The Basics on T1 Line Solutions For Small Business

T1 Lines have been the primary source of mission critical bandwidth for companies of all sizes for nearly 20 years. With so much history, a basic understanding of the T1 line should be common knowledge among business owners who are looking for reliable bandwidth for Internet access, data communications, or multiple telephone lines. However, it was not until the late 1990s that the market for T1 lines became very competitive and prices began falling to more reasonable levels, causing the demand to rise sharply among small and medium sized businesses. Even today most small business owners and managers still do not know how a standard T1 line works or what it is capable of providing.Each section below includes a description a T1 line solution and an example of what problems you could solve for your business with the solution described. There are 7 basic types of T1′s explained, which include Full T1, Fractional, Voice (standard), PRI, Integrated Voice and Data, Voice Over IP(hosted), and Point-to-Point T1′s.Full T1 Line:”Full T1 Line” is a term typically used to describe a circuit that provides 1.5 megabits per second of high speed Internet access, which is the most common type of T1. A Full T1 can also be used to carry telephone lines and/or VoIP calls, both of which are covered within the “Voice”, “PRI” and Voice Over IP sections here. Nearly all office-based and modern retail businesses require some type of Internet access in order to perform their daily operations, and many have mission critical Internet needs that allow them to continue business operations at all. There are many choices to fulfill this need for Internet access, including Dial-up connections, ISDN, DSL, Cable, Wireless applications, a T1 Line, or something larger like a DS3 or OC-3 (far less common due to high cost).A T1 Line consists of 24 channels that transmit data at 64Kbps each, therefore giving a Full T1 Line the capacity to transmit 1.54Mbps of data synchronously (upstream and downstream). Using today’s standard email applications and common Internet searching, this amount of bandwidth could support anywhere from 1 to approximately 75 users depending on their needs, preferences, and the company’s budget. Most commonly Full T1 Lines are used in offices with 5 to 50 employees. A T1 circuit provides the most reliable bandwidth available when leased from a high quality T1 Provider, which is why businesses are willing to pay more for a T1 than for other services like DSL or Cable. In some applications, a T1 can save money for a company who uses a less reliable bandwidth connection. Since multiple services can be combined on a single T1, cost efficient solutions are often available if you know what service to ask for (see “Integrated T1″ below) and which providers offer those services in your area.Internet T1 pricing starts at approximately $400 per month, but can cost more than $1000 per month if the location of the installation requires a long loop to connect to the network of your local phone company to the network of the T1 provider. This is usually only the case in very small towns or rural areas where facilities are less dense. Most metropolitan areas have many choices of T1 providers, at least one of which will usually be closer and cheaper than the rest. Pricing will fluctuate dramatically depending on the Provider and the location of your business, which is why it is sometimes safer and easier to use an experienced Telecom Consultant such as DS3-Bandwidth.com to guide you in finding the best solution. For example some companies that do not require much bandwidth or have a small budget might need to opt for a Fractional T1 Line.Fractional T1 Line:A Fractional T1 line typically describes an Internet circuit that uses a “piece” or a “fraction” of a Full T1. Fractional T1′s are also used for telephone lines or even integrated T1′s, but less often then for Internet access. A Fractional T1 can be sold in nearly any fraction of a 24 channel, 1.54Mbps circuit. For example, out of the 24 channels in a Full T1 line, 12 channels might be used in a Fractional T1 to provide a 768k connection, which is half of 1.54Mbps. Other Fractional sizes include 1.1Mbps, 512k, 384k, 256, 128k, and even 64k, although the smaller sizes are very uncommon. As T1 Providers have become more competitive, prices on Full T1s have come down so much that Fractional T1s have become less cost effective. For example, a Fractional T1 of 768k carries only half of the bandwidth of a Full T1, but usually saves only 5% to 15% of the price of a Full T1. This doesn’t make much sense in applications where only 1 or 2 T1 lines are needed, unless the budget is extremely tight. However, this can add up to significant savings when using hundreds of T1′s across a large company’s multi-location VPN or frame relay network.Voice T1:Voice and PRI T1 lines are extremely common among businesses and call centers with multiple telephone lines and large call volumes. They are far less expensive and more efficient than installing dozens of POTS (plain old telephone service) lines. Each of the 24 channels on a T1 line is versatile, allowing it to be used for either bandwidth or for a single telephone line. So, a pure Voice T1 line will have 24 telephone lines with reliable service, good reception, good long distance rates (depending on the carrier), and a wide selection of calling features. Voice T1 lines use digital or analog transmission, so it is an excellent choice in situations where a company’s equipment does not allow for the use of a PRI line, which is always digital.PRI T1:A PRI (Primary Rate Interface) line is somewhat different and more popular than a standard Voice T1 because it is true “digital trunking”, which allows for even more advanced calling features. A PRI line provides 23 telephone lines per T1, because the 24th channel is used to carry useful data for signaling and other features like special caller ID information called ANI (Automatic Number Identification). Since the transmission is digital, the quality of a telephone connection over a PRI line is unsurpassed, providing crystal clear reception that is noticeable to the user. The use of DID (Digital Inward Dial) numbers, and calling features like hunting and rolling, allow you to use 23 digital telephone lines to provide service to potentially 30 to 40 employees, depending on how often they will need to use their phone. Instead of guessing on the number of DID’s to put on a PRI line, it’s important to figure out the maximum number of simultaneous calls that could be placed at any given time. Having too few telephone lines causes costs more in a loss of productivity than it would cost to simply add more phone lines to keep your employees busy. This is why it is important to figure out the proper balance of telephone lines vs. DID numbers. The cost of a PRI is also typically lower than other forms of telephone service (except Voice Over IP in some applications), with actual pricing depending on the Provider of the service and your business location. Between the features, price, and quality of a PRI, it is the primary choice for businesses large enough to take advantage of it’s multiline functionality and benefits.Integrated T1 Line:An Integrated T1 Line is one of the most popular T1 solutions for small businesses because it provides local telephone service, long distance, and bandwidth all on a single connection and a single bill. The consolidation of these services with one company is more convenient and more cost effective than purchasing them from separate providers. Just as a Fractional T1 line only turns on a portion of a T1 Line for Internet access, special equipment allows some of the T1 channels to be allocated for telephone lines, while others are used for data transmission and Internet access. For example, a Full Integrated T1 line could be divided in half using special equipment, providing 12 high quality telephone lines and using the other 12 channels for 768k of bandwidth. Fractional Integrated T1 lines are also available, but most companies have minimum levels such as 4 phone lines and 512k of Internet access, which only uses 12 channels combined. Many offers even include “blocks” of free long distance, usually based on the number of telephone lines being installed. A typical offer might include 6 phone lines(6 channels), 512k (8 channels), and 600 minutes of free LD each month (100 per telephone line). This entire circuit could have a total cost as low as $400 to $500 per month, which is a tremendous “all inclusive” bargain for small businesses. This is a perfect total solution for literally thousands, if not millions, of small companies across the nation. One thing to keep in mind is that not all providers can offer Integrated T1 Lines, so the ones that do typically focus a great deal of their sales efforts on this service.Voice Over IP (VoIP):Voice Over IP is considered to be the “next big thing” in the telecommunications industry. It has already begun the powerful growth that has been expected for many years by experts and early adopters. Although VoIP services can and will be used across all types of high bandwidth connections, the business class services are primarily being offered on T1 lines. This is extremely important in the world of bandwidth and telecommunications, because it again validates the T1 line as the most cost efficient delivery method of the most reliable bandwidth. In other words, a company cannot afford to trust a volatile Internet connection like DSL or Cable to carry VOIP because they risk losing 100% of their communication capabilities.Voice over IP is revolutionizing telecommunications because it is cheaper for the user and the infrastructure requirements are better for the providers. Rather than requiring a telephone line and all of the switching on the back end to complete a call, VoIP uses equipment to break down a telephone call into packets of data, then sends those packets across the internet to be decoded where the receiver answers the call. This dramatically reduces the bandwidth that is necessary to complete a call because it eliminates “dead” times when no one is speaking into the receiver. Since the calls also bypass the normal telephone switching network, they also escape FCC charges (for now). Every major Provider and most small providers are starting to offer residential and business class VoIP services. If you’re in the market for a business VoIP solution try the free consulting services of Business-VoIP-Solution.com.Point to Point T1:Point to point T1 lines do not provide T1 Internet access or telephone lines, but act as a “transport” for either or both. A point to point T1, often referred to as a “P2P”, provides a very secure and reliable connection, usually from a corporate office to any number of satellite offices. Although a P2P does not actually “provide” Internet access or phone lines, corporations use P2P T1s to share these services. For example, a company’s home office in Los Angeles might have hundreds of telephone lines and huge Internet access pipes installed at one location to get the best available rates. This company can use a P2P T1 to transmit any combination of telephone lines, Internet access, and data between offices to share software systems, and provide in-office dialing from locations across the country! The variables are endless because there are no restrictions on how a point to point T1 can be used, assuming you have the right equipment and a source at one end of the P2P. This can be a great way to save money, because a satellite or branch office might have to pay huge prices to have telephone and bandwidth services installed directly, whereas the home office can get better rates because of bulk buying and location. Although it can sometimes be used to save money, a P2P network is usually not very cost efficient compared to other options. Frame Relay and VPN (Virtual Private Network) are other options to consider depending on a company’s needs and business applications. The primary advantage of a P2P line is that it is truly private, making it top choice for those demanding a circuit with a dedicated connection to only their business, therefore offering the highest security available.There is no question that the same type of T1 Line that was being used back in 1984 by the US Government and world leading technology companies like IBM is still the best source of reliable bandwidth for all sizes of companies today. Despite the competition of newer technologies, price reductions on T1′s plus the fact that these circuits are so trustworthy have allowed the number of T1 Lines being used in the United States to continue to grow at a rate of 15% per year, even in recent years. Since there are so many uses for the T1 Line, including the explosion of new technologies like VoIP, these circuits are poised to remain a key ingredient to the success of businesses who rely on Internet, Telecommunications, and Data Connectivity for years to come.

