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How Hosted VoIP can Support Your Business Growth

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 7, 2014 3:23:00 PM

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, and adding new people to the system is as easy as ordering another handset. And since VoIP phone setup 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. And because your VoIP service is hosted in the cloud, it's like the new locations are on the same system, no matter where they are. Hosted VoIP also allows for a variety of centralizing functions that can help you to manage your growing business, and find new avenues for expansion. You can route calls to any number in the system, reassign numbers, even create 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.

At the end of the day, business growth comes down to providing exceptional service. If you satisfy your customers consistently and admirably, then you're likely to attract more customers. In order to provide exceptional customer service, you have to have an infrastructure that can support your business as it expands, to make sure that you can deliver. Hosted VoIP phone service can do just that, 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, to make sure that there is somebody to answer the phone, and that the call gets to the right person.

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 do just that, and also support you throughout your growth.  With the right system, no matter how big your business gets, you can always provide the kind of exceptional customer service that you want to be providing.

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.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP

Is Your Phone Company Supporting Your Business?

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 23, 2014 8:38:00 AM


Whatever your business is, chances are you know it pretty well. But any savvy entrepreneur knows that a lot more goes into running a business than just knowing the ins and outs of what you do. Businesses need staffing, computer services, shipping, and many other systems, and the best business owners know that they'll get the most bang for their buck by hiring experts in those systems to help their business run as efficiently as it can. You wouldn't hire a computer technician to run your HR department, and you wouldn't hire an HR manager to handle shipping. Unfortunately, many businesses do hire phone companies that aren't acting as subject matter experts on things like call flow and system features. While traditional phone companies may know a lot about phone lines and services, they may be completely unfamiliar with the phone systems that their clients are using.

That's part of why many businesses are moving to cloud-based telephone services. VoIP phone services hosted in the cloud create a unique opportunity for providers to act as subject matter experts not just in phone service, but also in phone systems. Because hosted VoIP phone service providers like sipVine provide both the phone service and the phone system at the same time, they can contribute expert advice on everything from call flow to auto attendants.

Modern VoIP phone services are budget friendly, and don't require a lot of upfront capital to set up. There's no need to buy an expensive private branch exchange (PBX) for your phone system, or to maintain any such bulky technology in the long haul. With hosted VoIP, your cloud phone service provider can take over the administration of your entire phone system. What's more, VoIP phone technology can bring a lot of benefits to the table, including features like direct dial, voicemail, unified messaging, on-phone corporate directories, and many others, while VoIP-enabled phones boast all the features that you've come to expect, including call waiting, caller ID, ad-hoc conferencing, intercom, and more.

But one of the best features of cloud-based VoIP telephone systems is that they allow your phone service provider to also be your phone system provider, meaning that they can support your business as subject matter experts in both fields, and can help ensure that your phone service and phone system are working in tandem to meet your company's ever-changing communication needs. Hosted VoIP phone service means constant IT and telecom support, from experts who don't just understand your service plan, but also every aspect of your phone system, from the inside out. Whether you need help setting up an out-of-office message, or whether your entire phone system needs an overhaul, the VoIP experts at sipVine are there to help.

When was the last time your phone company supported you as a subject matter expert on your call flow, auto attendant, or other system features? If the answer is anything but "right now," then maybe you should look into VoIP phone service from sipVine, and see the difference it can make in your business.

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.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, Benefits of VoIP, Cloud Telephony

Why Hosted VoIP Service Outshines Traditional Phone Service

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

Times 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.

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

Get Your IT Budgets in Line for a New Hosted VoIP Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 2, 2013 2:15:00 PM

These days, many small-to-mid-size businesses are looking to replace their phone systems, and the majority of them are moving to cloud-based phone services. This is a big change from just a few years ago, when hosted VoIP technology was still new and many businesses had reservations about running their phone systems over the Internet. Since then, VoIP has become business standard, and hosted VoIP phone services are budget friendly ways to bring your phone systems into the future. One of the biggest benefits of a hosted VoIP phone system is that the upfront capital outlay is much lower than for on-site systems, and there's an opportunity to save on monthly service costs down the road.

Hosted VoIP phone systems offer a lot of opportunities for reducing the IT budget of your business in both the short and long terms. Upfront capital investment is low, since you only need pre-configured, customizable VoIP phones and some minor additional equipment like analog adaptors for fax and credit card machines, if required. Because the system is hosted in the cloud, there's no need to invest in a pricey private branch exchange (PBX) that will also cost maintenance dollars down the road.

