Undeniable Proof To RSI Does Exactly Rank Your Sites In Google

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Are you tired of being overlooked by Google and other search engines? Our experts in both SEO and SEM, which are interrelated and demand continuous monitoring and improvement, constantly monitor the complex and ever-changing nature of search marketing. Our custom built WordPress sites are created using solid SEO principles and careful Keyword research that can help you attain high rankings in the major search engines.

We are transparent about our organic SEO methods and have a proven record of raising search engine rankings and increasing traffic (and business) to your site. In addition, our powerful reporting and analytics will help you understand how search contributes to your results across all digital media channels.

Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.

While optimization for the sake of appealing directly to the algorithm can benefit your ranking, it is important to also optimize for user experience. Optimization that appeals directly to the algorithm should be subsidiary to optimization for user experience, as user experience is ultimately what the algorithm is intended to serve.

We approve that your content is factually correct and is important to establish credibility on your website, as well as to effectively inform your users. It is important to keep in mind that direct ranking factors can change based on algorithm updates. However, the goal of our updates are typically to improve user experience, which means that if you keep user experience in mind when implementing your SEO strategy, you will be on the right track.

See more details here:

Source: http://rsiguru.io

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How Long Will It Take for SEO To Show Results?

“How long does SEO take to yield results?” is one of the most frequently asked queries of SEOs. It is a hot topic in the industry.

Companies want to know when they are going to see the impact of their investment (and rightfully so), but SEO is not like paid media where results can be seen almost as soon as ads are activated. It takes time to see SEO success. But how long?

You should expect to see SEO results within 6-12 months…

SEO should show results in a period of 6 to 12 months. A quantifiable increase in traffic, as well as accompanying leads or conversions, is what we mean by results.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve achieved your goal at this point, but any business investing in SEO should expect to be able to see progress within this time frame.

It is impossible to give a figure that applies to all websites, and the best that an SEO can do is to give a rough estimate based on the analysis of the current performance of a website and the proposed strategy.

There is no escaping the fact that SEO takes time. Google (and other search engines) want to show the best result for any given search query, and it takes time to earn a ranking. You have to gain maximum search visibility.

But with the right strategy in place, 6-12 months is long enough to see the impact of your SEO efforts and justify continued investment in growth.

To help you better understand how long it takes to see SEO success, let’s take a look at the factors that determine this.

History of your website

Whether or not you’re working on a new domain, it’s one of the key factors that influence how long it takes to see SEO results.

A new domain will almost always take longer to show success than an established one since it hasn’t built any authority or gained any backlinks yet. By comparison, an established domain will generally have gained at least some level of authority and will have some backlinks pointing to it.

A new domain should expect to see results within 9-12 months, rather than 6-12.

However, an established domain doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get faster results. You may not see quick results if the domain was previously affected by a penalty, a core algorithm update, or had SEO work that goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines.

The competition

Results can be seen much faster on low competition niches and low competition search queries than on competitive ones.

Trying to rank a website for competitive personal finance keywords (e.g. “credit cards”)? It could take 2 years or more to get featured visibility on page 1.

On the other hand, for narrower local or less competitive keywords, it might be possible to show promising results within 3-6 months.

Keyword difficulty is another factor. This is a percentage from 0 to 100, and the higher the percentage, the harder it would be to rank.

You should expect it to take longer to show results against keywords with a high keyword difficulty percentage. But there is more to competition than just keyword difficulty.

You need to consider how your competitors got to their current position and what they are doing to maintain this visibility. Your strategy and projections should consider what you’re competing against, including the aggressiveness of other people’s strategies.

Your resources

You cannot control the history of a website or the competition. But what you (usually) can control are the resources that are allocated to an SEO project.

It’s important to understand exactly how this plays a role in the time it takes to see results from a campaign. The more resources you can allocate to SEO, the faster you’ll see results.

The most important resource you need is time.

Reasons for lack of SEO success

1. Technical SEO issues

If there are technical SEO issues with a site, they will need to be resolved before you can experience the growth you want to see.