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Negotiating Technology Contracts in Health Care

Technology spending for hardware, software and consulting services accounts for a significant portion of most health care providers budgets today, especially since the Obama Stimulus Plan and HITECH Act are incentivizing providers to implement electronic health records. In a perfect world, technology works perfectly, improves efficiency and the quality of care and makes life easier for the provider. However, the real world is not perfect and things can, and do, go wrong with technology products and services after you purchase and/or license them from third party vendors. Technology contracts generally are written by the vendors and consultants. Unfortunately, many technology contracts fall short of giving providers adequate protection and often contain hidden pitfalls and costs. Despite this fact, many providers never give these contracts to experienced health lawyers to help them negotiate better terms and protections for their high-tech investments BEFORE signing. This is a potentially costly practice. Every health care provider should be concerned with at least the following FOUR KEY ISSUES, which should be addressed in any technology contract:Warranties and Limitations of Liability: Despite elaborate sales presentations, technology contracts typically disclaim most, if not all, warranties and limit the liability of vendors to only refunding all or part of the purchase or license price paid for the technology. Such refunds are inadequate to protect the average provider when problems arise. A technology vendor should be required to give a written warranty in the contract that its product will perform in accordance with documented standards and for a reasonable period of time. At a minimum, this time period should be long enough for the provider to evaluate the technology in its operations. A better solution is to require a warranty for the useful life of the technology, or as long as there is a support and maintenance service agreement in place. A vendor also should not be allowed contractually to limit its liability on default only to return of the purchase price. If a provider suffers actual damages caused by the technology, the vendor should be required, in writing, to stand behind its product and services and reimburse such damages. A reasonable compromise is to require the vendor at least to tender the limits of its insurance coverage, which creates minimal additional risk to the vendor while better protecting the provider.Payments & Performance: A provider should not agree to pay the full purchase price up front, as is often a contract requirement, leaving the vendor with little incentive to complete its responsibilities. The parties should mutually agree in advance upon a project timetable with milestone targets for delivery and implementation of the technology. Payments should be made in installments conditioned upon reaching the targets. In addition, providers should build in testing rights, in order to evaluate whether the technology is performing as promised. The provider always should have the final say in whether a test provides a successful outcome and whether the final payment should be made to the vendor.Support and Maintenance: A technology hardware purchase or software license is only as good as the support and maintenance that goes along with it. The vendor should be willing to provide support for at least a defined useful life of the technology. Several questions should be answered in a written support agreement. Are updates or upgrades provided without additional charge? Will the vendor perform on-site or off-site support and maintenance? Will the provider pay a monthly fee plus an hourly charge or is there only an hourly charge? Does the hourly charge differ depending on when or what level of support is needed? Do the charges increase over the term of the support agreement? What is the vendor agreeing to support? Will changes made to the technology by the provider automatically terminate the warranty or support obligations? Unless the contract is specific regarding essential issues, a provider may find itself paying for less or different support and/or maintenance services than needed or expected.Confidentiality: Confidentiality of patient health information is a critical issue. Federal HIPAA law has a variety of privacy and security rules providers and their business associates must follow. In addition, some states, including Florida, have enacted legislation that requires entities that conduct business in the state and which maintain computerized data that contains personal information to provide notice to any resident if there is a breach of security. A technology contract should specify if the vendor will have access to any of the confidential patient information. A health care provider must require the vendor and its employees to maintain the confidentiality of such information under federal and many state laws. The technology contract also should expressly protect the confidentiality of provider trade secrets and other proprietary information to which a vendor or consultant may have access.Although technology contracts may appear intimidating, as they frequently are presented by vendors in small print and columned format, leading providers to believe they are non-negotiable forms, this is not the case in most instances. Investing the time and resources to have a health law attorney experienced in technology contracting review and help to negotiate contracts for hardware purchases, software licenses, maintenance and support, as well as technology consulting services, can save providers significant expense, disappointment and damages should the technology products or services not perform as promised.

