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Health Tip of the Week: Swap Your Cup-of-Joe for a Cuppa 'Gin'-seng

Running a business is a consuming affair that will run you down if you can’t replenish fast enough. Chances are, in order to keep ahead of the race, you’re hooked up to a life-support of highly caffeinated drinks and energy bars.

But the tricky thing with your favorite cup of Joe, apart from the roller-coaster plunge that follows the 'high' (and those stained teeth that mess up your smile), is that the effect tends to weaken if consumed regularly.

In other words, you’ll do much better having that crisp dark roast when you really need it rather than every morning with your runny eggs.

Stuffing those sugar bars isn't really advancing your cause either. Sure, they may keep your energy up and your stomach settled—but the insulin spike is again followed by a steep crush, and what you don’t feel now in your stomach you’ll later find in your hips.

So if you want to cut back on those visits to your dentist and the quarterly trips to your local Old Navy outlet, here's a great alternative.

American Ginseng (or Panax quinquefolius) is a root that’s been used by the Chinese for centuries. Its abilities to replenish the adrenal glands, reduce stress, and counteract fatigue have been thoroughly documented by both western clinical studies and anecdotal evidence.

It can be prepared and consumed in different forms, but most commonly dried and flaked or crashed and brewed in tea. A pinch-full of 5-7 flakes will reignite your energy in minutes and keep you up and ticking like that pink Energizer Bunny—only without the side-effects of crushes, mental-haze, or those silly ears.

American Ginseng does have a tendency to cool the body slightly. If you find this gives you a discomfort, you might prefer to use its cousin, Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng), which shares the same potent attributes without the cooling effects.

Here’s to keeping healthy while growing wealthy!

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 8:55 AM

Know Your Leads: A Look at How Call Stats Can Help Improve Your Marketing Performance

Phone Call Tracking Stats Graph

Up till now, we’ve been mostly yapping about virtual PBX systems in general terms. But perhaps it’s time to get a bit more specific and examine individual features up close. Let’s start with something exotic, like the ability to view call stats.

Not unlike Clark Kent, this little feature might appear unimpressive on first sight (what’s with that dorky outfit and those square glasses)—but just throw it into the ring and see what happens.

That's because some things show their value only in action.

So here’s a practical scenario that will flush out any hidden superpowers.

Your Marketing Efforts

Let’s say you own a small business. Following the age-old advice, you've split your precious marketing eggs between several baskets: two local papers (the ‘Morning Sun’ and the ‘Faraway Star’), your website, and lastly, in a fit of creativity (or perhaps desperation) you decided to put up an ad on your local Craigslist Classifieds. 'What the heck’—it’s free, right?

Now comes the waiting game...

Your Dilemma

So while we sit here waiting for the phone to start going off the hook, why not ponder a philosophical question: wouldn’t it be nice to know just how many leads each of those platform generated?

I mean, if you only have one business number (and included this same phone number in all four places, how will you tell where each caller got whiff of you and your business?

Sure, you could start surveying your prospective clients. But that double-edged nuisance is going to slide right through your time and their patience—not the best way to get off to a good start...

Anything else?

You could perhaps try checking how many people ‘clicked’ on the ‘Contact us’ link on your website—but that doesn’t necessarily mean they all proceeded to call you, and it sure isn’t going to help you glean any information about the other three...

Fair to say, this is as far as your little foray into statistics is likely to get.

And here’s how Synclio can help you take it a step further:

Phone Call Number Tracking with Goolgle Analytics

First, Synclio gives you the ability to port numbers. ‘Porting’ numbers means that when a number is called the call is instantaneously redirected to a different number. Ever changed providers and had your calls follow you? That’s exactly it!

(Just don’t ask us how it’s done—we’ll call it ‘magic’)

Then, Synclio also lets you select as many local and toll-free phone numbers as you need.

Now let’s connect the dots.

Suppose you’ll assign a different phone number to each ad you've placed and port all four numbers to your one business line... You’ll still be receiving and answering calls on your phone just as you normally would, but in the background—magic will be happening!

When the day is done and you’ve signed up all those new customers, you’ll now be able to simply kick back, pull up your laptop, and watch as Synclio’s think-o-matic-extraordinaire (powered by Google Analytics) reveals just how many calls were placed to each of the numbers you have ported.

The Bottom Line

So even if you’ve been paying a hefty fee to see your ads prominently featured in the Morning Sun and the Faraway Star, you may learn from this little experiment that the bulk of callers actually followed your electronic bread-crumbs-trail via the freebie Craigslist.

Going to reshuffle your marketing eggs now? You betcha!

