“Most days I’m so busy that the phone is constantly ringing,” he says. “It’s hard work but I’m not complaining.” Although he has long had a love of photography and always showed an artistic flair, Evan studied Sound Engineering after school. He soon found it was not for him and left after a few months to take up a role as an assistant chef working on Irish Ferries. It was only when he was made redundant in 2011 that he decided to study photography.
A Change of Direction
“Taking pictures was always a hobby for me. It never occurred to me to try to make a living from it,” he says. “But when my friend’s mother suggested that I do a year-long course in photography at Marino College of Further Education, I decided to give it a go. After that, I did work experience with fashion photographer Barry McCall.”
Evan was then offered a place on a fine art photography course in Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Although it was a four-year course, Evan found he was being offered work with top clients after just two years
Customer support or service interactions have the potential for a wide variety of outcomes – both good and bad. Customers contact your support team when they have an issue. Understanding this and making the interaction as efficient and effective as possible should be your goal. If you deal with the issue well you’ll have a happy customer, and potentially positive recommendations. Worst case scenario, you could be losing business.
How you use your phone system can be a key determinant of how your customers perceive your support service and their experience with your organisation. The option for the customer to speak to someone in the business over the phone is a communication method commonly offered in customer service. However if your employees are picking up the phone to someone who has already been transferred two or three times, you’ve already given your customer a bad experience.
Identifying ways to improve the experience your customers have with your support function, or company as a whole, can be tricky. One place to start at is when your customer makes the call. Here are four ways which your phone system can improve your customer support experience, before and during each call:
1. Use interactive voice response with
The variety of ways workers are now connecting together and to the web to work more effectively continues to grow.
As the connections expand, so do the steps that need to be taken to ensure those connections communicate with the network in a secure fashion.
Because employees increasingly are using mobile devices to connect to the corporate network, this puts pressure on IT to provide endpoint security and device management solutions that make sense for both the mobile worker and the enterprise.
Research firm IDC predicts that the number of mobile workers will increase to 1.19 billion by the year 2013. The variety of devices that these workers use to connect to the network will also continue to grow.
According to the iPass 2011 Mobile Enterprise Report, 73 percent of enterprises allow non-IT managed devices to access corporate resources. This is a figure that is likely to get larger as 83 percent of firms said they expect to support Apple’s iOS, while 77 percent anticipate supporting Android-enabled devices.
Each mobile device provides its own set of security vulnerabilities. Additionally, mobile equipment has less evolved security applications – most have no anti-virus or anti-spyware protection on the devices themselves. So endpoint devices are among hacker’s preferred
The Apple iPad and its many Android “sincere flatterers” have comprehensively shaken up the market for mobile computing; in fact, the late Steve Jobs coined the phrase “post-PC” for just this situation.
The days of the traditional laptop computer may not be totally over, but is a hinged screen-keyboard combo the only tool for serious mobile work? Nope. Here are five reasons why….
1. For content creation, just add keyboard
Tablets are great for content consumption. Hit the button, and you’re immediately scrolling through Web pages, YouTube videos, annoyed avians and the like. This can lead to the impression that tablets are only good for passively consuming; that they’re no use for creating content, such as documents, spreadsheets and other staples of business life, but that’s short-sighted.
Obviously, tablets’ on-screen keyboards aren’t easy or ergonomic typing tools. However, there’s a wide range of Bluetooth options available that can turn an iPad or Android tablet into a lean, mean, writing machine.
But if you’re going to add a keyboard to your tablet, why wouldn’t you just buy a laptop? The next three reasons answer that…
2. ARM = light weight + long battery life
PC and Mac laptops are built around the Intel processor architecture, using chips from
Many SMBs and SOHOs are walking away from their traditional phone companies and moving to the Internet for their telephony needs. In tech jargon, they’re switching from POTS (“plain old telephone service”) to Voice over IP (VoIP, pronounced as one word). Read on to find out what it is, why you should use it, and what to watch out for.
VoIP lets you make phone calls over the Internet with a number of advantages over your landline. It gives you low calling rates, especially when making overseas calls; excellent voice quality, rather than the muffled squawk of a traditional phone; and extra features (or easy access to the hard-to-use features you already have).
