google glass roundup

Google says it’s going to try again on the previously unpopular wearable device, Google Glass. This is the same technology that resulted in traffic tickets, people getting kicked out of establishments and its own derisive term. But the company has a new team on the project and we could be seeing a reboot in the near future.

Also, Microsoft released the long-awaited Office 2016 suite of productivity apps. And the new program won’t be just for PC users. Mac users can now buy a full version of Office, too.

Read about these items and more in our weekly Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Technology Trends

Remember Google Glass? A Revival is Being Planned

Despite Google’s failure to hit the bull’s eye on its first run with the Google Glass project, the tech giant doesn’t seem ready to give up on the project. At least, not yet. For those who are hearing about the device for the first time, Google Glass is a wearable computer that gives users hands-free access to a number of smartphone features.

Office 2016 is Now Here

If you have been anticipating the final release of Office 2016, your wait is over. The latest version of Office has been in preview for some time now, but Microsoft announced on Tuesday that the worldwide release for Office 2016 is here. But this news is not just for Windows users. Apple users have access, too.

GoDaddy Pro Expands Features Available to Program Members

Web hosting and domain registrar GoDaddy says that it has surpassed the 50,000 user mark on its paid GoDaddy Pro program. The subscription service provides tools for Web developers and designers who, GoDaddy says, maintain about 60 percent of small business websites. The company launched its GoDaddy Pro service late last year.

Verizon Hum Makes Your Business Vehicle Secure

Verizon Telematics, a division of Verizon, has announced the release of hum, a technology that makes cars smart, regardless of the their wireless service provider. With Verizon hum, Small businesses can now benefit from services that have been available to fleet managers and insurance companies for more than a decade.

eCommerce

Amazon Webstores Merchants May be Headed to Shopify

Come July 2016, Amazon’s Webstore will be no more. With less than a year to go, the small and medium-sized businesses the platform was designed for will have to find another eCommerce solution. The company first made the announcement it would be discontinuing the service in March 2015.

eBay Launches New Speedy Shipping Service in Germany

eBay is set to launch a new membership program in Germany that includes a free, speedy shipping service. The eCommerce giant will debut the eBay Plus membership program in Germany, according to a Wall Street Journal report. With an annual price of $22, it includes free delivery within two days on items sold by thousands of merchants that sell product on eBay.

Online Marketing

Adam Bosworth of Salesforce on Customer-Centricity and the Internet of Things

Last week during Salesforce’s massive Dreamforce conference, they officially announced their Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud to help organizations leverage the power of connected devices – and the information they can provide – to create better real time experiences throughout the customer life cycle.

Livestreaming Lets Brands and Entrepreneurs Target Millennials

Livestreaming communities put businesses on a fast track for discovering and engaging Millennials. By 2018, half of America’s workforce will identify as Millennials. They cringe at the thought of being “targeted” by traditional marketing tactics. Instead, they’d rather be seen as future leaders, collaborators and idea-tors.

What is Visme and How Do I Use It for Business?

If two of your greatest obstacles to implementing an effective content marketing campaign are “Producing Engaging Content” and “Producing Content Consistently” you’re not alone. The fact is that many businesses cite “lack of internal content creation resources” as their No. 1 challenge to content marketing success.

Local Marketing

Subject of Google Robocall Lawsuit No Stranger to Complaints

The same California marketing company that Google sued over robocalls has a history of online complaints against it, along with one other lawsuit. Local Lighthouse of Tustin, California, has had at least 250 complaints (that we counted) lodged against it on websites such as Yelp.com, ComplaintsBoard.com, Pissedconsumer.com, and RipoffReport.com.

Product Lists

25 Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

Most of people spend enough time on computers every single day to want shortcuts for the repetitive tasks they perform most often. For many people, the mouse is the preferred tool. But there are a lot of Windows keyboard shortcuts that are faster and more efficient. And there are some exclusive to Windows 10.

Amazon Has Four New Tablets, Including One for Just $50

If there was one company that was going to introduce a six-pack of tablets, it was going to be Amazon. The company just released four new Amazon tablets to its Fire line and one of them comes in at $49.99. Amazon’s thinking, at that price, why not grab a few? If you decide to buy five, Amazon will throw in one for free in a handy six-pack carrying case.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Angels’ Cup Founders Inspired by Love of Coffee

Coffee is something you can get just about anywhere. But the experience of a blind coffee tasting is a bit more rare. Even more rare is a coffee tasting experience, or cupping as it’s commonly referred to, that’s done via an app. That’s what Angels’ Cup provides. The relatively new business is working on growing a steady base of loyal coffee fans.

