• Get More Done In Less Time This Holiday Season

    5 Dec 2018
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    It’s that time of year! The holidays are here and for many of us, it’s not only the most wonderful time of the year it’s also the busiest time of the year work wise. Your team is asking for personal days, customers are frantic or closing for the season, and it seems like every client needs everything, last week!

    So how can you manage your hectic workload and still have time to celebrate the season? Here are some tips that can help.

    1. Keep Communication Open, Clear, and Constant – Keep your team on point and on task. Make sure they’re aware of important schedules and deadlines like critical deliverables, who’s out of the office, and any days off coming up. Keep customers in the loop and informed of your holiday hours. Give them an emergency contact should the need arise.
    2. Collaborate More Effectively – Are you waiting for your team to finish working on a document before passing it on? Save time by updating your technology to facilitate easier collaboration. Xerox ConnectKey technology makes scanning, sharing, collaborating and storing documents on the cloud fast and easy. Plus, they’re instantly available to any team member at any time.
    3. Keep Supplies Stocked for the Busy Season – Nothing’s worse than running out of supplies when you’re on a deadline. Xerox VersaLink printers make it easy to check toner so you’ll never run out again. They can also default to 2-sided printing saving your paper. Use Xerox’s eConcierge program and order supplies with a single mouse click.
    4. Get a Head Start on the Holiday Rush – Need to create multiple documents for rush delivery? Don’t panic, just use Xerox templates for a quick turnaround. With a selection of everything from PowerPoint slides to greeting cards and certificates, you’ll be outputting documents and meeting deadlines fast this holiday season!
    5. Automate Workflows – Automating repetitive manual tasks is a real time saver. Create one-touch processes with the Xerox Mobile Link app. Scan your document, update the format, rename the file and store it in multiple locations with one mouse-click. Use Xerox Web Capture and scan documents directly to popular programs like Microsoft Office 365.

    Small steps can save you big. Stay cool this holiday season. Give us a call and see how Xerox technology can lower costs, automate workflows and save you time to enjoy the holidays with your family!

     

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  • The Curse of the Inkjet

    21 Nov 2018
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    By: Maddison Ranger, Regional Account Manager

    Ahh, the inkjet printer: something almost everyone who has owned a printer or worked in a small office is familiar with. You know, that little device sitting on the table in the corner. The one that causes you to wonder how something so small could add so much frustration to your day? Sure, the inkjet printer seems appealing due to its reasonable price tag and compact size; but hiding beneath that shiny, compact exterior is a money and time-wasting device.

    One of the most common complaints we hear from customers is how much it costs to simply keep these devices running. According to Consumer Reports, “…the expense of ink replacement is the most common pain point for printer owners—affecting the owners of 1 in 5 printers” (Bufete, 2018). Sure, the initial acquisition cost may be a few hundred dollars, but the printer itself is generally a loss leader for companies. Because of this, the cost of ink adds up quickly, and it’s not uncommon to see customers spending more on ink in the first few months of owning a device than they did on their initial investment (it’s easy to do at $60 a cartridge).

    Some vendors have tried to combat this problem by remanufacturing ink (sometimes called Drill and Fill or aftermarket ink), and while they have managed to cut costs, they have created other challenges in the process. Aftermarket ink is notorious for clogging printer heads and leaking in devices causing them to be rendered useless while almost always voiding your warranty.

    A better solution to high ink prices and damaged devices is to partner with AOS’s Managed Print Services. We can help you find a laser solution which will help cut down on high ink costs. Not only will you receive toner for a fraction of the cost, (delivered to your door automatically beforeyou run out) you’ll also get full service and maintenance of your device.

    Another common complaint we hear about inkjet printers is the slow print speed. Watching your page whirr and inch along is almost as bad as watching paint dry. While inkjet printers do serve a purpose, that purpose is generally for the average college student who prints a report once a month, not a business printing multiple documents in a day.

    A simple solution to the snail-like speed of an inkjet printer is to invest in a more robust laser device. If you were to compare a common inkjet printer to a Xerox laser printer you will see that the laser is much faster and is built to handle printing more pages. This results in you and your employees spending less time waiting for your prints, and more time focusing on important business tasks.

    As a bonus, you can also put your new Xerox laser printer on AOS’s Managed Print Services to help you save time and money on toner and repairs.

    Don’t you think it’s time to ditch that slow, money-sucking device that makes you want to pull your hair out? Reach out to your local AOS representative and we can help you make a smooth transition to laser printers and Managed Print Services. We’ll even give you a credit for your current inkjet device!

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  • New Xerox Audio Documents App, Listen Up!

