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Have the next great concept? Enter the NextGen global competition

SmartBrief - Fri, 2016-08-26 14:06
The Franchise Education & Research Foundation is seeking 20 young entrepreneurs for the 2017 NextGen Global Competition.
Categories: Latest News

Don't go it alone: Benefits of a mentor program

SmartBrief - Fri, 2016-08-26 14:06
IFA's WednesdayWise Webinar series explores the benefits of a mentorship program on Sept. 7 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Categories: Latest News

Opinion: Congress should overturn NLRB's joint-employer standard

SmartBrief - Fri, 2016-08-26 14:06
This September, lawmakers should act to roll back the expanded joint-employer standard created by the National Labor Relation -More
Categories: Latest News

Subcontractors must send info to Labor Dept. under new labor law

SmartBrief - Fri, 2016-08-26 14:06
Subcontractors who have changes under the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order will have to send their information straight to  -More
Categories: Latest News

August forecast to produce third monthly U.S. sales dip of 2016

AutoNews - Fri, 2016-08-26 14:00
August is expected to mark the third month in 2016 that U.S. new-vehicle sales declined from a year ago, forecasters said, offering more evidence that the market is at or possibly past its peak. Four forecasts call for sales to fall from 2.
Categories: Latest News

Target offers storewide discount

Store Front Talk Back - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:49
Target offers storewide discount lheller Fri, 08/26/2016 - 13:49

A breakfast concept grows in SoCal

Nation's Restaurant News - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:42
Would you like whiskey with that marshmallow French toast? Would you like whiskey with that marshmallow French toast?

read more

Top Stories: Pinterest, Kickstarter Reveal New Features

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:30

Pinterest has been adding new features to help businesses reach their target audiences in the platform. One of the most recent updates is a promoted video feature. And Pinterest isn’t the only online platform making changes. Crowdfunding site Kickstarter also added a follow feature, making it more social.

These updates and more are included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Social Media Pinterest Introduces Promoted Video, Three Other Platform Improvements

After testing with 12 early partners, including Lionsgate, bareMinerals and General Mills’ Old El Paso, Pinterest recently announced it is rolling out Promoted Videos (that is, video ads) in the U.S. and U.K., with featured Pins beneath.

Kickstarter Adds a Follow Feature, Makes the Funding Platform More Social

In news of interest to crowdfunding entrepreneurs, Kickstarter recently rolled out a new ‘Follow’ feature that allows users to follow creators directly and be first to find out when their next projects launch. Once you follow a Kickstarter creator, you’ll also be notified when they’ve backed a project that’s just getting off the ground, the crowdfunding company said.

How Snapchat’s New Acquisition Vurb Transforms Business Search

Snapchat is paying $110 million, with 75 percent in stock and 25 percent cash to acquire mobile contextual search engine Vurb. The deal also includes a $75 million retention bonus to keep Vurb founder and CEO Bobby Lo. Vurb touts itself as tool for helping consumers decide what to do and who they want to do it with.

Need to Share Some Content? Dlvr.it Provides Syndication Service

Dlvr.it provides brands, publishers and marketers with a way to syndicate content using their social media channels. Essentially, dlvr.it provides you with a simple way to curate content and automatically distribute it to preferred channels. The platform enables you to share content from RSS-enabled sites to social networks.

Management Your Business Can Overcome Huge Obstacles – Just Like the Rio Olympics (Watch)

A few weeks ago, many experts expected the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio to be a disaster. Now that the games are over, it seems that those experts were mistaken. That’s not to say that there weren’t any issues. Aside from the green pool water and the now infamous Ryan Lochte incident, there were several smaller incidents that went mostly unnoticed.

Marketing Tips Can  Your Business Benefit from Influencer Marketing? Intellifluence Says Yes

Joe Sinkwitz left a comfortable, high-paying career as a marketing executive to found a startup, Intellifluence, a platform that helps brands partner with influencers. The reason: To give small businesses access to the same type of influencer marketing opportunities that were only available to large corporations.

What Sasquatch Can Teach You About Brand Excellence

ESPN The Magazine is essentially the print equivalent of a prime-time advertising slot for big brands. But in a publication driven predominantly by striking imagery and cool aesthetics, standing out from the crowd can be nigh unto impossible. That’s where it comes in handy to have constant access to an eight-foot, 374-pound model covered in hair.

Retail Trends Shopkeep Boasts Simple, Inexpensive POS for Small Businesses

The Shopkeep app is an iPad point-of-sale (POS) system that claims to add simplicity and speed to sales functions SMBs need to effectively run and manage their operations. The company boasts a comprehensive iPad POS system for small business owners that seems to come fully loaded with all the big business features at a small business price.

Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight:  iMOBDEV Claims More Than 500 Customized Apps and Websites Worldwide

Mobile apps are becoming more and more popular for businesses in a variety of different industries. For those who want to look into getting their own mobile apps or even just building a more professional website, there’s iMOBDEV Technologies. The company prides itself on providing technologically advanced options for business websites and mobile apps.

Small Business Operations Time Running Out to Take Advantage of Error in USPS Shipping Rates

The U.S. Postal Service is announcing yet another change in its shipping rates. This change affects companies that ship First-Class Mail Parcel Retail lightweight packages. These packages weigh between 1 and 3 ounces. The cost of shipping these packages beginning August 28 will be $2.62. That’s a 17-cent increase over the current rate of $2.45.

New Research Says Houseplants Can Make Businesses Safer (Watch)

Your business might soon be adding indoor plants to the list of necessary safety equipment needed around the office.

Mobile Technology App or Credit? Why Cash May be Replaced by Mobile Payments

It is Monday morning in San Francisco, and you have just woken up late. To help in your rush to get to work on time, you use your favorite ride service app to pay for a driver to bring you to work. On the way to work, that pre-coffee, drowsy feeling starts to kick in, so you use your Starbucks app to order a coffee and a breakfast snack to get you through the morning.

Is Your Business App On Android? Here’s Why It Had Better Be

Planning a new app for your small business? Make sure you build it on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android, since that’s where you’re most likely to find your customers. According to a new Gartner report, Android is dominating the smartphone marketplace with a whopping 86.2 percent share in the second quarter of 2016.

Technology Trends Has Fitbit Been Stealing Trade Secrets? Judge Says No (Watch)

The competition between wearable device companies Fitbit and Jawbone is heating up. Jawbone recently accused Fitbit of violating patents and poaching its employees in an effort to steal trade secrets. But the U.S. International Trade Commission just ruled that Fitbit didn’t misappropriate anything. The ruling is obviously good news for Fitbit, although Jawbone wants to review the ruling.

Kobo Provides eBook Alternative to Amazon

When considering the platform on which to publish your next ebook or from which to purchase your next business ebook or online magazine, it may be helpful to consider that Amazon is not your only option. Kobo is a Toronto-based company that has been providing an open platform as well as it’s own eReader platform, since 2009.

The Robocall Strike Force Teaches How to Go the Extra Mile for Customers (Watch)

Chances are, you’ve received one of those unsolicited robocalls or automated text messages at some point. And you probably haven’t been too happy about it either. But a new task force made up of some of the biggest names in tech is trying to put a stop to those unwanted calls and texts. Google, Apple, Verizon, Microsoft and more are all part of the Robocall Strike Force.

Want to be Productive? New ZEEQ “Smart Pillow” Analyzes Sleep Patterns

Artificial light, and now information and communications technologies are some of the factors responsible for people sleeping less, so it is fitting ZEEQ is using the same technology claiming to offer better quality sleep.

What Uber’s Self-Driving Car Tests Can Teach You About Offering New Services (Watch)

Uber is starting to test out its self-driving car service in Pittsburgh. And it’s doing it with real passengers in the vehicles. There will still be a driver in the front seat of each self-driving car with hands on the wheel in case they need to take over at any point. And an engineer will also be in the passenger seat to take notes.

Kickstarter Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Top Stories: Pinterest, Kickstarter Reveal New Features" was first published on Small Business Trends

I consumed nothing but fast food for a week, and it was the easiest...

Topix - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:06

I consumed nothing but fast food for a week, and it was the easiest and cheapest diet plan I've ever tried When I told friends I was eating nothing but fast food for a week, most immediately thought of the famous Morgan Spurlock documentary " Super Size Me ." As fast-food chains increasingly try to appeal to health-conscious Americans, supposedly nutritious items are popping up on menus more and more.

Categories: Today's Food News

Three charged with selling horsemeat as beef in Britain

Topix - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:06

Three men have been charged with fraud for allegedly selling horsemeat as beef in Britain in 2012, prosecutors said on Friday. Eating horsemeat is culturally taboo in Britain and in 2013 the country's food industry was rocked by scandal when it emerged that horsemeat was being sold in some imported beef products.

Categories: Today's Food News

Three charged with selling horsemeat as beef in Britain

Topix - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:06

Three men have been charged with fraud for allegedly selling horsemeat as beef in Britain in 2012, prosecutors said on Friday. Eating horsemeat is culturally taboo in Britain and in 2013 the country's food industry was rocked by scandal when it emerged that horsemeat was being sold in some imported beef products.

