5 Customer Retention Strategies for Your Small Business

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If you plan to grow your business past your four walls, customer retention is incredibly important for sustainability. And with the rising costs associated with customer acquisition, finding innovative and proactive solutions in retaining your clients will benefit your business greatly.CustRet

But before we give you the tips, consider this fact according to The Harvard Business School:

increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.

1. Be transparent with customer expectations. The best thing you can do to begin your journey into customer retention is to set all customer expectations early. To garner loyalty, simply “under promise and over deliver.” Setting the expectations early will eliminate any uncertainty associated with keeping your customers happy.

2. Stand up and brand yourself. There is no faster way to get the cold shoulder from a customer than to be wishy-washy on the service you offer. Many experts and studies have found that when people say they have a strong relationship with a brand, the primary reason is “shared values.” So in order to create loyalty, make them care about you.

3. Show them you are an expert. Even if you rely on outside, or automated services to run aspects of your business, what’s important to a customer is that you appear like an expert. The trust and bond associated with that approach is trustworthy, and creates retention. Become their advisor and watch them return.

4. Try social proof. What’s social proof? From an article on social proof amplification marketing:

According to Google, 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. Furthermore, a CompUSA and iPerceptions study revealed that 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

Positive social proof works. It is great customer motivation, and gets people to listen.

5. Use automation. Process automation takes menial tasks out of your hands and gives you more time to connect and bond with customers. Companies that do it well have proven that making good use of automation are more able to focus on customers and keep client networks performing in the top tier. By standardizing certain processes and placing a bar on service levels, you will be able to increase customer loyalty and improve retention.

Not so bad were they! Implement these today and you can be guaranteed that through strengthening customer bonds, your bottom line will also grow.

Field Service Scheduling; A Dispatchers Vital Role

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When it comes to field service scheduling, dispatchers play a vital role. So it’s never a bad idea to take some time to take a look at all the processes, and make sure that everything is operating at its peak efficiency.

Here are 3 tips to keep service scheduling and dispatch running smoothly and efficiently.

Scheduling Software

Want to increase efficiency with little to no trouble? Invest on some scheduling software. Cloud-based solutions or localized software can increase organization, triage, and improve productivity even if you aren’t tech savvy. Just be sure the software works like a two-way street, in that it can send work orders from home base, as well as receive information requests from the field.

User-friendly software is not only an effective tool that helps increase productivity, it also provides timely information in a snap.

Track Technicians Skill Sets

A tool that keeps up with all of your technician’s abilities is useful and valuable. Knowing who the right person is for each job, and who has what tools to do each task, will help dispatch ensure the problem is fixed quickly and accurately. If you aren’t monetarily able to invest in the software, or aren’t able to maintain automated routing, then there’s nothing wrong with visual access to your technicians routing and skill sets. That way, a simple drag and drop creates a work order for the right person.

Scheduling Wisely

To get the most out of your field service technicians, scheduling them in a staggered pattern will add to running things efficiently. It will also help cut down on any overtime expenses you may incur for shifts that happen to overlap. And if possible, set up a system by which you dispatch particular technicians from their home to help reduce ineffective( and costly) service downtime in the morning hours.

4 Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Small Business and Keep ‘Em Coming Back

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customer-retentionNo matter the business you are in, without customers to keep it going, your business will not make it. It’s not a harsh reality, it’s simply a rule. This is why it is important to present yourself and the service you offer in way that keeps customers returning.

Here are 4 ways to attract more customers to your small business and create a solid customer base.

1. Location is Key

The old saying that location is paramount to achieving in business may seem overstated at times. But for many businesses, without a great location, business may falter. For a dispatching service, however, having a central hub that makes it easy for those in the field to return to quickly and easily, while still helping customers, may be a hidden secret to keeping customers (and staff) happy.

2. Appearance

The first impression is a lasting impression. This isn’t just for how employees dress, either. Keeping areas where customers visit is just as important to giving the impression that your business is clean, approachable, and maintained. The same can be said for vehicles for fleet services. Clean and maintain service vehicles the same as you would your office. Such a simple piece of advice that will go a long way, and your customers will appreciate your squeaky clean appearance.

3. Prices for Service

Obviously if your prices are exorbitant, customers will shy away from what you have to offer, especially if you have competitors. While you want to turn a profit (that’s why you’re in business, among other things), you still need to stay competitive and give customers reasons to want to pay you for your services. Do this by adding sales, coupons, specials, buy one get ones, etc. This also works for offsetting costs: lower the price of your service, but offer any products you may have at a slightly higher cost. Brilliant, yet simple.

4. Friendliness Breaches the Gap

Perhaps the best piece of advice for anyone in the business of dealing with customers is friendliness is priority number one. If you have a rude, brash, or callus person working for you, there is a very good chance they will offend somebody at some point. And you know how bad word of mouth travels compared to good. Friendly staff members will keep customer coming back, in all facets of your business.

 

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How to Deal with a Difficult Employee

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Originally posted on :

difficult_people Everyone knows who they are; those people who make your work environment hostile.  These people are irritating, disrespectful employees who show up late, leave early, don’t do the work on time (or not at all) and have excuses for everything.  You can’t do anything right with them.  It’s frustrating enough that co-workers and customers are knocking on your door to deal with the person.  You are busy running day-to-day management duties.  It’s one thing managers must be prepared to handle: How to deal with a Difficult employee .

Never ignore the issue.  It’s not going away because you hide in the office or ignore the warning signs.  As upper management you are responsible for controlling this situation.  All this is going to do is escalate the problem.  Instead…

Intervene.  Get involved as soon as possible.  It’s easier to handle the problem.  Don’t wait until it gets out of hand…

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Improve Your Online Ratings with These Customer Service Tips for Dispatchers

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If you operate a taxi, limo or shuttle service, you probably rely a great deal on online reviews to help you attract new business.  Even one negative comment can sometimes be enough to deter people from hiring your company, which is why it is important to give your best service at all times. Here are some customer service tips for dispatchers you can use to help you obtain more satisfied customers, thereby boosting your online stats.Report_card1-300x300

View yourself as a solution to a problem. Customers call you because they need reliable transportation, and some of them may even be facing difficult circumstances. As such, you should treat each caller with dignity, no matter how outraged he or she may be. Empathize with the customer in order to diffuse any anger, and reassure that person that the problem will be handled to the best of your ability.

In some cases, patrons may have to wait some time before their driver actually arrives. Whenever this happens, keeping the customer updated on developments can ensure your caller does not become anxious during the meantime. It can also be a good idea to make a follow-up phone call once service has been established in order to make sure that everything is going smoothly.

If you need to place a caller on hold, be sure to explain the reason for doing so ahead of time. It can also be helpful to let your customer know approximately how long the wait time will be. If the wait turns out to be longer than you had anticipated, check back in with your client to let that person know you haven’t forgotten about him.

In addition to using good phone etiquette, drivers should also be trained to provide courteous service to your clients as well. Drivers should exhibit a neat and orderly appearance, and the vehicle should appear to be clean and well maintained as well. In the transportation sector, every detail is important, so by paying careful attention to detail, you can also help ensure satisfied customers.

3 Helpful Tips to Being a More Efficient Dispatcher and Field Service Scheduler

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dispatcherA dispatcher wears many hats. At any given time they are a scheduler, a planner, a customer service representative, and an expert task-master. But it doesn’t come easy. Being an efficient dispatcher and excelling at service scheduling takes practice and confidence. Traits that sometimes develop over time.

Here are 3 tips to help you be a more efficient dispatcher.

1. Saying “No” is not an option. Being a dispatcher means more than the namesake implies. Dispatching also requires a huge amount of dealing with customers on a daily basis, and working with customers means learning what each one expects from you. For this reason, saying “No” is not an option. Rather, say “We are unable to do that for you. How about another day?” Customers are more willing to work with you than you think. By giving them options, and being realistic, you are keeping the door open and providing good customer service.

2. Learning to prioritize will save you a headache. While this takes a bit of a learning curve, those who have been in the business for a while will tell you that if you don’t learn to assign importance to each call, you will be in for quite a stressful day. Addressing the importance of each situation, and allocating the action appropriately, is great for customers and creates a positive impact on time management.

3. Routing for the sake of profit. Depending on what form of dispatching you are involved in, this point does change a tiny bit. However, the overall point should be fairly obvious. That is, to be the most efficient dispatcher, routing the appropriate people in profitable way will save time and money (and keep everyone happy). Gas is too expensive, and time is too precious to have your people being sent all over the map. Using a mapping tool can help dispatchers see where their people are, and help them to dispatch and allocate accordingly and effectively.

By taking the time to master these 3 traits, you will be on your way to becoming a more efficient dispatcher. It will take some time (so don’t stress), but once you get it, you’ll see positive results and increased productivity.

5 Tips on How to Survive Juggling a Family and a Career

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Unfortunately, there is no one formula for how to survive juggling a family and a career. It is more of personal decision for what works best for each individual in how one combines family, spouses, work, friends, kids and a social life. And if you’re like Amy Rees Anderson, author and CEO, balancing them all is a pipe dream that she let go of long ago:

One of the questions I am asked the most is, “How do you do it? How do you balance work life and home life?” The honest answer is, “I don’t.” No one can.

So while balancing everything in your life may seem an impossible challenge, in reality there are many techniques and approaches that can help you strike a balance that works.

1. A Support Network

Nothing will get you through a tough time like a strong support network that aids you in your time of need. Get your kids involved. Work together with your friends, co-workers, bosses, etc. and ask for support. Between career and family, surprises are inevitable. Have backup plans for emergencies, and structures in place to make things easier. It will also work as peace of mind.

2. Forget the Guilt!

Guilt is perhaps the greatest waste of energy there is. It causes you to become stagnant in the present, because you are stuck in the past. Take a lesson from Amy Rees Anderson when she says, “Rather than constantly feeling guilty and stressed in your pursuit of balance, turn your focus toward doing the very best you can do every day with the time you have.”

3. Establish Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations

Boundaries are like an invisible line drawn around you that helps others determine what is acceptable. This way, it helps you to determine what you deem as acceptable behavior from others in every situation. Boundaries and limitations are the deciding factor in how you rule your own time. They are the ultimate expression and extent of your responsibilities and power. No limits means that saying “No” is difficult. Boundaries and rules help you balance work and family.

4. Cut Out the Negative People

Gossips, negative Nancies, and complainers will consume your positive energy, and drain your ability to keep that delicate balance you have created between your career and your home life. “Don’t give them two seconds of your day,” says Amy Anderson. “Because if you give two seconds they will take two hours.” Avoid them at all costs.

5. Schedule Downtime

Take time for yourself. Being a good parent, a good professional, and a good spouse means you have to consider yourself first. Ever heard the phrase “It’s hard to love when you don’t love yourself?” The same rules apply. Relax, relieve tension, and center yourself to help minimize stress. It is a benefit that you need, but often forget to give yourself. Don’t forget, and reap the reward.

Many of the same skills and strategies you use in your work day can apply to your home life. Planning, communicating, and setting limits are effective at both junctures. Creating a positive balance, in any way you can, will help you have a happier home and a healthier heart.

Social Media and Your Small Business: 3Reasons You Need a Google+ Page

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It’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing menu of social media channels, online marketing opportunities, and search engine optimization theories. Small businesses often don’t have time to invest in every new trend that comes along in the online world, and that’s okay. When it comes to prioritizing social media and determining where you need to be present online, it’s imperative to remember Google+. Here are just a few reasons for investing the relatively small amount of time and energy on this social media channel.g-plus-icon-96x96

1) Google+ influences SEO – This is perhaps the best reason to create a Google+ account and maintain it. Google wants everyone to have a Google+ account (some of the reasons are detailed in this recent New York Times article). It’s generally to every small business to appeal to Google, and one way of doing this is by getting on Google+. If you make sure the account links to your website, and you make sure to include a Google+ badge or link on the homepage of your website, you should see an SEO boost on Google search. This should increase as you build followers and post regularly.

2) Google+ offers great opportunities with communities – Google+ communities enjoy a great reputation for serious discussions and shared expertise. While Facebook is overcrowded and Reddit is often dominated by inside jokes and memes, Google+ communities are great places for networking, discussing industry trends, and even recruiting new talent. Establishing your small business as a thought leader in these communities is a great way to build exposure.

3) Google+ seamlessly integrates – Most small businesses use Google for a variety of different online marketing means. Some might use Gmail for email, AdWords for advertising, YouTube for video (owned by Google) and Picasa for pictures. All of these live under Google’s massive umbrella, and can be compiled in one central hub that is your Google+ page. This integration means that by posting a video, a photo album, etc, you’re actually becoming more and more active on Google+ and potentially effecting your SEO positively. Build awareness across all of your channels and Google will see your business as a well oiled machine in the online world.

Get in touch with us for more information and expertise on social Media and your small business.

Common Sense Customer Service Tips Easily, and Dangerously, Forgotten

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customer-serviceWhen it comes to common sense customer service tips, it is easy to dismiss some as such no-brainers that you literally never allow them to access into your brain again. The result being that you dismiss the value of customer service as well as the tips themselves. How many of the following customer service tips do you recognize as being just plain common sense? And how many are you guilty of forgetting?

  • Take Responsibility

The customer is always right. You know this isn’t strictly true and the customer knows it isn’t strictly true, but both of you have entered into an unspoken contract where it is treated as if it were true. What is almost always true is that you never win the battle for customer loyalty by blaming him. Whether it was your fault or not, take responsibility and promise to do better.

  • Give Customer Service the Value It Deserves

Too many businesses only pay lip service to customer service. If you are really serious about building customer loyalty, then make customer service an integral part of your branding design. Don’t just hire some kid fresh from high school to take on the lowest paying job you offer. A highly effective customer service rep with a degree in public relations and a positive personality can quickly become the face of your company. Pay those in customer service what they are worth and you will find that you are getting them for a much bigger bargain than an ineffectual team of minimum wage slackers.

  • Keeping the Customer Updated

Merely providing feedback that is positive, helpful and admits your responsibility when the customer first makes a complaint is still not enough. Don’t be mistaken: making sure that initial communication leaves the customer satisfied is hugely important. If you really want to ensure customer loyalty and positive word of mouth, however, you need to go the extra mile. Contact the customer as soon as possible when you have new information to provide him. When you reach out to call the customer, you are much less likely to find an angry voice inching ever closer to complete dissatisfaction than if you wait for the customer to call you.

  • Customer Service Does Not Need to be All-Inclusive

Here’s a customer service tip that is absolutely common sense, yet dare not be spoken out loud. You don’t need to worry about making every customer happy. Even more important to understand: you don’t want to retain each and every single customer you ever deal with. Some customers–and you know which ones–are quite simply more trouble than they’re worth and your business will be all the better for cutting them loose. Don’t bother striving for 100% customer loyalty and retention. And don’t feel guilty for it, either.

  • Customer Service is not Just Complaint Service

Customer service is not just about handling complaints. For small businesses especially, customer service can and should be about increasing your position within a competitive marketplace. Invite customers to make suggestions and recommendations about how you can be better at what you do. Create an atmosphere in which two-way discourse between you and the customers comes to be viewed as part of your brand. When this approach to customer service is successful you can uncover valuable information on how to improve your product or service, what kind of new features are worth investing in and how to identify the problems holding you back that you don’t see from your perspective. That’s the kind of information that huge conglomerates pay through the nose for focus groups to tell them.

5 Traits of All Highly-Effective Dispatchers

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istock_000015655799small_number_5_w640They can be referred to as many things, but most prefer dispatcher or fleet manager. The unsung hero that, without, most fleets would be left in the dark. They are, perhaps at times, more important than even the vehicles that they help to navigate. Some would even argue that they hold the key to the success of every service where dispatching plays a major role.

Here are 5 other names a great dispatcher should be called:

A Great Planner

Strategic planning and dispatching are paramount to saving any company money, and keeping productivity high. A well thought out plan that considers all of the aspects of delivery, vehicle acquisition, supplier selection, will yield a hardy return for any business.

A MultiTasker

Some people find it difficult to manage more than one thing at a time. But imagine what it’s like to manage more than a hundred vehicles at a time. To be an effective dispatcher, one has to be a highly-skilled at managing many things at one time, and be good at it.

An Innovator

In many situations a fleet manager will be in charge of managing a company’s biggest asset. So with that responsibility comes the power to be a great innovator. Choosing suppliers, finding and bettering equipment, making sure vehicles are operating efficiently. These sorts of traits help to make the manager more effective and the fleet more valuable.

A Communicator

Great communication skills are what makes a fleet manager effective. It’s benchmark for success. A strong and clear communicator can better any business’ fleet; manage drivers; organize suppliers; and juggle executives all in the same breath.

A Great Investment

Just as one expert says in his article entitled “Consider the Dispatcher:”

The dispatcher is at the centre of everything that the fleet does. They hear from irate customers when the load is late, from irate drivers who don’t like something about their assignment, from irate bosses; salespeople… So why don’t more companies invest in their dispatchers? If dispatchers are part of your team you might want to ask yourself that same question.

A great fleet manager operating at a high level can not only save a company huge sums of money, they are also be great leaders, team players, networkers, and have what’s best for the business in mind. Have you thanked a dispatcher today?

Office Romances: Sweet Treats or Disasters Waiting to Happen?

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how-not-to-interview-02-office-romance-slMost careers require us to be at work sometimes more than we are at home. And because of that, we often find ourselves in situations where dating a co-worker becomes a reality. But is dating a co-worker ever a positive thing for your job or for your personal life? Are office romances a sweet treat or disaster waiting to happen?

Here are the pros and cons to dipping your pen in the company ink.

Pro: The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest. There’s just something about doing something that is usually against policy (most places of employment are definitely NOT okay with office romances).

Con: What begins as a sultry love affair turns into real love. Meaning hiding it will lose its flair after a while and you’ll both be in lost of awkward situations.

