VoIP’s hold message options are easy

A CNN survey revealed that 70% of callers in the US who are put on hold in silence hang up within 60 seconds. That’s why businesses are looking into different on-hold options to keep customers happy and are finding wonderful solutions from VoIP systems.

When an operator asks a client for permission to put them on hold, what they’re really saying is “Can you wait a short time not talking to anybody?” It occurs at different times throughout a call, and for varying durations. VoIP phone systems help make this lull period engaging with music, messages, and other information.

Music

A North American Telecom study found that callers who hear music while on hold will stay on the line 30 seconds longer than those who experience silence. While old phone systems also had a music on hold feature, VoIP services enhance this feature and offer more options.

Instead of being limited to legacy tools’ music loops, VoIP systems let you easily upload your audio of choice. Just a tip: use music that suits your brand, and take your clientele’s demographics into account. The upbeat music that a sporting good brand uses might not work for an investment bank.

With VoIP systems, you can customize the frequency and duration of a track and configure whether the music restarts or continues where it left off when a caller is placed back on hold. You can also set the order of different tracks or randomize them for callers.

Messages

Customers who are put on hold are captive audiences for your marketing messages. VoIP systems let you record a variety of messages for different numbers according to the purpose of the caller. For example, if the caller wants to get in touch with the sales department, the on-hold message could inform them of current special offers, promotions, or sales.

“Hold message” scripts that utilize your company’s TV and radio ads might elicit an “I think I’ve heard this somewhere” response. Conversely, you could put a totally new spin on the usual tone and style of your marketing messages and really get creative with humorous mini-commercials that make your customers chuckle (and a little bit of levity never hurt nobody!).

For the service department, you can use soothing messages that assure the customer that an agent is taking care of their concerns. Using a service-appropriate message makes them feel like they’re getting personalized care.

Information

New information and intriguing anecdotes will take their minds off of the notion that they aren’t being served (when in fact, you are hard at work addressing their concerns at the other end of the line), so you could also pose a playful trivia or “Did you know?” kind of contest where providing a correct answer once the call resumes wins them a prize.

VoIP systems’ rich on-hold functionality allows you to turn the on hold experience into a positive customer service experience. Make sure this window of opportunity isn’t slammed shut. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you increase the odds that your clients will hold the line happily.

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VoIP systems keep callers on the line

According to an AT&T study, more than 70% of business phone calls in the US are placed on hold for an average of 45 to 60 seconds each. While organizations try to minimize hold times, sometimes there’s nothing you can do except put the caller on hold while you transfer them to the correct department. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make this customer experience better. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems make it very easy to do so.

When an operator asks a client for permission to put them on hold, what they’re really saying is “Can you wait a short time not talking to anybody?” It occurs at different times throughout a call, and for varying durations. VoIP phone systems help make this lull period engaging with music, messages, and other information.

Music

A North American Telecom study found that callers who hear music while on hold will stay on the line 30 seconds longer than those who experience silence. While old phone systems also had a music on hold feature, VoIP services enhance this feature and offer more options.

Instead of being limited to legacy tools’ music loops, VoIP systems let you easily upload your audio of choice. Just a tip: use music that suits your brand, and take your clientele’s demographics into account. The upbeat music that a sporting good brand uses might not work for an investment bank.

With VoIP systems, you can customize the frequency and duration of a track and configure whether the music restarts or continues where it left off when a caller is placed back on hold. You can also set the order of different tracks or randomize them for callers.

Messages

Customers who are put on hold are captive audiences for your marketing messages. VoIP systems let you record a variety of messages for different numbers according to the purpose of the caller. For example, if the caller wants to get in touch with the sales department, the on-hold message could inform them of current special offers, promotions, or sales.

“Hold message” scripts that utilize your company’s TV and radio ads might elicit an “I think I’ve heard this somewhere” response. Conversely, you could put a totally new spin on the usual tone and style of your marketing messages and really get creative with humorous mini-commercials that make your customers chuckle (and a little bit of levity never hurt nobody!).

