Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

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.

If you’ve spent anytime on the internet, you’ve certainly been solicited by vendors based on your search history. Being in the telephone industry I regularly receive e-mails for “white papers” comparing and contrasting different telephone systems. Is this a viable technique when you’re considering upgrading your phone equipment? I have three thoughts I’d like to share.

  1. The content is not as impartial as they imply. The easiest way to guess who is sponsoring this survey is to find the vendor of whom you have never heard. They are typically the vendor wishing to be considered with the major players.
  2. Expect to be contacted. In order to download this information you are required to register with your name, phone, e-mail, number employees, sense of buying urgency etc. Regardless of what you enter, you will be called, and soon; usually within 15 minutes.
  3. The information sent can not address your specific business issues.  These white papers can list a systems’ capabilities, features, capacity and relative cost. They can not be tailored to focus on the important things; increasing customer retention, adding to your bottom line or improving an internal process. You need a sales professional to accomplish this.

If you are in need of upgrading your telecommunications system and you would like it designed to address your company’s specific issues, we know where you can find that sales professional. Contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. Internet access not required.

With football season well into week 4 and the Bears tied for mediocre in the division, it’s neither time to celebrate nor despair but to think long term. One victory does not guarantee a season’s success.  Conversely a slow start does not doom a team to failure. The same is true for your business. If after 3 fiscal quarters you need a quick score or even a monumental comeback, you don’t punt; you go deep!

From a technological standpoint how can you “go deep” when your team is down? One way is to make sure customers can get a hold of you when they want to buy something or need a problem solved. Ask yourself, “What’s the most important call I expect to receive today and how will I guarantee that I answer it?” If your solution is to hope that you are at your desk when the phone rings, you will find yourself 4th and long. The answer may be Find Me-Follow Me and Unified Communications.

Find Me-Follow Me allows you to have your phone extension ring a few times and if you are unable to answer the call it will ring another number, typically your cell phone. If the call is connected, all is well. What happens if the call is not connected due to poor cell service, the phone turned off or you being on another call? In the old days it would give the caller a chance to leave a message on your cell phones’ voice mail; not a high level of service if the caller had a time sensitive issue. Your cell phones’ voice message ends up saying, “Hi, this is Bob and you’ve reached my cell phone voice mail. If you want anything done today, please hang up and call my office again and for your own sanity do NOT ask to be sent to my extension…unless you want to end up here again!” With Find Me-Follow Me calls unanswered are left in your company’s voice mail where the caller can dial an extension to reach a specific person or press “0” for the receptionist. Customer satisfaction scores a touchdown!

If your customer does choose to leave you a message in your company’s voice mail, Unified Communications can send that message to your smart phone. You will be notified immediately and can respond or delegate accordingly. Missed sales opportunities and poor customer service are thrown for a loss.

So if you’re ready to do what it takes to put your company’s revenues in the win column, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151.

We all know the signs when it’s time to call; the system is dead, a phone needs to be added or moved. The question here is when should we call before it’s too late? What can we do to anticipate the need?

If we assume the purpose of your telecommunications system is to add to your bottom line and increase customer retention, the answer becomes clear. It’s time to call when the system is not adding to your bottom and not increasing customer retention. The question then becomes, what are the early warning signs? Here are a few.

  1. Increase in voice mail traffic. Are employees hard to find? If your phone system could find employees both on site and off site, would that help?
  2. Are customers hanging up? Before you get to answer the incoming call? After its transferred to an extension?
  3. Are customers complaining that is too hard to get a hold of someone or too difficult to get a call back?
  4. Is lack of caller ID making it difficult to return those mumbled voice mails?
  5. Are there “dead spots” in your company due to lack of cordless/wireless sets?

These are but a few examples. Your specific issues demand a specific solution. To get that solution, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. Don’t let an early warning sign turn into lost revenue.

When we think of video surveillance we picture the young punk in the hooded sweatshirt waiting in the shadows for the unsuspecting young professional women to walk to her car. Although it’s true that video surveillance will cut down on parking lot purse snatchings, there are other reasons that businesses, both large and small, are implementing, and in many cases, upgrading their video surveillance systems. There are three main reasons.

  1. Theft Prevention. This is the obvious one. If something is stolen, you want to see who took it, when they took it and where they went. With that information, you can notify authorities and can implement procedures to keep it from recurring.
  2. Litigation. If someone is hurt or injured on your property, you can be sued. Depending on the nature of the incident and your company’s financial health, the settlement could be in the millions of dollars. Video surveillance can monitor the forklift driver, the punch press operator and even the pizza delivery person in your parking lot. If there were an accident you can help determine if it’s your company’s responsibility, someone else’s carelessness or their intent to commit fraud.
  3. Employee Productivity. Monitoring inside your facility will verify shifts starting and ending on time, smoke breaks not running over and may even make the water cooler the last place to hide. If your employees are somewhat feisty in nature, audio surveillance combined with video surveillance in the breakrooms will answer the age old question of who started it. 

The more thought that you give it, the more reasons there are to invest in a video surveillance system. The varieties of cameras are endless; inexpensive analog devices, IP cameras that are never out of focus, 180 degree units, employee recognition at 100 yards, infra-red, wireless; the list goes on.

As for recording and playback, we’ll save that for another day. In the meantime, if you’d like to see how video and audio surveillance can help your company by reducing theft, shielding you from litigation and increasing employee productivity, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. We’ll show you how we have helped companies like yours keep an eye on their bottom line.

WHAT: Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Telecommunication Systems Division, is sponsoring a “Phone-A-Saurus” video contest for Facebook fans until May 15, 2012. The entrant who best demonstrates the need for a new business phone system will win a complete IPedge® or Strata® CIX™ phone system — installed. Second prize is a Toshiba 32″ LCD flat screen television, and third is a Toshiba Thrive™ tablet.

HOW: Shoot a short (less than 3-minute) video to demonstrate why your business phone system is outdated and how you could benefit from a new one. Visit the Toshiba Phone Systems Facebook page at www.facebook.com/toshibaphonesystems to access the “Phone-A-Saurus” contest tab. (Non-fans will be asked to “Like” the page to access a brief entry form and submit their videos. Current fans will already have access to the contest entry form.) Participation is subject to sweepstakes rules available on the contest page.

WHEN: The Toshiba Phone Systems “Phone-A-Saurus” Sweepstakes will run until May 15, 2012. Toshiba will select the top three finalists, and the public will have an opportunity to vote for first, second and third place winners, which will be announced on June 3, 2012.

WHERE: The contest will take place on the Toshiba Phone Systems Facebook page, www.facebook.com/toshibaphonesystems, where the company shares news, product information, insights, dealer information, industry trends and more.

Also visit the Toshiba Telecom blog for more information at http://blog.telecom.toshiba.com/2012/02/win-a-new-business-phone-system/.

ON THE WEB:
Twitter: @toshibaphonesys
Facebook: www.facebook.com/toshibaphonesystems
Blog: http://blog.telecom.toshiba.com/
LinkedIn: Toshiba Telecommunication Systems Division
Web site: http://www.telecom.toshiba.com/