A Random, Funny Thought

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I was laying in bed last night looking up at the stars in the sky when I thought to myself

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Where the heck is my ceiling?!?!

Why Everyone Should Own a Pick Up Truck! :)

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One of the defining things about our homeland is the popularity of pickup trucks compared to other countries, especially in Europe and Asia. This love for pickup trucks is not just a perception but fact backed up by real sales numbers. According to Kelly Blue Book, full-size trucks made up 15% of the sales in 2017 while the top three spots for the most vehicles sold here in 2017 are occupied by trucks. At position three is the Ram with 500,723 cars sold, at position two is the Chevrolet Silverado with 585,564 units sold and at the top position with a considerable margin is the Ford F-Series with 896,764 units sold. More important still is the fact that each of these pickup trucks all recorded growth in sales from the previous year while other car segments recorded dips in sales.

Of the millions buying pickup trucks, a good number is men. In a world largely appreciating the advantages of a small car, the pickup truck has retained its attraction as a solid and useful option. Regardless of trade, location, and preferences of an individual, owning a pickup truck has become something to look forward to and even expected of any man. Though a number of them have yet to appreciate its important role, there is no doubt, any man could benefit from having a pickup truck parked in the driveway. Here are a number of reasons why everyone should own a pickup at least once in his life.

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Men love tools and toys and they do not come better or more complete than a pickup. A pickup completes your tool collection, providing storage and means to easily ferry your other tools. In itself it is the perfect tool to solve a number of problems. Whether you are looking for a farm workhorse or an instrument to ferry items at a construction site and anything in between, you can rely on your truck to complete it all with minimum fuss. All the tools you will need for the task can be accommodated in different capacities, something not even an SUV can provide with great range.

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One major worry for all car buyers is the value they get from their car. As a person, being able to get the most for your money is a quality to build and owning a truck provides you that in multiple ways.

Firstly, trucks are affordable in their base models and even when you start racking up the options, each offers a distinct quality that is worth the money. More than that, you get a vehicle that can serve diverse needs at a cost that is a bargain compared to deals offered by SUVs, sedans and compact cars.

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If you are a person who truly loves cars, then a trip on a muddy and uneven track or road is something you look forward to. The rough and tumble is where you can truly tell if your machine will last and suit your demands. Even if you do not fancy terrains such as riverbeds, sand, mud gravel and other off-roading surfaces, necessity can still get you in such a situation and you want to be well prepared and not stuck with a sedan in snow or having to cancel your trips, especially with your family because of the condition of the terrain. There is nothing as thrilling as beating the rough and tumble conditions nature can offer.

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Some cars come with pretty demanding maintenance schedules or simply lack any challenge that makes the maintenance process fun. With a pickup truck, there is a lot you can do on your own with only the manual to follow. The whole cleaning process, along with fitting new parts and options is simple in the sense that it does not call for much technical knowledge in the application, but is also challenging enough to land on your top DIY projects list. Much of the upgrading can be done over time and you will derive fun with cost-effective hacks for improving your truck.

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Visibility can be a serious challenge in most cars especially in busy traffic or around corners. Most cars limit one to just a few meters while SUVs with stronger roof frames end up hampering visibility. Besides, knowing the positioning of other road users is much more comfortable when they can see without much straining, the road beneath them and the margins on both sides.

A pickup truck, with its size and height, offers you increased visibility than any other car even while on a busy road you can easily see over the cars ahead and behind you. This allows you to have better anticipation and aids an easier driving experience.

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While in the hauling department a pickup is largely used for work, it is in the towing of stuff where adventure is had.

Whether you are looking for a reliable way to move the camping van, tow your boat to the river, pull a stuck car or move around with a trailer for extra storage capacity, a pickup is always ready.

As usual, the towing capacity differs across the range of the different segments and car makers. Again the Honda Ridgeline has the least capacity having 5000 pounds while at the other end of the spectrum is the Ford F-350 with the largest towing capacity of 21,000 pounds.

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The one thing modern cars seem to struggle with is providing all the necessary and fancy amenities while still providing you with enough space to enjoy all that. It is always like you have to compromise something; it could be the leg room the driver’s cabin, the middle, rear passenger seat, the boot and where a luxurious option provides the needed space, you pay with head and leg room and sometimes it even hurts just sitting there.

Thankfully, the interior of trucks is roomier than what you even get in SUVs and at a fraction of the price of all these cars. There is hardly any sacrifice of compromise on space and you can pack the whole family in along with pets and toys.

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Ultimately, there is a manly image and ego to think about. Just like women find the guy in the truck attractive, so does the rest of society.

