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

What skills should a focus group moderator have?

The skills of a focus group moderator are extremely important to getting valuable, unbiased data from your existing and potential customers.

There is much more to moderating a focus group than simply asking questions here are the skills that we feel an effective moderator should possess, in order to get the most out of your research.

  1. Effective Listening Skills – They must be able to asserting themselves, but also know the importance of letting the group express their opinions and feelings. Their role is to guide the group through the questions.
  2. Flexibility – The nature of a focus group means that members will often deviate from the main question or topic, often providing further insight. It is therefore important for the moderator to have a flexible attitude.
  3. Include a Variety of Exercises –Maintaining interest and enthusiastic engagement among the participants is key to a successful focus group. You could use: role-playing, word association and ratings.
  4. Pause and Probe – The group moderator will be skilled in asking clear questions and pausing to give the group members opportunity to open up.
  5. Have Knowledge of the Topic– basic information on the subject helps in probing areas for more in-depth discussion; demonstrate a degree of naïveté.
  6. Be Enthusiastic and Attentive– have a high energy level; pay attention to participants- recognise group dynamics.
  7. Understands Group Dynamics – The moderator needs to understand how groups work, is relatable and know how to help groups of people to fully interact, they can get the group to  feel like they are educating them.
  8. A little more conversation – A good group moderator will create conversation, adapting the flow of the conversation depending on where it takes them.  A moderator’s job is to encourage discussion.

The role of a focus group moderator can be a challenge, after all you are dealing with many different characters, but it is also a rewarding one as you are contributing to the development of a business or product.

For more information on the focus group services we offer here at Fingertips Typing email: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Why Transcription services are essential for todays’ business

We speak, on average between 150 to 170 words per minute! And if my maths is correct that is 10,000 words per hour that is a whole lot of words!

We also speak 4 times faster than we type, and 7 times faster than we write, making a transcriptionists job a challenging one.  Our professional transcriptionists can type between 80 to 100 words per minute (wpm). So a 1-hour recorded interview takes around 4 to 6 hours to fully transcribe.

Here is our view on why Transcription services are essential for todays’ business.

  • Drive SEO and Website traffic – Audio and video content, once transcribed, can help improve your website traffic
  • Increase your audience reach – Recordings of corporate videos or meetings can be easily published once transcribed and distributed to your customers, your industry peers and media
  • Making it user friendly for those hard of hearing – Captioning film or video content will ensure you do not exclude people who are hard of hearing, or where English is not their first language
  • Create more content – Repurposing old online video and audio content as downloadable PDFs or e-books will provide extra content for your website and boost website strategy
  • Alternative to note taking – Transcription services are a great alternative to taking notes throughout a discussion
  • Capture everything – This is one of the biggest benefits of transcription, literally nothing is missed out. Every sentence, word, mumble or cough is recorded. The transcriber will ensure that everything is entirely accurate.

Summary

Transcription is a great tool for any business, it allows you to focus on your core business and reaching your goals and objectives instead of doing everything by yourself.

Tips on recording an academic lecture

Recording lectures is an easy and convenient way to make learning easier, with large class sizes and not to mention to short attention span of students, recording lectures has become popular in all major universities in the UK.

Here are our tips to getting a crystal clear lecture recording:

  1. Let the class know you are recording – This will ensure that you have the class engaged.
  2. Who are you? – State your name and the lecture clearly at the beginning of the recsording, this will make it easier for the transcriber.
  3. Invest in a decent digital voice recorder – There are several good recorders on the market without costing a fortune.
  4. Do a trial run– Check the sound quality, you may need to use a small microphone as some recorders may not pick up sound after a certain distance.
  5. Use a recording device that has a background cancellation feature -This will limit interference and make it easier to transcribe.
  6. Location, location, location – Place your recording device near the lecturer to ensure good audio quality.
  7. Repeat questions – Even thought you may have great audio, it can still sometimes be difficult to pick out questions, so repeat the questions so that the transcriber can pick up on that and the answers.
  8. Switch off other devices nearby – As these can interfere with the recording.
  9. Speak loudly and clearly – This will help your recording device pick up what your saying and repeat any answers from the students.
  10. Don’t forget to save – It sounds really simple, but you would be amazed how many people forget this!

