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68% of people surveyed would prefer to have a root canal without anesthesia, a tax audit, or dinner with their mother-in-law than to be put on hold. Coupled with small and mid-sized businesses only answering 37.8% of their inbound calls, it’s understandable that customers hesitate to place a phone call.

Live website chat offers a solution:

  • 41% of customers think a company that offers live chat on its website is more trustworthy
  • 38% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers live chat support
  • 52% of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat

Yet, only 9% of companies use live chat because of its many logistical problems including dedicated staff monitoring chat rooms and customers chained to their web browser.

The HostMyCalls Website SMS Initiation Widget is the perfect solution. Customers can initiate communication with your business from your website, but the communication does not require the customer to stay connected to their browser and your staff does not need to monitor chat rooms.

The SMS Initiation Widget is part of the HostMyCalls Business-Grade SMS System which makes engagement painless. Further, you can send and receive SMS messaging on your existing telephone numbers while leaving your current voice services intact. By simply conversing with your customers through text, they will have a more positive outlook toward your business and will be more likely to recommend it to their friends. 

To learn more about our SMS platform, visit OTA1.com to try out a fully branded SMS widget for yourself! You can engage with real humans using our SMS chat initiation widget in the lower right corner of our web page. You can also request sales contact by texting ‘learnsms’ to (678) 916-1952.

It’s time for your business to stop surviving and start thriving – and Online Technology Associates is here to make that happen!

Business man speaking on a cellphone for business.

Does Every Business Need An Actual Phone?

Every business needs and has some phone service. However, not every business needs phones. There are several ways to use phone service without a physical desk phone. Many companies use virtual phones, which are basically an app on a computer, tablet, or smartphone instead of a traditional physical business phone. There are several reasons for this – but saving money isn’t one. Today’s VoIP phones (almost all physical phones are now VoIP) are relatively inexpensive and either come with the service or can be rented for a few dollars per month. Also, supporting an app is very close to the cost of a phone; so why not use a phone?

People that are constantly on a phone, frequently prefer a headset – which can be attached to a phone or can be used with a computer with a phone app installed. For incoming calls, headset users never need to touch their phones because they can simply answer or end a call from that headset. The only time they would need to interface with the phone would be to make or transfer a call, which can be done from the app. In these cases, that user can eliminate a clunky piece of hardware and a few cables from their desk. The phone app can also be installed on several devices, so they always have access to their phone.

When the app is installed on a smartphone, it sets up a separate presence on that cell phone – allowing the user to answer business calls differently than private ones. When they make calls from the app, the calls appear in office call logs and output the office caller ID so calls made from the apps do not reveal the users’ cell numbers.

However, there are many people who want the experience that a physical phone provides, so that is an option that can be used along with an app. Calls can be moved easily from the app to a phone and back again without interrupting a call. What do you prefer? Reach out to Online Technology Associates today to discuss the best business phone options for your particular business…our consults are free of charge!

Guy working remotely from a coffee shop

Many companies are now using both remote and office-based workers, known as the Hybrid Workforce, and are experiencing new challenges – Aside from lack of supervision and keeping employees on task, it is very common for technical issues to arise. Here are the most common issues and some suggestions for addressing them:

Poor Residential Internet – This is the big one since most residential Internet is not up to the task of handling business applications… Unfortunately, in most areas, there are few if any good choices. However, the common broadband cable or fiber services can be supplemented by using cellular (4G/5G) devices to connect business users only. This can be done through a number of companies that have cellular routers with ethernet ports.

In many cases, the internet is actually acceptable, but the WiFi supplied by your cable company is not. Since most homes have cables with low-voltage outlets, users use WiFi… And this is the first place to make improvements: make sure you have multiple WiFi networks, one for home business purposes, and another for everything – and everyone else!

Most cable and broadband providers equip their routers with one or more WiFi networks – BUT those networks are usually pretty weak. We advise you to turn that WiFi off, connect a separate WiFi router to the modem and place it in a place that is as close as you can get to the business users. If you have a multi-story or very large home, you may need multiple wireless access points (WAPs) to provide a good signal where you need it. If you are using VoIP phones, there are several that can connect over WiFi, so you do not need to place them near the modem or run cable.

YOU NEED SECURITY…who doesn’t – am I right? You would definitely benefit from a VPN router and firewall. There are online services, but it is much better to use a physical device on site to protect valuable information! This also can improve the integrity of the signal for data transmitted over the VPN.   It is always a very good idea to connect the VPN to your office system and not just send the important data over the broadband circuit directly to the internet as this allows you to utilize your office firewall as an additional safeguard. 

New Cell Tower with 5G capabilities.

5G signals are delivered on various platforms with VERY different results – Basically, 5G can be divided into three very different types:

Think of 5G as three different flashlights; the first flashlight has a broad beam but has limited strength and intensity (like a lantern). The second flashlight covers a smaller area (like a traditional flashlight) but is brighter and the third is more like a laser – very, very bright, but has a tiny coverage area…

The most popular 5G is a lower frequency (600-900MHz  range) which is similar to 4G cell service. It covers an area similar to 4G, with very broad coverage, but has limited strength and bandwidth. This is what is being offered by cell carriers now.

Then there is mid-range 5G which covers a smaller area, but with more bandwidth and is stronger.  It uses frequencies in the 30-250 MBPS, giving download speed higher than 4G cellular, but has coverage issues that make it impractical for the current cellular antenna network. This is well suited for fixed applications as opposed to mobile devices since it has a narrow coverage area.

Those big promises you hear about 5G are based on high band, or millimeter wave, using frequencies in the  24-54GHz range. This is more like a laser beam – very strong, has very high bandwidth, and covers a very small area. This high-frequency 5G is suited for very limited areas, often within a building that needs a local network (LAN) with a very high capacity in a small, well-defined space.

However, technology marches on! While 5G is being refined, 6G is on the way with frequencies in the sub-THz range – which is very, very high and very narrow (at least for now). The likely outcome is a network with multiple layers of frequencies for different purposes and types of users.

Want to know more about how this affects you and your options for connectivity? Reach out today for a chat: Online Technology Associates (770) 446-7199.