Category Archives: Avaya Products

How Advanced Call Forwarding Can Help your Business

Advanced Call ForwardingIn the modern business world, customers expect to reach businesses immediately. However, it isn’t feasible to take each and every call personally. If you have a hosted Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system though, there are some powerful features that can help. The most important for assisting you in this area is Advanced Call Forwarding.

Advanced Call Forwarding allows you to forward an incoming call to either a mobile number or an alternate person if you are unavailable. With this feature you and your staff won’t miss out on any calls. Here are some of the ways in which Advanced Call Forwarding can help your business.

Set up find me/follow me calling for remote workers

Many businesses use remote workers. Remote workers allow businesses to expand their employee and client pool. However, keeping track of remote workers can present a challenge. If you enact find me/follow me however, it makes the task much easier. Find me/follow me is a staggered Advanced Call Forwarding option that allows employees to receive calls at numerous numbers. For example, if a call goes unanswered at the default number, it will ring to a secondary number (such as a mobile number).

Route calls based on time or day

Another frequently used Advanced Call Forwarding option is to route calls to a number or location based on a specific time of day or day of week. This is most commonly used to ensure that all after hour calls don’t go to your business line but to a mobile phone. The best part about this feature is that the caller doesn’t even realize that they are actually reaching a different number.

Prioritize top customers

The majority of hosted PBX solutions also allow businesses to prioritize top customers. Based on your configuration answering rules, a specific inbound number can be directed to a specific number or extension. You can also permit specific contacts to reach your number during off-hours or holidays.

Advanced Call Forwarding permits businesses a large competitive edge and helps them manage calls without breaking a sweat. If you have any questions regarding business phone systems, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Pros and Cons of Unified Communications

Unified CommunicationsOne of the biggest advantages of modern telecommunications is Unified Communications. Unified Communications, or UC, merges voice, chat, video, mobility, and presences management and puts them on your laptop, smartphone, and other devices. The best thing about UC is that busy people can stay in touch and not miss important meetings and events in the office. Not only does it permit better communications in general, but it improves customer service. It sounds great, but is there a downside?  

Pros of Unified Communications
Softphone

Ever since the development of softphones, they have beneficial to remote workers. Soft phones run on your laptop or smartphone and connect you directly to your desk phone. Not only can you make and receive calls as though you were on your desk phone, but you can check voicemails, call logs, and the directory from it.

Voicemail to Email

One of the other great features of Unified Communications is that you can get your voicemail delivered into your email account. Now, if you’re on the go or have a few spare minutes prior to a meeting, you can catch up on your voicemails. In many ways, it’s less complex and more convenient than calling them up from your desk phone.

Find me Follow me

Find me Follow me (or Twinning) connects your smartphone to your desk phone. Whenever someone dials your DID number, not only does your desk phone ring but your smartphone does as well. This decreases the likelihood of playing phone tag with a colleague or client.

Cons of Unified Communication

One of the biggest drawbacks to unified communications is that you are a little too available. Unfortunately, work can often seep into your free time. Now that everyone is available all the time, instant responses have become the new normal. While all of these features are fantastic, it is advisable that you implement some rules and set clear expectations in regard to response time.

The other challenge is that sometimes IT staffs forget that there are voice applications operating on the LAN and routed to the internet. If your LAN, IP address or ISP changes, all of your UC features may stop operating. You’ll have to work with your IT staff to make sure that any changes are during business downtime.

Unified Communications should be a vital aspect of your business communications. Even if there are some downsides, the advantages far outweigh the negatives. If you have any Business Phone System questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Why a Legacy Business Phone System Could Be Hurting Your Business

legacy business phoneThe way businesses communicate is completely different than they did just a few years past. Nevertheless, many businesses cling to legacy business phone systems purchased over ten years prior. There are numerous reasons that businesses don’t make the switch, but the most obvious one is that you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. However, there are a few issues with that sort of thinking.

The biggest problem with legacy business phone systems is that they use technology and hardware that is now entirely obsolete. If your system breaks, you will have a difficult time finding parts for it because the manufacturers no longer support them. Hanging on to a legacy phone system to save some money will eventually blow a whole right through your budget.