Technical SEO relates to things like:

  • Tracking and indexing
  • Site speed
  • Canonicalization
  • Structured data
  • Duplicate content
  • XML sitemaps
  • and more

Solving problems in some of these areas will have a greater impact than others, but the fact is that any technical problem must be solved. Call Small Biz Web Design Studio to take a look at these glitches, so as to ensure quicker SEO success.

2. Content

You’ve probably heard that content is king, and the fact is that content is still one of the top 3 Google ranking factors. Google’s goal is to return the best results for a given search query, so why would poor content perform well in the SERPs?

It’s important that you make creating great content that matches searcher intent a high priority. But take the time to understand what’s currently ranking and figure out how to create something better. You can learn a lot by studying the content that is already being done.

Low-quality (or even average) content can mean it takes longer to see results, while great content that’s carefully planned and adds something new to a topic can help your site rank faster.

3. Backlinks

Along with content, backlinks are also one of the top 3 ranking factors for Google. These are indicators of trust and popularity and have the ability to improve a website’s ranking.

After all, links are effectively two-way votes of confidence. But you need to understand that there is seldom a shortcut to getting quality backlinks.

It takes time, and it usually entails producing excellent content that others want to link to. And when there is a sizeable link gap with competitors, this can take time to close.

That said, not all links are created equal, and ultimately higher quality links have the ability to drive rankings faster than lower quality links.

4. You gave up too quickly

Ultimately, many people fail when it comes to SEO because they start out good but give up. In other words, they work hard for a few weeks and expect quick results. But when they don’t see immediate changes, they give up altogether.

If this sounds like you, this is probably why you’re not seeing the desired effect. You didn’t follow your strategy long enough.

5. You took optimization too far

When you’re learning about SEO, you’ll recognize the necessity of optimizing your content. But, it’s easy to do too much without realizing it. To put it another way, you might well be optimizing your content more than you need to.

While many people assume this will mean they’ll see better results faster, it can actually have a damaging effect. That is, too much optimization can generate penalties and drop in Google rankings.

6. You didn’t have a strategy

SEO can be complicated. You need to think about it and come up with a strategy that is suitable for your new website. Many people make the mistake of just trying a few different things here and there.

But you have to be consistent and have a strategy to work on. After a while, you can adjust your strategy based on the results you receive.

SEO is not an easy thing. It requires a lot of time, perseverance, and, ultimately, constant work. This is particularly true when you have a new website and have to start from scratch.

Be prepared to wait a while for your efforts to pay off. But, if you create the right SEO through Small Biz Web Design Studio, you will rank higher and gain more traffic.

Author: Kevin Jones

 

By Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones specializes in the marketing and distribution of web design and development products. He is in Market Development at Small Biz Web Design Studio, a web design & development company in Los Angeles.

Source: How Long Will It Take for SEO To Show Results?

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What Does The Future Hold For Bitcoin Mining?

From the outside looking in, it seems like a hard life earning a crust on the bitcoin mining breadline. Last year, when China imposed a blanket ban on the practice within its borders, a small army of miners hastily scrambled into action, powering down their machines, closing shop and redeploying their equipment overseas. Within a matter of months, China went from controlling two-thirds of all bitcoin mining worldwide to effectively exiting stage left.

Cryptocurrency miners are nothing if not resilient, but in few other industries would one have to up sticks and move country just to keep the lights on. It isn’t a case of hopping across a land border either. At considerable expense, ousted miners had to ship many tonnes of equipment from mainland China to far-flung territories such as the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada. If China left a gaping void it has been hurriedly filled, with Kazakhstan in particular cultivating a reputation as a mining hub.

Of course, things move fast in the much-maligned mining world. In recent weeks, Kazakh authorities have talked up significant tax increases for miners, some of whom are “severely damaging” the country’s energy system according to minister of digital development Bagdat Musin. The intrepid miners who made a home in the Central Asian Republic after being banished from China may soon be dusting off their passports, again.

Sandra Ro, the CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council, speaking at the Senate Agriculture Hearing into cryptocurrencies in February addressed climate concerns related to bitcoin mining saying, “What we have today is actually an opportunity… mining has shifted to the U.S., Canada, and Nordic countries… [so, Congress] should encourage crypto mining firms to set up in an environment with (global) oversight, [to] champion the increase in renewables for the industry.”

