Posts Tagged ‘Business 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


Nextiva in 2015: A Year of Growth & Innovation

As 2015 comes to a close (where did the year go?!), we want to reflect back on the amazing year we’ve had. This year has been full of growth and new opportunities at Nextiva, from product launches to our first Partner Summit to numerous awards and team growth, our team rocked it! We asked some team members to reflect back on the major milestones and events of this year and to share their thoughts on the new era Nextiva embarked on in 2015. Here’s what they had to say:

NextOS 3.0 Launch

NextOS-3.0-Beta

Tomas Gorny (CEO): NextOS 3.0 is designed to enhance the user experience and make it easier for the 100,000+ businesses we serve to manage their phone systems. NextOS 3.0 represents the first initiative in a series of innovations to come for our customers.  

Josh Kay (Manager, Product Development): NextOS 3.0 is the first step towards bringing Nextiva into the world of elite product innovation companies. This project is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s next for Nextiva.

Lindsay Berman (Creative Director, Product Development): NextOS 3.0 marked our first step toward truly putting the 'Simplifying' in 'Simplifying Business Communication' (our company tagline). We have always delivered the most powerful technology – now we're making that technology easy to use so that businesses can get the most value out of our products.

Jen Fritz (VP of Government & Enterprise Solutions): This new interface is a breakthrough in offering a simple approach to managing complex requirements without restricting access to valuable features. This is obviously a huge leap forward for Nextiva, and it’s just the beginning.

Claudio Goralczuk (Director of Development Resources): NextOS 3.0 was created using the agile development process. This led to quicker progress, higher visibility, and the ability to adjust course if a new direction was chosen.

Nextiva Partner Summit

Partner-Summit

Ira F.: Our first annual Nextiva Partner Summit was an amazing success! We had over 300 partners from across the U.S. come to Scottsdale for 3 days of sales education, product training, and to learn from their peers across a variety of partner types. I cannot wait until 2016!

Tracy Conrad (President): Everything we do is to help our partners grow their business, and partner revenue has increased every month since the summit. It was a huge success, and it will be even bigger in 2016.

Carl Katz (Director of Channel Sales – East Region): Our first Partner Summit was an overwhelming success! Partners who came to the event left with more knowledge and were more excited than ever to sell Nextiva!

Andrea Obert (Marketing Programs & Event Manager): With the exponential growth we’ve experienced in our partner program, we wanted to take the opportunity to get as many partners as we could in one place at one time to keep everyone informed.

Lane Chereskin (Director of Customer Service): It allowed our team to meet our partners in person. We interact with them every day so it was great to create a stronger relationship.

Nextiva’s 7th Anniversary & Spirit Day

Spirit-Day

Yaniv Masjedi (VP of Marketing): I have never seen so much company spirit. It was nice to see our entire team getting involved in this fun event. Our Porting team was extremely creative and went above and beyond.

Lane C.: Our 7th Anniversary and Spirit day was a great opportunity to show our Nextiva pride. The event created a stronger sense of community in our department.

Paul Kida (Sales Engineer): On Spirit Day, the team I was a `part of took it upon themselves to get together and go all out decorating the entire office in blue and yellow. I cannot wait to see how we continue to amp up our celebrations for years to come.

Kristen Bradley (Culture Lead): I was inspired to see how proud people were to show their “Nextiva colors." To me this day was a testament to the incredible internal culture and community we have created at Nextiva.

Tony Calvis (Video Producer): Nextiva’s 7th anniversary was an incredible demonstration of the care and camaraderie employees have between each other within the company. ‘Prideful' doesn’t even begin to describe the energy amongst my co-workers.

Team Growth

Company-Growth-New-Hires

Amanda Dziuk (Talent Acquisition): We are always looking to improve ourselves, and because of this, our potential for growth seems limitless. My favorite part of recruiting is seeing those that I spoke with excel and move up at Nextiva.

James Murphy  (VP of Inside Sales): Our sales teams continue to grow exponentially and are driving results like never before. We have the best people in the industry working tirelessly to ensure that our customers are always taken care of. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store for 2016! 

Jamie Brown (Technical Support Manager): This year the operations department has grown tremendously. It has been a great team effort in order to make sure that Nextiva keeps providing Amazing Service.  

Kim Lamont (Executive Assistant to CEO): It’s exciting to be part of this wave of growth and keep up with the challenges and opportunities that come with it, as well as welcome all the new and talented people to our team. 

Company & Team Events

Team-Events

Jonny Basha (Sales Operations Manager): In 2015, we began our Town Hall meeting series. These monthly get–togethers were a great way for the Inside Sales, Account Management and Marketing teams to meet with Tomas and other members of leadership to discuss company updates and best practices. 

James M.: From our first ever partner summit, to an epic company picnic, town hall meetings and of course all the special days celebrated in the office, it has been an epic year.