This is just one of the ways viewing call stats can help improve your business strategy and marketing performance.

And it teaches us never to judge a man or a feature by their outfit—at least not before they've had a chance to take it off and kick some @#$!

09/19/11 Edited to adjust spelling and update information.

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 8:46 PM

Don’t Go Reinventing the Wheel... Here's Why Building a Physical Phone System is a Bad Idea.

So you’re thinking of putting together a physical phone system. Good. Let’s try something for a minute. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Count to ten.

Still seem like a good idea?

Ok, read on then.

It may have been the norm in the old days to have your hand in everything: grow your own food, raise your own beef, build your own house and even cut your own hair. But not too long ago a little something called the Industrial Revolution took place. That pretty much changed all of it.

Adam Smith, for instance, had observed that a worker trained in making nails yielded a far greater quota than a man uninitiated in the fine art of nail-making. This was a process he had identified as the division of labor, or specialization, and argued that a man becomes far more productive when his time, energy, and resources are directed in a single endeavor.

So let’s see how it applies to the question at hand.

You’re running a business. That’s your niche. If it’s a small business, chances are you’re already wearing more than a few hats.

Do you really want to add another with a small ‘IT’ logo to your wardrobe?

Let’s look at it from a Cost vs. Value perspective, dear to the heart of any entrepreneur.

You might have read a clever article about some open source PBX product now available for free download. Then recalled how, flipping through the flyer of a local electronics store, you had noted the rock-bottom prices of hardware components. Your little number-crunching machine then went on to put two plus two together—and next you were in your car driving towards the nearest Tigerdirect outlet, ready to build that sexy phone system you’ve always wanted.

Well, it’s a good thing your wife did some research and sent you this article before you got too far, because here comes a reality check:

A physical phone system is a complex combo of software and hardware equipment that will require, at the very least, proper setup, configuration, and maintenance.

There was only one reason businesses in the past went through the trouble of setting up those clunkers—and that’s because they didn’t really have an alternative.

It’s true that today you can put together an equally robust physical system for a fraction of what it used to take—especially with open source applications—but that doesn’t mean that every 10-year-old and his sister can crack open their piggy-banks and go nuts... That’s because buying the equipment is only half the trouble. Next you need to have everything set up, configured, and installed—a highly involved process.

So your options quickly dwindle down to either taking a crash course in the relevant IT technologies, or (more likely) hiring a professional.

Guess what, the professional has a family to feed, and he didn’t get that nice certificate only to cover a hole in the wall—he got it to bring home some milk. One guess who’s going to be his cow...

But even once everything has been set up, it’s still only half the trouble (no, I didn’t skip simple math at school). Like a brand new house, once it’s been built, the darn thing still has to be maintained. Go see any homeowner after his first winter to find out if he’s still wearing that picture-perfect smile.

Equipment fails, software gets corrupted, and even when everything seems to be sailing smoothly, the whole thing needs to be periodically updated and upgraded. So if you thought you’ve seen the last of that ‘professional’ with the first visit, be prepared to find yourself signing a long-term contract and feeding the calves on a regular basis.

So why not spare yourself the pain and go with a more streamlined solution? After all, you didn’t lay down infrastructure when you needed your first land-line, or opened a hairdressing salon to get your hair cut—you simply purchased a service. Why start doing things differently?

As for value, a virtual PBX gives you all the features you’d find in a physical one (and more) with the added freedom of the web, for a single low monthly fee.

This has ‘Smart Business ’ written all over it.

You must be good at what you do, but virtual phone systems is our niche. So why not prove the father of capitalism right yet again and start trading?

For more information about the benefit of going virtual, check out: ‘5 Reasons Virtual Systems are Taking Over the Physical World’.

And for a breakdown of most features you’re likely to encounter, try our last post: ‘Anatomy of a Virtual Phone System: What’s In It, and Why You Need It’.

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 6:41 PM

Anatomy of a Virtual Phone System: What’s in it, and why you need it?

So the question is no longer ‘am I getting a phone system?’ but ‘which system should I get?’

When buying a car, you know that there are certain things that are pretty much indispensible, like wheels or an engine—the car simply won’t function without them. Then there are extras. It’s the same here.

So let’s take a peek under the hood to see which features you absolutely MUST have, which are a nice upgrade, and which are knick-knacks:

Virtual IVR

If we mentioned a car, this would be the engine. IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is the automated system that answers and routes incoming calls according to your preferences. Not all are made equal, and some would have more features than others, but you won’t find a system that doesn’t have one (if you do, run the other way!)

