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Tear Down Walls with Business VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 30, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Leave the talk around building walls to the American political scene.  As a business owner, your business will benefit by figuratively tearing down walls and removing barriers to communication with the help of a Hosted VoIP phone service.  With Hosted VoIP, the walls of your business become translucent, as your phone system is no longer confined to your physical location.  Additionally, as the world becomes more and more "always-on" in terms of communication, your business can adjust communication practices to meet the evolving demands of your customers.

Hosted VoIP:  A Be Anywhere Phone System

By its very nature, Hosted VoIP delivers a single phone system to wherever your business is conducted.  Because the system is cloud-based, the business deploys physical or soft phones where it best meets the internal communication needs and the demands of their customers.  Making all of the phones work together as one system and implementing a call flow is a function of programming and does not require physical phone systems where you deploy resources.  This opens the door for extreme flexibility and creativity and will give your business an edge over the competition.  Examples of ways businesses have torn down the walls and deployed Hosted VoIP are listed below:

  • Expanding the Business Presence Beyond a Primary Location - As a business grows, pressure on square footage can become acute. Instead of adding resources to a tight environment or going through the expense of moving a business, a business owner can look at alternatives to placement of employees.  Locations can be added where resources are plentiful or economical or in areas where business volume dictates.  Virtual employees can also be deployed where it makes sense for the business, allowing for expansion without taking on the cost of new locations.  A Business VoIP phone service can tie all of these employees together on the same cloud-based system, facilitating efficient internal communication while external callers are served as if everyone was under the same roof.
  • All Locations Work as One - There are certainly direct economic advantages of all business locations being on the same phone system. Through Hosted VoIP, phone bills are typically lower as there are economies of scale built into most pricing practices of the hosted VoIP providers.  Indirectly, the business can benefit through the programming of the service to best meet the needs of the business and demands of the customers.  You can centralize main line calls, where all locations incoming calls are directed to a central group of people.  Calls can be directed to where the customer is best served.  You can decentralize functions as well.  For example, a customer service group can be made up of several employees located in several different locations.  Businesses can right size their functions based upon call requirements, not the number of physical locations.
  • Inclusion of the Mobile Work Force - Many businesses have employees spend a lot of time in the field, whether it be sales personnel, site managers, or service technicians. Most utilize the personal or business cell phones to conduct their business.  Thanks to soft phone applications, these employees can receive and make calls on their business number or extension and not have to give out the cell phone number.  When they make calls, they are delivering the caller ID of the business, not the cell phone.  Voicemail messages are crafted for their business, and not a personal cell phone.  This can be advantageous to the business in many ways.  Calls can be transferred to the employee without needing to think about whether they are in the office or on their cell phone by transferring to the extension.  External callers don't have try to reach this person via a cell phone, they just call the business or the direct dial of the contact.

Meeting the Customer Demands

Remove Walls to Communication with Business VoIP.jpgWith the flexible deployment options described above, call flows and communication practices can be revamped to meet the growing demands of an always-on customer base.  Calls can be answered all of the time, regardless of where the resources are deployed.  Auto attendants can route callers by need to the appropriate group of employees, again with no requirement of location.  Direct dial numbers can be judiciously utilized for customers who need direct contacts.  After hours on-call personnel can be equipped with soft phones.  Calls can be programmed to deliver to the entire group, but the only ones that will ring are to those designated to turn them on for the period.  No complicated programming or a physical requirement to be in the office is necessary.

These are just a few examples.  Every business is different and the caller demands can vary widely.  However, the flexibility offered by a Hosted VoIP service provides the business with the opportunity to be creative.  Let your imagine fly and think of ways your business can communicate better with your customers and prospects and set your business apart from your competition!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP 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 VoIP phone service, Business VoIP, virtual workforce, Phone Service for Multiple Locations

Virtual World, Virtual Companies, and Virtual Phones.

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 22, 2015 2:39:29 PM

The world has gone virtual.  Businesses have adapted by utilizing Hosted VoIP phone service to better connect their customers and employees.  The flexibility inherent in VoIP services provides businesses with many options to differentiate their service to their customers and improve the production and responsiveness of their employees.Virtual_Office_Phones

I'll define virtual for this purpose as the deployment of products and services where and when demand is present.  This is the nature of the world we live in.  Consumers of products and services buy differently today, and seek out support differently as well.  Matching the full communication suite of your business with the needs of the customers is critical for on-going success.  Utilization of the company's web site platform and phone communication platform are key components of the communication strategy necessary to meet the needs of the virtual world.

