It is clear that the telephone plays a vital role in the day-to-day running of businesses, especially for a travel agency. With the development of digital technology, the telephone can now be carried by anyone in the form of a small hand-held device wherein you can call, chat or video chat with someone located on the other side of the world in real time, and seek and find information on just about anything through the internet, all at the touch of a button or a click of the mouse. This technological breakthrough has made being connected not only easy and convenient but also a must. But what happens when the calls continue to come even after work hours and even during holidays?
If you take a close look at a business such as a travel agency, this is exactly the type of organisation that can really benefit from a call handling service.
The primary role of a travel agency is to make airline ticket bookings, which is a role that a virtual receptionist can carry out from a remote location. Remote bookings are now made easier because of the Internet. The digital platform provided by the Internet makes it possible for a professional receptionist who is remotely located to book flights for clients. Because all travel businesses have to use a cloud-based online booking system, the call centre can easily access this, allowing the receptionist to have up-to-date information on bookings.
By having someone to answer phones for the travel business round-the-clock, none of its clients are left ignored. With just a call at any time of night or day, clients will be confident that a travel business personnel will always be around to book their flights once they decide on the schedule.
If your business is Australia-based, you can enjoy an affordable telephone answering service by Office HQ, a market leader in the virtual receptionist industry.
A virtual receptionist would be able to answer queries about flight availability or enquiries on working out a connection to somewhere on the other side of the world, just as anyone would if they were actually in the travel agency office. This is a skilled job for anyone, yet it does not mean that the person must be located within the premises. In fact, many travel agents use call handling services as this is the most cost-effective way to offer a professional service to their clients.
While some travellers like to book their flight and accommodation separately, there are many who take advantage of the package tours on offer and by using a virtual receptionist who is fully-briefed on all available packages, they can make bookings on your behalf and the customer would assume the receptionist is located at the agency premises.
Holiday season and other festivals are definitely busy periods for travel agencies and if your receptionist is stretched at this time, why not let a call handling provider deal with any extra calls? We all want to get away in the winter months and during the peak holiday season, you can use a call handling service and when things get quiet down again, you can put a hold on the service.
Even people who work in the holiday industry need a holiday sometimes and losing your receptionist for a couple of weeks could really put a spanner in the works. With an established call handling company at your beck and call, you are always assured that your customers will be greeted professionally and your business will not suffer.
If your main goal is to ensure that questions and requests by clients are paid enough attention, then hiring a virtual receptionist will be beneficial for you. A virtual receptionist is trained to handle calls courteously and professionally, so you are rest assured your clients are talking with well-trained people round-the-clock.
With the top-notch quality of service virtual receptionists are giving your clients, you can increase your profit while saving on labour costs. Satisfied clients can bring in new clients through word of mouth. Plus, calls by those who are only available after work hours are also paid attention to.
Unlike in-house receptionists, virtual receptionists are paid only with the service they provide and once they provide it. They can answer large volumes of calls with unwavering amount of attention to every call.
If you run a travel agency, talk to an established call handling provider and they are sure to have a package that is ideal for your business, and if used as a back up to your directly employed staff, this service is an essential requirement for all businesses.
Work Times Are Changing For The Better
Leaders in business have always had more leeway with their working hours. They have never been restrained by the standard business hours most of us are contracted to do every week. You know what I’m referring to, most ‘wage-slaves’ i.e. employees, need to work Monday to Friday between 8am and 6 pm, for 40 hours a week.
Flexi time for workers has crept in, in many industries, over the years, particularly with startups and more forward-thinking organisations keen to get the work-life balance right. Remote working has been popular with these businesses, but any change to the norm has been slow progress particularly with the mainstream majority. Let’s take a quick look at the adoption curve which explains uptake trends.
The early and late majority is the big peak in the ‘rate of adoption’ curve aka diffusions of innovation. This curve presents the way innovation (particularly in technology) is adopted by us – human kind and the curve is an illustration we can view and instantly comprehend.