Small Business Operations

Highlights from the Twitter Chip Card #SmallBizChat

A deadline of sorts is approaching for small businesses. As of Oct. 1, merchants are being asked to begin accepting new EMV or “chip” cards replacing the older magnetic strip cards in use since the 1970s. The new cards contain a microchip and are inserted into the point-of-sale terminal for the entire duration of payment, not simply swiped as with older cards.

Social Media

Facebook Tracking Likes? Soon They will Help Target Ads

One of the ways Facebook collects data about its users is through the Like button. With a snippet of code added to a Webpage, the company knows the sites you visit. While this has been a point of contention for privacy advocates, Facebook has permission — understood or not — from its users to track their activities.

Facebook Signal Will Help Journalists Cover Your Business

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs now use Facebook to share news and information about their brands, products or services. Now, a new tool called Facebook Signal will make it easier for journalists to follow, collect content and report on your brand or business — or any other newsworthy content on Facebook.

Pinterest Monthly Users Hit 100 Million, Is Your Company One?

Pinterest has crossed a pretty big line – 100 million users. A blog post by Enid Hwang, Pinterest’s community manager reads: “Back in 2010 when we first started Pinterest, we were blown away by how many ways people found to use it.

Startup

Startup Gives Students a New Way to Seek Scholarships

As the cost of college continues to increase, students and their families have had to seek out and find creative ways to cover all of the expenses. Abby Saxastar was one of those students. But in order to cover her tuition at Stetson University, a private college in central Florida, Saxastar got some help from a new startup, Raise.me.

What’s in the DNA of an Entrepreneur?

What makes entrepreneurs tick? While there’s likely no definitive answer, Hiscox Insurance recently released its 7th annual “DNA of an Entrepreneur” report which contains a lot of interesting insights. There is a lot of good news for American entrepreneurs in the report — U.S. small businesses are best in the world when it comes to revenues, profits, and customers.


Google Glass Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Top Stories: Google Plans Glass Revival, Office 2016 Debuts" was first published on Small Business Trends

Encourage Customers to Complain

Customer complaints are just a part of doing business.

Reducing the number of those complaints is an admirable goal. But there’s another school of thought that says you should actually encourage customers to complain and try to get even more of them.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should provide bad service or sub-par products just to anger your loyal customers. What it means is that you should try to make it as easy as possible for customers to log their complaints with you when there is something that makes them unhappy about their experience.

Plenty of customers have had bad experiences with companies but chose not to complain for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it could be because it’s too complicated to reach out to a real person or they just feel like it won’t make any difference.

When those customers don’t complain, it means your company doesn’t get a chance to right the wrong. You don’t learn anything from the experience. And you’re likely to lose the customer even though they didn’t officially file a complaint with you.

For this reason, experts like Adrian Swinscoe, who recently covered this topic in a Forbes post, feel that encouraging unhappy customers to complain can have a huge impact on customer service. Swinscoe wrote:

“Encouraging complaints from customers will not only help firms get better at handling and resolving them it will also help them encourage their customers to provide better and more useful feedback. But also, and this is the icing on the cake, helping and encouraging customers to complain and get their complaints off their chest can also help them feel better and improve their perception and memory of the ‘experience’ that they have had.”

To make the whole experience easier and better for your customers, there are a few things you can do.

First, you should have a few clearly outlined ways for customers to lodge complaints with you if they have them. Since some customers are more comfortable reaching out in different ways, offering a few options, such as phone, email and social media, can be beneficial.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the time and manner in which you respond to complaints.

If you only read through them once a week and fail to respond in a way that’s acceptable for customers, then there’s no point in even encouraging them to complain in the first place. You simply reinforce the idea that complaining won’t accomplish anything.

When you get those complaints, make it a top priority to turn the experience around for your customers. A satisfactory response could lead to more customers feeling comfortable enough to complain which, over time, could lead to less of them feeling the need to do so in the first place.

Customer Feedback Form Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Why You Should Encourage Customers to Complain" was first published on Small Business Trends

Phew, good thing a Volkswagon wasn’t chosen to take Pope Francis around on his US tour, huh?

 

Challenges abound when running a company on the world stage, which is where any business can find itself these days, whether intentional or not. Heightened visibility makes us all better – unless you’re… committing massive fraud or astronomically raising the price of AIDS medication, transparency is a good thing.

 

No more trying to work with a broken smartphone screen because a replacement will arrive within hours, a simple and brilliant tool for tracking water consumption, and free publicity for your startup – you can’t say we don’t know how to party responsibly on the KillerStartups Weekly Roundup.

