Backed by Y Combinator - Summer 2022
Coming soon to Europe & Brazil Sign up for early access

Category: Advice

How you can leverage technology to reduce pressure on customer support teams

  |   By  |  0 Comments

 

The demand for customer support has increased greatly over the years, putting pressure on companies to meet consumer demands. However, many businesses struggle to keep up due to lack of resources and evolving landscapes for customer support teams. 

In a survey carried out by Intercom [1], it was found that the top challenges faced by customer support teams are:

  1. Poor workflow efficiency
  2. Attracting and retaining quality staff
  3. Inefficient handling of customer queries

Support teams can leverage technological advances to optimise their way of working in order to adapt to growing demands. Here are a few ways you could utilise tech to alleviate the pressures your customer support teams face:

 

        1. Use a phone system that supports remote work 

Customer support teams have reduced in size due to the pandemic resulting in increased pressure on staff. Team leads have also faced difficulties attracting and retaining staff due to large scale burnout. 

To overcome this and adapt to the changing landscapes of work, support team leads should look into investing in phone systems that support remote working like Devyce. 

With the Teams Plan on Devyce, you can provide your employees with two numbers on their phones allowing them to work from anywhere meaning employees can prioritise their wellbeing. This will also enable hiring of talent remotely – an attraction point in hiring which could lead to increased retention of staff. 

 

        2. Use a phone system that facilitates call groups and forwarding

Customer expectations have grown and only 24% of support teams surveyed stated they were confident they could meet them [1]. Often customer queries can’t be answered by the first person they get in contact with. The biggest challenge here is transferring calls to the right person on the team in a timely manner.  

To improve the efficiency of your customer support service, look out for phone systems with features to aid your customer’s journey. For example, on Devyce’s Teams Plan you are able to set up an auto attendant which filters inbound calls to the relevant call groups, streamlining the workflow and minimising wait and transfer times. 

        3. Utilise CRM and analytic software with your phone system

Poor workflow management is a key reason for staff burn out. To optimise, team leads need to regularly revise operations by setting up and tracking call metrics. This is hard to do on traditional phone systems so companies should explore newer phone systems. At Devyce, we offer a Teams Management Portal – a platform to view call analytics, allowing optimisation of workflow to meet goals. 

The Teams Plan also offers integrations with CRM softwares like Hubspot so you can manage your customer’s journeys. Creating an integrated tech stack improves workflow efficiency as it reduces the need for switching between softwares and ensures all team members can quickly access relevant data to handle customer queries. 

 

Leveraging tech to optimise your support service strategy is the key difference between companies that exceed customer expectations and those that fall behind due to not having the infrastructure to handle the growing demands. Help your team flourish today by embracing innovative advances in technology with Devyce. 

 

References:

[1] https://www.intercom.com/resources/books/customer-support-trends-emea-2022

 

Impact of rising living costs on SMEs

  |   By  |  0 Comments

SME business owners are going through it this year. 

They’ve been hit with various economic factors fueled by the pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This is leaving a steady trail of small businesses closing down as the pressures they face become insurmountable. 

So exactly what pressures are businesses facing and how can they stay afloat throughout a storm that appears to have no end in sight? We’ve pulled together a few tips for SMEs:

 

Rise of living costs:

Inflation is forecasted to peak at 13% in Q4 2022 and was at its highest rate since 1982 this July at 10.1% [1]. The soar in living costs has various impacts on SMEs:

  • Decrease in consumption, especially of non-essential products/services 
  • Raises in price of products/services heightens competition possibly leading to lowered customer retention 
  • Overhead expenses to be cut eg. lowered budgets for marketing etc
  • Pressure for increasing employee salaries 

SMEs will need to internally audit and re-calculate their operations and budgets to tackle this. You’d be surprised how many unexpected costs could be cut down with simple solutions. An example of this is telecommunications costs. 

Many businesses still operate their customer support via traditional landline phone systems requiring contracts with carriers. As these contracts come to an end and with inflation at an all-time high, SMEs are faced with big telecommunications bills for the coming years. To cut down on these costs, switching to a VoIP phone system like Devyce will be beneficial.

