How One Poor Banking Experience Exposed Critical Process Failures

With all of the digital transformation that’s taking place throughout different industries, it can be easy to forget that some businesses still cling to the “old way” of doing things. We decided to start this series to highlight everyday annoyances that we’ve experienced from the customer side of business.

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Document Inferno: The 9 Circles of Email Routing Hell

While email has been meant mainly as a communication tool, that hasn’t stopped people from trying to cram every manner of functionality into it. Unfortunately, this often leads to communication gaffes and tends to suck the productivity out of teams. Whether you’ve suffered through every level or have only had to visit one or two, we’re sure anyone who’s used email to route or work with documents will recognize these common frustrations.

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Greenway Health Case Study

One of the challenges in marketing software development kits (SDKs) to application developers is that there are numerous potential use cases, yet the product can be difficult to show by itself. We used case studies to help prospects get a sense of how customers were integrating our products and what the resulting benefits were.

For this project, I coordinated and conducted the customer interviews, wrote the copy, and influenced the final layout and design. 

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5 Retailers Reinventing the Shopping Experience

As customers become comfortable with online shopping, retailers look for ways to bring them into the store. The good news is that showrooming has declined. But research anticipates online sales will keep growing. 

More and more, retailers are using their physical locations to go beyond transactions. They're creating retail experiences.

Here are five companies that have found different ways to take brick-and-mortar to the next level.

How To Recognize The Signs That A Loved One May Need Future Caregiving

How To Recognize The Signs That A Loved One May Need Future Caregiving

Age affects us all in different ways. There’s no telling what lies ahead. As loved ones age, it is often those around them that are the first to notice the need for extra help. 

Because each person’s experience is unique, we’ve compiled a list of the more common signs that someone you know might require a caregiver. Use these more as a starting point for a discussion with family. Simply showing a few of these isn’t definite proof, but it can help you become more aware and know when to seek professional consultations.  

7 Habits That Boost Your Content Credibility

7 Habits That Boost Your Content Credibility

Reprinted guest post that originally appeared on LKR Social Media. The more content you create, the greater your need will be for ways to up your game. Struggling to come up with ideas? Feel like your content isn’t engaging? Maybe it’s time to try changing some of your habits to jumpstart your brain. Here are 7 easy ways to get you back on the path to great content:

How Fit Is Your FICO?

It boggles my mind sometimes that there are people out there who don't have any idea what their credit scores are. I suppose if you know you've paid your bills on time your entire life, its safe to assume you have nothing to worry about. Or is it?

The fact is, unless you pull your credit reports and scores you can't be sure they contain the right information, let alone be sure someone else's information isn't included by mistake. But what is a FICO® score and why is it important to know yours?

The FICO score predicts the likelihood that you or I or whoever is being scored will become seriously late in repaying any of our creditors over the next two years, explains Craig Watts, a spokesperson for Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that developed FICO scoring.

Here’s a graph showing where Americans fall within the FICO score range.

Contrary to what you might first think, Fair Isaac does not actually provide credit scores. We don't provide scores at all, interestingly enough. We're an applied math company, so we create the formula, says Watt. That formula is installed in the operating systems of each of the three credit bureaus. The bureau collects information it knows about you into a credit report, runs that information through our formula to produce a score.

Whether you're applying for a store credit card, a car loan or trying to refinance your mortgage, the organization you're applying to will likely obtain your credit score to help make their decision to approve your application or determine an interest rate.

This is just the reason why it's important to periodically check your score. Without knowing it, you could be selling yourself short to lenders by not knowing the information they're using to evaluate you.

What makes it even more confusing is that there isn't one single score for each person. Fair Isaac's FICO formula can be used to evaluate your credit history as reported from any of the three credit bureaus: ExperianEquifax and TransUnion. Youll never know which ones a lender will use, so its a good idea to monitor all of them.

If you're planning any kind of significant loan in the near future, you want to check your credit report and FICO score at each of the three national credit bureaus at least six months before you apply for that loan, Watts advises. That will give you the greatest chance to correct any errors and to influence that score positively before you walk in the lenders office and lay down that application.

But before you run out and close all your credit card accounts, you should know what factors have the greatest impact on your score.

The most important thing on the credit report for the FICO score is how you're repaid your bills in the past—have you been late, have you been on time. If you have been on time, then you get positive strokes for that. If you've been late, then you get negative strokes, says Watts.

Obviously, this is a change that takes time to achieve and will cause a slower improvement in your score. Below is a chart showing the top FICO score influencers and their weight. As you can see, on-time payments take up the largest portion. However, the amount you owe in relation to the amount of credit you have is high as well. This is an area where you may be able to affect a quicker change.

Watt says there are basically three good ways to work on improving your credit score:

  1. Make sure you are never late in making payments. This includes bills like cell phones, utilities, parking tickets and even library fines that could be reported on your credit report for non-payment.
  2. Pay down high balances on revolving credit. Lenders view you as a lower default risk if youre not using all of your open credit.
  3. Be resistant to new lines of credit. It may be tempting to save 10% at the register when a salesperson offers you credit, but evaluate the offer to see if its truly worth it for you in the long run.

For those whove never taken a look at their credit reports or scores, it can seem like a daunting task to begin to correct errors or improve your credit outlook. But Fair Isaac's site is a great resource for consumers who want to educate themselves.

The company offers several products through its web site that can give you varying degrees of information.

For $15.95, you can order a FICO Standard report, which will give you your score and credit report from a single credit bureau (you choose which one) and shows you the factors that are positively and negatively affecting your score.

If you’re interested in your scores and reports from all three bureaus, then you can order the FICO Deluxe product for $47.85.

But perhaps the most interesting scoring product they offer is Score Watch, which lets you continuously monitor your Equifax score for $8.95 per month.

I recently purchased a house and had some loose ends to tie up on my credit report. I purchased Score Watch™ to get an idea of how my score would be affected as the changes were updated on my credit report. Being the credit nerd that I am, I love to see how my score fluctuates with different actions.

And for me it’s a good motivator to stay the course to rebuilding my credit profile. Each time my score changes, I’m notified via email and can log into my account to see exactly what caused the change.

Watts agrees that access to such credit information has a positive impact on scoring. “As people get plugged into what lenders really pay attention to, then they are better equipped to focus on those kinds of priorities or behaviors in the future, which leads to an improvement in their credit ratings,” he says.