Cosmetologist Careers: Employment Outlook

Cosmetology is an exciting field in growing demand. This is good news for anyone wishing to enter into a career in cosmetology.

You may be asking yourself some of these questions:

What sort of careers are out there for cosmetologists?

Who is hiring?

Will I be able to find a job?

Is their room for advancement?

What kind of money can I expect to make?

This article will answer these questions and more.

“… overall employment of barbers, cosmetologists and other personal appearance workers is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations,” states the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment Outlook for Cosmetologist Careers

Employment will likely vary depending on which cosmetologist career you enter into, but in general, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects:

“… employment as a hair stylist or cosmetologist is expected to grow at least 20% by 2018.”
“… this growth will primarily come from an increasing population, which will lead to greater demand for basic hair services.”

Advancement Opportunities for Cosmetologists

Earnings can be expected to increase along with in-demand cosmetology skills and hands-on salon experience. There truly is something for everyone. There are options for growth for many cosmetologist career fields, including:

Salon management
Salon ownership
Service or product sales
Image consulting
Teaching in a cosmetology school

Earnings for a Career in Cosmetology in Colorado

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries can be expected to vary depending on area of expertise, level of employment, location and size of the salon, tips, bonuses, service commissions and number of hours worked. Many cosmetologists can also earn commissions on salon the products they are able to sell to their clients.

Earning stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor

Mean Annual Salary Potential Earnings

• $12.74/hr • Up to $19.97/hr

• $26,510/yr • As much as $41,540/yr

Top Factors Determining Cosmetologist Career Salaries

Size and location of the salon
Hours worked
Level of skill and experience
Area of expertise (Hair/Nails/Makeup/Skin)
Tipping habits of clients
Competition from other salons
The cosmetologist’s ability to bring in and maintain regular clients

Summary

Now that you have the facts, you can go into your new career in cosmetology with confidence. You now know what to expect and what you can do to get the most out of your new career as a professional cosmetologist. Find a Cosmetology school today and make it official!

The Role of Change Management in Successful Information Management Solutions

Implementation of Information Management solutions necessarily brings change to any organization. Business practices, role and relationships all affect the way in which people work and interact on a day-to-day basis. Whether the driver for implementation is for productivity, compliance or risk reduction there is always the need to consider what impact there will be on user communities.

Document and records management practices in organizations are not often front-of-mind for most managers and employees and asking them to think about information in a different way or even at all, as a corporate asset requires a fundamental mindset change. This will take many employees out of their comfort zone, impact on their confidence and competence to perform the work and creates a situation where individuals can sense a loss of control in their work context.

It is natural that most people initially react with caution with concerns about their future, security and where they will fit in to a new order of things. In any group there will be 10% who are excited by the prospect of change and at the other end 10% who will resist change regardless. This means that there are 80% who can be influenced one way or the other.

The successful implementation of an information management system extends far beyond the design and implementation. It extends beyond the support and operation. Effective information management requires a fundamental mind-shift by stakeholders and everyone in the organization that relies on information in their work activities. This shift needs to be carefully executed to create a requisite culture in which information is appropriately and thoroughly managed as a key organizational asset.

What is Change Management?

Change management is the art of influencing the majority to positively accept and commit emotionally to the change. Many of the issues arising as a response to change can be real or perceived and are closely related in a cause and effect network. Either way, they need to be addressed to avoid resistance or rejection of the change. This requires a combination of communication, understanding, mentoring, coaching and general support with the aim of building trust. It is from this position of trust that the task of building the work culture required for successful information management begins. The ‘4 Cs’ of change management help us think about the change from an effected user point of view.

Comfort People are creatures of habit and develop patterns of working within a comfort zone of daily activities.

Control Changed practices may cause a loss of control over daily routines and activities. This may come through changed reporting lines or responsibilities which can evoke a level of discomfort.

Confidence The introduction of new practices may undermine employee confidence in their ability to perform. Some may see this as challenge, for others it can be stressful. Often the introduction of computer equipment is something that can be discomforting. Some people, particularly older workers may have no experience with computers and can cause self doubt over their abilities to learn the new skills required.