At the very minimum, a Virtual IVR should let you build custom phone trees and define your own call routing rules. Some, like Synclio, provide an extra layer of customization like recording your own voice greetings, which helps promote brand recognition.

Learn all about IVR in our 'IVR - Interactive Voice Response Demystified' article.


This is another staple that may come in different flavours, but should definitely be there.

At the very least, you should have the ability to access your stored messages by phone or email. An audio copy delivered to your inbox is pretty standard too. A cut above will let you access them online.

Web Management

This is a no brainer. After all, we are talking about a virtual service. Web management let’s you control all aspects of your virtual phone system online via a convenient web portal. You should not even consider a provider that doesn’t offer this—it’ll be like buying a hovercraft that doesn’t hover...

Call Handling Tools

Again, the specific features may vary between systems and providers, but it’s pretty standard to find call forwarding and at least some level of call screening and transferring. In short, the first lets you forward calls automatically (without a live operator), while the others let’s you control how a call should be handled once routed to your phone (answered, blocked, transfer to Voicemail or to a different number/s). This is usually controlled via your routing rules. For instance, if you leave the office at 6pm but like to remain available till 8pm, you can set it so that calls will be redirected to your cellphone for those two hours and straight to your voicemail thereafter.

Find Me/Follow Me

This is a convenient feature that lets your employees enter multiple phone numbers, so that whenever a call is routed the system will dial every number in succession until the employee is reached. It’s especially helpful if your team is mobile.

Dial by Name Directory

A classic feature we all know and love from the hours we’ve spent calling big conglomerates. (Ah...found memories!) It lets you use the alphanumeric touch-tone keypad to spell the name of a person you’re trying to reach.

Internet Fax

Offered by some, this service lets you send and receive faxes using your email account—even if you’ve never had, don’t have, and never plan to have a fax machine. Though a nice option to have, in today's era of smartphones, emails and snapshots are fast replacing the fax machine as an efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost effective solution.

Unless your business strictly depends on the use of fax, this is by no means a must-have.

Message Alert

Again, offered by some, this little gimmick sends you a text notification whenever a fax or voicemail has been received. A bit redundant at an age most anybody owns a Smartphone with instant email updates—but hey, some people still wear watches that have both digital and analog dials... so you never know.

1-800, Local, and Vanity Numbers

Any service worth considering should offer a local or 1-800 number with your account. Vanity numbers are usually available for an additional fee.

Call Records + Stats

This is a great way to keep track of your call traffic and to make sure that all are followed up upon. Records should be available online and stored for as long as your account remains active. Some providers, like Synclio, offer various statistics as well—great to pick up patterns or as a measure of your own performance. Learning and improving are keys to success.


Services usually come with at least 5 extensions (for the base plan), and more as you go up. Some offer unlimited extensions. This is especially useful as it can accommodate business growth.

*Live Answer

This is not a common feature in virtual phone systems, as the primary purpose of is to provide an automated solution. But in Synclio’s case, with a parent company like ‘Answer Connect’—a major player in the live answering market that caters to many Fortune 500 companies—it’s a simple logical extension. Synclio intends to roll out a low cost, add-on service that will allow virtual IVR customers to take full advantage of this resource, bridging the gap between Automated and Live.

One last thing to keep in mind is that most companies would offer some form of free trial for their service, often 30 days. Make sure you review the billing cycle and any provisions (such as being charged if you’ve passed a set amount of minutes, etc), and only go with a provider whose service truly caters to what you need.

Remember, the real benefit of going virtual is freedom. The service should fit your image, not the other way around.

Happy shopping!

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 7:30 AM

Tired of Playing Phone-Tag with your Customers? A Virtual Phone System is a Whole New Game!

We all know how it goes. They call you. You call back. They leave a message. You record a voicemail. And round and round you go. This may have been fun as kids, but by now the whole thing must start feeling a bit juvenile...

If you’re ready to leave the kiddie table and come sit with the grownups, we’ve got a whole new game for you.

It’s called A Virtual Phone System.

Chances are, just hearing the words ‘Phone System’ conjures hellish visions of mega-expensive hardware and extortionistic setup fees threatening to leave both you and your spouse without an undergarment. But before you start sweating off your Calvin-Kleins, let it be said that technological advances over the past decade have taken the entire field to a whole a new level, and that today’s virtual systems are a far-cry from those old clunkers that got you all worried about her Victoria's Secrets.

(You may want to check the article ‘A Fortune 500 Customer Calling Experience that Won’t Cost your Company a Fortune’ for some background on what makes virtual PBX phone systems so cost-effective.)

