Monthly Archives: April 2016

Telesolutions For Customer Service

The key for a low-call-volume business is to find a call center with no monthly minimums or invoice requirements. With Xact Telesolutions, you’ll pay only for the services you use. Many other call center services require either a minimum number of calls or minutes on the phone, while others charge you a base fee regardless of how much of their service you use. Small businesses that don’t regularly meet these minimums or don’t require the base level of services would be better off going with a no-minimum service like Xact.

Customizable

Xact Telesolutions, like all of the call center services we recommended in our reviews, is a customizable service, so it includes only the functions your business requires. The rate you pay will vary depending on which services you choose, so you’ll need to speak with a representative to obtain a quote for your individualized plan.

Inbound services to choose from include appointment management, customer service, order processing, credit card processing, technical support, loyalty programs and follow-up scheduling.

Outbound services offered by Xact Telesolutions include lead generation, appointment reminders, collection reminders, online and print marketing campaigns, customer feedback, and surveys.

Xact Telesolutions also maintains a disaster recovery center, which will ensure your business remains operational during natural or man-made disasters.

Support for multiple languages

Call center agents at Xact are accent-neutral English speakers, and they have employees fluent in Spanish as well. For other languages, Xact partners with a third-party translation service that supports more than 100 languages, ensuring that any of your non-English-speaking customers will have somebody available to accommodate them.

Customer support

Xact Telesolutions utilizes an automated system to queue callers, but our call was answered immediately. The agents were friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We were pleased that our questions were answered by one customer service representative instead of having our call passed to multiple representatives.

Live monitoring

An especially attractive feature offered by Xact Telesolutions is live monitoring, which you can use to listen in on customer service calls in real time. In addition to the online reports the center generates for your review, it’s easy to use the Supervisory Tool provided by the company to make sure agents are living up to your expectations when speaking with your customers. Whether you’re just curious or a customer filed a complaint regarding his or her treatment by an agent, live monitoring is an indispensable tool to hold the call center accountable and ensure you’re receiving the quality service your business deserves.

Limitations

No cold-calling services

Despite the variety of outbound services offered by Xact, the company does not engage in cold calling. While this isn’t a major drawback, call centers that provide cold-calling services can help forge new relationships and expand your client base. Cold-calling services are relatively difficult to find in a call center service. If you require a call center service that offers cold calling, see our review of TeleDirect, our pick for the best overall call center service for small businesses.

Flowchart Software for Small Businesses Ideas

Are you trying to choose a flowchart software for your business? We’re here to help you find the one that’s right for you. Whereas some systems are appropriate for larger businesses, we found three that we think are best for small businesses’ needs.

What is flowchart software?

Flowchart software can help you easily create diagrams, organization charts, wireframes, process-flow diagrams and more. The charts are suitable for presenting to clients or other stakeholders. Charts can be shared online and some offer interactive features. Flowchart makers provide more features than free software or spreadsheet or presentation programs. Plus, they include helpful templates, symbol libraries and collaboration tools.

Benefits of flowchart software

  • Creates professional flowcharts easily
  • Shares charts online, by PDF or image file
  • Includes numerous templates and symbols
  • Also creates other types of charts
  • Compatible with other business apps

Other types of charts diagram software can create: business process modeling (BPMB), organizational charts, mind maps, SWOT analysis, network diagrams, electrical drawings, engineering drawings, wireframes, mock-ups, Unified modeling language (UML) diagrams, Venn diagrams, workflow diagrams and custom diagrams.

If you have found that you have outgrown free chart creation tools, it may be time to consider an affordable upgrade.

How we evaluated flowchart software

Top Ten Reviews (TTR), a sister site of Business News Daily, has been testing flowchart software since 2011. We spoke with TTRs business review team about their testing of flowchart software and conducted our own research to evaluate flowchart software specifically for small businesses.

The testers considered the flowchart creation process as well as how the charts are shared and viewed. The logic behind these tests was that the software should be simple to use and view for both small businesses and their clients. About 80 hours of testing and research was conducted to discover the software that not only provide a good feature set, but is easy to use and share as well.

