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How VoIP Phone Service Can Improve Communications with Customers

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 14, 2022 9:00:00 AM

Many businesses have found that VoIP phone service can improve their communications with their customers.  As opposed to antiquated phone systems, today’s Hosted VoIP platforms bring many technological advantages and improve your accessibility to your customers.  Whether your company is small or large, implementing a VoIP phone system can address many of the communication challenges you face.

VoIP phone service platforms allow your business to program your communication strategy to how you do business.  You can make it easier for your customers to reach you and/or ensure that their messages are routed for prompt response.  Below are some examples of ways your communications can be programmed for optimal customer communications: 

Accessibility – Your customers have called and their goal is to speak to someone immediately or at least receive a prompt response.  VoIP phone systems allow for several alternatives to ensure that this happens:

·    Soft Phone on Cell Phones – if your staff is remote or routinely away from their VoIP desk phones, you can have a soft phone application on your smart phone that works like your desk phone.  When the app is open, you can receive calls to your extension or direct dial just as if you were at your desk.  These apps can also be included in any ring groups you may participate in.  When calling out from the app, you deliver the caller ID of your business, not your cell phone.

·   Call Forwarding – This isn’t a new feature, but each individual user can program their phones to forward to a different number when away from their desk. 

·   Ring Groups – Whether you’re using an automated attendant or receptionist model, employees with similar functions (say technical service) can be placed in a ring group. Calls can be sent to a group where the all the phones ring simultaneously and are delivered to whoever answers.

·   Remotely based employees – home based or branch based employees can have a VoIP phone or desktop soft phone at their location that acts like an extension of the corporate office phone system. VoIP applications have opened up a world where phone systems no longer have to be within the walls of the corporate office!  

Unified Messaging – VoIP phone solutions have merged data and voice communications, again improving your responsiveness to customer needs.

·    Voicemail Routing – These applications allow for voicemails left on your business phone to be sent to your email.  If you are working remotely or if you have a smart phone, you will be notified of a message and can respond immediately.

·    Fax Routing – Inbound faxes can be delivered electronically to your business.  If you have one fax line serving your business, these faxes can be placed in one or more email boxes and can be routed to the individual quickly for viewing and action.  If you have multiple fax lines targeted for individuals or groups of individuals, the same benefit applies. 

Call Routing – Again, there are many ways a VoIP phone service can be programmed to match your business needs and customer demands.  Programmed actions remove all efforts that you previously had to take in making this happen each day.  Here are just a few examples:

·   Time of day routing – Your VoIP phone system can automatically route your calls based upon the time of day.  This may be simply your standard hours of operation, where after-hours calls are routed to your destination of choice – company voicemail, cell phone, or answering service as examples.

·    After-hours auto attendant – If you don’t deploy an automated attendant during business hours, you can deploy this for after hours so calls coming in can be routed to specific employees or employee groups.  This way, other programmable functions can kick in, like on-call programming, any call forwarding programs, or unified messaging.

·    Holiday routing – Your company-observed holidays can also be pre-programmed so that these calls can be handled like your after-hours program as well as have a customized message on the recording. 

Make every interaction with customers count with the help of sipVine's complete business communication solution! 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 Phone Service, Customer Service

Advantages of a VoIP Phone System for Branches

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 22, 2022 1:34:00 PM

Businesses with multiple branch locations, whether locally-based or nationwide, can benefit from a common VoIP phone service platform.  Cloud telephony has made it possible for all business locations to appear as if they are on the same phone system.  There are several advantages that the business will gain through the common platform:

Centralized Reception – Businesses can implement a central phone number for all branches and consolidate the reception or auto attendant function at one location.  Or, they can route branch numbers to be answered at the central reception location.  Depending upon your selection of a VoIP phone service provider, you should be able to point as many local numbers as you have branches to a single receptionist for handling, regardless of the locality of the phone number. If there are multiple time zones involved, the right phone service provider should be able to create time of day routing routines to make this configuration work to your advantage. Centralizing reception will help reduce the number of employees required as well as create consistency in communication with your customers.

Another approach is to utilize multiple receptionists to handle incoming calls to all branches regardless of where that employee is located.  A ring group can be created that includes these employees.  Programmable line keys on the phones or an indicator before the caller ID field on the phone can allow this team to identify which location is being called.  

The flexibility in ring group programming can also allow for each branch number to have unique routing.  For example, calls to a specific branch can ring a local group first, then a back up ring group from the other branches.  The bottom line here is that you can identify how calls flow to each branch and calls can be handled across the enterprise.

