5 ways SMEs Benefit from Automated Call Center Services

Fact: any contact center can benefit from automation. Generally, contact centers are the part of the business that most benefit from automation.

Bringing down costs is often the main motivation, and that’s especially important for SMEs.

But the impact of automated call center services actually runs a lot deeper than that. The other benefits may be less obvious… but that can have as big an impact on a company’s success.

1. Automation can improve the customer experience

If you say ‘automation’ in the call center context, many people think about systems which save money, but which also create horrible experiences for customers.

It doesn’t need to be that way!

Automation can have a major positive impact on how your customer interacts with your brand.

Take Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) for example. CTI can automatically identify customers when they call in.

That’s helpful because:

  • It cuts down on the time they spend in IVR
  • It means they don’t start the call explaining who they are to an agent
  • They don’t need to dig out some long-forgotten customer reference number

CTI is a small example. Automation also enables more ambitious call center services like virtual queueing. Virtual queuing is one of the best ways to reduce waiting time and means your customers don’t get stuck listening to hold music.

One more example – automated outbound SMS. Sending customers an SMS with whatever information they need might mean they don’t even need to wait for an agent. That’s a simple bit of automation that’s guaranteed to reduce call volume and make life a whole lot easier for customers!

2. Automation can improve the *agent* experience

Call centers are bad at retaining staff. Why is that?

One problem that’s common to practically every customer service team is this: they hire people who are bubbly, fun and chatty. After all, that’s the kind of person you want helping customers.

But – most of the work those people end up doing is data entry. And how many people are a good fit for both data entry work and customer service?

Not many.

Here’s how automation can help.

It’s actually pretty simple to automate data entry. In the last point we talked about CTI. Well, CTI means your systems know who your callers are, and can find them in your call center CRM.

And if your system knows who’s calling, it can record information about their call.

There are a ton of examples like this. Automating tickets, automating follow-ups, automating scheduling… the goal is to automate all the boring stuff that no agent wants to do.

That leaves them free to focus on having great interactions. 

3. Automation means clean and shiny data

While we’re thinking about data entry, let’s think about where it goes wrong.

The main issue is human error. Take this blog post – it’s written by a startlingly talented professional, but I’m sure there are a few typos in the mix…

Meanwhile, it’s almost unthinkable for an automated system to make a data entry mistake.

Therefore, if you can automate large swathes of data entry, you’ll get cleaner customer data. What’s more, you can automatically update data across *any* number of systems. 

Here’s an everyday example. An important customer gets in touch to discuss an ongoing issue which the agent is fully able to resolve for them.

No automation? Then the agent will need to update the call log, lose the ticket in your Helpdesk software and make a note in the CRM.

Yes automation? The agent only needs to close the Helpdesk tickets – that information is automatically replicated everywhere else. 

4. Automation makes you far more flexible

Is there anything more important to the long-term health of a contact center than flexibility? Probably not.

Flexibility means reviewing and improving the way you work… but there’s a catch!

If you change the way you work, you have to retrain staff. That costs money and it costs time. It can also be quite frustrating for agents if they;re forever playing catch-up.

But how would it be if your processes are mostly automated? Surely then they’re easy to update?

Yes! In theory… butin practice it 100% depends on how involved the contact center is in designing its own processes.

Here’s a crazy fact: under a quarter of contact centers enjoy full collaboration in the design of their own processes.

It’s for this reason that planners are turning to No-Code automation to bring their ideal call center services to life.

Because there’s no coding required, a non-tech person in the contact center can design and implement the processes they’ve always wanted – and that’s the ticket for an incredible amount of flexibility!

5. Automation can create super personalized services

This is counter-intuitive, right? The more you automate, the more you can personalize services. 

Here’s why.

With automation in the mix, you can design services for every eventuality. You can draw from every piece of data you have about customers and feed that into the service you provide.

Take call routing. The first step in a really personalized service because your ACD system will receive information from surrounding systems. That influences the routing decisions it makes.

What about automatic follow-up actions like SMS or email? You could even be totally proactive by automatically contacting customers with known issues.

And let’s not neglect those cost savings!

Back to where we started. All of the benefits we’ve covered here will, in their own ways, contribute to a healthier bottom line. Some, like clean data, reduce costs. Others, like greater staff and customer retention have a massive cumulative impact on costs.

OIt’s benefits like that which make automation such a must-have for modern call center services!

Where to Look for Ideas for Your New Video

The creative process cannot be constant or incessant. People whose activity involves the creation of something new or unique are normally incapable of generating worthwhile ideas non-stop. They need time to recharge emotionally and renew mental energy. They need inspiration, which is a key to remaining creatively productive.

