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Choosing a Voice for your IVR & Voice Prompts

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The first voice that your customers encounter of your brand through your IVR & Voice Prompts can make or break your image. We all have heard the old adages about how the first impression is the most important, so wouldn’t you want the first voice your clients hear to be the right one for your company?

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Every time your customer calls your company, they are greeted by a familiar voice and in order to create a great experience for your customer, two major factors are at hand:

  1. The technology must be up to standard
  2. The voice must be humanizing

Having the highest standard in technology means that your customers will be greeted by a clear voice, that is able to guide them efficiently and correctly. When the voice is humanizing, the sound offers a friendly vibe that encourages friendliness to be mimicked on the other end.
The easiest way to accomplish this clear and friendly sound for your customers is to hire a professional voice actor to record on your IVR system. Voice actors for IVR are actually easily found because they are managed by telephony applications.

Choosing the Right Voice

Finding the right voice for your IVR is not as easy as picking a random name from a hat. You have to think about what voice stays consistent with your brand. To find the right person for your IVR, consider these options before making your choice.

Tradition

In the past, all businesses used female voices for their voice prompts. You can find evidence of this as far back as World War II. The trend of using automated female voices began in the cockpits of fighter airplanes so that the male pilots could distinguish who was talking. To this day, the majority of businesses use a female automated voice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can narrow down your search just yet.

Male Voices Vs Female Voices

Pros for the male voice include that most people believe that a man is forceful and dominant. However, female voices are said to sound more soothing. Knowing these details, it can be assumed that a customer would feel calmer on the phone when hearing a female voice. However, depending on what you are selling or what image you are trying to portray, a male voice might be more persuasive than a female voice.

Know Your Audience

Between male and female voices, one thing is sure, males prefer to hear other males and females prefer to hear other females. Therefore, if your customer base is dominated by one gender over another your choice is much more simple. If there is no clear gender division of the audience, there are still more things to consider. For example, if you cater to an older community, it might be best to choose a male voice as older individuals might find it more difficult to hear and understand a higher-pitched female voice.

Industry

If your industry is not trying to sell a product or service, and instead uses IVR to communicate with their customers regarding account information and payment information, this company needs to find a voice actor that will be perceived as capable. In this situation, where your clients are trying to accomplish a task instead of purchase an item or dispute a situation, a more forceful voice may come in handy. However, no two task-oriented industries are the same. Health insurance companies prefer to use soothing female voices. These voices are preferred for more sensitive subjects as humans are inclined to trust females.

What Are the Options?

There are many options to choose from for voice automation including multiple companies to work with and multiple voice options. The three most popular voice options are robotic text-to-speak voices, hiring a voice actor, or combining the two.

Only you know what will be best for your company, and you might be finding yourself justifying each option for an IVR voice. Some companies know immediately which voice would fit with their brand immediately, others can have a harder time because they reach a broader audience. Consider the options and situations above before making your decision. Luckily, if your customers don’t like the voice you pick for your voice prompts, they probably won’t be super bothered by it. If you are worried that you haven’t made the right decision, consider putting together a focus group to test out your favorites.

What is an RFP Document?

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An RFP Document is a Request for Proposal that many companies and the U.S. government use in business practices. Perhaps you have heard of an RFP before and just cast it off as a business term that you might use, but not necessarily know the process of. RFP documents are used between businesses that want to create a leveled playing field with other companies that they would like to do business with. The process of creating an RFP document can be overwhelming to some. Read on to learn about a simplistic approach to the RFP process.

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RFI

The first step to an RFP is creating a Request for Information. The RFI is like an introduction on what your company is about and what you hope for your company to strive for in the future. Once your company has created its RFI, you can send them out to several different companies which can hopefully help you create your bottom line. The RFI includes typically a set of questions for each company to answer as well as the company’s future plans and other essential details. Once your company has received a sufficient amount of RFIs returned, you can then look over each company’s circumstances and find out which company would work best with yours.

Issuing an RFP

Once you have decided which companies are the right match for your business, you can begin the process of issuing an RFP. The RFP will have more detailed questions than the RFI that both companies can release. These questions might be about the team members that will be working together and timelines that work for each business. Once completed, the RFP document then goes out to your top companies that responded to the original RFI document. The RFP may also be collected by a company that specializes in categorizing and housing RFPs. This company can use your RFP to help other businesses searching for services that your company offers.

