Useful Travel Tips About Seasons And Weather in Langkawi

Langkawi has the same type of climate as Thailand. It is known as a tropical monsoon climate. It can sometimes also be labeled as a “tropical wet climate” although that’s not always the case year round. It’s paradise climate makes Langkawi a great place to visit, but it’s wise to learn about the different types of weather before booking that perfect vacation.

For those that are accustomed to the usual four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, Thailand may seem like a different planet! Its summers and winters may seem backward although It is usually warm all year round with temperatures ranging from an average of 27 degrees Celsius (81°F) during the coldest month of July to about 29 (81°F) during the hottest month of February.

With that said, rather than traditional seasons, Langkawi experiences only a wet season and a dry season. In terms of traveling, these are known as the low season and the high season respectively. This is because many tourists only prefer to visit during the dry season as to avoid the rain and possible monsoons.

Dry Season (high season):

November through March is the busiest time. During this time, Langkawi experiences the most traffic.

Following the heavy rains of the wet season, the plant life thrives creating beautiful sights.

Due to the high influx of visitors, many of the prices are raised to compete with demand.

Wet Season (low season):

July to October is when the Langkawi tourism business slows

The rain varies in levels of intensity. Sometimes intense flooding is possible.

On many occasions, the rain doesn’t last long but is very strong

During this time, boat travel is not always available

For those looking to hire a Koh Lipe ferry to Langkawi, it may still be possible to do during the wet season as long as the travel plans are made to be flexible. However, traveling by ferry from Langkawi to Phuket or even hiring a Langkawi to Krabi ferry is not recommended during the wet season.

During the dry season, it’s extremely common to find a ferry between these popular travel destinations. In fact, it is the preferred way to travel as many places in and around Thailand are too small to have their own airport.

In either season, wet or dry, it is usually possible to hire a ferry to KohLipe to Langkawi and vice versa without any problem. They offer very competitive pricing and have experience in transporting tourists and locals alike from island to island. There are also speed boats available as well for those looking for a faster ride.

It is important to choose the time of year carefully to get the best experience in Langkawi. Of course it all depends on of the preferences of each and every traveler, but usually, a vacationer wouldn’t want to spend their getaway avoiding a flood! On the other hand, some may be adventurous and find exactly what they’re looking for no matter the weather!

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The 8 Questions You Must Ask Before Working With Any Business Credit Building Company

There are few business credit building companies out there, however, those that are out there are taking advantage of the lack of knowledge from the general public regarding business credit and how to get a business loan.

DON’T LET THEM RIP YOU OFF!

I’m going to try to show how to get unlimited capital for your business…

Without risking your personal assets, lowering your personal credit score, or damaging your personal credit history

These 8 Simple Questions will ensure Your Success Building Business Credit when looking for a Small Business Loan

There are simply too many people who hire business credit building companies that are not happy with the results. Before choosing another company, if you ask these 8 questions you will be assured that you will be working with a legitimate company who can help you build business credit and more importantly get the small business loan you seek. Getting that business loan is after all what you’re looking for, isn’t it?

Why is it so important to work with knowledgeable advisor? Why can’t you do it on your own? The Fair Credit Reporting Act does not apply to the business credit bureaus; this means that if you make a mistake, skip a step, try and take a short cut, your business credit file can be “Red Flagged.” This means your company is prohibited from receiving credit and perhaps that elusive business loan.

There is a proven step-by-step process that MUST be followed if you plan on properly building your business credit and getting working capital. If you don’t follow the proven process then you can be put into the “High Risk” category. When that happens, no lending institution will give you a cash advance or small business loan and there is nothing you can do to remove it.

Make sure to choose a honest credit building company that has the knowledge, experience and proven systems to support you, before you decide whom you will work with, make sure to ask them these 8 vital questions.

Question #1

Will I be obtaining only trade credit or CASH credit?

Be careful, there are a number of companies out there that will only help you obtain trade credit. Trade credit can only be used with the individual creditor, and nowhere else. This is great if you need $3000 of paper products, but is useless if you need payroll loans, inventory loans, or simply to cover business expenses or expand your company.

And if it is CASH credit, will I always need to personally guarantee the application?”

