Why Electronics and Technology Are Important

People today live in a world that relies greatly on electronics and gadgets to make our everyday activities easier and faster. Most of us could not fathom what life we be like without computers, cell phones, iPods, televisions, or electronic toys. Over the years, technology has continued to advance, improving the quality of life for people who use electronics and gadgets to make their lives more convenient.

When we wake up in the morning, we are often greeted by our alarm clocks. How many people would be late for work if they had to rely on their internal body clocks to wake them up at the same exact time every weekday morning? Once up and out of our bed some people may enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso from the convenience of their own kitchen coffee making appliance. Others may head to the bathroom to start getting ready for the day. This may include using a hair dryer or curlers to style their hair, or maybe an iron to de-wrinkle their clothes. All the while, people may be catching up on the day’s news by watching their local news station on television. All this use of technology and electronics and they haven’t even left for work yet!

The list goes on and on. The advancement of technology has allowed us to enjoy our favorite music while we exercise via the use of an MP3 player, warm our food in seconds with the convenience of microwaves, and even read our emails from anywhere in the world with the use of smart phones and laptops. This is just the tip of the iceberg. While most people understand that electronics and gadgets are important, they don’t take the time to really comprehend just how much we use this type of technology in all aspects of life. Certain electronics and equipment have made medical procedures easier, not to mention just plain possible. Life expectancies have increased with the advancement in technology and suffering has lessened due to the invention of medical equipment and technologies.

Whether it’s the coolest new GPS gadget to help you located and get to your favorite vacation destination along with every restaurant, store, and gas station in the area, or the newest sonar machine that can allow a doctor to see any possible development issues with a mother’s unborn baby, technology and electronics means more to us than we can realize. New products are developed every single day and the more people shop for fun gadgets and electronics, the easier and more fun life will become!

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Importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) In Our Daily Life

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has an important role in the world since we are now in the information age era. With ICT, the company can make the business easier to happen with the client, supplier and the distributor. It is also very important in our daily lives. The lack of appropriate information at the right time will result in low productivity, low quality research works, and waste of time to pursue information and even to do research which actually others had done or in other countries. Nowadays ICT cannot be separated with our daily needs.

ICT has a great impact in our daily lives. For example, we can read our local newspaper using the online newspaper. Another example is we still can get connected with our family, relatives, or colleagues even if we are abroad by using the electronic mail, yahoo messenger, call conference, or video conference.

Digital computer and networking has changed our economy concept to the economy with no boundary in time and space because of ICT. It brings a lot of advantages for economic development enabling millions of transactions to happen in an easy and fast way.

ICT is one of the economic development pillars to gain national competitive advantage. It can improve the quality of human life because it can be used as a learning and education media, the mass communication media in promoting and campaigning practical and important issues, such as the health and social area. It provides wider knowledge and can help in gaining and accessing information.

ICT has become an integral part of everyday life for many people. It increases its importance in people’s lives and it is expected that this trend will continue, to the extent that ICT literacy will become a functional requirement for people’s work, social, and personal lives.

The use of ICT in education add value in teaching and learning, by enhancing the effectiveness of learning, or by adding a dimension to learning that was not previously available. ICT may also be a significant motivational factor in students’ learning, and can support students’ engagement with collaborative learning.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is basically our society’s efforts to teach its current and emerging citizens valuable knowledge and skills around computing and communications devices, software that operates them, applications that run on them and systems that are built with them.

As a matter of fact, we are living in a constantly evolving digital world. ICT has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives – from working to socializing, learning to playing. The digital age has transformed the way young people communicate, network, seek help, access information and learn. We must recognize that young people are now an online population and access is through a variety of means such as computers, TV and mobile phones.

It is in this premise that educational technology and e-learning is taught in or out of the classroom since educational technology is used by learners and educators in homes, schools, businesses, and other settings.

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The Etiquette of Using Office Supplies

Just like having a roommate requires certain rules of conduct about sharing a bathroom, kitchen, food etc., the cabinet that holds the office supplies also has its own set of rules. Breaking these rules can have very unpleasant consequences, and you may find when you come to work one morning that all the items on your desk have been super glued onto it, making it impossible to get any work done. It is best to know what the rules are, in case you find yourself in an awkward situation with a coworker regarding who took the last box of paperclips.

Rule #1: Never Take More Than You Need. There is sometimes nothing more frustrating than needing liquid paper, finding it all gone in the supply cabinet, then reporting it to a supervisor, only to find that the person in the office next door has a drawer full of it when you go to ask them if you can borrow some. Having more supplies than you need shortens the supply in the cabinet for other employees. It also makes the person ordering the supplies think that it is being used rapidly, which causes them to order more, spending more of the company’s money. If the company is spending a lot of money on office supplies, and you are hoarding liquid paper in a drawer, don’t expect to get a raise.

Rule #2: If Something Is Gone, Say Something: I know you think your office manager has supernatural powers because they can somehow always catch you watching YouTube clips when you are supposed to be working. The fact is, that your office manager or the person in charge of ordering supplies is probably not a mind reader. If you go to the supply closet, and find that it is lacking something that you need, in order to get some more, you have to report it. If you don’t say anything about it, then you can’t complain when the next order comes in lacking the supplies you require.

Rule #3: Throw Away The Empty Boxes or Containers: One of the most frustrating things that can happen in the office, is for example, having your highlighter run out of ink, going to the supply closet to get another one, picking up the box that contains them, only to find you are holding an empty box. This is an office no-no. If you take the last of something in the supply closet, make sure you throw the box or container that was holding it, away. Not throwing away empty containers and boxes in the supply closet gives people false hope. To prevent your office accountant threatening to staple you to your chair, throw away the box when you take the last highlighter.

Now that you know how to behave and what to in regards to the closet the office supplies are kept in, you should take note. You probably have enough to deal with at work without the person in the cubicle next to you giving you the stink eye for the eighteen boxes of binder clips you have tucked away. Only take what you need, if something is gone, tell your supervisor, and always throw away the empty boxes or containers. If the office accountant does decided to staple you to your chair, it won’t be because you were foolish about the supply closet, it will be because he is crazy.

