What questions need answers when selecting a Hosted VoIP System?
For many small businesses, a hosted/cloud-based VoIP communications system is an excellent way to maintain a professional connection with your customers without the challenges of maintaining a traditional premise-based phone system.
Here are some questions that you may wish to ask:
- How is Hosted VoIP different from regular VoIP or my cell phone?
- What kind of phones do I need?
- Can I integrate with my CRM?
- How will this work for employees who are out of the office or travelling?
- Will it help reduce my business costs?
- What features do I really need?
- I have a contact center. Can VoIP support this?
- Can I do video or audio conferencing?
- How do I add new locations or additional employees?
- Do I have to have phones on my desk?
- What productivity tools are included?
- What training and support is provided?
Contact us now to get all your questions answered:
FREE FOR NEC CUSTOMERS UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2020
AUDIO, VIDEO & WEB COLLABORATION
Each user receives their own personal video conferencing account.
PLUG AND PLAY
- Easy to use and easy to install mobile and desktop applications. No heavy IT infrastructure
- Embed your online meetings experience into everyday applications like Google®, Microsoft® and more.
MEET ANYWHERE Host and join meetings wherever you go with the MEET desktop and
MEET SECURELY MEET enables HIPAA compliance and offers end-to-end encryption for all meetings using WebRTC standards.
FREE VERSION INCLUDES
- 30 Web Meeting Participants
- 12 Active Video Panels
- 200 Audio Participants
- Video Conference
- Screen Sharing
- Remote Control
- Chat & Notes (Capture meeting notes in realtime–notes are automatically sent to all meeting participants)
- Meeting Recording with Transcription
- Recordings can be played back from virtually anywhere at any time.
- Like a ‘virtual PA’ – Artificial Intelligence (AI) based transcription ensures accurate taking of meeting notes.
- Outcomes and progress no longer suffer due to scheduling conflicts.
CALL TO SETUP YOUR FREE ACCOUNT TODAY
Contributed by Trevor Naish
Whether you are communicating with a colleague, a customer, or a group of people who are dispersed across different locations, using video and audio to connect online has become a method of choice!
With remote work becoming more common, companies need to find a way to maintain face-to-face contact to get work done. The online meeting technology only requires basic equipment. You need an Internet connection, audio (from computer speakers, microphone, or via telephone), and a webcam (standalone or integrated with your monitor/laptop). Compliment this with secure application software and you’re ready for business!
Benefits of virtual meetings include:
- Participants are less likely to multitask on video
- Seeing actual faces makes for a genuine connection
- It’s easier to get your point across on video
- It makes it easier to complete tasks
This is one of the powerful components of Wildix Unified Communications and Collaboration, a solution that is secure by design.
Please contact us today for details!
5 Ways to Rethink Your Work-at-Home Situation
As countless people began working from home for the first time in their lives, time and again I have heard them express one especially common worry:
“How can I get any work done when I have so many distractions?”
The fact is there is no way to just poof away every distraction available. So to keep disruptions at bay, you need to start with how you approach them and the idea of work itself — in other words, the solution is to reassess how you think about productivity and where it can occur.
Read on to learn five points to consider if you are worried distractions are keeping you from being the best smart home worker you can be.
1. Appreciate the Absent Annoyances
Although there is plenty to distract you in your own digs, the upshot is that, at home, you are free from office disruptions.
Before you tell yourself your home situation is unmanageable, keep in mind that there was also plenty in the office to take you out of a work mindset: loud coworkers, noise from other rooms, someone running the copier for an hour.
But working from home, those distractions all disappear. Not only are you away from the environment where those issues popped up, but just by muting your inbox and setting your status to DND, presto! You have officially nixed your nagging workplace woes.
So anytime you find yourself lamenting the distractions at home, remember that you pulled through distractions at the office, too — only, now, you can turn those issues off.
2. Stick to Your Own Deadlines
Except, the initial problem was that home does have plenty of its own distractions. After all, you have probably got a TV, books, an overly affectionate pet or two — and no manager over your shoulder to keep you on task.
As self-explanatory as it may sound, the key to overcoming these obstacles is self-policing. To boil it down, this means staying aware of your deadlines and making certain you stick to them on your own.
