Technology Within the Sports Landscape

Louis Detitto Sports Tech

It’s easy to see just how much technology has changed the world over the last several decades. Even if you look at the changes that have occurred in the last five years, it’ll be pretty astounding. Technology also has a massive impact on the sports world. There are many ways that technology will be altering the sports landscape in the near future.

Better Sports Equipment

Better sports equipment will allow athletes to perform better while being protected. Modern sports equipment is substantially better than the equipment that was being used by athletes mere decades ago. It’s possible that helmets could continue to improve so that football players won’t have to be as concerned about CTE. It’s also plausible to assume that improvements to sneakers and other important pieces of equipment will lead to athletes shattering records as never before.

AI

AI has the potential to change the entire world and not just the sports world. In the world of sports, AI could be used to help manage various things more efficiently. It’s possible that AI could help with training functions, and it could also help to provide strategic information. Some people find this to be disconcerting and think that it hurts the spirit of the game. There will be time to debate whether AI has a true place in the world of sports.

New Ways to View Sports

New ways to view sports might be the most relevant thing for you. You understand that the landscape has already changed substantially when it comes to how people consume sports. In the past, people simply turned on the television and watched the game when it was on. Modern technology has changed the way that people consume media, and many sports still need to catch up with those changes.

Sports will likely start to migrate to streaming platforms instead of being locked to traditional television channels. There might be new ways to view sports that make use of emerging technologies as well. For example, the potential is there for sports to be viewed using virtual reality or augmented reality. People could feel as if they’re at the arena even when they’re watching at home, and this could be a game-changer.

from Louis DeTitto’s Sports Blog http://louisdetitto.net/technology-within-the-sports-landscape/
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The Leading Attributes of Leaders

Louis Detitto Leaders

If you want to become the best leader that you can be, then it’s smart to focus on developing specific attributes. The best leaders in the world all possess certain qualities that help them to perform well. You can develop these attributes over time, and you might already possess some of the positive traits that you need. Keep reading to learn more about the leading attributes of leaders.

Being Self-Aware

Knowing who you are and what your capabilities are matters quite a bit. You need to be able to perform as a leader, and you should have a good grasp of what your limits are. Being a leader isn’t about handling everything alone, and you need to learn to coordinate a team. Learn to take care of yourself so that you can be the leader that your team needs you to be.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is so crucial when you’re trying to become a leader. You need to be able to relate to the people that you’re leading, and having good emotional intelligence makes it easier to get the best out of others. You should also develop your communication skills so that you can learn when to listen while also understanding how to best relay orders. Some people have great emotional intelligence naturally, but you can also develop this attribute over time by being observant and willing to learn.

Diligence

Being a leader is going to require you to become a diligent individual as well. There will likely be tough times that will test your limits. If you have the courage to keep moving forward, then you will be able to continue to make progress toward your goals. The most respected leaders don’t let failures or hardships keep them down long.

Humility

Humility is another essential attribute that you should consider developing if you want to become a good leader. Leaders who are full of themselves or who take their power positions for granted do not have an easy time gaining the trust of those around them. Remain humble and understand that you’re a part of a team that should all be working together toward one goal. Never think that you’re above others and always understand the need to keep learning even after you’ve been a successful leader for years.

from Louis DeTitto | Business http://louisdetitto.com/the-leading-attributes-of-leaders/
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How to Build a Remote Customer Support Team for a Seamless Customer Experience

Did you know that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (CX)?

Also, 49% of buyers have made purchases after receiving a personalized experience and over two-thirds of businesses now compete primarily on customer experience.

Your support team is the primary (and often the only) customer touchpoint. Therefore, it’s important to build a customer care department that can deliver a seamless CX.

Meanwhile, it has become more cost-efficient for companies to leverage a remote workforce for customer support. They can take advantage of the reduced overhead cost, access a larger candidate pool, and provide round-the-clock support to customers in different time zones at no additional cost.

However, running a remote customer support team isn’t without its challenges – especially if you want to deliver a top-notch and personalized experience to every customer.

Some common hurdles include:

  • Ensuring timely communication and information sharing so every team member is on the same page.
  • Tracking work and monitoring results to help employees stay focused and productive.
  • Making sure that team members can deliver an on-brand and consistent customer experience.
  • Enabling team members to work autonomously, especially if their supervisors are in a different time zone.
  • Implementing endpoint security to protect your customer data.

