Browsing Date

February 2013

Five Tips to Provide Feedback in the Office

By February 27, 2013 No Comments

Feedback is essential to your business success. Yet providing the feedback in the right way can sometimes be challenging. Feedback in the wrong form can lead to attitudes of non-reception, resentment and even ill-will. The key to good feedback is giving it in a way that that receiving person will use it productively, rather than take offense and be demoralized.

Be Positive

Open your creative feedback with a positive. It shows respect for the person's work and helps set a good tone for whatever follows. If you're excited about the creative you saw, let that show through. If not, find something you like about it and use that.

Be Sincere and Avoid Giving Mixed Messages

Sincerity is the direct and respectful way to communicate, without ambiguity. When you compliment somebody in the workplace then follow with ambiguous phrases such as “but, however, or although”, or nullifying the first compliment and creating a mixed message. “In essence, putting "but" in the middle tells the other person, ‘Don't believe a thing I said before,’ says guide to constructive feedback.

For Positive Feedback Express Appreciation – Negative Express Concern

Appreciation is praise, but when you add it to the specifics of constructive feedback, you double the praise. For negative feedback, a tone of concern helps to communicate a sense of importance and care. Tones of frustration, anger, disappointment and sarcasm often turn feedback into criticism.

Start and End with a Compliment

This “Good Bad Good” tactic is well used in management circles, mainly because criticism can be hard to take and can lead to demoralizing attitudes. Finding something good to say about somebody before leading in with the criticism, then following up with an additional compliment, can help the person take the criticism and not feel like a failure, says Dr. Barton Goldsmith.

Separate the Behavior from the Person

Feedback is not meant to be personally about a person’s behavior, it’s about advising them how to improve. Be sure to make clear that it’s about specific behavior so the person receiving  the feedback does not take it personally.


Breaking the Fast: Fuel for Focus

By February 20, 2013 No Comments

You’ve heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And it’s true! The benefits of eating a wholesome breakfast are numerous and include maintaining a healthy weight, better brain power and consuming proper nutrients. So before you skip your next AM meal in favor of the snooze button, consider these facts:

  • Losing weight by skipping breakfast is a myth, and it has been proven that skipping breakfast can actually cause you to gain weight. When you wake up, your metabolism is stagnant from your body resting all night. Just as important as fueling your car with gas, you need to rev up your metabolism first thing in the morning to burn the most calories possible throughout the day.
  • In addition to shedding some pounds, eating breakfast will pump vitamins and minerals into your body – if prepared correctly. Try to pack your breakfast meals full of carbohydrates, protein and fiber. And your morning meal doesn’t have to be limited to traditional breakfast foods! Vegetables, lean meats, salmon and whole grain breads pack a punch that will energize you until it’s time for lunch.
  • Numerous studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast perform better during school hours than those who skip their morning meal. Increase your on-the-job performance and be more alert at meetings by simply incorporating a sunrise snack into your routine.
  • The overall physical benefits of eating breakfast are outstanding. Many reports have shown that breakfast eaters take fewer sick days, are less prone to obesity, have lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol), are more resistant to insulin and have better mental acuity among other benefits.

The executive team at Nextiva understands the importance of a healthy breakfast and stocks the office kitchen full of yogurt, cereal, fruit, oatmeal, fat free milk, nuts, granola bars and other wholesome snacks for employees to eat every day. On Wednesdays, employees are spoiled with a spread of bagels, muffins, pastries and fruit salad. See what our team members think about Nextiva’s nutrition:

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How Mobility is Helping SMBs Compete with Enterprises

By February 18, 2013 No Comments

Today’s small to medium-sized business customers expect SMBs to deliver service, support and products that are on par with big businesses. However, SMBs are often burdened with the need to provide these services with limited resources.

VoIP has emerged as a powerful new communication tool that is helping SMBs compete with larger businesses by providing enterprise-level support, service, mobility and more.

“SMBs know that having reliable, always-on communications helps them maintain the kind of quality of service that has traditionally been provided by much larger competitors with an established 9 to 5 culture,” according to the Wall Street Journal article, Technology is Helping SMBs to Become a global force.

There are numerous ways SMBs benefit from VoIP technology. The following are some of the more important ones SMBs use to help them better compete with larger companies:

  • Cost Savings – One of the biggest benefits of VoIP to SMBs is cost savings. With VoIP technology, phone calls are made over the Internet and can reduce a phone bill by as much as 85 percent, when compared with legacy phone lines. 
  • Anywhere, Anytime Access – Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever and SMBs need to provide access to employees working out of hotel rooms, airport lounges, remote branches, and home offices. Without it, mobile and remote workers lose valuable time. VoIP connects remote and mobile workers to an SMB’s critical applications such as customer-relationship management and sales force automation tools, e-mail, instant messaging, and more.
  • Employee Collaboration – Frequent collaboration among employees is often essential for SMBs. Yet does an SMB develop a richly collaborative environment when many employees collaborate remotely or on the go? A cloud-based network with integrated voice, video, data, and wireless communications delivers interactive calendaring, Web-based videoconferencing, IP telephony, and other tools that foster collaboration.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Connectivity – An estimated 88 percent of executives worldwide report employees are using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes today, according to a report by Avanade. 58% of respondents said the greatest outcome of BYOD was the ability for their employees to work from anywhere, followed by their employees being more willing to work after hours (42 percent).