One specific way to aid with this is to make use of task management software like Jira, Wrike or Asana, which all let you create tasks just for your own purposes.
Another way is to create short-term milestones for yourself. Set explicit goals on a smaller scale; instead of saying “I need the audits done by the end of the month,” say “I need four expense reports processed today.”
With this approach, you can track progress (and procrastination) on a smaller scale, making it easier to manage yourself.
3. Re-Evaluate Your Work Boundaries
But — what happens if you are not making progress? Suppose that siren call of Netflix cuts through your carefully crafted work schedule. What then?
Though this question is too complex to fully answer in this post alone, the solution in brief is to separate yourself from your home’s biggest distractions — both physically and mentally.
The physical side works on a case-by-case basis, like stowing your phone far from your workplace or shutting yourself away from roommates or family. The mental aspect, meanwhile, entails putting an internal boundary against distractions.
Again, it is important to embrace the mindset that, so long as a task sits in front of you, that must be your focus, not the diversions you naturally associate with home. Learn to notice when that craving for a distraction pops into your head, then to brush the thought aside.
Call it self-help, call it a kind of meditation — the point is, focus must come from internal conditions as well as external ones.
4. Make Distractions Your New Breaks
To approach this whole issue from another angle, though, it has worth pointing out that work-time distractions are not necessarily a problem.
As psychological studies have shown, giving your brain some off-time is good for your work in the long term. With a brief period to reset, you will be able to come back to your task refreshed and more capable of getting those to-dos done.
Consider that what you call “distractions” may be a way to reset your thinking — or potentially some comfortable background noise to make your work more manageable.
5. Know When to Quit
But perhaps most crucial for settling into a work-at-home routine is learning to recognize your accomplishments.
A negative habit the office instills in us is the need to act busy just to look it, even if we have done the most we can for that day. Whether due to workplace standards or social pressure, finishing early does not always create more time for you.
This mindset can easily bleed into remote working. Sometimes, despite how you have finished the day’s work and your mental energy is totally sapped, there is a nagging fear that you cannot leave your laptop behind due to some abstract sense of “professionalism.”
The thing is, at home, you can afford to measure your work by what you have completed, not by your total hours online.
When turning your attention away from distractions and toward work, think about “tasks” instead of time. Remember, completed projects are a helpful, concrete way of measuring your progress; focusing on time, on the other hand, is arbitrary at best and unhealthy at worst.
So, if you have already finished with what work you had that day, then great! Feel free to give into a distraction or two. In fact, if you have no other commitments, it is even fine to log off early.
Credit: Austen Read-McFarland, Wildix
Please contact us today for details on how you can take advantage of our help!
Have you ever called a business, started explaining what you wanted and been put on hold? Then when the reception picked up your line again you had to start at beginning? Sometimes you may have been put on hold multiple times. This is stressful! Stressful for you and the receptionist or person trying to assist you at the other end.
CUSTOMER CENTRIC STRATEGY
Today many businesses are focused on their customer, as they should be. One thought is that the customer wants to be answered by a live voice which is true, but they also want to be helped as quickly as possible in a non-stressful interaction. Answering the same call multiple times, putting callers on hold repeatedly and stressing out both ends of a conversation are not customer centric actions.
IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT
How many calls do you get a day? If you have multiple people answering calls, are they equally efficient? Do you need more staff answering at different times? How much time do callers spend on hold? How many callers hang up before achieving the goal of their call?
CALL CENTRE SOLUTIONS
You don’t have to be an airline to be a call center. If you have people calling your business, you have a call center. Maybe they are calling by email or text. Still a center where these calls are received. You also don’t have to be a large business to use technology in your call centre to improve interactions with your customers or improve conditions for your staff. If you have times of the day with more callers than people to answer the calls you could benefit from a more formal solution.
CUSTOMER CENTRIC TECHNOLOGY
Queuing calls when all your staff are occupied speeds up the actual call. Your staff do not spend time listening to partial requests. On hold messages can give some callers the information they wanted or direct callers to your web page or other service options. Visual displays let secondary or supervisory staff know that there are more calls waiting. Measurement lets you know if you are improving and meeting your goals. Staff are more relaxed because they don’t not hear phones ringing all the time and they are focused, one on one, with each individual call.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Nutec helps plumbers, IT firms, municipalities, doctors, dentists and help desks with call centre technology, advice and solutions.
