Free eBook: Moving To A Business VoIP Phone System

Free eBook: Moving To A Business VoIP Phone System

Modern phone solutions no longer offer just “voice”. They have transformed to off a range of Unified Communications (UC) capabilities such as instant messaging, presence, video calling, collaboration tools, and mobility solutions, all designed to keep your business at maximum productivity.

This paper will provide a quick and easy guide to common questions that arise when you’re looking for a new business phone system.

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VoIP & Disaster Recovery

VoIP & Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery capabilities are a key benefit of AVAD Technologies Hosted VoIP PBX telephony solution. Unlike traditional telecommunications systems and premise VoIP solutions, a hosted PBX solution from AVAD Technologies ensures that your phone service is always available, even if your physical office location has been rendered inoperable.

What happens if my office becomes inoperable?

Because AVAD Technologies is a Hosted VoIP system, callers to your business will still be able to reach any employee and leave a message. Your employees will also be able to retrieve their messages. Your primary phone numbers, including toll-free numbers, can be re-routed to an alternate location in a matter of minutes. AVAD Technologies Hosted IP PBX can be pre-programmed to forward calls if the primary user’s phone becomes inoperable for any reason. This means that in the event that your office location becomes disabled, no human intervention is required. In addition, all PBX services (Auto-Attendants, Hunt Groups, and voice mail accounts) will continue to function.

Easily Set Up a New Location

If you are able to retrieve your IP phone sets, they can be plugged into any high-speed internet connect and function as if they were in their original location. Your employees can even take their phones to their home offices, provided they have a high-speed internet connection and operate as if they were in their offices. Callers to your company will not be aware that your primary office location is no longer operational.

If you are unable to retrieve your IP Phones, AVAD Technologies can ship replacement phones to any location in as little as 48-hours. When the replacement phones arrive, simply connect them to any high-speed internet connection and they will operate as if they were in your original office location.

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VoIP & Disaster Recovery

Call Centers are Within Reach of Small Businesses

AVAD Technologies’s Hosted VoIP Call Center supports both individuals as well as distributed multi-site call centers to act as a single virtual call center, regardless of geographic location.

Build Your Own Hosted VoIP Call Center

  • Simplified installation and maintenance.
  • No hardware required.
  • Easily add/remove agents.
  • Add an unlimited number of agents.
  • Agents can be located anywhere, including home based agents.
  • No hardware required, agents can use a soft phone.
  • Agressive Pricing Plans

Configurable Routing

  • Enhanced Automated Call Distribution (ACD)
  • Route calls to any agent regardless of geographic location
  • Customizable Periodic Comfort Message

Key Features:

  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD): Intelligent call routing and queuing.
    Enhanced ACD: Advanced queuing when the call center is not staffed and maximum wrap-up timer settings.
  • Auto Attendant: View Auto-Attendant DetailsInteractive voice response (IVR) and custom messaging.
  • Call Center Reporting: View Call Center ReportsPreset real-time and historical reports in graphical and tabular form.
  • Music On Hold and Comfort Announcement: Callers are provided with a greeting, followed by music or advertisements and periodic comfort announcements in audio or video format.
  • Monitoring and Recording: View Call Recording DetailsPre-integrated, third-party vendor solutions for real-time monitoring and recording of agent calls.

Hosted Call Center Benefits

  • Improve Customer Service: Ensure all incoming calls are serviced efficiently under any network condition and at any time.
  • Easily create virtual call centers: Establish call centers anywhere in the world, just with a broadband connection.
  • Follow-the-Sun customer care: Offer 24x7x365 ubiquitous services with a single number for distributed call center locations.
  • Manage calls effectively: Choose from a range of call distribution policies, including skills-based call distribution. Minimize Costs: Provide the option for agents to work remotely with access to all call features. Voice mail Transfer: Transfer calls directly to voice mail.

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10 Important Call Center Questions

Hosted VoIP Call Centers also known as Virtual Call Centers have become affordable to small businesses. The technology available today has evolved to the point that for a minimal upfront investment any company can have a Call Center that would have cost millions of dollars a few short years ago.

A Call Center is a telecommunications platform that allows businesses to effectively route phone calls to available agents. A Hosted Call Center makes it easy for businesses to configure inbound calls to a sales desk, a support hotline or help desk. A Hosted Call Center will even allow you to have Call Center Agents in multiple physical locations, these agents can even be home-based agents.

A comprehensive sales and customer support system are a critical component for any business. It is not enough to provide a competitively priced quality product. It is absolutely essential that you provide your customers with a first-class service experience when doing business with your company – before, during and after the sale.

If this is your first time evaluating a Hosted Call Center solution, here are 10 important points to consider.