Work times are changing but arguably it’s yet to become the norm with the ‘majority’, (the peak in the curve). There is some way to go before we see real change the times we work and for it to be part of our employment agreements.
Slow on the uptake
Business owners and their management have not been quick off the mark with remote working or flex time and there’s a perfectly valid reason for their reluctance.
Trust and accountability
A lack of trust and the ability to keep a watchful eye on staff, when they’re not in the office, is the main reason for the slow uptake of more flexible working hours and working away from the office.
Leaders are inherently naturally driven and motivated to put in the hours due to their status within the business, therefore working from their home or holiday is not a constant distraction. Their staff are likely to take more liberty with their new work environment and a lack of personal oversight has deterred many businesses to the leap of faith until now.
Technology is the game changer and it is empowering businesses, like never before. There are many tools like chat Apps, readily available to assist both staff and management’s trust issues.
Staff can be hired in different locations and remote workers can be part of team meetings via conference calls. Plus there’s the use chat bot software so the power and control is there for the business to watch over their staff.
The natural progression of work is more flexible work times, as jobs also change. The earlier risers can get their work done when they’re most productive, in much the same way as the night owls among us can log on and be equally as productive during the dark hours of the day. Rising early though has gotten a lot of attention lately.
Just look at the rising times of some well known Entrepreneurs. BBC has recently done a story on the unorthodox waking hours of successful business owners, celebrities and famous people and questioned if rising early meant more success.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is up at 03.45am and Actor, Entrepreneur, Mark Wahlberg really uses the 24 hours in day to work for him. Rising at 02.30am and going to bed at 7.30 pm.
No longer does it need to be daylight before we rise and get to work and it’s likely this way of living where we elect when we work during 24 hours of the day, will extend to the rest of us non super stars, as evidence suggests, when productivity goes up so to does the revenue and profit.
So as for the early bird does get the worm idiom, yes it’s real but for everyone and that’s why work times are changing as businesses need to be more competitive. The desire to make more money will keep pushing the envelope in all areas of business and with the enabler of technology to track and measure us, it won’t be long before there’s no such thing as standard work times.
How To Deal With Toxic Staff
Workers spend a third of their lifetime at work so it’s a good thing workplaces are a lot more like our homes now with break out zones for time out and socialisation. These zones are set up for relaxation, and de-stressing, so they often include indoor games and activities like table soccer. The theory goes if your worker spends more time at work they’ll produce more. A byproduct is time spent with colleagues can turn into lifetime friendships away from the office which can be a good thing for the business. If your workers enjoy being at work they will stay there for more hours in the day. The flip-side to that wonderful outcome is having to also spend lots of time with ‘toxic co-workers’. These individuals may be bullies, and leave some of your employees mentally drained and it’s not only affecting the odd one or two people but the entire team. Toxic staff do not just limit your business productivity but also it’s morale and perception in the marketplace so hiring new staff becomes a whole lot harder.
How do you know if your worker is toxic
1. He undermines everyone, to gain the upper ground
2. He doesn’t respect coworker’ ideas or input and implies their ideas are his own
3. He is a hypocrite, telling on his peers for action also he engages in
4. He puts himself before anyone else and the company.
5. He is negative in nature and makes fun of people in an insulting and depreciating way.
Surveys and studies on employee management show how important team dynamics are in organizations. A toxic employee in the mix can not only put a strain on the dynamics of a team but also impact on the confidence of your high potential employees who may either leave your company or just not reach their potential so dealing with a ‘bad apple’ so to speak, before it infects and ruins the lot is fundamental to the productivity and ongoing success of the business.
How to deal with your toxic-staffer
1. Have an honest and frank discussion with the worker
Leaders step up in these situations, and follow the company procedure for dealing with bad behaviour. The person causing mayhem maybe doing it deliberately and therefore not mend his/her ways or without a leader’s input. They may however respect hierarchy so a leader can have a positive impact on them when they know what their doing won’t be tolerated. Toxic nature is learned and carried into adult life if it’s not been dealt with in their earlier life i.e. it needs to be picked up at school ideally before university. If this hasn’t happened then the onus is on the business leader to set and police the ground rules.