Watch this 7 minute video on call centre technology https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZlpIi4t5Fc
Call Nutec (800) 898-3336 for a discussion about your call centre.
Submitted by Trevor Naish
Too often organizations wait too long to replace out-of-date business telephone systems. Often they are satisfied as long as employees can pick up their handsets, hear dial tone, and make a call to just about anywhere. This has been the major strength of circuit-switched PBX systems since their introduction in the 1960’s. But nearly 60 years later, the workhorse simplicity of circuit-switched PBX has also become its major weakness. Now, packet-switched Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems provide significantly more business value than merely placing and receiving calls.
Most small and mid-sized businesses rely heavily on their telephone system. Unfortunately, this part of their technology investment often takes a back seat to the computer network. Has this been your experience? If so, is it possibly inhibiting your business potential?
If you depend on your business phone system to maintain that critical connection with your customers, suppliers and staff, it may be time to explore the options.
Some key benefits, integral to a business, that IP communications can enhance are:
- Productivity: Employees can communicate from their offices or from virtually any remote location, or telework from home.
- ROI: A broader base of personnel, customers, and business partners can access and utilize resources.
- Customer Satisfaction: IP technology supports self-service capabilities and facilitates problem resolution. This makes for happier customers.
- Business Process Improvement: Gone are the days of the monolithic PBX; today’s communications systems must integrate into business processes.
- Competitive Edge: Enabling teamwork between different locations and distributed work groups reduces time to market for new products and upgrades.
Business Risks of Older PBX Systems
Organizations face numerous threats with older PBX systems. These threats not only impact business continuity. They also increase costs and constrain short- and long-term plans for growth.
Threats related to older PBX systems – and the ways IP communications can help resolve these threats include:
- Frequent Outages and Business Disruptions: Where older PBX systems can crash and require manual servicing, IP technology enables technicians to perform remote diagnostics and clear troubles, often remotely, without dispatching a technician. Remote service capabilities improve performance benchmarks.
- Increasing Costs of Repair and Maintenance: Vendors and dealers typically increase prices for older systems to motivate customers to move to current platforms. As a result, newer systems may be more cost-effective than keeping an existing system.
- End of Manufacturer Sales and Support: Vendors phase out support for legacy systems over time. IP communication platforms are typically software-powered, which enables vendors to offer perpetual software assurance agreements.
- Shrinking Manufacturer and Third-Party Supply of Spares: As systems require updating, companies may find it harder to locate hardware and ancillary components; circuit boards with compatible firmware release levels; system documentation; and skilled telecom technicians. Voicemail systems are especially vulnerable because backup electromechanical disk drives used for message storage are scarce.
- Increased Likelihood of Shadow-IT: When employees can’t get the features or capabilities they require from IT, they obtain it themselves often with consumer apps. Although this may solve their problem, it often creates significant issues for the organization and IT itself in terms of protecting customer data, compliance, interoperability, scalability, import/export, and integration.
- Limited Capacity for Adding New Elements: When PBX systems need to grow, companies may struggle with the ability to add users and trunks, voicemail boxes, call center agents, etc. IP communication systems often can grow by buying more software licenses.
- Dial Plan Limitations for New Regional and Global Locations: IP platforms from major providers generally conform to E.164, the ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector) international public telecommunication numbering plan recommendation for the worldwide public switched telephone network (PSTN) and some other data networks.
- Inability to virtualize communication platforms: By definition, a hardware PBX is not virtual. In contrast, IP communications’ compatibility with VMware and similar offers from other providers support highly resilient implementations using a centralized data center model.
10 Features to Consider
- Call Forwarding: This is similar to call forwarding performed by a receptionist, although the process is completely automated. When a call is received at a designated number the system can be configured to automatically forward the call to other pre-set numbers, such as your cell or home phone if you happen to be working remotely or from home.
