“That conference call was a zoo – every time our manager talked we heard his Chihuahua going crazy. Someone had loud music playing in the background… and of course, there was that person who always has internet issues.”
In this day and age, video or phone conferencing of some sort is unavoidable. However, an inefficient and irritating experience can be completely avoided. One can make the most of their remote meeting by avoiding these six mistakes at all costs:
One’s inability to manage their schedule is not a good excuse for wasting the valued time of meeting participants. All business professionals are (normally) just as busy executing and managing a formidable list of tasks. If time management is an issue, make sure to set an Outlook or Google calendar reminder for the meeting at least 30 minutes ahead of time or re-schedule the event.
No one likes wasting meeting time trying to figure out how to get the software to function. It is essential that hosts and participants make sure that their own internet, audio, and video connections are working properly prior to the meetings. This may mean taking 20-30 minute ahead of time to install any necessary software or equipment drivers. Hosts should take responsibility in providing concise, easy to follow instructions, and conversely, all participants should make sure to utilize them.
Before a video conference, make sure to utilize a picture-in-picture feature to see how you appear before hand. Stripes and other patterns have a tendency to “vibrate” on the camera – distracting viewers from conversation. Pastel or light colors tend to be the best attire. Keep in mind that some accessories, like jewelry, might not appear as well on camera as they do in person.
If one’s audio is too low, be mindful of how one’s voice might be encountered before yelling into the microphone. Imagine co-workers, managers, or even prospective business clients holding their eardrums in agony. It is always a best practice to turn up the microphone’s volume first before increasing the sound of their voice.
It is incredibly easy for a business professional to quickly answer an IM or respond to a text while videoconferencing, however this behavior should be avoided. Firstly, it disrespects the group – meeting participants know when they are not being heard. They note when they lose eye-contact on a video conference. Instead of viewing the participant’s picture-perfect visage, they will often see the top of their heads. On a voice call, they would note a string of uh-huhs and yeahs rather than more meaningful comments.
A recent study published by The State of Corporate Social Media reports that over 470 U.S. and European companies stated that social media is becoming a more important part of their marketing efforts. Additionally, 61% of the over 850 companies surveyed worldwide stated that social media has impacted internal structures, departmental organization, workflow, and responsibilities. According to The State of Corporate Social media, “We are seeing 3 important trends across companies with global footprints:
-Social media’s global relevance is a catalyst for change within large organizations. What was once seen as experimental is now an important part of how companies view, interact and learn about customers on a daily basis. Social media has encouraged (or forced) companies to re-think how, when, where and why they communicate with their customers.
-Social technologies are enabling collaboration across previously siloed organizations. The development of multiple hub-and-spoke models requires new ways of thinking and forces teams to realize that social cannot be “owned” by a single team or business unit.
-Social media is becoming a CEO-level agenda. As social media practitioners become sought out in the boardroom, social goals, strategies, and tactics gain greater importance at the top, and this will further enable social media programs to scale as needed.”
This is essential information for both employers and employees alike. As social media in the corporate world continues to expand, organizations and business professionals should be cognizant of their online presence.
Below are key reasons as to why organizations need to invest in a strong internal social media campaign:
-It allows you another avenue to communicate important information with your employees. With the onslaught of emails most business professionals receive in their inboxes on a daily basis, it’s not difficult for company email announcements to get lost in the shuffle. With social media accounts (especially Facebook and Twitter), employers can use hashtags, as well as create private groups, to relay information to their employees.
-It engages employees and gives them an opportunity to provide feedback. The informal connotation presented by the use of social media allows employees to feel more comfortable with providing honest feedback. This, in turn, helps with retention because it allows organizations to respond to feedback and possibly use it to create an even better workplace.
-It aids in recruiting new talent. As more and more professional organizations have jumped on the social media bandwagon and are using some, if not all, of those platforms internally, most potential candidates are searching for companies who are on top of their internal social media game.
