Posts Tagged ‘benefits of VoIP’


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.

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


Creating a Responsive Business Model to Combat Demand Fluctuation

12-4 Fluctuating Demand smallImagine this scenario: Your product or service is in high demand. Business is booming and profits are through the roof. Then, after a few months go by, demand for your product/service has started to either decrease or tapper off. Has this happened to you? Demand fluctuation is common and can strain a company’s resources. The good news is you can create a responsive business model to combat demand change.

Now you may be thinking, “But it’s expensive to change right?” Wrong. This is a common misconception that holds many companies back from experiencing their full growth potential. In fact, many of the following suggestions will simultaneously increase your company’s responsiveness for the future, and save you money in the present—a win-win for your business.

Here are four ways to become more responsive to demand fluctuation and gain a competitive advantage:

1) Invest in Scalable/Responsive Technology  

We’ll use a cloud phone system in this example; but keep in mind, there are a variety of scalable technologies that increase responsiveness. Let’s say that your company is experiencing a spike in demand, and in-bound calls are through the roof. With an old-school analog phone system, you would need a technician to come install new phone lines along with having to train more employees to handle the increased call volume. This takes a large amount of time and can be very expensive.

On the other hand, a cloud communications system would be much more efficient in handling fluctuating demand. Adding additional lines to handle in-bound calls can be done in minutes. Also, setup is done virtually meaning there is no need to wait for a technician to come on-site for the installation.  

Additionally, cloud phone systems provide a variety of features that allow businesses to handle fluctuating call volume. These features are configured from a simple, but powerful, web-based client. Features such as call queuing put calls into a queue until an available agent can answer them. Think of this as an advanced version of call waiting where one person, with one phone, has the capability to manage call flow. Since call flow fluctuates, by having the customer briefly wait for service, a company does not risk over investing in hiring additional in-bound sales employees.

2) Use a Lean Business Model (Service Industries Included)

Businesses are putting greater emphasis on becoming lean. For example, just in time manufacturing means that there is less inventory on hand, so your company does not incur high inventory costs. A responsive, lean business must work with their supply chain. Companies should work with their suppliers to have demand fluctuation contingencies. This includes working with your supply chain to standardize as much as possible to increase the speed of a product going from manufacturing to the market.

Service organizations can also adopt a responsive, lean business model. Making your practices more standardized (e.g., integrating systems so they communicate with one another and laying out process maps), prevents mistakes and makes your team more responsive. The more standardized the work, the more your team can accomplish while also reducing the frequency of errors.

3) Understand the Importance of Trend Analysis

Many businesses stress the importance of collecting data, but few actually use it. Analyzing data and forecasting demand can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but it is extremely important if you want to increase the efficiency and productivity of your business. By successfully forecasting demand, you can adjust your product flow and change the size of your team to meet your future needs.

There are many different forecasting methods you can use to help predict demand. For demand that is not affected by seasons, you should use a simple moving average trend analysis. This method will find trends using past time periods.

For demand that is affected by seasonal change (e.g., holiday products), a company can use a weighted moving average to predict demand. This method puts weights on different time periods for a more accurate demand forecast.

4) Invest in Your Team

Lastly, you should invest in employees who thrive on change and are willing to handle a fluctuating workload. Let them know that demand can change at any time, and everyone will need to work together, and a bit more, during these growth stages. If you’re asking your team to work more, it is important to show your appreciation and reward them for their efforts. If demand continues to increase and shows no signs of slowing down (a “problem” every business owner wants), it may be time to grow your team so your business can handle future growth. 


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.

The 10 Digits That Are Vital to Your Business

10-27 Importance of phone numbers smallWhile email and chat have become increasingly popular, many customers still prefer to talk to a live person on the phone. In order to do so, they have to be able to reach your business. That’s where your all-important business phone number comes in.

Cloud phone systems provide today’s businesses with unprecedented flexibility when it comes to their communications systems, and this extends to phone numbers.

Below are two popular phone number options available to businesses with a cloud phone system.

One Number For All

Your business can have one central phone number, such as a toll free phone number, that can route to multiple locations based on criteria you specify. This is a great option for companies that serve customers that are not centralized to one area.

This concept is also common with customer service centers. Have you ever called a toll-free number and then been routed to a location in your city or state? I recently called AAA for roadside assistance, and based on the phone number I was calling from, they routed me to an agent in my local area.

The beauty of cloud phone systems is you have unlimited flexibility when it comes to your call flows. Based on the phone number of the inbound call, you can determine the best location, department or individual to answer the call without the caller needing to dial multiple numbers to reach the desired destination.

Multiple Numbers for One Business

Alternatively you can have multiple phone numbers route to one central business location. If you choose to have multiple numbers, say with different area codes to show a local presence, cloud phone systems allow you to route all of these numbers to a central location. When you, or a member of your team, answer the incoming call, the number the caller dialed will appear on the phone so you can answer appropriately. For instance, if the customer dialed the number for your Phoenix office and the call was routed to your headquarters in Los Angeles because of criteria you specify, the user can still answer, “Thank you for calling our Phoenix office, how may I help you?” 

This type of call routing and phone number usage is great for marketing purposes and companies that want to appear more local, such as real estate agencies where local expertise is important to customers.

Your phone number is vital to your business, and you now have more options than ever when it comes to call routing and call forwarding thanks to the advancements of cloud phone systems. Since they are hosted in the cloud, these systems offer significant scalability and flexibility, and they can be adjusted as frequently to meet the evolving needs of your business without the hassle of costly equipment and maintenance fees.


Go Mobile and Break Free from the Shackles of Your Desk Phone

Mobility ImageWhat is mobility? In today’s business environment, mobility leverages the latest cloud communication technology to enable workers to stay connected anytime, anywhere. Mobility is more than being able to make and receive calls from multiple locations. It’s using mobile devices to work anywhere and access company information, social media, web conferencing, note taking, virtual office on the go, and much more. Additionally, it helps companies improve team productivity, decrease costs, increase revenue, improve service and ultimately gain a competitive advantage.

So you know your business can benefit from being more mobile—now what?  Start by moving your phone system to the cloud. Implementing a cloud phone system, also known as a hosted or VoIP phone system, provides you with endless benefits that go far beyond saving your business money.

Go mobile and….

Maximize Productivity

  • Employees no longer need to be sitting at a desk to make and receive calls from their office number.
  • More effective collaboration within your business through improved internal communication.
  • Start a call at your desk and transfer it to your mobile device via an app during the call. The person on the other line will never know you are no longer at your desk.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

  • Respond to customer calls and queries wherever you may be.
  • Advanced call routing ensures customers are connected to the proper department or individual to reduce waiting time and multiple transfers.

Increase Efficiency

  • Reduce travel time through mobile conference technology.
  • Eliminate the need to give out multiple phone numbers to customers.

Manage Tasks

  • New mobile technologies integrate with office tasks so employees can manage their calendar, alerts, connections, etc.  

Create a Flexible Work Environment

  • Employees can essentially work from anywhere they have an Internet connection.
  • Empower them to work from home or elsewhere depending on their schedule and needs.

In today’s fast-paced and connected environment, customers expect to be able to reach you at all hours of the day. Moving your phone system to the cloud allows you to meet your customers’ needs while improving their experience with your business, ultimately building a loyal customer base that advocates for your business.

To learn more about Nextiva’s cloud phone system, visit www.nextiva.com.


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:




 
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