Category: Business Phone Systems

Business Phone Systems

 

Desk phones slowly going away

I’ve been in the telecom industry since 1999. The digital phone system have slowly been replaced by voip or voice over internet protocol phones. Telecom and computers are now migrating into 1 seamless category. I remember the days when customer would call us, just to move phones around. We still get those, but it is becoming less frequent. With voip, customer can simply unplug their phone, find another network jack, plug it in, and they are up and running. Those ports be POE (power over ethernet) or in most case, customer can simply plug in a power supply to power the phone. With that being said, in the last 5 years, we have seen a major move from desk phone to a simple inexpensive usb headset or bluetooth headset. It’s simply cheaper and sometimes better, it’s a matter of preferences. Me, personally, I still prefer to have a desk phone with the option for bluetooth usb headset and a softphone when I’m roaming. When I’m really lazy, I can simply use a softphone apps on the smart phone. With so many options, I can see why most customer is wanting to go with VOIP solutions. If you are in the market for a voip solutions, give us a call, we can help.

Headset Options

Since the launch of voip phone system and bluetooth technology, there has been a tremendous growth in the hardware options of headsets. You can go with usb wired headset, or usb wireless headset in conjunction with softphones or applications. Or you can go with traditional phones with added EHS (electronic hook switch) which can help get rid of the bulky lifter. Keep in mind, with out the lifter, you will need an electronic hook switch cable in most case to send a ringer alert to the headset anytime the phone rings. With all the options with headset out there, give your phone vendor a call, so they can help you choose the correct one.

5 locations in Austin with calls being sent to voicemail or giving busy tone and need to be integrated w/ centralized number

Problems – Customer is experiencing 4 different problems with their current system.  The first problem is that clients are receiving a busy signal or being sent to voicemail when calling into a location.  This issue is especially problematic at 1 particular location and resulting in loss calls or calls “falling through the cracks”.  This problem is affecting potential clients, current clients and contractors who work with them.  Another issue is that the outbound Caller ID shows incorrect information.  Clients and potential clients are calling wrong locations because the outbound caller ID shows the incorrect location.  This problem results in confusion to both the client and employee due to calls being routed or returned incorrectly.  Due to this issue, clients must then hang up and call the correct clinic resulting in wasted time, inconvenience and inefficiency.  The third problem is that offices are not integrated/able to transfer between locations.  There is no way to transfer calls between multiple locations with the current system in place.  If a client or potential client needs to speak with someone at a different location than they called into, they must hang up and redial the correct office.  This causes an inconvenience and time loss to the client and could result in the person becoming frustrated.  If employees need to speak to one another, they must get a line out and dial the appropriate office as opposed to having the option to press one button in order to reach another location, thus resulting in a less efficient operation.  The final issue is no centralized number.  Each location is listed separately with no centralized number for new and prospective clients to call and be processed appropriately.  Once calling into this centralized number, clients could then be transferred to the appropriate office to handle their needs.  A centralized number would help to cut down on lost calls, end confusion and result in a more efficiently ran system.

Scenario Solutions – The proposed solution to address and resolve the current issues would be a VoIP system.  The VoIP solution provides the following:  Allows calls to be answered by a live person and avoid clients receiving a busy signal or being sent to voicemail.  Phone calls will ring to the number dialed, and if that line is being used, it will then rollover to the next line in the system.  This ensures that even if someone is on the phone at the location being called, someone else will be there to answer the call and take care of the client’s needs or transfer them to the appropriate place.  The outbound caller ID will show the appropriate number and clinic information (location and number) that the client needs to contact.  This will stop the client from calling the wrong clinic and having to be moved all over the place.  All offices will be integrated and have the ability to transfer calls between each other seamlessly.  This will enable the operation to become more efficient and manageable, as well as cut down on time wasted on hanging up to call the appropriate location.  This will greatly reduce the inconvenience for both clients and employees.  Ability to have a centralized number for all clients and new or prospective clients to call, thus making the process more streamlined.  With a centralized number, new clients can call and be processed before being sent to the appropriate office to handle their needs.  This gives a more professional appearance and cuts down on confusion.

Cons – Because this is a VoIP solution, the performance of this system is dependent on the quality and reliability of the current Internet at all locations.  If they choose to stay with the current provider(s), the system proposed will work, however we cannot guarantee performance.

Outdated phone system with no features and 2 office that needed to be connected

Problems – A company has locations in both Austin and New Orleans and wants to tie the 2 together.  Their current phone system is 10 – 12 years old and severely outdated.  The existing system does not have features the company needs, such as: caller ID, voicemail and cell forwarding, voicemail to email, and auto attendant.  They also need conference call capabilities to accommodate anywhere from 10 to 20 users.  Due to having an old, outdated system they are also experiencing poor call quality and cannot transfer calls between locations.  Often times they find that calls are not being routed correctly and voicemails end up in the wrong mailboxes.  The main goal is to integrate and connect the 2 offices, while added features are also must-haves.  The company needs a solution that will enable them to accomplish all of their goals while giving them the “bells and whistles” they are looking for in a phone system.  

Scenario Solutions – The most logical solution for these issues is to replace the entire old system at both locations with a new VoIP set up.  This will allow them to connect both locations, as well as give them the features they want and need.  They will receive IP phones with the capabilities they want and the auto attendant and voicemail features they need.  A conference bridge will allow them the ability to have up to 30 users per conference with room to expand.  The new phone system will also greatly improve sound quality and reliability.

