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Preparing for a Virtual Conference

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Skype, WebEx, Zoom … whatever program you decide to use for a virtual conference, you have to make sure your device is capable of using all the features. Conferencing from your phone using an app that plugs into the camera and speakers is fine if you’re on the move, but you won’t be able to share screens or files. If you’re conferencing in an office, here are some things you need to consider to make the most of the program you choose:

1) Audio

Obviously you need your speakers or headset to listen to others, and a microphone on your device. Most laptops have built-in speakers and microphones, but we’ve learned having multiple people in a conference room requires a better microphone system. We Skype in our conference room to connect to our remote staff for meetings. We invested in a good microphone that connects via USB to our laptop so when we speak, regardless of where we are in the room or at the table, others can hear us clearly. A little investment like this goes a long way. If you’re conferencing by yourself in a shared office space, make sure you have a headset to listen to the conference call. Be courteous to people around you.

2) Camera

Like your audio system, you probably have a built-in camera on your laptop or tablet. But if you are using a desktop, you may not have a built-in camera. A simple USB camera can easily connect to your PC and they are not expensive. If everyone else on the call is talking through a screen, and you want to be included in that, a USB camera is a simple, worthy investment.

3) Screen

Talking with people through a screen is only one part of the conference. In our office, we upload files and chat on the side to provide URLs and other information while we talk. So having the conference on my smart phone limits my ability to participate. I always try to have a couple screens open, one for screen conferencing, and the other to open and view files and links we share in our meeting.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Webinar #VideoConference #ConferenceCall #Skype

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Virtual Meetings: Going Beyond the Conference Call

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Traveling out of town for business can be cumbersome and time-consuming, although sometimes necessary to meet with people face to face. Fortunately, technology advancements have given us many options to “virtually meet” clients, business partners or vendors face to face – and this month we’ll explore some of those ways to go beyond the conference call.

Today we want to share some free tools for video conferencing:

Skype, a Microsoft Service, is handy, especially when you want to video conference with multiple parties. You can have up to 25 connections free of charge but first you need to be connected to each other’s Skype IDs. There are a few differences between Skype paid and free versions, but clicking the plus “+” mark will let you add others to the conference as well as share your screens. You can also send files at the same time. These additional features are great for virtual conferences. Be aware, however, some companies may not allow for Skype to be used in their office.

ezTalks is a similar service great for hosting webinars and video conferences. You can also share files and screens, plus it’s free and easy to set up. The free version allows 40-minute video conferencing for up to 100 people per meeting. Like other programs, it does require you to pay for additional participants.

Zoom is a conference system similar to Skype. Although it does have a paid plan, it is free for 40-minute conferencing for up to 3 parties. If you plan to have more than 3 people on a call for longer than 40 minutes, this may not be the video conferencing solution for you.

Facetime is the latecomer to video conferencing. Apple finally added the ability to have multiple people on Facetime, up to 32 people. This feature is available for iOS 12.1 or later but unlike its competitors, it requires participants to have Facetime with iOS devices. And it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you may need for your conference call such as screen and file sharing at the same time.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #VideoConference #ConferenceCall #Skype #Facetime #WebEx #Webinars

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How to Set Up Google My Business

How to Set Up Google My Busi...
1. First, you must verify that your business listing doesn’t already exist. To do this you’ll need to Google your business name and location. On the search result page, look to the right; if there isn’t a business-listing box, it probably doesn't exist. If it does exist, it may ask you to claim the listing.

2. Login to your Google account. If you have multiple accounts, use the account you want associated with your business. If you do not have an account, you can learn how to create a Google account here.

3. Once you’re logged into your Google account go to

4. Fill in your business name and address. Confirm that your address is written correctly. Make sure you read and check the delivery box option if applicable.

5. Choose a business category that best matches your company. If you can’t find an exact fit choose a category as close to yours as possible.

6. Add your phone # and your website when prompted.

7. Choose your verification method. Google will mail a postcard to your physical location (to legitimize your company address) with a verification code within 5 days.

8. Once you have the postcard, log back into your Google My Business account and verify your listing to complete the set up!
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews #GoogleMyBusiness #GoogleMaps #GoogleLocal

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What is Google My Business?

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Google My Business (GMB) is a tool built for businesses to manage their online presence – and it’s FREE! The GMB dashboard lets you control multiple business listings on map and search results.

