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In Loving Memory… Jeremy Eugene Blackburn (Jebbi)

We’re saddened to inform you that Jebbi Blackburn passed away on November 9, 2019, after an unexpected illness. Jebbi was just two months shy of his 47th birthday. His passing has left us with an instant—and enormous—void.

For our customers who knew and worked with Jebbi Blackburn, we wanted to inform you of his passing and tell you a little more about this remarkable human being.

Jebbi worked for Millennia Technologies from February of 2005 through his passing. He was an honorable man of great integrity, with a love for and faith in God that developed him into the person he was.

While visiting his parents, who were on a mission trip in Paraguay, Jebbi met a young lady who would later become his wife of nine years. He loved the slower pace of life in Paraguay and decided to start his life with Gabi there.

Jebbi worked for Millennia as a remote engineer, supporting customers who would call for help or open trouble tickets. Over the years, he took literally thousands of calls and performed hundreds of upgrades and installations.

For those who did know him, we’re sure you loved him as much as we did. For those of you who didn’t know him, be assured that he is exactly the type of person that every business would search for.

Jebbi was devoted to God and had a strong belief in the Bible’s promise of a better life in the future. He rests in …

CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTERS: MAXIMIZE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION WHILE CONTROLLING COSTS

“This is the era of the customer.” You’ve probably been hearing that phrase a lot lately. Among other things, it refers to increased customer expectations regarding service and communications. The customer experience has never been more important, and contact centers play an important role in that overall experience.

Although customers typically begin their service journey with an automated system, when that fails (which it does when the support issue is too complex), customers want to talk to a real person. For instance, did you know…

Automated Telephone Systems (IVR) and the inability to reach a live person for support is the number one complaint from customers. According to Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report, 34% of U.S. respondents found this the most frustrating aspect of the customer service experience.
The survey also revealed that 44% of people in the U.S. still prefer phone or voice as their primary customer service channel. That’s 21% higher than any other channel available, with live chat coming in second at 23%.
The global cloud-based contact center market is expected to grow from $6.8 billion to $93 billion by 2022!
Despite advancements in call-back technology, telecom, airlines and retailers were listed as some of the worst offenders for putting customers on hold and not offering call backs.

 

Most importantly, studies indicate that customer experience is rapidly becoming the main differentiator for customers when choosing between companies to do business with. Many industry experts note …

HOW TO MAKE YOUR PHONE SYSTEM MORE INTELLIGENT

Let’s be honest, we’ve all experienced phone rage at some point. It occurs when you call a company and get put on hold for what seems like an eternity, while being forced to listen to the instrumental version of classic rock tunes, or worse, an endless loop of commercials. Equally frustrating is being put in perpetual transfer mode, where there is no escape except to hang up and start over! These experiences do not leave you feeling positive about the company you’re dealing with.

You know this type of interaction is bad for business, but do you know how your company is handling customer calls? Are phones being answered in a timely fashion? Are customers being transferred properly? How long are they on hold, and more importantly, how long are they willing to wait before hanging up?

If your phone system is not collecting and analyzing this data, it’s merely a communication tool—when it could be a strategic asset to your business. Using Brightmetrics Business Intelligence provides invaluable data to help you make informed business decisions to improve customer engagement, as well as employee productivity.
Tap into the Power of Analytics
Brightmetrics makes it easy to tap into the vast amount of data that the Mitel MiVoice Connect (formerly known as ShoreTel ShoreWare 10.1 through Connect ONSITE) system collects. While many other companies can give you basic reporting for your Mitel MiVoice Connect phone system, Brightmetrics delivers the full breadth of data necessary …