Against this chaotic backdrop, it’s worth asking where is bitcoin mining headed? Will more countries join China and others in imposing outright bans? Or will stances soften thanks to the efforts of the Bitcoin Mining Council and eco-friendly innovations like Bitmain’s liquid-cooled rig?

Nothing less than the future of bitcoin is at stake, and with it the chance to exercise financial self-sovereignty via a decentralized cryptocurrency revered as digital gold. This, more that ever, in the current state of global political and economic volatility, is increasingly seen as a human right in the free world.

Bitcoin Mining: The Origin Story

Mining, of course, is the process that brings fresh bitcoin into being. The eponymous blockchain, which recently celebrated its 13th anniversary, depends on a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm that compels miners to solve mathematical problems that are difficult to solve but easy to verify.

Amid fierce competition from rival miners, PoW math problems are tackled and deciphered in exchange for a set quantity of bitcoin known as a block subsidy. This subsidy is then added to the sum of the transaction fees held in the block that is being mined to make up the block reward.

Just as gold-mining is the only way to increase the supply of the world’s most valuable precious metal, bitcoin mining is the only way to increase the supply of bitcoin. Of course, the currency does have a hard cap of 21 million bitcoins – so nodes can’t go on “producing” new bitcoin ad infinitum. Based on bitcoin’s predictable issuance model, the final coin will be mined some time around 2140.

Against all odds, Proof-of-Work has kept bitcoin ticking along for 13 years now with no recorded instances of double-spending. Those who expend electricity to verify transactions have a strong incentive to maintain the ledger’s integrity, and because PoW makes the cost of writing a block punishingly high, the security of the bitcoin network is more robust than it’s ever been. In fact, even if an attacker were to marshal 100 percent of the network hash rate, he would need over two years to completely rewrite the ledger dating back to January 3, 2009.

The Proof-of-Work PR War

Proof-of-Work is considered a marvel by bitcoin maximalists. As inventions go, they put it up there with the lightbulb and telephone. PoW has continued to attract criticism however, with many deeming the industrial-scale use of computing and electrical power wasteful. This has become the great bitcoin energy debate.

Such censure is not, on the face of it, unmerited. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the bitcoin network consumes 125.1 Terawatt Hours (TWh) per year, a little more than Ukraine (124.5) and a bit less than Egypt (149), a country that has banned bitcoin, along with Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Bangladesh. In the CBECI’s country rankings, bitcoin currently occupies 27th place.

Should a borderless cryptocurrency really consume more electricity than nation states? That depends on your perspective. If you’re a net-zero energy campaigner, the answer is probably no. If you believe the people of the world need a self-sovereign digital asset now more than ever, the answer is clearly yes.

Certainly, the miners are undeterred. 2021 saw the highest miner revenues to date, a remarkable fact given the block subsidy is halved every four years. Last year, bitcoin miners raked in $16.7 billion in revenue, more than the combined takings of the previous three years.

Evidently, China’s crackdown didn’t hit miners in their pockets the way many had expected. Perhaps that was just blind luck, China’s ban coinciding with bitcoin’s best year, but whatever way you look at it, miners seem to shrug off adversity with breathtaking ease.

Prior to Russia’s war with Ukraine, the central bank of Russia called for an outright ban on cryptocurrency mining, with a recent report claiming the “potential financial stability risks associated with cryptocurrencies are much higher for emerging markets, including in Russia.”

The pendulum has swung with Western governments concerned that Russian’s central bank, the regime, and oligarchs will now use cryptocurrency to evade sanctions, a concern that most agencies believe to be unfounded due to the inability of the cryptocurrency ecosystem to process such large volumes – bitcoin can’t fund a war.

Erik Thedéen, vice chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), has meanwhile urged the EU’s 27 member states to ban Proof-of-Work mining, claiming PoW has become a national issue in his native Sweden due to the amount of renewable energy it uses. This itself is an interesting observation, since critics normally slate bitcoin for its dirty energy usage.

A few weeks back, concerns were raised by a text circulated by the European Parliament that created a defacto ban on proof of work consensus mechanisms in the EU. Following advocacy work from the industry, MEP Stefan Berger, the Parliament rapporteur, postponed the committee vote on February 28 and revisited the text highlighting the fostering innovation mandate of MiCA and its importance in this and setting global standards. As such, the text removed the reference to the ban.

