ACRBO https://www.acrbo.com Association of Computer Repair Business Owners Mon, 22 Jul 2019 16:02:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 How to Fix the 5 Biggest Local SEO Mistakes Some IT Businesses Are Making in 2019 https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-to-fix-the-5-biggest-local-seo-mistakes-some-it-businesses-are-making-in-2019 https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-to-fix-the-5-biggest-local-seo-mistakes-some-it-businesses-are-making-in-2019#respond Mon, 22 Jul 2019 16:00:45 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4303 Being found in a local online search is one of the “bread and butter” marketing activities that brings in new leads ...

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Being found in a local online search is one of the “bread and butter” marketing activities that brings in new leads for IT businesses regularly. But if you’re not optimizing your business or website for local search, you could be missing out on most of your area’s leads.

Nearly half of all searches on Google are looking for local information, and a benefit of a location-based search, is that you have a much better chance of showing up, because you’re not competing with millions of “computer repair” businesses for a top search position, just the ones in the cities you service.

If you find your tech business is not showing up for IT service-related keyword searches in your service areas, it might be because you’re tanking your local SEO by making some common mistakes.

But don’t worry! We’re going to tell you what businesses tend to do wrong when it comes to local SEO and how to fix it to improve your rankings so local customers can find you when they need IT services in your area.

 

Mistake #1: Not Treating Reviews & Ratings as Crucial

Before you get a call or email from a potential customer, there’s a fairly good chance they’ve looked online for your reviews before deciding to contact you. And if your phone isn’t ringing as much as you’d like, it may be because people had a hard time finding your reviews or the ones you have out there are too old.

90% of consumers read online reviews before contacting a business.

Having a handful of reviews from a few years ago, isn’t good enough when it comes to your local SEO rankings. New reviews feed SEO magnets like your Google My Business listing and keep your star ratings fresh. 40% of consumers only take into consideration reviews written within the last 2-weeks.

Reviews build trust in your business and pack a powerful local SEO punch, so by ignoring them, you’re hurting your chances of gaining new local IT business.

 

How to Correct the Mistake:

Send customers a follow up email automatically after a purchase that asks for a review and includes a link to your Google My Business page. Statistics show that 6 out of 10 consumers now look to Google My Business to find local business reviews and ratings. By automating the process, you help keep new reviews coming in regularly.

You also want to respond to all reviews, positive and negative. Online searchers pay attention to company responses to reviews and responding to each one respectfully will help your business reputation.

Beyond Google My Business (the most important), other review sites that can boost your local SEO are:

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Thumbtack

 

Mistake #2: Website that’s Not User or Mobile Friendly

Google pays particular attention to website content, responsiveness, and user ease of navigation when ranking websites in their searches. Some things that can cause your site to get lower local SEO rankings are:

  • Not being mobile responsive (Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher)
  • Not having a site that’s easy for users to navigate (users leave via the “back” button)
  • Not having relevant local content
  • Having a slow website (53% of mobile users leave if the site doesn’t load in 3 seconds)

More than half of web searches are now done from mobile devices rather than desktops, which is why Google has put a high ranking priority on sites that are easy to view and navigate from a mobile device. No matter how well you’ve optimized your site for SEO in other areas, if you have issues with mobile usability and page load time, that can mean serious reductions in your search engine positions.

 

How to Correct the Mistake:

Ensure you’re using a website design that’s mobile-friendly and responsive. Visit your website on your smartphone and see what a mobile user is experiencing and tweak to make the site easier to browse for mobile users.

Speed is also important. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to see how your page load time scores on mobile and desktop and get suggestions for making it faster.

Lastly, if you want to bring in local traffic, make sure your website uses local keywords (names of cities and areas you service) so your content is relevant to a location-based search.

 

Mistake #3: Not Taking Advantage of Local Directory Listings

The more mentions of your business online in relation to your local service area, the more of an authority the search engines will see you. For example, if there are just two online listings, mentioning “Tom’s Computer Repair in Phoenix”, but “Sally’s Computer Repair in Phoenix” has 8 different online directory listings, then Sally is going to get better local search positions.

Online directory listings which aggregate business contact details for multiple industries and multiple locations are often used for local searches and can add credibility to your business in the eyes of a consumer.

Local directory listings also help your local SEO ranking by giving Google’s web crawlers several places online that your company name, number, and website are listed, improving your overall chances of coming up in a local keyword search.

 

How to Correct the Mistake:

Make it a priority to improve your business visibility by searching out multiple local directories and listing your business there. Be sure you use the exact same name, phone number, and address, because Google looks at these, and if they all match it can result in a better position.

Some of the online directories to list your business in include:

  • Better Business Bureau
  • Yellow Pages
  • Manta
  • Yahoo! Local
  • Find more here

 

Mistake #4: Not Putting Up Fresh Website Content

If you think your website is done once you get your main service pages up, then you’re going to end up lingering at the bottom of the SEO rankings. Google likes to see fresh content and websites being updated regularly, this lets them know the business is alive and active.

Putting up new content also gives you the opportunity to expand your keyword SEO on pages and provide more detailed information for website visitors and customers that can keep them coming back to you for services.

People are 131% more likely to purchase from businesses that educate them with content.

If you’re letting your website collect cobwebs, then it’s going to be hard to gain and maintain good local search engine positions.

 

How to Correct the Mistake:

The easiest way to keep regular and informative content going up on your site is to add a tech business blog. Blogs spider well in search engines and give you the opportunity to highlight helpful information to clients. They also let Google know that your site is active and regularly updated.