8 BUSINESS DYNAMICS THAT CAN BE OPTIMIZED BY THE CLOUD

(Reprinted with permission from Mitel)
Certain Business Dynamics are Custom-Made for Cloud Communications Solutions
If you want to spend less time managing communications infrastructure and more time focusing on your core business objectives, it’s time to consider the cloud. Step back and take a fresh look at the forces affecting your business. Check out the list below to see if any of these common dynamics might be driving you to the cloud:
1 | Rapid Growth
Businesses expanding rapidly need solutions that can be implemented just as fast. The cloud provides quick and easy software upgrades with the inherent scalability needed to support growth. Plus, cloud solutions offer greater flexibility for integrations with other technologies you may already be using and the ability to more readily adapt processes in the future.
2 | Multiple Locations
You may have staff in multiple locations, but you need a single solution that supports remote workforces or work-from-home employees without becoming a major administrative undertaking for your IT staff. A cloud solution can easily be deployed regionally or globally, while also creating a more consistent experience for both your staff and your customers.
3 | Mobile Workforce
If you have a substantial number of people who are in the field, on the road or just not at their desks, cloud-based technologies and mobile apps make data easily accessible wherever they are. The cloud also makes it easy for your administrators or IT staff to remotely manage equipment to ensure remote employees …

ARE YOU READY FOR 5G?

What’s faster than a speeding bullet and able to deliver massive amounts of data with reduced latency and a more secure and reliable connection? If you guessed 5G technology, you’re right. It may not be as awesome as Superman, but it will change the telecommunications industry dramatically in the coming years.

In fact, leaders in the telecom industry are estimating that by the end of 2024, 1.5 billion people are going to be using the 5G connection.

 
What is 5G?
The term 5G refers to the fifth generation of wireless technology. The switch from 3G to 4G delivered faster downloads and improved functionality, but experts predict the move from 4G to 5G will be an even bigger leap. Not only will 5G networking deliver faster speeds and the ability to move more data, it will reduce latency (lag time), thereby increasing responsiveness. It’s also expected to be more secure and reliable, as well as improve scalability.

How fast is 5G, you ask? While there is no exact number available at this point, some industry experts anticipate speeds of 100 gigabits per second – which is approximately 1,000 times as fast as 4G. However, more conservative estimates (based on early tests) put the speed at 4.5 gigabytes per second or 20 times faster than current 4G. Speed will also depend on where you live and which wireless service you use.

While every new number that precedes the “G” increases connection speed (and revenues), it requires …

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT TELECOMMUNICATION CARRIERS

Telecommunication carriers are some of the largest companies in the world. In fact, AT&T, which is the leading telecommunications company in the U.S., had a market value of over $230 billion in 2018 and ranked 12th overall on the Forbes list of top global companies.1

In addition to noteworthy mergers and acquisitions, the industry has most recently been focused on the advent of 5G cellular service, which promises 10-20 times faster download speeds for mobile data and could dramatically change the way telecom companies operate.

However, before we delve in any further, let’s start with some basic definitions:

The term “telecommunications carrier” is a catch-all that covers all entities that provide some form of telecommunications services to consumers, businesses, governments and other telecom providers as their primary business. This may include fixed or mobile communications, and/or voice or data.
A carrier network is the proprietary network infrastructure belonging to a telecommunications service provider such as AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. Telecom carriers are authorized by regulatory agencies to operate telecommunications systems.
Carrier networks are made up of large, complex configurations of hardware, interconnected to provide communications services to people spread over large areas.
Devices served by a carrier network include telephony equipment, CATV (community access television) receivers, satellite television receivers, mobile computing devices, PCs, and certain types of specialized devices, such as medical and surveillance equipment.

 

In short, carrier networks distribute huge quantities of data across the globe! Today, most of this is …

WHO SHOULD YOU CALL FOR ONSITE TELEPHONY?

With today’s mass migration to the cloud, it can be easy to overlook the advantages of an onsite phone (on-premises) system, which includes control, cost savings over time, lower costs to expand and the ability to choose SIP trunk providers for lower cost calls. Cloud-based phone systems (hosted VoIP) are great for many small businesses and some unique situations, but for mid-sized and larger companies or call center operations, hospitality services or companies that experience heavy call volumes and need a greater number of lines (trunks), an onsite is typically a better choice.
However, with so many choices available for business phone and unified communications systems, it can be challenging to choose a provider that’s best for your business. To help you with this task, we’ve compiled some reviews, including the top pick according to Eastern Management’s Group’s global survey of 3,500 IT managers regarding on-premises and hosted PBX solutions.
 