Yoel Lustgarten (Culture Lead): Company events are what bring our teams together. It boosts internal relations and, as a whole, company culture.  

Max Anderson (Video Producer): It makes a huge impact on the morale of the company when we have events and team builders.

Company Culture Awards

Nextiva-Awards

Kathleen Klein (Talent Acquisition): My two favorite awards we’ve received this year are the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Most Admired Companies” and “Best Places to Work.” These awards in particular are special to me because they demonstrate the engaging, collaborative, and rewarding experience we create for our employees. 

David Clewell (Sales Operations Manager): The award from this year that stands out to me the most is the Phoenix Business Journal’s "Best Places to Work" award. We consistently win awards for our products and customer service, but it's very special that we’re winning them for our company culture too. This was our 5th year in a row winning the Phoenix Business Journal’s "Best Places to Work" award.

Customer Service Awards

Customer Service Awards

Tomas G.: We have an amazing team that truly believes in our mission and genuinely wants to help the businesses we serve succeed and grow.

Lane C.: We talk about Amazing Service at Nextiva a lot, and it’s at the heart of everything we do. It’s an honor to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan and the Stevie’s for our dedication to our customers.

Thomasina Cady (Customer Service Manager): I am really proud that we earned the Frost & Sullivan Customer Service Leadership Award. It shows that as we grow, we don’t lose sight of our dedication to our customers. I am looking forward to watching Nextiva grow and continue to earn more awards for Amazing Service.

Lukas Gorny (VP of Operations): I am extremely proud of our Frost & Sullivan and Stevie awards. The number one thing our employees want to do is help the businesses we serve, and they do everything in their power to do so. It is so nice to be recognized for the effort our entire team puts in on a daily basis.

Chris Lopez (Enterprise Operations): It's a great accomplishment to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan for our amazing customer service. Nextiva is changing the industry simply by listening to our customers and acting with their best interest in mind. 

Product & Software Integrations

Integrations-Zendesk

Josh L.: More and more customers are looking for their Nextiva service to integrate with the other contact management and software solutions they use. Because of this, we have developed a number of integrations and have more on the way. Also, because of this, other SaaS companies are taking notice of Nextiva.

Eric Boller (Salesforce Developer): We have made multiple advances and improvements with Salesforce and other platforms. CRM integration leads to data congruency between different platforms, which is important to today’s businesses.

Alex Todorovic (Software Engineer): I got to work on our Salesforce integration. Pretty soon, any customer that is using Salesforce will be able to easily integrate their CRM with Nextiva.

Alfred Fox (Front End Software Engineer): The integrations have been both challenging and rewarding. Our customers that use Zendesk for their CRM now have a more standardized process that decreases data errors and increases their efficiency.

Partner Program Growth

Channel-Program-Growth

Tracy C.: We have the best partner program in the industry and everyone is taking notice. From product launches to rapid team growth and fun events, this was a huge year for us. I can’t wait for next year—2016 is going to be even bigger and better.

Ira F.: This has been a key year of growth for our Amazing Partner Program.  We were able to triple the number of partners we have, double our sales revenues, and sign several strategic partnerships that will take us into 2016 big time. 

Cara Plowman (Channel Operations Manager): The undeniable growth of our partner program can be measured in countless ways, but the most notable is people know us now – the ultimate indicator of growth. We’re running with the bulls now, and Nextiva’s Channel team is a force to be reckoned with.


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


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: NDN

The team at News Distribution Network brings content to life for over 146 million viewers worldwide by providing publishers with over 100,000 real-time stories each month. Their mission is to revolutionize the digital marketplace for their publishing partners and brands through profitable, next-generation media solutions.

Every day, NDN employees across the country work 24/7 to provide short-form video content to online publishers and content creators. Founded in 2007, the NDN team now has over 100 employees with locations along both the east and west coasts.

A reliable phone system has proven critical to NDN, as they use it on a daily basis to:

  • Receive information on breaking news stories to get them on their partners’ websites as quickly as possible
  • Have immediate access to contacting their media distributing partners 24/7 in case there is a problem
  • Let employees easily travel between nationwide offices without having to reconfigure a phone each time

We met with Joe Bunker, Senior Director of Network Operations at NDN’s headquarters in Atlanta, to learn about his company’s transition to Nextiva’s phone service in 2009. We’d love to share his story with you:


How May I Direct Your Call?

Cara Plowman has been a member of the Nextiva team since December 2010. She has previously served as Nextiva's OLS Supervisor and Technical Support Manager, and is currently the team's Channel Operations Manager.