A phone using VoIP is different from a regular phone; instead of connecting to an analog phone line, it connects to a computer. That computer is usually called a VoIP gateway, and it’s the bridge between the handset and other telephone users.
Breaking it Down: VoIP Types
Cloud vs. Local
The gateway connects you to the regular telephone network, or to other VoIP users. Your gateway might be on-site, or it might be a hosted service—“in the cloud”—that you connect to via the Internet.
Running it yourself might be a good option if
Oh beastly server, how I will miss thee and thy constant neediness. No longer will I need to cool you down, swap out your bad memory and reimage your data after the inevitable crash.
I have found a better way to handle all of my applications and storage and – get this – I will never again have to physically touch a server or worry about data loss because my backups are automatic and redundant.
Yes, we are breaking up because I have moved on – to cloud solutions. I understand you’re upset, but please get a hold of yourself – and let go of my leg. It’s embarrassing.
Why use the cloud?
In all seriousness, maintaining a local server farm for small- and medium-sized businesses has traditionally been looked upon with a certain amount of justifiable dread due to the time and expense involved in maintaining hardware, ensuring data redundancy in the event of corruption and putting new servers online when scaling up.
Cloud computing easily handles all of these issues, and its benefits extend beyond simply outsourcing these annoying tasks. In fact, the affordability and stability of cloud solutions are engendering a sea change in how enterprises can milk their data to improve operations in ways
The corporate workforce is changing: Employees used to stay chained to their cubicles, plugging away on company-issued PCs. Today, remote workers perform the same tasks on their own high-tech tablet or laptop while soaking up the atmosphere at their local coffee shop.
Employees are increasingly using their own devices as the mobile workforce grows in importance. A Computing Technology Industry Association study found that 84 percent of professionals surveyed use their smartphones for work, but only 22 percent of their companies had a formal mobility policy. The upshot of this mobile shift is that corporate networks will be increasingly vulnerable, unless these devices are reined in with a BYOD enterprise program.
If your company lacks a mobility policy, consider incorporating the following five elements into your BYOD program to save time and money.
1. Include clear, written rules
Eliminating risky end user behavior through clear BYOD policies saves IT expenses right off the bat. Some of the most salient points to cover in writing include:
- Prohibited devices, such as jailbroken phones
- Blacklisted applications
- Procedures for lost or stolen devices, including the possibility of wiping out all data on a device
- Privacy disclosures, such as what personal information the enterprise has access to on a device
Some of these issues,
Just a few short years ago, the image of an IT department for small and medium businesses was one of Dilbert-looking technicians noodling around with Cat 5 cable and speaking in a blend of Klingon and Robot. In other words, IT seemed completely remote, complicated and inaccessible to most employees. Additionally, each new hardware and software deployment, including installing malware protection, could take weeks to manually implement across the enterprise, and rarely went smoothly.
One solution – outsourced IT – has found greater acceptance in the past few years as its benefits have become more tangible to even small businesses. It is estimated that globally, 74 percent of companies use some form of outsourced IT solution, up 25 percent from 2009.
Read further for compelling reasons why a small or medium business should consider the IT-outsourcing trend.
Moving IT off-site can save an SMB thousands of dollars per year. As most business decisions are predicated on the bottom line, this is often the main driver in the decision to migrate. Areas of savings include:
Reducing hardware expenses. Servers, storage, cabling, cooling, and datacenter square footage expense can now be on a cloud vendor’s dime, not yours.
No salary or benefits expenses for IT employees.
Leaving their business consulting positions, they approached the student union bodies in Trinity College, University College Dublin and Dublin City University with the idea. They all agreed to partner with Orla and Sean and provide a service offering grinds to students in need. “It’s often the case that a certain percentage of students in one class need one-on-one attention from a tutor and it can’t be provided,” explains Orla. “Most lecturers are aware of this and happy for students to take grinds as a result. And that’s where we come in.”
The company launched last year, and since then Sean and Orla have branched out into providing grinds for Junior and Leaving Certificate students due to demand. “We decided that we’d set up a separate site for school grinds and started a new company called TutorHQ,” explains Orla. “It officially launched last September and has been doing incredibly well since.”