Devyce is a hybrid phone system that provides two numbers on your phone. This means businesses won’t need to invest in physical landlines or providing handsets to employees while still operating with a reliable phone system. 

 

Energy crisis:

The price cap of energy costs is set to increase to 80% in October 2022 resulting in an increase of roughly £1600 per year for “typical” consumption levels of energy per household [2]. What does this mean for SMEs?

  • Providers are removing lower cost tariffs 
  • Pressure to reduce essential costs to accommodate which have negative long term effects 
  • Closures of physical locations 

Ways to overcome the spike in energy costs is to invest in sustainability and adopt greener practices. For example, with an abundance of reliable communications tools available such as Devyce, many businesses could look into adopting remote working models to cut down on use of office space. This saves businesses money, reduces impact on the environment due to reduced commuting of employees and use of energy at offices. 

For more sustainable solutions that could save your business on massive energy costs, check out our blog post:

Five unexpected ways businesses can be more sustainable 

Supply chain issues:

The supply chain problem is a cycle of poor management of logistics both internally and externally for businesses. The challenges with supply chain logistics are partly due to less staff resulting from the pandemic and is expected to continue into 2023 [3].

 

This has resulted in:

  • 79% of SMEs facing increased prices from suppliers over the past 6 months [4]
  • Major delays in exporting of goods leading to long wait times for customers to receive goods, affecting customer experience
  • Exacerbation of inflation leading to increased competition between businesses

What SMEs could do to minimise the effect is firstly to internally audit their processes eg. stock intake and maintenance etc. By optimising these processes, SMEs can mitigate the supply chain challenge by ensuring they can plan well for stock replenishment. Business owners could also look into working with more local suppliers which are more likely to be able to deliver with minimal disruptions. 

The past couple of years have undoubtedly been tough on small businesses. The differences between businesses that are able to continue trading and those that are forced to close are flexible businesses making necessary adaptations to face the piling challenges. Make a smart business decision and find out more about how Devyce could help you cut costs and tackle these challenges here:

References:

[1] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9428/

[2] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9491/#:~:text=The%20energy%20price%20cap%20increased,consumption%20paid%20by%20direct%20debit.

[3] https://www.resilinc.com/in-the-news/supply-chain-delays-will-spread-well-into-2022-and-possibly-2023/#:~:text=Supply%20Chain%20Delays%20Will%20Spread%20Well%20Into%202022%20and%20Possibly%202023,-Sep%2002%2C%202021&text=According%20to%20an%20analysis%20by,the%20overstrain%20in%20transportation%20systems.

[4]https://startups.co.uk/news/supply-chain-inflation-uk-smes/

10 Reasons Why Customers Choose Devyce

  |   By  |  0 Comments

 

What are the reasons our customers choose Devyce you ask? 

Here are the top ten reasons why our happy customers chose us and what you could benefit from by switching to Devyce for your small business:

  • Improve efficiency

We know the feelings. Carrying around two phones can get frustrating. Then getting confused which phone to use for a call and accidentally using your personal phone to call a client. Also feeling irritated from having to switch between Apple and Android systems if your work phone is not a system you are particularly used to. So inefficient right?

Devyce solves this problem by providing you two numbers on your phone. 

Your Devyce phone number is stored in the cloud and phone calls/texts are sent over the internet instead of traditional phone lines which means you can have an additional operating number on your phone.

  • Save money with affordable pricing

We help our customers cut down on a costly business expense by removing the need for a work phone. With Devyce, you don’t need to sign up for expensive handsets and contracts for your employees as they can bring their own device. 

Our pricing plans (hyperlink to price page) are simple, affordable and transparent. No hidden fees, no lengthy contracts that are hard to get out of and an easy sign-up process. Within minutes you’d have an operating UK number ready. Save time and money for your business so you can focus on the more important things. 

  • Improve Sustainability

While saving money and time for your business, why not contribute to saving the planet as well? Deloitte global predicts that around 146 million tonnes of CO2 or equivalent emissions will be generated from smartphones in 2022 and 83% of these emissions comes from the manufacturing, shipping and first year usage [1]. 

It’s estimated that 910kg of CO2 is generated per employee working in offices each year [2] and the use of a work phone contributes to this figure. Using Devyce decreases your yearly in office carbon footprint, helping to promote more sustainable practices within SMEs.

