What is SIP Phone Service and How Does it Work?

Posted by Mark Greim on May 23, 2023 9:45:00 AM

People have gone back to the office. Companies are growing, adding more employees and needing office infrastructure just like they’ve always needed it. And while the costs of many goods and services have risen in recent years, there’s one area where you can save money while you upgrade to more advanced technology: your business phone service.

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Tags: voip business phone system

Why do IT Support Companies Love Hosted VoIP?

Posted by Mark Greim on Apr 11, 2023 9:45:00 AM

Information technology support companies have long embraced Hosted VoIP as their phone service of choice. Hosted VoIP enables their business to operate effectively but also exemplifies the newest technology that they would encourage their customers to embrace.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP phone service, Phone Service for IT Companies

What is the Best VoIP Phone Service for Professional Service Firms?

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 21, 2023 1:09:38 PM

Professional service firms have long taken advantage of the power of Hosted VoIP phone service for their organizations. The feature set and flexibility delivered by Hosted VoIP perfectly matches the requirements of professional service firms and helps advance their communication practices with their customers and associates.

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Tags: Best VoIP for Professional Service Firms

How Hosted VoIP Can Support Your Business Growth

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 20, 2023 9:08:27 AM

You can find a lot of advice out there about how to grow your business, but what you may find less advice about is how to make sure you keep up with your business growth when it happens. We've all heard about some business that got too big, too fast, and ended up stretched way too thin to support themselves and their customers. "Too much success" may seem like an oxymoron, but it can happen if your infrastructure doesn't grow along with your business.

Hosted VoIP supports your business growth by making it easy to grow your telecom service alongside your business, so that it can expand to fit whatever size you need. Unlike with a traditional phone system, which requires expensive private branch exchanges and other equipment, with Hosted VoIP phone systems you never have to worry about system replacement. Adding new people to the system is as easy as ordering another VoIP Phone. Because a VoIP phone system is completely customizable, you can adjust your settings to fit the needs of your business and each individual employee.

It's just as easy to add locations to the phone service, whether in or out of town. Because your VoIP phone service is hosted in the cloud, the new locations will seem like they are on the same system, no matter where they are located. This provides your business with several advantages:

  • Centralization of Functions - Hosted VoIP also allows for a variety of centralizing functions that can help you to manage your growing business. You can add locations but not duplicate functions by centralizing them. For example, you can centralize your customer service function at one location. Calls can be routed to this team via an auto attendant option or a transfer to the group speed dial.
  • Decentralization of Functions – An alternative approach would be to create a decentralized team that handles the function for all locations no matter where they are located, providing your business with the flexibility of employing the right resource. The ring group or call queue for the function can route calls to wherever the team members are located.
  • Number Assignments – You can assign new local numbers for other parts of the country where you're looking to grow your business, whether you have locations there or not. And those numbers can ring any phone you want, even in your home office. Employee direct dial numbers can be based upon where they are located or where your home office is located depending upon your brand strategy.

Business growth comes down to providing exceptional service. If you satisfy your customers consistently and admirably, then you're likely to attract more customers. To provide exceptional customer service, your business must have an infrastructure that can support expansion and to make sure that you can deliver.

Hosted VoIP phone service supports your expanding business and offers a lot of opportunities for enhancing your customer service. VoIP gives you the ability to easily set and adjust auto attendant features for those times when there's nobody around to answer the phone. It also provides a host of options for advanced call routing and access to mobile employees, making sure that there is always somebody to answer the phone and that the call gets to the right person to address the customer’s need.

Whatever the current size of your business, odds are you'd like to see it grow. Hosted VoIP phone service from sipVine can help you grow and support your business. With the right system, no matter how big your business gets, you can always give the kind of exceptional customer service that you want to be providing.

Is it time to make the switch to a Hosted VoIP provider who can deliver the customer service your business deserves? Make every interaction with customers count with the help of sipVine's complete business communication solution! sipVine provides Hosted VoIP services to businesses across the United States. A better phone system for your small business with advanced features to match your unique business needs! Make your company's business communications better by engaging better customer experiences at every touchpoint. Want to learn more? Our small business phone service representatives are here to answer any questions you have!

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, Hosted VoIP phone service

What is VoIP and is it Worth it for Small Businesses?