Fingertips Typing Services offers a comprehensive Academic Transcription Service, for more information on how we can help you email: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Getting The Most From A Focus Group

Focus groups are a great way of learning new things; they are exploratory and qualitative in nature, which is a lot more reliable than a lucky guess!

The insights that you can find about your business during a focus group exercise can drive it forward because your customers and prospective customers will tell you what they want or need. Plus, people love it when you ask their opinion!

Done well, a focus group can strengthen your relationship with customers.

Here are our Top Five Tips:

  1. Have clear objectives – If you don’t know the question, you can’t find the answer. Try to make sure that your objective is not to broad and know how you are going to use the information.
  2. Define who you really want to talk to and learn from – Do you want to break into a new market or understand your competitors?
  3. Keep an open mind – Don’t have any predetermined expectations, if you have already made up your mind and there is nothing that can make you change your mind. Use your focus group moderator who will encourage participants to answer openly and honestly.
  4. Be prepared to not like all the answers – You might not like the answers you get, but remember this feedback (even negative) is good for you and your business as you now have the opportunity to make important changes.
  5. Don’t take it personally – You may think that you have a great new product idea, but keep an open mind, it may not resonate with your customers, the focus group will help you hone in on what your customers really want.

You’re not a mind reader; focus groups will help you understand your customers and business better, after all your customers’ needs are constantly evolving. We would also recommend using surveys, telephone interviews and market research to further enhance your data ensuring that you are listening to wide range of different customers.

Fingertips Typing Services offers help with focus groups, for more information on our service email: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Lost in Translation

As a global community, translation plays a big role in ensuring that countries unite, communicate and trade with one another, but what happens when things get lost in translation.

Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate. Translation is a special skill that professionals work hard to develop.

It is often thought that translation is easy. People often think that it’s just a matter of replacing each source word with the corresponding translated word. Unfortunately, translation is much more complicated than that.

Language is complex; there can be multiple ways of saying the same thing in another language, not to mention things like syntax, grammar, colloquialisms, making the potential for mistakes, huge.

This blog post takes a look at some of the biggest and sometimes funniest translation fails.

  1. Coca-Cola – In China Coca-Cola was translated as “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax” depending on the dialect. They eventually found the right Chinese characters that are phonetically close to the brand – “ko-kou-ko-le” – which means ‘happiness in the mouth’.
  2. Parker Pen – In Mexico they translated their slogan: “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” To “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. The company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass.
  3. Pepsi – The Pepsi slogan, “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated in Taiwanese became, “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”. Which was not only something of bad horror movies but an insult.
  4. Kentucky Fried Chicken – In China, the KFC slogan “finger-lickin’ good” became “eat your fingers off”. Something that is considered uncivilised and rude in Chinese culture.
  5. American Airlines – When AA went to advertise their new leather seats they used the slogan, “Fly in Leather”, which they translated in Spanish for the market in Mexico as, “Fly naked”
  6. Schweppes – In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated into “Schweppes Toilet Water”.

Top Tips:

Companies should avoid literal translation as it can cause a whole host of confusion, not to mention a PR disaster.

  1. Don’t rely on a free online translation service for your business translation. While these tools can be useful to help you translate incoming data, they should never be used for outgoing data.
  2. Find a translator who is not only fluent in the foreign language, but someone who is a native speaker of that language to translate your marketing materials. A native speaker is less likely to make mistakes, which could impact your businesses reputation.
  3. Find a translator who is an expert in the foreign country’s culture and customs as well as language. They will avoid an offensive or inappropriate message. A phrase that is common and well known in your native language may be completely meaningless in a foreign language, or worse, it may have a negative connotation.
  4. Never assume that you can use the same translation for different countries, even if they speak the same language.