These are just some of the key ways SMBs are leveraging VoIP to enhance their business productivity and efficiency, and help them compete against larger corporations.


Nextiva Customer Success Story: The Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson

By February 11, 2013 No Comments

Nextiva’s new NextOS technology platform brings powerful benefits to a variety of industries. From call continuity in the case of a construction disaster, to mobility features to keep doctors on-the-go, to auto attendant to keep realtors in contact with their clients at all times – there is something for everyone.

For legal environments like the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson in Phoenix, Arizona, NextOS brings useful features such as:

  • Increased availability and responsiveness to stay ahead of the competition
  • The ability to stay productive on-the-go with flexible call options
  • Simple, bundled packages to fit offices of all sizes
  • Call logs that simplify paperwork to quickly capture billable hours
  • Free professional greeting recordings included with Nextiva’s service
  • Hunt groups to allow call distribution from a single phone number to multiple lines

Our most recent Nextiva customer success story examines Josh Davidson’s experience when switching to Nextiva. After using a standard landline connection for many years, he discovered Nextiva’s VoIP and can now utilize features such as simultaneous ring to meet his clients’ needs more efficiently than ever before. With improved call quality and lower monthly bills, he found Nextiva to be the perfect fit for his law office. See his story here:

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So You Think You Want To Go Global…

By February 7, 2013 No Comments

According to the UPS Perceptions of Global Trade Survey, 24% of small businesses are currently engaged in global commerce, and many of those businesses are experiencing a positive return within the first two years. The Internet has opened the doors to allow nearly any individual to sell products or services to the global market. But for many small businesses, the act of going global can be an incredibly daunting and intimidating experience that may seem nearly impossible to get started. Here are some things to consider when looking to expand your company globally:

  • Currency – Fluctuating exchange rates can make your products incredibly expensive or inexpensive, depending on the dollar’s strength against the foreign currency. Credit card transactions can also be problematic. A professional currency trading firm could advise on useful currency hedging practices.
  • Time Zone Variances – Doing business across time zones can cause staffing problems if 24-hour customer service is required. Dividing your management by region can help avoid crisis situations if a significant problem arises.
  • Legalities – Speak to knowledgeable lawyers, bankers and accountants who specialize in international transactions to ensure you are abiding by all of the laws in the country to which you would be exporting.
  • Language – It’s important to become linguistic and culturally savvy before entering a foreign country to avoid any missteps and gaffes.
  • Delivery – Determine shipment costs and length of time ahead of time to avoid incurring exorbitant costs. It’s important to have an understanding of the logistics you can offer to avoid over-promising and under-delivering.
  • Market Attractiveness – Research on the global market you’re looking to enter is a key factor. Have a thorough understanding of your new market’s demand and perception of the products you sell to make sure it is positioned and priced correctly.

Whether you’re reaching across borders to expand into new markets, network or outsource, Nextiva is here to make your communications as smooth as possible. Watch this Tip in a Minute video and learn how to turn on your phone’s international calling options through your Nextiva customer account so you can start reaching out to potential clients and customers:


The ID10T Myth

By February 6, 2013 No Comments

All IT have come across them: the basic computer user who doesn’t have a clue about how a computer works, which leads to the “ID10T error”, which is code for “idiot” user. While declaring this error and dismissing the user to Microsoft support may be easiest, it certainly isn’t the most productive way of dealing with illiterate computer users.


While you may get the same question asked over and over, it’s all part of the job. Plus, if an issue continues to arise, it can be an indication of a larger problem. Practice patience and careful explanation without patronizing.

Treat others as you would like to be treated

This basic lesson learned in Kindergarten is especially important in tech support. Treat people with kindness and you’ll be rewarded with kindness – well, most of the time.

Don’t Be a Pushover

Some people may want you to go over every detail of their computer, or others are lonely and want to talk to somebody. Promptly and politely cut these people off, says tech expert Jeff Vogel. “It’s only worth the time to do tech support if you have the chance to, in a reasonable amount of time, fix a problem and make a loyal customer,” he says. Yet if you realize you will not have a happy person and a working product, end the conversation as quickly and pleasantly as possible.

The Users Will Lie To You

Much of tech support involves giving bad or time-consuming advice in the hope that the user will just go away, Vogel says. Users may say their computers are flawlessly-maintained, their drivers are up-to-date, and every program works, but they are often wrong. Knowing this brings you one step closer to the truth.

Bite Your Tongue

People may vent and throw a tantrum, but it’s almost always in your best interest to be non-reactive and calmly explain your position. If the person’s bad behavior continues, you can always leave politely.