Health and safety is a huge concern for businesses around the world. According to the law, a company is responsible for the health and wellbeing of its employees. If there’s an accident or work-related injury on site, it’s the company’s responsibility. Of course, this goes without saying in hazardous job environments. If you work on a building site or in a factory, you expect a certain level of hazard awareness. But, what about the humble office? Even in this relatively safe environment, companies are taking extraneous measures to protect safety.
There are multiple reasons for this. First of all, accidents can happen at any time in any place. No matter how safe a work environment appears, there are no guarantees. Secondly, no employer wants to see their workers come to harm or injury. Thirdly, there is a legal responsibility here. These companies are legally bound to protect their workers, and limit the chance of injury. If an accident does occur, the business is liable for costs and damages. Naturally, few businesses can afford the time or money to fight these legal battles.
So, what exactly are businesses doing to counteract this problem?
Most notably, companies are putting health and safety at the very heart of their operations. In the past, health and safety was often an afterthought. Good businessmen understand that health and safety is key to the success of the company. It is held in high regard, just like customer service, HR or finances. Safety is now a core part of the company. Why? Because a safe environment is a productive one. Employees feel more comfortable and confident executing their jobs. Health and safety isn’t just preventative, it’s an active part of business.
The biggest health and safety concerns usually revolve around hazards. Hazards are the biggest culprits in any accident or injury case, and they can almost always be prevented. A hazard may be something as simple as a wet floor. In other cases, it’s a dangerous piece of equipment or machinery. Whilst it’s impossible to identify every single potential hazard, the best workplaces are doing a better job. Where possible, companies are now highlighting and marking every potential hazard in the workplace. Yellow tape often marks out the safest routes while ‘caution’ signs are used to identify the major hazards.
The trickiest aspect of dealing with health and safety is seeing the wood for the trees. When you run a business day-in-day-out, you don’t always see the nuances. You don’t see the potential hazards because you simply become used to them. That’s where a team of experts can really take things to the next level. The best businesses are now using Peninsula’s health and safety consultancy service. An external team like this will immediately spot the weaknesses and gaps in your system. They’ll make suggestions for improvements, and help tighten the gaps. You can ask these teams to audit your health and safety annually to maintain the highest levels.
One of the basic tenets of health and safety is training. Every employee must now be trained in the basics of health and safety in the workplace. This simple technique will point out hazards, and explain the essential safety procedures. If your staff are working with particular tools or machinery, they must be expertly trained to do so. Every piece of equipment comes with detailed safety techniques, so ensure they are followed. When your employees are well trained, they feel more comfortable and confident in their roles.
Another basic tenet of health and safety is communication. If you run a business, it’s essential that your staff feel comfortable coming to you with problems. They should be able to identify hazards, and relay that information to the correct person. They should feel comfortable asking questions, rather than making a guess and inuring themselves. Health and safety all starts with open lines of communication. This communication works both ways too. As a manager or business owner, it’s your job to carefully relay the expectations and safety basics.
It’s also the employer’s job to provide the right tools and equipment for the job. If a task puts a staff-member in a vulnerable position, they must be equipped to do so. If your employees are working with machinery, make sure they have safety goggles and gloves. It’s basic common sense, yet some businesses carelessly ignore this advice. Always try to provide the latest equipment and tools, and upgrade them whenever possible.
It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to actively investigate any accidents in the workplace. In the past, accidents would simply be brushed aside. Now, however, companies are obliged to investigate the causes behind the accident. With a thorough understanding, they can then take steps to prevent it in the future. Many companies then share these investigations with each other to help prevent wider accidents. It’s a simple way to ensure that the same accident never happens twice.
Not only are companies investigating accidents, they’re also recording them strictly. In major cases, business owners are obliged to turn over records to health and safety authorities. This is only in particularly dangerous cases. However, most companies now keep safety records regardless of the injury level. Every slip, trip or fall is now recorded. It’s a simple way to see whether the company is improving its safety credentials over time.
In the past, it’s been difficult to monitor or police safety problems due to a lack of accountability. In other words, there was no-one who was directly in charge of safety. Nowadays, it’s common to employ a safety officer or operations manager to deal with it directly. They act as the first line of defence, and the first port of call. If a hazard is spotted, it is immediately reported to the safety manager. When there is a simple, clear structure in place, it’s easier to manage the health and safety process.
It’s clear that health and safety is now a major concern for all business types. Whether big or small, take these points on board, and implement them at your own company.
How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Customers
As a company owner, you should always be aiming to improve your business by whatever means necessary. After all, when your business evolves over time, it means that you are adapting to consumer habits and staying on top of current trends – giving your business the longevity it deserves. Thankfully, there are also various ways in which you can go about improving your business. For example, this could include:
- Hiring new staff with innovative ideas.
- Retaining staff who make a real difference in the workplace, reducing employee turnover rates.
- Investing in new employees by offering unique training programs or giving them a chance to develop new skills.
- Developing new products or services that cannot be purchased elsewhere.
- Moving from working from within your home and opening up a store or office space.
- Updating your business plan regularly to account for your growth.
