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Omnichannel Customer Service and the Small Business

A study by ClickZ found that customers are 58 percent more likely to tell others about their customer experiences today than was they were five years ago.[i] An important enabler and outlet is the social sphere, which gives consumers and businesses alike the ability to reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of individuals.

The New Millennial Landscape

As Millennials comprise a larger and larger percentage of the population and workforce, their assumptions and ideals are changing about how companies engage with them. It isn’t simply a phenomenon related to online businesses; it is just as applicable for businesses that have traditional customer relationships.

“Millennial” customers expect their vendors to engage with them through digital channels. Further, it isn’t merely one engagement channel, but rather an omnichannel approach that includes email, the web, social media, among other channels.

Omnichannel Customer Service: It’s for Small Businesses, Too

Many small businesses think customer service only pertains to midsize companies and enterprises. After all, they have one-on-one personal relationships with their customers who often have the CEO’s smartphone on speed dial. Yet this is the furthest from the truth, particularly with the demographic and technological changes sweeping across the economic landscape.

With this in mind, let’s return to the topic of Millennials. A recent survey found that over two thirds of them value customer service experiences when they are able to answer a question or solve a problem related to that company without having to talk with a customer service agent.

The study also uncovered that Millennials want to engage with companies on their own terms—whether through digital or human interaction.[ii] Small businesses that fail to offer their customers multiple engagement channels place themselves at a competitive disadvantage and may even put their customer relationships at risk.[iii]

Davinci Helps Fill the Customer Service Void

Davinci offers customers a portfolio of services that enable them to engage with their customers when and where they want. The new customer service reality also dictates that companies engage with customers through multiple channels—both with live human interactions and digital interactions. Here, Davinci has its customers covered on both fronts.

Live human assistance. As it simply doesn’t make financial sense for most small businesses to hire a dedicated—full time or part time—personal assistant, Davinci created our Live Receptionist Services. Each client gets a virtual receptionist team that functions as a virtual assistant, answering each call with a personalized greeting and screening and transferring all calls to a representative designed by the small business on a schedule they control. In addition to various administrative tasks, our Live Receptionist Services team also handles appointment scheduling, answers customer service questions, makes outbound calls, and even processes orders.

Digital engagement. Customers increasingly want live digital support from a company’s website, all without the need for a live human interaction over the phone. With Davinci Live Web Chat Services, small businesses get a dedicated virtual team of Davinci digital professionals who do everything from answer customer questions and resolve service issues to engage with prospects, educating them on the customer’s business and product offerings and helping to expedite the sales process.

An Exceptional Experience Leads to Advocates

Davinci embraces the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses and welcomes the opportunity to serve as a partner and facilitator to their success. After all, we’re entrepreneurs ourselves!

Great customer service occurs on multiple fronts; it isn’t one and done and conducted over one engagement channel. Davinci thus thrives to help our customers deliver consistent, compelling, and relevant services to their customers. Exceptional experiences result, and delighted customers become brand advocates.

Creating brand advocates has an immediate and tangible impact to bottom-line results. Happy customers are more likely to advocate about their experiences—and they are more loyal. They also ask for customer service 62 percent less often than other customers. Indeed, it doesn’t get much better than this: deliver great customer service, and the result is more customer advocates and fewer service inquiries.[iv]

Savvy companies understand that customer service is at the core of customer experience. They also recognize that customers demand human and digital engagement options. Davinci is here to help our customers achieve exceptional results on both fronts. Contact us today to find out more about Davinci Live Receptionist Services and Live Web Chat Services.

Make sure to watch for our upcoming posts on Live Receptionist Services (“The Virtual Live Receptionist: Available and Knowledgeable”) and Live Web Chat Services (“Live Web Chat: Personalized Digital Service”). Or simply sign up for our blog and receive notifications whenever we have a new post.

[i] Michelle Killebrew, “World-Class Customer Service in the Digital Age,” ClickZ, May 14, 2014.

