Posts Tagged ‘Small Business VoIP’


Nextiva Customer Success Story: Five Star Tours

The leading tour bus company in San Diego, Five Star Tours and Charter Bus Company is a family-operated business that specializes in international group transportation and tour services along the Californian and Mexican coasts.

We recently met with Alfonso Hernandez, General Manager of Five Star Tours, to chat with him about how his company uses their phone system to conduct their business operations.

Located in a bustling train station, the Five Star Tours team used to have a phone system that was connected to the station’s PA. This proved to be a headache throughout their day-to-day activities, as the system consistently dropped calls, didn’t support caller ID, and wouldn’t accurately transfer calls. On top of that, they would receive conductor messages over their phone calls. It was time for a change.

We were happy to hear Alfonso report that Nextiva’s phone service gave them a 100% turnaround. They can now hear their clients clearly, and they have programmed their call forwarding functions and hunt groups to give the team more freedom of mobility.

Best of all, Nextiva gave Five Star Tours a competitive advantage. That’s the goal of Nextiva’s products and services – to make your day easier and give you a leg up on your competition. We’re glad that we were able to make that happen for Alfonso and his team.

Hear his full story here:


Business VoIP ‘s Time Has Come

Posted on by Leo Welder

In the early to mid 1990’s, the Internet was a cool thing. Unfortunately, extremely slow and unreliable Internet Service Providers made it little more than a gimmick for most people. Not too long ago, smartphones with web browsers gave us a glimpse at portable computing, but it took the iPhone and high-speed wireless data plans to integrate them into the mainstream. VoIP is another technology that has taken many years to mature, but its time has finally come. Smartphones and VoIP are rapidly pushing traditional phone lines out of our homes, and all the signs point to the same happening in the business world.

I’ve been reviewing business technology products for the past seven years, and I started paying attention to VoIP services targeting business in 2009. At the time, my office was using a traditional Nortel phone system with AT&T phone lines, and I absolutely hated all of it. The phones were stupidly expensive and the functions were counter-intuitive. We also had to pay an IT guy to setup a new phone every time we made a new hire. When I read that business VoIP phones were less expensive, more flexible, easier to use and required no special IT skills to configure, I was excited to try them out. Unfortunately, when we started testing the products, the reliability and call quality was so poor that we couldn’t justify making the switch in our own office, let alone recommend other business owners purchase the products.

Over the next two years, the business VoIP companies invested heavily in their data infrastructures as well as the VoIP technology itself. The data compression technology that the companies developed dramatically decreased the amount of bandwidth that the phones needed to provide clear reception. Some companies also started creating redundancies with their servers and data, so if systems failed in one location, a backup would automatically take its place. These and other technological and process improvements dramatically improved VoIP’s call quality and reliability.

Stocksy_txp0e3537cfRr5000_Small_177711Our company finally made the switch to business VoIP in 2011. Everything worked as advertised and the features and cost savings were substantial. However, as we grew, we found that the lower equipment costs and monthly per line costs were eventually offset by the fact that every phone had to have it’s own dedicated line. Rather than paying for 4 rollover lines with AT&T, we were paying for 20 lines with our business VoIP carrier (one line for each employee and 2 conference rooms), but most of our employees only needed the phone a few times per week.

Over the last six to nine months, VoIP companies like Nextiva have started to offer customized plans based on each individual company’s needs. You can get dedicated lines, shared minute plans (VoIP’s equivalent to rollover lines), virtual extensions for mobile employees, and any combination of these in order to pay only for what you need.

Like high-speed wireless and smartphones, VoIP technology isn’t perfect. VoIP phone service still isn’t as reliable as a traditional landline, but its dramatically improved reliability combined with flexible pricing plans, incredible features and flexibility have leveled the playing field. The telecom industry recognizes that VoIP is where businesses are heading and the quality is only going to get better. For many businesses, it’s already a much better option than old school landlines.

 

Leo Welder is the Founder of Zilker Ventures, which owns and operates a family of websites focused on business technology. The company’s latest website is FindAFax.com, which is dedicated to online fax and Internet based communications.


What Can VoIP Do For Your Business?

How can switching to a cloud-based telephone system transform your business? Our latest infographic breaks it down for you. In addition to huge cost savings and innovative features, the cloud will keep your employees more mobile and productive than ever before!

Infographic-2013-06-20

Interested in discovering a customized cloud-based communications solution for your business? We would love to chat! Contact a Nextiva account executive at 800.799.0600.

 

 


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. 


Nextiva Customer Success Story: 19th Ave. Dental Care

Last week, we met with Doctor Marc Kay, owner of Phoenix-based 19th Ave. Dental Care to chat about his office’s Nextiva phone service.  One of his practice’s most important commitments is delivering seamless, comfortable service, so we were thrilled to hear that Nextiva’s phone systems were able to help them increase patient satisfaction and overall efficiency.