Since you don't need to maintain costly on-site equipment, maintenance costs associated with a hosted VoIP service are also cheaper than on-site phone systems. Businesses using hosted VoIP systems require few if any trip or service charges for maintenance and repair work. Monthly service costs can also be kept to a minimum, as most hosted VoIP services (such as those provided by sipVine) offer flat-rate service models that include unlimited local and long-distance calls. sipVine also offers sliding scale price points based on the number of users you have on your system, and low usage phones like those in conference rooms and break rooms are priced at our lowest tier from the start.

Hosted VoIP also offers the opportunity to save on administrative costs associated with running a phone system. Typically, your hosted VoIP provider will take over administration of your phone service. Therefore, you don't have to expend the time, energy, and manpower to run an on-site phone system, freeing up your budget and personnel for more important things.

The benefits of a hosted VoIP phone service aren't just budgetary, either. A hosted VoIP service offers your business improved functionality and features, increased office efficiency, and greater customer satisfaction. Susan Sprenz, a sipVine Senior Sales Associate provides an example: "One of my customers is a professional service firm with six offices in difference cities. All of their calls are answered by a receptionist, however, through our system they only deploy three receptionists as opposed to six. All three receptionists are in different office locations. We've helped establish a ring pattern where certain people are primary and others are secondary, depending upon the office called. All receptionists know which office is being called, and they have the ability to quickly transfer the caller to the appropriate party via a button on their phone."

Such examples of the benefits of a hosted VoIP phone service are numerous, and they certainly contribute to a positive return on investment. In fact, potential savings from internal efficiencies are often much greater than the savings generated from lower monthly service, maintenance, and administrative costs. So if it's time for your IT budget planning, now's the time to get a line item in for a hosted VoIP phone service. Call sipVine today to learn more!

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.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, VoIP Phone Service

Future-Proofing Your Phone System with a Hosted VoIP Company

Posted by Mark Greim on Nov 27, 2013 8:23:00 AM

There are a number of advantages to implementing a hosted VoIP phone service. The advanced communication features of VoIP technology are typically at the forefront of any business decision to upgrade phone systems to a hosted VoIP phone service. However, it should also be known that moving to a cloud-based service through a hosted VoIP company delivers numerous operating benefits and financial returns over the long-term.

Future-proofing a business phone system was a difficult proposition prior to the development
of hosted telephony. Such efforts included known future investments for either planned obsolescence/replacement or investments in system upgrades. By shifting to a cloud-based model, the burden of such investment is shifted to the hosted VoIP company. Below we'll look at several reasons why this is the case:

1. Phone System Obsolescence - The business no longer has to worry about phone system
obsolescence. When utilizing a hosted VoIP phone service, the host provider handles all ongoing phone system research and development efforts. Companies that provide hosted VoIP services invest in continued advancement of their systems, while their customers reap the rewards of not having to replace or upgrade core systems to receive such benefits.

2. Custom-Tailored Feature Deployment - There is no lack of cool features that come with a good hosted digital phone service. A host provider, such as sipVine, will typically consult with your company about the feature sets that are best for your business operations. Where all the features are available for deployment, a consultative approach provides for a custom-tailored feature set that maximizes internal and external communications. Additional features can be deployed as needs change or as customer readiness dictates.  

3. Cutting-Edge Feature Development – As the hosted VoIP company invests in feature R&D, the business receives access to new communication features as they are launched. Because the core system is hosted, investment in core system upgrades to access such new features is not the responsibility of the customer, but the provider. The reward for the customer is no new investment in infrastructure. In return, the provider receives the benefits of securing long-term customer relationships.

4. Host System Security – Again, businesses bear no responsibility in the maintenance and upgrades of core phone systems and infrastructure. IT and Operations personnel can rest easy that their system will be leading edge and secure. The hosted provider will continually invest in and manage system security, redundancy, and capacity. This helps to ensure peace of mind for members of the IT and Operations departments who place a high value on uninterrupted "up-time" as well as immediate disaster recovery solutions for their phone communications systems.  

5. VoIP Phone System Upgrades – In a hosted system, the only investment borne by the company is in respect to their handsets and some other minor premise equipment. Thus, like any office device, the customer bears responsibility for replacing phones out of warranty if they are damaged or fail. Businesses can upgrade phones over time. The benefit here is that the business is able to save a considerable amount of money by upgrading phones when they have a specific need, and this saves the company a great deal over a full system replacement. Additionally, good hosted VoIP companies continually migrate their phone line-up to newer, state-of-the-art models. These can be inserted into the company's current mix of phones as the need or desire arises.

As stated earlier, the benefits of utilizing a hosted VoIP company are numerous. Limiting future system replacements while staying on the cutting-edge of technology is a new benefit in such decisions and worthy of consideration. Experts in business communications have often stated that companies cannot go wrong with utilizing a hosted VoIP company for their phone service. You can call sipVine, a hosted VoIP provider, to learn more!

