What is the best way to deal with the media?

Dealing with the media can be a very daunting task. Say the right thing and your PR campaign will be hailed a massive success; say the wrong thing, like Gerald Ratner[1] and you can watch your stocks and shares plummet, your customers run to the hills and have a major PR and business disaster on your hands.

But exactly what can you do to ensure that you get the best press coverage and make you and your brand look outstanding.

Here is our list of dos and don’ts will assist when dealing with the media

Do:

  1. Have a well-organised media/press plan – To do this create an outline for whatever coverage you are planning, whether it’s a press conference, a product launch, or a corporate event.
  2. Aim, Shoot, Fire – It is important to know what your aim is. Are you looking for a feature story on a programme, an opinion or thought leadership piece or even a guest slot on a show.
  3. Have a designated media person within your organisation – This person is your go to girl or boy. They will be responsible for all media communications, they will work out who you need to connect with in the various media outlets and will make it easier for the media and press to connect with your organisation if there is just one point of call.
  4. Clear and concise messaging – It may sound clichéd, but it is important that every area of your business is singing from the same hymn sheet. The perfect way to communicate this to your wider organisation is to create an internal memo for employees to read. Make it as simple, clear and easy to understand as possible.
  5. Remain united – If you are having to deal with something unpleasant then it is always best to ensure that there is united front. Contrasting opinions can confuse and damage a company brand even more as your customers, potential customers and employees will not know who to believe.

Don’t

  1. Talk, unless you are comfortable – If you don’t know how to respond to a media question and you are not the main media contact then it is always better to politely decline their question and point them in the direction of your organisations media contact.
  2. Be surprised by misquotes – There are no guarantees in dealing with the media that what you say will be misinterpreted, so you may not get the results you were looking for.

Summary:

In order to move your business forward you will from time to time need to embrace the media and it can be a love/hate relationship sometimes, but ultimately you need to ensure a good working relationship with them in order to improve your brand exposure and trustworthiness.

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Ratner

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What questions should you ask before hiring a virtual assistant?

Outsourcing the right virtual assistant or secretary is extremely important to the success of your company, it allows you to concentrate on the core aspect of your business. But with so many companies out there offering this service, what should you look for when selecting the right company for you.

Here is our checklist for getting it right:

  1. Confidentiality – Do they have measures in place to ensure all of your and your customers information is confidential. A non-disclosure agreement would be ideal, will the company and the virtual assistant be willing to sign one.
  2. Knowledge – Do they have knowledge and expertise in your industry?
  3. Multi-lingual – If your business is international, do you require multi-lingual assistants? Working with someone who speaks in the native language of your customers can be extremely helpful.
  4. Tasks – Have a list of tasks that you want your virtual assistant to work on. Remember they will be freeing up your time to allow you to be more productive.
  5. Costs – Be mindful of how much it would cost you to employ someone to do this role, how much would you be willing to pay someone who is outsourced?
  6. Time – What hours would you like them to be available to you?
  7. SLA – Always get a copy of their service agreement, before signing anything, that way you know what to expect from their service.
  8. Sickness/Holiday – What support will they offer you if your virtual assistant is sick or on holiday.
  9. Clear Payment Terms – Knowing how much you will be paying and when payment is due will help you manage your accounts.
  10. Communication – How do you want to communicate with your virtual assistant; phone, Skype, email, text?

Here at Fingertips we can allocate you with a secretary who can take your telephone calls, manage your diary, arrange meetings, co-ordinate events, send emails on your behalf and also transcribe your audio.

To find out more about our services email info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Top Five Questions to Ask a Transcription Service

If you are new to the transcription industry and have never used a transcription service before, but find that you have the need to, here are our top questions you should ask before choosing a transcription provider

  1. Who will be transcribing of your work? – Some transcription companies use software, others use multiple transcriptionists with different skill sets. If you are looking for someone who is knowledgeable in your field then ask for it, after all who is better positioned to transcribe your work than someone who knows it. Be wary of transcription services that use transcription software as it can lead to inconsistencies and poor quality.
  2. How much do they charge? Are there any hidden fees? – As with most things, it is important to read the small print. If it appears to be cheap or too good to be true, then it probably is. Think, does the rate they quote include everything you need, or will there be additional charges? Some service providers charge extra for; timestamps, fast delivery, extra time to transcribe because of poor audio. Make sure you know exactly how you’ll be charged and for what.
  3. Confidentiality and Privacy – What’s their privacy policy when dealing with your documents? Are they willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).This is especially important if your audio contains personal/sensitive or confidential information. Legally you need to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to ensure it stays safe, secure, private and confidential. Work with a service provider that is registered under the Data Protection Act.
  4. How soon is now? – What is their turnaround time? If your transcription requirement is urgent it is likely to cost more than the advertised rate.
  5. Accuracy – This is an extremely important factor, as you want your work to be highly accurate and proofed. What is their accuracy rate? Is proof reading included as standard? If you are looking for a specific type of transcription such as medical or legal, then is the transcriptionist experienced in this area, as if not this can greatly affect the accuracy of your transcription.

