the other techniques you're using. You also need to know when and where to roll them out. If you're the type of company that will be appearing at a trade show, for example, branded promotional products like USB chargers or even fidget spinners are terrific because they can attract attention to your booth and help guarantee that every personal interaction gets off on the right foot.


Think about it like this - the first known use of branded products as a form of marketing dates all the way back to 1789 when a guy you may have heard of named George Washington was trying to get elected president. The commemorative buttons he used at the time undeniably made an impact on the message he was trying to spread. If it worked for George Washington, you could bet that it will work pretty well for you, too.


When you also consider the fact that adding a promotional product into your larger marketing strategy can increase the effectiveness of your other types of collateral by up to 44%, you begin to get a better understanding of why the "all of the above" strategy is one that is more than worth exploring. 

http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Why Developing Good Leaders is Critical to Your Business' Success
 Regardless of the type of business you're running or even the industry that you find yourself operating in, everyone knows that quality leadership is essential. It's equally essential for you to realize that leadership doesn't begin and end with whoever's name is on the door. Experience goes a long way, but the type of raw, natural talent necessary to become a good leader isn't something that can necessarily be taught. It's something you're born with.

That's why when you do recognize that you've got the makings of an excellent leader working with you, it is imperative that you do whatever it takes to help cultivate and develop that talent whenever possible.

Identifying Good Leaders
 

First thing's first: not everyone working for your company has the makings of a good leader, regardless of how you currently feel about them. According to one recent study, only about one out of every ten people have the talent necessary to rise to this status. That means that spotting a candidate isn't something that is just going to happen every day.

When you do see someone with the qualities of an excellent leader, you'll know it. They're usually the first people to arrive and the last to leave. They're the people who keep a consistently cool head under pressure and who naturally seem to help elevate the rest of their teams to the level where everyone involved is doing their best work. They work incredibly hard for seemingly no reward at all because they just don't know any other way to go about their day.

When you see someone who fits that description, make a note of it. They're probably going to be running your business one day.

 
The Development Process


Once you have identified one of these fabled "good leaders," the first thing you have to do is support them in any and all ways that you can. Never be shy about feedback, even when it's critical in nature. The chances are high that they're the type of person who welcomes constructive criticism anyway. Don't just tell them what they're doing correctly; make sure they know what they can do to improve and, more importantly, how they can do it.
Next, challenge them whenever possible. Don't throw your growing leaders into the proverbial deep end of the pool to fend for themselves, but don't allow them to simply spin their wheels either. Challenge and adversity are two important qualities that make all of us stronger. Little by little, this person will start to grow and evolve in front of your eyes and your business will become all the better for it. 


Looking Towards the Horizon 

Finally, remember that good leaders are an investment in the future of your company. Good leaders don't just help in terms of collaboration and more substantial productivity.  They're also innovation creation engines at the same time. By taking the time to develop the good leaders in your midsts today, you're going a long way towards guaranteeing future success for your business.
 http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Why You Should STOP Checking Your Email First Thing in the Morning
Thanks to smartphones and other types of mobile devices, we're more connected to the world around us than ever before. This certainly has both its advantages and disadvantages.

On the one hand, it's never been easier to get more done while on-the-go. You can be just as productive in your office as you can be halfway across the globe on vacation.

On the other hand, this can lead to a definite feeling that "switching off" is impossible - especially when you consider that according to one recent study, 61% of people check their phones within five minutes of waking up in the morning.

From a certain perspective, this makes a bit of sense - after all, if you want to get as much done in a day as possible it stands to reason that you should check those emails that piled up overnight as soon as you can, right? Well, not necessarily. There are some compelling reasons why you should STOP checking your email first thing in the morning, especially if you're concerned about productivity.


You're Doing More Harm Than Good

The main reason why you should stop checking your emails right when you wake up in the morning is that you're doing a lot more harm than you are good. According to one study, 66% of people say that the first thing they do in the morning is either A) check their email, or B) listen to their voicemail. So don't worry - you are hardly the only person out there making this mistake.

To understand why this is such a problem, consider the fact that according to Forbes the average person checks their email roughly 15 times per day. When people limited their checking to just three times per day, however, their productivity increased, and their stress levels decreased. Part of the problem is that when you check your email, you're at the total will of whatever messages you find. Everything else gets moved to the back burner. It's also particularly stressful if you're waiting for a reply to an important email that hasn't arrived yet.


So why, exactly, would you want to cause yourself that level of stress in the morning?

By both limiting the number of times that you check your email throughout the day AND by making sure that it isn't the first thing you do in the morning, you're in a much better position to get your day off on the right foot. You're beginning your day in the most stress-free way possible, giving yourself a little breathing room to contextualize your priorities and lay out the day ahead without distraction.

In the End

These are just a few of the many reasons why you should STOP checking your email first thing in the morning. Yes, the instinct to try to get as much done in a day is a strong one - especially for a career-driven professional such as yourself. But you need to understand that you are quickly reaching a breaking point - "diminishing returns" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Minimize the number of times that you check email throughout the day and pick your spots very carefully. Your productivity levels, not to mention your stress levels, will thank you for it. 

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