Businesses that once relied exclusively on face-to-face, physical communication are turning to digital technology to make their services more accessible to customers. From small retail storefronts to medical professionals to technology firms that host client operations in the cloud, it’s difficult to find any business not using digital technology to communicate with their audiences.
The interactivity of mobile applications, websites and other technology holds too much potential for businesses to ignore.
Business in the Cloud
The cloud is a virtual space to share and store information. A host of companies provide cloud infrastructure and management services for businesses, and customer interaction management services like Zipwire are becoming more popular for small- and medium-sized companies. Using the cloud to hold and secure company communications is a major benefit, considering that many companies either lack the information technology acumen or staff to handle it themselves. Using the cloud helps reduce the stress on internal IT systems and saves from overspending on IT maintenance.
Doctors See the Benefit of Online
Anyone who’s struggled to find a doctor or book an appointment needs to know about ZocDoc. The free online healthcare-booking company developed mobile applications that let patients search for doctors and book appointments from the palm of their hand.
ZocDoc also lets patients register ahead of time to save time filling out a half-hour’s worth of forms at the office. The app aggregates available appointments from thousands of doctor’s offices, identifying slots that become available due to cancellations. Some users say they’ve been able to book an appointment, map themselves to the office and walk right into their appointment.
ZocDoc claims its objective is to provide easier access to qualified doctors, reviews of medical practices, wellness advice, and information about how people can maximize their healthcare benefits. Not sure if the doctor accepts your insurance? ZocDoc solves that problem, too.
Drones for Delivery
A bag of fresh socks. A couple of paperback books. A chew toy for the dog. In the era of online shopping, not everything needs lengthy shipping schedules or visits to the post office. Why bother, when a robot can deliver it for you?
Amazon, Google and UPS are among the companies that have announced plans to develop door-to-door drone delivery services. The idea is to use small unmanned aircrafts, about the size of a toy helicopter, to deliver small items from shipping centers directly to customers’ homes or businesses.
In some metro areas, it’s completely possible, especially with America’s appetite for instant online shopping gratification. Amazon unveiled its plans for AmazonAir in December, though it hasn’t yet been launched. It will soon.
It’s not “A Brave New World.” This is the business world we live in today.
Did you know that where you live – and what sites you visit – can affect the price you pay when shopping online? Retail sites are tailored to swap out prices, modify wording and change up products based on your history, without you knowing.
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It’s not what you say but how you say it.
In Boston this spring, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation proved that statement when it turned a mundane road sign into a viral sensation.
Rather than tell motorists to “Use Your Turn Signals,” the department took a more familiar approach with locals:
Now go “Pahk the Cah in Hahvahd Yahd.”
MassDOT officials realize to catch the attention of drivers, they need to connect with their audience in a thick Boston accent.
The takeaway for our careers? People will listen to – and act on – what we ask of them, but we need to use the right language in the right ways. Frankly, that’s a huge reason young professionals struggle to land jobs.
Below are instructions for how to write the seven most awkward job-related emails. You know, the kind of emails where you think “Umm, how do I say this exactly?”
1. How to respond when you don’t get the job but still want to stay on the company’s radar
Thanks a lot for the response. I’m sorry I did not land the job but appreciate your email to let me know.
All the best,
Note: Then, when they least suspect it, you also send a handwritten note and thank the person for the opportunity to interview. Why? Check out this comment from an NTLB post republished on Ragan, a communications resource: “I sent a thank you note after I bombed a technical interview where I was clearly not qualified for the job, and a couple weeks later they called me with an opening that was a perfect fit because my note had made them remember me.”
2. How to network with someone who’s really important
My name is _______, and I am [how you know this person]. I saw [your connecting person] the other day, mentioned what I’m up to and she suggested I connect with you.
[2-3 sentences on "what you're up to" and in this section, clearly explain why you'd like to network with this person. What do you want from him/her? Be direct.]
I know you’re busy, and I would really appreciate a few minutes of your time. If you have a few minutes, we can meet in person somewhere convenient for you or talk over the phone.
Thanks in advance, and please let me know what works.
Notes: It’s important to tell the person 1) your connection to him/her 2) what you need/want and 3) you understand he/she is super busy and you want to be respectful and not take a lot of time. Important people move fast, especially in big cities.
3. Networking email to someone you sorta kinda know at a company where you want to work
My name is _______. A while back, you and I [give the reason you two know each other; be as descriptive as possible so the person will know right away]. I hope you’re doing well!
I was on your company website and see your team is hiring for [specific name of the position]. I am well qualified for the job and have a good deal of experience. [Give one solid example to back up your claim; no longer than 1-2 sentences.]
If I send along my resume, do you think you can pass it to the right person? If you need me to provide any other information that would help, I’m happy to do so.
Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you.
Notes: Details. Details. Details. Be clear who you are, how you know the person and what you need that person to do. And don’t make this mistake with your job application.
4. Email two weeks after a job interview and you’ve heard nothing
My name is _______, and two weeks ago I interviewed at your office for the position of _______. I want to follow up and check on the status of the job opening. If you need more information from me, please let me know.
Thanks so much,
5. Bothering someone important who said he/she would pass along your resume but hasn’t yet
I hope you’re doing well!
I am ______, and I [remind the person how you two became acquainted]. I want to follow up about my resume as you mentioned you could pass it along to [the person who you want to see it]. Again, it would be great if you’re still able to do that.
And if you can send along the resume, please remind [the person who you want to see it] that [1-2 lines on why you are the best person for the position; give your networker a bit of ammo he/she can use].
Again, I know you’re busy so I appreciate your willingness to help me.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Notes: Always overcommunicate the small details. Never assume people remember you or what you need from them.
6. How to ask for a letter of recommendation from someone you haven’t talked to in five years
This is [your name], your student from [names the class(es), the year(s) and the school]. I know it’s been a while since we last spoke, and I hope you’re doing great.
[If you feel comfortable enough, ask a question or two about the person. For example: "How's college life still treating you?" or "How's your family?"]
I am [the reason you need the letter of recommendation]. I would appreciate a recommendation from you if you have the time. If you need me to send along any biographical information or remind you of the work I did in your classes, I am happy to do that.
Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Notes: Offer to provide additional information, make absolutely sure the person will remember who you are and, in general, be accommodating. You have 17 other challenges to worry about in the real world. Avoid a snag here.
7. How to write an email to set up the “I’m leaving” conversation with your boss
Do you have a few minutes at the end of the day? I’d like to talk with you about something.
Notes: No easy way to start this conversation, but it’s best to leave the details to the in-person meeting.
(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)
According to numerous sources inside Yahoo, CEO Marissa Mayer has ordered up two under-the-radar initiatives – well, not to me and now you! – that could potentially get the company back into algorithmic search as well as search advertising. The internal code names for the efforts – which are not actually being done together, though they are in tandem – are borrowed from sports. In this case, basketball and baseball: Projects Fast Break and Curveball, respectively. Sources said the plan is being done as part of a contemplation of how Yahoo can accelerate the end of – or actually end – its longterm search and advertising partnership with Microsoft. Currently, Yahoo only has control over the search experience, but Mayer clearly wants more purview over the business.
Read the full story at re/code.