A new text was inserted on the March 9 which is the one that will be voted on Monday March 14, now re-enters wording but instead creates a phase-out approach. The operative text in article 2a, makes no reference to proof of work consensus mechanisms directly but instead refers to those crypto assets already in issuance putting in place a phased rollout plan to ensure compliance with the minimum environmental sustainability standards.

Lavan Thasarathakumar, EMEA government and policy director at Global Digital Finance says, “What this means in practice will only become clear through the delegated acts with: the intensive consumption of energy; the use of real resources; carbon emissions; electronic waste; the specifics of incentive design; and, the scale of operation of the crypto asset being the attributing factors.

The text as sent to vote does include two recitals 5a and 5aa, which includes reference to proof of work consensus mechanisms and its propensity to be energy intensive, however crucially, the call for action is in the non-legislative part of the text but also asks for action to be taken on a horizontal basis as opposed to being product specific – good policy making.”

U.S. President Biden issued an Executive Order last week on Digital Assets paving the way for a new era of digital innovation, better coordinated cross-agency collaboration with industry, and ensuring America maintains its market leading position as the world’s digital innovation hub.

E.U. parliamentarians are advised to pay close attention to the digital space race unfolding with the China ban and Russia at war, Europe’s responsibility to open and fair competitive markets should be clear, and bitcoin and the crypto industry are key to this future.

“Banning mining is becoming a trend in the medium term,” observes Louis Cleroux, CEO of Canadian crypto platform Timechain. “Bitcoin miners need to find creative ways to reach agreements with countries right now. Using wasted energy with miners should be something to consider.”

Cleroux’s latter point is worth emphasizing, particularly as the bitcoin energy debate heats up. For all its energy demands, mining could actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions by consuming methane that would otherwise be leaked into the atmosphere via flaring.

On February 15, oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips confirmed that it was selling extra flare gas to bitcoin miners in North Dakota, part of its commitment to reduce routine flaring to zero by 2030. Ostensibly, the company will allocate gas that would otherwise be burned off to a pilot project managed by a third party, effectively making bitcoin a load balancer for energy waste.

“We need to increase awareness on actual losses we incur due to our inability to store energy,” says Louis Cleroux. “Selling excess energy to miners is the best for both parties. Also, in a Proof-of-Work ecosystem, the winning miners are the ones who are able to be competitive in terms of hashrate /energy cost. This competitive system promotes healthy competition between miners to push for more efficient mining activities.”

Eco-Friendly Evolution

According to Erik Thedéen, the crypto industry as a whole should be nudged towards Proof-of-Stake, a less energy-intensive form of mining wherein users stake coins to become validators. With this model, staking replaces the computational arms race of Proof-of-Work, with validators selected at random to add a block to the ledger. Number two network Ethereum is in the process of transitioning to Proof-of-Stake, a move which it’s claimed could reduce its energy use by up to 99.95 percent.

For the moment, though, there is no sign that the Bitcoin network will abandon its tried and tested Proof-of-Work mechanism. The model has stood the test of time and PoW is more decentralized than its energy-lite counterpart, aligning incentives to secure all transactions.

According to bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, PoW architecture “anchors the crypto-asset network physically and politically to the firmament of reality, driving ferocious competition in the marketplace to decentralize, improve, and secure the network, thus assuring vitality and integrity over time.”

Saylor’s business intelligence firm MicroStrategy is one of the world’s major bitcoin hodlers, having acquired 125,051 BTC for around $3.8 billion, and earning the company huge profits in the process. Last summer, amid mounting criticism from energy activists, Saylor co-founded the Bitcoin Mining Council to promote energy usage transparency and accelerate sustainability initiatives worldwide.

In its most recent report, the Council noted “dramatic improvements to bitcoin mining energy efficiency and sustainability due to advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion of North American mining, the China Exodus, and worldwide rotation toward sustainable energy and modern mining techniques.”

