5 great voice commands for Google Assistant

Google Assistant is essentially the next generation of Google Now. It performs all of the same tasks as Google Now, such as scheduling events and web searching, but has a better, more conversational interface. For a crash course in some of Google’s best AI-powered voice-commands, take a look at five of our favorites.

Before you can start playing with Google’s AI, you need to turn on the service. On your Android device, press and hold the home key at the bottom of the screen. This will open the Google Assistant interface. Tap Next on the “Meet your personal Google Assistant” screen, then tap Continue on the next screen to enable permissions.

If you’re prompted to configure voice activation, simply repeat “OK Google” three times and you’re good to go! Turn it on and try some of the examples below.

Tip #1: Reminders

Google Assistant helps with information discovery, but what about when you just need a little help managing your calendar? The phrase “Remind me to [action] + [time]” is all you need to set a quick reminder before you have a chance to manually add it to your calendar.

And if you’re not sure when you need to be reminded, ask Google to set the notification based on location. If you have location services enabled, your phone will prompt you next time you’re near the store. For instance, if you set a reminder to get eggs at the supermarket, your phone will prompt you next time you’re near one.

Tip #2: Anything involving your clock app

Whether you want to “Set an alarm/time for [time]” to achieve productivity goals, or you need to know “What time is it in [location]” before calling a client in another time zone, Google Assistant can essentially perform any task from your native clock app with a simple request.

Tip #3: Convert/calculate anything

You can even command Google Assistant to calculate currencies, units of measurement, and simple sums. For example, “What is X dollars in euros?” could help you easily convert the price of an invoice, or “How many feet are in X yards?” could shorten the time required to calculate how much material you need to order for a new product.

Tip #4: Retrieve documents from Gmail

You may have also noticed that important documents from your email account occasionally show up at the top of a search page. That’s because Google can recognize official documents such as flight itineraries, hotel receipts, and utility bills. Just say “Show me my flight to Phoenix” and Google Assistant will pull it up immediately.

Tip #5: Basic phone commands

The majority of the applications that came with your phone can receive voice commands. “Take a photo,” “Open acme.com,” “Turn on Wi-Fi,” and “Open Salesforce1,” are just some of the ways you can minimize the time you spend tapping your phone.

Believe it or not, there are dozens more commands that can make your life easier. Spend a few moments tinkering with your Google Assistant and give us a call today to find out more.

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Google Assistant tips and tricks

One of the most effective ways to utilize Google search has flown mostly under the radar. If you’re jealous of Apple’s Siri, you may not even realize that you have your own AI assistant sitting in your pocket. Pull out your Android phone because you’ll want to try these powerful Google Assistant commands.

Before you can start playing with Google’s AI, you need to turn on the service. On your Android device, press and hold the home key at the bottom of the screen. This will open the Google Assistant interface. Tap Next on the “Meet your personal Google Assistant” screen, then tap Continue on the next screen to enable permissions.

If you’re prompted to configure voice activation, simply repeat “OK Google” three times and you’re good to go! Turn it on and try some of the examples below.

Tip #1: Reminders

Google Assistant helps with information discovery, but what about when you just need a little help managing your calendar? The phrase “Remind me to [action] + [time]” is all you need to set a quick reminder before you have a chance to manually add it to your calendar.

And if you’re not sure when you need to be reminded, ask Google to set the notification based on location. If you have location services enabled, your phone will prompt you next time you’re near the store. For instance, if you set a reminder to get eggs at the supermarket, your phone will prompt you next time you’re near one.

Tip #2: Anything involving your clock app

Whether you want to “Set an alarm/time for [time]” to achieve productivity goals, or you need to know “What time is it in [location]” before calling a client in another time zone, Google Assistant can essentially perform any task from your native clock app with a simple request.

Tip #3: Convert/calculate anything

You can even command Google Assistant to calculate currencies, units of measurement, and simple sums. For example, “What is X dollars in euros?” could help you easily convert the price of an invoice, or “How many feet are in X yards?” could shorten the time required to calculate how much material you need to order for a new product.

Tip #4: Retrieve documents from Gmail

You may have also noticed that important documents from your email account occasionally show up at the top of a search page. That’s because Google can recognize official documents such as flight itineraries, hotel receipts, and utility bills. Just say “Show me my flight to Phoenix” and Google Assistant will pull it up immediately.