By its very nature, Hosted VoIP phone service is virtual.  The phone system resides in the cloud with your hosted provider and all phones are connected to it via the internet.  Therefore, the "system" doesn't reside under the roof of a single business location, thus providing the business with extreme flexibility in resource deployment among other advantages.

  • Deploy Resources Anywhere - Imagine setting up your business to your most extreme advantage!  This could mean many things.  Your business may have a particular skill set of employees that are plentiful and less expensive in another part of the country.  You can establish a presence there and recruit the best and most affordable talent.  You may also have a need to deploy resources at key client locations, whether on-site or in the same town.  Hosted VoIP allows you to do this but appear to all callers as if you are under the same roof.  Routing calls, extension dialing, conferencing, and call groups can all occur regardless of the location of the employee.
  • Addressing the Mobile Employee - Many companies have resources that are "out and about" providing sales and service to the customer base.  These employees can be easily reachable to customer calls through the utilization of a combination of Hosted VoIP features.  For example, calls to their extension or direct dial number can be forwarded to or simultaneously ring their cell phone.  For android or iPhone users, a softphone application can be programmed to match or replace their desk phone rather than the simultaneous ring.  This has the added benefit of being able to call customers and deliver the business caller ID rather than the cell phone caller ID.  Finally, any voicemails left for these employees are emailed to them for quick playback and responsiveness.
  • Location Agnostic Functions - With Hosted VoIP, businesses have incredible flexibility in how they deploy resources.  In a multi-location environment, you can choose to centralize certain functions for managerial oversight and other economies.  For example, say every branch had a support function that could provide the service centrally.  These businesses can deploy a centralized model to conserve resources and provide some consistency of service management.  To the caller, they would have no idea where the call was routed, only that it was answered quickly and their need was handled successfully.  Conversely, if this support function was decentralized or included a remote work force (like work at home), calls to this group would be routed as if they were all under the same roof.  Again, businesses could build the workforce to match the call volume and time of day needs rather than one at each location and be subject to the hours of operation of the branch.
  • Call Routing Options - Once again, there are a myriad of ways Hosted VoIP can conform to the needs of the customer.  No matter where resources are deployed, calls can be routed to the best resource to serve the customer needs.  Call groups or queues can be set up for the various functions of the business.  Calls are routed to these groups by a common extension or auto attendant option or both.  Specific routines can be programmed to ensure the best experience for the customer.  Benefits are not just limited to groups of employees, but also to individuals.  Direct dial numbers are provided as a means to provide customers with a direct way to reach key people supporting them.  Calls are also able to be routed to them by extension transferring, extension dialing from an auto attendant, or a directory option on the auto attendant.

These are just a few ways Hosted VoIP phone service addresses the new ways businesses need to address their customers.  Each business and their customers present a unique opportunity.  The key is to find a Hosted VoIP service provider who will listen to these needs and customize the programming of the platform to maximize the benefit.  Cookie cutter or self-service platforms will not pull out all of the benefits and lead to frustration.  Research the alternatives, but definitely plan on joining the mountain of companies who are transitioning to a VoIP service.  Do it before your competition and leave them in the dust!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP 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: Phone Service for Multiple Locations, VoIP Mobility

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

sipVine is a Great VoIP Solution for Franchises

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 19, 2013 10:23:00 AM

Deploying VoIP services within a franchise environment can deliver a host of benefits.  To the franchisor, this provides an opportunity to deliver value to the franchises in the form of a group purchase and some communication enhancements.  Of course, the franchise owners benefit from pricing levels they wouldn’t see as an individual purchaser of the service.  sipVine, a national provider of hosted VoIP services, has developed a program specific to franchise operations with special pricing and other benefits included.phone service for franchises

Details of sipVine’s program are as follows:

  • Special Pricing – Currently, sipVine discounts our unlimited local and long distance user fee based upon the number of users a company deploys.  We have created a similar schedule to apply discounting for businesses in a common franchise arm.  sipVine expects an active involvement of franchisors or individual franchisee customers to spread the word so the benefit can be driven to many participants and drive the cost down for all!  Current franchises participating are seeing a benefit of a 30 to 47 percent off normal sipVine pricing!
  • Centralized Features – sipVine can work with franchise operations to provide participating franchises the benefit of some centralized features.  An example would be simplified procedures for emergency routing of calls or redirection of callers to a central customer servicing arm, such as a claims department for an insurance agency franchise.  Another example would be some extension dialing capability to key contacts with franchise operations.  sipVine can customize the approach to work for the specific franchise operation.
  • National Account Management – Franchise operations are provided with a national account manager and an implementation coordinator that will ensure the smooth roll out of locations.  A customized web portal with unique resources for the franchise operation is provided, including a direct link to our service ticket system which routes your service to a team supporting franchise operations.