Competence To be able to operate in a changed work environment there is always an element of re-skilling required. This necessarily means that current skills, often developed over an extended period of time will need updating or may become redundant. This uncertainty can impact on an employee’s competence and ability to perform.

The management of the complex web of responses, issues and perceptions requires focused attention. The skills of a change manager are built on an understanding of human behavior and the change manager’s role is to assist people to understand the change and what it means in personal terms and has been proven to be a significant success factor in building Information Management capability.

Why is Change Management important?

As volumes of information inevitably grow and our regulatory obligations increase amid the ongoing business pursuit of productivity, we cannot afford to waste the opportunity to exploit the benefits of information management solutions.

Studies repeatedly show that a key risk in the success or failure of information management solutions is stakeholder resistance to change. Through an investment of time and effort in preparing the user community for the coming change the chances of resistance are lowered. In short without a disciplined approach to managing stakeholders through the change then realization of anticipated benefits is put at risk. This has impact on business productivity, staff moral and the bottom-line. So it would seem logical for us to deploy our information management solutions in the most effective manner.

Some common Change Management pitfalls of an IM solution implementation

We are seeing an ongoing consolidation of the information management vendor community and a subsequent convergence of the underlying technology. There is a growing recognition by organizations that an information management capability is needed. Further, audit activity frequently highlights any shortfalls in performance and organizations react accordingly.

The selection of an information management solution is an important corporate investment and common pitfalls addressed by change management include:

Focus on Technology

Ignoring the emotional needs of users in the rush to get the technology in place can create a real project risk. Many organizations with an information management solution already in place experience a negativity of opinion towards the system. Often the cause of this perception can be traced to an initial technical implementation focus that neglected the needs of those who consequently struggled to apply new functionality in their work activities. An effective change management approach including awareness building and communication can turn this perception around.

Recognition of the Business importance of Information

The low profile that information management has in most employees’ minds can be an issue. We are all busy and in the scheme of things ‘filing’ is not front-of-mind for the majority of employee’s striving to keep pace with everyday work pressures. Document management and filing, can fall down the priority list partly because of work pressures and partly because of limited awareness and can be seen one of the things that ‘should’ be done’ rather than something that ‘must’ be done.

Organizations recognising the business value of information as an asset can then raise awareness of its importance and manage it accordingly. An increased awareness of this importance should also influence the planning of information management system deployments.

Business Case and Budget

The business case for information management is focused on risk, mitigation, and productivity. However; many benefits are intangible and have an indirect impact on the bottom line. Unfortunately associated costs are very tangible and visible.

Consequently, there are challenges in the development of the business case as it can fail to excite the financial fundamentalists who view the whole undertaking in terms of an unavoidable cost that must be minimized. For the uninformed, change management activities can be seen as non-essential and result in budgets being set to minimise cost adding to the risk of failure.

Although not unique to Information management implementations these above factors can create significant project risk. Change Management techniques are designed to address the human behavioral issues that can adversely impact on project success and as such, are a necessary inclusion in any deployment activity.

What are some Change Management best practices for an IM solution implementation?

When it is apparent users are not participating in Information Management practices an objective assessment can identify a way forward that is usually cost effective and will meet organizational needs within a much shorter timeframe. This assessment must take an independent and holistic view of the situation from multiple perspectives.

This assessment must identify the root causes of any associated issues and develop a clear strategy to build the information management capability required. There are a number of common elements that have emerged as issues with information management implementations that have nothing to do with the incumbent technological tool and the strategy developed must consider how these are to be addressed.

The capability assessment framework enables organizations to holistically assess information management practices and to identify improvement opportunities that will build capability. This is achieved by benchmarking current organizational practice against best practice in each of the dimensions of the framework. The best practice benchmark criteria in the framework have been identified through experience with multiple organizations across industry sectors and geographies, and are augmented through industry collaboration and global academic research outcomes.

