Archive for Tips for better business

Robocalls: Not Just an Annoyance, But a Threat

Back when machines (or programs) first started making calls as a way to cheaply find a live person answering his/her phone, they were more annoyance than anything else.

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However, as the technology has evolved, they have now become a true threat: With the exception of reminders from medical professionals and pharmacies, many of these calls come from scammers, thieves, collection agencies and the like.

To help you combat this latest technological scourge, I’ve compiled the information you’ll need to both better understand the dangers it poses, and and some tips for avoiding them.

Dangers:

  • New AI (artificially Intelligent) programs can fool you into thinking you are speaking with a live person. The calls use even the most basic responses from you to then commit you to fraudulent activities. I consider this to be is the most dangerous threat;
  • Simply by answering the phone (even if you say nothing) you could find yourself on the equivalent of a “do call list” and the calls increase, clogging your phone line; in many cases the folks paying for robocalling do not care if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call List (Registry);
  • A Robocaller from another state or overseas can easily generate a local caller ID signature, thus fooling you into answering/considering the source legit and it’s downhill from there (see bullets 1 & 2).

What to do (personal phones):

  • Register all personal/mobile numbers with the National Do Not Call List.
    If you have a Google Voice number remember to register that too. While it may not stop some callers, it at least cuts down on the number of calls you’ll receive.
  • If you don’t recognize the incoming call phone number, don’t answer it.
    Let it go to voice mail. If it’s legitimate, the caller will leave a message.
  • Do not say a word.  If by accident you do answer the call and you don’t know the caller,  hang up.
  • Never hit the opt-out option.
    This used to be a legitimate way to stop further calls, but now it’s a sign to the robocalling service that they have reached an active line. This will result in more robocalls.
  • Use your cell phone blocking feature.
    This by itself is far from a full proof solution to the problem but it helps
  • Report suspicious calls to the FCC.

What to do (office)
(especially one that gets large number of calls from unrecognizable numbers)

The good news is that most of the current voice scams won’t work on calls to businesses simply because at any given time multiple people can be answering the phone and that defeats some of the scams.  But they do still happen, and when they do:

  • Don’t hit the opt out option
  • Report any suspicious calls to the FCC
  • Do an internet search on the phone number
    …to determine if a legitimate person or company is associated with that number. You can then decide whether taking calls from that number benefits your business.

If you have any questions on this or any other phone safety topic, don’t hesitate to call us at  813-276-1666, or toll free: 866-459-7266.

Why Your Business Needs a Wireless Back-up Service

You know that losing internet connectivity is deadly for your business. 

But when internet problems arise, and you’re waiting for your service provider to fix them, there’s nothing more you can you do, right?

Wrong.

Now there is something you can do – you can take control so your business is no longer at the mercy of your provider! 

You can back-up your internet service just like you do other technologies in your office.

So, exactly what is a wireless internet backup service?

It is internet service using cell phone technology that can work just about anywhere there is cell phone service.  Questions I’m frequently asked about this great new option – and the answers I give my customers are:

  • How fast is it?
    Pretty fast. A basic circuit can run around speeds of 10mgs up 5mgs down. Enhanced circuits can offer higher even speeds.
  • How does it provide a backup to my company’s current internet service?
    With a device that you plug into your existing router. When the device senses the loss of internet connectivity from the primary carrier it immediately sends all internet traffic over the wireless internet. When the primary internet carrier circuit comes back online it senses that too and your internet traffic goes  back to using your primary carrier.

  • Will I know when my wireless backup internet kicks in?
    It most cases folks don’t even know it. Possibly if you are sending or downloading a huge data file it make take a little longer to process but that’s it.
  • Is it affordable?
    Yes extremely so. Prices start  at as little as $20 per month plus occasional usage. If one budgets $25 per month I think that will be sufficient for basic backup internet service. There is also a 1 time purchase of wireless interface switching device and that will run about $500 – a cost that will be repaid many times over when you factor in the down-time – and potential loss of business – you experience when the internet goes down.
  • Why does my business need it?
    As you may have already experienced, business come to an almost near halt when your internet fails. This technology eliminates that problem.

I recommend you don’t go another week without it.

Want help finding and setting up a wireless back-up internet service, call me @813-276-1666/toll free 866-459-7266 – or, if you prefer, email me directly at johnb@jhbtele.com

Callers Who Can’t Reach Someone Go Elsewhere…

Occasionally I’ll be asked to name the single most important thing a business can do to improve their office’s external communications.

My reply to them is always the same:
Simple. Make sure your callers can easily get to a live person.”

This answer surprises people but – it shouldn’t. Here’s why:

  • In our experience up to 80% of folks who call a business or non-profit for the first time and encounter a busy signal or voice-mail call elsewhere
  • Over 90% of those same folks won’t leave a message in voice mail
  • Up to 70% of repeat callers won’t leave a voice mail message
  • Up to 75% feel they haven’t reached “a real business”
  • Busy signals especially indicate management doesn’t care about people calling their office.

Even more interesting – if you ask business owners or managers with offices that don’t answer phones with a live person, if they are looking to both grow their business and deliver excellent customer service, all will say yes….

And, the biggest handicap to fixing this problem is not money or resources but the simple mindset of denial. What I call the “yes but we’re different or special so this doesn’t apply to me or my company” syndrome

I also hear:

  • A lot of our customers communicate with us by email (because you’re compelling them to do so…)
  • Our customers are “used to” reaching us by leaving messages instead of speaking to us live…(because you leave them no other choice; not a good business practice…)
  • Our customers don’t really need to reach us by phone that often (you give customers a phone number for a reason, yes?)

Most importantly:

The best time to show a caller that yours is the type of quality business with which they can trust to invest their time and money is when the caller has the time to do so…which is when they call you! …And get a recording?!  Or are forced to send you an email?

The good news: any business that feels like “they are too busy” to answer their phones by a live person is probably a fairly successful business!

The bad news: they are missing easy opportunities to grow their business and improve their customer service.

Back to more good news: this is easily done by implementing procedures to ensure incoming calls are answered by a live person, such as:

  • call queuing
  • automatic call distribution
  • delayed ring to mobile phones
  • phone system call apps for mobile phones

These are just some of the many very affordable capabilities that are available to get businesses off desk/cell phone voice mails and other customer alienators so that they can enjoy the growth and excellent customer service that reaching a live person by phone can provide.

The solutions are there. A small amount of time taken to explore & implement those that best fit your business will reap you many happy returns.

If you want help finding and setting up phone answering options to fit your company’s needs, call me @813-276-1666/toll free 866-459-7266 – or, if you prefer, email me directly at johnb@jhbtele.com

Now Frontier Wants Your Phone System Business too

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IMPORTANT ALERT TO ALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND MANAGERS: You won’t believe who is now trying to get your company to trust them with your phones!

That’s right folks! The same people that brought  Tampa Bay the worst service and support  ever from a phone/Internet carrier that to my knowledge anyone in this area  has ever seen, now incredulously is sending out invoices to businesses  asking them to also trust them with their phone systems !!

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Restoring Frontier’s Credibility In Tampa Bay

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After an inexcusably rough transition from Verizon, Frontier’s Chairman and other top executives have been making  recent statements to the media saying basically that “all is well” here in Tampa Bay and they folks can move forward  trusting  that Frontier will be a reliable internet service and cable provider! As someone who lives and breathes such issues on a regular basis my response to that was..,

You have got to be kidding!!

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If the folks at Frontier sincerely want to clean up their image here in  the Tampa Market– here are some suggestions I have  for you to turn things around:

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