13 Jan

Microsoft (Finally) Addressing Complaints

In the past year, Microsoft was heavily criticized for forcing the Windows 10 OS update on PC users. After thousands of customer complaints, the tech giant vowed to make changes and appease disgruntled end users. With the new year are signs that the firm is finally tending to these problems. Here are some of them:

 

A patch and a glitch away

 

Users couldn’t escape the glitches in the frequent Windows 10 updates, which caused an array of problems such as frozen systems, broken webcams, and even PCs being unable to secure an Internet connection. In light of the patching dilemma, Microsoft is offering more options to defer updates. In fact, a leaked preview shows a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days via a switch in the Settings menu.

 

OneDrive placeholders

 

Since the launch of Windows 10, many users have eagerly awaited Microsoft to re-introduce this beloved feature to the operating system’s built-in OneDrive cloud storage service. In Windows 8.1, placeholders (aka Smart files) allowed users to see all their OneDrive files, whether or not they were stored on the device. Making its return in Windows 10 File Explorer when using OneDrive, the feature shows user files stored locally as well as on the cloud.

 

Owning up to the update fiasco

 

Not only is Microsoft addressing the various complaints it received, but it’s also owning up to some of them. Just before Christmas, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, Chris Capossela, admitted that the company had gone too far when it tried to get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. This referred to Microsoft’s decision in early 2016 to change the design for the user prompt for its Get Windows 10 app, the software responsible for scheduling upgrades. The user prompt was altered so that clicking X to close the window causes the user to unknowingly agree to a Windows 10 upgrade. This change puts Microsoft in direct violation of its own user experience guidelines for developers on dialog box design.

“Within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, we knew we had gone too far,” recalled Capossela. “Those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us.” It was then that Microsoft reversed its decision on tweaking the pop-up, so clicking on X would dismiss the upgrade.

 

It seems that 2017 is the year that Microsoft will start listening more to its users and addressing their complaints. Maybe: Hopefully this renewed strategy will benefit users sooner rather than frustrate them later. Contact us (1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net) and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest Microsoft updates.

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20 Nov

How to Respond to Negative Feedback

From restaurants to sports equipment vendors, no business is immune from negative feedback online. With more and more people spending hours on the Internet every day, customers are quick to voice their opinions about businesses. And their comments aren’t always positive. You might wonder how to respond when you receive a negative review from a customer online. Here are some tips to help you paint a positive image of your brand.

 

Online reputation management mistakes

 

As long as you have a successful business or brand, people will always have something to say about it. And when it comes to online reputation management, the goal is to create positive engagement with your customers for the life of your business. So if the discussion about your brand swings negative, here are a few online reputation blunders to avoid.

1.Ignore negative commentary – when you ignore negative comments or accusations about your brand, anger towards your business can fester, especially when there are a lot people rallying against you. Years ago, Nestle’s brand image was severely damaged by Greenpeace’s campaign against them. If they hadn’t ignored the problem at first, much of this likely would have been avoided. When it comes to your brand, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should respond to every negative comment. If someone is trolling your public discussion boards, then you can give their remarks a pass. However, if the negative post appears credible, you need to address it.

2.Reacting emotionally – if your reaction to negative comments is to fire back with negative comments, it’s certain to make you look bad. Customers want to do business with a brand that is professional. If you react emotionally or negatively to a customer online, who’s to say you wouldn’t do the same in real life to the person reading it?

 

How to resolve negative commentary

 

While you may feel angry by a negative comment about your brand, don’t let your emotions get the better of you by posting something you’ll later regret. Instead, calm down, compose yourself, and follow these guidelines.

•Figure out what the customer really wants – every customer wants their problem to be resolved, but how they want their issue fixed will vary. Some customers want an apology, others want a refund, and some may simply want the product they ordered but did not receive. Read the negative comment carefully to figure out what would make your customer happy, then proceed in the following manner.

•Imagine you’re responding to your grandmother – you would never say something rude or hurtful to your grandmother, and you shouldn’t to your customers either. When a customer comes to you with a problem, rephrase it back to them to ensure you understand it correctly, and then explain how you’ll solve it. And just like you would if your grandmother came to you with a problem, be sensitive and do your best to help.

