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Posted on: May 22, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By: Rebecca Rosen, VP of Marketing

When a small to medium business (SMB) turns to you for a new, cost-effective business phone system, point them to the cloud.  Giving your customer the power to communicate internally and externally on any device, at any time is powerful.  A cloud PBX, quite literally, puts their business success at their fingertips.

All verticals – from retail, and technology, to advertising – benefit from moving to a cloud business phone system.  Cost saving, 24/7 access, reliability, and continual seamless technological advances will keep your customer relevant in their field and you relevant as their communications partner.

Let’s start by defining for your customer what a cloud PBX is and then take them through the top 4 reasons it can change the way they do business.

Cloud PBX by any other name, sounds just as sweet.

Many customers in the SMB market have a vague idea of what “the cloud” is and look to you to navigate the path through the fog.  Sometimes the simplest definition is the best, cloud-based business phone systems are VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phones that are accessed over the internet and hosted in an off-site data center. Other terms we often hear are hosted PBX, hosted VoIP, and cloud PBX.

Cloud phone systems are not magical nor a silver bullet.  With the right VoIP ready network configurations and planning though, it can give your customer the technology edge they need to take their business to the next level.

4 reasons SMBs thrive in the cloud

  Your clients are changing and growing. With growth comes the need to quickly adapt the way they communicate to meet the needs of their customers.

Here are four reasons the clients you’re talking to already want cloud phone systems; even if they don’t know it yet.

1. SMBs want to save money.

Cloud communications are much more affordable than traditional analog offerings. Your clients will no longer have to pay expensive fees for unlimited local, long distance, and international calls.

Companies that move to the cloud also save money on infrastructure and maintenance costs. As technology evolves and equipment depreciates, on-site business phone systems are not only expensive but also need to be upgraded on a regular basis. An onsite PBX phone system, for example, requires upfront costs for installation, equipment, service arrangements, as well as IT costs for ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting.

However, a cloud communication system is free of these costs because they are hosted by a service provider. Companies can say goodbye to upfront equipment costs as well as hiring in-house IT personnel. What’s more, your clients will also save on monthly phone line charges.

2. Customers want remote control.   

One of the main benefits of having a cloud-based business phone system is that your clients receive remote access. Having remote access is ideal for companies with more than one office location and for those that have remote employees.

Working from home is more common than ever before and a remote workforce requires remote control. With cloud communications, customers can communicate with teams and clients no matter where they are with their IP phone or softphone app. This means that they also have access to critical business software while on the go. With a communications system in the cloud, companies can run operations smoothly while providing a consistent presence regardless of the environment.

3. Businesses want reliable phone systems.

Internet downtime costs SMBs a lot of money and chances are your clients have already experienced an outage or two. With the cloud, businesses don’t have to worry about power outages affecting operations and sales ever again. Cloud-based communications platforms are reliable due to geographic redundancy, having several servers in multiple locations so that even if there’s an issue at a single data center, it won’t impact service. This is important because even if there’s a fire, storm or another disaster, a power outage in your client’s location won’t affect their ability to stay connected to teams and customers.

4. Customers want fully integrated communications systems. 

The cloud makes it simple for clients to pick and choose communications features beyond business phones. Today’s small businesses want all of their tools and communications in one web-based application, which has been shown to help increase business efficiency and productivity.

For example, a fully integrated communications system can combine telephony, UC, collaboration and virtual call center features all in one platform. And the best part is that as new technology emerges, clients don’t have to purchase new software or hardware to keep up with the times. Instead, cloud communication systems can automatically adapt and update.

Demystifying the cloud

Ultimately, relating your customers every day needs to the powerful concepts the cloud can offer will strengthen your relationship.  For some SMBs, moving their phone systems to the cloud will be their first step in moving technologically forward – putting the power for growth in their hands and yours.

Want to learn more about Broadvoice? Click here to see your local Broadvoice channel contacts and learn a bit more about us.

Posted on: May 2, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By: Momentum Telecom

What does day two look like after your service is setup?

 

There’s nothing quite like getting a shiny new toy. Whether it comes in the mail or you pick it up at the store, when you set the package on the counter, rip open the box and officially introduce your new treasure to the world.

The experience of a new toy isn’t vastly different from the experience of getting to use new technology. It’s new, fun and if there is some assembly required, there is a reasonable expectation that it includes detailed instructions along with the right tools and access to help, if you need it.

