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Here's Your VoIP Phone, So Call Me, Maybe?

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 20, 2014 8:36:00 AM



Call Me Maybe VoIP PhonesWith more and more businesses opting to take advantage of the economic and operational benefits that come with moving their phone system to the cloud, VoIP phone systems have begun to set the standards for features that improve business communications and productivity. A rising tide of popularity, however, also means an increase in competition, as more and more providers try to get in on the bandwagon of VoIP service. More providers means that, for the consumer, choosing the right provider has never been more critical.

Many hosted VoIP providers may promise a lot of bells and whistles, added features and special programs that your business may not need, but in the mean time they may not be delivering the focus on call quality and dependability that's integral to a good VoIP system.

Since hosted VoIP services are delivered via your company's Internet bandwidth, it poses unique challenges in terms of call quality that many providers may not be prepared to address. If you're experiencing low call quality, your provider may try to get you to add more bandwidth or run your voice services over an additional connection. Those are both solutions that cost you a lot, and don't really involve your provider taking responsibility for their own role in call quality. Furthermore, they might not fix the problem. Even with an abundance of bandwidth, there are circumstances where voice packets can still be interrupted by data, which can lead to poor call quality.

The right VoIP provider for your business will be one who focuses on call quality and dependability. Look for a provider who deploys a device on your network to help prioritize voice packets over data, which can help keep your call quality high regardless of other bandwidth concerns. Your provider can also help diagnose more complex or technical issues that may lead to call degradation. The Internet circuit itself may be delivering inconsistent latencies, or there may be issues on the network, such as a virus that generates abnormal bandwidth consumption. Even something as simple as having too many employees streaming Pandora at the same time can affect bandwidth. A good VoIP provider can help you to find and diagnose these sorts of issues, and address them in cost-effective ways that serve your company and meet your voice service needs.

A hosted VoIP service provider who specializes in call quality understands the importance of good communication to running a business. They know that good communication is essential for you to provide the kind of customer service that you want to provide to your customers, and they also know the importance of good communication with their customers, i.e., you. So regardless of your company's VoIP needs, one thing that's absolutely indispensable is choosing the right VoIP provider for the job.

To learn more, download our free whitepaper on VoIP Voice Quality:

Download Whitepaper

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of hosted VoIP phone systems and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: hosted digital phone service, Hosted VoIP

Why Hosted VoIP Service Outshines Traditional Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 13, 2014 2:17:00 PM

Hosted VoIP ServiceTimes change, and technology changes with them. We live in an extraordinary information age of mobile devices, smartphones, social media, and unprecedented access to technology and data. In the United States alone, there are more subscriptions to mobile data services than there are people. Unfortunately, even as technology races ahead, infrastructure is often slow to change. That's why traditional phone services are lagging behind the pack, not just in technology, but in customer satisfaction.

In a report on customer satisfaction with business telephone services, JD Power found that overall customer satisfaction averaged 661 on a 1000 point scale. By comparison, overall customer satisfaction with small business insurance providers averaged 777, while customer satisfaction with small business banking averaged between 742 and 764, depending on region. The report also shows that businesses who bundle together voice and data services or pursue other nontraditional modes of telephone service are not only more satisfied with, but also more loyal to their providers, with 21% saying that they "definitely will not" switch providers in the next year.

There are plenty of reasons for the increasing dissatisfaction with traditional phone services, and a reason why businesses who take a different route are happier than those who don't. Old-fashioned phone systems—with their expensive private branch exchanges (PBX)—are rapidly becoming obsolete in the dynamic information technology landscape. But more than that, modern hosted VoIP phone services provide an array of benefits not only to technology, efficiency, and performance, but also to customer service, that traditional phone services simply can't match.

While traditional phone service is based on century-old technology and an outmoded customer service philosophy, VoIP is at the leading edge of information technology, helping your business to keep up with the changing needs of an increasingly evolving industry. VoIP phone technology includes all the features that you need and expect, from direct dial and voicemail to unified messaging, on-phone corporate directories, and ad-hoc conferencing, to name a few, and it's also customizable to fit the budget, scope, and goals of your unique business.

What's more, by hosting your phone system in the cloud, your service is secure, and you benefit from constant IT and telecom support from skilled VoIP technicians, who understand not only your service plan, but also every phone and piece of equipment that's connected to it.

