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AG Poll – Do You Hand Write Notes to Clients?

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How digital are you?

15653748_923745accfSome people are moving away from paper and hand written notes in favor of digital communications for expediency, for being more environmentally friendly, among a variety of reasons. The Internet is nothing new, but what is new is some people completely ditching paper.

We’re curious about if our readers still hand write notes. We’re leaving the question vague as to what notes are being handwritten or simply replaced by digital communications (ecards, emails, blog posts, etc) to reach out to clients.

Let us know in the poll below and tell us in comments why you vote the way you do.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Janie Coffey

    February 16, 2010 at 5:51 am

    I just sent out 10 valentine’s day cards with Starbucks gift cards for our recent SOI referrals, telling them we really appreciate their trust in us to refer us to a friend or colleague and to please have a cup of coffee with their sweetie as a very small token of our very big thanks. It went over great 😉 who doesn’t like a cup of coffee or tea with their sweetie?

  2. Amber Davis

    February 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

    The internet has made anything handwritten, novel and special. Whenever I get to touch something tangible that’s been created just for me, I can’t help but feel special. You just can’t get that sort of fuzzy from an email. It’s a great way to make a real impression.

  3. Matt Thomson

    February 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I get the both of best worlds. If you haven’t tried it yet, visit SendOutCards.com/thomson and try sending yourself a hand written note from the computer (NOTE: This is a MLM so while I truly love this product there’s gain to be had here as well).
    With SendOutCards, I have over 8000 generic cards to choose from or I can easily make my own with my own photos. They even take a sample of your own handwriting and scan it in so the card gets printed in your exact writing. They will even insert gift cards (Borders, Starbucks, Home Depot, etc) if you want to do that. Then the card gets printed and mailed and looks amazing.
    It serves as a contact management system too, so you can set up drip cards, auto send cards on birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
    Everytime I put buyers in a new home, I take their photo in front of the home, make a “We’ve moved!” card, get the names of friends and family they want to notify, and send a change of address card with the folks’ photo in front of the home. Each card costs a whopping $0.93 + stamp.
    I’ve gotten more return phone calls from sending personal notes with my own photos than with any other contact I’ve ever done.

    • RealEstate_Mktg

      February 16, 2010 at 11:08 am

      This is very interesting, Matt…. I only handwrite notes when I have to, though that isn’t to say I don’t understand the appreciation when someone does receive a handwritten card.

      I’m going to go take a look at the site. My question to you is does it truly appear to be handwritten? Or does it come across as one of those mailers that I get that is made to look like it’s written in script but it’s obviously printed. (I tend to trash these quicker than straight print pieces.)

  4. Toby Boyce

    February 16, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I have to disagree with you Matt. SendOutCards are a great thing, however they are not a replacement to hand-written notes.

  5. Kevin Baker

    February 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I am a digital boy all the way, whether it be blogging, websites, email, twitter or facebook but i still do write handwritten notes when i first meet someone or want to say thank you for working with me.
    The power of a handwritten note is incredible and it will set you apart from all those that rely on email only. The clients will remember you more when it comes time to tell their friends all about the great help you provided.

  6. Norm Fisher

    February 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Handwritten notes, though extremely rare, always get opened first when they land in my mailbox.

    For the past few years, we’ve been sending a handwritten note and a lottery ticket to every agent who shows our listings. It has paid dividends in developing strong relationships in the business making it easy for us to obtain showing feedback for our sellers, and I believe, helping us earn more influence with our peers locally. I still think it’s a cheap and effective way to say, “I appreciate you.”

  7. Matt Thomson

    February 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    RealEstate_Mtg: It looks surprisingly real. If you want to email me a physical address, I can send one so you can see.

    Toby: I’m curious to hear why you think that. I sent actual hand written notes for years with no response, and I get phone calls back on about 70% of the send out cards I send. Putting photos on and in the cards to really personalize them seems to draw a lot of attention. I’d like to hear why you’ve found them to be less effective.

  8. Matthew Hardy

    February 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I’ve always been a sci-fi fan and especially got a kick out of scenes in Star Trek movies where the extreme-specialness of an ancient book or “spectacles” were highlighted. People will always value actions between humans that can’t (or shouldn’t) be entirely supplanted by machine-generated alternatives.

