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Staying Connected During the Holiday Madness with Synclio

It’s that time of year again when the hustle and bustle of the holidays begins and people generally find themselves stressed to the max and running around trying to get everything done. Under normal circumstances it can be hard to stay in touch during this busy time of year, but with Synclio you won’t have to miss a beat. Here’s how we’ll help you stay connected during the impending holiday madness.

Find Me / Follow Me – Go ahead, get all your shopping and running around done without worrying about missing that important call. Simply activate your find me / follow me feature to have all calls forwarded to your mobile phone and you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Visual Voicemail – It’s challenging any time of year to keep up with voicemail messages without adding the holiday rush into the mix. With visual voicemail you won’t have to sweat it. All your messages can easily be transcribed where you can read them in email or on your smartphone. That way you stay on top of calls and can manage follow-up so nothing falls through the cracks.

Custom Greetings – Whatever business you’re in, chances are you’ll have something going on during the holidays. Whether it’s a special sale or promotion or modified store hours during the coming weeks, with professional call handling options like custom greetings your customers will always be in the know.

Group Calling – Why not give your team a break and let them enjoy some extra time with their families? It’s easy to do when you can hold meetings remotely with group calling. When everyone can stay connected from wherever they are, your employees will be happier and your business won’t have to suffer.

At Synclio we understand how crazy the holidays can be. We also know that it’s important to slow down a bit and enjoy this time of year with family and friends. These are just a few ways that Synclio can help you do just that and make the holidays a little less stressful for everyone. Cheers!


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 4:52 PM

5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Facebook Page

Social media is a big deal – it can also be overwhelming, particularly for someone who doesn’t have any experience using it. It’s really not that bad if you take the time to break it down and tackle one area at a time. Last month we covered how LinkedIn can benefit small businesses. Today we’d like to point out how important having a Facebook page can be as well. Facebook is fast becoming one of the most powerful social media marketing tools for business owners. The best part is it’s free! If that’s not compelling enough, here are 5 reasons your small business needs a Facebook page.

Getting to know you…

Ok, before I launch into the full-blown rendition of the show tune (and trust me, you don’t want to hear it), the song always comes to mind when it comes to Facebook because it’s such a useful tool in terms of really getting to know your customers. Just imagine being able to engage all of your current and potential clients at the same time with the click of a button. There’s no way you could do that in person. But you can on Facebook. And we all know that learning about and understanding the needs of your customers is the most important way to keep them happy and coming back.

And the winner is…

Want an easy way to get people talking about your business? Launch a contest or giveaway. Let’s face it – people LOVE free things. You’d be surprised how just offering a free hour of service or a product giveaway will have people clamoring to be the big winner, no matter what the prize. I can say this because I’m one of those people. Facebook makes running contests super easy, and it’s a fantastic way to increase visibility and word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

Good ol’ competition...

Even if you’re not the least bit tech savvy and think social media marketing is a huge waste of time the simple fact remains that if you are holding out, you’re missing out. Why? Because chances are very good that your competition has already jumped on the bandwagon. If you’re not prepared to join them and make your own online presence known you are most certainly going to lose business as a result. Remember, if they can’t find you they’ll find someone else.

Reach for the stars…

Ok, if you don’t want to take my word for it on how impactful having a business Facebook page can be, consider this little fact: at present there are over 800 million active users on Facebook. Yes, I said 800 million. Can you seriously afford to lose out on reaching that many people?!? Even if a small chunk of those are people in your area, the odds are still in your favor. Seriously - there has never been an easier way to reach so many people with little effort.

Rubbing cyber elbows…

Any small business owner worth his weight knows the importance of networking. Facebook is a great way to connect with other businesses in your area and show some support for one another. You “like” their page, they “like” your page and it’s one big happy cyber family. And if you took my advice about connecting and forging partnerships with other complimentary businesses, this is a ridiculously easy way to do so.

What on earth are you waiting for?