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Medical Records Retrieval for Law Firms

• MODERN MEDICAL RECORDS RETRIEVAL SERVICE – AUTOMATION, COMPLIANCE, SAVINGS

The modern Medical Records Retrieval (MRR) service is a combination of modern web-based technology and a rules-compliant outsource solution. Historically lawyers and their staff would have to set aside a portion of their time, often a lot of time, to capture necessary information for cases that involved medical records. It’s not that the process is complex. Quite the contrary, every attorney, paralegal, and litigation-support person knows exactly what needs to be done.

It may appear simple, but it is a very manually intensive process. Someone at the firm must acknowledge the need for the records. Necessary forms must be completed to ensure compliance with a myriad of laws (including HIPAA), which the firm and often the patient (who may or may not be the firm’s client) would need to initiate a request. Then, the firm must track the progress of the request, and eventually receive, review, and organize the results, or note that there were no medical records available related to the matter.

To support the business of running a law practice, sophisticated and affordable software tools include new client/business intake, workflow automation, and conflicts management. Vendors who provide early case assessment tools and e-discovery-based technology-assisted review have begun to offer solutions for small firm and solo practitioners. In this article, we will show you how you can improve productivity, lower costs, and better manage billing for MRR expenses.

How Medical Records Retrieval Services Work

Here’s how a typical MRR service works for a small firm/solo practice. One of the firm’s employees logs into a secure, encrypted website. He or she then submits an order outlining the patient’s information, the records being requested, and any other data necessary to complete the request. What happens next is truly a game-changing activity. Instead of the firm’s billable resources chasing record requests from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers, they go back to doing other, productive work, while the MRR process self-executes, and eventually provides you with the requested information and documents or informs you that there were no responsive documents.

Questions Regarding MRR Services

The availability of MRR services presents all attorneys, but especially solo and small firms, with the following important questions:

• How do you start with an MRR service?

• How are the record requests processed?

• Is this process HIPAA-compliant?

• When and how am I alerted to the status of my requests?

• How do I distribute the costs/fees associated with outsourcing medical records retrieval?

Choosing Your MRR Provider

To reduce the risk of choosing the wrong MRR service, consider the following best practices:

1) Ensure that the MRR service can prove secure access to its website (and your records) via a login and password.

2) Understand the MRR service’s processes to ensure protection of privacy.

3) Understand its service level agreements, which explain their process and anticipated turnaround time.

4) Verify that the MRR service has experience with expediting record requests by requesting a list of reference clients.

5) Review the process by which you and/or your staff are notified of updates, including record availability or notice of “no record found.”

6) Ask for the MRR service’s price schedule, preferably in a format that will permit you to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the fees of other MRR services.

When possible, a dedicated MRR service is a better choice than a firm that offers a multitude of legal practice services of which records retrieval is only a small subset of their overall business.

Getting Started with the MRR Provider

Upon choosing your MRR provider, the steps to starting to work with the provider are straightforward and similar to those when signing up with any on-line type of service:

• The firm identifies the approved personnel who are authorized to access the secure system.

• A unique user ID is created for the firm at this time, with a strong password required for all future access.

• Often, this is also the time that billing information is provided, and thus a financial account with the firm and MRR is created for future invoicing.

• Each authorized person completes a new user profile and sign-on request. The user must provide email and phone contact information.

• It is the responsibility of the law firm to notify the MRR as soon as possible in the event that an existing authorized user should be removed from the access control. The MRR should remedy and respond as soon as the user access has been removed.

• While the use of the MRR site should be quite easy for most users with minimal training, additional site support generally is available from the MRR’s services personnel via phone or email request.

Safeguarding Privacy

No matter how beneficial the technology, the firm must ensure compliance of federal and state HIPAA guidelines and any ethical rules about maintaining client confidences. Therefore, they must ensure that the MRR service collects, hosts, and provides access to client(s) records while maintaining compliance with privacy guidelines. Note: This should be part of your due diligence when selecting a provider.

The MRR Service should comply with Federal and state privacy laws. MRR services should keep up to date with changing rules of privacy such as the HITECH Act.

MRR agreements should expressly state that no personally identifiable health information (PHI) can ever be used for non-business related activities such as marketing and/or sales lead generation.

Record Processing

Once you have chosen an MRR service and set up your account, obtaining medical records is relatively straight-forward:

• After you enter a request into the system, the MRR service creates an MRR record request connected to the unique ID of the requester (the specific user at your firm), and confirms receipt of the request via an email.

• A reviewer is assigned to assess the necessary actions to fulfill the request, and will notify the user of any questions regarding the record request. In some states, including California, an electronic request can be executed from the MRR service to the healthcare provider, eliminating the need for paper-based transaction.

• The provider then tracks the request, and conducts any follow-up communication by any means available, including email, telephone or in-person visits if necessary, to acquire clear copies of records requested.

• If the record is available and legible, it is scanned into the secure web-based system for access by the user. Otherwise, a “no record found” is annotated to the request, and communicated back to the user.

Communication Is Key

Nothing can be more frustrating to case management than waiting for needed information from a third party. The MRR service must not only forward the record request to the healthcare provider, but also must provide the firm an ongoing and timely response regarding status. Each record must be tracked in real-time with detailed notes from the MRR agents. The MRR service should send alerts if additional information is required, provide replies via email, and deliver the link to download and/or view completed requests as soon as the records become available. Again, during the selection process, you should ascertain the provider’s practices regarding communications, and include them in the contract.

Speed Is Critical Too

Obtaining the medical records timely is critical, whether to respond to discovery, to make or oppose a motion for summary judgment, to get an expert up to speed, or to settle a case. A reliable MRR service will offer a quick turnaround. They have the experience working with medical locations to obtain records faster than a law firm’s in-house staff. After all, a law firm staff member may encounter (or, in truth, may feel like they have gotten stuck with) the occasional medical record search, but the MRR service is a specialist in the process of collecting information, including “no records found.” So, the MRR service’s very job is obtaining medical records, and therefore will have the process down to a set of specific steps, and can support their clients via a web interface.