For the service department, you can use soothing messages that assure the customer that an agent is taking care of their concerns. Using a service-appropriate message makes them feel like they’re getting personalized care.

Information

New information and intriguing anecdotes will take their minds off of the notion that they aren’t being served (when in fact, you are hard at work addressing their concerns at the other end of the line), so you could also pose a playful trivia or “Did you know?” kind of contest where providing a correct answer once the call resumes wins them a prize.

VoIP systems’ rich on-hold functionality allows you to turn the on hold experience into a positive customer service experience. Make sure this window of opportunity isn’t slammed shut. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you increase the odds that your clients will hold the line happily.

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Replace phone scheduling with Bookings

Time is the commodity of service providers — therefore being able to manage it well ensures profitability. To maximize your schedule, use Bookings by Office 365. Here’s how this easy-to-use app can greatly benefit your business.

Visibility

Bid adieu to the days of scribbling on post-its and frantically going through your schedule to find out where you’re heading for lunch. Microsoft Bookings provides you with a unique webpage that is compatible on both desktops and mobile devices. Here, customers can select times and dates based on current availability — simply enter the contact information and then book it! The system fully automates the process of managing your appointments.

No more rain checks

Cancellations and missed appointments mean wasted time slots unless you’re able to fill them up with new bookings. Avoid lost income by controlling how much advance notice is required to make a cancellation. With Bookings, appointments appear immediately in staff calendars and can be added or revised by customers in their own personal calendars. Additionally, a confirmation email is automatically sent to the customer, which is then followed by another automatic email reminder before the appointment time. The web page also offers a rescheduling service: customers can simply click on the link on the confirmation email and pick a time that they’re more comfortable with.

Synchronization

Once completed, the booking is then synced to a centralized calendar where businesses are given the option to reschedule, cancel, or reassign the appointment to other staff members as they see fit.

If you do decide to reassign it to staff members, Bookings offers a nifty feature known as “split view.” This shows which staff members are booked at which times, and you can compare everyone’s schedules side-by-side. The appointments are synced not only to your calendar but to the staff members’ calendars as well. Moreover, this versatile system accommodates Office 365, Outlook, and even Google Calendar, so clients and staff can keep whatever calendaring service they prefer.

Double duty

Appointment setting might be the primary goal of Bookings, but the system can also be utilized to build your company’s customer list. Once customers input their information into the system, it automatically creates contact entries for those customers. The contact card contains personal information such as your customer’s name, address, phone number, and email address.

And, as your company grows, you can add more staff members as well as create additional booking pages for free. Furthermore, staff members aren’t required to have Office 365 subscriptions to be a part of the service.

Efficient tech resources aren’t enough to maintain a successful business anymore. To really stand out from competitors, you need comprehensive appointment management. Give us a call if you need any questions answered or issues addressed We’re more than happy to help.

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Schedules are a breeze with Bookings

Manually managing appointments is a frustrating time-waster, especially when you factor in last minute cancellations and no-shows. With Bookings, you can let clients find available times for themselves and even have them automatically receive booking confirmations and timely appointment reminders. Here are more ways in which this simple app can tremendously help your business out:

Visibility

Bid adieu to the days of scribbling on post-its and frantically going through your schedule to find out where you’re heading for lunch. Microsoft Bookings provides you with a unique webpage that is compatible on both desktops and mobile devices. Here, customers can select times and dates based on current availability — simply enter the contact information and then book it! The system fully automates the process of managing your appointments.

No more rain checks

Cancellations and missed appointments mean wasted time slots unless you’re able to fill them up with new bookings. Avoid lost income by controlling how much advance notice is required to make a cancellation. With Bookings, appointments appear immediately in staff calendars and can be added or revised by customers in their own personal calendars. Additionally, a confirmation email is automatically sent to the customer, which is then followed by another automatic email reminder before the appointment time. The web page also offers a rescheduling service: customers can simply click on the link on the confirmation email and pick a time that they’re more comfortable with.