If you create content for your blog, business website, or YouTube channel, the chances are you’re familiar with the feeling of despair that emerges in your time of creative stupor. You may already have a topic to discuss, you may know what points you want to highlight, you may even know where to find royalty free sound effects for your video, but still can fail to get around to your project. There may be times when generating nice ideas and translating them into reality can be a real ordeal. But such temporary creative halts shouldn’t prevent you from producing engaging thumb-stopping content for your audience.

Below are some simple recommendations that can help you out in your time of need.  

Get Inspired

There is no point in reveling in your inertia and waiting for inspiration to come. You should draw it from familiar sources.

First things first, check out the content recently made by the bloggers you consider successful or visit your rival’s business blogs for inspiration. Keeping abreast of the trends that dominate your areas of interest also can help you a lot. Learn what’s new in your industry, scroll through the news feeds to catch up on what you might have missed and take note of the most discussed topics or trending news. You can use this all to your advantage and finally come up with a new great video for your vlog.

Consider Your Audience

There is no point in reminding you how important your audience is. Any content you produce would be dead and meaningless unless viewed and appreciated by your target audience. It’s not necessary to ask your subscribers for ideas and inspiration (unless you feel like doing it.) In fact, if you’re lucky enough to have active subscribers that actively engage with your content, you may expect them to offer the best ideas for your upcoming video even without being asked.

What also won’t hurt is viewing again those videos that your audience enjoyed the most. And the best place to search for a new portion of inspiration for your new video is the Comments section or, possibly, your private messages. You can look through the fresh comments to learn what in particular interested your viewers or, vice versa, didn’t satisfy them. Your previous videos might have raised some questions with your audience or sparked heated discussions. You may want to expand on the topics discussed earlier or make a new video where you’ll be answering the questions or covering the most trending topics.

Groups and Communities

If you’re a member of a certain community or have a group on a social media platform like Facebook, you may try and look for inspiration there. Lots of people that do or like the same things as you can lead you in the right direction by simply mentioning some facts or touching on some trending topics. Surrounding yourself with creative and like-minded people can really do you some good.  Within such groups and communities, they tend to cultivate the beneficial atmosphere of creative pressure and competition, which may spur you to come up with new ideas and topics on your own.

Broaden Your Horizons

Constant self-development and honing in on your professional achievements can be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for any artist. Those vloggers who evaluate their work, identify weaknesses and strengths, and take care to improve on their content tend to be more productive than their lackadaisical counterparts. And to be able to keep track of your progress, you should be ready to polish up your skills and enhance your knowledge. You should be well-versed not only in the topics you’re covering, but also video production and the art of blogging. To that end, you may want to sign up for online courses to boost your communication, presenting, or oratory skills. You can also get more experienced in using video editing tools or familiarize yourself with the latest vlogging trends if you find the right educational course.

And you can always learn from the best! Check out the vlogs of other influencers. Chances are good that many influencers in your area of expertise have powerful content that will inspire you to create better and more useful videos.

Finding a Fulfilling Career Through STEM

Waking up every day to tackle the requirements of a job description that no longer interests nor fulfills you can put you in an upsetting position.

Despite how many people would have it said, the prospect of work does not have to be consistently stress-inducing, particularly if you find yourself doing a job you find truly meaningful.

Most employees do not actively despise their jobs, however, yet not hating work is a vastly different concept to feeling positively fulfilled by it.

If this is beginning to sound relatable, it might be worth thinking about the wealth of opportunities offered up through a STEM career.

What’s so Great About STEM?

The subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math can often provide the means by which real change is brought about in society, so it might be argued that there is no shortage in the way of fulfilling career prospects to be explored in the field.

From healthcare solutions and data analysis to chemical engineering and academia, positive change is usually driven by dedicated individuals who, at one point, might have no idea how fulfilling their career would turn out to eventually be!

If you happen to possess an unrelenting desire to get yourself to the forefront of technological innovation, or even just a little interest in why a cool electronic gadget works the way it does, you likely own a similar mindset to the one belonging to the modern inventor.

The number of industries that STEM graduates can thrive in is close to unbelievable, so whatever your particular skill set happens to be, there will probably be an opening with your name written all over it. 

What do You Need to Succeed?

Suppose you can take an analytical approach to solve problems. In that case, you thrive on working in a team of like-minded colleagues, and you have a great understanding of math and science, then you will no doubt find an area of work in which you can fully apply your diverse range of skills.

An appetite for learning and a desire to develop your professional skills at every possible turn can also be incredibly helpful. Standing at the limits of human knowledge as a simple part of your day job will quite possibly require you to keep your brain thirsting for more information.

If you ever find yourself lost in the pages of a spellbinding new science article, this is great news, as possessing a natural affinity for seeking out modern technological developments and discoveries can mean you have a curious mind. Curiosity, communication, and the ability to always ask “how?” and “why?” can sometimes be the tools that build the best answers to familiar problems.