Not having those resources can be the difference between loving your new technology and hating it forever. Unfortunately, in today’s technology space, there is a wide array of companies that put all their efforts into gaining customers, but don’t consider what it’s like to use their products on day 2, let alone day 100 or day 1000.

At Momentum, we pride ourselves on the leading customer experience that starts during the sales processshines throughout implementation and extends beyond onboarding. It’s a holistic white-glove service that begins on the first day you engage with Momentum and lasts your entire customer journey.

We believe any partnership with a technology company should be as good on day one as it is on day 1000, and that’s why on day two we provide and dedicate ourselves to providing our customers with:

Training

Education is essential to a successful UC solution. For this reason, we have a team at Momentum that is entirely dedicated to the training of customers and the creation of useful training and educational materials. We also provide trainers for both on-site and web-based training to  ensure that all users have the access to become knowledgeable on how to take full advantage of the Momentum solution.

Resources

On top of training, we use a blended learning approach that invites users to use Momentum University, which serves as an online knowledge base to help facilitate personal training and ongoing learning. This resource is full of content designed to help users to better understand and utilize Momentum’s leading tools and cloud services, and includes PowerPoint presentations, user guides, quick start guides and training videos.

Support

Momentum Telecom is committed to delivering meaningful value to our customers through a reliable, high-quality and unified user experience. To consistently deliver on this commitment, Momentum uses a dedicated white-glove team solely focused on delivering the best customer experience. Momentum’s support team strives to be providers of knowledge, services and tools that simplify communications and enable business productivity.

Posted on: April 19, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By: GAETANO DINARDI of Nextiva

Work remote often? We’ve got you covered with 25 of our favorite working from home tips for you to implement into your daily routine. Working from the comfort of your couch, home office, or bed, offers flexibility and work-life balance that most professionals desire.

After all, who wouldn’t want to work whenever they wanted, on the couch in front of the TV in their PJs with a laptop?

Spend more time with their children?

Or have more home time in general?

Although working from home seems like the ultimate luxury, most professionals forget about one crucial element: productivity. Working from home is great, but it can be a real drag if you struggle with staying productive.

 

So, Here Are Our Top 25 Working from Home Tips

  1. Build a Permanent Work Space
  2. Invest in Technology
  3. Get Comfortable — and Functional — Office Furniture
  4. Set “Work Hours”
  5. Avoid “Work Creep”
  6. Discover Your Peak Productivity Periods
  7. Make To-Do Lists
  8. Use a Planner
  9. Use Task Management Apps
  10. Don’t Work in Your PJs
  11. Don’t Work in Front of the TV
  12. Set a Morning Routine and Stick to It
  13. Set an Alarm
  14. Exercise
  15. Eat a Healthy Lunch or Snack
  16. Take Short Breaks
  17. Create a Rewards System
  18. Use Productivity Apps
  19. Stay Off Social Media
  20. Listen to Music
  21. Leave the House
  22. Use Video Chat
  23. Use Your “Lunch Break” for Errands and Appointments
  24. Avoid Family, Friends, and Pets
  25. Create a Vision Board

 

1) Build a Permanent Work Space

The first step in your “work from home” journey is to designate an area of your home specifically for work.

This could be an empty or spare bedroom that you convert to a home office. If you are pressed for space, you can set up a desk for your computer and office supplies.

Regardless of space or location, establish an area of your home where you will work, and commit to working in this space every day. Be sure your work space is comfortable (especially in any season) and enjoyable, and where you can work quietly when needed.

Related: 33 Ways to Improve Work Performance (+Bonus Tips for Managers)

 

2) Invest in Technology

Yes, setting up a home office or work space may require a small investment. Much like starting a new business, you may have to purchase technology, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone system to do your job every day.

Depending on the nature of your work, you may also need to purchase applications, hardware, and/ or software. Our recommendation?

Invest in whatever you need to comfortably and easily do your job.

 

3) Invest in Comfortable — and Functional — Office Furniture

You may also need to invest in office furniture, if you haven’t already. Depending on the amount of space available, consider purchasing a large desk, bookshelves, and a comfortable office chair.

Remember, the point is that you will be working in this space every day.

So, be sure to purchase comfortable and functional furniture, including ergonomic furniture or equipment, if needed.

 

4) Set “Work Hours”

Now that you have your office or work area set up, it’s time to get down to business — literally. If you are going to make working from home an everyday affair, then set specific business or work hours.

The beauty of working from home is that you can be flexible in setting your own working hours. For example, if you are most productive in the morning, or if you need to get the kids off the bus at 3:00 pm, then you may want to set your work hours from 7 am until 3 pm.

