Archive for the ‘VoIP’ Category


NextOS 3.0 Beta – User Features

NextOS 3.0 Beta User Portal_v2NextOS 3.0 Beta is now available for Users, complete with a brand new dashboard designed to make it easy for you to handle the most common tasks. For your convenience, you can also now log in to NextOS 3.0 directly from nextiva.com.

Here are all the features that are currently available for Users. For functionality not listed below (including some advanced features and call center services), please continue to use NextOS 2.0 (cp1.nextiva.com).

On the Dashboard, you can:

  • Change voicemail PIN with one click
  • See, play, and delete voicemail messages
  • View company directory
  • See all active call features in one place
  • Look at recent call history

Available calling features:

  • Assign multiple numbers or extensions to your primary number with Alternate Numbers. You can also specify a distinctive ring pattern for each one.
  • Busy Lamp Field lets you see/monitor the phone use of another user right from your phone.
  • Use Call Forwarding (Selective, Always, Busy, Unanswered, Unreachable) to automatically forward calls to another number based on different circumstances or criteria.
  • Click a web-based link or icon to initiate a Nextiva call with Call Me Now.
  • Use Call Notify to receive an email notification when you receive a call that meets pre-defined criteria (for example, from a specified phone number).
  • Use Calling Line ID Blocking Override to see the Caller ID information from callers, even if they have attempted to block you from seeing it.
  • Look up the name of a caller in an external database when the name does not arrive with the original call using Calling Name Retrieval.
  • Record your incoming and outgoing calls with Call recording.
  • Use Connected Line Identification Restriction to block your number from being shown to the person calling you.
  • Custom Ringback User lets you customize what your callers hear when waiting for you to pick up.
  • Use Do Not Disturb to automatically forward all incoming calls to voicemail, without ringing your phone.
  • Redirect your incoming calls to a specified number outside of your location's business hours using Location Forwarding.
  • Use Hoteling to associate your service profiles with devices other than your own. With Hoteling Host you can act as a host to allow another user with the hoteling guest service to use your device as their own. Use Hoteling Guest to associate your service profile with a host and use the host’s device like it’s your own phone.
  • Use Nextiva Anywhere to make and receive calls from any device, at any location, with only one phone number, one dial plan, one voice mailbox, and a unified set of features.
  • Use Personal Conference Bridges to allow multiple parties to join a conference call.
  • Play an announcement to an incoming caller, before their call is put through, with a Pre-Alerting Announcement.
  • Control your Privacy Settings by selecting how your information will be shared with other users.
  • Use Push to Talk to set up intercom-like functionality with others you speak with regularly on your phone system.
  • Use Selective Call Acceptance to pre-define criteria to accept calls from specific numbers.
  • Use Selective Call Rejection to pre-define criteria to reject calls from specific numbers.
  • Use Sequential Ring to ring multiple phones or extensions in a sequence when someone calls your number, or after you don't answer within the pre-defined number of rings.
  • Display your extension on one or more phones with Shared Call Appearance.
  • Ring multiple phones or extensions simultaneously when someone calls your number with Simultaneous Ring.
  • Place a call by pressing a reduced number of keys, instead of the entire phone number, with Speed Dial.
  • Use Voicemail to Email to send your voicemail messages to your email address.

5 Underrated VoIP Features That Will Improve Your Productivity

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is becoming the new business norm. Companies are steadily transitioning away from their old analog phone services in favor of the newer, more adaptable and feature-rich communications technology that VoIP has to offer.

VoIP’s surge in popularity can be attributed to its numerous value-added features. VoIP makes it easy for companies to choose and implement the features that would benefit their business. New features are being created on a regular basis to enhance VoIP’s capabilities and enhance the user experience.

The problem now is that with so many new and easily-accessible features, it can be easy for businesses to overlook some of the features that can potentially increase their operational efficiency. A few examples are listed below, but it is important to remember that there are numerous other useful features to consider adopting.  

Call Me Now

From a sales standpoint, Call Me Now might be one of the most useful features available with VoIP. This feature allows people to call your company by clicking on a web-based icon. Call Me Now offers sales-oriented professionals the opportunity to immediately respond to any objections from the customer.