A man in a truck is deemed more in control than the show off in a loud sports cars and more capable of handling things than the guy in a sedan or even worse the guy in a compact hybrid car.

Every guy needs such an impression every once in a while, so getting a pickup will show that you can handle responsibility and know how to take care of things. Of course, it will only work if your truck is clean and well maintained.

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he biggest perk that comes with owning a truck is the satisfaction it brings. Getting a truck and customizing it to your needs and preferences is an achievement that every man should experience. There is the fun part of going for adventures as well as modifying it and there is also the sense of confidence it provides knowing that you are ready for any transport challenge that may happen. The happiness of lying in the bed of the truck with your date or effortlessly getting your family or friends to a campsite is only known by people who have owned a truck.

So, what are you waiting for!? Go out and buy that Truck Today! 🙂

The Reasons to Use a Private Jet

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There are many reasons to use private jets. The main general reasons that we hear most often are listed below. The specific pros and cons of the different forms of private aircraft travel are discussed in our articles on each travel type.

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  • Time saving – this is one of the most significant reasons for using private aircraft. Depending on your program you can have an aircraft ready in just a few hours. You can arrive at the airport just minutes before your scheduled departure time, fly directly to your destination (without any layovers), make productive use of your time onboard, avoid overnight stays (saving hotel $ as well as time), avoid waiting in lines at the airport, land at over 5,000 airports in the US and so be closer to your destination. All of this can provide significant savings in both productive time and in dollars. Productivity – the time savings above provide significantly more productive time, both onboard and before and after your flight. You and your staff can make the most of the travel time to talk business or work with customers, suppliers or partners.
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  • Convenience – There are over 5,000 airports in the US that private planes can use (vs 500 airports for larger commercial aircraft). This means you can often land closer to your true destination. In the summer of 2006 the ban on liquids caused all sorts of inconveniences for people flying commercially, but private flyers avoided all this. Private planes also mean that you can travel with your special belongings such as instruments, sports gear, product samples or bring your pet in the cabin.
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  • Flexibility – Planes can be available at a few hours notice and can wait for you if you’re running late. It’s even possible to change flight plans in mid flight if necessary.
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  • Quality of service – Private planes provide luxury furnishings, plenty of space, individualized attention, and your preferred food and drinks can be ordered ahead of time.
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  • Family time – spend more time with your friends and family by reducing travel time and not having to spend as many overnights away from home.
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  • Privacy – you can hold meetings and make productive use of your time, without being over heard. Your overall travel will also be far less visible when you’re on a private plane, so helping preserve the secrecy around important negotiations or deals.
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  • Reduced stress – without the lines, waiting, lost luggage, transfers, delay concerns or security issues of commercial flights you’ll be a lot more relaxed.
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  • Image – a private plane projects a well run, efficient, successful individual or organization, that values time and can afford private air travel.

How do I charter a plane? Determining the best way to book a private aircraft is easier than most travelers may think. While certain details are required when chartering a plane vs. what’s needed when purchasing a ticket from a commercial airline operator, the booking process itself is fairly similar. Charter plane operators offer custom-tailored services and personal attention which lends to an enhanced traveling and booking experience.

There are multiple ways to Charter a Private Jet Aircraft. You can locate an operator in your area, a company who owns the aircraft, or, you can google and find a broker who will locate an aircraft for your particular trip.

Now is the time to check it out…

MOUNT RUSHMORE – A PLACE I WOULD LIKE TO VISIT

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a large-scale mountain sculpture by artist Gutzon Borglum. The figures of America’s most prominent U.S. presidents–George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt—represent 150 years of American history.

The Memorial is located near Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota, roughly 30 miles from Rapid City.

Each year, approximately three million tourists from all over the world visit Mount Rushmore to experience this patriotic site. Today, the wonder of the mountain reverberates through every visitor. The four “great faces” of the presidents tower 5,725 feet above sea level and are scaled to men who would stand 465 feet tall.

There are many amenities at the site including  the Mount Rushmore Audio Tour, Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center & Museum, the Presidential Trail, Youth Exploration Area, Sculptor’s Studio, a parking garage with R.V. parking, pet exercise areas, , the Carvers Café, Memorial Ice Cream Shop, Gift Shop and the Mount Rushmore Bookstores.

Construction.  There are some exciting upgrades coming to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The enhancements will address deferred maintenance, visitor safety and accessibility to the memorial. Please note that the memorial is OPEN during construction. There are lots of things to see and do while construction is going on at Mount Rushmore. Below is a TOP 10 LIST OF THINGS TO DO AT MOUNT RUSHMORE.

