Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Understanding the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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source: entrehub.org
Entrepreneurship started thousands of years ago, way back when humans began specializing in specific trades and commenced to sell or trade their wares and services. Hunters scoured fields for meat, fishermen spent hours at sea to come back triumphant with nets filled with fish, smiths worked forges to mold metal into tools and arms, and masons built the first cities.

While professions change, entrepreneurship remains. We still have the staples that stem from our basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, but as the years passed and times changed, our range of entrepreneurial opportunities grew exponentially. This is especially true for women, who have traded the homemaker role for the businesswoman role who’s ready to not only compete with men but beat them.
Nowadays, as long as a desk, a phone, and a computer are available, a successful entrepreneur can be born. And if a physical location is needed, companies like WeWork are there to provide everything the next-generation entrepreneur needs, from desks and office suites to entire headquarters.

The Next-Generation Entrepreneur

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 hit entrepreneurs pretty hard. As the economy recovered, consumer behavior changed, businesses evolved, and the successful entrepreneur adapted. With a strong work ethic, a propensity to take risks, and a plan to satisfy a need that’s not being taken care of, entrepreneurs rose from the ashes and started their own business. Rather than working for larger corporations, or waiting until they had a solid understanding of the business world after after a long tenure, these entrepreneurs opted for creative freedom and the chance to start something of their own.

Besides their innate qualities that led them to become entrepreneurs, an emergence of investors also made it possible for them pursue their dreams. With a plan in mind and a strategy poised for success, they found someone willing to bet on them. And with the Internet as part of their tool belt, nothing seemed impossible.

How the Internet Has Bolstered Entrepreneurship

source: bitsonline.com
Whether opening a local business or starting an eCommerce company that deals with global customers, the Internet has been there to help. For local brick and mortar businesses, the Internet and SEO can help corral customers to their location — it places them on the map. In the online business world, well, the name speaks for itself: online business. That’s why a physical location is no longer a requirement for starting your own business; depending on your industry, you simply may not need it.

Now consider social media, which functions as fuel for the entrepreneurial fire. With it, entrepreneurs can do everything from promoting new products and services to marketing their business and connecting with their audience. For instance, they can lead up to a product launch with a live video that includes a Q&A session. They can also use it to pose questions to their audience for a deeper understanding of what they want to see. The beauty of social media is that it can be used for practically anything, from brand awareness to audience research, and it’s all thanks to the Internet.

The Next-Generation Entrepreneur Is Here

51% of working people see good opportunities to start a business, and in 2014, entrepreneurship rose to the highest level in 16 years, with 14% of the working population fulfilling the entrepreneurial role. This means that if you’ve ever wanted to become a successful entrepreneur, your time is now.

To get started, let’s review what we covered today on the next generation of entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneurs have been a part of society for thousands of years, and even though roles have changed, the entrepreneurial spirit remains unchanged
The financial crisis of 2007-2008 may have slowed things down, but entrepreneurs overcame hurdles and came back
Thanks to more investors and access to tools stemming from the Internet, entrepreneurs, now more than ever, have more and more opportunities to begin

Best of luck, entrepreneurs!

Friday, 3 November 2017

3 Ways Technological Investments Can Grow Your Business

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source: http://www.waqar.me/
Technology and business go hand-in-hand; they’re a match made in innovative heaven. In fact, 79% of CEOs believe that innovation in business, primarily business technology, will lead to competitive advantages and increased profits.

Technology in Business

Technology in business can mean many things, primarily growth. It also means evolution and adapting to changing market trends and customer demands. For example, with technologies that enable automation and provide detailed analytics, organizations can strategically cut costs, streamline business processes, and better cater to customers. 

1: Business Technology to Cut Costs
As we just covered, technology can lead to competitive advantages and increased profits. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t realize this and instead choose to cut technological investments when they embark on cost-cutting endeavors. They make the mistake of slashing costs across the board, a strategy that may result in more money in the present, but effectively leaves them weaker down the line. 