    19 Nov 2018
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    By: Greg Matsis, Regional Account Manager

    Be honest, if there is a movie you are interested in that happens to be based on a book, are you going to read the book first or just watch the movie? I’ll be the first to admit that I would not even give reading the book a thought as I regularly gravitate towards digesting media and information in an audio/visual manner. If you are this type of person, work-life just got a heck of a lot better for you! Introducing the Xerox Audio Documents App. Xerox Workplace Assistants now feature an innovative new app that allows the user to take a text heavy document, transform it into an audio file, and conveniently listen to it instead. It is easy to use, great for on the go and can actually benefit employees with disabilities. Here are three reasons why you should check it out:

    Compatibility for Days

    There is currently similar technology out there but most utilize restrictive WAV files. With the Xerox Audio Documents App all files are transformed into MP3 files instead which are much more device-friendly. Once a document is scanned at the Xerox ConnectKey-enabled device, a link to the MP3 file is emailed to the user and from there they can add it to their laptop, tablet, smartphone or any other device.

    Great for on the Go

    If you’re like me and travel a lot for work, the Xerox Audio Documents App will become your best friend. Researching a specific industry and just found a great relevant article at the end of your work day? No problem! Copy and paste it to a text document, scan it through the Xerox Audio Documents App and listen to it on your commute home. Or perhaps you’ve just been hired at a new company and are required to read over a plethora of training materials. Scan that content into audio format and listen to it on your way to work.

    Exceptional Alternative for the Visually Impaired and Those With Reading Disabilities

    Some office workers may be visually impaired. The Xerox Audio Documents App is just another tool that can be utilized to assist those with this disability. Additionally, people that suffer from reading disabilities like dyslexia, for example, can utilize the app to assist with their needs whether it’s in the office or at learning centres.

    With more and more people trending towards podcasts and audio books, why not apply it to your multifunction printer as well? The Xerox Audio Documents App is just one of the many new apps that were recently launched on the AltaLink and VersaLink platforms. So, throw those headphones on and work smarter, not harder!

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  • Offer Personalized Customer Service to Your Customers

    14 Nov 2018
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    Want to know how to retain customers and grow your business? Provide great customer service! However, good customer service is about more than hiring cheery people and greeting your customers at the door.

    Great customer service is personalized. When asked, most business owners will respond that that’s exactly what they do, but do they really?

    Personalized Customer Service is Powerful

    Don’t underestimate the power personalized customer service offers. A recent report found that buyers state the biggest motivator of whether or not they buy from a particular seller is the level of customer service offered. The same report found that businesses that provide an excellent customer experience throughout the buying process generate 60% higher profits than those that don’t.

    When a customer enters your location and receives excellent customer service, they notice. If fact, another study found that 76% of buyers believe that the level of customer service that they receive is a good indicator of how a company values their business. Personalizing customer service sets a standard of care that customers appreciate.

    Today, buyers have many choices. Personalized customer service can set you apart. Studies have shown that 55% of buyers will pay more for a product or service if they receive excellent customer service during and after the sale.

    Here are five tips to move your business from good to great customer service:

    1. Know Your Customers by Name – This simple gesture makes a big impact and can build trust and lasting relationships.
    2. Send Handwritten Notes – Have your staff sign and send a birthday card to your best customers. Send VIPs handwritten notes a few times a year.
    3. Do Business With Your Customers – If your customers are small business owners, frequent their establishments or use their services. Join your local Chamber of Commerce to take advantage of networking opportunities.
    4. Offer Demonstrations or Workshops – Personalized service includes education. Offer demonstrations or workshops to add value.
    5. Spotlight Your Best Customers – Feature them on your social media feeds, on your website and in store. Let them know that you appreciate their business!

    Personalized customer service is powerful and can set your business apart from your competitors. Your customers will appreciate and respond to your efforts. Provide personalized customer service and your customers will reward you with years of repeat business!

     

     

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  • How Marketing Using Personalization and XMPIE Can Increase Your ROI Today

    5 Nov 2018
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    By: Matt Nash, AOS Major Account Executive

    In today’s highly digitized world businesses are finding it more and more difficult to reach their targeted audiences and increase their return on investment (ROI) through their existing traditional forms of marketing channels such as: websites, social media, email and print. Over the last few years the marriage between client personalization and traditional forms of marketing has turned out to be a lasting one, and profitable too!

    Multinational industry leaders such as Amazon, Facebook, Coca-Cola and Netflix were early adopters of this trend of personalization through marketing. Amazon does an outstanding job at recommending products I may like or want to add to my shopping cart based on what I have in there currently. Netflix is another great example of marketing personalization through its smart artificial intelligence (AI) which recommends movies and TV shows I may enjoy based on what I have previously watched in the past on the streaming website.