Pro: You will get to see each other everyday!

Con: You get to see each other every day…

Pro:You have a buddy from the same workplace that you can share all of your feeling, thoughts, and opinions to about the place you share together.

Con: All you ever do is talk about work when you’re not there. A fact that become a painful reality after a few months.

Pro: You and your new office ally can rule the world! You can confide and trust in them and work becomes an easy obstacle.

Con: The rest of the team finds out about you, and they and quickly all gang up on you. Then slowly favoritism turns into fraternization, which becomes termination.

Pro: You get paid to be around someone who tickles your fancy in more ways than one. It’s a rare and beautiful thing.

Con: When you break up, or have a fight, work is awkward, annoying, and painful to be at. You even consider quitting.

The bottom line: Sure, an office romance has advantages, but those bright spots come with many disadvantages. So here’s a few points:

  • Only get involved if you think it may be more of a long term relationship. One night stands are definitely out.
  • If you feel an attraction, talk about it like adults and make sure you both are looking for the same things.
  • It’s best that, if you do start an office romance, you work on separate floors, rooms, departments, etc.
  • Discuss what happens if you break up.
  • While you’re at work, keep it professional. Nothing sours faster for everyone like overzealous lovers.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

5 Important Things to Know About Workers Compensation Insurance and Your Small Business

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Ohio-labor-law-workers'-comp-articleWorker’s compensation always give rise to a lot of questions and concerns. For many small business owners the in’s and out’s are a complete mystery. What is it? How does it help my employees? How does it affect me and my business?

In this post, we’ll cover 5 important things a small business needs to know about workers comp.

1. The amount of employees may affect the law’s principles

Depending on what state you operate your business from, and the number of employees you have on payroll, there are exceptions to the laws that will affect you. In some instances, if you are under the minimum employee limit, you do not have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You will instead have the option to offer it or not. Click here to find out your state’s laws.

2. How an employee is classified is important

Not every employee you hire will be required to be covered. That is, depending on your state’s specifics, only full time employees are required to be covered. Leaving part timers, independent contractors, and interns exempt.

3. If you are required to provide coverage, be mindful of the law

In the US, worker’s comp is required in every state, without exception. But each state has its own set of laws that employers must follow. In some states worker’s comp is a state-wide program, while in others it is a done through private insurers. It’s very important to know how your state’s laws function, and how you must comply.

4. Worker’s compensation protect the employer too

On the surface, worker’s comp appears as if it is just for employees, protecting them from the costs associated with health-related injuries. But under the surface, worker’s compensation insurance is also just as important for a small business, by protecting the company from the costs associated with lawsuit costs and legal action.

5. Worker’s compensation will cover all injuries that happen on site

No matter who or what is at fault, from the smallest to the largest, worker’s comp insurance covers any injury. Even if an employee is the only one to blame for the accident, they (and you) are covered. This is why it is important to cover safety procedures on a regular basis to prevent any job-related injuries.

For more information on employment and labor laws, click here to read about the specifics for your small business from the SBA.gov.

Four Quick Ways to Better Target Your Pay-Per-Click Ads

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PPC-for-Beginners-Target-your-customersPay per click advertising is a powerful new way for small businesses to reach important audiences. Simple setups and the ability to establish daily budgets makes advertising for your small business something that anyone can do. This is a good thing for small businesses, but it makes self-education all the more important. Though getting started with a pay per click campaign is easy, there are a few tweaks that can help you target the right audience and optimize your spending. You should take note of these four things that will hone in on the right people and deliver your message to the right people.

1. Brainstorm and Execute Negative Keywords - Negative keywords serve to exclude your ads for potential display to people who use said keywords. For example, an all girls boarding school might use “prestigious”, “boarding”, and “school” as keywords. Someone interested in an all boys or co-ed boarding school would be shown the ad for the all girls school if they searched “prestigious boarding schools for boys”. To avoid something like this, include discerning negative keywords that filter out related but distinct web traffic. You pay for every click, and you don’t want to waste money on those who are looking for something fundamentally different.

2. Remarket to Existing Leads - Remarketing refers to the practice of using cookies to mark every user who has been to your website and place them on a list that will be targeted for advertising. Remarketing is great for making sure your advertising budget is spent on the right people. If someone has been to your website, it’s more likely that they are in your demographic. Additional ads remind them of their visit to your website and provides another touch point.

3. Limit Display Times - What time are your users requesting more information, giving your contact information, or making a purchase? If you have a good idea of this behavior of your market, optimize your ads for this timeframe. You can choose when your ads are displayed, so don’t waste your budget in the morning and miss out on business in the evening.

4. Keyword Your Competition - Try to get a sense for what keywords your competitors are using by doing some research via Google. Search for keywords you’d like to be competitive for and get a sense for what comes up. If you have a direct competitor who is already all over adwords, you’ll want to compete with them for some of these words. It’s also legal and common practice to use your competitor’s name as a keyword for your ads as well. It might seem aggressive, but the truth is that someone is probably already doing it to you.

 

 

www.justdispatchers.com

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Marketing for Your Small Business Doesn’t Have to be Hard

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iStock_000011592730XSmallIt’s the new year and you know what that means: time to change your marketing game plan. There’s an adage circulating around the internet that marketing is like fitness, in that when fitness experts find something that works better than what they were doing, they change their habits to fit their needs. Which, in today’s ever-changing environment, is as true as it has ever been.

Here are 3 tips on marketing for your small business.

Make sure your diet is healthy

In the same way that marketing is like fitness, your customers are your diet. Doing the the sort of work that is healthy for you will build your business into a great shape. The other side of your diet is like fast food: quick and easy, but not good for you in the long term. This year plan to eat 20 percent less fast food and take aim at getting healthier. Be more strategic in how your market in the short term instead of long term/easy advances that don’t seem to have an immediate pay off.

Try out mixed routines like CrossFit

Ever heard of CrossFit? It’s high energy, variable, and challenging. But anyone can do it at any level and at any age because of how adaptive it is. This year don’t focus so much on one aspect of your marketing. Don’t focus solely on awareness activity when your SEO and web traffic are lacking; try and add more conversion and loyalty through content development. Don’t be the guy who skips leg day, and at the end of the year is so top heavy you’d think his legs were on the wrong body. Be dynamic and nimble.

No more yo-yo dieting

Every fitness guru in the country will tell you that not sticking to a diet plan can be worse for your body than not doing anything. This translates into marketing in the same way that if you plan out a huge event one month, drum up lots of business and bring in new customers, and then do nothing for months on end, don’t be surprised if those new customers forget. Instead do what healthy people do, commit to 20 minutes a day. Get everyone on staff involved in your regime and have them all do the same. Imagine the results.

Marketing doesn’t have to be hard, yes just like fitness it requires hard work and dedication, but it does get easier over time. Make 2014 a successful year, pick a plan and stick to it. The results will surprise you.

How to Physically Protect Company Information

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Data-Protection-21As a knowledgeable computer user, you’re well-aware of the hackers and viruses that can invade your system. Such intrusions can steal or damage valuable business data, such as customer credit card numbers or employee Social Security numbers. This is why you’ve spent money on a firewall and a security program to protect your network. You can enhance these digital measures by implementing physical methods that cost nothing.

Start by making sure that none of your screens face an open window, lobby, or public corridor. Otherwise, passersby can easily look at and record what you’re entering. Don’t be fooled by being on an upper floor. Someone in the next building can still watch your display by using a pair of high-powered binoculars. To prevent this spying, turn your monitors so they face a blank wall. Only the person at the computer can then view the screen.

Avoid logging in when you use the free wi-fi services available at coffeehouses or some public transportation. Because access is not secure, hackers can easily tap in to spy on what you’re doing. Don not publicly browse such sites as your company database, your email account, or financial website. If you want to access such confidential pages, sign up for paid wireless Internet access, which offers a layer of security.

Do not put old and unused smartphones, laptops, or tablets in unlocked cabinets or on a shelf. Someone could easily take them without you noticing, and access whatever information is stored on their hard drives. Store old technology in locked cabinets inside locked room. If you want to recycle the devices, such as by donating them to charity, wipe out their hard drives first by using hard drive erasure software.

For other small business resources, please visit our website.

2014 Resolutions for Small Business

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new-year-s-resolution1If you are looking for resolutions that are a bit easier to keep than eat less, sleep more, de-stress, and so on, then look to your small business. The new year is the perfect time for you and your business to kick it up a notch, and make changes that will last longer than a just few months (like not eating sugar).

Here are your top 5 small business resolutions to get you on the right track:

Use Tech to its Fullest

Commit this year to getting the most out of your technology investment solutions. So many small business owners neglect their tech investments; despite the reasons they purchased them. Don’t forget why you made the investment in the first place: to save time and become more efficient.

Connect with Your Customers

2014 should mean a new start. So with that you should begin strategizing news ways to innovate your customer relations. Start looking at your customers as relationships to build on and not transactions. Begin building before the transaction and carry it all the way until you hand over the receipt.

Make Customer Service a Priority

It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth: Customers should be priority number one. Because without them your small business is not going to be doing very well. And as a recent survey found: one in six people would rather visit a dentist than speak to a customer service rep. Ouch.

Don’t Miss Marketing Opportunities

In 2014 plan to throw some money at marketing. It is, after all, an investment with an invaluable return. Use some of that forgotten tech from tip number one and create an online persona. Make a Facebook, create a Yelp account, market what you can do for people. Measure it quarter to quarter, tweak when necessary, and reap your reward: revenue.

Become a Social Media Guru

If you think you missed the opportunity to make an online presence, you are completely wrong. If you have a social media presence and you haven’t seen results, change up your strategy. As we mentioned in the previous step, taking steps to make a Linkedin account or to start Tweeting are free. Talk about an investment with nothing but a positive return.

Learn to Roll with the Punches

Finally, this year learn to be nimble and change course when necessary. Take a lesson from online retailer Amazon (who started out in a garage, by the way), “borrow” customers from competitors because of better service and lower prices. Identify your points of difference, how you are better, why your brand supercedes others, and build a following. 2014 is your year.

For more tips and tricks to make the new year successful and positive for your small business, visit our webpage.

Install a Recovery Plan for your Small Business

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thMVONNUSDYour business may be fiscally sound, and that’s something to take pride in. Making it in a bad economy shows gusto and know how. But if you were to take hit (breach of data security, floods, tornados, etc,) would you be able to recover? According to statistics, some 40% of all businesses that experience a disaster will not recover, with 65% happening in the first year after.

Here are some tips on how to stay ahead of the curve and protect your small business from disaster.

Review Your Insurance Plan 

According to a recent news article, having the correct policy in place is one of the most important factors for your protection.

A disaster recovery plan should include insurance policies such as: commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, workers’ comp insurance, errors and omissions insurance, and umbrella insurance coverage.

Keep Employees Safe

This step is priority and absolutely should not be taken for granted. Your disaster plan should include safety measures in the event of fire, flood, etc., and should give direction on how to remain safe and where to go. Check out this evacuation and procedures tool from OSHA for more information.

Keep Technology Safe

Loss of data can be just as terminal as loss of property. In fact, it has the possibility to be worse in certain situations. Conduct regular checks on your equipment and computers, have a professional provide maintenance at least once a year, and be sure that all of your fire safety measures are in place and up to code.

Maintain an Emergency Contact List

When disaster strikes you’ll want to have all vital information at hand and a list of people to contact. Communicating with your employees and your clients should be your first priority. You’ll want to have a solid communication strategy in place to relay relevant information quickly and easily.

 

5 Social Media Ideas And How They Only Work For Small Businesses

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SM_0Social media has been widely embraced by large corporations and small businesses alike as a way to better interact with online communities. Businesses and their audiences are more connected than ever, and this actually empowers small businesses over sprawling franchises in important ways. While social media is an informational tool, it is – at its core – a way for businesses to reveal more about themselves. It’s an opportunity to humanize, to lighten up, and to show what you’re really made of. It’s a platform for quantifiable word of mouth marketing, and it’s here to stay. Here are 5 social media ideas that only work for small, respected business with local roots and friendly faces.

1. Introduce and feature your staff – Small businesses have the great advantage of close communications and close quarters between staff. Humanize your organization and flaunt your cohesiveness by featuring staff members on your blog and posting it to social media. Make it fun and lighthearted, and remind people of how wonderful it is to do business with people, rather than flow-charts.

2. Give a tour of the office/store/headquarters – Small businesses also have the advantage of small, accessible work spaces. Post photos and anecdotes from your office or headquarters, and connect to potential clients on a tangible, local level. This transparency does wonders for building trust and empathy.

3. Incentivize Visits – The beauty of a small business is that it exists within a local community ecosystem. Incentivize local customers with deals, contests, or coupons that they can only redeem at your local workplace. Use social media to bridge the gap between the digital and the person-to-person world.

4. Align Yourself Locally – Small, locally-run businesses can use social media to establish their brand and community priorities within a robust local movement. Trading links and likes with other non-competing organizations is a great way to drum up good will and remind your audience that you’re a member of the community, just like them. Comment on weather, local events, and exciting news in your community.

5. Feature Success Stories – Small businesses generally have a much better idea of the stories behind their clients. Think about who uses your product or service, get in touch, and share that story with the world. In a similar fashion to #4, this will align your business within the community and demonstrate an understanding of the people with whom you work. When a big business does this, it seems like marketing. When a small business does this, it seems like community building.

When thinking about social media and your small business, remember that it serves small businesses over large corporations and high-powered marketing firms in some very powerful ways. Small businesses can use social media to level the playing field and build their brand and business without the big budget costs of major marketing campaign.

Christmas: Quiz the Season

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Christmas-Carol-1991What would Christmas be without the songs and movies that help shape the season? Imagine cozying up on the couch and not having A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life to watch and get you into the spirit, or turning on some music and having Frosty or Rudolph absent. Sure, by the end we may a bit tired of it all, but a holiday season without these classics wouldn’t be the same.

Here are some fun quiz for you to riddle your holiday revelers with this Christmas, or for you to take yourself (answers at the bottom).

1. In the movie A Christmas Carol, how many ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge?

2. What city was the movie A Christmas Story filmed in?

3. The song Do You Hear What I Hear? may be considered a Christmas song now, but what event in the 1960s was it written about that has nothing to do with Christmas?

4. In the classic Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas, what does “5 golden rings” actually refer to?

5. In the animated TV classic Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, what was Rudolph’s girlfriend’s name?

6. In the “Christmas Carol” adaptation named Scrooged, who plays a version of Ebenezer Scrooge?

7. In Home Alone, what did the two bandits unofficially name themselves?

8. In 1957, Elvis recorded a version of what Christmas classic that the original composer, Irving Berlin, tried to get banned?

9. What department store does Elf‘s Will Ferrell get his first job at?

10. What is the biggest selling Christmas song of all time?

Have a Merry Christmas and feel free to contact us any time! (See answers below)

 

1. 4; 2. Cleveland; 3. The Cuban Missile Crisis; 4. Ring-necked birds, like Pheasants; 5. Clarice; 6. Bill Murray; 7. The Wet Bandits; 8. White Christmas; 9. Gimbels Department Store; 10. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Celebrating Christmas Around the World

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We all celebrate Christmas in different ways. Some people open presents on Christmas Eve, while other wait until the morning of Christmas Day. Some people eat ham and turkey, while others prefer Italian food or pizza. But did you know that in Australia they oftentimes celebrate Christmas on the beach because December in Australia is in the summer?Short_stories

Keep reading for more interesting facts about how they celebrate Christmas around the world!

In most Scandinavian countries around Northern Europe the begin the holiday season by celebrating what they call St. Lucia Day (Dec 13), a day that honors Lucia of Syracuse.

Ever heard of the yule log? Norwegians sure have. In fact, it is the birth of now synonymously-named old log. The ancient Norse used to burn what they called hweol log (meaning wheel named after the sun) when they were waiting for the sun to return during winter solstice.

The term “Merry Christmas” wasn’t very popular until the early 1800s. It was popularized by an Englishman named John Calcott Horsley. Horsley began producing small greeting cards to be exchanged among friends using the term liberally on each card. Then, by the 1830s the cards were a hit, and the rest is history.

In France, the term Christmas is not used. Rather, it has been replaced by the term Joyeux Noël! It comes from the French term les bonnes nouvelles. which means “the good news,” a reference to the Christian gospels.

In Canada Christmas is largely the same as it is in the U.S. However, in the far North of Canada the eskimos have made their own version of Christmas called sinck tuck where there is dancing, feasting, and gift-giving.

In Fiji where it is hot during Christmas (much like Australia), the locals eat “lovo,” a reference to the “Earth Oven” they use to cook with, which is made up of chicken, rice and “palusami,” dalo leaves wrapped around ground meat.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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Recent Health Care Fix Gives Small Businesses Time to Think [healthcare and your small Business

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healthcareThe beleaguered Affordable Care Act has seen its share of ups and downs since the roll out out a few months ago and with so many changes, many small business owners have been left to wonder how they are going to comply with the upcoming 2014 roll out. But for those wondering how they are going to adhere and adapt to some significant factors, a significant change has been announced.

A New York Times article reports that an announcement from President Obama has made it clear that small business will have increased time to adapt to the pending new year’s changes. Two years in some cases.

President Obama… announced a policy reversal that would allow insurance companies to temporarily keep people on health plans that were to be canceled under the new law because they did not meet minimum standards.

In effect, the change will give policies, at the very least, a year’s worth of time before any penalties will incur. And in some instances, as much as two years time. This means the Dec. 1 through Dec 15 deadline has been significantly extended (unless you have already renewed, of course).

What is uncertain, however, is what prices small business owners will face after the 2014 extension. Most insurers don’t have rates in place or approved that far ahead because of the pending termination of most policies beginning at the first of the year. Leading many state insurance commissioners to denounce the president’s action because they did not “intend to allow insurers to reinstate the policies.”