The dimensions of information management identified in the framework are defined as follows.

Strategy

Best practice organization’s should have a clear strategy relating to its management and use of information The strategy clearly defines the content and structure of the information, how it is to be governed and applied to support the primary business strategy.

Content

We can assume that most organizations have the information content that is required to manage their business. If this is not the case then it is difficult to envisage the organization operating successfully or at all. However, most organizations suffer from an ad-hoc approach to the management of this important asset. Best practices relating to managing this content start by having an inventory of the content, a consistent architecture governing naming conventions, taxonomy, where content is held, how content is held, i.e. hard copy soft copy formats and who can access what categories of information.

Process

Due process governing how information is created, stored, accessed and communicated is fundamental to the governance of enterprise information.

Governance is the combination of processes and structures implemented at management level to inform, direct, manage, and monitor the information management activities of the organization. This consists of clear policy, procedure and business rules guiding information management practices. These must be developed in context of the organization’s business activity and be clearly communicated to stakeholders.

Information management governance also includes the development of business classification schemes, taxonomy, naming conventions and rules governing the creation, storage, protection, communication, sensitivities, use and appropriate destruction of information.

Culture

The manner in which information is treated and perceived in an organization is reflective of organizational culture. Best practice organizations have clear understandings and norms recognising the importance of information as an asset. This mindset needs to be pervasive across the organizational culture and is fundamental to induction and staff development initiatives.

Change management during information systems implementations is a clear best practice aimed at creating the cultural awareness and mindset required.

Relationships

Organizations operate within a network of relationships with stakeholders. These stakeholders include customers, suppliers, regulators and industry bodies. Best practice organizations have clear understanding and service level agreements with other stakeholders in order that corporate record keeping obligations are met and to ensure information is shared appropriately and to the level required to maximize efficiency.

Services

The application of Information as an asset is fundamental to the services or products offered to the market place. Best practice organizations embed value-adding knowledge and information into services to maximize attractiveness and utility. Corporate discipline ensuring the validity of information shared is necessary to mitigate risk of non-compliance and avoid potential litigation.

Technology

Information technology is fundamental to the management of the information asset. Clear and consistent architectures, data and information structures, security and operational tools indicate a mature approach to information management. Best practice organizations have clearly defined architectures.

Change Management Best Practice

The capability assessment framework facilitates benchmarking against specific best practice indicators. The absence of any of these indicators provides an opportunity for the organization to improve. Over and above these specific indicators the following themes have emerged as overarching best practice in change management as information management capability is developed.

Governance

As discussed above governance is the combination of processes and structures to inform, direct, manage, and monitor information management activities. This includes effective record keeping practices. It is important that organizations develop governance practices as early as possible in implementation projects. This often means putting governance in place prior to specification, selection and deployment of a technology solution. This has a double benefit. Firstly: stakeholder’s become familiar with information management expectations and the requisite culture begins to develop; and secondly; the organization gains the opportunity to refine its governance structures prior to full deployment.

Information Management System

The selection of an enabling information management technology to meet performance and functional requirements should follow a diligent approach. It is best practice for selection criteria to consider wider information management architectural needs. The functional richness of available solutions can allow the retirement of duplicative products providing islands of functionality. Workflow or WebPages are common examples of these islands where products have been acquired for a single one-off purpose and are unable to integrate with core applications. Once configured and deployed the new infrastructure can provide the opportunity to create an integrated technology architecture thereby reducing support cost.

Pilots

There are many examples of high cost, high-profile failures in the information technology industry. Often this can be traced to over-ambition and a big-bang approach to deployment.

Implementation of Information Management capability within well defined scope delivered in incremental steps provides many benefits. Primarily incremental implementation through a series of pilot deployments allows adaptation of the solution based on real experience before attempting to conquer the world. Many organizations are benefiting from the adoption of this approach.

User Focus

The inclusion of change management activities focused on preparing stakeholders to take on the reformed work practices mitigate against risk of stakeholder resistance. This involves considering the emotional needs of all stakeholders to ensure that they feel in control, are comfortable and have the confidence and competence to execute new work practices. For many stakeholders the learning of new skills and changed role and responsibility provides enhanced career opportunity.