Call Me Now is also a useful feature to improve customer service. You can use Call Me Now to quickly get customers connected with a service professional so that their issues can be resolved in a more timely manner.

Custom Ring Back

Looking for ways to generate interest without increasing talk time? When a customer calls your company, you can have custom music or verbal recordings play in place of the typical ringing sound. 

This feature is a great way to provide information, generate questions from customers, and provide future talking points during the phone call.

Push to Talk

Think of this feature as a more advanced walkie-talkie. Push to Talk allows you to call a phone within your network and activate the other line’s speaker. The other line then becomes an intercom; however, the receiver of the call can also talk back by pressing a button.

Call Pick-Up

Call Pick-Up allows you to enter a star code to answer any phone that is ringing in your network. This prevents your company from missing phone calls that ring to someone who is not currently available at their desk.

Call Parking

Call Parking allows you to “park” a call and put it in an extension. Once the call is parked, the line that the call originally rang to is freed for future calls.

There are many practical applications for parking a call. For example, let’s say you need to run downstairs to look for an item. You can park the call, go downstairs, and then pick up the call from a phone downstairs. You can also park a call if the caller is trying to reach a certain employee who is on a different call. Once that employee is done with their call, they can dial an extension to pick up the call that you parked.

VoIP’s growing feature set provides numerous opportunities to increase the efficiency of your communications system. Visit Nextiva’s website to learn more about the many features of VoIP.


NextOS 3.0 Beta Update: 1.26.16

NextOS 3.0 GIF no play buttonBrand New ONLY in NextOS 3.0

  • Check the real-time progress of ported numbers in My Account>Ported numbers

Other Features Added

  • Use Do Not Disturb to automatically forward all the user's incoming calls to voicemail, without ringing their phone.
  • Play an announcement to an incoming caller, before their call is put through to the user, with a Pre-Alerting Announcement.
  • Allow the user to place a call by pressing a reduced number of keys, instead of the entire phone number, with Speed Dial.
  • Use Group Paging to enable a user to page a group of users by dialing a paging group number or extension, like a group intercom.
  • Allow a user to answer a ringing phone within a predefined zone with Group Pickup.

Upgrades

  • The Manage user table now allows you to change the columns that display – and is loading 8x faster (!)
  • Access your call center directly from the portal

Have questions about NextOS 3.0 Beta and want to learn more? Check out the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions and watch this overview video


NextOS 3.0 Beta Update: 1.12.16

NextOS 3.0 GIF no play buttonBrand New ONLY in NextOS 3.0

  • Manage your admin profile, billing, and licenses directly in the portal
  • Use Busy Lamp Field to let a user see/monitor the phone use of another user right from their phone
  • Display a user’s extension on one or more phones with Shared Call Appearance

Other Features Added

  • Record a user’s incoming and outgoing calls with Call Recording
  • Redirect incoming calls for all users at a location to a specified number outside of the location's business hours using Location Forwarding
  • Use Music on Hold (Locations) by uploading an audio file to play for your customers while they are on hold, in queue, or being transferred
  • Use Push to Talk to set up intercom-like functionality between the user and others they speak with regularly on their phone system
  • Use Voicemail to Email to send the user’s voicemail messages to their email address

Upgrades

  • The import template now has a dropdown list for Device model.

Bug Fixes

  • Announcements for auto attendants now includes your location announcements.

Have questions about NextOS 3.0 Beta and want to learn more? Check out the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions and watch this overview video


NextOS 3.0 Beta Update: 12.29.15

NextOS 3.0 GIF no play buttonBrand New ONLY in NextOS 3.0

  • Import users and devices (up to 100 at once)
  • Designate multi-site administrators
  • View recent call history from your dashboard
  • View system status from your dashboard
  • Tutorial videos throughout the portal

