Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody!  My blog post today is going to be about the positive things we have to look forward to in 2009. The past year is almost behind us, and in many respects that’s a good thing. Come tomorrow, we all get another chance to start fresh. Whether you own a business or simply work for one, you may be thinking the outlook is dim. But there are things to look forward to, and ways to take advantage of the business opportunities that are out there, especially through the internet. For example, If you’re in the website development business as I am, there is always new and innovative technology being produced, and that only helps us serve our clients better. Here are a few positive things to focus on in 2009.

There are business opportunities out there

In an article for Forbes, Saj-Nicole Joni notes that,  “the opportunities will be extraordinary for business leaders who have the vision, skill and courage to move forward.” These opportunities, in large part, involve the internet. If your business has a website or a blog, there are brand new avenues for free marketing available to you on a daily basis. Even more than that, the technology that allows us to create these websites and blogs also allow businesses to enhance their image and leave a lasting impression on a much wider scale.

Encourage others

This comes from a blog post by Danny Brown. He sent a call to his followers on twitter, and asked them to tell him how they would encourage greateness in 2009. Inspiring others not only makes them feel better, it makes you feel better as well. When everybody is feeling positive, more positive things tend to happen. If your business has a website, try using it to thank your customers/clients in some way. Whether that encouragement comes in the form of a simple note, a personalized email or special deals. Let your customers know you appreciate them, and believe me, they will be a customer for life. Make your blog more interactive, this not only helps bring you more traffic and potential business, it’s also a great way to make people feel as though what they have to say matters. One of the things I believe will become bigger in 2009 is social media, which is very interactive, so encouraging this through your own business keeps you on top of the trend as well.

A new year means a new start

Come January 20th, we will have a new president and, for many people, that’s already a huge improvement from the past eight years. But no matter how you feel about the politics of it, a new president brings fresh new ideas and that’s what we need more than anything. The new administration also knows the power of the internet, so I expect technology to grow by leaps and bounds.

It isn’t all just doom and gloom out there. A new year brings fresh hope, and in order to acccomplish the goals you have for yourself and your business, a healthy dose of hope can only improve your chances. Encourage others, think outside the box and focus on the good news. We at Datex Media want to wish you all a very happy and successful new year, and I encourage you all to share your thoughts on what the new year will bring.

How to Provide Quality Customer Service in a Technology World

imagesTechnology has opened up our world, especially with regards to my industry, website development. But it has also opened up a brand new challenge, with regards to customer service. It can be difficult for a programmer to explain what goes into designing a website to a business person who has no knowledge of how the technology works.

At Datex Media, we have a Project Manager, Erwin Smith, who helps us bridge the gap between geek-speak to business owners and executives and vice versa. The following post is written by Erwin, and explains how he deals with customer service in a technology world.

The first thing I make sure to do with any client is to get a thorough understanding of what their business is, how they operate and what their goals are for the company. I know how competitive it is out there, and ensuring I give our clients the time and attention they deserve helps us to create a website that suits their specific needs and objectives. For example, I’ll ask them questions about why they do a certain process in a certain way so the programmers can figure out how best to write the code. But even with all the communication that takes place, issues can and do arise.

A couple of the most common customer service issues that come up deal with the technology that goes into creating a website, and the lack of understanding the average person has of it. For example, getting clients to understand the time that’s required for programmers to provide the best possible solution for their request. It may look like a simple page to them, but there are many things going on behind the scenes that need specific attention and a programmer’s creativity to produce the function or tool they envisioned. Another issue is maintaining proper momentum and not pushing our client’s patience.

In both cases, communication is key. When speaking with a business client, I try and keep it simple. Because I am familiar with technology, and much of the language that goes along with it, I know how to communicate with the programmers that are building the website. Speaking both “languages” is a major plus because it allows me to be a liason between the clients and the programmers. This skill, I believe, is crucial for customer service in this industry.

