The Poland Import Export Chamber Of Commerce Online




Business Communication On The Internet

business communication

Business communication on the internet is all about image and security. This page discusses business communication considerations for the small and medium sized firm. Business communications security and image are all too often considered secondary considerations for these firms and they suffer as a result.

In all business activities, and particularly on the internet, never forget your image. And never forget that email is subject to blocking, diversion, redirection to unauthorized recipients and spyware.

This is long page that discusses these topics in depth. But to save you time, here are some important pages related to Business Communication that are very important.

We cannot stress to much the importance of this information. Business is all about communications. You have to start right because you can never make a second first impression.



 

Show Legitimacy

If you wish to be taken seriously when doing business on the web you must give some indicia of legitimacy. That applies to you whether you are buying or selling.

Look Professional Or Get Ignored.

In order to be successful on the web you'll have to always be concerned about your image and your brand. That concern has to start from day one.

Your Image On The Internet

This article is written in an attempt to explain to business people the importance of image and how easy it is to create a bad image on the internet. It may or may not apply to you. But it is information that you should have.

How To Use Skype Effectively

If you are in business, considering going into business - especially if you want to talk to people outside your country, you should at least have free Skype. But there is a lot more to Skype than meets the eye. In this page is the information that you need to use Skype effectively. If you use Skype to your full benefit, you will find that you not only can save a lot of money, you will have flexibility not available with a standard land line or mobile phone.

 

Detailed Discussion Of Business Communications On The Web

Any business communication carries with it a reflection of you, your company and your reliability. Business communications must be reliably delivered, not subject to blocking and must show that you are a financially reliable firm.

That means that you should immediately change your AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Freeserve and every other free email account to a business email account.

There are two main reasons that you must do this.

checkMost free email accounts, and some paid, like AOL, filter your email.

They block messages to you. They do not tell you that they blocked the messages. They just block them. It is simple censorship and you do not know what is being censored.

They block commercial messages that contain common commercial words. We cannot even list those words here because this email to you might get blocked.

So if you want to be sure that you get information from anyone in business, get a business email account.

You can read more about this at Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail Users.

checkYou must be concerned about your image.

Your email is your letterhead. It projects your image. Just as you would not use free hotel stationary for your business letters, you should not use free email for your business letters.

The first sign of a fly by night operator, a fraud or a time waster is a free email account. Credit card processors use an email address as an indicia of fraud. Suppliers don't take people seriously.

And customers look at you as someone that might not be reliable. If you can't afford an email address with a company name, how can you afford to run a business? And how can they depend on you to deliver? Customers just do not take you seriously.

You can read more about image at Your Image On The Internet

A Case In Point

Here is an actual response to an email that we send to a customer that contacted us about starting a jewelry shop. Our response was blocked by hotmail.

This is part of the actual text from the header of our email that was returned to us. This was found in our spam filter junk box. (Please remember this when you read some of the later information in this page. I will remind you of it then.

Begin Text Snip

Your message to XXXXXXXX(name deleted to protect privacy)@hotmail.com
was considered unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE).
Subject: Re: Starting up jewelry shop
Return-Path:
Our internal reference code for your message is 01785-03/TFSF+JdwvtaH.
Delivery of the email was stopped!
Reporting-MTA: dns; spamass1.serve.com
Received-From-MTA: smtp; spamass1.serve.com ([127.0.0.1])
Arrival-Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 01:14:48 -0400 (EDT)

End Text Snip

All that we did was respond to his email to us. The words in HIS email to us contained the spam words that caused hotmail to block him. What is interesting is that we warned this person about not being able to communicate by hotmail. But he continued to use it.

Because he said that we wanted to start a business so that he could get a tax deduction for his trips to Poland, we were doubly concerned that this person was some shaky person engaged in tax evasion.

We learned long ago that buyer fraud on the internet was more of a problem than seller fraud. So we dropped the account based on our concerns about image, reliability and judgement.

Had he written us with a business email account rather than hotmail, we would have spent some time to see if he was in fact serious. Maybe we were wrong to stop corresponding. But better safe than sorry.

You will find that customers are more wary than we are. Customers judge and judge harshly.

So you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Play it safe.

What To Do About Email?

Spam

You must, of course, protect yourself against spam. That is easy to do. Use a spam blocking system that you control.

Never use a challenge response system that requires that a person confirm that email was sent to you. If these were effective, large companies would use them. Large companies have learned that if you use a challenge response system, you will lose customers. And suppliers will ignore you.

