May 17th, 2013
Some interesting articles on government contracting that ARMA has been reading this week:
The National Contract Management Association is highlighting a shift towards increased telework for FEMA contractors. FEMA staff are calling it a “mobility strategy that emphasizes modern workspaces, telework and hoteling.”
Chris Knotts at Washington Technology has some concerns about the globalization of tech support, particularly as it relates to “significant security problems when federal workers … share sensitive information about their IT infrastructure with unknown, non-U.S. citizen support technicians.” ARMA would question some of the straw-man devices utilized in the article, but can agree firmly that Knott’s assertion that it is important “to become as vigilant with our IT environments as we are with our physical environments.”
Jim McAleese at GovConWire talks about the logistical repercussions of the sequestration. One of his conclusions moving forward:
The focus was now on making sure that every company knew how much funded backlog it already had, that would be immune from 2013 sequester. Companies would know then how much time they had to drive costs out of the system, faster than either their sales could fall, or faster than the influx of now-smaller orders would be coming through the door.
May 15th, 2013
An infographic over at the Small Business Blog raises some important questions about time management for us here at ARMA. Are the long hours at work productive? Is being a “small business generalist” worth it in the long run or should we outsource more? Where do we find more people who like accounting? (Not everyone has a great accountant like ARMA).
May 10th, 2013
Great quote on listening to customers from Paul Hagan at 1 to 1 Media. Its a little dense, but worth sinking your teeth into:
Think of customer experience efforts as a continuous improvement effort, not a metric to achieve. A customer listening program shouldn’t be a goal unto itself to help a firm benchmark against competition or achieve some score. Rather, it’s a set of signals that can either point to areas of dysfunction or of excellence in the ecosystem that delivers the experiences that customers have. Firms that excel at customer experience make a discipline out of digging deeper around these signals to understand the root cause (wherever it exists) and create a governance mechanism to drive actions across the company. In the case of dysfunction, the signals can point to poor processes, miscommunications, misguided policies, or in this case selling to the wrong kinds of customers. In the case of excellence, the signals represent opportunities to replicate activities that drive value–sometimes done by employees who don’t even realize what they’re doing is exceptional because they do it naturally or that the company doesn’t realize is important to customers.
May 8th, 2013
ARMA has been around for more than 20 years, but many small businesses are struggling to find that sweet spot which will ensure their longevity. This infographic from Intuit explores how to “ensure your doors stay open”:
May 3rd, 2013
This week ARMA’s CEO & President Tomi Bannister is at the Women Presidents’ Organization 2013 Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas.
Here are some of the highlights we’re gleaning from Twitter here at home:
May 1st, 2013
Now is the time to take the initiative in designing collaborative efforts with federal agencies, marketing solutions that maximize contractor and government resources and the best possible efficiencies in service solutions. Go in early, go in hard, go with a team concept and be open and objective with your primes, your suppliers and your customer. Engage your employees at all levels in the effort.
Click through to read Ken Larson’s recommendations on teaming in the current contracting fiscal climate.
April 26th, 2013
Some interesting facts brought to us by the Jane Dough regarding women’s priorities at work:
Five to ten years ago, 56 percent of women said that earning a high salary defined their success at work. Now, only 45 percent of the women asked thought a high-paying job was the definition of success. Perhaps the poor economy is the cause for this shift in women’s priorities. Whatever the case, 77 percent of women surveyed globally consider themselves to have a successful career.
When asked about their main concerns regarding their careers, 51 percent of women named “lack of a career path” as their main worry, while 47 percent said their biggest concern was “lack of investment in professional development.” Both of these indicate that businesses should not only be developing female leaders, but helping all employees, male and female, find their place within the business. Helping to mentor and guide an employee, and investing in them, will turn them into even greater assets for the companies they work for.
The emphasis on the last sentence is ours — ARMA finds it rewarding to see something we value so highly identified prominently as a motivator for success!
April 24th, 2013
ARMA would like to point you towards a great post on customer service at KISSmetrics (found courtesy of Stefan Töpfer), and in particular this graphic:
We’ve talked about the role that transparency can play in customer loyalty before. This image crystallizes in one place some of the ways to earn that loyalty.
April 19th, 2013
ARMA has a few customer service gems from around the web to give you before the weekend:
John Jantsch reminds us of ways to turn “transactions into referrals,” i.e. elevating mundane customer experiences into something that makes them recommend your product or service to others. One way that we liked:
Over deliver and surprise your new customers with something they didn’t expect. People love good surprises and few things get people talking faster than something they didn’t expect. Lots of people get this idea, but also don’t forget your long time customers. Sometimes in the rush to get new customers we forget about the ones that got us here. I remember a few years ago I brought out a new product and offered a special deal in a promotion. I had a few customers that had paid full price prior to the promotion. I went back and offered them the discount and I’ve since lost count of how many customers one of those recipients has referred.
At Church of the Customer, Jackie Hugh explores what she refers to as “monster loyalty,” building on her idea of “one-percenters” which is also quite interesting. Click through to read about the way that “the most highly engaged particpants in a community make up a tiny percentage of the overall customer base but are vocal passionate evangelists who bring new customers into the fold through word of mouth.”
And then Amie Marse has some pointers stemming from Yahoo’s recent customer service faux paus. Here, she talks about how she believes in focusing on the details:
When a customer has an issue, they don’t care about your marketing strategy, apologies or about how great your brand is. They simply want the issue fixed. When you rectify a negative situation, the customer remembers the good experience and will do business with you again.
April 17th, 2013
We spotted this infographic over at the Small Business Blog that was created by Sainsbury Management Fellows about the benefits of mentoring. As longtime advocates of mentoring and teaming here at ARMA, we hope you agree!