 

roundup body

 

Killer Startups

  • Nearly everyone knows the pains of dealing with a damaged smartphone. DropBot stops the heartbreak before it sets in, helping to fix your phone or put a replacement in your hands before business suffers.
  • It’s on – lunch, snacks, dinner, that is. Food Moves is a mobile app that gives foodies all the real-time food truck information they need to track down their faves.
  • Don’t you just hate finally hearing the traffic report while your stuck in five lanes of vehicles going nowhere? Morning Traffic Report gives you the best route to work – avoiding the jams.
  • Far better than a hotline for those struggling with mental health issues is direct access to doctors and immediate support. KnKt’d is a smart system for clients to stay connected with their care network.

 

Living the Startup Life

  • Tired of the search for local business ratings proving as confusing as the second season of True Detective? Three cheers for a single site that gives unbiased deets for any kind of local business.
  • Umm, since it’s fundamental to ALL life, maybe just maybe we should try a little harder to better manage our water supply.
  • Storytelling is more than a marketing buzzword. It’s an ingrained and essential part of the human project. And the tradition is alive and well online. Less clickbait and more storytelling, please.

 

Startup Tips & Trends

  • From the mind of the creator of Ship Your Enemies Glitter comes a random way to find great, useful websites annnnnnd a fun way for startups to snag free publicity.
  • Sometimes the more you obsess about your website the more likely you are to overlook something. A fresh set of eyes – outside testers – who can ensure that everything is functioning properly are priceless. And, fortunately, not overpriced.
  • Mercy. If complicated collaboration platforms and too many applications have made you want to abandon teamwork altogether, you’ll definitely want to have a look at this all-in-one communication solution.

 

Photo Credits

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock | wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

The post KillerStartups Weekly Roundup appeared first on KillerStartups.

Ways to Drive Customers Away

According to Business Insider, personal income and spending are increasing again in 2015 at rates that haven’t been seen in nearly a decade. They further quote economist Paul Ashworth as saying, “We are finally seeing signs of consumers beginning to spend the gasoline savings they have been sitting on since the start of this year.”

So, it’s a good time to be in business and to expand your customer base. Unless, of course, you figure on using these bad business practices as ways to drive customers away.

Customer Gouging

The “customer is a lemon — see how much you can squeeze out of them” as a way of doing business has not died out — yet.

Far from it. In an article on Huffington Post, travel writer Kevin Richberg narrates his harrowing story of being gouged by mandatory resort fees in Las Vegas. In fact, he was charged more for things like internet access, pool use and parking than he was charged for his room. He calls it a racket.

Does your business have hidden fees and small print meant to cozen customers into paying more than they bargained for? Your short term gain will never match your long term customer loss.

The Customer is Always Wrong

Andrew O’Connor, Director of Search at American Addiction Centers has over eight years of marketing agency management experience.

He told me, “Arguing with clients is the worst customer retention strategy in the world. As a businessperson, you can either be right all the time, or you can keep your customers happy. But you can’t do both. Learn to listen and learn from your customers. It might bruise your ego, but it’ll help your bottom line.”

Have a Nice Day

A clerk who says this on Christmas Eve or on the 4th of July shows exactly how much he or she really cares about the customer — NOT AT ALL. You and your staff need to be aware of the time, date, and context of your interactions with customers. Talk to them, don’t just parrot phrases.

Who’s Minding the Store?

The kind of phone system you use tells customers a lot about your business, and your willingness to be helpful to them. Consumers who have to jump through hoops in order to get to a real live person on an automated system are not likely to call back again.

According to Money Magazine, the average wait time to get through to the IRS (like anybody REALLY wants to talk to them anyways) is 23 minutes. If one of your customers had to wait that long on hold, just how much longer do you think they’d remain your customer?

None of Your Business

Transparency is a good thing in business, but many businesses would rather keep customers in the dark about where their products are made, how their services work, or just how much they cost. If you can’t be, or won’t be, upfront with basic consumer information you should go work for the CIA and not try to run a business — because you’re going to fail at it sooner rather than later.

The Buck Stops Where?

President Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk in the White House that read: “THE BUCK STOPS HERE.” Ultimately, he took responsibility for everything that happened under his administration. Can you say the same for your business? Are you ready to step in and fix whatever needs fixing if your subordinates can’t or won’t do it for a customer? If not, you’d better start thinking about taking early Social Security — you’ll need it, because your business is not going to last very long.

Cost Cutting That Costs Customers

Driving down costs is certainly a legitimate business strategy, but not at the cost of customer’s health and safety. Small business consultant Jean Scheid posted an article on Bright Hub about the Mattel Company’s disastrous outsourcing of manufacturing to China, which resulted in toys coated with toxic lead paint. The fallout was huge, and Mattel lost a hefty chunk of its customer base over that incident. Whatever service or brand your business may offer, never settle for second-best or questionable merchandise. Customers are not the forgiving type, and their lawyers are hungry for litigation.

Angry Customer Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "7 Effective Ways to Drive Customers Away" was first published on Small Business Trends