Here’s how you can overcome these challenges and build a remote customer support team to deliver a seamless customer experience:

Hire Team Members With a Customer-Centric Mindset

The interaction between support team members and your customers will define the quality of the customer experience. Hiring the right people is key to delivering an outstanding contact center experience and here are some important traits to look for:

  • Basic soft skills such as patience, empathy, attentiveness, communication skills, positivity, and the ability to “read” the customers.
  • Technical knowledge about your product and general understanding of your industry.
  • Self-management and time-management skills, as well as self-motivation to complete tasks on time.
  • The drive to act proactively and make decisions autonomously.
  • Collaboration skills and a track record of working in virtual teams.
  • The ability to thrive under a low-touch and flexible management style.
  • A customer-centric mindset that drives them to think outside of the box and prioritize the delivery of an outstanding customer experience.

Use Cloud-Based Communication and Collaboration Tools

Cloud-based software applications, such as project management, communication, and file-sharing platforms, allow team members to collaborate cost-efficiently from anywhere with an internet connection.

Meanwhile, a unified communications (UC) platform and contact center software enable your team to communicate with customers via multiple channels (e.g., phone, email, chat, social media.) You can have all the interactions synched up in a centralized location to ensure a seamless support experience.

Many of these platforms integrate well with each other so supervisors can manage progress at a glance on a unified dashboard. Also, they allow employees from different time zones to catch up with all the communications when they start their shifts to minimize errors and delays when they interact with customers.

Set Up a Centralized and Searchable Knowledge Base

Customers expect your support team to help them resolve issues quickly. In fact, 99% of consumers say that interacting with knowledgeable reps is an essential part of a great CX while the first contact resolution rate is a key indicator of customer satisfaction.

However, a remote customer support team member can’t simply walk over to the next desk and ask for help when she encounters a question for which she doesn’t have an answer. Therefore, you need to provide the resources your agents need to resolve customer queries independently.

To do so, set up an online searchable knowledge base (e.g., a private wiki) on which your team can access the latest information about your products. Such information should include detailed step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting procedures, and links to how-to videos that agents can share with customers.

Your team should also have the ability to update the information, ask questions, and add answers on an ongoing basis. This will create a supportive culture, increase employee engagement, and ensure that the knowledge base is current and relevant.

Implement a Customer Service Software Application

A customer service platform enables you to manage customer interactions across all touchpoints in a centralized location so any team member can pick up where the conversations have left off to deliver a seamless customer experience.

Some key features to look for in customer service software include omnichannel communication capabilities, ticketing system, live chat support, customer self-service portal, customer sentiment analysis, and survey tool.

These platforms also allow supervisors to see all customer interactions and metrics on a unified dashboard so they don’t have to micro-manage team members.

For example, managers can see the number of calls taken, the number of issues resolved, hours worked, high-priority issues, and tasks assigned to each team member to ensure that every agent is staying productive and delivering a high-quality customer experience.

Implement a Comprehensive Onboarding Process

A thorough and well-orchestrated onboarding process is particularly important for getting remote employees up to speed since they may not have immediate access to their colleagues or supervisors due to time zone differences and have to make decisions independently.

In order to deliver a seamless customer experience, your reps need to understand internal processes, communication protocols, and other operational procedures so they can resolve issues appropriately or route inquiries to the right departments.

Your team also needs to be trained on how to use all the communication and customer service applications effectively so they can optimize the tools they have at their disposal and ensure the effective functioning of the team.

In addition, since team members need to connect to your systems and access customer information using their own network and equipment, it’s important to ensure the security of the connections and the privacy of their networks.

Data breaches aren’t only costly but will also impact customer experience and erode trust. It’s therefore important to provide the necessary support and training to team members from day one to make sure your network is secure and your customer data is safe.

Educate Your Team About Your Customers

Your team requires an in-depth understanding of your ideal customers in order to deliver the most relevant CX, meet customer expectations, make product recommendations, and resolve product-related issues.

Create customer avatars/buyer personas and share them with your support team. Educate your agents about your audience, such as demographic information, their expectations, what they want from your products, as well as their preferences and values so your team can build rapport with your customers and anticipate their needs.

Also, enable your support team to deliver an on-brand customer experience by educating them about your company’s vision and values. When you build a team culture based on your brand identity, you can empower your agents to proactively take initiatives to surprise and delight your customers with an outstanding CX.

Final Thoughts

Delivering seamless customer experience is the key to acquiring and retaining more customers so you can increase sales and boost your bottom line.