When you first start with Google My Business, you’ll need to verify your business. Once verification is complete, you can manage how your business information is displayed on Google, including your hours of operation, store locations, and pictures.

“Businesses (who) verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.” – Google

Responding to customers online is another way to benefit from Google My Business. All your Google reviews can be found in your GMB dashboard, which makes it easy to reply individually to your loyal customers.

“Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.” - Google

Expand your understanding of your online presence by using Google My Business insights to see how your customers are searching for your business and the locations they’re searching from.

It’s easy to manage and update your business listing online and from your mobile device.

Next time we’ll go over setting up your Google My Business account and how to verify your business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews #GoogleMyBusiness

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Will the End of Google+ Affect my Business Reviews?

Google+ is starting to delete user accounts as part of their consumer-side shutdown of the failed social media platform. What concerned us and many other small businesses, were the consequences of shutting down part of the Google eco-system.

At its best, Google+ was a virtual storefront for many small businesses. At its worst, it was a struggling social network. At the beginning of its lifespan, in an effort to spread awareness, Google integrated Google Maps with Google+ accounts. This created a Google+ page for all business listings and was home to online reviews and other business information.

This made it easy to manage your business locations in one place while responding to all of your reviews online. But now that Google+ is gone, what will happen to business listings and reviews?

Don’t worry, all of your business reviews and information will remain.

Google+ is being replaced with Google My Business. The only part of the platform that had success gave small businesses a tool to manage their online identities within the search engine. It gave owners a place to communicate with their customers and find new ones. This is now a separate service called Google My Business.

There isn’t any reason to worry about your business listing or Google reviews being deleted when the social network goes away. If you log into your Google account and navigate to Google My Business, you will see a star labeled ‘Review’ on the left tab. This will bring you to a page where you can read and reply to any reviews.

We’ll be diving into Google My Business over the next two blogs to give you more information about its features. For now, rest easy knowing the Google+ shutdown won’t affect your business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews #GoogleMyBusiness #GoogleBusiness

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Google+ is Deleting User Accounts

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Google has begun phase two of shutting down its social network Google+, which it announced it would do back in 2018. February was the last time anyone could create a new Google+ account.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, Google began deleting user accounts, data and content, including those of its top executives. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But what is surprising, however, is what Business Insider discovered was being deleted from public record – pertinent company history.

Four notable accounts were deleted on Tuesday, including co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as well as former CEO Eric Schmidt and current CEO Sundar Pichai. Most of the content on the executive profiles wasn’t important but some of it may be, including company announcements and insight into the decision-making process.

No one has any problem with old selfies being deleted, but when quotes like this one are erased, eyebrows get raised: “We have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government-or any other government-direct access to our servers.” - Larry Page

It’s unclear if Google will make an announcement or respond to any questions about the deleted accounts. And it’s unclear how much information was really lost when accounts were deleted. All we know for now is that Google+ is history.

Source: Business Insider:
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Technology #SmallBusiness #BusinessTips #Google #GoogleReviews

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Customer Surveys: Ask the Right Questions

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We often ask questions with some expectation of the answers before we hear them. When asking our customers for their input, however, we must willingly set aside our opinions and remain neutral if we want to get honest feedback and learn something valuable from them.

According to Peter Drucker, guru of business management, the fax machine is a prime example of the influential power in our questioning techniques.

Before the fax machine came to market, U.S. manufacturers conducted market research asking, "Would you buy a telephone accessory for upwards of $1,500 that enables you to send, for $1 a page, the same letter the post office delivers for 25 cents?" You guessed it; the answers were no and U.S. manufacturers did not pursue the fax machine.

On the other hand, as Drucker pointed out, Japanese manufacturers asked a more straightforward question: “Is there a market for what the fax machine does?" And they realized fax machines could replace courier services like FedEx in the 70s. As a result of asking the right question, Japanese manufacturers were first to market and more dominant in fax machines than U.S. companies in the 80s and 90s. It was too late for many U.S. companies to follow suit.

