Archive for the ‘VoIP Phones’ Category


Top 10 Nextiva FAQs

fawThe Nextiva Support Team loves chatting on the phone with customers every day to help answer questions and set up devices. We researched your most frequently asked questions and compiled a list of the top 10.

Save time by finding answers to these popular topics below, or access all of our tips and videos on the Nextiva online Support Center.

  1. How do I log in to the NextOS portal?
  2. How do I set up my phone?
  3. How do I use my auto attendant?
  4. How do I program custom on-hold music?
  5. How do I set up a 3-way conference call?
  6. How do I resolve a dropped call?
  7. How do I adjust my billing information?
  8. How do I send faxes using vFAX?
  9. How do I log in to my vFAX account?
  10. How do I adjust my vFAX billing information?

Best Practices: Buying a Business Phone System

Your company is looking to buy a new phone system and you aren’t sure where to start. I recently wrote about how to choose an online vendor for The Huffington Post, and will incorporate those tips (and add more) in this piece to help business executives looking to switch to a modern business phone service.

First, embrace the cloudguy-on-desk-phone

Gone are the days of traditional landline phone systems. Cloud-based solutions allow companies the flexibility to seamlessly forward calls to cell phones, integrate offices (without having to cross physical phone lines) and apply fixes instantaneously (no more waiting until a storm passes to get your phone service back up and running).

Establish your goals

What do you love and hate about your current phone system? What do you wish it included? Phone systems are critically important to business operations and, although it may seem like an internal problem to solve, your phone service is something that impacts all of your customers so it pays to dedicate time to choosing the right vendor for your business.

Sit down with your management team and draw up a wish list for your next phone service provider.

Research providers

There are many cloud-based phone service providers out there, so it is important to talk with your network and research the best service for your company. Try narrowing your search to two or three providers and then calling them individually. Discuss offerings with customer service agents and ask every question that comes into your head. Good customer service employees will not rush you through the call, even if you don’t intend on making a purchase.

Check references

When talking with a customer service agent, ask for the names and phone numbers of three or four clients with comparable businesses to your own. Prepare questions and ring each one. Ask technical and non-technical questions such as:

  • How long was your set up process with this vendor?
  • How is the customer service?
  • How reliable is the phone service? Could you give examples?
  • When you run into problems, how are they handled?
  • What service/package did your company purchase?

Go with your gut

After speaking with several vendors and hearing testimonials of like-minded small business owners, you will likely know which service to choose. Strongly weigh a company’s customer service practices, then go with your gut and move forward. 


What is Automated Call Distribution?

Automated Call Distribution is a system that can recognize, answer, categorize, and distribute incoming calls to an office or call center environment. This contact center software has multiple functionalities that allow you to manipulate the distribution of calls to fit your pool of employees.

The first step to set up automatic call distribution with your call center software is to program your hunt groups. Once you have sorted your employees into departments, you’re ready to begin manipulating the order in which they receive calls. There are multiple paths in which incoming calls can hunt for an available agent, each with benefits for specific organizational layouts:

  • Regular Distribution: The incoming call rings to each user in the order that they appear on the user list. This distribution cycle is preferred for companies whose agents have a wide spread of seniority. More experienced agents can be placed earlier in the distribution cycle so that newer employees receive a lower call volume.

Regular

  • Circular Distribution: The system notes the last user to answer a call, and then sends the incoming call to the next user on the user list. This distribution cycle works well for incentive-based call centers, as it evenly distributes calls throughout the pool of agents.

Circular

  • Simultaneous Distribution: The incoming call rings to all users at once. This feature is typically used in an office environment with multiple executive assistants; a retail, restaurant or hospitality business with numerous attendants; or a widespread organization with multiple locations to answer phones.

Simultaneous

  • Uniform Distribution: The incoming call rings to the user that has been idle the longest. This function proves successful for keeping agents productive and engaged.

Uniform

  • Weighted Distribution: This skill-based routing function allows you to aim certain calls at a particular agent with a defined skill set.  This is the most intricate, and perhaps the most advantageous, call center distribution function, as it allows you to map a set of business rules to direct calls from a certain call-group to a predefined agent-group. Agents can be grouped in buckets based on their knowledge and experience.

Choose the distribution method that will benefit your organization the most and you’re likely to see increased efficiency, cost savings, reduced wait time for customers, and overall enhanced customer service. For more information about automated call center software, give Nextiva a call at 800-799-0600!


New to Nextiva: The Polycom VVX Series

The newest addition to Nextiva’s collection of VoIP-ready phones is the Polycom VVX series. These media phones are the most innovative devices that Nextiva has ever featured, offering a fully unified voice and video communication experience.

