Blog

January 2016 - Volano Solutions

The 4 Emails that Everyone Loathes and What They Do to Productivity

Posted by | Efficiency, Tech | No Comments

 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, email is great for a lot of things, but it definitely shouldn’t be any organization’s primary mode of communication. Instead of creating new processes and introducing efficient technologies, we’ve grown dependent on email, which was never intended as a project management or workflow technology. To highlight the pitfalls of email, we’ve identified the four types of emails we all get on a regular basis that make us go…

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The Forward -the email thread with about 127 conversations forwarded to you with little or no direction. You finally get to the bottom of the thread and realize you still have no idea what role you play in all of this. You read it again, and eventually ask the sender for some context. Next comes an overwhelming feeling of annoyance. You’ve read, reread, asked for clarity, and wasted a whole lot of time. The only real message “The Forward” sends is that the sender values their own time and not that of the recipient.

The Emotionally Androgynous -the all caps and exclamations email that has obviously been written by someone who is either extremely angry or excited…or are they? With email, intent and tone are not always obvious. And no, the solution is not to add smiley faces on the end of everything. When messages aren’t crafted with the reader’s perspective in mind, they can be detrimental to office morale, or even create an unprofessional atmosphere in the workplace.

The Article -isn’t it the best when your manager or co-worker sends you an article with no indication why? You’ve been sent an article on the latest ad retargeting best practices. Okay…am I implementing these? Am I giving you feedback on the article? Should I assume any deliverables and if so, what?! It’s annoying. Again, the sender is sending the crystal clear message that they don’t have time to make sure the recipient has all the information they need. Then, more emails go back and forth. An Atlassian report revealed that an average of $1,800 is wasted annually per employee on unnecessary emails.

The Siri -when the person sending you an email seems to not care in the least that their email makes zero sense. The same Atlassian report revealed that poorly written communications can cost your business as much as $4,100 per year, per employee. If your employees or colleagues have told you multiple times they need a translator, maybe let’s not have Siri send your messages?

Again, we realize email is an essential tool today and it’s here to stay, but there are ways to optimize the use of email. Here are a few tips from author and entrepreneur David Silverman aimed at making our email communications better:

Include a call to action. Does your e-mail ask the reader to do anything? If not, why are you sending it?

Be upfront. Is the e-mail’s purpose clear from its subject line and first sentence?

Assume nothing. Verify what you think the audience already knows, because it may not.

Think it through. Are your views or requests clear? Don’t force people to read your mind.

To conclude, there are better, more efficient ways to communicate. Email is now this puzzle piece that we continuously try to make fit into these spaces that is just isn’t supposed to be. It doesn’t fit into the CRM role, or the project management role, or the workflow management role, or the operations role. We’d love to talk with you about the technology that does fit. Contact us today.

Customer Question: Why Does Software Need to be Updated?

Posted by | Company, Efficiency, Transparency, Workflow | No Comments

Does it rot? Well, yeah, it does. Like everything else in business, life, the universe -software, the technology and people surrounding it are always changing and evolving. After discussing this with a client, we realized the discussion would lead to the meat of a great post. We want our clients to understand the necessity of software updates.

Software isn’t a set it and forget it solution. In fact, the investment in software is just the beginning of your relationship with it and with your provider -us. Workflow software in particular has to be able to grow with your team, other technology, and industry trends…

Software and Your Organization

Is payroll handled the same way it was 20 years ago? Are your operations the same? Are your marketing initiatives the same? Nope, nope, nope. Your organization is constantly changing. To think you will be running on the same workflow processes in the coming decade (or even five years) is even more unlikely than going back to ledgers and paper files (no offense if you’re still there).

We’ve done total overhauls on workflow software and we’ve done small tweaks. It’s important our clients realize that the creation of their software is really just the beginning of our relationship with them. The best part? The more we work with an organization, the more seamless and holistic their workflow software becomes.

Software and the Technology Surrounding It

Do you remember when your first generation iPad just started sucking? Or when you tried to update an application on your phone and it said you can’t because you need the newest IOS? Or when that Millennial made fun of your Hotmail address?

By definition, software is the programs and other operating information used by a computer. It’s technology within technology that operates with other technologies. Whew! What we’re getting at here is that you and your software aren’t in a vacuum. Your workflow software works with outside technologies. Depending on the purpose of the workflow software, it was can work in conjunction with any number of other technologies like your CRM, email marketing platform, accounting systems, employee or candidate portals, and the list goes on. As these other systems and technologies change, so must your workflow software.

Software and Your Industry Needs

Staying relevant means staying ahead of the curve, or at the very least, being able to keep up. I like to use Blockbuster as an example. When Redbox came out, it completely antiquated their business model. This happens to the best of us in business -someone comes out with a better, cheaper more awesome product. In those situations, what matters is that you’re able to make effective, swift pivots to your products and services. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, it’s fast-paced.

So, what we really want our clients to know, is we’re in it for the long haul. We won’t set you up for a Blockbuster fail. We’ll help you create that nimble, pivot on a dime company you need to be to survive. Let’s talk about how to get started today.

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners With Some Hustle

Posted by | Company | No Comments

Anyone can think of New Year’s Day as just another day. Nothing really makes it different from any other, except your perception of it. You can watch it pass by, or you can join the millions of people who are choosing to, at the very least, say they want to make this year better in some way.

Over the last 8 years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with small business owners from every walk of life, in every industry. To put it plainly, we don’t get too many calls from business owners who aren’t driven or seeking out a way to improve. The stagnant, happy somewhere-in-the-middle business owners aren’t exactly flooding our inboxes with RFPs and frankly we like it that way. So, in the spirit of a better 2016, these are three New Year’s resolutions we propose all of the small business owners out there with some hustle consider…

1) Work on customer retention.

On the blog, we’ve discussed the importance of the 80/20 rule -about 20% of your customers bring in about 80% of your revenue. Finding out who that 20% is comprised of and how to retain them should pretty obviously be on your to-do list. You can’t and shouldn’t try to please your entire customer base. Consider how much further your marketing dollars can go and how much more tailored, refined, and effective your message can be, when you target that 20% as opposed to 100%?

Want to know more about figuring out who your 20% are and how to keep them? Click here.

2) Take control of marketing initiatives and understand their impact.

Do you have your finger on the pulse of your marketing efforts? Not everyone is a marketing expert and not everyone has time to stick an iron in every fire, but we strongly recommend business owners have a basic understanding of what is happening and what results are coming from their organizations’ marketing initiatives.

In order to measure the impact of marketing efforts, the right software is essential to determine the success of campaigns. While it’s fantastic to have an expert at the helm of your marketing, ultimately the buck stops with you. It’s hard to make pivots or call shots when you’re in the dark.

Need help getting started? Start here.

3) Invest in workflow management.

Whether you’re a helicopter boss, or you spend an average of two hours in the office per week, you need workflow management. Workflow management isn’t just about fixing a broken process (although we do plenty of that). It’s about finding the cut corners, locating the mysterious cracks that everything seems to fall through, and in general, making organizational resources go farther. What could be getting done with fewer steps, people, or processes? How can this department or entire organization run better? If nothing else, that’s the question to start the new year with.

If you’d like to talk about customer retention, gaining a better understanding of your marketing efforts, or running your organization in a more effective and efficient way, we’re the guys and gals to talk to. Let’s make 2016 better.