Tip #5: Basic phone commands

The majority of the applications that came with your phone can receive voice commands. “Take a photo,” “Open acme.com,” “Turn on Wi-Fi,” and “Open Salesforce1,” are just some of the ways you can minimize the time you spend tapping your phone.

Believe it or not, there are dozens more commands that can make your life easier. Spend a few moments tinkering with your Google Assistant and give us a call today to find out more.

Posted in Android, General Articles C | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Google indexing: 4 tips for better results

Whether you’re a newbie or an expert in search engine optimization (SEO), the field changes so often that it can be overwhelming. That can be pretty frustrating since businesses of any size need to get people to their sites in order to really grow in our web-driven culture. Thankfully, there are a few tried-and-true methods for improving your position in Google’s index.

Make sure you’re indexed by Google

Go to Google.com and search ‘site:’ with your website domain listed after the colon (example: ‘site:acme.com’). If you don’t see any results from your page listed, that means Google hasn’t added your site to its search results yet. Although some advisers recommend filling out a request form that Google offers, there is a much faster way to get recognized by the search giant.

Google is constantly scanning web pages for updates in content to include in their search results. When they see a link to an external site on one of their already indexed pages, Google will add that link to the queue of new sites to be scanned and indexed. If you can get your domain name linked on a popular or trusted page, you’ll start seeing your page in the search results in no time.

Go out and get more links

The more links to your site from external pages, the higher you climb in the search results. Other than getting affiliate businesses to link you on their pages, consider managing a blog or RSS feed. Content generation not only promotes interest and traffic in your site, it also lets you submit yourself to blog directories or news aggregator sites like Feedly and Alltop which compile source materials and get you those external links.

Fine-tune your content

Be very careful not to change any of your core ‘permalinks’. If users have links that direct them to pages that can’t be found, it could affect your site’s ranking. Keep your pages live, and keep them named efficiently. Some website platforms, like WordPress, use default link structures that create complicated, number-based links that can be off-putting to users and confusing to administrators and search engine indexers. If possible, make sure your links use category and page title references for more appealing links and organizational structure.

Measure and track your ranking

Just because you believe your site has achieved a desirable ranking on Google doesn’t mean it will stay there. Stay proactive and never let yourself get lazy with your content production, site management, and SEO monitoring — it could mean the difference between moving up the search page, and disappearing from it altogether. Online tools like Cyfe and Google Analytics give you a more in-depth look at your site traffic and external links so you’re always ahead of the competition.

Optimizing your Google page indexing can be daunting. For more information on how to get your site moving up the ladder. Contact us today.

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4 Tips to improve your SMB’s Google indexing

Google receives millions of search requests everyday. It’s no surprise that people have dedicated their entire careers to mastering how this process takes place and how they can boost sites’ ranking for their own financial gain. Here are four quick tips and tricks for improving your Google search ranking.

Make sure you’re indexed by Google

Go to Google.com and search ‘site:’ with your website domain listed after the colon (example: ‘site:acme.com’). If you don’t see any results from your page listed, that means Google hasn’t added your site to its search results yet. Although some advisers recommend filling out a request form that Google offers, there is a much faster way to get recognized by the search giant.

Google is constantly scanning web pages for updates in content to include in their search results. When they see a link to an external site on one of their already indexed pages, Google will add that link to the queue of new sites to be scanned and indexed. If you can get your domain name linked on a popular or trusted page, you’ll start seeing your page in the search results in no time.

Go out and get more links

The more links to your site from external pages, the higher you climb in the search results. Other than getting affiliate businesses to link you on their pages, consider managing a blog or RSS feed. Content generation not only promotes interest and traffic in your site, it also lets you submit yourself to blog directories or news aggregator sites like Feedly and Alltop which compile source materials and get you those external links.

Fine-tune your content

Be very careful not to change any of your core ‘permalinks’. If users have links that direct them to pages that can’t be found, it could affect your site’s ranking. Keep your pages live, and keep them named efficiently. Some website platforms, like WordPress, use default link structures that create complicated, number-based links that can be off-putting to users and confusing to administrators and search engine indexers. If possible, make sure your links use category and page title references for more appealing links and organizational structure.

Measure and track your ranking

Just because you believe your site has achieved a desirable ranking on Google doesn’t mean it will stay there. Stay proactive and never let yourself get lazy with your content production, site management, and SEO monitoring — it could mean the difference between moving up the search page, and disappearing from it altogether. Online tools like Cyfe and Google Analytics give you a more in-depth look at your site traffic and external links so you’re always ahead of the competition.