A unique offering
Challenges the business initially faced included the recruitment of tutors, not only in Dublin but in other parts of the country like Limerick, Cork and Galway. It’s also been a challenge to make students aware of the service and most of their marketing has concentrated on online ads. “Our ultimate
Bluetooth is best known as the wireless technology that powers hands-free earpieces. Depending on your point of view, people who wear them either:
a) Look ridiculous (especially if shining a bright blue LED from their ear);
b) Appear mad (when apparently talking to themselves); or
c) Are sensible, law-abiding, safety-conscious drivers.
Whichever letter you pick, insidious security issues remain around Bluetooth attacks and mobile devices. While most of the problems identified five to 10 years ago have been straightened out by now, some still remain. And there’s also good reason to be cautious about new, undiscovered problems.
Here are a few examples of the mobile security threats in which Bluetooth makes us vulnerable, along with tips to secure your mobile workforce devices
General software vulnerabilities
Software in Bluetooth devices – especially those using the newer Bluetooth 4.0 specification – will not be perfect. It’s unheard of to find software that has zero security vulnerabilities.
As Finnish security researchers Tommi Mäkilä, Jukka Taimisto and Miia Vuontisjärvi demonstrated in 2011, it’s easy for attackers to discover new, previously unknown vulnerabilities in Bluetooth devices. Potential impacts could include charges for expensive premium-rate or international calls, theft of sensitive data or drive-by malware downloads.
To combat this threat: Switch off your
Are you tiring of users continuously badgering you to get corporate network access for their mobile devices? Does your corporate management want to buy tablets for the sales team? If so, your small- to medium-sized business (SMB) needs to start proactively addressing mobile security breaches such as malware.
Modifying your existing security policies and protocols, establishing new policies and educating your mobile workforce are economically sound frontline solutions for securing your corporate enterprise and trade secrets.
Here are some tips on how to address mobile device security breaches beforethey happen:
- Establish corporate information access guidelines. It’s important to pre-determine how mobile device users will access corporate information. Will users download data to devices? Will they access the data remotely? The answer will vary from company to company, so be sure to consider your situation uniquely. If your company has to be in compliance with a regulatory body like PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), then consult with your auditor before enabling network access to mobile devices.
- Establish device control policies. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) can be full of benefits like saving on corporate hardware purchases and increasing productivity for your mobile workforce and SMB. However,
Along with enduring root canals and eliminating malware, dealing with customer service call centers probably ranks near the top of the “most painful experiences in life” list for many people.
Causes for the discomfort include: complex telephone trees that require a preposterous number of key presses to get anywhere; interminable hold times; agents who lack all but the most child-like expertise; and, most maddening: when a customer finally connects with someone who might actually help — they are frequently disconnected.
There has to be a better way. And, there is… in the cloud.
Cloud-based services and applications are making headway into reducing this customer service mess, allowing small business owners to affordably improve the customer experience with cool features that people love, including social media and mobile device interfaces.
The importance of customer service management (CSM)
According to a ClickFox survey
- More than 50 percent of disgruntled customers will spread negative information to others in their social circles.
- More than one-third of unhappy customers will completely stop doing business with a company that has wronged them.
- Even worse, 60 percent of those people exposed to these negative comments in social media are influenced by them, meaning most people will avoid you if their friends say you stink.
Visions of kicking back and working from the beach with a piña colada in one hand and an iPad in the other are no longer just flights of fancy for many workers. Businesses are finding that it really is possible for employees to work remotely on their own devices without losing any productivity.
As a result, many companies are measuring the benefits of employees working remotely against the logistical issues inherent in developing a mobile device management plan.
There are many tangible benefits of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), including:
- Reduced equipment costs
- Increased employee satisfaction and efficiency
- Decreased IT staff burden (since employees maintain their own equipment)
- Reduced office space square footage (as workers are mostly off-site)
The risk in BYOD is that these devices can potentially expose security vulnerabilities not directly supervised by IT staff or addressed by corporate antivirus solutions. This is where the need for mobile device management comes in.
A new landscape of threats
Tablets and smartphones are arguably less secure than desktop PCs and laptops because they lack pre-installed malware protection. Most computers include at least a trial version of an antivirus suite, but for the newest mobile gadgets, individual users and IT managers are on their own to search for and install