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Is VoIP Phone Service Perfect for Small Business?

Posted by Mark Greim on Jun 9, 2022 10:41:55 AM

Most small businesses select VoIP phone service for their communication needs. But, why has this been the most preferred solution among businesses in this segment? A Hosted VoIP phone service offers flexibility and affordability while being stocked full of features that can transform your business and improve your communication practices and customer service results. 

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Tags: Hosted VoIP phone service, VoIP Phone Service, small business phone service

SIP Phone Service Elevates Business Communication

Posted by Mark Greim on May 11, 2022 9:18:57 AM

Many businesses are utilizing SIP phone service to power their commercial phone systems. Whether it involves provisioning SIP trunks to an on-premises VoIP phone system or powering a Hosted VoIP phone system, businesses have elevated their communication practices with the technology.

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Tags: VoIP Phone Service

May the VoIP be With You

Posted by Mark Greim on May 4, 2022 12:35:33 PM

Most businesses today are moving toward the light and implementing VoIP Phone Service.  Specifically, cloud-based services are quickly taking over as the technology of choice for business, with traditional analog phone systems or even IP-based on-site systems becoming the way of the past.  As evidenced by Toshiba's  announcement that it is exiting their phone system business and Avaya's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Hosted VoIP phone deployments are taking over the market.

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Tags: Benefits of VoIP, VoIP Phone Service

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

My Phone Company Loves Me....Not!

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 28, 2018 9:41:55 AM

The fact is that analog-based business phone systems and service are becoming a dying breed. Many businesses are waking up to the fact that their phone service company has given them little reason to remain a long-term and loyal customer. As businesses have made the switch to VoIP phone service throughout the last decade, traditional phone service providers have been grasping to hold onto their margins and their customers. Let's examine the evidence:

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Tags: Changing Phone Service Providers, VoIP Phone Service, Telecom Term Agreements

Outsourcing Your Business Phone Service

Posted by Mark Greim on Jun 19, 2014 1:36:00 PM

When you run your own business, one of the hardest decisions you'll ever have to make is choosing what work you need to handle in-house versus what work you need to hire out. Everything's got a trade-off. Having an in-house team means more up-front costs, but usually also more control. Outsourcing the work may save you money and get you access to better people, but you run the risk of becoming just another customer in a long list.

Fortunately, when it comes to your business phone service, hosted VoIP can give you the best of both worlds! After all, you're going to have to contract your phone service with someone. Even if you invest in a bulky and expensive private branch exchange (PBX) system to handle your telecommunications needs, you'll still be getting service from one of the major telephone providers. With hosted VoIP in the cloud from sipVine, your phone system and phone service providers are blended into one. That means no more bulky PBX, but it also means that no matter what you need from your business phone service, you've got one number to call, and you'll talk to someone who knows your business and your needs.

Cloud telephone services are a growing trend all over the world because, quite frankly, hosted VoIP can give benefits that "traditional" phone services just can't match. Not only does hosted VoIP save you money on maintenance and installation, it's also completely scalable to your needs as your company grows, and it's 100% portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go, without having to worry about hauling a bunch of equipment around. And of course, hosted VoIP from sipVine gives you the crystal clear call quality that you need, along with all the amenities that you've come to expect, such as call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail notification, and many more.

But maybe the biggest benefit of outsourcing your business phone service to hosted VoIP from sipVine is simply this: You'll get the best customer service in the business. Try calling one of the big service providers and you're going to find yourself on hold for who-knows-how-long, before you finally talk to someone who has no idea who you are, or what you do. Everyone's been through it, and everyone hates it! At sipVine, we put our customers first, and as business owners ourselves, we know how valuable your time is to you.

When was the last time you called your telephone service provider and spoke to someone who actually knew you? At sipVine you will! And while it's nice to talk to someone to whom you're more than just a customer number, that's not the end of the benefits of personalized service. When you're dealing with someone who knows your business and also manages the administration of your phone system, we can tailor your services and your features to your needs, and help to ensure that your telecommunications package is doing everything that it can to benefit 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, VoIP Phone Service

sipVine vs. National VoIP Providers

Posted by Mark Greim on Apr 24, 2014 10:35:00 AM

While VoIP phone service is rapidly becoming the industry leader in features, affordability, and overall performance, not all VoIP providers are created equal. As more businesses turn to hosted VoIP to fulfill their communications needs, that means more providers are jumping on the VoIP bandwagon, but many of them don't have the focus on call quality and dependability that your business really needs in a VoIP phone system.

That's where sipVine comes in. At sipVine, VoIP is what we do. While many national providers have started offering VoIP services to take advantage of its boom in popularity, they aren't always able to offer the same kinds of call quality and dependability that we can. Since VoIP service is delivered over your Internet bandwidth, it doesn't work quite the same way as a traditional phone system, which can pose unique challenges in terms of call quality that many national providers may not be prepared to handle.

sipVine's cutting-edge Quality of Service (QoS) technology ensures that you get the best possible quality on voice calls. By prioritizing voice traffic over other Internet bandwidth, our QoS technology can eliminate voice issues such as echoes, jitter, or lack of clarity, without sacrificing the efficiency of your data traffic. Also, instead of just dumping your voice traffic into your normal Internet bandwidth, our technicians evaluate your bandwidth to ensure that there is enough available capacity for voice traffic, and help you make any needed adjustments for best quality.

Because we specialize in VoIP phone service, sipVine can offer other advantages that national providers can't. Our technicians and engineers are all VoIP specialists who place customer service first. We prize our business clients, and want all of our associates to get to know each and every one of our customers firsthand. Furthermore, we're so confident in our VoIP service that we don't require any term contracts. We believe that our day-to-day service is so good that it will keep you coming back.