Optimizing your Google page indexing can be daunting. For more information on how to get your site moving up the ladder. Contact us today.

Posted in General Articles A, Google | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

4 Tricks for better indexing on Google

Getting your site at the top of Google’s search results is invaluable for generating conversions and entire industries have sprung up around making this happen for you. Hiring an SEO expert is definitely a worthwhile consideration, but in the meantime here are four simple tricks for moving your website up the Google ladder.

Make sure you’re indexed by Google

Go to Google.com and search ‘site:’ with your website domain listed after the colon (example: ‘site:acme.com’). If you don’t see any results from your page listed, that means Google hasn’t added your site to its search results yet. Although some advisers recommend filling out a request form that Google offers, there is a much faster way to get recognized by the search giant.

Google is constantly scanning web pages for updates in content to include in their search results. When they see a link to an external site on one of their already indexed pages, Google will add that link to the queue of new sites to be scanned and indexed. If you can get your domain name linked on a popular or trusted page, you’ll start seeing your page in the search results in no time.

Go out and get more links

The more links to your site from external pages, the higher you climb in the search results. Other than getting affiliate businesses to link you on their pages, consider managing a blog or RSS feed. Content generation not only promotes interest and traffic in your site, it also lets you submit yourself to blog directories or news aggregator sites like Feedly and Alltop which compile source materials and get you those external links.

Fine-tune your content

Be very careful not to change any of your core ‘permalinks’. If users have links that direct them to pages that can’t be found, it could affect your site’s ranking. Keep your pages live, and keep them named efficiently. Some website platforms, like WordPress, use default link structures that create complicated, number-based links that can be off-putting to users and confusing to administrators and search engine indexers. If possible, make sure your links use category and page title references for more appealing links and organizational structure.

Measure and track your ranking

Just because you believe your site has achieved a desirable ranking on Google doesn’t mean it will stay there. Stay proactive and never let yourself get lazy with your content production, site management, and SEO monitoring — it could mean the difference between moving up the search page, and disappearing from it altogether. Online tools like Cyfe and Google Analytics give you a more in-depth look at your site traffic and external links so you’re always ahead of the competition.

Optimizing your Google page indexing can be daunting. For more information on how to get your site moving up the ladder. Contact us today.

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5 virtualization options for every SMB

Understanding office virtualization is difficult enough; picking from the long list of software providers that help you achieve it can feel impossible. Since virtualization is a relatively new practice for small- and medium-sized businesses, there is no standardized way of virtualizing your company. So why not start with this simple list of the five most popular virtualization options and what their strengths are?

VMware

Any conversation about virtualization for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) usually starts around VMware. VMware is the company that really put office virtualization on everyone’s action item list. The company offers a number of different solutions for different-sized businesses with a wide variety of needs. Its ease of use and robust security features have secured its reputation as one of the best options for virtualization for SMBs.

Citrix

The average user may not recognize the company name but probably knows their popular remote access tools, GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Citrix has specifically geared their virtualization software XenApp, XenDesktop, and VDI-in-a-box toward SMBs and even claims that non-IT staff can easily manage and administer the services. They even provide a free trial to prove it.

Microsoft

Although it may be a little more difficult to manage without an in-house or outsourced IT staff, Microsoft’s Hyper-V option is hard to ignore, considering its integration with the popular cloud platform Azure. Whether you’re a Microsoft loyalist or you just want to minimize the number of vendors in your network, Hyper-V offers everything you need from a virtualization service.

Oracle

Specializing in marketing software, Oracle also offers database management, cloud storage, and customer relationship management software. If you’re using any of their services already, there could be benefits to enlisting their virtualization services as well. Oracle does everything — server, desktop, and app virtualization — and they believe that consolidating all of these into one solution is what sets them apart.

Amazon

Since we’re on the topic of household names, let’s talk about Amazon’s EC2 platform, which hosts scalable virtual private servers. The ability to scale and configure capacity is definitely EC2’s biggest draw for SMBs preparing for the possibility of rapid growth. Although almost any virtualization service is rooted in scalability, Amazon is leading the pack in how quickly and finely you can adjust your solution to your individual needs.

Virtualization is a really hard topic for most SMBs to tackle. This list only covers the most popular vendors, and there are plenty more out there. Choosing one based on its application possibilities and management requirements is not a subject for the lighthearted. Get in touch with us today so we can break down all of the technobabble into easy-to-understand advice.

