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3 Simple Ways To Build Great Customer Relationships

Organizations with great customer relationships are able to grow their businesses without gimmicks, fee cuts or special treatment. You have to be good at what you do, of course, but having a truly successful business is based on one simple concept: trust.

With trust, you’ll have customers (or clients) for life. Without trust, you may as well pack up and go home.

Building trust takes time and a lot of hard work. But it’s entirely doable if you and your teamwork on three of your most important core competencies: service, consistency and transparency.

Great Service Matters
According to a Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey, when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend a trusted company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently. While hardly anyone talks about the time you went above and beyond for a customer, you’ll certainly hear from the disgruntled ones if you failed to make a deadline or delivered a product that didn’t do what you had promised.

Earning a customer’s trust starts with giving great service. How would you want to be treated if you were a customer? The reality is that service should come naturally, instead of being strategically planned. The more you plan for great service, the less time you’ll spend delivering it.

Sure, there will be times when you’ve tried your best and can’t seem to make any headway with a particular problem. But you want to strive for responsiveness, timeliness and exceeded expectations.

Consistency Breeds Harmony
Consistency goes hand in hand with providing great service. Internal expectations lead to external results.

From a business perspective, consistency applies to every aspect of what you do:

  • Your employees should provide equivalent levels of service.
  • Equipped with the tools they need, your sales team should answers questions the same way.
  • You should stay the course with your products and services, rather than constantly shifting gears to try new tactics or initiatives.
  • Create meaningful measurement to determine whether something is working. If it isn’t viable, you should have a plan in place to make changes.
  • Consistency puts your money where you mouth is within your organization. From a leadership perspective, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. For example, if you miss a meeting without a good reason, don’t be surprised if they do the same.

Transparency Is Clear
Transparency is another competency that should come naturally. Yet so many businesses have trouble coming to terms with what it really means.

Customers and clients are smart. They know when you’re being up front or when they are told a mistruth. If honesty is the best policy, they’ll appreciate and admire you more when you admit to a mistake, rather than playing games or even worse, avoiding the topic altogether.

Don’t try to hide or cover up your errors. Address the issue directly, explain how you will handle it and share what steps are being taken to prevent the errors from occurring in the future. To implement transparency effectively, lead by example. Your employees will also admire you more for your honesty.

Sealing the Deal
Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients have to like you. Everyone wants to be liked. But creating customers and clients for life is more about them trusting you to deliver on your promises. It takes effort, but in the end your hard work will pay off again and again, with repeat business, more referrals and personal peace of mind, knowing you met and exceeded your customers’ expectations.

The story was originally published in Small Business Center.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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How Often Do You Unplug?

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s a chart that’s both surprising and unsurprising.

People in the United States rarely unplug from gadgets according to a survey by CivicScience. As you can see, 43% of those polled say they never unplug. And 17% say a few times a year.

CivicScience seems to have cast a very wide net for its definition of “unplug” with TV, internet, smartphones, etc. counting.

For what it’s worth, I would say I never unplug entirely. I always check the internet even when I’m on vacation. I enjoy it. I like seeing what’s going on in the world. I don’t check email as much, but that’s about it. It doesn’t stress me out too much, unless I see the wrong email.

Anyway, what about you? Do you unplug, do you feel like you need to, or even want to?

Unplug

The story was originally published in the Business Insider.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

How To Find Focus In The Office

In its simplest sense, mindfulness means balancing the intense pace of life with being fully present in the moment, which many can agree is easier said than done – especially in the office. Employees in North America, for instance, lose 86 minutes per day due to a variety of interruptions in the workplace, and according to a recent study from Steelcase, only 58 percent of workers reported being able to work in teams without being disturbed.

Life is full of distractions, but workers nowadays are still expected to be “always on,” an ironic metaphor given the proliferation of technology in recent years.

Mental fatigue occurs when we’re often at our busiest, and so at Steelcase we’re asking ourselves, how do we design workplaces that offer workers opportunity for moments of rest, rejuvenation or deep focus free from distractions.

My team has recently completed a comprehensive study on wellbeing at work, and found mindfulness to be one of six dimensions of well-being that the workplace can help improve.