By now you should be sufficiently convinced that your small business needs a Facebook page. So where do you start? There are a ton of helpful tutorials online (like this one, complete with a handy dandy video) that should help get you off the ground. Take your time, get to know the platform and do everything you can to get the most out of it. You won’t be sorry. Oh, and once you’re up and running, feel free to drop over and “like” Synclio on Facebook. See you there!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 10:56 AM

Happy Thanksgiving from Synclio!

As we usher in the holiday season, we at Synclio would just like to take this opportunity to wish our valued customers in the U.S., a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving Day. We want you to know that you are important to us and we’re grateful to be able to continue to provide you with new and better ways to communicate with those that matter most to you. We hope you enjoy the holiday!


~ The Synclio Family

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:24 AM

Using Call Tracking to Optimize Conversion Rate

We’ve covered the importance of tracking phone calls when it comes to things like managing follow up and gaining valuable market insight. Perhaps even more important is the impact call tracking can have on accurately measuring your conversion rate. And everybody knows at the end of the day it’s all about converting potential clients into paying customers. If you’re not already taking advantage of this valuable tactic, here’s a brief overview of how our call tracking features can help you optimize your conversion rate.

Why Track Calls?

Some stats show a rate of anywhere from 50% to 75% of business leads that come in via phone. That’s incredible! What’s even more incredible, however, is the fact that many companies aren’t truly capturing this information and incorporating it into their conversion rate calculations. With actual conversion rates hovering around 30% of these telephone leads, you can’t afford to leave this piece of the puzzle out. If you want to accurately assess your overall conversion rate, call tracking is a must.


There are a number of ways to track your phone leads with Synclio. First you can use the detailed call record feature to capture who is calling and when. Unfortunately what you can’t gather from this method is exactly what is driving these leads. That’s where our Google Analytics integration comes into play. This innovative feature allows you to learn exactly which leads are coming from which sources. You can easily and efficiently track both online and offline marketing campaigns, something that used to be nearly impossible to measure!

Now take it a step further and integrate this lead information with your regular web analytics and you’ve got a complete picture of your overall conversion rate. No more guesswork or estimation!

Is it Necessary?

In a word: absolutely! Having a better understanding of what is driving your leads and how each marketing campaign is faring can help you to efficiently streamline your marketing plan and focus on what works vs. wasting time and money on dead-end methods. So the question really isn’t ‘should I be tracking my phone calls’ but rather ‘can I afford not to?’ And if conversion rate optimization is important to you, the answer is a resounding ‘no’!

If you’re not sure how to get started with call tracking, give us a jingle. We’d be more than happy to help!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 9:25 AM

The Benefits of Outsourcing

Let’s face it – the economy still isn’t what it used to be. Believe it or not, however, this can actually be a good thing for small businesses. With unemployment at an all-time high, there are hundreds of thousands of highly skilled individuals currently searching for work, and many of them are turning to unconventional jobs like contract or freelance gigs. What this means for small businesses is an increase in available talent to tap into. If you haven’t already made the plunge into the world of outsourcing, here are a few benefits for you to consider.

  • Cost Savings – This one alone should grab your attention, since as a small business owner you’re inevitably always trying to find ways to save a few bucks. Hiring a freelance provider to do a task or duty for you can save you a ton of dough because you can get the work done without having to pay ancillary expenses associated with in-house employees such as employment taxes and healthcare.
  • Increased Reach – Hiring an in-house employee limits your talent pool to only local candidates. Outsourcing breaks down these barriers and gives you access to global talent with a virtually endless pool of skilled candidates to select from.
  • Time Savings – One of the biggest challenges a small business owner faces is having to juggle a bunch of little tasks because, well, frankly it doesn’t make sense logically (or financially) to hire someone full time or even part time to do them. With outsourcing you can delegate these one-off tasks and have each of them completed by individuals on a short-term contract basis, getting them off your plate and freeing you up to concentrate on more important things. Like running your business.
  • Flexibility – Hiring a team of workers to handle various duties in your business often means having to expand to larger (read: more expensive) office space. The beauty of hiring freelancers is that they work entirely offsite, giving you the flexibility to run your business from virtually anywhere.
  • Competitive Edge – Since outsourcing gives you access to specialized talent that you might otherwise not be able to find or afford, you’ll have a unique advantage over your competition. Whether it’s hiring a pro to design a kick-butt website or assembling a team of highly skilled customer service experts, you’ll quickly find yourself standing out from the competition and so will your customers.