Synchronization

Once completed, the booking is then synced to a centralized calendar where businesses are given the option to reschedule, cancel, or reassign the appointment to other staff members as they see fit.

If you do decide to reassign it to staff members, Bookings offers a nifty feature known as “split view.” This shows which staff members are booked at which times, and you can compare everyone’s schedules side-by-side. The appointments are synced not only to your calendar but to the staff members’ calendars as well. Moreover, this versatile system accommodates Office 365, Outlook, and even Google Calendar, so clients and staff can keep whatever calendaring service they prefer.

Double duty

Appointment setting might be the primary goal of Bookings, but the system can also be utilized to build your company’s customer list. Once customers input their information into the system, it automatically creates contact entries for those customers. The contact card contains personal information such as your customer’s name, address, phone number, and email address.

And, as your company grows, you can add more staff members as well as create additional booking pages for free. Furthermore, staff members aren’t required to have Office 365 subscriptions to be a part of the service.

Efficient tech resources aren’t enough to maintain a successful business anymore. To really stand out from competitors, you need comprehensive appointment management. Give us a call if you need any questions answered or issues addressed We’re more than happy to help.

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Save time with Bookings by Office 365

We all undeniably have hectic schedules, and they’re made even worse with unorganized meetings, impromptu playdates, and unscheduled yoga classes. To move or cancel appointments, your clients would generally have to pick up the phone and call someone, which can be a drag. But with Microsoft Bookings, clients can schedule and effortlessly manage appointments. In case one isn’t enough, here are four more reasons to give it a go:

Visibility

Bid adieu to the days of scribbling on post-its and frantically going through your schedule to find out where you’re heading for lunch. Microsoft Bookings provides you with a unique webpage that is compatible on both desktops and mobile devices. Here, customers can select times and dates based on current availability — simply enter the contact information and then book it! The system fully automates the process of managing your appointments.

No more rain checks

Cancellations and missed appointments mean wasted time slots unless you’re able to fill them up with new bookings. Avoid lost income by controlling how much advance notice is required to make a cancellation. With Bookings, appointments appear immediately in staff calendars and can be added or revised by customers in their own personal calendars. Additionally, a confirmation email is automatically sent to the customer, which is then followed by another automatic email reminder before the appointment time. The web page also offers a rescheduling service: customers can simply click on the link on the confirmation email and pick a time that they’re more comfortable with.

Synchronization

Once completed, the booking is then synced to a centralized calendar where businesses are given the option to reschedule, cancel, or reassign the appointment to other staff members as they see fit.

If you do decide to reassign it to staff members, Bookings offers a nifty feature known as “split view.” This shows which staff members are booked at which times, and you can compare everyone’s schedules side-by-side. The appointments are synced not only to your calendar but to the staff members’ calendars as well. Moreover, this versatile system accommodates Office 365, Outlook, and even Google Calendar, so clients and staff can keep whatever calendaring service they prefer.

Double duty

Appointment setting might be the primary goal of Bookings, but the system can also be utilized to build your company’s customer list. Once customers input their information into the system, it automatically creates contact entries for those customers. The contact card contains personal information such as your customer’s name, address, phone number, and email address.

And, as your company grows, you can add more staff members as well as create additional booking pages for free. Furthermore, staff members aren’t required to have Office 365 subscriptions to be a part of the service.

Efficient tech resources aren’t enough to maintain a successful business anymore. To really stand out from competitors, you need comprehensive appointment management. Give us a call if you need any questions answered or issues addressed We’re more than happy to help.

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Optimizing website images for SEO

Small- and medium-sized businesses are often tempted to relegate their search engine optimization (SEO) analyses to the free reports offered by online platforms like WordPress and Google Analytics. Unfortunately, those reports rarely provide the details you need to make improvements. One of the things they tend to glaze over is image optimization.

Do images really affect my SEO?