Not to mention, hiring the right customer service agents and providing them with the appropriate tools can improve employee satisfaction and retention. These long-term employees often possess the much-needed institutional knowledge, insights about your audience, and enthusiasm about your brand that will turn any customer interaction into an outstanding experience.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/How to Build a Remote Customer Support Team for a Seamless Customer Experience/
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Choosing a Credit Card Processor for Your Business

Whether you’re the owner of a brick-and-mortar storefront, you’re strictly an online merchant, or you run your business from a food truck, you want to ensure that customers can pay conveniently and that you understand exactly what it costs your business to make that happen.

 

With the arrival of innovative payment options like digital wallets, businesses of every size have had to transition away from accepting cash-only to choosing merchant account services and mobile payment processors that can keep up with the newer demands of potential customers.

Understanding merchant accounts and credit card processors

 

If your business will accept credit and debit card payments, that money needs a place to go, and that’s where credit card merchant accounts factor into your business plan.

 

A merchant account is a bank account that receives money collected from debit and credit card transactions. After each card transaction, the resulting payment gets transferred to the account, and from there the money can be funneled into a standard business account.

 

If your company takes both online and in-store transactions, the merchant account for card-present transactions may be different than the one you use for online purchases, but basically every modern business needs at least one merchant account to do business in the modern era. Once you have an account, you then have to think about how your customer will be interacting with your business. This will determine what sort of credit card processing solution can best facilitate those transactions.

 

If your customers come to you and most of your transactions happen inside your physical location at a traditional point of sale, your needs will vary from those of a business that’s physically mobile and brings the business directly to the customer. Likewise, if most of your transactions take place without being face-to-face with your customer, this will affect what type of credit card processor you’ll want to use. Luckily, there are several credit card processing methods to choose from to ensure your business is prepared for your customers’ payment preferences.

Selecting the processor that’s right for you

If your business is a traditional physical storefront, the most commonly used processor is a retail merchant account. This allows your customers’ credit and debit cards to be swiped (or inserted or tapped) through payment terminals at your store.

 

It’s becoming less common to see businesses that don’t also have an online component for handling transactions. To process payments online, you need an internet merchant account. You can then process both credit and debit card payments through your website.

 

In lieu of traditional point-of sale systems used with most cash registers, you can also set up your business to use smartphones and tablets as payment terminals. In these cases, you’d need mobile credit processors to allow your business to accept payments anywhere you have a WiFi or data connection. Nearly any type of business or individual can use this sales processing method, from artists selling paintings at local art fairs, to local coffee shops and beyond.

 

One payment processor type that’s less often used these days, but can still cater to a specific type of transaction, is mail or telephone order merchant accounts (MOTO). These accounts let you process payments by phone or direct mail as the name suggests, and may be necessary for some businesses.

 

There are other considerations, too. For one, if necessary, make sure the processor you’re considering supports multiple merchant account types. If you already have a point-of-sale system or website merchant page set up, make sure any processors you’re looking to work with in the future are compatible with your current setup.

Facing the Fees

 

You may think that you can credit and debit cards at your business along to your customers. This is mostly true, but be wary of adjusting your prices to accommodate this, especially if your business is in a highly competitive space where a rise in prices could put a competitor into a more appealing position in the eyes of the customer. Most merchants choose to eat interchange fees as an expected cost of doing business.

Since costs are arguably the most important factor when choosing a credit card processor, become familiar with the types of fees you can face.

 

One-Time Fees

Initial costs, like equipment installation and application fees are common one-time fees associated with credit card processors.

 

Transaction Fees

When using a credit card processor for card payments, you’ll be charged an “interchange” fee for every transaction made with a debit or credit card. These fees usually fall between 1.5%–4% of the total purchase amount. For smaller businesses where low-volume and low-cost purchases are commonplace, this can be a major hurdle when trying to remain competitive with bigger chains.

 

Several factors, including the type of card used and how the transaction takes place, can affect these fees. For instance, with less risk of credit card fraud with in-person transactions, in-store payments could cost you less than online or phone payments. There are no additional fees to use EMV chip cards at your business, but it does cost money to equip your business with EMV technology, which is basically mandatory in modern times.

 

Monthly Charges

Look out for small monthly fees, including costs for mailed monthly statements, or rental charges for the processing terminals themselves, generally around $20 to $100 a month. Some processors may charge a fee for early contract cancellation. Plus, most processors will have minimum requirements for the fees they collect every month, and if your business is shy of this minimum amount, you can be charged the difference.

