VOIP

ENSURING YOUR PHONE SYSTEM IS A BUSINESS ENABLER

Many have taken to cloud-based UC platforms as a way to achieve this higher level of connectivity. UC systems work by integrating applications into a single, seamless interface, which make it ideal for unifying communication efforts. Not to mention, they have also been recognized for their ability to ability to boost business productivity and growth opportunities.
Your business communications system needs to ensure you have the best tools that will help you do a better job with your customer…today and tomorrow. Below are two ways an onsite phone system can improve the customer experience by improving flexibility and enhancing reachability.

 
Improving flexibility through work groups
When a customer or prospect calls your company and the phone rings endlessly without being picked up, or it goes to a general voicemail box, they may question how capable your business is. Since today’s customers have higher expectations than ever before, you want to give the impression to current and potential customers that you can serve them the way they want to be served, regardless of whether your employees are in the office or working remotely.

A Mitel Connect ONSITE phone system allows you to improve your business’s flexibility by routing calls using the power of work groups. Here’s how…

Work groups can be created to respond to what’s happening in your business. For example, you might have a new advertising campaign and you need more people ready to answer the phone. Perhaps there are changing weather conditions and …

Should You Use a Toll-Free Number?

Everyone has at least a passing familiarity with toll-free numbers. From jingles to billboards to commercials, businesses offer up toll-free numbers to try to entice people to call. Unless you’ve looked into them before, however, you might not be aware of exactly how they work, and why a business might use one. Here are the basics.
What is a Toll-Free Number?
When a person calls a toll-free number from a landline phone or other service that doesn’t charge per minute of airtime, they don’t incur any charge regardless of distance. This can be helpful for companies that do a significant amount of business outside of their local area, such as national and international organizations, because it removes the cost barrier that might prevent customers, prospects, and partners from calling.

Toll-free numbers always begin with one of a few codes, the most recognizable being 1-800. More codes have been added over the years to include 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844, opening up a wealth of phone numbers–including vanity numbers–and reducing the cost of purchasing a toll-free number.

So considering the low cost, should your business be using a toll-free number? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
The Pros
Create or reinforce a corporate image.

No matter how much money you put into marketing and training, branding is ultimately about public perception. A toll-free number is immediately recognizable as a business contact line, and can immediately position your company as large and corporate. For companies who …

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Employees

More and more of the global workforce is working remotely: about 70% work from somewhere other than their office at least once a week. With so many people choosing to work remotely, it has to make business sense, but unfortunately, it’s not perfect. Here are the pros (and a few cons) of hiring employees to work from home.
The Pros

Expand your talent pool. One of the biggest advantages to considering remote employees is the far broader range of candidates you can tap into. If you’re looking to fill a specialized role and choices are sparse in your area, you can open up the position to candidates across the country—even around the world. This means increased workplace diversity, potential for greater innovation, and access to better cultural fits for your business.

Increase engagement. According to SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits report, 60% of companies offer their employees opportunities to telecommute, but some businesses aren’t so sure. Remote workers are often stereotyped as lazy and disorganized, but research shows that they may actually be more motivated and productive than their office counterparts. This is due in no small part to today’s worker seeking flexibility in their careers. Working remotely allows employees to get work done when they are most focused and achieve the all-important work/life balance that is receiving increasing attention from management and employees alike.

Lower overhead costs. As anyone with access to their business’s finances knows, operational costs are far from negligible, especially when it comes to shared office spaces. …

3 Steps to Take When Call Quality Drops

Call quality is a prime consideration for anybody looking to get the most out of their phone system. Nothing is more frustrating than a bad connection with a client or lead during an important phone call, and though VoIP systems have many business benefits, they have also created a new set of obstacles to overcome. Because VoIP systems rely on a fast connection on both ends, a weak connection could mean a disturbance in audio or visual quality. While we have limited control over what happens outside our networks, some things can be done internally to ensure the quality of your VoIP phone systems.

