The TDSIT Blog

6 Ways to Boost your Customer Experience (and your Bottom Line)

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Oct 08, 2018 @ 12:31 PM

customer_satisfaction

When it comes to serving your customers, you can never try too hard. The quality of your customer service is directly linked to your bottom line, with companies who prioritize their customer experience enjoying a 60% higher profit margin. These techniques to personalize your customer service can help take your business to the next level.

  1. Call them by name. When someone recognizes you and uses your name, it makes the experience more positive and memorable. Calling your customers by name shows them that you value them.
  2. Spotlight customers. Having a monthly customer spotlight on your social media or office bulletin board is a public way of acknowledging your appreciation. Customers are what make your business successful – so thank them!
  3. Handwrite notes. Whether it’s a thank you note, a birthday card, or a holiday greeting, take the time to sign it by hand. It only takes a few seconds, but sends a message that you truly value your customers.
  4. Reward feedback. When a customer takes the time to give you feedback, you should listen. Complaints should be dealt with promptly, but also cause you to see if there’s something you can change to prevent the situation in the future. Customer feedback that leads to these changes should be rewarded, perhaps with a gift card or public acknowledgement.
  5. Offer educational experiences. Customers come to your business because they value your expertise. Take the time to share knowledge with your customers by hosting demonstrations and workshops to help give them a better understanding of topics related to your business.
  6. Repay the patronage. Many of your customers own or work for businesses that can benefit your company. By doing business with your customers, you are strengthening the bond between you. Supporting their businesses helps ensure they will continue to support yours as well.

From the moment your customers come into your office or make contact on the phone, they will judge your business on how they are treated. 76% of customers believe the service they receive is a direct reflection of how much they are valued. Excellent customer service helps create loyal customers who will return again and again, even if your prices are higher than the competition. By taking the time to improve your customer service, you’re investing in the long-term health of your company and your bottom line.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, customer service

ConnectKey Apps for Your Office

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

productive_office

Have you ever wished there was an easier way to get things done with your printer, whether in the office or on the go? With Xerox ConnectKey-enabled printers, there is. The powerful apps available for these printers can change the way you work, and are ideal for companies both large and small.

Xerox Scan to Cloud Email

When you scan a document, chances are you need to send it to someone. This can be a tedious process of saving it, then going back to your desk to attach it to an email. Or perhaps you can send it from your printer after a complicated email setup process. The Xerox Scan to Cloud Email app changes this, allowing you to simply email your scanned documents with no email setup, and it’s compatible with pdf, tiff, jpeg, and other formats. 

Xerox Mobile Link

Work doesn’t have to grind to a halt just because you left the office. The Mobile Link app allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to scan, fax, and print wherever you are. With this app you can configure and initiate jobs from the app, so you can keep the work going from anywhere.

Xerox Easy Translator Service

The world is growing smaller every day, so it’s essential for you to be able to communicate with clients and colleagues around the world. With the Xerox Easy Translator Service app you can translate your document into over 40 languages directly from your printer, phone, or computer for truly easy communication. 

Other Apps

Xerox ConnectKey utilizes app technology to help your business thrive and grow. The Xerox App Gallery is an ever-expanding suite of apps to improve function, productivity and organization. From here you can get apps to scan directly to the cloud using DropBox or Google Drive, make your documents searchable, and convert paper files to digital documents. With a ConnectKey-enabled printer, you are getting a future-proofed piece of equipment able to adapt to your changing needs over time.

Apps are everywhere. Never has the statement “there’s an app for that” been more true. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Xerox’s ConnectKey-enabled printers also utilize this technology to bring the power of apps to your print environment. Contact us to learn more.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, office productivity, xerox connectkey, Xerox apps

Distracted at Work? Try These Techniques

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 @ 11:41 AM

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We all get distracted at work sometimes. You've tried everything to stop, but you still find yourself surfing Facebook and not getting your work done. Maybe, you've tried installing extensions to block social media sites or time blocking, and nothing seems to work.

When conventional techniques fail, it's time to check out other options. These five alternative techniques for dealing with distraction might just be the ticket!

Just Let Go

Ever tried really hard to control a situation in the work place and the harder you try, the less it works? A big source of workplace stress is trying to control things that are out of your control! Are you using distractions to avoid dealing with stress? Try and practice just letting it go. It might be exactly what you need to get back on track.

Take Breaks Throughout The Day

When you're distracted it might not feel right to take a break. After all, you've got all that work to do that you've been avoiding. A recent study conducted by Baylor University asked 95 employees who primarily work on computers to track their breaks. Researchers found that whenever they intentionally stepped away from their screens, they reported feeling less empotional exhaustion and increased job satisfaction.