  • Fast and reliable

Our customers are always able to receive those essential business calls wherever they are. 

Devyce works by facilitating calls and texts over the internet. This means all you need is a strong internet connection either over wifi or 4G/5G. 

Advancements in internet access technology means staying connected wherever you are, has become increasingly easy. You’ll rarely have to worry about downtime which can happen more often with traditional phone line services. Never miss business calls again with Devyce. 

  • Improve work life balance

It can be difficult to switch off from the workday when your work phone is still pinging or maybe even still getting calls. Many people find it hard to resist looking at their work phone out of work hours “just in case” there is something important that has popped up. From there it can be easy to fall into the rabbit hole of responding to work notifications well past business hours. 

Devyce have helped our customers improve their work life balance with a single button. We have a handy ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature where you can set the business hours after which you won’t receive notifications. 

  • Work from anywhere 

Take your Devyce anywhere… and we mean, anywhere in the world. Over 50% of our customers currently use Devyce abroad. Whether you are travelling for business or working remotely abroad, you can keep your UK phone number operating from there while also saving your business money on roaming costs. 

If you have a phone number attached to your business that you’d like to keep using while abroad, you can easily port your number to us (if you need help with this, contact us here: https://devyce.com/contact-us/). All of this means you can facilitate remote working for your business and even hire globally, further saving you money from lack of need for office space. 

  • Easily manage your teams

It can be tricky to stay on top of your team’s client call activity with a remote or hybrid based working model. For rapidly growing businesses, you might also struggle with managing a fast-growing team. Devyce makes this easier by providing team leaders with access to a Team’s Management Portal on our Teams Plan (hyperlink to pricing page)

From the portal you can quickly allocate/de-allocate numbers and create call forwarding pathways or groups within your team. This means you can easily keep numbers operating while an employee is away and quickly route client calls to the right person, allowing you to create a seamless customer service experience for your business. 

  • Monitor the performance of your calls

Get access to a variety of key metrics like in/outbound call durations to monitor your performance as well as analysis tools. These can be easily navigated on the Team’s Management Portal and allows you to keep track of how well your business calls are performing, optimise your calls to drive KPIs and achieve those all-important business goals. 

  • Streamline your customer relationship management

Ensure that all your customers are taken care of by integrating a CRM platform like Hubspot with the Devyce Team’s Management Portal. This allows you to stay on top of individual customer queries and makes sure you never miss business calls. It also allows your team to have access to customer query logs so that any member of your team can quickly provide help. Streamlining your customer support flow is crucial to any growing business and Devyce helps you take that extra step for your customers. 

  • Flexible scalability

Whether you are growing or taking a step back before the next stage in your business, you can easily activate/deactivate numbers on your network to grow (or downsize) your Teams Plan. Our affordable price point also makes it easy for you to scale the usage to your businesses’ needs whether you are just starting out or already a medium sized enterprise, Devyce is flexible. 

To quote The Sound of Music: 🎵These are a few of (ours & our customers’) favourite things about Devyce. Our customers have thrived from using Devyce and we’re pretty sure your business will benefit too 😉 

If these 10 reasons aren’t quite enough to convince you yet and would prefer to see Devyce in action before you commit, that’s no problem! It’s super easy to book a demo with us here https://devyce.com/demo/ 

 

References:

[1] https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/insights/industry/technology/technology-media-and-telecom-predictions/2022/environmental-impact-smartphones.html

[2] https://observablehq.com/@mrchrisadams/how-do-i-work-out-the-carbon-footprint-of-providing-space-to-w

Three ways firms can help Black staff thrive beyond Black History Month

   |   By  |  0 Comments

 

Black History Month may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we should table the conversation about supporting black employees within companies. 

There needs to be an ongoing effort by business leaders to improve inclusivity and integration of BAME communities in the workplace. Although much has been done for inclusivity, sadly minority communities still face many challenges with their professional progression after passing the first few hurdles. 