Changing Direction Through Online Learning

In recent years, moving online has been the flavor of the day in many aspects of modern life; and education is no different.

Online learning can offer hopeful students a top-class education, complete with all the flexibility and freedom they require to complete the course in their own time.

This can be an exciting prospect for anyone who wishes to take up a STEM education alongside their current career, which may not have been a possibility in the past.

Advanced degrees are also available for people who have a decent amount of experience in the relevant fields. Sometimes, a qualification is all that is needed to open up brand new avenues of career possibilities.

To get an idea of what to expect from a high-quality online degree, you may want to check out an engineering management blog, as this can give you some first-hand insight into the matter.

Which Career Path is Right for You?

Individuals skilled in STEM subjects will undoubtedly possess a host of transferrable skills that will apply to a range of fields, so it might be worth thinking about which of life’s many dimensions has you most interested, as this can help narrow down your search. A few ideas might include:

  • The Natural World -If the natural world captures your attention with its enigmatic allure, a job as a conservation biologist can be an immensely fulfilling pursuit. Biology is a diverse field that spills over into a host of essential industries, including healthcare and ecology.
  • Big Data – The ever-growing data mine that is the digital realm can be an interesting area to explore for anyone with a love for numbers and an analytical brain. If you can recognize a pattern in a thunderstorm of information, you may be able to start seeing solutions to problems that were hidden in plain sight all along.
  • Engineering – Have you ever taken apart a product to see if you could put it back together? If so, you may have the traits necessary to start a promising career in engineering. From building airplanes and bridges to cars and computers, engineers are often at the cutting-edge of technology.
  • Finance – Investment banking can provide a highly lucrative job for a math fanatic, as can consultancy, and since mathematics is also the language of the universe, a job as a physicist might also be ideal.

It might even be worth taking a look around your immediate vicinity and seeing which gadgets you have lying around because if they interest you or help you out in anyway, it is useful to note that a STEM graduate possibly had a hand or two in making them a reality.

There are many more fields worth exploring, and ultimately what makes your career a fulfilling one will be down to what you personally value the most out of work. For many, a job they love doing will add new meaning and purpose to the way in which they define the regular working day.

Nurturing Your STEM Skillset

Nurturing any skillset takes perseverance and time, and you can start doing so right now! Reading as much as possible is one of the many keys to success, from books to blogs and everything in between.

Another great way to nurture any given skillset is get involved with the community, forums and online community pages can be good in this area, and you might always make some lasting connections that can help you on your journey towards a new and more fulfilling career.

4 Good Reasons Why Starting A Business Might Be The Right Thing For You

Deciding to start a business is going out on a limb and taking a leap of faith. It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s a risk, and it’s also full of potential. If you’re ready to take that all on, then don’t hesitate. Being your own boss and the owner of your company is a tremendous responsibility, one that is fulfilling in ways that a lot of other things in life don’t compare to. 

There are tricks and tips to help you make your business successful and the financial gain is something that you’ll be proud of, eventually. If you still aren’t confident in the idea, here are four good reasons you should start a business. 

4 Good Reasons Why You Should Start A Business

Starting a business may be the purpose you’ve been searching for your whole life. You might not see it in the beginning and certainly not during the hard months of bringing it all together. But, there will come a day when you will see the fruit of your hard work. 

Getting started is also not as hard as you may be led to believe. Filling your legal documents and getting the proper registration and business licenses are relatively simple. If you don’t have the time or want to have a professional help you, there are companies for that. Read the incfile review to weigh out whether their service will work for you. These types of companies are great for those new to the process and those that simply don’t have the time or knowledge. 

Now that you know how simple the paperwork is, here are a few other reasons why you should start a business. 

1. Motivating

When you’re working for someone else, finding motivation can be like trying to find a single grain of sand. You know within yourself that even when you do your best; the person benefiting from your efforts and talents isn’t you. That isn’t to say that employers are monsters (if all goes well you’ll be an employer soon enough). Rather, it is the reality of not being your own boss. Your talents aren’t being used to grow yourself and your own business when you work for someone else.  

Owning your own business will motivate you and push you to do and be the best that you can. You’re doing it for yourself at that point. There is no security net like you would have with a salaried job.

2. Financial Independence

Another reason to start your business is the financial independence that it will afford you. Once you’ve established a reputation and built a clientele, you’ll start to see good returns on your investment. There is also the control of your paycheck. You can decide on how much you’re going to make. This is something you wouldn’t have in a traditional career path.

Something you should take note of is the potential to scale your yearly income. When you own your own business, there is no limit to what the company can bring each day, week, month, or year. Your business can go from a small home-based operation to large cooperation with branches around the world. 