Let Yourself Be Distracted!

Seems counterintuitive, but inspiration sometimes strikes when you are most distracted. Being creative can help you to focus and get excited about what you're doing. If you suspect that a distraction is holding you back, not fighting it can sometimes open your creative floodgates!

Engage in Play

Sometimes starting your day with some mental calisthenics before jumping in can help. Aaron Britt, content brand manager for Herman Miller engages his team with 20-minutes of anagrams to warm up each morning. This type of purposeful play uses the same mental processes that his team uses on the job.

Trying different approaches can often help. These offbeat options just might be what you need to get your focus back.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, office productivity

Six Hacking Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 @ 09:10 AM

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It seems like every day we're being told of yet another data breach. As a business owner in today's connected world, it's important to be educated about the risks involved. There are plenty of trade websites, blogs and newsletters where you can learn about today's threats. Like any industry IT professionals have a language they use when discussing these very real issues.

If you're new to IT, or just looking for information, here are six common hacking terms you should know when conversing with your IT security team.

  • Denial Of Service Attack (DoS): DoS attacks are used to lock resources by flooding a network or website with rapid requests that can't be serviced. This effectively shuts down the resource by crashing the network or website.
  • Dictionary Attack: A sophisticated version of the brute force password attack. Hackers try literally thousands, or even millions of randomly generated passwords in order to break through password security.
  • Logic Bomb: A logic bomb is “set off” or triggered by a specific event or sequence of events. Hacked systems are loaded with software that is awaiting a specific event, date, or series of actions to begin the attack. 
  • Malware: Malicious software or malware, is a program that is designed to disrupt a computer or network with malicious intent. 
  • Phishing: This is the most common type of attack. Often sent from a friend's email address which was attacked by a virus that hijacked their address book.
  • Zero-day Attack: A common term, a zero-day attack uses a flaw in an app or OS to gain access or control a system's resources. Zero-day is the day the first attack was identified.

There are new IT threats coming online every day. Regardless of your industry, it's important to stay on top of IT trends, risks and vulnerabilities to reduce your risk of attack.  Want to learn more? Contact us today to learn how to keep your data protected.

 

 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, Managed IT Services, security

Keep Millennials Engaged in the Workplace Using the Latest Technology

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Aug 21, 2018 @ 08:21 AM

TDS IT_millennials

Millennials are defined as people who were born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. These digital natives are not only the largest generation to date, they also represent the highest percentage of the workforce at 35 percent. While they offer a unique perspective, greater diversity, and technological prowess, millennials can also be a challenge to retain—and the cost of replacing an employee can range between one and two times their annual salary.

One of the best ways to retain employees is to keep them engaged, and with the right tools, techniques, and technologies, you can create an environment that is appealing to millennials and adds value to your business. Here are some tips to build an effective strategy to increase engagement, and foster a more connected, efficient workforce. 

Go Mobile

Employees in today's digital work environments can often be seen utilizing multiple devices throughout the course of the work day, and many are given the freedom to use their own devices and choose the applications or processes they prefer. Research on mobile app usage indicates that millennials spend upwards of 90 hours per month on their smartphone apps alone, highlighting their expectations and need for an intuitive user experience, and up-to-the-minute technology. If employees are expected to use outdated systems at work, they may be more likely to seek employment elsewhere. A successful strategy includes cloud-based applications with a mobile component to enhance communication and productivity.  

Encourage Collaboration

Millennials are born collaborators who thrive on teamwork. Technology is one of the easiest ways to facilitate and encourage collaboration in the workplace, and by investing in collaborative tools such as analytical dashboards, interactive portals, and communication platforms, employees remain engaged and satisfied intellectually and socially. With the ability to share insights and knowledge, and gain valuable feedback, your organization can benefit from a more streamlined workflow and increased productivity. 

Gamification 

Not every millennial plays video games, but nearly all are familiar with the mechanics and techniques used in any number of other applications. Using gamification in the workplace can effectively re-engage employees by offering incentives, encouraging exploration, and offering the instant gratification they crave. Gamification can be used as a learning tool to strategize and resolve problems through teamwork, using next-level rewards as a way to combat stagnation. 

Increase employee satisfaction and retention using these, and other strategies for successful engagement. 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business

Improve the Efficiency of Your Finance Department By Digitalizing These 5 Processes

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 @ 10:24 PM

digitize

A finance department that operates efficiently is the key to managing your company's profitability. Despite this, many finance teams are still relying on manual, paper-driven processes that slow productivity and leave room for error. 

