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USPS Suspends Mail Delivery Wed, Dec 5 for National Day of Mourning

December 3rd, 2018 Comments off

President Trump has proclaimed Wednesday, December 5, 2018 as a National Day of Mourning in remembrance of former President George H.W. Bush.

To honor President Bush for his vast contributions to public service during his lifetime, the U.S. Postal Service will observe a day of mourning and will suspend regular mail delivery and Post Office/retail services on Wednesday, December 5.

USPS Operations That Will Continue on Wednesday, Dec 5
Service Status
Priority Mail Express All Priority Mail Express items will be delivered as scheduled.
Package Pickup USPS will conduct scheduled package pickup requests.  IMPORTANT! No new package pickups are being scheduled for December 5.
Plant Operations All plant operations, including Network Distribution Centers (NDC) and Sectional Center Facilities (SCF), will operate as scheduled except delivery point sequence (DPS) processing. FAST appointments will be accepted.
Air & Surface Transportation Air and Surface transportation operate as scheduled, and scheduled dispatches to Post Offices will occur.
USPS Customer Support Call Center In operation but may have reduced staffing.
Delivery Destination Units (DDU) All DDUs will accept drop shipments.

 

USPS Operations That Will Be Suspended on Wednesday, Dec 5
Service Status
General Mail Delivery Regular USPS mail delivery will be suspended. There will be limited package delivery consistent with our Peak Season Sunday schedule.
Post Office/Retail Post Offices will be closed. All retail operations will be suspended.
Collection Box (Blue Boxes in Streets) Mail will be collected from boxes in front of Post Offices and high volume boxes that have a potential to overflow. All other box collections will be suspended.
Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) The BMEU/Detached Mail Unit (DMU) in plant locations will be open, while BMEU operations will be suspended at Post Office locations.
USPS Administrative Offices including Headquarters All administration offices will be closed.

Get more info from USPS.com.

Handling Fake Competitor Reviews with Class

November 28th, 2018 Comments off

No business is perfect. At some point, an employee will make a mistake or a customer won’t be satisfied and you’ll end up with an unflattering review. But if you reach out and fix the problem, you may be able to turn that bad review around.

Unfortunately, not all negative reviews are legitimate. In fact, some criticism could be entirely fabricated by your competitors with the intention of tarnishing your hard-earned reputation. The worst part is that research suggests small businesses could lose 22% of their revenue from just one bad online article. Continue reading to learn how to identify and address fake reviews before they ruin your reputation.

Spotting Fake Reviews

It may seem impossible to root out false reviews, but with a few simple tricks you’ll become a pro at catching the counterfeits.

Start by keeping thorough records of every online review mentioning your business. You may want to reference the good ones with customers, and you’ll definitely need to address the bad ones to maintain a clean reputation.

Create a spreadsheet and add columns for each of the following: website address, review, review type, review date, and notes. Next, you’ll want to categorize each review type as positive, neutral or negative. Then, fill in the notes column with any details, including incidents on record or whether you’ve reached out to the individual or website. Finally, open and read each critique and look for these signs of fake reviews:

  • Vagueness — If someone has never been to your store or done business with your company their review may lack detail. Legitimate complaints usually include a name or description rather than generic statements like: “rude and dishonest salespeople.”
  • Me, Me, Me — Deceptive reviewers often default to using more first-person pronouns like “I” and “me”. This is because our brains tend to draw from what we know (ourselves) when fabricating stories.
  • More Doing, Less Seeing — When asked to describe real events, people remember the things they saw and touched. Conversely, when we lie, we usually describe actions because they’re easier to make up.

Reporting Fake Reviews

Once you’ve identified fake reviews it’s time to take action. Unfortunately, many review sites won’t remove complaints unless you can definitively prove that they’re fictitious. But if you gather plenty of evidence to support your claims then they may be willing to help. Try locating sales records and email exchanges, and compare the location of the reviewer to your business address.

While ripoffreport.com won’t remove complaints, reputable sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook are willing to look at dishonest content. Each site has specific guidelines for removing reviews, though, so you should become familiar with individual policies before submitting a grievance.