Architecture

Most of the solutions available in the marketplace offer rich functionality to manage documents and content in a web-based environment. Full use of the functionality on offer can simplify the technical architecture and realize savings in licence and administrative cost further justifying investment.

Change Management Roles and Responsibilities

The change manager works very closely with stakeholders and it is important that relationships based on trust are established. The personal attributes of a successful change manager are empathy and patience. The role and responsibility of the change manager is focused on understanding stakeholder needs, building an awareness of the need for change and supporting these stakeholders as they transition to new work practices.

Some key responsibilities for the change manager include communications, setting up reporting and communication channels, participating in business process reform, workshop facilitation, staff training, mentoring and awareness building. In short, any activity that interacts and prepares the user community to participate in reformed work practices.

Regardless of the scale of undertaking information management projects require a change management capability. In large scale projects there may be dedicated change management resources. For smaller scale projects this role may be a part-time or shared responsibility. The change management role can in many instances be a shared role across the development. Sometimes this can be provided through a corporate change management function. Regardless of how the role is resourced it is essential that it is included.

Many routinely conducted project activities such as workshops, interviews, training and presentations are in fact change management opportunities as these events they are interactions with stakeholders. They therefore present the ideal opportunity to develop the relationship of trust between the project team members and stakeholders.

It is important to avoid the situation where contributing stakeholders feel as though they have been sucked dry for information by technical people. This can be avoided through the development of awareness of the importance of the project team/stakeholder relationship thereby maximizing the value of this contact time.

Further, ‘champions’ can be identified from within the stakeholder community. This provides a critical change management input. As these champions are representatives drawn from the stakeholder community their roles can be a very influential and positive contributor to project success.

How the Recession Is Affecting the Commercial Construction Industry

The ‘Great Recession’ theoretically lasted about 18 months, from 2007 to 2009. Recovery has been agonizingly slow in many industries but we are now in 2015 and the construction industry is more rapidly shrugging off the residual effects of the recession.

How Bad Was It?

Even though construction industry is cyclical and recession typically follows a boom period, nothing could have prepared it for the harsh and widespread reach of the recession:

Residential: Homeowners defaulted on homes and others delayed buying homes, leading to a glut of residential real estate languishing in realtors’ inventory.

Commercial: Commercial construction also was hard hit, severely impacted by the federal budget sequester and eventual-but-temporary shutdown, followed by scaled back government spending, and sharply reduced lending practices.

Institutional: Institutional construction remained stagnant, affected by the same limitations and funding problems that the commercial construction sector faced.

How Were Construction Workers Affected?

Nevada, California, Florida, and Arizona are typically areas with plenty of construction work. But the recession changed that:

Nevada employed an estimated 146,000 construction workers at the peak of its construction boom. That number was reduced by 59 percent.

Arizona’s construction employment dropped 50 percent from its pre-recession industry peak.

Florida was close on the industry-related unemployment heels of Nevada and Arizona, losing 40 percent of its construction workforce.

California fared better but still recorded a 28 percent drop.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 2.3 million construction workers lost their jobs in the recession (nearly 30 percent of the total number of lost jobs).

The overall construction industry has an estimated 1.4 million fewer construction workers in 2015 than it did in 2007.

The Construction Outlook in 2015 and Beyond

Happily, the U.S. and its construction industry continue to move away from the harshest effects of the Great Recession. Industry observers expect to see these improvements:

Non-residential construction: picking up and looking more solid, especially with the expected 2.6 percent real GDP growth in 2015. This sector may rise by 8 percent with growth in office buildings, hotels, and industrial facilities.

Single family housing: expected to increase by 11 percent in the number of residential units, thanks to easier access to home mortgage loans.

Manufacturing plant construction: will probably drop about 16 percent after huge increases of 2013 and 2014.

Institutional construction: expected to continue its moderate upward trend and increase 9% over 2014 results.

