Product Reviews - June 2023

This is a "run through" of my opinions about products, apps and services I have used this month.  All prices and details referred to are as of the time of writing, in June 2023.

bOnline VOIP phone system

bOnline

Professional look - I read about how a landline number can make your business look more professional, and give it the appearance of being linked to a geographical area.  I enjoyed being able to do this for my business, as I felt it would help attract local custom.

Ease of use -  I loved how easy it was to use the app, both on desktop and on my phone.  I simply tapped in the phone number and pressed "call". I set up an automated voicemail and hold message which included my company name.

Helpful team - The customer service team were helpful and able to guide me through how to use their product patiently and in an easy to understand way.

Cheap - starter plans are on offer for £6 per month. Very affordable for a start up like mine.

Accept single users - other VOIP companies I had contacted would only accept custom from companies with larger teams.  I was pleased to note that bOnline accept one person companies like mine.

Cons

Too much contact from bOnline - my use of their service was on a free trial basis for one week.  After only one day of using their service, I found myself being bombarded by calls from their customer service team trying to get me to commit to a contract with them.

Long term contract - As a very new business, I really wasn't keen on the idea of committing to long term contracts.  I'd much prefer the flexibility of a month to month rolling contract.

Call quality - I struggled to get good quality calls on my phone or desktop,.  The reason is, as yet undetermined, but it put me off committing to a long term contract with them when I wasn't yet clear if the issue was resolvable.

Olympus Dictation Management System

Coming soon...

Laura after running the Cowie 10km in June 2023 with her canine companion

NCH Switch

www.nch.com/au

I find this to be a must have for my line of work.  It means clients can send audio to me in any format and I can convert it so it's compatible with my dictation software. I purchased it for just over £30 - again, very affordable for my business.

Hootsuite

Home (hootsuite.com)

I am working my way through the free trials offered by a variety of social media schedulers.  This was the first one I tried and it remains my firm favourite.

Pros

AI capability - after a hard day's work, my brain is tired. I want fun, lively sounding social media posts but struggle to put them together. Hootsuite has an excellent AI tool where you can give them the bare bones of what you want to say, and even the tone you'd like to say it in (e.g. professional, friendly, luxury) and Hootsuite suggests a range of fabulous posts.  You can even choose whether you want the post for Twitter, Insta or another app, and it will tailor the word count accordingly.

Schedule multiple posts at once - Hootsuite allows you to create a single post, and then edit it for each platform as you see fit.  It's a very smooth process and not clunky or unclear, like I am experiencing with other apps.

Canva integration - I have invested in a Canva pro subscription and was delighted to see Hootsuite has integrated Canva functionality, where you can create and edit using Canva directly in Hootsuite.

Cons

Expensive - their professional plan (for 1 user and up to 10 accounts) sells for £89 per month.  Whilst I would say it's absolutely worth it, at this stage, it's not yet affordable for my business.

Canva Pro

Coming soon...

Docusign

Coming soon...

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