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5 Reasons You Need Great Online Customer Service

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Maintaining a quality customer service department is more important than ever before, now that the internet has created greater transparency. There are many reasons your business should focus on providing excellent customer service, but they can generally be factored down into these five areas.

Good customer service builds loyalty

When your company offers good customer service, it builds trust and confidence in the consumer. If they know their concerns are important and will be addressed, they’re likely to return to your business when they need more products that you offer. Most consumers would prefer to stay with a business that has a proven track record of offering quality customer service, rather than take a chance with an unfamiliar company.

Low prices cannot compete

If you still doubt the importance consumers place on customer service, take a look at any recent consumer survey. The majority of consumers will pay more for a product, if they know the company selling it will back-up the purchase with efficient and courteous customer service. Too often, consumers opt for a lower price and end up with a bad product that the company will not handle properly when customer service is contacted. Conversely, a low price won’t attract customers, if they think the customer service department will be difficult if there’s any issues with the product.

It’s a powerful marketing tool

While most people think about customer service as a means of addressing customer complaints, it can be a useful marketing tool as well. Consumers satisfied with the quality of service tell others about their experiences, which helps build a positive reputation for your brand. The happier you can make your clients with customer service, the more likely they are to refer others to you.

Reduce conflict

You will never satisfy every single customer all the time, but how you handle complaints can be as important as the buying experience. When customers feel confident that you will attempt to resolve their problems, they’ll be more willing to return to your business.

Opportunity to connect

Today’s consumers expect a higher level of customization from their favorite brands and they like to feel as though they matter. Creating a quality customer service department, which is capable of addressing each individual concern, goes a long way toward achieving that goal. It’s a way to ensure that every customer can be satisfied and that they return to your company for their future needs.

Creating a quality customer service department may require a process of trial and error, but the effort will be worth it. Your brand’s willingness to put the customer first and address concerns to the best of your ability earns you consumer respect and engenders confidence in your business.

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4 Tips for Keeping Your Smart Home Secure

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The number of smart devices in the average home is growing at an incredible rate, but while these devices make life more convenient, they can also make your home more vulnerable to hackers who manage to make their way onto your network. If you want the best that smart technology has to offer, consider these four tips to keeping your smart home safe and secure.

Keep your gadgets updated

Unlike a computer that updates Windows automatically as long as it is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the software on most of your devices needs to be updated manually. This task might sound like a big hassle, but it helps keep everything more secure and prevent data breaches. Look at the manuals of your devices if you’re not sure how to install new updates.

Disconnect from the internet

Not all of the smart devices need to be connected to the internet to work, but they often are connected as part of their default setting. As a rule, keep everything that doesn’t require an internet connection offline whenever you can. If something does need to be connected to the internet, check to make sure that you have all the necessary privacy settings in place before doing so.

Buy good quality devices

Buying the most expensive and reputable brands on the market won’t guarantee safety for your home, but it is far better than paying for cheaper off-brand devices that could completely lack security measures. Brands such as Samsung and LG will be quicker to release updates and take care of any vulnerabilities in their devices, so don’t hesitate to spend more on your smart home, in the beginning, to set up a secure network.

Check your router

If there is just one security vulnerability in your smart home, it’s probably in your wireless router. Your router is the gateway to all of your smart devices, so make sure it’s locked down as tightly as possible. Use a secured Wi-Fi network with a strong password, and make sure that you keep it updated with the latest firmware.

As you can see, keeping your smart home secure is relatively simple. All of these tips are easy to follow, and most of them should be common sense in this day and age, but they do require your due diligence. It may be nice to have an automated smart home, but don’t think that it doesn’t require at least a little bit of work if you want it to stay safe.

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3 Pieces of Tech for Your Home

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If you’ve always wanted a futuristic home full of automated controls and robotic features, the future is now. Smart homes are becoming easier to attain and there are plenty of options on the market. Once you upgrade your house, you’ll realize how much more efficient it is to utilize smart technology in your home. It’s also not something you have to do all at once; you can take your time in purchasing smart devices and gradually getting used to them. Converting your home into a digitally automated dream house will be easy and satisfying with these three pieces of smart tech.

Lifx Mini Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Regular light bulbs are boring. They emit one shade of light and must be controlled manually. Additionally, unless they’re LED, they consume an excessive amount of energy. If you want to try something different and modern, purchase a Lifx Mini light bulb. They fit into any standard size light socket, whether it’s in a light fixture on the wall or a lamp. They can also emit 16 million different colors that are controllable via an application on your smartphone. The Lifx Mini is a smart bulb which means that its various other functions are also controlled digitally. It can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and is fully capable of being integrated into your other smart home devices.