But even though decidedly cheaper, a virtual PBX packs all the features you’ve grown to expect from their physical granddaddies—and more. Now let’s see how these can help you do away with that old phone-tag routine.

For starters, a virtual IVR (Interactive Voice Response) ensures that your customers get an answer 24/7 and immediately transferred to the right department. This beats getting that perpetual ringing tone or coming to a heads-on collision with some general voicemail.

The ability to review detailed call-logs by department ensures that no caller goes unchecked, making sticky-pads and tear-out sheets a thing of the past.

Going virtual also means that your system travels with you no matter where you are, so customers can always reach you. You won’t ever worry about letting a sale slip by unnoticed or desperate cries for help go unanswered.

Most providers offer unlimited extensions, so you can use the one landline you already own to outfit your entire team. Some, like Synclio, even offer a Live Answering service for a small additional fee, so when you're feeling a bit overwhelmed or worried that you might not be available to take calls, you can always trust them to give your customers that extra human touch.

These are just a few of the ways a virtual PBX phone system can make child-play a thing of the past, giving you the confidence to join the grownups for a hairy game like Monopoly.

Now let Synclio make you a winner!

Want to learn more? Try our tween articles: '4 Ways a Professional Phone System Can Improve Customer Experience in Your Business' and '4 Ways a Professional Phone System Can Boost Productivity in your Business' for a well rounded view.

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 2:39 PM

4 Ways a Virtual Phone System Can Boost Productivity in Your Business

Running a small business can be hectic: wearing different hats, juggling different tasks, staying on the nose while keeping ahead of the ball... this might sound like fun if you’re part of a circus troupe, but we’re talking serious business here!

Dealing with phone calls amongst all this hustle and bustle can be quite a challenge.

If you’re like many other one-man-band-ers who’ve been delaying a proper solution for a while, your system of managing all the scheduled calls, notes, and follow-ups is probably comprised mostly of sticky-pads and paper clips.

Now, you can keep on juggling all you want, but if your hands get tired or if you feel like taking a break, come on out and sniff the 21st century air. You’ll find there’s a much better solution in town that’s been putting that old circus act out to lunch.


A small business PBX keeps all your client information in one place. Call-backs, requests, comments—everything stored conveniently, updated automatically, and accessible by the entire team.

Moreover, each designated department views their own call records, so there can be no confusion or stepping over each other’s toes. Even if it’s just you and your partner—that’s four toes already...


Perhaps the best part of a virtual PBX is that it’s truly freedom personified. Since everything is up in the cloud, you can work anytime, anywhere, and on any device (to learn more about what makes virtual so awesome, check out 'Walking on Clouds--the Freedom of Going Virtual'). You’re no longer tied to the office, or even to your own computer.

They call it running a small business for a reason—and since you’re always up and about, the less hardware you have to carry around, the easier your life will be.


One of the greatest challenges faced by any small business is scarcity of resources—from supplies to personnel, there never seems to be enough of anything to go around—and that’s why managing them effectively is so critical.

A PBX system lets you designate departments and use your call tree to route calls simultaneously to the entire team, so that the first person to become available can answer the next caller. Making conference calls also becomes easier than ever as you need only dial a single number to reach a designated cluster of people.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response), which is a standard component in any PBX system worth its salt, can answer many common queries and provide useful information before the caller ever reaches a live agent. This takes a significant load off of your already overwhelmed staff. Some system providers, like Synclio for instance, even offer a Live Answer service for a small additional fee. This is especially useful if you’re running a small operation, as by letting their trained staff handle the few callers that still get through the IVR strainer you'll be freeing your own team to deal with a gazillion of other daily tasks.

It’s your business, reinvented.

Cost savings

It must be clear by now why a virtual PBX is infinitely cheaper than—and superior to—any physical counterpart (not sure? Try reading our '5 Reasons Virtual Systems are Taking Over the Physical World'), but what you may not realize is that, in many cases, it’s even cheaper than having no system at all!

Here’s why:

If you’re using multiple landlines or cell-phones, things can get pricey—fast. For a single low monthly fee, a virtual PBX usually gives you a local or 1 800 number and an unlimited set of extensions.

This means that both you and your customers can stop running into international calling charges whenever you’re dealing outside the province, and that you no longer need multiple landlines to accommodate your personnel—simply squeeze all the juice out of that single landline you already own by dressing it with all the extensions you’ll ever need!

The availability of unlimited extensions is also a great prospect for the future, as it can accommodate your business as it grows without running into any significant growth pains.