Relationships With Healthcare Providers

Sometimes hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare providers may treat the occasional request by an attorney for medical records as an inconvenience, not respond as quickly or perhaps as completely as the attorney or client would like. A smart MRR service will develop long-term relationships with healthcare providers and their staff to get the data needed promptly and efficiently. This will improve the quality of the document production, reduce its cost, and speed the process up.

Database Strength

Medical records often can be in a different location or city than the healthcare provider. For example, billing records for hospitals are usually in an offsite facility, sometimes in another state. With the advent of electronic records, more healthcare providers are centralizing their records offsite with the umbrella company of their medical group/hospital. Without the information on how and where to request records, in-house staff can waste valuable time sending requests to the wrong locations or having to spend the time to find out where to send the requests. A strong database on where and how to request records from healthcare providers therefore is key to save time, ensure complete result, and save money. MRR services have the incentive and the resources to develop such a database. Law firms, especially solos and small firms, do not.

In addition the importance on the database in requesting medical records, it is equally important on the production side. Virtually all medical records are produced in digital format. Records are typically available in PDF or TIFF file format, making them searchable by many document management systems – including on premise, cloud-based, web-based or hybrid systems. They are usually made available for download and/or viewing from virtually anywhere on any device that supports a secure micro-browser. The MRR service maintains the medical records for ongoing access by the user and any authorized personnel.

MRR Costs and other Considerations

The MRR service will charge you for their services. However, because the firm’s resources are freed up to work on activities that generate revenue for the firm, the costs of using an MRR service will be offset at least in part, and perhaps in full. In addition, depending on your fee arrangement with your client, the invoices from the MRR service may be directly billable back to the client or at least accounted for as a recoverable cost. (Many MRR services charge no monthly fees for having an account, and thus the firm only incur fees on a usage basis, which can then be charged to the cases for which they are required.)

Summary

While many firms may continue the “do-it-yourself” approach, solos and small firms should consider using an MRR service. In addition to the higher costs of installing and maintaining one’s own record management system, the soft costs and resource consumption make this a less favorable alternative. A qualified, experienced MRR service offers a cost effective, robust platform for processing, monitoring, and tracking medical records requests. Record management and processing is HIPAA-compliant, always available, and secure-which in-house processes may not be, with the attendant risks. Use of an MRR service does not require capital expense to leverage digitally filed and maintained medical records. Firm resources can be repurposed from tracking record requests to meaningful and fee-generating activities. Client satisfaction may improve as matters are able to be processed more efficiently, and firm business may increase. The results of using an MRR service are measureable and immediate. It’s literally a one-click quantum leap from manual, resource-heavy processes to a modern, digital, secure web based management for your practice.

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Different Uses of Graphite

Graphite felt is available in several thicknesses and widths to match the specific application. It is most commonly used as an insulating material, such as cladding, heat shields, or filters. Most of the felt is low density to help improve performance by letting a furnace or similar object heat and cool at a quicker rate. This low density also helps to control and stabilize the temperature to create the atmosphere that is more constant and maintains the more productive heat all the way through.

The felt can have an extra coating which is useful to give more protection against erosion. Graphite felt is made to be easy to cut to size and install in place. Plus, there is a rigid form of this material and created in a variety of shapes, such as rings, cylinders and baffles.

Here are a few of the popular uses of graphite:

Ceramics industry

The use of graphite is common in the ceramics industry to help increase performance while the furnaces are working at high temperatures, as well as giving greater mechanical strength and electrical conductivity.

Automotive industry

Graphite is the preferred material to use in place of asbestos in the automotive industry and can feature in a variety of areas, such as the brake lining and gaskets. Plus, it is a major aspect of brushes used in the electric motors.

Defense Technology

Graphite is a practical choice for a wide range of military aerospace vehicles because of the ability to endure high temperature ranges. Also, this material is a useful choice for space shuttles and applied as surface tiles. The material is very stable with high resistance properties, and can endure temperatures that reach up to 3000 degrees C.

Electronics industry

The use of an ultra-pure form of graphite is becoming more popular in electrical circuitry and components because of the increasing reliance on computers. Also, the graphite is a favored choice for electrical circuits and systems that rely on automation.

In addition to graphite, there is also a carbon fiber felt which is a similar type of material and useful in applications that need high temperature insulation, such as furnaces. This material also has high heat properties even with thin layers to provide the reliable and long-term insulation results. Plus, this material is able to avoid contracting or shrinking to help maintain the consistent heat and avoid issues with hot sports or cavities.

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Incredible Business Growth With Custom Boxes

Some people are unaware of the little things that make a business move from a small business to a well-recognized business. One of such little, forgettable things is having custom boxes for every business. To confirm the truth about the importance of custom boxes, look around you, and list any five businesses or well-recognised servicing company you know, and you will immediately realize they all have their custom packages which stand as their branding.

For those people who are not conversant with custom boxes, here it is. These boxes in simple words; is your label, your brand, your name, your touch, being handed over to your customers in the form of the packaging used when delivering the goods to your clients. It is actually a box, or package bearing the seal of the company or business.

You might think this will cost so much for your small business, but no it is far cheaper than you thought and the effect it leaves for you is far more valuable. These have lots of benefits, but you will see a few of them listed here.

Benefits of Custom Boxes

1. These boxes give your Customers and excitement: your business can stand out with a unique box or bag the customers receive their goods in. It will amaze you to know that just a beautiful bag or box can make a customer repeat purchase. This little effect speaks volumes, of who you are, and how you value your customers. Everyone wants to be appreciated.

2. Serve as your marketer: Are you having trouble marketing your business without spending so much? Oh, this incredible little move of custom boxes is a marketer, spreads thick of how many people will see your brand name, as customers walk away with your name on them, by holding your bag.

3. Custom boxes spread your brand like a virus. Your business will be in one city, but the custom bag is in another. Don’t worry this means your business is spreading like a virus, and your Company will soon be visited by new customers.

