First look! 20+ elegant themes to jazz up your presentations

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Presentations are the inevitable part of any business. Needless to say, they are the most compelling and successful way of sharing information. Ever since we launched Zoho Show, we’ve always been looking into ways to make it easy for you to create and share presentations online. Today, we are extremely happy to roll out the new presentation themes with other notable enhancements.

All new gallery of themes

Themes are merely not a design for presentation template; this is where first impressions are formed. Be it a casual presentation or a very formal business meet, the new themes are just perfect for all the occasions. Each theme looks unique; with a clean and recognizable layout, fresh color scheme, and minimal design that gives a lot of scope for your content.

New themes for your presentations

Stepping into widescreen world

Big screen presentations are now possible with Zoho Show. Yes, you read that right! The new set of themes are specifically built for the widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. Your slides will be less cluttered, as there is more room for the content. Make the whole experience memorable for your audience with widescreen presentations.

Typography-The new visual language

We seldom realize that fonts can actually make or break the overall effectiveness of a presentation. Wise choice of fonts can help you create powerful visual content that is highly engaging. This release, we have added around 20 new web fonts (flip through the presentation to watch some of them in action). Sure, there is lot more to come.

 

 

Hassle-free picture addition

Adding images to your presentation just got easy with the new picture placeholder support. You can now fit images into one of the pre-designed shapes, while maintaining a consistent style and position. Image re-sizing and cropping is made simple and painless.

easy image cropping

Make sure your next presentation is fresh, unique and simply awesome. Try out the enhancements and do share your experience with us.

 

Don’t Be Such A Yahoo; Working Remotely Is OK

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Just a couple of weeks ago, in Austin we celebrated the Work from Home Day. Well, it wasn’t that big of a deal in the Zoho Austin office because we have a very flexible work schedule, and people work from home every now and then.

Then, a few days ago Yahoo! announced that they are ending all work-from-home and remote-work arrangements they had for most of their employees. That’s just a shame, Kara Swisher over at AllThingsD reprinted the internal memo.

It’s embarrassing to the technology industry that such a high-profile company like Yahoo! would take this step. While Marissa Mayer has taken some steps to googlify Yahoo! with free lunches and free iDevices, I think she has gone too far here in her googlification. I guess what most people miss here is that Google is also not a very remote-work friendly place. That may have changed, but at least it was not a few years ago.

Of course, you can say that we at Zoho have a vested interest in remote work since all of our software runs in the cloud, and well, our tagline does happen to be “Work Online”. But we also live by it.

For example, the Zoho Marketing team is distributed across 4 locations in 2 continents, spanning 3 different time zones. I only physically see some of the people in the team a few times a year. Meera, who heads our Social Media team and is one of the voices behind @Zoho, splits her time from two cities. And at some point last year she was working from London. At any given time I’m not sure exactly where she is at, and I don’t particularly care, because I know she’s online somewhere, working, and most importantly, continues to deliver results.

Now, does this kind of arrangement work for everyone? It varies. There are some positions that are more suitable to this than others. For example, we do ask most of our sales team members to be at the office on a regular basis. But that’s of course because we want to make sure we can help customers over the phone when they call us.

But that could change in the future. There are companies like LiveOps and Alpine Access that enable this sort of arrangement. And having front-line customer-facing people answering inbound calls from their homes is in fact a growing trend.

Although there is mounting evidence of the shift towards remote work, one could hardly find any fault with companies that are slow to adopt this. But Yahoo!’s case is egregious because they are affecting people who had already made arrangements and planned for this. Hey sure, I get this is better than a layoff, but if these people were delivering results while being away, so what’s the big deal? If they were not, well, maybe they had a different kind of problem.

While there are some small pockets of support for this move, the huge backlash Yahoo! is already facing across the blogosphere was expected. And if Yahoo! was not prepared for it, then somebody needs to get fired. Even Richard Branson has come out against this move.

The saddest part about this is that if Yahoo! needs to have their employees within close sight just so that they can keep tabs on them, then Yahoo! is in a deeper hole than we all thought.