Other Features Added

  • Assign multiple numbers or extensions to a user's primary number with Alternate Numbers
  • Use Call Notify to send the user an email notification when they receive a call that meets pre-defined criteria (for example, from a specified phone number)
  • Use Nextiva Anywhere to make and receive calls from any device, at any location, with only one phone number, one dial plan, one voice mailbox, and a unified set of features
  • Accept or reject certain calls based on pre-defined criteria (for example, from a specified phone number) with Selective Acceptance and Selective Rejection

Have questions about NextOS 3.0 Beta and want to learn more? Check out the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions


Mondays with Mike: 6 Sure-Fire Tips for Better Flying

Crying babies.  Delayed flights.  Uncomfortable seats.  There’s a lot to hate about flying, but it’s a fact of life for many entrepreneurs.  The global marketplace means I have clients all over the world, and since I typically rack up about 100,000 miles every year, I know a thing or two about making it less painful.  Here’s my list of top strategies for getting from here to there without losing your mind.

  1. Use TSA PreCheck.  You know those lines at security that raise your blood pressure as you stress about making your flight?  Yeah, you can just skip those.  TSA PreCheck lets you take the fast lane past the crowds, and you can also leave your laptop in your bag and your shoes on your feet.  The $85 every five years is more than worth it to breeze through security.
  2. BYOB and BYOF (food).  Now, the disclaimer is that airlines don’t want you bringing your own booze on the plane, but the TSA doesn’t stop you.  Bringing your own 50ml bottles lets you have a cocktail for way less money, and if you stop by a local sandwich joint before your flight, you can get a meal to go (condiments on the side so it stays fresh,) rather than starving on the plane.  Don’t get stuck on the runway without provisions.
  3. Get up.  I always choose an aisle seat, and I get on my feet every chance I get.  Sitting not only compounds the physical discomfort of flying, but it also measurably shortens your life span.  As soon as that fasten seatbelt light goes off, I’m standing in the aisle, Kindle in hand.  I always feel better after a flight if I’ve spent some time standing.
  4. Let the music play.  Screaming kids?  No problem.  Loud talker behind you?  No worries.  I rotate a couple of flight playlists – one for sleep, one for energy – and the flight goes by in a flash.  Bonus:  a number of new planes now have power outlets at each seat, so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice on a long flight.
  5. Ask for a new seat right away.  If you’re uncomfortable – whether it’s a large passenger spilling over into your space or a couple of squirming toddlers, ask a flight attendant immediately if there are open seats you can take.  Asking ASAP improves your chances of getting the available seat, and there’s simply no good reason for you to be uncomfortable if there’s another option.
  6. Join an airport club.  Whether you get access via frequent flier miles or you have to pay an annual fee, it’s so worth it to have a place of refuge in a busy airport.  I typically arrive at the airport hours before I have to just to settle into the lounge, use the free wifi, take advantage of the snacks, and get some work done.  My memberships are worth their weight in gold.

Airplane travel doesn’t have to be miserable.  Sure, you can’t control flights cancelled due to lousy weather or mechanical difficulties, but planning ahead can certainly make your flight more pleasant.


How the Modern Call Center Enhances Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Smiling young executives sitting with headsets and using computer There are many misconceptions about the modern call center. Most people perceive call centers as large call floors with expensive infrastructure and rows upon rows of cubicles. In reality, the present-day call center refers to a group of features that are geared toward managing call flow, increasing efficiency, and software integration. Cloud communications has eliminated the need for expensive hardware. Now businesses of all sizes can use the same feature set that has long been reserved for large enterprises for a fraction of the cost.

A Call Center in the Cloud will save you Money

In the past, call centers were huge capital investments that required a large floor space. Making updates to a call center was a frequent expenditure. By leveraging the power of cloud communications, companies can now turn over the maintenance and system upgrades to their service providers, such as Nextiva. Soft phones, such as the Nextiva App, are a great tool to increase mobility and lower hardware costs. These applications can be downloaded to a variety of devices and used in lieu of desk phones to make and receive calls. This feature is becoming increasingly popular with SMB’s as no additional equipment is necessary.

Technical support can run diagnostics virtually. They can access your call center system remotely and take care of any unforeseen problems.  There is no longer a need to hire a third-party contractor to come out to your call center location and fix phone issues.