Regardless of your schedule, be sure to establish set work hours to follow each day. Be sure to also communicate your work schedule to colleagues, staff, and your boss, if you have one.

 

5) Avoid “Work Creep”

Some people believe that a work from home career can be invasive in your personal life. This is because if you are constantly home and near your work, then your work will begin to creep into your home life. Yes, the risk is real, but only if you let it…

This goes back to setting work hours. By setting specific work hours and sticking to them each day, then you can manage a healthy work schedule. When your work day is over, whether that is at 3, 4, 5 or 6 pm, shut your laptop and shut your office door and leave it behind until the next day.

 

6) Discover Your Peak Productivity Periods

Working from home tips: Find your productivity peaks
Image courtesy: Evernote

Every individual and professional is most productive at different times of the day. For example, some individuals are “morning people” and they are most productive, alert, and focused during the morning hours. Others are more productive in the afternoon and evenings.

The point here is to discover when you are most productive and build your work schedule around your peak productivity periods. (More tips on this point to come later in this article.)

 

7) Make To-Do Lists

Working from home tips: Make to-do lists
Image courtesy: Todoist

When you work from home each day and you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, it can be challenging — and sometimes overwhelming — to keep track of what you have to do each day. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks, deadlines and even the little things.

In order to stay on task, quickly write down all the things that need to get done at the start of each day. If your list is quite lengthy, then set goals and time limits for accomplishing each task. After you complete each task, cross it off the list. This simple technique is both effective and fulfilling.

 

8) Use a Planner

In addition to making to-do lists, get into the habit of using a calendar or planner. For example, if you work from home some days but you are on the road others, get in the habit of using a planner to write down and keep track of deadlines, appointments, and meetings.

 

9) Use Task Management Apps

If you aren’t a “write-it-down” to-do list or planner person, don’t worry—there are plenty of digital calendar and task management apps available that can still help you.

Some top task management and calendar apps include:

Most of these apps offer both web-based and mobile versions, so you can download them to your phone. Some can even be integrated with other apps, such as Slack for team collaboration. And the best part? Most of these apps offer a free version.

 

10) Don’t Work in Your PJs

We know — this is one reason why people love working from home. If you love working in your PJs, then you are probably killing your productivity.

Even if you don’t have to leave the house, make it a point to set a morning routine and stick to it. Therefore, when you are ready to sit down to work, you will be mentally and physically prepared for the day.

 

11) Don’t Work in Front of the TV

This is another productivity killer. Although you might treat “working from home” as really a “day off” that involves your couch and Netflix, glancing at your laptop from time to time, making this a habit will not get you very far.

Again, as mentioned above, treat your work day as just that: a work day. Avoid the TV and other distractions so you can focus on your work and getting things done. If you need the TV on as background noise, then do so, but avoid looking at it every few minutes. If you find that the TV is distracting you, shut it off and try listening to music or using a sound machine instead.

 

12) Stick to a Morning Routine

Another enjoyable perk of working from home is not having to get up, rush out of the house, and commute to an office. However, working from home doesn’t mean you get to skip your morning routine altogether. You should still set an alarm, get up early, take a shower, grab coffee and breakfast, and prepare your lunch, just like you have to leave the house.

13) Set an Alarm

Even if you don’t have to be up as early to leave for the office, you should still set an alarm and commit to getting up at a certain time each day. This will prevent you from sleeping in too late, and will keep you on a healthy sleep schedule.

Human beings are creatures of habit. We are incredibly dependent on routines, schedules, and structure. Therefore, by setting an alarm, following a strict morning routine, and setting specific work hours you will be healthier, more focused, more alert and more productive. Remember, a healthy body is a healthy mind.

 

14) Exercise

If your day allows, take a lunch break and go for a walk, go to the gym or stretch. Exercise naturally boosts endorphins, which increase happiness, enjoyment, and interest levels, all of which are important for productivity.

If you are an early-morning jogger or gym-goer, then work that into your routine each day. And, if you want to make exercise a habit, or become an early-morning exerciser, but struggle with getting out of bed, set an alarm across the room so you are forced to get up out of bed to shut it off. You can also leave yourself motivational sticky notes by your bed, so they are the first thing you see and read in the morning.

 

15) Eat a Healthy Lunch or Snack

Working from home tips: Try healthy snacks
Image courtesy: SnackNation

Another work from home reality is that we have full access to the kitchen. So, when it’s time for lunch or a snack break, we are immediately drawn to the usual snacks, such as chips, chips, cookies or leftover pizza. When we work in an office, we are at the mercy of whatever is available in the cafeteria or whatever lunch we brought from home.