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Establishing Successful Customer Relationships Through Effective Communication

“One cannot always oblige; one can, however, always speak obligingly…” says Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian spiritual master, which is an exact explanation for the complex role of corporate communication in modern corporations today.The customer, as the old saying goes, is the king! A king he truly is he believes, that is, till the not-so-charitable mandarins of marketing let him know and make him aware, rather painfully for him, that he is one among the many millions that feel that way, without actually being that way. However, the same mandarins grudgingly acknowledge that a happy customer is a brand’s success, while a delighted customer is a brand’s ambassador. The customer relationship management paradigm – popularly abbreviated as CRM – is built precisely on these pillars. And the customer enjoys a precarious position in this paradigm.In the concentrated CRM efforts a company often forgets the basic thing that is the cornerstone of the concept… relationship! Traditional marketing theories have always focused on attracting new customers, rather than retaining existing customers. Over the past decade, thanks to intensified competition and greater variety of products, this has gradually altered. The current flavor of marketing is ‘retain’ more than ‘gain’. Because retention leads to growth and growth leads to fulfillment.In marketing, today, the consumer is treated not as a king but like a mischievous sprite. He is accused – well, almost – of making a brand dance to his wishes and whims. While purists tend to argue that brands need customers and vice versa, modernists counter it by saying that customers need a brand, any brand, so long as the brand is his willing genie. This disproportionate balance shapes brand communication strategies. Positioning per se is no longer a marketer’s tool but rather as an awkward proposition to grab the customer’s fancy. Positioning is not brand or product or benefit or feature-centric anymore; it is customer-centric.What is then important to establish a relationship between a brand and its customer? In order to build a personal relationship, the brand’s personality has to come through (Michael C Gray, 2006). It will no longer be brand and customer, but simply ‘you’ and ‘I’… a collaboration is well-developed leads to ‘we’, which could be a fulfilling state for a brand and a customer.Social researchers have always advised marketers that people prefer to do business with people, not institutions or brands. This implies that corporate communication has to be the link that helps to build and maintain a healthy relationship between both stakeholders. Technically there can be several types of regular communication: newsletters, fax messages, voice broadcasts, blogs, sales letters, emails and more.Communication with customers reflects the following aspects of a relationship.
o Strong culture
o Favorable identity
o Coherent philosophy
o Genuine sense of camaraderieIt may not be instant gratification or affection but effective corporate communication establishes an appropriate and professional relationship with the customer, including quick, responsible channels of two-way communication. Corporate Communication is all about managing perceptions and ensuring that with effective and timely dissemination of information a positive corporate image is created that ensures a smooth and affirmative relationship with all customers, at all times.Be it a corporate body, company, research institution, non-governmental organisation, PSU, all of them need to have a respectable image and reputation in the eyes of the customer. In today’s day and age of increasing competition, easy access to information and media explosion – reputation management has gained even greater importance. So, corporate communications as a role has become significant and professional in nature while dealing with customers.Gone are the days when corporate communications merely meant ‘wining and dining the client’; it has now emerged as a science and art of perception management. The concept of managing relationships with customers is as old as trade itself, but the focus has always been to sell products and services (Kotler, Philip, Introduction to Marketing Principles). Competition, driven by globalization and the Internet, has changed the face of business. Customers now have a variety of choices and, most importantly, they are becoming far more knowledgeable and demanding. The power has truly shifted to the customer. With this scenario, most companies realize that they need to treat their customers with more care.Companies are now desperately searching for different ways to manage their relationships effectively, not only to acquire new customers, but also to retain the existing ones. According to a Harvard Business Review Study by Reicheld & Sasser, some companies can boost their profits by almost 100% by retaining just 5% or more of their existing customers.Customers express their satisfaction in many ways. When they are satisfied, they mostly say nothing but return again, and again, to buy or use more. Measuring satisfaction is only half the story. It is also necessary to determine customers’ expectations or the importance they attach to different overtures of a brand, otherwise resources could be spent raising satisfaction levels of things that do not matter. The measurement of expectations or importance is more difficult than the measurement of satisfaction. Many people do not know or cannot admit, even to themselves, what is important.Consumers do not spend their time rationalizing why they do things, their views change and they may not be able to easily communicate or admit to the complex issues in the buying argument. A customer satisfaction index is a snapshot at a point in time. People’s views change continuously and the performance of companies in delivering customer satisfaction is also changing. Measuring satisfaction must be a continuous process. (Paul & Nick Hague, White paper on Customer Satisfaction Surveys, B2B International Ltd.)Even when experts discuss CRM, the discussion is almost always from the point of view of marketing, sales and business development. Seldom is CRM looked upon as a ‘goal’ that every organization should actively pursue. Often it is looked upon as a tool that every organisation could use. The differences are plenty. And CRM is not an IT function. CRM is more often a function of communication, by the company directly, through an intermediary such as a PR agency or simply through the media.Successful CRM practices is not about statistics, data warehousing or loyalty programs, rather it is about competing in the relationship dimension-not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price-but acting as a differentiator in terms of ‘feelings for the customer’, however abstractly – and sometimes absurdly – romantic that may sound. If brands can get an edge based on how customers feel about the brand, it’s a much more sustainable relationship in the long run. This feeling for a brand, as brand theorists prefer to call it is directly proportional to the communication efforts, written words and spoken sentences, that emanate from a company.Link it to the corporate communication strategy and you will have a direct connect between the company and its customer. The critical dimension of any CRM practice is the relationship that a brand shares with its customers. Using the word customer itself may sound a trifle improper here because ‘customer’ implies that the person is ‘outside’ a relationship. And any relationship is expressed and nurtured by communication.Almost always marketers try to understand a customer from the marketing perspective, as people who have to be ‘given’ something to retain their loyalty. This naturally places them on a moral (and commercial) pedestal that enables them to look down upon hapless customers as beneficiaries of their largess. In communication parlance this signifies up and down power positions. And in a relationship between equals the power position is not hierarchical. Sometimes the anachronistic social mindset refuses to place the customer on even keel with a brand – and vice versa – painting him as a king, or as an unrealistically greedy pauper.CRM is a simple process, because establishing a relationship is simple. Nowhere is understanding more profound than when it comes to human emotions… but surprisingly the very same human emotions have been overlooked by companies while interacting with their customers.What is a relationship? When is there a relationship between two entities? What is the role of corporate communications in establishing, maintaining and fulfilling such relationships? Relationship could simply mean to be a particular type of connection existing between people related to with each other biologically or emotionally and having social or economic dealings with each other. Unfortunately all pretenses of dealing with relationships that often ask for simplicity, empathy, credibility