SMB’s Call Center Features

While all call center features have their benefits, the three below will significantly improve your call center efficiency and productivity.

  1. Call Center Reporting– Call center reporting allows for real-time monitoring of call volume, agent performance, and key metrics such as abandoned calls and service levels. It generates in-depth reports that can be analyzed to improve agent and overall call center performance. SMBs are able to generate a variety of reports that accurately predict call flow for more efficient staffing. This simultaneously improves customer service levels while saving the company money.
  2. Call Queues– Call Queues allow businesses to route calls to the appropriate department, team, or individual. This reduces the amount of time wasted from transferring calls and will help your customers get the help they need from agents with the appropriate skill set.
  3. Business Integration- Cloud-based call centers allow SMBs to integrate their various business tools together to create one powerful platform. These third-party applications, such as CRM software, can transfer data seamlessly between the different tools and enable click-to-call functionality.

NextOS 3.0 Beta Portal – Admin Features

NextOS 3.0 GIF no play buttonNextOS 3.0 Beta is a brand new, easy way to manage your users, locations, and calling features for Nextiva Office. With a user-friendly interface and helpful tips and tutorial videos throughout, the new portal lets you set up quickly and manage your system painlessly. We even added some amazing new features to drastically improve efficiency – like our import tool that lets you upload up to 100 users into the system at once.

Here are all the features that are currently available for Administrator use. For functionality not listed below, please continue to use NextOS 2.0 (the previous version) for those services. We will be adding more features regularly to the NextOS 3.0 Beta Portal, including call center and a user interface, in the coming months.

On the Dashboard, you can:

  • View live system status
  • View current billing status
  • View recent call history

For Users (Employees), you can: 

  • Add and manage users
  • Import users (up to 100 at once)
  • Upload personal voicemail greetings
  • Add and assign devices
  • Add and manage administrators (for one, multiple, or all locations)
  • Set up the following features for a user:

    • Assign multiple numbers or extensions to a user's primary number with Alternate Numbers. You can also specify a distinctive ring pattern for each one.
    • Reject calls that don’t have a caller ID attached (from callers who intentionally block the display of their phone number) with Anonymous Rejection.
    • Busy Lamp Field lets the user see/monitor the phone use of another user right from their phone.
    • Use Call Forwarding (Selective, Always, Busy, Unanswered, Unreachable) to automatically forward calls to another number based on different circumstances or criteria.
    • Click a web-based link or icon to initiate a Nextiva call with Call Me Now.
    • Use Call Notify to send the user an email notification when they receive a call that meets pre-defined criteria (for example, from a specified phone number).
    • Use Calling Line ID Blocking Override to allow the user to see the Caller ID information from callers, even if they have attempted to block the user from seeing it.
    • Allow the user to look up the name of a caller in an external database when the name did not arrive with the original call using Calling Name Retrieval.
    • Record a user’s incoming and outgoing calls with Call recording.
    • Use Conference Bridges to allow multiple parties to join a conference call.
    • Use Connected Line Identification Restriction to block the user's number from being shown to the person calling them.
    • Custom Ringback User lets you customize what the user's callers hear when waiting for them to pick up.
    • Use Do Not Disturb to automatically forward all the user's incoming calls to voicemail, without ringing their phone.
    • Redirect the user's incoming calls to a specified number outside of the location's business hours using Location Forwarding.
    • Use Hoteling to allow users to associate their service profiles with devices other than their own. With Hoteling Host you can designate a user as a host to allow another user with the hoteling guest service to use the host's device as their own. Use Hoteling Guest to associate a user's service profile with a host and use the host’s device like it’s their own phone.
    • Use Nextiva Anywhere to make and receive calls from any device, at any location, with only one phone number, one dial plan, one voice mailbox, and a unified set of features.
    • Play an announcement to an incoming caller, before their call is put through to the user, with a Pre-Alerting Announcement.
    • Control the user’s Privacy Settings by selecting how information for this user will be shared with other users.
    • Use Push to Talk to set up intercom-like functionality between the user and others they speak with regularly on their phone system.
    • Allow the user to substitute a different phone, such as a mobile, home, or hotel phone, as their office phone to make and receive calls with Remote Office.
    • Use Selective Call Acceptance to pre-define criteria to accept calls from specific numbers.
    • Use Selective Call Rejection to pre-define criteria to reject calls from specific numbers.
    • Use Sequential Ring to ring multiple phones or extensions in a sequence when someone calls the user's number, or after they don't answer within the pre-defined number of rings.
    • Display this user’s extension on one or more phones with Shared Call Appearance.
    • Ring multiple phones or extensions simultaneously when someone calls the user's number with Simultaneous Ring.
    • Allow the user to place a call by pressing a reduced number of keys, instead of the entire phone number, with Speed Dial.
    • Use Voicemail to Email to send the user’s voicemail messages to their email address.