Blogs can be used as a base for other content marketing, such as social media posts, email newsletters, videos, webinars, and more. Each of those outlets linking back to your website blog will give you even more SEO juice to boost search rankings.

 

Mistake #5: Not Publishing Your Local Reviews on Your Website

Visitors can come to your website any number of ways. Some might have seen your online reviews on Google My Business, and some may not have. Not including your local reviews on your website is like leaving money on the table. It means you’re not using one of your most powerful tools for customer conversions and local SEO.

While you do want to have reviews on sites that aggregate customer reviews so potential customers will find them, they also need to be on your website. Beyond adding more local keywords to your site, reviews also are important because:

  • 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after they read a trusted review.
  • Having reviews on your website can increase conversions by 270%
  • 73% of consumers value written reviews over star ratings
  • 73% of customers trust a local business more after reading positive reviews
  • 85% of buyers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation

 

How to Correct the Mistake:

You want to do two things to make your reviews visible on your website:

  1. Include at least one review on every page
  2. Include a website page of all your reviews

An easy way to work reviews into your webpages is either through a quote call out (a feature of many Word Press editors) or a carousel that rotates 3-5 customer reviews.

Customers value reviews that have a name attached to them more than anonymous reviews and for more local SEO power you’ll want to use the reviewer’s location, such as “-Mary Smith, Phoenix, AZ” If your customers prefer not to use their last name for privacy, you could just use a first name and last initial instead.

Items you’ll want to include in a review are:

  • The customer’s quote
  • Customer name, and company (if applicable)
  • Customer location
  • The service(s) you provided (more keywords to power your SEO)

 

Good Local Search Rankings = More Sales

The time spent working on your local tech business SEO rankings is an investment that you’ll see pay off in the months and years ahead with more website visitors and more sales.

 

Ramey Bell is the founder of TechReputation.com

Visit https://www.techreputation.com/acrbo for 20% off for ACRBO members.

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Tips for a Safe & Secure Summer Vacation https://www.acrbo.com/blog/tips-for-a-safe-secure-summer-vacation https://www.acrbo.com/blog/tips-for-a-safe-secure-summer-vacation#respond Mon, 08 Jul 2019 17:33:12 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4235         Summer Break is coming and you might want to take a break without worries. These are some ...

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Summer Break is coming and you might want to take a break without worries. These are some tips to have Safe and Secure Summer Vacations.

 

1. Install backup software

First of all, choose a backup solution and save your data. The majority of people procrastinate this activity and it has probably been a long time since you last made a backup of your archives and operating system.

Create an image of your disk, make a full backup. Choose where you will store that image. If you are about to take a break, you don’t want to come back to nasty surprises. The tool you choose should enable you to, in the event of a partial or complete system loss, use the image that you create to restore the entire disk, one or more partitions, or even individual files and folders.

 

2. Back-up all your work

Regular backups are the best practice to prevent data loss and quickly recover from cyber attacks. You have three ways to image your disk:

  • Full System Backup:When you image a volume for the first time it is referred to as a Full image. A Full image file contains all of the data stored in the volume.
  • Differential Backup:A Differential image that backs up all the data that has changed on the volumes since the last Full image was taken.
  • Incremental Backup:An Incremental image that backs up all the data that has changed on the volumes since the last image was taken whether that is a Full, an Incremental, or a Differential image.

Don’t forget to verify Image and File and Folder backup files before you leave.

 

3. Protect documents, data and operating systems

You can image the whole disk or by partitions. Your tool should allow you to set up the image destination; we recommend using an external drive to store your backups, either a USB connected drive or a networked drive.

But you can also backup folders or individual documents, you don’t need to create a whole image of the disk. A file and folder backup is a useful way to back up your working files, personal files and precious data.

 

4. Protect your backups against ransomware

If you read the news, you know the ransomware attacks are the latest worrying trend in cybersecurity. Avoid suffering from this nightmare; there are tools to mitigate ransomware even after it has started to encrypt your data. Also, there are many antivirus software that detects ransomware when you are infected. However, we recommend tools that prevent ransomware; when it doesn’t matter how new and good the ransomware is; your data is safe by principle.

 

5. Keep multiple backups in multiple places

It is always recommended to have more than one copy of your backups. That means to have the image in different formats or storage types, and always ensure at least one backup is stored off-site, this can be in a physical location or in the cloud. Different locations will prevent loss due to local disasters such as a fire or flood could potentially wipe out both backups. And different storage formats will protect your data from any single point of failure. For more info click here.

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How Can Computer Repair Companies Take Advantage of “Near Me” Searches in Google? https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-can-computer-repair-companies-take-advantage-of-near-me-searches-in-google https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-can-computer-repair-companies-take-advantage-of-near-me-searches-in-google#respond Mon, 01 Jul 2019 17:24:51 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4213 Have you ever been out for an evening with friends and searched something like, “Italian restaurants open tonight near me”? If ...

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Have you ever been out for an evening with friends and searched something like, “Italian restaurants open tonight near me”? If so, you’re not alone.

According to Chatmeter, Google noted a 900% increasein “near me tonight/today” searches over the last two years. Much of it is being driven by voice activated searches through mobile devices and voice assistants, like Siri, Alexa or Google Home.

Local “near me” searches are a huge opportunity for computer repair and service companies to be found by more potential customers, and not just any people… but those looking to buy right now.

 

76% of peoplethat perform a local search on their smartphone visit or call that business within 24 hours.

So, how can you ensure your IT business comes up when someone is doing a local search from their phone or voice assistant? The key is to optimize your business for those local “near me” searches.