and sincerity cease the moment commercial returns on investments are discussed. Which is what communication is all about; communicating to customers, and not with them.Researchers have often argued that to understand brand-customer relationships, it is necessary to consider what the brand thinks of its customers, more than what the customers think of a brand. Marketers struggle hard to enhance the satisfaction of customers only to find that they choose their competitors. Why does this happen? Research has further shown that investments in customer communication, which logically seems to be the most crucial aspect in a relationship, has been the most neglected area in most companies.The argument for this lies in the reality that 65% of all customer service activities are outsourced to business processing units (BPUs). That means the brand does not directly handle customer interactions and queries – unless they are of a certain level, of course. This is akin to asking your friend to talk to your representative about everything that you want to say, including… affairs of the heart, and speak directly only if it is something serious! This attitude, in the first instance, is marketing-driven and one-sided. There are also many brand loyalty programs, which are being attempted by marketers in isolation without the back up support of several other relevant and related strategies. There is a distinctive need for marketers to understand the importance of customer communication, and not merely look at it from the point of view of PR, Advertising or other known corporate forms of communication.Often corporate communication strategies are designed… to work as a bridge between stakeholders, to justify policies and decisions, to deliver business strategies, to inform and persuade, and of course to emphasize that the company is committed to putting customer interests first, almost as an afterthought!Thus corporate communications is almost always understood as a process used to build, foster, nurture and extend business relationships with customers. This is unfortunately a bureaucratic understanding, as GE’s former CEO Jack Welch says, “Bureaucracies love to focus inward. It’s not that they dislike customers; they just don’t find them as interesting as themselves.” And the communication reflects it.In ‘Customers Are People: The Human Touch’, author Jon McKean states that in competitive markets, where customers have a choice between similar products and pricing, “70% percent of customer decision-making is based on how customers are treated.” “Yet,” McKean adds, “Over 80 per cent of customer initiatives are focused on ‘selling to customers better’ through superior products, prices and promotions, than in investing more resources in treating customers better…” How best can a person be treated? By simply being talked to in a better manner.The question staring squarely on the faces of companies is: “How to make a customer loyal?” When companies talk of relationships where customers have real choices, they are honestly trying to be the best suitor to the customer, ‘as the customer sees it’, and not ‘as they want the customer to see it’. Reichheld and other loyalty experts have studied this issue for years and have concluded that relationships are driven by the behaviour and perception of customers of the value of the relationship that exists between the brand and himself, which is the net result of what economic and psychological value the customer receives from the brand.According to psychologists customers’ emotional states influence about 50 percent of the value they perceive from their purchases. Jim Barnes, author of ‘Secrets of Customer Relationship Management: It’s All About How You Make Them Feel’, sums it up by saying, “Value is created every time a customer is made to feel welcome, important and valued.”After reasonably agreeing to the fact that the important aspects in CRM are relationship and how customers, on account of their distinct behaviour and personality, differently and uniquely perceive a relationship, it is also imperative to stress on the point that corporate communication is the prime driver of any relationship. As the leading Indian telecom brand AirTel shows in its advertisements, communication is all about expressing oneself.A brand identity is shaped by a collective interactive experience of customers, product, policy, and strategy. Which is why developing a brand-customer relationship is important. The choice is simple: either a brand makes a customer experience or it gets created despite the brand. To create a successful relationship, the brand must develop a compelling identity with the customer and have a genuine value proposition. The brand must rely on customer perspective, appreciate the viewpoint and have the ability to communicate appropriately. A common pitfall for many brands is that they do not take the time to think about how they should articulate the brand identity. Needless to say, a successful brand strategy is incomplete without a sound communications strategy. The organization must be aligned in ways that anticipate and fulfill customers’ emotional expectations at every touch point to create meaningful relationships and lasting competitive advantage.Successful customer communication clearly highlights the brand’s functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits, as the customer would like to see. It is delivered in a way that is superior or unique when compared to competitors. Customer experience is shaped by a series of interactions with an organization.According to Jonathan Hardcastle, barriers to effective communication such as frames of reference, value judgments, selective listening, filtering and distrust (all between sender and receiver) complicate the communication systems and messages. However, these can be overcome by sending clear, complete, and specific messages, which are to put it rather romantically, ‘straight from the heart’. Demonstrating love and affection, clarifying intentions, being reliable and dynamic can enhance credibility, exhibiting warmth and friendliness, and building a positive image. Soliciting and providing specific feedback can also enhance communication effectiveness between partners, which is what brands should consider customers as.One of the most important consumer satisfaction elements is the ability to ask questions and being able to receive appropriately satisfying answers from the brand’s representatives. Gaining information, uncovering motives, giving incentives, obtaining participation, checking understanding, initiating the thinking process, inducing agreements, and refocusing attention, are all essential components of an effective consumer communication plan, says Hardcastle. Thus, the active listening skills of a brand help to build rapport with customers that is both intimate and empathetic.The other most important aspect is the subtle non-verbal communication of a brand and the customers, that is useful both in reading the underlying emotions and attitudes of customers, while reinforcing a brand’s verbal messages. Understanding subtle communication can enhance the brand-customer relationship.Coupled with this are improving standards of technology and devices that add an edge to the communication process. Unfortunately over-dependence on technology and automation has had an adverse impact on customer relationship. While on one hand brands talk of a relationship – a concept normally associated with living things largely and human beings in particular – on the other hand the overuse of technology has led to a dissociation that has taken the customer and brand away from each other. This dichotomous situation has to be recognised by the brand as well as the customer, for communication is all about power positions, and it is important to understand that in a relationship the power positions are on an even keel.Concluding, due to the growing complexity and turbulence of the business environment and the related growth in research knowledge about customer behavior patterns, managers of the 21st century have to take four themes as paramount; the necessity of managing the challenges of change; functioning within a global environment; being sensitive to the diversity among people; and behaving with ethical integrity.The final ingredient that binds a customer to your brand in a lasting relationship is dialogue. Your company’s brand isn’t a monolithic, hermetic face that the organization presents to the world. Rather, it’s an ongoing exchange where you listen carefully to your customers, understand what they say, and respond by modifying your value proposition and extending your businesses appropriately to fulfil customers’ desires. You exist because of the customer. This selflessness is the cornerstone to successful CRM.Therefore any corporate communication effort should focus broadly on three aspects: understanding relationships, understanding the distinct behaviour of consumers to relationship overtures and understanding (and establishing) the role of communication in effective and enduring customer relationships.