For a detailed discussion of what makes virtual PBX so cost effective check out 'A Fortune 500 Customer Calling Experience that Won't Cost your Company a Fortune', and for an overview of 1- 800 numbers and their benefits, try 'Advantages of an 800 Number for Your Business'.

If you haven’t made a switch already, no time is better than the present to treat yourself to a brand new phone system. Quit the act and get in on the action—here's to leaving the old circus days behind!

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 5:01 PM

5 Reasons Virtual Systems are taking over the Physical World

It’s no secret that Cloud computing is taking over the world in a storm with a myriad of virtual solutions ready to address all of our modern IT needs, leaving the vendors of traditional systems moaning: “don’t rain on my parade.”

As a small business owner you want to stay ahead of the weather, so let’s take a look where the winds of change are blowing. Here are 5 reasons virtual solutions are fast replacing their physical counterparts:


In the virtual world, your work and data are no longer confined to a single machine or location and instead 'float' in the cloud—a figurative way of saying reside in centralized servers conveniently accessible via your own web portal. This gives you the freedom to work anytime, anywhere, and on any device.


Because your work is up there in the cloud, it's now easier than ever to stay on top of changes in a team-environment, share files, and collaborate with co-workers. It also makes on-site backup a redundancy, as all your work is already backed up automatically in the safest place on earth ( heaven)

So if your equipment catches a bug or your if office burns down, at least the safety of your work will NOT be one of your worries.

Upgradability and Maintenance:

Since both the physical infrastructure and software components are now centralized in a single location and maintained by a company whose sole business is to provide the service it has chosen to specialize in—upgrades are simpler, smoother, and far more frequent than if you had to wear an IT hat (on top of your other office apparel). In plain speak, this means that the user always remains on the cutting edge, and with minimal interruptions.


There are many reasons that make Cloud Computing at least as safe, if not safer than, traditional systems. Not the last of these is the fact that companies who’ve made it their business to offer a virtual service have far greater resources than the average user to invest in combating security threats and coming up with solutions.

Furthermore, since such companies usually host their servers in state of the art facilities, they're far better protected against hardware failure and natural disasters.


The essence of specialization in any industry is reflected in the bottom line, and here is no exception. The savings are vast because users have no need to purchase any additional hardware or software components, or to worry about installation, configuration, maintenance, and upgradability issues. What’s more, a single low monthly fee can often buy our access to services we would have otherwise simply not been able to afford.

For this reason, the advantages of going virtual are perhaps most evident in hardware intensive operations, where just the costs of getting in is often beyond the means of most average users.

A virtual phone system such as the one offered by Synclio is a perfect example of how cloud computing brings the sky within reach of virtually anyone.

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 4:44 PM

4 Ways a Virtual Phone System Can Improve Customer Experience in Your Business

A great product or service is sure to attract new customers—but do you have what it takes to keep them with you for the long haul?

With increased interest comes increased need for support. And guess what, if you can’t handle them, your new clients will soon move on to find someone who can—just like in a relationship.

Since you don’t want your business to end up like the cute kid who gets dumped in the end of the movie and spends the rest of his life building model airplanes in his parents’ basement, below are four simple ways a professional phone system will help make sure that those hard-earned clients remain with you through good and bad, sickness and health (etc, etc.)

1. Never miss another call.

When a customer calls support, nothing is more frustrating than that perpetual ringing tone ringing on, and on, and on... (See?) Perhaps because it reminds us of just how lonely we really are. Or perhaps we simply don’t like to feel our youth wasting away. Either way, we want to be answered—now.

With a virtual PBX, your customers get answered instantly, 24/7, and can easily follow a simple phone tree to reach the person they wish to speak to.

Sure, it may just be a friendly voicemail that will greet them at the end of the line—but hey, how much more connected will they feel hearing a human voice, even if only a recording? And besides, leaving a message for the right person feels so much more satisfying than just hanging up.

2. No more broken phone.

Perhaps the one thing more annoying than not getting through at all is getting through only to be bounced around from one line to the other, as if caught in some mega pinball machine. A virtual PBX takes human error out of the switchboard by letting you easily set your own phone tree and call rules, so that each call is automatically routed to the right person, every time. Simple. Quick. Reliable. If only human beings were this consistent.

What’s more, with our convenient ‘Find Me/Follow Me’ feature, you can take the call no matter where you are. And we mean anywhere

So if your car broke down and you got stranded alongside the highway, you can keep on offering support even as you’re helplessly waiting for the CAA truck to show up—good for your business AND for your morale!

Just make sure you don’t end up flipping with an “I’ve been waiting here for three f&@# hours!” at your client, then switching back to ask the CAA dude if he’d care to rate your service...