4. These boxes are cheap to get: You don’t need a big business to use these custom boxes. You can use them for every business with customer packages, by hand or shipping. These boxes are cheap to get and won’t bite your business in any way. You can get the right information and do it with the most competitive producers available. This makes you get it, at almost no cost.

5. These create a rewarding excitement: you can’t take the joy and excitement you get when your customers appreciate your custom boxes, you know what they are actually appreciating? Your business. This will overall give your business the needed lift.

Little things are most times the hardest things to do, but now you know better. You can give your business the little push it needs to thrive. Get your custom boxes and let your business go viral.

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How to Get Inspired Online When Everybody Is Criticizing You

In a world full bashers and trolls, it’s quite easy to succumb to negativity. The internet is creative for people who seek a thriving environment but it can also be destructive to those who are subjected to public shaming.

Staying positive online can be challenging but here are a few thoughts to inspire you:

Everyone has imperfections.
The term “Facebook envy” is true for the majority who think highly of others because of what they see and read on social media like Facebook. Some individuals belittle themselves because their lives are not as good as what others portray online.

However, according to experts, people tend to always show their best side, so whatever posts or pictures we see is only the nice aspects of their lives. Everybody has deep dark secrets too so when someone criticizes you online, just remember that they also have unpleasant realities.

Most have fake identities.
A lot of those who are online are crass because they can easily hide their identity. They aren’t worried about real-life repercussions so they can be rude to their heart’s content. When someone online confronts you, remember that these are mere virtual components who only muster courage from word war. Maintain your decorum and ignore them.

You are worth the attention.
Negative criticism stems from the personal emotions of the person giving it. Bullies hate being topped by others that’s why they bring people down. When you are criticized, just remember that these people are interested about your life or personality and bullying is a means to get close to you. They won’t waste their time on someone not worth it.

People criticize because they don’t understand.
Closed-minded people cannot accept changes, thus they tend to oppose people who are open to it. When you receive criticism from them, just think that they are only manifesting their fears and it has nothing to do with your actions.

You are better than them.
Most of those who criticize people online are bored individuals with no accomplishments so they get envious of those who are much better than them. Look at the bright side and tell yourself that they hate you because they hate themselves.

Staying Positive

There are simple ways to boost your enthusiasm and optimism despite being surrounded by negative energy so read on.

Do what makes you happy.
Keep doing the things you love and feed your passion. Inspiration comes from personal fulfillment.

Think of inner kindness.
Think that everyone possesses innate kindness. Despite their insensitivity, people are always receptive of goodness.

Be grateful.
Always express your gratitude for the little things. Be thankful for even the bad experiences because these teach you valuable life lessons.

Rewards Yourself.
Give yourself a good massage or buy something you like. An incentive for working hard makes you feel valued.

Spend time outdoors.
The influx of technology declined people’s longing for soulful connection. Break the habit and take a vacation to rest your mind. Go on a short trip to rejuvenate and disconnect from your gadgets. Regular breaks prevent burnouts and improve mental health.

The online world can be cruel and overwhelming at times and it can be hard to manage your emotions if you tend to dwell on them. Success online can be achieved by detaching yourself from feelings and expressing your individuality.

John Richards has many years of experience creating and developing books, eBooks, manuals, and videos, on a variety of subjects, including online wealth, pet care, Internet marketing, direct mail, health and wellness, and CD/DVD distribution service.

John’s website provides ideas and practical advice for people who want to enjoy the rewards of earning an income from home using simple websites.

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Dealing With Conflict in the Workplace

Introduction

Conflict is a major concern in both your personal and working life. If not deal with quickly, tactfully and efficiently conflict could lead to serious confrontation and / or a complete breakdown of relationships. It could even lead to violent and dangerous situations.

A conflict could stem from a minor complaint that was not resolved and left to fester. This could then gradually grow into an insurmountable problem. A conflict can be as innocent as sibling rivalry – arguing over a toy – to a dispute with a customer or colleague over a product, service or procedure to a war between countries in extreme cases.

There will be times during the course of a working life where you will have to deal with complaints and conflicts. Your successful handling of these situations will have a direct bearing on you and your organization's reputation for customer service and its continued success.

What causes conflict.

Conflicts usually occur when people have different ideas and believe they have the superior view point. This is particularly true of conflict in the workplace – between collections and / or management. The issue becomes one of power, of gaining control or of 'being proved right'. To resolve this type of conflict it is necessary to move from the power clash, to one of service and responsibility – to work for the good of the group rather than individuals within it. In resolving a conflict it should be more important to make sure that both parties needs are met rather than winning the argument.

Conflict can also be caused by a lack of communication or by a failure to recognize the needs of another person. Whatever the scenario, the main component in conflict is misunderstanding. These misunderstandings can occur due to differences in age, culture, race or religion. Conflict situations can include customer related issues, misunderstandings or communication barriers or Conflict among work collections.

Conflicts due to customer related issues.

A complaint, no matter how trivial it may sound to you, is legitimate in the eyes of the customer and must be taken seriously. Customers come into your organization to do business. They have a need and they believe (or hope) that you will be able to fulfill that need. They are willing to pay you for your time, effort and service and they expect your full and undivided attention. If they do not receive this attention or a satisfactory product or service, then they are not receiving value for their money and then have every right to complain.

Conflicts arising out of customer related issues could include;

  • Problems or faults with services or products. The customer has not received the quality of service or product that they expected and are unhappy enough about it to complain. A complaint of this nature can be fairly easily resolved if the parties involved are prepared to communicate and compromise.
  • Delays or poor timing of product or service supply. The customer has been kept waiting longer than expected or advised for their product or service and, as in the point above, become upset at the delay. Delays can cause a great deal of inconvenience for customers, particularly if they have made time to be on hand and are then disappointed.
  • Difficult or demanding customers. Some customers are hard to please and are, by nature, very demanding and aggressive. If they are not handled carefully they could, potentially, become threatening.
  • Drug or alcohol related issues. These could include being refused entry or ejection from concessions due to their condition and the risk they represent to other customers or staff.