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Real Estate Investment in Israel

In this day and age, many people are wary of investing in the unstable stock market which requires a lot of time and expertise. Unfortunately, leaving excess money in the bank is hardly an attractive option given the current rock bottom interest rates. One avenue of investment which hasn’t lost its charm is real estate.Real estate investments in Israel create both a passive and active income for the investor. If the investor chooses to rent out his or her property, they may collect rent money, as well as reap the benefits of the steadily rising value of their property. Given the nature of the real estate market in Israel, this kind of investment provides both stability and relatively high capital gains.Many people fear making an investment while the market is down, but low prices shouldn’t deter. The right investment will be profitable at any time. Of course, an economic crisis holds greater risks, but it also holds greater opportunities for profit than other times. In Israel, recent years have brought about many changes: new railways, roads, infrastructure, schools and many military headquarters moving to the southern part of the country mean many great opportunities for wise investors. A small property in the periphery of Israel will usually mean higher yields from rent, while at the same time, investment in real estate in one of the major cities is still a good, reliable and more secure option.So how does one choose where to invest? In what? And whether to do so in Israel or some other country altogether? The most important advice is to research and thoroughly check all the options. Independently investing in real estate requires knowledge, understanding and information. Many people opt out of investing in this field although they have the required capital, just because they lack the necessary knowledge; they know they are missing out on golden opportunities. This article aims to highlight a few of the important things one must consider regarding real estate investments in Israel.Before beginning the search for the perfect investment, it’s important to plan and define the details of the investment, including the following subjects:- The purpose of the investment: if you are aiming for maximum returns, you might consider investing in housing units in the Tel Aviv central bus station area, where the rent potential from the foreign workers who inhabit the area will probably be higher than other alternatives. However, you should ask yourself whether you are prepared to deal with the inevitable day to day maintenance that accompany such a choice: collecting rent on a weekly basis, working with different populations. You should also take into account future needs: will you want to live in the apartment or to make it available for family at some point? In that case the character of the neighborhood, and vicinity to the center should also be taken into consideration.- Partners: Will you be investing alone or with a partner? A partner may be a family member, friend or business acquaintance. There are many advantages to investing with a partner: risk dispersing (for instance, you could invest in two halves of two apartments in different locations), shared planning and research etc. But shared investments are not for everyone, and come with the dangers any joint venture naturally encapsulates.- Level of risk: How “risk averse” are you? Someone who is “risk averse” will prefer a solid investment in an established location such as central Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, whilst a “risk taker” may prefer to invest in less “conventional” areas with less predictable prices but more potential for profit, such as Sderot, Ariel and more peripheral areas of Israel.- Correct financial planning of the investment:- Is your investment based on private equity? Or will you be taking on a mortgage? The level of equity you have will impact the amount of leveraging and the quality of the loan you get. These factors should be considered before searching for the right property, as they will determine the optimal amount for your investment.- Risk management: what are the potential risks associated with the investment, and how would you deal with them should they be realized? Although Israel has enjoyed financial stability compared to other countries across the globe, and has escaped the last global economic crisis more or less unscathed, there are inherent risks to investing in any market. A few examples include sudden inflation, an abrupt change in the dollar-shekel exchange rates, a deceleration of the renting market. You should leave a margin of equity that will enable you to return any debts and loans you have taken on, bearing in mind such scenarios and others.- Defining the nature of the property: this is one of the most challenging aspects of the investment process. For maximum gains, this stage must be carried out with due care and thought. Some of the most important aspects influencing the potential revenue from a property are:- Location of the property (central areas are the most popular, but are also the most expensive. A small property on the outskirts of a major city may yield higher returns)- Size of property (most renters live alone or with a partner. 1-2 bedroom apartments are popular amongst renters, while larger apartments usually incur bigger utility costs and municipal taxes)- Accessibility (vicinity to public transport routes, availability of parking etc.)- PriceApart from these issues to consider, it is important not to fall into the following “traps”. What NOT to do:- Investing in a property in your “comfort zone”: Israel holds many opportunities for the wise investor. But it is important not to choose an investment based on your fondness for a certain “comfort area”, be it because it is a favorite holiday location, close to family members, a job etc. One should choose an area to invest based on cold hard and objective returns potential, unless the investment will be a place of residence.- Full reliance on personal capital: It is better to consider leveraging your investment, even if you could afford it on your own. This decreases the risk and allows you to make further investments.- Not leaving an emergency “cushion”: Do not acquire a property for a total cost that leaves no room for unexpected payments and costs. Take into account additional costs such as purchase tax, payments to a realtor, an attorney, renovation funds etc, as well as additional unforeseen costs.Once you have properly outlined the nature of your investment, its purpose and scope, you are ready to invest. But there are still many more questions to consider: whether to buy a new apartment from a contractor, or an existing apartment (and what to look out for in each type of deal), the crucial tax implications of investing in different kinds of properties (which may affect the entire profitability of the investment), and once you have decided upon a property – what are the necessary legal precautions you should be taking. In order to protect your interests at all times whilst making the best investment, it is always recommended to consult an attorney who specializes in the field.http://www.aharonilaw.com