As part of our study, researchers identified and developed design concepts that companies can incorporate into their workplace to help encourage mindfulness by enhancing employees’ ability to concentrate and make thoughtful choices amid distractions and disturbances:

  • Offer spaces where people can seek solitude and respite, or connect with others without distractions or interference.
  • Design areas that allow workers to control the amount of sensory stimulation they are exposed to and enable them to amp it up or ratchet it down.
  • Create spaces that help people stay focused as they interact with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye.
  • Offer places that are restorative and calming, which can be achieved through materials, textures, colors, lighting and views.

Take a look around your own office – how many of these principles ring true of the design and environment in your workspace? This issue isn’t distinct to employees alone. It is a bottom-line issue that can potentially affect the entire organization.

Thirty-six percent of a person’s time is spent working. By creating spaces that help people reconnect with what makes their work fulfilling, employers can help ensure that 100% of that worker’s time is helping to build a better work product and a stronger bottom line.

The story was originally published on Steelcase.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Staying Connected No Matter Where You’re Headed

In an increasingly mobile world, it’s now possible to stay connected and work from just about anywhere. For many of today’s workers, this means checking into the office during summer vacation. If you’re planning to get some work done on your getaway this year, you’ll need the right tools to do it. Here’s a list of tech gadgets to help you work remotely, no matter where you’re headed.

NuForce Cube
Got a conference call? Don’t worry about not being able to hear your colleagues over the crashing waves in the background. When you plug your headphones into this portable audio station, it bypasses your mobile device’s onboard digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for improved sound quality. It can also serve as a high-performance speaker.

OGIO Covert Shoulder Bag
This slim laptop bag is ideal for air travel. The main, padded compartment keeps your laptop protected and easily accessible, while the secondary compartment is perfect for your chargers, smartphone and other everyday accessories. And don’t worry about damaging this bag at the pool; its water-resistant coating guards against splashes.

Penclic Bluetooth Mouse
No laptop mouse? No problem. Instead of plugging into your computer’s USB port, this Bluetooth-enabled mouse looks, feels and acts like a pen, which allows for faster, more precise navigation. The device features five buttons, a scroll wheel and a laser sensor that operates on almost any surface — without a track pad. With this tool’s two-month battery life, you won’t have to worry about recharging the mouse during your trip.

Booqpad for iPad Air
If you’re constantly searching for paper to jot down memos and thoughts while you’re working, this is the tablet case for you. Made by Booq, it’s a combination iPad Air case, folio and notepad that comes stocked with 50 sheets of eco-friendly paper to make sure you’re always ready to write. The screen protector offers 360-degree protection for your iPad.

Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portable Speakers
Want to listen to some tunes while you work? With these rechargeable mini speakers, you can plug the built-in audio cable right into your phone or laptop for high-quality, 360-degree sound. The speakers’ internal battery lasts for up to 6 hours, so you can spend the day on the beach with them.

Griffin PowerDock 5
Many of today’s workers have multiple mobile devices, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the associated chargers. The PowerDock can store and charge up to five iOS devices simultaneously, with each cable tucked away inside the charging station. You can even keep your iPad right in its case while it charges.

Neptor NP056K Portable Battery Charger
If you left your hotel room for the day and realized you forgot to charge your phone, this dual-port charger lets you power up to two devices at once, without an outlet. With its powerful, 5600mAh battery, you can charge your devices up to four times on just one Neptor charge.

Happy Plugs in-Ear Headphones
Why settle for standard white or black earbuds when you can choose from one of 13 bold colors from Happy Plugs? The built-in microphone makes these headphones ideal for conference calls on the go, while the silicon buds, which come in small, medium and large, fit comfortably in your ears as you listen to music on the plane.

Rapoo E9070 Wireless Keyboard
At just 5.6mm at its thinnest, this wireless keyboard won’t take up much room in your carry-on bag. It features a comfortable scissor-key structure and integrated shortcut controls for audio playback, volume adjustment and Web browsing. The 2.4GHz wireless frequency allows for a smooth, interference-free connection to any computer.

Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp
It may not be the most convenient product to take on a flight with you, but if your vacation is within driving distance, bring along this LED desk lamp. The flexible pivots ensure that the lamp fits into any desk space, and the timer function helps avoid unnecessary energy use. In addition to consuming less power than incandescent and florescent lamps, Satechi’s lamp also has a USB port to charge your mobile devices.

The story was originally published on Business News Daily.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

The Right Office Building For Any Business

When it comes to office buildings, you generally get what you pay for, but first you need to know what you want. Colliers International Workplace Strategist David McEwen shares his guide to selecting the office building right for your business.