Here is an example of a comment made by a large blog moderator about such systems. It is typical of what people think about those who use spam response systems.

JEEZ, I HATE THESE THINGS: A reader sent me an email asking for information But when I responded, I got this:

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request:

I didn't click. Don't send me email if you have this service on your site, unless you've added me first. I don't have time -- or inclination -- to waste my time in order to save yours, and I think the whole thing is rather rude.

If you want to irritate people and lose them as corrspondents, use a challenge response system. If you value relationships and your image, don't.

Also, be sure that your ISP does not block email. You want to have all your email delivered. You want a spam control system that moves suspicious email into a special junk folder that you can review to be sure that you are not losing good email. Sometimes spam does have good information for business people. And sometimes spam filters block perfectly valid customer and supplier correspondence.

Note that in the example above we would not have been notified that our email to the potential customer was blocked if we did not have our own spam control system that allows us to review returns like this. In fact, the original email may never have reached us. It could have been from a serious customer but since it had in it words that cause email to be rejected by spam filters, we would not have seen it.

Here is a link to a spam blocking system. There is a lot more information about how they work and how you can control them here also. It is worth a check. Check here.

 

 

Computer Security

You WILL get hurt unless you take steps to protect yourself. There are some very mean competitors out there who are looking for holes and they will steal you blind. It does not only happen to the other guy. If you do business on the internet, it will happen to you!

Here are some things that you must have.

Anti-virus software and a firewall that can be updated regularly.

Dealing with anti-virus and firewall protection may sound about as exciting as flossing your teeth, but it's just as important as a preventive measure. Having intense dental treatment is never fun; neither is dealing with the effects of a preventable computer virus.

Anti-virus Software

A virus can take your business off line. It can cause the loss of all your email records, your customer lists, your billing records and everything else.

Anti-virus software protects your computer from viruses that can destroy your data, slow your computer's performance, cause a crash, or even allow spammers to send email through your account. It works by scanning your computer and your incoming email for viruses, and then deleting them.

To be effective, your anti-virus software should update routinely with antidotes to the latest "bugs" circulating through the Internet. Most commercial anti-virus software includes a feature to download updates automatically when you are on the Internet.

Firewalls

Don't be put off by the word "firewall." It's not necessary to fully understand how it works; it's enough to know what it does and why you need it. Firewalls help keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. While anti-virus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for outside attempts to access your system and blocking communications to and from sources you don't permit.

Some operating systems and hardware devices come with a built-in firewall that may be shipped in the "off" mode. Make sure you turn it on. For your firewall to be effective, it needs to be set up properly and updated regularly. Check your online "Help" feature for specific instructions.

If your operating system doesn't include a firewall, get a separate software firewall that runs in the background while you work, or install a hardware firewall - an external device that includes firewall software. Several free firewall software programs are available on the Internet.

Zombie Drones

Some spammers search the Internet for unprotected computers they can control and use anonymously to send unwanted spam emails. If you don't have up-to-date anti-virus protection and a firewall, spammers may try to install software that lets them route email through your computer, often to thousands of recipients, so that it appears to have come from your account. If this happens, you may receive an overwhelming number of complaints from recipients, and your email account could be shut down by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

What to Look For and Where to Get It

You can download anti-virus software from the websites of software companies or buy it in retail stores. Look for anti-virus software that:

Recognizes current viruses, as well as older ones.
Effectively reverses the damage.
Updates automatically.

We use the Norton Anti Virus System.

Spyware

Spyware gets on your computer in ways that you would not believe. It can be disastrous for you personally and for your business. Rather than reproducing what we have written on it before, here is a link to complete information. You can use a free download to check if you have spyware now.

Summary

Here is what we recommend in order of priority.

Your first step should be to get a business email account. That is your base. It immediately sets your image and allows you to recieve all email sent to you.

Secondly you should get spyware protection. Don't worry about spam just now. It will take the spammers a while to find your new business email address so you can live with it. But the spyware can get you immediately. Get spyware immediately.

Set up your firewall and virus protection. You are going to need this to protect against the junk that your customers and suppliers will send you. They will have virus on their computers and send them to you. Yes, as your spam load grows with time, you will get them there. But your first and never ending problem will be your customers and suppliers. You must protect against them immediately. We recommend the Nortan Programs

Add a spam filter as your last step. Spam at this point will be just an inconvenience. All your earlier efforts will have deleted anything that could have harmed you. Find a spam filter here.