While many, including The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the American Academy of Actuaries, believe the switch could threaten the viability of many insurance markets, it’s hard not to argue that this extension provides a huge sigh of relief for small business owners, and not a moment too soon.

For additional information on health care and your small business, feel free to contact us.

How Should You Handle Bad Online Reviews?

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bad-online-reviewsOffering the opportunity for customers to post online reviews is a great way to engage your clients and offer valuable feedback that will hopefully lead to more sales. However, you are bound to get some negative feedback at some point. What’s the best way to handle it?

Prevention is the Best Cure

This saying certainly applies in the customer review arena. The best way to prevent a bad review is to not get one. You can’t avoid all negative feedback, but you can reduce the amount of negative reviews by viewing each customer as a potential reviewer. Consider sending an e-mail asking for feedback before the customer has a chance to post a review. Ideally, you can find out about complaints quickly and resolve them without getting a negative review.

Respond Personally

Refrain from posting something about the review on your social media sites. When you get a bad review, be proactive about responding in a private forum, such as e-mail or a simple phone call. Let the disgruntled customer voice his or her complaints. Be careful about coming off defensive. Ask questions to get the complete story and make them feel like you genuinely want to resolve the issue. End by offering a refund or discount on another purchase.

Take the Feedback to Heart

You may think there was a misunderstanding or your business was unfairly judged. However, view bad feedback as a lesson to be learned. Do some digging to find out where the misunderstanding took place. Does the customer have a legitimate complaint about a product that needs to be addressed? Is so, what steps should be taken? Rest assured that if one person complained about a product, there are other customers who were dissatisfied and did not post negative feedback. Instead, they simply told their friends not to purchase the product. Getting to the root of the complaint is in everyone’s best interests.

Online reviews are today’s “word-of-mouth” marketing. Customers take the opinions of others seriously. Handling negative feedback appropriately can help save a customer and attract new ones.

Customer Service Retention- Going the Extra Mile

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“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” -Roger Staubach, Super Bowl VI MVP

extra_mileWe all have heard the expression before that we must “go the extra mile” when servicing our customers.  But what does this actually mean?  And how do we put this principle in play in our lives?

If you really want to be the best at what you do, you need to make every effort to give people much more service than what they expect.  Successful people go the extra mile, and because they do, they stand out.

The first way to ingrain this fundamental into your life, is to stop focusing your thinking on a “what is in it for me?” or “it is not my job” mentality.  This type of mindset shows that you are only concentrating on yourself and not on the needs of your customers.

Once you stop focusing on yourself, you need to start thinking about what are the expectations of the people you serve.  Without finding out what people’s expectations are, you will not be able to exceed the expected level of service.  Next you need to honestly evaluate what level of service you provide.  Do you only try to meet the needs of others at their expected level or do you perform services that exceed their expectations?  Once you gage what level of service you provide, you need to start thinking about what you can do to exceed people’s expectations.  Are there any added services you can provide that people do not expect but would love?

Sadly, more often than not, most people do not go the extra mile to service and retain customers.  Most people feel that it is too hard to do or that the results are not worth the effort.  That is why “there are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” When you are willing to develop the habit of going the extra mile and rendering service above and beyond your customers’ expectations, success will be attracted to you at a pace that may even surprise you.

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Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving

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36Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year, and for good reason. Who can resist the food and catching up with family. But did you know that the pilgrims may not have been the first to celebrate the venerable old holiday? Contrary to many legends, the first Thanksgiving may have actually been celebrated in Texas in 1541?

Here’s some more interesting (and little known) facts about Thanksgiving.

The date that most people associate with Thanksgiving may just be an estimation. The period in which the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving is believed to have occurred between September 21 and November 9, 1621.

At the first recognized Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims did not eat turkey, they ate deer. This is known because Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow made note that the Wampanoag natives showed up to dinner with five deer.

Did you know that the President pardons a turkey each year? It is believed that the first president to do this was Harry S. Truman back in the 1950′s. But the tradition didn’t pick up much steam until George H.W. Bush pardoned a bird in 1989.

Snoopy is the longest running balloon in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: 37 years, except for only one year, 2012. This led to an outcry from parade fans and caused parade officials  to swiftly apologize in an official statement.

Though the Thanksgiving holiday is now synonymous with the fourth Thursday in November, it wasn’t actually recognized until 1863 thanks in part to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme writer Sarah Josepha Hale. She petitioned five presidents until it was finally recognized.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

3 Solid Ways of Optimizing Workflow Management

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workflow-software-process-managerWorkflow management is perhaps one of the most important, underlying factors of controlling business-management sequences by limiting gaps and ending delays. In a fast paced environment, an efficient dispatching process is important to keep all components orchestrated and working together.

In other words, higher expectations can be assigned and met if a solid system is in place and everyone participating does their assigned job and works together. Think of it like a smooth running highway (if that exists).

Here are three ways to optimize workflow by making friends of time:

1. Define your process clearly

All business needs a clear and succinct process that is defined and easy to follow. Setting up sequences that define the sequential flow from beginning to end help everyone achieve a common goal. This can be done with software or even by pen and paper and be as simple or as complex as your dispatching needs require.

2. Make information easily accessible

Whether it is virtually or tangibly, having a logbook is important to the speed and accuracy of your dispatchers. But what’s most important is that the information is organized and can be searched through quickly and efficiently. All data elements that are logged should help with the relevance of an event, and should allow for obvious choices.

3. Look to automation

Automation helps to enforce consistency without prejudice. It helps to eliminate human error while still allowing for a learning environment. A clear and definite automated process that provides quick and deliberate access to information is a key factor to a more efficient central station or hub.

Striving to better manage your workflow and increase productivity should be a high priority. Avoiding distractions while still trying to fit all of your tasks into a relatively small window of time can be difficult, but once you have mastered the art of workflow management your productivity can only revitalize.

Feel free to contact us for information on workflow management.

What to Expect when Working as a Courier Service Dispatcher

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Courier service dispatchers serve the public by ensuring timely pickup and delivery of packages and important documents. These individuals work behind the scenes in order to provide outstanding customer service and maximize company profits. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to work in one of these positions, you could be surprised to know what a typical workday is like for these professionals.types of transport of transporting are loads.

Duties

Dispatch clerks perform a wide range of duties, from scheduling pickups and deliveries to ensuring vehicles receive the maintenance they need to remain operational. As such, their work will involve processing work orders, tracking deliveries that are in progress, and updating schedules as required. In some cases, courier dispatchers also take calls from customers concerning their deliveries, and must therefore be able to resolve issues effectively as well.

Communication

Courier dispatchers are constantly communicating with lots of different people, ranging from delivery drivers to logistics managers. Much of the time, their work is performed in a fast-paced environment where every detail is crucial to successful performance. Whenever there is a change in schedules, this information must be quickly relayed to those who are affected if the needs of the customer are to be met effectively. Dispatchers must be able to react quickly to external factors that affect the delivery of goods, which can include everything from vehicle accidents to mechanical breakdowns.

Technology

Although the duties of a courier service dispatcher are complex, there are a number of software programs available that make this work much easier to do. For example, some programs allow a dispatcher to view exactly where a particular truck is on the road or identify ones that are still waiting on a load. They are also able to view pending jobs as soon as they become available so that they can assign them to drivers as quickly as possible. Computer programs also make it possible to know exactly when a parcel has been delivered, to include the signature of the person who signed for it.

Courier Service Dispatchers need to be highly organized, dedicated to customer service, and pay great attention to detail. If these qualities describe you, visit Just Dispatchers in order to find available openings in your area.

Fun Halloween Activities

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Halloween-wallpaper4Halloween’s official date is October 31st, which falls on a Thursday this year. For it to fall on a weekday is sort of a bummer for hardcore enthusiasts. So, though it isn’t necessarily in line with the spirit of Halloween, celebrating the annual spookfest before the actual day makes the most sense for those who work a regular work week or for kids in school. Here are some fun Halloween activities to do with your friends and family to celebrate, for no matter what day you choose.

Live near a zoo? Most larger zoos offer haunted houses/walkthroughs or haunted hayrides at a lower cost of admission because they are usually done in time-slots, much like a ride at a fair. Not only is going to an event such as this a way to have fun with your loved ones, but it is also a stellar way to support the zoo for the regular year.

Do you like scary movies? Head out to a theatre for a movie marathon. Many theatres will run back-to-back classic movies at a discount to attract movie-goers. What better time of season is there than to see classics like The Shining or Psycho on the big screen? Oh, and don’t forget to dress up for added fun! Many theatres have costume contests along side the movies.

Visit a graveyard. No,really. Cemeteries have been offering historic tours for a long time. It’s a way to highlight specific local events and people in history, and drum up a little cash on the side. Events such as these will often feature local people in character to add flair to the tour, and, though they aren’t “scary” per se, they are spooky enough to bring most of the family.

Or just stay in. Though Halloween seems like it’s just for kids, it doesn’t have to be. Invite some friends over for a scary movie marathon. Make some ghoulish treats, carve a pumpkin, play dress up. Really, just have fun and enjoy yourself. That’s what Halloween is all about.

 

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Even if You Thought You Understood Your Staff Before, There Might be a Few Things You Didn’t Know

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bossAs a small business professional, there are a few little factoids that your staff members will never tell you about themselves and their colleagues, at least not until you promote them or they move onto another position, and feel extremely safe around you as a friend or equal.

1. Your jokes aren’t funny :-(

…and even if your jokes are genuinely funny, they’re not.

Yes, some members of your staff do like it when you lighten the mood, but you’ll never be as funny as you would be if you were one of them. Even if your jokes are funny, they’re not because you’re the boss. It’s just the a natural order of things most of the time. If you manage a warehouse staff, the same joke might pull laughs like gangbusters, if you were really one of the guys. But as the boss, forced laughter just comes with the territory, and it comes from natural discomfort.

2. Your sexual prowess is not what you think it is.

Though this is a subconscious thing that is often unintentional (unless a manager is particularly creepy), many supervisors both male and female somehow feel they are more attractive because they are in a power position. At first, most managers will say they’d never think that way, but really think about it. If you’ve ever held a management role that you were proud of, feelings like this were there on a subconscious level, (if you can admit it to yourself).

Here’s a little secret. Most of your workers don’t think you’re attractive at all. Inside of you, it comes from a natural feeling of accomplishment  that is normal for you to feel because of your success. However, mostly it’s an illusion, a personal, instinctual pat on the back.

3. Lastly, your employees like to hear about themselves; and your life experience tales are boring.

Though you are giving some of your staff members fodder for their future kiss up sessions, they aren’t as entertained by what you’ve been through as you think they should be.

They only really want to hear about things that will benefit them. Tell them what they’re doing right and wrong, once a month even. Make sure to do it tactfully though.

In Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he exposes the harsh truth that we’re getting at here. People just really care about themselves. And though if you have achieved a management position, you really should congratulate yourself; feel good about what you’ve done with your life; and know that a few people will want a deeper, more mentor-like relationship from you; most people just care about themselves. And most people only pay enough attention to survive.

Understanding this will help you to understand your workers more; gain respect quicker; make your work life less stressful; ease awkward interactions; and your staff will probably enjoy working for you more, due to the professionalism you will start to show.

Facility Agent | HVAC Agent | Electrical Agent | Plumbing Agent | Just Dispatchers

 

Check Your Credit Report before Applying for Trucking Dispatcher Jobs

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Potential employers definitely look at the experience and education you list in your resume to decide whether to interview you for their trucking dispatcher jobs. But the cost of hiring and training a new employee involves a lot of time and money. So employers want to look beyond your application to see if you’re a good fit. Many look at your credit report because they assume how you handle money shows you handle a job.www.justdispatchers.wordpress.com

You can get a jump on this examination by ordering the report for yourself. The government says you’re entitled to one free copy per year from each of the major credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You can order your report through AnnualCreditReport.com If you get each agency’s report every four months, you can constantly monitor what they say about you. Order this report as far in advance of sending out your resume as possible – from three to six months before is ideal. This allows you to plan your job hunt based on what you find.

First, make sure all the details of your financial history are correct. Look at the names and addresses of creditors, how much you owe them, and your payment history. If you find any mistakes, get them corrected by calling the creditor and the reporting credit agency immediately. By law, they must investigate your request and hopefully, change or delete the problem item.

Warning signs for employers include reports of late payments, bankruptcies, or foreclosures. Potential interviewers assume that if you had issues handling money, an important aspect or your life, you’ll have the same problems dealing with the job. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about this information except to wait for them to drop off your report after about seven years. You can develop good explanations for why they exist when interviewers ask you about them.

If you want more advice on how to look for dispatcher jobs, please visit our website.

Steps for Growing Your Small Business: How to Check Out Job Applicants

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social-media-logosThe best way to keep up with demands of a growing business is to hire employees. They can then handle day-to-day operations so you can concentrate on strategic planning. You’ll get much of your information about job applicants from their application forms, resumes and cover letters. However, these documents only show you what they want to tell you. To find out a more accurate picture about potential employees, check out their lives online.

  • Browse their social pages, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. What they do in their private lives can easily spill over into work. Do their messages complain constantly about their current employer or do they talk about how much they enjoy the work? What do their pictures tell you about them? Do the images show wild parties and drunken escapades? Or are they supporting Little League teams, participating in charity fundraisers, and attending industry conferences?
  • Use Google Search to discover what third parties think about your applicants. Don’t forget to look under the Images, Videos, News, and Blog options as well. You may come across news stories about their arrests for workplace assaults. On the other hand, you may find awards from association websites for their contributions to your industry. You can use Google Alerts to inform you by email in case any new items about your person of interest appears on the web.
  • Scour employment and business sites, such as LinkedIn, for their online resumes and job applications. Do the employee names, dates of employment, job titles, and job descriptions match across all sites? Is the information the same as what’s in the resume? Minor discrepancies, such as transposed dates or missing words, may simply reveal carelessness. However, major differences, such as in compensation numbers or job duties, may be an attempt to deceive.

You can’t always rely on what applicants give you to determine their suitability for the job. These independent searches will tell you more about them because they are unfiltered and more objective.

To find qualified applicants, visit our website.

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Steps for Growing Your Small Business: How to Choose the Right Workers

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Home businessSometimes when you own or run a business in a trade industry, you don’t think too much about corporate business strategies. You try to do effective marketing, keep a reliable team of workers on staff and try to keep your customers as happy as possible.

However, there are some strategies that multi-million dollar corporations use all the time, that are not all analytics, loopholes and other mumbo jumbo, (that would never apply to your business model). Many small business owners feel that borrowing a strategy or two from corporate America is one of the most crucial steps for growing your small business that you can take. In a current LinkedIn article, Virgin Mobile founder, Richard Branson revealed that he mainly hires new people based on personality. He never gets hung up on qualifications, because personality is something that you cannot learn. Though he does take a chance and hire a “maverick,” every now and then, because he feels their different perspective will often turn, “problems,” into, “opportunities, and inspire creative energy within a group;” this even is still about personality. Digging Through the Weeds It’s unfortunate, but in interview situations, it’s sometimes really hard to get a clear picture of someone’s personality. People are shy and sometimes they over-compensate; and they really aren’t the person they portray in the interview. So what are some strategies that you can use bring out an interviewee’s true personality? Care Questions Finding out what an applicant cares about outside of the business environment (including hobbies, charitable causes, family life etc.), can help you to see who he really is, because it’s hard to fake interest in something. An amusing example of this is when you meet a popular TV show super fan. They know all the show characters by name; don’t miss a minute of the show when it airs; and read about it on their down time. Through passion, it is easy see who a person is because they often can’t help but be themselves, when describing something that they genuinely love.

3 Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Small Dispatching Business

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Are you searching for innovative ways to attract more customers to your small dispatching business? If so, you may want to consider tapping into the multimillion dollar tourism market. There are assorted methods that could be used to do just that. Here’s a rundown on three of them:

#1 – Audio Tours

Partnering with others and creating a series of audio tours is one way to attract more customers to your small business. Just in case you are not familiar with them, audio tours are frequently used by a variety of tourists. Some of the audio tours come complete with customizable MP3 players, case inserts and maps. Thus, you can add your dispatching company’s advertising material to various product components.

Afterward, you could distribute the customized tours to area hotels, restaurants and tourism related agencies in the hopes that they will share them with their customers. You could also distribute the audio tours yourself via your dispatching company’s website.

#2 – Travel Kiosks

Signing up to have your small dispatching business included in automated kiosk systems is another action worth considering. The kiosks are typically located in high traffic tourist areas like airports, hotels, museums and restaurants. If there are no kiosks in your area, you may want to consider mentioning the subject to your local Chamber of Commerce, CVB or Tourism Board. Perhaps there will be enough interest in the kiosks to purchase them as part of a co-operative marketing campaign.

#3 – Hotel Partnerships

Speaking of high traffic tourist areas, oftentimes there are opportunities to partner with area hotels on other projects. For example, you may ask area hotels about advertising your dispatching service in their guest room directories, group sales packets, elevators and key card envelopes. Some hotels may also be willing to allow you to install a dedicated lobby phone that transfers guests’ transportation requests right to your business. You’ll never know unless you set up a meeting with the General Manager and ask.

 

http://www.justdispatchers.com/

Taxi Service Dispatchers as Career Opportunity: The Education You Need and Typical Salary

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Taxi service dispatchers are a good career opportunity that might surprise you in how well it pays. It’s also a career that doesn’t require an extensive amount of education, even though communication skills and multitasking are going to be paramount. But let’s not forget how valuable and rare those skills are in many other higher-end careers.

What Does a Taxi Service Dispatcher Do?

A dispatcher for a taxi service typically works out of the company’s headquarters and takes calls from customers requesting a cab. They also communicate with the taxi drivers when it’s necessary. While you still see two-way radio systems being used in some taxis, today’s communication with a dispatcher is more likely via cell phone, Bluetooth phone or a computer.