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Is Permission Based Email Marketing Ethically

As the internet is flooded with aspiring online home-based entrepreneurs and marketers, web consumers are constantly receiving their emails promoting their brands and wares. Today, a lot of ‘junk’ email is received in the email in-box just like yesteryears’ when post boxes outside the homes were filled with junk mail.If marketers want better results from their marketing efforts, they must adopt the better marketing approaches, although their marketing strategies may be versatile and powerful. It is possible to enjoy higher Return On Investment (ROIs) using the best of email marketing strategies, but without the proper marketing ethics, even the best marketing strategies and campaigns could fall flat.Effective Email MarketingEmail marketing has been proven as a very effective online marketing strategy for online business ventures. This is due to the fact that many consumers have emails and advanced technological devices such as smartphones and mobile devices with Wi-Fi facilities. These components are sufficient to send and receive emails at any time from anyone to anywhere.Modern consumers with emails tend to check on their emails a couple of times a day. This consumer habit benefits businesses that manipulate emails to reach their targeted niche markets or secure a wider audience in promoting their business. Effective emails would draw consumers to be potential leads to the business where a building of strong relations could convert potential leads to customers.Email marketing is also cheap and fast. The advanced technologies of today lower the cost of sending an email compared to slow mail and other traditional marketing strategies. This is an excellent marketing tool for new businesses that are low in budget. Organic and free web traffic could be harnessed through a proper implementation, although paid traffic could also be procured quickly for the desired business marketing activities.However, the wrong way of manipulating email marketing could backfire on the marketer where web consumers become annoyed and against the brand or business. This could happen with spam emails which take up busy consumers’ time and inbox space. A bad impression could be impinged on the brand and business which does not augur well with the marketer in the marketplace. Hence, it is crucial for the marketer or entrepreneur to adopt good marketing ethics in engaging email marketing to win over customers.Permission Based Email MarketingMarketers thinking of engaging in email marketing to promote their brand and business wares today should consider implementing permission based email marketing. This is an ethical approach towards email marketing where marketers request the permission of targeted potential leads to be opted into their customer database or email listing.This form of email marketing approach is also known as opt-in marketing whereby email recipients are given an opportunity to say ‘yes’ to receiving business news via emails. The securing of consumers’ permission makes it easier for the marketer to send relevant emails of marketing information without worrying about annoying the recipient.Once permission is secured from identified business prospects, better marketing campaigns could be designed to increase the chances of compelling potential leads to make purchases and be converted as business customers. When the business lead opts into the business emailing list, the marketer requires less effort and time in developing the best of promo materials to benefit the consumer.This form of marketing helps to boost the bottom line of the business as more quality time could be identified in establishing strong customer relations to generate trust, respect and confidence between the two parties. It would be easier for the marketer to secure more accurate information from the potential leads through online surveys in various emails sent to understand the needs of the consumers better.The proper approach of permission based email marketing which the marketer is to adopt is by providing an online opt-in form via emails or at the web business site where the potential leads indicate their consent in receiving further updates or news regarding the brand or business from this particular marketer.This approach confirms the potential lead’s interest and inclination towards the brand and company to empower the marketer in sending relevant emails to the potential leads. When an appropriate business email is sent to these potential leads, it is possible for these potential leads to find favorable and value added products or services which they could order or purchase via the marketer. The marketer would enjoy better bottom lines from the highest number of sales triggered from these potential leads who are now inclined towards the brand or business.Ethical MarketingEthical marketing via emails is a strong testimony of the marketer’s character which calls for mutual respect and integrity. Marketers who exercise ethical marketing are highly respected in the market with a strong show of upright character which augurs well with all consumers. This is unlike interruption marketing which is spamming consumers’ email in-boxes regardless of consumers’ feelings and feedback.Spamming is very much frowned upon by marketers pushing loads of promo emails to their list of potential leads in the market. Marketers could be desperate to such unethical marketing approaches when their business fluctuates with the market. Modern consumers do not like marketers to coerce them into accepting the brand or business offerings through numerous emails which could clutter up their in-box, especially when marketers spam their in-boxes with multiple copies of the same message.Ethical marketing is powerful in this era as mutual respect is exercised and business opportunities come at the right time for the marketers to present their brand or business benefits. Politeness in marketing campaigns wins more customers than forceful approaches. Opted in customers remain loyal and positive towards the brand and business when they are able to exercise their free will in choosing their brand and company for products and services.Loyal customers through permission based email marketing make purchases on the brand which keep the business afloat in all seasons. They could also help to spread the word about the brand and business if they are truly satisfied with the product or service rendered.

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How is Parkinson’s Disease Treated?

Parkinsons disease is a comparatively common condition of the nervous system which is as a result of problems with the nerve cells in the part of the brain which generates dopamine. This is a chemical substance that is needed for the smooth management of muscles and motion, so the symptoms of the disorder is a result of a reduction of that chemical. Parkinson’s disease mostly impacts individuals aged over 65, but it can and does come on at younger ages with 5-10% developing before the age of forty.

The chief clinical features of Parkinson’s disease are a tremor or shaking, that will commences in one arm or hand; there is often a muscle rigidity or stiffness along with a slowness of motion; the stance gets more stooped; additionally, there are equilibrium concerns. Parkinson’s can also cause greater pain and result in depression symptoms and create problems with memory and sleep. There isn’t any specific test for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s. The identification is usually made primarily based on the history of the symptoms, a physical along with neural evaluation. Other reasons for the signs and symptoms also need to be eliminated. There are imaging assessments, such as a CAT scan or MRI, that can be used to eliminate other issues. From time to time a dopamine transporter diagnostic might also be utilized.

