Importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) In Our Daily Life

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has an important role in the world since we are now in the information age era. With ICT, the company can make the business easier to happen with the client, supplier and the distributor. It is also very important in our daily lives. The lack of appropriate information at the right time will result in low productivity, low quality research works, and waste of time to pursue information and even to do research which actually others had done or in other countries. Nowadays ICT cannot be separated with our daily needs.

ICT has a great impact in our daily lives. For example, we can read our local newspaper using the online newspaper. Another example is we still can get connected with our family, relatives, or colleagues even if we are abroad by using the electronic mail, yahoo messenger, call conference, or video conference.

Digital computer and networking has changed our economy concept to the economy with no boundary in time and space because of ICT. It brings a lot of advantages for economic development enabling millions of transactions to happen in an easy and fast way.

ICT is one of the economic development pillars to gain national competitive advantage. It can improve the quality of human life because it can be used as a learning and education media, the mass communication media in promoting and campaigning practical and important issues, such as the health and social area. It provides wider knowledge and can help in gaining and accessing information.

ICT has become an integral part of everyday life for many people. It increases its importance in people’s lives and it is expected that this trend will continue, to the extent that ICT literacy will become a functional requirement for people’s work, social, and personal lives.

The use of ICT in education add value in teaching and learning, by enhancing the effectiveness of learning, or by adding a dimension to learning that was not previously available. ICT may also be a significant motivational factor in students’ learning, and can support students’ engagement with collaborative learning.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is basically our society’s efforts to teach its current and emerging citizens valuable knowledge and skills around computing and communications devices, software that operates them, applications that run on them and systems that are built with them.

As a matter of fact, we are living in a constantly evolving digital world. ICT has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives – from working to socializing, learning to playing. The digital age has transformed the way young people communicate, network, seek help, access information and learn. We must recognize that young people are now an online population and access is through a variety of means such as computers, TV and mobile phones.

It is in this premise that educational technology and e-learning is taught in or out of the classroom since educational technology is used by learners and educators in homes, schools, businesses, and other settings.

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Incredible Business Growth With Custom Boxes

Some people are unaware of the little things that make a business move from a small business to a well-recognized business. One of such little, forgettable things is having custom boxes for every business. To confirm the truth about the importance of custom boxes, look around you, and list any five businesses or well-recognised servicing company you know, and you will immediately realize they all have their custom packages which stand as their branding.

For those people who are not conversant with custom boxes, here it is. These boxes in simple words; is your label, your brand, your name, your touch, being handed over to your customers in the form of the packaging used when delivering the goods to your clients. It is actually a box, or package bearing the seal of the company or business.

You might think this will cost so much for your small business, but no it is far cheaper than you thought and the effect it leaves for you is far more valuable. These have lots of benefits, but you will see a few of them listed here.

Benefits of Custom Boxes

1. These boxes give your Customers and excitement: your business can stand out with a unique box or bag the customers receive their goods in. It will amaze you to know that just a beautiful bag or box can make a customer repeat purchase. This little effect speaks volumes, of who you are, and how you value your customers. Everyone wants to be appreciated.

2. Serve as your marketer: Are you having trouble marketing your business without spending so much? Oh, this incredible little move of custom boxes is a marketer, spreads thick of how many people will see your brand name, as customers walk away with your name on them, by holding your bag.

3. Custom boxes spread your brand like a virus. Your business will be in one city, but the custom bag is in another. Don’t worry this means your business is spreading like a virus, and your Company will soon be visited by new customers.

4. These boxes are cheap to get: You don’t need a big business to use these custom boxes. You can use them for every business with customer packages, by hand or shipping. These boxes are cheap to get and won’t bite your business in any way. You can get the right information and do it with the most competitive producers available. This makes you get it, at almost no cost.

5. These create a rewarding excitement: you can’t take the joy and excitement you get when your customers appreciate your custom boxes, you know what they are actually appreciating? Your business. This will overall give your business the needed lift.

Little things are most times the hardest things to do, but now you know better. You can give your business the little push it needs to thrive. Get your custom boxes and let your business go viral.

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The Importance of Employment Tests

It is a known fact that the success of an employer and a company as a whole depends largely on the quality and reliability of its employees. This is the reason why employers must invest time and even money in the recruitment and interview process. Doing so would ensure that only the best possible candidate will be considered for a particular job.

When it comes to screening of potential employees, no other tool does it better than employment tests. These tests can measure what is called the KSA – knowledge, skills and abilities of the job candidates. Employment tests in this context are generally written or automated tests, but also include interviews, personality tests, skill tests, psychological tests, performance tests, medical examinations, agility tests, and so on.

A hiring process that is poorly designed is much like a recruitment process based on flipping a coin. Employers are well-aware that the impact of inefficient recruitment decisions can have costly and detrimental outcomes, which may include expensive training costs, decrease in overall productivity, increase in employee replacement, and increase in legal exposure.

Benefits of Efficient Assessments Incorporating assessment tests ensure that your company is making better hiring decisions. It can determine whether or not an employee can meet your criterion for maintaining high productivity. Consequently, pre-employment tests can reduce expensive and time-consuming recruitment steps by straightforwardly narrowing down the choices that will include only candidates who are best fit for the job. Because job fitting is greatly improved, this scenario can also increase the chances of retaining your employees for far longer periods of time. Furthermore, a well-developed pre-employment testing program can present a professional and positive image for your company, and will decrease the risk of hiring complaints.

Although pre-employment tests are basically a tool that protects employers, it can be just as important for them as for the applicant. It would be a shameful waste of time, effort, and even money to prepare for the responsibilities and challenges of a new job, yet find out later on that one is not capable of performing the tasks on hand and is bound for failure.

The benefits of pre-employment testing are endless. However, employers must know that these tests have certain limitations. For one, written tests must only measure skills that are important for the job description that a candidate is applying for. For this, employers must carefully design their pre-employment testing program. Pre-employment tests not properly designed may create an impression of being discriminatory, and this is something employers must avoid at all times.