If you’re concerned about trusting someone on the other side of the world to handle important business tasks, don’t worry. Most of the outsourcing sites have feedback systems that let you get a feel for the quality of work each freelancer provides and some, like oDesk, even offer a pretty sweet guarantee for both contractors and employers. If you’re still not sure, consider doing a test project to get your feet wet and see how the process works. Once you see how much outsourcing can benefit your business, you’ll be hooked.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 7:50 AM

5 Tips for Converting Holiday Shoppers into Buyers

I know, I know – it’s painfully early to start talking about the holidays. But the fact is, now is when many people are starting to buckle down and begin their shopping, especially those who shop online. From the business side of things, now’s the time to start grabbing the attention of potential clients. More importantly, it’s time to strategize on how to turn those picky shoppers into paying customers. Here are 5 tips on how to shift your shoppers’ mindset from browsing to buying.

Create a Sense of Urgency – Ever get an email from a merchant informing you of a “one day only” sale, or a notice that if you purchase by X date you’ll get free shipping? It’s actually an excellent tactic to get people who may otherwise be on the fence about making a purchase to take the plunge so they don’t miss out on a good deal.

Stay on Their Minds – There’s a pretty cool new way of advertising online called retargeting (or remarketing). The basic concept is that when a person visits your site but leaves before making a purchase, a snippet of code tracks them so that when they browse other popular websites, voila, your ad magically appears wherever they go. It’s a clever way to remain on the minds of your potential customers and has been proven to be highly effective at improving conversion rates.

Be Prepared – Shoppers are turned off by “item not in stock” or backorder notices. The bottom line is, if they can’t get it from you, they’ll get it somewhere else. Keep your inventory properly stocked up so you’re prepared to handle any and all orders that come in. If potential customers know they can count on you to deliver their items when they need them they’re much more likely to make a purchase from you.

Be Available – Often the only thing that stands between a browser and a paying customer is a simple question or two. Offering features like live chat and toll free numbers provide potential buyers with the ability to receive instant gratification and get answers when they need them, thereby removing the obstacle that’s standing in the way of a completed purchase.

Offer Rewards for Repeat Business – The best way to encourage repeat business is to offer a reward for future shopping transactions. Consider holding “secret sales” or offering special merchandise for only your “most valuable customers” and watch your brand loyalty skyrocket.

If the recent predictions of holiday sales are accurate, retailers are already going to be behind the eight ball this year. The best way to improve your chances of a successful holiday season is to find ways, like the ones listed here, to entice those picky window shoppers into pulling out their wallets and buying from you.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 12:07 PM

5 Benefits of Visual Voicemail

If you’ve been in business for more than a day you understand that voicemail is a necessary evil. Sure, you’d love to be able to take every call as it comes in and be there for every customer the moment they need you, but it’s simply impossible. A virtual phone system makes this a little easier on everyone involved. First, it allows you to record personal greetings that will encourage callers to leave a message. Second, and more importantly, it provides you with a variety of options for retrieving and keeping track of these messages. One of the best ways is through visual voicemail, or voicemail transcription as it’s sometimes called. Here are just a few of the many benefits of this valuable feature.

  • Time Savings – Dialing in to a voicemail and going through the endless prompts to retrieve messages is a pain in the you-know-what. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just read the message in your email or through a text? Well, you can. That’s exactly what visual voicemail is and it’s a huge time saver.
  • Eliminates Confusion – Ever listen to a recorded message and end up wondering what on earth you just heard? Or how about when you can’t find a pen in time to jot down a call back number? Avoid having to replay your messages over and over to capture missed information or clarify a detail - all the info is right in front of your eyes with voicemail transcription.
  • Stay Organized – Keeping track of who called when and why can be a hassle and a half, especially with the million other things you’re juggling. Because visual voicemail can be delivered to your inbox, you can organize your messages just as you would emails so you can stay on top of everything and nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Manage Follow Ups – Did somebody leave a message on your voicemail that would be best dealt with by someone on your sales team? No problem. Forward the voicemail transcription right to that person for timely and professional follow-up.
  • Instant Gratification – Say you’re in a meeting when that important call comes in. You know you can’t answer it but you’re dying to know what the call is about. No problem! Visual voicemail lets you read your message right from your smart phone so you know instantly (and discretely) what’s going on.