3. Enhance Creativity

One thing you will find is an increase in your creativity. When issues come up, you’ll find yourself problem-solving in some of the most creative ways. You’ll also see your business with a child’s eyes. A lot of the projects you’ll come up with are things you’d have never considered working at your current job. 

You’ll want to create and find ways to make your business stand out. This is a wonderful benefit. 

4. Control Your Life and Schedule

Probably the best reason to start your own business is freedom. You will have complete control of your life and schedule. You can work when you want, take breaks when you need, and overall schedule your daily life in a way that works best for you. You’ll have the freedom to do a lot more of the things that you are interested in. This is why many are choosing to be their own boss. 

Knowing that each day brings with it new challenges, new victories, creative avenues, and the chance to be better than you were the day before, why wouldn’t you start your own business. Truthfully, it is for people that have a drive and want to be the captain of their own path. Starting your own business will help you mature and you’ll discover skills you’ve been blind to. Once you find your purpose in your life and career, it’s hard to return to working for someone else. Go out there and just start. 

80% of Businesses in 2021 Want Chatbots – Here is Why

As a business owner, it is prudent to operate in a way that is aligned with the prevailing business climate. One such way to do this is to consistently upgrade the technology you use in your product life cycle and the use of Chatbots is a worthy avenue to pursue. They are not a new technology but their popularity has increased because of the results they have yielded.

Photo By: Mikaela Shannon on Unsplash

Let’s take the Publix weekly ad as our case study. Say you want to order a ready-made meal under $10. You have a number of options; the chicken tender whole sub for $6.99, or simply fresh salads at $7 for two, among others. You have to browse through all the pages to see if there’s anything else within your range and that may take a while. A chatbot becomes handy because it can be programmed to ask you all the relevant questions and offer you the best option in a few seconds.

There are a number of benefits to using chatbots and we will give you some of them below.

1. Instant Customer Service

Chatbots are available 24/7/365, therefore queries or questions raised by your customers are immediately attended to. They are not subject to human emotion as well, hence where an agent or the customer may lose their patience, the chatbot is consistent in how it works. The chatbot being always online also means that your customer will not experience any delays, leading to their increased satisfaction. Considering that the chatbot is limited in the detail it gives, it can pass on information to agents to further handle a query for the customer. How much communication it gives is dependent on how you have programmed it.

2. Data Collection for Marketing

A chatbot can be set up in such a way as to collect customer information while they are being assisted. This way, you can make up mailing lists for potential customers and have a higher chance of making a connection with them. The chatbot is able to pull up customer purchase or browsing history on your website or app. This allows it to make product suggestions that are suited to the customer’s interests. This process will also make it easier when sending the customer marketing information via email as it will be based on their interests only, removing the irritation of receiving irrelevant mail.

3. They Can Help Reduce Operational Costs

The use of chatbots can reduce the costs associated with hiring customer service agents that will be available 24/7/365 and training them. Chatbots can be the first place of contact for the customer. Research has shown that a lot of queries received from customers are general and can be handled by the chatbot. The more complex issues can then be directed to agents.

4. They Meet Customer Expectations

A properly designed chatbot with the right language and appropriate responses will deliver exceptional customer service. Customers want to be assisted immediately with as little fuss as possible, and the chatbot can deliver on this mandate. Purchases can also be finalized on the chatbot, reducing the need to leave the chat and go back to another page on the website. Streamlining this process means it works faster, leading to better customer satisfaction.

There are many other benefits to using chatbots; you will need to make it as relatable as possible. Tailor it to your market and ensure it uses the language your customers will understand.

Explainer Video Production

If you are researching a certain product, or just trying out one – a video is probably out there giving you all you need to know. A popular way to convey information or prospective customers is through an explainer video.

What is an Explainer Video?

The explainer video of a company highlights their product, service and business ideas in a compelling and creative way which appeals to a wider audience.

An explainer video production company can make you a short but worthwhile information video, for marketing and sales purposes.

With the era of social media the production companies host these videos on larger platforms such as Instagram and Facebook along with other networks on landing pages and websites homepage.

The videos are used to connect potential clients which leads to increase in conversion rates of sales and more product purchases.

Explainer Video Structure

The average timing for such videos is 60-120 seconds or 180 maximum if the discussed product is complex and these must be marketed on well-known sites. A video must explain the problem and how your product will help solve the issue. The next step should be distinguishing your product with the competitions in the market and give a social proof to justify why.

What Makes a Good Explainer Video?

A good video must be well structured and reviewed so it can reach a maximum audience, it should be having:

  • Short time duration

Keep it short and to the context, explainer videos are usually long but the shorter and to the point it is the more beneficial and attractive it is.

  • High quality

The quality should be high in production and in content so it effectively communicates brands value.

  • Strong call to action

Explainer videos should clearly state what they want their intended audience to do after watching.

  • Focused on problem-solving
  • Match with the brand and its audience.