Overall, the report put the percentage of renewable-powered bitcoin mining at 58.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, a modest once percent rise since Q3. Nonetheless, things seem to be moving in the right direction. Ultimately, miners will always strive to seek out the lowest cost of power production they can find and the Council aims to highlight green options at every turn.

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk was instrumental in bringing the Council into being, after all, it was the billionaire’s decision to reverse course on the acceptance of bitcoin for Tesla vehicles that reignited the debate around PoW. Musk even sat in on the inaugural Bitcoin Mining Council meeting last May. Energy concerns aside, Tesla still holds around $2 billion worth of bitcoin on its balance sheet.

“There are many initiatives that address criticism of bitcoin’s energy usage,” notes Maud Simon, COO of sharded blockchain Alephium, “Some are building alliances for clean mining, some are mining green blocks with certified hydro electricity, and others are attempting to reduce the quantity of energy required.

By capping energy consumption to less than an eighth of bitcoin’s after a certain threshold, our Proof-of-Less-Work innovation provides an example of how PoW chains can address the energy sustainability questions without sacrificing security and decentralization.”

One high-profile company that’s recently entered the mining business is Intel. Soon the California corporation will release its first crypto-focused chip, which it says provides “1,000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining.”

Dubbed Blockchain Accelerator, the chip will put Intel in direct competition with the likes of Bitmain, Canaan, and Nvidia. We’ll soon know whether the technology is all it’s cracked up to be. The first two companies to trial the chip will be Argo Blockchain and Block (formerly known as Square).

Existing hardware specialists are not deaf to the criticism of PoW. Bitmain’s latest mining rig, the S19 Pro+ Hydro, utilizes liquid cooling technology to reduce heat, power consumption and noise, with the added benefit of extending the machine’s lifespan. By deploying the machines, U.S. mining firm Merkle Standard expects to be net carbon negative by the end of 2022.

Clearly, the bitcoin mining industry as a whole is drifting away from polluting energies and embracing a more sustainable matrix that includes solar, wind, geothermal and hydro-electrical. Even nuclear sources are being tapped, as in the case of the fast-growing Mawson Infrastructure Group. Where an energy balance is not carbon free, Mawson uses carbon credits to offset its emissions.

Adrian Eidelman, Co-founder of smart contract platform and bitcoin sidechain RSK says, “The primary running costs for bitcoin miners is energy consumption, and they therefore have a clear incentive to find and maintain cheap sources, which are often renewable. Larger bitcoin mining farms are often located in remote locations, close to these energy sources, and take advantage of low energy costs that would either go to waste or be impossible to transfer to large cities.”

Mining has, to a large extent, taken place in the shadows up to this point. But that is beginning to change. We need only look at the launch of the first ever Bitcoin Miners ETF on the Nasdaq stock market. Rather than offering exposure to BTC itself, the product, which was pioneered by crypto asset manager Valkyrie, gives investors exposure to companies specializing in hardware or software used for mining the asset.

Looking to the Future

Aside from the criticism that stems from Proof-of-Work’s energy-intensive nature, questions have been raised concerning the longevity of the mining industry itself. After all, over 90 percent of bitcoin’s total supply has already been mined. With the block subsidy halving every four years (the next one’s due in 2024), won’t bitcoin have to see continual price appreciation for mining to remain profitable?

Well, yes. But that’s exactly what miners are banking on. While there is only 10 percent of bitcoin’s pre-programmed fixed supply left to mine, mainstream investors have only recently begun to look seriously at the asset class, suggesting there is plenty of room for growth. Bitcoin’s absolute scarcity, security and decentralization continue to make it a desirable digital asset for buyers.

And what happens when the final block has been confirmed, the last ever bitcoin mined?

One can only speculate what life will look like in 2140, but it’s entirely plausible that mining will continue. As mentioned earlier, miners receive a reward in every block they mine, made up of the block subsidy and the transaction fees.

In decades to come, the purchase power of bitcoin may be so strong, that the payout for the latter is enough to compel miners to maintain the ledger and mine blocks even in the absence of new bitcoins. It’s even possible that bitcoin will come to be regarded as so valuable a monetary base, that humans will allocate resources to keep the ledger alive despite money being lost when securing the network.

