Month: April 2021

Improving the Banking Experience With Customer Value Management

For many, everyday interactions with their bank are a headache, to say the least. Poor customer service is “rampant” in major financial institutions, and according to experts like the Harvard Business Review, that’s because it’s profitable for them to hassle their clientele to the greatest degree allowable.

News like that might make any hope for improvement seem pointless, but beleaguered customers might be able to take solace in the potential benefits of customer value management. Applied to banking, it might be enough to spark some serious change to the entire customer experience. Here’s what you need to know.

Customer Value Management Explained

In short, customer value management (CVM) refers to the techniques that companies can use to manage the value journey of their customers — the series of steps they’ll take from initial contact to eventually doing business with the organization.

Successful CVM encompasses many elements, but one of the most critical, in this context, is how businesses are incentivized to build perceived value by providing quality to the customer. Let’s next take a look at ways in which this concept might be used to drive changes that add value to the customer experience in banking.

How Customer Value Management Intersects With Banking

One of the most effective ways in which banks can apply the ideas of CVM to their customer experience is through improved personalization. It’s well-known that the more tailored they perceive their treatment, the better customers typically perceive it to be. 

By getting away from a “one size fits all” approach and trying out some targeted interactions, banks can better engage their customers and help make the experience that much more enjoyable. For instance, personalized product and service recommendations delivered at critical points in the customer journey, or a precise cross-sell opportunity that aligns with a customer’s life goals can go a long way to making them feel valued.

There’s also the idea that proper implementation of CVM can help interactions between banks and customers feel less like cold transactions and more like friendly interactions. Garnering good will like that makes customers more likely to stick around and even recommend a financial institution to their friends and family.

Interactions like these don’t just arise from nothing, however. In order for customer value management to become effective, banks also need to prioritize data gathering and customer analytics. This will allow them to pinpoint the unique needs of their clientele, then start making the necessary adjustments to fulfill those needs with the type of care that positively impacts their overall experience.

Unforgettable Cyber Attacks — So Far

Ask any computer crime attorney or cybersecurity expert, and they’ll tell you that there are serious dangers lurking out there on the net. Criminals across the globe are always looking for ways to instigate that next big incident, and these following examples illustrate just how devastating the ripple effects can be when they succeed.

The Baltimore County Schools Ransomware Attack

Back in November of 2020, Baltimore county school records were hit hard in a cyber attack that affected student transcripts, ID numbers, state test scores, and more. 

Many of these records were completely destroyed or corrupted beyond repair, and the school system had to put a pause on remote learning classes for over 100,000 students. 

The school district’s reticence to share details about the exact nature of the attack means that little else is known beyond the fact that anonymous hackers hit the school system with some kind of ransomware and that the recovery efforts will take some time to complete.

The SolarWinds Hack

SolarWinds provides various IT management services to a wide range of big organizations. In late 2020 it was discovered that hackers managed to infect their servers, gaining the ability to inject malicious code into their software updates and then spread those to clients.

This left big names vulnerable to external data modifications, data theft, and unauthorized remote access to internal devices and software. Organizations affected included the Pentagon, Department of State, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and even the Treasury. The extent of the damage could make this one of 2020s most severe breaches overall.

The Advantech Ransom

Holding data hostage is a common tactic for cyber criminals, and this is exactly what happened when hackers breached the systems of IOT manufacturer Advantech in November of 2020. 

The hackers demanded quite the sum, 750 Bitcoin (equivalent to more than $14 million), and claimed that the amount of data they stole from Advantech was well beyond the snippets they had leaked on their site. No word on whether or not that ransom was paid.

The Marriott International Breach

If it feels like Marriott’s name and cybersecurity breaches are starting to become a common occurrence, that’s because the 2020 infiltration of their data stores was the second in just as many years. Cyber bandits made off with the information on some 5.2 million guests, though the hotel chain says that it was nothing as payment info or personal IDs. 

Instead, Marriott claims, the thieves were only able to get away with contact details and some customer loyalty account information. No passwords, PINs, or extremely sensitive details were stolen, if the hotel’s management is to be believed.

The Importance of Balanced Inventory Management

As retail trends shift quickly, a small business may find itself an opportunity to leverage new technology and improve their supply web capabilities. Many new business owners typically focus on making the most sales as well as improving their ROI. With that being said, the task of properly fulfilling the sold products may not have as much an emphasis. In fact, only 18% of small organizations use inventory management systems. While tracking is possible using manual documents, it may not be as accurate. Without an accurate inventory, many problems can ensue with inventory levels that are too little or are carrying too much. Make sure to check out the resource below to understand more about the significance of using a balanced inventory management system.

