September 30, 2014

eGumball Interview: Scouring the Web with Quality Control

By Lauren C.

We sat down with Marco, the Quality Control Department Lead of eGumball Inc. to talk about his background, what a Quality Control Lead does, and how he manages the ins and outs of his department to ensure a smooth process for the client.

Tell us a little about your professional background and what drew you into the Quality Control Department?

My last position involved managing an office, and it was very customer service based because I dealt with customers and catered to their specific needs. That position helped to promote small businesses, which is why I started in the Quality Control Department at eGumball. Here, we help the clients by making sure their information is compliant and everything is posted within Google and Bing guidelines. By doing this for them, we are promoting their business and marketing their brand.

What are the main objectives of the Quality Control Department and how do they relate to the bigger objective of eGumball?

Our department checks current information on search directories about a business against previous information. We ensure that the information is up to date and compliant with the guidelines set by these directories. For example, we can search through a phone number to track down what a business used to be ten years ago before it became the current business, and we can report it to the Citation Department, so they can clean it up for the client.

September 29, 2014

eGumball Inc. Participates in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Orange County

By Lewis J.

Over 35 of eGumball Inc.'s employees participated in the 23rd Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure 5k this past Sunday, September 28th. The infamous walk took place at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The participants ran on behalf of breast cancer research and breast cancer victims.  eGumball Inc. was proud to support such a worthy cause and would like to thank all of their employees who participated. You did a great job and we’re looking forward to seeing you again at next year's walk.

September 26, 2014

Five Star Reputation Management

By Lewis J.

Earlier this year, the Union Street Guest House, a boutique hotel in New York City, announced a new online review policy. Any wedding party that posted a negative review of them online would be fined $500. Sadly, instead of stifling their critics, the policy inflamed them. Within weeks, the hotel received almost 600 negative reviews about its poor customer service. (One notable exception was a five star review from Adolph H: “I love to meet people who sink ze same as I do!”) The Union Street Guest House quickly rescinded its policy, but the damage had been done and it is unknown whether their business will ever be able to recover.

For most people, this is an amusing anecdote. For business owners, it is an important reminder of the how powerful online reviews can be. Not only do 85 percent of consumers read them, but even a one star increase on Yelp can increase a business’ revenue by five to nine percent. The reason is simple. Consumers don’t trust marketers, they trust people like themselves. Almost half of all consumers have written an online review, which may explain why seventy-nine percent of consumers trust them. In this context, the draconian policy at the Union Street Guest House is easier to understand. Negative reviews can be extremely costly. They not only more common than positive reviews, but they circulate faster through social media. In this environment, even the best businesses can find their reputations destroyed by a few online malcontents.

September 24, 2014

eGumball Interviews: The Philosophy of Customer Service

By Lauren C.

Jerome, the Service Manager at eGumball, Inc.,oversees customer service in different departments throughout the company. We sat down with him today to learn about his job responsibilities and the eGumball customer service philosophy.

Tell us about your professional background and what drew you to customer service management?

I’ve been in the customer service industry for over a decade building large call centers. I have worked at Cisco Systems and AT&T Wireless, overseeing large call centers. I became involved in customer service because I enjoy talking to people and learning about them and their business, as well as resolving problems and answering questions.

Tell us about the daily responsibilities involved in your position. What are your main objectives and job duties?

There are so many different responsibilities in my position, but my primary focus is making sure that the correspondence between departments is smooth and that all departments of customer service are doing their jobs efficiently and effectively.

Can you explain a little about the different departments that you oversee and how they all correlate with one another?

Well, let’s start with the Quality Control department. This department checks all of the customer’s information on the web, and ensures that when we update information, it is correct. This takes a certain type of detail-oriented person. Once that is complete, a Google account is created, and the customer waits for pin codes from Google, which we then use to create their profile. The Citations department then creates new listings, or mentions for the customer’s business on the web, and is responsible for carrying out a large portion of the campaign for the customer. The Customer Service department is then responsible for resolving any questions or issues that the client might have once their campaign is set up.

September 22, 2014

Galaxy Tab Faceoff

If you’re following tech news, you know that Samsung is releasing a new tablet, the Galaxy Tab 8.4 and 10.5, which they hope will finally allow them to finally outdistance Apple’s iPad. By a happy coincidence, the content writing department of eGumball (Tek Team) are almost perfectly split between Apple and Samsung, so decided that it would be fun to sit two writers of the Tek Team down for a little head-to-head comparison.

What did they think of the new Galaxy Tab?

The Opinion of a Samsung Fan

By A.G.

As a big fan of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, I am very excited to see that Samsung is coming out with a Samsung Galaxy S Tab 8.4 and 10.5 in bronze. Considering the high quality and functionality of the Galaxy S Smartphone, it is assumed that the Tab will be just as exceptional.