The actual cause of Parkinson’s isn’t known. It does appear to have both genetic and environmental elements with it plus some specialists think that a virus may induce Parkinson’s as well. Decreased amounts of dopamine and also norepinephrine, a substance which in turn is responsible for the dopamine, have already been found in those with Parkinson’s, but it is not yet determined what is causing this. Unusual proteins which are named Lewy bodies have been located in the brains of those who have Parkinson’s; nevertheless, experts don’t know what role they may play in the development of Parkinson’s. While the specific cause just isn’t known, studies have identified risk factors that establish groups of people who are more prone to develop the condition. Men are more than one and a half times more prone to get Parkinson’s as compared to women. Caucasians are much more prone to get the condition as compared to African Americans or Asians. Those who have close members of the family who have Parkinson’s disease are more likely to develop it, implying the inherited contribution. A number of toxins could raise the potential for the problem, implying a role of the environment. People who experience difficulties with brain injuries can be more likely to go on and have Parkinson’s disease.

There is no identified remedy for Parkinson’s disease. That will not imply that the signs and symptoms can’t be handled. The main method is to use medicines to raise or replacement for the dopamine. Balanced and healthy diet together with frequent exercise is crucial. There may be changes made to the surroundings at home and work to keep the individual involved as well as active. There are also some options sometimes for brain surgical treatment which can be used to relieve some of the motor symptoms. A diverse team of different health professionals are often involved.

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Understanding the Impacts of Gout

Gout is among those historical problems because there are numerous mentions of it in historical literature, at least since ancient times. The traditional typecast of it is that it is related to the upper classes that binge in alcohol and certain foods. This image was pictured in early art work illustrating people who had gout. Gout has stopped being viewed as a problem of over consumption, because of the current research demonstrating an important genetic component to it.

Gout is a distressing inflammation related disorder which mostly impacts the joints, most commonly the great toe joint with the feet. It is because of uric acid crystals getting placed in joints in the event the bloodstream uric acid quantities are increased. The uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines which come from the consuming of foods like venison, salmon, tuna, haddock, sardines, anchovies, mussels, herring along with alcohol consumption. It is possible to understand how that old misconception was produced according to the overindulgence of the higher classes in those types of food and alcoholic beverages. The actual problem is not really the quantity of those foods which can be consumed, but the actual genetics of the biochemical pathway which usually breaks the purines in these food items down into the uric acid and how your body deals with it.

While diet is still important in the treating of gout and lowering the quantity of food which have the purines with them continues to be considered essential, however it is becoming apparent recently that this is just not sufficient by itself and just about all those who have gout probably will need pharmaceutical management. It goes without saying that drugs are likely to be needed for relief of pain throughout an acute flare up. The acute phase of gout is extremely painful. Over the long term there are two forms of drugs which you can use for gout. One kind of medicine block chemicals in the pathway which splits the purines into uric acid, which simply implies there will be much less uric acid in the blood stream that could find its way in to the joints to trigger an acute episode of gout or lead to the long-term gout. The other main kind of drug is one that can help the renal system remove much more uric acid. This would also reduce the urates in the bloodstream. Generally, only one of those drugs is all that’s needed, however occasionally both are needed to be utilized at the same time. Since these prescription medication is ordinarily pretty successful, that will not indicate that the life-style and eating habits changes may be pushed aside. Local measures, including wearing good fitting shoes if the big toe joint gets too painful is important. Also ice packs during an acute flare up will also help with the relief of pain.

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How To Approach Removing Asbestos Removal in Sydney

Planning to renovate your home built decades ago? Well, you got to be careful! There is a good chance it may have asbestos. This is a popular building material used throughout Australia before it was completely banned in 2003.

Asbestos is not generally considered hazardous. In fact, homeowners are only allowed to remove up to ten square meters of non-friable asbestos. More than that, people are advised to seek professional help, especially handling friable ones. Because of the health risks involved, DIY removal is considered illegal.

This is particularly prohibited in Sydney. Hence, the expertise of your trusted asbestos removalists is required to handle the dangerous job.

Why Removing Asbestos Can Be Dangerous?

There are many DIY ideas. Some are equally fun. Whilst, others can be hazardous, like removing asbestos by yourself.

Here are some reasons why removing asbestos without proper knowledge can be dangerous:

Exposure to diseases

Small quantities of asbestos are present in the air most of the time and are being breathed in by everyone without ill effects. But, exposure to high levels of asbestos for a long time is pretty serious. It can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Accidents and Injuries

Asbestos is used in cement sheeting, drainage and pipes, guttering, and even roofing. But, asbestos roofing can become fragile over time. Hence, you might risk breaking it apart, releasing harmful fibres into the air. Also, a single sheet of asbestos can weigh 30-50 kilograms. Such weight can cause injuries.

Wrong removal and ill-fitting equipment

You may not know the proper ways to remove asbestos, exposing you to very harmful fibres. And the recommended removal equipment is quite expensive. You don’t have to deal with it on your own.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Asbestos?

Asbestos removal can be pretty costly. It is determined by the type and size of the area, as well as the amount of debris to be removed. The safety risks of asbestos also increase the cost, especially when friable asbestos is involved. But health is wealth. It is always worth the price.

Most junk removalists in Sydney are priced from $99.99 per cubic metre, however, given the highly dangerous nature of asbestos, prices may be higher. It’s important to receive a few quotes before proceeding with an asbestos removal service.

How To Find The Right Asbestos Removal Provider?

There are a few key things you can do right now to ensure that your search for a provider is a successful one. They include:

Check Online Reviews

Does the asbestos removal service provider have an abundance of positive Google reviews? Check the history of their reviews to make sure that they are in-fact, legitimate. Businesses with legitimate reviews tend to have a stream of reviews that span across years of their lifetime; not just all within a few months.

Service Locality

Hiring a local asbestos removal business is always best. This ensures that you receive the best pricing as the business is local and nearby to your location. Typically, local businesses tend to take more pride in their workmanship as a positive reputation is key to their ongoing success.

Number of Years in Business

Given the highly dangerous nature of asbestos, it’s important to check how long the business has been in operation. A business who has over 10 years servicing the local community may provide cheaper pricing, given that they likely will have more refined practices.

Conclusion

Take your time while in search of a suitable asbestos removal provider. Due-dilligence is important and always shop around for the best quotes.

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A Pall Settles Over America

I see it in their eyes, downcast and wary. I see it in their steps, shuffling and tentative. When they talk, they use a word I rarely hear, depressed.