•Stick to the facts – when engaging with a customer online, the initial comment can quickly turn into a back-and-forth discussion. If this happens, don’t get off-topic when addressing the problem. The customer may try to engage you in a he-said she-said battle, but avoid taking the bait. Respond with facts, stick to the matter at hand, and don’t get caught up in personal accusations.

•Turn the negative into a positive – negative feedback is an opportunity to improve your business. So be honest with yourself and, if there’s truth in the comment, take a good hard look at your company. Did the commentator point out a glaring problem you can improve upon? Remember, a business is nothing without its customers, so it makes sense to do your best to please them.

 

For assistance with any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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22 Oct

The Pitfalls of Technology and How to Avoid Them

Technology can bring a world of productivity and ease to your business, but it also comes with many disadvantages. If you don’t use technology wisely, it can become a constant distraction that prevents your business from moving forward. So how can you use technology more effectively? And what are the IT issues that are holding you back? Let’s look at four of these issues and what you can do to minimize them or prevent them outright.

 

Broken Flow

 

To grow your business, boost profits, and create a valuable product that people will love, you need to develop an extreme amount of focus. Psychology refers to a process known as Flow, where the brain gets into a positive psychological state and people not only become incredibly productive and creative, but also perform at their best. They achieve both quicker and higher-quality results. In fact, a study by the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company revealed that top executives were five times more productive when they were in a state of flow. So what does this have to do with IT? Technology that constantly breaks or malfunctions will prevent you and your employees from getting into a state of flow. An MSP (Managed Services Provider) can help get you back up and running much more quickly or even prevent the problem from happening in the first place.

 

Distraction

 

Let’s face it, broken technology is a distraction for many small to medium-sized business owners and their employees. And between the daily onslaught of internal email, social media, and meetings, staff are already distracted enough. If you throw faulty internet connections and servers into this equation, it obviously makes the problem even worse. One researcher from the University of California even found that once an employee is interrupted from their original task, it can take around 23 minutes for them to return to it. That adds up to not only a whole lot of wasted time, but also wasted money. Do your business, yourself, and your employees a favor: get your technology working seamlessly, because it’s one less distraction for your staff to deal with. An MSP can help keep things on track.

 

Lack of expertise

 

People are most productive when they focus on what they do best. If your staff is not equipped to handle your IT problems, they shouldn’t be dealing with them. And if IT issues are killing your productivity on a daily basis, then your tech department is likely understaffed or not knowledgeable or effective enough to handle your problems. This is where an MSP can come in. MSPs focus on cleaning up IT issues for dozens of companies day in, day out. This is all they do, and that means they are specialists. So why not hand off the chore of technology to someone who knows what they’re doing? Then you can focus on what you do best: managing, leading, and growing your business.

 

Email

 

As already mentioned, email is undoubtedly a distraction that is a bane for many modern-day businesses. Email can consume you and your employees’ day if you let it. So doesn’t it make sense to try to get it under control? A few ways you can do that include checking your email only at specific times of the day, unsubscribing from email lists that you don’t often use, and signing up for email and spam protection with your local MSP, who can help you keep the unnecessary emails out of your inboxes.

 

If you’re interested in learning how an MSP can help resolve your technology problems, get in touch with our experts today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net. We’re ready to help your business become more productive!

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31 Jul

Use Technology to Boost Efficiency

Businesses that are winning in today’s marketplace are the ones that make technology work for them, not the other way round. When used correctly, technology can make every task much faster to execute, from communicating with customers to sending messages, gathering information, and more. So if you’re looking to increase staff efficiency, consider the following methods to implement technology into your day-to-day business operations.

 

Change office communication

 
In order to increase efficiency, set up instant messaging software such as Skype on your employees’ workstations. This allows them to send instant messages to correspondents instead of having to get up from their desks to see whether the person is available. Of course, if you need to discuss big projects or issues, face-to-face communication is likely the best choice. However, you can simply send a quick message for more trivial conversations, saving precious minutes and allowing you to get more work done.
 

Install video conferencing

 
Traveling to offsite meetings and training sessions takes time and, all too often, time spent on the road is time lost. Rather than commuting for hours outside your office, opt for a networked phone solution that offers video calls and conferencing. This way you can hold a video conference to discuss business matters from the comfort and convenience of your office. You can also take things up a notch and equip the conference room with tools to pull up documents and have them displayed on a big screen, so that everyone in the meeting can follow the conversation with ease. Another benefit of this arrangement is the fact that you will save gas, which will save your company money in the long run.
 