Read on for seven things you can do to ensure local searchers can find you when they need you.

 

Why are Local “Near Me” Searches Important?

If you think that by simply putting your address on your website you’ll automatically come up for local searches, you could be missing a lot of potential customers. As with any type of search results, if you’re not on the first page or in the first few listings (especially on a mobile screen), you’ll be missing out on most of the traffic.

Websites on the first page of a search engine listing get 95%of the traffic. So, optimization is vital to gaining a good search engine ranking position. And optimizing for those all-important “near me” searches takes a few special tricks focused on local visitors, which is the lifeblood of a computer services business.

Why are the local searches so important? People are increasingly using them for convenience and to find what they want, when they want it.

Here are a few eye-opening stats from Chatmeter:

  • The search combination “near me” coupled with “can I buy” or “to buy” increased 500% over the last two years
  • “Near me now” searches have increased over 150%
  • Mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me” have increased 200%

 

Get Found in Local “Near Me” Searches with These Tips

By employing these optimization tips you can have a much better chance of ensuring your business is found when someone is searching for IT services or computer repair in your local area.

 

Properly Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business listings are a must if you want to be found by people searching locally for IT and computer services. Many mobile searchers rely on that quick snippet of information Google provides on the company’s hours and map location link to find a local business fast.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a Google My Business Listing, you’ll want to do that so you can fully optimize it with your company’s information. It’s important to Google for things like your hours, address, phone number, and email to match your website and other information that’s out there about you online (like on your social media pages).

If key contact information matches, that puts you as a more trustworthy and relevant listing in Google’s eyes and you have a better chance at a top search position.

It’s important to list your hours, address, and phone accurately in Google My Business.

 

A good way to start is search for “computer repair near me” and see which listings already come up to get some ideas from those. Knowing when your competition opens can also give you an advantage. For example, in the listing above, the shop that opens at 9AM rather than 10AM will have an advantage when it comes to morning searchers needing help.

Some key things to do with your listing:

  • Make sure your hours are accurate, people rely on those to know when to call or visit
  • Double check all contact information for accuracy
  • Fill in any missing information, the more details the better
  • Add photos to your listing to help you stand out
  • Use their posts feature to promote your blog posts, videos, etc… on your Google My Business Listing, just like you would on social media

 

Use Local SEO on Your Website

Adding local keywords into your website text can help your site be recognized for computer repair and IT services within a particular town. Rather than just listing a string of towns in your service area on a page, create service pages optimized for each city or area, and ensure the content isn’t an exact duplicate across pages.

For example, if you service both Denver and Evergreen, Colorado, make SEO optimized pages for each one, using as much local language as you can, such as: “Fast computer repair in the Mile-High city, our IT service technicians can be onsite at your Denver business same day.”

Because Google also looks at the page URL when ranking websites for keyword relevancy, use something like “mywebsite.com/denver-computer-repair” as a URL to further promote relevancy.

 

Promote Google Reviews

Right at the top of your Google My Business page search listing is a star review, and review summaries will show beneath your listing. More reviews mean more local searchers are encouraged to hire your services.

 

95% of buyersread online reviews before making a purchase.

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a link for people to write a review on Google for your business. Then share that link in post purchase emails and on your website to encourage more reviews and star ratings on your listing.

 

Use Schema Markup

One of the newer optimization tactics that’s just come into widespread use in the past few years is schema markup on website pages and blogs. If you’ve ever seen a Google search result that looked like it had a little extra information, like a star rating or author photo beneath the title, that’s the result of the website owner using schema markup.

Schema markup helps search engines gather more details on your business, such as holiday hours, that are then displayed in search results. This type of markup can be complicated to learn from scratch, so for a shortcut search out a schema markup plugin or template to use.

 

Backlink with Other Local Businesses

Backlinks are always great for SEO and especially so if they use local anchor text, such as linking the words “Denver computer repair services” to your site, rather than just “click here.”

By partnering with your fellow local businesses in your area, you could all support each other’s sites and help each other’s local search rankings by back linking to each other.

 

Ensure Your Site is Mobile Friendly 

Mobile devices have gone from, “okay, maybe I should optimize for them” to “I absolutely must optimize for them.” About 57% of allU.S. search traffic now comes from mobile devices and 1 in 3mobile searches are for a local business or service.

Additionally, Google recognizes the importance for websites to load quickly and be easy to navigate on a mobile device. So much so that if your site isn’t responsive and mobile-friendly, you’ll get penalized in the search engine rankings. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insightsto see how your pages score on mobile.

 

Optimize for Voice Assistant “Near Me” Searches

A newer trick to optimizing for those Google Home or Amazon Echo voice activated “near me” searches is to sprinkle search terms and answers for them into your blogs or website pages.

For example, some of the terms people might use to find a local Denver IT shop might be:

  • “Where is the nearest computer repair shop?”
  • “List virus removal services near me”
  • “Is there a laptop repair shop near me open tonight?”
  • “What IT shop near me is Apple certified?”

One you have a listing of potential voice assistant questions, work them into your site naturally, such as adding to a blog or service page about virus removal something like:

“Many people in Denver are searching for a list of virus removal services near them, and ABC Computers is pleased to be one of the best in the Mile-high City… “

 

Get Your Local SEO Flowing

Optimizing for local “near me” searches is the virtual equivalent of putting a sign on every nearby street corner with an arrow pointing to your shop. Putting a little effort into ensuring your business can be found for those growing mobile and voice assistant local searches can bring significant returns in leads and new customers.