Defining your requirements starts with a solid understanding of your business strategy and a well formed workplace strategy, identifying who is going to occupy the building and how they will use it. Prioritizing your requirements (other than cost and lease terms) can be broken down into these broad categories:

1. Risk Mitigation

What is the risk profile of the business activities to be undertaken?

What is the impact of unexpected loss of power, phones or data circuits?

What is the security profile of the operation? Is it at elevated risk of industrial espionage, theft, hacking / social engineering attempts, or public protest?

Is the building in close proximity to any location specific hazards?

2. Spatial Needs

Will the floor plates, core placement, column grid, ceiling heights and features like internal atria work for your business?

Are there any groups requiring high levels of floor space density such as call centers or clerical processing teams? Or are there areas where typical occupancy may be higher than expected, such as non-territorial environments?

Conversely what’s the expectation for the density of built zones such as personal offices and meeting rooms?

How large are your various teams? How much do their sizes vary and what are their needs for interaction and collaboration?

How long is the facility required and what are the expectations for changes in team sizes, work practices and technology over that period?

3. Building Performance

Will capacity, sustainability (eg. energy and water efficiency) and other characteristics of the various building services including electrical supply, air conditioning plant, telecommunications risers and elevators meet your business needs?

What are the operating hours? Is shift work undertaken? Will the building’s plant be able to service your needs efficiently outside normal business hours?

Is there to be a computer room or data center? Does it host applications or web services used by customers or users in other sites? Does it need to be on site?

Are there any specialist requirements such as labs or clean rooms?

Do you require particular delivery access or garaging? Do you have areas requiring high floor loading?

4. Amenity

Is the building located close to a public transport hub? If not, is adequate car parking available?

Are there end of trip facilities like secure bicycle parking, shower and locker services to support employees’ lifestyle choices?

Does it provide access to cafés, banking facilities, other retail, gyms and child care facilities nearby?

5. Cosmetic appeal

Will appearance and fit out standards for the building exterior, lobbies, lifts, bathrooms, and the floor and ceiling finishes within the proposed tenancy area align with your brand?

What types of employees are you trying to attract? What will they look for in a building?

What is the profile of visitors or clients attending the site? What are their expectations? Are signage rights important?

Armed with this information you can start to prepare your property brief and prioritize your requirements. In practice it’s a complex juggling act with many traps for the unwary. At the outset, it is useful to assemble a team of internal and external specialists headed by an experienced Project Director, typically covering the following disciplines:

While this sounds like a long list, a good Project Director will help ensure timely and efficient inputs from the necessary experts to develop the right strategy and property brief, and provide effective due diligence on short listed sites.

The story was originally published on Colliers International.

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Sitting All Day? 6 Easy Ways to Get Healthy at Work

For most office employees, working at a desk for eight or more hours a day is unavoidable. But as many Americans now know, spending all that time glued to your seat can really take a toll on your physical and mental health.

“In an office environment, you spend most of your working hours sitting in meetings or in front of a computer screen,” said Jamie Russo, chief of work and wellness at co-working office space Enerspace. “Aside from the physical hazards of sitting — such as the increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer — there’s a productivity benefit to giving yourself a mental break. It’s so important to unchain yourself from your desk and give your body and mind a chance to recover.”

Encouraging a culture of wellness in the office begins with its leaders, said Russo. “Walking the walk” at work each day (figuratively and literally) can inspire your employees to do the same.

“Leaders should take walks around the office, make use of the company gym and eat lunch in the cafeteria rather than at a desk,” Russo advised. “A company may spend money on employee wellness programs, but if its leadership isn’t sending the message that it’s OK to take a gym break or have a walking meeting, then it’s wasted money.”

Russo, along with business furniture company turnstone, suggested these six simple ways to start improving your health and wellness at work today:

–– Diversify your posture throughout the day. There are plenty of ways to stay active during the workday and offset some of the damage done by sitting all day. Swap out your regular chair for an active seat like a yoga ball for a few hours, or spend a portion of the day working at a height-adjusted standing desk. You can also walk while you’re taking your next conference call, to give you a physical and mental change of pace.

–– Get up and talk to co-workers. Every few hours, walk around and talk to a different person for 10 to 15 minutes.Not only will these short breaks improve circulation and reduce eyestrain and buildup of muscle tension, but they’ll also help you foster better relationships with employees, and might spark fresh ideas.