As with any service, it is recommended that you get a few quotes from different service providers, where possible ask for a testimonial or case study from someone who has used their service and is in the same industry as you. This will give you a good understanding of their strengths and indeed weaknesses.

Here at Fingertips Typing Services we offer a wide range of transcription services and have transcriptionists experienced in industries such as: Legal, Medical, Academic and Insurance. If you would like a quote please email info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

The Truth About Virtual PA Services

A Virtual PA service is a great way for your business to save money and increase productivity, however, there are a lot of myths out there about virtual PA services. This article tells you the truth about  what to expect and debunks the myths.

  1. Virtual PAs are fully trained and experienced

The myth out there is that all Virtual PA services are run from call centres and while for it can be true of some low-quality virtual PAs, if you do your checks thoroughly enough you will find that most services are extremely professional, with highly trained and skilled PAs. Fingertips Typing Services offers support from an expert team.

  1. What about our brand and culture?

The right Virtual PA provider should be able to think, act and behave like an employee,. At Fingertips Typing Services we act as an extension to your brand, our team will fit seamlessly into your business.

  1. Supported 24/7, Even with sickness and holidays.

Unlike in-house PAs, a virtual one will ensure that there is cover should there be sickness or holiday. At Fingertips Typing Services our team of PAs work around the clock ensuring that there is always someone there when you need us.

  1. Multi-skilled PAs

A high-quality service provider should be able to give you access to more than one PA’s skill set.  So if you need something out of the ordinary, for example you may need to translate a report or email to an overseas customer then you can pull on the resources of a multilingual PA. At Fingertips Typing Services we have a wide team of professionals from different backgrounds, skill sets and many are multilingual giving you the support you need.

  1. Reduce your costs

A virtual PA can offer you substantial cost savings: no holiday or sickness pay, no desk space, no PAYE to name but a few. Additionally, they are flexible so you only need to use them when you have a requirement for it, rather than paying a full-time salary.

If you are looking for a virtual PA or would like to know more about the services we offer please email info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

 

 

How to maintain a customer database?

Your customer database is extremely important after all your customers are the lifeblood of your business.

Keeping a customer database is a really helpful tool allowing you to; identify customer trends, create customer loyalty and increase their customer communication.

Failing to keep your information up to date, you could mean that you are throwing money down the drain by attempting to reach people whose details have changed.

Here are our top tips on how to create and maintain your database in order to get the most out of it.

  • Mandatory fields – Ensure that the most important information are set as mandatory: like name, email address, phone numbers, and address. This will ensure that you have complete information
  • Updating your Database – Under the Data Protection Act, you are legally responsible for ensuring that any data you store is accurate and up to date To keep your data up to date, regularly ask customers if their data has changed from that which you already have, the cleaner the data the more accurate it will be
  • Backup Your Information – Any computerised database needs to be backed up daily or twice weekly. Keep these backups in a safe place so that if your computer crashes the information can be easily reloaded.
  • Ensure your marketing campaigns are linked to your database – This is extremely important as any emails that bounce can be linked back to your customers data and help you cleanse it. It can also provide you with insight into what your customers are responding to, which email campaigns have worked and what they are interested in. All extremely useful information to help you maintain and good relationship with them
  • Avoid duplicate contacts– Email addresses are unique so one way to avoid entering duplicate contacts is by comparing the email addresses. If there is more than one entry for a particular contact there is the possibility that neither file contains complete info, yet contains info the other file may not.  It is good practice to always merge the duplicate files, rather than deleting one and not the other.  This will allow you to compare the information in both files and fill in the gaps, rather than potentially losing important information

Summary:

Now we have given you the basics to keeping your data updated and consistent. Maintaining a good quality database with accurate customer information in takes time, so it is worthwhile putting a great deal of time and effort into it as it will pay dividends in the end. If you follow our tips you will most definitely avoid running into problems, remember a little time and attention can go a long way!

If you would like support on maintaining your database then please speak to us here at Fingertips Typing Services on 0845 300 5245 or email us at info@fingertipstyping.co.uk