  1. How does the pricing work? A provider that charges you per-agent or per-seat is charging you even when your agent isn’t on the phone. With a provider that charges per minute used, you’ll only be paying for the service that you actually make use of.
  2. What Hosted Call Center Features are available? A good Call Center solution should give you fine-grained control over every aspect of your call center. This is how your customers are going to experience your Call Center and it is vitally important that you provide a comfortable experience. You should be able to, for example, choose what music customers listen to while on hold, the maximum amount of time they’ll have to wait, and the number of callers in your queue.
  3. Does the provider require specialized IP Phone sets? Home-based employment is becoming increasingly popular. And for good reason: off-site workers are able to participate in their jobs without relocating or commuting. Tap into the possibilities of a workforce unrestricted by location by making sure that your Virtual Call Center allows agents to answer phones wherever they are, without needing to stay tied down to a specific piece of hardware. Virtual Call Center software should empower agents in your office or across the nation.
  4. How are incoming calls routed to agents? The more information a call center agent has about a caller, the better. Ask the provider what information is available to the call center agent and how is that information provided. Many call center providers integration with CRM applications like Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM. This type of integration is very valuable as it allows your agents to see a history of the interaction with your customers.
  5. Does your service offer Call Recording?: There’s no better way to monitor and review your call interactions than to have access to recordings and transcriptions of them. A provider that makes this option available will allow you to give specific feedback to your agents by seeing exactly how they did and what can be improved.
  6. Determine the capabilities of the call center supervisor: In order to manage the agents, the call center supervisors need up to the minute information about all aspects of the call center. This includes information about how the agents are performing as well as how long customers are waiting to speak to an agent. It is import that a call center solution provides effective real-time call center reporting.
  7. Do you offer the option to set schedules for individual agents?: Your Virtual Call Center is only as good as your scheduling options. By incorporating the schedules of individual call agents, you can ensure that calls are being routed to agents who are available to take the calls. Make your call queuing more efficient–which your customers will love–by using a precise schedule for each agent.
  8. Is there a setup fee or long-term contract?: Fees vary widely among call center providers. A Hosted Call Center solution is a web-based technology that does not require the purchase of hardware or software. Many call center providers require a term contract because of the upfront expense they incur setting up and installing your service. This may be very valuable to you and you should not dismiss a provider because they require a fee or a term contract. It may end up saving you in the end. Rather than look for a no fee, no contract provider, look for a provider that offers some sort of guarantee.
  9. Is IVR integration available? Can I transfer callers to another agent, call distributor, or IVR?: Your Virtual Call Center doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Or, at least, it shouldn’t. With Interactive Voice Response technology integration, you can make better use of your Call Center, allowing you to transfer callers to another agent, department, post-call survey, or voice mail.
  10. Determine the customer support policy: There is no system that is 100% fail proof. Determine what happens in the event of a system crash? Ask the vendor if they have redundant facilities. A provider with redundant facilities is less likely to have a significant outage than a provider that does not have redundant facilities. This will give you a better sense of how prepared the provider is for these situations.

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Business VoIP FAQ

Business VoIP FAQ

Even though VoIP has been around for over 10-years and there are more than 21 million VoIP users in the US alone, I still get a lot of basic questions about this technology from the small business community. So I thought now would be a good time for a VoIP Q & A Refresher.

  1. What is VoIP?
    VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a technology that allows you to make and receive phone calls and faxes over the Internet instead of through the telephone network.
  2. What is Hosted VoIP?
    Hosted VoIP or Managed VoIP is a service where a third-party provider hosts and manages all the telecommunications equipment and software on the VoIP Providers location. Companies that use a Hosted VoIP Service get the benefit of the VoIP Providers facilities and technical expertise without the costs and risks associated with managing those facilities.

    A managed VoIP-service package typically includes the design, integration, and deployment of IP-telephony equipment and software, along with management and maintenance of existing telephony solutions and the new VoIP network.

  3. Is a T-1 Broadband Connection Required?
    Not always. Depending upon your internet connection usage requirements, you may be able to use a cable or high quality DSL connection.
  4. Can I keep My Existing Telephone numbers?
    YES, in virtually every case, even if you are moving to a different area code or even a different state. Read about Porting (transferring) your existing telephone numbers to your new VoIP Phone Service.
  5. Is VoIP Reliable Enough For Business Use?
    Yes, some of the largest companies in the world are using VoIP.
  6. Will I be talking on a Computer?
    No. You will use IP Phones that look and work like traditional telephones to make calls. However, there are “Soft Phone” which allow the same access through a USB Headset attached to your computer.
  7. How Do I Manage My VoIP Phone System?
    A Hosted VoIP Phone System offers a great deal of flexibility for managing your system. Most systems give you the ability to add/remove phone users, create new departments either at your physical location or at a separate location.