Designing testing tools take time and experience. If these two are something your company does not have, you can easily find pre-employment testing software packages on the market. These pre-employment tests have been designed by professionals with expertise and experience in the field of recruitment, and thus can efficiently evaluate the general knowledge, office skills, personality, and so on, of a potential job candidate. There are various types of pre-employment test to choose from, and there will surely be one that best fits your needs as an employer.

Clearly, organizations that have a carefully well-developed testing program that best meets their exact needs will have competitive advantage. Employment tests allow employers to make the best hiring decisions and will consequently improve business revenue, productivity, and overall business outcomes.

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Tips on How to Start a Home-Based Facial Business

Beauty is a very lucrative business. Every year, billions, even trillions of dollars are spent all over the world just on hair care, cosmetics, and skin care. This is the reason why it’s not surprising to see beauty based businesses popping up like mushrooms all over the place. Cosmetology, or anything that has to do with the beauty industry is probably one of the most popular professions at present. It provides a lot of opportunities for growth and profit which makes it one of the fastest growing careers. However, a lot of people get intimidated to put up their own beauty business because of the high capital cost that it requires. But don’t let that hinder you from starting your own business. If you don’t have enough funds yet to rent a commercial space for your business, having a home-based facial business is a great way to start your beauty career. Let me share to you some tips on how to start your very own home-based facial skin business.

1. Plan it out. Like any other business, you have to make a detailed business plan. A well written business plan will definitely play a big role on your business’ success.

2. Learn before you earn. Before you even open your home business, you have to be armed with enough knowledge on what you will do. It would be best if you become a licensed aesthetician first prior to opening your business.

3. Once you’re all set, you can now register your business on your city or town. You need to have the necessary permits for your home-based business to operate.

4. Designate an area of your house to your business. It could be a spare room or a small space anywhere in your house. Once you’ve designated an area, you can now start to decorate it. Make your space appear like a professional spa. You can do that without spending a lot. Just choose your decors properly. Don’t forget to load up on aromatherapy candles and other spa essentials such as oils.

5. Invest in a skin care device. There are a lot of skin care devices available in the market today. Having your own skin care device could really help your business boost its popularity.

6. Market your business. There are many ways to market your home-based business. You can put up your business website so that people on your area and surrounding cities can find you. If you have the budget, you can also have some ads placed on your local paper and you can also give out flyers. It’s also best to have business cards ready so anytime a customer hops in, always give out a business card so that he or she can endorse your business to others.

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Medical Records Retrieval for Law Firms

• MODERN MEDICAL RECORDS RETRIEVAL SERVICE – AUTOMATION, COMPLIANCE, SAVINGS

The modern Medical Records Retrieval (MRR) service is a combination of modern web-based technology and a rules-compliant outsource solution. Historically lawyers and their staff would have to set aside a portion of their time, often a lot of time, to capture necessary information for cases that involved medical records. It’s not that the process is complex. Quite the contrary, every attorney, paralegal, and litigation-support person knows exactly what needs to be done.

It may appear simple, but it is a very manually intensive process. Someone at the firm must acknowledge the need for the records. Necessary forms must be completed to ensure compliance with a myriad of laws (including HIPAA), which the firm and often the patient (who may or may not be the firm’s client) would need to initiate a request. Then, the firm must track the progress of the request, and eventually receive, review, and organize the results, or note that there were no medical records available related to the matter.

To support the business of running a law practice, sophisticated and affordable software tools include new client/business intake, workflow automation, and conflicts management. Vendors who provide early case assessment tools and e-discovery-based technology-assisted review have begun to offer solutions for small firm and solo practitioners. In this article, we will show you how you can improve productivity, lower costs, and better manage billing for MRR expenses.

How Medical Records Retrieval Services Work

Here’s how a typical MRR service works for a small firm/solo practice. One of the firm’s employees logs into a secure, encrypted website. He or she then submits an order outlining the patient’s information, the records being requested, and any other data necessary to complete the request. What happens next is truly a game-changing activity. Instead of the firm’s billable resources chasing record requests from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers, they go back to doing other, productive work, while the MRR process self-executes, and eventually provides you with the requested information and documents or informs you that there were no responsive documents.

Questions Regarding MRR Services

The availability of MRR services presents all attorneys, but especially solo and small firms, with the following important questions:

• How do you start with an MRR service?

• How are the record requests processed?

• Is this process HIPAA-compliant?

• When and how am I alerted to the status of my requests?

• How do I distribute the costs/fees associated with outsourcing medical records retrieval?

Choosing Your MRR Provider

To reduce the risk of choosing the wrong MRR service, consider the following best practices:

1) Ensure that the MRR service can prove secure access to its website (and your records) via a login and password.

2) Understand the MRR service’s processes to ensure protection of privacy.

3) Understand its service level agreements, which explain their process and anticipated turnaround time.

4) Verify that the MRR service has experience with expediting record requests by requesting a list of reference clients.

5) Review the process by which you and/or your staff are notified of updates, including record availability or notice of “no record found.”

6) Ask for the MRR service’s price schedule, preferably in a format that will permit you to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the fees of other MRR services.

When possible, a dedicated MRR service is a better choice than a firm that offers a multitude of legal practice services of which records retrieval is only a small subset of their overall business.

Getting Started with the MRR Provider

Upon choosing your MRR provider, the steps to starting to work with the provider are straightforward and similar to those when signing up with any on-line type of service:

• The firm identifies the approved personnel who are authorized to access the secure system.

• A unique user ID is created for the firm at this time, with a strong password required for all future access.

• Often, this is also the time that billing information is provided, and thus a financial account with the firm and MRR is created for future invoicing.

• Each authorized person completes a new user profile and sign-on request. The user must provide email and phone contact information.

• It is the responsibility of the law firm to notify the MRR as soon as possible in the event that an existing authorized user should be removed from the access control. The MRR should remedy and respond as soon as the user access has been removed.

• While the use of the MRR site should be quite easy for most users with minimal training, additional site support generally is available from the MRR’s services personnel via phone or email request.