The combination of Polycom’s superior audio and video quality combined with Nextiva’s user interface and extensive features are sure to increase the productivity of executives and call attendants alike. The VVX business media phones offer premium-quality desktop voice and video communications for organizations of all sizes and intuitive features designed for multitasking needs and growing offices.

The Polycom VVX 300, 400, 500 & 600

One of our favorite devices of this new series is the Polycom VVX 500. Featuring 12-lines and a gesture-based user interface, the VVX 500 is designed to make navigation intuitive and easy. Want to learn more? Check out the extensive list of features that the phone has to offer.

The Polycom VVX 500 is available for $249.95, but this month you can enter the Upgrade Your Office contest and win a desk phone makeover from Nextiva! To become the hero of your office, simply tweet a picture of the coolest, most exciting thing in your office to @Nextiva with the hashtag #MyAmazingOffice. Each Wednesday, we will pick a winner who will receive brand new Polycom VVX 500 phones for their entire office!

To learn about the full collection of Polycom VVX phones available from Nextiva, visit our VoIP Phones page.


Master the Art of Balance as a Road Warrior

Traveling and working isn’t easy, but still many companies expect it from employees, especially with new communication tools that allow for always-on connectivity.

Yet workers can actually stay productive and work while traveling if they follow certain steps.

  • Find a Dedicated Workspace - The first issue is finding a workspace that nurtures your work mentality and put you into productivity mode. Finding this while traveling may not be easy though. You can use the hotel kitchen table, but a local coffee shop is often better. Better yet, go to the local library for minimal distractions.
  • Identify When You’re Most Productive - Once you identify when you’re most productive, you should plan your most difficult or pressing work during those times and leave the easier work for the time of day you’re usually not as productive.
  • Create a Work List - Zen Habits suggests creating a list that prioritizes work. The first list has three things to be done today. The second is three things you’d like to get done, but aren’t essential. The third is three things that need to be done at some point.
  • Set Concrete Work Hours - Try setting a time limit to get your work done, say 90 minutes, and you’ll be surprised at just how productive you’ll be in that short time, says FreelanceSwitch.com. With a limited time frame, people are often more efficient, since Parkinson’s Law suggests that a task will inflate in difficulty and importance relative to the time allocated to it, the site says.
  • Block out Distractions - Cut out the countless distractions that can sabotage your work, including email that can interrupt your productivity. Close your web browser and resist the urge to engage in social media and read articles and any other Internet activities not related to work. Save those for your downtime. If you’re working in a busy coffee shop, wear earphones and listen to classical music.

We hope these tips are helpful for your days out of the office as a road warrior. To learn more ways that you can experience more mobility and flexibility with your incoming and outgoing business calls, give us a ring at 800-983-4289! We would be happy to tell you about Nextiva Connect – a virtual phone system that allows you to route your calls to anywhere you are at any time through an online control panel.


Feature Spotlight: Call Forwarding

A few weeks ago, we told you all about hunt groups and how they help distribute calls to appropriate extensions or multiple phone lines. Today, we’re going to break down the activity of call forwarding, which is the tool that redirects all incoming calls to specified hunt groups or single line destinations.

This incredibly flexible feature can be programmed when you first set up your phone, and managed through the Next OS dashboard or your phone’s keypad when modifications are needed. Nextiva’s call forwarding offers multiple options of where you can route your calls, including:

  • Call Forwarding Always – This service allows a user to redirect all incoming calls to another destination automatically, all the time. Calls are sent to a specified location unconditionally, whether the user’s line is busy, idle, alerting, and so on. A handy reminder indicator is set to remind users that the CFA function is activated, and Nextiva performs verifications to make sure the forwarding attempts do not create a loop.
  • Call Forwarding Always to Voice Mail – Have too many meetings and tons of work to get done? This forwarding setting will send all of your calls to your voicemail so you don’t have to worry about answering them when you’re busy.
  • Call Forwarding Busy – For users who are extremely busy on active phone calls, the call forwarding busy feature redirects incoming calls to another destination when the desired one is busy.
  • Call Forwarding Busy to Voicemail – Redirect your incoming calls to your voicemail when you’re tied up on a phone call.
  • Call Forwarding No Answer – When you aren’t available to answer your phone within a specified number of rings, this feature sends the incoming call to a designated line.
  • Call Forwarding No Answer to Voicemail – Similar to the option above, when your phone is not answered within a set of designated rings, this function forwards the incoming call to your voicemail message.
  • Call Forwarding Selective – The most intricate call forwarding option, this feature forwards an incoming call to a specified destination when the call matches a set of selective criteria specified by the user. For example, you can select to have incoming calls that are outside of your business hours sent directly to voicemail.

Are you already a Nextiva customer? Watch this “How To” video that will give you step-by-step instructions on utilizing the call forwarding function at your office.

