Mar 26

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Personalize your email signature for easy access

email-signatureMaking it easy for customers to contact you doesn’t just help them out. It eliminates the frustration caused by not being able to talk to the right person.

Including your contact information in your email signature is a simple way to make sure your customers can always get in touch with you.

If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, you can change your settings to include your signature automatically each time you send an email. To add a signature:

  1. Choose Tools | Options, then click on the Mail Format tab. Click the Signature button, then in the Create Signature dialog box, click New.
  2. Type a name for your signature in the first text box.
  3. Then, choose to start with a blank signature or an existing signature (already created or as exists in a text file) as a template. Make your selections and click Next. Type and/or modify the signature as desired. Click Finish.
  4. In the Create Signature dialog box, select the signature you created and note the preview. Click OK.
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Mar 24

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Know your rights when it comes to monitoring employee emails

monitor-employee-emailsMore than 75 percent of employers monitor employee internet use, while 67 percent block access to certain websites, the American Management Association found in a survey.

There are several reasons why companies monitor their employees’ email, phone and internet use. Excess time spent on personal projects decreases productivity and customer service quality. Also, employees could leak confidential information that puts the company at risk. As a manager, you should ask yourself, “Is this monitoring legal?”

Here’s the deal: According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), you are authorized to monitor information that passes over company property like servers, networks and phone lines as long as it pertains to business use. To ensure that your monitoring practices are legal, follow these steps:

  1. Notify Employees. Be transparent about monitoring. You can circulate a memo or email, include it in handbooks or put a sticker on employee computers. Some 80 percent of employers already do this, the AMA found. If you haven’t notified your employees, do so immediately.
  2. Provide Documentation. Post the ECPA rules so employees know you’re following them. Find the policy at and look for new bills at
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Mar 05

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Charm new customers with a thank-you note

thank-you-noteYou’ve worked hard to earn your customer’s business, so why not show him how much you appreciate him by sending him a thank-you note?

One way that you can show you care is by writing a letter on your agency letterhead, but another faster and more professional way is to use one of Microsoft’s ready-made templates. You can find Microsoft’s ready-made thank-you letter template online at Microsoft’s template home page. You just need to download the template and save it to a location on your computer.

The thank-you letter template includes several time-saving features so you don’t have to waste time trying to get the letter set up. Here’s what the template has to offer:

  1. The margins are already set up. The letter’s outline is already in place. You don’t have to spend any time trying to make the letter look good.
  2. The text is already set up. All you need to do is replace the fields with your agency information, your customer’s address, and the specifics of the letter.
  3. You can set the letter up for a mail merge. You can use the fields included when you set up a mail merge to send out to your new customers.
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Dec 28

MICROSOFT OFFICE TUTOR: Flag an outgoing Outlook message so the recipient receives a reminder (2000/2002/2003/2007)

Let’s say you want to help an email recipient remember to review an email that you’re sending. You can flag that message and cause the recipient to receive a reminder about reviewing that email message. To do so:
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