Safeguarding Privacy

No matter how beneficial the technology, the firm must ensure compliance of federal and state HIPAA guidelines and any ethical rules about maintaining client confidences. Therefore, they must ensure that the MRR service collects, hosts, and provides access to client(s) records while maintaining compliance with privacy guidelines. Note: This should be part of your due diligence when selecting a provider.

The MRR Service should comply with Federal and state privacy laws. MRR services should keep up to date with changing rules of privacy such as the HITECH Act.

MRR agreements should expressly state that no personally identifiable health information (PHI) can ever be used for non-business related activities such as marketing and/or sales lead generation.

Record Processing

Once you have chosen an MRR service and set up your account, obtaining medical records is relatively straight-forward:

• After you enter a request into the system, the MRR service creates an MRR record request connected to the unique ID of the requester (the specific user at your firm), and confirms receipt of the request via an email.

• A reviewer is assigned to assess the necessary actions to fulfill the request, and will notify the user of any questions regarding the record request. In some states, including California, an electronic request can be executed from the MRR service to the healthcare provider, eliminating the need for paper-based transaction.

• The provider then tracks the request, and conducts any follow-up communication by any means available, including email, telephone or in-person visits if necessary, to acquire clear copies of records requested.

• If the record is available and legible, it is scanned into the secure web-based system for access by the user. Otherwise, a “no record found” is annotated to the request, and communicated back to the user.

Communication Is Key

Nothing can be more frustrating to case management than waiting for needed information from a third party. The MRR service must not only forward the record request to the healthcare provider, but also must provide the firm an ongoing and timely response regarding status. Each record must be tracked in real-time with detailed notes from the MRR agents. The MRR service should send alerts if additional information is required, provide replies via email, and deliver the link to download and/or view completed requests as soon as the records become available. Again, during the selection process, you should ascertain the provider’s practices regarding communications, and include them in the contract.

Speed Is Critical Too

Obtaining the medical records timely is critical, whether to respond to discovery, to make or oppose a motion for summary judgment, to get an expert up to speed, or to settle a case. A reliable MRR service will offer a quick turnaround. They have the experience working with medical locations to obtain records faster than a law firm’s in-house staff. After all, a law firm staff member may encounter (or, in truth, may feel like they have gotten stuck with) the occasional medical record search, but the MRR service is a specialist in the process of collecting information, including “no records found.” So, the MRR service’s very job is obtaining medical records, and therefore will have the process down to a set of specific steps, and can support their clients via a web interface.

Relationships With Healthcare Providers

Sometimes hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare providers may treat the occasional request by an attorney for medical records as an inconvenience, not respond as quickly or perhaps as completely as the attorney or client would like. A smart MRR service will develop long-term relationships with healthcare providers and their staff to get the data needed promptly and efficiently. This will improve the quality of the document production, reduce its cost, and speed the process up.

Database Strength

Medical records often can be in a different location or city than the healthcare provider. For example, billing records for hospitals are usually in an offsite facility, sometimes in another state. With the advent of electronic records, more healthcare providers are centralizing their records offsite with the umbrella company of their medical group/hospital. Without the information on how and where to request records, in-house staff can waste valuable time sending requests to the wrong locations or having to spend the time to find out where to send the requests. A strong database on where and how to request records from healthcare providers therefore is key to save time, ensure complete result, and save money. MRR services have the incentive and the resources to develop such a database. Law firms, especially solos and small firms, do not.

In addition the importance on the database in requesting medical records, it is equally important on the production side. Virtually all medical records are produced in digital format. Records are typically available in PDF or TIFF file format, making them searchable by many document management systems – including on premise, cloud-based, web-based or hybrid systems. They are usually made available for download and/or viewing from virtually anywhere on any device that supports a secure micro-browser. The MRR service maintains the medical records for ongoing access by the user and any authorized personnel.

MRR Costs and other Considerations

The MRR service will charge you for their services. However, because the firm’s resources are freed up to work on activities that generate revenue for the firm, the costs of using an MRR service will be offset at least in part, and perhaps in full. In addition, depending on your fee arrangement with your client, the invoices from the MRR service may be directly billable back to the client or at least accounted for as a recoverable cost. (Many MRR services charge no monthly fees for having an account, and thus the firm only incur fees on a usage basis, which can then be charged to the cases for which they are required.)

Summary

While many firms may continue the “do-it-yourself” approach, solos and small firms should consider using an MRR service. In addition to the higher costs of installing and maintaining one’s own record management system, the soft costs and resource consumption make this a less favorable alternative. A qualified, experienced MRR service offers a cost effective, robust platform for processing, monitoring, and tracking medical records requests. Record management and processing is HIPAA-compliant, always available, and secure-which in-house processes may not be, with the attendant risks. Use of an MRR service does not require capital expense to leverage digitally filed and maintained medical records. Firm resources can be repurposed from tracking record requests to meaningful and fee-generating activities. Client satisfaction may improve as matters are able to be processed more efficiently, and firm business may increase. The results of using an MRR service are measureable and immediate. It’s literally a one-click quantum leap from manual, resource-heavy processes to a modern, digital, secure web based management for your practice.

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20 Anytime Gifts That Will Last Forever

It’s that time again. You need a gift to take to a birthday, wedding, anniversary or any other occasion. Most of us don’t want to get just another gift, we all want to give and receive gifts that are timeless.

From the thoughtful custom necklace to the one-of-a-kind handmade trinket; we have you sorted out with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion

The Thoughtful Gifts

1. Personalized Letter

In this day of technology, who wouldn’t love receiving a handwritten personalized letter? Personalized letters are particularly a great gift from children to grandparents or vice versa.

2. Memory Capsule

Memories are timeless. The best gift you could ever give a loved one is a piece of encapsulated memory. Recreate old photos taken with loved ones to form your memory capsule.

3. Quality Time

Sometimes your present is enough of a gift for that special person. Set aside ample time to spend a day together or go on a getaway.

4. Personalized Gift Cards

Personalized gift cards are still a timeless favorite from kid to parents or vice versa. Give out several with thoughtful tasks that they can be redeemed against.

5. Technology Lessons

Time has flown by and our grandparents, and parents, might need a little help catching up. Kids can gift their grandparents and immediate parents technology lessons to teach them about social media as well as the use of other gadgets.

