Browsing Articles Written by

Mary Miller

Changes Coming to Nextiva Invoices

By October 1, 2014 No Comments

As a service provider in the regulated VoIP industry, Nextiva is required to collect federal, state and local government taxes, surcharges and fees. These taxes and fees are location and usage based and will now be itemized on Nextiva invoices.

Monthly invoices, beginning this month, will include the following sections:

  • Subscription Plan Fee – Product price per user and usage charges, where applicable
  • Package Add Ons – Phones, devices and plan upgrades
  • Shipping – Initial order shipping of phones and devices
  • Taxes and Fees – Itemization of federal, state, city and other local taxes, regulatory surcharges and service delivery fees
  • Phone Numbers on Account – A list of all phone and fax numbers on the account
  • Billing Information – Account billing address and payment information

Standard Definitions:

RRF = Regulatory Recovery Fee: The RRF is assessed as a percentage of interstate and international charges. The RRF is intended to recover increased VoIP provider operating cost due to local, state, and federal regulatory compliance. RRF is separate from government taxes and fees. 

E911 = Enhanced 911 is a service that associates a caller’s physical address with their phone number. In case of emergency calls, the caller’s phone line generates an automatic number identification (ANI) signal to the network. The E911 system then routes the number to the appropriate emergency center. This service is supported by a dedicated network that has been built to address E911 call needs from a reliability, capacity and technology standpoint. All VoIP providers, as well as local and state emergency facilities, are responsible for collecting and funding different aspects of the infrastructure that supports this critical service.

USF = Universal Service Fund: Universal service is the principle that all Americans should have access to communications services. The USF assessment is a charge collected by telecommunications carriers for federal and state funds that support the provision of affordable communications services to rural, isolated, and high-cost regions of the country; low-income residential consumers; schools, libraries, and rural health care.

Invoice Modifications


NextOS Enhancements – What to Expect in Your Business Communications

By October 1, 2014 No Comments

NextOS EnhancementsNextiva is excited to announce the upcoming enhancements to the NextOS system. In the coming months, we will introduce several new features for Nextiva Office products as well as Call Center. We know these enhancements will help make your business even more efficient and productive. Here are the highlights

Nextiva Office

We are improving the experience for your customers from the minute they call into your business.

  • The Auto Attendant now has the option for Holiday Hours on the menu.
  • Upon completion of announcements played on the Auto Attendant, it will automatically take callers back to the main menu.
  • You can store media files in a repository for all of your announcements and easily access different messages when you need to make changes.
  • If you use our Meet-Me Conferencing, you will notice that you can now see who is talking during the conference taking all the guess work out of collaboration.
  • Receptionist Consoles will now display calendar information for all users in real-time.
  • Everyone using the dashboard will see their colleagues’ presence/availability status and IM them on the spot.
  • New options will be available for Executive/Admin roles, allowing for multiple configurations, where all key features are supported in a single view, including Call Screening, Simultaneous Ring, Monitoring, Bridging and Call Push/Pull.

Call Center

We are also enhancing Nextiva Call Center to improve agent efficiency and customer experience.

  • Agent skill-based routing will send calls to only agents/groups of agents assigned to a certain business skill, i.e. advanced technical service, claims processing or administrator skillss.
  • Agents and Supervisors will see visual cues when agents are not operating within desired limits, SLAs or KPIs, so adjustments can quickly be made or training issues addressed.
  • Queue status will now be visible to support better staffing, call routing and training decisions.

Stay tuned for more information in the near future! 


The Dos and Don’ts of Trade Show Marketing

By June 25, 2014 No Comments

It's no secret that trade show events are quite costly. In fact, they can quickly command 20-30% of your marketing budget with just a few events each year. So, it pays to do it right.

DO capture leads in volume. Time is money. The number of hours the tradeshow floor is open is limited and attendees have a full agenda of sessions, networking, pre-arranged meetings PLUS the list of exhibitors they have already prioritized as “must visit” during the event. You’re already fighting time (not something many people win). So, you might as well gather as many new contacts as possible during the short time period that attendees have in the exhibit hall. Sort them out and prioritize them later for sales follow-up.

  • You have no idea if the next person that walks by your booth could justify your investment in it. Make an introduction without judgment.
  • Even contacts that aren’t ready to purchase or partner now could be opportunities to nurture for when they are ready.
  • You have spent too much money to be there to treat each conversation as an hour meeting. You’ll miss out on hundreds of new leads. Gather some initial information and set a time to follow-up after the show.