If the company says you will always have to personally guarantee all types of credit – then you are NOT receiving the full benefit of business credit. Keep in mind, the solution must introduce you to business funding services that will not require a personal guarantee, however these non traditional lenders will still be checking your personal credit and need your social security number. They do this to stay in banking compliance.

Question #2:

Will a trained coach show me, step by step, how to incorporate my business and build business credit with an eye to getting that merchant loan or business loan?

My guess is that if you wanted to figure out the intricacies of incorporating your business, and building corporate credit on your own… you would have already done so. (I’ve done it. And believe me… this is NOT stuff you want to muddle through on your own.)

So if you won’t be receiving step-by-step instructions supported by a trained credit coach, resulting in a predictable successful outcome, call another company. (I’ll spell out each step for securing business loans without traditional personal guarantees in crystal clear detail in a later article).

Question #3:

If I get stuck while I’m taking all those necessary steps, will I have to pay you hundreds or even thousands to help me figure it out?

Many companies charge low fees up front and continue to tack on heavy, additional charges each time you call or write for help.

Make sure they deliver everything you need to know to secure a bad credit business line of credit or high risk business loans, all without the traditional personal guarantee. Make sure you will have access to a dedicated coaching advisor and who places no limits on how often you can speak with them.

Question #4:

Will you have the ability to set up capital loans, and monitor the development of your business credit score with all major business credit agencies all within your coaching platform?

Why work with an advisor who is trying to blindly lead you!

Question #5:

When companies promise to get you cash credit, ask them this pointed question: “What type of paperwork is required to get cash lines of credit?

Beware of companies that say it is not required to furnish any financial statements, tax returns, business plans, bank statements, etc., to obtain a small business loan without a traditional personal guarantee. When it comes to getting approvals for cash advance without a traditional personal guarantee, you will need to show that your company is financially responsible and you do this by showing it earns revenue, pays its bills on time and has establish good business credit.

If the company tells you that you can obtain this type of financing without providing any real documents, don’t bother working with them, they are not being honest.

Think about it, is a lender really going to give you hundreds of thousand of dollars without a traditional personal guarantee without you having to show them that you are a “safe-risk?” Over time I will show you exactly what you need to do in order to become a safe risk and secure a small business loan.

Question #6:

How are your coaches paid?

This is a really important question! How would you like to work with someone that could care less if you obtain the business loan you desperately need? Think about it!

Question #7:

When it comes time to apply for a business loan, are you going to pass me off from lender to lender?

This is another very important question. Virtually every credit building company will, when it is time to apply for a business loan, pass you off to one lender to apply, and then tell you to go and apply at the next lender and so on. They literally end up sending you on a wild goose chase and just hope that one of the non traditional lenders can obtain capital loans for you. Does this sound like something a real business credit and financing expert would do?

Question #8:

What kind of a guarantee do you offer?”

It’s critical to get the specifics about guarantees. Because most companies that offer guarantees or promise only that your corporation will get a 80+ Paydex score. While this is a start, it’s not good enough -

If after completing your program, you should have:

Corporate Compliance and documentation review

D&B file and a D&B rating

D&B Paydex Score

Business credit file with Corporate Experian with an intelliscore

Business credit file with business Equifax with the appropriate business credit score.

Trade accounts and/or Vendor Accounts with and without a personal guarantee.

A Business Credit that can be used to leverage financing opportunities

This is not, by any means, a comprehensive list of all the questions entrepreneurs should ask when it comes to building corporate credit. But if you address these costly and dangerous errors, you will be on your way to building a safe, secure, and financially sound business-the business you always dreamed of!

Hopefully, these 8 questions will help ensure that you work with a credit building company that will be honest, upfront as well as help you successfully establish your business credit and leverage it into new small business loans and opportunities for your business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tips To Help You Plan A Fulfilling Cruise

Cruises are some of the most exciting vacations you can choose to enjoy. They offer unbeatable value because you do not have to think about constant transportation needs from place to place and neither do you have to pay costly airfares to your destination. The cruises give you the chance to enjoy refreshing sea air helping you relax and simply enjoy the warm ocean breezes whenever. With so many ports scattered around the world, you can place a cruise travel to visit areas that you have always wanted to visit.