The dispatcher will also pass on directions to the taxi driver in helping get to a location faster. As well, if the taxi breaks down or becomes a victim of crime, the dispatcher knows where they are via GPS and can send help.

Education Needed for a Taxi Dispatcher

In most cases, you only need a high school education to land this job. Taxi dispatchers usually gain employment based on past experience such as any prior career with customer service or clerical skills. And, as mentioned, being able to effectively communicate on the phone with customers will be imperative. A dispatcher might be dealing with irate people on the phone (if also those inebriated), so experience dealing with problematic people will need to be proven.th

Basic Salary and Time Involved

The most recent salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has taxi dispatchers earning roughly $27,840 per year. That might fluctuate up to well past $30,000 depending on which city you work in and your experience. Overall, its a very good salary considering that no real degree is required. You’ll have to work full-time, and it’s going to require some possible long hours when emergencies occur or if there’s a shortage of help due to inclement weather. At times, you may be asked to work on holidays when taxis could be at their peak of use.

Outlook for a Taxi Dispatcher

Dispatchers for taxi services will always be in demand due to the constant need for taxis. As gas prices rise and people lose their employment, they’ll need to rely on taxis to get around. A dispatcher will likely be taking many calls in the future from people who need a taxi for numerous purposes. You might as well be one of those dispatchers who can make sure the connections with a taxi driver are done right.

If you want more information on dispatching jobs, visit us at our website or our blog. At Just Dispatchers, we know how important the role of the dispatcher is in how the world works.

Advertising and Your Small Business: A Brief Look at Big Format Printing

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Are you a dispatching firm that’s looking for tips on advertising your small business? If so, you’ve come to the right place. There are obviously many ways to advertise a dispatching business. One of them is to make use of big format printing services. Here’s a brief look at how dispatching companies can utilize those services to their advantage:

Large format printing services typically include polypropylene banners, heavy duty magnets, glossy posters, window clings and rigid signs. Each one is an efficient and effective way to promote a dispatching business. For example, let’s assume that a big conference is taking place in your dispatching company’s area and a large number of the conference’s attendees are expected to be coming in from out of town. Hence, the probability that they’ll need taxi, limousine or car service while at the convention will be high. Well, big format advertising materials can help attract those conference attendees to your dispatching business.

For instance, you could hang 16’ x 150’ outdoor banners, install 5’ x 10’ rigid signs and place 53.5” x 120” window clings in areas all along the main route leading to the event venue. Because they are large, the items could be designed to advertise your dispatching firm as well as businesses that you partner with (i.e. restaurants). That way, you could potentially share the advertising costs involved with those partners.

Understandably, more than just large exterior signage may be need to get attendees to notice your dispatching firm’s transportation services. That’s why you may want to ask the printer about 59.5” x 150” indoor banners, 24” x 60” banner stands and 59.5” x 150’ posters. If you manage to develop a working relationship with the conference’s organizers, the items could easily be used indoors during the event to promote your firm’s transportation services further.

To discover additional information about advertising and your small business, contact us. We here at Just Dispatchers have experience in helping dispatching businesses grow.

Vote For Us

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The Cinderella story at this year’s Big Game will take place during a commercial break. Why? Because Intuit is giving one small business a TV commercial on the 2014 Big Game. It’s the world’s biggest stage, and a lucky small business could be on it right beside some of the biggest brands.1373403700-1877

I think this small business should take the spotlight in the February game. Check out their entry and vote! http://intuit.me/165PniV

Before Finding Jobs for Service Vehicle Dispatchers, Check Out Your Online Trails

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It used to be that job-hunting for service vehicle dispatchers needed only an up-to-date resume, a cover letter, and filling out an application. But with the growth of Internet, employers know you most likely have been online many times. So they examine your web trails to find out if you’re suitable for their jobs. You can make sure that they see only what you want them to see with the following guidelines.social-media-logos

  • Do a Google Search on your name to find out what the web has on you. Don’t forget to look under the Images, Videos, and Blogger options. If a website says or shows something about you that is questionable, politely ask its owner to delete the offending item. Use Google Alerts to automatically email you if any additional information about you appears online.
  • Speaking of offending items, how many potentially embarrassing postings do you have on Facebook, Tumblr, or other social sites? Potential employers won’t find your photos of binge drinking or complaints about the dispatch industry as amusing as your friends did. Remove those photos and posts. Don’t just set them as viewable by friends only, because employers may want you to friend them.
  • Double-check any employment information you’ve posted online, such as on LinkedIn or other employment sites. Make sure that dates, tasks, and other job details match each other and the resume that you sent to employers. You don’t want them questioning inconsistencies that you may have accidentally listed.

For more information about finding dispatch jobs, please check our website.

Where to Find the Most Jobs for Transportation Dispatchers

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Because transportation dispatchers direct buses, trucks, and other conveyances on where to pick up and drop off goods and people, their jobs depend on having a large customer base. So it’s sensible to assume that for these workers to find the most positions, they must head for areas with large populations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that assumption the latest information for the profession, current as of the date of this post. It reveals 184,890 transportation dispatcher jobs throughout the country, paying mean wages of $38,450, or $18.49 per hour. This figure does not include emergency services dispatchers, such as 911 operators.Cardiac Reset

The employer category with the most jobs for the profession is general freight trucking, where 24,840 dispatchers average $40,790 yearly, or $19.61 hourly. Also in the top five for opportunities are building equipment contractors, local government, specialized freight trucking, and services for taxis and limousines.

The states with the best job opportunities have the greatest numbers of people, starting with California, which is the most populous state of the union. It contains 20,710 jobs averaging $40,640 per year, or $19.54 per hour. The second most populous state, Texas, has 17,130 dispatchers making a mean $35,880 annually, or $17.25 hourly. Third for both people and positions is New York, where 13,790 workers average a yearly $42,830, or $20.59 per hour.

Population also determines the number of jobs in metropolitan areas. Ranking first for persons and opportunities is New York City with 7,870 positions averaging $47,000 yearly, or $22.59 hourly. Next is Los Angeles at a mean $39,290, or $18.89, followed by Chicago, averaging an annual $42,590, or $20.47 per hour.

Where Transportation Dispatchers Make the Most Money

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Transportation dispatchers are a necessary part of any company that deals with transporting passengers, freight, or service personnel for such tasks as delivery, installation, maintenance, or repairs. Their earnings ultimately depend on who they work for and the location of their jobs. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the average high salaries for the profession, which are current as of this post.

The average pay for transportation dispatchers runs $38,450 per year, or $18.49 per hour. The highest-paid 10 percent make over an annual $59,670, or $28.69 hourly. The lowest earners make less than $21,430 yearly, or $10.30 per hour. Top wages go to those with experience and some postsecondary training in logistics, transportation, or supply chain management.

The industries offering the best pay for the profession are manufacturers of aerospace products and parts, which average $61,940 per year, or $29.78 per hour. Metal ore mining ranks second at a mean $57,930 yearly, or $27.85 hourly, followed by natural gas distribution at a mean annual $56,910, or $27.36 per hour.

Dispatchers who want the best-paying location settle in Wyoming, which shows the highest average wages of any state at $44,970 per year, or $21.62 per hour. Nebraska is next at a mean $44,330 annually, or $21.31 hourly. In third is Connecticut with average pay of $44,290 yearly, or $21.29 per hour.

As for metropolitan areas, Silicon Valley, in California, boasts the highest salaries at a mean $53.990 per year, or $25.96 per hour. Another California metropolis, Napa, is next, averaging $53,570 annually, or $25.76 hourly. Third place belongs to Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut, at a mean yearly $51,360, or $24.69 per hour.

 

For help in finding the top-paying positions for transportation dispatchers, please contact us.

New Video about our Job Boards

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MyOpenJobsLLC-Donica Rogers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Click the link above to see our new video about The leading job boards for the HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Facilities & Maintenance and Dispatching professions

HVAC Agent | Plumbing Agent |Electrical Agent |Facility Agent | Just Dispatchers

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Great Tech Based, Mobile Resources for Transportation Dispatchers

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As a transportation dispatcher, it is important to be aware of tools that may help you and your drivers succeed. The good news is there just happens to be a lot of tech-based, dispatching tools available nowadays. Here’s a look at several that may help:

Mobile Apps for Transportation Dispatchers

Mobile apps geared towards transportation dispatchers are just one set of tools that may help your small business. Understandably, the apps’ features and price points will vary based on the manufacturer. However, features that may be ideal for your company are GPS tracking, road condition alerts, two-way communication, report capabilities and signature capture.

Mobile Apps for Professional Drivers

You may also want to provide your drivers with a list of great mobile apps that will assist them with doing their jobs. Examples are apps that provide turn-by-turn directions, roadwork alerts and area restaurant/gas station information. Free and/or low-cost mobile apps to consider are as follows:

  • Dashlane–Can help drivers keep track of loyalty program information
  • Expensify–Can help drivers electronically keep track of expenses
  • Evernote–Can help drivers electronically keep track of receipts too
  • Waze–Can help drivers with directions and road closures
  • Around Me–Can help drivers find a bite to eat and fuel
  • GateGuru–Can help drivers find services within airports
  • GasBuddy–Can help drivers find inexpensive fuel
  • Parker–Can help drivers find parking spots

Mobile Apps to Connect with Fares/Clients

Another option to consider investing in is a mobile app that can connect you and your firm’s other transportation dispatchers to your clients. There are various ways to do that. First of all, you could hire a technology firm to make a customized app for your dispatching company. Second, you could opt to buy into any of the existing consumer focused, transportation apps available. We’d suggest selecting one that can best help you with your dispatching company’s marketing initiatives.

For more information about improving your transportation dispatching career, contact us at Just Dispatchers. We’ve been helping to connect professional dispatchers with quality focused dispatching companies for years.

Limo/Car Service Dispatchers Are in Demand Nationwide

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Did you know that each year approximately 400 million people nationwide utilize the talents of a limo/car service dispatcher? Obviously, limo/car service dispatchers’ salaries will vary depending on the firm, its location and the applicant’s experience. However, the industry’s average starting salary tends to exceed $20,000. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see that the industry is one to consider getting into.limo

At this point, you might be wondering which skills are needed to be a limo/car service dispatcher. Well, we can answer that for you. Here’s a quick list of some essential skills that will undoubtedly help you excel at being a limo/car service dispatcher:

  • In-depth knowledge of dispatching area (i.e. airports, hotels and train stations)
  • Ability to communicate effectively, multitask and work under pressure
  • Ability to read online and paper maps (i.e. calculate mileage/time)
  • Familiarity with the transportation and hospitality industries
  • Pleasant, clear phone voice and mastery of phone etiquette
  • Knowledge of dispatching software or computers in general
  • Agreeable to working flexible hours and be on call when need be
  • Knack for working independently and with little supervision
  • Top-quality problem solving and customer service skills

If you have those skills, one of the best places to look for a job is an online site like Just Dispatchers. It allows you to cut through all of the clutter and go straight to the limo/car service dispatchers’ job listings. Once there, you’ll be able to register for free, create a standout resume and search for work in the dispatching field. In addition, you’ll also be able to electronically network with some of the limo/car service industry’s top employers. Think about it. Being able to network like that will give you an excellent opportunity to show off your impeccable communication and computer skills.

Want to learn more about the limo/car services dispatching industry, including additional tips for finding a job? Visit the Just Dispatchers’ website or stop by our Facebook page.

Customer Service Retention Tips for Taxi Service Dispatchers

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e88b28646c667b64037e4c5c7ee9f969As a taxi service dispatcher with an eye towards advancement, you already know one key truth. Helping to build your employer’s customer base is a surefire way to boost your career trajectory. What you may not be so sure of is how to go about it.

In the majority of instances, the best approach is to adopt practices designed to increase the taxi company’s customer service retention rate. After all, finding new taxi customers tends to be notoriously time consuming and increasingly expensive.

So which practices should you consider adopting first? Start the process of elimination by thinking about who is already using your employer’s services and why. Doing so should help to give you a better understanding of which actions will encourage those customers to stay.

For example, let’s pretend that your employer’s firm currently transports a large number of people to and from local grocery stores. Collectively, their chief complaint is that by the time they get home, their frozen food has defrosted. Therefore, it only makes sense that minimizing those complaints may help to bolster the firm’s customer service retention efforts.

Other customer concerns that could negatively impact a taxi company’s customer service retention efforts may or may not include the following:

  • Long wait times and use of extraneous routes that add time
  • High prices, extra fees and inconvenient payment methods
  • Difficulty reaching and  understanding taxi dispatchers
  • Poorly maintained vehicles that appear unsafe
  • Uncomfortable seats and air temperatures
  • Vehicles with soiled interiors and exteriors
  • Rude, unkempt and unsafe drivers

Once you have identified and minimized complaints, consider taking the taxi company’s customer service retention efforts a step further. Tasks to consider engaging in are the development of bounce backs, mobile push through and social media strategies.

Those are just a few actions that may help taxi service dispatchers increase a firm’s customer service retention rate. To learn more, visit the Just Dispatchers website. We offer access to taxi service dispatching jobs, employment tips and networking opportunities. In other words, you’ll find everything that you’ll need to develop your dispatching management career.

Just Dispatchers Website

Invaluable Small Business Resources for Aspiring Dispatchers

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Are you looking to start your own dispatching business? Perhaps you are an existing transportation related business in need of a little assistance. Either way, you may want to consider taking advantage of these small business resources:

Small Business Incubator Sitesdispatchers

Just like the name indicates, small business incubator sites are designed to grow fledging businesses. Often used by inventors and tech-minded individuals, they offer access to a variety of highly coveted business resources. Among them are mentors, angel investors, financing opportunities, communal workspace and networking opportunities. According to the National Business Incubator Association’s figures, there are approximately 7,000 such facilities located across the globe. The best way to find one in your area is to conduct a quick internet search.

Marketing Assistance

There are also non-profit agencies and government organizations that are willing to make marketing related, small business resources available to aspiring dispatchers. One of them is the FAMEE Foundation. Many of their small business resources are freely accessible. Others require the remittance of a small donation. Resources include self-study courses, opportunities to meet with business consultations and access to an online forum. The non-profit is presently based in Topeka, Kansas.

Other resources to consider utilizing for such support include the U.S. Small Business Association, SCORE and the SBDC. They have brick-and-mortar access points located all across the United States. Each one also maintains an online presence.

Job Specific Employment Websites

Job specific employment websites are another small business resource to contemplate utilizing. A good example of one to consider is Just Dispatchers. We help to connect dispatchers to dispatching companies. Thus, you could use feasibly use it to find employees for your new dispatching company or obtain on-the-job experience until you are ready to start your own dispatching business.

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Healthcare & Small Business: How the Affordable Care Act Affects You and Your Employees

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Healthcare and the small business haven’t had too good of a relationship recently with more expensive health care rates per employee in comparison to larger businesses. That’s led to some small businesses having to eliminate health care for employees due to the cost. But with coming changes to health care plans through the Affordable Care Act, small businesses and their employees might see a new day of better health care options.

Tax Credits for Businesses with Moderate Income Workers

Any small business that agrees to cover 50% of the health care premiums for low and moderate income workers will get that money back starting in 2014. Used as a tax credit, it works in conjunction with the new Small Business Health Options program (otherwise known as SHOP). The latter provides more health care options for small businesses to find something more affordable or a policy with better coverage.

Keep in mind that the tax credit only applies to small businesses with less than 25 employees. The SHOP program applies to those with under 50 employees, though increases to 100 in 2016.

New Options and Clearer Benefits

Starting in 2014, all small businesses have to provide more insurance options to employees through the ADA’s Insurance Marketplace plan. And new rules will require that the small business explain to employees exactly what their plans will provide so there isn’t confusion. While that might create a bit of a burden for the small business, this symbiotic process with health care is going to help both businesses and their employees in time. Employees will finally know what benefits they’re paying for after years of frequently not being made clear.

Reimbursement of High Claims Costs

 Through a Transitional Reinsurance Program, you and your employees will have to pay insurers a small monthly fee to help cover any high claims costs they have. There might be criticism of this, even though the Small Business Administration says it’s calculated at only $5.25 a month. What makes it tolerable is that the fees are also tax deductible.

Better Wellness Programs

Prevention doesn’t get taught enough in the world of health care. Now small businesses will have more incentive to create thorough wellness plans with a 30% discount off the cost of their health coverage. If the wellness plan places particular emphasis on removing smoking from the business, that discount rises to 50%.

These kind of incentives are going to make small businesses much more of a reassuring environment.

The Heart of a Transportation Business: Trucking Dispatchers

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The trucking industry relies on drivers to carry product loads to the proper destinations, but it’s the dispatcher’s job to send them on their way and troubleshoot any problems that may occur. Trucking dispatchers are the heart of a transportation business and this job is perfect for someone who isn’t afraid of responsibility. Typically, a trucking dispatcher does much more than pass on messages. If you are interested in working in this exciting field, here’s some of the duties you can expect to perform.

  • Answer customer calls and arrange pick up and deliveries.
  • Designate trucks for deliveries.
  • Assist drivers with transportation paperwork.
  • Manage inventory and equipment maintenance.
  • Troubleshoot transportation issues.
  • Report road closings and detours to delivery trucks when needed.
  • Collect receipts for expense reports and creates reports.
  • Use software to track deliveries and report progress to clients.
  • Must be a good communicator who enjoys working with people.

While these tasks may vary from company to company, there’s no doubt that dispatchers are the key to a company’s success. Drivers need to have the assurance that the dispatcher is always available and eager to assist them when they need help. Customers need to be able to depend on dispatchers to guide their products to the right destination. Dispatchers are often relied upon to negotiate good prices for their customers but profitable deliveries for drivers. It’s a career that focuses on balancing customer service with employee safety.