Here are five steps you can take to improve your phone call quality.
1. Calming the Jitters
VoIP delivers voice information through network packets. When functioning correctly, they are evenly spaced and delivered in a constant stream. However, network malfunctions can lead to communication delays, or the audio can be scrambled, making it hard to understand.

Minor jitters can be fixed by replacing an Ethernet cable. Using a category six cable transfers the information between networks faster, which reduces the likelihood that data will arrive out of order.

For more severe problems, installing a jitter buffer can briefly store and organize voice packets to make sure it plays them in the proper order.
2. Reduce Bandwidth Usage
The amount of bandwidth being used on a network will impact audio during a call. Monitoring your network traffic is the easy and cost-effective route to audio …

How to Choose Communication Solutions for Your Business

Today’s society may be built on technology, but human society has always relied on communication. According to a study published by SIS International Research, businesses lose 17.5 hours of productivity per employee every week due to poor communication, and whether your business has eight or 800 employees, those hours add up to serious revenue loss. Upgrading your communication solutions could help you reclaim your company’s much needed time, but with the number of options on the market, it’s difficult to even get started.
Phone Systems
If your phone system is prone to downtime, unclear call quality, or routing difficulties, it’s probably doing more harm than good. Not only does an unreliable phone system give a poor impression to customers calling in, it also reduces the effectiveness of company communications.

Solution: A VoIP upgrade, whether hosted, premise, or hybrid, can help your employees get the information they need whenever and wherever they need it. Features like find me/follow me call routing ensure that calls can reach the right person even when they’re not at their desk, reducing downtime — and panic — when a timely answer is needed.
Messaging Tools
Email has been a mainstay in business communications for almost two decades, but by today’s standards, it can be slow and bulky. Wading through the spam, reply-all chains, and forwards to find the email you need takes time, and opens you up to a plethora of distractions.

Solution: As a part of unified communication solutions, instant messaging (IM) and chat tools can be a company’s internal communications …

Is BYOD Right for Your Business?

We’re calling it: flexibility is going to be the business buzzword of 2018. With more companies allowing their employees to work remotely, office workspaces are becoming less critical to operations. BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, policies have caught on in the push for flexibility, but should you implement them for your company? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
Pros

Employee Satisfaction: For many people, their personal devices have pretty much become a part of their being. With a BYOD policy, employees get to use the devices that they’re most comfortable with rather than working on a company platform. By using systems that they are already used to, they can jump right into work without any training or points of confusion that could come from using a work-provided device. And while distraction may be a concern, that street runs two ways: employees who receive work-related emails, calls, and messages to their personal device will likely spend more of their own time being productive.

Reduced Costs: There are several areas in which a BYOD policy can help reduce company spending. First, and perhaps most obvious, having employees work from their personal devices means less spending on company-provided hardware like computers and phones. Rather than providing a whole new workspace for a new employee, all you need to provide is any necessary software licenses or ancillary tech they need for their position. Another area for savings with a BYOD policy is IT costs. Part of being more comfortable with …

Why a Hosted VoIP Solution May Not Be Right for Your Company

You’ve probably heard all about why switching to a hosted VoIP solution is great for your business: lower maintenance costs, easy and fast integration, access to great VoIP features, and so on. And while both the cost and the features offered by switching to VoIP are vast improvements over traditional landline phones, a hosted deployment may not be the best fit for your company. Here are some things to consider:
Company Size and Projected Growth
Depending on the provider, large to enterprise-sized businesses may find that a hosted VoIP solution is not the best option for their phone systems. While hosted VoIP systems are capable of handling hundreds of lines, the pricing model usually includes a flat monthly rate per line. When compared to an on-premise deployment, in which the company buys and maintains their own infrastructure and hardware, the subscription model sometimes works out to be more expensive in the long run. The same is true for mid-sized businesses that find themselves growing and expanding; in terms of hardware, the only cost of expansion is the physical phone, but with a hosted system, more lines will need to be added.