    XMPIE, a Xerox Company, is the leading provider of software for cross-media, variable data one-to-one marketing, offering solutions to help businesses create and manage highly effective direct marketing and cross-media campaigns to increase their ROI. This powerful and highly intelligent software empowers businesses to integrate digital media in cross media communications to their traditional existing marketing initiatives such as: mailings, email campaigns and website interaction. The XMPIE software portfolio covers three main application areas to help your digital, online and print marketing campaigns drive more revenue, increase customer engagement and overall client satisfaction.

    1. Media Personalization

    The power of personalization and customized marketing solutions from XMPIE will allow you to engage your customers more effectively by tailoring your products and services to each unique individual. Simply link XMPIE to a data source such as Microsoft Excel or CSV file to connect data with text, graphic and style elements to create a variable design. Any InDesign document can be personalized! Replace static graphics and text objects with dynamic images and stories that are relevant to your individual customers based on simple rules and logic. Let the magic of XMPIE do the heavy lifting for you and watch your XMPIE marketing campaigns deliver profitable results and increased client engagement.

    2. Web-to-Print & Online Portals

    Marketing departments today have a plethora of mediums available at their fingertips to drive their product’s or service’s message across to their target audience. However, according to a Canada Post study targeted and personalized direct mail when reaching the right people is highly effective. The study states that 86% of Canadian consumers open mail that is personally addressed to them. XMPIE uCreate Print empowers you to create a variable document on your desktop or seamlessly connect to XMPIE’s uProduce server to work directly with documents on that server without ever leaving your desktop-based Adobe InDesign environment. Merge your customer information from any data source (such as Excel) to extract emails and shipping details such as: name, address, city and postal codes.

    With XMPIE uCreate Digital you can now create and deploy fully personalized dynamic websites and emails. Use the Web to build a real-time dialogue with your visitors. This type of effective marketing addresses your customer by name when they land on your website, as if it was made entirely for them! With uCreate Digital, recipient data is immediately updated in your database for the next campaign across any channel. You can also:

    • Customize variable text and images based on recipient data
    • Show or hide various areas of the page based on the offer you wish to make for the targeted recipient
    • Change the font, colour or any other style
    • Add new recipients to your database via registration forms
    • Track recipient behaviour
    • Trigger emails based on data, recipient behaviour or events
    • And more

    3. Market Automation

    XMPIE Circle is THE total package that transforms your business by bringing together a marketing automation workflow and individualized contact under one umbrella. Simply put Circle is software for designing, deploying, automating and measuring personalized omnichannel marketing campaigns. Boost collaboration, visualization and time-to-market for your 1:1 multichannel marketing campaigns. Marketing campaign activities can be scheduled in advance, with recurrence patters, and to populations that are selected by CRM data and individual’s behaviours in the current or, even in previous campaigns. The graphic below illustrates the journey of your XMPIE marketing campaign from start to customer’s finish line of opening a PDF coupon for your product or service! How cool is that?


            

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  • 3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Cloud Provider

    4 Oct 2018
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    Cloud computing can offer many benefits for your business, but it means trusting a provider with your data and applications. This makes choosing the right provider essential, so you know your data is safe and accessible. Before committing to a cloud provider, here are some things to look into.

    Security

    When you’re talking about data, security should be a top concern. You should understand how the data is monitored and maintained to protect both your data and your privacy. It may be helpful to ask where the cloud servers are geographically located to further understand the local laws and risks your data may be subject to.

    Your cloud provider should perform regular virus scanning and updates, as well as be committed to keeping security patches up to date. User audit trails will help you track who is accessing your data, and two-factor authentication can enhance your security.

    Access

    One of the benefits of cloud computing is the ability to access your data anytime and anywhere. However this requires your cloud provider to have this type of access. You should know how to add and delete authorized users, and have an authentication policy that aligns with your security goals. If your cloud provider doesn’t allow instant access to all your data, you should understand the turnaround time and be sure it will work for your business.

    Recovery

    Whether from a hardware failure or natural disaster, data loss can occur. Before entrusting a cloud provider with your data and applications, you should understand their back-up policies. Routine back-ups to offsite servers give you a better chance of recovering your data if disaster strikes. All back-ups should be done with encryption to provide enhanced security.

    Contracts eventually come to an end, so you should also understand the data recovery policy for terminated contracts. How do you get your data back, do they provide assistance, and how much time do you have to complete the process? These are all helpful things to know before you sign the contract.