Inside of this RFP document will also be your proposal. The company that you have invited from the RFI stage will write out their proposals which will include the solution to your issue and how their company will help resolve it. These should be very detailed and will look completely different for each company.

Request for Quotation

An RFQ is also known as an Invitation For Bid. The RFQ is similar to the RFP except that your company provides its solution and wants to find a company that can provide that solution in the way that your company would like to go about it. The RFQ states what the issue is, what the answer is, how to go about resolving the problem, and what it looks like and how it works. It also includes an idea of what contracts and payments will look like. This is important if your company is on a budget or if it is for a government agency which must always use a budget.

Tender

If your business needs something such as a simple good or service from another company they can use a tender bid. Instead of a long and complicated RFP, they will send out a Request for Tenders. If your company wants to find a company that will place their name and phone number on pens, they could use a tender bid. In order to get an RFT the company that you are looking towards will need to subscribe to a tender clearinghouse.

Teamwork

The RFP process is complex has many steps, but if you have a reliable team, you should be able to create one reasonably simply and without error. Because of its complexity, having multiple people responsible for different parts of the RFP is essential. Not only because it will save time, but because each department works differently and will have insider knowledge on specific details that need to be included. Be sure to gather everyone for team meetings so that everything in the RFP is concise, getting coverage, and the information is not being repeated. It also helps to have several people looking at the document to catch last-minute errors.

Case Studies

A case study should be included in your RFP to let other companies know about your company’s experience. This isn’t a very complex issue but can be time-consuming if you put it off. Add your case study to the beginning of your project so that way you can get through the RFP faster.

Call Center Compliance and Security

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Call center management knows that there are risks and rewards when it comes to running a business. However, some things, such as compliance and security are things that should never be risked. Information on your customers is sensitive data and needs to be continuously managed. Your business needs to find the leaks in security before any con artists can break in, which unfortunately is becoming a common practice today.

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Due to a streak of data breaches, the Federal Trade Commission has created new rules and regulations for security that your business needs to be up to par with. If your business is not up to the standard, you will find yourself dealing with huge fines and legal battles.
In order for your business to stay compliant, you need to make sure that the following compliance acts are satisfactory.

1. Encryption

Encryption is a useful tool that allows companies to gain access to customer information by using coded messages that unauthorized users cannot get hold of. This can be used through call center interactions over the phone or through emails and chat. These encryption codes need to be adequately managed by your IT employees.

2. Login

Many call centers have a variety of login systems that can timeout very quickly. This can frustrate customers and agents alike, but there is a solution. Single sign-on is standard for the FTC and can work with several systems at once.

3. Storage

Storing data is an essential piece of managing all data that is unfortunately overlooked by many companies. Ensure that your company has enforced multiple backups to your data storage and that old data is being disposed of when it is no longer necessary. When your storage becomes compromised, it can become a massive headache for businesses. Therefore, it is best to plan ahead and have good recovery software in place.

4. Recording

Call centers use recording as a means to learn from mistakes and to look back on calls during disputes. However, recording important information can cause issues. In the past, call centers have had their agents turn off their recordings while being given important information, but that is not up to regulations anymore. What call centers can do is use an IVR to secure important data like credit card information and social security numbers. Also, in order to stay up to standards by the FTC, all callers must be notified that the call may be recorded.

5. Do Not Call

All call centers must be up-to-date on those consumers who have added their number to the do not call registry. Failure to stay up to date can result in massive fines.

6. Debt Collection

If you work for a debt collecting agency, the FTC is cracking down on those who do not follow the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act. Therefore, if your agents are using threatening language or shady collection practices, you could find your business in the midst of litigation.

7. Truth in Lending Act

All call centers must provide crucial information such as interest rates and late fees to their consumers before a customer agrees to purchase a product.

8. Equal Credit Opportunity Act

This act forbids companies from denying loans or credit to consumers based on their race, religion, marital status, age, gender, etc.

9. General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR is a relatively new regulation that call centers must accede to. This rule is for companies that store information for European residents whether or not the business itself is located in Europe. European customers can ask for their data to be erased. Businesses must grant their consumers their requests in a timely fashion in order to remain compliant. Therefore, if you have European customers, you must have a plan in place that can quickly erase data.