Replace older workstations and servers

 
Outdated technologies and workstations limit your business’s progress, and are a hindrance to developing clued-up, efficient employees. Aging phone systems and slow networks can frustrate your team and bring productivity to a standstill. So it’s important to take the time to assess your current workstations, applications, hardware, and tools. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy a set of entirely new workstations. But you should replace obsolete equipment with more up-to-date machines. In addition, make sure all software and applications are up-to-date to ensure maximum efficiency and employee satisfaction.
 

Implement ERP software

 
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows organizations to automate processes and centralize data in order for employees to collaborate more efficiently. ERP software provides employees with up-to-date business information that they can easily access and make use of. What’s more, ERP also eliminates redundant data entry and reduces the number of spreadsheets that are used to record critical business data by storing information in a centralized database.
 

To get the maximum return on your technology investment, it’s also important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable service provider. Get in touch with our tech experts today to find out how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive. Call 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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17 Jul

Survey Reveals Top Productivity Killers

It’s easy for anyone to speculate about what the top productivity killers are for today’s workforce. What may come to mind first are distractions such as email, social media, worthless celebrity gossip, or sports news. However, last month in a new survey of 2,175 hiring and human resources managers, CareerBuilder revealed what some of the real issues are. The results are a mix of obvious distractions and surprising revelations.

 

Here are the top 10 productivity killers according to CareerBuilder’s June 2015 survey.

 

52% – Cellphones & texting
44% – Internet
37% – Gossip
36% – Social media
31% – Email
27% – Coworkers chatting
26% – Meetings
27% – Snack and/or smoke breaks
17% – Loud coworkers
10% – Sitting in a cubicle

 

Why are these findings a big deal?

 

According to the managers who took the survey, the consequences of these distractions can be quite severe. A few examples they gave were lower quality of work, dissatisfied employees who have to pick up the slack of lower performers, missed deadlines, and even loss of revenue.

 

So how do you prevent these productivity killers from disrupting your business?

 

The chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder mentioned that one of the most effective ways to increase productivity is to simply take a break, which may come as quite a surprise since “Snack and/or smoke breaks” is listed as number 8 for productivity killers.

However, it should be noted that not all breaks are created equal. Listening to loud music or getting caught up in gossip on social media may not actually give employees the sense of rejuvenation they need when they return to work. The key is for staff members to take a break that will re-energize and give them a fresh focus. Some suggestions are to simply take a walk or perform some form of light exercise or stretching.

On a more humorous note, the survey also revealed some of the more unusual non-work activities employees partook in while on the clock. Employers reportedly found their staff doing everything from taking a nap on the CEO’s couch, searching for a mail order bride, and even taking a sponge bath in the restroom sink.

 

Want more tips on how to boost employee productivity. Curious to see how technology can help? Contact us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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05 Jun

How to Remain Productive While Working Remotely

Technologies such as cloud computing are freeing employees from their desks and lighting the fuse to the remote working revolution. However, for employees who lack discipline or a strong work ethic, a remote worksite is a breeding ground for a lack of focus and unproductivity. What can you do to help them out? Here are some ideas you can provide your staff (or take advantage of yourself) to develop the proper habits for successful remote working.

 

Stick to the plan

 

Would you go to the office without brushing your teeth or combing your hair? Probably not, unless you are a hipster. Believe it or not, it’s not a good idea when you’re working remotely either. Sometimes the simple act of preparing for your workday – jumping in the shower, shaving, and so on – can put you in the right frame of mind to work. If you or your staff are finding it difficult to be productive at home, try sticking to a pre-work routine and see if it makes a difference. Remember, nobody panics when things go according to plan.

 

Stick to a designated workspace

 

Attempting to work while sitting in your bed or lounging on the couch can be a recipe for a productivity disaster. So instead, try designating a specific space where you work everyday. It can be as simple as a desk set apart from the rest of your living room or bedroom, but just make sure it’s not cluttered with non-work items (like a TV remote, Star Wars novel, or Batman comic), and that it’s properly lit and comfortable. A move from the bedroom or couch to an actual desk will help you start taking things a little more seriously.