Residential construction: called the potential ‘wild card’ of 2015 because of rising interest rates. Existing home sales may climb toward 10 percent.

Public construction: growth will remain low due to ongoing federal spending constraints. However, transportation spending is expected to grow by about 2.2 percent.

Ironically, construction workers may not be rushing to return to new jobs. Many left the industry altogether, retraining for other employment.

Texas and North Dakota both show significant increases in construction employment. North Dakota now needs to recruit construction workers. Texas’ construction employment is up 10 percent, nearing its pre-recession peak.

Economists don’t expect the construction industry to return to its peak level (2006) until 2022 or later. However, the BLS anticipates that the fastest-growing jobs now and 2022 will be in healthcare and construction.

So while the Great Recession did a considerable amount of damage to the overall economy, individual incomes, and morale, 2015 and beyond are looking considerably more favorable in the commercial construction industry.

How Can You Become A Business Consultant?

Learn the key secret to becoming a consultant and improving your consulting practice.

When you brainstorm to make a career change to consulting, what you need to understand is not only its definition, but also the responsibilities a consultant has.

Being a consultant, you are expected to offer your skills to other people or businesses. You would be required to give suggestions, solve problems, make recommendations and provide specialized work so as to streamline the process you provide consultation for.

If you think that anyone who knows a thing or two about a certain process would be able to provide consultation, with all due respect, you are wrong.

Actually, what separates a good consultant from a bad one are passion, knowledge and drive for excellence. A person who has in-depth knowledge about the subject can only be able to provide insight into a certain process.

This is the difference, isn’t?

If you are transitioning to consulting, first you need to understand the things you should consider prior to making your first move towards your goal.

What licensing and certifications will I need?

Depending upon your expertise and profession, you may need specific certification or a license before you start providing your services. Let’s say, if you long for consulting for manufacturing and distribution companies, you need to have a license from a trusted organization or a consultant licensing platform.

Am I qualified enough to be a consultant?

Before approaching one of the consulting groups for small and medium size enterprises for license or training, what you need to do is a self-analysis. This would help you ascertain whether you hold the traits that a consultant needs to succeed or are able to provide error-free deliverables.

Do I have my long-term and short-term goals in place?

If your goals do not align with the time, energy and expertise it takes to start and maintain a consulting business, your chances get significantly lowered to make it big. Approach a consultant providing expert consulting for manufacturing and distribution companies to understand what goals you should strive for.

Here are some fields a consultant can join

Lean manufacturing

To become a lean manufacturing consultant, you need to become at home on all areas related to lean manufacturing process – a process incorporated into a production process to eliminate waste, thereby ensuring efficiency.

A lean manufacturing consultant is expected to provide a good piece of advice to key decision makers in large corporations and non-profit organizations on how they can minimize or eliminate waste to attain maximum production. You can approach one of the well-known consulting groups for small and medium size enterprises to understand the nitty-gritty and get a license to start your own consulting firm.

Human resources

As long as businesses need workforce, a human resource consultant will be high in demand. A human resource consultant would help a business – for example a software development company – to create essential department and hire qualified candidates as well.

Marketing

A marketing consultant needs to chalk out an efficient marketing plan to help a business reach out to its targeted audience. In order to churn out such a plan, you need to be efficient enough to understand a business’ product, target audience and how an advertisement campaign of the same would be executed.

Along with this, there are a wide range of professions you can choose from to be a consultant for.

Listed below are the reasons why a company hires a consultant

A business of any size and nature needs to be backed by a consultant in order to execute every business operation in such a way that it generates positive returns.

We are providing you some of those reasons why a consultant is important to any business.

A consultant is valued for:

Expertise over the subject matter
Ability to identify the problem and rectify the same
Ability to act as a catalyst
Ability to provide much-needed objectivity

If you are longing to become a consultant, join a training session provided by the reputed consultancy firm – Group 50.