Additionally, it is equally as important for employees to engage in their organization’s social media presence because:
-It shows supervisors and coworkers that you are actively engaged in the organization. Showing your supervisors that you’re actively engaged in their social media could possibly add you to a succession plan/talent pipeline within the company, providing more leverage for advancement.
-It aids in keeping you informed of company-wide changes made, milestones reached and planned events. Knowing the ins and outs of your company is very important in allowing you to not only effectively communicate your goals in tangent to overall company goals, but also allows you to have a better understanding of why certain practices and goals are put into place
-It builds your own personal brand as an expert/thought leader. The more you know and share, the more you build your own personal brand. Your supervisors and coworkers are always potential references for promotions or other job opportunities, so building your brand and putting yourself in the spotlight makes it easier for them to pinpoint your strengths.
At times, sales representatives are stereotyped as only concerned with the end result, the sale, and not the client’s decision-making journey. The best sales people take their client’s wants and needs and provide them with the product or service that best accommodates those needs.
MultiView partners with more than 2,100 trade associations and offers a variety of product lines to meet client’s needs. The most successful sales representatives listen to their client’s needs, respond with several options, assist in the purchase process and are available to assistpost-sale.
Sales exist in a lifecycle – pre sale, during sale, and post-sale. The best sales reps recognize this and see the importance of giving a consistent positive experience for customers throughout the journey.
Ultimately, sales people seek to create brand advocates– clients who will proudly and boldly carry the banner of their company, and recommend them to friends.
Below are some best practices for being a better sales rep through managing a customers’ experience throughout the sales process:
“Building good rapport means listening” according to Director of Recruitment, Dave Utorka. “Sales reps have to maintain the value of service to the customer, exceeding their expectations.”
The end goal of a client meeting should not be to make a sale, but to connect the client with their best solution. It might not be the product offered by one’s company, (gasp) however the client will most likely respect an honest assessment. In return for sincerity, when there is a need for one’s product in the future, the client will most likely return.
“At the end of the day, a good salesperson is a problem solver – they are in the business of solving a client’s problems.”
Clear, concise communication
Be sure to present the client with their options in a simple and concise format – minimizing extraneous text. Consider highlighting the benefits and features of the products you discussed in the clearest way possible, as if you were presenting “cliff notes.” It is a great idea to be mindful of an email’s length, organization and format, given clients may scan through as many as 100 emails a day. They may not have the time to spend a half hour combing through a message. As a best practice, in closing the email ask for a time to follow up to finalize and call back on time.
Facilitate the purchase
Try to make the purchase process as easy and stress-free for the client as possible by helping them understand the payment procedures. Great sales reps also consider going the extra mile to help their clients obtain special payment terms, if necessary. Before ending any call, it is a best practice to make sure that the next steps in the purchase process (delivery, estimated time, etc.) are crystal-clear for clients.
Pay attention to the follow-up
Sales is about building relationships. The most enduring and rewarding client relationships are developed post-sale. Once the client haspurchased, it is a great idea to make sure the product or service is meeting their needs. If something is wrong, sales reps should make sure the problem is fixed immediately. Given sales representatives are the face of the customerservice to the client, they should make sure to promptly communicate with clients, whether their issue is resolved or not. Check in periodically to find out if the client has any new products and services they would like. Developing a relationship on the grounds of trust, responsiveness, and product/serviceresults with clients is a sure way to gain repeat business.
Listening to Customers Yields Success: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanhall/2013/05/17/listening-to-customers-yields-success/
So here I am, the new kid. It’s familiar territory. I’ve had my fair share of first days. Whether it’s a new school or new job, not to brag, but I’ve gotten good at
this role. No joke – I changed schools nine times between Kindergarten and high school. I wish my excuse was that I was a military brat, but unfortunately, it was just that my parents were consistently very inconsistent (we won’t even go into how many times we moved). So needless to say, I learned to roll with the punches early on and adapt. In my professional life, I can’t say it’s been much different. My resume is peppered with different kinds of jobs in different industries. I have been able to maneuver through first day and new hire awkwardness with both successes and challenges. As both the new kid, and an HR/Recruitment professional, I feel it’s only right for me to give you some personal and professional insight into this story from both sides.