DO follow up promptly and nurture new leads over time. This is where the rubber meets the road. If you are going to spend the time and money planning, promoting and presenting your brand at an event, the only way to quantify the return on that investment is to contact, qualify and nurture the leads that you generated. While that seems obvious, according to industry research published by Exhibitor Online, only 47% of companies track event leads by their source throughout the sales cycle and a mere 28% measure and report the number of event leads that ultimately convert to sales. That’s just sad.

  • Lead capture systems have come a long way. Rent the number needed for your booth size and staff and jot a few notes. It makes follow-up more effective.
  • Even if some people don’t buy from you (and many won’t), they are more likely to share your brand, message, etc. with others if you follow-up effectively and educate them.
  • Bottom line? The whole thing is a waste of money if you don’t have a plan to score, nurture and stay in touch with the event leads you generate.

Stocksy_txp3d2d0418cB7000_Small_164728There are also some things to avoid in the event marketing world. These are my favorites. I encourage you to share yours and keep the sharing going.

DON’T stand around your booth chatting with your own team. It makes attendees perceive that you’re not in a conversation with them.

DON’T eat in the booth. Would you want to have a conversation with someone talking while eating? If you wouldn’t do it in your storefront (that’s what your booth is, after all), don’t do it in the booth.

DON’T talk on your cell phone, or text, or check email, etc. while staffing the booth. Step away from the booth to take a call so that when you’re in the booth, you are focused on the attendees.

Treat your booth as if it is the single, most important presentation of your brand to a new audience. Because in many cases, that’s exactly what it is. So, keep it professional, engaging and fun! Oh, and don’t forget to smile.


3 Ways to Prepare for a Trade Show

By June 20, 2014 No Comments

DS2_8820-maWhen we plan events as part of our marketing strategy, there typically 2 primary goals: lead generation and brand awareness, with leads being the most important. There are, of course other reasons to exhibit and sponsor events, such as partner relationship development, meeting with multiple current customers in one location, and even hiring new employees. However, these are generally secondary objectives.

It's no secret that events are quite costly. In fact, they can quickly command 20-30% of your marketing budget with just a few events each year. So, it pays to do it right.

Here are a few tips that can make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck.

1. Start early. With planning, promoting and logistics – it is never too soon to start the process. From ordering onsite services to designing your theme, message as well as promotional and educational materials – event dates are hard deadlines. The show must go on, as they say, so it’s better to be prepared and have all of your information ready with a consistent look and feel, and of course, content.

​Here’s why:

  • Discounts are often available if you order onsite services early.
  • Shipping costs less if you can send ground and use the event transportation company.
  • Avoid rush charges on graphic production and material printing.

2. Prospect pre-event. Tell your customers, prospects, previous event leads and potential partners which events you will be participating in and what you’ll be doing at each one. Share your role in the event; let them know if you are exhibiting, speaking, sponsoring or hosting a custom event. Spread the message across multiple channels and sources so you can attract as many targeted attendees as possible.

Here’s why:

  • The audience is already spending the time and money to get there.
  • Meeting with so many people in the same place reduces your travel budget.
  • Filter through the primary prospects from the “just kicking the tires” so you can focus your follow-up activities on your best opportunities.

3. Create a fun, engaging experience at the event. Background banners and a literature stand with hand sanitizer as your give-away (granted, a much needed item at events, but not the reason people attend) in a 10×10 booth are common place. Be different. Do something fun! Make people want to seek out your booth, event, activity, etc. You are spending a lot of money to produce an event (even with a 10×10 booth) so create a memorable experience that people talk about well after the event ends.

Here’s why:

  • An extra dollar or two (yes, that’s all it takes) on your give-away can stand out as something people remember – and use.
  • Your fun theme will stick with people and help them remember your brand as one they associate with smart and creative people.
  • The last thing you want is to throw money away. And that’s what happens when your give-away is cheap or not memorable.

Business VoIP FAQ’s

By August 27, 2012 No Comments

According to a study by Forrester Consulting, 40 percent of all firms surveyed expressed an interest in better voice services, such as VoIP, that are beyond core telecommunications services. This interest is being driven by compelling business advantages of VoIP. Many believe that VoIP will soon replace land-line phones entirely. And we thought you’d be interested in some important frequently asked questions about VoIP as you consider making the switch.

What is VoIP?

While several of our posts cover this, if you’re new to the topic, it’s worth a quick refresher. VoIP converts voice into data packets that are then transmitted over the Internet and/or over a private IP network. When you call somebody on a VoIP phone system, the data packets are converted to a regular telephone signal and then are transmitted to the caller.

What VoIP equipment is needed?