“Bitcoin mining will become an asset strategy of many countries in the future, and those opposing it will only be sacrificing their own prosperity by reducing innovation as well as jobs and wealth creation,” predicts RSK’s Adrian Eidelman.

Whatever happens, cryptocurrencies and mining will likely be front and center in the coming months, not just in the the great energy debate, but also in the social and political debate of the peoples’ rights to access self-sovereign cryptocurrency, a debate the will continue to be openly and productively led by the industry.

I cover fintech, crypto and digital assets, and sustainable finance and investments, and promote policies for a transparent, secure, and quality digital financial

Source: What Does The Future Hold For Bitcoin Mining?

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DeFi Analytics Firm Treehouse Raises $18M Seed Funding

Ethereum Merge Takes Place on Kiln Testnet

Bitcoin Sees ‘Bart Simpson’ Pattern During Thinly-Traded Asian Session

HSBC Enters the Metaverse Through Partnership With The Sandbox

Ongoing global chip shortage capped the capacity of new mining machines globally.

The U.S. and Canada have quickly risen to be the uncontested hashrate capitals of the world

What Does Hashrate Mean and Why Does It Matter

Kazakhstan’s Crypto Miners Face New Regulations After Contributing to Power Shortages

Hut 8 Mining, recently closed a $173 million public offering of common shares

Crypto’s Carbon Footprint Could Hinder Adoption: Deutsche Bank

China Crypto Bans: A Complete History

Why Shouldn’t the Navajo Mine Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency Miners Turn to Exotic Cooling Systems as Competition Heats Up

Riot Blockchain plans to increase its mining hashrate up to 50%

CleanSpark bought 20-megawatt-powered immersion cooling infrastructure

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Zaamigo Tooth-Checking Device Puts an AI Camera In Your Mouth

While there are camera-equipped toothbrushes that let users see how well they’re cleaning their teeth, the Zaamigo goes considerably further. It uses AI to analyze the photos it shoots, in order to monitor the health of its user’s teeth and gums.

Developed by ETH Zurich spin-off company Zaamigo, the device of the same name has the form factor of an electric toothbrush, but it isn’t used for brushing the teeth. Instead of a ring of rotating bristles, it features a tiny waterproof digital camera surrounded by a ring of eight LEDs.

After brushing their teeth with a conventional third-party toothbrush, users stick the head of the Zaamigo in their mouth, and utilize it to take a total of six photos of their upper and lower teeth.

Those images are wirelessly transmitted to an iOS app on their iPhone or iPad, where artificial-intelligence-based algorithms check for stains, inflamed gums, and accumulated calculus (aka tartar). The algorithms were developed by having a panel of dental experts analyze a database of thousands of Zaamigo-captured images, identifying the problems present in each one.

Depending on what’s detected, the app will either advise users on how to improve their brushing/flossing technique, or it will tell them to visit their dentist. In fact, although the Zaamigo is being marketed mainly to the public, some dentists are reportedly already using the device in their clinics.

It should be noted that the technology is currently not able to detect cavities. The developers hope that such functionality will become possible as the AI is developed further, along with the ability to detect problems such as periodontal disease or nocturnal teeth grinding.

Should you be interested, the Zaamigo is available now, priced at US$100. It’s demonstrated in the above video.

By: Ben Coxworth

Based out of Edmonton, Canada, Ben Coxworth has been writing for New Atlas since 2009 and is presently Managing Editor for North America. An experienced freelance writer, he previously obtained an English BA from the University of Saskatchewan, then spent over 20 years working in various markets as a television reporter, producer and news videographer. Ben is particularly interested in scientific innovation, human-powered transportation, and the marine environment.

Source: Zaamigo tooth-checking device puts an AI camera in your mouth

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Why Brands are Failing To Listen To Customers and How To Fix That

As terabytes of consumer data are collected every day, companies have more information than ever about their customers. But that doesn’t mean they understand what those customers need—or how best to serve them.

Without a clear understanding of what customers are experiencing, executives put their brands at risk, according to Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, which helps companies collect video feedback from their customers. As the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates, a company’s survival in challenging times often requires a strong, meaningful audience connection and swift action to meet customer needs.

