Posts Tagged ‘VoIP’


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.


Watch for These Business Communications Trends in 2016

In 2015 we saw a surge of devices and technologies hit the market that have dynamically altered the way we work. It is becoming more apparent that it will be necessary for companies to adopt new technologies in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Technology continues to leave its footprint on innovative business growth ventures, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. Here’s a look at some communications trends to watch for in 2016:

Web & Cloud-Based Communications

As more companies migrate towards a tech-friendly work routine, they continue to implement more web and cloud-based communications platforms and tools. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) continues to see an upswing, largely due to the reduced cost of use, ease of implementation and feature-rich offerings. VoIP provides features that, previously only afforded by large corporations, are now fundamentally changing the game for small and medium-sized businesses.

With the advent of web and cloud-based communications, employees are able to access information from anywhere and provide better customer service.

Remote Employees

It is becoming more accepted that not all employees are office-bound anymore. A growing trend shows that more companies are open to hiring remote employees, or allowing employees to occasionally work from home. This opens up a need to have access to files, CRM software, and business data remotely, which will put more pressure on businesses to amp up the cloud-based technology they use.

Mobility

It should be no surprise that mobility is valued by businesses large and small. The importance of being able to work on the go, from anywhere, will be a continuing trend in 2016. This is one big reason why web and cloud-based platforms and apps are relied upon by both in-office and remote employees. Apps will continue to boost mobile capabilities and productivity.

Heightened Security

Security will be top of mind this year in the wake of newsworthy security breaches over the past few years. More devices offer more opportunities for hacks, which is why caution is more important now than ever before; security breaches and hacks could come through any device. Companies may invest more energy in encryption and other security measures during 2016 in order to ensure their systems meet their needs. Industry guidelines also come into play as some companies need specific types of encryption for regulations.

GenZ Goes to Work

Generation Z will be graduating college and entering the workforce this year. They will have high expectations for more devices, as they are the most computer savvy generation yet. Companies will need to shift towards more advanced consumer-grade technologies in order to attract this new work force.

Internet of Things (IoT)

As the Internet of Things advances, more and more devices will be connected. This will lead to advanced data and information sharing between devices, as well as a flood of new data and information for companies to use for their advantage.

Unified Communications

With all of these factors at work, companies may be searching for unified communications solutions in order to streamline their workflow and processes. Unified communications allows for the integration of voice, video, mobile and web collaboration in one complete solution.


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.   


10 Key Features & Advantages of Hosted Call Centers

Call centers are a key component of many large organizations, especially those that provide support to their customers. Traditional call centers are extremely costly to implement, with large capital investments and significant IT support required. Additionally, making changes to the system can be time consuming and extremely complicated.

Businesses are always looking for ways to decrease their operational expenses and increase their productivity so they can better serve their customers, and a hosted call center is the answer for today’s businesses.

Whether your company currently utilizes a call center environment, or is looking to implement one in the future as your business grows, moving it to the cloud will significantly reduce your operating costs and increase your business flexibility.

So what are the benefits of moving your call center to the cloud?

  • Financial Savings: Minimal upfront costs, reduced maintenance fees, and a “pay as you go” model make it an ideal choice for today’s businesses.
  • Flexible Work Options & Virtualization:  The ease of provisioning and managing on-site and remote agents, and the ability to use a single central queue which routes calls to agents regardless of their physical location allows for flexibility that was previously unavailable.  
  • Enhanced Operational Flexibility: The ability to rapidly scale up and down and handle unexpected or fluctuating call volume quickly, without disrupting or changing infrastructure, will change the way your business operates.
  • Access to Latest Technologies: Low risk and cost to access cutting edge features e.g. video call centers ensures your business always has the best communications tools available.
  • Business Continuity: With hosted architecture, calls are queued and can be re-routed to alternate locations in the case of service disruption. You always have a business back up plan no matter what is thrown your way.

What are the key features of hosted (cloud) call centers, and what are their business benefits?