Viewing Mount Rushmore Still Possible During Construction Project.  While the visitor center is unavailable during the construction project, you are still able to view Mount Rushmore from many areas throughout the memorial. Ask a park ranger in the Information Center for current information.

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DIRECTIONS: 

Visitors traveling on I-90 should exit at Rapid City and follow Highway 16 southwest to Keystone and then Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore. Visitors coming from the south should follow Highway 385 north to Highway 244, which is the road leading to the memorial.

History

HOURS: 

March 8 – October 31:
5:00 am – 11:00 pm

November 1 – March 12:
5:00 am to 11:00 pm

Mount Rushmore National Memorial facilities are open year-round, seven days a week, with December 25th being the exception.

FEES: 

You will not have to pay an entrance fee to visit Mount Rushmore National Monument, but there are parking fees.

Current Parking Fees (2019)

  • Cars, Motorcycles & RVs – $10 (Parking fee is for private passenger vehicles, valid for one year from date of purchase).
  • Seniors, 62 and older – $5 (Parking fee is for private passenger vehicles, valid for one year from date of purchase).
  • Active Duty Military – FREE (Parking fee is for private passenger vehicles, valid for one year from date of purchase).
  • Commercial Tour Bus – $50 (Valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase).
  • School Bus – $25 (Valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase).

The National Park Annual Park Pass, Federal interagency, military, senior and access passes are not accepted as Federal funding was not used in the building of the parking garage.

1. LOVE LIFE 2. DO GOOD 3. LIVE WELL

About 2 years before I started this website (around 2015), I was going through a spiritual phase I guess you could call it. (Still kinda am in this phase).  I was trying to figure out the purpose of my life, (What is my purpose here on earth)?  what I wanted to do, be, and how I wanted to contribute. I had a lot of thoughts flowing through my mind about what sort of life I wanted to create and experience and came up with a short phrase to remind me what is truly important to me and that’s how, “Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.” came to be. This is my interpretation.

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Love Life

In essence, to me this means to love everything around me, people, nature, moments, experiences, spirituality, and so on. It’s about realizing that life is a gift. It’s about cherishing the relationships and bonds that I have with the people in my life. It’s about remembering that life would be pretty lame without them. It’s about loving myself for who I am and seeing enough in myself to follow my dreams.

It’s often easy to forget these things with all of the challenges and stress that goes on in everyday life but if you’ve ever had the experience of seeing a loved one going through their final days, you may realize that most of the little things people fuss about isn’t all that significant in the whole grand scheme of things and even the little moments of happiness can mean the world to you.

Something as simple as flying a kite at the park can suddenly be one of the cherished memories you have that can bring you to tears. It’s about remembering that our time here is limited and not to waste too much of it doing pointless things. We only live once so we gotta make this life count.

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Do Good

This basically means to give back. Whether it’s donating time, money, sharing my knowledge or anything else, as long as I’m making some positive impact, then I feel like I’m doing something to contribute to the world no matter how small.

You may be in a position where giving is tough. Whether you don’t have much money or much time, giving isn’t always an easy thing to do. If you’re in this situation, then work hard on improving your life and putting yourself in a better position to help others. Some people just do enough to help themselves and that’s fine. However, if you ever have the urge to do so, consider reaching beyond your own needs. The feeling of making a positive impact on someone’s life is just amazing.

Doing good doesn’t have to be anything big either. It could be anything from creating music that others will enjoy to making videos that put a smile on people’s face to running a marathon for some cause to inspiring people to giving some of your time to making a small donation to your favorite charity.

It’s also a reminder to just be kind to people. Sure, we all have our differences but who’s to say that if you grew up in the other person’s shoes that you wouldn’t end up being the same way? Although the media makes this world look like a crap hole, I believe that there are way more good people than bad people in this world.

If you strip away the outer layer, you’ll find that most of us want the same things. We want to be loved, be accepted, feel secure, and know that our existence matters to someone.

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Live Well

To me, this means to live a healthy as well as a financially successful life. You could have lots of money but if your health isn’t great, you’ll have a hard time enjoying life. If you have great health but no money, you’ll be working all day just to pay the bills.

I realize that money isn’t everything but people with money can do a lot more in terms of inspiring and helping others than people who are flat out broke and are solely focused on making ends meet.

Imagine being in a position where money wasn’t an issue. Think about how much more you can do with an extra 40 hours a week. You could do what you have a passion for. You could learn new skills. You could travel and explore new places, meet new people, and create moments that will last a life time.

Being in a position where you work because you want to instead of working because you have to will make life a lot more enjoyable.