So how can firms build a better environment for black employees to better support them? Here are three things you could implement:

 

  1. Re-evaluate your protocols and gather feedback
    One of the first things to do is to re-examine your internal procedures and company structures. By analysing the data available to you within your organisation, you can identify the areas of organisational dynamics that need improvement.Research has shown that UK black employees hold only 1.5% of senior roles, which has only increased 0.1% since 2014 [1]. This reveals a deep-rooted organisational problem that generates barriers affecting progression of BAME communities.

    Although many companies may argue that the opportunities for senior roles for BAME employees exist but there aren’t enough BAME employees to be considered, this highlights a bigger problem faced by minority communities in workplaces.
    Surveys have revealed that 46% of black employees plan to leave their workplaces due to negative experiences with workplace culture and racism in the UK [2]. This coupled with the systemic barriers to their progression makes it extremely difficult for representation of BAME in leadership to improve.
    Therefore, it’s important to create a systematic and continuous method of gathering feedback from your minority employees in order to learn and build better working experiences.

  2.  Encourage difficult conversations and educate within your organisation
    While data is important to power better decision making, it’s also important to have those necessary and sometimes difficult conversations within your company.In the post pandemic world where we are adopting an “everything back to business” mindset, it can be easy to sweep certain problems under the rug as we focus our efforts on recovering industries. However, in order to create positive change, the conversations surrounding inequality still need to be encouraged – and regularly.

    For example, conversations about the gender pay gap need to also address the extremely low percentage of less than 0.1% of black women being top earners in the UK [3]. While the gender pay gap is a different challenge in the workplace, we cannot neglect the role that race has in it as well.

    By regularly having such conversations, employees within firms can better learn and understand the workplace experiences of BAME communities and empower introspection within your firm that leads to positive changes.

  3. Lead consciously with purpose and build trust
    Building a workplace culture that supports black employees may arguably be redundant without trust in the leadership.You could be creating an outstanding structure within your organisation that supports growth of BAME employees but if they don’t believe you have their best interests as a priority, you will likely still see poor retention of minority employees.

    A culture of trust is largely built around the credibility of leadership, an atmosphere of fairness and demonstrating a high level of respect for all employees. It is important that those in leadership positions have contact with minority employees and seek to understand their experiences within the workplace.

    Although we often blame the “system” for inequalities and leaders are responsible for changing it, they must remember that they are also part of the system and therefore will be doing or not doing things that hold minority communities back.

    Speaking to BAME employees and asking simple questions like “how could I support you?” or “do you feel there is anything I may be doing unintentionally that is blocking you?” is powerful in getting the insight necessary to create change. It can also help facilitate more conversations in the workplace around inequality. 

    These recommendations will not be the definitive driving force for positive change however it is a good starting point for firms to improve. Companies will need to be consistent in their efforts beyond Black History Month and continuously learn and adapt their approaches in order to move towards creating workplaces where employees are valued and treated fairly.

References:

[1] https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1744977/black-employees-hold-just-1-5-per-cent-of-senior-roles

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-13/almost-half-of-uk-black-professionals-plan-to-leave-their-jobs?leadSource=uverify%20wall

[3] https://www.lse.ac.uk/News/Latest-news-from-LSE/2021/c-March-21/Black-women-are-least-likely-to-be-among-UKs-top-earners

The strain placed on businesses that provide a work phone

  |   By  |  0 Comments

 

It’s time to stop carrying two separate phones and avoid using your personal number at work. 

Did you know that issuing a work phone and allowing personal numbers to be used can place strain on three focal areas of your business, its economic prosperity, the environment, and your employee’s well-being. Here’s how…

 

  • The economic prosperity of your business

Giving out a work phone is uneconomical. Especially when the majority already have a perfectly usable phone that they can just simply port a new number into.

An iPhone’s price can range from £300-900, that’s a large expense for any business. Considering also that this investment may only last a few years due to the constant upgrades and technology advancements.

 

As we are slowly transitioning back to normal life after COVID-19, business travel will inevitably continue to increase, and that alongside BREXIT means one thing… increased roaming charges when you send your employees abroad! 