  • Call Recording: Record agents’ calls for training purposes and to improve the customer experience. This also provides you with a record of what was said on a call if there is ever a dispute with a customer or agent.
  • Automatic Call Distribution: You decide how you want incoming calls to be routed and the level of importance of each type of call. Route to the appropriate agent based on department, skill level and purpose of the call.
  • Call Queues: Organize users, teams and departments by queues. Callers will be routed to the next available agent in the appropriate queue based on the call distribution policy you specify.
  • Agent Status Display: See the status of every active agent from the web-based client. See agents who are available, on a call, have an incoming call, or are set to an alternate status. This helps to access call volume levels and agent status.
  • Call Center Reporting: Monitor real-time activity, as well as generate in-depth historical data and trends to improve performance and ensure that calls are handled efficiently. You can create customized reports based on your business needs to support unique process and monitoring requirements. Then, use the information to make informed business and staffing decisions.

To learn more about hosted call centers and the positive impact implementing one will have on at your business, please visit www.nextiva.com.


Nextiva Customer Success Story: Blue Marble Media

Companies of all sizes and industries benefit from Nextiva’s cloud-based communication solution. While on a recent trip to Atlanta, Georgia, our team spent some time with one of the creative agencies we serve—Blue Marble Media—to learn more about their business and the impact moving to Nextiva’s cloud-based phone system has had on their business.

Blue Marble Media is a full-service provider of film and motion graphics presentations based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cara Barineau, Creative Director and Principal, likens themselves to an advertising agency that specializes in film, video and motion graphic who works with clients across the world. Since most of their clients are scattered across the United States and the world, telephone communication is key to generating new business, moving projects forward and communicating with clients. From weekly conference calls with clients to communicating with the video team on location, a reliable phone system is essential to Blue Marble Media’s business growth.

Blue Marble Media started out with a traditional analog phone system, but knew they needed a phone system that could support advanced features as their business grew. This led them to move to a VoIP phone system a few years ago. While the new VoIP system provided them with the features they were looking for, they were very unhappy and frustrated with the customer service they received. They knew they wanted to stay with a VoIP system, but needed to find a provider that delivered the great customer support they were looking for.

After a few calls with one of Nextiva’s experienced Account Executives, they could tell that Nextiva really cared about their communication needs and provided the customer service they were looking for. As Cara put it, “Nextiva made it so easy. Really phenomenal, patient, wonderful customer service. For a company our size, that doesn’t have an on-staff IT person, I really think Nextiva is a terrific answer.”

Since moving to Nextiva, Blue Marble Media has experienced more than just Amazing Service, including:

  • Advanced features that were once only available to large corporations help increase their teams’ productivity and efficiency.
  • Reliable phone service allows them to communicate with clients throughout the U.S. and the world.
  • As their business continues to grow and they expand their team, Nextiva’s cloud-based phone system allows them to easily add lines of service and features whenever they need them.

Meet Cara Barineau and hear her story in the video below.  


Shared Call Appearance: Make & Receive Calls From Multiple Devices

Cloud-based phone systems are feature-rich and provide endless opportunities to improve your business’s internal and customer communication. While some features may seem basic, they can revolutionize your productivity and efficiency. One of these features that is often underrated, but deserves more attention is Shared Call Appearance.

Shared Call Appearance is a useful feature available with all Nextiva Office® plans that allows your phone number to be assigned to multiple phones/devices. This means you can have a phone at your office, your house, the Nextiva App on your smartphone and a phone at another location that all have your number assigned to it, and you can make and receive calls as yourself from any of these devices. You can also apply someone else’s line in your company to your phone to make and receive calls as them.  This feature is useful if you work out of multiple offices, or need others to have the ability to make and receive calls on your behalf. Below are additional business benefits of the Shared Call Appearance feature.

  • You work out of multiple offices: If you’re constantly jumping between one of your business locations and another, and occasionally work from home, this feature ensures you can make and receive calls from your phone number on multiple devices.
  • You want others to be able to make calls on your behalf: This is very practical for Executive Assistants, receptionists and other team members who you’d like to have the ability to make and receive calls using your specific phone number.
  • You want a specific team to use the same phone number: If you’d like a team that doesn’t make and receive a high volume of calls to have one phone number that they can all use and can see when someone else is currently using the line.

Do you use Shared Call Appearance? Is there another feature you can’t live without? Share in the comments below.

If you’d like to learn more about Nextiva’s cloud-based business phone service, please visit www.nextiva.com.


Nextiva Customer Success Story: Ruscomp, Inc.