- Quality of Service (QoS) refers to the process of prioritizing certain VoIP features, such as call quality, to ensure uninterrupted service. You can program the QoS settings to defer to voice over other services such as email and video. QoS may also be improved by improving the internet connection. VoIP functions best on a fast, reliable Internet Service.
- Conference Bridge allows multiple callers to participate in a phone call by providing virtual conference room(s). Traditional 3-way calling limits the number of participants in a meeting. Conference bridges may be equipped to handle a larger group, and eliminate the need to dial through a central operator to access the call.
- Call Logging is an important phone system feature that can have a huge impact on your organization’s efficiency and your employee’s individual productivity. Call logging can produce statistical data which can be used for management and analysis purposes to set objectives and drive revenue. Statistics obtained can also be used to reduce the cost of calls. Businesses can ascertain when their calls are being made, which regions of the country are being contacted and how long the calls generally last.
- Automated Attendant informs callers of how long they can expect to wait until their call is answered as well as ensuring customers can reach the correct department by making menu choices with their telephone keypad. This is a vital aspect of customer service today as customers become more impatient over the phone and any unexpected delay could lead to disinterest and ultimately breakdown of relationship.
- Call Recording is often used for training purposes and can have a huge impact on the quality of customer service and overall communication standards throughout an organization.
- Music on Hold can make the hold time more bearable for the caller and can also be a marketing tool by interspersing music with announcements about products and services.
- Call Restrictions allow telephone system administrators to bar certain numbers so they cannot be dialed from within the network. This can also be set to stop users from dialing certain groups of numbers such as overseas numbers.
- Unified Communications (UC) integrates multiple communication channels into one centralized access point. A Unified Communications service allows users to communicate through their preferred channel such as IM. Whether you’re a small or large business, it’s quite common for employees to be dispersed across many locations. Unified Communications ensures that everyone can reach each other in real time, whether they’re traveling or working from a remote location. This often results in increased productivity. Also, UC users can be accessed on mobile devices, so they can work from any location.
- Contact Center: In today’s business environment, organizations must take advantage of the latest communication technologies to streamline their processes, enhance staff productivity and improve customer service. Contact Center software helps accomplish these goals by handling high call volume with a minimum number of resources. Combining this with UC enables users to login as an agent and view real-time queue statistics plus monitor Contact Center status of other agents. When call volumes are high, they can easily and quickly login to handle calls that are waiting in queue which results in improved customer satisfaction.
Interested in more information? Call now: 1-800-898-3336 or email email@example.com to arrange a complimentary needs analysis.
Source credit to Dave Michels, TalkingPointz
Need a modern business telephone system without a major upfront investment, but not ready for the cloud?
The UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE offers a complete, out-of-the-box, on-premises business telephone solution. The packages include all the phones, hardware, and SIP Trunks needed – providing a cost-effective alternative to cloud-based solutions.
With a reputation for reliability and security, the SV9100 BLUE by NEC is ideal for the small or medium-sized business in need of technologies like Unified Messaging, Voicemail and the latest Mobility features without the requirement of a large upfront investment.
On-Premises or Cloud?
Businesses today are often faced with the difficult decision of choosing between a cloud-based communications solution or an on-premises solution. It’s a difficult choice for many small businesses since both delivery methods have their unique advantages. The UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE offers a combination of the strengths of both models.
A History of Dependability
The UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE evolved from NEC’s award winning premise-based UNIVERGE SV9100 solution. This is a complete, field-proven business telephone solution supporting applications including mobility clients, unified messaging and much more.
Minimal Investment Required
Instead of a requiring a capital investment, the SV9100 BLUE includes all the hardware and SIP Trunk services in the low monthly payment. This operating expense (OPEX) funding plan allows more flexibility, a value for any business. NEC Today recently posted an article on getting the best value in a communications solution, even on a tight budget.
A Predictable Expense
A key advantage of the UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE solution is the cost. No purchase or expensive lease payments are required. The SV9100 BLUE is strictly deployed under an operating expense model, without the need of a large upfront investment. Pay only for the capacity you need with a single monthly bill for hardware and phone services.
