Saturday, July 14, 2018

5 Brilliant Customer Service Hacks To Increase Your Bottom Line by April D. Byrd


Scripture says if you want friends, show yourself friendly, imagine how well this concept also works to gain customers and clients if you’re a Business Owner or Entrepreneur.

Recently a friend asked me if I knew of a good nail salon in town and I was able to recommend one to her gladly. Why? Because the customer service at this particular salon stood out from several other salons in the area, on top of a noticeably good job with the actual service.

If you’re familiar with nail salons and how they operate, you know that most of the staff are of Asian backgrounds. As a customer, at times it can be uncomfortable when the employees are conversing in their native language, which is confusing if we don’t know it.

“Are they talking about me, judging how bad my nails/feet look, saying something negative, etc?” The conclusion that people may be low-key dissing us if there is a language barrier is not uncommon.
The tone of voice and general self-confidence have their part in our perception of what may be being said, but good vibes and sincere politeness are generally easy to catch in any language. Our aura most certainly has a direct effect on business.

Communication is key for customers. At the heart of great customer service is communication. People know when they are being properly communicated with. The service at the nail salon, was so good I naturally wanted to make noise about it, even give the business a shout out on social media which I rarely do unless the service is really good. When my friend asked me if I knew of a place, I was happy to give her a name. She took the referral with surety because she knew what I meant when I explained about not feeling uncomfortable in a nail salon.

Excellent customer service is the signature of the most notable companies in the world. Here are a few tips that may help get your brand or business in the major leagues:

Acknowledge Often and Intentionally
They say first impressions are the lasting ones. Reception makes a major impact. This sounds simple, but sadly some receptions at places of business are not warm. Due to lack of training or general ignorance.  How people are received at the door is the first step toward success. A hotel chain that I used to work for, which is currently the top one in the entire world, has a 5-foot rule. All staff must greet any guest that is within 5 feet of them.  Acknowledge customers quickly and with a smile. Make it undeniably clear to customers that their presence and their desires matter.

Be a Dynamic Listener
This works to give you the absolute best response.

Practice Courtesy and Consideration
Pleasant, gracious, cordial. Just a few words that come up as synonyms for courtesy. There are a skill and an art to courtesy. Those that have it win. Be kind to people. If this is not something that comes naturally it may be something very good to practice if you’re running a business. Keep in mind that at the end of it all you’re in business to serve. Listen and engage with sincerity. Provide service as kindly as possible. Stay gracious and get your paper.

Pay Close Attention to Detail
Noticing the “little things” really means a lot.

Stay Woke in Your Word Choice
What you say is a big deal. “My Pleasure” is a more powerful response than “You’re Welcome” and there is a particular chicken sandwich chain that knows this very well. Word choice can make the difference between mediocre and excellent service. A lot of customer loyalty and retention can be found in kind wording. I once worked with a supervisor who would cringe if any agent he managed used the words “No problem.” when responding to a guest.  Saying “you’re welcome” was better suited to his particular taste. Mindful dialogue can be a dynamic piece of a company’s culture and overall success.

Connect with VOW-Inspire Network to get more hacks on being the most brilliant in your Brand, Business, and Media Influence.

Learn more about April D. Byrd at Twitter@vowinspirentwrk

Monday, July 2, 2018

4 Questions To Ask Yourself At The End Of Each Month To Stay On Budget by Aisha Taylor

The idea of a “budget,” can be intimidating. However, budgets are designed to help give you a framework of what you can do. Just like an architect would never build a structure without a blueprint, you should not manage your finances without a plan.

The end of each month is a great time to review your budget and how well you followed it. This will allow you to track and monitor your progress, respond to financial challenges within a reasonable time, and increase the likelihood that you will adhere to your budget.

To help guide you in reviewing your budget, ask yourself the 4 questions below at the end of each month.

Question 1: Did I follow my budget?