[ii]The Aspect Consumer Experience Index: Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations,” The Center for Generational Kinetics, April 2015.

[iii] Tim Dreyer, “Millennials Set to Radically Change Customer Service,” CustomerThink, April 13, 2015.

[iv] Killebrew, “World-Class Customer Service.”
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Hiring a Good Employee versus Hiring the Right Employee… There is a Difference

Perhaps you’ve experienced it as an employer trying to make the right hiring decision, only to result in a relatively quick exit, non-match, or worse yet, a revolving door of hiring misfires and mismatches. You thought for sure you did everything right by crossing all your T’s and dotting your I’s while lining up the ideal hire for the job and for your team.

So why didn’t it work out? You were so psyched and proud of yourself for what you thought was a thorough job-filling effort. You had big visions of teamwork and efficiency dancing through your head, only to find yourself humbled and back at square one with the position to fill all over again. What an emotional roller-coaster.

Each new employee is like a new relationship – almost like a new boyfriend or girlfriend – where hope springs eternal, and all parties involved dive in with only the best expectations. Rarely does a cautionary thought of the worst-case scenario enter into anybody’s mind.

How do hiring disasters happen, and why did it impact you when you were so careful? To be honest, it happens much more often than one imagines it would. So how do you figure out why things went wrong and how do you avoid costly and time-consuming failures that leave you feeling foolish? How can you avoid repeating your mistakes?

The first step is to recognize that hiring failures are going to happen from time to time. In most cases, both parties move forward with the best of intentions, sometimes with great expectations, that go haywire with unrealistic or overstated goals. We all want to find that perfect hire, and that’s a pretty lofty goal to try to achieve. Reaching too high can actually be a trap for setting yourself up to miss the mark.

Skewed expectations are dangerous that way, especially where there is a relationship involved. But even great relationships can fall apart and fail; sometimes sooner than we expect, despite what we all anticipate as being a blissful match. This happens in personal relationships, hiring, and when taking on new job assignments. There are no guarantees in life.

Knowing that relationships can fail, the next step is to leave a little room for the imperfections of humanity. People when they first meet, including employers and job prospects, sometimes project something they’re not, out of enthusiasm, self-over-estimation, wishful thinking, or simply competing for a job or against another candidate. The prospect wants the job, especially when they’re unemployed. Who hasn’t stepped forward at some point to imply they’re capable of handling something where maybe they lack proper experience? We all learn along the way and start picking up experience as we go. Many times we’re simply not ready, but we’re willing to take a risk and apply anyway..

Humans court and entice. It’s part of our DNA. And in doing so, reality and pragmatics take a back-seat to the fog of enthusiasm. As a job seeker, we all love to put our best foot forward , especially when competing against others for a job. As employers, we want to be wise and smart enough to make the ideal hire. But sometimes the candidates are not all as advertised, either intentionally, or inadvertently.

After accepting that reality, and not putting too much pressure on yourself, feeling awful, or beating yourself up when one of these inevitable mismatches pops up (they happen), the trick is to learn and still find ways to reduce the probability of such misfires going forward. An occasional miscue here and there is to be expected, and everybody experiences them. If failures become too frequent, or too severe of a mismatch is hired, that’s when the warning bells need to start sounding.

There are a number of measures to limit employment mismatches, the first being to recognize that the great candidate, while being great and spectacular, doesn’t automatically mean it’s the right fit as a hire.

Often times the seemingly perfect candidate might actually be overqualified for the position they’re applying for. The applicant might be simply using the position as a temporary stepping stone to a better position elsewhere while they keep their eyes open for bigger and better opportunities. They play the part for a while and put on a good act, convincing you that they will excel in the new position, but ultimately they put you back at square one when they move on. You have to take into account that not all job applicants actually want to fill that opening on a long-term basis.