The issue with older business phone systems goes deeper than that though; by sticking with obsolete equipment you’re limiting your business’s potential. For example, remote workers comprise much of the workforce. Legacy phone systems exclude a business from that segment of the workforce.

To put it simply, there has been a total transformation in telecommunications. If you don’t keep up with the changes, it could hurt you in the long run. With all that said, what are some of the biggest benefits of a modern business phone system?

Current Communications Equipment Costs Less

Years ago, brand-new business phone systems were often the most expensive idea companies purchased. The costliest part of that business phone was the PBX. Now, businesses have the option of buying a Virtual PBX. Virtual PBX’s allow the company to only buy the phones, drastically reducing costs.  

The other added benefit to Virtual PBXs and modern technology is the reduction in a catastrophic communications failure. If you have a hardware failure on a legacy phone, it could severely hinder your business.

Connectivity

As mentioned earlier, modern business phone systems erase geographic barriers and allow you to hire outside of your immediate area. It goes without saying that legacy phone systems don’t allow for remote workers—at least not practically. If you try to have employees work outside of the office (or predominantly work in the field), they could have numerous phone numbers and numerous mailboxes. Modern business phone systems make this endeavor a lot more practical and a lot less confusing.

If you have any questions regarding business phone systems, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Top Benefits of VoIP Analytics

VoIP Analytics VoIP Business Phone Systems have changed the way companies communicate. VoIP offers features such as mobility, scalability, and cost savings. However, one of the most overlooked features is VoIP analytics. VoIP analytics is the study of your voice processes in order to gain actionable insights. It is one of VoIP’s most powerful tools, because it allows a business to not only monitor but act on data-based insights.

VoIP analytics is especially powerful for sales based companies. VoIP allows you insights into employee performance, sales campaigns, average customer sentiment, etc. Once you have access to the data, the possibilities are endless.

VoIP Analytics Data

VoIP Analytics gives you access to the following data points:

·         Number of calls answered during a given time

·         Recognizing time-frames when phone traffic spikes

·         Geographic location of calls

·         Time duration of calls

·         Average customer wait-period

Craft a better calling experience

The biggest benefit of VoIP analytics is probably in the customer service department. Sales managers, by using the data from analytics, can better hone their strategies. For example, by knowing their customer’s call patterns, they can find ways to reduce wait-periods.

Showcase customer trends

One of the other benefits of VoIP call analytics is that you can record and play back as many different calls as you want to.

When it comes to VoIP call analytics, you can record and hear back to multiple calls as you require. Sales managers can search keywords such as ‘cancel’ and listen to all the calls containing their search. This is a powerful feature, as it can help elucidate trends.

Thanks to VoIP analytics companies don’t have to rely solely on customer feedback surveys if they want to gather trends on their business. If you have any business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

Five Features to Look for When Selecting a School Business Phone System

school business phone systemIt may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to the needs of a school system, but business phone systems are one of the most important aspects of keeping students, teachers, and staff better informed and safe. Unfortunately, many school systems are still using decades-old phone systems. Such systems necessitate frequent maintenance and typically end up costing more than merely purchasing a new system. Newer VoIP (voice over IP) offer a much better alternative business phone system for a school system. Below, we’ve listed five features to look for when selecting a school business phone system.

Emergency 911 Monitoring

These days, schools must be vigilant about the safety of their students and staff. Whichever school business phone system you purchase must include a built-in emergency monitoring feature. Newer VoIP systems can notify school administrators via their desk phones and email when someone makes a 911 call. The notifications even tell you which room number initiated the call. This is important because the emergency dispatcher can also quickly recognize which room to send emergency assistance to.

Flexible Extension Dial Plan

Emergency 911 Monitoring is quite dependent on this next feature. Most schools require six-digit extension dialing, which will permit them to build an organized dial plan. Schools typically use the first two digits in the extension to specify the building, the third digit to specify the floor, and the last three to specify the room number. Flexible extension dialing not only makes emergency 911 monitoring possible, but it also creates cohesion and convenience in your dial plan.  