Taking care of your health shouldn’t be something you start doing only after your doctor tells you some bad news. Another piece of junk food isn’t going to harm you. Another cigarette isn’t going to kill you. Not exercising today won’t matter much to your health. However, doing these things each day over a certain amount of time will destroy your health.

It takes some discipline but would you rather be 54 and healthy or living each day in pain, having tubes hooked up to you, and feeling bad for being a burden on your loved ones?

Love Life. Do Good. Live Well. – These are the words that remind me each day of what’s truly important to me.

Until next time…

Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.

Just Some Random Thoughts

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In every second

With every breath

Universes expand and collapse

Endless opportunities open up

And disappear

The countless choices we have

But don’t see

Vanish with the blink of our eye

Due to the trodden paths of our own perception

Our soul

Suffocated

In seas of limiting beliefs

Fears

Of the judgement of others

And Expectations that burden us

Our own creative force

Drained

But it’s a choice

That everyone faces

Every single moment

Choose to be the creator

Or be a victim

It is up to you

It’s a jump

Trust is the safety net

And bliss the prize

Boost Your CUSTOMER SERVICE With These Tips

Customer service involves much more than answering questions over the phone. Responding to tickets through email, live chat, and social media are equally important communication channels for customers. While there’s plenty of overlap in the customer service skills required to do a great job, each customer service channel benefits from a unique approach to these skills.

For example, there are important customer service skills associated with phone support, such as empathy, the ability to “read” a customer’s emotional state, clear communication, and friendliness. But things emotional cues are much harder to read in writing, so additional customer service skills for newer customer-facing channels need to be developed and improved upon (in order to make those channels more viable for customers).

Whether you’re interviewing or brushing up your customer service skills for your resume, it’s good to remember that most customer support managers aren’t just interviewing for technical skills. They’ll be looking for team members that can demonstrate real customer service skills.

The following examples are the good customer service skills that all customer service professionals strive to master:

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1. Smile, literally

Smiles translate through the phone but should be used at appropriate times. You don’t want your customer service to come off as inauthentic, but you should still always be cordial during conversations. Smile as you would in a face-to-face conversation while responding to questions and conveying necessary information.

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2. Mirror a customer’s’ language and tone

Part of the job in customer service is mirroring a customer’s language and tone. Mirroring another person’s language and tone can help create a connection. That said, if a customer is angry, you don’t want to copy their frustration. Instead, you can try increasing your volume just a little and then quickly work to bring the intensity down a notch. Customers respond well when the help they’re receiving is coming from someone who’s clearly level-headed.

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3. Listen first, then validate the problem

When customers are upset or frustrated, they might not be able to take in what you say—even if it’s the right answer. Listen first, let them calm down, and then try to help solve their problems. Empathy is a crucial ability in customer service, so make sure you know exactly what you’re showing empathy towards.

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4. Acknowledge the customer

Customers need to feel heard, so tell them that you understand the reason for their call. They’ll appreciate the touch of empathy and it’ll go a long way towards making an angry customer’s experience much better. Customer service that accurately recognizes what ails the customer comes off as more human and reflects well on the company.

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5. Summarize your help

You’ve got to listen to a customer’s problems in order to repeat information to them with supportive language, and do so in a way that summarizes the help that you’re providing them. Being able to adequately communicate all that you’re doing to help is a top job skill for customer service agents.

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6. Communicate hold times

Even if you’ve just handled a call really well, you can lose a customer by leaving them on hold for too long. This is especially true if you haven’t set their expectations first—it will make them feel like their questions don’t matter, and ultimately reflects poorly on your customer service and your company’s reputation.

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7. Use templates, not boilerplates

For efficient customer service, you’ll want to use templates that include some pre-written text. At Zendesk, we call them macros. Templates are like guidelines—they shouldn’t be overly rigid and unwavering, but can provide a helpful structure for common responses (like a list for step-by-step responses). Even though the whole team can use it, you’ll want to personalize your own answer before replying to customers. This leads to a more personal interaction (and a more fulfilling customer service job).

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8. Make a template your own (with a personal spin)

It’s okay to use your own voice and approach when providing customer service, even as you reflect your company’s persona and philosophies. Think about how you might make your own signature unique or consider different ways to close the email depending on the tone and resolution of the interaction.

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9. Be considerate of timeframes

Emails, especially a first response, need to be answered within a defined timeframe. A great email support agent will prioritize their responses by urgency and how long they’ve been sitting for. There’s a chance your customer was spoiled during the sales process and expects similar treatment in customer service—having a great customer service platform will help make that responsibility easier.

10. Imitate the customer’s language and phrasing in text

Similar to phone support, it’s great to mirror a customer’s language or phrasing in an email to show them that you understand and acknowledge their issue. This helps to create rapport and establishes a better relationship, making it easier for them to receive the information they need.