Productivity. A new buzzword. Productivity is vital for a company’s profitability and ultimately its long-term success. But how are businesses tracking your productivity on a personal device? The answer is that they are struggling, as 40% of managers struggle to monitor performance, placing strain on businesses [1]. But by porting a second number onto an existing device, using Devyce, you can improve your business’s productivity and communication through the management portal. The portal allows transparent reporting of your employee’s data, so you can get the most out of every employee and know when to reward them or promote those that are excelling. 

Teams Plan – Devyce 

  • Your Employees

Using a personal number at work is accentuating the ‘always on’ mentality because you can still receive calls ‘after-hours’ to your main phone number, meaning you are always on the clock. This leaves your employee’s work-life balance far from balanced. This can lead to an array of negative effects, highlighted in a US Research study that found receiving messages after working hours increases negative emotions, stress and insomnia [2]. As well as excessive smartphone use affects your cognitive and learning skills. Ultimately leading to employee ‘burnout’; a recent study found that 77% of American workers have experienced [3].

A solution: It has been found that using your personal phone, with a second number, can rebalance your work-life and relieve the above effects as it is easy to clearly differentiate between work and personal calls.

Do Not Disturb Feature

Without this clear differentiation, all calls look the same, whether a personal or a work-related call. This means you don’t always know how to respond when answering the phone, which can leave employees feeling that they’re always on.

  • The Environment

Sustainability is a fundamental area to consider in your business today due to its importance for investors, employees and consumers. However, smartphones are a large contributor to the carbon footprint and are killing the planet. 

Did you know that…

  • By 2040 it is predicted that smartphones will have the biggest carbon footprint in the tech industry [4].
  • Just one iPhone X alone creates 79kg of CO2 in its lifetime [5].

By removing the need for second devices, you can lower your carbon footprint, lower your expenses, retain happy and healthy employees and in turn impress your stakeholders!

 

References:

[1]

https://hbr.org/2020/07/remote-managers-are-having-trust-issues 

[2]

https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/06/28/turning-off-your-work-phone-and-emails-could-help-reduce-after-hours-work-stress-study.html

[3]

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/burnout-survey.html

[4]

https://www.irishnews.com/magazine/science/2018/03/02/news/how-our-smartphones-are-hurting-the-environment-1268849/ 

[5]

https://reboxed.co/blogs/outsidethebox/the-carbon-footprint-of-your-phone-and-how-you-can-reduce-it

Why you should apply to jobs even if you may not fully qualify for them

  |   By  |  0 Comments

The corporate job market is at an all-time high, with a record number of job openings. Specifically, the graduate job market is soaring. The number of vacancies has risen by 59% and is set to see an expected 7% salary rise, compared to the figures released in May last year [1].

Despite this boom, entry-level jobs used to be the leading pathway into the workplace for new graduates but now many require prior experience. This was highlighted in a 2021 study that found that 34% of graduate-level jobs and 24% of junior jobs in the UK require at least one year of work experience [2].

Scrolling through numerous job websites and spotting an Entry Level Job that seems interesting, is quickly scrolled past when the dreaded phrase ‘two years of experience required’ is read and this can be incredibly frustrating. This can often be the only element a candidate is missing. Yet, women hold back if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria, while men only apply if they meet at least 60% [3]. It is important to remember that no candidate can meet 100% of the criteria. As there is simply no such thing as a ‘perfect candidate’.

Often this requirement is merely just a guideline and not a necessity. Employers also use this to narrow down the applicant pool, to avoid them getting flooded with unqualified candidates that have absolutely no knowledge of the industry [4].

Don’t let this requirement limit you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous real-life stories that support this advice, including a recent article written by Janet Phan and published in the Harvard Business Review sharing her story. She found a job outside of her expertise which required skills she did not have. Yet, she applied anyway. This resulted in her landing a job at a major tech company! So, her advice would be, apply! [5].

We’ve asked one of our interns, ‘Kate’ who is fresh out of university, about her experience and her advice/ tips. 

Kate:

Finding a job straight out of university is a difficult and daunting task. It is incredibly frustrating when you search for hours to find a job that interests you, and you see you need years of experience. Why would I have years of experience, I have just finished university. 

After speaking to friends, family and industry experts I have taken away 5 incredibly valuable pieces of advice when faced with this dilemma. Firstly, there are many ways to tweak your C.V to work around the requirement. 