If you’re working from a coffee shop, airport, or other public place, consider using a pair of headphones to help drown out the noise so you can focus. Eliminate as many distractions as possible, and the productivity will come. Do not be swayed by others who may ask you, “Why so serious?” Remember that you are working, and your work ethic should not be diminished simply because you don’t drive to an office each day.

 

Stick by your team

 

Thankfully, cloud computing has made it unbelievably easy for your remote workers to stay connected to the office wherever they are. If your business is setup with Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 or another cloud product, make it a requirement that your employees access it daily and remain available. When your staff is connected to your business this way, it will strengthen their relationship with other employees and the organization as a whole. Generally speaking, more connected employees are more productive ones, but if you upset the established order, everything becomes chaos. Don’t be an agent of chaos!

 

Stick to your schedule

 

When you work remotely, the line between work and personal life blurs more than ever. To avoid burnout, it’s important that you discipline yourself to log off after you’ve put in a full day’s work. Whether you choose to work from 9 to 5 or 4pm to midnight, define work hours and stick to them. This will help you completely disconnect at the end of the day, which will ensure that you’re properly rested and prepared for the next. Getting enough rest and relaxation is a sure way to put a smile on that face of yours.

 

Want more tips on productive habits for remote working? Are you ready to empower your staff with cloud computing to help them along? Let’s talk. Call us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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24 Apr

Five Bad Habits That Hurt Productivity

Do you ever feel as if your “to do” list is never ending? Do you spend your days trying to keep pace? If you’re constantly feeling worn out at work and ever ineffective, there may be deeper problems at play than a long, bulky to do list. We’re talking about habits. And here are a few that are surefire productivity killers you need to ditch now.

Constantly checking email

This is an obvious one about which most people already aware, but how many of us actually follow it? The reason it’s a productivity killer is because it destroys your focus. Even worse, constantly checking email has been linked to anxiety, depression, lower performance, and even decreased memory function.

To overcome this habit, designate specific times of the day to check your e-mail. For example, check it first thing in the morning when you wake up, after lunch, and at the end of the work day. This will prevent constant email checking from breaking up your flow while you’re on the clock.

Working long days

It’s 8pm, you’ve already worked 12 hours, but you just want to knock out one more item on your to do list. You’re exhausted, but you tell yourself to push through anyway – even if it takes another hour. How many of us have been here? If it’s more often than not, it may be a good idea to kick this habit as it’s an absolute productivity killer.

Studies have shown that working more than eight hours a day lowers productivity and raises the risk of burnout. The reasoning is simple: mental fatigue. Once you’ve worked a certain number of hours, your focus will be less sharp and your productivity will consequently drop. Which leads us to our next point….

Not getting enough sleep

Rest is essential to maximizing your productivity. And the most essential type of rest you can get is sleep. Research has shown that getting five hours of sleep or less multiple nights in a row has the same effect on you as a 0.10 blood alcohol level. Not only that, but you’ll also suffer from headaches, be mistake-prone, and get distracted more easily. Basically you’ll be an unfocused mess.

Working continuously without a break

Studies have shown that you need to take breaks if you want to achieve maximum productivity. This is because a break allows you to rest your brain. Often during a break, you may even come up with new creative solutions to problems. And the best part is that when you return to work, you’ll feel revitalized with a fresh focus and ready to be challenged.

Multitasking

In this day and age, multitasking is often touted as a positive skill. And while this may be true in small bursts, spending hours juggling tasks is a surefire way of lowering productivity. The reason behind this is that switching between tasks causes a loss of focus and creativity. Think of your brain as a computer with a limited amount of RAM. Now what happens when your computer’s RAM is pushed to the max? It usually slows down and doesn’t function as well. Your brain acts in a similar way, the only difference being that you can’t buy more RAM to install in your brain – not yet, at least.

On the contrary, studies have shown that focusing on one task for a larger block of time (don’t forget to throw your break in, though) allows you to boost your productivity and get into a flow with your work. Try it out and you may find yourself accomplishing more tasks than you ever imagined possible.