New Concepts in Business-Continuity Disaster-Recovery Planning

As today’s businesses become increasingly dependent on digital technology, business continuity disaster recovery planning has taken on new meanings. This means that things like smoke detectors and fire suppression systems simply aren’t enough to protect today’s businesses from a disaster.

The Need For More Comprehensive Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Planning

The disaster that today’s business owners tend to worry about, is a disaster involving the data that is contained in their computers. For instance, can you imagine what would happen to a business if they lost all of the files that contained all of their customer billing information?

Another Layer Of Protection

Even of a business does have anti virus software and firewall protection, every now and again some new virus or hacker appears on the scene that is able to bypass these security systems. In very short order software and firewall protection can be upgraded but for a certain period of time businesses can and do remain vulnerable.

An Incredibly Simple Solution For a Complex problem

The simple solution for business continuity disaster recovery planning that an increasing number of today’s businesses are taking to keep themselves fully protected is what is called disaster recovery software. It basically functions as an insurance policy in the event that any or all of a business data is lost or becomes infected with a virus.

Instantly Replaces Lost Or Compromised Business Data

The way that this software functions is simple yet effective. As data is being generated and stored in a businesses computers, it is at the same time being duplicated. This duplicated data is then automatically sent for storage to a secure off site location. Then if it is ever needed, it can be instantly recalled to replace any data that was lost.

Making Customer Service Effective in the Digital Age

What is Customer Service?

Customer service is an elaborate and interactive process of understanding a customer and fulfilment of his needs as per the company’s resources, capacity and capability for the product sold or service delivered. In this context, the customer’s expectation starts from the time he has purchased the product or subscribed or hired the services. Therefore, customer service is an end-to-end process which begins from the time of sale till the end of life cycle of a product or the service or its usability to the customer. Thus, this concept originates with the customer and ends with the customer.

Synonyms of customer service: customer support, helpdesk, service centre, customer care, troubleshooting team, client service, after sales service, customer helpline.

Customer service is a part and parcel of every organization. For any company to sustain and grow, their focus and efforts have to be channelized towards creation of good customer service team.

Good customer service should aim towards enabling the following:
– Long-time Customer retention
– Loyalty towards Company’s products and services
– This in turn should build a customer’s trust toward the brand
– Enhancing product effectiveness and its value among the competitors
– Translating to higher sales thereby impacting overall revenues positively (due to same customer buying products or services repeatedly or recommending them to his family and friends)
– Resulting in Company saving its cost of customer acquisition on account of customer churn (which is almost 5 times more expensive)
– Strengthening a positive word of mouth and increasing Company’s goodwill and equity
– Leading to less expenditure on advertising, promotion and marketing activities

So, all these efforts will ultimately lead to company’s prosperity and increased market share which is beneficial for its employees and vendors and its longevity.

Nevertheless, an unhappy customer is an opportunity and the company should never lose out on insightful experience through the customer’s feedback to analyse the root cause of the problem that led to poor customer experience. Further, the company should invest time in reviewing their current working mechanism, getting into process reorientation, improving their product or service, it’s features or offers, grooming and training the staff or bridging any gaps that exist as per the customer inputs.

Customer Service Representative, his qualities and the different channels:
Customer service representatives (cse) are the actual brand ambassador for any company since a customer interacts with them on phone, through on-line chat, on company’s website or portal, on e-mail, social media and on-line forums, face to face interaction at service center.

A CSE should therefore:
– Speak to the customer politely
– Listen to him
– Give him respect
– Understand his need or concern
– Empathise
– Finally, most importantly, provide solution or an alternative as per his problem or requirement.

Being polite and humble without resolving customer’s query won’t help. Similarly, giving solution but in a rude tone will also back fire. It’s a viscous circle of expectations. Customer wants everything – politeness, empathy and solution. And he is right as he has paid for the product or the service. Customer is always right and is the king.

A Company has to:
– Keep their CSE motivated.
– They should be trained well in product and soft skills
– They should be able to communicate well with the customer
– Have patience, take ownership and work towards providing resolution to the customer.