User Advantages – Employees in all branches will be able to call, transfer, and conference other employees through extension dialing regardless of the location.  Additionally, a common company directory for employees and routinely called numbers can be programmed for all to use. 

Standardized Practices - A common phone system and service across all locations can streamline employee training and allow for easy movement of personnel from location to location.  Also, with similar call flow practices and auto attendant greetings, you create brand consistency across your organization.  Customers experience the same process and messaging regardless which location is called.

No Long Distance Charges – With most VoIP phone service providers, long distance calls are included in the monthly service fee.   Therefore, if your business operates branch locations in different parts of the country, you would no longer experience long distance charges for calls between branches or the corporate office.

Centralized Service Provider – By working with a single business VoIP phone service provider that can provide both the phones and the service coast to coast, your business will benefit economically.  Some providers can deliver quantity discounts through the consolidation of your service. Additionally, look for a provider who can perform your phone system administration for you.  They have the expertise to handle all of the programming and changes so you can focus on your business.

There are many advantages to make the shift to a VoIP phone service provider, but for companies with multiple branch locations, the above benefits really highlight what this technology can do for their productivity and financial efficiency.

Make every interaction with customers count with the help of sipVine's complete business communication solution! 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: Phone Service for Multiple Locations, Cloud Telephony

How to Keep Your Remote Employees Engaged, Happy and Productive

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 14, 2022 10:15:00 AM

It is not new for a business to utilize a remote or work-from-home work force. Technology advancements and a global pandemic have contributed to the acceleration of businesses accommodating remote employees. However, just because you may have the Hosted VoIP phone system platform and other technologies that support remote employees, it doesn’t mean that your business has the experience to foster the positive remote employee relations needed to build a productive environment.

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Tags: virtual workforce

Technology Tips for Managing Remote Employees

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 26, 2022 2:24:44 PM

Six Technology Tips for a Successful Remote Workforce

Managing remote employees can be challenging. Between keeping productivity high, communication break downs, distractions and interruptions, and isolation, there is a lot to manage. Focus on controlling the things you can, like the tools and technology.

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Tags: virtual workforce, small business phone service

How to Close a Sale and Improve Client Relationships: Pick up the Phone

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 12, 2022 11:23:50 AM

Improve Client Relationships with sipVine’s Small Business Phone System

You invested in a new business phone system. You’ve trained your team on how to use the office phones and robust features. Yet, your primary source of business communication is email. Now is the time to push back from the keyboard and pick up the phone and talk to your customers and clients. 

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Tags: Technology in Business, small business phone service

When You See Increasing Phone Service Rates, Run!

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 6, 2022 9:50:00 AM

Phone service providers should be all about raising your expectations, not your rates. Sadly, the opposite is true in many cases.  Small businesses routinely complain about the difficulty in getting something done through the customer service channels of the major telecom providers.  Just as common are the frustrations that come from being rewarded for such lackluster service with rate increases.  Thankfully, there are alternative providers offering rate stability, improved technology,  and superb customer service.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, small business phone service

Why Small Business Owners Love VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 10, 2021 12:01:00 PM

Small Businesses experience many pressures and demands on resources, and their telecommunication decision is just one of those experiences.  Below are five reasons why small businesses are moving toward a Hosted VoIP phone service and turning this pressure to an advantage: 

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Tags: small business phone service

Make a No-Regret Decision Regarding Your Business Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 10, 2021 9:19:40 AM

Every day, you face decisions regarding your business, some easy, some difficult. The successful business makes more decisions that prove to be favorable than they make decisions that they regret. When moving your business communications to a VoIP phone service, you simply cannot afford to regret the service provider selection. Customer communications and internal processes need to be enhanced, not impaired by your decision.

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Tags: voip service provider selection, Business Phone Service

5 Things to Consider When Selecting a VoIP Service Provider

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 3, 2021 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 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 Hosted VoIP phone 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 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

5 Reasons Why Insurance Agents Love Hosted VoIP Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on May 10, 2021 2:12:00 PM

Although many businesses benefit, there is one clear customer group that has found solid, sustaining value in a Hosted Phone Service: Insurance Agencies.  After years of working with insurance agents, we have been able to identify five main reasons why this customer group finds Hosted VoIP Phone Service beneficial: 

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Tags: Phone Service for Insurance Agents

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