However, research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct link on overall productivity levels. If you are an avid snacker, then make it a point to make yourself a healthy lunch, just as you would if you had to go into an office. You can also avoid buying unhealthy snacks altogether.

You can also reward yourself with a sweet snack on Friday after a long, successful, and productive week.

 

16) Take Short Breaks

Although we have focused most of this article on how to stay productive while working from home, sometimes the opposite can happen. We think that by working from home we will be able to get more done because there are less distractions. Therefore, sometimes we end up over-committing and working too much, which also kills productivity.

You can easily avoid this by working short, five-minute breaks into your daily schedule, or even make them a part of your “rewards system”. Although taking breaks might seem counterproductive, research has shown that taking short breaks can actually increase productivity and creativity levels.

 

17) Use a Rewards System

We mentioned using a rewards system in the point above. This is an easy way to help you get things done — even the things you have been procrastinating or putting off.

For example, take a five-minute break to go for a stroll through your neighborhood, grab a healthy snack, take your dog to the park down the street, or switch over the laundry once you finish a phone call or complete a difficult task or deadline.

Although it seems simple, using a basic rewards system will help you get things done and also feel fulfilled.

 

18) Do Use Productivity Apps

If you struggle with staying on task while working from home, even if you have already tried some of the tips above, then you may need to kick things up a notch and use a productivity app.

For example, some productivity apps will track the amount of time you spend on each task, and even minimize distractions. Some examples of these types of apps include the following:

Even if you work for yourself, and you do not need to report time to a manager, using a time tracker app will help you see your productivity levels each day and week. This will not only provide you with insight as to when you are most productive during the day, it will also show you how much time you spend on each task.

If you are spending too much time on a particular task, or more than what is necessary on repetitive tasks, then it may be time to look into some automation solutions for even more productivity!

 

19) Stay Off Social Media

I think we can agree that we are ALL guilty of this one from time to time — or every day. Social media can be a giant time suck if you aren’t careful. In fact, studies have shown that the average adult spends nearly nine hours per day on social media.

That is more time than most people spend sleeping or working! Furthermore, according to an article recently published by CNN, Facebook and Instagram now reveal to users how much time they spend in each app.

If you are a social media addict, then make it a habit to shut off social media notifications during the day, if possible. This will help avoid distractions, so you can focus on getting more done.

 

20) Listen to Music

Okay, so you shut off social media and the TV, and you are sitting at your desk and focused on your work. But, now it’s too quiet.

Listening to music while you work can help boost productivity levels and even enhance creativity.Even if you aren’t a huge music fan, studies have shown that listening to soft, classical music while you work can help improve focus.

Check out this afternoon energy boost playlist on Spotify >>>https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0Vjhah37el0Aq5yoRaujBz

 

21) Leave the House

You just invested time and money in setting up a designated work space or home office, and now we are telling you to leave the house? Yes and no.

Leaving the house on occasion can give you a change of scenery, which can help boost creativity and productivity. If you need a slight change of pace, try working in your backyard or at a nearby coffee shop.

 

22) Use Video Chat

Interact with others! Working from home every day can get pretty lonely, especially if you are single or live alone. Make it a point to chat with colleagues, team members, or clients each day.

Video chat is a great way to stay connected with other human beings. There are also a number of video chat applications available today, such as:

  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • UberConference
  • Google Hangouts

Depending on the nature of your work and your position, you could end up spending almost all of your day on calls. If you spend a lot of time on the phone or in video conferences each day or week, then set aside time in your schedule each day for calls or video chats.

 

23) Use Your “Lunch Break” for Errands and Appointments

If you work from home each day, then you have a ton of free time to do what you want and go where you want, right?

Maybe, but we don’t recommend that. Structuring your day is important. If you need to run errands, or schedule the occasional doctor or dentist appointment, try to schedule them for your “lunch break”, just as you would if you worked in an office.

 

24) Avoid Family, Friends, and Pets

This can be difficult, especially if you have young children at home, or have multiple pets, all of whom want your attention. If you are home all day, every day, then family and friends might think that they can show up whenever they please.

Of course, you probably welcome and enjoy the company, it’s important to remember that this is your work time. Be sure to set and stick to specific work hours and clearly communicate those hours with your family and friends.