Of course, the resolution is higher than ever, with 2,560 by 1,600 pixels (359 pixels per inch) according to CNET. Its larger screen (8.4 inches or 10.5 inches) will prove beneficial when binge watching your favorite Netflix series on a train, in a plane, in a house, or with a mouse. The tablet itself is very light and durable. Unless you are going to take it camping or plan on throwing it off of a roof, you won’t necessarily need a case, as the bronze backing is just as durable as the backing of the Smartphone.

Some of the new features include, but are not limited to, multiple user accounts, fingerprint lock, multi-window feature, kids mode, download booster, remote video conference, and of course the ever-lasting battery that can last for days with the Ultra Power Saving Mode.

Since the iPhone 6 came out a little behind the Samsung Galaxy 5S smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S Tab might blow the iPad out of the water. What do you think?

The Opinion of an Apple User

By L.J. 

September 18, 2014

Ever Wonder What eGumball Does for Fun?

By Lewis J.

On September 2nd, eGumball decided to take a break from its normal routine and inaugurated the very first, company-wide Ping-Pong tournament. The tournament was the brain child of one of our collections assistants. He broke the company down into 24 brackets and turned us loose on each other in a four day battle royal.

The competition was grueling, with a great many players dropping quickly until only the players from collection and corporate sales, remained. The two squared off in an epic match on September 5th, while the rest of the company watched on in hushed awe. Back and forth the balls flew, with neither player giving an inch. Finally, however, the eye of the tiger was with collections. They won a close victory and walked away with the prize.

Afterwards, the entire office at eGumball celebrated with a lunch catered by Chipotle and applauded when our smiling solution architect was awarded the “Positive Employee of the Month” award. Though the tournament is over, we’re already excited for the next one.

September 12, 2014

Fantasy SEO

By Justin H.

The end of summer means that America’s favorite made-up hobby is back in action! Of course, I am talking about fantasy football.

Over 30 million people participate every year, so unless you work by yourself in a coffee shop, there’s a strong chance that you will overhear your coworkers chatting about their respective fantasy football teams at some point. It is undoubtedly a fun hobby and good for some friendly competition, but it does have its drawbacks.

Namely, it cuts into employees’ productivity in the office, projecting for a loss of over $13 billion for companies across the country in 2014, simply from unproductive work time due to fantasy football.
So, where does fantasy football fit into the workplace? Quite literally, running your fantasy team is similar in many ways to running your own business. SEO, or search engine optimization, is becoming more crucial with each passing year as businesses continue to carve out their own niches online. Choosing the proper keywords is a vital strategy to getting the most out of your business and increasing productivity.

Keywords are simply terms that people type into search engines when they want to find a certain product or business. For the sake of this blog post, we are going to pretend that you own a pizza restaurant. With smartphones as common as ever, people on the go will constantly be googling or asking Siri when they want to find some information.

Drafting your football team is similar to drafting your keywords for your pizza place.

Your High Draft Picks

In your draft, the first three rounds are where you are looking to get the most value possible out of your selection. Your first three picks should be players who you have tons of confidence in to stay healthy, stay out of trouble and dominate, regardless of their matchups.

These will be your primary keywords that will carry your business. Your three main keywords should be something like, “pizza”, “Italian restaurant”, and “pizza delivery.” Regardless of what else your business has going on, these three things will be paramount to your success. You don’t want to swing for the fences early in the draft because one misfire could cause a domino effect of disastrous results. You don’t want to be drafting Ryan Mathews in round one, hoping for that fully healthy 15-touchdown season, just as you don’t want your primary keyword to be “brick oven pizza” in hopes of a big comeback. Brick oven pizza is delicious, but it less common than it once was.

September 11, 2014

Don't Let Them Cash and Dash: Finding a Visible Marketing Company

By A.G.

It’s more than common for a marketing company to make all of its SEO, SEM and ranking promises, then fall off of the map with your business’ information, your integrity, and your money. The reason for this (assuming they are not a scam) is because not only is Search Engine Optimization unpredictable, but marketing companies don’t provide enough services to keep the client knowledgeable about what is going on with their ranking and overall online presence.

Look for a company that not only keeps their clients engaged, but takes the time to educate them on the company’s services. A successful marketing company also informs the client of their own capabilities in terms of what they can do to bump up their online presence.  Find a company that offers assistance with social media, websites, and online directories for optimal SEO results.

How would you feel if you signed up for a marketing company who called you a week later just to say “Thank You”? Great! The concierge department at eGumball Inc. “is the first contact, voice, or message a customer receives, welcoming them to internet advertising and, most importantly, thanking them for their business. Many companies [don’t] call and thank their customers up front for ordering with them.” (Concierge Manager, eGumball Inc.) A concierge service calls to appreciate the customer, sets up coupons, advises on reviews and social media, and are essentially a live help desk, leaving the client in the “know” of the benefits of the company and their money well spent.

Do your research, look at their services beforehand, and don’t let a marketing company cash and dash.

September 10, 2014

Mobile Phone Revolution

By Lewis J.

Is your website mobile optimized? I only ask because there’s a revolution underway and I don’t want you to get left behind. Mobile phones are taking over the internet? Don’t believe me? Here are some numbers for you to chew on.