Collecting feedback from our customers is beneficial, but only if we phrase our questions in such a way that allows them to be honest and think for themselves. If we are going to take the time to survey people, make it worthwhile. Prepare ahead of time, keep it straightforward, and take the bad with the good – because it all helps to better your business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #B2B #SmallBusiness #OfficeTips #Surveys #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerFeedback #CustomerService #OnlineSurveys #CRM #FocusGroups

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How to Host a Focus Group

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Hosting a focus group to get more granular feedback from your customers is a great way learn what’s working, what’s not, and what the people want. The feedback can help you make better informed decisions when it comes to introducing, modifying or discontinuing products or services – instead of relying solely on your gut instinct.

Follow these five steps to host a successful focus group:

1. Define your Mission

What do you want to learn from your participants? Plan your focus group around a purpose and stick to it.

2. Recruit Participants

Carefully consider the people you invite. Think back to your plan for the focus group. Should you invite business people or consumers? What ages? Does income level or location matter? And should you be talking with people who are loyal to your company or people who have stopped purchasing your products or services? Maybe you need a good mix of everyone. You might consider sending out a questionnaire to pre-screen participants.

3. Provide Incentives

Time is money so be sure to reward the people who participate. Perhaps a discount or a gift card. Whatever that is, put yourself in their shoes and determine if the incentive is worth your time.

4. Interview

Interviewing participants in person is beneficial because there is much more to answers than words. Tone of voice and facial expressions can say a lot too. You can really capture the feelings in person. Prepare questions in advance and be very straightforward when delivering them. Don’t use a lot of adjectives or language that can be leading. Stay objective and try to get non-biased answers.

5. Take Notes

This is your chance to get more than a yes or no answer, so take advantage. Take notes on how the users engage with you. How do they appear? Do they smile? Are they agitated? Are they struggling to answer right away?

For a successful focus group, you need plenty of preparation ahead of time. You can find lots of sample questions online to give you ideas!
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #B2B #SmallBusiness #OfficeTips #Surveys #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerFeedback #CustomerService #OnlineSurveys #FocusGroups

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Simple, Immediate Surveys get Results

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The best time to ask a customer about their experience with your business is immediately after your transaction or interaction with them. Life is busy and our memories get muddled because of it, so don’t wait too long to get feedback. Ask when when it’s fresh in your customer's mind.

If you want to keep it really simple, ask just one question: “Are you happy?”

Here are two ways PSPinc is doing that:

Feedback Form

We implemented a simple email survey through our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system so whenever our support staff helps a customer, the customer immediately gets a follow-up email asking them to rate their experience with us. This can tell us a lot about how we are doing, and also what kinds of issues customer are having.

Opinion Stand

On a tablet next to our lobby entrance, we ask customers, “How did we do?” and they have the option to give their feedback on the tablet as they exit.

Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with your customers. These simple and quick surveys can provide a lot of great insight into what you’re doing right and what you need to do better.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #B2B #SmallBusiness #OfficeTips #Surveys #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerFeedback #CustomerService #OnlineSurveys #CRM

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How to Get Customer Feedback

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Learning from our customers equips us with information to better our business. In a previous article we discussed using analytics as a tool to understand our customers’ online behavior. Now let’s talk about reaching out to those customers to get their feedback.

One of the best and easiest ways to engage with your customers is to create a survey for them. Surveys are easy to make and you can customize them to ask broad questions or get very specific – it all depends on what your company needs from it.

Here are some key points for you to consider before you start your survey:

- Determine your goal for the survey, and what you want to get out of it.

- Compile your customer list, preferably emails, to which you can send the survey.

- Consider offering an incentive (coupon, freebie, discount) if they take the survey.

- Come up with your questions. Keep it simple and neutral, don’t lead your customers toward a particular answer. Stay completely objective. Consider questions like: How do they like your product or service? Where did they learn about you? What else would they like to see your company offer? What is your strength / weakness?

- Keep it short and tell them up front how long it should take to complete the survey. Everyone’s busy, don’t get greedy with their time.

- Be sure to follow-up at some point so your customer doesn’t think their time and feedback was wasted.

- Consider asking some of the tough questions, even if you’re worried about receiving criticism. Remember, you’re not looking for a testimonial; you want to understand how you can improve. Customers might appreciate it.

Once you figure out your questions, then you can find the survey tools. PSPinc has an online form program, so if you need any help, contact us! We would be happy to assist you.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #B2B #SmallBusiness #OfficeTips #Surveys #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerFeedback #CustomerService #OnlineSurveys #CRM

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