Instead, organizations should strategically cut costs by identifying nonessential costs and diverting funds to technological investments, which can then lead to reduced costs in the future. For example, an investment in green technology, such as solar energy, will not only lead to reduced electric bills, but also tax credits from the government and utility companies. More on the IT side, migrating infrastructures to the Cloud will also drastically reduce maintenance costs and will allow you to scale up or down as needed.

2: Business Technology to Optimize Processes
It’s quite easy to understand how technology can be used to optimize existing business processes — when newer technologies come out, they’re usually an updated/upgraded version of previous technologies; they fix what was wrong and add new and better features. At the end of the day, the goal with technology is to find better solutions for the business, and technological investments are perfect for this.

Consider AI and automation, for example. Advancements in these areas could drastically increase productivity and employee performance, leading to business growth. Similarly, analytics technology can be used to get a better understanding of data, which would function to better predict outcomes, strategically manage risks, and streamline business processes.

3: Business Technology to Understand Customers
Building off of technological advancements, organizations can use technology to better understand customers — their needs, their motivations, and what product or service they’re most likely to respond to. By injecting technology into the business model, organizations will also be able to completely reshape their customer’s journey according to what they actually want. Looking at analytics again, they can be used to analyze consumer trends and business drivers. This would effectively lead to a much better understanding of customers, facilitating growth.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Technology in business is as important as employees; you can’t grow without either. Here’s the tl;dr version of what we covered today:
79% of CEOs believe that innovation in business, primarily business technology, will lead to competitive advantages and increased profits
Technology in business means growth and adapting to evolving market trends and customer demands
Organizations should strategically cut costs by identifying nonessential costs and diverting funds to technological investments, which can then lead to reduced costs in the future (e.g., investing in green technology or a Cloud migration)
Advancements in  AI and automation could drastically increase productivity and employee performance, leading to business growth
Analytics technology can be used to get a better understanding of data, which would function to better predict outcomes, strategically manage risks, and streamline business processes
Similarly, analytics can be used to analyze consumer trends and business drivers, leading to a much better understanding of customers and increased growth

Good luck and definitely don’t forget to make investments in technology!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

How Can Social Media Affect Your Business?

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source: Aumcore.com

Social media marketing is a hallmark of today’s business world. It’s a customer-centric way of building relationships that can appeal directly consumer emotions, change behavior and affect decision-making. Its way of creating a network that deepens intimacy between brands and their consumers by forming a medium in which all parties can exchange ideas.
The point is that the impact of social media marketing on your business can be great and, more importantly, can be used in your favor. To exemplify, here are three ways the impact of social media can be used in your business’ favor.

1: Social Media as a Way to Connect with Customers
As much as enterprise social media is a way for professionals to connect with each other, it’s also an avenue for enterprises to connect directly with their customers. How? By forming a community for customers to become followers.
If your brand is active on social media, posts regularly and responds to your customer’s comments, you’ll not only make them feel as though they’re part of the community, but the brand itself. The key is to make them feel heard and to make them feel like they’re not talking at a brand, but with a brand.
Make sure not to make it all about business either. Yes, you can share business updates, but also open up about other things that will facilitate emotional connections with your brand. For example, are there causes that your business or customers feel strongly about? If so, zero-in on them and make a difference.

2: Social Media as a Platform for Discussion
source: Aumcore.com
One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it starts the discussion. With a simple Facebook update or Tweet, your brand can open the stage for discussion that includes your customers in the mix. Through this, your business can gain valuable insights into your followers’ opinions and what current or potential customers want from you.
Also important is to show as opposed to tell. If your business has products, don’t just tell your audience, show them. Share a video that captures all the features and benefits they’ll gain from it. From there, listen to what they have to say and tailor future products accordingly.

3: Social Media as a Way to Manage Your Business’ Reputation
Today, companies have less control over their brand’s reputation than ever before. It’s all about customers, their opinions, and what conversations revolving around their brand are saying. If one person has a bad experience, you can bet that another will hear about it, then another, and so on; it’s an endless cycle that can spread news like wildfire.