 

25) Create a Vision Board

If you have been working from home for several years, and have mastered most if not all the points above, then you working from home might be becoming boring, dull or stale. You might struggle with sticking to your schedule, or enjoying your work.

If this sounds all too familiar, then it might be time to take a step back, re-evaluate your business or work, and then approach it from a different angle.

vision board can help. A vision board is just that: a board that you can use to write notes and post pictures of your dreams and aspirations. The visualization aspect of a vision board is a great and powerful mind exercise. It can help you feel the way you want to feel. This could help you get out of your work from home slump, and pave a new, clear path to productivity and success.

Start putting these working from home tips into effect today to streamline your routine and increase your productivity.

Posted on: By: CNSG Marketing

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Posted on: April 12, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By:  of IntelePeer

Is your business receiving thousands of calls a day? If so, are you aware of the gold mine of rich data these calls are bringing your business? While there are other channels that you may be using to connect with your customers, there is still an opportunity to understand customer behavior and pain points from calls. Each call contains priceless information that can help you identify patterns and trends that can improve your customer satisfaction. Voice analytics is a powerful tool that will help unlock business intelligence to deepen your pockets all while giving you a bird’s eye view of the ins and outs of your customer interactions. The gathering of large amounts of data is the modern-day gold rush. So, what is your call data worth? Keep reading to find out.

Ca$h in on your Contact Center

Contact centers are faced with many challenges, such as battling high agent turnover, optimizing staff productivity, and ensuring a fantastic customer experience. That’s why the ability to learn from each call is so important and can strongly improve future customer satisfaction.

Before the technological advancements in speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and big data, companies would monitor conversations manually, but only about 1-3% of calls were ever analyzed.

For example, a team leader may listen to a representative sample of calls and use that information to make significant company-wide decisions, but are those the right decisions? What about the other 97% of calls they never analyze? Seems like a lot of missed opportunities… By deploying AI and machine learning technology, you can easily analyze every customer interaction to ensure your agents are delivering top-notch service. Managers can use data mining to help recognize training gaps and understand what customers are calling about to better prepare agents.

The other key to delivering a stellar customer experience is to ensure no call to your contact center goes unanswered. Voice analytics enable you to get the full picture of calls based on date, time, and location. Let’s say you realize that one of your locations is receiving high call volumes on Wednesdays during lunch. That’s great, but the problem is that the majority of agents are on break, meaning that your customers are sitting in a queue or end up hanging up before they reach an agent. Now you know you need to change up agent work schedules, so you can decrease call hold times and have happier customers.

Elevate the entire Enterprise

Don’t have a contact center? No worries, the ability to uncover deep insights and the wealth of rich data isn’t limited to just contact centers. The benefits of voice analytics can be used across the entire enterprise to optimize a variety of business processes; including sales, marketing, and compliance.

  • Sales: Analyze results based on location to identify top performing sales agents or regions where you may need to do some more prospecting.
  • Product & Marketing: Understand what customers are calling in about (i.e. product issues or feedback) so you can create educational materials, update product features, or create new products to address customer needs.
  • IT: Stay on top of network capacity and call routing by monitoring call volumes to manage communication resources, improve efficiency, and detect potential issues.
  • Compliance: Monitor real-time voice data to ensure your agents comply with government regulations and company guidelines.

Make Cents of your data

So how does all this work? Analyzing voice data used to be a manual process of examining call recordings in a quest to find actionable data points, which was obviously time consuming (not to mention, it wasn’t a lot of fun). But there’s a better option on the horizon. Advanced voice analytics solutions are continually gaining acceptance and adoption; these tools speed up the data mining process, cut costs and enable brands to make data-driven decisions. Not only does voice analytics software improve automation, it can also identify the speaker’s emotion and intent by analyzing audio patterns and sentiment. This insight will allow you to reduce churn by discovering the root cause of any issues and predicting at-risk customers.

When you pair Atmosphere® Insights with Atmosphere® Voice you can unlock hidden data to improve customer satisfaction and gain greater operational efficiency. Atmosphere® Insights is a powerful AI-enabled solution that enables you to better manage communication flows and gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs and the experience they are having with your company and products. Measure, evaluate, and redefine your call-in experience with Atmosphere® Insights.

 

Posted on: By: CNSG Marketing

By: David Portnowitz of Star2Star

The global communications landscape is changing significantly, with the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) both growing at remarkable rates. If you’re not already familiar, IoT stands for “Internet of Things” and is the industry term for this era’s “smart” devices including smart phones, appliances, cars, and other items we use every day. AI is more widely known, and often characterized as an intelligent robotic persona. With the prevalence of Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, almost everyone who has ever used a smart device has also experienced AI.