Many companies consider the dispatcher’s job to be mid-management position and a good stepping stone toward managing in other areas of the business.

5 Customer Retention Strategies for Your Small Business

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If you plan to grow your business past your four walls, customer retention is incredibly important for sustainability. And with the rising costs associated with customer acquisition, finding innovative and proactive solutions in retaining your clients will benefit your business greatly.CustRet

But before we give you the tips, consider this fact according to The Harvard Business School:

increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.

1. Be transparent with customer expectations. The best thing you can do to begin your journey into customer retention is to set all customer expectations early. To garner loyalty, simply “under promise and over deliver.” Setting the expectations early will eliminate any uncertainty associated with keeping your customers happy.

2. Stand up and brand yourself. There is no faster way to get the cold shoulder from a customer than to be wishy-washy on the service you offer. Many experts and studies have found that when people say they have a strong relationship with a brand, the primary reason is “shared values.” So in order to create loyalty, make them care about you.

3. Show them you are an expert. Even if you rely on outside, or automated services to run aspects of your business, what’s important to a customer is that you appear like an expert. The trust and bond associated with that approach is trustworthy, and creates retention. Become their advisor and watch them return.

4. Try social proof. What’s social proof? From an article on social proof amplification marketing:

According to Google, 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. Furthermore, a CompUSA and iPerceptions study revealed that 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

Positive social proof works. It is great customer motivation, and gets people to listen.

5. Use automation. Process automation takes menial tasks out of your hands and gives you more time to connect and bond with customers. Companies that do it well have proven that making good use of automation are more able to focus on customers and keep client networks performing in the top tier. By standardizing certain processes and placing a bar on service levels, you will be able to increase customer loyalty and improve retention.

Not so bad were they! Implement these today and you can be guaranteed that through strengthening customer bonds, your bottom line will also grow.

Field Service Scheduling; A Dispatchers Vital Role

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When it comes to field service scheduling, dispatchers play a vital role. So it’s never a bad idea to take some time to take a look at all the processes, and make sure that everything is operating at its peak efficiency.

Here are 3 tips to keep service scheduling and dispatch running smoothly and efficiently.

Scheduling Software

Want to increase efficiency with little to no trouble? Invest on some scheduling software. Cloud-based solutions or localized software can increase organization, triage, and improve productivity even if you aren’t tech savvy. Just be sure the software works like a two-way street, in that it can send work orders from home base, as well as receive information requests from the field.

User-friendly software is not only an effective tool that helps increase productivity, it also provides timely information in a snap.

Track Technicians Skill Sets

A tool that keeps up with all of your technician’s abilities is useful and valuable. Knowing who the right person is for each job, and who has what tools to do each task, will help dispatch ensure the problem is fixed quickly and accurately. If you aren’t monetarily able to invest in the software, or aren’t able to maintain automated routing, then there’s nothing wrong with visual access to your technicians routing and skill sets. That way, a simple drag and drop creates a work order for the right person.

Scheduling Wisely

To get the most out of your field service technicians, scheduling them in a staggered pattern will add to running things efficiently. It will also help cut down on any overtime expenses you may incur for shifts that happen to overlap. And if possible, set up a system by which you dispatch particular technicians from their home to help reduce ineffective( and costly) service downtime in the morning hours.

4 Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Small Business and Keep ‘Em Coming Back

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customer-retentionNo matter the business you are in, without customers to keep it going, your business will not make it. It’s not a harsh reality, it’s simply a rule. This is why it is important to present yourself and the service you offer in way that keeps customers returning.

Here are 4 ways to attract more customers to your small business and create a solid customer base.

1. Location is Key

The old saying that location is paramount to achieving in business may seem overstated at times. But for many businesses, without a great location, business may falter. For a dispatching service, however, having a central hub that makes it easy for those in the field to return to quickly and easily, while still helping customers, may be a hidden secret to keeping customers (and staff) happy.

2. Appearance

The first impression is a lasting impression. This isn’t just for how employees dress, either. Keeping areas where customers visit is just as important to giving the impression that your business is clean, approachable, and maintained. The same can be said for vehicles for fleet services. Clean and maintain service vehicles the same as you would your office. Such a simple piece of advice that will go a long way, and your customers will appreciate your squeaky clean appearance.

3. Prices for Service

Obviously if your prices are exorbitant, customers will shy away from what you have to offer, especially if you have competitors. While you want to turn a profit (that’s why you’re in business, among other things), you still need to stay competitive and give customers reasons to want to pay you for your services. Do this by adding sales, coupons, specials, buy one get ones, etc. This also works for offsetting costs: lower the price of your service, but offer any products you may have at a slightly higher cost. Brilliant, yet simple.

4. Friendliness Breaches the Gap

Perhaps the best piece of advice for anyone in the business of dealing with customers is friendliness is priority number one. If you have a rude, brash, or callus person working for you, there is a very good chance they will offend somebody at some point. And you know how bad word of mouth travels compared to good. Friendly staff members will keep customer coming back, in all facets of your business.

 

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How to Deal with a Difficult Employee

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difficult_people Everyone knows who they are; those people who make your work environment hostile.  These people are irritating, disrespectful employees who show up late, leave early, don’t do the work on time (or not at all) and have excuses for everything.  You can’t do anything right with them.  It’s frustrating enough that co-workers and customers are knocking on your door to deal with the person.  You are busy running day-to-day management duties.  It’s one thing managers must be prepared to handle: How to deal with a Difficult employee .

Never ignore the issue.  It’s not going away because you hide in the office or ignore the warning signs.  As upper management you are responsible for controlling this situation.  All this is going to do is escalate the problem.  Instead…

Intervene.  Get involved as soon as possible.  It’s easier to handle the problem.  Don’t wait until it gets out of hand…

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Improve Your Online Ratings with These Customer Service Tips for Dispatchers

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If you operate a taxi, limo or shuttle service, you probably rely a great deal on online reviews to help you attract new business.  Even one negative comment can sometimes be enough to deter people from hiring your company, which is why it is important to give your best service at all times. Here are some customer service tips for dispatchers you can use to help you obtain more satisfied customers, thereby boosting your online stats.Report_card1-300x300

View yourself as a solution to a problem. Customers call you because they need reliable transportation, and some of them may even be facing difficult circumstances. As such, you should treat each caller with dignity, no matter how outraged he or she may be. Empathize with the customer in order to diffuse any anger, and reassure that person that the problem will be handled to the best of your ability.

In some cases, patrons may have to wait some time before their driver actually arrives. Whenever this happens, keeping the customer updated on developments can ensure your caller does not become anxious during the meantime. It can also be a good idea to make a follow-up phone call once service has been established in order to make sure that everything is going smoothly.

If you need to place a caller on hold, be sure to explain the reason for doing so ahead of time. It can also be helpful to let your customer know approximately how long the wait time will be. If the wait turns out to be longer than you had anticipated, check back in with your client to let that person know you haven’t forgotten about him.

In addition to using good phone etiquette, drivers should also be trained to provide courteous service to your clients as well. Drivers should exhibit a neat and orderly appearance, and the vehicle should appear to be clean and well maintained as well. In the transportation sector, every detail is important, so by paying careful attention to detail, you can also help ensure satisfied customers.

3 Helpful Tips to Being a More Efficient Dispatcher and Field Service Scheduler

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dispatcherA dispatcher wears many hats. At any given time they are a scheduler, a planner, a customer service representative, and an expert task-master. But it doesn’t come easy. Being an efficient dispatcher and excelling at service scheduling takes practice and confidence. Traits that sometimes develop over time.

Here are 3 tips to help you be a more efficient dispatcher.

1. Saying “No” is not an option. Being a dispatcher means more than the namesake implies. Dispatching also requires a huge amount of dealing with customers on a daily basis, and working with customers means learning what each one expects from you. For this reason, saying “No” is not an option. Rather, say “We are unable to do that for you. How about another day?” Customers are more willing to work with you than you think. By giving them options, and being realistic, you are keeping the door open and providing good customer service.

2. Learning to prioritize will save you a headache. While this takes a bit of a learning curve, those who have been in the business for a while will tell you that if you don’t learn to assign importance to each call, you will be in for quite a stressful day. Addressing the importance of each situation, and allocating the action appropriately, is great for customers and creates a positive impact on time management.

3. Routing for the sake of profit. Depending on what form of dispatching you are involved in, this point does change a tiny bit. However, the overall point should be fairly obvious. That is, to be the most efficient dispatcher, routing the appropriate people in profitable way will save time and money (and keep everyone happy). Gas is too expensive, and time is too precious to have your people being sent all over the map. Using a mapping tool can help dispatchers see where their people are, and help them to dispatch and allocate accordingly and effectively.

By taking the time to master these 3 traits, you will be on your way to becoming a more efficient dispatcher. It will take some time (so don’t stress), but once you get it, you’ll see positive results and increased productivity.

5 Tips on How to Survive Juggling a Family and a Career

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Unfortunately, there is no one formula for how to survive juggling a family and a career. It is more of personal decision for what works best for each individual in how one combines family, spouses, work, friends, kids and a social life. And if you’re like Amy Rees Anderson, author and CEO, balancing them all is a pipe dream that she let go of long ago:

One of the questions I am asked the most is, “How do you do it? How do you balance work life and home life?” The honest answer is, “I don’t.” No one can.

So while balancing everything in your life may seem an impossible challenge, in reality there are many techniques and approaches that can help you strike a balance that works.

1. A Support Network

Nothing will get you through a tough time like a strong support network that aids you in your time of need. Get your kids involved. Work together with your friends, co-workers, bosses, etc. and ask for support. Between career and family, surprises are inevitable. Have backup plans for emergencies, and structures in place to make things easier. It will also work as peace of mind.

2. Forget the Guilt!

Guilt is perhaps the greatest waste of energy there is. It causes you to become stagnant in the present, because you are stuck in the past. Take a lesson from Amy Rees Anderson when she says, “Rather than constantly feeling guilty and stressed in your pursuit of balance, turn your focus toward doing the very best you can do every day with the time you have.”

3. Establish Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations

Boundaries are like an invisible line drawn around you that helps others determine what is acceptable. This way, it helps you to determine what you deem as acceptable behavior from others in every situation. Boundaries and limitations are the deciding factor in how you rule your own time. They are the ultimate expression and extent of your responsibilities and power. No limits means that saying “No” is difficult. Boundaries and rules help you balance work and family.

4. Cut Out the Negative People

Gossips, negative Nancies, and complainers will consume your positive energy, and drain your ability to keep that delicate balance you have created between your career and your home life. “Don’t give them two seconds of your day,” says Amy Anderson. “Because if you give two seconds they will take two hours.” Avoid them at all costs.

5. Schedule Downtime

Take time for yourself. Being a good parent, a good professional, and a good spouse means you have to consider yourself first. Ever heard the phrase “It’s hard to love when you don’t love yourself?” The same rules apply. Relax, relieve tension, and center yourself to help minimize stress. It is a benefit that you need, but often forget to give yourself. Don’t forget, and reap the reward.

Many of the same skills and strategies you use in your work day can apply to your home life. Planning, communicating, and setting limits are effective at both junctures. Creating a positive balance, in any way you can, will help you have a happier home and a healthier heart.

Social Media and Your Small Business: 3Reasons You Need a Google+ Page

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It’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing menu of social media channels, online marketing opportunities, and search engine optimization theories. Small businesses often don’t have time to invest in every new trend that comes along in the online world, and that’s okay. When it comes to prioritizing social media and determining where you need to be present online, it’s imperative to remember Google+. Here are just a few reasons for investing the relatively small amount of time and energy on this social media channel.g-plus-icon-96x96

1) Google+ influences SEO – This is perhaps the best reason to create a Google+ account and maintain it. Google wants everyone to have a Google+ account (some of the reasons are detailed in this recent New York Times article). It’s generally to every small business to appeal to Google, and one way of doing this is by getting on Google+. If you make sure the account links to your website, and you make sure to include a Google+ badge or link on the homepage of your website, you should see an SEO boost on Google search. This should increase as you build followers and post regularly.

2) Google+ offers great opportunities with communities – Google+ communities enjoy a great reputation for serious discussions and shared expertise. While Facebook is overcrowded and Reddit is often dominated by inside jokes and memes, Google+ communities are great places for networking, discussing industry trends, and even recruiting new talent. Establishing your small business as a thought leader in these communities is a great way to build exposure.

3) Google+ seamlessly integrates – Most small businesses use Google for a variety of different online marketing means. Some might use Gmail for email, AdWords for advertising, YouTube for video (owned by Google) and Picasa for pictures. All of these live under Google’s massive umbrella, and can be compiled in one central hub that is your Google+ page. This integration means that by posting a video, a photo album, etc, you’re actually becoming more and more active on Google+ and potentially effecting your SEO positively. Build awareness across all of your channels and Google will see your business as a well oiled machine in the online world.

Get in touch with us for more information and expertise on social Media and your small business.

Common Sense Customer Service Tips Easily, and Dangerously, Forgotten

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customer-serviceWhen it comes to common sense customer service tips, it is easy to dismiss some as such no-brainers that you literally never allow them to access into your brain again. The result being that you dismiss the value of customer service as well as the tips themselves. How many of the following customer service tips do you recognize as being just plain common sense? And how many are you guilty of forgetting?

  • Take Responsibility

The customer is always right. You know this isn’t strictly true and the customer knows it isn’t strictly true, but both of you have entered into an unspoken contract where it is treated as if it were true. What is almost always true is that you never win the battle for customer loyalty by blaming him. Whether it was your fault or not, take responsibility and promise to do better.

  • Give Customer Service the Value It Deserves

Too many businesses only pay lip service to customer service. If you are really serious about building customer loyalty, then make customer service an integral part of your branding design. Don’t just hire some kid fresh from high school to take on the lowest paying job you offer. A highly effective customer service rep with a degree in public relations and a positive personality can quickly become the face of your company. Pay those in customer service what they are worth and you will find that you are getting them for a much bigger bargain than an ineffectual team of minimum wage slackers.

  • Keeping the Customer Updated

Merely providing feedback that is positive, helpful and admits your responsibility when the customer first makes a complaint is still not enough. Don’t be mistaken: making sure that initial communication leaves the customer satisfied is hugely important. If you really want to ensure customer loyalty and positive word of mouth, however, you need to go the extra mile. Contact the customer as soon as possible when you have new information to provide him. When you reach out to call the customer, you are much less likely to find an angry voice inching ever closer to complete dissatisfaction than if you wait for the customer to call you.

  • Customer Service Does Not Need to be All-Inclusive

Here’s a customer service tip that is absolutely common sense, yet dare not be spoken out loud. You don’t need to worry about making every customer happy. Even more important to understand: you don’t want to retain each and every single customer you ever deal with. Some customers–and you know which ones–are quite simply more trouble than they’re worth and your business will be all the better for cutting them loose. Don’t bother striving for 100% customer loyalty and retention. And don’t feel guilty for it, either.

  • Customer Service is not Just Complaint Service

Customer service is not just about handling complaints. For small businesses especially, customer service can and should be about increasing your position within a competitive marketplace. Invite customers to make suggestions and recommendations about how you can be better at what you do. Create an atmosphere in which two-way discourse between you and the customers comes to be viewed as part of your brand. When this approach to customer service is successful you can uncover valuable information on how to improve your product or service, what kind of new features are worth investing in and how to identify the problems holding you back that you don’t see from your perspective. That’s the kind of information that huge conglomerates pay through the nose for focus groups to tell them.

5 Traits of All Highly-Effective Dispatchers

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istock_000015655799small_number_5_w640They can be referred to as many things, but most prefer dispatcher or fleet manager. The unsung hero that, without, most fleets would be left in the dark. They are, perhaps at times, more important than even the vehicles that they help to navigate. Some would even argue that they hold the key to the success of every service where dispatching plays a major role.

Here are 5 other names a great dispatcher should be called:

A Great Planner

Strategic planning and dispatching are paramount to saving any company money, and keeping productivity high. A well thought out plan that considers all of the aspects of delivery, vehicle acquisition, supplier selection, will yield a hardy return for any business.

A MultiTasker

Some people find it difficult to manage more than one thing at a time. But imagine what it’s like to manage more than a hundred vehicles at a time. To be an effective dispatcher, one has to be a highly-skilled at managing many things at one time, and be good at it.

An Innovator

In many situations a fleet manager will be in charge of managing a company’s biggest asset. So with that responsibility comes the power to be a great innovator. Choosing suppliers, finding and bettering equipment, making sure vehicles are operating efficiently. These sorts of traits help to make the manager more effective and the fleet more valuable.

A Communicator

Great communication skills are what makes a fleet manager effective. It’s benchmark for success. A strong and clear communicator can better any business’ fleet; manage drivers; organize suppliers; and juggle executives all in the same breath.

A Great Investment

Just as one expert says in his article entitled “Consider the Dispatcher:”

The dispatcher is at the centre of everything that the fleet does. They hear from irate customers when the load is late, from irate drivers who don’t like something about their assignment, from irate bosses; salespeople… So why don’t more companies invest in their dispatchers? If dispatchers are part of your team you might want to ask yourself that same question.

A great fleet manager operating at a high level can not only save a company huge sums of money, they are also be great leaders, team players, networkers, and have what’s best for the business in mind. Have you thanked a dispatcher today?

Office Romances: Sweet Treats or Disasters Waiting to Happen?

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how-not-to-interview-02-office-romance-slMost careers require us to be at work sometimes more than we are at home. And because of that, we often find ourselves in situations where dating a co-worker becomes a reality. But is dating a co-worker ever a positive thing for your job or for your personal life? Are office romances a sweet treat or disaster waiting to happen?

Here are the pros and cons to dipping your pen in the company ink.

Pro: The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest. There’s just something about doing something that is usually against policy (most places of employment are definitely NOT okay with office romances).