Mitel Receives Highest Ranking
The April 2019 report ranked Mitel highest in mid-market was named best in purchase experience, installation, support, management tools, contact center, and value. The company credits its success to its dedication to “exceeding customer expectations from end-to-end and across all touchpoints.” Mitel offers businesses of all sizes a broad portfolio of public cloud, private cloud, and onsite communications solutions.
The full report “Premised and Hosted PBX Customer Satisfaction Report 2018 Major Provider Assessments by IT Manager Customers” is available for purchase at https://easternmanagement.com/Our-Services/Customer-Satisfaction.aspx
 
More Great Choices
Although not ranked at the …

HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN ONSITE AND HOSTED TELEPHONY

When the telephone was introduced in the 1870s, it changed the world. By opening the universe of communication, it made the world smaller and more connected. Imagine hearing the voice of someone in another city, state or country over the telephone for the first time. It must have seemed like a miracle!
Since then, telecommunications have continued to evolve rapidly, from switchboards and direct lines to massive networks, and from landlines to cell phones. And now, the Internet and cloud-based systems make communication and the instant transfer of information possible with a mouse click.
 
Can You Hear Me Now?
While personal communication has been enhanced, businesses have been the primary beneficiary of developments in communications. In fact, most of the early users of phones were businesses. It allowed companies to expand their customer bases and locations. Although some people may curse the advent of telemarketing, it gave businesses the ability to reach a wider audience and sell products directly to customers. These days, businesses and their employees and customers can be located anywhere in the world, making a global economy possible.
Of course, like all technology, business communications are accelerating at lightning speed. Today there are a vast array of telephony solutions on the market, making it more complicated to choose the most economical and practical solution for your business. To help you decide, let’s start with some basics.
 
What’s the Difference Between Onsite and Hosted Phone Systems?
Onsite or on-premise PBX (private branch exchange) …

HOW TO ENSURE E911 COMPLIANCE

First, let’s quickly review what enhanced 911 (E911) means. The new Michigan legislation is designed to ensure that a caller’s callback number and specific location within your building (not just your address) are delivered to the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), the call centers answering emergency calls and dispatching emergency services. (To learn more, read “What is Enhanced 911 and How Does it Affect Your Business”).
Basically, the legislation which is already in effect in Michigan requires all multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) or Private Branch Exchange (PBX) operators/owners to comply with new regulations by the end of 2019 or potentially face fines.
 
Understanding the New Requirements
The requirements for E911 vary based on the number of buildings and square footage of your enterprise. In general, the specific location of each communications device needs to be provided. Why is location information so important? There are many reasons a person calling 911 might not be able to communicate his or her specific location to the 911 dispatcher, including being a young child, choking, heart attack or other injuries that prevent someone from speaking.
In order to better understand the new regulations, it’s helpful to review how 911 calls work in general. Let’s say John Smith calls 911 from his wired residential telephone. The 911 dispatcher receiving the call sees the location of the caller’s phone on a special computerized phone screen – that information is called Automatic Location Identification (ALI). The dispatcher …

WHAT IS ENHANCED 911 AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS?

New, enhanced 911 legislation (MCL 484.901) is currently in effect in Michigan with a compliance deadline of December 31, 2019. The legislation requires all multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) or Private Branch Exchange (PBX) operators/owners in Michigan to comply with these regulations or face fines of $500 to $5,000 per offense.
Now is the time to verify compliance, plan, budget and implement any necessary changes.
 
What is Enhanced 911?
The new E911 technology ensures that a caller’s callback number and location information are delivered to the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), the call centers answering emergency calls and dispatching emergency services. In addition, since wireless users are often mobile, some type of enhancement is needed to 911 service that allows the location of the user to be known to the call receiver.
The requirements for E911 vary based on the number of buildings and square footage of your enterprise. In general, the specific location of each communications device needs to be provided “unless an alternative method of notification and adequate means of signaling and responding to emergencies is maintained 24 hours a day.”1
 
Why is Enhanced 911 Important?
Imagine someone is choking, having a heart attack or has some other injury which prevents them from speaking. Or, perhaps the caller is unable to speak during a dangerous situation, such as a robbery. These are just some of the instances in which enhanced 911 can save lives by automatically reporting the telephone number and location …