Breaking Down The AI and IoT Trends

In 2015, there were about 15.4 billion connected devices in existence; by 2025, this figure will swell to 75.4 billion. 77 percent of consumers are now using at least one AI-powered device or service. Oftentimes, customers engage with AI without even realizing it.

Related: What You Need To Know About Chatbots

As global communications are changing, contact centers are being forced to keep up with the pace. The contact center, after all, is one of the most important touchpoints for customer communications and businesses are being challenged to update their technologies as well as their customer service strategies.

Related: The Communications B2C Customer Experience

The AI Emergence

AI is being used in a few different ways in the contact center. First and foremost, AI has emerged as a major driving force behind interactive voice response (IVR) systems and chatbots. In the past, automated conversations were very basic. But thanks to AI, bots can expand beyond rudimentary conversations and respond accurately to complex customer queries. For this reason, there is growing interest in using AI-powered bots to provide self-service throughout the day, and after hours.

Related: 3 Key Ways AI Impacts UC

Now, a gap is growing between companies that are actively using AI in the contact center and companies that are not; companies that are using AI can provide much better self-service by reducing on-hold times, lowering costs, and streamlining conversation flows for agents. Companies that refuse to embrace AI will fall farther behind the competition in the coming years. Businesses are therefore strongly advised to work AI into their customer-facing processes.

Related: 10 Reasons Businesses Are Switching To UC Cloud Services

We are also seeing more and more companies deploying AI for intelligent call routing. Routing decisions that used to rely primarily on basic input data (like a customer’s language, location, age, and purchase history) are now being enhanced with real-time intelligence engines. AI can pull data from a wider pool, and combine that information with additional characteristics (like a caller’s mood) to put a customer in touch with the right associate.

Related: UC Solutions For Every Industry

Contact centers, it should be noted, are also using AI to collect real-time threat intelligence, in order to prevent fraud during interactions. Many businesses now use AI in the background to gather data and flag suspicious activities.

The IoT Impact

The IoT, meanwhile, is having a major impact on the way that businesses approach customer service. First and foremost, companies now have access to much more data than they had in the past. Connected endpoints can provide a wealth of information that can be analyzed to better understand the customer experience. Contact centers should have access to this information, in order to provide relevant service.

Related: Key Market Drivers In Cloud Communications

This, of course, also means that agents need to be better prepared to handle technical questions. Many contact centers are now providing additional training for agents, to get them up to speed.  According to one study, 67 percent of respondents said their contact centers trained associates to handle customer interactions differently due to connected/IoT technologies. Twenty-three percent of contact centers, it should be noted, hired associates with different skill sets to support IoT technologies.

Related: Top 10 Technologies That Changed Business Communications

While it’s important to have a working knowledge of IoT and an AI-driven customer service strategy, it’s important to remember the third component to an advanced contact center: A robust unified communications (UC) platform. It all comes together with UC, which can serve as a centralized environment where agents can access incoming messages from any device and leverage the support of AI and IoT services.

 

 

Posted on: April 5, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By: Cyberhat

 

Most of the country has just sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time. For many, this time-change signals more than just darker mornings and lighter nights. It signals the unofficial start of spring. With spring comes rain showers, flowers, spring break and spring cleaning. If you’re a business—spring brings its own set of implications. Whether you’re a business likely to be impacted by tourists on spring break or you’re a service business impacted by homeowners looking to make preparations for the warmer weather, here’s a couple of low effort, high-impact tips and tricks to try out as you spring clean your business.

 

Clean up your directory listings

There are hundreds of directories online which will list your business information. If you’re not the one giving them that information, they’ll get it wherever they can. Be the source of authority and develop a direct relationship with the major online directories to ensure your name, address, phone number and hours are all correct. As the spring tourism boom gets underway, the last thing you want is customers hitting up the wrong address, calling the wrong number or showing up when you’re closed. There are solutions out there that make managing hundreds of listings a snap.

 

Freshen up your Facebook profile

Put something cheery on your cover photo. Post a special deal. Run a spring contest. The sky is the limit when it comes to freshening up your Facebook presence this spring. Whether you’re a landscaper posting pictures of before-and-afters, an HVAC company offering a deal on spring tune-ups for air conditioning or a beauty salon sharing the hottest new nail colors for pedicures in 2019—every business has something that can make them relevant this spring season.