3. Never leave a customer hanging.

Another common scenario—and a major source of customer dissatisfaction—can be termed ‘the call-back that never comes’. It goes something like this: Johnny has a problem. Johnny calls ‘Support’. Rep tells Johnny that he’ll call him back in half an hour. Johnny sits waiting by the phone. An hour later, Johnny is still waiting by the phone. By the third hour Johnny picks up the phone and dials back, this time speaking to ‘Retention’.

Now, we may never know what made the rep neglect poor Johnny: perhaps he was relying on one of those knock-off sticky notes that just aren't sticky enough; perhaps he got caught up with another caller and asked one of his colleagues to follow up on his behalf--who regrettably was using that same wad of stickies...

Synclio helps make such mishaps a thing of the past by keeping all your client info in a single place, accessible by the entire team, and letting each department review their own call records. Johnny is happy. Rep is happy. And the girl at ‘Retention’ gets to finish her Sudoku—job satisfaction all around!

4. We’re all about the first impression!

Sure, we like to think of ourselves as highly evolved little monkeys: civilized, sophisticated, supremely un-superficial. But let’s face it—we’re still as moved by the primordial effect of appearances as a peacock looking to mate. And both he and we know that no birdie is getting lucky if it can’t make a first impression.

So this one’s a no-brainer. When a customer calls for the first time you want them to get a sense of dealing with a professional organization, not some outfit out of Jimmy’s basement. You might be running a perfect solo act—but with your own 1-800 number and a full set of extensions, who’ll ever know you from the big guys?

Go ahead, razzle-dazzle them!

Besides, nothing says ‘professional’ louder and clearer than an elegant phone system. Civilized, sophisticated, perfectly alluring to a species of highly evolved monkeys.

In many ways, running a business is like building a relationship. It’s not enough to lure a mate in. Getting lucky is a start—but without the ability to keep them satisfied for the long haul you’ll soon find yourself strapped for cash and heart-broken, looking back on a string of short-lived affairs.

The foundation of any strong relationship starts with proper communication.

Now let Synclio set you up!

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 4:32 PM

A Fortune 500 Customer Calling Experience that Won’t Cost Your Company a Fortune

So you’re starting a small business. Or perhaps you’ve been at it for a while, but suddenly the floodgates have come open with an overwhelming gush of daily calls. Either way, you’re now finding yourself in need of a better way to manage all this inbound traffic. You’ve probably listened with envy when calling big conglomerates to these fancy phone trees: “dial 1 for this... dial 2 for that”. Perhaps you’ve even shopped around till you got chest-pains looking at traditional solutions and their price tags.

But worry not. Thanks to modern computing, you can now have a system with all the bells and whistles just like the big boys, for less than the price of a landline.

Let’s take a closer look.

The challenge with setting up a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) has traditionally been the exorbitant expenses it entailed. From the early days of operators manually plugging and re-plugging telephone lines to the first automated switchboards, the process involved the purchase of expensive equipment, hiring professional technicians to have it set up, and later incurring the high costs of perpetual maintenance. Unsurprisingly, this was something only the top dogs in the business could afford.

Even in the 1990’s, as smaller systems came into the market, they were still beyond the pale to smaller businesses.

In the following decade, however, the introduction of VOiP along with other technological innovations and the ever decreasing prices of hardware components combined to open a door to a new class of PBX systems. These were significantly less expensive on the hardware side, and, especially with open source solutions, very affordable on the software side. But no good thing comes without a caveat, and in this case, though one could put together such a system for a relatively small initial investment, he still required the expertise to have it set up, configured, and maintained. Assuming he wasn’t the savvy type, this required again hiring an expert—which has a way of seeing even the smallest investment quickly put on weight.

Now fast forward to the preset—with the internet becoming ever prevalent, connection speeds ever faster, storage capacities ever larger, and prices increasingly cheaper—a new phenomenon has emerged that is fast reshaping the faces of most industries. This phenomenon is called ‘Cloud Computing’, and it’s the new wave in digital data management.

The idea is simple: to eliminate the need for dedicated hardware and software configurations on the user’s end by delegating them to a centralized server, specifically equipped to handle the relevant tasks. It is essentially a form of specialization. An example is how you share and edit documents online using a platform such as Google docs, or how you utilize remote storage to backup your personal data.

Synclio has taken this concept and applied it to the field of Virtual PBX, bringing the full power and features of a robust telephone system right to the tips of your fingers for one low monthly fee. There’s no longer any need to purchase additional hardware or software components—all you need is your existing telephone lines, personal computers, phones, and internet connection (all of which you already own!) There’s no need to pay outrageous installation fees, or to worry about maintenance—Synclio does all the worrying for you!