Ease of Use

Once you finally have a new VoIP phone system, you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to use it. A properly designed school business phone system should be easy to operate. It should also be easy to access via the internet so that you can make adds, moves, and other changes.

User Training

Many people don’t like change. Attempting to switch your staff to a new phone system can present a difficult adjustment period. To ease the growing pains, you should have training sessions on the new system. Not only does this shorten the adjustment period, but it also allows your staff the opportunity to take full advantage of VoIP’s features.

Price

As with any purchase, price can make or break your decision. Who wouldn’t love to have the latest and greatest? Sometimes though, you have to prioritize your needs so that you don’t burst your budget. However, one of the advantages of VoIP is that it tends to pay for itself; with little upkeep and maintenance fees, you’ll inevitably find that after time it costs you less than hanging on to your old system.

If you have any questions business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

The Most Important Considerations When Buying a Small Business Phone System

small business phone systemThere is a vast array of small business phone systems on the market. When a small business wants to upgrade or switch to a different phone system, the choices can seem overwhelming. Many small businesses operate on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. This is the same network that connects employees, devices, and information recourses. Thus, how does a small business choose the most appropriate phone system for their specific business? We’ve assembled the most important considerations when buying a small business phone system below.

Know What Your Users Need

At the end of the day, your small business phone system only needs to do one thing: give your people the tools to be more efficient. Do your workers need one phone number to ring to multiple devices? Do they need prompt access to mobile communication or video? Therefore, these are features and capabilities you may want to include:

  • The ability to make and receive calls from smartphones or tablets
  • Automated attendant
  • Mobile softphones, for using a computer as a phone
  • Video or web conferencing support
  • Paging and intercom
  • Unified messaging (including email, text message, or phone notifications)
  • Instant Messaging
Be Prepared for Change

A great small business phone system can change the way your employees conduct their daily workflow. While all change requires an adjustment period, it should be a good change! A new small business phone system that doesn’t improve the way your office functions, probably isn’t the one for you.

Reduce Your IT Costs

The fantastic thing about small business IP phone systems is that they also consolidate your communications into one platform. Not only does this decrease IT strains, but it also reduces communications expenses.

Talk to Your Trusted Advisor

Before making a purchase, you should always speak to a provider or vendor. They are knowledgeable in what features and capabilities best fit your company’s business goals.  

If you have any questions business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

Tips for Selecting the Best Business Phone System

Business Phone System SelectionSome businesses can get away with using only a smartphone, but those tend to be one man operations. Most companies need a business phone system in order to operate in an efficient and professional manner. The trick to business phone system selection for your company comes down to recognizing your needs while also factoring in your future growth and budget. Below are the best steps to take in finding the perfect business phone system for your business.

Evaluate Your Needs

The first step in selecting the best business phone system is recognizing your needs. Phone service providers will offer a variety of services, such as call forwarding, speed dialing, caller ID, 3-way calling, voice mail, call waiting, and priority ringing. It is important to understand what features would help your business increase productivity and create a more efficient, day-to-day operation.

Decide if You Need a Landline or Cloud-Based System

The two main types of business phone systems are a PBX (private branch exchange) landline phone system or a cloud-based system. Again, consider your needs when deciding which route to go; if you require multiple phone model options and multiple features, a cloud-based system is probably your best bet. Cloud-based systems also have the ability to make and receive calls from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Consider the Size & Structure Of Your Business

It goes without saying that a large business with numerous office locations will require a different business phone system than a smaller company. If you are a larger business, you may want to go with a premises-based business phone system. There are very attractive leasing options, many with 0% interest, that will make a prem-based system a very affordable option.

Check Compatibility with Other Office Equipment

The last thing a business on a budget wants to do is purchase brand new office technology when selecting a business phone system. Therefore, be sure that the business phone system you select is compatible with the various office technology that you have.

If you have any questions about business phone system selection, please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

Is your organization ready for the Mobile Consumer?

Marketing, sales, and customer service professionals all understand that a successful company is able to predict their customers’ buying behavior. Companies that correctly utilize this tool will be able to close opportunities, recognize new prospects, and provide uninterrupted support. In today’s world, it is more important than ever to shift towards a customer engagement approach intended to react to the modern consumer – the Mobile Consumer.