  1. Holm in on your transferable skills. Speaking from experience, as someone who entered the job market with no industry experience. Using these transferable skills when writing your C.V or a covering letter is a great idea!

  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good covering letter. 

I managed to slip these transferable skills into my C.V by including details about my university projects or modules I completed. I tailored each one I sent, by including different keywords that were in the description of that particular job. 

  1. Read the job description!

  2. Prepare! If you do manage to get an interview, preparation is key! Make sure you have spent time researching the company, their values, their culture, what they do, and any of their recent projects. Prepare for any questions they may ask you, but try not to over prepare! Get a good balance, you want to be yourself and you don’t want to seem scripted or answer the wrong question because you heard what you had prepared for!
  3. Be confident and take risks. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no. At least you tried. You didn’t lose anything.

 

OR take a step back. You don’t need to rush, try and get some experience, this is not only good for filling that ‘missing experience’ experience but can also help you find your niche! An internship is a great idea!

 

References:

[1]

https://www.cityam.com/uk-graduates-set-to-enter-strongest-job-market-in-years/

[2]

https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/viral-post-asks-why-entry-level-jobs-require-years-of-experience

[3]

https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions-lodestone/body/pdf/Gender-Insights-Report.pdf

[4]

https://upjourney.com/why-do-entry-level-jobs-require-experience

[5]

https://hbr.org/2022/07/apply-to-a-job-even-if-you-dont-meet-all-criteria 

5 ways Devyce will improve your Real Estate Business

   |   By  |  0 Comments

  1. Improve your mobility
    Tell us we’re wrong but, estate agents are always on the go. Devyce allows you to call from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Additionally, realtors are finding SMS useful when on the go to communicate with clients, with nearly 93% communicating through text [1]. By using our app, you can message your clients, as well as phone them! 

    We can also improve your geographical presence, as you can select a phone number from a specific area, meaning you can create a local presence!

  2.  Secure and protect your personal and client data
    Devyce will protect your personal number, by providing you with a business number, meaning your personal details aren’t exposed. Whilst also protecting your client data, as data is handled in line with GDPR and messages are encrypted between the app and the carrier.

  3. Improve your Customer Experience
    Building good relationships with buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords is a critical component of being an Estate Agent. Devyce can enhance your customer experience, by allowing you to hear other team members voicemails and forward any calls, meaning no calls are missed whilst making it easy for others to pick up where someone else left off. The auto attendant feature filters calls and delivers them to the correct destination in the business. Creating a seamless and consistent customer experience. 

    Easily integrate with Hubspot, and import your CRM’s contacts, so you can pull up your client information easily. See who’s calling and prevent prospects slipping through the cracks!

  4. Reduce your costs.
    Devyce can help you reduce your calling costs! No set up fees, no hidden fees and no contracts!

  5. Track sales and monitor performance
    We track calling analytics, including the proportion of unanswered calls, call duration, and call recording. This way agents are able to find the optimum time to reach clients. Whilst also providing valuable insights into how you can improve your calling techniques, for the future. Better calls, more leads! 


    References:
    [1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/12/17/implement-business-text-messaging-to-draw-more-local-customers/?sh=2b69c5be731a

What can business owners learn from Patagonia’s hand over vs. Starbucks’ reinvention plan?

  |   By  |  0 Comments

A lot of high-profile business decisions were published in the recent weeks, most notably Patagonia’s handover which sparked widespread support for the brand. 

 

Patagonia’s founder – Yvon Chouinard announced in a personal letter, [1] the handover of the company to two non-profit organisations and that going forward, 100% of revenue will go towards protecting the environment, supporting thriving communities and fighting the climate crisis [2]. 

 

They have experimented with ethical business models for years and this radical decision sets a new bar for corporate sustainability. Patagonia has consistently evaluated their impact and made steps to improve including becoming a B corporation. However, Chouinard addresses there were “no good options available” going forward for generating more money to fight the climate crisis while maintaining company values, so they “created [their] own” path. 

 

Going public with the company was not an option due to the pressure it would bring to “create short term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility”. This shows the commitment to maintaining the company’s values and staying true to what he’d envisioned the company to be. 

