Archive for May, 2011

As Owner and Chief Marketing Officer of my own business, I must understand, recognize and appreciate the necessity for taking care of our clients (and prospects too) in all regards of our business. We have regular communications using different mediums which always includes the
in-person meeting. In my very humble opinion, nothing can replace face to face communications. This has been my mantra for more than twenty – 20- years in dealing with clients, prospects and vendors alike.

6 C’s of Client Care (in no specific order or preference):

Communication – Keep lines of communication open with your client whether it’s by phone, email, newsletter or quarterly business reviews (QBRs); hopefully it will be all of the above . When things are great, communication is great too. When something needs to be worked out, communication from you and your team needs to be on solid ground.

Caring – Get to know the individuals with whom you interact. You want to understand their challenges and goals at work as well as understand them as a person. This elevated level of caring will put you in good stead with your client. Please know that this caring is to be sincere and not manufactured for the sake of business.

Cooperation – This is truly a 2-way street. My recommendation is to have an onboarding process that sets expectations for both parties which will foster cooperation. And, your client care process should include steps for reinforcing the practice of cooperation. You don’t always have to agree on every item of discussion; however, you have set standards by which you will cooperate and collaborate.

Consistency – Be consistent in the way you support your client. People are more at ease when your team has acted in a consistent manner regardless of your industry. Consistency leads to solid best practices which benefit both you and your client.

Clarity – Make sure that you avoid whenever possible in using industry jargon. This is a caveat especially for my colleagues in the world of IT. If you are speaking with an IT person, have at it with the jargon and IT alphabet soup. However, when speaking with the owner, president, controller or similar C-level client contacts, do your best to use good ol’ English.

Collaboration – This is an aspect of the client relationship that is too often neglected. When I am having an owner check-in meeting, I like to ask “how can I help your business grow?” or “Is there a way for us to collaborate that could benefit our respective client bases?” Forming a stronger bond and relationship through positive and energetic collaboration will take you far.

There are probably more Cs to Client Care. Identify for your firm or refresh your memory as to the ideal aspects of client care as an annual or regularly scheduled exercise. When you onboard a new employee, make sure that he/she is made aware of the characteristics of client care and that it’s more than just words in a document or on a piece of paper. The culture of your firm must be to live and breathe these beliefs and values and good things will come back to your firm as a result.

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 Are you frustrated by slow PCs, screen freezes, error messages and things not working right in general? These are all signs that your computer network is desperately in need of either an upgrade OR a tune up.

What Causes Computer Networks To Run Slow?

Over time, all computers and servers slow down and become progressively worse. The main reasons are:

  • Spyware, viruses and other malware secretly installed on your machine. We say “secretly” because most users don’t realize their computer is infected until it’s too late. Most viruses and malware programs circulating on the Internet today are well designed, highly sophisticated programs designed to install themselves and work in the background, undetected – and often the only sign you’ve been compromised is slow performance.
  • Old equipment. Believe it or not, most PCs only have a shelf life of 3 years. (Amazing, isn’t it?) But there are ways to extend your computer’s life, which brings me to #3…
  • Poor Maintenance. Just like a car, computer networks need regular maintenance (or “tune-ups”) in order to maintain top speed and performance. In fact, there are over 100 different system checks and updates that need to be done on a regular basis, including disk defragmentation, patch management and the removal of unnecessary files and programs (to name only a few).

Some things that you should make sure your internal or outsourced IT team should do to speed up our network and resolve frustrating problems are:

  • Run a full diagnostic on your network to troubleshoot slow, problematic PCs, error messages and other problems.
  • Review your firewall and security settings to make sure you ARE protected from hackers, viruses, spyware, etc.
  • Verify that your data is being backed up in a format that COULD be recovered in the event of a disaster.
  • Review system logs for errors and other “red flags” that could develop into bigger problems.
  • Check your power source to make sure you are protected against lightning strikes and power surges.
  • Tune-up your server to free up more space and improve its speed.
  • Clean out old and unnecessary temporary files that are stealing precious disk space.

The above maintenance tasks are just a handful of suggestions for making your computer run better and faster. The optimal solution is to have computers that aren’t more than 4 or 5 years old and have them on a proactive maintenance plan. This will save you headaches, money and will make you more productive.

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It’s that time of year where kids are almost out of school and the summer is about to launch.  How do you manage the summer and even year-round activities of your family? What do you do to keep your life manageable and minimize the stress that – at least for me – is closely associated with kids being out of school?

Utilize a free calendar program from Microsoft’s Windows Live. Courtesy of Lauren Harmon’s Microsoft’s At Home article, you can easily get started and manage your life outside of work!

If you don’t yet have a Windows Live ID, it’s really easy to create and you will be able to use it for any Windows Live service at any time. After you have created a free Windows Live ID for yourself, you can get to your calendar: Sign in to it directly, or, from the More menu on your Windows Live home page, choose Calendar. You can even access it from the left navigation pane of your Hotmail account, by selecting Calendar.

Windows Live Calendar is similar to desktop calendar applications: It features daily, weekly, monthly, and agenda view modes. Calendar events are stored online and can be viewed from any location. You can set up alerts as helpful electronic reminders for upcoming calendar events. Alerts are delivered via email, SMS text messaging, or Instant Messenger (IM). We usually set up our alerts to remind us 20 minutes before an event starts, which gives us enough notice to get to most events right on time, even if we’ve forgotten about them. This is a great feature that has saved family members from embarrassing “no shows” more than once in our busy lives.

Key functionalities of Windows Live Calendar are:

  • Make a New Calendar
  • Set Up Alerts for Your Calendar Events
  • Share Your Calendars
  • Create a Calendar Event
  • Synchronize Windows Live Calendar in Outlook

For complete instructions and insights, go to Lauren’s article now. I think that my family will need to try this one. IF you are curious about sharing calendars, contacts and more in the workplace with Microsoft Exchange, let our CMIT Denver team know. You probably have everything in place; you just need to know how to use it to make life more manageable and productive for you at work.

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