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 20, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
Remember that song: “One of these things is not like the other? One of these things is just not the same!” We could say this of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Auto Attendant. Although sometimes confused for the same thing, there are important differences between Auto Attendant and IVR.
You have by this point in your life called into many an auto attendant, we can be sure of that. It’s when you call into a business or organization and, instead of talking to a live human, you are greeted by an automated voice which provides you with a full menu of options. The automated attendant — also known as a phone tree or auto receptionist — routes calls to a queue or voicemail box. Although to be fair, it can play hold music while it makes the connection.
How does that differ from the IVR? You might think of it as auto attendant 4.0. For one thing, when you reach a business with an IVR, the automated voice quite often sounds better, more true to life. Additionally, you can typically interact with the IVR using either the numbers on your keypad or your voice. You know you’re working with an IVR when it says “press or say 1.” That “say 1” is your cue that there’s voice recognition software at work.
Now, we recognize that those distinctions don’t seem like such a big deal when you’re calling in. You’d probably rather be talking to a human in the first place, so being able to speak instead of press numbers isn’t that big of a step up. OK, but the real difference between auto attendant and IVR isn’t directly experienced so much by the caller as it is by the recipient of the call.
Auto Attendant vs IVR for the Agent
Think of auto attendant as an automated switchboard operator. This feature does help your customer get more efficiently to the individual or department they want to reach. But they don’t provide additional information. The attendant sorts them to the right place based on their keyed responses.
With IVR, the caller may never need to interact with a human. After all, this solution feature can provide information and collect details from the caller, such as case numbers, addresses, birthdates, credit card numbers for over-the-phone payments, and much more. For example, paying by phone at your utility company by entering the numbers of your checking account or credit card. Since the IVR can easily handle automated tasks, your business can free up human agents for more complicated processes.
Another advantage is that the IVR can be scripted to provide information to the caller based upon their responses or particular circumstances at your business. For instance, the messaging a customer might hear while on hold could be customized to reflect the details gained from their menu sequence. Since they are calling in response to X campaign, they would hear messaging related to that campaign while in queue.
IVR solutions can also feature additional add-ons such as:
- Data-Driven Routing: deliver prioritized calls to the proper destination based upon the customer’s transaction status or account information
- Post-Call Survey: provide inbound or outbound call surveys to understand the satisfaction of your customers once their call or business transaction is complete.
- Appointment Reminder/Notify: deliver an automated outbound call to notify the customer about a change in their transaction status change or confirm an upcoming appointment.
Evolve IP’s IVR is delivered through easily customized pre-built scripts that deliver the exact call flows and features you need. Evolve IP’s IVR service also retains the flexibility to be customized for your exact needs. Find out more today!
Posted on: May 2, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
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 process, shines 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:
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.
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.
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 12, 2019 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: February 19, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing
By: Momentum Telecom
What does day two look like after your service is setup?
Posted on: February 12, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing
By: Ryan Barbera of Data Canopy
As I have been traveling between the different markets Data Canopy is in around the country, one thing has become increasingly clear to me: Agents are very focused on telecom and UCaaS. As an alumnus of XO and before that Allegiance, I totally understand the reason behind this. Plainly, it’s easy. Easy for most clients to understand and easier than most technologies to sell – every business must communicate with others! The problem with this is that it leaves half the story untold for the client. The more our team engages with agents and their clients, the more I realize that the value of what we’re doing for the agents is not clear.
Business Today is Hosted
This brief overview is to help you understand why hybrid infrastructure, data center, and multi-cloud solutions are an enhancement (a really big one) to your current offerings and worth taking the time to learn the ropes. Let’s start at the beginning. Circuits and phones are only half of the discussion. While these two pieces are needed by every organization, they speak to one part of a larger discussion. The real question is why do firms need them? The answer: to do business. Not just to communicate, but to access applications, execute on critical processes, and more. Where does that business live? In the data center or cloud. That’s where you get to have your cake and eat it, too.
Longer Client Retention
While most circuit deals are for a total term of 3 years, most colocation or cloud deals will go for a term of 5-10 years. Why is this? Two reasons: First, unlike static services, such as connectivity, companies grow their data everyday requiring more services to be subscribed to. This means a growing contract. Secondly, companies never (and I mean never) want to make a change to their core infrastructure so they will do everything they can to make a great partner a partner for life. Also remember, they still need to get to their stuff, so an SD-Wan, telephony, and connectivity solution is still needed.