 

In contrast to another company in recent news – Starbucks have announced their “reinvention plan” for the coming years entailing aggressive growth targets, a 450-million-dollar investment into North American branches and intent to open thousands more across the US and China [3]. This demonstrates how far Starbucks has and will be straying from its roots. 

 

Howard Schultz’s vision for Starbucks was a place for people to experience the “purity of Italian coffee” that he’d fallen in love with [3] and he admits in certain ways, the company has “lost its way”. Most consumers now view Starbucks as a quick coffee stop as opposed to the authentic Italian coffee experience Schultz had envisioned. 

 

Starbucks has been a public company for 30 years and as a result, their immense growth has largely aligned with the goals of shareholders. While the reinvention plan is great for shareholders, current fans of the company will either love or hate the growth trajectory. 

 

So, what can business leaders take away from this? 

Growth should be considered with intention. 

 

While expanding is a long-term goal for many entrepreneurs, business owners need to be careful of how their plans align with their vision for the company. It can be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of major development milestones and lose sight of the intention behind building your business. This is especially true of public companies whereby the only goal then becomes creating massive returns on investment for shareholders. 

 

When this becomes the primary goal, it can lead business owners to cut corners and undertake unethical business practices in order to shape the company to the visions of shareholders. With pressure like this on leaders, there are high chances of making business decisions that end up being met with widespread distaste.

 

By taking a more thoughtful approach with consistent consideration of how your company impacts its community and prioritising your audience, your company will likely grow into one that sets examples for future entrepreneurs while staying true to your vision. 

 

References: 

[1] https://www.patagonia.com/ownership/

[2] https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2022/09/15/patagonia-outdoor-retailer-yvon-choulnard-climate/8801663251152/

[3] https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/starbucks-howard-schultz-patagonia-how-big-should-my-business-grow.html?utm_medium=browser_notifications&utm_source=pushly&utm_campaign=2385105&cid=pushly

 

5 Important Digital Tools for Small Businesses

   |   By  |  0 Comments

Starting a small business is daunting to say the least.

Picture this: a great idea for a business pops into your head one day. 

Ready to launch now? Absolutely yes. 

After months of hard work, you finally launch your business in high spirits. Then as your business grows, you are hit with an ever-growing mountain of things to do; from managing your employees to finances and every little detail in between. You are feeling overwhelmed and wondering how you will ever get on top of this mountain. 

No worries, we’ve got you. 

We know you’re extremely busy running your business so here are 5 of the most useful digital tools you can take advantage of: 

 

Communication tools:

Communication is the key to any successful relationship whether that be with your employees or your customers. To help with this you could get… 

 

  • Devyce – 2 numbers, 1 phone

Devyce is a cost-effective and sustainable digital solution to the work phone. 

It allows you to have an additional phone number on your phone to use for work communications. On average phones are replaced every two years [1] and each phone during its lifetime can create up to 110kg of CO2 per year [2]. Eliminate the use of a second phone and get Devyce. 

Another great feature of Devyce is the team management portal for you to monitor and manage your employee call activity and quickly access call logs. 

 

We know what you’re thinking, having your work communications operating on your personal phone might disrupt your personal life (or vice versa) however Devyce also has a handy ‘do not disturb’ feature where you can turn off work notifications to keep a healthy work life balance.

All these features make Devyce a great telecommunications tool for your small business! 

  • FreshDesk – A customer service software for your website 

Maintaining an open line of communication with your customers can be harder than it seems. 

Customers will reach out to customer support through multiple channels. This can become difficult to keep track of so let FreshDesk ‘delight your customers with effortless customer service’. 

 

Financing tools:

One of the top reasons why startups/small businesses fail is a lack of cash or failure to raise new capital. [3] Sounds pretty obvious right? However, many business owners struggle to manage their finances and budgeting. 

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a financial expert to be able to start your own business (even accountants struggle with the papers sometimes). There are many digital tools to assist you. Spendesk being one of them. 

  • Spendesk – A 7-in-1 spend management tool 

Spendesk encourages smarter spending decisions by providing:

  • A management platform where you can view and manage spending from company cards 
  • Review and pay invoices
  • Track expenses
  • Generate financial reports
  • Automate accounting
  • Create and optimise budget plans for your business

Make smarter money decisions, budget better and stay on top of your finances with Spendesk. 