 

Ramey Bell is the founder of TechReputation.com

Visit https://www.techreputation.com/acrbo for 20% off for ACRBO members.

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What’s the Best Way to Handle Negative Customer Reviews? Tips on the Right Way to Respond! https://www.acrbo.com/blog/vendor-blog/whats-the-best-way-to-handle-negative-customer-reviews-tips-on-the-right-way-to-respond https://www.acrbo.com/blog/vendor-blog/whats-the-best-way-to-handle-negative-customer-reviews-tips-on-the-right-way-to-respond#respond Thu, 23 May 2019 16:05:02 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4110 Customer Experience Concept. Unhappy Client show Thumb Down in meaning "Bad" over Negative Reviews and Social icons. Poor Services for Satisfaction Survey Online

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Customer Experience Concept. Unhappy Client show Thumb Down in meaning "Bad" over Negative Reviews and Social icons. Poor Services for Satisfaction Survey Online

Anyone that runs a business knows that customer reviews can make you or break you. Great reviews bring in more business, while negative ones can drive it away. In today’s online world, reviews are one of the first things that customers search about a company.

They’re also important for good SEO and Google’s My Business listings have put reviews front and center on any business search, so review management is of vital importance.

Properly managing your business reviews is about more than just requesting new ones, it’s about knowing how to properly handle negative reviews. No matter what type of stellar computer and tech services you provide, you’re bound to receive a bad review from time to time, deserved or not.

What’s the right way to handle negative reviews? How important are they to your business? Read on to find out.

How Powerful are Customer Reviews?

While everyone can appreciate good reviews, you may wonder how important they actually are to your overall marketing and for generating new business. Here are a few eye-opening statistics.

  • 95% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to make a purchase
  • There is a 270% greater chance of a purchase if a product has at least 5 reviews
  • The ratings range of 4.0 – 4.7 is the “sweet spot” for purchase likelihood
  • 88% of buyers say that reviews influencetheir buying decisions

84 % of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (Forbes)

Have you looked at your reviews lately? It’s always a good idea to do a Google search on your business name + the word “reviews” from time to time and see what information your potential customers are seeing.

Just ignoring your bad online reviews isn’t really an option if you want to grow your business and build a reputation of trustworthiness and excellent customer service.

Tips for Handling Negative Online Reviews Like A Pro

It can be tempting to get defensive and start firing off a reply to a negative review before you think, especially if you feel a review is unfair. But that’s not a good idea and most likely will only make matters worse.

An epic example of how NOT to respond to negative reviews happened when the TV show Kitchen Nightmareshighlighted Amy’s Baking Company. The owners took to Facebook to respond to negative reviews and ended up getting into verbal fistfights online.. all publicly happening in front of potential customers.

So, if you shouldn’t fire off a defensive response, what should you do? Here are the successful ways to turn bad reviews into a positive for your company image.

Reply to All Reviews – Even the Bad Ones 

It’s a good rule of thumb to reply to all reviews, both good and bad. This shows that your company is paying attention and is responsive, which people will translate into your being responsive to their computer and IT issues as well.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that review ratings got better when responses increased. The hotels in their study also received about 12% more reviews when they started responding to all of them.

So, you DO want to respond to negative (and positive) reviews, and you’ll get a review boost from doing it.

Listen and Don’t Respond Defensively

Remember, what you’re responding in an online review is seen by everyone, so you want to show yourself and your company in the best light. Even if you feel you are totally in the right on a particular issue, belittling the reviewer isn’t going to look good to any potential customers who may be put off reading how you treat someone.

Take the time to really listen to what the reviewer is saying and try to see things from their perspective. It’s easy to instantly assign a negative motive to a bad online review, but what did they actually experience? Were they having a bad day and your office was super busy that day, so they didn’t get the quality care you normally strive for?

If you look at a negative review as constructive criticism to learn from, it can help diffuse how you’re feeling about the situation and help guide your response to a helpful, rather than defensive one.

Think about what you can learn from a negative review that can make your business better. Are you seeing a pattern? Is there something in your process that can make things better for everyone?

For example, if a customer is complaining about the time it took your business to repair their laptop, look at the chain of what caused that to happen:

What’s their main complaint?You quoted a 4-day turn around, but it took 10 days in their case.

Why was it late?Their laptop needed a part that you didn’t have in stock and you forgot to order it until they called to ask about their computer 6 days later.

How can this be alleviated in the future?Automate your ordering process so parts are ordered automatically as soon as a customer contracts for the repair.

How should you respond to the client?Apologize for the mistake and own up to the fact that the repair took longer than you originally quoted. Then perhaps offer them a discount if they give you another chance in the future.

Apologize for their Experience

Nine times out of ten what a customer giving a bad review wants to hear is, “I’m sorry.” They typically just want to be heard and their experience acknowledged. In other words, they want to know you care.

Whether you did anything wrong or not, you can still apologize for their experience and that it wasn’t what they had hoped for. If you do find that you dropped the ball in their case, it’s good business to apologize, thank them for pointing out the issue, and mention that you’re going to address this.

Showing that you care goes a long way into turning an unhappy customer into one that feels heard and may be more than willing to give you another chance for their business.

Keep Your Reply Short and to the Point

Remember, your words are being read by anyone visiting that review page, so it’s best to keep your reply short and to the point rather than rambling on. Using three to four sentences for the length of your reply is a good rule of thumb.

You can still acknowledge their problem, show that you care, and give them a way to contact you offline while also ensuring your reply isn’t too lengthy.