Gifts for Him

6. RFID Wallet

Wallets are overly popular gifts for men, but not the RFID wallet. The RFID wallet will protect unwarranted card data theft, and it is one wallet he’ll be keeping for long.

7. Bartender Kit

Men love their drink, well most do. There isn’t a better gift for that drink lover than a bartender kit. A bartending set will also benefit you because, with it, he’ll be whipping up those delicious cocktails well into your hay days.

8. Balance Board

Balance is necessary for everyday life, and as we age, we lose our elementary balance. For the man looking to regain balance or just to keep fit, a balance board would be the perfect gift for them.

9. Smart Sprinkler Controller

Who is in charge of the sprinkler system, or just about any electronic, in your house? For that man, an intelligent sprinkler system would serve them well. Men love gadgets, and he will rave over the ability to control the sprinklers conveniently from a laptop/tablet/phone.

10. Watch

A good watch is always a great gift for that man in your life. It doesn’t have to cost much but go for a durable timepiece that will end up being an heirloom.

Gifts for Her

11. Jewellery

Let’s face it; time has proven it, women love jewelry. You can’t go wrong with a good custom necklace or just about any tasteful jewelry that she can pass on down the family tree.

12. Tea Set

Know a woman who loves tea? Then a tea set would make the perfect gift. This isn’t necessarily an age-restricted present; any woman who hosts company will like to add a good tea set in her collection.

13. Character Apron

Aprons are functional pieces of protective clothing and contrary to tradition; they don’t have to be flowery. Character aprons can instantly transform a lady into her beloved hero.

14. Scarf

Often overlooked, scarves are exquisite and complimentary outfit accents. Most women keep them for years, and that’s why they make it to our list of timeless gifts.

15. Handbag

Next to jewellry and shoes, women love handbags. Women also keep bags for years and getting her a good, quality bag is an ideal gift choice for any occasion.

A Custom Necklace and Other Custom Gift Ideas

16. Custom Pendants

A custom necklace is a good gift, but a custom locket is a great gift. A pendant allows you to take a treasured photo with you on the go. Anyone would love getting a personalized jewelry as a gift.

17. Picture Mug

Who doesn’t love a photo mug? Why not get her or him a collection of mugs with pictures of the people dearest to them?

18. Keychains

Everyone uses keychains at one point or another. Personalized keychains are thoughtful gift options.

19. Clocks

Clocks are also great options to personalize with custom photos. Go for a traditional wall clock or a wrist watch for a custom gift option.

20. Map

Have someone you have shared countless of adventures with? Get them a customized photo map to map out your travel memories.

There you have it; with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion, you are equipped to give timeless and ageless gifts for any occasion.

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The Seven Wonders of the World

The world around is filled with all kinds of wonders and we can gaze at them only by opening our eyes and our hearts. After all you need to believe in magic to be able to believe it. However, if you’re someone who is a bit on the cynical side, we bring to you a list of the wonders that exist all around the world. If you are a fan of archeology, history or travelling you’re definitely going to enjoy this article. Oh and if you plan to travel after reading this, don’t forget to look into Cathay Asia Airlines.

1. The Great Pyramid of Giza
The crown jewel of Egypt and the only surviving architecture from the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this pyramid is truly a sight to behold. This pyramid is said to be built as a tomb to the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. The building is approximately 480 feet tall and was the tallest building in the world for more than 3800 years. This pyramid when built was outlined with a limestone casing which with time got destroyed. Now you can only see the casing near the bottom of the pyramid whereas the top exposes us to the inner lining of the pyramid.

2. Petra, Jordan
Petra is often called the city of rose due to the red colored stones that it is made of. This beautiful hidden city is famous for its architectural grace and the water conduit system. Even though the city is located in Jordan, it was actually discovered by a Swiss explorer in the early 19th century. This place is also said to have structures that are more than 2000 years old.

3. Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro
This miracle took a total of nine years to be constructed due to the its location on the top of a cliff. This is the third largest statue of Jesus in the world. The raw materials for this statue were actually imported from Sweden. This beautiful statue was actually constructed as a sign of peace, to show that Christ loves everyone.

4. The Great Wall of China
This wall that stretches over 8000 kilometers was built over a period of 2000 years and renovated over time by many different Chinese dynasties. It is said that millions of people died while building the wall and that they’re buried within the Wall’s foundations. The Wall is also famous because it is the only structure on Earth that can be seen from the moon without any aids. Fascinating right? Go check it out yourself!

5. The Colosseum
This fighting ground of the roman gladiators took 8 years to build and was designed by the Roman Poet Virgil. The Colosseum has more than 80 entrances and can house 50,000 people at one time. It receives millions of visitors every year and is therefore the biggest tourist attraction in Rome.

6. The Leaning Tower
This beautiful tower located in Pisa is famous because of the way it inclines with height. The architecture has been constructed in a way that makes it feel tilted. If you’re ever in Italy, this is a must place to go to.

7. Taj Mahal
Constructed by an emperor in the memory of his beloved wife, this palace is a symbol of love for the entire world. The intricate architecture and carving inside this Mahal will make you fall in love with it. And if you don’t believe us, why don’t you go see it yourself? All you have to do is book your ticket using Cathay Asia Airlines.

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Dealing With Conflict in the Workplace

Introduction

Conflict is a major concern in both your personal and working life. If not deal with quickly, tactfully and efficiently conflict could lead to serious confrontation and / or a complete breakdown of relationships. It could even lead to violent and dangerous situations.

A conflict could stem from a minor complaint that was not resolved and left to fester. This could then gradually grow into an insurmountable problem. A conflict can be as innocent as sibling rivalry – arguing over a toy – to a dispute with a customer or colleague over a product, service or procedure to a war between countries in extreme cases.

There will be times during the course of a working life where you will have to deal with complaints and conflicts. Your successful handling of these situations will have a direct bearing on you and your organization's reputation for customer service and its continued success.

What causes conflict.

