Author Archive

A Dirty Security Camera Is Not A Pretty Picture

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Installing a security camera to protect your business, school, or organization is a wise decision. But for optimal performance, the camera must be properly cleaned and maintained. Fuzzy pictures taken through a smudgy lens don’t provide full protection! To increase your security camera’s lifespan and efficiency, follow these tips.

Check your lighting. Make sure your lighting is sufficient and works properly. A quality camera with poor lighting yields subpar images.

Monitor the camera’s setting. Routinely examine the area around the camera. For outdoor cameras, look for overgrown plants or other obstructions blocking the view. If you have an enclosed box camera, inspect the enclosure for insect eggs, spider webs, or nests. Also check the enclosed fan, heater, and wiring to ensure they are intact and functioning.

Clean your camera properly. Dust and dirt on a camera diminish image quality, so regularly clean your camera inside and out. Soft dry brushes, microfiber cloths, and compressed air cans are generally best for removing dirt and dust. Try a damp cloth to clean the outside of an enclosure and a lens-cleaning cloth to clean the camera’s lens without scratching it.

Turn off your equipment when you clean it. This allows you to clean not only the camera’s lens but also the rest of the equipment—and it preserves the electrical system.

What’s the most important tip for cleaning your camera equipment? Follow the manufacturer’s product-specific instructions! What’s the best way to get the job done quickly and easily? Call ARG!

For help with cleaning your security camera, please contact us. ARG Communications provides expert, hassle-free camera equipment cleaning. Call (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com for more information.    

With Virtual Extensions, Your Business Is Virtually Everywhere

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Having virtual employees can be a win-win situation. Employers save on office costs and gain access to a geographically diverse talent pool. Employees enjoy having flexible hours and no commute. But what about customers? To keep the appearance that you and your staff work under one roof, it is essential to have virtual phone numbers. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a virtual number? A virtual number (also called a virtual extension) is a phone number that forwards to another phone number, often to a cell phone.

What are the benefits? A virtual number’s format is consistent with your company’s other numbers, so it appears to customers that your virtual employees are on-site. In addition, because virtual numbers are connected with your other company numbers, coworkers can easily dial virtual employees’ extensions. Virtual employees can also easily transfer calls.

With virtual phone numbers, employees receive voicemail messages through the company system with no need to clog up their cell phone mailbox. When they make calls, their number appears to be a number local to your company’s area.

Are virtual numbers always assigned to an employee? No, there are multiple uses. You can have a virtual mailbox with an outgoing message relaying office hours and driving directions. Or you can use a virtual mailbox for after-hours support with technicians in various regions fielding customer calls.

What’s more, no matter where your office is located, a virtual number can give you a local presence anywhere in the world. When you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of virtual numbers, ARG Communications can get you started. We will come to your office for a consultation and recommend a solution that’s right for you.

Call (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com to schedule your appointment.

LED Lighting: A Bright Idea!

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Are your employees tired or dragging? Try a simple solution: LED lighting. LED lightbulbs give off bright white light, similar to daylight. The bright light improves alertness and is also known to:

  • improve mood
  • boost reaction times
  • reduce eye strain and headaches
  • decrease errors

The end result: healthier employees, greater productivity, and ultimately, more profit.

Not only do LED lights provide better light quality than standard bulbs, but they also save you money. LED bulbs are sturdier, more efficient, and longer lasting than traditional bulbs. Plus, they emit much less heat, so you need less air conditioning in the summer months. Switch to LED lighting, and you’ll notice a drastic reduction in your electric bill.

LED lighting simply makes sense. ARG Communications can help you get started. Whether you want to improve your office lighting or your building’s exterior lighting, we’ll visit your site and assess your current light quality. We’ll let you know how LED lighting can create a brighter, more productive environment for you and your employees. When you make the switch to LED lighting, we’ll install it for you and get you on the road to savings.

ARG Communications is here for your communication and lighting needs. Call (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com to schedule a consultation.

Your New Year’s Resolution: Project Confidence on the Phone

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You dial the number. It’s ringing. Your heart races. Sound familiar? Having a phone call with a client, prospect, supplier, or anyone affecting your business can be intimidating. The good news is that you can learn to sound confident on the phone with these simple tricks:

Prepare. If you know in advance the key points you need to convey, write them down and rehearse – mentally or out loud. Record yourself if that helps. When you’re prepared, you’ll project confidence. You’ll also be less likely to use fillers like “um” and “you know.”

Consider yourself equal. If you’re speaking with an important contact, consider yourself their equal. Focus on what you have in common rather than their position, and you’ll be able to talk with ease.

