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Showing posts from March, 2017

PHONE TECHNOLOGY FOR BUSINESS: IS A VIRTUAL PHONE SYSTEM RIGHT FOR YOU?

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Hands down, the most important factor in deciding between phone technology for business is the type of equipment you already have. Despite what you may think, the functionality of virtual phone systems and cloud-based systems is strikingly similar, but the costs are vastly different. When it comes time for you to make a decision, here is what you need to know.

What You Need

The major difference between a virtual phone system and a cloud-based system is the location of the hardware. With a cloud based system, a third party provider holds all of the servers where your software is installed, and you access it remotely via the internet. In a virtual phone system, the servers hosting your phone software are local to your office. The software itself is largely unchanged, but you are now responsible for maintaining the hardware on your own.
What It Costs

What It Costs

Typically, the setup of a virtual phone system requires the purchase of the server hardware up front, as well as the software …

BUSINESS TELECOMMUNICATION: CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALABAMA SMALL BUSINESSES

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When it comes to choosing new small business telecommunication systems, many owners are overwhelmed by the amount of product and services in the industry today. The idea of a simple one-size-fits-all system is no longer the answer. Instead, systems have grown more complicated and require a little bit more planning before you buy. Here are some of the most important questions you should be asking before you sign a contract.

What Does Down Time Cost You? - Too often business owners see the price tag of a new business telecommunication system and lament that it costs more than their previous system did. They seem to forget that the old system let them down, and often disrupted business altogether. When you're assessing a new system, make sure you take into account the cost of lost business due to outages to put things into perspective.What is the Cost of Buying the Wrong Thing? - Small business owners are often faced with a limited budget. The tendency is to buy the cheapest, simples…

CONVERTING TO A VIRTUAL PHONE SYSTEM: WHAT TO EXPECT

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When it comes to converting to a virtual phone system many of the changes come in unexpected place. Most likely, many features of the new system will remain the same for your users on the ground level, but additional features will open up. Here's what you should be expecting when you make the move.

User Experience
It's important to understand that a virtual phone system is one where your software resides on a server rather than on your local computer. In many cases, the software used for managing your phones in a virtual system is actually identical to the software you were using before, or is only slightly different. This is a good thing for your employees who are used to working in the system day in and day out. They may not even see a big difference in the commands that they use most often, and the transition requires little additional training.

Added Features

Despite the fact that the user experience for the virtual phone system is very similar to your old system, you will …

ARE ALABAMA COMPANIES USING ON-PREMISE OFFICE PHONE SYSTEMS?

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As you delve into the world of office phone systems, one question you might be asking is what kind of systems the people around you are using. Are other businesses in your area moving to the cloud or are they using on-premise phone systems? Gauging your current customer service communications system against the rest of your industry is a good way to know whether or not you are falling behind on the technology curve. In reality, more than half of Alabama businesses are still using on premise phone systems.

Accessibility

The number-one reason that so many companies still choose to use on-premise phone systems has to do with accessibility. Both the hardware and software that make on-premise systems work are widely available and relatively inexpensive. It is easy to find a local provider and get set up in no time with no recurring monthly fees. Plus, the ability to have your existing IT team run things makes troubleshooting equally accessible.

Company Size

Another common reason for stickin…

WHAT HAPPENS TO A CLOUD PHONE SYSTEM WHEN THE INTERNET IS DOWN?

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Moving to a cloud phone system means taking some risks on a new technology. While most cloud systems advertise very high up-times, one thing that sets them apart from other phone systems is what happens when the Internet goes down. This alone could be a determining factor of whether or not a cloud system is right for your business.

Reliance on Internet

Your cloud phone system is 100% reliant on the Internet to function. Both the hardware and software used to manage your phone communications are based in the cloud, not on your local network. Most often when companies have issues with their phone systems, it is because of poor Internet quality rather than issues with the cloud itself. Basically, when a cloud provider advertises 99.9% up time, they probably aren't lying. However, they can't promise that your local Internet provider will be able to guarantee the same.

When the Internet Goes Down

If, and when, the Internet goes down, your cloud phone system will also go down. This p…

HOW DOES COMPANY CULTURE AFFECT ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE?

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The culture of your company has a big impact on the way your customers experience your service. Think about the last time you had to call a customer service line. Could you tell that the employee on the other end of the line was bored? Or perhaps that they were having a bad day? Can you tell when the customer service agent is smiling and happy to be at work? Most likely the tone and inflection used by the customer service agent plays itself out in the way they ask and answer questions. A company with a positive culture will encourage their employees to share that positivity with customers online and through the phone.

What Kind of Culture Are You Promoting?

The first question you need to ask yourself is what kind of culture you currently have within your business. Do your online customer service agents take their job seriously? Do you take steps to make their job interesting and enjoyable? Often the companies with the worst customer service are not the ones with a "bad" cult…