If you love water and water activities, then cruises will prove to be most rewarding to you. But then to enjoy the most pleasant experience you still need to plan properly for your cruise. When everything is in order from the initial stages, then you are bound to enjoy a fulfilling vacation on a ship.

1. Know the number of people cruising with you

If it is just a few of you, then planning should be easy, but you will need a lot more planning and coordination when you plan to travel with more family members and friends. If you are bringing children along, then you need to make sure that the cruise package has plenty of activities for them too. You can plan for a private kind of cruises or you can choose to pay for cruises that accommodate lots of other people headed the same direction you are. The important thing is to choose what works for you and the people you are tagging along.

2. Choose the best cruise length

Cruise packages differ in length and the vacation time you have available should help you select the length that is most suitable. A cruise can be only a few days or you can choose one that goes for a week and more. A weekend cruise can be a great choice for those with little time to spare. With so many destinations and packages, you should be able to plan a cruise length that you can afford and enjoy to the fullest.

3. Pick the best stateroom

People have different preferences when it comes to cruises and your stateroom choices should be guided by your vacation preferences. For instance, if what you dream of is lounging in a private balcony as you enjoy the gracious tropical views, then a balcony stateroom is the ideal selection. Couples can cruise in a suite or a penthouse to get the most from the cruise vacation. If you are a little pressed on a budget, then you can always settle for an inside stateroom. Some cruise packages can offer you additions such as 24 hour butler for your luxury experience.

4. Consider onboard activities

Even when you are going on a romantic cruise vacation, you will definitely need activities to fill your time on board. Find out what activities you will find on-board and how exciting they will make your cruise. Spa services, wine tasting, bingo, culinary demonstrations, live entertainments and others are some of the most popular on most cruises.

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Fulfilment by Amazon and How It Helps Explode Your Business Profits

In this modern society where almost everything is digital, it is hard to believe that there are still those who prefer traditional methods, such as in the field of advertising.

Online advertising has been a hit in the last decade. Internet marketing has taken over businesses by storm and doubled their revenue. However, some people still see the field as unnecessary and taxing so they try to convince others to veer away. Below are other reasons why some individuals dislike online marketing:

Inability to adapt with technology
A person may refuse the method because they may not be technology savvy. They are afraid that technology is hard to monitor or manipulate so they choose to stay manual.

Mastery of craft
A lot of traditional people spent years perfecting their craft, so they believe that their capabilities are sufficient. Online marketing is a threat to physical advertising because it minimizes the need for logistics, hence the repulsion.

Less Jobs
Some people think that digital work reduces employment opportunities due to computers replacing manual labor. Only a handful of people are necessary to make internet marketing work.

Information Breach
Putting everything on the internet is a risk for hacking or information leakage that’s why many are skeptical about it. Online marketing requires a substantial amount of data that can be easily stolen or erased.

Lack of Equipment
Many marketers don’t have reliable internet or computers to handle critical work. Manual advertising is easier to delegate and segregate, so smaller businesses prefer it.

Lack of Empathy
Advertisers believe that online marketing is not good for client relations because it promotes a more detached form of communication and a robotic response. Manual advertising is more personal so it is easier to convince people.

Lack of Authenticity
Marketers are wary of online advertising because people nowadays are harder to convince, especially in terms of the authenticity of a product. Since everything can be manipulated or edited, they would have to work more to attract clients.

Population of Non-internet users
A big percent of the population is still manual so it is impractical to promote online marketing in these areas. Online commercials only work with regular exposure but if the audience only uses the internet a few times then it is a wasted effort. Manual advertising is beneficial when people are more inclined to support physical efforts or are part of a community network.

Promotes Mediocrity
Senior marketers believe that online marketing encourages laziness in the younger advertisers because most materials can be recycled, edited or rehashed. Marketing is a skill developed from experience and virtual training may not be enough to develop and create a better breed of advertisers.

Technology is a waste
People believe that using gadgets and computers are harmful to the health of workers so they don’t encourage the employment related to such. Manual advertising promotes brain functions through practice and personal relationships development. It is important for some people to backlog technology to help the environment.

Despite the many reasons why people may talk you out of online marketing, it is still undeniable that this form of marketing has a lot of potential. Learn how you can maximize the web when it comes to marketing your products and services, so you can expand your reach.