- Brushing up on your finances, ensuring that you stay within budget and spend your money wisely.
- Reaching out to investors who can help you take your brand to the next level.
- Introducing a new marketing campaign to increase your brand’s visibility.
- Developing a better relationship with your customers.
While any of the above suggestions are a great way to go about growing your business, the most important is developing the relationship you have with your customers. After all, a business without customers will struggle to stay afloat for more than a few weeks.
With that in mind, here are some ways in which you can begin to develop a better relationship with your customers.
Know who your customers are. This is perhaps the most obvious ways to improve your relationship with your customers – and it doesn’t mean that you have to memorise every name or face that comes into your store. Instead, you should ensure that you have a clear understanding of your target audience and demographic. For example, while you may have a vision of your typical customer in your head – you need to ensure that this is reflected in the people that actually purchase or use your products/services. There are various ways in which you can achieve this goal. For example, you could:
- Monitor consumer habits
- Host focus groups
- Ask for customer information when making a purchase
- Studying analytics on social media.
Remember, your target audience may be defined by the following characteristics:
- An age group.
- A gender.
- A geographical location.
- Special hobbies.
- Skills and Interests.
Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, it will be easier to ensure that you are providing them with everything they need. As a result, they will develop a closer affinity to your brand as they feel as though it was made just for them!
Make them feel important. Studies suggest that customers are happiest when they feel important. Therefore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by simply ensuring that you make them feel special. For example, you could attach a note to each order that thanks them for their purchase. Alternatively, you could put a loyalty scheme in place or offer discounts to returning customers – which can help you win over new customers while retaining your old ones.
Make it easier for them to communicate with you. The key to any relationship is being able to communicate freely with each other. Therefore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by making it easier for them to reach you should they have any questions. For example, in addition to a telephone line, you should give your customers plenty of different ways to contact you. This could include:
- A postal address.
- A customer service specific email.
- An online chat function.
However, managing multiple different channels like this can prove to be a challenge if you don’t have the right technology at your side. For example, you could use dashboard software, such as those provided by Click4Assistance, to monitor different chats and calls simultaneously. For more information, visit this website.
Furthemore, you can also improve the way in which you communicate with your customers by being active on social media. Not only does this mean that your customers can contact you through direct messaging or comments, but it also puts your brand on the map by making you visible to a much wider audience. When curating your social media presence – you should ensure that your content reflects your brand. Don’t focus on overly professional language – instead, try to be as approachable and friendly as possible – as this will help customers relate to your brand. When customers find you approachable, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Another way in which you can better communicate with your customers is by setting up a mailing list. While they may seem outdated in the world of social media, they are a great way to keep your customers in the loop and let them know about any upcoming product releases.
Admit your mistakes. As a business owner, how others perceive your brand will likely be incredibly important to you. As a result, this means that you may be keen to bury any mistakes you make so that they cannot tarnish your reputation. However, this is not the right attitude to take on if you want to develop a relationship with your customers – as simply ignoring complaints or negative reviews will only drive them away. Therefore, you should ensure that you respond quickly to any negative complaints and reviews – and work with the customer to resolve this issue sooner rather than later. This also means that you need to be honest about any mistakes that you may have made in the past. Holding yourself accountable will actually make yourself more attractive to potential customers.
Focus on innovation. If you want to retain customers, you need to ensure that you continue to provide them with new goods or services. After all, it’s unlikely that they will continue to buy the same product over and over again. Therefore, you should work hard to ensure that you remain on top of your game – introducing new and innovative products to the market as often as possible. While this doesn’t mean you should rush to launch a new product or service every month, you should always have a new plan or idea in the pipeline. Furthemore, you should also ensure that the products/services you are working on align with current consumer trends.
Get online. Another way in which you can develop your relationship with your customers is by making your business more accessible. For example, while many customers may visit your store to make a purchase – others may prefer to shop online. In this case, you need to make sure that your website is up to scratch and easy to navigate. The easiest way to draw in new customers online is by improving the user experience of your website. For example, a broken link or malfunctioning site does not necessarily make your brand appear trustworthy – while a seamless and functional website will demonstrate your professionalism and help you connect with a global audience.
Furthemore, you should also ensure that your website is as accessible as possible. For example, you could add audio descriptions of products or text so that those who may be deaf or hard of hearing can navigate your site freely. You should also ensure that you caption any videos or add alternative descriptions underneath images.
Be great at what you do. Perhaps the simplest way in which you can improve your relationship with your customers by being great at what you do – and providing them with the consistency they require. For example, you should ensure that every aspect of your business is always up to scratch – from product development to administration. Being great at what you do means that your customers will always stick around and invest their money into your brand.
Similarly, you should never underestimate the importance of good customer service skills – and you must ensure that every employee is trained within the area. For example, they should be bright, friendly and ready to answer any questions that come their way. This means that they need to develop excellent skills in communication alongside a lot of patience and intuition. This is particularly important when dealing with difficult customers who always complain -but will also allow them to develop lasting relationships with friendly customers too.