Trust is another key componant in customer service. I find that keeping our clients updated on the progress of their websites on a regular basis helps build a stronger relationship with them. With this foundation, they don’t have to understand the technology that goes into what we’re doing, because they know we are working to give them exactly what they want. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. Once a business has seen the finished product, they know we heard everything they said.

Customer service in a technology world has some special challenges. I believe that getting to know your client and how their business operates are keys to giving them a website that suits their specific needs, it also helps build your credibility because these clients will provide word-of-mouth advertising for you. So what have I left off? What do you do to ensure quality customer service? Please let us know by leaving your comments, questions or suggestions.

Make Your Website Work For You Not Against You

man2Time is money; we are all familiar with this concept, but it’s especially important for anybody who owns or manages a business. In fact, according to a study conducted by America Online and Salary.com, “companies are spending $759 billion a year in wasted salary due to time inefficiency.” One of the best ways to cut down on these costs is to maximize on the organization computer software can provide your company. We all know how much easier our lives have become thanks to technology, but it has also created some challenges as far as the flow of information and data are concerned. That being said, you can make your website work for you. Software integration allows your business to extract and organize pertinent data, you can save time, improve efficiency and facilitate easier employee communication.

Technological advances have allowed us all to work within specific formats to create and organize our data; however, the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. For example, your accounting department may have all your company’s economic information stored away in a system such as Quickbooks. While this software is helpful in maintaining your financial records and generating invaluable reports, you can’t access it unless it is downloaded into the computer you are using. This means that if you want a report of your quarterly earnings, salary information regarding your employees, or any other vital data stored in the software you are using, you have to wait while that department compiles the information, organizes it all and finally faxes or emails it to your office. The good news is that Quickbooks now allows this data to be extracted and incorporated into your corporate portal where anybody who needs this information and has the authority to view it can download it themselves from their own computer. That’s one way you can make your website work for you, but there are others.

Quickbooks is just one example of how a website developing company such as Datex Media can integrate vital information into your website. By creating a corporate portal, you can take all the different forms of data your company currently has and consolidate them into a format they are used to. This standardized format means you can view this data from any computer you are at, as long as you are authorized to do so. This can also be done with excel and word documents as well as many others that are used on a daily basis in offices around the world. Without this capability, you have to wait for the person who has the file stored in their computer to access it and pass it on. Again, this is a waste of time and very frustrating for anybody who needs this information to complete their work, and in the economic situation we are in, the more time you waste waiting for necessary data, the more money you lose. Incorporating this type of software into your already existing website can also improve employee communication.

Depending on the size of your company, you may have many different departments in charge of very specific aspects of your business. While they may have a handle on exactly what is going on with their particular duties, interoffice updates are crucial to the flow of business. This is another way extraction can help. By consolidating all your data into a format the whole company can pull up, the communication between your employees and management improves and there is less misunderstanding about where projects are at. This can also cut down on redundancy because, often times, the same job is done more than once simply because information didn’t get to the necessary people fast enough. This is especially true when you’re talking about something like commercial real estate and property management.

Datex Media is currently working on an iPhone application that will allow property managers to download their tenant and vendor data into their phone. This means when you are off site, you can access the specific information you need for each property and have it right at your fingertips. This information can be organized into categories so that you can pull it up and easily find the pertinent data such as phone numbers, rent status, work orders etc…. Again, this type of software integration and data sharing saves you time and money, which is more important in today’s economic climate than ever before.

Imagine organizing company events, meetings and employee birthdays in a data base that allows anybody who needs it access. No more waiting for crucial reports, no more pulling up three different data bases to complete the project you are on; software that can find, extract and share the information each employee in your company needs. This is how you can have your website work for you not against you. Technology is a wonderful thing, when used wisely and when it’s implemented by experts who know how to get it to do what you want it to. And that’s another key factor; this type of data sharing can be done to your company’s specific needs. You decide who has access to what, and what type of format you want it in. There’s a famous saying that goes “are we running the machines, or are they running us?” Often times it can feel more like the latter; luckily there are ways to change that, and this is one that can streamline your company no matter what business you’re in.