Pros – This solution allows the company to connect both offices, as well as give them everything they’re looking for feature wise.  They can now transfer all calls between the 2 offices and properly route both calls and voicemails to the correct place.  They will have a system in place that allows them to grow while addressing the lack of functionality of their outdated phones.

Cons – The users are now dependent on their Internet connection and having a primary and secondary location.  If the primary office goes down or experiences problems, it could affect the second location.  The users must be properly trained in order to have a seamless transition from the old set up to the new one. 

Cast Studies: Scenarios

Problems – The first problem this company is experiencing is the phone service and lines are being handled by 2 different vendors, resulting in poor communication and integration between the 2 separate companies.  The voicemail is only at one end and provided by 1 of the vendors.  This causes voicemails to be left in the wrong mailbox and calls to “fall between the cracks”.  The integration voicemail service is limited and poor.  They are also experiencing poor quality and frequent “cracking” noises in the background of calls.  The company is in the process of expanding and hiring people to work remotely from their homes in other cities, but have no way to keep them connected to the phone system ran from a corporate office.  They have used softphones in the past, but found this to be difficult and cumbersome as compared to hardphones.  Their main concerns are missing calls or having them routed incorrectly due to the current system and various voicemail issues.  The secondary concerns are incorporating remote users, sound quality and appropriate training on how to use the new phone system.

Scenario Solutions – The main phone system is located in San Antonio with 1 remote user in Austin and 1 remote user in Houston.  They need to be connected and have designated lines and voicemail accounts, while giving full access to the remote users in other cities.  Therefore, this scenario calls for a VoIP solution to give equal access to all users.  This system will also allow for proper routing and voicemail accounts to avoid missed calls and lost voicemail messages.  The sound quality will also greatly improve thanks to QOS that will be provided.  By merging their 2 separate vendors and system into one unified system, they can expect better integration and results.  Hardphones will replace the softphones, and training will be provided for all users at the time of installation.

Pros – It allows flexibility for remote users to work from home and also allows the company to expand beyond San Antonio.  All users can be tied in to the same phone system despite their different geographical locations.  By switching to this type of VoIP set up, phone use is seamless and easy which allows uniformity between office numbers, lines and locations.  A user in the corporate office can answer the phone and transfer to a remote user, or customers can dial a direct line for an employee.  Voicemail is assigned to specific users and their numbers so there is no confusion, roll over or messages left in the wrong person’s mailbox.

Cons –Remote users are dependent upon their home internet connection, as the phones rely on internet to function.  Voicemail and other components must be set up properly from the beginning and users must be trained (due to the fact that this system may be more elaborate and in-depth than previous systems they have used).    

Benefits of Call Recording

Have you ever wondered what the real advantage of voice recording can mean to your business? Many companies use this software on a daily basis to record phone calls for various reasons. Some of the reasons to utilize a recording system are: quality assurance, record and file information, record sales calls for later review, legal requirements and overall customer/employee satisfaction. Everyone from call centers to doctors offices use some form of call recording to ensure every call is handled properly and is up to par.

One popular use of the call recording systems is for sales people, whether it be inbound or outbound, to measure how well they interact with customers and prospects. This application allows managers to ensure the companies philosophies are well represented by the salespersons attitude and delivery. The salesperson can also benefit from the recording system by being able to replay recent calls for review. Reviewing the call allows them to see where mistakes were made and where they can improve for future calls. Both of these examples help to ensure everyone who answers the phone is doing so in a professional and helpful way.

Another advantage of having a call recording system is for companies who have a help desk or technical support department. We’ve all heard the disclaimer at the beginning of these types of calls, you know the one…”this call may be monitored for quality assurance.” Quality assurance may have dual meanings in this case, one being the issue I previously discussed (to ensure the person fielding the call is polite and professional), and they other is to determine if the technical support or help the person called to receive is actually helpful. Managers want to make certain that their technical support center is giving the correct type of advice and doing so in the appropriate manner. This can often mean the difference between a happy, repeat customer and someone who will never do business with you again.

Now that I have touched on why companies use call recording systems, lets talk about what types of systems are offered. There are various types of call recording systems available, including: VoIP call recording, outbound call recording, random call recording, station-side call recording, trunk-side call recording and business rules driven call recording. Your companies exact needs will determine which system is right for you.

In today’s world, call recording is becoming increasingly significant and useful for all businesses. Issues like customer service, providing proof of calls, later playback for review and improvement and legal matters are all reasons call recording has become so used today. Whatever your business may be, it’s certain it can only benefit from call recording software and systems. With so many different choices and applications available, let the professionals at Business Communication Solutions help you decide which one is right for you! For more information visit us at www.bcs-ip.com or call us at 512-257-1433.

Are you Planning a Office move?

Are you planning a Office Move? – Hire a IT Professional.

Moving an office network can add unforseen costs. As an IT consultant we can insure that moving your network, phone systems, etc. are done in a timly cost effective manner. A well planned out network infastructer at the new location is key to a successful move for any business big or small. A professional network consultant can evaluate the old and new location to determine if there will be any additional requirements prior to your move. Have this knowledge prior to any relocation will help keep costs down, and ensure that your new locations network, phone systems, etc are up and running when its time to open for business.