In 2011, Americans spent $455 million on smartphones and tablets, but only 350 on laptops and desktops. For the first time ever, there were more mobile devices than static ones. Those mobile devices comprised 25 percent of the world’s computing power and they have only gotten more powerful since. Americans owned 92.8 million smartphones in 2011. We own 163.9 million today. By 2018, we will probably have 220 million

Also, think about this: in 2014, people bought more goods and services with their phones than with their desktops, $2.7 trillion worth. That will probably be $4.7 million by the end of the decade. Hardly surprising. Since this year, we have done web searches with our smartphones and tablets than we did with our desktops, and this preference increases as you get younger. In 2013, the National Association of College Stores found that when college students wanted to look up an answer, 55 percent of them used their smartphones. Only 33 percent used a desktop. In other words:

So, are you ready for the revolution? 

September 5, 2014

Product Review: Snapchat

By Justin H.

My buddies and I used to partake in a fun game back in college. Anytime we went out to eat in a large group, we would put our phones in the middle of the table. There was only one rule: first person to touch his or her phone before the check came had to pay for everybody’s meal.

The game was visibly painful for those who are less socially magnetic and spend a lot of time glaring at their screens. On more than one occasion I’d hear one or two utter, “So what do we do now?”
After the initial shock wore off, a nice open conversation would develop and everyone would forget about the mindless timeline scrolling that clogs our brains with nonsense all day.

Social media once started as a lame MySpace wall, and for many people has now transformed into a round-the-clock need for online interaction. The result of all this is a bunch of drones walking into stop signs because they were too busy live tweeting their every move, or driving up a curb because they were too busy Instagramming their daily chai latte with the misspelled name on it.

The latest big contributor to this societal anomaly is Snapchat.

This blog post is in no way an outlet for bashing Snapchat. It is actually a wonderful app that allows you to quickly share picture messages with your friends without filling up your camera roll. The photos also get deleted after one to 10 seconds, according to the user, to ensure that your oh-so-loyal friends don’t screenshot your embarrassing selfie and make it go viral.

The problem with Snapchat is just like that of any other social media platform. All things in life are great in moderation, but once they get abused it becomes a nuisance.

The devil’s advocate of this issue would decree that nobody needs a Snapchat. Facebook? That was very innovative. Twitter? I guess I can buy into that. Instagram? Okay, it’s a stretch, but we all like to call ourselves photographers. Snapchat? This is just too much.

Snapchat is really just a more direct and explicit version of Instagram. Anything you want to post on Snapchat can easily be sent in a group text message simply by hitting the attach button. In reality, it is just another reason to look at your phone, which is becoming an increasingly bigger issue.
It has reached the point where people interact without actually interacting. Believe it or not, phones were actually made so people could call and talk to each other! Who knew?

September 2, 2014

A Game of SEO: What Game of Thrones Teaches About SEO Management

By Lewis J.

The central question of the War of the Five Kings is why did the Starks lose and the Lannisters win? How was the noblest and most popular family in Westeros betrayed and defeated by the least popular? The answer is that the Lannisters understood SEO, while the Starks did not.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the technique used by companies to optimize their online presence. Companies that use it wisely can be found on the first pages of Yahoo!, Bing, and Google. Just like a top ranking company, House Lannister understood how to manage its reputation, alliances, and battle strategy during the war in order to maneuver itself into a the heart of Westerosi politics, while the Starks drove themselves into the political wilderness.

What is SEO?

Search engines like Google don’t search blindly. They use what are called “spiders” to crawl and categorize online content. The spiders classify and rank websites based on their keywords and popularity. Spiders analyze site content to determine keywords, the number of clicks, and links in order to determine its popularity.  The more time that passes between when users click on a site and when they leave, the more popular it becomes. The more websites that link users to your site, the more popular it is perceived to be. Popular sites with relevant keywords are most likely to appear first in search results with the right techniques. 

Internet, or the Lack Thereof, In Westeros

As a medieval fantasy realm, Westeros does not have the luxury of the sophisticated search sites like Google, but it has two functions that replicate its effect. The first is the raven network. Ravens can travel approximately 100 miles in a day, which allows citizens to communicate quickly other over large distances. The second is gossip. Gossip is an informal communication network outside the control of the nobility and the primary way of gauging a ruler’s popularity is to listen to what the small folk are saying. Their opinions are the search results, which is why the great houses work so hard to influence them.

The most common methods is with the sigils each house adopts as their primary keywords. House Stark: a silver dire wolf. House Lannister: golden lion. House Targaryen: a fiery dragon. Each of them brings up specific associations. Silver like snow, gold as in rich, dragons for fire, a simple way of projecting power into their subjects’ minds. The house mottos serve the same function. House Lannister is blessed by having two: “Hear me Roar!” and “A Lannister always pays his debts.” The second is unofficial but more advantageous. It is a long tail keyword – a keyword made up of multiple words that link users to unique content, the Lannister promise to repay their friends and punish their enemies.