Preparing for the Holidays

Preparing for the Holidays

The weather is turning colder, the clock has returned to Standard Time, and the holiday season looms before us. Already I am seeing candy canes on display in supermarkets! This makes me wonder if you are doing the necessary preparations in your business to make sure this holiday season is well-organized and profitable.

What can you be doing right now to get ready? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Make sure your inventory is stocked sufficiently and numbers are accurate. Eliminate errors now that could cost you sales later!
  • See those products on display are all labeled. Customers find it annoying when prices aren’t readily available.
  • Add needed information on your receipts, like return policy.
  • Clean up the store and arrange displays for best customer visibility. Polish that glass front door.
  • Make sure you have on hand sufficient gift cards; these are always a favorite for holiday gift-giving!
  • Update/prepare to use your customer information to send flyers and emails to advertise holiday sales.
  • Install newer, faster hardware, like printers or scanners. Waiting until the last minute to take care of your business “tools” could become a real hassle once the season begins.
  • Make sure that your security system is up to date. Remember, this is prime time for unscrupulous scamming.
  • Arrange for new employees’ training now to avoid problems later.
  • Consistently back up all of your files in case of the unexpected, like power outages from winter storms, or malicious ransomware attacks.

We can help you with many of these preparations, (but we don’t do windows!). All it takes is a quick call to 485-672-4806, or you can email us. We’re here to help you have a great holiday season!

Marlene

Beware of Fake Emails

Beware of Fake Emails

Recently, I have noticed a great increase of emails, both at home and at work, that appear to come from legitimate sources, but are bogus emails. Sent under recognizable names, either personal or professional, the sender wants you to open the attachment so your information can be stolen, a virus installed, and your computer shut down for a ransom.

The fake emails that come to me most often are supposedly from my daughter, who lives in another state and works for a university. The email address looks correct, yet the subject information is something that I know my daughter would never say to me. The first thing I did, before opening the first one like this, was to call her and ask if she sent me an email. When she said, “No,” I immediately set my computer to block further emails from this address. That worked for a while, but now they have returned with a small change from the original email address used. Hackers can be very sneaky.

Other malicious emails I have received say they are from UPS about a package that may have been lost, from the Internal Revenue Service about a tax I supposedly owe, and from DHL about a delivery.

The best way to deal with fake emails is to install a good anti-virus program, and also use extreme caution before opening any attachment that looks even remotely “fishy.” Carefully assess the email address, subject line, and even the language used. Ask yourself if this is an expected email, or something unexpected. Be careful and be safe!

If you ever think you may have been hacked, call us at once for help. Our techs can work with you to get you back on track! Our number Is 425-672-4806 or you can email us.

Marlene

Minor Changes That Make a Difference

 

Minor Changes That Make a Difference

So you’ve had your new system for a while, and everything seems to be going along pretty well. You have noticed, however, that there are a few minor changes that you would like to make, but are unsure about how to go about making those changes.

Perhaps you would like your receipts to contain more information about your return policy or your product descriptions to be expanded. Maybe your labels are printing incorrectly, or your employees have not mastered how to change passwords.

Do you need a report, but don’t know how to go about setting it up? Do you have a new user and need help adding this person into your system? Maybe you need to purge files to speed up your system.

Don’t put off fixing those little ongoing issues that can make your business run more smoothly when properly addressed. We can help you with all of these things and much more! Call us today at 425-672-4806 or email us at support.

Marlene

Calling for Support

Calling for Support

Having something go wrong with your system or software is often a stressful problem that costs you time, money, and physical distress. When you need our help, our aim is to give you fast, accurate, and worry-free assistance. We do, however, need a little help from you when you call in for support.