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 24, 2023 9:30:00 AM

Many businesses have moved to VoIP technology and are advancing their communication strategies and reaping the benefits. Small businesses in particular have the most to gain from a Hosted VoIP phone solution as it provides them with all of the features of an enterprise grade phone system. And, the flexibility to support their business as it navigates through the opportunities and challenges of their business life cycle.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP phone service, small business phone service

Changing VoIP Providers: Getting it Right

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 12, 2023 9:31:12 AM

Not too long ago, this article would have focused on changing your business phone service from a traditional phone service provider to a VoIP provider.  Hosted VoIP services are becoming widely accepted as the technology of choice for the small to mid-size business market, manifested by the fact that many companies are now switching from one VoIP Provider to another.  It is also a signal that selecting a provider at the outset needs careful research and deliberation.

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Tags: Changing Phone Service Providers

Consider Separating Your Data and VoIP Networks

Posted by Mark Greim on Nov 30, 2022 12:28:00 PM

With business internet usage continuing to increase, contention for bandwidth between your data and VoIP activity can create problems.  Yes, the convergence buzzword has been replaced with contention!

Why is this happening?  Business needs and applications are evolving fast.  Even with bandwidth expansion availability from internet carriers, keeping up with the increasing demand is a challenge.  More businesses are using cloud computing applications, using the internet to move data to a host server rather than to servers on their local area networks.  On-line data backup is another such application.  General use of the internet continues to accelerate, both for personal and business purposes.  With the sky-rocket adoption rate of smart phones, the lines between business and personal have blurred, and office internet usage is following suit.  Social media is not only a personal outlet, but a business tool and resource.  Buying practices have shifted toward internet research and ecommerce, and marketing activity has followed.

I’m looking at my personal browser.  On a daily basis, my browser auto-opens tabs for three social media sites, five cloud applications, news, and Google.  Each application is actively worked throughout the day.  This is becoming the norm, and it requires a lot of bandwidth to perform efficiently.

What is the impact on VoIP applications?  Most businesses today use a VoIP phone service application for their phone service needs.  When a company uses a hosted VoIP service, voice packets travel over the same internet connection as the data packets.  Good VoIP phone service providers will provide instructions to program your router to prioritize voice packets over data to ensure that your calls remain clear and free from interruption.  However, if the internet connection is highly saturated with activity, even the best prioritization routines will be compromised.  Phone conversations can experience poor voice quality and phones can lose their registration and go off-line.

What can be done?  Where available, you should look at your internet provider’s capability to add bandwidth to the circuit or change to a provider who has the ability to grow with your needs.  Depending upon your internet usage and needs, you still may have occasional contention between your voice and data traffic.   However, an alternative may be to separate your voice and data network.

With a separate voice and data network, your calls and phones will no longer be impacted by your data usage.  Many VoIP phones have two ports on the back which allow for a computer to share an Ethernet cable to the network.  The phones and computers can still share an Ethernet connection to the servers, but they will simply be directed out disparate internet connections.  This can be accomplished by setting up a vLan on your switch or by simply assigning the phones separate IP addresses and route them out the new internet connection.  Your network manager or your hosted VoIP phone company should be able to assist you with this programming. 

Finally, voice calls do not require much bandwidth (80 kb/s non-compressed).   Dependent upon your concurrent call maximum, your alternative connection may not be required to be very large.

Capture some statistics on your network usage.  Compare this with the anecdotal complaints from your employees about internet speeds and VoIP call quality and then investigate your options for more bandwidth and/or disparate connections for voice and data.


About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a VoIP Phone Service Provider based in Kansas City, MO. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

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Tags: VoIP Bandwidth Requirements, Voice Quality

5 Things to Consider When Selecting a VoIP Service Provider

Posted by Mark Greim on Oct 3, 2022 1:00:00 PM

Congratulations, you have taken the first step to enhance your communication platform and upgrade your capabilities by considering a move to a VoIP Service Provider.  Before you make the switch, here are five considerations for you to include in your evaluation of potential providers:

  1. Does the VoIP service provider configure the system to how you do business? There are many VoIP service providers who "bundle and drop ship".  These are usually priced very low, but you will have a very basic configuration.  If you have a growing business or are already a business of size and complexity, gain a comfort level with the provider's ability to listen and understand how you do business and see if they will effectively guide you through their alternatives available.  Large national providers expect you to understand how to navigate their provisioning portal and handle all of the programming yourself.  Finding a  VoIP phone service provider that programs the features and delivers a customized solution specific to how you do business would benefit you greatly.
  2. Does the VoIP service provider offer a number of solutions to meet your needs? This has evolved over the years.  If you have an 0n-premises VoIP system, determine if the VoIP provider can deliver sip trunks to the platform.  However, most businesses have already moved to a VoIP for Business hosted service platform, providing your business with the flexibility required to compete in today's markets.  The solutions to look for surround the variety of VoIP phone options that best meet the needs of your employees.  VoIP desk phones are ideal for in-office use, although many have moved to desktop soft phones.  Remote or highly mobile employees tend to use either the desktop soft phone or a soft phone app that resides on their smart phone.
  3. How agreeable is the VoIP phone service provider to assist in network troubleshooting to resolve call quality issues?   This is where the rubber hits the road for most VoIP phone service providers.  With plug and play phones, having technical support willing to troubleshoot network issues is rare.  Problems can occur on the local network or with the internet connection provided by another carrier.  Avoid selecting VoIP service providers with the attitude that this is "not my problem".  Granted, phone calls are a symptom of the problem, but it should be seen in everyone's best interest that these problems are diagnosed and resolved.  Technical support can provide guidance on router settings that may be causing a conflict, help evaluate if there are problems with bandwidth utilization on the local area network, and run tests to see if the internet circuit is not performing at a level to deliver uninterrupted VoIP traffic.  Additionally, does the provider offer a device to help prioritize voice traffic over data?  This was a huge issue back in the day when internet carriers were not delivering large and affordable internet circuits.  But, with the amount of business applications in the cloud, contention for bandwidth can still be an issue.  So, ask your potential VoIP service provider how they approach these situations.  You will be able to tell very quickly if it is something they do not even consider supporting or assisting you with!
  4. Is customer support do-it-yourself?  Large national providers tend to provide off-shore call center support.  This support tends to provide guidance to the customer on how to navigate their self-service portal and certainly does not make changes on behalf of the customer.  Granted, some changes are easy to make.  Others, like mentioned in the first consideration above, take a greater understanding of the programming required to meet the need.  Examples would be main line call flow, call queue set up, auto attendant changes, time of day routing differences, etc.  Most businesses have their own activity to manage and have little time to figure out how to work a third-party portal.  Look for a VoIP service provider who will listen to what you are looking to accomplish and make the changes for you.  
  5. What do their customers say about their VoIP service provider?  Take steps to talk to their customers.  Are they satisfied and why? Do they deliver what they promise in the sales cycle?  Like with many vendor evaluations, reference checking is a very important tool.  Ask for references and, after they deliver their standard set, ask for a reference in your area and one in your industry.  See how quickly and willing they are to deliver additional references that may not be on their normal list of references.

Consider adding sipVine's complete business communication solution to your evaluation list! A better phone system for your small business with advanced features to match your unique business needs! Make your company's business communications better by engaging better customer experiences at every touchpoint. Want to learn more? Our small business phone service representatives are here to answer any questions you have!



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Tags: voip service provider selection

Hosted VoIP Providers Should Provide More Personal Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 30, 2022 9:54:12 AM

Hosted VoIP providers who refer their customers to impersonal online resources or a self-servicing portal are missing a golden opportunity to deliver outstanding customer service. Business owners do not have time to navigate a website or web portal, devise a plan for the phone system programming, learn how to execute the programming, and train their own staff. They have a business to run and operating a solid communication system is a key to being a successful business.

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Tags: voip service provider selection, Hosted VoIP phone service

Better Business Phone Pricing Compared to National Providers

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 9, 2022 9:42:00 AM

As small businesses experience VoIP phone service from a National Provider, many are left underwhelmed by the customer service and shocked by the monthly service invoice. Although features are robust, the pricing plans may not exactly match the operations of the business. Surcharges and taxes added on top of what was proposed are not inconsequential, leaving the net cost per user much higher than expected. There has to be an alternative to this situation!

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Tags: VoIP business phone services, Customized Business Phone Plans

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