 

Marketing tools:

Developing a solid marketing plan and creating great content for it is one of the key reasons for success for many businesses. 

  • BuzzSumo – an all in one content marketing tool 

BuzzSumo is a hub platform where you can:

  • Discover and research new content ideas
  • Find relevant influencers to work with 
  • Industry trend updates
  • Develop your content strategy and create compelling content
  • Analytics for content engagement

This all inclusive platform is great for industry trend research, allowing you to create and optimise your content marketing strategy. 

 

  • Buffer – social media management tool 

Buffer is a great tool for starting out with social media management as it offers a clear and easy to navigate platform for:

  • Creating and scheduling social media posts
  • Accessing all your social media messages across all platforms in one inbox
  • Social media analytics 

All of these features are great for effective communication with your audience, learning more about their preferences in regard to your business and utilising new insights to optimise your services and marketing plan. 

So, will you be using any of these digital tools? Feel free to head to our socials to share your business story and what digital tools you’re currently using! 

 

References:

[1]

https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/environment/the-hidden-environmental-toll-of-smartphones/#:~:text=Smartphones%20generate%20more%20greenhouse%20gases,the%20energy%20sector%20and%20transportation.

[2]

https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/europe2019s-consumption-in-a-circular/benefits-of-longer-lasting-electronics

[3]

https://www.cbinsights.com/research/startup-failure-reasons-top/

How the pandemic affected work communications and how to navigate the new ways of communication

   |   By  |  0 Comments

 

When we were hit with the pandemic in 2020, almost everyone had to adopt remote working. Now as we ease back into living post pandemic, fundamental changes have happened to our ways of living – one of the most prominently affected being work communications. 

Navigating the new ways of communication can be hard so here are some ways you can overcome these challenges:

 

More digital communication = changing how we communicate face to face 

 

Companies quickly utilised digital communication tools like Zoom or Teams to facilitate video conferencing alongside various other softwares. Even now as we return to offices, digital communication is the new norm for many people. 

 

46% of workers found it more challenging to communicate with one another as a result of the pandemic [1]. 

 

Digital communication tools have blurred communication boundaries and taken the “human” aspect out, impacting how we interact with one another. To overcome this you could:

  • Ensure phone calls with clients are quickly handled and directed to the right people within the company by using an integrated phone system like Devyce. 

Teams Plan – Devyce

  • Create clear communication guidelines for video conferencing eg. blurred background customary 
  • Be considerate of time zone differences when setting up meetings 

 

Less face to face interaction = feeling less connected 

Many companies have adopted a hybrid working model and remote working is still widely practised. With 45% of professionals noting they see their colleagues less than pre-pandemic, it comes as no surprise that many find it hard to stay connected. 

To help employees combat this, companies can:

  • Provide incentives for employees to come into office regularly eg. bring your pet to work day
  • Create comfortable working environments that they’d enjoy coming in to eg. create a dedicated area for short breaks 
  • Set up regular external team events to encourage team building 
  • Create welcoming onboarding experiences for new hires to seamlessly integrate them into teams

 

Colleagues are sharing less personal information with each other

We don’t always want to know what our colleague had for dinner last night, however it can be healthy for colleagues to have open dialogue on topics like mental health. 14.7% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace [2] and many do not reach out for help. 

Helping employees feel more able to talk to each other about workplace wellbeing helps to create a sense of community and improve team engagement. To do this you can:

  • Encourage open dialogue at the workplace about mental health
  • Create a safe environment for employees to talk to one another eg. have a designated space they can go to for privacy
  • Ensure you regularly check in with colleagues about their workplace wellbeing 
  • Invest in education for employees eg. seminars on diversity and inclusion, mental health etc

 

With the abundance of digital communications tools at hand, workplace communications have become more complex – requiring continual development of new working models. 

 

We can help you better navigate this! – Head over to our socials to find out more 

 

References:

[1] https://www.grammarly.com/blog/pandemic-work-communication-trends/

[2] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/mental-health-work-statistics

keyboard_arrow_up