Every franchise operation has unique attributes and communication processes.  sipVine excels at the customization of its hosted service to match such needs, whether it be for a franchise operation, a company with multiple branch locations, or a stand-alone business.

If you are in franchise operations or are a franchise owner, contact sipVine today at 855.SIPVINE to explore what we can do for you!

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: Phone Service for Multiple Locations

Business VoIP – Nationwide Presence; One Service Provider

Posted by Mark Greim on Nov 7, 2011 9:52:00 AM

One of the greatest advantages of digital phone service relates to businesses with an established nationwide presence or to businesses establishing a nationwide footprint.  A business VoIP system and service can deliver several benefits to these businesses.

  • Single Phone System – If your business has established branches or points of presence in different cities across the nation, you can create a common phone system platform by choosing a hosted VoIP provider who specializes in nationwide delivery.  This will allow for employees at branches to extension dial each other, create a common or shared reception function, and streamline call flow.  Consolidation of “departments”, such as a service function, can be accomplished with ring groups.VoIP delivers economies of scale
  • Economies of Scale – Many business VoIP providers provide discounts based upon the volume of users/phones on the system.  Additionally, most plans deliver unlimited local and long distance calling.   This could significantly reduce your monthly phone costs and create other efficiencies between locations.
  • Virtual Teams – Hosted applications do not require a physical business location for implementation.  You can create virtual teams of work at home associates, thus lessening your need for additional square footage at your business location to accommodate an expanding organization.  Common applications are for sales or service groups to work from home.  Call detail records and other system features can help you measure productivity in such environments.
  • Creating a Footprint – For companies expanding into new locations, your business VoIP provider can establish a local phone number for those cities.  You can do this before you have a physical presence in the area, giving you the opportunity to develop campaigns or other marketing tactics before fully investing in the area.

If your business can benefit from such feature sets, call a hosted VoIP provider today.  Make sure they can customize the system and applications to meet your needs, as this is a big differentiator in VoIP providers.

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 a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.  

Tags: Benefits of VoIP, Hosted VoIP, Phone Service for Multiple Locations

Hosted Phone Service Perfect for Companies with Multiple Locations

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 26, 2011 10:00:00 AM

Companies with multiple locations are perhaps the perfect example of how to maximize the benefits of a hosted phone system.  These companies achieve cost efficiencies, centralize activities, lower investment costs, and enhance customer and employee communication by deploying cloud telephony.Multiple Offices Using Hosted Telephony

Cost Efficiencies – Whether the locations are across the town, state, region, or country, a hosted phone service consolidates the phone service providers into one.  Typical hosted phone service providers deploy quantity discounts and provide all-distance calling plans.  Long distance costs are eliminated and the overall monthly service costs are reduced.  These direct cost efficiencies are beneficial, but the tangible advantages found in centralization of activities and improvement in communication flows is where significant savings can occur.

Centralization of Activities – One of the greatest advantages of hosted digital platforms is the ability to customize the programming of call flow.   “Companies with multiple locations” is a very generic category, but deploying this type of a system can get very specific to the needs of your company and customers.  Whether you choose to centralize call flow with a primary reception model or an auto attendant, or maintain location specific incoming calls, you can still centralize various functions.  Common functions, such as sales, customer service, scheduling, technical support, or any other common function, can be set up in a ring group.  These ring groups can be consolidated in one location or even spread across locations.  To the caller, it is irrelevant as to the location where the call ultimately lands as long as their specific need is met.  Such programming can create cost savings and improved efficiency.

Enhanced Customer and Employee Communication – Through the programming mentioned above and the consolidation of the phone service under a single platform, customers enjoy a seamless communication experience.  Their needs can be met by being directed (automated or manually) to a ring group, or via a simple transfer to the specific associate required.  Automated attendants can be set up in various stages of the call flow, whatever suits your customer service desires and philosophies.  Additionally, employees can extension dial or transfer to any employee in the company, regardless of their location.  Finally, you can even set up employees virtually, as they can work from home and still appear to be on your communication system!

Low Investment Costs – Under traditional phone system deployments, a separate PBX would be required at each location and remote virtual users would fall outside of such a model.  With a hosted digital phone system, you only need to purchase the phones and some minor location specific equipment.  The “system” is provided and administered by your hosted phone service provider.  This provides for a very low cost of entry, and the savings achieved directly through lower monthly phone service costs and indirectly through centralization and improved call flow maximizes return on investment and decreases the payback period.

If you are a company with multiple locations or wish to deploy a virtual workforce, investigate a hosted digital phone provider who can cover your geography and customize the deployment to meet your needs.

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: Phone Service for Multiple Locations

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