Creating a budget can be challenging, but following it is no joke! Therefore, kudos to you if you were able to follow it or even kind of follow it. If you found that you had challenges following your budget and that you did overspend, then congratulate yourself for trying, forgive yourself for overspending, and commit yourself to start over next month. Then, calculate any overdraft fees charged by totaling the amount spent on fees and evaluate the transactions that caused the overspending.

Question 2: Did I pay all of my bills on time and in full?

At the conclusion of each month, review all of your monthly expenses and evaluate whether or not you paid them on time and in full. If you paid any bills late, then indicate which bills were late, by how many days, and why. If you didn’t pay your bills in full and on time, then don’t avoid the late payments. Make payment arrangements to pay it off over time and then adjust your budget going forward by adding the incremental amount to the budgets in the subsequent months.

Question 3: Is there anything that I want to adjust for the next month?

Take the time to assess your progress towards your financial goals and monthly budgeting. After doing this exercise, you may decide that you need to make some changes to your plan and that is okay. If something in the budget isn’t working then feel free to change it and re-adjust the spending categories as you need to until you find something that works for you and your family. 

Question 4: How much closer am I to achieving my goals?

If you don’t pay attention to and monitor your progress towards your goals, then you can easily forget about them as you focus on day-to-day living. As you assess the progress towards your goals you want to understand how much you contributed towards your financial goals this month and whether it was this more than, less than, or on track with what you planned. 


This may seem like a lot of work at the end of each month, but going through this process will help you to fine-tune your spending and put you in a better financial position going forward.

Learn more about Aisha at, Twitter: @FNPhenomenal

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Become What You Believe: 3 Steps to Create Your Professional Vision by Nicole Grimes

Vision is defined as the act or power of sensing with eyes; sight ( Through visualization, we see so much, our past, the present, and the future. So often, we mistakenly place our vision in the category of dreams and forget that we have the power to manifest our vision through our focused actions. In order to move from vision to reality, it’s critical that you are able to do the following:

· Know What You Want
· Create a Plan for What You Want
· Take Action to Get What You Want

Let’s take a closer look…

1. Know What You Want – Listen, if YOU do know what you want, we have a problem, Houston. Take out a notepad or your laptop, and start writing…write until you can’t write anymore. What is your perfect utopian vision of what you want for your professional life? I don’t care if it seems unimaginable. Write it down. An idea to help you organize your thoughts is to place them in categories. You may choose this by creating the categories in advance or after you write. Consider the following: 6 months to a year, 2-3 years, 5 years and so on. This entire exercise may seem dumb or uncomfortable, but I promise it will help you get on track. The key to creating your vision is to be able to see it…literally.

2. Create the Plan for What You Want – It may be hard to really break down your action steps for the next five years, but you can definitely map our action steps for the next 6 months. Start there…pretty soon, those 6 months will have come and gone. Answer the following key questions:

  • What are 3-5 professional goals I want to reach in the next 6 months? These goals should be SMART:
  • Identify the HOW – How will you achieve these goals? Remember, this may change somewhat, but your goals and your intended results… probably not.
  • Identify real dates and put them on the calendar. Hold yourself accountable.
3. Take Action to Get What You Want – Time to roll up your sleeves to get that plan into motion. Start with those action items you identified in step 2. We are aiming for small wins which will equal big wins over time. For example, if one of your action items is to reach a six-month goal of making 3 new key connections in the workplace, it’s time to get dressed and get to networking. These dreams will not become reality overnight. Put yourself out there, and make it happen for yourself. No action equals no action.

Start with these three steps to manifest your vision. Your job is to make the invisible visible by taking action for your own life. By knowing what you want, creating a plan to get what you want, and taking action, you begin to create a more intentional path to living the life of your dreams. Be aggressive, be clear, focus yourself, and make it happen. Become what you believe.

Learn more about Nicole Grimes at

Book Nicole as a Motivational Speaker, send an email to