The habits of customers past:

The modern consumer is immensely dissimilar than customers of the past. Just ten years ago, most customer exchanges with businesses were limited to phone calls or physical visits to business sites; customers would only relay their customer experiences with a relatively small number of friends and acquaintances.

A new brand of mobile consumer:

Current consumers are rewriting the rules of customer engagement.  Present business strategies aren’t capable of covering as wide a net as they need to—inhibiting a business’s capacity to achieve its goals and adequately serve customers. This new brand of customer is best described as the “mobile consumer.”

Did you know that roughly fifty percent of the world’s population is comprised of unique mobile users?

These mobile consumers now have access to the products, information, and services businesses offer at unprecedented levels. Over one-third of all Internet sites are now being served to mobile devices. This means that your business must be ready to interact with customers on their terms—whether they’re sitting in a doctor’s office, riding a train, or in line at the grocery story, mobile consumers demand to do business whenever and wherever.

Expanding mobile commerce:

It’s imperative to mention that this new mobile consumer has more than just access to the information they want and the capability to complete a transaction at their convenience; they also have the capacity to share that experience with their friends – your customers and prospects – in real time.

Nearly two in four people now has an active mobile social account.  In other words, these customers can share their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with countless people in the blink of eye. This makes it more important than ever for organizations to understand mobile consumer behaviors, ensure they are positioned for success and guarantee that customers get the service they expect.

How to support the mobile consumer:

To support the modern consumer, and thus operate a modern business, it’s important not to forget that the impact of the mobile consumer. Look across your organization and determine all the possible points of engagement. Predict how customers expect to engage via text, email, social media, Web chat, voice, video, self-service or other touch points. The best strategies will place an employee in the proper place at the proper time to support customer requests in real time. To do otherwise, in this modern age, will almost certainly result in the consumer taking their business elsewhere.

Tips For Choosing a Business Telephone System

If you are not already using a small business phone system in your company, you may be sending out the wrong message to potential clientele. If you want to make the right impression to callers, you need a business phone system that will provide optimal customer service. An advanced phone system will also help your staff to communicate and work effectively, whether with customers/prospects or with each other.

The most important features sought after by most businesses today include call forwarding, conferencing, automated menu and hold messages/music. Part of your plan when looking at a new business phone system should include if you have just one location or if you need something that enables remote connectivity.

Once you have determined your needs, the next job is to consider all the available options. There is a wide variety of systems available on the market, but the two main systems are PBX and VoIP.  The choice depends on your needs.

PBX works by creating several extensions within your company from a single landline. VoIP systems are based on either VoIP software or special phones. They could also be setup on traditional telephones using adapters, offering access to the features of the phone system using an Internet connection.

Once you have decided on what your small business phone system will be, you then need to consider the messages or music that will be used on the phone system during hold. Your message should be clear and give a professional impression of your company. Avoid silent periods in your automation, or your caller may mistake that as a dropped call.  Take this time to let the caller know crucial facts about your company.

Call Jay Faulconer for help in choosing the best system for your company’s needs.

Features that Prove an Auto Attendant Can Help Your Business Grow

Not sure if an auto attendant can help grow your business? Essentially, Auto Attendants allow you and your company the ability to manage calls from every office location at once. Sound too good to be true? Some of the best features of auto attendants are automated call answering, call forwarding, professional custom greetings, music when on hold, interactive and intuitive voice prompts, and call waiting.

Some other features that are automatically included with most automated attendants include:

Phone menu
Dial by name
Info messages
Voicemail

You never want to miss a potential lead or client because your phone lines are tied up. Auto Attendants essentially handle and transfer all your callers to the appropriate extension without a human receptionist or operator having to help them. As your business starts to grow, not only is this a smart strategy, but a vital one. The bigger a company is, the harder it is to catch every call. An Auto Attendant ensures that you will get every call, every time.

For businesses growing faster than anticipated, this is a viable option that guarantees that they are simultaneously on the top of their game and sounding professional.  Call ACS for further details on how an AA can help your growing business!