These are the producers, those who make the country work. Hourly and salaried employees and managers, who go to their jobs every day, work hard and provide for themselves and their families.

They’re the kind of people who have been with us since the country began. Back then, we called them Pilgrims, sod-busters, and settlers. Today they go by many names, Physician, Technician, Engineer, and Laborer. But for all of them, life has a rhythm, just as it did two centuries ago, that comes from our agricultural heritage.

Spring has always been the time for planting, and looking forward to the year ahead. Summertime is when they cultivate the crops. Fall is harvest time when we enjoy the fruits of our labor and thank God for blessing us. Winter is the time of austerity, the time to prune, the time to cut back.

But not this year. This year, we are still in harvest time. Yet the pruning has already begun. Major companies across this land are already cutting back, eliminating staff to reduce.

For thousands of laid-off workers, it comes at the worst possible time. Just before the holidays. A time when many who have children will have to cut back this Christmas. There will be little joy for those who lost their jobs these holidays.

If you’ve lived through a corporate “downsizing,” you know that anxiety runs high. No matter how often the boss has assured you that you will be kept on, you’re never sure about your future. Should you start looking for a new job now, or wait? Does the boss know what lies ahead, or might he be on the corporate chopping block? There is no job security once layoffs begin.

But there is much more to our collective angst this year than at any time in our memory. These corporate cutbacks are merely reflecting a more significant issue, an issue that is nationwide.

Our country is headed in the wrong direction. That is a sentiment shared by three-quarters of us. And we’ve felt that way for a couple of years. Producers know that the country should be operating better. Yes, there were all difficulties associated with the Pandemic. But those are now behind us.

Today recovery should be well underway. But it’s not. Despite all the trillions of dollars pumped into the system, our standard of living is falling. Each day inflation marches on; real income is declining. Gasoline, food, and shelter costs accelerate in real-time, but a salary rise comes annually. Corporate raises will arrive at the end of the year and likely come nowhere near the level of inflation we’ve already experienced.

Producers see all of this.

Producers also know that many, perhaps most, of our problems come from Washington. We see that a feeble old man has his bony fingers on the nation’s tiller, steering us straight for the shoals. He, and those who surround him, have a policy of austerity. In their eyes, less is better, and fewer is preferred. We should use less heat this winter, drive smaller, preferably electric vehicles, and eat vegan. And the less we consume, the better. From this perspective, we are the problem. Our destiny is to have shortages and wants. And they’ve pushed us in that direction.

However, these leaders told us last week that we could change everything. By walking into our voting booth, we could make our voices heard. We, the people, could take this country in a new direction that our leaders were indeed subject to the will of the people.

That didn’t happen. Counting votes has become a haze of computational complexity and slow-walking results. So that the incumbents in Washington get the results they want, it’s the complete inversion of the principal and values that the country’s founders intended. But there it is—today’s reality.

It’s the reason the word I hear most often from Producers today is: depression. And I’m afraid that’s where we’re headed.

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How to Choose the Right YouTube Channel Name for Your Brand

Who is your target audience?

Before you even think about branding, you need to have a clear understanding of who you wish to reach out to and what your main marketing message is going to be. If you are launching a YouTube channel for your new e-commerce business that sells jewelry, the first question you need to ask yourself is who your target audience will be. This will help you further decide how you want your channel to look and what content you want it to feature. For example, if your target audience is females aged between 25 and 40 years and you want to focus on brand engagement, you can use your YouTube channel to post behind-the-scenes videos of your product creation process. Alternatively, if you want to use your channel as a sales and marketing tool, you can create tutorial videos that showcase the various ways your products can be used and even provide suggestions on how to pair them with other accessories.

What do you want to achieve through your channel?

Now that you have identified your target audience, the next thing you need to ask yourself is what your main purpose is for having a YouTube channel in the first place. Is your channel meant to attract new customers, build brand awareness, or increase your sales? Whatever your channel’s main goal is, it is important to convey this to your audience through your channel name. For instance, if your channel is meant to increase your sales, you can use a name that suggests discounts or offers. On the other hand, if you wish to build brand awareness through your channel, you can go with a name that clearly communicates this message.

What words and phrases do you want to be associated with?

Before you even begin thinking about a YouTube channel name, you need to have a clear understanding of words and phrases that you want your channel to be associated with. For example, if you wish for your channel to be associated with creativity and originality, you can go with something along the lines of “Creative Jewelry” or “Jewelry Box”. On the other hand, if you wish to be associated with fashion and style, a good name would be “Fashion Jewels”. A good idea would be to jot down all the words and phrases that you wish your channel to be associated with, and then start brainstorming for possible channel names. This can be done by listing out all the words and phrases that are relevant to your business, crossing off the ones that don’t make sense, and then combining two or three words to create a new and memorable name.

Be Short and Catchy!

The average human attention span is now 8 seconds – that’s how long it takes for your prospective customers to decide whether or not they wish to continue reading or watching your content. This means that you have about 8 seconds to grab their attention and make a lasting impression. And since you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression, it is important to make the most of it and create a name that is short, catchy, and easy to remember. For example, the YouTube channel “Daily Jewelry” is way too long and cumbersome which makes it hard to remember and even harder to type when creating the channel URL. However, the channel name “Jewelry Box” is short, easy to remember, and will definitely make people curious enough to click on your channel. It is even better if you can use an emoji or a GIF in your channel name as they are presented more visually.

Choosing the right words for your brand name.

When choosing the right channel name, it is important to remember that the words you pick out will not only be used to create your channel name but will also be used as keywords for your YouTube SEO. This means that you have to make sure that the words you pick are relevant to your content and that they make sense when put together. For example, if you wish to create a channel that features jewelry tutorials and designs, “Jewelry Box” is a perfect name as it suggests creativity, originality, and even organization. On the other hand, if you decide to go with a name like “Daily Jewelry”, the words “daily” and “jewelry” don’t really make any sense when put together, and the name isn’t very original either.

Summing up

All in all, the name you choose for your YouTube channel is extremely important because it will be the first thing your prospective customers will see and read. Your channel name will also be used as keywords for your YouTube SEO, so it is important to make sure that it is short, catchy, and grammatically correct. While coming up with a brand name is never an easy task, there are a few things you can do to make the process a little bit easier. The best thing to do is to make a list of all the words and phrases that you wish to be associated with your channel and then start brainstorming for possible names.

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