For this reason, brands can use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to manage their reputation and curb any negative press that may be floating around. For example, imagine that there’s an unflattering story in the rumor mill that may or may not be based in facts. Whatever the case, enterprise social media can be used to solidify facts and eliminate speculation. The beauty of of social media is that, as we covered earlier, it’s a way of connecting with customers. After all, who better to say what’s what than the brand itself?

Final Thoughts
The impact of social media on the enterprises of today is far-reaching. As more and more people join social media every day, enterprises are taking note and are doing the same. Whatever their reasons, they’re realizing that enterprise social media can be used to their advantage in the following ways:
1. Social media is a way enterprises can connect with customers to form deeper connections
2. Social media is a platform for discussion that lets everyone’s voice be heard
3. Social media is a way enterprises can manage their reputation and set the facts straight

Best of luck with your social media marketing!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Some Tips to Keep Your Enterprise’s Cybersecurity Intact

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source: http://northrupcorporation.com
It’s forecasted that the global cost of cybercrime will reach $2 trillion by 2019, almost 4 times the estimated cost in 2015, and further, a survey of 540 organizations throughout North America, the UK and Germany found that nearly half had been attacked with ransomware within the past year. Pair this information with the biggest cybersecurity disasters of 2017, such as the 8,761 documents that were allegedly stolen from the CIA, called CIA Vault 7 and which revealed ‘the majority of [the CIA] hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans,’ etc., and we have a perfect storm in the form of a cyber threat.
Even worse, everyone’s a target — from the smallest SMB to the biggest enterprise — and we’re seeing more and more brazen attacks (see the leaks and hacks we’ve seen in the news, such as the HBO extortion attempt). Worse still, you can have a whole nation-state, a criminal organization, or a lone hacker targeting you.
The problem we’re facing with enterprise cybersecurity is that the problem can’t be attached to one specific case; it’s a multi-faceted issue that includes complex IT environments with older legacy systems paired with modern applications, cloud computing that reduces infrastructure costs while throwing its own complexities into the mix, human error and a lot more.
And now we reach the crux of the matter: improving your enterprise’s cybersecurity.

Improve Enterprise Cybersecurity

Being part of an enterprise that’s comprised of many individuals, one of the first and most important things you should do is educate your employees on proper ‘cyber hygiene,’ which includes adapting secure email habits, keeping an eye out for insiders and human error, and using all the tools/information at your disposal that aim to reduce the odds of a cyber threat.

Adapt Secure Email Habits

As anyone with a corporate account that receives dozens or hundreds of emails every day can attest, spam and phishing attempts run rampant. Even though spam filters catch the majority potentially harmful emails, it’s still important to uphold alternate safeguards that act as a secondary line of defense. For example, viewing emails in plain text removes malicious links and embedded viruses that may be hidden ‘between the lines.’ Additionally, a good idea is to use multiple email accounts for differing purposes — you can use a primary email for internal communication within the organization and a secondary one for subscriptions and similar things that are wont to attract fishy emails.

source: http://www.securelaptop.org

Use All Available Guides and Information At Your Disposal

There are many guides you can use to reduce the possibility of a cyber threat. One such guide, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, was actually developed in response to President Barack Obama’s Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. Primarily developed by NIST with private sector input, the framework outlines an action plan for organizations to better manage and reduce cybersecurity risks, and also seeks to foster risk and cybersecurity management communication. More specifically:

The Framework will help an organization to better understand, manage, and reduce its cybersecurity risks. It will assist in determining which activities are most important to assure critical operations and service delivery. In turn, that will help to prioritize investments and maximize the impact of each dollar spent on cybersecurity. By providing a common language to address cybersecurity risk management, it is especially helpful in communicating inside and outside the organization. That includes improving communications, awareness, and understanding between and among IT, planning, and operating units, as well as senior executives of organizations. Organizations also can readily use the Framework to communicate current or desired cybersecurity posture between a buyer or supplier.”
Keep in mind that the framework is a guide, so you should customize it for your specific industry and organization.