When Is It Time To Upgrade Your Website

We live in a technology driven world. That’s why upgrading your website can be one of the most important things you can do to help your business. Among other things, a website helps promote your company’s brand image as well as brand loyalty. With increased competition from the internet, you want to make sure your website stands above the rest and has up-to-date software. This can be especially important if you want to provide updated information to your customers in a timely manner. So, when do you know it’s time to upgrade your website?

The first and most obvious answer to that question is that you want to upgrade your website if it’s been more than a couple of years since you built it. You don’t want your customers to get the impression that you’ve neglected any part of your business, and new possibilities on the internet are emerging so fast that it’s easy for your website to look outdated. With new software coming out all the time, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for you to take advantage of all the marketing possibilities the internet provides. Without integrating some of this software into your already existing website, you may reduce your ability to promote your brand image and compete with the big guns out there.

Another key component when thinking about when to upgrade your website is how user-friendly your site is. One of the consequences of the internet being a relatively new medium is that users are still on the learning curve when it comes to knowing how best to utilize its possibilities. The way they navigate, read and interact with websites is adapting to enable more efficient browsing. Users have come to anticipate navigation being found in a certain place and being as easy to understand and follow as possible. In fact, one study found that one of the best ways to promote and maintain brand loyalty is by ensuring your website is high in user ability.  

Technology has come a long way and it’s done so very quickly. Because of this, a lot of websites were previously developed without anticipating the rapid changes in software and software applications. This means your website may be seriously behind the times, and that’s not good for your company’s brand image. Nobody wants to do business with a company they feel is out of touch. Enhanced organization and improved employee communication are two more reasons you may want to upgrade your website. At Datex Media, we can integrate a corporate portal into already existing software. This provides one central location for all your company’s needs, improving efficiency and streamlining your business. Another plus to this is it can improve your company’s carbon footprint because it can limit the amount of paper your business has to use.

Any good business knows that brand loyalty is vital. If you leave your website looking out of date, if your users find it hard to navigate, or if you look like you’ve neglected an integral part of your business, it’s probably time to upgrade. The internet is a fast-paced world, and you have to stay current, especially in terms of your website’s technology. Integrating innovative software, and giving your website the facelift it needs can go a long way in helping your company compete in the global market.

Software That Can Help Streamline Business For Commercial Properties

One of the fastest ways to lose a client is to miss out on opportunities you have to serve their needs, which is why in today’s global economy, it is more important than ever to maintain quality customer service. This is especially true, when speaking of commercial property. Whether that commercial property is large-scale real estate or residential, there is innovative software technology that can help maximize the service you provide your tenants and help generate your company more revenue.

Property Management for Residential Real Estate
The crisis in the housing market has left thousands of people looking for a new place to live. In fact, “foreclosure filings spiked to 71% in the third quarter of this year,” according to money.cnn.com, and many of these displaced people are now living in apartment rentals. As a property management company, the goal is not only to get your apartments rented, but also, keep the renters in their units, and the quickest way to watch those renters walk out the door at the end of their lease is to leave them feeling neglected. In order to ensure renter satisfaction and promote positive word of mouth advertisement for your properties, you want to stay organized and on top of the maintenance and upkeep of the property you are managing. One of the best ways to do this is to allow tenants to communicate directly with the management company via a website.

How Software Can Help
One of the things we specialize in at Datex Media is personalizing different companies’ websites to match their specific needs, and implementing a corporate portal is one way we can help property management companies do business more effectively. We can also create software that integrates both the internal portal and the external website to allow more effective communication between your residents and or and the management team. Here are a few examples of how this type of software can help streamline business.
1. create one location to submit work orders and service requests, which minimizes the amount of time a renter has to wait to get something fixed
2. create one location for all property managers to input and track lease information for all the different buildings the company owns
3. create an executive dashboard where approved personal can view all pertinent information regarding their rental properties
4. create a central location to input and view a summary of all the property vendors.
5. and coming soon, the ability to download and organize all necessary data into your iPhone

While these are a few of the different ways we can help property management companies in residential real estate, the options are really endless. As the client, you work hand-in-hand with Datex Media to create whatever system best suits your company’s needs.