One of the reasons images tend to be overlooked when auditing SEO is because it’s easy to forget just how many images your website has. Maybe you only had a few photos on your homepage when you first built your site. Over time however, you probably added countless visual elements to blog posts, landing pages, and team photos — drastically increasing the influence of your images on your SEO.

Image resolution and load speed

The first thing to check is how your images affect your site’s speed. If you’re using ultra high-resolution photos, those with mobile devices or satellite data connections will have trouble loading your site. Site load times affect your site’s ranking on Google, so make sure to pair your images down to a more reasonable resolution and save them as web-friendly file types.

  • Choose the JPEG format for illustrations or big photos since it provides clarity and good colors in a smaller file size.
  • Select the PNG format to preserve background transparency.
  • Use the SVG format for icons and logos. Combine this with Javascript or CSS to resize SVG images without losing quality.

Keywords and image title

The days of keyword-stuffing are long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with uploading images with filenames like “DSC2558.jpg”. Before doing so, make sure the names of your images are relevant to their content, such as “gym-trainer-helping-lift.jpg” or “call-center-customer-service.jpg”. This makes it easier for search engines to derive information from the images on a page.

“Alt text” and title text

Even though Google is getting better at recognizing image content without any help from text identifiers, describing your images in your website’s back-end is still important for SEO. Every image on your site should have enough text-based information without disrupting the user experience.
To see how this works in WordPress, open your site dashboard and click on Media. This will display all the images, videos, and audio there. Click on any photo and you’ll have access to text editing tools. Whatever you include in the Caption field will be shown below the image, so check that it corresponds with your content. If not, skip it. In this case, user experience takes priority over SEO.

The Alternative Text and Description fields will be visible to visitors only if the image doesn’t load or if they select it manually. They may not seem that important, but these should be considered non-negotiable for SEO purposes.

Check that your site is doing all these things before requesting another SEO report. If your score changes, audit your image optimizations regularly. If you’re still seeing red, there are a number of web- and cloud-based platforms that can help improve your content. Give us a call today to find out more!

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SEO recommendations for website images

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of running a business. Web services and platforms that provide automated SEO reports like WordPress, Google, and Raven Tools tend to oversimplify their advice. If you’re trying to get a green light for SEO, you might need to look more closely at the images on your site.

Do images really affect my SEO?

One of the reasons images tend to be overlooked when auditing SEO is because it’s easy to forget just how many images your website has. Maybe you only had a few photos on your homepage when you first built your site. Over time however, you probably added countless visual elements to blog posts, landing pages, and team photos — drastically increasing the influence of your images on your SEO.

Image resolution and load speed

The first thing to check is how your images affect your site’s speed. If you’re using ultra high-resolution photos, those with mobile devices or satellite data connections will have trouble loading your site. Site load times affect your site’s ranking on Google, so make sure to pair your images down to a more reasonable resolution and save them as web-friendly file types.

  • Choose the JPEG format for illustrations or big photos since it provides clarity and good colors in a smaller file size.
  • Select the PNG format to preserve background transparency.
  • Use the SVG format for icons and logos. Combine this with Javascript or CSS to resize SVG images without losing quality.

Keywords and image title

The days of keyword-stuffing are long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with uploading images with filenames like “DSC2558.jpg”. Before doing so, make sure the names of your images are relevant to their content, such as “gym-trainer-helping-lift.jpg” or “call-center-customer-service.jpg”. This makes it easier for search engines to derive information from the images on a page.

“Alt text” and title text

Even though Google is getting better at recognizing image content without any help from text identifiers, describing your images in your website’s back-end is still important for SEO. Every image on your site should have enough text-based information without disrupting the user experience.
To see how this works in WordPress, open your site dashboard and click on Media. This will display all the images, videos, and audio there. Click on any photo and you’ll have access to text editing tools. Whatever you include in the Caption field will be shown below the image, so check that it corresponds with your content. If not, skip it. In this case, user experience takes priority over SEO.