Speak slowly and confidently. People tend to speak quickly when they’re nervous. Be aware of how fast you’re talking and slow down. Also avoid making statements sound like questions, with an uptick in your voice. Speak with a deliberate, confident tone. If you sound like you know your stuff, your audience will believe that you do.

Stand up. Being up on your feet naturally boosts your confidence. Even if it feels silly, give it a try!

Smile. Believe it or not, the other person on the call can tell when you’re smiling. When you sound friendly, your communication will go much more smoothly.

How can we help? We deliver phone systems with exceptional voice clarity and functionality. When you project confidence on a call, we’ll make sure you’re heard loud and clear.

ARG Communications is here for all of your communication needs. Call (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com to schedule a consultation.

Hold the Phone: Hosted vs. Premise-based VoIP Systems

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Brring, brring! It’s time for a new phone system. Should you go with a hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, or a premise-based VoIP system? To determine which system works best for your business, here’s what you need to know.

 

Hosted VoIP. With this system, you access a service provider’s network through your local Internet connection.

Upside: There’s no need for new routers or software. You don’t need a server room or in-house IT experts, either. It’s also easy to add users and make changes.

Downside: With ease and scalability comes limited customization. System features are offered as preset bundles. If your business’ phone needs are straightforward, a hosted system is often the best choice.

 

Premise-based VoIP. This system resides on your local network and is part of your infrastructure.

Upside: You have a fully customizable phone system that you control. You can make the changes you choose, when you want to make them.

Downside: At the outset, you’ll need to install equipment, upgrade routers, and purchase hardware and software. In addition, you’ll incur annual software assurance fees for ongoing support and upgrades. You’ll also need an IT person on staff to manage the system, adding users and making changes as needed.

 

How can we help you? If you’re unsure which system is the best fit for your business, we’ll guide you through the decision-making process. If you opt for a hosted system, we’ll contact providers to arrange service. If you choose a premise-based system, we’ll program customized changes that meet your specific needs.

You can “call” on ARG Communications for expert assistance with your new phone system. Call (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com to schedule a consultation.

Moving Is No Treat. These Tricks Can Help.

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Moving your office is a lot of work, and the logistics can be daunting. But when you plan ahead, moving your communications systems can be a smooth and seamless process. Just follow these steps:

Look into transferring your phone number. Keeping your business’ phone number provides continuity. Since it is not always possible at a new location, do your research early on. You can get a new number if needed – and keep things up and running by being prepared.

Assess your new site’s WiFi readiness. Some areas still do not have cell phone service, so checking the cellular signal is essential.

Engage your telecommunications firm upfront. Get on your vendor’s schedule as soon as possible to minimize a loss in productivity during your move.

Map out where your equipment will go. Consider wireless access points, phones, computers, fax machines, and scanners.

Assess your new facility’s technology readiness. Are the data rooms cool enough? Are they big enough to accommodate all your telecom and IT needs? Your move is the perfect time to assess your technology and consider upgrades.

Have a backup plan. If there is a power failure, you need a backup system to ensure your business keeps running like clockwork.

Let ARG Communications help you with all of the above. Partner with us during your office move, and we’ll take these tasks off your hands. We’ll work with the phone company to move your phone number (or coordinate a new one if necessary). We’ll also do a site assessment to determine if you need an upgraded phone system, new wiring, or more phone jacks. Then, we’ll map out where everything should go. We’ll also:

• Find out which communications carriers (such as Comcast and Verizon) are available and coordinate your move with the one you choose

Ensure WiFi-readiness, installing cellular repeaters if needed

Install voice and data cabling

Move your phone system and install the voice lines

• Back up your communications systems

Plus, we’ll be onsite on moving day to interface with your carrier and handle any issues that arise – so you can concentrate on getting back to business.

To get things moving, call ARG Communications at (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com. We proudly serve the Delaware and Greater Philadelphia region.

The Cabling “Cat” Is Out of the Bag

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When it comes to your wireless network, you want speed. At minimal cost. You don’t know (or care) about the details of the cabling that make it hum – you just want results. To ensure your network is up to par, here’s what you need to know.

Your current cabling may be outdated.
Your wired computer and phone systems rely on Ethernet cables. Over time, cabling becomes much slower than newer options. The issue is bandwidth – the amount of data carried per second. Did you know that bandwidth requirements for computer applications and cloud-based software double every 18 months? If you’ve had your cabling in place for a while, chances are it’s Category5 (Cat5), which is no longer current.

Cat6 cabling keeps you up to speed.
The newest and fastest cabling available is Cat6 – which supports up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). The technology in your office needs Cat6 to perform at optimal levels. About 80-90% of cabling installed today is Cat6.