When your finance team is using paper-based workflows, an important document such as an invoice can easily become buried under a mound of paperwork. According to a recent study, it can take as long as 14.3 days for an invoice to process if an organization is relying on a paper-based payment system.

If your finance department is still practicing manual data entry, workflows not only take longer to complete but any errors related to the allocation and reconciliation of data can lead to unnecessary bank fees and cash flow problems. 

With today's advancements in technology, your finance department no longer has an excuse to be using manual processes. Digitalizing your finance processes will save your organization time, minimize errors, improve cash flow, and increase productivity. 

Here are 5 processes that your finance team needs to digitalize for maximum efficiency:

  1. Invoice Management - Relying on a manual process to pay invoices increases your risk of errors, missed payments, unnecessary fees, and non-compliance issues. Digitalizing invoice management will allow you to process payments faster and even take advantage of vendor discounts. The up-to-the-minute financial reporting available from a digital accounts payable system will empower your organization to make prudent financial decisions.  
  1. Accounts Receivable - Managing accounts receivable electronically will allow your finance department to process customer payments promptly, which will help to improve cash flow. Digitalizing A/R processes also gives your organization the ability to automatically create and send invoices, helping you to get paid faster. 
  1. Document Management - Eliminate the need for your employees to waste time looking for documents and give them the information that they need at their fingertips by moving to a digital document management system. 
  1. Forms  - Digitalizing forms and making them editable will help your finance department eliminate the need for re-work and move through workflows faster. 
  1. Tax Filing - Once your finance team goes digital, tax season will become a cinch as you can quickly retrieve all of the reporting that you need when it comes time to file. 

Digitalizing your finance processes will save you time, money, and frustration. Contact us to learn more about electronic document management and how going digital will increase the efficiency of your finance team. 

cut print costs

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, Digitization

Vacation Time: Use it to Your Benefit!

Posted by Tim Stanley on Sat, Jul 21, 2018 @ 04:47 PM

vacation_time

One of the benefits that comes with most jobs is paid time off: vacation time. However, many American workers are forgoing their vacations, citing job responsibilities and other reasons, to the tune of over 200 million vacation days lost in 2017. However, science shows that taking your vacation time is beneficial, in more ways than one.

Physical Benefits

shutterstock_734812891Taking time off from work has a variety of physical benefits to improve your health and mood. Vacations have been shown to:

  • Reduce stress-related pain, such as headaches and backaches, for as much as five weeks after you return from your vacation.
  • Improve your sleep, allowing your body to return to regular, healthy sleep patterns.
  • Lower your risk of a heart attack. Men who skip vacations for five consecutive years raise their risk by 30%.

Vacation time, whether spent on the go or relaxing at home, allows your body to rest and rejuvenate so that you return to work happier and better prepared to do your job.

Work Benefits

In addition to boosting your personal health, taking vacation time has actually been shown to improve your work performance as well. In one study, for every 10 hours of vacation time a worker took, their job performance score went up as much as 8%. Another study showed that workers who were required to take time off worked more productively than those who did not take vacation time.

To operate at peak performance at work, your brain needs an occasional rest. Vacation time can increase your creativity as well, allowing you to approach your job with a new perspective. Those who use their vacation time to see the world often see that benefit with their jobs as well.

shutterstock_377604307The Caveat

Vacations provide a number of benefits, but you not only have to take the time off - you have to actually be off work. As many as 3 in 5 workers still do work while they are on vacation. To avoid this, make sure you arrange for someone to cover for you while you are gone, and avoid checking work-related email and voicemail during your vacation.

American workers are throwing away earned vacation time, and their physical and mental well-being may be suffering for it. Taking time off has a host of benefits, so be sure to schedule your vacation time this year!

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business

4 Ways to Improve Document Management and Save You Money

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 @ 08:33 AM

save_money

When you’re running a business it can often seem like all you do is spend money, taking away from your bottom line. So when an opportunity comes along to save money and boost productivity, it may seem too good to be true. But with smarter document management you can do just that, and it can be easy to implement, as well.

  1. Do a print analysis. Print can be one of the biggest expenses for businesses, right behind rent and payroll, and it can also be a big area of waste. A print analysis done by a Managed Print Service provider can give you valuable insights into your print habits. With this information you can pinpoint outdated equipment that is costing you more than its worth and identify wasteful print practices. An MPS provider can save you as much as 30% on your print costs by helping you optimize your print environment and document management systems.
  2. Print smarter. Color printing is expensive. By changing your printer defaults from color to black and white, you can automatically save money with every printed document. Double-sided printing by default is another way to reduce your expenses. Pull-printing, i.e. printing a document only when the employee is at the printer to take it, reduces wasteful printing as well.
  3. Digitize. Using digital documents is both less expensive and more efficient. Documents can be indexed for simple searching, and stored on-site or in the cloud for easy access anywhere. With digital documents, you’ll reduce your storage space needs and minimize the risk of lost documents. Digital documents can also enhance your security, saving you money in the long run.
  4. Use the cloud. Cloud computing allows you to store your documents and applications in the cloud so they can be accessed via an Internet connection. This flexibility reduces your reliance on print, while allowing collaboration to take place at geographically distant places. Employees can work in the office or remotely seamlessly, keeping efficiency and productivity rates up – along with your bottom line.