Amazon Echo

The ultimate device for home automation, the Amazon Echo appears to be a simple speaker system at first glance. While this role is one of its most obvious functions, it can do so much more than simply play music. The Amazon Echo connects with Amazon’s smart network, known as Alexa. You can provide Amazon Echo with vocal commands to do internet searches, provide you with sports lineups, answer your questions, give you weather forecasts and updates, control your Amazon Fire TV, and connect to your other compatible automated home devices that control your lights, security system, garage doors, fans, and thermostat. Amazon Echo truly puts every aspect of your home within your reach with simple voice commands.

Nest Hello

You don’t have to wonder who’s ringing your doorbell with the Nest Hello smart doorbell device. This small electronic device is installed as a doorbell button on the front of your home. It possesses a high definition camera and provides you with 24/7 streaming. This streaming can be accessed anytime and anywhere using your smartphone so you can keep an eye on the front of your home remotely. You will have a 160° field of vision from the camera which allows you to see visitors and any packages that may be scheduled to arrive when you aren’t home.

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How Safe are Self-Driving Cars?

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Earlier this year in late March, an Uber controlled by autopilot in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a pedestrian who quite literally darted out into the road directly in front of the autonomous vehicle.

The vehicle didn’t have enough time to react to the now-deceased pedestrian; there was a professional Uber driver who was sitting in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel – and she was devoting her entire attention to what was on the road that night.

While this event is tragic, it does not mean that self-driving cars are inherently unsafe. After the unfortunate death, many people questioned whether we should continue pursuing self-driving technology and allow these cars on the streets. However, there is plenty of research that shows self-driving cars are quite safe and can actually decrease the amount of risk associated with driving when compared to human drivers.

Let’s be fair – think about this for a moment

Autonomous cars are slowly being developed, tweaked, and manufactured as we speak. Every day, scientists are running tests and developing new technology to use in self-driving cars in an effort to make these cars as safe and accurate as possible. Thus far, no federal or state government in the United States allows people to ride in fully-autonomous motor vehicles. We’re still taking steps to ensure the safety of all people where self-driving cars are concerned.

Although the technology unarguably exists right now, intellectual property related to self-driving cars won’t be released anytime soon. This information is guarded and only partly shared with test drivers and companies who want to share the technology with interested business parties who helped contribute to the robotic technology.

We can assume that there aren’t any autonomously-operating cars out there just driving around putting humans at risk. Even if the cars were dangerous, it’s not a current concern. Companies are taking steps every day to ensure that the cars will be as safe as possible once they are released for business and commercial use. Businesses and governments will not allow self-driving cars on the roads if they haven’t completely proved their safety.

Official statistics from the United States National Transportation Safety Board, the go-to government agency for transportation in the United States, show that about 95 percent of all car crashes result from human error.  That statistic should say it all; self-driving cars are as safe as they get.

When dangerous car crashes do occur, almost always it’s because of a mistake humans made, whether that’s not paying attention to the road, driving in an altered mental state, or moving themselves or their vehicle in front of another vehicle without considering how quickly the other car can stop.

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3 Reasons You Need to Educate Yourself About Personal Finance

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Money is one of the most important things in life; the more money someone has, the more freedoms they effectively have since they are more able to make choices to live where and how they want. Some people are fortunate enough to inherit vast sums of money from family members or spouses, but most of us aren’t that lucky. Bill Gates, for example, has so much money that he doesn’t have to be financially literate; he is, of course, but everyone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck or close to it should be well-informed about personal finance.

There are several reasons why you and everybody else on the planet should know personal finance inside and out. Unfortunately, in the United States, barely more than 50 percent of adults are financial literate, says Standard and Poor’s Rating Services Survey “Financial Literacy Around the World.” The United States is both the wealthiest country in terms of gross domestic product and has the highest number of billionaires residing in the country, yet we’re far behind other countries when it comes to teaching and understanding financial literacy.

Even though so few Americans are financially literate, the basics of personal finance – everything someone would need to know to make responsible decisions – are not difficult to understand.

You’ll avoid frauds

If someone is financially literate, they are responsible in their decision-making as far as money and debt are concerned. People who are financially literate should be able to know differences between checking and savings accounts, how to calculate interest, and what inflation is. Thanks to this knowledge, if you’re financially literate, you’re much less likely to fall victim to some kind of financial fraud. You understand how to keep your personal information secure, avoid any investments that seem too good to be true, and are aware of various other facts that make it harder for you to fall victim to scams.

It provides comfort and a sense of security

Once someone is caught up on personal finance, they are less likely to feel anxiety related to money problems, have to borrow money, or waste money. All of your financial health improves as you educate yourself on personal finance.

Not only are people better off if they know about personal finance; they can talk about financial information and offer advice to their friends. The more common personal finance becomes in society, the more likely parents will be to pass the knowledge onto their kids and set them up for financial success.