Con: What begins as a sultry love affair turns into real love. Meaning hiding it will lose its flair after a while and you’ll both be in lost of awkward situations.

Pro: You will get to see each other everyday!

Con: You get to see each other every day…

Pro:You have a buddy from the same workplace that you can share all of your feeling, thoughts, and opinions to about the place you share together.

Con: All you ever do is talk about work when you’re not there. A fact that become a painful reality after a few months.

Pro: You and your new office ally can rule the world! You can confide and trust in them and work becomes an easy obstacle.

Con: The rest of the team finds out about you, and they and quickly all gang up on you. Then slowly favoritism turns into fraternization, which becomes termination.

Pro: You get paid to be around someone who tickles your fancy in more ways than one. It’s a rare and beautiful thing.

Con: When you break up, or have a fight, work is awkward, annoying, and painful to be at. You even consider quitting.

The bottom line: Sure, an office romance has advantages, but those bright spots come with many disadvantages. So here’s a few points:

  • Only get involved if you think it may be more of a long term relationship. One night stands are definitely out.
  • If you feel an attraction, talk about it like adults and make sure you both are looking for the same things.
  • It’s best that, if you do start an office romance, you work on separate floors, rooms, departments, etc.
  • Discuss what happens if you break up.
  • While you’re at work, keep it professional. Nothing sours faster for everyone like overzealous lovers.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

5 Important Things to Know About Workers Compensation Insurance and Your Small Business

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Ohio-labor-law-workers'-comp-articleWorker’s compensation always give rise to a lot of questions and concerns. For many small business owners the in’s and out’s are a complete mystery. What is it? How does it help my employees? How does it affect me and my business?

In this post, we’ll cover 5 important things a small business needs to know about workers comp.

1. The amount of employees may affect the law’s principles

Depending on what state you operate your business from, and the number of employees you have on payroll, there are exceptions to the laws that will affect you. In some instances, if you are under the minimum employee limit, you do not have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You will instead have the option to offer it or not. Click here to find out your state’s laws.

2. How an employee is classified is important

Not every employee you hire will be required to be covered. That is, depending on your state’s specifics, only full time employees are required to be covered. Leaving part timers, independent contractors, and interns exempt.

3. If you are required to provide coverage, be mindful of the law

In the US, worker’s comp is required in every state, without exception. But each state has its own set of laws that employers must follow. In some states worker’s comp is a state-wide program, while in others it is a done through private insurers. It’s very important to know how your state’s laws function, and how you must comply.

4. Worker’s compensation protect the employer too

On the surface, worker’s comp appears as if it is just for employees, protecting them from the costs associated with health-related injuries. But under the surface, worker’s compensation insurance is also just as important for a small business, by protecting the company from the costs associated with lawsuit costs and legal action.

5. Worker’s compensation will cover all injuries that happen on site

No matter who or what is at fault, from the smallest to the largest, worker’s comp insurance covers any injury. Even if an employee is the only one to blame for the accident, they (and you) are covered. This is why it is important to cover safety procedures on a regular basis to prevent any job-related injuries.

For more information on employment and labor laws, click here to read about the specifics for your small business from the SBA.gov.

Four Quick Ways to Better Target Your Pay-Per-Click Ads

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PPC-for-Beginners-Target-your-customersPay per click advertising is a powerful new way for small businesses to reach important audiences. Simple setups and the ability to establish daily budgets makes advertising for your small business something that anyone can do. This is a good thing for small businesses, but it makes self-education all the more important. Though getting started with a pay per click campaign is easy, there are a few tweaks that can help you target the right audience and optimize your spending. You should take note of these four things that will hone in on the right people and deliver your message to the right people.

1. Brainstorm and Execute Negative Keywords - Negative keywords serve to exclude your ads for potential display to people who use said keywords. For example, an all girls boarding school might use “prestigious”, “boarding”, and “school” as keywords. Someone interested in an all boys or co-ed boarding school would be shown the ad for the all girls school if they searched “prestigious boarding schools for boys”. To avoid something like this, include discerning negative keywords that filter out related but distinct web traffic. You pay for every click, and you don’t want to waste money on those who are looking for something fundamentally different.

2. Remarket to Existing Leads - Remarketing refers to the practice of using cookies to mark every user who has been to your website and place them on a list that will be targeted for advertising. Remarketing is great for making sure your advertising budget is spent on the right people. If someone has been to your website, it’s more likely that they are in your demographic. Additional ads remind them of their visit to your website and provides another touch point.

3. Limit Display Times - What time are your users requesting more information, giving your contact information, or making a purchase? If you have a good idea of this behavior of your market, optimize your ads for this timeframe. You can choose when your ads are displayed, so don’t waste your budget in the morning and miss out on business in the evening.

4. Keyword Your Competition - Try to get a sense for what keywords your competitors are using by doing some research via Google. Search for keywords you’d like to be competitive for and get a sense for what comes up. If you have a direct competitor who is already all over adwords, you’ll want to compete with them for some of these words. It’s also legal and common practice to use your competitor’s name as a keyword for your ads as well. It might seem aggressive, but the truth is that someone is probably already doing it to you.

 

 

www.justdispatchers.com

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Marketing for Your Small Business Doesn’t Have to be Hard

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iStock_000011592730XSmallIt’s the new year and you know what that means: time to change your marketing game plan. There’s an adage circulating around the internet that marketing is like fitness, in that when fitness experts find something that works better than what they were doing, they change their habits to fit their needs. Which, in today’s ever-changing environment, is as true as it has ever been.

Here are 3 tips on marketing for your small business.

Make sure your diet is healthy

In the same way that marketing is like fitness, your customers are your diet. Doing the the sort of work that is healthy for you will build your business into a great shape. The other side of your diet is like fast food: quick and easy, but not good for you in the long term. This year plan to eat 20 percent less fast food and take aim at getting healthier. Be more strategic in how your market in the short term instead of long term/easy advances that don’t seem to have an immediate pay off.

Try out mixed routines like CrossFit

Ever heard of CrossFit? It’s high energy, variable, and challenging. But anyone can do it at any level and at any age because of how adaptive it is. This year don’t focus so much on one aspect of your marketing. Don’t focus solely on awareness activity when your SEO and web traffic are lacking; try and add more conversion and loyalty through content development. Don’t be the guy who skips leg day, and at the end of the year is so top heavy you’d think his legs were on the wrong body. Be dynamic and nimble.

No more yo-yo dieting

Every fitness guru in the country will tell you that not sticking to a diet plan can be worse for your body than not doing anything. This translates into marketing in the same way that if you plan out a huge event one month, drum up lots of business and bring in new customers, and then do nothing for months on end, don’t be surprised if those new customers forget. Instead do what healthy people do, commit to 20 minutes a day. Get everyone on staff involved in your regime and have them all do the same. Imagine the results.

Marketing doesn’t have to be hard, yes just like fitness it requires hard work and dedication, but it does get easier over time. Make 2014 a successful year, pick a plan and stick to it. The results will surprise you.

How to Physically Protect Company Information

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Data-Protection-21As a knowledgeable computer user, you’re well-aware of the hackers and viruses that can invade your system. Such intrusions can steal or damage valuable business data, such as customer credit card numbers or employee Social Security numbers. This is why you’ve spent money on a firewall and a security program to protect your network. You can enhance these digital measures by implementing physical methods that cost nothing.

Start by making sure that none of your screens face an open window, lobby, or public corridor. Otherwise, passersby can easily look at and record what you’re entering. Don’t be fooled by being on an upper floor. Someone in the next building can still watch your display by using a pair of high-powered binoculars. To prevent this spying, turn your monitors so they face a blank wall. Only the person at the computer can then view the screen.

Avoid logging in when you use the free wi-fi services available at coffeehouses or some public transportation. Because access is not secure, hackers can easily tap in to spy on what you’re doing. Don not publicly browse such sites as your company database, your email account, or financial website. If you want to access such confidential pages, sign up for paid wireless Internet access, which offers a layer of security.

Do not put old and unused smartphones, laptops, or tablets in unlocked cabinets or on a shelf. Someone could easily take them without you noticing, and access whatever information is stored on their hard drives. Store old technology in locked cabinets inside locked room. If you want to recycle the devices, such as by donating them to charity, wipe out their hard drives first by using hard drive erasure software.

For other small business resources, please visit our website.

2014 Resolutions for Small Business

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new-year-s-resolution1If you are looking for resolutions that are a bit easier to keep than eat less, sleep more, de-stress, and so on, then look to your small business. The new year is the perfect time for you and your business to kick it up a notch, and make changes that will last longer than a just few months (like not eating sugar).

Here are your top 5 small business resolutions to get you on the right track:

Use Tech to its Fullest

Commit this year to getting the most out of your technology investment solutions. So many small business owners neglect their tech investments; despite the reasons they purchased them. Don’t forget why you made the investment in the first place: to save time and become more efficient.

Connect with Your Customers

2014 should mean a new start. So with that you should begin strategizing news ways to innovate your customer relations. Start looking at your customers as relationships to build on and not transactions. Begin building before the transaction and carry it all the way until you hand over the receipt.

Make Customer Service a Priority

It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth: Customers should be priority number one. Because without them your small business is not going to be doing very well. And as a recent survey found: one in six people would rather visit a dentist than speak to a customer service rep. Ouch.

Don’t Miss Marketing Opportunities

In 2014 plan to throw some money at marketing. It is, after all, an investment with an invaluable return. Use some of that forgotten tech from tip number one and create an online persona. Make a Facebook, create a Yelp account, market what you can do for people. Measure it quarter to quarter, tweak when necessary, and reap your reward: revenue.

Become a Social Media Guru

If you think you missed the opportunity to make an online presence, you are completely wrong. If you have a social media presence and you haven’t seen results, change up your strategy. As we mentioned in the previous step, taking steps to make a Linkedin account or to start Tweeting are free. Talk about an investment with nothing but a positive return.

Learn to Roll with the Punches

Finally, this year learn to be nimble and change course when necessary. Take a lesson from online retailer Amazon (who started out in a garage, by the way), “borrow” customers from competitors because of better service and lower prices. Identify your points of difference, how you are better, why your brand supercedes others, and build a following. 2014 is your year.

For more tips and tricks to make the new year successful and positive for your small business, visit our webpage.

Install a Recovery Plan for your Small Business

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thMVONNUSDYour business may be fiscally sound, and that’s something to take pride in. Making it in a bad economy shows gusto and know how. But if you were to take hit (breach of data security, floods, tornados, etc,) would you be able to recover? According to statistics, some 40% of all businesses that experience a disaster will not recover, with 65% happening in the first year after.

Here are some tips on how to stay ahead of the curve and protect your small business from disaster.

Review Your Insurance Plan 

According to a recent news article, having the correct policy in place is one of the most important factors for your protection.

A disaster recovery plan should include insurance policies such as: commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, workers’ comp insurance, errors and omissions insurance, and umbrella insurance coverage.

Keep Employees Safe

This step is priority and absolutely should not be taken for granted. Your disaster plan should include safety measures in the event of fire, flood, etc., and should give direction on how to remain safe and where to go. Check out this evacuation and procedures tool from OSHA for more information.

Keep Technology Safe

Loss of data can be just as terminal as loss of property. In fact, it has the possibility to be worse in certain situations. Conduct regular checks on your equipment and computers, have a professional provide maintenance at least once a year, and be sure that all of your fire safety measures are in place and up to code.

Maintain an Emergency Contact List

When disaster strikes you’ll want to have all vital information at hand and a list of people to contact. Communicating with your employees and your clients should be your first priority. You’ll want to have a solid communication strategy in place to relay relevant information quickly and easily.

 

5 Social Media Ideas And How They Only Work For Small Businesses

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SM_0Social media has been widely embraced by large corporations and small businesses alike as a way to better interact with online communities. Businesses and their audiences are more connected than ever, and this actually empowers small businesses over sprawling franchises in important ways. While social media is an informational tool, it is – at its core – a way for businesses to reveal more about themselves. It’s an opportunity to humanize, to lighten up, and to show what you’re really made of. It’s a platform for quantifiable word of mouth marketing, and it’s here to stay. Here are 5 social media ideas that only work for small, respected business with local roots and friendly faces.

1. Introduce and feature your staff – Small businesses have the great advantage of close communications and close quarters between staff. Humanize your organization and flaunt your cohesiveness by featuring staff members on your blog and posting it to social media. Make it fun and lighthearted, and remind people of how wonderful it is to do business with people, rather than flow-charts.

2. Give a tour of the office/store/headquarters – Small businesses also have the advantage of small, accessible work spaces. Post photos and anecdotes from your office or headquarters, and connect to potential clients on a tangible, local level. This transparency does wonders for building trust and empathy.

3. Incentivize Visits – The beauty of a small business is that it exists within a local community ecosystem. Incentivize local customers with deals, contests, or coupons that they can only redeem at your local workplace. Use social media to bridge the gap between the digital and the person-to-person world.

4. Align Yourself Locally – Small, locally-run businesses can use social media to establish their brand and community priorities within a robust local movement. Trading links and likes with other non-competing organizations is a great way to drum up good will and remind your audience that you’re a member of the community, just like them. Comment on weather, local events, and exciting news in your community.

5. Feature Success Stories – Small businesses generally have a much better idea of the stories behind their clients. Think about who uses your product or service, get in touch, and share that story with the world. In a similar fashion to #4, this will align your business within the community and demonstrate an understanding of the people with whom you work. When a big business does this, it seems like marketing. When a small business does this, it seems like community building.

When thinking about social media and your small business, remember that it serves small businesses over large corporations and high-powered marketing firms in some very powerful ways. Small businesses can use social media to level the playing field and build their brand and business without the big budget costs of major marketing campaign.

Christmas: Quiz the Season

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Christmas-Carol-1991What would Christmas be without the songs and movies that help shape the season? Imagine cozying up on the couch and not having A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life to watch and get you into the spirit, or turning on some music and having Frosty or Rudolph absent. Sure, by the end we may a bit tired of it all, but a holiday season without these classics wouldn’t be the same.

Here are some fun quiz for you to riddle your holiday revelers with this Christmas, or for you to take yourself (answers at the bottom).

1. In the movie A Christmas Carol, how many ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge?

2. What city was the movie A Christmas Story filmed in?

3. The song Do You Hear What I Hear? may be considered a Christmas song now, but what event in the 1960s was it written about that has nothing to do with Christmas?

4. In the classic Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas, what does “5 golden rings” actually refer to?

5. In the animated TV classic Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, what was Rudolph’s girlfriend’s name?

6. In the “Christmas Carol” adaptation named Scrooged, who plays a version of Ebenezer Scrooge?

7. In Home Alone, what did the two bandits unofficially name themselves?

8. In 1957, Elvis recorded a version of what Christmas classic that the original composer, Irving Berlin, tried to get banned?

9. What department store does Elf‘s Will Ferrell get his first job at?

10. What is the biggest selling Christmas song of all time?

Have a Merry Christmas and feel free to contact us any time! (See answers below)

 

1. 4; 2. Cleveland; 3. The Cuban Missile Crisis; 4. Ring-necked birds, like Pheasants; 5. Clarice; 6. Bill Murray; 7. The Wet Bandits; 8. White Christmas; 9. Gimbels Department Store; 10. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Celebrating Christmas Around the World

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We all celebrate Christmas in different ways. Some people open presents on Christmas Eve, while other wait until the morning of Christmas Day. Some people eat ham and turkey, while others prefer Italian food or pizza. But did you know that in Australia they oftentimes celebrate Christmas on the beach because December in Australia is in the summer?Short_stories

Keep reading for more interesting facts about how they celebrate Christmas around the world!

In most Scandinavian countries around Northern Europe the begin the holiday season by celebrating what they call St. Lucia Day (Dec 13), a day that honors Lucia of Syracuse.

Ever heard of the yule log? Norwegians sure have. In fact, it is the birth of now synonymously-named old log. The ancient Norse used to burn what they called hweol log (meaning wheel named after the sun) when they were waiting for the sun to return during winter solstice.

The term “Merry Christmas” wasn’t very popular until the early 1800s. It was popularized by an Englishman named John Calcott Horsley. Horsley began producing small greeting cards to be exchanged among friends using the term liberally on each card. Then, by the 1830s the cards were a hit, and the rest is history.

In France, the term Christmas is not used. Rather, it has been replaced by the term Joyeux Noël! It comes from the French term les bonnes nouvelles. which means “the good news,” a reference to the Christian gospels.

In Canada Christmas is largely the same as it is in the U.S. However, in the far North of Canada the eskimos have made their own version of Christmas called sinck tuck where there is dancing, feasting, and gift-giving.

In Fiji where it is hot during Christmas (much like Australia), the locals eat “lovo,” a reference to the “Earth Oven” they use to cook with, which is made up of chicken, rice and “palusami,” dalo leaves wrapped around ground meat.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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Recent Health Care Fix Gives Small Businesses Time to Think [healthcare and your small Business

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healthcareThe beleaguered Affordable Care Act has seen its share of ups and downs since the roll out out a few months ago and with so many changes, many small business owners have been left to wonder how they are going to comply with the upcoming 2014 roll out. But for those wondering how they are going to adhere and adapt to some significant factors, a significant change has been announced.

A New York Times article reports that an announcement from President Obama has made it clear that small business will have increased time to adapt to the pending new year’s changes. Two years in some cases.

President Obama… announced a policy reversal that would allow insurance companies to temporarily keep people on health plans that were to be canceled under the new law because they did not meet minimum standards.

In effect, the change will give policies, at the very least, a year’s worth of time before any penalties will incur. And in some instances, as much as two years time. This means the Dec. 1 through Dec 15 deadline has been significantly extended (unless you have already renewed, of course).

What is uncertain, however, is what prices small business owners will face after the 2014 extension. Most insurers don’t have rates in place or approved that far ahead because of the pending termination of most policies beginning at the first of the year. Leading many state insurance commissioners to denounce the president’s action because they did not “intend to allow insurers to reinstate the policies.”