Keep An Eye Out for Insiders and Human Error

One final point we’ll touch on today involves people — whether those with malicious intent or those prone to mistakes. On the former, insiders can be employees seeking financial gain through data manipulation or disgruntled employees with an axe to grind. On the latter, accidents happen. An employee may accidentally open the wrong email, divulge the wrong information, and may perform many similar actions in which the cyber threat was completely unintended.

source: https://securityintelligence.com
To counter this, make sure to increase cybersecurity awareness, develop strategies for specific instances, test said strategies, and educate all employees on enterprise cybersecurity, including password management and what they share on social media.

Final Thoughts

With cloud computing, the rapid rise of the smartphone, and other technological advents, guarding company data has never been harder or more important. As such, make sure to keep backups of critical data — just make sure that the backup itself doesn’t have any malware — keep an eye on privileged accounts that are frequently targeted, set-up multi-factor authentication processes, and keep in mind everything we covered today.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How to Manage Mobile Devices in an Enterprise

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source: www.pcmag.com
The huge increase in smartphone and tablet adoption, paired with faster mobile connections to the Internet, are giving rise to a trend businesses everywhere are seeing: enterprise mobile devices for employees. As Elizabeth O'Dowd, editor of mobile technology and wireless networks at Solutions Review, says:
What makes an enterprise mobility solution even more important is the value it holds for the future of your enterprise. Computers are only becoming smaller; laptops are considered mobile devices to most of the top solutions, not just smartphones.”
Sooner than you realise, mobile devices in the enterprise will be a necessity as the lifestyle of the workplace begins to change. Ignore this and not only will you have less efficient workers than your competitors, but employees will seek to work other places with more favourable and modern work environments.”

Enterprise Management for Mobile Devices

The mobile rise, in turn, is leading to one of two outcomes: first, enterprises provide their own devices for their employees in what’s called mobile device management, and second, enterprises enact a BYOD (bring your own device) policy in which employees use their own devices with company-owned applications.

Mobile Device Management

The first option for enterprise management, mobile device management (MDM), entails IT personnel to pair employees with enterprise mobile devices. This allows remote tracking and management, which is good if a mobile device is lost or if an employee leaves the company. In such cases, IT can enforce device security and lock everyone out and wipe the data. The company can also configure WiFi access, install and manage applications, and address any problems with the device.
The problem with this option is that employees typically prefer using their own devices and, when using enterprise mobile devices, don’t like the idea of having their phone wiped if a situation in which corporate data is at risk rises. We therefore land on the second option, a BYOD policy.

BYOD Policies

When choosing a BYOD policy, IT departments are turning to a variety of restrictive mobile device management solutions that protects information without impeding on the owner’s personal data. For example, we have mobile application management (MAM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM).

Mobile Application Management

A more targeted solution than MDM, MAM creates a distinction between business and personal by allowing companies to control access to their applications and the content associated with them instead of the actual physical device. In other words, the only thing that IT can access is the application itself and its features. So if the devices is lost or stolen, access to the app can be removed without touching personal data. Another plus, the application can also be remotely updated with new features and security patches if threats arise.

source: Aumcore.com
Under this category, employees may be given access to an array of applications, such as corporate email, sales support, cloud storage, etc. When this is the case, enterprise management can take an extra precaution and limit certain functions, like copy & paste, to prevent employees from sharing sensitive data.

Enterprise Mobility Management

Because EMM can handle large numbers of devices with different operating systems, one of its goals is to get various software management tools under one umbrella. Falling under the BYOD category, it’s a hardware-agnostic option of remotely managing devices that entails remote access to corporate applications, internal websites, etc. In a way, EMM is an all encompassing approach that bridges the gap between MDM and MAM by centrally managing and enforcing corporate security protocols.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

From schools to enterprises, mobile devices are popping up everywhere. They’ve infiltrated most businesses for one simple reason: they’re versatility. Anyway, here’s what we covered today:
Mobile adoption is leading businesses to choose between enterprise mobile devices and BYOD (bring your own device) policies
Mobile device management, when employees use company devices, entails  remote tracking and management (including remote wiping)
Some BYOD policies are mobile application management (MAM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM)
MAM allows companies to control access to their applications and the content associated with them instead of the actual physical device
EMM bridges the gap between MDM and MAM by centrally managing and enforcing corporate security protocols

Good luck managing your enterprise’s mobile devices!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

5 Ways Enterprise Mobile Apps Can Increase Your Business’ ROI

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Enterprise app trends have changed the enterprise landscape in various ways. For example, they’re great branding tools that help your Brand stay in the mind of your users. In this way, a mobile app can act as a marketing channel that works 24/7 — as long as the app is on a phone, it can market. 
More specific to our topic today (and if done correctly), they can help businesses increase their ROI. 