Move the Conversation Offline

And that brings us to our last tip, for a number of reasons, it’s best to move the resolution of their issue offline. In your reply you should include contact information like your business phone number and email (even if you know they already have it). This helps keep sensitive details, like the price they paid or account numbers, from being given in a public forum. It also lets those looking through the reviews know that you’re easy to contact and care about getting issues resolved.

Suggest in your reply that the reviewer contact you offline to resolve their issue and when they do, keep that non-defensive posture and really listen to what they have to say so you can try to resolve it as best you can.

Handling negative reviews with tact and professionalism makes all the difference in how your business is perceived by those 95% of people researching you online that may become your customers. It’s a win-win if you can turn an unhappy customer into a happy one and gain more along the way by handling bad reviews the right way.

Ramey Bell is the founder of TechReputation.com

Visit https://www.techreputation.com/acrbo for 20% off for ACRBO members

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Recovery Time Objective https://www.acrbo.com/blog/recovery-time-objective https://www.acrbo.com/blog/recovery-time-objective#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 17:41:27 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4087 Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s famous line “Time is Money” provides an appropriate foundation for the development of our customer’s disaster recovery plan. ...

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Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s famous line “Time is Money” provides an appropriate foundation for the development of our customer’s disaster recovery plan. Our dependence on computers means any delay or outage equals lost productivity and lost revenues – be it calling customers, handling transactions, drafting documents or some other business function.

ACRBO members are keenly aware that “Time is Money”. A staple of the computer repair business is the anxious business owner begging to be up and running. We are the first to see the financial (and emotional) consequences of debilitating user error, security failures and hardware malfunctions. When something goes down, the clock is ticking – and suddenly it is all eyes us to save the day.

While the ability to save the day is a core responsibility of a computer repair business – it is also arguably an ethical imperative to recommend some sort of prevention and disaster planning when we can. Unfortunately, too many customers come to appreciate the value of their data and their time when it is too late.

A great starting place is when encouraging your customer to implement a disaster prevention and recovery plan. In this plan, your customer should evaluate all the different ways in which data backup process of the organisation could be broken and affect the continuity of the company. It is about probability and having a plan to avoid surprises.

Having a few key points to encourage your customer to implement a legitimate prevention and disaster plan may help your customer make a wise choice. A core concept for your customer to think about is their “Recovery Time Objective”.; Here are a few questions to ask your customers:

What is the true value of your data? It’s easy to for granted access to our data – to our data for granted.  If the data was gone forever what would they pay to get it back? No one backs up just for fun. They back up to recover.

What is the value of your time?

The real & opportunity cost of the time it takes to recover data from a loss is significant. Encourage your customers to consider both the wages & lost productivity they give up to find and recover and reproduce their lost data.

What customer issues does a data loss create?

It is not always obvious until it happens, but the consequences of a data loss don’t just hurt your client, it hurts their customers too. Their customers will experience the same lost productivity, recovery time and their associated costs as your clients. Additionally, they’ll lose one of your client’s most important assets: Trust. While your client works to recover, their customers will be communicating with the competition to keep things running.

Macrium software sells several backup software solutions to include in your package. Our Reflect software is able to backup Windows Servers, Exchange & SQL Servers, and PCs. We also have a package to mass install, set up and monitor your backups from a single console – and if you manage your client’s machines remotely, we have that too. For customers looking to take one time & manual backups, we suggest our Technician’s License which enables you to run Macrium Reflect on any machine from a USB key.

Putting together a comprehensive backup and data recovery package for your clients requires expertise, and there are plenty of options. While a data backup system is not a replacement for a disaster recovery plan, it should be part of it.

Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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How does Google Maps learn to trust and favorably rank your IT business when you’re the new kid on the block? https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-does-google-maps-learn-to-trust-and-favorably-rank-your-it-business-when-youre-the-new-kid-on-the-block https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-does-google-maps-learn-to-trust-and-favorably-rank-your-it-business-when-youre-the-new-kid-on-the-block#respond Tue, 02 Apr 2019 17:16:13 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3990 Imagine you’ve just started your own IT business and, at first, all Google knows about you is your company name, address and ...

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Imagine you’ve just started your own IT business and, at first, all Google knows about you is your company name, address and phone number, known as NAP in local search optimization parlance. The online locations of these NAPs are called citations. The first citation should always be your Google “My Business” listing. This should be 100% complete for full effectiveness. According to a study by BrightLocal, businesses that ranked in the top three on Google local had an average of 85 citations. Citations should have consistent NAPs, without duplicates, and should include as many elements as the listing offers, such as photos, videos and reviews.

Next, help Google gather more details about your IT business through local elements on your website. Obviously, your NAP should match all other citations, as mentioned earlier, and should at least appear on the home and contact pages. Positioning it on every page would be even better. Utilize the rich, informative language strategy known as schema markup to boost your search rank. (Learn about schema markup at https://schema.org/.) And don’t forget to provide directions with an embedded Google map on your contact page.

Additionally, the power of customer reviews as a ranking factor has increased dramatically and managing these reviews is a time-consuming, never-ending task. (For a complete list of local search ranking factors visit https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors) With so many review sites available, the first challenge is getting visibility on all your data. Second is obtaining more positive reviews for your business on a regular basis. Finally, reviews, both positive and negative, inspire a response. This requires extra effort and attention but is well worth the effort. Customer reviews have a significant impact on positive ranking in Google local, meriting serious consideration when it comes to creating your marketing plan.