It’s not always easy to save money, but improving your document management is a great place to start. Today’s digital technology can transform the way you do business and cut out a significant amount of print spending. With printing being the third largest cost for many businesses, cutting this expense can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Ready to learn more? Contact TDS IT today and let's start the discussion!

Print Assessment

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, document management

Why Your MFP Should be Included in Your Security Strategy

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

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Your multifunction printer is the office workhorse, able to print, scan, fax, upload to the cloud, and perform other important functions. However, with the amount of data it processes each day, it is also a prime target for hackers seeking to steal your information. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook their MFPs when developing a security strategy, leaving their company at risk.

Cyber Crimes

cybercrimeWith digital data becoming more common, cyber crimes are on the rise. In these attacks, your data is compromised or stolen, and may be sold on the dark web for profit or ransomed back to your company. Credit card information, social security numbers, and other personal data are very valuable - every business has data worth stealing. As the technology changes, so too do the threats to your data.

Security Strategy

If your data is breached, you could be looking at millions of dollars’ worth of damages so you need to be proactive and protect your company. This can take the form of antivirus software and firewalls, to guard against attacks. You should also have a recovery and backup process in place. Employees should be trained in common security threats, such as phishing emails, and understand how to recognize and respond to these events.

Because your network is only as secure as your least secure device, you need to make sure your security strategy is fully comprehensive. This means that every device, from tablets to printers, that connects to your network has security tools in place.

MFP Security

The MFP is a unique device because it interacts with so many other devices on your network and processes information both within and outside of your internal network. Hackers target these devices knowing they are often inadequately protected. Look to authentication and encryption techniques in addition to antivirus software to help protect your data and your network.

You cannot secure your business from cyber threats if you do not secure your multifunction printer. With the amount of data it handles on a daily basis, your MFP should be a priority when you develop a security strategy for your company.

How secure is your print environment? Contact a TDS IT representative today and learn how to keep your company data protected. 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, MFPs, multifunction print devices, digital copier and printer security

Do You Know About the Many Benefits of MPS?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, May 29, 2018 @ 02:34 PM

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The primary benefit of outsourcing your print environment to a Managed Print Services provider is the immediate cost savings you can realize. A recent Gartner report found that Managed Print Services can provide almost immediate savings of up to 30% on print related expenses. InfoTrend puts immediate savings at closer to 41% for paper intensive industries like Legal and Healthcare.

While reduced costs are important, there are several other benefits you'll receive when you outsource your print environment to a Managed Print Services provider, that may not be as apparent. Here are the top three!

  1. Managed Print Services Increases Productivity - Most small and medium sized companies typically don't have the resources or manpower to devote to print management. Unfortunately, the task typically falls to an untrained staff member. When problems arise, they can escalate, shutting down your operation and impacting productivity. Not only is this frustrating to your staff, lowering morale, it can often take longer to fix and cost you more money in the process. An MPS provider can remove the print management burden from your staff, freeing their time for core initiatives like increasing billable hours. MPS provides regular preventative maintenance. This means improved print efficiencies, higher productivity and virtually eliminating downtime.
  2. Consolidate Print Related Spending - MPS allows you to take control of your print spending including consumables like toner and paper. Individual ordering by department can be costing you volume discounts. Consolidation also provides immediate cost savings and budget predictability. By tracking and monitoring individual device usage, you can better plan for future technology upgrades.
  3. Improve Your Company's Environmental Footprint - We should all be seeking to lower our personal and business impact on the environment. MPS can help you towards sustainability by right-sizing your print environment, routing your print jobs to the most efficient devices, lowering paper and toner use and reducing your energy consumption. Recycling programs can reduce waste significantly!

While long-term cost savings are an obvious and excellent benefit of Managed Print Services, outsourcing your print management to a qualified Managed Print Services provider can increase your team's productivity, reduce printer downtime, improve workflows by eliminating bottlenecks, offer you budget predictability and help save the environment!

Are you ready to talk MPS? Give our team of experienced specialists a call for a free no-obligation print assessment and start your savings today!

Print Assessment

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, managed print services