Shifting your communications to an operating expense plan means fewer surprises. Nobody likes surprise charges when you least expect them, especially on equipment installations, maintenance and upgrades. An OPEX model makes it easier to forecast your budget compared to a capital expenditure (CAPEX) model.
Unified Communications Features
The UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE is a robust, on-premises UC business phone solution from NEC, a trusted leader in communications technology, with all the latest features your business needs.
Simple, Reliable, Secure
The UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE is delivered as an on-premises phone solution offering unsurpassed NEC reliability and security. Your business phone system becomes an easy install, predictable monthly expense, eliminating the need for a large upfront investment. Pay only for the capacity you need with a single monthly bill.
The UNIVERGE SV9100 BLUE is a cost effective phone solution to meet your business communications requirements. The subscription base platform includes everything you need to get started.
Credit and thanks to Denise Borel, who posted this in NEC Today on February 2, 2017.
You know your outdated communications system is way past its prime, and economic pressures have led you to delay its upgrade or replacement.
But there comes a point in time when it no longer makes sense to put off replacing your communications assets—from both a financial perspective and a business/productivity perspective. Retaining outdated equipment can essentially increase your IT costs and prevent your users from utilizing communications tools that help your business processes.
Plus, keep in mind; the greatest risk to your business if your communications go down is your business shuts down. This can lead to huge losses for your business, including customer dissatisfaction, customer loss, damaged reputation and costs related to regaining your reputation. These all can greatly affect your business and result in huge losses.
Phone systems are one of the assets that many companies take for granted as long as they have dial-tone. They don’t think much about it and will definitely spend their budget elsewhere if they can. As a result, many of these organizations are sitting on archaic (or end-of-life) equipment that is no longer efficiently supporting their business while possibly putting it a risk.
Yet for some, the prevailing practice is to continue operating the existing system well past its useful life and beyond the end-of-support – not realizing the potential costs and the risk they are putting their business in.
We often hear the following reasons to avoid upgrading:
- We don’t have the budget, or there is a higher priority budgetary request.
- The lifespan on the last communications system was too short.
- We’re afraid that if we upgrade tomorrow, something better will come out next week (a.k.a. the cycle of obsolescence).
- We’re unclear on our unified communications plans and how our phone system should fit in with UC.
- Newer phone systems are becoming too complex to use.
- The buying cycle is too long, and we will have to get too many people involved who will all have different opinions.
- We don’t know which approach to take—i.e. premises, hybrid, or cloud-based.
There’s a chance that the phones you think are supporting your business aren’t. While the value of your older technology may not have appeared to change—for example, the phones still work, and you can still make calls—the outdated system may be hurting your business.
We know the decision to move to a new telephony system is sometimes a difficult one to make. That’s why we’ve created the following list of 3 of the benefits of a modern unified communications system over an outdated phone system.
1. System Stabilization
If you are a business owner or decision maker, you have probably thought, “We save money keeping the old system. What’s the worst that can happen?”
Every day your business uses an analog, TDM, or older VoIP phone system that has reached end-of-life, you run the risk of having your phone system fail without access to support. If that happens, revenue will likely be lost as a result. How much? Well, you could lose what equates to hours, days, or even weeks of revenue—depending on the amount of time it takes to quickly repair or worst case find and install a new system. Not to mention what was previously stated about customer dissatisfaction and loss.
And hurrying to find a new system isn’t ideal. If your system fails, it could mean you are forced to make a quick replacement decision. Companies that don’t have the time or don’t take the time to research properly before purchase usually discover they’ve spent too much money or are unhappy with their purchase after it is too late to change it. Taking the time to find the right IP Telephony solution or Unified Communications solution will improve your business processes and efficiencies without over-extending your budget.
2. Improved Operational Costs
Maintaining separate systems like directories, conferencing software, voicemail, and telephony is expensive and time consuming for IT departments to sustain. In fact, it can be so time-consuming that the IT department spends the majority of their day keeping these systems functional—time that can be better spent on more strategic IT projects.