Rodrigo

Announcing Zoho LiveDesk: Start delivering instant happiness to your customers

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I can still remember the happiness of hearing a buddy pop up online and knowing I was only one-click away from an awesome conversation. It was 1999, and to me AOL Instant Messenger was pure magic.

While things have changed drastically in the last 14 years, there is one constant, chat remains an integral part of my daily life—even if it is no longer AIM. In fact, chat is something many of you have been asking about for a while, wondering when we would add live chat to our customer support software solutions. Well, cue up the ol’ AIM chime (do-duh-dum)—because I have an exciting message for you.

Meet your newest buddy, Zoho LiveDesk—the small business live chat solution for customer support.  Simply put, LiveDesk is the easiest way to add live chat to your websites and wow your customers with instantaneous support.

Zoho LiveDesk improves customer support for everyone involved—customers and companies.  Your customers are empowered by instant access to personalized answers from real, live people. And your team will love the power to resolve customer issues before they ever become a request in their inbox, slashing your response times and their workload.

Live support chat through LiveDesk is the quickest way to connect and delight your customers.

Both customers and agents love quick-and-easy live support chat.

LiveDesk also teams up with Zoho Support to add fully integrated live chat functionality into your existing help desk dashboard. Beginning today all Enterprise plan customers in Zoho Support can offer their customers a new channel to connect—chat powered by LiveDesk. Easily embed live chat into your existing customer portal and watch your agents close more requests in less time by interacting live with customers.

Easily create, configure and customize your LiveDesk within minutes, and with one copy-and-paste of code, you have added live chat to your website. Embed customizable click-to-chat widgets into any-and-all parts of your web presence and meet customers on their terms.

Give your customers easy access to live support chat

With three fully-customizable options to embed live chat into your pages, it is easy to give your customers access to live support chat throughout your web presence.

Once a customer initiates a chat, you can engage directly from LiveDesk’s powerful dashboard or from wherever—live chat on your terms. With complete support for the Jabber/XMPP protocol, you have the freedom to chat with customers from anywhere via clients on your mobile devices, or even from desktop chat clients.

LiveDesk was built to transform your small businesses into lean, mean customer supporting machines. It comes chocked full of features your growing team will love: 

  • Save more valuable time: Program and deploy canned messages to rapidly address recurring questions.
  • Customer Support’s Crystal Ball: Read your customer’s mind, and speed up your response times. You see what your customer types as they type it, so before they submit their question you already have the answer they need.
  • Transfer Chats: Move ongoing chats to better-equipped agents.
  • Advanced Organization: Structure your LiveDesk to fit your needs. Create departments, associate agents to those departments, even route chats to defined departments.
  • Monitoring: Supervisors can monitor on-going chats to ensure consistent results, with the ability to step-in and help when needed.
  • Collaborate: Integrated inter-agent chat and a portal-wide message board give your agents the ability to collaborate, communicate and thrive.
  • Reporting and Daily Statistics: Learn more about your customers, your agents and your business with advanced pre-built reports.
LiveDesk's powerful dashboard helps you connect and support more customers in less time.

LiveDesk has the powerful tools you need to deliver happiness to more customers in less time.

I encourage you to take LiveDesk for a test drive today and start connecting with your customers in real time.  Within seconds you can be on your way to unleashing your on-demand customer supporting potential. And because you want it, there is a risk-free, no credit card required 30-day-free trial of our most powerful plan waiting with your name on it.

Start chatting, my friends.

Poll: What channels do your customers use to reach you?

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While talking to prospects who’re evaluating Zoho Support, I try to squeeze in a particular question during the first few minutes of the conversation. It’s a very simple question, but it defines how the company will use the software. It’s also our poll question this week!

The Zoho Support Poll

Deciding which channels to handle, for customer support, is important, yet tricky. It’s a trade-off of trade-offs.