We know that your “hair is on fire”, but it helps us serve you better if you have, at hand, the information we need to get rolling:

  • Your name, and who to contact if a return call is needed.
  • Your company name.
  • Your telephone number and extension, if it is required. Remember that in today’s world, people call from landlines and cell phones, and from many different extension numbers! You may think our tech has your number already, but it may not be the one you’re using now.
  • The location of the store(s) having the problem (many of our customers have multiple stores).
  • A brief explanation of the issue. From this, we can determine who is available and can best handle the problem that you’re encountering. It helps if you can relate what task you were doing when the problem began.

Remember, when speed is essential in getting your problem addressed, it helps to have the necessary information gathered before you call for support!

Marlene

About Procrastination

About Procrastination

Sometimes when things become a little hectic, we tend to put off doing some of the things that we know should be done. As an example, a few weeks ago my computer monitor started doing some unusual things. It would occasionally “flicker” when I was using my computer, and sometimes it would not turn off or on as it should. I delayed taking care of the issue for a while because I could still coax the monitor into usage, usually.

Of course, it eventually “died,” and of course it “died” when I was expecting emailed copies of important tax documents, airline tickets, and medical information, all of which could not be accessed with no computer monitor! I had to drop everything and look into monitor replacement options.

This type of procrastination can happen in the office as well. What have you been putting off? Maybe you need a software upgrade. Maybe you or your employees need some additional training on the use of your POS Software. Maybe you need to re-arrange your office for better efficiency and need help moving your technical equipment safely. Perhaps you just haven’t gotten around to paying your Subscription Renewal!

CCS is here to help you with those occasional “glitches” that cause interference with your POS operations. Sometimes it can be something unexpected, like a power outage that shuts you down. Often it is an issue that could have been prevented if it had been addressed sooner, rather than later.

Don’t procrastinate! We can help you find and fix the problems that interfere with your day-to-day business before they become greater issues that can happen at inopportune times.

Our phone number is 425-672-4806, or you can email us.

Marlene

How Can Retailers Succeed in an Unpredictable Future?

How Can Retailers Succeed in an Unpredictable Future?

We’ve heard it voiced many times that “the only thing in life that doesn’t change is change itself.” The expression seems to fit what’s currently happening in the world of retail sales. As technology continues to progress at an astonishing speed, retailers are scrambling to accommodate the changes while looking for new ways to keep present customers and attract new ones. The question is, “How can this be done?”

In an article for National Retail Federation, Kristina Stewart presents five suggestions from Trevor Hardy, CEO of The Future Laboratory. The suggestions (shown below) are based on the need for retailers to renew corporate/brand trust, which Hardy deems to be at an all-time low in the world today.

Use of radical transparency. An example would be the use of plain language on packaging, rather than marketing buzzwords, showing customers clearly what’s in a product. (What exactly does “organic” mean, anyway?)

Providing civic duty and education. Finding ways to act as a force for good in society, such as sponsoring a charity drive, or furnishing opportunities for customers to learn a new lifestyle or creative skill at their favorite store.

Supplying better service. Rather than just being facilitators to customers in a store, staff should focus on being in-store influencers, which humanizes the retail experience.

Increase localism. Customers want a connection to the brands they support with their dollars. Look to sourcing from local providers. (My community, for example, has many independent wineries)

“Explorium” retail. Technology has to a great degree taken the joy out of shopping for many. Retailers can profit by reintroducing complexity in the shopping experience, such as focusing on ways for customers to appreciate the journey more. Turning the store into a performance venue for a month or two, for example, would allow customers to enjoy the store differently.

Reestablishing consumer trust is a long-term technique that leads to greater success for businesses. Using the above guidelines will go a long way in providing that success.

Marlene

What Consumers Want – 2018

What Consumers Want – 2018

With the closure of so many retail stores in recent news, we might wonder if brick and mortar stores are becoming a thing of the past. A more accurate assessment is that they are changing to accommodate current trends.

In a recent National Retail Federation article by Katie Jordan, five retail concepts to watch for this year were outlined. These are research-backed trends outlining what consumers want available to them when they shop. Below is a condensed list of the findings.

The ability to buy online, but pick up in the store. (I did this recently with a refurbished computer and found it quite convenient!)