Planning for retirement is a lot easier

Once someone learns about personal finance, they can then reasonably explore the world of financial investments and actually understand what’s going on. Investing is a personal finance topic many people lack understanding of, but if you work on building up your foundation of knowledge of personal finance, you’ll eventually see how much easier it is to plan for retirement once you have a greater understanding of investing and your options.

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5 Tips for Preventing Needless Spending

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In today’s consumption-oriented world, it is easy to fall victim to the habits of unnecessary spending. While there’s nothing wrong with engaging in some fun shopping and purchasing items you might not need, if you’re trying to adhere to a budget or reduce your consumerism, it’s important to be mindful of your spending habits. If you’re in debt and need to cut out some costs or are just concerned with how much you’re buying, here are five tried and true tips designed to keep spending in check.

Keep everything organized

By keeping regular tabs on everything you own, you can avoid purchasing duplicate items. When you own so many material things, it is more difficult to be aware of what you already have. This confusion often leads to unnecessary spending. By keeping a recent inventory of all of your possessions or everything organized, you are less likely to buy things that you do not need. Staying organized and being able to easily locate items can help cut back on unnecessary spending.

Purchase quality over quantity

It is always a good idea to invest your money in quality items that you can use every day or in a variety of situations. Whether that be a perfect fitting pair of jeans or a trusty pair of running shoes, you will stretch your dollar the most and avoid reckless spending if you purchase with longevity in mind. There are certainly some items where spending on quality can ultimately save you money.

Live with a grateful heart

By continually counting your blessings, you cultivate a grateful heart. This sense of peace inevitably leads to a greater sense of fulfillment and a feeling of material abundance. An attitude of gratitude is one of the most useful ways to live when looking to reduce reckless spending.

Learn patience

To avoid impulse purchases, institute a waiting period in an effort to determine how much you really need an item. Whenever the temptation to purchase on a whim strikes, force yourself to wait at least 15 minutes to give yourself time to contemplate how much joy this item would bring to your life. Go for a stroll, get a coffee, or do anything else to help you evaluate how much you want this purchase before actually pulling the trigger.

Purchase for the present

Although it can be difficult to not purchase items for the future if you see a good deal, you avoid a myriad of reckless spending expenditures if you focus on just purchasing items that are needed for current needs. It can be tempting to want to think ahead and buy new things with a goal in mind such as wanting to wear specific clothing after losing weight or purchasing office supplies you might use later; it is more financially savvy to only buy for the here and now.

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5 Benefits of Taking Risks for Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurship is as much of a staple in the United States as apple pie or baseball. Almost all businesses in the United States are, in fact, operated by entrepreneurs; nearly half of the nation’s employees are put to work by small-time entrepreneurs; these entrepreneurs’ businesses make up about 99.7 of the entire country’s business entities, which shows the country’s intense dedication to small businesses.

An inherent part of being an entrepreneur is welcoming risk into your life. Although risking it all can effectively put a self-employed businessperson out of business, shying away from any and all risk results in very low returns, poor levels of success, and general business failure. Without any further ado, here are several top-notch, solid reasons behind why every entrepreneur should take calculated risks.

You understand entrepreneurship

Remember this fact, that an entrepreneur who does not take risks is not an entrepreneur. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary makes clear that an “entrepreneur” is someone “who organizes, manages, and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise.” If you want to truly understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, you need to take risks.

Helps you stand out

Being risky will portray you as confident, in turn making it easier to stand out as unique among the crowd. While there are certainly other entrepreneurs who do not take risks, making sure you do helps set you apart from lazy entrepreneurs or just regular people.

Moderate risks bring great rewards

While taking risks is encouraged, don’t run with scissors, fall asleep with candles burning, or do other high-risk, zero-reward activities. However, never shy away from moderate-risk activities that have at minimum a moderate reward when it comes to your business.

Develop leadership skills

Further, entrepreneurs, at least the successful ones, are typically good leaders. Leaders are unique in that they often grab the first-mover’s advantage, an action that brings moderate success in countless scenarios. Leaders know the benefits of taking risks and aren’t afraid to do so.

Innovation involves risk-taking

Without innovation, humanity would never be fortunate enough to have new products. If there weren’t any innovation, there wouldn’t be social media, smartphones, global positioning systems, a polio vaccine; in other words, there wouldn’t be hardly anything we’ve come to take for granted available to us in society.

Some situations don’t call for innovation, but most of them will in the world of entrepreneurship.

Always remember that risk-taking isn’t totally blind – calculated risks are very real and you should use them

Calculated risks are exactly what they sound like – risks that won’t hurt much if they backfire but will return a moderate or substantial reward if everything works out like it’s supposed to.

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