 

Additional Charges

Another cost to be mindful of is the price of leased equipment, which you’d be responsible for even if you were looking to sell your business, or worse, if you were forced to close shop. Other ancillary costs to keep in mind are modern payment amenities like mobile readers to plug into devices you’re planning to use for your transactions.

 

Be sure to ask all the relevant questions pertaining to what charges you’ll have to plan for when finding a processor since every business has their own considerations.

 

The reason merchants may opt to charge customers more for using their credit cards is because they have to pay fees to accept credit card transactions.

Wrapping up

Ultimately, you know your own business the best, and therefore, the most rock-solid thing you can do when choosing a credit card processor is make the most informed decision you can that will accommodate you.

 

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/Choosing a Credit Card Processor For Your Business/
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How to Automate Your Processes

Louis Detitto Business Automation

If you want your business to save money and operate smoothly, then it makes sense to try to automate your processes. This can save you a lot of effort, and you can free up the workforce to handle more important tasks. If you’re wondering how to go about automating your processes, then you should keep reading. You’ll be able to gain some insight into how you should approach this topic.

Identify Your Most Important Processes

The best thing to do is to identify the most important processes right away. For some companies, this might be something such as billing or email marketing. You don’t have to automate every process that your business does right away. Starting with one or two important processes will help you to save money, give you more time, and solve various problems for you.

Understand How the Process Is Supposed to Flow

Understanding how the process is supposed to flow when it comes to automation makes it easier to handle things. You can make a sort of checklist for how the automation process is supposed to work with the things that you decided to automate. This can keep you from having to spend several hours wrapping your head around the little details. You can watch the process happen on your computer and then write down the steps so that you’ll have a reference point.

Keep an Eye on Things

You want to monitor the automation process and keep an eye on things to ensure that everything is going smoothly. Automating various processes is decidedly simple when you implement the latest software. It shouldn’t be a huge task to monitor things, but you might want to delegate it to specific team members anyway. You can get your employees or team members to understand what needs to be done, and then they can monitor this process as a part of their regular duties.

Avoid Bottlenecks

Sometimes bottlenecks can occur when you’re trying to automate various processes. For example, there might be some type of approval form needed for a certain step in a process. Work out ways to avoid problems such as this so that everything can flow smoothly. You might need to set up a notification system or give approval authority to a particular team member.

from Louis DeTitto | Business http://louisdetitto.com/how-to-automate-your-processes/
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The Price of College Sports

Louis Detitto College Sports

The college sports industry is huge in America, and this has led to some problems in certain areas. Despite the fact that college sports generate a large amount of income for local economies and universities, the student-athletes are not paid for their athletic endeavors. This has been an issue that has been discussed in detail for quite some time, but it doesn’t look as if anything is changing any time soon. If you understand the price of college sports, then you can come up with your own opinion about this matter.

College Sports Make a Ton of Money

You know that college sports make a ton of money, and this revenue is generated in various ways. Firstly, you know that schools sell tickets to the big games and they also sell merchandise that is related to the sports teams. Live gates and merchandising account for a lot of income, but this might pale in comparison to the money that is pulled in from television. Television broadcasts of college sports games are worth a lot of cash.

These collegiate athletic competitions generate millions of dollars in advertising revenue. The most popular college sports in America are football and basketball. Other sports generate revenue as well, but these two sports are largely considered to be the big money-makers. Some schools focus heavily on their football and basketball programs and are just as well known for those sports as they are for academics.

The Ethics of Not Paying Student-Athletes

The ethics of not paying student-athletes is something that many people bring up. A student might not be a professional, but it’s hard to deny that certain student-athletes help to bring schools and others a lot of revenue. Is it ethical to consider paying student-athletes even though they’re not professional athletes? Or would that simply open up college sports to even more corruption and problems?

The truth is that this is a matter that is complicated to discuss. Many people have different opinions on the topic, and both sides have valid talking points to consider. You know that the price of college sports is constantly rising due to the increased interest in college football and basketball. Many schools have programs that cost millions of dollars, and it makes sense to question things while developing your own opinions.

from Louis DeTitto’s Sports Blog http://louisdetitto.net/the-price-of-college-sports/
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How to Effortlessly Connect a Team of Remote Workers

Today’s world is growing increasingly remote, which means that if your office can’t handle a remote worker, it may already be out of date. And with the rise and spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), individuals and companies around the world are rapidly beginning to question the way they conduct their business — especially during an outbreak. And this doesn’t just pertain to large businesses. Even small companies of just a few people need to be set up for success or risk major disruptions in productivity.