For a basic VoIP system, all that is needed is a broadband Internet connection and a VoIP-enabled phone, a traditional phone connected to an adapter, or a computer with VoIP software. Numerous businesses are now using VoIP on their own private networks.

What Are the Benefits of VoIP?

  • Reduce your local and long-distance charges
  • Manage only one network for both voice and data services
  • Reduce your travel costs through online conferencing, easy-to-use video calls and other collaboration tools
  • Easily add, move, and change your business and employee contact information in your small business phone system as needed
  • Your employees have more ways to stay connected, and customers can more easily reach you

What Features do you get with VoIP?

VoIP enables numerous features, without having to pay extra fees including, voicemail, Caller ID, conferencing, forwarding and unlimited long distance, plus many advanced features that make small companies seem like big business.

Ready to get started with VoIP and save big on your business phone costs? We’d love to talk.


Nextiva Receptionist™ Delivers “Big Business” Customer Service

By June 22, 2012 No Comments

Feature Spotlight: Nextiva Receptionist

Many small and midsize businesses strive to provide “big business” type customer service but don’t have the staff or resources to do so. The Nextiva Receptionist gives you the ability to streamline your incoming calls and gives your company’s first point of contact a complete view of who is on the phone and who is available. Nextiva Receptionist is available as an add-on with either the Office Pro or Office Enterprise level of your Nextiva business VoIP phone service.

When you need Nextiva Receptionist

Also known as the attendant console within the Nextiva NextOS platform, this completely web-based control panel solves problems such as:

  • You’re not sure if a certain employee is at his/her desk and available to take a call.
  • You need to forward an urgent call to a manager’s mobile device who is out of the office.
  • You don’t know who the next available staff member will be to take a call and don’t want to keep the customer holding.

With the Nextiva Receptionist attendant console, you can quickly see who’s available and who’s not. You can access all critical information about the people in a particular department or the whole company with just a click.

And if your business supports multiple shifts and staffing requirements, Nextiva Receptionist makes it easy to create user profiles for each member of your team. No more guessing when to forward or transfer a call, so you’ll be able to provide the best experience for your customers.

Here’s how it works

The Nextiva Receptionist attendant console supports flexible staffing arrangements and can be assigned to specific users at their desks rapidly, with limited disruption for your callers or your employees. With instant messaging, attendants can quickly see staff members’ status to ensure that calls are routed correctly and so they can share urgent company or customer information and instructions.

You can use the Nextiva Receptionist console to:

  • View employees’ and managers’ information: status, name, title, number, extension, department, e-mail, mobile, etc. You can select what information to display and in which order.
  • View call details for anyone in the system (remote name, number, and duration).
  • Simply click to dial or transfer a call to anyone, even if they are away from the office.
    Hosted VoIP Nextiva Receptionist

Learn how you can add Nextiva Receptionist to your business VoIP phone system with Nextiva.


Nextiva Anywhere™ Keeps Your Business Connected

By June 18, 2012 No Comments

Feature Spotlight: Nextiva Anywhere

Nextiva Anywhere is one of the coolest new features of the new Nextiva business VoIP phone service. It allows you to use one or more locations, and devices, as extensions of your business phone. You can take your calls in the office, on your mobile device or from your soft phone on your PC – even at your home office – anywhere you connect with Nextiva.

When to use Nextiva Anywhere

If you’ve ever had the experience of being on your mobile phone while driving to the office and wishing you could continue the conversation from your desk phone once you arrive, Nextiva Anywhere is the service you need. With a simple entry on your keypad, you swap the call to your desk phone, mid-conversation, and your call continues without transfer or interruption. You don’t even need to put the call on hold. You save time because there is no delay caused by the need to disconnect and place a new call. And you show your caller that you respect their time and connection with your business.

Here’s how it works

You can seamlessly consolidate your devices, fixed and mobile, from different networks under a single Nextiva Office account and operate a single set of services. When you originate a call from a Nextiva Anywhere location, all of your business phone services are available as if you dialed the call from one of your primary locations. What’s more, as your business grows, you can add new devices to your Nextiva Anywhere service at any time.

Each Nextiva Anywhere location can be associated with selective criteria, which determine when each of your business locations should be alerted for incoming calls. The criteria are based on the incoming caller identity and the time of the call, and are combined into your business preferences, for example, incoming calls from this number, within business hours, and during the workweek. Or, you can define multiple criteria for each location.

The Nextiva Anywhere service is easy to configure within your Nextiva toolbar or online portal.

Try Nextiva Anywhere when you sign up for the business VoIP plan that’s right for you.