2. Hold firm and discipline
Know what the rules of engagement are when dealing with bad behaviour and hold firm. Letting the person off the hook so to speak without punishment and you risk encouraging the toxic co-worker to carry and run riot with all they come into contact with. Create their boundaries and protect them. When they’re breached, make sure the disciplinary action is carried out and documented as required by the business.
3. Focus on your business and its goals
Remember what you’re here for, why you’re in business and keep the focus on it’s success and the goals to achieve it. Employee management is part of running a business and while you may not be a natural people person take a course, engage personnel consultants and if you can hire an HR manager to take over the day to day management of your staff so you can focus on the goals of the business and do what you’re really good at.
Dealing with a toxic co-worker is certainly not an easy task, it draining at best and requires diplomacy. The best way forward is to remove the action and if not the person so your team can reach their potential so your business do likewise. Well crafted break out zones will encourage social activity among workers and this may be just what your toxic worker was seeking all along – to be part of the team!
16 Ways to Make Your Team Invincible
All great leaders are passionate about leading and building exceptional teams. Have you ever heard of a leader that wishes to lead a mediocre team? Leadership craves perfection and smart subordinates. But it takes a great leader to lead an elite team. You must prove that you are consistent and persistent when it comes to personal and professional development. More than that you must be a genuine person who knows what personal reflection is and takes actions only based on regular feedback.
The proverb “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far go together” describes exactly why the need for a leader exists. The greatness of a team begins with its leader – the one who sets the pace. A leader must constantly expand his perception and learn new methods of pushing his team forward. The world is continually changing, and so must the leader. If the leader is rigid his team will quickly fall apart. As you can see managing a team and leading it to success requires an incredible effort from its leader.
Let’s take a look at 16 ways to make your team invincible:
1. Nurture Their Talents
A great leader will always step aside if needed and allow others to do what they do best. He will never try to control others in order to make them comply but instead, he will encourage genuine collaboration, therefore unleashing abundance and greatness. Trying to control others will put the entire team on the path to failure. Therefore, you must inspire people in order to attain success.
2. Encourage Them to Make Mistakes
Let them know that in order to grow you must make mistakes. There is no other way to improve! Tell them that timidity is never useful; making mistakes is a gift. Teach them to never feel bad about themselves if they make mistakes. A great business is built on a foundation made of mistakes. Every mistake can be turned into something epic! Not wishing to make mistakes can easily lead to failure.
3. Help Them Work Together Toward a Revolutionary Goal
Without a common vision, there is no need for a team. The progress begins only when a powerful vision is decided upon. Having a purpose is what keeps the team together while assuring them that they are on the right track. Only when your team starts to work as a group and not as individuals, only then things start to get a meaning. The entire team must focus on a single direction! Failing to do so will lead to failure but this will only help your team be more united.
4. Develop the Leader Within
Leading by example is the only way of leading smart and efficiently. As the project manager, you’ll have to imprint your habits onto your team members. You should constantly act like an assignment helper . Always be ready to help out your team mates. When you promise something, deliver it. Keeping your word is one of the most important habits that you and your team must develop.
Your team must not see you as an authority but as a friend, someone who is always there for them. Teach them that the true leader is inside and they must grow their inner leader. Always encourage your team members to take the lead in case it’s needed, and they feel competed to do so.
5. Offer Them Everything They Need to be Successful
The easiest way to find out is to ask them. Even if you may not always be able to give them everything they need you can at least work hard to ensure that they have everything they need. I’m not talking only about physical stuff; I’m talking about emotional support whenever it’s needed. Give them the chance to fail. You heard me right, let them fail and teach them to accept it and rise above it!