To find out more about our Translation Services email us: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

 

What is Medical Transcription?

You may think that all transcription is the same, you would be wrong; there are many different types of transcription which all require different skills.

So here is a detailed description of what medical transcription is all about.

When medical professionals examine patients they often dictate important information about the meeting including; patient history, tests, physical examination and diagnoses.  They use medical terminology and can often speak so quickly. This dictation is then usually included in a medical report about the patient.

Doctors do not dictate as if they are a business manager who is dictating a letter to his secretary, they often talk very quickly, use medical terminology and slang, which they expect the medical transcriptionist to know the spelling and what they mean by their shorthand language.

As you can imagine the Doctors are likely to be surrounded by other medical professionals and could be having conversations whilst they are dictating, so the transcriptionist needs to be able to decipher what should be included in the report and what should be omitted.  We use judgment in deciding what to include and what not to include.

What skills do you need to be a Medical Transcriptionist?

It is often mistaken that as a medical transcriptionist you will need to have rapid typing skills, while keep a consistent speed is important, the most important factor in medical transcription is that you have good medical knowledge good judgement and logic, as I explained previously all aspects of the medical professionals conversation is recorded, including chatter about things completely unrelated to the patient.

What qualifications do you need to be a Medical Transcriptionist?

All Medical Transcriptionists and Medical Secretaries are required to undertake a City and Guild Level 3 AMSPAR Certificate in Medical Audio Transcription. This course is available at the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMA).

Here at Fingertips Typing Services we have a team of highly skilled Medical Transcriptionists, if you would like more information on this service please email: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

 

Translation Services: Human vs Software

Computers and technology have been designed to help us speed up tasks and processes, save us time and make our lives easier. But there are significant differences between what computers/ technology can do in comparison to humans.

When looking for translation services you will see many translation software adverts all highlighting that they can translate many words quickly, can make grammatical changes as the basic rules of translation and grammar are embedded in its programming. You might think good, problem solved, it’s easy to install and cheaper than paying a human to do it, however, translation software lacks one key ingredient to making it the next best thing. It cannot express the meaning of a sentence, because machines can’t understand context, they run on a strict set of defined rules.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of software translation vs human.

The advantages of machine translation:

  • Price – Many translation tools are available free of charge such as; Google Translate and Skype Translator
  • Fast – Get your translation as quickly as you can type (or copy and paste) your document into a translation tool. It can take minutes rather than hours or days.
  •  Multiple Languages – You can translate to more than one language using one tool

 The disadvantages of machine translation:

  • Quality and Accuracy – Generally the level of accuracy of these online tools is very low and often inconsistent across different languages. There is also no quality control process, so unless you have a reader of that language you won’t know if there are any mistakes until you publish the document
  • Context – As I have said previously translation software cannot translate context
  • It can be dangerous – There are just some things that you would not want to be translated by software without being checked by a human. For example: Translating instructions for medical equipment and aviation manuals would require 100% accuracy as mistakes could cost lives!

The advantages of human translation

  • Context – Humans can interpret context, humour, and irony, capturing the same meaning, rather than simply translating words
  • Quality Control – Human translators will review their work, proof-read for accuracy and if you use a professional translation service there is likely to be a quality control process in place
  • Understanding – Humans can understand the idiosyncratic differences between languages, the use of puns and slang, whereas machines cannot
  • Alternative Language – Sometimes the literal translation isn’t possible, a machine would not be able to find a suitable alternative

The disadvantages of human translation

  • Cost – Unlike the free software there is a cost associated with translating documents.
  • Slow – The turnaround time for translation is longer, but this is because there are often quality control processes in place

Of course, there is always a time and a place for both human translation and translation software for example:

When to use software translation:

  • Bulk translate large documents ready for a human translator to improve upon
  • You are translating for internal use and 100% accuracy is not required

When to use human translation:

  • When accuracy is important
  • If your document is to be read by a consumer audience
  • When you have a duty of care to your reader e.g. medical manuals
  • When translating marketing material and context is important

 How to choose between human translation and software translation?