Different Kinds of Explainer Videos

Depending on your work field and company the video may be shooting on, the method is the same but the approach might be different. 3 main categories for explainer videos are

Company Overviews

When shooting a company related video, you might want to get everything out but it is better not to drag on for too long because no customer prefers lengthy videos. In this it is important to dictate; certification, awards, portfolio, working details and the clients you are working with

Hybrid, Meet the Team Videos

These videos with company culture are different as the customers get to know the brand better and help humanize the company. For such explainer videos it is better to go for animated videos as they are easy to update but you may choose the option that’s best for you. This is where you can mix some company and culture overview.

Product and Service Overview

 Brands that sell only a single product or offer one type of service, usually produce an explainer video about the core product rather than an overview of the company. These are produced in more than an explanatory video and are more in depth for commercial purpose.

Although the video doesn’t share much about the company, the viewers are still able to know the brand commitment and information regarding the product.

Benefits of an Explainer Video

Videos are no doubt one of the fastest ways to learn about a company and the products with services they offer without losing interest. Here’s a breakdown of why explainer videos can be helpful for your Production Company and sales department:

  • Videos saves time
  • They are easy to share and access
  • Keeps the viewer entertained and gets message across
  • Explainer videos are brand recognition

How to Produce an Explainer Video?

Just like any video production, your explainer video needs to follow the same steps for production. However the process may differ on what type of video you are shooting. It is better to reach out to video producer companies and agencies to help you grow through the process.

Explainer videos take a considerable amount of coordination, talent, and skill to pull off. During the pre-production phase; it all starts at the script level, so make sure you get your structure down and take all necessary key points for the production. During the production the video animation or live starts to come real and post production is where all final cuts are edited and then marketed.

Final Thoughts

Explainer videos are not only time savers but the perfect to address your audience and work your way up in the market. With the perfect brand recognition and use of modern technology it is easy to compete, solve problems with your product and raise more audience for it. Get your concept right and deal with a reliable company while keeping the structure in mind to get the best video made.

Pinterest Marketing in 2021: What it is and How to Do It

A registration on Pinterest gives you free access to share and discover interests. It is a social media network focused on visuals of people’s lifestyles, tastes, interests, DIY’s, facts, graphics, exotic locations, and anything that can be visually represented on this planet. Users can share their interesting photographs or videos by pinning them on their boards or on other boards. Pinterest also has a Pinterest lens similar to Google Lens, which allows you to discover ideas related to the thing you point your camera to. With surpassing 400 million monthly live users in 2020, Pinterest is a serious online business platform. So it is valid to think about a Pinterest growth service to grow your business on the third-largest digital network of America. And, Pinterest claiming 459 million users makes it a guaranteed growth destination for creators to reap their online business by Pinterest marketing.

What originated as a visual experience for displaying interest in inspiring arts, cooking recipes, fashion styles in clothing, DIY’s, and other interests of females has gone to the imaginative numbers of interests Pinterest caters to mankind today. From scriptures and arts of the medieval period to the information on the conceptual flying cars, Pinterest offers every kind of interest one can have.

Pinterest marketing potential

The footfall of buyers from Pinterest to the marketer site is very exciting with more than 90% being first-timers. Pinterest claims the male users have reached nearly 50% recently. Pinterest’s fourth-quarter shareholder report of 2020  displayed tremendous growth outside the US. In 2020, global monthly active users showed an increase of 46% from the previous year. In the US alone the increase was 11%, representing 98 million users monthly active in 2020.

The coming generations like Millenials and Gen Z tend to see and understand things more with videos and images, ensuring the value of this platform automatically rises. With features like  Pinterest Lens, users can discover over 2.5 billion objects. Such interesting figures, and 87% of pinners claiming to purchase through the platform, show the humongous marketing potential of Pinterest. So, let’s dive into Pinterest marketing and what you need to succeed.

1.  Create a Business Profile

The very first step for marketing on Pinterest is to create a business profile. Pinterest provides one of the simplest interfaces to backlink your website for people to find more about your products. You can make a business profile by clicking on Join as a business while signing up. Fill in the remaining details and you’re ready for marketing from your Pinterest business account.

2.  Understanding the search

Pinterest is less of a regular social media and more of an image search engine. Like, you can search for a red wallet and a series of multiple pins will appear from the influencers, big fashion brands, retailers, magazines, and other user’s boards. Unlike other search engines where you go to the next page, you can keep scrolling down until you find your preferred pin. Furthermore, writing accurate details in the description of your pins guides your customers better to your linked website.

3.  Pinterest Boards

The boards hold your collection of pins. For your label, your collection of boards helps you organize your pins categorically, so your followers can access and follow their interests. Likewise for a motorbike modification company, creating a board on self-bike repair is a specialized zone for bike enthusiasts. As A Result, these enthusiasts will spend more time on your boards and therefore good marketing is done for your company.