This can be done in two ways:
1. Internal apps that drastically improve productivity, thereby increasing ROI 
2. External, client-facing apps that bring in their own revenue and help with marketing efforts

Enterprise App Trends: Adoption to Increase ROI
Fueled by increased ROI through a one-time investment that goes into a mobile app,  businesses are adopting more and more enterprise mobile apps in an effort to adapt to smartphone-dominated world we live in. These companies are seeing that apps, both internal and external, help boost ROI directly through revenue, and indirectly through increased employee productivity. 

Here’s what they can do for you:

1: Employee Tools

The first two ways enterprise mobile apps can increase ROI entail increased employee productivity through internal apps. This line of thinking is as follows: with mobile apps helping employees, they can work faster and better, improving overall company productivity. 

As Van Baker, Research VP at Gartner said, “The mobile app should make work faster, and better, for the employee, as well as less expensive…Don’t simply extend existing applications — make them better for the mobile worker.”

The beauty of mobile apps, or apps in general, is that they can be programmed to do whatever you want. The first way, therefore, is by using mobile apps as tools for employees. As such, if there’s something that’s currently lagging or can be improved, an app can be developed to fix it. Even better is the mobile aspect of the app because it entails mobility and flexibility. 

2: Streamlined Efficiency

Going off of using mobile apps as tools for tasks, they can similarly be used to streamline tasks and improve employee efficiency. This is because the best sources for information on how a company runs and how it can run more smoothly are the ones in the front lines everyday, the employees.

With mobile apps helping them navigate through tasks, employees can not only work more, but also better. This translates to more productivity for the company as a whole, and more productivity usually means more money.

3: ECommerce

source: Aumcore.com

Moving on to external, client-facing apps, the first way to increase ROI is by opening a revenue channel. More specific to eCommerce businesses that sell products/services, it’s easy to see how these apps result in more money for the enterprise. You put in a one-time investment to develop the app (with maintenance updates every now and then), and then let it do its magic — sell to your users 24/7.

4: Customer Data

Another beauty of mobile apps is that they’re a goldmine of user data that can be used to improve marketing efforts. Once installed, mobile apps provide a company with a picture of how their users are interacting with the app. This includes the products/services they’re interested in, the ones they’re not, and general demographics that can be used to tailor and better target marketing campaigns.

5: Marketing Channel

Rounding off the list, enterprise app trends have shown that apps serve as marketing channels all on their own. From our last point we see that user data can be mined from apps. The next step, therefore,  is to use that data to better target marketing campaigns. For example, if you notice that a certain demographic is more likely to purchase a particular product/service, you can shift marketing efforts to target that particular demographic.

In an alternate vein, mobile apps can also help your company’s marketing team with push notifications that ensure that your Brand will always be in your user’s minds.

Final Thoughts

For enterprise mobile mobile apps to be successful, they have to have a positive impact for users. More than that, they have to have provide a real value. That is to say that they have to actually streamline tasks and help them work better (internal apps —> employees), and improve their interactions with your Brand (external apps —> users).

Best of luck!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

7 Benefits Fueling the Adoption of Mobile Apps by Enterprises

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“I can’t use a mobile app for my business, there’s no use for it.” False, whether you’re a small business of a large enterprise, the benefits of mobile apps transcend industry and size. This is why a poll of mobility specialists focused on enterprise app trends found that 43% of respondents said increased productivity was their primary goal for an enterprise app rollout, and 22% said that new revenue or service delivery opportunities were the key focus.