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Do you care about how my content reads, does it flow well, did you want to use humour or do you want to get the basics of the documents content across as quickly as possible ?
  2. Are you precious about accuracy or can you live with a few errors?
  3. Does this translated content reflect my company’s brand or messaging?

 We hope that this article gives you some something to consider when it comes to translation services and software.

 For more information about the Translation services offered by Fingertips Typing Services click here

The Top Three Ways to Use Transcription in your Business

Many businesses are adopting transcription to streamline administrative tasks, freeing up valuable time to focus on business goals and projects.

Here are our top three ways transcription can be beneficial and save time and money:

  1. Record ideas and project goals – All successful projects start with a great idea, and a set of tasks that need to be completed. With the help of transcription you can record the ideas, discussions and tasks highlighted without the need for someone to write or minute the meeting. It also ensures that nothing is missed, which inevitably happens when jotting it down in a note pad.
  2. Record meetings and interviews – These are an essential part of business life, but anyone who has taken minutes a meeting will know that it is a tedious task. By recording the meetings or interviews you will ensure that everything is captured and that what was discussed flows naturally. It also ensures that all participants in the meeting are focused solely on what is being discussed rather than worrying about taking notes, making them more productive.
  3. Capture your events and conferences – Networking events and conferences play an important part in business growth. These types of events allow you and your customers (exiting and prospect) to get to know each other better. But what about those customers that were unable to make it, or were not invited, because you didn’t know they existed? If you record and then transcribe the content of your event into text and publish it online, they you are likely to engage with a wider audience and open your business to even more opportunities.

Fingertips typing offers an audio transcription service, for more information on our services and how we can help free up your businesses time and make it more productive then contact us: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Author: Cerri Killworth, Fingertips Typing Services

Top 5 Tips on Content Writing

I wanted to share with you some of my tips and secrets to writing good high quality content, it is not an art, it is a skill that you need to master and work through daily.

I am lucky as it is my day job to write interesting and compelling articles, but if you are new to blogging, content or article writing it can be a little daunting as to where to start.  It is important to remember that writing quality content takes dedicated effort.

Here are my top five tips to being successful:

  1. Research – Always be on the hunt for ideas and information, as ideas pop into your head write them down or save an audio file of your thoughts so that when you get back to your desk to get writing you can clearly remember what you were thinking of at the time. Choose your research source carefully, when looking for referencing material and accurate information. THINK: Is your source reputable, a respected resource will give your article more weight than several unknown resources.
  1. Use your voice – Don’t try to be someone else, let your personality shine through, after all you are unique, creating your own style of writing will ensure that your work stands out from the crowd.
  1. Organise Your Information – Create an outline of how you want the article and the information you are trying to get across flows, so that it is easy to read and understand. Planning your content and what you are trying to achieve is extremely important, what is your reason for creating the content, if you can’t think of a good reason then park it and come back to it later.
  1. Think of a quality title – Your title is just, if not more important than the content of your article or blog, as it is the first thing your readers will see. If you cannot connect with them straight away, then you content will remain unread.

According to Copyblogger[1] 80% of people will read your headlines, but only 20% of those people will read the rest of your content!

Examples of titles that perform well:

  • Top Ten Lists
  • How To
  • Interviews
  • Secrets of
  1. Edit – You would never submit the first draft of a dissertation or coursework, so why would you do the same with an article or blog. Proof read and edit in several rounds of review to make sure your content is written well.

Final Thoughts

Writing interesting and persuasive content isn’t easy, but by following the steps above you will make your life easier.  It is important to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone, so make sure you know who you are and what you want to do.

Keep your message clear and concise so that it is easy for your readers to understand.

Good Luck!

Author: Cerri Killworth, Fingertips Typing Services

[1] Source: http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/