John Richards has many years of experience creating and developing books, eBooks, manuals, and videos, on a variety of subjects, including online wealth, pet care, Internet marketing, direct mail, health and wellness, and CD/DVD distribution service. John’s website provides ideas and practical advice for people who want to enjoy the rewards of earning an income from home using simple websites.

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The Seven Wonders of the World

The world around is filled with all kinds of wonders and we can gaze at them only by opening our eyes and our hearts. After all you need to believe in magic to be able to believe it. However, if you’re someone who is a bit on the cynical side, we bring to you a list of the wonders that exist all around the world. If you are a fan of archeology, history or travelling you’re definitely going to enjoy this article. Oh and if you plan to travel after reading this, don’t forget to look into Cathay Asia Airlines.

1. The Great Pyramid of Giza
The crown jewel of Egypt and the only surviving architecture from the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this pyramid is truly a sight to behold. This pyramid is said to be built as a tomb to the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. The building is approximately 480 feet tall and was the tallest building in the world for more than 3800 years. This pyramid when built was outlined with a limestone casing which with time got destroyed. Now you can only see the casing near the bottom of the pyramid whereas the top exposes us to the inner lining of the pyramid.

2. Petra, Jordan
Petra is often called the city of rose due to the red colored stones that it is made of. This beautiful hidden city is famous for its architectural grace and the water conduit system. Even though the city is located in Jordan, it was actually discovered by a Swiss explorer in the early 19th century. This place is also said to have structures that are more than 2000 years old.

3. Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro
This miracle took a total of nine years to be constructed due to the its location on the top of a cliff. This is the third largest statue of Jesus in the world. The raw materials for this statue were actually imported from Sweden. This beautiful statue was actually constructed as a sign of peace, to show that Christ loves everyone.

4. The Great Wall of China
This wall that stretches over 8000 kilometers was built over a period of 2000 years and renovated over time by many different Chinese dynasties. It is said that millions of people died while building the wall and that they’re buried within the Wall’s foundations. The Wall is also famous because it is the only structure on Earth that can be seen from the moon without any aids. Fascinating right? Go check it out yourself!

5. The Colosseum
This fighting ground of the roman gladiators took 8 years to build and was designed by the Roman Poet Virgil. The Colosseum has more than 80 entrances and can house 50,000 people at one time. It receives millions of visitors every year and is therefore the biggest tourist attraction in Rome.

6. The Leaning Tower
This beautiful tower located in Pisa is famous because of the way it inclines with height. The architecture has been constructed in a way that makes it feel tilted. If you’re ever in Italy, this is a must place to go to.

7. Taj Mahal
Constructed by an emperor in the memory of his beloved wife, this palace is a symbol of love for the entire world. The intricate architecture and carving inside this Mahal will make you fall in love with it. And if you don’t believe us, why don’t you go see it yourself? All you have to do is book your ticket using Cathay Asia Airlines.

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Different Uses of Graphite

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

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

Here are a few of the popular uses of graphite:

Ceramics industry

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

Automotive industry

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

Defense Technology

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

Electronics industry

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

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

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Personals Like Craigslist – But Better!

If you go looking, you will find personals like Craigslist all over the internet. Most sites offering online classifieds have a personals section nowadays. They all suffer from the same problem, however. And this problem will usually result in you wasting time and often losing money.

This article is here to give you fair warning about the drawbacks to using these internet classifieds and also a solution that is a much better alternative for you to find a date or casual encounter.

The problem with personals like Craigslist is the huge number of con artists using the service to market dating products. If you post a personal ad, you will receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of responses. The majority of these emails will come from clever internet marketers, posing as attractive women who want you to join a dating service in order to meet them.

Some of those emails will come from real women, true, but how are you to tell which ones are real and which are fake? There is no way. Which means, though the personals at Craigslist are a good concept, they tend not to work for most of us.

The solution that most people overlook is to use a big-name dating service. Most people are put off by these services because they think you need to pay to use them. Not true. You only pay for premium features. And, let us face it, if you do pay for premium features, that is probably a small cost to pay for what you get.

