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5 Ways Unified Communications Can Improve Your Customer Service

A few weeks ago, I needed to reorder a faucet kit after the first one didn't fit. I needed help from the retailer's commerce site, but I didn't want to sit on the phone with noisy kids in the background. Instead, I clicked the 'Live Chat' button but didn't expect much. To my great surprise and delight, I was immediately connected to a very helpful customer service agent. After a few minutes, she confirmed my problem with the first faucet, contacted the manufacturer of the new kit I wanted, retrieved the critical measurements, and sent the information to me via email and instant message. Now that's customer service.

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Get More out of Your Service Provider with Managed Services

Work with your service provider to simplify the technology experience within your business

"Cloud Services" is a broad term you hear tossed all over the place, and there are enough subcategories to confuse you for days; Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and Platform as a Service to name a few.  But let's face the facts here; you really don't care how a service is classified, you just care what it can do for you.  In an earlier article I went through the basics of cloud computing. Now I want to take your knowledge to a deeper level that can impact the operations of your small business by introducing you to "Managed Services."

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Think Green Before You Buy

Purchasing equipment from companies with responsible environmental practices benefits your business

When it comes to acting "green," we don't always think about it early in the decision-making process; buying a filtered water pitcher instead of cases of bottled water, for example. If we did, there wouldn't have been approximately 135 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) discarded in 2008, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2008 report.

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Retaining Employees: 3 Technologies That Help

When you think about retaining top-notch employees, several factors come to mind: compensation, company culture, and company location. Here's one more item that should be on your list--technology infrastructure.

Take a moment and think: What's in your server closet and what's on your employees desks? Technology can be a powerful tool to help your company hold onto employees. But few employers think about technology as a tool to retain and engage their employees.

Following are a couple technologies and how they can help your company do just that:

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Videoconferencing for Small Business: Worth a Look

Videoconferencing saves small businesses money and increases competitiveness

Being a small business means that you’re always maintaining a tight budget. So when there’s a financial downturn, it hits small companies harder, because there’s typically little fat to trim from an already lean budget.

According to the annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report, small businesses focused on three areas for surviving the economic downturn: reducing staff, reducing technology spending, and reducing travel. Although the survey showed that small businesses would start spending a more on staffing and technology this year, travel cost reductions will remain steady at 38%. Most of the small business owners I know would agree with this report.  Would you?

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