As you can see, gaining Google’s trust in your IT business gives you an edge, but it comes at a premium: a generous amount of time and a modest amount of funds. Do you really have that extra time? Or could that undertaking be better managed by online software that is set up to keep your data organized? True, a savvy business owner recognizes the importance of being personally involved in monitoring customer reviews, offering sincere replies. However, reputation management software streamlines that process by gathering reviews from multiple sites into one dashboard and issuing an alert with each new review. Such software is available in many different presentations and often comes with a free trial offer. Why not take advantage of one of them and see how it works for your IT business?

 

Ramey Bell is the founder of TechReputation.com

Visit https://www.techreputation.com/acrbo for 20% off for ACRBO members

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How to convince your customers that Backup software is needed https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-to-convince-your-customers-that-backup-software-is-needed https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-to-convince-your-customers-that-backup-software-is-needed#respond Wed, 06 Feb 2019 19:22:47 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3899 What’s keeping your customers from protecting their data with a proper disaster recovery solution including taking regularly scheduled backups? As your customer’s ...

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What’s keeping your customers from protecting their data with a proper disaster recovery solution including taking regularly scheduled backups? As your customer’s key consultant, the ability to communicate the importance of backup, and also understanding potential objections will help you do best by your customer by convincing them to protect their data.

This article intends to address typical barriers to customer’s choosing to perform backups.

 

Myth 1: I don’t need a backup

People rarely have an accurate idea of the value of their data. Their machines often contain years of work, photos and documents not stored anywhere else. At best they may occasionally (but unreliable)  make manual copies of important files on USB sticks and hope that nothing bad will happen – but we all know hope isn’t an effective form of data protection

By challenging your customer to consider the kind of data they keep on their machine, and what it would take to recover or reproduce that data after a loss can get them thinking about the true value of that data. Get them considering the amount of time it might take to reproduce that data, or as is the case with many photos, if they’ll even be able to reproduce or find that data.

Examples of data your customer might have stored with no backup include:

Companies invoices, inventory records, contracts, status reports, employees records, databases of customers, a repository of knowledge, financial statements, product or services guides or brochures, are crucial information. They can lose years of work.

After considering the value of their data, your customer will very likely come to the conclusion that their data is worth a lot more than an affordable plan and solution to backup their data.

 

Myth  2: Backup Software solutions is complex

Customers often argue that that the backup solutions and backup tools are too difficult to use. That is more common in end users rather than IT technical professionals. But this just isn’t true – modern solutions are simple and intuitive. A good solution, like Macrium, should have a clean dashboard, easy menus, a complete KnowledgeBase and an active support forum. We also recommend you advise your client to consider solutions that include technical support with a team that can help. Good solutions often offer clients webinars to wither directly from the developer or with a channel partner.

 

Myth 3: All backup solutions are equal

When it comes to backup, your customer has plenty of options and factors to consider. This includes type, frequency, storage, method. There is “file & folder” vs image backups, cloud-based storage vs onsite storage, manually run vs regularly scheduled.

People assume that all backup solutions are the same. What you need to do is help them identify the correct tool that strikes a balance between cost and solutions to the problem they want to solve.

It is never a bad idea to have multiple backups and even methods. Typically, customer priorities are often recovery speed and reliability. While many people consider “file & folder” sufficient that method has risks and its associated recovery takes a long time. First, files are easily missed or not copied over. Plus, that form of backup misses all the applications and the OS – which means after a data loss your customer will need to reinstall and configure their entire machine (including finding all of their license keys). This is timely and distracts from their own productivity.

Another consideration is cloud vs local storage. While the cloud offers many conveniences, considerations include cost and recovery time. Backup files can be large and when it comes to important documents they add up. Cloud services charge for the service and storage space. Also, in the event of a loss, it is timely downloading large files before initiating a recovery – which results in downtime losses.

Companies like Macrium create a reliable and fast backup with options that cut down on storage space, include encryption, whole image and “file & folder”. All versions of our software offer the ability to image single or multiple partitions and clone disks, file and folder backup, GPT and Dynamic disk support as well as providing a ReDeploy function that allows images to be restored to dissimilar hardware.

 

Myth 4: Backup is a low priority

The risk of data loss is ever increasing and should not be a low priority, especially with the rise cyber attacks and ransomware. Other sources of data loss include:

  • Human error– accidental (or negligent) data deletion or modification, or over-writing files; Improper installation or removal of files; Improper drive formatting or partitioning.
  • Location-related– a theft, fire, flood, earthquake in the place you store your data.
  • File corruption– Your data suffers a virus or ransomware infection, or software error.
  • Hardware failure– The storage devices that you are using can develop faults. They can overheat. They can be exposed to magnetic fields. They can suffer power outages or surges.

Backup is not a pointless endeavor or fruitless exercise. It’s done as an insurance policy to protect from data loss. Better to have a backup and not need it instead of to need it and not have it.

Are your clients prepared for disaster? You can ask them: Are your vital data records protected from the harm that could be caused by a data disaster? Are you protected from ransomware and cybercriminals?

With this in mind, we created Macrium Image Guardian which prevents unauthorized parties from modifying of Macrium backup files on local and USB volumes so they cannot be encrypted by ransomware.

 

Myth 5: Backup solutions are expensive

To understand the value of a backup solution, you need to make your client think about the cost of downtime.

You do not need a specific formula to calculate downtime, but here is a list of things to consider:

  • The value of the information lost
  • The number and cost of staff affected
  • The amount of time that recovery will take
  • The value of sales lost at that time
  • The impact on productivity
  • The clients they can lose for losing credibility and trust
  • The cost of compensation to customers

Backup myths are not uncommon and they can be harmful to any business that makes a miscalculation based on one or more of them. Backup may seem like an expensive, time consuming and difficult process, but it really doesn’t have to be.