Responding to Fake Reviews

While removing false reviews should always be your goal, sometimes this just isn’t possible. In these situations, you should submit a rebuttal or response to clarify the situation with readers. However, you’ll need to word your reply carefully so you don’t cause more damage to your reputation. Here are some tips to respond to fake reviews with class:

 

  • Be Patient — Before responding to a fake review, wait to see if it subsides in your search results. Sometimes reviews fall to page 2 or 3 in Google where they won’t be seen. However, responding to them could signal to Google that the content is relevant to your brand, pushing them higher up in the search results.
  • Cast Doubt — Calmly explain that you have no record of an incident that matches the reviewer’s name or situation. State that you take customer service very seriously, and offer to resolve the issue over the phone or via email. Readers may doubt the authenticity of the complaint, and you’ll demonstrate your willingness to fix issues.
  • Talk to the Readers — The author of the fake review will probably never read your response. Therefore, respond in a way that you want potential readers of the complaint to see your company. Using facts and bullet points can also help to build your case.

 

Fake reviews are frustrating and costly, but you don’t have to live with them. Fighting back with class and a strategic plan could be enough to fix your reputation. If you’re still unsuccessful and have the budget, you can turn to more traditional methods like digital marketing and PR to eradicate the negative content. But these techniques often require a substantial long-term investment.

Here’s a quick recap of that strategy again: Record all online reviews about your business. Learn to sniff out fake reviews. Remove what you can, and always respond with the reader in mind. Following this advice will put you on the path to developing a shining reputation for your small business.

 

Jonas Sickler is an expert in crisis communications and online reputation management. His advice has been featured in over 60 publications, including Forbes, Washington Post, CNBC, The Street, U.S. News and Business News Daily. Follow along on Twitter.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

Using Two-Step Verification to Keep Your eBay Account Secure

November 15th, 2018 Comments off

A few months ago, I woke up to thousands of dollars of eBay sales.  I couldn’t believe how many iPhones I’d sold!  Unfortunately, I don’t sell iPhones.  Last weekend, the same thing happened to one of my former eBay students.  When she logged onto the site, she noticed that someone had used her account to list five PlayStation gaming consoles and a number of Samsung Galaxy Notes.  She changed her password over and over again, but that wasn’t enough to stop the attack.  Panic time!

 

The problem?  Our eBay accounts were hacked!  In both cases, eBay was alerted immediately, and customer service reps took care of the problem quickly.  Rumor has it that hackers prefer preying on seasoned eBay sellers who have accounts in good standing.  My former student has been buying on eBay for years and is now a successful seller.  And it was pretty obvious why I’d been hacked. I have a feedback score of almost 20,000, I’ve been on eBay since 2005, and I’d recently changed my password to one I’d used for years on numerous other accounts.  But that password change gave hackers the change to move in.  Bad move, Miriam.

 

Blocking hackers from your eBay account – installing two-step verification

Needless to say, I changed my eBay password again and followed the advice of a friend who supports his entire family selling estate sale items on eBay.  My friend cannot afford to have anything happen to his account, so his eBay account is set up for two-step verification.

What is two-step verification?
Basically, in order to log onto eBay, a person has to go through a two-step process.  The first step is inputting your eBay password.    Then, eBay will send you  a security code via text which must be entered as well.  If any of the two steps is not inputted correctly, the person will be blocked from logging in to eBay.

I set up two-step verification on both my eBay and PayPal accounts, and I haven’t had a problem since.

 

How to set up two-step verification in eBay

  1. Click on the “My eBay” link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page
  2. Go to the “Account” tab
  3. Click on the “Personal Information” or “Business Information” link on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Scroll down until you see the “Security Information” section
  5. Under this heading you will see “Two-Step Verification”
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Follow eBay’s instructions on screen to complete the process.

 

How to set up two-step verification on PayPal
If you’d like to set up this feature on PayPal and you have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the summary page, click on “Profile”
  3. Choose “Profile and Settings”
  4. On the left-hand side of the page, click on “My Settings”
  5. Then scroll down and find the “Security Key” section
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Click on “Register a New Mobile Device Number”
  8. Follow PayPal’s instructions on screen to confirm the process.

 

If you do not have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the summary page
  3. Click the “Security” tab on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Go to the “Security Key” section
  5. Click on the link to the right of this section and follow PayPal’s instructions on screen

 

Setting up two-step verification may take a few minutes, but it’s well worth the security it provides.  This extra level of protection will give you peace of mind and will save you time in the future.

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

2019 USPS Postage Rate Increase – International Shipping

November 6th, 2018 Comments off


The USPS has proposed new postage rates to be implemented on Sunday, January 27, 2019, subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The analysis below highlights the 2019 USPS rate increase for INTERNATIONAL shipping services.

