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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Accept ‘the customer is sometimes wrong’

The expression that the “customer is always right” is central to customer service, but is it always applicable to every situation? While it is essential to prioritise the customer’s satisfaction, it is also important to not waste resources through becoming sidetracked by this goal.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: How to boost online client engagement

Trying to capture new customers can sometimes become challenging, especially is you are using Facebook and other social media platforms as your tools. This has been an issue for a while, prompting companies to invent new strategies to keep their numbers up.

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Deidre Bastian: Make staff happier for 2024 business boost

One year has ended and another is here. This opens up many opportunities to evolve and grow your business. Whatever type of company you are managing, you are probably busy thinking about some exciting objectives. But, while you are thinking about statistics and expected outcomes, do not forget about the most essential goal of any flourishing business: Your employees and their satisfaction. Are they happy?

Workplace confidentiality key to corporate success

Workplace confidentiality is important as it helps manage disputes, ensures the security of delicate information, promotes loyalty, protects clients and prevents crime and discrimination. Confidentiality is often assured under a company’s policies, and therefore anyone who breaches the agreement is liable to face legal action.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Why entrepreneurship is such a rewarding career

While the journey to entrepreneurship is likely to be filled with sacrifices and challenges, the reward is often far greater. With the right amount of knowledge and guidance, it is indeed possible for anyone to be successful as an entrepreneur.

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Businesses ignore PR at their peril

The term ‘public relations’ is thrown around quite frequently but, many times, is misunderstood. There was a time when many companies did not see the value of public relations unless a crisis occurred. Nonetheless, it is important that companies have some kind of public relations capability, whether it lies in creating a brand identity, maintaining corporate relationships and relations with the media.

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How to minimise start-up failures

Starting a business comes with multiple challenges and pitfalls. And even when you are off to a good start, keeping a company running successfully is not for the faint of heart. Many small businesses encounter issues that prove to be insurmountable, sadly resulting in closure.

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Developing the softer side in technical skills training

Business leaders and those charged with the responsibility for hiring workers have an old saying that sums up the proficiencies needed for employment. “Hard skills will get you the interview; soft skills will get you the job."

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Is artificial intelligence a benefit or a threat?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer just a buzz word as it has not only become an integral part of our daily lives but has a rapidly growing field of technology that has already made a significant impact on many businesses globally.

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Customer loyalty needs more focus than adding sales

Customer loyalty is vital to the growth and longevity of any business. What is more, about 82 percent of companies agree it is cheaper to retain old customers than acquire new ones.

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Deidre Bastian: ‘Bad bosses’ not sole factor driving employee departures

We have all heard the phrase “employees leave bad bosses, not companies”. Well, it does hold some truth. In fact, research has shown that 57 percent of employees leave their jobs mainly because of their boss.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Employee sabotage in the workplace

What comes to mind when you hear the word “workplace sabotage?” The origin of the word “sabotage” is questionable, however advocates a major issue for any business. In fact, it can lead to decreased productivity, damaged relationships between co-workers, poor customer service and even result in serious legal problems for the perpetrator.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Bad customer service will kill your business

We have all experienced poor customer service. Sometimes the issue can be small, such as waiting in a long queue, or much broader due to receiving a completely different product or service compared to what was expected. Whatever the case, negative experiences leave customers deeply unsatisfied and hesitant to patronise that company in the future.

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Handle downsizing with necessary care

In business, downsizing refers to reducing operating costs and making a company leaner. It is often is described as ‘trimming the fat’. This involves reducing the size of the workforce, closures and making the various units more productive and efficient. The aim of downsizing is to restructure a company in order to make it more competitive. It is a natural progression in terms of its development.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Embrace competition rather than fighting it

Competition is inevitable in the business world. It is not a necessary evil but, rather, an important part of the commercial ecosystem. Competition can be an effective tool for growing and improving your business. The presence of competition means that customers have the option to choose either your business or a rival.

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Employee morale key to productivity

So you have hired a stellar employee to fill a specific role. Now you need to make sure they stick around, as it is not only about finding a good fit but, rather, keeping them motivated to stay. Every single employee is incredibly valuable as they play a pivotal role in the overall success of a business. Therefore, motivation is critical. Subsequently, here are a few tips to bolster employee morale as anything less can affect performance and result in low productivity.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Meet customers where they live

Marketing is no longer about making endless calls, or shaking hands while exchanging business cards.

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Procrastination unhealthy for efficiency in workplace

Deadlines are key for many workplaces as companies are subject to contractual obligations which require they be met. Deadlines are vital even though some employees may not take them seriously. While failing to meet, or not committing to, a deadline does not rise to the level of a life and death situation, it can still create unnecessary stress.

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How you can beat the job interview

You have finally done it. You wrote the perfect resume, nailed your application letter, and now you have the job interview in just a few days. This is exciting, but also nerve-wracking. A positive impression has to be made if you wish to land the post, but how can you do that if you have never had a successful interview?

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Solving the marketing and advertising riddle

Do you know the difference between marketing and advertising? All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising. It sounds like a riddle, which is why the two terms are often used interchangeably. The truth is, both concepts are related but different.

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Cutting off workplace disputes at the root

Employees in the same workplace can often create discord through personal disagreements. Chances are that if you notice tension between employees, others within the office will too. Workplace discord comes in many forms, yet there is no one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with it. Such conflict not only threatens productivity, but creates tension in an environment that contributes to poor morale, absenteeism and even lower rates of employee retention. What can you do?

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Don’t allow preparation to become procrastination

Starting a business can often be a worrisome decision, especially if you have never done it before. It is so easy to spend months, or even years, researching best practices to avoid potential pitfalls. But procrastination can also be just as big a hindrance to becoming an entrepreneur, especially if all your friends and family will be watching and you do not want to be viewed as a failure.

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Don’t fear relapses on New Year resolutions

The year’s start is the perfect time to turn a new page, which is probably why so many people make New Year’s resolutions. It feels like a fresh start, and a great opportunity to change bad habits and establish new routines that will help spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual growth.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Customer service is key to stand out from crowd

Today’s business environment is incredibly competitive, and superb customer service is required if you wish your company to succeed.

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DEIDRE BASTIAN: Beware the pitfalls of worker termination

Have you ever been terminated? Have you ever had to terminate anyone?

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How you can survive a looming recession

Can businesses be successful during a recession? It may depend on what industry a company is in as, undeniably, there are some sectors which are more likely to make it out relatively unscathed. With a possible recession on our doorstep, is this a good time to panic, sell all our stock investments and start hoarding cash?

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Avoiding common start-up failures

Starting a small business can be extremely rewarding. You are your own boss. You find your own clients, and set your own hours and rates. Sounds easy, right? Sometimes the odds are stacked against you, with a surprisingly high small business failure rate. According to a research company, 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, with this figure rising to a stunning 70 percent failure rate by year ten.

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Gaining an edge via staff upgrades

Training and development in the workplace presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees. However, many employers find this expensive, and view it as staff missing out on work time while attending training sessions, which may delay the completion of projects.

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