Property Management for Large-Scale Real Estate
In an article written for Financialweek.com, Frank Bryt writes that commercial properties “have risen to a 7.7% vacancy rate, which is the highest it’s been in 12 years; this also marks the 12th consecutive quarter of flat or deteriorating retail occupancy at the national level.” With these numbers being what they are, keeping your tenants is just as important as maintaining and increasing your customer traffic. Using specialized software can help keep your renters and shoppers happy.

How Software Can Help
Creating a corporate portal and integrating it into your external website can greatly improve your productivity, customer satisfaction and provide an avenue for marketing that cost less and reaches a wider audience. Here are a few examples of what this type of software can do;

1. centralize communication between the property owner, manager and the people who rent space in your building
2. facilitate a quicker and more efficient way of submitting service and maintenance requests
3. create a summary of all renters in your building
4. generate more revenue by creating an opportunity for each renter to market their products and sales online
5. generate more revenue by advertising to the public different events taking place at or related to your property
6. create a summary of the different businesses and services offered in your building that the customer can access online

In today’s global economy, it is more important than ever to maintain customer satisfaction. With the housing market being what it is, apartment rentals are raising, and with the economy slumping, maintaining tenants in larger commercial properties is becoming more of a challenge. Implementing innovative software technology can help your business stay organized and stay abreast of what is going on with every aspect, and in today’s market, the better service you provide, the more revenue you will generate.

How Corporate Portals are Revolutionizing Business

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Communication; when speaking about any relationship, whether it is personal or professional, good communication is a must. When it comes to corporate business, or any business for that matter whether it be big, small, or just starting out, it can make or break productivity and cause a loss of precious revenue. One of the most innovative technologies to come along in a while, corporate portals, is helping to streamline business, improve employee communication and stop the unnecessary loss of that all important revenue.

 By integrating a corporate portal into your already existing website, you can keep track of everything and everyone that has to do with your business. In fact, “some have gone so far as to call corporate portals the next generation of computing, saying that portals will do for global knowledge-work what the railroad did for the industrial revolution,” according to Information Week Online. The idea is that the corporate portal can automate all your company’s information in one central location on your website, thereby, reducing the amount of redundancy and miscommunication that can wreak havoc with the way you do business. Ok, so now we have an idea of why corporate portals are so important, but what are they exactly and how do they work?

Simply put, a corporate portal is like having the files of every office in your company located in one central location on your website. Moreover, there are software companies that can personalize the portal they are building for you to have separate pages for each employee. This allows the employee to stay on top of the work they have been assigned as well as keep the boss updated on what stage the employee is at on any given task. But there is much more to it than that. As we have come to see, many businesses are going paperless. Doing away with the extreme amount of wasted paper not only saves a company money, but as an extra-added bonus, helps protect the environment. For example, all those forms and contracts that need to be filled out can be accessed on the corporate portal and forwarded to whoever is in charge of organizing them. This would be a good example of a task page for the HR department. Corporate portals can also prevent the loss of valued customers.

Streamlining communication through corporate portals helps everybody in the company keep track of what their customer’s needs are. As any business person will tell you, their company’s survival rests on the attention they give their clients. Imagine missing an appointment because their message got lost; when you have one location to organize all the pertinent information, you are much less likely to run into this type of problem, because as workers move from task to task, job to job, and company to company, their basic work context travels with them. These are just a few examples of how valuable and asset corporate portals can be. The bottom line is that you want to ensure you hire a company that will work with you to design the program that works best for you business. Forget the canned software that’s out there; their limited, complicated and don’t give you the personal attention you need to take advantage of all the different aspects a corporate portal can provide.

The internet has made our lives much easier, and the exciting part is that it is constantly growing and revolutionizing the way we live and do business. In fact, it won’t be long before you can become even more mobile, as new technology will soon bring corporate portals to the iPhone. If you want to increase productivity, generate more revenue and improve your company’s culture through better communication, a corporate portal is something you should look into.