Or, are you thinking about choosing Nextiva for your business’s VoIP needs? For more information about Nextiva’s business VoIP communications, give us a call at 800-983-4289 and one of our VoIP Specialists will be happy to help you find a solution that fits your company’s size and budget!


Feature Spotlight: Hunt Groups

We know that our business VoIP customers are growing and need enhanced features to effectively support their businesses, but we understand that sometimes all of the options can be overwhelming. When faced with different add-ons and choices such as Call Me Now, Shared Line Appearance, Busy Lamp Field, and more, you may find yourself asking – WHAT are all of these features, and HOW do they work? Our goal is to enlighten you on the set-up and benefits of some of these features to make the decision process a bit easier. Today, we’re going to focus on a handy little distribution tool called Hunt Groups.

The goal of setting up hunt groups is so that a call to a single phone number can be distributed to an extension or multiple phone lines. The tool allows a caller to automatically find an available agent from amongst a group of extensions. The most common use for this tool is in a business with multiple departments. For example, the caller can “Press 3 for billing” and their line would connect to the extensions of the accounting department.

There are then two ways to coordinate the way phones to ring (or “hunt”) within the group. When a call is presented to the department, it can ring each individual line in a designated order until a “free” extension is answered. Or, it could ring all of the extensions at once until one of the phone lines is answered.

Setting up a hunt group on your Nextiva NextOS Dashboard is quick and easy. We’ve recorded a how-to video that we’d like to share with you that walks you through the set-up steps.

For more instructional videos from our Support Center or to learn how Nextiva’s business VoIP can benefit your business, visit www.nextiva.com or call 800-983-4289.


Top 5 Benefits of VoIP and Cloud-based Services for your Business

As business technology changes so rapidly, it’s tough to keep up with the ones that make the biggest difference for your business versus the ones that just make “noise”. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is one that matters – to your business, customers, and bottom line.

VoIP is a telecommunications technology that converts voice signals into digital data packets and sends them over the Internet through a standard broadband connection. It uses the same cable as your Internet service. For this reason, you are able to get many of the same benefits as you do with a high-speed Internet connection, plus some that you might not know about.

1)      Reduce costs with VoIP

Simply put, VoIP saves you a significant amount of money. There is no need to purchase costly hardware and maintenance plans. All system updates are cloud-based and flow directly to your business phone service. And, if you choose a VoIP plan with a SIP-based platform or a combination of the two, you can still save money compared to traditional phone equipment and system support.

2)      Stay connected with your business

Business VoIP phone services enable unified communications. That means that whether you are at your PC, on your desk phone or on your mobile device or tablet, all of your phone calls, voicemail and instant messages will reach you. It’s having a business without boundaries – or cords in this case.

3)      Reliability is fundamental, not optional

A system as critical to your business as your phones needs to work – all the time. Now, while nobody can guarantee 100% uptime of any system because there are factors beyond control, reliable VoIP phone system providers need to provide redundancy and continuity support so that issues don’t have a negative impact on customers.

4)      VoIP scales as your business grows

Business VoIP phone systems come with simple plug-and-play setup. So it’s easy to put the benefits of VoIP to work for your business quickly. As new employees join your company, new phone lines and users can be added to the system without external IT support. VoIP provides the communication tools that easily adapt and scale with your changing business needs.

5)      Increase business productivity

Hosted VoIP offers numerous advanced features to make your business more productive and efficient. Small and midsize businesses can truly take advantage of big business features, such as advanced call forwarding and electronic messaging, customized auto-attendant, three-way conferencing, video conferencing, and Advanced Call Distribution (ACD) functions.

Nextiva business VoIP plans can start saving you time and money, while helping you focus on your business. Get started today!


Feature Tip: Busy Lamp Field (BLF)

When Busy Lamp Field (BLF) is More than a Great Feature

Ever wish there was a way to know who was on the phone and who wasn’t at a given time, without sending an email, instant message, or running all over the office to see who’s available? You find yourself wasting time, being inefficient, and ultimately keeping the customer on hold.

Busy Lamp Field (BLF) could be the answer. At the moment it creates a better customer experience, it’s more than a great feature, it’s a business necessity.

How Does BLF Help You Work?

The Busy Lamp Field (BLF) service allows a user with a SIP attendant console phone to monitor the availability or “busy” status and remote party information of selected users via the lamp fields on the phone.

You can add a list of up to 50 users from your department or company that you need to monitor. The SIP attendant console phone subscribes to the list and receives notifications about the state of any of the users on the list. For each monitored user, the device shows whether the user is busy and whether they are on an incoming or outgoing call. You can also be notified about calls being parked/no longer parked by any user that you monitor.

There is no limit to the number of monitoring lists on which a user can be listed.

Are you not yet a Nextiva customer?  Find an affordable business VoIP plan to fit your needs!




 
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