The Alternative Text and Description fields will be visible to visitors only if the image doesn’t load or if they select it manually. They may not seem that important, but these should be considered non-negotiable for SEO purposes.

Check that your site is doing all these things before requesting another SEO report. If your score changes, audit your image optimizations regularly. If you’re still seeing red, there are a number of web- and cloud-based platforms that can help improve your content. Give us a call today to find out more!

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Is SEO affected by website images?

When working with web platforms like WordPress, there are three letters that induce anxiety in any business owner: SEO (search engine optimization). It’s one of the most confusing aspects of running a business, and web apps that rate your SEO with no more than a red or green light don’t make it any easier. Read on to find out whether the images on your site are the cause of that annoying red light.

Do images really affect my SEO?

One of the reasons images tend to be overlooked when auditing SEO is because it’s easy to forget just how many images your website has. Maybe you only had a few photos on your homepage when you first built your site. Over time however, you probably added countless visual elements to blog posts, landing pages, and team photos — drastically increasing the influence of your images on your SEO.

Image resolution and load speed

The first thing to check is how your images affect your site’s speed. If you’re using ultra high-resolution photos, those with mobile devices or satellite data connections will have trouble loading your site. Site load times affect your site’s ranking on Google, so make sure to pair your images down to a more reasonable resolution and save them as web-friendly file types.

  • Choose the JPEG format for illustrations or big photos since it provides clarity and good colors in a smaller file size.
  • Select the PNG format to preserve background transparency.
  • Use the SVG format for icons and logos. Combine this with Javascript or CSS to resize SVG images without losing quality.

Keywords and image title

The days of keyword-stuffing are long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with uploading images with filenames like “DSC2558.jpg”. Before doing so, make sure the names of your images are relevant to their content, such as “gym-trainer-helping-lift.jpg” or “call-center-customer-service.jpg”. This makes it easier for search engines to derive information from the images on a page.

“Alt text” and title text

Even though Google is getting better at recognizing image content without any help from text identifiers, describing your images in your website’s back-end is still important for SEO. Every image on your site should have enough text-based information without disrupting the user experience.
To see how this works in WordPress, open your site dashboard and click on Media. This will display all the images, videos, and audio there. Click on any photo and you’ll have access to text editing tools. Whatever you include in the Caption field will be shown below the image, so check that it corresponds with your content. If not, skip it. In this case, user experience takes priority over SEO.

The Alternative Text and Description fields will be visible to visitors only if the image doesn’t load or if they select it manually. They may not seem that important, but these should be considered non-negotiable for SEO purposes.

Check that your site is doing all these things before requesting another SEO report. If your score changes, audit your image optimizations regularly. If you’re still seeing red, there are a number of web- and cloud-based platforms that can help improve your content. Give us a call today to find out more!

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Back up your data with these solutions

Today’s businesses rely heavily on data to run their day-to-day operations. They use it for everything from building client relationships to developing marketing strategies and so much more. But without data backups, businesses stand to suffer from major losses and even end up closing up for good should any natural or human-made disaster occur. With that in mind, you should develop a robust backup plan for your business, which includes implementing any or all of the following solutions.

When it comes to data backups, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. As such, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each before making a choice.

USB flash drives

USB flash drives are basically miniature hard drives that you connect to your computer using a USB port. Aside from being inexpensive, USB flash drives are also portable. They can be used to back up data from several computers.

However, because of their size and portability, USB flash drives are easy to misplace, which is why they’re not recommended for long-term storage of crucial information. They are best used for intermediate backups.

External hard drives

As a backup storage medium, external hard drives have the lowest cost per gigabyte compared to other backup devices. Since an external hard drive has the same plug-and-play functionality as USB flash drives, you can just plug it into your computer and start selecting the files you want to back up. The transfer rate is also very fast, and you can back up a large amount of data within seconds.