Grow Your Business with a Mobile Application
At the end of the day, enterprise mobile apps have a positive impact on your bottom line. Internal apps are excellent employee tools to streamline tasks and create an efficient work environment, and external, client-facing apps give your business the added ‘oomph’ to get a leg up over your competition.
The point being that through mobile apps you can get the much needed boost to grow your business. How? Well, to whet your mobile appetite, here are 7 benefits you can expect by adopting the enterprise app trends and getting a mobile app for your business.

1: Streamline Tasks with Internal Apps
The first benefit comes from internal apps. Look at this way, who knows more about the day-to-day activities that it takes to make a business run that the employees who spend their days in the front line?
Employees know what works and what doesn’t. Listen to any watercooler conversation and you’re bound to hear things like, “if only I could ________, I would work so much faster!” or “man, that ________ is really cutting my productivity. We should ________.”
Listen to your employees and help them help you.

2: Open a New Revenue Channel

The next set of benefits come from client-facing enterprise mobile apps. These are the ones that have the most impact on growth, as they’re usually associated with increased revenue. As such, our second benefit is creating a whole new revenue channel.

Most easily observed by those in ecommerce, pairing an app with your business can lead to a drastic revenue influx. An ecommerce business has a leg up over normal brick and mortar shops in the sense that they’re ‘open’ 24/7, offering their products and services around the clock in the form of a website. Add a mobile app in the mix and you not only have 24/7 coverage, but also mobility.
Mobility translates to sales at any time, in any place. You can also send push notifications every now and then with special offers to incentivize your users to make a purchase.

3: Stay Ahead of Your Competition
There are two possible scenarios when talking about mobile apps and your competition:
1. Neither you nor your competition have a mobile app.
2. Your competition has a mobile app and you don’t.
In the first scenario, you need to take the first step and get ahead of them, and in the second, you need to catch up with them and compete. The truth is that in the consumer’s mind, a business with an app is better than one without. Pairing an app with your business demonstrates that you want make a connection with your users; you want to facilitate future interactions with your brand.

4: Greater Customer Convenience
Leading off of the previous benefit, a mobile app is excellent for making your users’ lives easier. Being a consumer yourself, you know that a three-step purchase journey is better than a five-step journey. Similarly, a mobile app that gives users the same functionality as a desktop site, with the added benefits on this list, is great for making your customers’ lives easier.

5: Improve Your Branding Efforts
Do you know what a splash screen is? If not, it’s the loading screen that appears when you launch an app. Anyway, by putting your company’s logo or slogan on your app, you’re essentially solidifying your brand in your user’s mind every time they open it. And as we covered earlier, push notifications are excellent for getting their attention. Use them every now and then with updates or informative content that ensures you’re a constant presence on their phone and mind.

6: Foster Customer Loyalty
With customer loyalty program in place that rewards users for purchases or referrals, you’re bound to see a spike in repeat purchases and conversions. This is because everyone likes deals, everyone likes saving money, and everyone likes exclusivity.
An easy option is to implement a program that rewards purchases with points that can be used for anything from discounts from future purchases to free giveaways. This ensures that customers stay loyal and keep coming back to you for more.

7: Increase Customer Satisfaction
Rounding up the list of benefits is something that can make or break your business, customer satisfaction. The simple reality is that an unhappy customer is a ticking time bomb that you need to diffuse. Just like positive reviews can turn potential customers into customers, negative reviews do the opposite and deter future prospects.

Enterprise mobile apps with a 24/7 customer service feature are perfect for unhappy customers because you’re giving them an option to vent and relieve their frustrations. Even if you don’t have someone working around the clock answering calls, the option to send a report or email can act as a temporary salve to ease their frustrations until you can get in there and take care of the situation.

Wrapping Up
There are instances in life in which it’s best to be a follower. This is exactly the case when it comes to following enterprise app trends. And in case you forgot, here are some benefits of pairing your
business with an app:

1.Streamline Tasks with Internal Apps
2.Open a New Revenue Channel
3.Stay Ahead of Your Competition
4.Greater Customer Convenience
5.Improve Your Branding Efforts
6.Foster Customer Loyalty
7.Increase Customer Satisfaction