    Cloud computing puts your data and applications onto third party servers to allow you greater access from a variety of locations and at any time – but it comes with risks. By properly vetting your cloud provider before entrusting them with your data, you can reduce your risk and find a provider that will allow you to experience the benefits of the cloud.

    Contact us to learn more!

    Related blog: 

    Make the Most of Your Time in the Cloud

     

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  • Are You a Small Business Owner or Part of a Startup Company? Help Us, Help You!

    1 Oct 2018
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    By: Greg Matsis

    Often when businesses are small scale or are just starting out they hear “Xerox” and immediately respond with “we’re too small for that” or “we don’t really print a lot so you wouldn’t be of much help.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! A Xerox solution is no longer just a significant investment in a traditional floor standing copier. At AOS we take each client’s needs into account and build a customized solution, including a variety of product offerings. So in fact there is NO such thing as too small. Here are three reasons why!

    Cost-Effectiveness

    We are here to cater to your needs and accommodate your budget. Too many times we see reputable business owners using an inexpensive printer that they bought at a local retail outlet. Unfortunately, what customers don’t realize is the large amount they’ll spend regularly on toner cartridges following this purchase. Not to mention the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies in this case as these ‘retail’ printers usually do not stand the test of time in a paper-centric office setting. With an AOS solution we offer Xerox desktop printers equipped with all-inclusive service plans that cover you for setup, proactive toner replenishment, parts, and on-site service. Additionally you can expect a much more robust enterprise level device that can handle large workloads for many years to come. The printer is the central pulse of most office environments and a Xerox device will help you make the right investment in the forefront so your business can have peace of mind.

    Don’t Get hacked!

    Furthering the notion of our enterprise grade devices are the security factors that come into play. Most products found at retail outlets are meant for home settings. Most times they are not equipped with the security to deal with sensitive information on the networks connected to the printer. With ransomware and other virus threats being an unfortunate daily reality existing in the internet world customers want to do everything possible to avoid putting their company at risk. Xerox products offer Cisco TrustSec network security and McAfee Anti-Virus protection on top of an abundance of embedded security features so customers can rest assured their data is safe.

    No Paper, No Problem!

    If you are a business that rarely prints paper don’t give up on an AOS solution just yet! Our partner Xerox has been making significant strides in the digital transformation, investing in alternative digital solutions for customers who are paperless. Are you in need of a way to manage electronic invoicing? Xerox offers customized software solutions that will help your business track, manage and invoice your clients. Do you need help with back scanning or transitioning banker’s boxes to digital documents? AOS can provide high-speed scanning devices for ongoing day-to-day operations. Additionally, Xerox offers an efficient scanning service which involves handling large volumes of physical files and converting them digitally, quickly, and securely.

    If you think your office may not require the large floor standing copier, do not underestimate your needs as “small” or “startup” by thinking that Xerox and AOS are “too big for me.” Our enterprise level desktop devices offer the same features and benefits for smaller scale operations. When you combine this with the digital software solutions and service offerings from Xerox, it confirms that AOS can bring substantial value to any business, no matter the size or scope!

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  • 6 Best Practices for Taking Control of Your Email Inbox

    11 Sep 2018
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    Tackling email is a big task in today’s busy offices. The average office worker receives 121 emails each day. Even if you utilize organizational tricks such as filtering and labeling emails, you still aren’t limiting the number of legitimate emails that you receive each day.

    To help you finally gain control over your email inbox, here are several best practices you can implement immediately:

    1. Encourage the use of chat tools.

    Free chat tools such as Facebook Messenger are being used more frequently in the workplace to carry on brief conversations. If you find that you’re getting into single-word email exchanges with people, divert the conversation to one of your chat tools to prevent buildup in your email inbox. To encourage the use of chat tools, list them above your email address on your contact page.

    2. Enforce the 3-email rule.

    According to the 3-email rule, if it’s going to take more than 3 emails to communicate your message, pick up the phone. Being selective about responding to emails will teach people that it’s better to call you to communicate.

    3. Schedule time for email.

    Instead of checking email incessantly throughout the day, set specific times for viewing your email inbox (first thing in the morning and before you leave the office for the evening, for example). Block out time at the end of the day to respond to emails. If not responding to emails immediately causes you some anxiety, create an auto-response that makes recipients aware of when they can expect a response from you. Pressing issues should be addressed via the phone.

    4. Encourage note taking.

    Ask your employees to take notes when you’re explaining an upcoming project. This will considerably reduce the number of follow-up questions that come to you in the form of email.

    5. Have an open-door policy.

    If employees perceive you as approachable, they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone or stop by your office to ask a question rather than send you an email.