With a hosted VoIP phone service from sipVine, you're not necessarily bundling together all of your businesses telecom services, you are instead bundling the essential elements of your voice communication needs. Rather than bundling in cable TV with your phone service, for example, VoIP from sipVine provides you with a single provider who handles your phone equipment, service, and administration of your system all in one. This allows us to provide a more comprehensive customer service package than any traditional phone service, while also helping your business to stay on the cutting edge of telecommunications technology.

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of hosted VoIP phone systems and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: hosted digital phone service, Benefits of VoIP, Hosted VoIP

VoIP Should Adapt to Your Organization

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 30, 2013 10:58:00 AM

voip adapts to officeNew technology brings a lot of pluses to the table of any business, but incorporating new technology also requires adaptation. It's not always easy to adopt technological advances into your daily operations. Sometimes it requires substantial upfront investments in money, manpower, or time. Sometimes it means delays or time to get the bugs worked out of the system. Sometimes it just means being willing to learn something new. But keeping on top of new technology that can benefit your day-to-day operations and customer satisfaction is essential to successful business.

While that may mean that sometimes you have to adapt to new technologies, VoIP technology should adapt to you and the needs of your organization. Like any new technology, the purpose of VoIP is to make your business run smoother, improve customer service, and make your life easier. To that end, VoIP offers a host of flexible features that can be adapted to fit the needs of your organization. Hosted VoIP phone services from sipVine are budget friendly, don't require a significant upfront capital outlay, and offer customized deployments for all of your business needs, large or small.

Modern VoIP phone technology brings with it a lot of benefits that older phone systems couldn't manage, including direct dial, voicemail and inbound faxes to email, voicemail notifications to cell phones, unified messaging, on-phone corporate directories, IT and telecom support, and a variety of other advances that can help bring your phone system into the future. In addition to our VoIP services, sipVine also offers VoIP-enabled phones that boast a wide range of labor-saving and organizational features such as call waiting, caller ID, call transferring and forwarding, ad-hoc conferencing, group paging, intercom, and more.

Customized deployment means that you only pay for the services that you need for your business. At sipVine, our flat-rate service models include unlimited local and long-distance calls, and we offer price points on a sliding scale based on the number of users on your system, including low-usage phones (such as those in break rooms and conference rooms) priced at our lowest tier. Hosted VoIP has the added benefit of allowing you to turn over the administration of your phone system to sipVine. There's no longer any need for an expensive and maintenance-intensive private branch exchange (PBX) for your phone system. sipVine hosts the VoIP system, and handles the administration as part of our monthly flat fee, so you know what you're getting in advance, and pay for only what you want.

Many new technologies pay off in the long run, but require a lot out of you in advance. VoIP from sipVine gives you the best of both worlds, paying dividends in savings and performance, while adapting to suit the needs of your business from day one.

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of hosted VoIP phone systems and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: hosted digital phone service, small business phone service, Business Digital Phone Service, VoIP Trends in Business

Support Your Business Growth with Hosted Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 7, 2013 9:20:00 AM

A Hosted Phone System and Service grows with your business with its inherent flexibility and affordability.  Cloud telephony has changed the model for telecom investment to the benefit of business start-ups and growth companies.  Traditional approaches to phone system investment made it necessary for companies to accurately predict their system needs in the face of over investment in systems when capital can be best used elsewhere or under building their system and dealing with replacement as growth occurs.  Hosted phone service has essentially made this approach a relic!Hosted Phone Service

Because the physical phone system is no longer a requirement on-site and is managed by the hosted phone service provider, companies only purchase the desk phones or soft phones required for their business as it stands at that current time.  As employees requiring a phone are hired, additional handsets are purchased and deployed at that time.  The monthly service cost are typically built on a per user basis, as there are no more phone lines required or restrictions in terms of incoming or outgoing calls.  Therefore, companies are only investing in the capital and service as they need it.

The hosted service is basically a software program that can be re-configured as your company’s needs change.  Good hosted providers consult with you and build the configuration of the system to match your needs.  As you grow, your desire to change call flow, create departmental ring groups or queues, and institute other programmatic changes can be administered by your hosted provider.  Finding a provider that can serve as your phone department also helps keep your costs of maintaining and growing a system to a minimum.