Conflicts usually occur when people have different ideas and believe they have the superior view point. This is particularly true of conflict in the workplace – between collections and / or management. The issue becomes one of power, of gaining control or of 'being proved right'. To resolve this type of conflict it is necessary to move from the power clash, to one of service and responsibility – to work for the good of the group rather than individuals within it. In resolving a conflict it should be more important to make sure that both parties needs are met rather than winning the argument.

Conflict can also be caused by a lack of communication or by a failure to recognize the needs of another person. Whatever the scenario, the main component in conflict is misunderstanding. These misunderstandings can occur due to differences in age, culture, race or religion. Conflict situations can include customer related issues, misunderstandings or communication barriers or Conflict among work collections.

Conflicts due to customer related issues.

A complaint, no matter how trivial it may sound to you, is legitimate in the eyes of the customer and must be taken seriously. Customers come into your organization to do business. They have a need and they believe (or hope) that you will be able to fulfill that need. They are willing to pay you for your time, effort and service and they expect your full and undivided attention. If they do not receive this attention or a satisfactory product or service, then they are not receiving value for their money and then have every right to complain.

Conflicts arising out of customer related issues could include;

  • Problems or faults with services or products. The customer has not received the quality of service or product that they expected and are unhappy enough about it to complain. A complaint of this nature can be fairly easily resolved if the parties involved are prepared to communicate and compromise.
  • Delays or poor timing of product or service supply. The customer has been kept waiting longer than expected or advised for their product or service and, as in the point above, become upset at the delay. Delays can cause a great deal of inconvenience for customers, particularly if they have made time to be on hand and are then disappointed.
  • Difficult or demanding customers. Some customers are hard to please and are, by nature, very demanding and aggressive. If they are not handled carefully they could, potentially, become threatening.
  • Drug or alcohol related issues. These could include being refused entry or ejection from concessions due to their condition and the risk they represent to other customers or staff.

Conflicts due to misunderstandings or communication barriers.

No two people are exactly alike – not even twins. People have different points of view thought about by the many influences on their lives.

These effects include;

Genetics – the things that we inherit from our parents and over which we have no control. These things might involve the color of our eyes and hair to our health.

Upbringing – which involves the way in which our parents raised us and the values ​​they instilled in us.

Culture and religion – this influences the things that we believe to be true and the customs and traditions we follow

Economics – our view on life can be strongly influenced by our economic situation, whether we are financially comfortable or struggling to make ends meet.

Education – our level of education will also have a large impact on what we think and how we view the world.

The environment – this means the environment in which we operate: our neighborhoods, housing situation, and the people we are surrounded by.

Life experience – involves all the experiences we have had in our lives, the successes and failures, the lessons we have learned from these experiences and the many roles that we have played to date.

All of these things and more go in to making us the individuals we are and our thoughts and feelings about almost everything we come into contact with will be shaped by these influences. So we have our own opinions and points of view on a whole range of things and these sometimes clash with other peoples. These clashes can take the form of a lively but friendly debate but they could just as easily become heated and aggravated and degenerate into shouting matches. The beginnings of conflict.

We can avoid these situations by reaching an understanding between the parties. This can be done by communicating openly and honestly, being willing to listen to the other person's point of view – remembering that the influences that have shaped their beliefs and view points could be very different to yours – but no less valid.

Misunderstandings and communication barriers could occur because;

  • People do not listen to each other with an eye to reaching an understanding
  • People are not prepared to compromise in order to resolve the situation
  • People do not understand cultural differences and are not prepared to make allowances for them.

To resolve a conflict situation steps need to be taken to bring the two points of view closer – to reach a compromise that both parties can accept. Part of good conflict resolution skills is the art of communication and recognizing the barriers to a good two way communications flow. These barriers can include;

  • Not paying attention . Customers or colleges who are trying to communicate with you will feel ignored and frustrated if you allow yourself to become distracted. Not paying attention to them is rude and unprofessional and stops the communication flow. The result of this could be the loss of a customer, a complaint about you to your manager or a loss of respect. Do not allow yourself to be distracted – focus your attention on what is being said and really listen to your customer or colleague. If you must interrupt the conversation to answer the phone, or speak with another staff member, excuse yourself.
  • Not looking at a person . Maintainable reasonable eye contact with the person you are communicating with is very important. It shows you are paying attention and that you are interested. By not looking at the person who is talking to you, you are indicating not only disinterest, but are also making them feel uncomfortable. They may think you are not being honest or trustworthy – you may be trying to hide something from them.
  • Interrupting . Interrupting someone when they are talking is a major barrier to open, two way communication and could easily cause conflict. Once again, you are indicating that you are not interested in what they have to say. Breaking into what they are saying to make your own thoughts known, or worse, to finish their sentences for them is no way to gain a proper understanding of the other persons needs and expectations. Allow them to finish what they are saying and pay attention. If, for some reason, the conversation needs to be wound up, then take control by asking leading or closing questions – that allow for short answers only.
  • Tone of voice. The tone of voice used during a conversation could also start a conflict. Arrogance, demand, anger, whining, disinterest etc. All add a tone to the voice that can cause people to react negatively. When dealing with customers or collections you should keep your tone friendly, calm and pleasant. At the very least, if you do feel annoyed you should try and keep the tone of your voice neutral.
  • Sarcasm . Sarcasm has no place in any conversation between two people and is an open invitation for conflict. There are times, in everyone's working life, when you think "If I get asked one more stupid question, I'll go mad!", But sarcasm in the face of a silly question or remark does nothing but hurt the other person and, Possibly, dent their self esteem. We often forget that not everyone knows everything we do about our industry – in fact most customers know very little about the tourism and hospitality industries. We can forgive our customers or junior collectors, therefore, for asking questions that may have obvious answers – obvious only to someone who knows. Show patience and understanding – it's just as easy and much more pleasant than giving a sarcastic or snide answer.
  • Rudeness . There is never any excuse for rudeness. A respectful and courteous attitude on your part should avoid or defuse any antagonism a person brings with them into your office. Should you find yourself never the less, dealing with a person with whatever you simply can not get along – rudeness is not the solution. Speak to your supervisor or manager and ask for their advice.
  • Cultural differences . Cultural differences can be the source of a great many conflicts. When dealing with people from other countries, other beliefs and so on, it is easy to misunderstand words, gestures and customs. If you want to excel at your profession it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the more prevalent customs of other cultures. On the whole, however, people from all over the world, from all walks of life and from all creeds respond well to respectful and courteous behavior. Do not make fun of customs you do not understand. Treat everyone you deal with, both customers and colleagues, with respect and you should do very well.