11. Always use a considerate tone over email or text

Tone can be hard to decipher over chat, especially since the responses can be short, quick, and incomplete. It’s an essential customer service skill to choose your words carefully. A good rule of thumb is to use a gentle, informative tone—patience is a critical ability when faced with a very frustrated customer.

12. Be comfortable with multitasking

Live chat agents are expected to handle more than one chat at a time, which is a skill in itself. Great multitaskers don’t lose sight of the bigger picture as they’re bombarded by questions. Be careful not to handle too many chats, or else your customers will be waiting too long between responses. You can always put a chat “on hold” if you need more time to find an answer, but just like with phone support, set their expectations first!

13. Look for cues if something is unclear

Sometimes it’s harder for customers to express themselves by writing, so don’t read too quickly and jump to conclusions. It takes a lot of training to understand the nuances of different customers, but it’s part of what makes someone successful at a job in customer service. For example, someone that works in sales might come off as assertive while you’re providing them support, while an engineer might need complex technical details to see their problem solved. Being able to read specific cues is a problem-solving skill that can give agents a better idea of how they can help.

14. On social media, (almost) always respond

Always respond to a customer’s social post—especially when they need help. Even if you can’t answer right away, make quick initial contact with them and let them know where and when you’ll respond. Providing speedy responses means you’ve got to be adept in addressing a customer’s problem in a precise and polite tone.

15. Don’t take obvious bait

The exception to “always respond” is when you are confronted with an obvious attempt to create an altercation in a public space. These comments are often directed at the company itself, and sometimes other people will quickly take the bait. Most organizations know they can’t afford to have a customer service agent who makes mistakes on social media. The damage to the company’s reputation can be far-reaching.

16. Determine if something should be handled by support or another department

Social media contacts occasionally walk a line between something that should be handled by support and something that should be handled by marketing. It’s an important skill that an agent will know what should be a ticket and what should be forwarded to another team.

Agents need customer service skills specific to each support channel

The best customer service employee will be able to move easily between channels and solve problems with the skills that best suit each channel. If you can hone your ability to practice empathy and communicate your product knowledge with customers, you’ll be a rock star in customer service.

What follows are our tips and solutions for improving your skills by specific channels, excerpted from the eBook Customer Service Skills You Need.

Phone support: How’s your “phone voice”?

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Some say we wear our emotions on our sleeve, but others might say we convey our emotions through our voice. Customer service employees know from experience how frustration and anger translates through the phone lines. And, of course, that communication is a two-way street; phone agents reading from a script must consider their tone.

The following are what’s needed for skilled phone support:

  1. Smile, literally
  2. Mirror a customer’s’ language and tone
  3. Listen first, then validate the problem
  4. Acknowledge the customer
  5. Summarize the problem
  6. Communicate hold times

Email support: You are not a robot

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Honing your writing skills is especially important when providing email support. The email response is arguably the most structured response and requires the most precision. You must write with clarity and brevity while detailing a list of issues while also taking the time to proofread and correct any mistakes.

Here’s what you’ll need for great email support in any situation:

  1. Use templates, not boilerplates
  2. Make the templates your own
  3. Respond in a defined timeframe
  4. Imitate a customer’s phrasing

Chat support: Multitasking is a key skill


Providing great live chat support requires a cross of phone and email skills. Chat is conversational and real-time, just like customer service over the phone, but it also requires strong writing skills.

Here’s what every great live chat agent needs to pay attention to:

  1. Use a gentle, informative tone
  2. Multitask
  3. Read customer cues

Social support calls for speedy deliveries


Social media support requires a combination of all of the above skills. When live chat isn’t available, customers turn to social media for an exceptionally fast response. The skillset required to provide customer service on social media is generally a bit advanced, and often saved for more senior or specialized customer service agents.

The following skills are crucial for social media support:

  1. (Almost) always respond
  2. React carefully to confrontation
  3. Differentiate social media tickets

Just Some Points To Ponder…

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As far as jobs or hobbies go, blogging is one of the more fulfilling options out there. We all have something that we’d like to get off our chest and some knowledge to share with others. However, while blogging can be fun and fulfilling, it can also be challenging. Delve a little deeper into it and you will need change the way you think to adapt. If you spend a lot of time doing something you will get better at it and achieve a certain degree of mastery, which in turn will teach you some important life lessons. There is a lot to learn from the journey and blogging on a regular basis can definitely give you some unique insights.