4.  The Pins

Pins are the most essential and founding bricks of Pinterest. Whenever you search for anything on Pinterest, basically all the images displayed are pins. These founding elements are the first thing attracting your targeted customers to this platform and guide them to your web page. Every pin can say a specific thing about an e-commerce online store, a person, or any company. For this reason, it becomes quintessential to make your pins unique and inviting with communicative details.

How to do Marketing on Pinterest

Since you have understood the need and fundamentals of marketing on Pinterest, let’s move ahead to understand how to do it. After setting up a business profile you need to optimize it to imitate your brand value and aesthetics.

1.  Optimization

For this, you should understand that aesthetics is the key here. Having a distinctive and alluring display will hold the potential of maximum conversion through Pinterest. Setting an eye-catching cover image that displays similar pastel colors on your company’s website reflects a singular identity of two platforms. Further, optimizing by following a theme that sync’s all the boards with accurate descriptions on each pin.

2.  Utilize pins

Your visitors should have the ease of saving an image onto their boards. You can install Pinterest’s save button and allow people to do so. For a blogger, pins are the gateways to drive traffic to their website. Similarly, a handmade online shop displaying information and the price of their products is a classic example. You can also use rich pins once you’ve validated your website on Pinterest. Rich pins are linked to your source site. If anything is changed on the source website, rich pins update information automatically.

3.  Pin wisely

You can’t randomly post a quotation or an image with a link and think it is great marketing done for your brand. It’s important to plan out the content strategy to achieve a set goal. Like actively sharing educational content can be a driving force to your business. For example, a pickle company actively sharing guided methods to make homemade pickles with illustrations will educate people on the topic. Resulting in people regularly visiting the company boards and hence increasing the leads and chance of more sales.

Conclusion

Since its launch as a closed beta in 2010, Pinterest has come a long way in building a strong reputation in digital marketing by 2021. As stated by Pinterest, because of the pandemic, usage rose to 36% on their platform to juggle between new part-time jobs. With 95% of the top searches still unbranded on this network speaks a lot about the untapped potential of Pinterest marketing. On this positive note, I wish you to reap by exploring and establishing your digital presence.

The Top 10 Tools and Software for Small Businesses

Small businesses drive economies around the world. In essence, small businesses are what defines the line between the community and corporation, and if you’re running one of them, you’ll probably need some top-tier tools to help you out.

We’ll list our top ten best software and tools for running a small business in 2021 below.

1. Monday.com

Monday is a management platform that makes managing your small business a walk in the park. It comes with all the features and services you need to manage and coordinate your projects.

It offers a top-shelf CRM, project, sales, and task management, software design and development, and a range of other things any small business can benefit from.

It’s a one-stop shop for all your management needs. What makes it stand out among the sea of other management tools is that it’s very easy to use, feature-rich, and very affordable.

2. Filestage.io 

Proofing is a very complex practice that is all but mandatory in modern business. Waiting for feedback from the rest of your business, your higher-ups, or your clients isn’t laborious – it’s an unnecessary waste of time.

With Filestage, the proofing process is streamlined to such a degree where teams can get instant replies and feedback that they require to go on with their work. Think of Filestage as the connective tissue between two departments that need to cooperate.

It streamlines communication and connects the two so that both get time-stamped approval as fast as possible, process and progress tracking, and a laid-out organization and framework of the workflow.

3. Outgrow.co

Outgrow is an interactive marketing platform that lets marketers and digital agencies create quizzes, calculators, chatbots, and assessments, polls, and giveaways to boost their marketing efforts. These interactive content types help companies generate nearly 30% more new leads and increase their social footprint. Moreover, interactive content like quizzes engages customers twice as compared to static content.

Outgrow stands out because it is easy to use and requires no coding knowledge. It offers 1000+ templates to choose from and robust analytics and automation powers to make your marketing campaigns a success. 

Finally, Outgrow provides free COVID-19 offers and other affordable plans for freelancers, small businesses, and big corporates.  

4. Traqq.com

As the coronavirus descends into 2021, many businesses have moved out of the office into their home. It has led to a rise in time tracking tools such as Traqq.

Even when people are out of the office, you can still know what they’re up to, how much time that is taking, and how you can help them do it better and faster.

Time tracking tools such as Traqq are necessary for managing remote teams, which most teams are nowadays.

Traqq allows you to monitor without even monitoring, as the automatic system will take screenshots, screen recording, monitor app, and web use without requiring constant input.

5. Octoparse.com

Web scraping is one of the most common business practices of 2021, as it allows small businesses to build big databases. In this data-driven world, staying on top of your competition is a priority, and web scraping is one of the best ways to do so.

Octoparse brings the process of web scraping to small businesses, allowing you to collect data on your competition, monitor trends, and improve your business from the inside.