For Locations (Sites), you can:

  • Add and manage locations
  • Upload announcements to use for location- or user-specific features
  • Set up the following feature for locations: ​

    • Assign Conference Numbers that can be utilized by specific users when setting up their personal Conference Bridges for conference calls.
    • Use Extension Dialing to determine the number of digits your location's extensions will have.
    • Use Group Paging to enable a user to page a group of users by dialing a paging group number or extension, like a group intercom.
    • Allow a user to answer a ringing phone within a predefined zone with Group Pickup.
    • Make and receive calls from your Nextiva main location number using another phone (like your home or cell phone) with Nextiva Anywhere.
    • Use Music on Hold by uploading an audio file to play for your customers while they are on hold, in queue, or being transferred.
    • Redirect incoming calls for all users at a location to a specified number outside of the location's business hours using Location Forwarding.

Devices

  • Add and assign devices
  • Import devices (up to 100 at once)

Advanced Routing

  • Create and manage call groups (hunt groups)
  • Create and manage auto attendants
  • Set up the following features for advanced routing: 

    • Assign multiple numbers or extensions to an auto attendant’s or call group’s primary number with Alternate Numbers. You can also specify a distinctive ring pattern for each one.

Schedules

  • Create and manage regular schedules for your company or specific locations
  • Create and manage holiday schedules for your company or specific locations

My Account

  • Reset your admin password and PIN
  • View call history for your company, a specific location or user
  • Add and edit credit cards
  • Make payments
  • View past and current invoices
  • Assign and manage licenses
  • Check the status of your ported phones numbers

Why You Need to Think of Your Communications as an Asset Not an Expense

11-3 Communications as an Asset smallIn today’s business environment, most companies view their communications systems as an operational expense with no added value. They perceive communications systems as a cost that has little to no effect on the bottom line. Often times, their mindset is correct. If a company has not utilized the full power of an up-to-date communications system, then it really is just another expense.

Cloud communications is changing this. As cloud communications technology becomes more advanced, companies are able to use a multitude of features to gain a competitive advantage over their competition. Leveraging cloud communications provides businesses with a competitive asset that empowers its users to grow. Below, we’ll explore three key benefits cloud communications provides businesses and how it will become a strategic asset for your growth:

Capability

Cloud-based phone systems can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual user. Whether you need to record a call for training purposes, answer your desk phone from your cell phone, or gain insight as to how you should staff your phones at your call center throughout the day, a cloud phone system will help you become more efficient and operationally cost effective.

Agility

The speed to implement change is a major competitive advantage for any business. Cloud communications systems provide instant analytical information so companies can make data-driven decisions.

Service providers, such as Nextiva, can grant its customers instant access to new features. As all updates are deployed through the cloud, you do not have to rely on having a technician come to your business location to update your system.

Affordability

Little upfront cost is needed when switching to a cloud communications system. There is no expensive hardware to install, and you only pay for the number of lines that you need. Additionally, a plug and play approach is used so systems can be set up quickly. This provides a scalable solution for all businesses.

Cloud communications is an ever-evolving technology. Its efficiency, along with its increasing functionality, is giving companies a competitive advantage over those who are slow to adapt to change. The more that cloud communications integrates itself into your network, the more of an asset it will become.   




 
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