The ability to “talk” with a virtual assistant. (Like Alexa) This helps with researching what it is you are looking to buy.

Availability of “showroom stores”. These stores provide samples but do not have inventory on hand. Interestingly, I encountered one of these showroom stores when I visited Italy a few years ago. Customers could view models with dresses and then order what they wanted to buy, without having to tote packages home.

The ability to try out products before purchasing (Experimental Retail).Already being used in many retail stores (think cosmetics), this is now being expanded, like offering cooking classes in a store that sells cookware.

Availability of food service On-Site. Many consumers enjoy eating while shopping, so retail stores with on-site cafes are becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger shoppers. It’s a form of entertainment as well as a shopping expedition!

Change is inevitable. Stores that survive are the ones that stay abreast of customer needs. Are you meeting your customers’ needs?

Marlene

Spring Cleaning Time!

Spring Cleaning Time!

Most of us think of spring as a good time for thoroughly cleaning and airing out our home. It’s also a good time for cleaning our computers and peripherals! To remove dust accumulation inside your computer that can clog heatsinks and fans, overheat components, and throttle performance. If this persists, performance is affected, and lifespan of the system can be reduced. Shorts may also result, causing damage to parts.

As to peripherals–keyboards, mice, and headphones can harbor volumes of bacteria from constant use. The number of bacteria is multiplied when computers are shared with other users. Remember, not everyone washes their hands as frequently as they should and often leave behind lots of unhealthy, gross stuff on the surface of whatever they touch!

Many good websites give step-by-step directions on how to safely clean computers and peripherals. One click is all you need to find out how to do the job the right way.

While you’re at it, why not clean out some of those old files that are no longer needed and free up some space on your computer? Removing old will also help speed up performance.

Need some help doing this? CCS is here to assist you! Call us today at 425-672-4806 or email us to get that spring cleaning done by experts!

Marlene

How to Help Us Help You!

How to Help Us Help You!

When we receive calls for support help, we want to assist you as quickly as possible. For that reason, we assign numbers to each request as it is received. These numbers appear on work orders (or tickets) that are given to the technician who will provide the service to you.

Many of our customers have multiple sites, and sometimes we get calls for support from several of these sites all at the same time. Because this happens, a technician may be working simultaneously on multiple issues for the same company, but for different sites. Each issue, however, will have a separate assigned number. This number can be given to you by the technician on the initial call.

When it’s necessary for you to return a call to a technician on an open issue, it saves a lot of time and confusion if you mention the open ticket number of the issue. Therefore, you won’t have to explain the entire problem again before the call is put through.

One other reminder—be sure to provide the phone number where you want to be called if it’s necessary for the technician to call you back. Customers call us from their office, from home, and from cell phones. If you think the tech “has your number,” it might not be the one you want to be used today.

We’re here to help you at 425-672-4806 or email us.

Marlene

About Your Counterpoint Subscription Renewal

About Your Counterpoint Subscription Renewal

When I was visiting the dentist as a child, I complained about having to floss my teeth every day. When I asked the dentist why I had to do this, he replied, “You only have to floss the ones you want to keep!”

I think about this quip when I send out Subscription Renewal notices for Counterpoint. Sometimes people will question why it’s necessary to be current on their renewals, but there are many reasons. It depends on what you want to keep!

  • Do you want to keep your system up-to-date with feature enhancements such as critical updates and corrections?
  • Do you want to keep PCI DSS compliant and be able to access the CP Dashboard?
  • Do you want to keep the ability to purchase additional users, options, or remote sites from your Counterpoint Reseller?
  • Do you want to keep the ability to participate in the Counterpoint User Forum discussion area for sharing information with other Counterpoint users?

All of these important features (and more!) allow you to fully utilize options that can save you time, money, and hard work.

Keep current—keep your Subscription Renewal up-to-date!

Questions? Call us today at 425-672-4806 or email us. We have the answers to your needs!

Marlene