Company growth also puts pressure on infrastructure costs from a facility perspective, whether you’ve outgrown your current location or need to explore additional branches.  A hosted phone system can help in many ways:

  • Deferring Facility Relocation – Moving a business is extremely expensive.  A hosted phone service can help defer the timing of facility expansion through the facilitation of a work at home model or a temporary office set up.  Because the phone system is not dedicated to a physical site, you can deploy employees at their homes or temporary office merely by purchasing the handsets and programming the call flow accordingly. 
  • Facilitating Branch Models – Whether the branch is located in the same town as your headquarters or in other towns across the country, a hosted phone system can make this economical in several ways.  First, phone numbers for the particular locality can be provided, but calls between locations can be extension dials.  Administrative personnel do not have to be duplicated branch by branch.  Callers to the branch looking for billing or customer service support, as examples, can be directed to where those personnel are located and retain the perception that they are being served locally.  Finally, many hosted providers offer a reduced price per user as you grow.
  • Supporting Targeted Employee Recruitment – If your headquarters is located where certain employee skill sets are difficult to find or expensive to secure, you can establish an office in a town where such skills are plentiful and affordable.  Your hosted service can direct calls for such employee groups to that location and callers will be unaware that they are being supported outside of the area.

The economy is improving and there are many jobs being added every month.  If your business is so fortunate to be addressing the “pains” of growth, help ease the pain by investigating a hosted phone service today!  The investment will have benefits for years to come and free you to grow without the restriction of traditional phone systems.

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: hosted digital phone service, start up business phone service, VoIP Trends in Business, Phone Service for Multiple Locations

‘Tis the Season…for a New Digital Phone System!

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 14, 2010 3:30:00 PM

Many businesses are entertaining replacing their antiquated phone system with a fully featured digital phone system to enhance their communication with their customers and employees.  Such an investment does not have to break the capital budget for the year and can actually pay for itself quickly.  Following the trends of cloud computing, hosted email services, and external web hosting, businesses are also moving to hosted digital phone service to keep capital and maintenance costs down while receiving all the benefits of a full featured enterprise phone system. 

How does this work?

Hosted Digital Phone Service providers provide a secure,Season for VoIP Investment centralized phone system that supports multiple clients.  Good providers are able to custom configure each client’s call flow and set it up according to how the customer does business.  At the customer’s site, all they need to purchase are the phones and some minor network equipment and the phones are “connected” to the host facility via the internet. 

Every IP-phone has a unique identifier called a MAC address.  Phone numbers / extensions are assigned to this phone and calls into the phone are directed to the address. 

Hosted phone service providers can administer changes to the customer set up remotely, thus saving the business money previously spent on service calls and trip charges to perform adds, moves, and changes to the set up of their on-site system. 

How does the investment generate returns?

By choosing to go with a hosted solution, businesses are avoiding spending capital on replacing their PBX.  As mentioned above, the investment is only in the number of phones needed and some minor network equipment.  Against this lower investment, the business can experience monthly cost savings on the phone service.  Many hosted phone service providers offer “all distance” calling wrapped into one monthly rate per user.  When comparing against the line fees, surcharges, and long distance costs, businesses typically can save between 20 and 40 percent from their previous provider.

Indirect benefits come from the improved functionality and flexibility of the phone system, which can improve employee production and communications with customers.

There are many features and benefits from making the investment in a digital phone service platform.  Give a provider a call today and find out what they can do for you!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.   

Tags: hosted digital phone service

How Affordable is Hosted Digital Phone Service?

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 2, 2010 9:42:00 AM

New phone service options haven’t necessarily been on the top of the investment list for many small to medium sized businesses in recent years.  Funds have been reserved for business sustainability and growth, and not infrastructure.  However, some businesses have found that choosing a hosted digital phone alternative has had a positive return on investment while improving their communications with customers and associates.  Such an option is surprisingly affordable and can lower their monthly phone service and administrative costs.hosted digital phone service is affordable

Low Up Front Investment – The beauty of a hosted phone service is that the business does not need to invest in the core phone system.  The only investment required is for the purchase of the phones and some minor network equipment.  The cost of VoIP phones can range dramatically depending upon make and model, but a very good phone can be secured for $150 or less.