Infographic created by WSI, a warehousing and distribution company

Criminal Risks That An Entrepreneur Faces When Starting a Business

A number of entrepreneurs realize that they face fines for breaking local business laws. These laws can differ depending on the city or even the street it is located on. What a number of entrepreneurs do not realize is that they could face criminal charges if found negligent in a number of areas. An entrepreneur has to be careful with the people that he surrounds himself with at the top of the company. These individuals can do the most damage if they are malicious or just not knowledgeable about laws/policies. The following are criminal risks that an entrepreneur faces when starting a business. 

Correctly Filing Taxes

The last thing that any business owner wants is to get involved with the IRS in a negative manner. Incorrectly filing taxes could be seen as tax evasion especially if the owner is keeping personal funds illegally in company accounts. Hiding income is quite common and can lead to a number of issues. There are a number of tax breaks but you will likely have to invest in a CPA to assist with this. The IRS is not an entity that will make very many mistakes so keep this in mind during tax season. 

Personal Spending of Investor Money 

There are so many stories of how investor money has been spent unwisely. This is not illegal although it can put an entrepreneur on an investor blacklist in a particular industry. You do not want to have to get a federal crime attorney due to breaking laws across state lines. Setting up meticulous systems to track the spending of the company is important. These might seem tedious at first but will be a lifesaver during tax season.

Fraud 

Fraud could be misrepresenting services or products. Products that are supposed to be sourced from one country but are knowingly purchased from another is a perfect example of fraud. There are some entrepreneurs that try to take shortcuts when it comes to product parts. There are certain countries that are not known for quality products but are far cheaper than buying them domestically. Fraud takes so many forms that it is important to be transparent with investors, employees, and management. 

Civil Issues Are Still A Huge Risk 

Criminal issues can be eliminated by simply having a compliance professional on your team. There are still going to be issues with terminated employees no matter how generous you have been in the past. Discrimination could be claimed and this is why it is important to document everything throughout all the employment of an individual. HR professionals can be a huge help as they understand what needs to be done to protect the company legally. Getting the right business insurance is important as the last thing you want is an accident to lead to the business closing. 

Criminal risks when you are an entrepreneur do exist whether you are using your own money to fund the business or not. Restrictions on businesses could increase so make sure you stay updated with all of this information going forward.

Where Should You Upload Slideshow Presentations in 2021?

The days of being limited to Microsoft PowerPoint for creating and viewing slideshows are long over. Millions of people around the world are still using PowerPoint for various reasons, and one of them is the reality of hard habits being hard to break. 

There is no question that PowerPoint is extremely useful and dynamic; the fact that it is part of the MS Office productivity suite makes it a trusted brand, but there are quite a few alternatives that you should consider using in 2021, particularly if you intend to share your presentation with large audiences.

When you want maximum exposure for your presentation, the native .PPT file format may not be the best choice. What you need is an online platform that turns your slideshow into an element that a reasonably modern browser can display; preferably HTML5, Java, or even streaming video. You also want your presentation to be suitable for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. With this in mind, here are some websites you may want to bookmark for the next time you need to create and display a presentation:

SlideServe

This website is excellent for uploading PowerPoint presentations that do not have multimedia elements such as videos or digital audio recordings. As long as the .PPT file you wish to upload is not larger than 300MB, SlideServe will accept it easily and for free. The conversion to HTML5 is done on the fly; you do not have to worry about responsive design because SlideServe is already optimized for mobile devices. The best practice for using this online service is to make the .PPT file simple. See this slideshow on SlideServe to get an idea of how the file should be formatted.

Prezi

As much as PowerPoint has advanced over the last few decades, it has not been able to shake off its reputation as being a tool for corporate use. You can see this corporate legacy in the various templates included with the software, and starting with a blank canvas does not exactly get the creative juices flowing. 

When your slideshow presentation needs to feature aesthetics or an artsy sensibility, your best bet is to use Prezi. This cloud-based slideshow maker has always been a big hit among designers, and you can understand this appeal when you browse through the themes and templates. Even if you start with a blank canvas, Prezi will give you prompts to make your presentation look great. If your target audience skews younger, Prezi is highly recommended.

Haiku Deck

If you are the kind of professional who believes that less is more, you will like what Haiku Deck has to offer. Simplicity and style are at the heart of Haiku Deck, a Software-as-a-Service solution that lets you create and share gorgeous presentations. Similar to Prezi, Haiku Deck has a strong aesthetic focus, but there is also a minimalist approach that prevents you from creating clutter in your slides. Of the three options discussed herein, this one is the trendiest for 2021.