After looking over Top Ten Reviews’ research notes and conducting our research, we found three products suitable for small businesses, plus one free option. These products are simple to use, but are also affordable to the small business owner. It should be noted that in many cases flowchart software is not actual tradition software, but most often an online version with a monthly subscription rate.

 

Tips to success on your financial business

Obtaining a small business loan isn’t as easy as you might think. Small business owners looking for capital to take their business to the next level can face issues with eligibility, and the process of both applying for and receiving a loan is lengthy and time-consuming.

Want to speed up the process and make the loan application process go more smoothly? Evan Singer, general manager of small business loan application serviceSmartBiz, shared these tips.

1. Keep your documents in order.

First and foremost, keep your business records straight, Singer said, adding that the application process will be more seamless if you take the time to keep your financial, accounting and tax records up-to-date and accurate. Make sure your business has a system in place to keep everything organized.

2. Maintain good credit.

In addition to keeping track of your documents, make sure to pay your bills on time. You’ll have to meet some type of credit criteria, so it’s important to have the best credit possible. Avoid foreclosures, bankruptcies, charge-offs and late payments. While banks have different credit requirements, good credit is an essential part of the process, Singer said.

3. Know where the money will go.

Are you purchasing real estate or buying a truck? Perhaps you simply need the capital to make an acquisition. No matter the purpose, have a firm idea of why you need the money and how you’ll use it, Singer advised. Be able to clearly present the use of your funds and the specifics of how the money will be used. Lenders have different requirements for the use of proceeds, so be sure to ask your lender before you get started.

4. Demonstrate sufficient cash flow.

If you’re an existing business, banks want to see that you have demonstrated cash flow sufficient to make your monthly loan payments, Singer said. They’ll do this analysis by looking at your past tax returns and existing debt. Singer added that if you’re buying a business or starting one from scratch, you should be able to show detailed financial projections. Provide a financial plan that clearly illustrates you’ll be able to make your monthly loan payments.

Need a Small Business Loan? 6 Tips to Make the Process Go Smoothly
Getting a small business loan can be a challenge. Make sure you go in prepared. / Credit: Money tree image via Shutterstock
Obtaining a small business loan isn’t as easy as you might think. Small business owners looking for capital to take their business to the next level can face issues with eligibility, and the process of both applying for and receiving a loan is lengthy and time-consuming.

Want to speed up the process and make the loan application process go more smoothly? Evan Singer, general manager of small business loan application service SmartBiz, shared these tips.

1. Keep your documents in order.

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First and foremost, keep your business records straight, Singer said, adding that the application process will be more seamless if you take the time to keep your financial, accounting and tax records up-to-date and accurate. Make sure your business has a system in place to keep everything organized.

2. Maintain good credit.

In addition to keeping track of your documents, make sure to pay your bills on time. You’ll have to meet some type of credit criteria, so it’s important to have the best credit possible. Avoid foreclosures, bankruptcies, charge-offs and late payments. While banks have different credit requirements, good credit is an essential part of the process, Singer said. [Understanding Different Types of Small Business Loans]

3. Know where the money will go.

Are you purchasing real estate or buying a truck? Perhaps you simply need the capital to make an acquisition. No matter the purpose, have a firm idea of why you need the money and how you’ll use it, Singer advised. Be able to clearly present the use of your funds and the specifics of how the money will be used. Lenders have different requirements for the use of proceeds, so be sure to ask your lender before you get started.

4. Demonstrate sufficient cash flow.

If you’re an existing business, banks want to see that you have demonstrated cash flow sufficient to make your monthly loan payments, Singer said. They’ll do this analysis by looking at your past tax returns and existing debt. Singer added that if you’re buying a business or starting one from scratch, you should be able to show detailed financial projections. Provide a financial plan that clearly illustrates you’ll be able to make your monthly loan payments.

Editor’s Note: Looking for a small business loan for your business? If you’re looking for information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

What type of business financing are you interested in obtaining at this time?
Business loan
Cash advance against credit card income
Loan for equipment purchase

5. Be prepared to outline your professional background.

Lenders will be interested in your business, but they’ll also take a good look at you, Singer said. It’s important to present your professional background in a way that’s relevant to the business and shows that you’re poised for success. If you’ve been in the business a while and have a substantial background in your industry, make that clear.