By dispelling the myths and making it clear how much safer a protected business is, your customers’ business’ will be in a much better position.

Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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5 Tips to Protect Your Data https://www.acrbo.com/blog/5-tips-to-protect-your-data https://www.acrbo.com/blog/5-tips-to-protect-your-data#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:08:44 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3814 Out of fear of bad publicity, some companies choose not to report cyber attacks. So, as they are more widespread than before, ...

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Out of fear of bad publicity, some companies choose not to report cyber attacks. So, as they are more widespread than before, and more than we realize. Even worse, some companies are unaware the attacks have occurred until they need to pay to recover encrypted data. Moreover, some companies unknown how to report this situation.

Here are some steps to follow to protect your company from data loss and cyber attacks.

 

1. Backup your data:

Regular backups are the best practices to prevent data loss and quickly recover from cyber attacks. That includes that your systems which should be continuously monitored and patched; checking for updates and new patches. Other recommendations include encrypting your data and keeping it only as long as you need it.

2. Increase your security:

– Check your security providers, find a cybersecurity specialist.
– Write your cybersecurity policy and enforce it.
– Prepare an incident response plan, the data recovery plan.

3. Train your employees:

Improve your staff’s awareness and attitude toward security, and help your employees make the right decisions when they are faced with security threats.

4. Be aware of external access:

Protect your passwords with up-to-date best practice, check permissions and external access to your company data.

5. Control the ransomware attack:

Stop the spread of infection by isolating the affected systems as quickly as possible. Apply your data recovery plan, follow the procedures. You should be able to identify which workstation(s) or server(s) are infected. Then you can restore your systems using protected, clean backups to restore lost data.

Know your solution options.

Understanding your customer’s data threats and their subsequent solutions is critical to properly caring for your customer. Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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Buying guide for Backup solutions https://www.acrbo.com/blog/buying-guide-for-backup-solutions https://www.acrbo.com/blog/buying-guide-for-backup-solutions#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 17:59:14 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3778 Usually, end users are not aware of how important it is to do regular backups of their data until it’s too late. ...

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Usually, end users are not aware of how important it is to do regular backups of their data until it’s too late. All of us at some point in our lives have lost important information. Nowadays it is crucial to have a backup solution, but how do we choose a backup solution? First, it would help if you understood what you need. Then you can find the solution to solve the problem. Consider the following aspects:

 

 

 

How many computers?

Personal or business use? If it for business use, how many workstations or servers do you need to backup? The volume of work you need to do defines the kind of tool you need.

 

Do you have multiple computers?

Are they all connected to the same server? Are they physically in the same location? If you need to control the backup of many workstations at the same time, you can use a console to manage all the license of the software in each machine and monitor the status of backups and the schedules, even if the computers are not in the same physical space. Also, do I need to set up all those computers with the same operative system and data, like with a master image? Because that is a redeploy feature and not all the tools will allow you to do that.

 

Do you need continuous backup?

Which kind of backup do you need? Do you need ad-hoc “snapshot” backups or you are planning to have scheduled backups?

Which type of backup suits your needs? Here you have some definitions:

 

  • Full System Backup:Restore any computer to one point in time, and that includes all the data, applications and even the operating system by creating an exact image of the machine.
  • Differential Backup:A differential image stores the changes that have been made to the imaged file system since the last full image. Subsequent differentials can be taken, but only one differential and the full are required to restore the system entirely.
  • Incremental Backup:The main difference between incremental images is that they only store file system changes since the last image, either full, differential or incremental. The resultant backup set, therefore, consists of a full image and some incremental images which must all be present to restore the system correctly.

 

Is the tool easy to use?

The software should be easy and quick. Is the learning curve steep? Is it intuitive? Does the software have a knowledge base or manual? Is there a forum for users? Is technical support included? Will the technical support offered to cover my needs? It depends on you or your client, but in some cases, it is convenient to cover the cost of an excellent technical service just in case.

 

How fast is it?

How fast can I create my backup? How efficient is it, especially with extensive files, such as virtual hard disk (VHD) files?

 

Thinking about extra protection

Is my backup solution up to date? Do I have the latest version? How reliable is the tool? Always check the reviews; you can use forums and comparative tables to choose the correct option.

 

Where will I store the data? 

Where do you want to store your data backup? In what formats? Which storage solutions I have available? How many copies it’s convenient to have?

Could be an External Hard Drive or a Solid State Drive (SSD). Then you have small drives like a USB Thumb Drive Or Flash Drive, or even an Optical Drive (like the CD/ DVD). Also, the Network Attached Storage (NAS) that is also a local solution, and then you have the Cloud Storage that allows you access remotely to the data. We always recommend the 3,2,1 rule, that means to store in different formats and different locations.

 

The tool has ransomware protection?

Does it prevent or mitigate the risk of a ransomware attack? How effective is?

There are tools for mitigating the ransomware once started to encrypt the data. Also, there exist different software antiviruses that detect the ransomware once you are infected. However, we recommend tools that prevent the ransomware; when it doesn’t matter how new and good the ransomware is; your data is safe by principle.

 

What about the remote file access?

Do I need remote access to the data? Do I need to restore an image of specific files in specific folders remotely? Do I need to download the data from the folder? Can I see and manage a repository of images of the disk (incremental or full)?

This defines the kind of storage that you will choose for the backups, and for managing them. You can use a console to manage all the backup images and see the repository and the folders. This will allow you to restore a specific document remotely.