One of the drawbacks of using an external hard drive is that you’ll need to update your backups on a regular basis, or else new files won’t be included. There’s also the risk of the device being misused or stolen. For example, an employee might use the drive for storing personal files or take it with them when they quit.

Network attached storage (NAS)

NAS is a dedicated server for storing data, and it can also be used as an email server. It has its own IP address and can operate either wired or wirelessly. NAS offers data redundancy, which means it will generate a backup of your backups, so you can ensure your files are fully protected.

On the downside, NAS can’t be scaled beyond the limits of the system. This means you have to purchase additional hard drive bays when you need more capacity. You also have to take full responsibility for data security if you’re implementing NAS.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is becoming more and more popular among businesses of all sizes because of its many benefits. It gives users anytime, anywhere access to data and lets them work with the most current hardware and up-to-date software. It’s also affordable since businesses pay for what they use only. Additionally, cloud computing is convenient, because service providers take care of the installation, management, and maintenance processes.

However, some cloud service providers don’t employ sufficient security measures on their systems, so your data could be exposed to potential cybersecurity threats. For this reason, cloud storage is not always the ideal solution for medical practices, law firms, and other organizations that handle sensitive data. If they want to use cloud storage, they must find a service provider that implements top-of-the-line cybersecurity protocols and specializes in data regulations compliance.

Choosing the best backup solution has far-reaching impacts on your business. Each method or device has trade-offs, which is why you need to select the one best suited to your business’s needs. Enlist the help of our experts to ensure you make the right choice.

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Data backup solutions for your business

Any business owner worth their salt knows the value of data to business. This is why it’s bizarre that many business owners don’t have a proper data backup strategy in place. Organizations of all sizes need to take a proactive approach to backing up their data, and there are several solutions they can implement to do that. Here are four to consider.

When it comes to data backups, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. As such, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each before making a choice.

USB flash drives

USB flash drives are basically miniature hard drives that you connect to your computer using a USB port. Aside from being inexpensive, USB flash drives are also portable. They can be used to back up data from several computers.

However, because of their size and portability, USB flash drives are easy to misplace, which is why they’re not recommended for long-term storage of crucial information. They are best used for intermediate backups.

External hard drives

As a backup storage medium, external hard drives have the lowest cost per gigabyte compared to other backup devices. Since an external hard drive has the same plug-and-play functionality as USB flash drives, you can just plug it into your computer and start selecting the files you want to back up. The transfer rate is also very fast, and you can back up a large amount of data within seconds.

One of the drawbacks of using an external hard drive is that you’ll need to update your backups on a regular basis, or else new files won’t be included. There’s also the risk of the device being misused or stolen. For example, an employee might use the drive for storing personal files or take it with them when they quit.

Network attached storage (NAS)

NAS is a dedicated server for storing data, and it can also be used as an email server. It has its own IP address and can operate either wired or wirelessly. NAS offers data redundancy, which means it will generate a backup of your backups, so you can ensure your files are fully protected.

On the downside, NAS can’t be scaled beyond the limits of the system. This means you have to purchase additional hard drive bays when you need more capacity. You also have to take full responsibility for data security if you’re implementing NAS.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is becoming more and more popular among businesses of all sizes because of its many benefits. It gives users anytime, anywhere access to data and lets them work with the most current hardware and up-to-date software. It’s also affordable since businesses pay for what they use only. Additionally, cloud computing is convenient, because service providers take care of the installation, management, and maintenance processes.

However, some cloud service providers don’t employ sufficient security measures on their systems, so your data could be exposed to potential cybersecurity threats. For this reason, cloud storage is not always the ideal solution for medical practices, law firms, and other organizations that handle sensitive data. If they want to use cloud storage, they must find a service provider that implements top-of-the-line cybersecurity protocols and specializes in data regulations compliance.

Choosing the best backup solution has far-reaching impacts on your business. Each method or device has trade-offs, which is why you need to select the one best suited to your business’s needs. Enlist the help of our experts to ensure you make the right choice.

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