    I’ve developed very large customer relationship management and direct marketing systems that included this-is-about-as-personal-as-you-can-get communications capabilities that included recipient-specific phrasing algorithms and handwriting fonts. Still, *nothing* takes the place of the beautiful human irregularities of the truly one-off note.

  9. Nashville Grant

    February 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I love receiving hand written notes, so in turn, I try to write as many as I can, but I really do not get a chance to write that many. You’d be surprised how many people immediately respond to a hand written note with a phone call to thank you for the note. Of course, my penmanship is a little on the doctor side, so they don’t always full understand my notes!

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Tech News

Google is giving back some privacy control? (You read that right)

(TECH NEWS) In a bizarre twist, Google is giving you the option to opt out of data collection – for real this time.

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Open laptop on desk, open to map privacy options

It’s strange to hear “Google” and “privacy” in the same sentence without “concerns” following along, yet here we are. In a twist that’s definitely not related to various controversies involving the tech company, Google is giving back some control over data sharing—even if it isn’t much.

Starting soon, you will be able to opt out of Google’s data-reliant “smart” features (Smart Compose and Smart Reply) across the G-Suite of pertinent products: Gmail, Chat, and Meet. Opting out would, in this case, prevent Google from using your data to formulate responses based on your previous activity; it would also turn off the “smart” features.

One might observe that users have had the option to turn off “smart” features before, but doing so didn’t disable Google’s data collection—just the features themselves. For Google to include the option to opt out of data collection completely is relatively unprecedented—and perhaps exactly what people have been clamoring for on the heels of recent lawsuits against the tech giant.

In addition to being able to close off “smart” features, Google will also allow you to opt out of data collection for things like the Google Assistant, Google Maps, and other Google-related services that lean into your Gmail Inbox, Meet, and Chat activity. Since Google knowing what your favorite restaurant is or when to recommend tickets to you can be unnerving, this is a welcome change of pace.

Keep in mind that opting out of data collection for “smart” features will automatically disable other “smart” options from Google, including those Assistant reminders and customized Maps. At the time of this writing, Google has made it clear that you can’t opt out of one and keep the other—while you can go back and toggle on data collection again, you won’t be able to use these features without Google analyzing your Meet, Chat, and Gmail contents and behavior.

It will be interesting to see what the short-term ramifications of this decision are. If Google stops collecting data for a small period of time at your request and then you turn back on the “smart” features that use said data, will the predictive text and suggestions suffer? Only time will tell. For now, keep an eye out for this updated privacy option—it should be rolling out in the next few weeks.

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Tech News

Looking to refresh your virtual rooms? Check out Zoom’s Immersive View

(TECH NEWS) Zoom’s new Immersive View feature will help you feel like you’re back in the workplace or classroom again – or wherever you want to be.

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Zoom's new Immersive View allows users to be creative and place participants on landscapes, like this field of flowers.

If you’re tired of feeling separated from your coworkers, friends, or classmates, Zoom has a new feature that will make you feel like you’re all in the same place once again. At Zoomtopia, Zoom’s annual user conference, the company announced its Immersive View feature that they say will allow for a “more engaging and collaborative way to meet”.

With Immersive View, video participants can all be arranged in a single virtual space. Hosts can choose from one of Zoom’s immersive virtual scenes and embed video participants within that scene.

To make sure your scene is as natural as possible, hosts can move around and resize a participant’s image so they can look like they are sitting on a chair in a classroom or conference room. For added fun, you can even set a custom background. So, if you’d rather be part of the Galactic Senate Chamber, you can create your own scene.

Up to 25 video participants can be in the same virtual space. Any additional people after that will show up as a thumbnail strip on the top of the screen. And, at any time, you can change the view back to Speaker View or Gallery View if you want to.

How to get started with Zoom’s Immersive View
Immersive View is available on Windows and macOS for desktop. By default, all Free and single Pro accounts using Zoom 5.6.3 or higher will have the feature enabled.

To use the feature, first start your Zoom meeting or webinar on your desktop. In the top-right corner, click “View” and select “Immersive View”.

To place participants into the scene, choose between automatically and manually. By choosing automatic, as many participants as the layout will allow will be added to the scene. If you choose manual, you can add and remove participants as you’d like. Since Immersive View will use the first 25 participants, manual works well for larger meetings. If participant No. 26 needs to speak up, you can remove someone and add No. 26 in.