Regardless of the job or industry, one thing remains constant….starting a new job is intimidating! Whether you’re a Customer Service Rep or Executive Vice President, it’s a universal truth… first days are filled with jitters, confusion and lots of nerves. While HR and Training/Development have a heavy hand in the initial intake and onboarding of new employees, it’s the actual team members, managers and co-workers who have the biggest impact on a new employee’s experience and ultimately their performance.
In case it’s been a while since you were the new kid on the block, I’ll remind you of some of the fears that you and every other new hire has when walking in the door.
They don’t know what they don’t know.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself in the break room of my new company, awkwardly opening every single cabinet looking for a paper plate. I’ve walked around an entire floor to find the bathroom, only to realize that I’d passed it four times. I’ve absentmindedly taken the stairs without grabbing my badge, gotten locked out of my floor, and then stood there like an idiot waiting for a co-worker or facilities to open the door, just so I could pretend like “Oh no, I haven’t been sitting here in the stairwell for 15 minutes. No…no, I was exercising…in heels.” It’s a fear of every new hire, looking lost and like you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t be the guy who just breezes past the person who can’t figure out how to work the card swiper in the break room. Take a moment to help them out, show them where stuff is. Let them in on inside jokes. Little things like that will make you someone’s work hero.
Who’s that guy?
In a previous job, I was standing with my manager in line at the coffee shop in our building. A gentleman came up to us and started talking to us about how our weekends were. I just assumed it was a co-worker. I made some remark about sitting in my underwear binge watching the entire Sex and the City series with my two pals Ben and Jerry. He smirked, got his coffee, and walked off. I asked, “Who was that guy?” “That was our CEO,” she said. Wow…that would have been nice to know, boss. First weeks are filled with so many introductions. It’s really easy to forget names, misunderstand names, and remember everyone’s individual roles. Help your new teammates out. Don’t assume they know every manager or executive, and as they’re getting acclimated, and continue to introduce them to other members of the company. Just remember, co-workers don’t let co-workers make idiots of themselves in the first week. They have plenty of opportunities to do that at the company holiday party.
Where do I eat lunch?
This seems ridiculous right? I mean it’s just lunch – an hour out of your day where you heat up your Lean Cuisine, scroll through Facebook on your phone, and mindlessly watch whatever cable news network is playing in the breakroom. Too bad it’s not always that easy. Being in HR for almost 10 years, I can’t tell you how many times someone has run up to our department with something like “So-n-so ate my Hot Pocket, and it was my last pepperoni pizza which are my favorite, and she KNEW they were mine because I put my name on it! Do you think we could ask Security to install cameras in the freezer because this has got to stop!” When, where, and what people eat is a sensitive subject, even in the workplace. It can make or break someone’s workday experience. Some companies have unwritten lunchtime politics that would rival a cafeteria scene from Mean Girls. Be inclusive; don’t let your new team members eat alone in those first few days. Show them where area restaurants are, let them know when the group is ordering out, or at the very least pull up a chair in the breakroom and find out more about them. Let them know who the food burglars are and when the fridge is cleaned out. “Hey, do you want to go grab lunch with us?” or “Do you know where the deli is downstairs?” can be the most comforting words a new hire can hear. This tells a new hire they’re part of the team; they’re being included and valued.
Forget ‘sink or swim’
Even the best and brightest candidates need support and encouragement. I’ve never understood the concept of throwing someone out on the floor after a few days in a training room and watching to see if they succeed or fail. Yes I know we supply employees with training materials, one on one’s, shadowing – these things are great. But I’m talking about something a little deeper, a team culture that fosters encouragement. A team mission that says, on the days you fall flat on your face, we aren’t going to make you sit in the mud. Even on your bad days, we will have your back, give you some pointers, and then help you pick up that phone again. “Sink or swim” is an antiquated concept that will bring a divide to your team and ensure rapid turnover. This isn’t Survivor. While yes, it’s true…there is the potential for rapid individual success in our company, just think of how much better we could be as a culture and professional community if we were to do more to lift up, support, and encourage our new employees? The MultiView pie is big enough to go around. Success of our team ensures success of our company, which improves the MultiView brand and makes us both a vendor and employer of choice in the marketplace. This in turns improves our business and reputation, thus making it easier for us to do business over the phone.