If your call center is not fully compliant, you could face some serious headaches in your future. The truth is, your company can not afford to wait to become up to standard because of the mounting security risks and in light of the critical data breaches that have already happened to several major businesses. Be sure that your vendors and IT staff are aware of all new regulations as they both play a significant role in call center compliance and security.

Authentication and Fraud Prevention in Call Centers

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The best way to combat authentication and fraud in call centers is to prevent it. Understanding is critical in the process of prevention. There isn’t just one way to prevent fraud in a call center; there are several ways that must all be used together in order to authenticate fully.

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Dirty Tactics Used in the Hunt for Authentication

A variety of things are being used to authenticate callers, such as an account number. A social security number is often an easy way for scammers to get valuable information from customers. You must be on high alert against any compromised data, and even then, these essential pieces of information are still vulnerable. This is primarily because companies usually ask for information to authenticate, like their customer’s mother’s maiden name or first childhood pet when people inevitably lose their passwords. Asking these personal-knowledge questions are also easy ways that scammers can get through to find out more account information.

There are many authentication approaches for companies, including Knowledge Based Authentication and Multi-Factor Authentication. Most call centers revert to Knowledge-Based Authentication, or KBA, as their main bases for identification. But KBA is one of the most vulnerable authentication methods to fraud. This method can be compromised very quickly by users with untraceable software or by cunning people who can trick others into providing information to them. The people who procure this information through these means can then use this information to call your customers or your customer service agents to commit fraud. Not only are these threats a reason to skip knowledge-based authentication, but it is also very frustrating and bothersome for your customers to be subjected to a series of questions before they are able to get to what they need from your site. Since it is not a foolproof way to prevent fraud, what else can a company use to guard their customers’ information?

Multi-factor Authentication VS Knowledge-Based Authentication

Multi-factor Authentication, or MFA, is a superior choice to KBA. The MFA uses an approach that provides each caller with their own one-of-a-kind identity token. This token is taken from your phone device and carrier information. Another way MFA is useful to companies is that it can understand the characteristics of certain sounds which can be translated into a voice print. By collecting all of this information, you can then enter it into a database. The computer then scans all the information to send fraudsters into a database that will then blacklist them from the company and customers’ data.

Using these tactics and tools, a call center will then be able to assess the risks through authentication. Then it will be up to the representative to use this useful data and decide whether or not it is a risk. Their decisions will be informed and based on several factors such as what kind of account it is and which transactions, and for how much, are taking place.

The top providers of authentication are TRUSTID and Pindrop. Each one uses an MFA method. Both have numerous important clients on board, such as banks, credit card companies, and insurance agencies. However, they can both offer solutions to companies in other markets such as retail, telecom, travel, or healthcare. These solutions also work best when paired with an IVR, which can automatically prompt the caller to enter their authentication.

These solutions to fraud and authentication have worked for very large call centers that employ hundreds of agents that work for millions of callers, but what can a smaller call center use? Small call centers can still benefit from these authentication strategies through Value Added Resellers. These VARs can bundle up different types of software and sell them to call centers. That way, you can get what your call center needs on a scale that you can use to your benefit.

Fraudulent issues are becoming more commonplace in the market and companies need to be prepared for dangerous situations before they arise. Don’t let your company get caught unaware by scammers; use the top prevention methods in order to avoid putting your company in debt and frustrating your customers.

Crush The Competition with Virtual Phone Numbers

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Virtual phone numbers not only help to keep your business from inserting itself into your personal life, but they can also help you crush your competition. There are several incredible benefits to having a virtual phone number, such as a variety of built-in features, their low costs, hardware, and a reliable network.

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If you’re not familiar with what a virtual phone number is, then you probably aren’t sure why you need one for your business. Virtual phone numbers work for companies because they are an easy way for customers to reach you that isn’t tied to a specific telephone line. You can access your phone calls from any device, including cell phones, tablets, and computers, freeing you from being tied down to your desk all day for fear that you will miss an urgent phone call.

Virtual phone numbers are also great ways to save costs on long distance phone calls. If you have several clients overseas, you can purchase an affordable local phone number in those specific areas and avoid long distance fees. Even these international phone numbers are virtual so they can be tied to any device you currently use without issue.

Fulfilling the Needs of Your Customers

Contact centers are one of the business types that benefit significantly from the use of virtual phone numbers. Using local phone numbers helps agents to offer a more personalized touch with their customer service. Local phone numbers also help to alleviate the costs that some of your customers or clients would have to pay if your store is located outside of their local area.