Upgrading is a wise investment.
You might ask, “Is more speed worth the cost?” The answer is “yes”! While Cat6 cabling is more expensive, it typically costs just 10-20% more than Cat5. With noticeably quicker speeds, and the capacity to accommodate today’s data requirements, Cat6 is a worthy investment. In addition, Cat6 can work “backwards,” so applications that work with Cat5 are also compatible with Cat6.

To “future-proof” your network with Cat6 cabling, call ARG Communications at (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com.

You Don’t Know What You Can’t See

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You’ve got hundreds of things to do to run your business effectively; watching people enter and leave your building isn’t one of them. If you’ve ever considered installing video surveillance cameras, they’re a wise investment. Plus, you’ll reap more rewards than you might expect:

Improve safety and save money. Cameras discourage break-ins, violence, and internal theft, because no one wants to be caught behaving badly. Minimizing theft also helps boost profits. In addition, having a surveillance system can save you money on insurance.

Keep employees on track. With a video surveillance system installed, expect decreased tardiness and increased productivity. You can track employee performance and monitor compliance with rules and procedures. Surveillance equipment also helps keep trade secrets protected.

Handle incidents with ease. Suppose you discover that inventory is missing. Instead of trying to piece together what happened, simply review the surveillance footage for information. If someone slips and falls outside your building and tries to sue, you have the evidence to prove your well-maintained facility was not to blame.

ARG Communications installs state-of-the-art video surveillance systems that let you keep “an eye” on your facility. We also offer alarm system monitoring for round-the-clock protection. Call (302) 225-2000 or email ContactUs@WhyARG.com to learn more.

5 Ways to Ring Up Savings on Your Phone Service

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When E.T. phoned home, he didn’t worry about the cost. In your office, however, phone service fees are a major concern. Did you know you can minimize phone-related costs without compromising quality? In fact, you might even improve it.

Switch to Internet-based lines. When you replace traditional phone lines with voice over IP (VoIP), calls go over a broadband Internet connection. This technology lowers your monthly bill.

Set up virtual phone numbers. A virtual phone number automatically forwards to another number. It’s part of your phone system but not tied to a specific location, so employees can telecommute in a way that’s transparent to clients. This saves on office expenses. Virtual phone numbers also allow on-site employees to work remotely when they have personal commitments, minimizing lost productivity.

Set up Direct Inward Dial (DID). With DID, callers dial a number that takes them right to the person they want to reach. This improves the callers’ experience, because they bypass the “gatekeeper” switchboard. You can also save money by not needing a receptionist.

Set up Voicemail-to-Email capability. With this service, your voicemail messages are sent to your email as sound files. Even when you’re out of the office, you get your messages immediately. You can act quickly on new leads and client calls, maintaining good customer service.

Use messaging platforms. This technology lets you easily communicate with coworkers from your computer. It’s faster than email, and you don’t have to put callers on hold while you get needed information. It’s like texting, but without the fees.

To jump-start your savings, ask about our complimentary, on-site assessment. We’ll check your phone system, review your monthly bill, and consult you on how you can reduce costs. Call (302) 225-2000 or email us at ContactUs@WhyARG.com for an appointment.

Thanks for Calling

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“Hello. Welcome to XYZ Industries. For Sales, press 1. For Customer Service, press 2.” Sound familiar? In today’s high-tech world, voicemail and automated attendant greetings seem more common than “Hello, may I help you?”

If your business greets callers with messages, make sure the greetings leave a good impression. Follow these simple “greeting etiquette” rules to make clients and prospects feel welcome.

For voicemail:

Keep it short and sweet. Include your name and department, and mention the company name. Don’t exceed 25 seconds; callers want to leave their message quickly.

Be informative. Give callers the details you’ll need to help them (like an order number). This avoids back-and-forth calls. Mention where callers can find answers on their own and the steps they should take in a rush situation.

Focus on sound quality. Practice before you record so you speak clearly and confidently. Record your message in a quiet room, and pause only between sentences.

For an auto attendant:

Start with a “welcome” greeting about the business. A short and simple statement works fine.

Spell out the options. With each option, name the department and the number to press (“for Billing, press 1”). Let callers know if they can dial a direct extension sooner. Limit the options to five, when possible, to avoid caller frustration.

Don’t be too polite. We’re not suggesting you be rude! Just don’t say “please” before each option; it’s too repetitive.

Choose a good speaker. Have an articulate speaker record the message. If you prefer a professional recording, ARG Communications provides this service for a nominal fee.

For more information on greeting messages, or to learn how ARG Communications can streamline your organization’s communication systems, please contact us at (302) 225-2000 or service@whyarg.com.