While many, including The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the American Academy of Actuaries, believe the switch could threaten the viability of many insurance markets, it’s hard not to argue that this extension provides a huge sigh of relief for small business owners, and not a moment too soon.

For additional information on health care and your small business, feel free to contact us.

How Should You Handle Bad Online Reviews?

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bad-online-reviewsOffering the opportunity for customers to post online reviews is a great way to engage your clients and offer valuable feedback that will hopefully lead to more sales. However, you are bound to get some negative feedback at some point. What’s the best way to handle it?

Prevention is the Best Cure

This saying certainly applies in the customer review arena. The best way to prevent a bad review is to not get one. You can’t avoid all negative feedback, but you can reduce the amount of negative reviews by viewing each customer as a potential reviewer. Consider sending an e-mail asking for feedback before the customer has a chance to post a review. Ideally, you can find out about complaints quickly and resolve them without getting a negative review.

Respond Personally

Refrain from posting something about the review on your social media sites. When you get a bad review, be proactive about responding in a private forum, such as e-mail or a simple phone call. Let the disgruntled customer voice his or her complaints. Be careful about coming off defensive. Ask questions to get the complete story and make them feel like you genuinely want to resolve the issue. End by offering a refund or discount on another purchase.

Take the Feedback to Heart

You may think there was a misunderstanding or your business was unfairly judged. However, view bad feedback as a lesson to be learned. Do some digging to find out where the misunderstanding took place. Does the customer have a legitimate complaint about a product that needs to be addressed? Is so, what steps should be taken? Rest assured that if one person complained about a product, there are other customers who were dissatisfied and did not post negative feedback. Instead, they simply told their friends not to purchase the product. Getting to the root of the complaint is in everyone’s best interests.

Online reviews are today’s “word-of-mouth” marketing. Customers take the opinions of others seriously. Handling negative feedback appropriately can help save a customer and attract new ones.

Customer Service Retention- Going the Extra Mile

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“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” -Roger Staubach, Super Bowl VI MVP

extra_mileWe all have heard the expression before that we must “go the extra mile” when servicing our customers.  But what does this actually mean?  And how do we put this principle in play in our lives?

If you really want to be the best at what you do, you need to make every effort to give people much more service than what they expect.  Successful people go the extra mile, and because they do, they stand out.

The first way to ingrain this fundamental into your life, is to stop focusing your thinking on a “what is in it for me?” or “it is not my job” mentality.  This type of mindset shows that you are only concentrating on yourself and not on the needs of your customers.

Once you stop focusing on yourself, you need to start thinking about what are the expectations of the people you serve.  Without finding out what people’s expectations are, you will not be able to exceed the expected level of service.  Next you need to honestly evaluate what level of service you provide.  Do you only try to meet the needs of others at their expected level or do you perform services that exceed their expectations?  Once you gage what level of service you provide, you need to start thinking about what you can do to exceed people’s expectations.  Are there any added services you can provide that people do not expect but would love?

Sadly, more often than not, most people do not go the extra mile to service and retain customers.  Most people feel that it is too hard to do or that the results are not worth the effort.  That is why “there are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” When you are willing to develop the habit of going the extra mile and rendering service above and beyond your customers’ expectations, success will be attracted to you at a pace that may even surprise you.

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Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving

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36Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year, and for good reason. Who can resist the food and catching up with family. But did you know that the pilgrims may not have been the first to celebrate the venerable old holiday? Contrary to many legends, the first Thanksgiving may have actually been celebrated in Texas in 1541?

Here’s some more interesting (and little known) facts about Thanksgiving.

The date that most people associate with Thanksgiving may just be an estimation. The period in which the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving is believed to have occurred between September 21 and November 9, 1621.

At the first recognized Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims did not eat turkey, they ate deer. This is known because Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow made note that the Wampanoag natives showed up to dinner with five deer.

Did you know that the President pardons a turkey each year? It is believed that the first president to do this was Harry S. Truman back in the 1950′s. But the tradition didn’t pick up much steam until George H.W. Bush pardoned a bird in 1989.

Snoopy is the longest running balloon in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: 37 years, except for only one year, 2012. This led to an outcry from parade fans and caused parade officials  to swiftly apologize in an official statement.

Though the Thanksgiving holiday is now synonymous with the fourth Thursday in November, it wasn’t actually recognized until 1863 thanks in part to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme writer Sarah Josepha Hale. She petitioned five presidents until it was finally recognized.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

3 Solid Ways of Optimizing Workflow Management

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workflow-software-process-managerWorkflow management is perhaps one of the most important, underlying factors of controlling business-management sequences by limiting gaps and ending delays. In a fast paced environment, an efficient dispatching process is important to keep all components orchestrated and working together.

In other words, higher expectations can be assigned and met if a solid system is in place and everyone participating does their assigned job and works together. Think of it like a smooth running highway (if that exists).

Here are three ways to optimize workflow by making friends of time:

1. Define your process clearly

All business needs a clear and succinct process that is defined and easy to follow. Setting up sequences that define the sequential flow from beginning to end help everyone achieve a common goal. This can be done with software or even by pen and paper and be as simple or as complex as your dispatching needs require.

2. Make information easily accessible

Whether it is virtually or tangibly, having a logbook is important to the speed and accuracy of your dispatchers. But what’s most important is that the information is organized and can be searched through quickly and efficiently. All data elements that are logged should help with the relevance of an event, and should allow for obvious choices.

3. Look to automation

Automation helps to enforce consistency without prejudice. It helps to eliminate human error while still allowing for a learning environment. A clear and definite automated process that provides quick and deliberate access to information is a key factor to a more efficient central station or hub.

Striving to better manage your workflow and increase productivity should be a high priority. Avoiding distractions while still trying to fit all of your tasks into a relatively small window of time can be difficult, but once you have mastered the art of workflow management your productivity can only revitalize.

Feel free to contact us for information on workflow management.

What to Expect when Working as a Courier Service Dispatcher

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Courier service dispatchers serve the public by ensuring timely pickup and delivery of packages and important documents. These individuals work behind the scenes in order to provide outstanding customer service and maximize company profits. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to work in one of these positions, you could be surprised to know what a typical workday is like for these professionals.types of transport of transporting are loads.

Duties

Dispatch clerks perform a wide range of duties, from scheduling pickups and deliveries to ensuring vehicles receive the maintenance they need to remain operational. As such, their work will involve processing work orders, tracking deliveries that are in progress, and updating schedules as required. In some cases, courier dispatchers also take calls from customers concerning their deliveries, and must therefore be able to resolve issues effectively as well.

Communication

Courier dispatchers are constantly communicating with lots of different people, ranging from delivery drivers to logistics managers. Much of the time, their work is performed in a fast-paced environment where every detail is crucial to successful performance. Whenever there is a change in schedules, this information must be quickly relayed to those who are affected if the needs of the customer are to be met effectively. Dispatchers must be able to react quickly to external factors that affect the delivery of goods, which can include everything from vehicle accidents to mechanical breakdowns.

Technology

Although the duties of a courier service dispatcher are complex, there are a number of software programs available that make this work much easier to do. For example, some programs allow a dispatcher to view exactly where a particular truck is on the road or identify ones that are still waiting on a load. They are also able to view pending jobs as soon as they become available so that they can assign them to drivers as quickly as possible. Computer programs also make it possible to know exactly when a parcel has been delivered, to include the signature of the person who signed for it.

Courier Service Dispatchers need to be highly organized, dedicated to customer service, and pay great attention to detail. If these qualities describe you, visit Just Dispatchers in order to find available openings in your area.

Fun Halloween Activities

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Halloween-wallpaper4Halloween’s official date is October 31st, which falls on a Thursday this year. For it to fall on a weekday is sort of a bummer for hardcore enthusiasts. So, though it isn’t necessarily in line with the spirit of Halloween, celebrating the annual spookfest before the actual day makes the most sense for those who work a regular work week or for kids in school. Here are some fun Halloween activities to do with your friends and family to celebrate, for no matter what day you choose.

Live near a zoo? Most larger zoos offer haunted houses/walkthroughs or haunted hayrides at a lower cost of admission because they are usually done in time-slots, much like a ride at a fair. Not only is going to an event such as this a way to have fun with your loved ones, but it is also a stellar way to support the zoo for the regular year.

Do you like scary movies? Head out to a theatre for a movie marathon. Many theatres will run back-to-back classic movies at a discount to attract movie-goers. What better time of season is there than to see classics like The Shining or Psycho on the big screen? Oh, and don’t forget to dress up for added fun! Many theatres have costume contests along side the movies.

Visit a graveyard. No,really. Cemeteries have been offering historic tours for a long time. It’s a way to highlight specific local events and people in history, and drum up a little cash on the side. Events such as these will often feature local people in character to add flair to the tour, and, though they aren’t “scary” per se, they are spooky enough to bring most of the family.

Or just stay in. Though Halloween seems like it’s just for kids, it doesn’t have to be. Invite some friends over for a scary movie marathon. Make some ghoulish treats, carve a pumpkin, play dress up. Really, just have fun and enjoy yourself. That’s what Halloween is all about.

 

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Even if You Thought You Understood Your Staff Before, There Might be a Few Things You Didn’t Know

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bossAs a small business professional, there are a few little factoids that your staff members will never tell you about themselves and their colleagues, at least not until you promote them or they move onto another position, and feel extremely safe around you as a friend or equal.

1. Your jokes aren’t funny :-(

…and even if your jokes are genuinely funny, they’re not.

Yes, some members of your staff do like it when you lighten the mood, but you’ll never be as funny as you would be if you were one of them. Even if your jokes are funny, they’re not because you’re the boss. It’s just the a natural order of things most of the time. If you manage a warehouse staff, the same joke might pull laughs like gangbusters, if you were really one of the guys. But as the boss, forced laughter just comes with the territory, and it comes from natural discomfort.

2. Your sexual prowess is not what you think it is.

Though this is a subconscious thing that is often unintentional (unless a manager is particularly creepy), many supervisors both male and female somehow feel they are more attractive because they are in a power position. At first, most managers will say they’d never think that way, but really think about it. If you’ve ever held a management role that you were proud of, feelings like this were there on a subconscious level, (if you can admit it to yourself).

Here’s a little secret. Most of your workers don’t think you’re attractive at all. Inside of you, it comes from a natural feeling of accomplishment  that is normal for you to feel because of your success. However, mostly it’s an illusion, a personal, instinctual pat on the back.

3. Lastly, your employees like to hear about themselves; and your life experience tales are boring.

Though you are giving some of your staff members fodder for their future kiss up sessions, they aren’t as entertained by what you’ve been through as you think they should be.

They only really want to hear about things that will benefit them. Tell them what they’re doing right and wrong, once a month even. Make sure to do it tactfully though.

In Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he exposes the harsh truth that we’re getting at here. People just really care about themselves. And though if you have achieved a management position, you really should congratulate yourself; feel good about what you’ve done with your life; and know that a few people will want a deeper, more mentor-like relationship from you; most people just care about themselves. And most people only pay enough attention to survive.

Understanding this will help you to understand your workers more; gain respect quicker; make your work life less stressful; ease awkward interactions; and your staff will probably enjoy working for you more, due to the professionalism you will start to show.

Facility Agent | HVAC Agent | Electrical Agent | Plumbing Agent | Just Dispatchers

 

Check Your Credit Report before Applying for Trucking Dispatcher Jobs

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Potential employers definitely look at the experience and education you list in your resume to decide whether to interview you for their trucking dispatcher jobs. But the cost of hiring and training a new employee involves a lot of time and money. So employers want to look beyond your application to see if you’re a good fit. Many look at your credit report because they assume how you handle money shows you handle a job.www.justdispatchers.wordpress.com

You can get a jump on this examination by ordering the report for yourself. The government says you’re entitled to one free copy per year from each of the major credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You can order your report through AnnualCreditReport.com If you get each agency’s report every four months, you can constantly monitor what they say about you. Order this report as far in advance of sending out your resume as possible – from three to six months before is ideal. This allows you to plan your job hunt based on what you find.

First, make sure all the details of your financial history are correct. Look at the names and addresses of creditors, how much you owe them, and your payment history. If you find any mistakes, get them corrected by calling the creditor and the reporting credit agency immediately. By law, they must investigate your request and hopefully, change or delete the problem item.

Warning signs for employers include reports of late payments, bankruptcies, or foreclosures. Potential interviewers assume that if you had issues handling money, an important aspect or your life, you’ll have the same problems dealing with the job. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about this information except to wait for them to drop off your report after about seven years. You can develop good explanations for why they exist when interviewers ask you about them.

If you want more advice on how to look for dispatcher jobs, please visit our website.

Steps for Growing Your Small Business: How to Check Out Job Applicants

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social-media-logosThe best way to keep up with demands of a growing business is to hire employees. They can then handle day-to-day operations so you can concentrate on strategic planning. You’ll get much of your information about job applicants from their application forms, resumes and cover letters. However, these documents only show you what they want to tell you. To find out a more accurate picture about potential employees, check out their lives online.

  • Browse their social pages, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. What they do in their private lives can easily spill over into work. Do their messages complain constantly about their current employer or do they talk about how much they enjoy the work? What do their pictures tell you about them? Do the images show wild parties and drunken escapades? Or are they supporting Little League teams, participating in charity fundraisers, and attending industry conferences?
  • Use Google Search to discover what third parties think about your applicants. Don’t forget to look under the Images, Videos, News, and Blog options as well. You may come across news stories about their arrests for workplace assaults. On the other hand, you may find awards from association websites for their contributions to your industry. You can use Google Alerts to inform you by email in case any new items about your person of interest appears on the web.
  • Scour employment and business sites, such as LinkedIn, for their online resumes and job applications. Do the employee names, dates of employment, job titles, and job descriptions match across all sites? Is the information the same as what’s in the resume? Minor discrepancies, such as transposed dates or missing words, may simply reveal carelessness. However, major differences, such as in compensation numbers or job duties, may be an attempt to deceive.

You can’t always rely on what applicants give you to determine their suitability for the job. These independent searches will tell you more about them because they are unfiltered and more objective.

To find qualified applicants, visit our website.

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Steps for Growing Your Small Business: How to Choose the Right Workers

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Home businessSometimes when you own or run a business in a trade industry, you don’t think too much about corporate business strategies. You try to do effective marketing, keep a reliable team of workers on staff and try to keep your customers as happy as possible.

However, there are some strategies that multi-million dollar corporations use all the time, that are not all analytics, loopholes and other mumbo jumbo, (that would never apply to your business model). Many small business owners feel that borrowing a strategy or two from corporate America is one of the most crucial steps for growing your small business that you can take. In a current LinkedIn article, Virgin Mobile founder, Richard Branson revealed that he mainly hires new people based on personality. He never gets hung up on qualifications, because personality is something that you cannot learn. Though he does take a chance and hire a “maverick,” every now and then, because he feels their different perspective will often turn, “problems,” into, “opportunities, and inspire creative energy within a group;” this even is still about personality. Digging Through the Weeds It’s unfortunate, but in interview situations, it’s sometimes really hard to get a clear picture of someone’s personality. People are shy and sometimes they over-compensate; and they really aren’t the person they portray in the interview. So what are some strategies that you can use bring out an interviewee’s true personality? Care Questions Finding out what an applicant cares about outside of the business environment (including hobbies, charitable causes, family life etc.), can help you to see who he really is, because it’s hard to fake interest in something. An amusing example of this is when you meet a popular TV show super fan. They know all the show characters by name; don’t miss a minute of the show when it airs; and read about it on their down time. Through passion, it is easy see who a person is because they often can’t help but be themselves, when describing something that they genuinely love.

3 Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Small Dispatching Business

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Are you searching for innovative ways to attract more customers to your small dispatching business? If so, you may want to consider tapping into the multimillion dollar tourism market. There are assorted methods that could be used to do just that. Here’s a rundown on three of them:

#1 – Audio Tours

Partnering with others and creating a series of audio tours is one way to attract more customers to your small business. Just in case you are not familiar with them, audio tours are frequently used by a variety of tourists. Some of the audio tours come complete with customizable MP3 players, case inserts and maps. Thus, you can add your dispatching company’s advertising material to various product components.

Afterward, you could distribute the customized tours to area hotels, restaurants and tourism related agencies in the hopes that they will share them with their customers. You could also distribute the audio tours yourself via your dispatching company’s website.

#2 – Travel Kiosks

Signing up to have your small dispatching business included in automated kiosk systems is another action worth considering. The kiosks are typically located in high traffic tourist areas like airports, hotels, museums and restaurants. If there are no kiosks in your area, you may want to consider mentioning the subject to your local Chamber of Commerce, CVB or Tourism Board. Perhaps there will be enough interest in the kiosks to purchase them as part of a co-operative marketing campaign.

#3 – Hotel Partnerships

Speaking of high traffic tourist areas, oftentimes there are opportunities to partner with area hotels on other projects. For example, you may ask area hotels about advertising your dispatching service in their guest room directories, group sales packets, elevators and key card envelopes. Some hotels may also be willing to allow you to install a dedicated lobby phone that transfers guests’ transportation requests right to your business. You’ll never know unless you set up a meeting with the General Manager and ask.

 

http://www.justdispatchers.com/

Taxi Service Dispatchers as Career Opportunity: The Education You Need and Typical Salary

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Taxi service dispatchers are a good career opportunity that might surprise you in how well it pays. It’s also a career that doesn’t require an extensive amount of education, even though communication skills and multitasking are going to be paramount. But let’s not forget how valuable and rare those skills are in many other higher-end careers.

What Does a Taxi Service Dispatcher Do?

A dispatcher for a taxi service typically works out of the company’s headquarters and takes calls from customers requesting a cab. They also communicate with the taxi drivers when it’s necessary. While you still see two-way radio systems being used in some taxis, today’s communication with a dispatcher is more likely via cell phone, Bluetooth phone or a computer.