Fresh, new content brings your business back to the forefront of consumers’ minds if you’re a business that perhaps dwindles a bit in winter. If you’re a winter-driven business stay or get active on Facebook right now to remind customers that you’re still around and relevant even in the warmer seasons! Plus, make sure if your hours change by season, you’re updating them on Facebook as well!

 

Give your website a spring makeover

You’re clearly not going to redesign your website seasonally, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it fresh! We’re big proponents of making sure you consistently update and add to the content on your website. Your website is often the first impression customers get of your business. If the last time you posted on your site was “Merry Christmas!” it might give customers the idea that you’re no longer in business or not interested in providing value or utility to them.

Further, the recency with which you have posted on your website has a decent impact on how well you rank in search results. If Google thinks your website hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s not as likely to list your website very high in the search results. So, freshness becomes key to getting found by potential customers when they’re searching. Update your business hours, feature spring-like imagery if possible, and even post a quick blog or deal related to spring.

Whether your business is seasonal or booming year-round there is always benefit in maintaining a fresh, relevant online presence. Directories, social media and your business website offer quick, easy ways to give your business that fresh, spring-cleaned appearance that’s sure to drive engagement and new business.

 

Posted on: September 6, 2018 By: admin

By: Eric Hester, Green Cloud Technologies 

 

Complex IT scenarios used to be the stuff of NASA, militaries and Fortune 500 companies. Small businesses were immune to the complexities of highly available, multi-platform, multi-vendor, compliant, distributed, vulnerable IT systems. Those days are long gone, as we all well know. The complexity of IT was highlighted ironically by the coining of the term “cloud” itself. The “cloud” obscured the complexity of these systems into a generic term meant to say, “a network of systems and platforms maintained outside of one’s own environment” (my off the cuff definition; like many of you, I simply remember drawing clouds in the ‘90s to show complex network designs of which I didn’t want to draw all the components).

 

I am certainly not the first person to expound on the evolution of Information Technology over the last half century, nor do I believe I will be the last. That’s not why I am writing this post. I am writing to provide a case for the modern managed cloud service provider. Business can no longer operate without participating in these complex interconnected systems. However, small businesses have not changed – they do not have the ability to manage this complexity. They are good at what they set out to do with their enterprise, but not necessarily with the IT required to do so. Sure, MSPs of the 2.0 variety exist to fill this need, but they also are not evolved enough.

 

Outsourced IT is not a new concept, but it’s not enough. Outsourced cloud service mediation, outsourced service mobility and agility, outsourced compliance, outsourced security, ubiquitous service access must all be combined into a solution. MSP 1.0 was about turning break fix into opex. MSP 2.0 added consultancy and more services. MSP 3.0 (or what I call managed cloud service providers or MCSPs) must be about making IT disappear into the background.

 

Imagine selling (insert vertical here) as a service. A customer no longer worries about what system they are logging into, what software licenses they are paying for or whose cloud services they are using. They simply consume the services that you, as the MCSP, have selected for their needs. You may be saying, “What does that even mean? What platform(s) are you talking about? What products?” The point isn’t how yet, it is what. Now the time is right for holistic solutions made up of many vendors, products and providers. We need to put the simplification of the cloud drawing over that complexity as well. Modern MSPs or MCSPs must be focused on selling a solution that does not have the customer wondering why AWS is better than Azure or why o365 is better than gSuite, etc. Modern solutions must solve a problem and work in a way agnostic to the underlying components. Customers want to run their business and they WANT to pay you to make IT easier.

 

Services like SD-WAN, DDoS Protection, AI Based IDS/AMP, SaaS utilization management, Identity Management, snapshot recovery, long term archiving, abstractions like published apps or workspace platforms like AirWatch must ALL be managed to differentiate your services and create these solutions. Just as concepts like PSA, RMM, vCIO and QBRs became terms and concepts inherent in MSP 2.0 solutions, so too must these concepts now become second nature.

Posted on: August 30, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

The #1 competitor to agents selling unified communications is the status quo – customers staying with their current on premise solution. We take a look at three points that you can use in your next discussion on why to migrate to the cloud.

By John Dickson, Momentum Telecom

Many enterprises are facing a key decision: keep their aging, antiquated on-premise solution or embrace the future and move to a hosted solution.

There is a lot of natural hesitancy towards being an early adopter of a technology. Questions like “will this work?”, “how does this help our bottom line” and “is this right decision?” can be heard rattling around the skulls of IT executives from miles away. This is why many offices for companies around the globe, there are arguments being made about hosted or cloud voice solutions and on-premise options.

