5 Ways to Craft Effective Survey Questions [Infographic]

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In 2009, Walmart made a $1.85 billion mistake due to a bad survey. To compete with Target, Walmart surveyed their customers and asked “Would you like Walmart to be less cluttered?” Consumers agreed that they would enjoy shopping at a more organized store. So, Walmart removed 15% of their inventory, shortened shelves and cleared aisles.

Why did this lead to a steep decrease in sales?

The problem lies with the question “Would you like Walmart to be less cluttered?” Walmart had an idea of how they wanted to compete with Target — providing a neat and organized shopping experience. Instead of designing their survey to understand their customers’ actual behavior, Walmart turned their solution into a biased question. If you think about it, why would anyone say they would want to shop at a cluttered store?

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Subject line real estate is precious. Make the most of it in your email campaigns.

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Like most people​, I usually decide whether or not to open an email from a company depending on what the subject line says. I’d even go a step further and form an opinion about the company based on how they word their email subject lines and how consistent or unique they are with this as a branding activity.

Lately, I’ve noticed many companies trying to experiment with their subject lines. Here are a few important things I’ve learned from watching these experiments and trying out some of my own:

Short subject lines go a l​ong way

Depending on which email program your recipients use and their personalized display settings, they might not read a long subject. For example, my current display setting on Zoho Mail shows me the first 3-5 words of the subject.

The first few words are very relevant because those are the ones your recipient will almost always see. A recent study by Retention Science found that 6-10 word long subject lines tend to have the highest open rates. Keep your email subject lines short so they don’t get cut off.

Especially at an unintentionally awkward point:

“Summer’s here. Drown yourself in our soothing summer sorbet!”

“Summer’s here. Drown ​yourself…”

Oops! I’d just go with:

“Our soothing summer sorbet is here!” Read more

Zoho CRM – 3 Ways to Use Mail Merge and be More Productive at Work

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It’s been four years since we started offering Mail Merge plug-in for Zoho CRM. Thanks to this tool, printing mailing labels, sending personalized letters, contracts and other form letters to customers is as easy as sending emails.

Take the sales teams for instance. The ABC’s of sales, Always be Closing, is still as valid today as when Alec Baldwin brutally explained to us in the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross (warning: contains profanity). After you close the deal, you still have to personalize and share sales agreements and other forms. Thanks to mail merge, you can now create templates to automate this routine task. So the next time you need an agreement, apply mail merge and the customer details will collate from the CRM so you don’t have to worry about filling out fields manually.

Mail Merge Img

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7 benefits mobile customer service apps unleash

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Seven years ago, I graduated high school. That night with the whole world in front of us, Crandall High School’s Class of 2007, we were severed from it by those hideous black gowns. Seriously, it was impossible to get pocket access and it was devastating.

As wise 18-year-olds, we knew we were living in the golden age of mobile technology and with the complete freedom to text, clunkily update our Facebook and rearrange our Myspace top 8 without fear of teachers or principals intervention so very near, it was excruciating to sit and suffer completely disconnected.

Looking back, it seems trivial to miss that Samsung flip-phone. But this was a far different age. The iPhone was a month from launching, Android was a secret project in the bowels of Mountain View to be announced three months later, you were using a Blackberry, and Bill Gates was the only person in the world actually operating a Tablet.

Put it simply, things changed. This week across the country, there are graduates running their businesses from their smart phones while waiting to scoop their diplomas. Some morph down time into efficient bursts of productivity, solving their customers’ issues from Zoho Support’s mobile app (available to all you cool kids for Android and iOS).

Zoho Support for iOS

To honor the mobile revolution of the last seven years, here are seven benefits mobile customer service can unlock for you, your agents and your customers. Read more

Tracking the Flow of Time

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A friend once called me to talk about a totally unexpected question he was posed in a job interview. The interviewer had simply asked him to ‘define time.’ I asked him what his reply was. He turned the question around and asked me how I would have answered.

Immediately, I didn’t know what to say. It was one of those things that you were always aware of but just couldn’t put into words. After considering a few approaches I came up with this:

“Time is that, which continuously turns the future into the past!”
“Haha, good attempt,” said the friend, “But words like ‘continuously,’ ‘future’ and ‘past’ are defined using time. So this cannot be taken.”
“Then what is the answer?”
“I searched about this. Albert Einstein came up with one of the most popular and accepted definitions. He said, ‘time is what the clock reads!’”
“Are you joking?”
“No I am serious.”
“Then how do you define a clock when you cannot say it is ‘that which shows time?’”

The friend just laughed and changed the topic.

The problem of utilizing resources such that their time is spent optimally is a crucial one for any project manager. And simplifying this is a prime area of focus for Zoho Projects. A couple of weeks ago, we rolled out several updates in our Gantt Chart, a direct visual representation of tasks with respect to time. Before that, we’d announced an advanced analytics add-on powered by Zoho Reports that gave you more than 50 ready made reports with rich insights. And now, we’re adding another bunch of features, that lets you take charge of time!

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Announcing Google+ Hangouts integration with Zoho apps!!

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Integrating Zoho apps with Google Apps has always been a top priority for us, and we want to keep that going. Today we’re pleased to announce Google+ Hangouts is now integrated with two of our popular apps – Zoho Recruit and Zoho Connect.

Here’s a quick run-through on what that means:

Zoho Recruit – Google+ Hangouts:

Phone interviews are a thing of the past. With our new Google+ Hangout integration, recruiters can start a Google+ Hangout session with a candidate or a group of candidates through both the Candidates and Interviews pages in Zoho Recruit.

It takes a single click to start a hangout, and then you can invite others to join. Conduct “pre-interviews” with candidates – discuss the job requirements, company culture, and answer candidates’ questions. Not only can this save a company time and money, it can also help narrow down candidates before scheduling face-to-face interviews. This is especially helpful when recruiting candidates who live in different states or even different countries.

start-hangout
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Zoho Books for Windows 8.1, simplifying small business accounting

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We don’t always come together, but when we do, we make sure we give you the best. In collaboration with the tech giant, Microsoft, we’ve launched our maiden app for the Windows store – Zoho Books for Windows 8.1, an online accounting app for growing businesses.

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Freelancers and small business owners who use Windows 8.1, can now effortlessly keep track of the two most important things of your business – receivables and expenditures. Yeah, we hear your sigh of relief! As a start to building the complete package, we’ve designed the app on a beautiful interface which makes these two financial imperitives incredibly easy. That’s not all; there’s a lot more you can do with the app:

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