Conflicts due to misunderstandings or communication barriers.

No two people are exactly alike – not even twins. People have different points of view thought about by the many influences on their lives.

These effects include;

Genetics – the things that we inherit from our parents and over which we have no control. These things might involve the color of our eyes and hair to our health.

Upbringing – which involves the way in which our parents raised us and the values ​​they instilled in us.

Culture and religion – this influences the things that we believe to be true and the customs and traditions we follow

Economics – our view on life can be strongly influenced by our economic situation, whether we are financially comfortable or struggling to make ends meet.

Education – our level of education will also have a large impact on what we think and how we view the world.

The environment – this means the environment in which we operate: our neighborhoods, housing situation, and the people we are surrounded by.

Life experience – involves all the experiences we have had in our lives, the successes and failures, the lessons we have learned from these experiences and the many roles that we have played to date.

All of these things and more go in to making us the individuals we are and our thoughts and feelings about almost everything we come into contact with will be shaped by these influences. So we have our own opinions and points of view on a whole range of things and these sometimes clash with other peoples. These clashes can take the form of a lively but friendly debate but they could just as easily become heated and aggravated and degenerate into shouting matches. The beginnings of conflict.

We can avoid these situations by reaching an understanding between the parties. This can be done by communicating openly and honestly, being willing to listen to the other person's point of view – remembering that the influences that have shaped their beliefs and view points could be very different to yours – but no less valid.

Misunderstandings and communication barriers could occur because;

  • People do not listen to each other with an eye to reaching an understanding
  • People are not prepared to compromise in order to resolve the situation
  • People do not understand cultural differences and are not prepared to make allowances for them.

To resolve a conflict situation steps need to be taken to bring the two points of view closer – to reach a compromise that both parties can accept. Part of good conflict resolution skills is the art of communication and recognizing the barriers to a good two way communications flow. These barriers can include;

  • Not paying attention . Customers or colleges who are trying to communicate with you will feel ignored and frustrated if you allow yourself to become distracted. Not paying attention to them is rude and unprofessional and stops the communication flow. The result of this could be the loss of a customer, a complaint about you to your manager or a loss of respect. Do not allow yourself to be distracted – focus your attention on what is being said and really listen to your customer or colleague. If you must interrupt the conversation to answer the phone, or speak with another staff member, excuse yourself.
  • Not looking at a person . Maintainable reasonable eye contact with the person you are communicating with is very important. It shows you are paying attention and that you are interested. By not looking at the person who is talking to you, you are indicating not only disinterest, but are also making them feel uncomfortable. They may think you are not being honest or trustworthy – you may be trying to hide something from them.
  • Interrupting . Interrupting someone when they are talking is a major barrier to open, two way communication and could easily cause conflict. Once again, you are indicating that you are not interested in what they have to say. Breaking into what they are saying to make your own thoughts known, or worse, to finish their sentences for them is no way to gain a proper understanding of the other persons needs and expectations. Allow them to finish what they are saying and pay attention. If, for some reason, the conversation needs to be wound up, then take control by asking leading or closing questions – that allow for short answers only.
  • Tone of voice. The tone of voice used during a conversation could also start a conflict. Arrogance, demand, anger, whining, disinterest etc. All add a tone to the voice that can cause people to react negatively. When dealing with customers or collections you should keep your tone friendly, calm and pleasant. At the very least, if you do feel annoyed you should try and keep the tone of your voice neutral.
  • Sarcasm . Sarcasm has no place in any conversation between two people and is an open invitation for conflict. There are times, in everyone's working life, when you think "If I get asked one more stupid question, I'll go mad!", But sarcasm in the face of a silly question or remark does nothing but hurt the other person and, Possibly, dent their self esteem. We often forget that not everyone knows everything we do about our industry – in fact most customers know very little about the tourism and hospitality industries. We can forgive our customers or junior collectors, therefore, for asking questions that may have obvious answers – obvious only to someone who knows. Show patience and understanding – it's just as easy and much more pleasant than giving a sarcastic or snide answer.
  • Rudeness . There is never any excuse for rudeness. A respectful and courteous attitude on your part should avoid or defuse any antagonism a person brings with them into your office. Should you find yourself never the less, dealing with a person with whatever you simply can not get along – rudeness is not the solution. Speak to your supervisor or manager and ask for their advice.
  • Cultural differences . Cultural differences can be the source of a great many conflicts. When dealing with people from other countries, other beliefs and so on, it is easy to misunderstand words, gestures and customs. If you want to excel at your profession it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the more prevalent customs of other cultures. On the whole, however, people from all over the world, from all walks of life and from all creeds respond well to respectful and courteous behavior. Do not make fun of customs you do not understand. Treat everyone you deal with, both customers and colleagues, with respect and you should do very well.

Any one of these points could provoke a customer or a college into complaining – which could then, potentially, turn into a conflict. It is a good idea therefore, to remain courteous and polite when dealing with other people.

Signs of potential conflict

A conflict does not happen suddenly. People do not go from calm and cool one moment to angry and aggressive next.

Conflict builds. It may take hours, weeks or even years. However long the process takes, there are always signs that a conflict is building. If these signs are recognized early then steps can be taken to quickly and efficiently resolve the situation before it becomes a major issue.

Early signs of conflict can include (but are not limited to):

  • Aggressive body language: Narrowed eyes – trying to intimidate you Flared nostrils – a sure sign of building anger as the person takes a deep breath, either to control themselves or to go on the attack Stretched muscles in the face and jaw line – tightened in building Anger and aggression Tapping fingers or feet – shows impatience
  • Malicious or negative gossip among collections
  • Difficulty in discussing an issue calmly and rationally
  • Tone of voice – indicating boredom, sarcasm, irritation

These are all signs of irritation, dissatisfaction or impatience. If you recognize any of these signs when dealing with a complaint or a conflict you should endeavor to find out the reasons why the other person is starting to feel impatient or irritated. You can do this by asking relevant questions and listening carefully to their answers. In this way you can reach an understanding of the issue at hand and possibly avoid escalating the situation.