Interested in learning about more ways to increase productivity? Want to find out how your technology can help? Contact us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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27 Mar

Why Managed Services Makes Sense

So you’ve been using your break/fix contractor for years. For the most part, it has been a good arrangement, and the contractor has been able to fix issues to keep your networking devices running smoothly. But you’ve been hearing more and more about the benefits of a Managed Services solution, and it’s peaked your interest. It’s not that you have anything against the IT contractor, but business is business, and Managed Services brings much more to the table. If you’re thinking about making the jump from break/fix to Managed Services, here are a few compelling ideas to consider.

The ultimate break/fix nightmare

Your business is running smoothly. Profits and staff productivity have been up, and you haven’t had a single IT expense in months. Times are good. Since everything is running so smoothly, you kick back in your leather chair and start watching your favorite show, MythBusters (the older ones with Kari, Grant, and Tori).

But then the BIG ONE hits. Your servers crash. No, not just one – all of them! Your business comes to a grinding halt. None of your staff can work. You call your go-to break/fix IT provider, but he’s overloaded with work and can’t make it out to your offices till next week. Next week?! In a panic, you call the first IT contractor you find on Google. Thankfully he’s available. But since you need this work done immediately, he charges an unbelievable fee for a last minute fix. You have no other choice, you hire the contractor. You’re left hoping that he fixes everything properly and that none of your crucial data is lost in the process.

This is the precarious nature of break/fix IT services. And while this is a worst case scenario, situations like this can and have happened. So let’s look at the reasons why it pays to hire a Managed Services Provider (MSP) instead.

MSPs prevent problems. Break/fix profit from them.

Think about the relationship dynamics of Managed Services compared to break/fix. If you’re a business owner who currently uses a break/fix contractor, when your IT goes down your contractor gains profit. Your problem equals his reward.

How motivated do you think he is to do an effective job of fixing your issue? If that problem pops up again later, it equals more reward for him. Now that’s not to say all break/fix contractors aren’t fixing your IT to the best of their abilities. But think about the basic mindset of a break/fix contractor: problem=profit.

The MSP system works differently. You pay a set fee every month to your IT provider. So the reward for the MSP comes every month. If something covered under the agreement goes wrong during that month, you don’t pay any extra. Yet it costs the MSP more money, and therefore affects their profit margin. Because of this, the MSP is rewarded for taking preventative measures to ensure your IT is working as effectively as possible, always. This philosophy creates a more balanced relationship between you and your IT company; they share your desire to have a fully functional network at all times.

That’s not to say problems won’t happen with an MSP. We are talking about electronic devices, after all! But when they do, they’ll end up costing the MSP provider, and they certainly don’t want that. So for an MSP, the basic mindset is: healthy IT=profit.

MSPs extinguish budget surprises.

Everyone likes surprises, except when it comes to losing money. And when you have a break/fix IT service provider, big surprises can and do happen – and not the good ones, either, unless they decide to throw you a birthday party….

An MSP is working to prevent problems from happening in the first place. You pay a monthly flat fee, so you always know what you’re paying. You can plan and predict your budget accordingly.

With break/fix, it’s true that some months you won’t have any IT expenses from your contractor, which is great. But other months, you could have bills that are astronomical. So you never know just what you’ll be paying for your IT budget in any given month. And if you don’t have that money set aside, then what? You may have to take funds from a really important project to fix a problem that may have been avoided in the first place under the ever-watchful eye of a Managed Services Provider.

MSPs might just make you happier.

Yes, as silly and simple as it sounds, with an MSP you’ll probably be happier. The main reason is you won’t have to deal with the frustration of unexpected IT problems eating away at your budget and the downtime that comes with it. Your IT will run more smoothly (which will create a foundation for your business to do the same) and your budget will be predictable. As an example, EIT Networks offers unlimited remote support, which means that virtually any software-related problem can be fixed in a very timely manner and is covered under the service agreement. In the olden days of IT support, even small issues could cost you money, which meant that many people suffered through nagging troubles rather than call the helpdesk. With EIT’s Managed Services, however, you can call at the first sign of an issue before it becomes a huge headache.

Another reason why you may be happier is that you’re more likely to have a fruitful relationship with your MSP provider since you both have the same goal: effective, smooth running IT for your business. What business owner doesn’t like the sound of that? This type of relationship truly is symbiotic.

Want to learn more about Managed Services? Contact EIT Networks today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net to learn more about this effective alternative.

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