Naturally, employers covet the best, most talented candidates that they can find for the salary they’re offering. Unfortunately, we live in a world, and under job market conditions, where the most qualified does not always mean the best fit.

Besides protecting against the enthusiastic misrepresentation of a job candidate’s qualifications, employers also need to be careful not to fall in love with a candidate’s credentials and miss the warning signs that they may be pursuing a prospect that is actually over-qualified and will leave the job the second they find what they’re really looking for.

Instead of pursuing the most qualified candidate, try to find the candidate that is the best long-term fit for the position. While you might need to invest a little more time in initial training, you can avoid the trap of an employee using the job as a springboard to the job they’re actually targeting. Look carefully at the warning signs and avoid rushing to hire someone who looks a little too good to be true.

A great way to impress your new hires is by using a Davinci Meeting Room to meet and determine if they are a good fit for your company. Remember to ask questions about their short-term and long-term goals to see if they are really in it for the long haul. If you are looking for someone to help with administrative tasks, a great alternative is Davinci Live Receptionists. Davinci takes care of the hiring for you. All you have to worry about is the increased time you have to spend on what you do best while Davinci filters out your calls and performs your scheduling and online administrative tasks.

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5 Cost Reduction Strategies for Lowering Business Overhead [Infographic]

Learn five simple cost reduction strategies, recommended by the experts at Davinci Virtual Offices, sure to significantly lower overhead while improving efficiency and sustainability across your entire organization.

Cost Reduction Strategies Infographic

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5 Fantastic Ways to Show Thanks on Administrative Professionals Day

On April 22, 2015, many companies will be celebrating Administrative Professionals Day, one of the most commonly observed workplace celebrations in the world.

Administrative Professionals Day was created in 1952 as a way to honor and show appreciation to administrative support professionals such as secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and live virtual receptionists at companies all over the world. It is generally celebrated by recognizing the hard work of administrative staff with gifts and corporate activities.

As the time to show thanks draws near, you may be thinking about the right gifts for your administrative professionals. After another year with the help of their invaluable help, you want their gift to be personal and meaningful. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, here is a list of five fantastic ways you can show thanks on Administrative Professionals Day.

Gift basket

For a more visual representation of your gratitude, opt for sending your administrative professional a beautifully-decorated gift basket. Not only are they exciting to look at, they can also be customized for their specific interests. You can either buy or make your own gift basket with themes ranging anywhere from coffee, chocolate, and wine to movies, spa kits, and games. No matter what they like, there is a gift basket theme out there that they will love.

Spa certificate

If your administrative assistant spends a lot of time making life easier for you, you can return the favor by rewarding them with a spa certificate. Their days can be filled with a lot of running around, and sometimes it can be exhausting and take a toll on the body. Individuals of any profession can find comfort in getting out of the office for a little bit of self-pampering and relaxation, and administrative assistants are certainly no exception. They will appreciate the gesture and stay motivated to continue to work hard when they return feeling rejuvenated.

Office potluck

If you employ several administrative professionals and would prefer not to give individual gifts, having a celebration in the office is a fantastic way to express your thanks. Throw a party in the office, such as a potluck or banquet, to show recognition of their work with the entire company. You can make it exclusive to administrative professionals or invite all of your employees so each of them can offer their own appreciation, as well.

Recognition awards

To recognize specific actions and performances of great work, many companies adopt employee recognition award programs. These can provide a variety of options for administrative assistant awards, including trophies, plaques, and certificates of achievement. Whichever option you choose, be sure that it is personalized for the recipient with their name and the achievement for which they are being rewarded. Make it a momentous occasion by having an awards ceremony to share their success with your entire company.

Continued education

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the main sponsor and registrant of Administrative Professionals Day, encourages employers to recognize support the holiday by rewarding their administrative assistants with continued education. Rather than gifts, awards, or parties, you can show interest in their future success by giving them opportunities to grow and learn with classes, workshops, or seminars. Any knowledge they receive benefits both them and your business by creating opportunities for their own career advancement, enhancing their job performance, and aiding with employee retention.