Categories: Today's Food News

Google hires Airbnb exec to commercialize self-driving cars

AutoNews - Fri, 2016-08-26 13:04
Google's self-driving car project took a step closer to market with the hire of a top executive from Airbnb, the online vacation home rental marketplace.
Categories: Latest News

Lampert loans Sears $300M

Store Front Talk Back - Fri, 2016-08-26 12:23
Lampert loans Sears $300M lheller Fri, 08/26/2016 - 12:23

Luring millennials with coffee and tea

Nation's Restaurant News - Fri, 2016-08-26 12:07
Operators engage adventurous millennials with coffees and teas that are exciting, customizable.

read more

Esteban Kolsky of ThinkJar: Customer Service Will Not Exist in 10 Years

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2016-08-26 12:00

At this year’s ExCom 2016 event, one of the most intriguing and thought-provoking sessions came from Esteban Kolsky, former Gartner analyst and one of the most respected thought leaders focusing on customer service. Kolsky, who also is the founder of ThinkJar Research, presented on why he feels the customer service function, as we know it today, will be gone in 10 years.  

Below is an edited transcript taken from his presentation. To see the entire presentation, click on the YouTube video below.  

* * * * *

Esteban Kolsky: Customer service in 2025 is not going to exist. We’re not going to have customer service anymore in 10 years at the pace we’re going in. Customer service is going to be so bad that nobody’s going to want to do it. And the question that I have for you is are you ready for this. Is your company ready?

Small Business Trends: Why won’t customer service exist in 10 years?

Esteban Kolsky: We’re doing everything so wrong that we cannot continue because it’s not sustainable; and I’m very serious about that. First of all you can never make customers happy no matter what you try. It may make it happen one time or not the next time and the time after that. So aiming to make customers happy is the absolute worst thing that a business can do. It’s going to cost you money, time and resources that you don’t have to do something that you’re not going to achieve.

Small Business Trends: Why can’t we make customers happy?

Esteban Kolsky: The bottom line is most people cannot make customers happy because they’re not really trying to make them happy. You have to get to the point where you have balance. It’s got to be a win-win situation. Customer’s need to get what they want. But you also need to keep your business sustainable. And at some point that breaks down very quickly. It becomes too expensive to continue what we’re doing today for customer service. Customer service was never meant to exist. The only reason we have customer service today is because we moved from a production economy to a service economy. And when you do a service that is nothing tangible in it to offer something more we offer an exchange for money for service, is customer service. Ever since we started 40 years ago we’ve been doing a really bad and worse job every single time and have the numbers to prove this.

Small Business Trends: How is social impacting customer service?

Esteban Kolsky: Fifty-five percent of requests in social and social channels get ignored. Ignored! Imagine if you don’t pick up more than half the phone calls that you get are you doing more than half of the emails. What about half the people that come to your store. You ignore them. You don’t talk to them. You don’t ask them what they need.

Of those that do get addressed, eighty four percent get escalated to another channel. So why would you go on to Twitter, Facebook or Communities or anywhere if you end up on the phone? What’s the point of that? You as a company are spending money, time and resources on something that won’t give you any results. There’s a handful of people that have done great things and social service. For the most part every single company that started that is actually getting away from it. I do a survey every single year in year one for about five years ago.

Year one, 83 percent of people would try customer service through social; Facebook and Twitter. Year 2, 90 percent tried. Year three, 70 percent. Last year 60 percent. I do it again this year and I expect to get 40 percent based on conversations because it really doesn’t work; it doesn’t offer the benefits. So you can actually grease the squeaky wheel and go and talk to the person that is actually complaining on Twitter but there’s no value to that. You much rather generate a good customer service solution through the phone, email, chat, community, online through self-service and then direct people to get the answer.

Customers don’t want to complain, they want answers. That’s the bottom line of customer service, they want an answer. If you create a good system that gives the answer than people will not come to you.

Thirteen percent of companies say that 25 percent of interactions that they have for customer service is started on a social channel. 72 percent of customer service interactions via Facebook are never completed anywhere period. You go to Facebook and you talk to a brand and say I am having a problem. three out of four won’t get an answer. And remember customers are looking for answers. And finally you know 67 percent of social interactions that start customer service go back to the channel of origin, which is usually the phone, self-service, e-mail or something else. There’s no value to doing customer service the way we’re doing it. There’s value to do it right but we’re not doing it right. And that’s the big difference. Every single channel has a specific purpose, every single channel that you use has as a way of working. And if you don’t use it for that then you’re wasting time and money. And that’s what we’re doing today with Twitter and Facebook.

Small Business Trends: Where do communities fit in?

Esteban Kolsky: Everybody is talking about communities. That’s the way of the future; it is to some extent. Let me ask a question. When you have a customer service question today where do you go first? First place that you go is Google.