1. It doesn’t take much to get started in a new direction

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All it takes to get started with a new project in your life is to make that initial leap of faith. Once you’ve resolved to make a change you can jump right in. The progress will be gradual but you can make huge progress initially if you are driven. With some research and a bit of practice you can learn how to run a successful blog and apply the principles that the pros use right from the start. This works for other parts of life quite well.

Want to get in shape? Find a sound, well-written beginner program and do your research on the right type of exercise and nutrition that will allow you to reach your goals. Then you just stick with it and give it your 100% on a regular basis. Getting started is surprisingly easy. Even if it’s something that you’ve never done before, it’s the consistency and motivation part that trips people up.

2. There is always more work to be done

At first it seems like you can spend an hour or two of your free time at the computer typing away and manage to run a blog without it really affecting your life in a big way. When you start to take it seriously your research can take you in several directions and you will start learning more and more on a subject.

You will become interested in a few different topics – you brush up on your grammar, work on improving your vocabulary, look at some writing tips, search the web for good pictures or gifs, start doing your own DIY projects or shop around for cool tech gadgets, you spend a few hours on social media… If you decide to do something meaningful you will want to do it well, and you will learn that there is always more work to be done. Self-improvement is a never-ending story and the more effort you put in, the more benefits you reap.

3. You may have hidden talents that you never knew about

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We are all born with certain strengths and weaknesses. As much as people like to say that everyone has equal opportunity, it’s hard not to argue that we all have some inborn talents that allow us to potentially reach a much higher level of skill in some areas; however we are often unaware of some of these talents.

Proven Strategies to Help Overcome Adversity

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More motivated. More confident. More competent.

It’s not until you start reading and writing about all kinds of different topics and try your hand at different disciplines that you start to realize just how much something suits you. Have you tried playing the guitar, cooking, creating DIY furniture, running or singing? You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you aren’t half bad at it – and that it gives you plenty of enjoyment.

4. All it takes to get good at something is time and patience

People always want to hear about secret knowledge and take shortcuts to achieving their goals. One of the biggest truths in life is that mastering something is all about boring repetition. It takes plenty of time to get really good and the most important virtues you can have are patience and grim determination. You always keep coming back to the basics, perfecting them so that you can build upon them and develop further. It may take you an entire afternoon to write 1000 words at first, but if you keep going and write 1000 words every day, you’ll eventually get to a point where things come naturally and motivation isn’t an issue.

5. A good daily routine will lead you to success

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The best way to ensure that you stay motivated enough to dedicate the necessary time into a project is to develop a routine. Human beings are creatures of habit and we tend to work best when we have a set schedule. You can try to write when the mood strikes, but it becomes too easy to procrastinate and a whole day can go by without a muse coming to inspire you. Once you start living by a simple schedule and break your day up into several routine tasks, you’ll quickly notice that you are able to get things done much more efficiently. You may even end up with more free time once you learn to be more productive.

6. Think twice before you speak

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It’s easy to get carried away and mention things that may not be completely accurate while talking about a subject. You can also throw around unverified information that you’ve heard somewhere at some point and regard it as a cold hard fact. When you share your thoughts with a large and ethnically diverse audience, you become aware of the importance of fact-checking and thinking about what you are going to say. The backlash in the comments can be a really sobering experience. Thankfully, among the hordes of hateful trolls there are always a few people out there who offer constructive criticism and correct you without trying to insult you in the process.

Critically considering the ideas you have, checking the credibility of the sources, looking at the possible implications and ways your words can potentially be misinterpreted – all these things allow you to express yourself better. By weighing your words carefully before you speak you ensure that you don’t spread misinformation, draw bad conclusions or come across as ignorant, arrogant or offensive.

7. Don’t try to impose your views on others – be tolerant of different opinions

A mistake a lot of new bloggers tend to make is to stick to their specific views and paint them as the “right way” or *cue dramatic music* “the truth”. Things are never black and white; every issue has a wide plethora of vibrant colors, each with a bunch of unique shades. If you believe that you are objectively right because you have personal experience and plenty of facts to back you up, then you can calmly and respectfully critique someone’s claims. Don’t just dismiss beliefs and opinions of others (especially on polarizing topics) as “bad” or “dumb”. You should always come from a place of understanding and be open for an intelligent discussion.

8. Don’t waste your energy on things that aren’t important

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You can sometimes get so caught up in the minutiae that you forget about the big picture, or you end up wasting a lot of time on little things like weighing up which phrase to use or choosing just the right picture. I’ll be the first to say that the devil is in the details, but beyond a certain point your eye for detail becomes an obsession which limits your productivity. Adopt the 80/20 rule to life: focus 80% of your time on a few things that can give you the greatest results and 20% of time on everything else. Another way in which this applies to life is that you shouldn’t waste your energy on people who drain you emotionally and whose company you don’t enjoy. Keep good company and focus on developing connections with people that can help you move forward and improve.

Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time blogging will agree that you get a whole lot more out of the experience than just the satisfaction you get from writing about what you love. There are plenty of important life lessons that you learn along the way and these can be applied to virtually any facet of life in order to better yourself and become happier.

Want To Step Up Your FOCUS? Then you Need To Read This…

Keep It Simple

Whether you want to be a Jeopardy! champion or just need to remember where you parked your car, here are 11 things you can do right now to turn your mind from a sieve into a steel trap.

Keep It Simple

1. Concentrate for 8 Seconds.

These days we’re all about things being faster. That’s why this advice is invaluable: When you really need to remember something, concentrate on it for at least 8 seconds. That can seem like a long time when you’re running around trying to get a million things done, but it is worth it. Studies have shown that 8 seconds is the minimum amount of time it takes for a piece of information to go from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

Keep It Simple

2. Don’t Walk Through a Doorway.

We’ve all walked into a room and suddenly realized we can’t remember why we needed to be there in the first place. Don’t worry, you’re not getting more forgetful—chances are it was the act of walking through a doorway that made you go completely blank. Researchers found that participants in both virtual and real-world studies were far more likely to forget what object they had just placed in a container if they were asked right after walking through a doorway than if they carried the object the same distance in a single room. Scientists have yet to figure out why, but something about entering a new place seems to restart our memory.

Keep It Simple

3. Make a Fist.

If you’re having trouble remembering things at work, get a stress ball. The act of clenching your fist, if done correctly, can significantly improve your ability to recall information. Studies show that if you are right-handed, you should make a fist with your right hand before you try to memorize a piece of information. Then when you need to remember it, clench your left hand (the process is reversed for lefties.) Be sure to hold that position for a little while though; the study that discovered this had the participants squeezing for a good 45 seconds before letting go.

Keep It Simple

4. Exercise.

At this point we should just accept it that science considers exercise the cure for absolutely any problem, and memory is no different. The physical act increases alertness and oxygen supply to the brain, and may even increase cell growth in the parts of your brain responsible for memory. One study found that right after light exercise, women were able to recall things better than they could before working up a sweat. And while a quick jog can help you out right now, it is even more effective over the long term. A different study found that women who kept fit over six months significantly improved both their verbal and spatial memory.

Keep It Simple

5. Sleep.

At some point in high school or college, almost everyone has tried to pull an all-nighter before a big test (or so pop culture would have us believe). But even if you left your cramming until almost the last minute, it is more beneficial to get a good night’s sleep than to study until dawn. Studies have found that the processes your brain goes through while you’re asleep actually help you remember information better the next day. Your brain is bombarded with stimuli when you’re awake, and it uses the time you are asleep to process everything. That’s when it gets rid of unnecessary information and doubles down on remembering important things, like all that stuff in your biology textbook. Sleep is when it consolidates that information into a long-term memory. If you stay awake, your brain can’t go through this process.

Keep It Simple

6. Use Crazy Fonts.

We’re all font snobs to some extent. When it comes to books, newspapers, or the internet, we want everything to be clear and easy to read. But researchers have discovered that one of the best ways to remember something you’ve read is to read it in a weird font. The size and boldness makes no difference, although the harder it is to read, the better. When something is unfamiliar and difficult to read, you are forced to concentrate on it more, allowing you to remember it easier.

Large, bold fonts may actually hurt your ability to remember, as studies found that when asked to memorize a list of words, people predicted they would recall bold words easier than non-bold words, and therefore studied them less, leading to the opposite result.

Keep It Simple

7. Chew Gum.

If you need to remember a piece of information for around 30 minutes, try chewing gum. Studies have found that people do better on both visual and audio memory tasks if they are chewing gum while they do them. Just the act of chewing seems to keep people more focused and improve concentration.

But if you have a pop quiz sprung on you, leave the Juicy Fruit in your pocket. People who didn’t chew gum did better on very short memory tasks, while masticating helped people stay alert during longer ones.

Keep It Simple

8. Write Things Out.

These days it’s far more common to type up almost all the writing you need to do on your phone or computer. Shopping lists are saved on your tablet, phone numbers and email addresses under your contacts—it’s hardly necessary to remember anything anymore. That is, until you forget your phone and realize you don’t remember if you need to pick up bread and eggs. In the future, if you want to recall something, write it out in longhand. It doesn’t matter if you never actually read back what you wrote: Studies have shown that just the act of writing something out allows you to recall it in a way that touching a keyboard does not.