    All of the technical aspects of managing a Hosted VoIP phone system will be handled by the VoIP Provider. One of the most important, but often overlooked aspects is Redundant facilities.

    You should only choose a VoIP Provider that has redundant facilities. When a VoIP Provider has redundant facilities, their system will automatically fail over to the secondary facility should the primary facility experience a problem.

  8. What Does VoIP Cost?
    VoIP Providers offer 2 basic types of Business VoIP Calling Plans. Plans are either unlimited calling (generally in the US & Canada) or Metered Plan (pay per minute of talk time).
    Your choice of calling plans should depend on your businesses calling pattern. If you do a lot of calls, you may want to consider an unlimited plan so that you can fix your costs. On the other hand, if your company is not a heavy phone user, a metered plan may be less expensive.
  9. Is There a Minimum Size for Business VoIP?
    Theoretically, the answer is no. You can have a single VoIP user company. In practice, companies typically have a minimum size requirement below which they will not offer service. Most respectable companies have a stated limit of 10-users. They hope is that these companies will grow into larger organizations.
  10. Is There a Maximum Number of Phones for a VoIP System?
    Theoretically no, the maximum number of phone users at any given location is governed by the available bandwidth.
  11. How is call quality insured?
    Voice Quality (VQ) technology solves the problems of keeping voice service over the Internet reliable. By prioritizing voice traffic at all the constraint points of WAN links between Speakeasy and customers, VoIP Providers are able to provide high quality and reliable service. This is done by smoothing traffic at the traditional bottlenecks: Toward the customer WAN and through use of router prioritization. Application Layer Gateways (ALG) are used in a similar way to manage the traffic flow from the customer to the network.

It is important that businesses get these questions answered prior to jumping into VoIP. Find a VoIP Provider whose solution best helps your company achieve your goals. Do not try and fit your company into a solution.

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What is Motivating the Businesses VoIP Migration

Most businesses move to Voice over IP (VoIP) on the belief that VoIP technology will save money over their current phone system. In many instances, this is simply not true.

Traditional phone companies have responded to the VoIP challenge by lowering their rates. With this being the case, what is it that explains why so many companies are moving to VoIP?

If the benefit of moving to a VoIP phone system is limited to just the cost savings, we would not expect to see so many companies adopting VoIP technology.

What is the Real Benefit of VoIP for Businesses

The real benefit companies gain from adopting VoIP technology comes from the increase in productivity, improvement in customer satisfaction and flexibility.

Productivity/Customer Satisfaction and Flexibility

VoIP, especially Hosted VoIP enables companies of all sizes in virtually any industry to increase productivity. Because a Hosted VoIP phone system allows companies to incorporate workers in any geographical location, companies can expand their hours of operation without incurring overtime.

For example, a company with a technical support department can have support staff on the east coast and the west coast. This allows a company to have expanded hours of operation and not have to pay overtime since employees will be working during normal business hours. This is a productivity gain because a company gets the same level of output without increasing costs. It is also an increase in customer service since the company was able to increase the hours it can provide customer service (8:00 A. M. Est to 8:00 P.M. PST).

Another obvious productivity/satisfaction gain comes from giving companies the ability to hire workers in an area that has a high-speed internet connection. Just because your company headquarters is in a high rent area, like New York, Chicago, Los Angles, does not mean you have to have your entire company at this location.

The JetBlue Example

JetBlue’s 500 reservations agents work out of their homes within a half-hour drive of the JetBlue Reservations Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Reservations Center has 100 seats for training new reservations agents and also houses the IT staff. JetBlue reservations agents connect to the host reservations system over the internet and use voice over IP (VoIP) connections to interact with customers. The IT staff supports reservations agents remotely by phone. And when the agents have a hardware problem that can’t be resolved over the phone or they need to upgrade the operating system or application, they take their removable hard disks to the Reservations Center to be re-imaged or exchanged for new disks.

By using VoIP technology, JetBlue has tapped into a pool or talent that may not have been available had JetBlue required their reservation agents to work out of a central office location. Another benefit to JetBlue from this strategy is the savings in overhead associated with leasing office space. This expense completely goes away because JetBlue adopted VoIP technology.

Conclusion

VoIP, especially Hosted VoIP, offers company opportunities to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and save money. The flexibility to hire workers in any location and incorporate them into a company’s phone system is a game changer. Companies are now freed from only having to draw talent from the local area surrounding the home office location and they are no longer to accept the higher rent space of a geographical area, just because it happens to be where their headquarters are located.

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