When I started my career at Nextiva, I wanted to make a name for myself, have my voice be heard. An eager 20-something, I knew little about the emerging technology known as VoIP, or to what extent my voice really would be heard.  Curious about all facets of cloud communications, I certainly started poking my nose around the office – hungry to learn what everyone knew about VoIP.  I quickly realized how deep the waters run, and how pliable the service has to be in order to meet the needs of so many different styles of business in multiple industries. 

Almost immediately I gravitated towards a high-demand feature, the auto attendant.  A fan favorite as more companies utilize automated systems, the auto attendant replaces the old fashioned switchboard operators of yesteryear.  Think, “How may I direct your call?”   Or, remember the movie Office Space, “Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking, just a moment.” 

Previously, auto attendants did not leave a great impression on the caller, as they were often shuffled off to hold music by an over-worked, cold secretary. Beginning in the early 1980s, many companies started realizing there’s a better way to route callers, and do so without utilizing man-hours.

At first glance, the auto attendant may seem to be yet another hindrance to “talking to a real person.” But peel back the layers and there’s so much more.  I spent the past 3 years working as one of the “voices” of Nextiva’s auto attendant and "greeting recording team," recording thousands of custom greetings for industry leaders, start-up entrepreneurs, and even a few residential customers.  I learned a few tricks of the trade along the way I’m happy to share.

The big and small of it all

big-dog-little-dogIf you are new to VoIP, you may not know where to start when it comes to drafting an auto attendant. A great first question is, “Do I want my business to look small? Or big?” 

To properly approach this, you’ll need to know where you stand in the realm of the business world.  With only a handful of employees under your wing, it’s easy to designate your company as a small business. But what if you have 20 employees?  What about 50 or 100?  Essentially you should decide if you want your business to look bigger than it is or smaller than reality?

Remember Mom and Pop shops where you call and talk directly to the business owner no matter the time of day? Well, that charm and level of attentiveness isn’t easily obtainable in the modern world. However, if you’re setting up your attendant and want to go for that small-town tenor, make your greeting short and sweet. Delivering callers quickly to a live person should help you convey this impression.

On the contrary, let’s say your business is a one or two person operation. You may not want all clients to know you’re a startup company still. Or, perhaps you are so busy you’d like to have callers navigate through an automated menu to buy time.

Fortune 500 or startup, an auto attendant can dynamically change the way you operate your business.

Take it on the run

If your business expands multiple locations, an auto attendant can unify your business in countless ways. First, with an automated system you are able to have one primary contact number but still route callers to any location under the system. For example, let’s say when your main number is called the greeting states, “Press 1 for the California location. Press 2 for Arizona.”  Now your main number expands over any physical location imaginable. In the past, each location would have a designated phone number.

Or, let’s say you have a representative who works from home or travels. Auto attendants, and VoIP in general, make it easy to route callers to remote employees, while the caller is none the wiser. This also works great if your business utilizes outsourced teams, for example.

Another option is to use the attendant if your business secretary is out for the day or on vacation. Setting up an emergency greeting you can use in cases like this will likely turn a hectic day into one more manageable.

Although you may choose not to use an attendant for day time hours, many entrepreneurs choose to deploy an automatic greeting for times when the shop is closed.  This is a great alternative to being open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.  And don’t forget, you can still route calls to remote locations, such as a cell phone, so you never miss a call.

Design on a Dime

Nextiva offers all account holders a free greeting recording, which is a great way to experiment with your new phone system. First you’ll want to draft a game plan. Start with a simple layout and then add to it later. Analyze how callers use your current phone system, and what features would improve their experience.  Let’s say callers are currently routed quickly to a phone, but are placed on hold often for long periods of time. Expanding your greeting would help your reps stay organized and better prepare for the next call.

Figure out how many access points callers require to reach your staff – say, Billing, Sales and Management, and then create dialing options for your attendant.  For example, let’s say you have two primary departments callers can be routed to.  Create an easy-to-follow attendant that welcomes callers, states the company name and 2 dialing options. Then, add in personal touches, such as a company slogan or a nicety, such as “Make it a great day!”

Welcome to PaperTime, the best in the biz when it comes to paper accessories. If you’d like to talk to a sales representative, please press 1. Otherwise, press 2 to speak to the next available support technician. Or, if you’d like to leave a voicemail, please hold or press 3. We appreciate your business, and be sure to make it a great day!

Life Hacks: Auto Attendant Edition

  • Don’t talk too fast or too slow!
  • Long auto attendants can frustrate callers; Be sure your attendant isn’t working against you. Use a timer to see how long it takes to navigate your attendant – most average 1-2 mins.
  • Make sure the script is well-written and easy to understand.
  • Test to be sure night-time schedules work properly.
  • Set up a generic “Closed for the day” greeting for holidays or unexpected office closures.
  • Update your attendant whenever your business needs change.
  • Don’t stray too far from the norm – make sure callers can navigate the system with ease.



 
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