Any one of these points could provoke a customer or a college into complaining – which could then, potentially, turn into a conflict. It is a good idea therefore, to remain courteous and polite when dealing with other people.

Signs of potential conflict

A conflict does not happen suddenly. People do not go from calm and cool one moment to angry and aggressive next.

Conflict builds. It may take hours, weeks or even years. However long the process takes, there are always signs that a conflict is building. If these signs are recognized early then steps can be taken to quickly and efficiently resolve the situation before it becomes a major issue.

Early signs of conflict can include (but are not limited to):

  • Aggressive body language: Narrowed eyes – trying to intimidate you Flared nostrils – a sure sign of building anger as the person takes a deep breath, either to control themselves or to go on the attack Stretched muscles in the face and jaw line – tightened in building Anger and aggression Tapping fingers or feet – shows impatience
  • Malicious or negative gossip among collections
  • Difficulty in discussing an issue calmly and rationally
  • Tone of voice – indicating boredom, sarcasm, irritation

These are all signs of irritation, dissatisfaction or impatience. If you recognize any of these signs when dealing with a complaint or a conflict you should endeavor to find out the reasons why the other person is starting to feel impatient or irritated. You can do this by asking relevant questions and listening carefully to their answers. In this way you can reach an understanding of the issue at hand and possibly avoid escalating the situation.

If not recognized and acted upon these signs could then be followed by;

  • Raised voice – speaking rapidly in a loud, high pitched voice – or even shouting
  • Body leaning forward in an effort to intimidate
  • Hand gestures – finger poking and pointing in an aggressive manner.
  • Refusal to cooperate
  • Storming out of a room, slamming doors, drawers or implements

At this point you may already have a conflict and it will take careful handling to bring the situation back under control

Crisis situations

Complaints can escalate into conflict and conflict, if not resolved effectively, could potentially escalate into a crisis.

People wish to be taken seriously. If they are not, or are repeatedly ignored, it can become aggressive and a threat to safety and security of the organization and the people in it. Equally, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and are not in control of themselves, can present a danger to those around them if they are not handled carefully.

Situations where personal safety of customers or colleges may be threatened and assistance required may involve:

  • Drug or alcohol affected persons
  • People with guns or other weapons
  • Situations where someone has been or may be hurt
  • People who appear to be violent or threatening
  • Situations where customers refuse to leave or to be pacified.

In these cases it is extremely important to:

  • Keep calm yourself and to try and calm the other person.
  • Move them, discreetly, out of the main area of ​​your office or shop
  • Take note of details of the problem for future reference
  • DO NOT argue with a person who is visibly upset or aggressive as this will only compound the situation.
  • Bring in the assistance of relevant management, security and / or entities such as police as soon as possible.

Organizational requirements

You can not simply make a conflict go away by giving the complaining party whatever they want. Resolving a conflict is a deferred balance between reaching an agreement between parties while at the same time staying within the constraints of your organizations requirements and policies.

These constraints may include:

Costs issues. Often, a conflict with a customer will be centred around dissatisfaction with a product or service. If the product or service was actually found to be faulty then the simplest solution to the problem is a straight forward replacement. Sometimes, however, the situation is not as simple and the customer will demand further compensation. In these cases a replacement may not be enough and something extra may need to be done. When determining the amount of compensation, if any, to be offered to the client, there are a few issues to consider. These could include;

  • Customer good will & repeat business. If your organization is dependent on customers coming back again then this is an important consideration.
  • Organisations reputation. A dissatisfied customer will tell many people that they received bad service from an organization who did not meet their needs and this can lead to a loss of business.
  • Direct cost. Compensation to a client can be in the form of cash, additional products or services, or an upgrade to the product or service they have purchased. If compensation is to be of a monetary nature then the cost to the organization must be considered.

Organization policy on refunds or exchange . Most organizations will have policies on giving refunds. Some companies will give money back, others will give credit for products or services they provide. In the tourism industry you must also consider the refund policies of the principals you deal with. For example some advance purchase airline tickets do not allow refunds at all within a given period prior to departure and if the customer does not use the ticket, they have lost their money.

So before agreeing to provide a solution to the customer, you must first determine if it is financially viable to do so and to take the organizations policies and procedures into account.

Resolving conflict situations

When a person has purchased a product or service from your organization and it is not what they expected it to be, or does not perform properly they will feel dissatisfied and disappointed. As a consequence when this person complains that they generally believe that they have a legitimate reason for doing so and they may do so long and heatedly to the first person they come across in your organization. This might be you – even though you had nothing to do with the original sale and have never met the customer. The worst thing you can do is tell them its not your problem.

Take ownership of the issue, regardless of whether you were involved in the problem or not. "Passing the buck" at this point is not going to help matters. The customer approached YOU, so deal with the issue and do not pass them off saying "It's not my problem" or "The lady who handled this is not here now ….". At that particular moment in time the customer does not see you, the individual, they see you, the representative of the company, so it is you, the representative of the company, they expect to help them.

If you were not part of the original transaction where the problem occurred get as much information as you can from the customer to help you determine what to do. For example, you could ask;

  • Exactly what the problem is
  • When & where it occurred
  • How long ago the problem occurred
  • What they paid for the product or service
  • How they see the situation being resolved – this will give you an idea of ​​the person's expectations and how they impact on the organization's policies and procedures.

If the person who was involved in the original transaction is available you should ask them to join the discussion in order to get both sides of the picture. It is very important, however, to keep to the issue at hand and not to let emotions or ego get in the way of finding a solution to the problem; Stay calm, listen to all points of view with an open mind and try to keep the communications process flowing in a positive manner.