The features provided with your virtual phone number contract can help your business portray a very successful and professional image, even if you’re working from your kitchen counter. Virtual numbers allow you to have as many numbers as you need, and they come with impressive features such as time of day routing (which will enable you to go out for lunch and not miss an urgent phone call). You can also add a customized greeting when your customers call. When a customer calls the number provided, they will be prompted by a professional greeting and then taken to a menu page that will allow the customer to choose which sector of the business they would like to speak with. For example, they may be prompted to press “1” for customer service, “2” for sales, and so on.

Virtual phone numbers also come with a feature called “call recording” in which you will be able to record phone conversations between customers and your employees. You can then use these files to figure out what works and what doesn’t work within the employee/customer dynamic. This can be a valuable tool to use when training customer service staff.

Creating a Local Presence

As previously stated, having a virtual phone number can give you a local presence in international countries, and it also allows you and your employees to work from anywhere in the world. Not only are virtual phone numbers flexible enough to allow you to step away from your desk, but you can also travel anywhere in the world. This is also a great way to keep international teams working together with functionality and ease.

Virtual phone numbers are also very affordable. Small teams and businesses have the option of choosing a flexible plan that will provide the minutes and services that they need, instead of paying extra costs for things they don’t. Because virtual phone numbers can be set up to reach most devices, you won’t need to purchase expensive phone lines. All work can be done on just one device if you choose, and you will still be able to keep everything in your business separate from your personal life and phone line.

One-Up Your Competition with Virtual Phone Numbers

The fantastic features and cost-saving benefits of a virtual phone number can genuinely give you the edge you need over your competition. If you’re thinking about purchasing a local or international virtual phone number for your business, contact us at unitedworldtelecom.com to get started right away.

Why You Should Optimize Your Business Phone Systems in Australia

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If you haven’t optimized your business phone systems yet, you could be missing out on several prosperous opportunities. If you are still using an analog business phone number, you may find that it lacks the features and capabilities that you could be receiving with a virtual calling system. Read on to find out why you need an Australian virtual phone system now.

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Get the Edge Over the Competition

Australia has a booming business scene, and you don’t want to be left behind during this wave of prosperity. Virtual phone numbers provide an unmatched service that allows you to take calls when you’re on the move. Whether that means leaving your desk or leaving the country, you never have to miss a phone call if you switch over to a virtual phone service.

Top Benefits of Switching Over

  • Appeal To The Masses: You can use your virtual phone number to attract new people by providing a toll free number and advertising the number all around the country.
  • Stay Connected: With a virtual phone system, your clients and the members of your team can stay connected wherever you are located in the world. Virtual phone systems allow you to use local phone numbers to save costs on expensive international rates no matter where you are located in the world. If you are in America and your team is located in China, and your clients are located in Australia, you can remain accessible everywhere through your virtual phone system connection.
  • A Great Tool For Call Centers: Call centers can be set up with your new Australia virtual phone number the same day. You can start taking calls almost immediately. Call centers handle customer service inquiries, compliments, and grievances. Providing a call center for your business shows that you care about your clientele and that you believe in your product. Plus, at United World Telecom you can set up call recording. Call recording can be used as a handy tool for training customer service representatives as you can quickly learn what is and isn’t working.
  • It’s Personalized: Virtual phone systems come with a variety of features that you can use to customize your clients’ experience every time they call.

Top Features for Business Phone Systems in Australia

  • Voicemail: You can customize and record your own personal voicemail greeting where your customers can state their inquiries when you are outside of business hours.
  • Call Recording: As previously mentioned, virtual phone systems in Australia come with a call recording feature. This is an excellent customer service tool for training and learning whether or not the training is being fulfilled.
  • Call Forwarding: Never miss an urgent phone call with the call forwarding features. You have the opportunity to set a call forwarding system where phone calls can be sent to different devices or people within your company. Outside of business hours, you can use this feature to forward incoming calls to your voicemail. You can even set up call forwarding to send transcripted voicemail messages to your fax machine or an mp3 recording to your personal or business email address. It is much easier to stay up to date on business communications when you have call forwarding.
  • IVR: An Interactive Voice Response is the recording that is often used as a greeting for several businesses. Usually this automated voice or a pre-recorded message by you or one of your employees will offer a standard greeting to the caller and then direct them to a list of menu choices so you can better serve them. For example, “Hello, you’ve reached Thomason Packing and Shipping. Thank you for your call today. In order to best serve you, please choose from the following options: 1 for sales, 2 for customer service, etc.”
How To Get an Australian Virtual Phone Number

You can choose your very own Australian virtual phone number by visiting UnitedWorldTelecom.com or by calling 1(877)898-8646. You can choose from local Australian numbers and toll free phone numbers, then receive a customized quote and start making phone calls right away with a free trial.