Every organization contributes in some way or the other by working for its customers – it could be a B to B (Business) model or a B to C (Customer) model. In the long run, to accomplish its goals, every organization should align customer centricity to its vision and organizational strategy. This is an aspect no Company can afford to miss even a PSU or a Government organization.

Guide to great customer service is extremely simple:
– Remember, it is important to build a good rapport or connect with the customer
– Have qualitative interactions with him
– An intent to solve his problem no matter what.
– Smile while talking to the customer.
– Acknowledge the fact that most of the customers prefer human interaction more than communicating with machines. So, treat the customer the way you would like a service provider to treat you.

Different industries could have different levels of customer engagement as per their business and could have different ways to assess or measure their customer satisfaction.

Customer needs could be different for retail industry with regards to telecom, utilities, logistics, financial, outsourcing, government, healthcare, media, manufacturing, IT, real estate, service industry and so on.

Background of Customer Service: The concept of customer service is as old as early 1800s and it all started with the industrial revolution where products were designed and manufactured as per customer’s needs. However, since then, as we have noticed, customer’s behaviour has been dynamic, unpredictable and influenced by numerous factors, that’s why it is never consistent and is changing even faster than a stock market. Dealing with customers is challenging most of the time as it is like solving a jig saw puzzle every time.

Problems faced in Customer Service due to:
1. Limited authority with each service channel
2. Communication barrier between the customer and the CSE
3. Resolution being awaited from the concerned person/ team
4. Every customer’s problem is unique and expectations could vary to a different degree
5. Less staff available to cater to customers (due to leave, absenteeism, attrition) leading to high pressure
6. Technical or unknown issue (with no timelines or alternative available)
7. Company policy that acts as a hindrance sometimes
8. Lack of knowledge or skill
9. Customer reluctance to accept a resolution
10. Competition leading to higher expectations

How do we gauge effectiveness of customer service?
1. On-line surveys (as part of CSAT tool) as a part of buying a product (mostly asking to rate customer’s experience on E-commerce websites). CSAT is Customer Satisfaction.
2. Surveys at IVR (Interactive Voice Response) as part of CSAT tool
3. Mystery Shopping by posing as a customer
4. Live and remote monitoring of customer interactions (random sampling) and evaluating the quality of each interaction
5. Feedback calls, SMS, e-mails or IVR calls made to the customers to confirm if their query / concern was resolved or not
6. Analysing and taking action basis customer feedback on Website, Social media, Customer Portal
7. Assessing customer’s behaviour towards the brand, its products and services by applying Business Intelligence, Data analytics, Search Engine Optimization and other techniques.

What is CSAT?
Customer Satisfaction Survey is a powerful tool shared by the Service provider with the customer after he has had an interaction with the Customer service representative to rate his experience along with rating on service related parameters including resolution of his problem. This tool is a Voice of Customer that provides an insight on customer’s experience, whether it was as per his expectations and anything that was lacking or could have been done better. For most of the companies, CSAT is linked to the performance ratings of the employees and it impacts their annual bonus and increments. Why not CSAT rating impact everyone in the organization as every employee is expected to do his bit that contributes or adds value to customer’s experience? Thought to ponder.

With digitization, things have completely changed and the transition phase has emerged. Thanks to the changing technology and other strong factors:
1. Customers have become very demanding and so have their expectations increased with ease of technology. They want to control everything through the click of an app. They don’t want to waste their valuable time visiting a Store or a Service Center waiting for their turn unless it is unavoidable. They don’t want to call up the Call Center, wait in the queue and then talk to people who behave like robots reading a script and not as human interface.
2. There is whole lot of competition, which has given world numerous options available online as well as offline and that too cost effective ones. While there is a Big Basket for every Grofer. There is OYO rooms for every Make My Trip and Yatra. There is Amazon for every Flipkart and Snapdeal. There is Ola for every Uber. There is Zomato for every Swiggy and Food Panda and the race is endless. There is a Big Bazaar for every Reliance Fresh. There is a Chroma for every Reliance Digital, and there is a Jio for every Vodafone, Idea and Airtel.
3. With VCs and new investors coming from rest of the world, the business landscape has evolved and grown multiple folds adding to everyone’s benefit including income.
4. Next is obviously, people’s incomes (including disposal incomes) have increased along with the lifestyle. Luxuries have becomes necessities in today’s universe.
5. Government policies inviting foreign funds, FDIs, have been favourable for creating a business friendly and investor friendly climate.
6. Start-up Culture, Tech Parks have been a big hit.
7. Mergers and acquisitions have become a norm of the day.