And what do you get? Well major dating sites are personals like Craigslist in many ways. You can join for free and use many of their services without cost. You can make searches of people in your area and read what they are looking for.

You get a lot more, though, than that offered by personals at Craigslist. You get real people, no internet marketers trying to con you; you get to see who is online and who is offline; you get to contact people with instant messages; you get to add them as friends and view their photo albums.

So, all in all, they represent a much better alternative. They offer far more features, many of them offer free accounts, and when you get an email from a woman you know that she’s real, and not some clever con artist!

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Smart Leadership in the 21st Century

Although we may claim that the world has gravitates from authoritarian rulership and that most countries in the world operate under a democratic ambience, but in certain parts of the world and over certain organisations preside some leaders who still lord over their followers without giving them a say at all in the affairs.

Every nation and society has its own leader, but what distinguishes the smart leaders in the world today from the bosses and the not-so-smart leaders? Consider the following traits.

The first trait of the smart leader in the 21st Century is that the leader has to EVOLVE. He should keep up with the times, with the latest techniques and updated information. Knowledge is power and the knowledgeable leader is not one that can be easily deceived or pushed about. The societies that use the most advanced methods in everyday life are the ones that lead the pack in today’s world.

In addition, the SMART leader is:

S- Simple/Straightforward: The good leader has to mean what he says, and say what he means. He must not be deceitful. His followers must be able to trust him and take his word for it in every circumstance. What he does not intend to do, he should determine not to say it. Also, the smart leader in this century must be a man of simple ways, words and lifestyle.
Gone are the days when leaders were marked by 100-foot billowy robes, with twenty servants carrying the clothes from behind. This can be tolerated from a bride in a wedding ceremony, but not from the world-class 21st Century leader. He should not live a complicated lifestyle or be unnecessarily extravagant. Simplicity does it these days.

M- Malleable: As mentioned earlier, the smart leader must be malleable, not rigid. He must be able to bend his views when it is necessary. He should be able to lower his standards when it is necessary.
Compromising your views at certain times is not a trait of the weak, but that of the intelligent. He should not insist on the status quo, or cling to ideas just because “that’s the norm here!” The norm is usually dumb. He must have a teachable heart that can learn new information at every opportunity. He must be malleable enough to learn from both young and old, rich and poor, male and female-anybody.

A- Accountable: Aha! Did the smart leader expect I won’t add this? It is inescapable for the smart leader to be accountable for all the human and other resources committed to his care. He must not be corrupt. Every penny in his administration must be accounted for. He must guard his citizens and his domain with the same intensity as well.

R- Resourceful: The leader must also be one with a limitless river of ideas constantly flowing for the betterment of his organisation. He must be very creative and actually SMART. As in, really intelligent. If a dumb leader is put over a domain, he will mismanage and diminish it. The leader must be able to multiply the little he has been committed with, and multiply it. He must commit to being constantly trained in order to further equip his intellectual arsenal.

T- Technology Literate: Finally, in this Internet Age, many wars are won or lost on social media. The smart leader in the 21st Century must be one who is very much versed in at least some high-tech devices. He must not be an illiterate with the computer or with the internet. He must make it a point of duty to learn the use of one new technological gadget every six months. That will set him apart and make him the man/woman to beat by the other leaders. He will find out pretty soon that he is a trail blazer in leadership. It does not matter whether he is presiding over a family or over an entire nation, such person will be a trail blazer.

Emmanuel Sokefun is a freelance article writer, in addition to being a novelist, poet, hymnist, songwriter and a lover of the academia.

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Dealing With Conflict in the Workplace

Introduction

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

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

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

What causes conflict.

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

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

Conflicts due to customer related issues.

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

Conflicts arising out of customer related issues could include;

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

Conflicts due to misunderstandings or communication barriers.

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

These effects include;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misunderstandings and communication barriers could occur because;

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

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

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

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

Signs of potential conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crisis situations

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

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

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

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

In these cases it is extremely important to:

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

Organizational requirements

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

These constraints may include:

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

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

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

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

Resolving conflict situations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steps in resolving conflict

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

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

Define the problem

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

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

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

Work out what you want out of the conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Documentation

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

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

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

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

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

Evaluating conflict situations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When looking at how the problem was resolved:

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

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

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

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