The Benefits of Toll Free Numbers for Businesses

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Toll free numbers began gaining popularity during the early days of the payphone. The demand for a toll free phone number was apparent in those days because people could make toll free phone calls to businesses from their landlines or from payphones and not have to pay a fee to make the calls.

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But it’s 2019 and payphones are a thing of the past. So why are toll free phone numbers still so popular among businesses? While most people do have a free national calling plan for their cell phones, customers can still benefit from calling a company with a toll free phone number. Here are a few of the advantages to having a toll free number for your business:

1. Marketing

Businesses who purchase vanity toll free numbers gain the benefit of marketing their business while providing their customers with one easy-to-remember number. Vanity numbers such as 1-800-FLOWERS smoothly flow off the tongue and make for great marketing strategies on billboards, in commercials, radio ads, and more. Besides, if you are a flower delivery service, you’re going to be more memorable to more people by using a vanity number than as a business who has a regular local phone number. You will often see these vanity numbers used as a marketing method for a variety of companies, including attorneys and real estate agents.

2. Toll Free Numbers Are Used As Customer Service Lines

Many companies can benefit from providing a toll free customer service line for their customers. While some issues can be resolved using a chat feature or over email, some things are more urgent and need to be addressed over the phone. Not only that, many people prefer to speak with a live customer service agent to resolve their problem rather than sit around waiting for an email to hit their inbox.

3. Call Routing

Toll free number providers offer a variety of features with their phone lines. One of the benefits to these VoIP service providers is that they can provide your business with easy call routing. Since VoIP services usually work in the Cloud, they can reroute phone calls to any phone line in many different locations. Therefore, if some of your employees work remotely, this feature will allow calls to be routed to that remote employee quickly and effortlessly. This is also a great benefit to your customers who may need to be redirected to the right employee for their particular issue.

4. Expand Your Presence

Your local business can now reach millions of people when you choose to get a toll free phone number. Whether your company sells internationally, nationally, or both, you can use a toll free phone number for the benefit of your customers. If your business currently only serves a local part of your area, think of how a toll free phone number could help expand your business. Not all local businesses need a toll free phone number, but if, for example, you run a retail store in your local neighborhood, but also cater to a national and international population online, then you and your customers will benefit from having a toll free phone number.

5. Portability

If your business is expanding, toll free phone numbers can grow with it. Why? Because toll free numbers are portable. You do not need to be tied down to one retail location, which means you can move your business around and still keep your toll free phone number. Even if you decide to leave your current phone provider, they should still be able to port the number to another carrier. Once your business has a toll free number, it becomes an asset to your company, and it would not be a good business move to part with it. Especially if you get a vanity number that works very well for your company, you would not want to get rid of it because there are only a finite number of toll free numbers that are able to be given out.  s have had to be introduced because the 1-800 numbers had dwindled drastically.

Reasons a Business Phone Number Makes Sense for Freelancers, Solopreneurs, and Startups

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When you are just starting in a new business endeavor, there are a few things that can wait and a few that can’t. You might think that having a business phone number is on the list of “something that can wait.” Since you already have a mobile phone number, you can use that for work, right? Yes and no. Sure that could work, but it makes you look unprofessional, it becomes harder to separate work and life, and it’s more likely that you’ll miss important phone calls. If you intend to watch your business grow, then reasoning that you can get a business phone number later when your budget is larger can cause many problems. First, it is hard to switch over from one to the other because when your business is progressing, the worst thing to do would be to change your phone number. Secondly, because you would be missing out on many features, it may not be a good option. If you are a freelancer, a solopreneur, or a startup, there are many reasons why a business phone number makes sense for you; here’s a look:

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1. Professional Appearance

If you are a freelancer or beginning a startup, you’re most likely working from your home or a coffee shop and not a highly-equipped office. This could turn some people off. They may not think that you are capable of running a business properly without having a permanent office location. With a virtual business phone number, you can give the appearance of running a larger company. The variety of features available to you, such as personalized voicemail, call forwarding, customized greeting menus, and call transfer services make it highly appealing and easy to accent your appearance.