Keep It Simple

9. Know When to Turn the Music On—and Off.

Many people like a bit of music playing while they work or study. And listening to music before you start reading something you need to remember does indeed give you better recall. But once you start work, take out those ear buds. Researchers have found that listening to almost any noise, including music, while studying is a distraction, and you will recall less of what you read in the future. It doesn’t matter if you love the music or hate it; it has the same distracting effect as someone yelling random numbers at you. It might seem strange at first studying in complete silence, but science says it pays off in the long run.

Keep It Simple

10. Visualize.

One of the weirdest and most effective ways to remember something is to associate it with a visual image. This can be taken to an extreme, where you can recall a huge number of pieces of information just by building up a detailed visual image in your brain. Let’s say you wanted to remember that J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books. Rowling sounds like bowling, so visualize a bowling alley. Now add to this image a hairy potter. This hirsute man, his hands covered with clay, gets up to roll the ball down the lane. From there you could add other bits of information, for example the names of the different Harry Potter books. Eventually you have a place in your head full of information that you can access at any time. It sounds bonkers, but science says it works.

Keep It Simple

11. Doodle.

If you are sitting in a boring class or meeting, don’t be afraid to start drawing hearts and flowers in your margins. While it can look like doodlers are paying less attention than non-doodlers, in reality the act of drawing is helping to keep their brain active. Just sitting there when you are bored makes it easier for you to tune out and as a result you will remember less information. In studies, people who were given a doodling task while listening to a boring phone message ended up remembering 29 percent more of what was on the tape than people who just sat still and listened.

A Time to Silence the Soul…

Keep It Simple

I suppose it goes without saying that we live in a very fast-paced, hectic, and noisy world.  We’re often in a big hurry to get somewhere. Stress is the norm and noise is all around us in the form of radios, televisions, iPods, etc. We’re plugged in but often tuned out. Very few of us live at the pace or volume of normal life.

So overstimulated are we that many literally cannot relax when it is quiet; silence unnerves them, recently an informal poll was taken in and  found that 40% of the students said they cannot fall asleep without a television or radio playing in the background. Many phones and clock-radios have a “sleep” function to allow them to play for a certain amount of time and then turn off (presumably after we have fallen asleep). We used to set our clock-radios to wake us up; now we use them to “soothe” us to sleep with their background noise.

Keep It Simple

Wow, that’s really overstimulated.

Silence is precious and is a necessary ingredient for the spiritual life. We do well to build as much of it as possible into our lives. Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, in his tome The Three Ages of the Interior Life,writes of the need to minimize distractions and noise:

Keep It Simple

We must create silence in our soul; we must quiet our more or less inordinate passions in order to hear the interior Master, who speaks in a low voice as a friend to his friend. If we are habitually preoccupied with ourselves, seek ourselves in our work, in our study and exterior activity, how shall we delight in the sublime harmonies of the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity present in us? … The disorder and clamor of our senses must truly cease for a life of prayer. … they

[must]

 eventually become silent and submit with docility to the mind or the superior part of the soul (Vol 1, p. 455, Tan Publications).

Ask yourself if silence is a significant part of your day. Do you cultivate it? Many today struggle with prayer and other quieter activities like spiritual reading because they are overstimulated. Overstimulation leads to being easily bored, having a short attention span, and becoming anxious about silence or inactivity. This is a poisonous brew when it comes to prayer, which requires a certain love for silence, listening, patience, stillness, and restful attentiveness. Having the radio, television, or iPod going all day does not help our soul to hear the still, quiet voice of God.

Some of my quietest moments are my daily holy hour and then later in the day when I write these articles. I have come to cherish these quiet times when I listen to God and ponder His teachings. And then, having listened, I sit quietly again and compose these posts. I really could not write without silence; noise distracts my thoughts too much.

One year I realized that I had the radio, or music, on almost all day long in the background. I decided to turn it off and since then I’ve never gone back. I listen only briefly now, to hear the headlines, and then return to the quiet. I do own a television. I do make use of Netflix, YouTube, and podcasts for selective viewing/listening of necessary and helpful material. Music, too, remains a joy for me, but not all day long, just on walks or when cleaning.

I only offer this personal testimony to suggest that if I, a former news junkie, could wean myself away, maybe others can too.

Our lives are hurried and noisy. Consider well Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s exhortation and build in silence through a growing mortification of the senses. Be very selective as to what you view/listen to, and how often you do so. Find time for silence; it is golden and necessary. I have that God is waiting there for us.

So, take a moment, everyday, purposely silence your soul, and recharge the batteries of your life. Don’t be afraid of the silence. 🙂