Synclio helps you cut costs further by letting you choose a local or toll-free telephone number for inbound calls, so you and your customers don’t have to keep running up international calling charges.

Moreover, the simple, user-friendly web portal means you’ll be up and running in minutes—not days—slashing the costs associated with training and ensuring a smooth transition.

But ‘simple’ doesn’t mean ‘bland’: Synclio's platform is highly adaptable and lets you easily modify it to fit your own identity, not the other way around.

You’ll be able to record customized greetings and to design your own phone trees; to create rules and to route calls in any way you choose. You’ll even be able to review call stats and access records, which remain stored on our server for as long as your account remains active.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of daily business has never been easier!

And that’s not all—by going on a cloud, you not only get features equal to a physical system—you get the freedom of the web. So whether you’re home or half-way around the world, you can always stay connected.

It no longer takes a fortune to give yourself and your customers the calling experience you deserve. Technology has a beautiful way of progressively making more available for less, and this is just one of those elegant leaps forward. Now the only question is are you going to ride the wave?

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 4:29 PM

Walking on Clouds—the Freedom of Going Virtual

Cloud computing is fast reshaping the world. It changes the way we store and manage data. It redefines the way we conduct business. It allows us to carry a single laptop or Smartphone and access an arsenal of features that previously demanded a roomful of expensive computer equipment. Heck, soon enough we’ll be able to upload our minds to reality 2.0 and live up there in the cloud—now there’s a thought!

But before that happens, let’s take a look at what’s already happening today.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is essentially a different approach to how we go about executing IT operations. In the past, to perform any given task, each individual had to own the necessary software and hardware, which in turn had to be properly set up, installed/configured, and maintained.

To take a simple example, suppose you wanted to set up a raid system to back up your digital data. This required a computer with compatible hardware to act as a server, and a software program that could perform the necessary function. Both the software and the hardware had to be set up correctly, and the system as a whole had to be maintained.

All this (at long last) enabled you to perform the desired operation on that particular system, and if something went wrong, it was up to you to troubleshoot the problem or to hire a professional who could do it for you.

If this setup was rigged in your office and you wanted to back up data on your home computer as well you had to put together a second system, equivalent to the first.

Needless to say, this approach was very costly (not to mention inconvenient). But it’s how we used to live.

The nature of our technology simply could not facilitate any alternative.

But with the internet becoming ever prevalent, a far more elegant solution has evolved: enter the Cloud...

The name is derived from the ‘cloud’ symbol that used to represent telecom infrastructure, and later the internet itself, in early flowcharts and diagrams. It epitomizes the idea of severing the user from the equipment—or ‘data’ from ‘location’—to essentially ‘float’, as if in the air. There’s something decidedly sci-fi about this concept: just imagine, all your data simply ‘out there’, accessible whenever you need it. Sure gives ‘out of the aether’ a whole new meaning!

But unlike the fabled substance, this phenomenon is real.

It’s in effect a form of specialization. If previously individuals had to own the infrastructure to perform any IT operation required by their business, now companies recognizing the potential for specialization have stepped up to offer these as services. It's a far more dynamic approach than the rigid, old-fashioned model. The principles of specialization have always made societies far more productive, as people could stop wasting precious time and resources doing a little bit of everything and instead focus on what it was each of them did best. It's the same here. Instead of each business owner setting up his own on-site backup, phone system, etc—he can simply shop around for a company that offers any of these as a virtual service, and for a single low monthly fee make use of their established infrastructure via a convenient web portal. Anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

By letting their centralized servers take over all the heavy lifting, the rest of us are freed to enjoy a streamlined existence with just our favorite gizmo, an internet access, and a latte.

Now that's working in style!

To read more about the benefits of a Virtual platform and why it’s superior to a physical system, check out '5 Reasons Virtual Systems are Taking Over the Physical World'

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 4:18 PM

IVR - Interactive Voice Response Demystified

The technology world is changing and evolving every day, and the field of telephony is no exception. Over the past few decades, the telephone industry has continued to develop new and improved ways to increase efficiency and provide professional solutions for businesses. As a result of these developments, interactive voice response (IVR) was created, opening the doors of communication even further, increasing customer satisfaction and providing cost-saving options for businesses, both large and small.

What exactly is IVR?