When that discussion takes place, there are a lot of factors to consider, and each of the following are topics that are important enough that should both be considered and should drive that conversation:

Technology

Can you imagine using a computer from the 1990s to do your work? Or how about using a trusty car phone to make calls while driving into work? If the thought of relying on either of those relics to do business scared you, then you need to ask yourself why you’re relying on today’s work to be done using telephone technology from decades past. Cloud voice has firmly entrenched itself as the technology of tomorrow that is both affordable and available today. Analog and on-premise systems will soon be as rare as a telegraph, and thank goodness you’re not using one of those for your office memos.

Scalability

A traditional on-premise system allows you to have a predetermined maximum number of users, and this model can function well for companies that don’t add or remove users on a regular basis. However, for those enterprises that do add and remove users more often, the moment you pass the available threshold (even if by a single user) you have to upgrade the system and pay for the next maximum number of seats available, even though you won’t be using all of them. The benefit a hosted solution provides is the ability to with a few mere clicks, you can add or remove seat and you only pay for the seats you’re actually using. For companies that are growing or need the ability to scale up or down at a moment’s notice, a hosted solution is much more streamlined and cost friendly.

Cost

Hosted solutions can reduce upfront expenditures such as hardware and save costs in a number of ways; beginning with reducing costly maintenance fees and allowing organizations to pay only for the number of users using the technology. In a very tangible way, hosted solutions provide savings and furthermore, allow enterprises to switch from a capital expenditure to a operational expense.

While your debate doesn’t need to end to with these three topics (it could certainly extend the conversation to include customization, maintenance, disaster recovery, mobility and on and on), but technology, scalability and cost are certainly driving factors that every business needs to consider. And as current trends show, companies that are ready to lead in their industry will continue to pick hosted voice over solutions on-premise options.

Posted on: August 28, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

Static IP & SD-WAN / Why it’s a Critical Consideration is brought to you by BCN Telecom.

In today’s crowded landscape of SD-WAN solutions, sourcing the best option for your customers can be daunting. As always, asking the right questions, understanding the customer’s business environment and the outcomes they desire are the best place to start.  In your discovery process you may not have considered the importance of your customer’s need to support Static IP requirements within the SD-WAN environment. In fact, it is a critical need for many customers and you’ll want to ensure that the SD-WAN solution you recommend is able to offer that support.

 

Ricardo Villa, BCN Director of IT & Managed Services explores it in  more detail.

Why is full support for Static IP requirements so critical in an SD-WAN solution?

RV: Without full support for Static IPs, the SD-WAN solution becomes effectively a one-way session solution.  Without Static IP support, your customer can only benefit from the full suite of SD-WAN features on outbound-sessions.

What is the downside of an SD-WAN solution that doesn’t support Static IP requirements?

RV: Without Static IP support, there is no way to perform inbound sessions over the SD-WAN overlay.  If an SD-WAN solution doesn’t offer Static IP support, it in essence limits the possible features and services that your customer can eventually run over the SD-WAN.

How does support for Static IP in the SD-WAN overlay impact the need for your customer to re-number Static IP addresses?

RV: The availability of Static-IP at the SD-WAN level will eliminate the hassle that your customers can face in changing Static IP addresses when there is a change in the underlying access provider. When the Static IP is at the SD-WAN overlay level they won’t be faced with re-numbering Static IPs.  Even if your customer physically moves to a new location, they will still be able to preserve their Static IPs via the SD-WAN overlay.

What specific customer environments/situations are successfully addressed with Static IP support?

RV: Static IP support enables a customer to host services from their location within the SD-WAN environment.  For example, they may have an IP PBX, security camera, web server, email server, VPN concentrator, etc.  Let’s take the case of a customer with an IP PBX system. If the SD-WAN solution is able to utilize the Static IP on their IP PBX, remote office workers will be able to connect their phones via the SD-WAN overlay, thus receiving the full benefits of SD-WAN.  Without that Static IP support the remote worker has to connect to the IP PBX using one of the access circuit IPs. In doing so they are effectively bypassing the SD-WAN and all its inherent features completely.

How does the BCN SD-WAN solution support Static IP requirements within the SD-WAN environment?

RV: BCN is unique, in that our SD-WAN solution enables Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) support on the SD-WAN overlay and assigns Public Static IP addressing space to it.  In doing so, it enables the BCN SD-WAN solution to accommodate the types of customer requirements described above, making the move to SD-WAN technology one that will have positive impact on their entire environment.

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