However, the maintenance aspect of hosted VoIP systems may keep large businesses on board. Phone systems all require maintenance, and IP telephony has the added issue of data security that requires technical attention. For companies with limited IT support, or those that want to keep their specialists’ attention on other company goals, the maintenance and security …

Upgrade Your Phone System to Go Green

For businesses today, going green is more than a trend. With a wide range of benefits, including increased consumer support and reduced energy costs, making a conscious effort to reduce negative environmental impact is just good business. What’s more, becoming an environmentally friendly business is no longer difficult or expensive to achieve. By simply making green changes to your everyday practices, you can achieve a smaller footprint without disrupting operations. For example, choosing to upgrade your phone system can have a huge impact. Here’s how:

You may not realize it, but your desktop phones are horrible for the environment. Implementing Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and Unified Communications (UC) in your business can simultaneously improve both efficiency and environmentalism, meaning double the benefits.
VoIP Requires Less Hardware
Your plain old telephone system (POTS) requires a lot of stuff. From the plastic used to make handsets, to underground copper cable systems, to switchboards and satellites, a lot of material and energy goes into communication that we take for granted. POTS require upgrades every two years or less, on average, which results in a lot of hardware being dumped in landfills. In comparison, VoIP requires much less investment in physical devices. Because it uses your existing internet connection, and doesn’t require a dedicated handset — your telephone hardware could consist of as little as just one VoIP router. With options such as softphones on desktops or laptops, or integration with employees’ personal mobile phones with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, you can say goodbye …

Comparing Hosted VoIP Solutions

Businesses are turning to VoIP solutions for their communication to increase the effectiveness of their voice systems and save money. But with increased demand comes increased supply, and it can be difficult to wade through the many companies and services offering VoIP to find the best fit for your company. When looking for your hosted VoIP solution, you should be able to find one that fits your current needs and budget, as well as offers new opportunities to increase productivity. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few key things to consider when shopping for VoIP services.
Reliability
One of the benefits of a hosted VoIP system is its mobility, enabling users to make and receive business calls wherever and whenever they need to. This makes it all the more important that your phone system is working when you are. Outages can happen, so make sure that any VoIP provider you are considering has procedures to prevent them. Read reviews and references to see how good they are at responding to incidents, and determine from there whether or not the provider seems reliable. Remember: reviewers are more likely to comment on negative experiences than positive, so no news might be good news!
Included Features
To stay competitive, VoIP providers offer a variety of features that could significantly boost your phone system’s effectiveness. Features like the ability to migrate your current phone numbers, enhanced voicemail, and auto attendant are included free-of-charge in some plans, available at a …

7 Reasons You Might be Losing Customers

A business that is losing customers on a consistent basis is in trouble over the long haul. Customers are the lifeline of any organization. However, today’s business environment is characterized by high customer turnover due to stiff competition. If you’re losing customers and can’t figure out why, it’s time to take a good hard look at how you’re doing business.

1. Changing Too Many Players

Customers do not buy from companies but from people. Relationships are the lifeblood of a business, irrespective of its size. Therefore, to retain long-term customers, a company should not rotate salespeople, key contacts, or customer service representatives unless it has to. A business should foster any relationships forged by employees since they are rarely interchangeable.

2. Treating Existing and New Customers Differently

Offering incentives and discounts to only new customers may cause resentment among the existing ones. A business should think carefully about the carrots its offers new customers and ensure that it rewards existing ones equally – if not more. Although new clients have an immediate top-line impact, total sales to existing ones typically result in a greater impact on the business’ bottom line. And it’s always more cost effective to keep a customer than it is to earn a new one.

3. Focusing on Price Rather Than Value

Being a low-cost provider offers a competitive edge at first, but this strategy is difficult to sustain over the long haul. Instead, a business’ goal should be providing the best …