After you’ve made your choice, select one of the provided virtual backgrounds or upload your own image. If you choose to use your own custom background, make sure to follow Zoom’s virtual background specs for the best results.

Finally, click “Start” to launch your scene, and, now, you’re all set!

Those that aren’t using Zoom 5.6.3 or higher will not be able to see the Immersive View. Instead, they will see either the Gallery View or Speaker View with a black background.

Currently, Immersive View isn’t available in breakout rooms yet. Also, recordings of Immersive Views aren’t supported. Depending on your recording settings, recordings will appear in Gallery View or Speaker View.

Considering all the video call fatigue going on right about now, the timing of Zoom’s Immersive View feature couldn’t come at a better time. It will be refreshing to see a video call without just heads inside boxes.

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Tech News

Create a pandemic-friendly sign-in with this touchless technology

(TECH NEWS) In an era where touchless communication is paramount, Wellcome brings touchless employee and visitor sign-in technology to the workplace.

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Logo page for Wellcome, a touchless technology sign-in.

Touchless technology is becoming more and more common these days and for good reasons — health and safety. Due to the COVID pandemic, social distancing is crucial in helping decrease the amount of positive coronavirus cases.

Unfortunately, some work environments require in-person employees, contractors, and visitors. And now, some businesses are even starting to bring more of their workforce back into the office. While we can hopefully assume they all have some safety protocols in place, the front desk interactions haven’t changed much. This makes it difficult to manage and see who’s in and out.

But to fill in that gap, meet Wellcome. Wellcome is a touchless sign-in platform for employees and visitors. According to their website, the app “helps you manage the workplace effectively, making it safe and easy for everyone” who’s in the office.

And the platform does this by implementing the following features in its tool.

Employee Touchless Check-in
By uploading a list of employees to the Admin, employees automatically receive an email with a one-click “Wellcome Pass”. This pass can be added to their Apple or Android digital wallet.

Once at work, employees scan their pass on an iPad at the reception desk. Then, they will see a customizable confirmation screen with the company’s health and safety guidelines messaging. This reminder can help ensure everyone is following the rules and staying safe.

Visitor Touchless Check-in
For visitors without a Wellcome Pass, they can still scan the QR code on the iPad using their device. The QR code will direct them to a customized check-in form where they can select their host and fill out a health questionnaire on their mobile device.

COVID-Safe Visitor Screening
Based on how a visitor answers the health screening questionnaire, it will grant or deny them access to the office. This health COVID screening will help HR managers “protect the office by restricting access to visitors that might be infected.”

Host Notifications
Via email, Slack, and/or SMS, Wellcome will immediately notify the host when they have a visitor and send them the visitor’s contact details. It will also let them know if their visitor was granted or denied access based on the health screening. If a visitor is denied access, the host is instructed to not meet the visitor, but contact them another way.

Contact Tracing
If there is a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case at work, Wellcome makes it easy to identify and notify anyone who may be at risk. To do this, the HR manager just needs to search by a person’s name and date range in the Admin. Search results will pull up anyone that could have come in contact with the infected person.

The Admin will also notify all employees and visitors that need to self-isolate and get tested. If needed, Wellcome also lets you download and submit a tracing report.

Manage Office Capacity
Wellcome tracks workplace capacity and occupancy data to help maintain social distancing. If occupancy reaches the capacity limit, the Admin will be notified to “take steps to reduce occupancy in order to stay within the required limits.”

In the Admin Dashboard, reports are available to view the status of current capacity. It can also predict what the occupancy will be each day so companies can plan ahead.

Book Workdays
Employees have the option to pre-book when they want to come into the office. The app displays how many slots are available for each day, and it can send out a calendar reminder. Through the Admin, HR managers can see who will be coming into the office. This is Wellcome’s other way of making sure capacity limits are always within range.

Also, setting up Wellcome is pretty simple. All you need is an iPad. You install the app on it and leave it at the reception desk for employees and visitors to check-in.

For companies who have employees and visitors in and out of the office. Wellcome does sound appealing, and it looks like they will benefit a great deal from the platform. And, if you’d like to check it out, Wellcome lets you use the app free for 14 days. Afterwards, you can select a plan that works best for you.

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