Perhaps you’ve heard the term before, but do you really understand what IVR is and how it works? In simple terms, interactive voice response is an optimized technology that allows automated interaction with people who call a business for help or information. IVR may use pre-recorded prompts to provide callers with options through the use of their telephone keypads, or they may be more sophisticated and be able to interact with callers based on the spoken word.

What is it used for?

IVR is perfect for businesses that offer clients static information, such as bank or account balances, schedules, mailing address, and order status. A client simply dials into your business’ phone number, follows the prompts provided and either chooses an option by pressing the corresponding number on their keypad or by speaking it. They can then quickly and easily receive the information they need without ever having to speak to a live representative.

IVR can also be used to place outbound calls, providing important information to clients, such as the status of their order, reminder of an upcoming appointment or a past due balance on their account.

What can it do for your business?

Using an IVR system for your business can help you deal with heavy call volumes, increase customer satisfaction and lower costs. It also allows you to extend your “virtual” business hours so that your company can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This increases credibility, gives a more professional image and provides a valuable convenience to your existing and potential customers.

If you run a business that fields a lot of calls, IVR can help direct callers to the appropriate party within your company, place calls in priority order and answer multiple lines at one time. In addition, manual or voice prompts and an automated system may alleviate a number of calls since the caller will likely receive the answer to his or her question without needing to speak to a live representative. If they do determine that they need further assistance, they can select the correct department and be immediately directed without having to pass through a receptionist. Research has shown that this greatly increases client satisfaction and reduces dropped calls.

Your business will also realize a cost savings through the use of IVR, since you will no longer need to rely on live agents to answer and field calls.

How do I get IVR?

Interactive voice response is typically obtained as a component of a virtual phone system, which includes other features such as voicemail, phone trees and online management tools. Together these elements make up a sophisticated and professional business telephone system that provides cost-effective communication, efficiency and customer service and ultimately improves sales and productivity.

Given the ongoing advancements in technology, particularly in terms of telephony, it’s critical that businesses take advantage of and utilize their available resources if they are to remain competitive. Regardless of size or industry, using a virtual phone system with IVR options will help provide professional communication solutions for both you and your clients.

posted by Shaun @ 9:17 AM

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a New Phone System

Running a successful business takes much more than just hard work and determination. There are dozens of things that must be considered, from balancing the books to marketing to hiring and retaining excellent employees. Perhaps one of the most important components of a business today is harnessing the power of technology to increase productivity, develop a more professional image and provide a competitive edge. A virtual phone system can do all this and more for your business. Here are five reasons you should upgrade to a new phone system today.

Better communication

Many small business owners rely on their cell phones to handle a good deal of their business exchanges with clients and suppliers. But mobile technology can be sketchy at best, with inconsistent coverage areas often resulting in dropped calls. Additionally, traditional phone systems often lack important features like auto-attendant and call forwarding, resulting in frustrated customers and missed sales opportunities. Important business communications should be handled on a higher, more reliable level. A virtual phone system allows your customers to always reach you, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and productivity.


Who cares if your small business consists of only three employees? Having a virtual phone system with an 800 number will instantly boost your business up to the same level as your competition, regardless of size and let customers know you are professional, not just a mom and pop operation. Plus, providing customers with a toll free way to get ahold of you increases your credibility and reach, making your business accessible to people from just about anywhere.


Great news - your business is growing! Unfortunately with old phone systems, adding a new employee or making changes can often be difficult and expensive. Virtual phone systems, on the other hand, allow you to easily create more lines, add extensions, and set up voicemail quickly and efficiently. Moving to another town? Your new phone system with your 800 number will also make the move seamless for your customers and help your business remain consistent.


No need to be tied to the office anymore. With a new virtual phone system, you and your employees will have the freedom to go out into the field and meet with clients, close sales deals and network while still being accessible to your existing customers. Features like find me/follow me allow you to route calls to any phone, anywhere. When your customers know they can reach you any time they need you, their satisfaction will increase, and they will be much more likely to refer you to their friends and family. Additionally, virtual phone systems can be easily managed online. Check your messages, run reports, change your account settings. You can manage your entire system from anywhere with internet access.

Cost savings

The sophistication of a virtual phone system can mean significant cost saving for your business. No more installing and maintaining expensive phone lines and systems. You can now run your entire phone system online, saving you time and money. Additionally, with valuable features like professional call handling and call routing, you no longer have to worry about hiring a receptionist to handle incoming calls.

Competing in the business world today involves running your business in the most efficient way possible while also providing your customers with the highest level of satisfaction possible. A new virtual phone system will place your business on the same professional level with larger competitors, provide accessibility for your clients, and offer convenience and cost savings for you.

posted by Evan @ 9:24 AM