In short, there are various steps you can take to ensure that you improve your relationship with your customers – many of which simply revolve around adopting a ‘customer-centric mindset. By making important decisions regarding your business with the customer in mind, you’ll be able to emphasise the fact that they are at the core of everything you do – thus making your brand appear more attractive and improving retention rates. Furthemore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by making it abundantly clear that you care about them and want to provide them with only the best. Doing so will make it easier for customers to trust you and purchase your products or services.
What Is Cryptocurrency And Why Is It So Volatile?
Cryptocurrency has recently made headlines, exploding into the spotlight with the same relentless intensity that characterises its value and demand.
However, as they become more mainstream, they may become confusing. It’s money, but there’s no bank looking after it or controlling it; it’s an asset, but it’s not backed up by anything tangible.
Here is a brief overview of cryptocurrency and a quick look at why it is so volatile.
What is it?
In a nutshell, it is the digital equivalent of money. It is designed to function in almost the same way: users have wallets in which they can keep money, which is used to symbolize value in the economy and can be exchanged for goods or services with others.
Cryptocurrency, like much money in today’s traditional banking system, does not exist tangibly; instead, it is recorded as figures in a database that signify how much of a particular cryptocurrency a certain person has.
However, in contrast to today’s banking system, is decentralised. Rather, it is recorded in the blockchain, which is distributed throughout the network and records transactions in a transparent and verifiable manner that belongs to no one individual or organization in particular.
The first of them was bitcoin, which was developed in 2009 by an unknown individual known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, a slew of new cryptocurrencies has sprouted up. These include ethereum and dogecoin. It is interesting to look into the background of these, and ask yourself who created Dogecoin?
Why are there so many?
A cryptocurrency can hypothetically be created by anyone; at their foundation, they are just software, therefore anyone can create one. There is no authoritative body that decides what is and isn’t a cryptocurrency.
As a result, dozens of new cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, have emerged. Some of them have grown into consistent performers, leading to predictions that they could turn bitcoin on its head and become the most valuable cryptocurrency.
Some of these altcoins aim to provide innovative answers to problems that exist with large players like bitcoin, such as making transactions easier or more efficient. Others, such as Dogecoin, which originated as a joke, are developed solely as alternatives.
They sometimes move in sync, with the entire cryptocurrency market fluctuating in response to certain pieces of news. However, traders occasionally switch between currencies, as when the price of dogecoin soared thanks to the support of figures such as Elon Musk.
What makes cryptocurrency so volatile?
Unlike traditional financial assets like stocks and commodities, cryptocurrencies are not valued in terms of what they can be used for; in theory, they are a bet on a company’s future profits or the usefulness of a given material, but cryptocurrencies are primarily a bet on how interested people are in them.
Cryptocurrencies, unlike traditional fiat currencies, do not have a central bank entrusted with employing monetary policy to keep their value from fluctuating too much.
As a result, the value of cryptocurrencies varies dramatically, frequently and without warning, and without always being linked to evident world events.
Marketing Practices That Could Remain After The Pandemic
The global pandemic has changed businesses in many ways, and marketing, in particular, has seen a lot of developments over the last year. Businesses have had to adapt to digital practices quickly, which has changed the way they promote their activities. It has also changed consumer behavior, meaning tactics need to change to reach them in new and innovative ways.
While businesses are beginning to revert to some sort of normality, there are some practices that will continue even after the pandemic is over. Discover some of the marketing practices that could be here to stay.
A greater focus on retaining existing customers
The global pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s shopping behaviors. It’s no secret that brand loyalty has been in decline over the years, largely due to consumers’ preference for convenience – especially in the digital age. But the pandemic has made this even more apparent, with many consumers switching brands as a result of supply chain issues and more. For businesses, putting your energy into retaining your existing customers could yield better results than trying to win over existing customers.
The resurgence of the QR code
Just over a year ago, people might have turned their nose up at the idea of using a QR code in a marketing campaign. Did people know what they were? What did they achieve? Well, thanks to the pandemic, QR codes have had something of a resurgence. Exploring QR code APIs can help you work out how they can be used in your marketing campaigns effectively to bring the best results for your business. QR codes are capable of generating some great data, helping you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
The pandemic has shifted a lot of people away from busy cities and urban areas, and into more rural neighborhoods. This has meant that businesses are having to change their marketing tactics to provide a more personalized, local feel that better aligns with changing behaviors. People are choosing to shop locally and choose local-based businesses, and you’ll need to think carefully about how you can form better engagement with those audiences to help spread the word about your business.
Bigger budgets for social media advertising
With people spending more time at home, they are more active online watching box sets, shopping, gaming and more. This means they might be less likely to see more traditional advertising such as billboards and subway signs. Social media advertising can help you reach those audiences, providing a great ROI compared to other forms of advertising. Ensuring social media is a firm part of your marketing strategy can help you reach your audiences where they are, and even save money compared to your spend on more traditional advertising.
Change is nothing new for the marketing world. The pandemic has seen some major developments, and as we enter the ‘new normal,’ it will be interesting to see what comes next. Staying up to date on current marketing trends can keep your business relevant, and help secure the best results for your business – no matter what’s happening in the rest of the world.
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