If not recognized and acted upon these signs could then be followed by;

  • Raised voice – speaking rapidly in a loud, high pitched voice – or even shouting
  • Body leaning forward in an effort to intimidate
  • Hand gestures – finger poking and pointing in an aggressive manner.
  • Refusal to cooperate
  • Storming out of a room, slamming doors, drawers or implements

At this point you may already have a conflict and it will take careful handling to bring the situation back under control

Crisis situations

Complaints can escalate into conflict and conflict, if not resolved effectively, could potentially escalate into a crisis.

People wish to be taken seriously. If they are not, or are repeatedly ignored, it can become aggressive and a threat to safety and security of the organization and the people in it. Equally, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and are not in control of themselves, can present a danger to those around them if they are not handled carefully.

Situations where personal safety of customers or colleges may be threatened and assistance required may involve:

  • Drug or alcohol affected persons
  • People with guns or other weapons
  • Situations where someone has been or may be hurt
  • People who appear to be violent or threatening
  • Situations where customers refuse to leave or to be pacified.

In these cases it is extremely important to:

  • Keep calm yourself and to try and calm the other person.
  • Move them, discreetly, out of the main area of ​​your office or shop
  • Take note of details of the problem for future reference
  • DO NOT argue with a person who is visibly upset or aggressive as this will only compound the situation.
  • Bring in the assistance of relevant management, security and / or entities such as police as soon as possible.

Organizational requirements

You can not simply make a conflict go away by giving the complaining party whatever they want. Resolving a conflict is a deferred balance between reaching an agreement between parties while at the same time staying within the constraints of your organizations requirements and policies.

These constraints may include:

Costs issues. Often, a conflict with a customer will be centred around dissatisfaction with a product or service. If the product or service was actually found to be faulty then the simplest solution to the problem is a straight forward replacement. Sometimes, however, the situation is not as simple and the customer will demand further compensation. In these cases a replacement may not be enough and something extra may need to be done. When determining the amount of compensation, if any, to be offered to the client, there are a few issues to consider. These could include;

  • Customer good will & repeat business. If your organization is dependent on customers coming back again then this is an important consideration.
  • Organisations reputation. A dissatisfied customer will tell many people that they received bad service from an organization who did not meet their needs and this can lead to a loss of business.
  • Direct cost. Compensation to a client can be in the form of cash, additional products or services, or an upgrade to the product or service they have purchased. If compensation is to be of a monetary nature then the cost to the organization must be considered.

Organization policy on refunds or exchange . Most organizations will have policies on giving refunds. Some companies will give money back, others will give credit for products or services they provide. In the tourism industry you must also consider the refund policies of the principals you deal with. For example some advance purchase airline tickets do not allow refunds at all within a given period prior to departure and if the customer does not use the ticket, they have lost their money.

So before agreeing to provide a solution to the customer, you must first determine if it is financially viable to do so and to take the organizations policies and procedures into account.

Resolving conflict situations

When a person has purchased a product or service from your organization and it is not what they expected it to be, or does not perform properly they will feel dissatisfied and disappointed. As a consequence when this person complains that they generally believe that they have a legitimate reason for doing so and they may do so long and heatedly to the first person they come across in your organization. This might be you – even though you had nothing to do with the original sale and have never met the customer. The worst thing you can do is tell them its not your problem.

Take ownership of the issue, regardless of whether you were involved in the problem or not. "Passing the buck" at this point is not going to help matters. The customer approached YOU, so deal with the issue and do not pass them off saying "It's not my problem" or "The lady who handled this is not here now ….". At that particular moment in time the customer does not see you, the individual, they see you, the representative of the company, so it is you, the representative of the company, they expect to help them.

If you were not part of the original transaction where the problem occurred get as much information as you can from the customer to help you determine what to do. For example, you could ask;

  • Exactly what the problem is
  • When & where it occurred
  • How long ago the problem occurred
  • What they paid for the product or service
  • How they see the situation being resolved – this will give you an idea of ​​the person's expectations and how they impact on the organization's policies and procedures.

If the person who was involved in the original transaction is available you should ask them to join the discussion in order to get both sides of the picture. It is very important, however, to keep to the issue at hand and not to let emotions or ego get in the way of finding a solution to the problem; Stay calm, listen to all points of view with an open mind and try to keep the communications process flowing in a positive manner.

Finding a solution to a conflict involves a certain set of skills and techniques. It takes a step by step approach to ensure a positive income for all parties concerned.

Steps in resolving conflict

Finding a solution to a conflict will often become a matter of "give and take" where one party makes a suggestion that may not be entirely acceptable to the other. When this happens you will need to define the issues as seen by all parties and negotiate a mutually acceptable exit. This would normally occur in a logical sequence:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Work out what you want out of the conflict
  3. Brainstorm for options
  4. Evaluate solutions
  5. Decide on solutions

Define the problem

Everyone involved in the conflict needs to agree on a definition of the problem before it can be solved. This could mean describing the problem in terms of each persons needs and understanding of the issue at hand. Questions to consider might include:

  • What is the problem? Is it only my problem? Who else is involved?
  • Can I solve it? Is it worth solving?
  • Is this the real problem or merely a symptom of a larger one?
  • Does it need an immediate solution or can it wait? Is it likely to go away by itself? Can I risk ignoring it?
  • Does the problem have ethical dimensions?
  • What conditions must the solution satisfy?
  • Will the solution affect something that must remain unchanged?
  • Will I need help?

Asking these types of questions will outline what all the issues are from various perspectives giving you a firm foundation for exploring options. Depending on the nature of the problem and what it will take to resolve it, it might in extreme cases even be worth letting the matter go. It is important to keep a customer satisfied, but not at all costs. If a customer is being completely unreasonable and demanding then sometimes it is the better option to lose that customer.

Work out what you want out of the conflict

You also need to develop a clear understanding of the expected outcome. This could be; An agreement on acceptable compensation for faulty products or service a better relationship with the other party a mutually acceptable solution to an ongoing work issue the other person to respect your opinion With firm expectations of what would be an acceptable exit in mind, you can then begin To negotiate with the other party until an agreement has been reached.