Thus, technology has bombarded our day-to-day life. Daily Routine has been adapted as per the smart phone and what what’s app demands. Social media has transformed our life completely. Posts on FB, Twitter, and Instagram are dearer than real life friends.

So, if the personal and professional life has transitioned at such a rapid pace in the new millennium and in the last 10 years to be precise, the customer is justified in demanding excellent customer service with better reachability rates.

Sad but true, we are still missing out on several basic and important things that a customer in digital era will need even though he might be the most tech savvy person on this earth.
1. Most of the product Companies and Service providers are lacking in providing personalized services to every customer customized especially keeping his needs in mind. This is a challenge with hundreds of downloads happening every day for most of the Companies.
2. Deciding on the most suitable and preferred blend of touch points or channels of communications available to a customer 24 by 7. A company just cannot rely on FAQs provided on its app for all its customers. Or running analytics engine might not be sufficient for analysing his behaviour. A mere e-mail survey might not gather complete feedback about customer experience. All channels are equally important at different times and for different reasons and for different customers. A farmer using services might still prefer to visit a Service Centre personally while a person whose internet pack is over might just call up the Call Centre.
3. Even Robotics, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence and Chatbot has limitations and cannot answer everything or replace human interactions. Let’s keep that factor in mind. However, in most of the Call Centers, CSEs have a very limited role acting like robots following a script blindly.
4. A help menu inbuilt in an app is a basic necessity but is the organization smart and prompt enough to swiftly engage with the customer on any dissatisfaction or mishappening reported in the app?
5. Is every CSAT survey being looked carefully to arrive at some conclusion? Who takes the ownership and why?
6. Are service commitments still being offered? How often does the Company engage with its customers and to what extent?
7. How about customer education not only about new offers and schemes but also guiding a customer what plan should be appropriate as per his last one year’s expenses or usage?
8. Time to stop and think. With Big Data analytics, internet of things, is the company’s quality of interactions getting improved or deteriorated? How does the customer satisfaction graph look like? How about the turnaround time for resolving a ticket on their Portal or app?
9. How about collaboration with the customer in making their app more useful and customer friendly? Inviting customer’s feedback and suggestions from improvement and not just triggering a request to the customer to follow on FB, Twitter? Ensuring speed, agility, updation of question bank, posting customer ratings + reviews, checking app and portal’s feedback and suggestions on regular basis?
10. How about ensuring adherence to code of conduct and ethical dealing with critical pointers being followed as a mandate: no data leakage, privacy breach, sharing of data with the third party?
11. Keeping the Customer Service employees motivated as happy employees will keep customers happy.
12. Challenge of retaining the customer and building loyalty. With a better offer, each day customer switches to a different Service provider.

Examples where services could improve (though their app is user friendly but few requests where customers cannot rely on app alone)
1. Paytm: For completing KYC (Know Your Customer) process, customer has to visit either the nearest store or paytm person visits the customer for fulfilling the process requirements. These guys seems untrained, lacks helpful attitude and professionalism. Company here lacks setting expectations and training its customer service staff.
2. Ola/ Uber: Their app and Call Center is extremely good. However, since they rely on a third party, sometimes, the cab is not clean, the driver talks rudely or does not follow route shown in maps or comes late for pick -up. In such cases, Cab Companies should have extremely stringent audits and regular checks to catch hold of defaulters.
3. Amazon/ Flipkart: They rely on third party courriers for more than 40% of their consignments and these courier persons give false commitments which leads to delays often. And no one takes ownership of such delays or miss outs.