2. No More Dropped Calls

Virtual phone numbers work on a cloud-based system, which means that no call will be lost. Not only can you set up your preferences to be forwarded to the right person during business hours, but after hours you can set up phone calls to be sent to a voicemail feature that you can personalize to your preferences. In addition to that, with call forwarding and voicemail to fax or email, you will never miss a voicemail message either.

3.Clear Calls

Cell phone signals can be tricky, but virtual phone numbers, which work from the Cloud, work on a fixed network. Plus, they are dedicated to your business and were created to handle large call volumes.

4. It’s Affordable

If the main reason you aren’t springing for a business phone number is because you don’t think your budget will allow for it, think again. Virtual phone number sites offer several different plans for all stages of business. From freelancers to corporations, you can find an affordable plan that comes with all of the professional features, but you’ll only have to pay for the minutes you use.

5. More Personal Time

When you are a freelancer, solopreneur, or a startup, it can be hard to create boundaries between your burgeoning business and your personal time. But personal time and self-care are just as important as your business. If you find yourself spending all of your extra time thinking about and working on your business, the company could suffer. It’s good to take time off and enjoy life in between work periods. Cut out time in your day to spend with friends and family. Having balance in your life is the key to success. With a virtual phone number, you can set up business hours where customers can call you and reach you directly, as well as out of business hours where they have access to your voicemail. You can get back to them as soon as you are back in the “office.” Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you won’t need a break.

6. No Robocallers

One of the best features on a business phone number is that you can choose an automated greeting where your customer can then select an option of where they would like to be directed. Robocallers will get stuck in the menu options and eventually will be timed out and hung up on. Instead of having your phone line clogged with robocalls, you can spend more time talking to your actual customers. Robocallers have become a massive issue in the past few years, and a majority of phone numbers have been compromised. At United World Telecom you can also sort phone numbers into black and white lists. The Black List blocks unwanted callers from reaching you which means once a robocaller tries to contact you, they won’t be able to call again from that number.

Amazon H2Q Has Been Announced; What Does This Mean for the World?

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After much anticipation, Amazon finally named its two new locations for the HQ2 project.

Amazon will be taking their business to both Arlington, Virginia and the borough of Queens in New York City. It has been predicted that these two new locations will bring around 25,000 new jobs to the cities. However, Virginia and New York aren’t the only two locations benefitting from Amazon’s expansion. Nashville, Tennessee has been chosen as the new location for a “center of excellence.”

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The Income and Jobs Outlook

All three locations will begin hiring in 2019, and there are plenty of incentives for all the jobs in each location. While Nashville offered up 102 million for its 5,000 jobs, Virginia upped the ante with $573 million in incentives. However, New York offered up an immense $1.5 billion in incentives, and as part of these incentives from each city, Amazon has agreed that the salary for these jobs will be an average of $150,000/year.

Amazon is also reciprocating with the other cities and even plans to fund a green space in New York and donate a site for either a primary or secondary school. Many of New York City and Virginia’s public officials have come forward to applaud the move by Amazon because they believe that thousands of new high-paying jobs will be beneficial to both cities.

Amazon decided to build the new HQ2 so that it would be able to tap into new job pools and continue to expand and develop. Going outside of its original headquarters in Seattle means that it no longer has to compete with other Seattle tech markets like Microsoft and Boeing for job candidates.

Amazon Aimed for the East Coast

The tech giant received 238 bids from the US, Canada, and Mexico, but had been longing after the east coast for quite a while. It came as no surprise that Amazon chose Arlington, Virginia as one of the new headquarters. When Amazon was originally narrowing down candidates, several were around the DC area. Interestingly, Jeff Bezos, the owner and CEO of Amazon purchased the largest home in Washington DC in 2016 for $23 million and spent an addition $12 million on renovations last year, so it comes as no surprise that this area was in major consideration.

Amazon had said initially that it would bring $5 billion to one primary site where it would then hire 50,000 people. Now, the two sites are being split up, and Amazon is spending 2.5 billion at each location. The size of this project has spurred some critics to call these two new sites simply regional offices instead of new headquarters like the original Seattle office which spans across 45 different buildings.