The reality is you simply cannot take every call as it comes in. With visual voicemail you can easily and efficiently retrieve, track and follow up on your important messages and better manage your communications to deliver prompt, professional service to your valuable customers.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 10:07 AM

5 Great (Underutilized) Tools for Small Businesses

Most small business owners understand how important it is to have resources upon which they can draw in order to remain competitive and be successful. Many, however, are not using all of the tools available to them and are therefore missing out on some valuable sources of support and leads. Here are five such resources that are too often overlooked by business owners.

Chamber of Commerce – With the age of the Internet, many business owners have forgotten about the value of good, old fashioned in-person networking. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce can provide an excellent way to make valuable connections to others in your community and generate leads. We’re all about cyber-networking but it’s important not to forget the value of personal connections when it comes to business. Check out the US Chamber of Commerce site to find info on your local chapter.

Free Online Resources – Most things in life aren’t free, but there are a surprising number of small business resources available online that are and can help you manage, build and grow your business. For instance:

  • Google Docs – Create, manage and share documents with your team, colleagues and customers online at the click of a button. Work with documents, spreadsheets and even online surveys. It’s, powerful, easy to use and secure.
  • Jing – Ever try to explain what you see on your computer screen to someone over the phone or in an email? It can be frustrating. Jing lets you instantly capture screenshots and share them so that everyone is on the same page. You can also create online training videos and tutorials that are stored online for easy sharing with anyone, anywhere.
  • Wordpress – Does your company have a blog? If not, you’re missing out. Blogs are excellent tools for connecting with your customers and potential customers and they also happen to be fantastic for SEO purposes (think getting your website to the top of the search engines). Wordpress is easy to use, completely customizable and free.
  • Mail Chimp – The costs associated with email marketing campaigns has scared away many a budget-conscious small business owner. It doesn’t have to anymore. Mail Chimp lets you design, share, and integrate professional email campaigns and easily track your results. Best of all, it’s completely free for lists with up to 2,000 subscribers.
  • Meetup – It’s not always simple to find other business owners in your area to connect with. The Meetup website provides a way for you to locate or organize events where you can engage with others in your area and hopefully come away with some valuable leads.

Local Colleges – Area universities are excellent resources to tap into for entry-level employees or even interns. Some college administrators will work directly with you to help connect you with good candidates. Community colleges are also great for existing employees that you may want to receive further training because they often offer low cost certification courses and other affordable educational programs.

Other Business Owners – Forging partnerships with other businesses in complimentary industries can be a great source of referrals. It’s the old “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” concept and it works. For instance, a local hardware store could easily partner with a handyman to whom they can refer their customers when they need help with a project. The handyman in turn recommends that store’s products to his customers. It’s one stop shopping and everyone benefits.

Small Business Association (SBA) – If you’re not yet familiar with this incredible resource, the time is now. SBA provides a number of tools to small business owners, from help with financing to entrepreneurial training and developmental to advocacy services and more.

These are just five of the many tools at your disposal as a business owner. If you’ve started you’ve own business, you’re obviously familiar with the concept of being creative. Apply that same theory of creativity and thinking outside the box to finding other valuable resources to tap into and the possibilities are endless.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:48 AM

Transitioning to a Virtual Office in 5 Easy Steps

By now you’ve probably heard all the benefits of moving from traditional brick and mortar to a more virtual business environment (cost effective, better for the environment, improved employee morale, etc.). But actually making the transition isn’t necessarily simple. In fact, many business owners put it off because the mere thought of it can be, well, overwhelming. It really doesn’t have to be, though - as long as you plan ahead and follow these five steps.

