cccVoice over IP (VoIP) has been the standard transfer protocol for voice telecommunications for quite some time. Its biggest drawback is that it utilizes the internet. Voice and video need to be transmitted in “real time.” Delays in video result in buffering which though annoying are somewhat acceptable. Delays in voice transmission result in jitter, latency and eventually, a dropped call. To most callers, this is unacceptable. The internet does not provide Class of Service (CoS); and since all traffic is treated equally, voice calls will suffer when internet usage is heavy. CoS allows for the prioritization of traffic such that voice and video data are sent ahead of non time-sensitive tasks such as e-mail and web page accessing.

In order to achieve a private telecom voice network free of jitter, latency and dropped calls you need to have a Closed Loop Communications Network, (CLCN). We have partnered with Cisco, EarthLink and Adaption Technologies to provide an integrated telephone and network application that couples the flexibility of Hosted with the operability and ease of use of a key system. Our solution utilizes Adaption Technologies’ Hosted VoIP technologies for transport over the nationwide backbone maintained by EarthLink. We provide a controlled CoS with end to end delivery. Carrier quality is guaranteed while jitter, latency and dropped calls are virtually eliminated. Your conversation never touches the internet.

This service is monitored 24/7/365 in our Aurora, IL Network Operation Center (NOC) in conjunction with our Help Desk. Our network is guaranteed with measurable Service Level agreements (SLA’s).

With this Closed Loop Communications Network you can use your existing telephone equipment or you can equip some or all locations with SIP handsets using Hosted VoIP. All calls are on net. One auto attendant can serve multiple locations. If there is a service interruption, calls are automatically redirected to a pre-assigned destination. This is location specific. We can provide enhanced customer service, detailed call reporting at a cost substantially lower than conventional telephone services.

CLCN takes the revolutionary technology of VoIP and refines it to be a cost effective business application for companies with multiple locations. It provides on net, no cost dialing between locations. You can answer any call from any location with the ability to transfer that call to any location. This results in enhanced customer service while requiring less manpower. If you believe this solution has an application at your company, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. We’ll help you get your own piece of the internet.

best of bwVoice over IP (VoIP) phone systems are here to stay. At least until the next breakthrough technology arrives on the scene. Most crystal balls do not have that happening any time soon. Maybe that is a good thing. For those wishing to use premise based equipment, the question comes down whether to choose pure IP or converged IP, sometimes referred to as blended IP. With Toshiba you have the IPedge which is a software-centric unified communications platform for those who want to deploy an all IP network. The benefits of this pure IP solution are:

  • You have a single network to manage. Voice is but an application running on your LAN.
  • Advanced applications are either included in the software package or licensed. Typically, there is no additional hardware to purchase.

The Strata CIX, on the other hand, is a converged IP system. Benefits being:

  • You can mix IP, analog and digital devices. This is important if you are migrating digital sets from an existing Toshiba phone system.
  • It uses Cat3 (twisted pair) or dedicated Cat5e cabling . If you have older wiring in your building, converting to Cat5e or higher may not be cost effective.

The good news is that either solution provides a myriad of applications such as:

  • IP wireless sets which work off your wireless LAN access points
  • SoftIPT soft phones which transform your PC into a telephone providing global access anywhere you can get an internet connection
  • Call control from your PC; CRM integration with screen pops
  • Presence, Instant Messaging/Chat between extensions
  • Meet-me audio conferencing with web collaboration and video
  • Browser-based system administration
  • uMobilty Fixed Mobile Convergence turning your dual-mode smart phone into your phone extension
  • Contact Center capabilities

It really comes down to the premise wiring and the need for either digital or analog sets. Either solution will offer you a portfolio of applications which can be tailored to your company’s specific needs. From a few users to thousands, Toshiba has the right solution for you.

For more information, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or give us a call at 815-282-5151.

ekt2With the snow falling, congress stuck in neutral and the improving economy started to rear its lovely head, many companies are considering capital investment with the updating of their telephone platforms to Voice over IP high on their list. There are some business owners who have weathered this recession by lowering both profits and expectations. They tell me that they will be interested in talking about upgrading but not until their phone system dies. While this may be the best strategy to maximize your 20+ year investment, there are downfalls. They are:

Your phone system will choose to die at a very inopportune time. There is never a good time to have a major component of your business fail. Lost calls mean lost revenue and more importantly, lost customers.

The cost to maintain and old phone system is greater than the cost to replace it. Just like that 2002 Oldsmobile, there becomes a time when monthly repair bills exceed the price of a new car payment. Phone system pricing has dropped considerably over the years. It’s a safe bet to say that the price of today’s new system will be lower than what you paid back  in 1998. 

Lack of current features means lost productivity.

  • Not having an IP phone system means no off-site employees, no networking with other systems, no advanced features and no using technology to drive new business.
  • Not having unified messaging means your voice mail messages will never be sent to your smart phone. Your customers don’t know you are out of the office. They think that you just don’t care.
  • Not having fax to the desktop means looking for faxes in piles of papers and manila folders instead of a folder on your computer.
  • Not having find me-follow me means that if you do have a customer call transferred off-site to your mobile device, they may be answered by your cellular voice mail and will have to call your company again to get their problem solved.
  • Not having CRM integration means that you can endlessly annoy your customer by asking them their account number, phone number, alternate phone number or address just for the privilege of selling them something. If you’d like a demonstration of how annoying this is, call your cable provider.