The Dark Side of Amazon’s Expansion

Despite its popularity with local politicians, who bombarded Amazon with incentives and other gifts, working-class citizens of both cities are expected to take a hit. Seattle was plagued by a surge in homelessness after the cost of living shot up due to tech giants monopolizing the town. Not only will the move bring new jobs, but it will also bring higher rent prices and more traffic. This may be the reason that Amazon decided to split its new headquarters between two cities, but the problems will remain. Industry critics have also called the announcing of an HQ2 a publicity stunt and a way to get incentives from several states. Because of the bids made by several cities and states, Amazon also gained a lot of valuable data and it will be able to use that data to gain an edge over their biggest competitors.

The two locations are drumming up questions, such as why two sites instead of one? HQ2 has initially been a plan for one site, but splitting up the areas might be easier on everyone involved. A 25,000 person site is easier to handle and create than one giant place that has to hold 50,000 people. Also, as previously mentioned, neither city will suffer the same amount of pitfalls with traffic and housing costs as Seattle did, although those two things aren’t entirely unavoidable. However it goes, things are definitely about to get interesting!

Email Marketing Tip: How to Write Emails that Get Opened

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Keeping in constant contact with your customers is an important part of developing your business. Email marketing can be a wonderful tool for reaching out to your customers and providing them with information about your business like special deals, events, expansion, and more. You’ve probably spent a good amount of time crafting a great email only to check your stats later on and find that the emails you sent out have gone unopened. It is challenging to get people to open up and read your emails when they are constantly inundated with tons of emails. So what’s the secret to getting your emails opened and read? Check out these 12 tips for writing emails that get opened.

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Make it Personal

People receive emails from corporations all the time, so the best way to stand out among them is to mention the person by name instead of calling them a “valued customer” or some other impersonal title. And if you really want to make it special, sign your name at the bottom, that way they know that there is human life at the other end of that message.

Space Out Your Emails

Unless you have something to let your customers know about your business, you won’t need to send out constant emails. Only when there is an actual event or information that a customer would like to know should you be sending out emails. If they receive an email from you every day, that can get really annoying very quickly and you’ll find your “unsubscribe” number reaching new heights.

Reward Your Customers

When a customer opens an email from you, they will be receiving information about your company, but every once in a while you should reward them for opening the emails. This can be done by offering a special discount code or a free gift with purchase. If your customers don’t benefit from opening your emails, they will stop opening them all together.

Write An Appealing Subject Line

Your emails are not going to get opened without catching someone’s eye first. Read on for more tips about writing a great subject line

Add Numbers

Putting a number in your subject line stops skimmers from passing over your email because the human eye will stop to focus when digits are placed in the text.

Make A Promise

Making promises piques curiosity. For example, you can make your subject read something like, “Spin the wheel for an exclusive discount code inside. Get 10, 25, or 50 percent off!” Inside of this email should be a link that will take your customer to the website where you can spin a randomized digital wheel and receive a discount code for the amount you land on.

Keep It Simple

Don’t get overly clever with your subject lines. When something specific and simple is promised, a customer is more likely to open the email. Don’t try to confuse your customers; they want to know what they’re opening before they open it.

Use Your Humanity For Appeal

Your subject lines should get people interested through their emotions, whether that emotion is to save money, a fear of missing out, or a line that evokes curiosity.

Make Your Emails Interesting To Read

Write with enthusiasm: if you’re not excited about what is in the email, what makes you think anyone else will be? Writing quickly is an easy hack that allows your personality to show through your writing.

Cut Your Text In Half

It is 2018; people are short on time and long on information, so keep your text concise and to the point.

Switch Up Your Greetings

Using the same greeting in every email gets boring after a while. It makes the message you’re trying to convey seem boring and impersonal if the emails start to look alike.

Give Your Company a Personality

Email marketing is a great way to add a touch of humanity and flare to your company’s image. Always write your text to sound humanizing and be sure that your message sounds like the natural voice of your company. For example, a young woman’s fashion site should read as if your hearing about the latest styles from your sassy and fun best friend.

Care About The Customer

Before sending an email, ask yourself if what you’re writing is going to benefit the customer? Is it truthful? Is it interesting? If the answer to one or all three is no, then don’t send it. You want to build a relationship with your customer on trust. The best way to do that is to write personalized and beneficial text from the heart.