6. Create a Calm and Fun Environment
If the environment is relaxed and cozy everyone will perform better while having a great time. There will be times when your team will face great difficulties; this is where the fun element will make its entrance. Laughing is what helps people get over stressful tasks, therefore, make sure to implement it into your team’s daily schedule. Failing can be fun as well. Never be scared to fail!
7. Teach Responsibility
Be that leader that people can trust. A great leader knows that he must develop a strong and genuine reputation and always be true to his word. This is the only way of showing others that they can count on you and expect you to lead them to greatness. A true leader should be able to look at success and failure with the same eyes, and understand that both are needed for a team to succeed.
8. Always be ready to Take Tough Decisions
Difficult decisions are constantly knowing at the door, therefore, as a leader you must always be ready to make the right decision. A great team lead by an even greater leader will always act with a purpose in mind. A leader must be able to stand alone and support his team whenever it is needed while confidently making the right decisions.
9. The Importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
It might be difficult to understand but EQ is even more important than IQ. If your emotional abilities aren’t trained and managed, you will never be able to control your emotions or manage your stress. This leads to numerous health problems and can affect even your ability to work. Your team must learn what empathy is and put it into practice. Without empathy, there are no meaningful relationships and without relationships, there can’t be an effective team. Your EQ is nurtured through failing, don’t forget this!
10. Everything is Hard Before it’s Easy
Persistence is what transforms a mediocre team into a winning team. Make sure to encourage your team to work hard until they reach their goal (team goal). Teach them that they will never know their true limits until they pushed themselves to the edge. Pushing your team to its limits will help them understand that in order to evolve you must get out your shell and fight! The so-called limits are only a construct of your mind.
11. Help Your Team Grow Every Single day
Your team should never be stagnant. Offer your team members plenty of learning opportunities for them to grow and expand. For example, you may organize weekly conferences on different topics, or pay them a ticket to a renowned course.
12. Encourage Your Team to Be Fearless
As a great leader that you are you must encourage your team to always be fearless and brave. Teach them never to back down. Teach them that there is no hard task, only a weak psyche. Let them know that they are capable of amazing things, and the only way of living up to their full potential is to always go forward and take chances. A great leader will always lead through love and acceptance. Each team member must be his own leader for the team to grow and develop.
13. Earn Their Respect
One of the most important aspects of a team is respect. As a leader you must earn the respect of your fellow team members, while giving them all the reasons they need to respect you. Without mutual respect, there is no way of working and growing together as a team. Explain to your team that winning and failing are almost the same; the difference is that you learn every time you fail while wining is just a break from learning.
14. Admit That You Are Not Always Right
A great leader doesn’t consider himself a god, nor is he arrogant. He understands that he is human and mistakes can occur any time. Therefore, be transparent, let your team know your true self and remained them that you make mistakes too. Your team must understand that you don’t expect them to believe that you have all the answers. Transparency and sincerity are great qualities that every leader should poses.
15. Teach Your Team That it’s Ok to Lose
A great leader will always welcome failure and learn from it. Make sure to teach your team this important lesson. Failing is part of life and part of nature as well. In order to evolve you must fail. The only way to learn is through failing getting up and failing again.
16. Create Personal Relationships
A great leader will develop personal a personal relationship with each of his team members. This does not mean that you must develop a close friendship with all the members of the team. It means that you must recognize in them a fully developed human being capable of greatness.
Make sure to spend time to know everyone, show them that you truly care about them and let them know that you are always here in case they have problems at home or at work. Show them that you have only their best interests in mind and that you will never betray their trust. This is how you build a winning team.
As you can see a good leader will always work hard to help his team attain success. A true leader believes in his team even when they fail. A true leader understands that failure is nothing more than a lesson that must be learned. A true leader will always work his ass of for the benefit off the team.
Julia Turner is a freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional experience. She is social media specialist whose modern and creative approach to writing produces excellent articles on finance, leadership, lifestyle and other general lifestyle topics.
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