Brainstorm for options – When all parties concerned have had the opportunity to explain their feelings on the matter, then all of the issues should be out in the open. At this point you can look at the various options available. There might be a number of solutions to the problem which could work for everyone involved. Do not get stuck on one solution just because it's the first one you find. Be creative about the possibilities available to you, and look for common ground. You can decide from the options later.

Evaluate solutions – In deciding the best result from the options available you should weigh up the pros and cons of each one based on the organizations policies and procedures, cost or budgetary constraints, legal ramifications and mutual benefit. When discussing and evaluating options it is often the case that each party will prefer an option that most closely gives them what they want regardless of its impact on the other party. In these cases you need to negotiate and compromise so that an agreement that both parties are satisfied with can be reached.

The Art of Compromise – Compromise does not mean giving in or losing. It means looking for ways to meet each others needs by making concessions to the other party involved. Compromise involves negotiating what you are, or are not, prepared to do in order to get what you want.

You should be open to good arguments rather than pressure or manipulation from the other party. Be open to reason but closed to threats. In difficult conflicts it might be necessary to bring in another person to mediate. This person may need to be skilled, mutually respected, and not have a personal interest in the outcome.

Decide on a mutually acceptable solution – When all available options have been tabled and considered then you can decide on the best one – the one that keeps both parties happy! Make sure each person takes responsibility for agreeing with the decision. This may take the form of a written agreement or contract, or a letter outlining what was agreed to.

Separate your feelings from the problem . When your emotions get tangled up in the pros and cons of an argument you can not reach the best conclusion. If you take a strong position because of the way you feel, you can not work out the best solution to the problem because your perception of it is controlled by things which are likely to have nothing to do with the problem. It's not about who is right or wrong. Arguing over who fault it is or placing blame will do nothing but increase tension and get in the way of resolving the situation. You should not let your feelings get in the way. Points that can help here include:

  • Act and speak calmly. Arguing with a customer or colleague could result in a full blown confrontation. Pause before making a response to them. This will give you time to collect yourself, to calm any irritation you might feel and also gives you a chance to work out how to phrase your response in the most appropriate way.
  • Try to put yourself in the other person's place; Empathise with them. Use expressions such as "I can understand why you would feel that way" and encourage them to share their point of view.
  • Listen carefully and completely to what they are saying. Hear them out without interrupting them. Show you are interested through a positive listening attitude and ask clarifying questions to make sure you have understood them correctly.
  • Be patient and understanding. Do not interrupt them. Once they have had their say, they will generally be a lot calmer and easier to reason with. The problem can then often be resolved in a civilized manner.
  • At the appropriate time, acknowledge their point of view and ask them to give you the court of now listening to your (organization's) position. For example; "I understand what you are saying, may I now explain our position to you, and then we can see how we could solve the problem together?"

Documentation

Recording accurate information about complaints, conflicts and their outcomes is a very important part of any business. This type of information will show (among other things);

  • Areas of the business that are not working properly
  • Processes and procedures that need to be changed.
  • Things that customer like / or do not like about your products or services
  • Gaps in the supply and demand of your products or services

With this information in hand, an organization can then use it to continuously improve its products, services, image and reputation.

Information can be recorded by way of (but not limited to):

  • Letters (or emails) of complaint. These should always be taken seriously. A written complaint should be answered immediately – even if it is simply to advise the customer what will happen next. An investigation of the complaint should follow and the customer should then be advised of the outcome. A report of the complaint and the outcome should then be sent to the relevant supervisor or manager for any further action needed.
  • Notes taken during a phone call or after a face to face meeting. Once again, it is good business practice to record the details of complaints or discussions about conflicts. These notes can be used for the organization's continuous improvement program but they can also be used as reminders of the conversation should a dispute arise.
  • Formal documentation. These could be; Refund forms Credit notes Contracts or agreement forms

Evaluating conflict situations

It is good business practice to continuously look for ways in which an organization can improve its practices and procedures. One of the main ways an organization can do this is by seeking feedback – comments from customers, staff and other visitors to the organization. Reasons for seeking feedback can include;

  • To ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business
  • To maintain its reputation
  • To learn from errors or mistakes
  • To make improvements to the service or product delivery or quality to improve productivity and efficiency
  • Follow up to see if customer is satisfied in the case of a complaint or conflict

In a matter as important as a complaint or a conflict, feedback can also be taken by way of a phone call, letter or even even a personal visit to the person concerned to ensure that any issue that exists between the conflicting parties has been successfully resolved.

When looking for how effective the solution to a conflict was, some of the questions that should be asked could include:

Why did this situation happen in the first place ? A close examination of the circumances surrounding the matter of conflict from both the customers and the organizations perspective can show up problems in procedure, policy or product or service delivery. Issues to look at could include;

  • Was there a breakdown in communication?
  • Is the service delivery as good as it could be?
  • Are the organization's policies and procedures as effective as they could be?
  • Was the service / product faulty in some way?

Did we resolve it effectively ? This is a very important question from the customers and the organizations point of view.

  • For the customer, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they are satisfied, that they have received value for their money and most importantly that they will probably continue to do business with you.
  • For the organization, resolving the problem effectively could mean that they have retained a customer and kept within organizational guidelines and budgets

When looking at how the problem was resolved:

  • Ask critical questions about the output – was it the best possible option for every one concerned? Did it cost your organization money? Too much money? Was the income worth the cost?
  • Evaluate the customer's reaction to your proposal – were they happy with it? Were they prepared to be reasonable? Will they continue to do business with you?
  • Compare the situation to any previous incidents of this nature. How was it handled last time? Is there a pattern emerging that should be addressed?
  • What can we do to prevent it happening in the future? By looking at how the problem occurred in the first place and how effectively you resolved it you can then take any necessary steps to prevent the same thing happening again. This might mean; A change in policy or procedure A change in a product or service training staff in customer service skills Training staff in conflict and complaint handling

By asking these, and other relevant questions, you can make improvements to the organization. This could lead to greater customer and staff satisfaction which will have a positive impact on the organizations continued success and prosperity.