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.

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Tags: Hosted VoIP

Mobility Options with Hosted VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 22, 2013 10:16:00 AM

Deploying mobility options is a great way to fully utilize your Hosted VoIP phone system for your business and drive customer satisfaction and office efficiency.  Hosted VoIP services provides a new outlook for your phone system, as you no longer are confined to the walls of the office for your communication practices.  Such options include the utilization of soft phones for your cell phones, tablets, and laptops, engagement of cell phones in the call flow, and the establishment of remote office options for personnel.

Soft Phones – Working in conjunction with or independently from your VoIP desk phone, soft phones can provide several advantages.  They are set up as your extension in your business on your laptop, tablet, or smart cell phone.  When you turn on these phones, you can dial out and deliver the caller ID for your business instead of that of your cell phone.  You can basically take and make calls anywhere you have an internet connection.  This mobility option provides a measured improvement in customer contact and satisfaction for associates who are on the road or out of the office frequently.  When using these devices, it is recommended that you are on a WiFi network and not relying on 4G or 3G cell service. 

Engagement of Cell Phones in the Call Flow – Again, for employees who are highly mobile or out of the office, calls to their direct dial number or internal extension can be programmed to simultaneously ring or forward to their cell phones.  This increases the ability for key customer contact associates to receive that important phone call while they are away from the office.   If they are busy and do not answer their cell phone, the call is routed back to their office voicemail.  Of course, voicemails can be delivered to email so they can receive and listen to the voicemails and respond quickly.  One important note is that if the associate hits “ignore” on their cell phone, or if the phone is turned off or out of service area, the calls will be picked up by the cell phone voicemail.

Remote Personnel – Because the actual phone system is hosted by your VoIP provider, all of the desk phones are connected back to the host via the internet connection regardless of where they are located.  Therefore, companies are able to deploy a work from home option for their associates, or establish offices where a specific skill set of employees are better recruited and deployed.  Associates can have phones at the office and a duplicate phone at a home or vacation home and still take calls as if they were at the home office.  This opens up plenty of efficiencies and applications for businesses.

The key with all of these options is that they can be used to make the office more efficient, employees more engaged and available, and customers more satisfied.  We’d love to talk over your specific application and help provide a solution 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. 

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, virtual workforce, VoIP Mobility

Deploy VoIP for Your Business and Find Hidden Savings

Posted by Mark Greim on May 6, 2013 1:21:00 PM

By now, most businesses are fully aware that a Hosted VoIP alternative can deliver direct monthly savings and an improvement in technology.  However, there are plenty of opportunities to draw out indirect savings from your decision to deploy hosted VoIP.  Certainly, every business will have their own unique circumstances, but the ideas below may generate some thoughts as to how you can create savings or efficiencies.  The key point is that there is tremendous flexibility in how you can deploy the VoIP programming, thus it can be molded to the uniqueness of each business.

Remote Employees – One of the great things with a hosted VoIP system is that you can include remote or work from home employees on your phone system.  Internally and externally, it would be as if they are all under the same roof!  This opens the door for savings of additional phone plans (cell phone minutes or land line) for those employees.  You can also use such a system to facilitate the set up of a department in a location where it may be advantageous for recruiting efforts.  An example would be to deploy customer service personnel in a town where recruiting may be easier and wages lower.  These employees could have direct dial numbers that tie to the headquarters’ location and also be included in the ring group for customer service!

Local Number for Remote Locations – If you have some customers that are aggregated in a particular metropolitan area, you can set up a local number in that MSA.  This would lessen the volume on your toll free number and save money to that end.  Getting a telebranch number set up with a traditional telecom would be similar in costs to a toll free process.  The approach taken by hosted VoIP companies differ, but the potential for this to come in quite a bit less than a toll free rate exists.

Centralization of Functions – One of the biggest paybacks for hosted VoIP systems comes when you can make staffing adjustments because of the technology.  With remote locations, it is easy to envision opportunities for such savings, as you can centralize various functions to the extent that they support your activity over the phone.  For example, if customer service is handled with phone support, not every branch would need to have a dedicated rep, as the function can be centralized.  Calls to the branch for customer service can be directed to the central group.  If you do not have multiple offices, you can look to an automated attendant to route calls to the particular employee or department and eliminate the need for a central reception function.

Phone Administration and Maintenance – A great benefit to hosted VoIP systems is that you no longer have to maintain an on-site PBX.  Additionally, many hosted VoIP providers act as your administrator to your phone system programming.  Therefore, dollars spent toward maintenance, service calls, or on-site administrators can be redirected!  The only exposure for you would be out of warranty handset replacement, but typically the costs of these handsets are much lower than the on-site PBX counterparts.