Finding a solution to a conflict involves a certain set of skills and techniques. It takes a step by step approach to ensure a positive income for all parties concerned.

Steps in resolving conflict

Finding a solution to a conflict will often become a matter of "give and take" where one party makes a suggestion that may not be entirely acceptable to the other. When this happens you will need to define the issues as seen by all parties and negotiate a mutually acceptable exit. This would normally occur in a logical sequence:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Work out what you want out of the conflict
  3. Brainstorm for options
  4. Evaluate solutions
  5. Decide on solutions

Define the problem

Everyone involved in the conflict needs to agree on a definition of the problem before it can be solved. This could mean describing the problem in terms of each persons needs and understanding of the issue at hand. Questions to consider might include:

  • What is the problem? Is it only my problem? Who else is involved?
  • Can I solve it? Is it worth solving?
  • Is this the real problem or merely a symptom of a larger one?
  • Does it need an immediate solution or can it wait? Is it likely to go away by itself? Can I risk ignoring it?
  • Does the problem have ethical dimensions?
  • What conditions must the solution satisfy?
  • Will the solution affect something that must remain unchanged?
  • Will I need help?

Asking these types of questions will outline what all the issues are from various perspectives giving you a firm foundation for exploring options. Depending on the nature of the problem and what it will take to resolve it, it might in extreme cases even be worth letting the matter go. It is important to keep a customer satisfied, but not at all costs. If a customer is being completely unreasonable and demanding then sometimes it is the better option to lose that customer.

Work out what you want out of the conflict

You also need to develop a clear understanding of the expected outcome. This could be; An agreement on acceptable compensation for faulty products or service a better relationship with the other party a mutually acceptable solution to an ongoing work issue the other person to respect your opinion With firm expectations of what would be an acceptable exit in mind, you can then begin To negotiate with the other party until an agreement has been reached.

Brainstorm for options – When all parties concerned have had the opportunity to explain their feelings on the matter, then all of the issues should be out in the open. At this point you can look at the various options available. There might be a number of solutions to the problem which could work for everyone involved. Do not get stuck on one solution just because it's the first one you find. Be creative about the possibilities available to you, and look for common ground. You can decide from the options later.

Evaluate solutions – In deciding the best result from the options available you should weigh up the pros and cons of each one based on the organizations policies and procedures, cost or budgetary constraints, legal ramifications and mutual benefit. When discussing and evaluating options it is often the case that each party will prefer an option that most closely gives them what they want regardless of its impact on the other party. In these cases you need to negotiate and compromise so that an agreement that both parties are satisfied with can be reached.

The Art of Compromise – Compromise does not mean giving in or losing. It means looking for ways to meet each others needs by making concessions to the other party involved. Compromise involves negotiating what you are, or are not, prepared to do in order to get what you want.

You should be open to good arguments rather than pressure or manipulation from the other party. Be open to reason but closed to threats. In difficult conflicts it might be necessary to bring in another person to mediate. This person may need to be skilled, mutually respected, and not have a personal interest in the outcome.

Decide on a mutually acceptable solution – When all available options have been tabled and considered then you can decide on the best one – the one that keeps both parties happy! Make sure each person takes responsibility for agreeing with the decision. This may take the form of a written agreement or contract, or a letter outlining what was agreed to.

Separate your feelings from the problem . When your emotions get tangled up in the pros and cons of an argument you can not reach the best conclusion. If you take a strong position because of the way you feel, you can not work out the best solution to the problem because your perception of it is controlled by things which are likely to have nothing to do with the problem. It's not about who is right or wrong. Arguing over who fault it is or placing blame will do nothing but increase tension and get in the way of resolving the situation. You should not let your feelings get in the way. Points that can help here include:

  • Act and speak calmly. Arguing with a customer or colleague could result in a full blown confrontation. Pause before making a response to them. This will give you time to collect yourself, to calm any irritation you might feel and also gives you a chance to work out how to phrase your response in the most appropriate way.
  • Try to put yourself in the other person's place; Empathise with them. Use expressions such as "I can understand why you would feel that way" and encourage them to share their point of view.
  • Listen carefully and completely to what they are saying. Hear them out without interrupting them. Show you are interested through a positive listening attitude and ask clarifying questions to make sure you have understood them correctly.
  • Be patient and understanding. Do not interrupt them. Once they have had their say, they will generally be a lot calmer and easier to reason with. The problem can then often be resolved in a civilized manner.
  • At the appropriate time, acknowledge their point of view and ask them to give you the court of now listening to your (organization's) position. For example; "I understand what you are saying, may I now explain our position to you, and then we can see how we could solve the problem together?"

Documentation

Recording accurate information about complaints, conflicts and their outcomes is a very important part of any business. This type of information will show (among other things);

  • Areas of the business that are not working properly
  • Processes and procedures that need to be changed.
  • Things that customer like / or do not like about your products or services
  • Gaps in the supply and demand of your products or services

With this information in hand, an organization can then use it to continuously improve its products, services, image and reputation.

Information can be recorded by way of (but not limited to):

  • Letters (or emails) of complaint. These should always be taken seriously. A written complaint should be answered immediately – even if it is simply to advise the customer what will happen next. An investigation of the complaint should follow and the customer should then be advised of the outcome. A report of the complaint and the outcome should then be sent to the relevant supervisor or manager for any further action needed.
  • Notes taken during a phone call or after a face to face meeting. Once again, it is good business practice to record the details of complaints or discussions about conflicts. These notes can be used for the organization's continuous improvement program but they can also be used as reminders of the conversation should a dispute arise.
  • Formal documentation. These could be; Refund forms Credit notes Contracts or agreement forms

Evaluating conflict situations

It is good business practice to continuously look for ways in which an organization can improve its practices and procedures. One of the main ways an organization can do this is by seeking feedback – comments from customers, staff and other visitors to the organization. Reasons for seeking feedback can include;

  • To ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business
  • To maintain its reputation
  • To learn from errors or mistakes
  • To make improvements to the service or product delivery or quality to improve productivity and efficiency
  • Follow up to see if customer is satisfied in the case of a complaint or conflict

In a matter as important as a complaint or a conflict, feedback can also be taken by way of a phone call, letter or even even a personal visit to the person concerned to ensure that any issue that exists between the conflicting parties has been successfully resolved.