The dispatcher will also pass on directions to the taxi driver in helping get to a location faster. As well, if the taxi breaks down or becomes a victim of crime, the dispatcher knows where they are via GPS and can send help.

Education Needed for a Taxi Dispatcher

In most cases, you only need a high school education to land this job. Taxi dispatchers usually gain employment based on past experience such as any prior career with customer service or clerical skills. And, as mentioned, being able to effectively communicate on the phone with customers will be imperative. A dispatcher might be dealing with irate people on the phone (if also those inebriated), so experience dealing with problematic people will need to be proven.th

Basic Salary and Time Involved

The most recent salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has taxi dispatchers earning roughly $27,840 per year. That might fluctuate up to well past $30,000 depending on which city you work in and your experience. Overall, its a very good salary considering that no real degree is required. You’ll have to work full-time, and it’s going to require some possible long hours when emergencies occur or if there’s a shortage of help due to inclement weather. At times, you may be asked to work on holidays when taxis could be at their peak of use.

Outlook for a Taxi Dispatcher

Dispatchers for taxi services will always be in demand due to the constant need for taxis. As gas prices rise and people lose their employment, they’ll need to rely on taxis to get around. A dispatcher will likely be taking many calls in the future from people who need a taxi for numerous purposes. You might as well be one of those dispatchers who can make sure the connections with a taxi driver are done right.

If you want more information on dispatching jobs, visit us at our website or our blog. At Just Dispatchers, we know how important the role of the dispatcher is in how the world works.

Advertising and Your Small Business: A Brief Look at Big Format Printing

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Are you a dispatching firm that’s looking for tips on advertising your small business? If so, you’ve come to the right place. There are obviously many ways to advertise a dispatching business. One of them is to make use of big format printing services. Here’s a brief look at how dispatching companies can utilize those services to their advantage:

Large format printing services typically include polypropylene banners, heavy duty magnets, glossy posters, window clings and rigid signs. Each one is an efficient and effective way to promote a dispatching business. For example, let’s assume that a big conference is taking place in your dispatching company’s area and a large number of the conference’s attendees are expected to be coming in from out of town. Hence, the probability that they’ll need taxi, limousine or car service while at the convention will be high. Well, big format advertising materials can help attract those conference attendees to your dispatching business.

For instance, you could hang 16’ x 150’ outdoor banners, install 5’ x 10’ rigid signs and place 53.5” x 120” window clings in areas all along the main route leading to the event venue. Because they are large, the items could be designed to advertise your dispatching firm as well as businesses that you partner with (i.e. restaurants). That way, you could potentially share the advertising costs involved with those partners.

Understandably, more than just large exterior signage may be need to get attendees to notice your dispatching firm’s transportation services. That’s why you may want to ask the printer about 59.5” x 150” indoor banners, 24” x 60” banner stands and 59.5” x 150’ posters. If you manage to develop a working relationship with the conference’s organizers, the items could easily be used indoors during the event to promote your firm’s transportation services further.

To discover additional information about advertising and your small business, contact us. We here at Just Dispatchers have experience in helping dispatching businesses grow.

Vote For Us

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The Cinderella story at this year’s Big Game will take place during a commercial break. Why? Because Intuit is giving one small business a TV commercial on the 2014 Big Game. It’s the world’s biggest stage, and a lucky small business could be on it right beside some of the biggest brands.1373403700-1877

I think this small business should take the spotlight in the February game. Check out their entry and vote! http://intuit.me/165PniV

Before Finding Jobs for Service Vehicle Dispatchers, Check Out Your Online Trails

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It used to be that job-hunting for service vehicle dispatchers needed only an up-to-date resume, a cover letter, and filling out an application. But with the growth of Internet, employers know you most likely have been online many times. So they examine your web trails to find out if you’re suitable for their jobs. You can make sure that they see only what you want them to see with the following guidelines.social-media-logos

  • Do a Google Search on your name to find out what the web has on you. Don’t forget to look under the Images, Videos, and Blogger options. If a website says or shows something about you that is questionable, politely ask its owner to delete the offending item. Use Google Alerts to automatically email you if any additional information about you appears online.
  • Speaking of offending items, how many potentially embarrassing postings do you have on Facebook, Tumblr, or other social sites? Potential employers won’t find your photos of binge drinking or complaints about the dispatch industry as amusing as your friends did. Remove those photos and posts. Don’t just set them as viewable by friends only, because employers may want you to friend them.
  • Double-check any employment information you’ve posted online, such as on LinkedIn or other employment sites. Make sure that dates, tasks, and other job details match each other and the resume that you sent to employers. You don’t want them questioning inconsistencies that you may have accidentally listed.

For more information about finding dispatch jobs, please check our website.

Where to Find the Most Jobs for Transportation Dispatchers

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Because transportation dispatchers direct buses, trucks, and other conveyances on where to pick up and drop off goods and people, their jobs depend on having a large customer base. So it’s sensible to assume that for these workers to find the most positions, they must head for areas with large populations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that assumption the latest information for the profession, current as of the date of this post. It reveals 184,890 transportation dispatcher jobs throughout the country, paying mean wages of $38,450, or $18.49 per hour. This figure does not include emergency services dispatchers, such as 911 operators.Cardiac Reset

The employer category with the most jobs for the profession is general freight trucking, where 24,840 dispatchers average $40,790 yearly, or $19.61 hourly. Also in the top five for opportunities are building equipment contractors, local government, specialized freight trucking, and services for taxis and limousines.

The states with the best job opportunities have the greatest numbers of people, starting with California, which is the most populous state of the union. It contains 20,710 jobs averaging $40,640 per year, or $19.54 per hour. The second most populous state, Texas, has 17,130 dispatchers making a mean $35,880 annually, or $17.25 hourly. Third for both people and positions is New York, where 13,790 workers average a yearly $42,830, or $20.59 per hour.

Population also determines the number of jobs in metropolitan areas. Ranking first for persons and opportunities is New York City with 7,870 positions averaging $47,000 yearly, or $22.59 hourly. Next is Los Angeles at a mean $39,290, or $18.89, followed by Chicago, averaging an annual $42,590, or $20.47 per hour.

Where Transportation Dispatchers Make the Most Money

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Transportation dispatchers are a necessary part of any company that deals with transporting passengers, freight, or service personnel for such tasks as delivery, installation, maintenance, or repairs. Their earnings ultimately depend on who they work for and the location of their jobs. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the average high salaries for the profession, which are current as of this post.

The average pay for transportation dispatchers runs $38,450 per year, or $18.49 per hour. The highest-paid 10 percent make over an annual $59,670, or $28.69 hourly. The lowest earners make less than $21,430 yearly, or $10.30 per hour. Top wages go to those with experience and some postsecondary training in logistics, transportation, or supply chain management.

The industries offering the best pay for the profession are manufacturers of aerospace products and parts, which average $61,940 per year, or $29.78 per hour. Metal ore mining ranks second at a mean $57,930 yearly, or $27.85 hourly, followed by natural gas distribution at a mean annual $56,910, or $27.36 per hour.

Dispatchers who want the best-paying location settle in Wyoming, which shows the highest average wages of any state at $44,970 per year, or $21.62 per hour. Nebraska is next at a mean $44,330 annually, or $21.31 hourly. In third is Connecticut with average pay of $44,290 yearly, or $21.29 per hour.

As for metropolitan areas, Silicon Valley, in California, boasts the highest salaries at a mean $53.990 per year, or $25.96 per hour. Another California metropolis, Napa, is next, averaging $53,570 annually, or $25.76 hourly. Third place belongs to Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut, at a mean yearly $51,360, or $24.69 per hour.

 

For help in finding the top-paying positions for transportation dispatchers, please contact us.

New Video about our Job Boards

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Click the link above to see our new video about The leading job boards for the HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Facilities & Maintenance and Dispatching professions

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Great Tech Based, Mobile Resources for Transportation Dispatchers

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As a transportation dispatcher, it is important to be aware of tools that may help you and your drivers succeed. The good news is there just happens to be a lot of tech-based, dispatching tools available nowadays. Here’s a look at several that may help:

Mobile Apps for Transportation Dispatchers

Mobile apps geared towards transportation dispatchers are just one set of tools that may help your small business. Understandably, the apps’ features and price points will vary based on the manufacturer. However, features that may be ideal for your company are GPS tracking, road condition alerts, two-way communication, report capabilities and signature capture.

Mobile Apps for Professional Drivers

You may also want to provide your drivers with a list of great mobile apps that will assist them with doing their jobs. Examples are apps that provide turn-by-turn directions, roadwork alerts and area restaurant/gas station information. Free and/or low-cost mobile apps to consider are as follows:

  • Dashlane–Can help drivers keep track of loyalty program information
  • Expensify–Can help drivers electronically keep track of expenses
  • Evernote–Can help drivers electronically keep track of receipts too
  • Waze–Can help drivers with directions and road closures
  • Around Me–Can help drivers find a bite to eat and fuel
  • GateGuru–Can help drivers find services within airports
  • GasBuddy–Can help drivers find inexpensive fuel
  • Parker–Can help drivers find parking spots

Mobile Apps to Connect with Fares/Clients

Another option to consider investing in is a mobile app that can connect you and your firm’s other transportation dispatchers to your clients. There are various ways to do that. First of all, you could hire a technology firm to make a customized app for your dispatching company. Second, you could opt to buy into any of the existing consumer focused, transportation apps available. We’d suggest selecting one that can best help you with your dispatching company’s marketing initiatives.

For more information about improving your transportation dispatching career, contact us at Just Dispatchers. We’ve been helping to connect professional dispatchers with quality focused dispatching companies for years.

Limo/Car Service Dispatchers Are in Demand Nationwide

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Did you know that each year approximately 400 million people nationwide utilize the talents of a limo/car service dispatcher? Obviously, limo/car service dispatchers’ salaries will vary depending on the firm, its location and the applicant’s experience. However, the industry’s average starting salary tends to exceed $20,000. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see that the industry is one to consider getting into.limo

At this point, you might be wondering which skills are needed to be a limo/car service dispatcher. Well, we can answer that for you. Here’s a quick list of some essential skills that will undoubtedly help you excel at being a limo/car service dispatcher:

  • In-depth knowledge of dispatching area (i.e. airports, hotels and train stations)
  • Ability to communicate effectively, multitask and work under pressure
  • Ability to read online and paper maps (i.e. calculate mileage/time)
  • Familiarity with the transportation and hospitality industries
  • Pleasant, clear phone voice and mastery of phone etiquette
  • Knowledge of dispatching software or computers in general
  • Agreeable to working flexible hours and be on call when need be
  • Knack for working independently and with little supervision
  • Top-quality problem solving and customer service skills

If you have those skills, one of the best places to look for a job is an online site like Just Dispatchers. It allows you to cut through all of the clutter and go straight to the limo/car service dispatchers’ job listings. Once there, you’ll be able to register for free, create a standout resume and search for work in the dispatching field. In addition, you’ll also be able to electronically network with some of the limo/car service industry’s top employers. Think about it. Being able to network like that will give you an excellent opportunity to show off your impeccable communication and computer skills.

Want to learn more about the limo/car services dispatching industry, including additional tips for finding a job? Visit the Just Dispatchers’ website or stop by our Facebook page.

Customer Service Retention Tips for Taxi Service Dispatchers

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e88b28646c667b64037e4c5c7ee9f969As a taxi service dispatcher with an eye towards advancement, you already know one key truth. Helping to build your employer’s customer base is a surefire way to boost your career trajectory. What you may not be so sure of is how to go about it.

In the majority of instances, the best approach is to adopt practices designed to increase the taxi company’s customer service retention rate. After all, finding new taxi customers tends to be notoriously time consuming and increasingly expensive.

So which practices should you consider adopting first? Start the process of elimination by thinking about who is already using your employer’s services and why. Doing so should help to give you a better understanding of which actions will encourage those customers to stay.

For example, let’s pretend that your employer’s firm currently transports a large number of people to and from local grocery stores. Collectively, their chief complaint is that by the time they get home, their frozen food has defrosted. Therefore, it only makes sense that minimizing those complaints may help to bolster the firm’s customer service retention efforts.

Other customer concerns that could negatively impact a taxi company’s customer service retention efforts may or may not include the following:

  • Long wait times and use of extraneous routes that add time
  • High prices, extra fees and inconvenient payment methods
  • Difficulty reaching and  understanding taxi dispatchers
  • Poorly maintained vehicles that appear unsafe
  • Uncomfortable seats and air temperatures
  • Vehicles with soiled interiors and exteriors
  • Rude, unkempt and unsafe drivers

Once you have identified and minimized complaints, consider taking the taxi company’s customer service retention efforts a step further. Tasks to consider engaging in are the development of bounce backs, mobile push through and social media strategies.

Those are just a few actions that may help taxi service dispatchers increase a firm’s customer service retention rate. To learn more, visit the Just Dispatchers website. We offer access to taxi service dispatching jobs, employment tips and networking opportunities. In other words, you’ll find everything that you’ll need to develop your dispatching management career.

Just Dispatchers Website

Invaluable Small Business Resources for Aspiring Dispatchers

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Are you looking to start your own dispatching business? Perhaps you are an existing transportation related business in need of a little assistance. Either way, you may want to consider taking advantage of these small business resources:

Small Business Incubator Sitesdispatchers

Just like the name indicates, small business incubator sites are designed to grow fledging businesses. Often used by inventors and tech-minded individuals, they offer access to a variety of highly coveted business resources. Among them are mentors, angel investors, financing opportunities, communal workspace and networking opportunities. According to the National Business Incubator Association’s figures, there are approximately 7,000 such facilities located across the globe. The best way to find one in your area is to conduct a quick internet search.

Marketing Assistance

There are also non-profit agencies and government organizations that are willing to make marketing related, small business resources available to aspiring dispatchers. One of them is the FAMEE Foundation. Many of their small business resources are freely accessible. Others require the remittance of a small donation. Resources include self-study courses, opportunities to meet with business consultations and access to an online forum. The non-profit is presently based in Topeka, Kansas.

Other resources to consider utilizing for such support include the U.S. Small Business Association, SCORE and the SBDC. They have brick-and-mortar access points located all across the United States. Each one also maintains an online presence.

Job Specific Employment Websites

Job specific employment websites are another small business resource to contemplate utilizing. A good example of one to consider is Just Dispatchers. We help to connect dispatchers to dispatching companies. Thus, you could use feasibly use it to find employees for your new dispatching company or obtain on-the-job experience until you are ready to start your own dispatching business.

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Healthcare & Small Business: How the Affordable Care Act Affects You and Your Employees

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Healthcare and the small business haven’t had too good of a relationship recently with more expensive health care rates per employee in comparison to larger businesses. That’s led to some small businesses having to eliminate health care for employees due to the cost. But with coming changes to health care plans through the Affordable Care Act, small businesses and their employees might see a new day of better health care options.

Tax Credits for Businesses with Moderate Income Workers

Any small business that agrees to cover 50% of the health care premiums for low and moderate income workers will get that money back starting in 2014. Used as a tax credit, it works in conjunction with the new Small Business Health Options program (otherwise known as SHOP). The latter provides more health care options for small businesses to find something more affordable or a policy with better coverage.

Keep in mind that the tax credit only applies to small businesses with less than 25 employees. The SHOP program applies to those with under 50 employees, though increases to 100 in 2016.

New Options and Clearer Benefits

Starting in 2014, all small businesses have to provide more insurance options to employees through the ADA’s Insurance Marketplace plan. And new rules will require that the small business explain to employees exactly what their plans will provide so there isn’t confusion. While that might create a bit of a burden for the small business, this symbiotic process with health care is going to help both businesses and their employees in time. Employees will finally know what benefits they’re paying for after years of frequently not being made clear.

Reimbursement of High Claims Costs

 Through a Transitional Reinsurance Program, you and your employees will have to pay insurers a small monthly fee to help cover any high claims costs they have. There might be criticism of this, even though the Small Business Administration says it’s calculated at only $5.25 a month. What makes it tolerable is that the fees are also tax deductible.

Better Wellness Programs

Prevention doesn’t get taught enough in the world of health care. Now small businesses will have more incentive to create thorough wellness plans with a 30% discount off the cost of their health coverage. If the wellness plan places particular emphasis on removing smoking from the business, that discount rises to 50%.

These kind of incentives are going to make small businesses much more of a reassuring environment.

The Heart of a Transportation Business: Trucking Dispatchers

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The trucking industry relies on drivers to carry product loads to the proper destinations, but it’s the dispatcher’s job to send them on their way and troubleshoot any problems that may occur. Trucking dispatchers are the heart of a transportation business and this job is perfect for someone who isn’t afraid of responsibility. Typically, a trucking dispatcher does much more than pass on messages. If you are interested in working in this exciting field, here’s some of the duties you can expect to perform.

  • Answer customer calls and arrange pick up and deliveries.
  • Designate trucks for deliveries.
  • Assist drivers with transportation paperwork.
  • Manage inventory and equipment maintenance.
  • Troubleshoot transportation issues.
  • Report road closings and detours to delivery trucks when needed.
  • Collect receipts for expense reports and creates reports.
  • Use software to track deliveries and report progress to clients.
  • Must be a good communicator who enjoys working with people.

While these tasks may vary from company to company, there’s no doubt that dispatchers are the key to a company’s success. Drivers need to have the assurance that the dispatcher is always available and eager to assist them when they need help. Customers need to be able to depend on dispatchers to guide their products to the right destination. Dispatchers are often relied upon to negotiate good prices for their customers but profitable deliveries for drivers. It’s a career that focuses on balancing customer service with employee safety.

Many companies consider the dispatcher’s job to be mid-management position and a good stepping stone toward managing in other areas of the business.

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