Accessibility of High Customer Contact Employees – Utilizing find me/follow me features and/or creating a simultaneous ring to cell phone will ensure that your high customer touch employees (sales and service personnel as an example) will always be reachable by your employees.  Where this may not produce savings, it certainly improves efficiency and customer service metrics, which also carry indirect benefit to your bottom line.

There are many more examples.  Again, the key is to envision the capabilities of hosted VoIP features into your business and project out a potential design that will lead to possible indirect benefits.  Couple these with the potential direct savings you receive, and the return on investment becomes obvious.  No wonder many businesses are gravitating to these type of 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. 

 

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, Phone System Replacement

19 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Hosted VoIP Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 12, 2013 1:48:00 PM

sipVine, a national business VoIP service provider, has published a new ebook that provides many insights on how to fully take advantage of your hosted VoIP phone service.  If you are currently utilizing the service or are investigating hosted VoIP for your business, this ebook will provide you with many ideas on how to leverage the new technology to enhance your communications with your customers and employees.

In the eBook, 19 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Hosted VoIP Phone Service, we cover the following topics:

  • Delight Your Customers with an Effective Call Flow and Auto Attendant
  • Streamline Your High-Customer-Touch Associates
  • Generate Efficiencies in Your Business
  • Accessorize Your System
  • Select the Right Provider
This free ebook is available for download.  We hope you enjoy it!
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Tags: voip service provider selection, Hosted VoIP

Top 5 Reasons to Switch to VoIP Phone Service for Your Business

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 11, 2013 3:05:00 PM

Many businesses ask themselves why they should switch from their current phone system to a VoIP phone service.  With the “old phones” working fine, does it make sense to switch?  Although conditions differ business to business, it’s time to dust off the top five reasons to switch to hosted VoIP phone service!

  1. Increased Productivity Through Technology Improvements.  There once was a time when businesses asked why they should upgrade to Word Processing equipment from typewriters!  We may argue that the simpler times were better, however there’s no doubting just how much more productive our companies are made with new technology.  VoIP is one such example. There are countless features that are an improvement above old analog systems, and these features will help your company be more productive.
  2. Improved Communication Internally and Externally – Hosted VoIP service can be programmed to increase the ability to access or communicate with your employees.  Whether it is to improve communication and accessibility internally, or improve the communication flow with your customer base, hosted phone service can enable both.  Incoming calls can be handled by an auto attendant or backed up by an attendant after attempts are made to an initial ring group.  Ring groups, queues, directories, and direct dial numbers are all components of a mix of programming that can improve communications.  Find me/follow me features can also be deployed, so your associates can be reached whenever they are needed by your customers!
  3. Low Investment – You are receiving enterprise level features and productivity improvements for just the upfront cost of the VoIP phones and a few other pieces of minor equipment!  The PBX is hosted by your provider and you no longer have to worry about its purchase, maintenance, upgrades, or state of repair.  Those facts alone drive many out of the analog business and to the cloud for VoIP.  For many of the same reasons companies are moving to cloud based applications, cloud telephony can drive significant benefits.   Many companies find that their current phones need upgrade, and the parts are not available.  If that is the case, it is definitely time to switch!
  4. Cost Savings – Productivity improvements many times will dwarf the hard savings in your actual telecom costs, but it always helps to save money on your phone bill!  As competition has increased in the business telecommunications marketplace, traditional providers have also been addressing their rates.  However, with hosted VoIP companies, they may still be able to generate cost savings through their unlimited local and long distance calling plans and other elements that will lower your monthly telecommunication costs.
  5. No Administration Costs or Headaches – Imagine being out of the phone equipment business!  No longer will you need to pay for service calls to move phones around, worry about the longevity of your current technology, or maintain your phones in any way.  Good hosted providers take care of all of that for you. 

Perhaps the best argument for switching is to make sure your company takes advantages of all of the improvements before your competition does!  Businesses are switching every day, and it is accelerating, so jump on board and make the switch!

 

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. 

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Tags: Hosted VoIP, Benefits of VoIP

Hosted VoIP and Call Flow for your Business

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 26, 2012 9:16:00 AM

One of the first decisions businesses make when implementing their Hosted VoIP system regards the call flow for their incoming calls.  Good hosted VoIP providers will guide you through the many options and customization now available to your business with the technology.  Where it is possible to match your current call flow, taking advantage of the options afforded to your business through an auto attendant, direct inward dial numbers, and ring groups can help create an edge for your business in a competitive climate.

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Tags: voip service provider selection, Hosted VoIP, Configuring digital phone service

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