Higher MRR Value
One final note, in our discussions with our agents and partners we learned our services bill for anywhere between two to five times what they would be billing for telecom or UCaaS solutions for similar sized companies. Contributing to disparity, the cost of circuits has dropped significantly over the past decade, while the cost of cloud and colocation has remained the same for more than five years and in many cases has actually gone up. Considering the commission is the same or higher, I would say that is a real cake and eat it, too scenario. Make more money, keep your clients longer, and become a more valuable partner. The downside? How are you going to spend all that cash?!
Posted on: September 21, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing
By: Marshall Aronow CEO of MetTel
We’ve all been there….in a car, on a train or even a plane. You get on a call with your colleagues to discuss an important presentation but typically spend 5 minutes just looking for that email with a key attachment among all those other hundreds of emails you receive. With TrueUC, that search is not necessary as it natively integrates with Office 365 so all your emails and attachments can be automatically located and displayed between meeting participants as content in common.
TrueUC from MetTel means you can just turn on your mobile phone or tablet, open the UC-One application and quickly find that critical document……then check on that client’s current status in Salesforce to provide an informed update.
TrueUC not only provides a full spectrum of communications and collaboration tools, it also integrates with key business applications most professionals use every day. But the real value of TrueUC lies in the fact that the majority of information economy workers – not to mention most Millennials – work outside of a traditional office most of the time.
Today’s mobile, digitally driven work environment requires employees and businesses to communicate instantly, across different regions and time zones to access information, schedule meetings, manage business processes, communicate, collaborate, produce and innovate. No barriers, no excuses.
You can even get texting capability added to your desk phone which, incidentally is the only number you need for work as it can also move with you to your devices and other desk phones. With a smart phone or tablet provided by MetTel with mobile device management, you can work securely from any location or in transit. Even if you lose a device, it can be wiped remotely to protect sensitive company data.
People need to work on the move at full capacity but CIOs and IT managers don’t want to spend the time and resources to sign up five telecom carriers, six software companies and somehow figure out how it all works together. They don’t have to.
TrueUC brings it all together in a cost-efficient managed service with choice of devices, connectivity, customer support and billing – on one platform. Instead of going back and forth between laptop, desktop and phone, MetTel can provide a single device powered by the MetTel mobile network and mobile device management for all business computing and communications. And special “road warrior bundles” can be customized to specific job roles and user preferences for Android, iOS, etc.
Why this isn’t just another product launch for business communications.
Market studies show that approximately 59 percent of the business population consider themselves mobile workers, requiring all their office capabilities move with them. That applies to a lot of workers, including:
- A healthcare provider in Nebraska visiting patients at their homes
- An inspector in New York examining a building’s sprinkler systems to ensure it’s up to code
- A service worker repairing an elevator issue at a skyscraper in Dubai
- A real estate agent in Rhode Island showing a residential property
All of these workers need access to documents, meeting information, CRM insights, and so forth. With TrueUC, we have created the first all-in-one unified communications (UC) application designed for today’s modern millennial workforce – providing workflow, communications and productivity capabilities, typically only accessible when in the office – now available with any mobile device. In particular, organizations can access a cloud, API-driven UC solution that combines text, voice, video, chat, email and business app integration plus a secure mobile device and connectivity – all from a single source. No need for multiple vendors and multiple headaches.
As part of this effort, we’re working with strategic partners, such as Cisco and Samsung, to help deliver a truly mobile experience. A new generation of millennial professionals has grown up with the freedom of mobility, texting, video, voice and the ability to carry their social lives in their pockets. Now, we’ve done the same thing now for their professional lives.
Interoperability challenges? Not here.
We live and work in a highly connected, interdependent global society – meaning partnering with third-parties and other vendors is essential for collaboration and business success. For these collaborations to be successful, software programs and systems need to communicate with one another. Closed platforms don’t work as well.
As such, TrueUC operates as a set of open APIs that allows integration with a range of critical cloud business applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Google G-Suite, Salesforce, Box and Twitter, among others, truly enabling a mobile office experience.
Let’s have a dialogue
Much of what I’ve discussed – the painful commutes, not being able to access documents and information in real-time, scheduling meetings, working with peers in different geographies and time zones – are all challenges to which we’ve grown far too accustomed.
The good news? It doesn’t need to be that way.
I welcome your feedback and input – and look forward to having a conversation that will, hopefully, result in making your work life a little easier.
For more information on TrueUC, please visit our website https://mettel.net/trueuc/