Nextiva’s cloud-based phone systems offer dozens of benefits for medical practices, including:

  • The ability to swap calls between a desk phone and cell phone so that doctors can stay mobile while remaining connected
  • An auto attendant to act as an automated receptionist for patients while the office is closed
  • Call continuity in the rare case of a disaster
  • Call logging to view all incoming and outgoing calls for easy tracking of billing and appointments
  • A customized greeting message, professionally recorded by Nextiva for free
  • Shared line appearance so incoming calls ring directly to all of a doctor’s phones and front desk simultaneously

Dr. Kay’s staff has found automatic rerouting to be particularly useful in their office during everyday office hours and in cases of patient emergencies. Watch the full interview to see how Nextiva has helped 19th Ave Dental Care stay mobile and save money:


Nextiva Customer Success Story: Apparel Candy

Online wholesaler of women’s clothing, accessories and perfume, ApparelCandy.com strives to offer the ultimate in hot styles for fashionistas across the country. The company strives to offer the best service and quality to their customers by offering new and innovative ways for them to easily place their orders, whether it’s through the phone, fax or on their website. Four years ago, Kam Javidzad realized the necessity of upgrading from basic landlines to a more sophisticated phone service, and chose Nextiva as the company’s communications provider.

Last month, we visited Apparel Candy’s California headquarters and met with Kam to learn more about his experience of switching to Nextiva’s cloud-based system. He explained to us how a reliable phone system is crucial to their revenue stream, as many of the company’s incoming orders are received over the phone.

We were thrilled to hear how much their employees appreciate Nextiva’s HD voice quality when conversing with customers and that the numerous features were benefitting their service delivery. Companies like Apparel Candy are ideal users of Nextiva’s voicemail-to-email feature, which allows Kam and his team to efficiently respond to customers’ questions and orders in a timely manner. Check out Apparel Candy’s full review of Nextiva’s VoIP service, here:


Nextiva Customer Success Story: Retrospec Bicycles

Retrospec Bicycles produces fixed-gear, single speed, and urban bicycles to sell around the globe. The youthful company designs, manufactures and distributes the products from their Los Angeles headquarters to offer cycling enthusiasts the most customized, high quality riding experience around. Retrospec takes pride in delivering riders with powerful and durable products – so it’s fitting that they have chosen Nextiva’s robust, feature-full service to support their efforts.

Although their office currently has only four employees, Retrospec is expanding quickly to support their growing demand. Their Nextiva cloud-based service will easily expand as they add new employees, and the marginal cost structure will allow them to save money in the process. We spoke with Ely Alexander, CEO of Retrospec, to learn more about his experience with Nextiva over the past three years:

If you find yourself frequently traveling like Ely and his team, don’t be afraid to trust your cell phone to keep in touch with customers and clients. Nextiva’s fax-to-email and Nextiva Anywhere are great for helping you stay in touch with office communications through your mobile device!


Nextiva Customer Success Story: The Promoting Group

Last month, we took the time to meet and interview Nextiva enthusiast, Eli Natan of Promoting Group. Based in Los Angeles, Promoting Group is an interactive agency that creates online campaigns for businesses who want to drive leads and traffic to their website. Eli switched his company from a large traditional phone provider to Nextiva’s cloud-based phone systems and we were eager to hear how VoIP phone service has been able to help his business.

Promoting Group prides themselves on using cutting-edge technology and marketing strategies to deliver public relations and search engine optimization services to their clients. The team at Promoting Group found the need for a feature that would let them easily add extensions for their growing team of marketers and SEO professionals. We were happy to hear that after a quick call to Nextiva’s Amazing Service team, their employees were able to learn how to utilize the NextOS Portal to adjust their extension settings.

Because Promoting Group employees are in constant communication with their clients to ensure they are offering efficient and results-oriented service, the ability to transfer calls and reach international destinations is critical. We are ecstatic that they are so please with their service and look forward to providing Eli and his team with a smooth, clear connection and useful business features for many years to come. View our interview with Promoting Group, here:


Nextiva Customer Success Story: terés | A Nail Bar

Luxury nail bar terés offers customers across the country top quality service from the time they book an appointment until they leave the salon admiring their glammed-up nails. Salon guests can enjoy customized manicures, pedicures, wax treatments, and pampering scrubs from an elaborate menu by quickly calling their local terés and booking an appointment.

To support their goal of delivering guests with consistent and reliable service, terés selected Nextiva as the telephone service provider for their growing franchise. In addition to delivering terés with highly reliable service, Nextiva’s cloud-based communications service will be able to easily grow with their business as it expands across the country.

View our newest customer success video where terés owner, Courtney Steele, describes how they have come to rely on Nextiva as the lifeline of their business. The auto attendant feature has proven particularly beneficial to their salon as it routes incoming calls to the appropriate booking area, and the Nextiva Anywhere and call forwarding features have helped Courtney and her staff to stay accessible while on-the-go.

 




 
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