 Consider:

  • More people are working remotely. According to an Economist Intelligence Unit study, only 28% of those surveyed hadn’t worked remotely in the previous 12 months — meaning 72% had.
  • The technology is here. Video conferencing, Slack integration, remote diagnostics, file transfers—most of the tools you are already using are cloud based, meaning you can do them from anywhere. There’s no reason to hesitate anymore.
  • More people are going to want to work remotely. Even if some of the population hasn’t worked remotely yet, the work-at-home crowd continues to build momentum, increasing some 140% since 2005. And by 2025, about 75% of the global workforce will be millennials—a group that will come to expect more remote working opportunities in the future. While issues like the Coronavirus may be accelerating the remote working trend, it’s a trend that we believe is here to stay.

Why does this matter? With increased expectations of remote work availability, modern digital offices have to be able to facilitate today’s employee needs — especially as they pertain to health. Many companies that never believed their office required remote working options are now second guessing this belief. And not only because of the spread of disease, but to allow workers flexibility and the ability to compete for top talent.

Even if you don’t currently have a structure in place, here are some tips to help you build a remote team for the first time:

Step One: Build a Common Culture

The technology is easier than you think — especially with companies like LogMeIn who offer a full range of remote tools. It’s the company culture that can sometimes get in your way.

That means that your human resources team needs to be on board with a remote working policy that makes sense for remote workers as well as your company. Here’s what you’ll need to think about to build a culture that includes remote working:

  • Develop a policy for working from home. This should be a written policy to which any employee can refer. For example, you should have a policy for working from home on non-sick days for employees that request it. The key is to put something in writing, even if you still wish to maintain a flexible arrangement with most employees.
  • Create a basic flow for meetings with remote workers. If you have remote workers that never come in to the office, you’ll need to check in with them every so often. You may want to put in the structure—backed up by regular reminders with your project management software of choice—to make sure these employees never feel out of the loop.
  • Set goals for each remote meeting. Remote working won’t always be done via meetings, but you’ll accomplish a lot more with remote work if you can keep meetings concise. Take the “controlled burn” approach from NASA: each meeting should have a precise aim and a limited duration. And after the controlled burn, you should be able to let workers manage much of their own work for a while.

Step Two: Integrate the Technology for Better Remote Work

Many employers complain that remote work doesn’t have the same in-person connection of the office. That’s true. But with the right technology in place, you can simulate that feeling as much as possible.

The question isn’t whether the technology is here. It’s about what you should expect from your remote working technology. Here are a few features to consider as you weigh the options:

  • Easy logging in. The first step in the structure is to incorporate someone’s home computer with their work computer, especially for those who work part-time in a physical office. Can they log in with a simple browser entry and get to work as if they were at the office?
  • Workflow integration. If you already use a service like Slack, you’ll want to make sure that the technology you’re working with seamlessly integrates. Otherwise, you face the potential of back-and-forth emails as you try to figure out where every remote worker’s progress is regarding their latest project.

Step Three: Create Teamwork Even in the Absence of a Physical Team

It’s tempting to view a remote working operation as exclusively digital. But no matter how we work together, we’re all still flesh and blood. We want to feel like a part of something. When that’s accomplished, telecommuters can report lower stress levels.

But the benefits of telecommuting don’t outweigh the potential downsides if you don’t create a sense of teamwork or basic productivity. That means you’ll have to go beyond building a common culture and focus on what it takes to make people feel like a team.

The first step is creating a culture of reaching out. One study demonstrated that employees who had a chance to socialize for even as little as 15 minutes tended to have higher productivity than those who didn’t. In a remote work situation, that can be as simple as a phone call or a quick face-to-face chat.

The second step is to incorporate your team into major decisions. There’s not going to be much of a “team” if people don’t feel like they get a say. That means including them as you write your remote working policy, for example, or holding meetings about the best way to handle some projects going forward.

The third step is to create some things that employees can have in common and share with each other. That doesn’t have to be an employee newsletter. It can be something as simple as an email you share with a distributed team or a common set of guidelines to which they can all refer.

Changing Technology Means Changing Habits

So while updated technology is critical, you can’t introduce new technology without also helping employees change their current work habits. Pave the way for remote work by building a common culture and creating a policy for remote meetings and communication, integrating technologies commonly used, and creating teamwork in the absence of a physical team.

 

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/How to Effortlessly Connect a Team of Remote Workers/
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