As you can see this ticking time bomb approach is not a proactive way to run your business. By giving your customers the best technology available, you make it easy for them to contact you, to deal with you and to buy from you. Make them want to die to do business with you instead of you dying from the lack of their business.

successThe good news is that productivity in the American workforce is near an all time high. The bad news is that we are busier than we have ever been without much hope for seeing things slow down in the short term. Now is the time to use technology to streamline a process, increase customer retention and make it easier for your customers to give you their money. Let’s take your telecommunication system as an example.

Let’s make some basic assumptions and see if we can find a resolution.

  • Customers who call in want a question answered or problem solved. Unfortunately, voice mail is not the answer. Voice mail will document their concern but can never address it. Ignoring and being unresponsive to voice mails will only aggravate your customers. The answer is to leverage the mobility solutions inherent in the more advanced VoIP systems. Find Me-Follow Me and IP Mobility come to mind.  Find Me-Follow Me allows your extension to ring initially but if unanswered, will ring your mobile device. If you are busy or can not answer on your mobile, the caller returns to your company’s voicemail (not your cell phone provider) where they can leave a message or zero out to the operator. IP Mobility works in conjunction such that when you are talking to your customer on your mobile device, you have all the features inherent to your desk set such as, transfer to another extension, record the call, send it back to your desk phone and more. You may even initiate business calls from your mobile device in which the call is routed though your VoIP phone system. The caller receives the Caller ID of your business, thus keeping your mobile number private.
  • If a customer wants to buy something or pay for something, let them. This may seem obvious but so many telecommunications systems are not programmed to provide this level of client interaction. Customers willing to spend money with you are sent to your employee’s voice mailbox. When the call is eventually returned, the customer may be unavailable or unwilling to part with their money. Programming options available to remedy this situation are:
    • Group Ringing with Overflow. Callers to certain departments; sales, billing and the like, ring at all phones associated with that department. If unanswered, calls will ring at overflow positions where the call can be handled in an “as needed” fashion.
    • Linear Hunt Groups. Callers to a department will be sent initially to those in the department best suited to assist them. If there are more callers than department personal, additional callers will be sent to stations who can help out as needed.
    • Uniform Call Distribution. Callers to a certain department are sent to a pilot number. Personell taking the calls are logged in as agents. Calls are distributed evenly among the agents. Callers not answered are put in a queue and answered in the order received while occasionally reminded that their call is important. 

Whatever method best suits your company’s needs is not important. What is important is that all callers are given a chance to talk and interact with your employees. Problems are addressed, questions are answered and money is spent. Take a fresh look and see if your telecommunications platform is part of the problem or part of the solution.

mentorA mentor can be defined as someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague. In my 20+ years in telecommunications sales and sales management I’ve had the privilege of many fine mentors.

In my first telecom sales job, my product training consisted of reading a double sided product handout. If I had questions, I was told just to read it again. I found a mentor early and with his technical background he taught me how and why things work. It was my job to figure out why someone would pay good money for that product.

Later as a manager I had the opportunity to be mentored by many who taught me what I consider to be my core principles. They are:

  • Even though you are paid by your employer, your goal is to serve the customer. Unless they buy, nobody makes money.
  • Don’t ask those who you support why their performance can’t be better. Instead ask what you can do to help them achieve your shared goals.
  • Any complaint is a valid complaint. Don’t think that logic will trump emotion. 
  • Under promise and over deliver

With January as National Mentoring Month, remember those who have helped make you who you are today. More importantly think of those you can help to be who you think they could be. Enjoy the rest of the month.

kids in classroomWith all the recent media attention on classroom security, many administrators are taking a hard look at what can be done quickly and economically to provide a more secure environment. Being in the telephone system and security business for many years, we have some cost effective solutions tailored primarily to the day care and elementary school segments but can be integrated into most any business application. These are our recommendations to prevent unwanted access to your premises and to react when there is potential for a crisis situation.

  1. Secure the doors. Installing a simple door phone and door lock would require all visitors to identify themselves prior to your allowing them access into your building or suite. The door phones and door lock relays can be independent of the telephone system but some can be integrated with the telephone system. This would allow the visitor to ring certain designated telephones on the system by simply pressing the call button on the door phone. A door lock release button can be programmed on the phone allowing your employees to “buzz them in” simply by pressing that key on their telephone. By adding an inexpensive analog video camera, your employees can get visual recognition of your visitor prior to allowing access. Most analog cameras can be viewed from a dedicated monitor or any computer on your network. 
  2. Provide 2 way communications to all classrooms. This can be accomplished by installing an inexpensive single line digital phone in every classroom. The speaker in the telephone can act as a de facto internal paging system. Besides having the ability to call any classroom individually, every phone has the capability to call all phones to relay an emergency situation. A dedicated key on the phone can be used to access your local E911 center.

Most installations can be done in one day with no disruption to your telephone service. Contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151 for more information.