Conversation versus Transaction

A channel like email, or even a customer self-service portal, is essentially ‘transactional’ in nature. Customers ask for some specific help. Agents extend help. Customers can ask for help with another related aspect. Agents extend help again. This is suitable for situations where grievance redressal takes time (example: changing a part in your mobile phone).

But, in situations where customer grievances can be addressed immediately (like canceling an order in e-commerce), conversational channels like social media will create better experiences.

Personal versus Impersonal

This is largely a debate involving channels like email, web forms, chat and phone. Customers using email or web forms to reach your business don’t really know whom they are talking to. They can’t put a face in the equation. They’re really impersonal channels. Comparatively, channels like chat and phone are personal. Your support agents become the faces of your company. Customers know they’re talking to a human and feel more comfortable. This is really important when customers have to give some sensitive information to your support agents.

Convenience versus Chaos

Is it convenient enough for my customers to reach me? Although channels like social media are far more convenient for customers, one must also note that they can’t be ‘organized’ in the same sense as email. So, they can become chaotic when handled inappropriately.

These are just some of the most common trade-offs. Depending on the complexity of your business, there could be several others.

Do tell us about how you handled these (and other such) trade-offs to choose your channel mix.

The 7 Project Manager Personalities: Which One Are You?

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With the myriad of project management resources available today to ensure organized and successful project completion, one could argue that the need for a personal touch is obsolete. However, as cloud computing and mobile apps have expanded our horizons for task completion, team work is now more important than ever to connect all the dots. Most importantly, the role of Project Manager – including his/her inherent abilities and personality traits – significantly affects the overall momentum of a project.

Maybe you fulfill the role of Project Manager (PM), or maybe you work with one on a regular basis. Do you notice a connection between the PM’s personality traits and the outcome of a project? Maybe your PM is a “Strategist” type that envisions every detail of a project and therefore actively ensures each team member is doing his/her part. Having a clear grasp of a PM’s personality type, specifically how he/she communicates and interacts with others, can be very helpful in getting tasks done in a timely and satisfactory way.

So we’ve put together an infographic of the 7 Project Manager Personality Types, detailing the essential characteristics of each. Whether you or your PM is the type of “Micro-Manager” or “Mentor”, keeping an eye out for these particular traits will ease interpersonal relationships like no online or mobile app can.

We’d love to hear your thoughts: Can you relate to any of these Personality Types? Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments!

Results: We organize our support team by…

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Whenever I speak to customers, I realize how each of them is different from any other. Each of them has a different way of defining quality and a different philosophy that leads to quality. Their businesses are influenced to a great deal by their beliefs and philosophies.

The most fundamental aspect of a business’ customer service philosophy is how to organize its helpdesk team. It influences hiring and staffing decisions. It even influences the profit margin! And, that’s exactly why we asked this question on our poll last week.

We had chosen to ask the question to just managers and administrators. The results have come in and their opinions are very clear!

Results: We organize our support team by...

By product

About 34% of respondents said their support team was organized by product. If the support team is small enough, it’s very useful to assign a DRI within the team to each product. Managers can kick chaos out and get a clear picture even in intra-day operations.

By channel

While 17% of respondents said their support team was organized by channel. Highly active channels like Live Chat, Phone and Social Media require an agile-yet-well-thought-out response, whereas a passive channel like email doesn’t require as much agility. If you staff each channel by a person who’s apt for its requirements, delivering happiness to customers everyday becomes a habit!

By time zone

Only 8% of respondents said their support team was organized by time zone. Organizing by time zone is efficient only for companies with a few simple products and just one or two channels. Even in that case, unless customers are distributed across various time zones, this approach doesn’t prove to be convenient enough.

A hybrid approach

Finally, the big fish. About 41% of respondents said they used a mix of these approaches to organize their support team. This is, by far, the most practical approach. It’s dynamic and, if applied well, can solve almost any problem of efficiency. We use a hybrid approach even at Zoho. Some of our support agents focus on just one channel or two, some just focus on a few products. And, we even have different people for different time zones.

If you’ve seen something that defies the pattern of these results, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

We’ll be back next week with another interesting question! Until then, have a great weekend!