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5 virtualization platforms fit for SMBs

Virtualization allows you to eliminate dependency on physical hardware limitations and software requirements. Before you choose any one virtualization solution, it’s a good idea to go over the different companies providing virtualization services. Below is a list of five popular vendors offering reliable virtualization platforms.

VMware

Any conversation about virtualization for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) usually starts around VMware. VMware is the company that really put office virtualization on everyone’s action item list. The company offers a number of different solutions for different-sized businesses with a wide variety of needs. Its ease of use and robust security features have secured its reputation as one of the best options for virtualization for SMBs.

Citrix

The average user may not recognize the company name but probably knows their popular remote access tools, GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Citrix has specifically geared their virtualization software XenApp, XenDesktop, and VDI-in-a-box toward SMBs and even claims that non-IT staff can easily manage and administer the services. They even provide a free trial to prove it.

Microsoft

Although it may be a little more difficult to manage without an in-house or outsourced IT staff, Microsoft’s Hyper-V option is hard to ignore, considering its integration with the popular cloud platform Azure. Whether you’re a Microsoft loyalist or you just want to minimize the number of vendors in your network, Hyper-V offers everything you need from a virtualization service.

Oracle

Specializing in marketing software, Oracle also offers database management, cloud storage, and customer relationship management software. If you’re using any of their services already, there could be benefits to enlisting their virtualization services as well. Oracle does everything — server, desktop, and app virtualization — and they believe that consolidating all of these into one solution is what sets them apart.

Amazon

Since we’re on the topic of household names, let’s talk about Amazon’s EC2 platform, which hosts scalable virtual private servers. The ability to scale and configure capacity is definitely EC2’s biggest draw for SMBs preparing for the possibility of rapid growth. Although almost any virtualization service is rooted in scalability, Amazon is leading the pack in how quickly and finely you can adjust your solution to your individual needs.

Virtualization is a really hard topic for most SMBs to tackle. This list only covers the most popular vendors, and there are plenty more out there. Choosing one based on its application possibilities and management requirements is not a subject for the lighthearted. Get in touch with us today so we can break down all of the technobabble into easy-to-understand advice.

Posted in General Articles B, Virtualization | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Choose from these 5 virtualization options

Keeping up with tech trends as a small- or medium-sized business owner is tough. Virtualization is a great example of this. From the boost to network security and ability to scale your workstations and servers according to your business growth, it’s time to start learning more about it. One of the first steps towards virtualizing your business is picking a software provider, and you can pick one from this list of the five most prominent virtualization platforms.

VMware

Any conversation about virtualization for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) usually starts around VMware. VMware is the company that really put office virtualization on everyone’s action item list. The company offers a number of different solutions for different-sized businesses with a wide variety of needs. Its ease of use and robust security features have secured its reputation as one of the best options for virtualization for SMBs.

Citrix

The average user may not recognize the company name but probably knows their popular remote access tools, GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Citrix has specifically geared their virtualization software XenApp, XenDesktop, and VDI-in-a-box toward SMBs and even claims that non-IT staff can easily manage and administer the services. They even provide a free trial to prove it.

Microsoft

Although it may be a little more difficult to manage without an in-house or outsourced IT staff, Microsoft’s Hyper-V option is hard to ignore, considering its integration with the popular cloud platform Azure. Whether you’re a Microsoft loyalist or you just want to minimize the number of vendors in your network, Hyper-V offers everything you need from a virtualization service.

Oracle

Specializing in marketing software, Oracle also offers database management, cloud storage, and customer relationship management software. If you’re using any of their services already, there could be benefits to enlisting their virtualization services as well. Oracle does everything — server, desktop, and app virtualization — and they believe that consolidating all of these into one solution is what sets them apart.

Amazon

Since we’re on the topic of household names, let’s talk about Amazon’s EC2 platform, which hosts scalable virtual private servers. The ability to scale and configure capacity is definitely EC2’s biggest draw for SMBs preparing for the possibility of rapid growth. Although almost any virtualization service is rooted in scalability, Amazon is leading the pack in how quickly and finely you can adjust your solution to your individual needs.

Virtualization is a really hard topic for most SMBs to tackle. This list only covers the most popular vendors, and there are plenty more out there. Choosing one based on its application possibilities and management requirements is not a subject for the lighthearted. Get in touch with us today so we can break down all of the technobabble into easy-to-understand advice.