As Administrative Professionals Day rapidly approaches, consider these five ideas as you search for the perfect way to show special recognition for the myriad tasks your administrative staff perform to keep your business organized and running smoothly.

Have other ideas to show thanks on Administrative Professionals Day? Share how you are showing your gratitude to your administrative assistant in the comments below.

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How to Make Your Business More Attractive to Gen Y Employees

Generation Y has been called many things: entitled, lazy, and perhaps unconventional. However, many businesses are realizing that not only does Gen Y work hard, oftentimes they become the best employees you could imagine.

As baby boomers are leaving the workforce and retiring, Gen Y employees are flocking to the corporate sphere, bringing with them their tech-savvy knowledge and unmatched ambition—but they aren’t seeking what their predecessors valued in a workspace. Gen Y job-seekers are looking for flexibility and innovation.

If your business needs fresh ideas, proficiency in the latest technology, and continuous innovation, hiring Gen Y employees can help your business flourish and ensure your company’s success for years to come. While competitive salaries might help you stand out among the many other businesses making offers to millennials, Gen Y is looking for so much more.

Be modern and informal

In order to attract Gen Y employees, your business should exemplify their personality and values. Your office space should be modern and your practices should be informal. A well-decorated modern space—or even no space at all—lets them know that your business can offer the flexibility and innovation they seek. Corporations like Google have lead the way in creating unconventional offices, or “campuses,” designed to inspire creativity. These workplaces have proven to be the most desirable for Gen Y job-seekers. Even if you can’t afford such extravagant design, you can create a casual work environment with casual dress and a healthy balance of work and play.

Allow them to work remotely

Millennials also require a lot of trust from the companies for which they work. Recent college graduates, in particular, work harder than ever before, but are accustomed to a great deal of autonomy. As a result, they see a lot of appeal in a company that trusts and allows them to get work done without being micromanaged. Businesses of any size can instill confidence in their Gen Y employees by offering flexible schedules and work hours, and due to the digital nature of their job, the ability to work from anywhere. They reject the idea of being chained to a desk or cubicle. Allowing them to work remotely at the hours of their choosing not only will produce higher-quality work, it also saves your business money by cutting down on office operating costs.

Encourage creativity

In a study conducted by MTV to find out what Gen Y expects from their employers, research found that 83% of millennials are looking jobs that encourage and value creativity. In order to attract and retain top talent Gen Y workers, they must be performing work that requires creative thinking and problem solving, and they must perform that kind of work often. This is what this generation does best, and there is a lot your business can gain inspiring creativity in its staff. Creativity, after all, is how all businesses unearth their most innovative ideas.

Offer opportunities for professional growth

Gen Y isn’t just looking any job. They are looking for the perfect job, one that they can see themselves happily doing for a very long time. Though the standards for workplace satisfaction has evolved, like any generation, they value stability and the promise that their hard work will result in career advancement. To attract Gen Y employees, you must make clear that there are opportunities for professional growth, including lifelong learning and a long-term plan for their success.

Give them challenging work

Perhaps the most important thing any business can do to hire and keep Gen Y employees is to constantly give them challenging work. They belong to a generation of brilliant thinkers, and are discouraged or even insulted by busy work. To keep your Gen Y workers interested and engaged in their work, delegate menial administrative tasks such as customer service, answering phones, or appointment scheduling to a live virtual receptionist. By giving the busy work to a virtual receptionist, you leave more time for your Gen Y employees to do what they perceive as satisfying and meaningful work.

With their creative minds, unique intelligence, and self-motivated determination, Gen Y workers can help mature and grow your business. The right work environment and appropriate style of management can attract the most talented among Gen Y applicants and begin your path to business innovation.

Don’t pay attention to their bad reputation. With the right tools, they can be the best investment you make. Get the most out of your Gen Y employees with virtual receptionist services from Davinci.
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