The older the system, the higher the operational cost is when you don’t upgrade. Some of the costs businesses accrue using older systems include:
- Proprietary hardware at each location (equipment, phones, PBX)
- Maintenance, repairs and upgrades
- Additional services
- Business SMS
- HD video meetings
- Audio conferencing
When you factor the lost IT time spent maintaining each separate communications system with the opportunity cost of not having the advanced applications and features that modern unified communications provides, you end up with a total cost that is just too high for most businesses to ignore.
3. Competitive Advantage
Have you stopped to think about whether your competitors are taking advantage of modern communications software? If they are and you’re not, then chances are they are able to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Working smarter gives them an edge by increasing their productivity and creating a competitive advantage.
Your competitors that are working with updated communications systems, most likely have these advanced features at their disposal:
Audio/video/web collaboration, white boarding and document sharing
Support for the mobile workforce with a consistent user experience across smartphones and tablets
UC clients that provide status, presence, call history, call control plus more
Integrated vertical applications through standard and open services
While the cost of upgrading may seem high, the advanced applications and features associated with modern communications systems will help re-gain lost competitive edge and offer companies an opportunity to better serve their customers.
Unified communications can help businesses re-gain competitive advantage in two ways:
First, a new system can help you increase your revenue by providing your business with the communications applications needed to be more productive and efficient. You could gain better advantages and increased competitive edge by choosing a modern solution with a lower total cost of ownership and features that enable collaboration across your business, improving the speed of your communications.
Secondly, UC provides communications software that makes enterprise-level communications applications available on an ad-hoc basis. This either gives you access to applications that you might not have previously been able to budget for, or, saves your organization money as you no longer have to pay the fees required to utilize multiple services. Replacing hosted web, audio or video conferencing services is a perfect example. The accrued savings can boost the return on your unified communications investment, and expand your competitive edge through re-investment into other IT projects that help your business grow.
If you fear that your new technology will become obsolescent and use that as an excuse to avoid upgrading, you shouldn’t. Look for vendors that offer software assurances and extended warranties for hardware that will provide your business with more security and less risk in the long run.
With a modern communications solution, you ensure that your system has the flexibility to handle rapid growth, giving you the ability to provide support to your increasingly mobile and distributed workforce. Your IT team will re-gain some of their time, allowing them to focus on other strategic IT initiatives. And, your employees will re-coup benefits that improve the speed of communication from access to applications that positively impact your daily business—whether it’s through more efficient collaboration with colleagues, or improving customer response times.
Options Available to Your Business
Ultimately there is a high cost, in terms of inefficiencies and operational cost, when you continue to operate an outdated or end-of-life phone system.
Some organizations struggle with selecting the best model (premises, hybrid, or cloud-based) to meet long-term communication needs. Ultimately you’ll look for the platform and vendor that has the flexibility to customize the right solution to meet your specific needs.
Is your small business enjoying the benefits of big business features on your telephone system? For most small businesses, the telephone system is a critical business tool. Now you can add the value of an integrated unified communications solution that enhances your organization’s productivity and collaboration.
Wikipedia defines Unified Communications (UC) as a marketing buzzword describing the integration of real-time enterprise communication services. However, small businesses are now using enterprise type solutions more than ever to enhance the way they manage their communications.
Manage Communications from Your Desktop PC
NEC offers a productivity-boosting solution with key functions that deliver big business benefits. It provides a small business solution with an intuitive application providing full call control from your PC screen. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can get more done in less time through easy-to-use features such click-to-dial which eliminates dialing errors, speed dialing, call management and contact lookup.
For Microsoft® Office Outlook® users, it easily integrates with your Outlook contacts, providing click-to-dial functionality within emails for further time-saving benefits.
Support for Remote and Mobile Workers
The NEC SL Desktop Suite’s Softphone is a portable telephony application, offering you system phone functionality from your laptop, from wherever you are: ideal for remote and mobile workers. With the Softphone, your workers will have the communications tools they need to work efficiently and productively, whether they’re in the office or on the road.
This versatile IP phone delivers high quality voice via a USB-connected headset/handset. It provides the full functionality and features of a regular desktop phone. Designed to meet the needs of any employee. It can be used as a primary desktop telephone, a supplementary desktop telephony or a remote/telecommuting device.
Following is a short video illustrating the benefits of this SL1100 Desktop Suite.
Please contact us for additional information.