When looking for how effective the solution to a conflict was, some of the questions that should be asked could include:

Why did this situation happen in the first place ? A close examination of the circumances surrounding the matter of conflict from both the customers and the organizations perspective can show up problems in procedure, policy or product or service delivery. Issues to look at could include;

  • Was there a breakdown in communication?
  • Is the service delivery as good as it could be?
  • Are the organization's policies and procedures as effective as they could be?
  • Was the service / product faulty in some way?

Did we resolve it effectively ? This is a very important question from the customers and the organizations point of view.

  • For the customer, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they are satisfied, that they have received value for their money and most importantly that they will probably continue to do business with you.
  • For the organization, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they have retained a customer and kept within organizational guidelines and budgets

When looking at how the problem was resolved:

  • Ask critical questions about the output – was it the best possible option for every one concerned? Did it cost your organization money? Too much money? Was the income worth the cost?
  • Evaluate the customer's reaction to your proposal – were they happy with it? Were they prepared to be reasonable? Will they continue to do business with you?
  • Compare the situation to any previous incidents of this nature. How was it handled last time? Is there a pattern emerging that should be addressed?
  • What can we do to prevent it happening in the future? By looking at how the problem occurred in the first place and how effectively you resolved it you can then take any necessary steps to prevent the same thing happening again. This might mean; A change in policy or procedure A change in a product or service training staff in customer service skills Training staff in conflict and complaint handling

By asking these, and other relevant questions, you can make improvements to the organization. This could lead to greater customer and staff satisfaction which will have a positive impact on the organizations continued success and prosperity.

For more information go to: www.lptraining.com.au

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7 Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Windshield Wipers and Fluid – Fog, snow and rain will cut down your visibility in winter, causing you to use your wiper blades and washer fluid much more than normal. An antifreeze solution along with winter wiper blades will help to fight ice build-up. Keeping extra windshield washer solvent on hand is helpful too!

Battery – A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals and fluid will help to make sure your car is ready for winter. The cold weather puts more stress on your battery. Many automotive parts stores will test your battery capacity free of charge.

Inspect Your Tires – If you’re not mounting winter tires on your vehicle, be sure to examine your current tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping as well as checking the sidewalls for cuts and nicks to help you to know if your tires are ready for the harsh weather. The colder weather will also reduce the pressure within your tires, causing them to perform poorly in the snow. You should frequently check your tire pressures.

Coolant – Along with regulating the engine temperature, a vehicle’s coolant system is responsible for protecting your engine against corrosion. For the winter season you will want to make sure that you are using the right ratio of coolant to water in your system as well as using the right type of coolant for your car. If you are unsure, you can check the effectiveness of your coolant with a simple and inexpensive test found at any car parts store.

Ice scraper – Keep your ice scraper in your vehicle and always clean off your car completely, not just a little peephole in the windshield. You must be able to see all your surroundings, your side mirrors and through your back window. Snow on top of your car could slide down and cover your windshield while you are slowing down or fly off onto someone else’s vehicle while you are driving. In some states it is the law that your vehicle is clear of snow and ice.

Survival Kit – Especially during times of slick road conditions and below freezing temperatures, you will want to keep a survival kit in the car at all times in case of emergency. Some items to consider include extra gloves, boots and blankets, flares, tire chains, a flashlight and extra batteries, car charger or portable cellphone charger, and a whistle. Also check your spare tire and make sure that your car jack is in good, working condition.

Keep Your Gas Tank Above Half – If you get stuck or stranded, the car’s engine will be your only source of heat and you will want to be sure you have enough fuel to keep you warm. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove snow from behind the tailpipe and keep it unobstructed to prevent lethal gas from accumulating in the vehicle.

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How Can a Packaging Custom Box Increase Your Sales and Attract More Customers?

Nowadays, marketing is everything, without a proper strategy and resources for advertising your company will not produce the results that you expect. In order to create these, you will also need a nice crafted, good looking product and of course, a custom box for packaging and shipping, because look matters. Most importantly look sells, so if you want to boost your product sales than be sure you create a unique and professional image of your product using custom boxes, that fits your product and adds a visual impact that determines customers to buy it. Let’s see how your custom box should look, in order to make a hit.

What colors should I use?
Well, statistics shows that for every type of product you should use a different color, that matches the product description. For example:

For food industry is recommended to use red, because it is found in many fresh products.

Brown can be used for furniture and wooden objects because it represents the natural color of the wood.

Green in usually associated with ecological products, so if your business is anything about environment protection this is your color.

Black can be used for household objects or miscellaneous things, it inspires confidence and control, this way showing you rule the market.

White it is associated with cleaning products because when you see white usually means cleanliness.

You can combine as many colors as you want and you obviously don’t have to respect these rules but as I said, these matches the products description so these should be your first options. But color isn’t everything, style counts too so we are heading to

How should my box look and what style should I choose?
Since now minimalist look is more and more appreciated, I think that this is the best approach. Also, text logo is a trend too so keep your custom box simple but elegant, to look professional, and to guarantee you a success.

A box loaded with too many information will scare the customers and will create a less attractive design.

Using multiple colors for my box
For the minimalist design, it is recommended to use a combination of 2 colors, one for the text and one for the background, usually, a good choice is to associate red and black, or white and gold. This colors create an elegant look and add more value to the product.

You can go for white and red too, or light green and pink, there are endless possibilities to make your custom box look very appealing are stylish, and also a high contrast between the colors will create an awesome effect and it will immediately attract customers.

You can use as many colors as you want but I don’t think you want your box to look like a rainbow. Keep it simple and you will succeed.

What type of box should I use?
There are many types but you have to choose one that makes your product stand out. For example, you can use Corrugated Trays for food, a Regular Slotted Container for small objects or a Full Over Lap for heavy items, choose the one that matches your product.

Be aware of how your product looks, it is very important to attract your first-time customers by the look of your product and then by the quality.

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