Who says that small companies can’t have the same communication features and systems that large corporations utilize? Not us! At Nextiva, we believe every business, no matter their number of employees or locations, can benefit from a cloud-based phone system. The flat monthly fee per user and minimal equipment needs make it an ideal solution for small businesses with big plans to grow. Additionally, Nextiva’s cloud-based phone service has no hidden fees (kiss those service and maintenance fees goodbye!), comes with more than 40 features (hello endless possibilities) that will improve all internal and customer communication.

For businesses that rely heavily on their phone system to communicate with clients, such as Ruscomp Inc. based in Peachtree, Georgia right outside of Atlanta, unlimited calling and mobility features are essential to business growth. Ruscomp Inc. is a company of eight employees that creates custom facilities management software for large corporations throughout the United States and the world, and most of their customer support and client communication is facilitated over the phone.

Before switching to Nextiva, Kara Carpenter, Ruscomp’s Support Manager, said the company was plagued with call quality issues, lack of mobility features and customer service issues that lead them to seek out a new phone service provider. Once Ruscomp made the switch to Nextiva, they no longer worried about dropped calls, service reliability or support calls going unanswered. The setup process was a breeze, and the company was finally able to take advantage of the mobility features they desperately needed, such as the Nextiva App. Being able to take their business phones with them anywhere, on any device, via the Nextiva App has significantly increased the team’s productivity and improved the client experience.

The company recently moved offices, and the first thing that was up and running was their phone system. Since Nextiva handles all servicing and maintenance, Ruscomp simply plugged in their phones to the office Internet and were live within minutes. The company is growing and Nextiva offers them the scalability and infrastructure they need, at an affordable price, to successfully expand their business.

Meet Kara and hear her story in the video below. 

To learn more about Nextiva's cloud-based business phone service, please visit www.nextiva.com.


Is a Cloud-Based Phone System Right for You?

Many businesses are beginning to realize that in addition to the economic advantages, cloud-based phone systems are more powerful than traditional phone lines. Cloud-based phone systems, often called VoIP, leverage broadband Internet connections instead of the standard phone line. The technology transforms voice singals in to a digital form that can travel over the Internet, which enables a low-cost but powerful way to make and receive phone calls from a variety of devices. Is a cloud-based phone system right for your business? Read through the infographic below to learn more about the business advantages of cloud-based communications solutions. 

Cloud-Based Phone System Infographic


Nextiva Customer Success Story: Carroll Organization

Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs when it comes to their operating expenses without sacrificing the features and systems they rely on to run and grow their businesses. With a cloud-based phone system, businesses get more functionality than a traditional provider, but at a flat monthly fee per user. This significantly reduces a main operating expense—the phone system. Over the past few years more and more businesses have made the switch to a cloud-based phone system for these reasons.

We love meeting Nextiva customers, learning more about their business, and why they made the switch to Nextiva. Recently, our team had the opportunity to meet with Pavan Nanduri, Director of Information Systems at Carroll Organization in Atlanta, Georgia who is one of the larger businesses Nextiva serves. Pavan began looking for a new phone system because the company wanted to cut costs and find a solution that was easy to implement at the high-quality multi-family homes across the country the company invests in and manages. The old on-premises PBX system they were using was costly to maintain, changes to the system could take days, and it was not a scalable solution to grow with the company as they acquire and build more properties. Pavan knew a cloud-based solution would meet Carroll Organization’s communication needs. This led him to Nextiva.

Nextiva provided the value, reliability and features Pavan wanted, at an affordable price that pleased Carroll Organization’s investors and partners. Additionally, by moving to Nextiva’s NextOS platform, the company now benefits from:

  • Quick implementation of Nextiva’s cloud phone service at properties they acquire and invest in. They can plug in the phones and be operational in a matter of minutes.
  • No service or maintenance fees, and all system upgrades are handled by Nextiva so the company always has the latest technology available.
  • Crystal clear call quality that reflects the professionalism of the organization.
  • Reliable service that ensures investors, partners and residence can always reach the company.
  • Easily transfer calls between the main office in Atlanta and the properties Carroll Organization manages throughout the country.

Meet Pavan and hear Carroll Organization’s Nextiva story in the video below. 




 
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