    6. Delegate.

    If you receive an excessive number of emails throughout the day, give a teammate account privileges to help you manage your email inbox.

    By putting these productivity tactics into practice, you’ll be able to gain control of your email inbox and accomplish more during your workday.

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  • It’s Not a Photocopier, It’s a Workplace Assistant

    7 Aug 2018
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    By: Greg Matsis, Account Manager, Brantford and Norfolk 

    Here at The AOS Group, we are now collectively working towards changing the way people think about photocopiers. First of all they are NOT photocopiers – anymore. They are, in fact, Workplace Assistants or WPAs. This new mindset towards office efficiency is necessary due to the fact that the Xerox technology simply does so much more than the conventional photocopier used to do. As the name suggests, these devices literally assist you in the workplace to achieve tasks quickly, helping you work smarter. It is actually best to think of a Xerox WPA as a smartphone for your office. Here are three reasons why:

    1. We weren’t joking when we were comparing WPAs to smartphones. Xerox just announced that they will be making ‘Gabi’ available to their line of AltaLink products. Gabi is basically the Siri (Apple) or Alexa (Amazon) for your office. Imagine working at your desk and commanding “Gabi make 10 colour copies, double-sided, and stapled” or “Gabi, release secure print.” Now it is a reality!
    2. Xerox’s Workplace Assistants are so beneficial to the office because of the vast array of apps available from the growing Xerox App Gallery. Whether you would like to print from, or scan to, your Dropbox, GoogleDrive or OneDrive, Xerox makes that seamlessly possible. Utilizing the Get Service Now app, one can make service calls from the device, allowing for diagnostic information to be sent out automatically, enabling the experienced Xerox technicians to remedy any issue in an efficient manner.
    3. In the past, differentiating specifications such as image quality or print speeds would determine a suitable photocopier for an office. Well those were for “photocopiers.” While those specs are still important, now we encourage our clientele to also consider things like processing power. Much like a smartphone, the iPhone 8 is going to work a lot faster than the iPhone 3 for transferring data, loading apps etc. Just like the Xerox 7000 is not going to be able to process 15 employees sending simultaneous print jobs as fast the Xerox AltaLink C8030 would.

    Xerox units have definitely evolved to voice-assisting, app-heavy, powerful WPAs seen across all small, medium and large office environments. So the next time you happen to overhear a co-worker passively refer to the Xerox as a “photocopier”, don’t be afraid to correct them with something along the lines of “Hey! That’s ‘Workplace Assistant’ to you!”

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  • Wondering If It’s Time to Upgrade Your Copier? Here Are the Signs!

    7 Jun 2018
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    When it comes to copiers and print equipment, many small businesses in the Hamilton and Niagara area are using some pretty old technology. Often avoiding an upgrade because of the cost, or an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” frame of mind. Your copier is the hub of your print environment; a multifunction device where printing copying, scanning and faxing is accomplished daily. If you’re using older technology, here are a few signs it may be time for an upgrade!

    Business Goals

    Are your copiers helping you achieve your goals, or are they holding you back? If your team is spending a lot of time waiting for the copier, it might be time for an upgrade. Today’s technology is more efficient, cheaper to operate and offers many options to improve productivity.

    Unnecessary Spending 

    A new machine can actually save you money! New technology uses much less energy and requires less maintenance. Another plus is quality. New machines offer such high quality output you can take jobs back in house, saving you time and money!

    Aging Machines 

    Older machines produce lower quality copies, use more energy and require more frequent repairs. Once a machine reaches the ten year mark, the total cost of ownership outweighs the cost of a new feature rich, efficient one.

    Repeated Repairs 

    If you know your copier repair guy be name, it’s time to upgrade! Although repairs can keep an aging machine functioning, the hassle and cost can be taking a financial toll and lower your team’s morale. It mght be time to take the money your spending and put it towards an upgrade!

    Security 

    If your copier is accessible through your network it is vulnerable to breach. Security is an issue for every business today and office copiers are particularly vulnerable if not protected. New machines offer the highest levels of security built into the operating system and can not only protect your data from unauthorized access, but can monitor and guard against unauthorized use of the machine.

    There’s an App for That

    With Xerox’s iSeries line of products users can access an online app studio offering free apps that can help improve workflows by leveraging the cloud for easy access and storage of scanned documents.

    A new copier can save you money and offer better data protection. By seeing what your current copier is actually costing your business, you can more realistically gauge the cost benefits of new technology. It will not only save money, but can increase productivity and help you to meet your business goals.

    To learn more, contact us at AOS Group and we’ll find the best solution for your business and your budget!

     

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