  1. Think/Plan/Draw It Out – Seems like a given, but actually sitting down and considering all of the details (and writing them down) will help put the process into perspective and give you the opportunity to develop an organized plan. List all of the challenges and obstacles you believe you will face when transitioning to a virtual office environment, and then develop solutions for each one.
  2. Select Your Tools – If you’re going to implement a virtual office you’ll need to first decide what tools you’ll need. There are a number of virtual office software products on the market that will help you and your team stay organized and focused and your virtual phone system will keep everyone connected. Do some research and find the ones that you believe will work best for your business.
  3. Test the Waters – We’ve already explained the benefits of cloud technology - well now’s your chance to start using it. Before you jump into a full-blown virtual office, try it out a little. Let a few employees work from home one or two days a week to start. This will give you the opportunity to identify and address any issues that you hadn’t considered so that your official transition can go more smoothly.
  4. Embrace the “Results Only” Concept – One of the hardest things that many business owners face when moving to a virtual work environment is the fact that they won’t be able to “track” their employees and see what they’re up to during the work day. If you’re going to embrace remote work then you’ll need to change your mindset. Understand that in the virtual office it’s all about results, not necessarily the hour to hour work. As long as the work is being performed and goals are being met to your satisfaction, that’s the most important thing.
  5. Establish Trust and Accountability – The only way a virtual office can be successful is if everyone involved takes it seriously. As a business owner you must be able to trust your team and likewise they must be accountable for their duties and tasks. Whether it’s scheduling a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meeting (either virtually through group calling or at a physical location), making sure that everyone understands their ongoing role and remains committed is critical to keeping the business on track and running smoothly.

Once everything is set in motion, chances are you will probably uncover additional concerns or issues that need to be overcome, but these five steps will at least get you started and help you put the framework in place to make the challenging (but highly rewarding) transition into the virtual business world. Trust us – it’s worth it!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 9:37 AM

7 Tips for Dealing with an Angry Customer

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every customer you serviced left happy and satisfied? Unfortunately it’s not a perfect world and at some point you will inevitably find yourself having to deal with a frustrated or irate customer. Research has shown that an unhappy customer is likely to share their bad experience with between 10 and 20 people so the last thing you want to do is make things worse. The good news is there are some easy methods you can use to diffuse the situation and hopefully turn them into happy, loyal customers.

Remain Calm – It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment when a customer is acting angry. But responding in anger or frustration will only serve to escalate an already volatile situation. Remain calm and keep your own emotions in check at all times.

Be Patient – As a busy business owner you probably find yourself constantly trying to rush to get things done. It can be easy to apply this same method to any issue that comes up including complaints; however when it comes to an angry customer patience is key. Making them feel like you’re rushing them will only serve to frustrate them further.

Listen – Sometimes all it takes to calm a frustrated customer is simply giving them the opportunity to voice their concerns and vent. Show them that you respect their feelings and encourage them to explain what the problem is so that you can come to an agreeable resolution.

Reiterate – Once your customer has had the chance to explain why they’re upset, show them that you were listening by calmly repeating what they’ve told you (take notes if you’ve got a bad memory). This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward.

Identify the Core Problem – The next step is to identify the exact issue at hand. Did your customer receive poor service? Was something not delivered on time? Whatever the issue, pinpoint it and get it corrected as quickly as possible to avoid any further fallout.

Correct the Bigger Issue – Once you’ve taken care of the immediate concern of your customer, you may need to address any underlying issues that may be occurring. For example, if your client was angry because he or she felt they received bad service, you may need to consider retraining your staff to prevent the same issue from occurring again.

Follow Up – This is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve taken care of the problem, reach out to your customer and let them know what steps you’ve taken to resolve the issue. This shows them that you value their business and take their concerns seriously and it can also mean the difference between simply diffusing a situation and creating a long-term, loyal customer.

Obviously there are some situations that simply cannot be resolved to a customer’s satisfaction, but most of the time all it takes is a little patience and attention to turn a negative experience into a positive result.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:41 AM