–– Purposely leave your brown bag at home. A packed lunch is often healthier and less expensive than take-out alternatives, but once in a while, force yourself to go out and pick up lunch to get away from your desk.

–– Run errands during your workday. If your schedule allows for it, save quick errands — like depositing a check at the bank — for work hours. You’ll get some fresh air and a mental break from the task at hand, and you can cross off the task from your after-work to-do list.

–– Close your eyes and breathe. Meditation is becoming a more popular way to stay focused and reduce stress at work. Sneak in 10 deep breaths while you’re getting your morning coffee or even at your desk when you put the phone down after a call.

The story was originally published on Business News Daily.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

10 Ways to Motivate Anyone

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Geil Browning, founder of Emergenetics International, an organizational development firm in the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands, discusses how to understand the unique brain and personality types of your employees so you can keep them invested in work and get amazing results.

I am often asked about how I keep employees inspired and productive. It’s an essential question since companies today must accomplish more, with fewer people. The most successful start-ups must be lean, nimble, and fierce.

In a nutshell, you should hire bright, energetic, innovative employees. Then offer them the right incentives–the ones that will impact their personal brain and personality types–to keep them mentally and emotionally invested in doing their best.

It’s impossible to talk about motivation without mentioning Drive, a book by best-selling author Daniel Pink. (His TED lecture was turned into a fabulous video.) Pink notes that people perform best when they are given autonomy, opportunity for mastery, and the belief that their task is meaningful. He says money is not the best motivator, and that employees want to be “players, not pawns.”

Pink believes Google’s “20% time,” in which employees may spend one day a week on whatever they want is a shining example of how allowing intrinsically-based motivations (a sense of accomplishment or purpose) can flourish. Personal endeavors from “20% time” resulted in Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense. Long before Google–back in 1948–3M instituted the “15% solution” or “dream time,” which yielded both Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes.

There’s no question that intrinsic motivation is essential. However, I do not agree with Pink that all extrinsic motivation (raises, bonuses, commissions, awards, titles, flex time, and other perks) is harmful. A skillful entrepreneur keeps employees motivated with a combination of both.

That said, there is no cookie-cutter approach to motivating your people. What inspires one person may leave the next cold. When you understand an employee’s thinking and behavioral preferences, you’ll be able to maximize his or her enthusiasm. This will help you get your workforce aligned and moving in the same direction, and you’ll see incredible returns.

1.   Analytical types want to know that a project is valuable, and that their work makes a difference to its success. They need a leader who excels in a particular area, and whose expertise they believe benefits the group. They prefer compensation that is commensurate with their contribution. If they have done a tremendous amount of work on their own, don’t expect them to be happy if you reward the whole team.

2.   People who are “structural” by nature want to know their work aids the company’s progress. They prefer a leader who is organized, competent, and good with details. They like to be rewarded in writing, in a timely manner, in a way specific to the task. An encouraging email is appropriate to communicate with them.

3.   Social people want to feel personally valued, and that what they are doing has an impact on a project. They go the extra mile for a leader who expresses faith in their abilities. They prefer to be rewarded in person with a gesture that is from the heart. If your own preference is for written communication, send a handwritten note to a particularly social employee.

4.   Innovative employees must buy into a cause. To them, the big picture matters more than the individual who is leading the charge. They prefer to be rewarded with something unconventional and imaginative, and would find a whimsical token of your esteem very meaningful.

5.   Quiet staffers don’t need a lot of fanfare, but they appreciate private, one-on-one encouragement.

6.   Expressive people feel more motivated when assignments are openly discussed and an open door is available. They like public recognition, with pomp, and ceremony.

7.   Peacekeepers hope everyone will move in the same direction. They’ll never demand a reward or recognition, so it’s up to you to offer it.

8.   Hard-drivers are independent thinkers. If they agree with you, they’ll be highly motivated. They will let you know what they’d like as an extrinsic reward, and they tend to want whatever it is right away.

9.   Those who are focused team members must have confidence in the leader and in the project, or their motivation may falter. They want know up front what kind of reward they can expect. Make sure you follow through on whatever is promised.

10.   Flexible people go along with the team, as long as a project does not contradict their morals or beliefs. They’re also happy with any kind of recognition.

Watch for the weakest link among your employees. If you have a slacker who consistently does less than everyone else but seems to get away with it, this can dampen the motivation of everyone else.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.