You get an answer and usually get directed to a community. That’s the way the customer service is done for the most part today. But 36 percent of companies have deployed communities in the last 12 months. Again this is coming from the research that I do. 84 percent report a savings in cost of transactions when completing communities. Of course there is a savings because you as a company have very little to do in communities. You have to make sure that the communities have the right information but the community takes care of everything. The whole idea of customer service via communities is that there’s a place people can go, get an answer, talk with smart people and then go from there. And that’s what a community is the people that have the answers. We start in one place you can find them there you get everybody who knows anything about it what do you need. And they give you an answer. There’s a lot of value in community. Community is the ultimate version of customer service. You probably heard this before. The best customer service is no service at all right. Nobody needs customer service. The only way that you do “no service” is through community because your customers will serve your other customers.

Small Business Trends: How about omnichannel support?

Esteban Kolsky: Less than 1 percent of people are actually doing omnichannel, although 97 percent are invested in omnichannel service because it’s hard. It doesn’t work because we don’t have the technology to make it work. The key to making omnichannel work is to be able to actually keep track of cross-channel interactions. If I start talking to Brent here in person and then I go on line and I look at his blog and then I go and buy something from an e-commerce site or has his name that should be all the same interaction. Keeping track of those three pieces of data in one central location today cannot be done. We don’t have the technology to do that. So what people invest in, less than 1 percent of companies are actually doing something with omnichannel. And from those 1 percent, only 23 percent are doing it well.

But the second one is the one that is really killing me. Cross-channel tracking of data; only 2 percent of companies are doing that today. Without tracking data across all the different channels, You cannot do omnichannel. So we don’t have the culture or we don’t have the understanding, and don’t have the technology to do this. So it really is not going to work.

Small Business Trends: Where does customer journey mapping fit in?

Esteban Kolsky: 34 percent of companies have undertaken some form of customer journey mapping less than 2 percent actually reported success. Everybody knows what more journey mapping is. It’s basically when I tell you what you are supposed to do if you want to talk to me. I try that with my kids. It doesn’t work. I promise you won’t work with your customers either. You can’t tell your customers how they need to interact with you. You need to build that infrastructure that ask your customers to do whatever they want to do. That’s the difference. I mean you can say yeah but 90 percent of my clients you know like to come to me with the fonts are going to be a great phone system. Fantastic. What about the other 10 percent? Well you know it can’t be that hard.

Guess what? Your best customer is in that 10 percent. So what are you going to do now. You build that journey that your best customers cannot utilize or you build only for your best customer. You know that 90 percent you cannot assume that the customers will always do the same thing.

Small Business Trends: What’s the value of customer engagement and how does that impact support?

Esteban Kolsky: Basically the bottom line is if you have good interactions with customers over time you form a relationship. If you have a relationship with customers over time and it generates trust, then that turns into engagement. Engagement is an outcome it’s not a metric. There’s no way you can measure it. So don’t try. If I know you well enough and I generate enough trust, and you know me well enough and generate enough trust, over time that turns into engagement. That’s what I can do about engagement.

Fifty-eight percent are doing customer engagement. You’ve seen all sorts of definitions for engagement but only less than 1 percent of companies say that they can measure customer engagement. And what they actually measure is how the outcome of engagement affects the rest of the interactions. 91 percent of non-engaged customers will leave when dissatisfied. So you have to engage your customers somehow.

If you know who your customers are and what they want, 65 percent of the time you can up-sell or cross-sell something. If you don’t know, only 12 percent of the time you will do that. So there’s money in actually getting engaged with your customers.

This article, "Esteban Kolsky of ThinkJar: Customer Service Will Not Exist in 10 Years" was first published on Small Business Trends

Cloud POS: Trending Now at Fast Casuals & QSRs

FastCasual.com - Fri, 2016-08-26 11:58
POS is the engine of a restaurant. CloudPOS makes that engine more dynamic than ever, giving operators the tools they need to drive sales and loyalty now and in the future.

Tuesday Morning adds two prototypes

Store Front Talk Back - Fri, 2016-08-26 11:28
Tuesday Morning adds two prototypes lheller Fri, 08/26/2016 - 11:28

Pizza Pie bakes up ROI with loyalty kiosks

FastCasual.com - Fri, 2016-08-26 11:00
Kiosks in the restaurant sphere are a big hit due to their ability to draw in customers. One pizza franchise saw firsthand how effective a kiosk campaign can be when it helped drive a ROI of more than 2,000 percent.

Amazon confirms Chicago store

Store Front Talk Back - Fri, 2016-08-26 10:55
Amazon confirms Chicago store lheller Fri, 08/26/2016 - 10:55