The benefit of Octoparse is that it provides web scraping to every small business, requires little to no setup, and absolutely no complex coding.

6. Appypie.com

Appypie is an interesting platform that allows you to develop custom solutions, apps, and tools without prior coding or development knowledge. While the power of this system is limited, it handles most of the needs small businesses have with relative ease.

Appypie stands out among the crowd of custom solution creation platforms because it’s very easy to use, fully customizable, and adaptable to any small business environment.

This no-code application development platform is affordable and scalable, so it perfectly fits the needs of small businesses without breaking the bank.

7. Litextension.com

eCommerce is one of the most buzzing industries of 2021, and it’s gaining the attention of small businesses at an increasing rate. 2021 has seen more small businesses enter the world of eCommerce than ever.

Litextension is a service for eCommerce businesses looking to migrate from one eCommerce platform to another. Litextension makes quick work of the migration process and works well for small businesses or the agencies managing the eCommerce stores in question.

8. Moosend.com

Marketing can make or break a business. If a business has good marketing, it will likely push out of the sea of failing small businesses and carve out a slice of the market share pie for themselves.

Now, small businesses usually have limited budgets and limited tools to market themselves, so what do they do?

Well, Moosend is a fantastic marketing platform for all small businesses. It comes with all of the tools that you or your marketing team need to make your business that much more appealing to the average consumer and spread the word about it.

Furthermore, Moosend is a very scalable solution, meaning you can adapt it to your business no matter how large or small it is.

9. Leadfuze.com

Finding leads can get tricky, especially if you’re working on a smaller scale. You don’t want dozens of useless leads – you want some that will provide favorable results.

Well, if you’re in this position, you might want to take a look at Leadfuze, the premier prospecting tool for small businesses.

Leadfuze is a search engine for leads, which allows smaller businesses that don’t have huge in-house HR teams to find the correct leads, verify information across a huge database, and seamlessly integrate within your existing framework.

10. Fleep.io

Fleep is a communication and file-sharing platform for small businesses. It allows you to connect teams within one simple, centralized application to communicate, trade files, and share progress. Fleep is a great way to streamline not just communication but coordination in the office space.

Another thing that makes Fleep a must-have tool in any small business arsenal is that it’s affordable, and integrating it within your existing framework is simple due to its easy-to-use GUI and adaptability.

In Conclusion

If you’re running a small business in 2021, you’ll be happy to know that there are quite a few tools that will make your life and your job much easier.

Stick to the ten tools and software solutions provided above, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your business.

4 Tips to Help You Choose the Right IT Support Service for Your Business

In order for your business to remain competitive in today’s marketplace, you need a robust IT strategy that modernizes operations and keeps you lean. As part of this strategy, you need an IT support team by your side. But with so many different services to choose from, you’ll have to be selective in the companies you work with

The “Why” Behind IT Support

Small business owners often fall for the assumption that IT support services are just for big companies with massive budgets. But that’s simply not true. There are plenty of ways for small and medium-sized businesses to benefit from a partnership with the right IT support service, including:

Better security. The right IT support staff keeps your entire system running smoothly. Not only that, but they ensure you have a reliable backup system in place to keep you protected in a worst-case scenario.

Higher ROI. IT support saves you both time and money. The result is a beefier profit margin. While the upfront costs of hiring an IT support service are more expensive than a DIY approach, the long-term ROI is clear. With less downtime, greater reliability, and significant time savings, hiring an IT support service is a clear and obvious choice.

Enhanced customer service. More uptime and reliability lead to happier and more satisfied customers. Subsequently, this produces better customer retention rates and stronger loyalty. This lowers your costs across the board and simultaneously gives your business a stronger foundation for future growth.

Better use of time. When it’s all said and done, an IT support service allows you to spend less time worrying about what could go wrong and more time focusing on the other core tasks and responsibilities on your to-do list.

At the end of the day, having the right IT support service in place allows you to maximize your company’s efficiency and produce happy and satisfied clients that trust you to meet their needs.

4 Tips for Selecting the Right IT Support Service

With so many different IT support services to choose from, here are a few factors that are absolutely worth considering.

1. Location

Physical location may or may not matter very much – it just depends on the services you need. For example, if your company will provide services like VoIP or cloud hosting, the location of the servers can have an effect on the quality of your services. It’s also important to think about location if you plan to expand into a different country in the future. (Make sure they have the capacity to support you.)

2. Types of Support

Many IT support companies will offer varying levels of service. This may include:

Pay-as-you-go support. Good for companies with smaller budgets that only need occasional support.

Break-fix support. The provider performs service on an as-needed basis and bills you only for the work performed.

Managed service support. The most comprehensive type of support. Ideal for businesses that want a totally hands-off, white-glove approach.