 

What about virtualising machines and redeploy options?

Do I need to create a virtual machine? Do I need to create a Virtual Machine Clone of an existing Windows hard drive? Do I need to move a full Operating System from an old PC to a new one?

With a ReDeploy feature, you can restore an image to a replacement computer or even create various types of virtual hard drives to virtualise the machine; a technique sometimes called Physical to Virtual or P2V.

 

Is there a portable App option?

Does the software allow me to create a bootable USB stick from which I can backup or restore your target PCs both online and offline?

To have a portable application running on a bootable USB stick to create an image of any workstation or server they need to work on, and restore it quickly whenever necessary is very useful. That allows a single user to image multiple PCs, and regardless of the vendor, it is called Technicians License.

 

Am I prepared for disaster?

Does the tool allow me to prepare myself for disaster recovery? Can I schedule backups? Until you have not run your backup for a few days and need to restore a backup, you will not know just how useful your disaster recovery tool is. For that reason, it is better to start with the trials. Does the software have a trial edition? If it does, how long is the trial? That defines the tool you want to choose.

 

Know your solution options.

Understanding your customer’s data threats and their subsequent solutions is critical to properly caring for your customer. Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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Choosing The Right Remote Support Software https://www.acrbo.com/blog/choosing-the-right-remote-support-software https://www.acrbo.com/blog/choosing-the-right-remote-support-software#respond Mon, 01 Oct 2018 15:38:12 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3770 As a computer repair business owner, remote support is a crucial part of your business.  It’s not just phone support, but also remote control ...

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As a computer repair business owner, remote support is a crucial part of your business.  It’s not just phone support, but also remote control of a client’s computer.  Both on Mac or PC, you have dozens of choices for support, including those developed by Apple or Microsoft.  Picking the right one for your business is a serious commitment.

 

 

Keeping It Legal, Ethical and Secure

Some computer repair business owners use remote control software in violation of the EULA (end-user license agreement).  Programs designed for personal use shouldn’t be used in a business. Your customers see those warnings as well and they won’t trust you as much. Or worse, they’ll ask you to violate a license agreement since you’ve established a pattern with a client.

The solution you pick needs to communicate to your clients you’re a professional rather than a software pirate.  The last thing you want to tell a client is that you can’t help them because you’re locked out of your solution.

 

At A Price You Can Afford

One reason you might pick a free solution is starting out, you can’t afford much.  You need to get the clients, but you can’t get the clients without the software.  Spending hundreds of a dollars on a solution won’t serve your business well. The solution you pick, especially if you’re jumping into professional remote support, has to be affordable. Look for solutions that charge you by the month, rather than a large upfront cost. Monthly expenses can be predicted and budgeted for.

 

With Your Name On It

When you install a generic icon and solution on your client systems, you become an interchangeable commodity. That’s especially important with remote solutions. You don’t always see your client so it’s harder to establish loyalty.

An ideal solution lets you custom brand the product.  The solution is unique to you and your client.  Again, that shows you’re a professional.  It’s also advertising for your company.  Your remote solution serves as a reminder to who the support company is.

 

Can’t Easily Be Used by Hackers

The number one concern with any remote control solution is hijacking. What if a scammer calls your client and used your tool gain control?  Even worse, what if they pretended to be you in order to gain control? That fear should keep you up at night.

With the free solutions that Microsoft includes and Apple used to include, the scammers can gain control of a system too easily.  Leaving that available to customers puts you and them at risk.  A professional support solution should be used only by you and your company.

 

But Easily Used By Customers

The solution you pick has to be easy for a customer to install and configure. Many of these programs are designed for remote workers rather than remote support. The more options and questions at install, the harder the software is to use.  Eventually, a client will just ask you to come on over rather than deal with a difficult to use program.  If they knew how to install software and answer questions, they probably wouldn’t need you.

 

Focused On Just One Thing

Some products include remote support as part of a larger solution, such as an RMM. The problem with an RMM based remote solution is you’re tied to that product.  The client needs to subscribe to your managed services program.  If your RMM provider gets bought out and increases your rates, you’re stuck if you rely on them for remote management and remote support.

Selecting a remote support solution that’s focused just on remote support can be a better business decision.  It keeps your business flexible for both break-fix and managed service work.  It lets you switch RMM providers without risking your remote connection.

 

Quality Technical Support

Since clients rely on you for technical support, your provider has to provide the same or better support as you do.  Before you pick a solution, contact the support department.  Obviously, if you’re using a free solution (or worse a solution you aren’t licensed for), that isn’t an option.  Most companies will give you free trials of the product. During that time test the quality of the support.  If they treat you like an end-user rather than a support professional, you know the option isn’t right for you.

 

Understands Small Business

Some remote control solutions are designed for large corporations.  It may seem attractive when the company says their product is used in Fortune 100 or even Fortune 10 companies.  When you think about it though, are they geared towards small business?  Who do you think gets better support, a company that has millions of users or a company that has a few hundred or even a few dozen?  Your provider should be focused on your business rather than large corporate clients.  Ask them who their biggest customers are.  If your remote support provider’s client base doesn’t match your business profile, that provider probably isn’t a fit for you.

 

One Option:  Instant Housecall

As a member of ACRBO, you automatically get a 15 day free trial of the product. Whether you’re break-fix or a managed service provider, Instant Housecall will fit into your business processes.  If you’re with another provider, you might get a better value with Instant Housecall. If you haven’t embraced remote support, then Instant Housecall is a great place to start.  You’ll get the right mixture of features and support at a price you can afford. https://instanthousecall.com

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