So, what can companies do to more effectively tap into customer experiences and build lasting relationships? Here, MacMillan and Rick Reuter, a principal in the financial services industry practice for consultant Deloitte, discuss what’s preventing companies from listening to their customers, the importance of human connections, and how companies should be thinking about the customer experience post-COVID-19.

Companies have access to tons of customer information. So what are companies missing? Why isn’t that data enough?

Andy MacMillan: We’ve become really algorithm dependent. Data and algorithms are useful. But they also mean we aim for the average: What does the average buyer want? We don’t ever learn about the exceptions. It’s become very sterile, and I think we all sense and feel that. The challenge for companies is how to get real feedback from people outside the company, and how to use that feedback to put the team in the shoes of the customer.

How do companies get that real feedback from their customers?

MacMillan: I think you have to be deliberate about the idea that you can’t just stand entirely behind the technology. You have to decide it’s important for people in your company to talk to customers.

If you’re a bank, go out and get 10 or 15 people without deep technology backgrounds to walk you through what it’s like for them to bank online. Then we pull that video in-house and let the teams watch and see what it’s like to be that customer. Or for an airline, it means asking a premium flyer who is not very tech-savvy what it’s like to book travel for his or her family. How do you get your tech team to understand how to alleviate some of those flyer’s concerns, when your team is not the demographic we’re talking about? That’s the personal aspect I’m talking about that’s missing.

Rick Reuter: And sometimes it’s just having a real person pick up the phone. So, it’s not 15 menus of connecting through a call-center app. It’s “Hello, Mr. Reuter, how can we help you? We saw that you did this today. Is that what you’re calling about?”

How is COVID-19 changing the landscape for how companies are expected to interact with customers?

Reuter: I think companies now are getting more and more connected with the human experience than they have in the past decade, and I think it’s refreshing that we have this technology infrastructure to adapt quickly. We just need to continue to make that a priority.

MacMillan: The question, even six months ago, was “How do I squeeze out more margin for myself as a company?” Now for the first time in a while, we’re seeing companies actually thinking about customers and taking measures to keep us safe. This situation has caused us to go back to a time before we relied on the algorithms. We’re saying, “Hey, let’s go talk to some customers. Let’s find out what their needs are and figure out how to service those needs.” It’s a remarkably simple formula, but I would say that hasn’t been the heart of what we’ve been doing for the past decade.

When the COVID-19 crisis ends, what’s going to happen to these customer-centric changes? Will they continue? 

MacMillan: It’s going to be difficult for businesses to just snap back to the assumptions we had six months ago about how everything works.

One of the changes companies should keep is how they’ve empowered employees on the front lines. A coffee chain I go to, each [outlet] had different ways of implementing carryout-only procedures to keep people safe. It was very smart. It was like all the rules had been thrown out the window—instead of a uniform corporate policy, the company trusted employees to make some rational decisions on how to keep themselves safe, how to keep our customers safe, how to adapt to this unprecedented situation.

Reuter: That’s a culture where employees feel empowered and they feel ownership of the problem, which creates opportunity. I think that’s a great example of a large enterprise creating some local angles to be successful.

How can companies empower individual employees in a smart way?

MacMillan: It’s about culture and values. You hear front-line retail workers say, “I wish I could do the right thing more often for people.” And often it isn’t really about the money. It’s just trying to treat people the right way, trying to solve a problem in a restaurant, in a store, whatever that might be.

There’s also something to be said for hiring good people, conveying your shared values as a company and empowering those people to make good decisions in line with your values.

As companies rise to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and try to meet customer needs, what’s the biggest thing they can do to improve their listening?

MacMillan: I think the issue isn’t for or against technology. I think it’s how do we layer in perspective and actually care about the customer in an authentic way? We talk about an empathy gap, and what we mean by that is, it’s not like people go to work every day and don’t care about the customers; it’s that they don’t have the perspective. They don’t actually get to see these customers and talk to them to know that they’re not hitting the mark.

The lesson companies can take away from this crisis is the way it’s caused us to go, “Hey, wait. I need to find out what the customers really need, and then go figure it out.” And as customers, we’re delighted that they seem to care.

By:Taylor Smith for FastCo Works

Source: Why brands are failing to listen to customers—and how to fix that

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