Why your home office isn’t what you need!

Ideally your workspace at home should be a separate space to your living accommodation. It allows for separation, so you can, well, separate your work from your home set up.

There are many reasons this is a good idea, and we’ve all had time to reflect on this during the COVID pandemic haven’t we? For many this period of home working has been a blessing and a curse.

Having the opportunity to avoid lengthy commutes to the office in crowded trains etc, has been for many a huge relief, but this has been hard for those of us who do not have a dedicated workspace. A study, or converted spare room have been a boon, whereas setting up in the dining room, or on the kitchen counter has been sub optimal at best.

We’re seeing a surge in people investing in solutions like a garden offices, where the space is dedicated to work set ups, which can be left overnight as your commute up the garden path home gives you separation. The garden office can be permanently equipped just like you’re office is, and you can be equally undisturbed and undisturbing for the rest of the family.

Doing this successfully does require some fundamentals like furniture and technology, all fit for purpose.

Corporate bods are welcoming the enterprise of having ready-to-go solutions wrapped elegantly with business finance options that leverage tax breaks and government relief at the time it’s most needed. Employees get a fantastic, useful additional space at home that adds value to their property too.

Sounds like a win/win doesn’t it?

Find out more here

Happy Christmas to you all

Wishing you all a fun-packed, restful Christmas and recharge ready for an awesome 2022

Like most of you, no doubt, 2021 has been a mixed bag for me. Lots of highs and some definite lows too.

As we head into the Christmas holiday period, and time for reflection, I am grateful for all that I have and aware that I am incredibly fortunate.

I have worked incredibly hard this past year, and remained diligent at all times and am actually proud of myself for that – no slacking here.

I am excited about the year ahead and feel an intense optimism for 2022.

As always, I am here if I can help you in any way and for now, I wish you a very Happy Christmas.

It’s just not worth the effort

Unless you’re prepared to give 100%

Go big or go home

100% focus, commitment and attention is what’s required to build a sales and support channel go to market model.

We’ve seen several businesses decide to acquire channel partners to build their business with. Their failure has been lack of understanding and commitment to the task at hand.

Giving it a go doesn’t work. It’s a lot like deciding to get pregnant. You’re all in or don’t bother.

Start with a five year plan and work backwards

Ensure you’ve really understood the landscape, and covered all the angles. Research well and hire professionals.

Remember the quote. “If you think hiring professionals is expensive, wait until you’ve hired amateurs”.

Are you a number one, or a number two?

Change or become irrelevant

As someone who gets to see a lot of new technology early, I’m often excited by the possibilities this affords our channel friends and colleagues.

How about you? Are you

1. Equally stoked by the opportunity of engaging with your customers to share an exciting new solution?

2. Not too fussed and prefer to stick to your core product or solution offer?

If you’re the second option here, then I’d urge you to consider this…

Your customers are investing in technology that you’re not providing and whilst they’re not talking to you, they’re building relationships and trust elsewhere. This carries risk for you as other suppliers are option 1 players and they’re following a LAND AND EXPAND strategy that will see them displacing you at some point.

Now let’s reconsider.. are you 1 or 2?

Channel Partner tips – Before you start.

Make sure you’re really clear about the road ahead and that you are sure you’re “up for the challenge”. It’s not simply a case of “build it and they will come”.

If you’ve done your preparation well, the rewards are there with a great execution. But don’t even think about “playing at it”

The start before the start

STOP You’re doing it all wrong

How many of us have used a chatbot on a website when we felt it might be quicker than waiting in the call queue, or in some cases where you just could NOT find a phone number anywhere to call!?

But it was an unmitigated disaster!

The BOT was more of a NOT as it didn’t seem to understand what you were asking for!

Next stop was SOCIAL MEDIA- RIGHT. Facebook and Twitter, and this time a very different experience. But still shocking. You’ve reached the corporate marketing team and they can’t help you with your query, but instead suggest you use the website (doh), or call the Contact Centre.

So far, you’ve got absolutely nowhere and your patience is dwindling….

Thankfully there are genuinely joined up and intelligent solutions available and the “no code” cloud offering from Koopid can be set up, and built in a few days. Critically ALL CHANNELS are orchestrated for a single uninterrupted conversation INCLUDING real agents and with chat persistence.

No more repetition

No more, please dial this number

No more “The Computer Says No”

It’s time to transform your customer experience journeys and remove the barriers to customer intimacy

Go on, ask me to show you, and I’ll be delighted

How to adapt your home to become your work space

Guest blog

By Lali Bunting

This subject really spoke to me and, funnily enough, I decided to write my dissertation on this while I was studying at the National Designs Academy in Nottingham. I feel as though this topic is really relevant to a lot of us and I just want to give those a few tips who may be struggling with adapting and those who feel they need to make some changes in order for their working day to be more successful. 

2020 was a year which changed the way in which a lot of us worked. The arrival of the pandemic meant that very few employers and employees were unaffected by its impact on working practices. Things feel like they have returned to normal to a certain extent now, sure. Yes, the bars and pubs are open and it isn’t compulsory to wear masks anymore, but the way we work has kind of stayed the same for a lot us. At home. I wrote this blog to help those who have and will have to overcome the challenges and hurdles faced when adapting to changing working environments to your home environments and what can be done to face some of these issues head on.

The practical side of working from home is not always straightforward. Our workplaces are designed to be just that – workplaces. Many of our homes are not designed around the need to work within them. Here are some ways to improve your home office space which will cover limitation of available space; safeguarding personal motivation and well-being; and maintaining professionalism. 