Service Rates – The pricing approach taken by VoIP providers for monthly service also can vary.  Some have all inclusive plans, some bundle features, and some have some minute bundles with a per minute charge above a threshold.  At sipVine, our approach is an all-inclusive rate for all features and all-distance calls, with volume discounts based upon the number of users.  However, what most providers have in common is that they are able to deliver a monthly rate that is less expensive than traditional analog service.  As you evaluate different options, also determine if the provider applies the surcharges that you see with traditional providers.  Some, like sipVine, do not, which only adds to the savings opportunity.

Administrative Costs – This is another hidden cost of your phone operation expense.  If you are currently paying a vendor to make changes to your phone system, there may be another savings opportunity by shifting to a hosted service.  Some providers, like sipVine, do not charge for routine change requests.

So, if a phone system hasn’t necessarily been at the top of your business’s investment list, it may be time to at least evaluate a hosted digital phone service.  If you can generate a return on investment and improve your communication functionality, such an evaluation may be well worth the time!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: hosted digital phone service

Why Commercial Realtors Love Hosted Digital Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 3, 2010 10:05:00 AM

In today’s increasingly mobile and highly accessible work environment, many commercial realtors have found a great number of advantages by switching to a hosted digital phone service.  Not only have they improved their office communications, but they have provided their clients with a means to help make their moves easier by suggesting a change to hosted service as well.commercial realtors love hosted digital phone service

First, for the commercial realtors themselves, they have found the following attributes of a hosted digital phone service to be advantageous to their office communications:

  1. Mobile Workforce – With their agents showing properties or even working remotely, certain hosted VoIP providers can configure the office phones to simultaneously ring the office phone and the agent’s cell phone.  Or, agents can choose to forward their office phones to their cell phones when they are out of the office.  This type of accessibility is ideal for this industry.
  2. Unified Communications – Voicemails left on office phones and faxes can be delivered electronically to email.  Again, for a mobile workforce, receiving notification of a voice mail to a smart cell phone allows for greater efficiency and responsiveness to clients.
  3. Multiple Branch Optimization – If an agency operates multiple branches, reception services can be either centralized or automated, allowing for cost savings and efficient routing of incoming calls.  An automated attendant can be put in place even at a single location to drive savings or route calls effectively.

Commercial realtors have also benefitted by recommending hosted digital phone service for their prospective clients.  If they are working with a VoIP provider that can deliver service over any brand of high speed internet, they can help their clients by making their moves easier.  Many clients are also making a phone service and equipment decision at the time of their move.  The recommendation is to install their hosted phone service at their previous location so that the porting of numbers and other considerations are completely taken care of prior to moving.  That way they are not worried about any out of service time frames or trying to “time” their move with their phone number ports.  On moving day, they simply move the equipment and plug into their network and they are immediately operational.

To understand more advantages and learn more of the details of how this can work, contact sipVine under no obligation and we’ll gladly consult with you.

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: hosted digital phone service, Phone Service for Commercial Realtors

sipVine Blog | Why Professional Service Firms Love sipVine

Posted by Mark Greim on Jun 10, 2010 9:45:00 AM

There are several reasons why professional service companies have gravitated to sipVine’s Hosted Digital Phone Service.  sipVine proudly serves many law firms, accounting/finance firms, marketing/public relations companies, and business consulting firms.  These companies have found that the following features, all included in our monthly rate, drive specific benefit to their communication needs:

Professional Service Firms Love sipVine Hosted Digital Phone Service

·       On Demand Call Recording – With a simple two touch sequence on their sipVine phones, these firms can record their conversation with an external party. These recordings are indexed and delivered via email with a wave file for easy electronic storage.

·       Meet-me Conferencing – sipVine provides a conferencing service that provides for up to ten external parties to participate.  Of course, three way conferencing is also available on demand directly from the sipVine phones.

·       Call Detail Records – Several clients receive monthly distributions of their call detail records for easy upload into their billing systems.

·       Unified Messaging – With voicemails and faxes being delivered to email, they can receive remote notification of the message to their wireless smart phones as well as upload the files to their client management systems.