3. Response Times

When you have an IT issue, the last thing you want to do is spend hours or days waiting for your support provider to come out and troubleshoot the issue. Depending on the problem, you could be losing thousands of dollars every few minutes. Time is of the essence.

As you consider IT support services, consider if they make any guarantees around response times. For example, PalmTech Computer Solutions promises to have a qualified technician working on resolving the IT problems within one hour or less for all managed services contracts. That’s a huge benefit (both in terms of cost savings and peace of mind).

4. Costs

Finally, consider the cost. Every IT support service operates on a unique payscale. Some companies require long-term contracts and monthly retainer fees, while other companies let you pay as you go with no long-term commitment. There are benefits to both types of agreements, so make sure you’re taking all relevant factors into account. Depending on what stage your business is in, it may make more sense to sign a long-term agreement and cut costs. Other businesses like the pay-as-you-go structure because of the flexibility and scalability.

Putting it All Together

Your business doesn’t just need an IT support service – it needs the right IT support service. As you search for the perfect partner, take factors like location, support services, response time, and costs into account. If nothing else, your thorough due diligence will leave you with the confidence and peace of mind that you made the right choice.

The 9 Most Common Causes of Car Accidents (and How to Prevent Them)

In most areas of the country, driving remains the most reliable and most efficient way to get from one place to another. But even if you’re experienced and careful, there’s a chance you could end up in a car accident; in fact, there are more than 35,000 motor vehicle deaths in the United States each year and tens of thousands of accidents that only result in minor injury.

The good news is that most car accidents are preventable – but you have to understand and respect the causes of those car accidents.

The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

These are some of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States, in no particular order:

1. Distracted driving

One of the most common causes of accidents is also one of the most preventable: distracted driving. When traveling at high speeds, taking your eyes off the road even for a second can render you incapable of responding to a sudden change in your surroundings. For example, if you look at your phone for a second while driving on the highway and a person in front of you slams on the brakes, you might be incapable of stopping in time. Avoid distractions at all costs, keeping your attention on the road and the drivers around you.

2. Manufacturer defects

We trust the manufacturers of our vehicles to equip them with everything they need to drive reliably and safely – but even small manufacturer defects can lead to major accidents. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this to proactively prevent accidents. Choose reliable manufacturers with a strong reputation – and if there’s a recall for your vehicle, take care of it immediately.

3. Intoxicated driving

Despite widespread knowledge that drinking and driving is a major public health hazard, people still drink and drive. Alcohol and other drugs impair your ability to respond in a timely and appropriate manner. They may also impair your perceptions and judgment. If you’ve consumed alcohol recently, or other drugs that affect your perceptions, you’re best off getting a designated driver to take you home.

4. Fatigued driving

Most people know that alcohol can affect your driving, but those same people may underestimate the effects of fatigued driving. If you’re especially tired, your perceptions can be as distorted as they would be after a heavy round of drinking. Get a ride home or take some time to nap before attempting to drive when tired.

5. Inclement weather

Bad weather can limit visibility, reduce traction on the road, and affect your vehicle’s maneuverability, all of which lead to higher rates of car accidents. In cases of severe bad weather, such as thick fog or a major blizzard, it’s a good idea to stay home and not drive at all. Even in cases of mild bad weather, like a thunderstorm or moderate snowfall, you’ll want to exercise caution, giving yourself extra stopping distance and keeping your headlights on at all times.

6. Speeding

Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents for several reasons. First, it affects your maneuverability, making it difficult to handle sharp turns and making it more likely you’ll lose control of the vehicle. Second, it increases your stopping distance, giving you less time to react to sudden changes in front of you. It also increases the force of collision, so accidents involving speeding have higher fatality and injury rates. Remain at or under the speed limit and reduce your speed further when necessary.

7. Ignoring traffic signs/laws

Traffic signs and laws exist for a reason: to keep you and other drivers safe. Reckless driving, running a red light, merging without a turn signal, or failing to yield may seem inconsequential in the moment, but they can sharply increase your risk of an accident. Obey these signs and laws at all times.

8. Poor road conditions

Bad roads can also lead to accidents. Major potholes or bumps can cause you to lose control if you’re not careful. Avoid construction sites when possible and pay attention to your surroundings to minimize risk here.

9. Lack of maintenance

If you don’t keep your vehicle well-maintained, it can be harder to control – and may break down unexpectedly. At least annually, you should have your vehicle inspected (and repaired if/when necessary).

Understanding Other Drivers

You may be a safe, attentive, and obedient driver on the road, but you’re still just one of many variables that interact (and could potentially lead to an accident). In addition to driving cautiously and obeying the law, it’s important to observe and proactively respond to the drivers around you. Don’t be afraid to pull off to the side of the road or take an alternative route if it means getting out of the way of a reckless driver.