SPACE: 

You’re faced with working from home, but you don’t have a separate space in order for you to concentrate as you could in the work space. Your kids are on summer holiday, your partner is playing on his PS4 next to you, that TV programme on in the background looks really interesting. You may be on the opposite side to this, and you do have a separate space, but you do not know how to utilise that space.

Number 1 thing to focus on is getting that separate space from your home life. You need to be able to shut the door at the end of the day as if you would do when leaving work to go home. Is there a room in your house that is unused throughout the day? Do you have space under your stairs? Is your spare bedroom not being used? Do you have a shed you can convert into an office space? There are so many things to consider before plonking yourself on the sofa or at the dining table with constant distractions around you.

Now you have figured where you could potentially put your office, you could potentially be limited by space. If you have a good idea of a space you can happily work in then that’s great. If you’re still struggling and cannot think of anywhere suitable for your home office then you will just have to make do with what you have got HOWEVER I would suggest the following:

  1. Fold away furniture; this is a great utilisation of space, fold away desks, chairs or storage space allows you to pack up at the end of the day and resume your normal life at home with no extra space used.
  2. Try to minimise the amount of traffic in and out the room.

Now you need to decide what to do with that space. Which brings me onto…

MOOD AND MOTIVATION:

Your mood affects the way you work, it’s a known fact. If you are feeling happy you are productive, if you are feeling down or unhappy then it shows in the work you do or how fast you do it. I’m not saying I can fix all your worries and problems (as much as I’d want to!) but as I have said, a good working environment helps your mood which then leads to productivity. If you are then being productive at work it has a domino effect and things in your life will start to feel more at ease.

Once your workspace has been thought about, you can then start to think about what style you like, what colours make you happy and is your workspace clean and tidy (trust me, this has an impact on your stress levels!)

  1. From a personal perspective the ideal home office has the following:
  2. Good lighting; natural is best but if this isn’t possible a good bright light which stops you from straining your eyes while looking at the computer is 2nd best.
  3. A comfortable and up-right seat with the desk at the right height for you. You could even try a standing desk.  Colours that affect your mood in a positive way; colours such as:

green; an outdoorsy and nature colour, blue; a calm and peaceful colour, pink; vibrant and confident, or yellow; bright and summery vibes.

  1. A particular style that pleases you; this can Contemporary, Art-deco, Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian etc.

PROFESSIONALISM:

Professionalism is about how you present yourself, and what others can see while you’re video-calling colleagues. What do you want your colleagues to see? Personally I feel you have a few choices with how you present yourself. One is to have your back to the wall so there is a blank canvas behind you, two is the same as above but decorate the wall behind you with either a notice board, shelving with books/plants/candles on it, or you can filter the background which a lot of these video-calling apps have in the Settings section and therefore you do not have to worry about what will be in shot around you. 

There are different ways to deal with professionalism and the choice is yours. What you DO NOT want is clothes/mess all over the floor, dirty pots, people / animals walking in and out of shot in the background etc. 

I hope my blog helps you decide how you go forward with your home office. Stay tuned for more Interior Design blogs

Guest Blog by Lali Bunting – https://www.lalibuntingdesigns.co.uk/blogs

If you’re implementing bots to reduce your call volumes, then you’re starting from wrong place

I often observe a wry smile or perhaps a small sneer appear on people faces when I mention the words “chat and chatbots”, and I reckon this is because they have been around long enough now for most of us to have encountered one on a website, and unfortunately most of those experiences have been what I would call SUBOPTIMAL. 

From my perspective this boils down to a bunch of reasons, and a summary list is here to share my viewpoint:

  • Poor implementation.
  • Poor understanding of the customer requirements.
  • Poor technology – often free or low cost DIY.
  • Lack of any integration into business process or workflows.
  • Very binary bot – with zero intelligence. 
  • Business driver is to reduce call volumes to the call centre. 

For me, the right place to be starting, is with an understanding of the customer you serve, and their communication and engagement preferences.

For many of your customers, they will wish to call you, and if there is a queue, some will be ok waiting briefly. For many others, they will not have the patience, and will quickly seek an alternative. So injecting a digital/self-serve option, in the early part of the calling options is a good idea. 

Other groups within your customer base will wish to find a digital engagement option first, and so offering them an INTELLIGENT chat option on the website, as well as via commonly used social channels, is a must. We see huge growth in WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and webchat interactions, as customers seek rapid responses and resolutions, without the need to sit in a call queue. Often there is a resistance to even speaking with someone!

Moreover, customers dislike getting stuck, or isolated on a channel

… and this is where the first generation of dumb chatbots has failed. Should the digital channel hit a snag, then the ability to route the customer immediately to a live agent (critically with the context of the interaction to that point also), is pure gold. Nothing less is acceptable.

So don’t worry if your first generation chatbots are failing, but DO TAKE ACTION and ensure your customers are having the kind of experiences you would want, and you would want them to have.
Unsure how – then drop me a message or call me – you’ll find me here: https://grahambunting.com/findme/

Why “we never get asked for that” is a terrible response

Care to join the debate?

When you are considering your business operations, with a thought for your portfolio of offerings and what your prospective customers seek you out for, do you ever find yourself saying to potential suppliers “we never get asked for that”?

Do you also ever stop to consider why that might be? Could it be that it is so far away from your core business activities that it just wouldn’t happen – e.g. are customers likely to ask an IT reseller for HR assistance? Could it be that your business is seen as a very niche provider? Could it be that you seem unapproachable, or that your skillset is focussed?

Whether or not any of these reasons apply, wouldn’t you like to grow your business by helping more customers solve more business problems and you are their “go-to” person for all advice? For me, “Trusted Advisor” is an extremely aspirational position to be in where your knowledge, experience, and opinions are deemed valuable

Agree? Whats your view?