FIRST CLASS PACKAGE INTERNATIONAL SERVICE
First Class Package International Service rates will be increasing by an average of 3.9% in 2019.

Price Group 1 (Canada)
• Price Group 1 is seeing a shipping rate increase ranging from $0.48 (up to 8 ounces – $9.98) to $1.66 (49 to 64 ounces /4 lbs. – $37.05)

First Class Package International Service – 2019 Rates
CANADA – Price Group 1 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight 2019 2018 Increase
1 lb. / 16 oz. $16.39 $15.20 $1.19
2 lbs. / 32 oz. $16.39 $15.20 $1.19
3 lbs. / 48 oz. $24.94 $23.99 $0.95
4 lbs. / 64 oz. $37.05 $35.39 $1.66


Price Group 2 (Mexico) and Price Group 3 (Pacific Rim including Australia, China, Japan and South Korea)

  • For 2019, there will be no shipping rate increase for Price Group 2 or Price Group 3
First Class Package International Service – 2019 Rates
AUSTRALIA – Price Group 3 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight 2019 2018 Increase
1 lb. / 16 oz. $22.33 $22.33 $0.00
2 lbs. / 32 oz $22.33 $22.33 $0.00
3 lbs. / 48 oz. $33.25 $33.25 $0.00
4 lbs. / 64 oz. $50.11 $50.11 $0.00

 

Price Group 4 (Eastern Europe including Russia, Czech Republic and Turkey)

  • Price Group 4 is seeing a shipping rate increase ranging from $0.48 (up to 8 ounces = $9.98) to $1.66 (49 to 64 ounces /4 lbs. = $37.05)
  • There is no rate increase for Price Group 4 for parcels weighing OVER 2 lbs.
First Class Package International Service – 2019 Rates
RUSSIA – Price Group 4 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight 2019 2018 Increase
1 lb. / 16 oz. $22.80 $21.85 $0.95
2 lbs. / 32 oz $22.80 $21.85 $0.95
3 lbs. / 48 oz. $34.91 $34.91 $0.00
4 lbs. / 64 oz. $56.53 $56.53 $0.00


Price Group 5 (Western Europe including Germany, France, Spain and UK)

  • Parcels weighing between 33 ounces (2 lbs. 1 ounce) to 48 ounces (3 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $1.67, to $35.63
  • Parcels weighing between 49 ounces (3 lbs. 1 ounce) to 64 ounces (4 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $9.02, to $57.95
First Class Package International Service – 2019 Rates
UK – Price Group 5 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight 2019 2018 Increase
1 lb. / 16 oz. $22.80 $22.33 $0.47
2 lbs. / 32 oz $22.80 $22.33 $0.47
3 lbs. / 48 oz. $35.63 $33.96 $1.67
4 lbs. / 64 oz. $57.95 $48.93 $9.02

 

Price Group 6 (Southeast Asia including Taiwan, India, Philippines and New Zealand)

  • Parcels weighing between 33 ounces (2 lbs. 1 ounce) to 48 ounces (3 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $4.03, to $36.81
  • Parcels weighing between 49 ounces (3 lbs. 1 ounce) to 64 ounces (4 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $7.12, to $59.85

 

Price Group 7 (Africa including Kenya, South Africa and Cameroon) and Price Group 8 (Middle East including Egypt, Jordan, UAE and Saudi Arabia)

  • For 2019, the will be no shipping rate increase for Price Group 7 and Price Group 8 for parcels weighing UNDER 2 lbs
  • For Price Group 7, parcels weighing between 33 ounces (2 lbs. 1 ounce) to 48 ounces (3 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $2.14, to $35.15
  • For Price Group 7, parcels weighing between 49 ounces (3 lbs. 1 ounce) to 64 ounces (4 lbs.) are NOT seeing a rate increase
  • For Price Group 8, parcels weighing between 33 ounces (2 lbs. 1 ounce) to 48 ounces (3 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $2.37, to $33.01
  • For Price Group 8, parcels weighing between 49 ounces (3 lbs. 1 ounce) to 64 ounces (4 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $2.14, to $52.19


Price Group 9 (South America including Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica)

  • Parcels weighing between 33 ounces (2 lbs. 1 ounce) to 48 ounces (3 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $3.57, to $36.58
  • Parcels weighing between 49 ounces (3 lbs. 1 ounce) to 64 ounces (4 lbs.) are seeing a rate increase of $10.45, to $59.38

 

PRIORITY MAIL INTERNATIONAL
Priority Mail International rates will be increasing by an average of 3.9% in 2019.

  • Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes are seeing a rate increase from $1.15 (Price Group 2 = $30.60) to $1.35 (Price Group 8 = $33.85)
  • Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Boxes are seeing a rate increase from $1.25 (Price Group 2 = $31.90) to $1.35 (Price Group 8 = $34.85)
  • Priority Mail International Medium Flat Rate Boxes are seeing a rate increase from $2.70 (Price Group 2 = $68.70) to $2.90 (Price Group 8 = $73.90)
  • Priority Mail International Large Flat Rate Boxes are seeing a rate increase from $3.60 (Price Group 2 = $89.55) to $3.85 (Price Group 8 = $96.70)
  • Listed below are increases per package for popular shipping destinations:
Priority Mail International – 2019 Rates
CANADA – Price Group 1 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight
(lbs.)
2019 2018 Increase
1 $32.59 $31.35 $1.24
2 $35.20 $33.87 $1.33
3 $37.81 $36.39 $1.42
4 $40.42 $38.90 $1.52
5 $43.04 $41.42 $1.62
6 $45.65 $43.94 $1.71
7 $48.26 $46.46 $1.80
8 $50.92 $48.97 $1.95
9 $53.53 $51.49 $2.04
10 $56.15 $54.01 $2.14

 

Priority Mail International – 2019 Rates
AUSTRALIA – Price Group 10 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight
(lbs.)
2019 2018 Increase
1 $48.07 $46.08 $1.99
2 $52.58 $50.49 $2.09
3 $57.10 $54.91 $2.19
4 $61.61 $59.33 $2.28
5 $66.12 $63.75 $2.37
6 $71.20 $68.64 $2.56
7 $76.29 $73.53 $2.76
8 $81.37 $78.42 $2.95
9 $86.45 $83.32 $3.13
10 $91.58 $88.21 $3.37

 

Priority Mail International – 2019 Rates
UK – Price Group 11 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight
(lbs.)
2019 2018 Increase
1 $49.97 $47.98 $1.99
2 $54.39 $52.20 $2.19
3 $58.81 $56.43 $2.38
4 $63.22 $60.66 $2.56
5 $67.64 $64.89 $2.75
6 $70.82 $68.07 $2.75
7 $74.01 $71.25 $2.76
8 $77.19 $74.43 $2.76
9 $80.37 $77.62 $2.75
10 $83.55 $80.80 $2.75

 

Priority Mail International – 2019 Rates
JAPAN – Price Group 12 (CBP)
INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates
Weight
(lbs.)
2019 2018 Increase
1 $49.21 $47.50 $1.71
2 $52.68 $50.78 $1.90
3 $56.19 $54.06 $2.13
4 $59.66 $57.33 $2.33
5 $63.13 $60.61 $2.52
6 $66.12 $63.51 $2.61
7 $69.11 $66.41 $2.70
8 $72.11 $69.30 $2.81
9 $75.10 $72.20 $2.90
10 $78.09 $75.10 $2.99

 

PRIORITY MAIL EXPRESS INTERNATIONAL
Priority Mail Express International rates will be increasing by an average of 3.9% in 2019.

  • Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate Envelopes are seeing a rate increase of $1.45 (Price Group 1 = $42.30) to $2.10 (Price Group 7 = $61.90)
  • Priority Mail Express International parcels are seeing a rate increase of $0.00 (Price Group 2 – 0.5 lb = $51.30) to $21.69 (Price Group 7 – 70 lbs at = $514.69)


GLOBAL EXPRESS GUARANTEED
Global Express Guaranteed rates will be increasing by an average of 4.9% in 2019.

  • Global Express Guaranteed parcels are seeing a rate increase of $3.13 (Price Group 1 – 0.5 lb = $64.41) to $49.92 (Price Group 8 – 70 lbs = $910.29)
Categories: Postage Rate Increase Tags:

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2018

October 22nd, 2018 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service recently announced their 2018 shipping deadlines to ensure delivery by December 25th.  Be sure to mail by these deadlines if you are planning to use the USPS to send any mail or packages this Holiday season.

If you live in Hawaii or Alaska, note that your shipping deadlines may be different than those for the contiguous United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping, Shipping, USPS News Tags:

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