For more information go to: www.lptraining.com.au

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What Car Battery Should You Choose? Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), Gel Or Wet Cell

An electrical problem that doesn’t let your car start and leaves you stuck in a parking lot or some place away from the fix that’s needed is an unwanted problem we all do our best to avoid. So what can you do to lessen the possibility of a possible unwanted situation that involves an electrical system crash in your vehicle?

First of all make sure you spend double the money on a good car battery. A lead acid battery can cost between $75 to $125 dollars. The only reason liquid lead acid batteries are the most commonplace is liquid lead acid batteries were first developed in 1859 and they are the least expensive in today’s world of automotive engine starting sources. In 1971 the sealed liquid lead acid battery was created that made it maintenance friendly.

VRLA (valve regulated lead acid) batteries include gel and absorbed glass mate which are not liquid. Gel batteries are as the name applies which is a “Gel”. AGM batteries are silicate glass fibers mixed with boron and formed into a mat that holds the electrolyte. Non liquid gel batteries were created in the late 1920′s and lead to the creation of the “Absorbed Glass Mat” batteries in 1957. The AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery was put into production in 1972 but mostly used for military applications and non vehicle applications like boats, motor homes, motorcycles and electronics. Nowadays you see more AGM batteries becoming available for use in production cars. AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries can cost from $160 to $250 but have more advantages over liquid lead acid batteries.

AGM batteries are basically used in applications where the use of the vehicle is only used now and again as in boats and recreational vehicles. The non use discharge rate is much lower in non use applications than liquid lead acid batteries. The charge rate is much faster also. Some automotive manufacturers are installing AGM batteries as their standard new car power source because of today’s higher vehicle power consumption. BMW right now is known to be the first to install AGM batteries in their 2007 models because of computer functions and braking.

AGM batteries are much better than liquid lead acid batteries but the downside of AGM batteries is you don’t overcharge them. They will charge faster with a normal output alternator up to 14.5 volts and a high output alternator is not needed. When an AGM battery is used in a non use vehicle a solar panel is recommended with a trickle charge. AGM batteries will go bad if charged over 14.5 volts. Most problems with charging AGM’s are in sports vehicles due to the rough environment they are used in. Toss away your old plug in garage battery charger and get a new one that maintains “Voltage” instead of amps. An AGM battery charger will sense a very low voltage in the battery and will start the recharge whereas an old charger does not sense low voltage and will not charge the battery.

These batteries are used in military vehicles that sit in storage for many years and start up after years in storage with no problem. I’ve read stories online where people have left their AGM batteries sitting in their garage for many years and they have retained their full charge. I use AGM batteries in my vehicles and disconnect the negative cable in the one that I don’t use that often anymore and it starts right up when I run the engine occasionally. I’ve read complaints about the AGM failing often but that’s only because of bad practices with them or using them in systems where the charging exceeds the recommended level. You can leave these batteries sitting for long periods of time without charging them but it’s recommended that a solar panel with an extremely low trickle charge be used when not in use. Again I will say from my own experiences is to disconnect the negative cable to the battery when not in use.

The AGM vs Gel and the wet cell? The AGM has thicker plates that tend to not warp that easily during deep discharges and resist sulfur buildup’s that destroy a wet cell battery. Wet cell batteries usually go bad after 4 years if they make it that length of time. The life expectancy of the AGM battery can be up to 10 years if not overcharged. Gel cell batteries are great for sports vehicles but tend to charge slower.

The Winner Is, “Absorbed Glass Mat” if you learn how to take care of them properly.

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Gambling: Online Casino

Gambling is considered to be an activity that involves betting on the outcome of a contest, playing a game for money, or paying for the opportunity to enter a lottery. It is a very old form of entertainment and one that will be with us as long as we continue betting. The pleasure of gambling comes from the very real risk of losing even your most prized possession. On the opposite side, gambling comes from wagering valuables or material things one cannot afford to lose. In a nutshell, gambling though how entertaining it is has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Gambling, which most people would really enjoy, could be of many different forms which include scratch tickets, pull tab tickets, bingo games, mahjong, charity raffles, lottery tickets, betting on sports games or casino games.

Casino games can be considered most common among people and it is commonly played in almost every country around the world. These days people could be entertained by just playing casino games online. Online casinos, also considered as internet or virtual casinos are online adaptations of traditional casinos that most people liked playing many years ago.

A casino game is similar with the land-based casinos that offer odds and payback percentages. Some of them claim higher payback percentages for slot machine games and make known to people payout percentage on their websites or homepages. The payout percentage for the games, being played by gamblers is established by the rules of the game.

Today, most people seem to be bombarded with lots of negative things. For this reason, they would really take up gambling though just from time to time yet soon it becomes their habits.

Gambling is undeniably fun and casinos create an exhilarating atmosphere, and there is always that slim chance of winning a fortune. Today whatever game you desire playing, the casinos available online could always provide you fun and excitement. It easy to find virtual casinos and if you have already chosen the game you want to bet on then you have to get ready and make a deposit, you will be entitled for some terrific first deposit bonuses for sure.There are various online casinos that could provide players free casino credits which can be credited into their real player account once they have met all wagering requirements.

Various online casinos with no deposits could provide players free of charge bonuses to try out the casino games available. Some casinos offer or give players up to $150 of free bonuses but on the other hand, the normal amount a casino could give is between $10 up to $25 only. Most online casinos have their own verification process to make sure the gambler or the person playing is really the one whom registered. This is to ensure their protection.

Here is a few of the casino sites that you could play at online.

1. BET365 CASINO

2. GAMING CLUB

3. GO WILD

4. CRAZY VEGAS

5. CASINO CLASSIC

6. GOLDEN RIVIERA

7. INTERCASINO

8. JACKPOT CITY

9. PLATINUM PLAY

10. RIVER BELLE

These are just a few of the so many casinos available nowadays.

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