Posted in General Articles A, Virtualization | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Keep your callers happy by using VoIP

If you don’t want your customers to switch to your competitors, customer satisfaction should be on top of your priority list. One sure way to keep them satisfied is by having a professional yet customer-friendly phone strategy. Something as simple as your automated on-hold messages may seem inconsequential, but when people need help, you don’t want them to feel ignored or neglected. Here are tips on designing great on-hold messages.

Hire professionals to record your on-hold message

On-hold messages are your customers’ first point of contact with your business when they need help, so your messages should be professionally recorded. You may be tempted to have an in-house production because it will initially cost less than hiring a professional voice talent and renting a studio, but in the long run, professionally recorded messages in your company’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems will be more beneficial.

Voice talents have the skills and equipment to give your phone system that professional, friendly, and pleasant feel. If you want to sound sincere about helping your customers with their issues, invest in professionally recorded on-hold messages.

Use calming on-hold music to keep callers engaged

Another strategy to keep customers from hanging up while they’re on hold is putting on music while they’re waiting. The trick for keeping callers calm is picking the right music. You might think that your choice of music is a minute detail, but it can make or break whether customers decide to leave or stay. You need to find a balance between engaging and relaxing, which is much easier when you have the power to pick or change tunes in just a few minutes. Cloud-based phone systems allow you to do exactly this by letting you test out different tunes.

Provide clear and useful information

Not everyone who calls your customer service hotline has a problem. Sometimes, people just need a piece of information. Use your IVRs to help callers find non-critical, frequently asked information such as business operating hours, special offers, and minor account updates. You can also deploy a more complicated system that redirects customers to specific concerns, like account management and payment instructions. This frees customer service representatives to take care of issues that need actual human interactions, like walkthroughs and policy misunderstandings.

Connect the call to a real person

According to a study, 83% of customers prefer human interaction over automated channels when solving customer service issues. Your automated recordings may lessen customers’ agitation or frustration, but nothing beats talking to a real person. Always provide an immediate option to talk to a customer service representative in your IVR. Most companies dedicate a particular number during calls to be connected to a real person who can help them with their concerns.This shows that you are serious in addressing your customers’ problems.

There are so many ways a VoIP system can help your business reach new heights. Our team of trained technicians can install affordable, cutting-edge phone solutions that are easy to use. Give us a call today to learn more.

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4 ways to avoid angry phone calls from clients

Customers call your hotline because they want help or answers, not another headache. So your on-hold message should be pleasant to their ears. If you fail to select an appropriate message, your customers’ anger and frustration might double, making them more difficult to satisfy. If you use internet-based phones (VoIP), here are some tips to soothe your customers.

Hire professionals to record your on-hold message

On-hold messages are your customers’ first point of contact with your business when they need help, so your messages should be professionally recorded. You may be tempted to have an in-house production because it will initially cost less than hiring a professional voice talent and renting a studio, but in the long run, professionally recorded messages in your company’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems will be more beneficial.

Voice talents have the skills and equipment to give your phone system that professional, friendly, and pleasant feel. If you want to sound sincere about helping your customers with their issues, invest in professionally recorded on-hold messages.

Use calming on-hold music to keep callers engaged

Another strategy to keep customers from hanging up while they’re on hold is putting on music while they’re waiting. The trick for keeping callers calm is picking the right music. You might think that your choice of music is a minute detail, but it can make or break whether customers decide to leave or stay. You need to find a balance between engaging and relaxing, which is much easier when you have the power to pick or change tunes in just a few minutes. Cloud-based phone systems allow you to do exactly this by letting you test out different tunes.

Provide clear and useful information

Not everyone who calls your customer service hotline has a problem. Sometimes, people just need a piece of information. Use your IVRs to help callers find non-critical, frequently asked information such as business operating hours, special offers, and minor account updates. You can also deploy a more complicated system that redirects customers to specific concerns, like account management and payment instructions. This frees customer service representatives to take care of issues that need actual human interactions, like walkthroughs and policy misunderstandings.

Connect the call to a real person

According to a study, 83% of customers prefer human interaction over automated channels when solving customer service issues. Your automated recordings may lessen customers’ agitation or frustration, but nothing beats talking to a real person. Always provide an immediate option to talk to a customer service representative in your IVR. Most companies dedicate a particular number during calls to be connected to a real person who can help them with their concerns.This shows that you are serious in addressing your customers’ problems.

There are so many ways a VoIP system can help your business reach new heights. Our team of trained technicians can install affordable, cutting-edge phone solutions that are easy to use. Give us a call today to learn more.

Posted in General Articles C, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed
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