·       Automated Attendant and Virtual Staffing Support– Many of these firms deploy sipVine’s automated attendant, which can be customized to how they prefer to route their clients’ incoming phone calls.  Additionally, many deploy remote staffing options, whether it is a home office or branch offices.  A hosted phone system provides the appearance that all of the staff is under the same roof.

The technology deployed in sipVine’s Hosted Phone Solution delivers high quality voice calls and disaster recovery advantages.  sipVine also provides all of the telecom system administration as a part of the monthly service fee.  All of this functionality and more great features are delivered in a reliable and purposeful solution that allows for the easy addition of users as the firm grows.

Whether you are a professional service firm or a general business, sipVine’s Hosted Digital Phone Service can be customized to how you do business.  Contact us today to learn how!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: hosted digital phone service, phone service for professional service firms

How can Digital Phone Service Technology Manage your Call Flow?

Posted by Mark Greim on Jun 7, 2010 11:54:00 AM

The right digital phone service provider can configure your business phone traffic patterns for how you do business, thus improving your efficiency and customer communications. There are several options a business can deploy:

·       Incoming Line Options – The first variable in custom programming is determining how incoming calls to a company’s main line are handled.  If an automated attendant is not utilized, phone calls can be directed to a receptionist, ring a group of people simultaneously, or be programmed to roll from selected individuals as desired.

·       Time of Day Call Schedules – Businesses can choose to program call routing schedules based upon the time of day.  The best example is before and after hours of operation.  Businesses can have their calls directed to alternative phone numbers (answering services, cell phones, etc.) or to an after-hours auto attendant. Businesses with branch locations in multiple time zones can direct incoming calls based upon staff availability for that time of day.

Call Routing with Digital Phone Service

·       Hunt/Ring Groups and ACD Queues – You can also designate groups of people to be eligible to take a specific type of call.  For example, you may have a customer service department with multiple representatives. Your receptionist or auto attendant can send new calls into this group list, which can be programmed for simultaneous ring, hunting for the next available attendant, or in an actual queue. These can be as numerous as your business has categories for customer contact and each can be uniquely programmed for the right ring pattern for the situation.

·       Automated Attendant – Customers can be routed directly to the right group of people to meet their needs through an automated attendant.  This eliminates the need for a reception or call screening resource. There are some good guidelines to follow for effectively utilizing an auto attendant, as if it is implemented correctly, it can enhance your customer satisfaction and drive efficiency.

These are just a few of the ways a digital phone service provider can streamline your communication patterns.  As you evaluate providers, ensure that as a part of their installation and service that you receive this type of programming customized to how you do business!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

 

Tags: hosted digital phone service, Business Digital Phone Service, Configuring digital phone service

Lessen Your Business Moving Day Anxiety with Digital Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on May 24, 2010 9:22:00 AM

Moving is stressful enough on your business, and you can quit worrying about whether your phone service will be up and running in time by going digital!  sipVine has helped many new customers ease this tension by implementing hosted digital phone service prior to their move date.

Timing your digital phone service move

The previous plan for these prospective customers was to attempt to time their switch over to the new facility with their current carrier.  This involved provisioning their new lines and coordinating their cut over with the provider.  Depending upon the reliability and timeliness of the provider’s service department and the efficiency of moving their existing phone equipment, the business was potentially facing a period where they would be out of service for a period of time.

By choosing sipVine, we counseled these new customers to implement their new hosted digital phone service prior to their move.  The porting of the phone numbers is taken care of in advance of the move and everyone is well trained on all the new features and benefits they receive from the digital phone service.  The new location is provisioned with an internet connection and it is all ready for the move.  On moving day, they simply plug their new phones into their Ethernet connection, connect the internet to the router, and they’re making and receiving phone calls!

Additionally, these customers are able to save money on their wiring, as they only need to wire for Cat5 or Cat6 Ethernet.  They can also choose to deploy Power over Ethernet switches for their digital phones and conserve on the number of outlets in offices they need to wire.

If your business is preparing for a move, consider it to be a time to enhance your phone system’s capabilities and lessen your move anxiety at the same time!  Call sipVine for a consult!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.   

 

Tags: hosted digital phone service, Business Digital Phone Service, Moving Phone Service

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