And because VoIP is what we do, we can offer you the best service around, not merely in call quality, but also in customization and features. We customize every VoIP service install to your needs, installing our VoIP phones and feature sets around the way that you do business. After all, your phone system is a tool, and a tool is only useful if it helps you to get the job done. You can choose from a robust feature set of the kind that you'd typically only find in more expensive VoIP systems, but at a fraction of the price. That's just part of the sipVine difference!

At the end of the day, though, the biggest advantage of VoIP phone service from sipVine is that you'll have a communications partner in your corner who understands the important role that good communication plays in running a business. It's our job to make sure that our customers can stay in touch with their customers, and it's a role that we take very seriously.

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: VoIP Phone Service, business, VoIP Phone

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

5 Ways to Enhance Customer Communication with Hosted VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Feb 26, 2013 11:49:00 AM

Switching to a VoIP phone solution can provide your business with a host of features and advantages.  We are reviewing five of the ways your customer communications can be enhanced by with a Hosted VoIP Solution.  Granted, all businesses are built differently, which can present more or less opportunities than the ones identified below.  A key takeaway is that, upon selecting the right hosted VoIP provider, you can explore many improvements in communication processes for the betterment of your customer experience.  The technology is powerful, affordable, and within reach!

Efficiently handle inbound calls – Many businesses handle this differently.  Some preach the benefits of having a “live” person answering calls, while others prefer to have an automated attendant route calls.  The question should focus on what the customer’s demand.  The good news is that hosted VoIP solutions can provide the ability to blend the methodology to effectively manage the calls.  Say the goal is to have calls answered live.  You can build in a ring group process to ring a primary and secondary ring group prior to resorting to an auto attendant process. 

If customers will work with automated routing, an auto attendant can be at the front of the process.  Your auto attendant should be built around why customers call, making sure you have easy to understand options that address the majority of issues.  Examples would be departmental routing such as “customer service” or “to place an order”.  To maximize satisfaction with an auto attendant process, you should keep options to a minimum and avoid multi layer processes.

Improve satisfaction with departmental ring groups – As mentioned above, creating ring groups surrounding employees in a department allows for the quick handling of calls.  Note that ring groups differ from call queues in that the phone call rings a group of people for a select number of rings before a ring group voicemail takes over.  A call queue involves the team logging into a queue and callers being dropped into that queue for the first available caller.  Companies can deploy either or both strategies depending upon the customer requirements.

Customers can be routed to the ring group or queue from an automated attendant or from any associate answering a call.  The queue or ring group simply needs to be assigned an extension for calls to be manually dropped in.

Every queue or ring group process needs to have an efficient “end” stage.  This can be a simple voicemail option with the voicemail converting to an email to route to whoever will be responsible for handling the requests for the department.  It also may include an “opt” out feature, discussed below.

Allow callers to escape from voicemail – Whether your callers hit your personal voicemail, are in a call queue, or hit a voicemail for one of your departments (ring groups), it is always a best practice to provide a zero out option.  Such options can be custom programmed, but most have the option to ring back to the primary ring group or a designated person.  Depending upon the nature of your business and the needs of your callers, some may be fine with leaving messages and getting a prompt return call.  However, others may require getting to a live person.  Hosted VoIP services can even provide for emergency routing to a designated answering service or a cell phone ring group consisting of your company’s designated on-call employees.

Increase accessibility for associates with high customer touch requirements – Another great benefit of hosted VoIP solutions is to be able to provide for accessibility of your key contact personnel with your customers.  Using features such as find me / follow me or other forward options gives your employees to be found wherever they may be.  If they are on a ring group, the phone will forward to the number designated.  Another option would be to have a simultaneous ring to the associate’s desk phone and cell phone.  For sales and support personnel, this provides a great way to be available for customer calls.

Because the service is hosted, associates can take their phones home or wherever they can connect to high speed internet.  Their phones will register and operate as if they were in the office, including any ring group involvement.  This will provide great flexibility for associates who need to work remotely.

There are a few cautions with this option.  You will need to make sure that ring groups ring less than 20 seconds or folks with simultaneous rings or follow me options set for cell phones will not have their cell phone voicemail pick up.  Additionally, if cell phone users hit ignore or are out of service, the cell phone voicemail will pick up instead of the office voicemail.

Implementing on-call schedules for support personnel – For businesses that have selected a hosted VoIP service provider who can customize programming, there are some higher level actions that will allow for the selection of employees who are active on call.  Such applications come into play when an after hours auto attendant or during hours emergency attendant can ring to designated on-call associates.  You can create a menu of who will be on call and include desk phone extensions and cell phones in the mix.  Management can select which group is on-call with pre-programmed dial selection or web interfaces where available.

I hope this list has been informative and look forward to any comments.

 

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: Configuring digital phone service, voip business phone system, VoIP Phone Service

VoIP Provider, sipVine, Announces Fax Service Enhancement

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 24, 2012 11:20:00 AM

sipVine has long provided inbound faxing to email and has now added desktop outbound faxing capabilities to our service offerings.  This service allows sipVine customers to send faxes from their computers either through their email, a desktop applet, or through a web portal. Previously, sipVine only offered outbound faxing via the fax machine.

sipVine will deliver a new fax number for this purpose, although only in limited areas we may be able to utilize your current fax number.  Inbound faxes can be delivered with a PDF file to one or multiple email addresses and you can assign one or more users to this fax number.  Customers can add as many additional fax numbers as they would like.

Although faxing is not a new technology, we embrace more efficient approaches to the process and this upgrade certainly applies.  sipVine customers involved in the testing indicate that it is easy to use, fast, and affordable!

This service is available to sipVine customers only and is not offered on a stand-alone basis. 

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: VoIP Phone Service

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