They had a life before they were here
We hire people from all walks of life, from every industry and from every part of the country. When someone is new, all they can pull from is their past experience, so inevitably you’ll hear a lot of “At my last company…” stories. I know, they might as well start every sentence with “This one time, at band camp…” Give them a break, they’re trying to fit in. Think of it this way…the things they were able to accomplish at that last job are part of the reason why they were chosen to work here. It’s always important to hear a new perspective. Listen to their stories, try to relate, and who knows, you might even learn something. At the very least, you might hear some funny antics that would make great fodder for a future blog! We work for a great company that isn’t afraid to hear new ideas and new ways of thinking. We find strength in our diversity, so don’t fight it. I promise, at some point, he will stop being the annoying new guy, and he will be your buddy “Steve” at work who has a Bassett hound and plays guitar in an Alabama cover band. And he’ll be one of the coolest guys you know.
Is this place right for me?
With only two full weeks under my belt here at MultiView, I’m still feeling my way around. There is great synergy here. I have an amazing team. I THINK I’ll be able to make an impact. But even I have insecurities about my abilities and my skills. I’m still trying to fit into my team dynamic. I’m learning systems while I’m learning the business. The music, the dress code – it’s a lot to take in, and most new employees will feel overwhelmed for at least the first 90 – 120 days of employment. It’s still natural for any new employee to keep thinking “Did I make the right choice?” Not only is it natural, it’s perfectly acceptable. If employee support is not there, they are much more likely to cut ties and move on, regardless of the pay, the perks, or the opportunity. It’s a fact, an employee who feels included, validated, and supported will be happier and more content, and will ultimately perform better.
So there are six pearls of wisdom! Feel free to come by my desk to share your random “At my old job…” stories with me any time!
For companies looking to improve their online presence organically, they should consider a video campaign. Videos can educate potential clients on a company’s product offering or overall brand as well as potential employees on the company culture. Here are three ways a company can utilize video to gain new clients and the right employees.
Create educational videos
While text can be very informative, more and more professionals are looking toward video content to gain information quickly. In fact, 75 percent of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week according to Forbes. In addition, 50 percent of executives watch business related videos on YouTube and 65 percent of those visit the company’s website after viewing the video. This medium is a great way to educate potential clients on a company’s product offering and capabilities while giving marketers analytics on the amount of total views, how much of the video is being watched, and which products have the most interest before these professionals even enter the sales funnel.
Record corporate events
By hosting video content of corporate parties and daily activities, potential clients and employees gain valuable insight to a company’s culture. RoundPegg found that 89 percent of hiring failures were due to a poor cultural fit. Not only will these videos serve as a great piece of nostalgia for current employees to look back on, new and potential employees gain a better understanding of the company during background research before an interview. This will lead to more interviews with employees that will fit better with the company. This type of media also gives potential clients an insight to the working environment at the company. By making a company’s employees more human, the relationships with clients are likely to benefit.
Create useful content for your buyers
Professionals are consistently trying to improve their industry knowledge. Companies can utilize video content to brand themselves as a thought leader and expert in their field. Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research has valued a one minute video to be equivalent to 1.8 million words. Considering 100 million people watch an online video each day according to comScore, there is a large market of individuals looking for interesting video content. These videos should educate industry professionals about new trends and techniques, answer frequently asked questions, or be designed to entertain the audience, but should not explicitly sell a company’s products or services. Interesting video content is much more likely to be shared with other professionals, enhancing the organic brand reach.