Posts Tagged ‘Sip trunking’

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.

Santa w_childrenWhile wandering through the mall drinking my gingerbread latte, I happened upon Santa’s Workshop where four small children were visiting with Santa. While waiting for the caffeine to kick in, my curiosity was piqued when I heard a topic not traditionally discussed on the lap of that jolly old elf. It went something like this. “So, tell me children, what can Santa get you for Christmas this year?”

“An X-Box,” blurted Timmy.

“A dolly,” whispered Baby Louise.

“Another Christmas!” shouted Billy.

“Well, well, well,” chuckled Santa. “Little girl, what do you want for Christmas?” he said looking directly at Sally; the only one who had not answered.

“Can you tell me a secret?” asked Sally.

“I’ll try my best.” replied Santa.

“What’s VoIP?” asked Sally.

“That’s easy,” answered Santa. “It’s Voice over Internet Protocol.”

“But what does that mean, Santa?” asked Sally.

“Well, little girl, it’s actually a communications protocol.” conjectured Santa.

“Isn’t it more of a transmission technique via the internet in lieu of PSTN,  Santa?” asked Timmy?

“It’s free phone calls!” shouted Billy.

“What about the absence of QoS on the internet?” retorted Timmy.

“It’s Google Voice!” yelled Billy

“What about latency, jitter, 911 considerations.” stated Timmy calmly.

“It’s free faxes!” yelled Billy after a momentary pause.

“Not without T.38 stupid head!” shouted Timmy to Santa’s amazement.

“Children children this is no way to talk to each other.  Don’t be naughty or I’ll have to put you on the list!” said Santa in a non-threatening way.

“Santa, I’m not trying to be naughty but you can’t discount the lack of redundancy and weak security!” pleaded Timmy.

“Santa?” whispered Baby Louise.

“Yes, sweetie,” answered Santa.

“You’re just like VoIP.” answered Baby Louise speaking a little louder.

“How so?” asked Santa.

“Well, everyone’s heard of you but you mean different things to different people. If we worry too much on who or what you are, we miss your true meaning.” stated Baby Louise.

“Go on,” encouraged Santa.

“It’s not important who or what we are but what good can we bring to one another. That’s the true meaning of Christmas, Santa.” smiled Baby Louise.

“Yes, sweetie,” said Santa smiling, “That is the true meaning of Christmas!”

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.

I have not been the biggest proponent of Hosted/Managed IP. As a previous post “An Open Letter to Hosted IP Providers” will attest to,  https://selecttelecom.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/an-open-letter-to-hosted-ip-providers/  Now it’s time for me to change my tune for I believe Toshiba has got it right with their VIPedge.  As I make my argument, let’s break it into two logical discussions. First being, “What type of company would benefit?” and the second being “Why is this solution superior.” 

What type of company would benefit? Toshiba’s VIPedge is designed for companies needing advanced telecom features, such as Unified Communications and PC integration with Outlook or their CRM database but not willing or wanting to own and maintain a telephone system. The VIPedge offers the alternative. Customers pay a recurring monthly fee based on size and usage. Unlike other providers who lock you in to 3 and 5 year contracts, the VIPedge commitment is only 2 years.

Why is this solution superior? The easy answer is the phones. Instead of tiny phones with hard to read LCD’s and even harder to understand buttons, choose either a 9-line LCD, 20 programmable button set or the DECT 6.0 IP4100 wireless.

With its large footprint and layout to which you’ve been accustomed, transition to the Hosted world is a breeze.

You’ll get the features that most hosted systems tout such as:

  • The ability to give each extension a unique telephone number, but still maintain your company’s listed number
  • Voice Mail with Unified Messaging including Presence, IM, Chat and Desktop Call Control
  • Mobility with Find-me, Follow-me
  • Unlimited Local/LD in all 50 states. Toll free and international calling available
  • Seamless Networking between offices
  • VIPedge Enterprise Manager web interface to configure, manage, control and maintain
  • Survivability

More importantly, here are some features that the VIPedge has that is usually not found in Hosted IP. These are the key system features we’ve grown to love:

  • Outside Line Buttons
  • Directory Numbers; Primary, Phantom and Pilot
  • Direct Station Select (DSS) Keys
  • Multiple Call/Delayed Ringing
  • Telephone Group Paging
  • Off-Hook Call Announce
  • Music/Messaging on Hold
  • Uniform Call Distribution
  • Call Record to Voice Mail

If you’re thinking that it’s time to upgrade your telecommunications platform but don’t want the cost and hassle of purchasing a new system, the VIPedge is the right choice. If you’re currently on Hosted/Managed IP platform and you’re just not feeling the love, the VIPedge is the obvious choice. Either way contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151 and we’ll get your telephone system in the cloud with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

 

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.

In honor of May 1st, celebrated as Labor Day in 66 countries, we honor its most important contribution, the 8 hour work day. Those of us who run a small business are wondering how successful we need to become in order to work just 8 hours. Any good manager will tell you that you must delegate. Who is your most reliable business resource? My vote goes to your telephone system.

It works 24/7. With the right application software it can take orders, accept payments and check order status. Direct in Dial numbers or Auto Attendant can route calls to specific employees. If they’re unavailable, it can forward the call directly to their mobile device or be directed back in to your company’s voice mail to access another employee. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Speech Recognition can mimic human interaction to the point that working an 8 hour work day would seem like 16 hours too short!

If you believe any of these applications could positively affect your company’s bottom line, contact us at sales@selectteltech.com or call us at 815-282-5151. If you can’t make it between 9 and 5, that’s okay, we’ve got you covered.