Category Archives: Bring Your Own Device to Work

How to Boost Concentration During Business Phone Calls and Conferences

Business Phone Calls and ConferencesThere have been many transformations to the business phone system in the past ten years, and we’ve greatly altered the way we communicate with clients and customers. With that said, one of the most effective communication tools is still the phone call or conference call. Unfortunately, some of today’s technology prevents calls from being as effective as they could be and reduces concentration during Business Phone calls and conferences. 

For example, employees frequently bypass their desk phone in favor of their mobile phone. Despite employees comfortable relationship with mobile phones, they aren’t exactly the best way to handle large call volumes. For one thing, mobiles have limited battery life and it is not atypical for an employee to miss a call due to a dead battery.

However, the biggest problem with an over reliance on mobile phones is erratic signal strength. This particular problem multiplies in a busy office setting when numerous devices are attempting to connect to a limited capacity cell.

This is where the desk phone comes in; after all, there’s nothing worse than dropping off  due to poor coverage or a dying battery during an important call. With a desk phone, this problem is nonexistent. Desk phones also tend to have much better call quality.

Which brings me to my point: is there a variation in concentration levels when comparing desk phones to mobile phones? If employees are using a mobile phone that has poor call quality, inconsistent cell coverage, and poor battery life, are they going to become disengaged and frustrated?

The best way to solve the aforementioned issues is to invest in an advanced business telephone system. With a great business telephone system, you can marry the ease of a mobile phone with the sophistication of a business telephone system. A great phone system will likely increase your concentration during Business Phone calls and conferences. Here are the things to look for when getting a business telephone system:

Latest Bluetooth technologies 

By opting for a business telephone system with an upgraded version of Bluetooth integrated, employees not only get crystal clear calls when using a Bluetooth handset or headset, but they get a similar freedom that they might achieve from their mobile device.

Mobile integration 

Allows mobile calls to be received on an employ’s desk phone, in effect increasing the audio quality.

HD audio 

HD audio is among the best quality audio available. A sealed acoustic chamber is recommended for the speaker phone. Sealed acoustic chambers avoid feedback loops and stopping tiny vibrations from interfering with the audio.

Avatars integrated into the desk phone 

Viewing an actual image of the person makes the call personal and can improve the back and forth on calls.

By choosing a business telephone system with these features, employees will be a lot more attracted to their desk phones. Odds are, they will accomplish more throughout the day.

If you have any questions about Business Phone calls and conferences please contact us. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Pros and Cons of Desk Phones and Softphones

Desk Phones and SoftphonesThe primary types of VoIP business phones are desk phones and softphones. As you’re probably aware, desk phones are the physical phones that sit next to your computer at work. Sometimes they appear akin to and analog phone, but instead of being a landline, they are actually connected to the IP network.

Softphones, while also a type of VoIP business phone, are entirely different. They are apps that are installed on your PC or laptop. They have dialing pads not unlike a cell phone. Softphones can also have applications for your mobile devices.

Determining the best fit for your company can be tricky. Below, is a quick guide to the pros and cons of desk phones and softphones, so that your company doesn’t spend money on a phone that doesn’t work for your business.

Desk Phones

Desk phones have been entirely redeveloped since the creation of VoIP. What you might imagine when you think of a ‘traditional desk phone’ is not relevant to a VoIP desk phone.

Advantages and Disadvantages

This may go without saying, but people are used to desk phones. Even if the VoIP desk phone is entirely different than that of a landline, people are still comfortable with them. The other great thing about desk phones is that they tend to have superior call quality. Unfortunately, desk phones are more costly than softphones. Furthermore, the cost of a desk phone can increase with the more features you add to them.

Softphones

A softphone isn’t truly tangible; it is a software program on your PC or smartphone. It, via the Internet, allows users to make or receive calls over that Internet connection. Softphones generally offer a very friendly user experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Softphones are installed quickly, because tangible equipment isn’t required. They also boast a budget friendly option to businesses. As long as a user has Internet connection, they can get or receive calls from anywhere. However, if your lose your Internet connection, or your equipment computer or smartphone crashes, you will be unable to use it. Also, if you aren’t a fan of headsets, you may not prefer using a smartphone on your computer, as you will need it to respond and listen to calls.

At the end of the day, you will have to decide which pros appeal most to you and which cons are deal breakers. As with all business phone systems, you have to determine what your company needs to fulfill its’ communication requirements.

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

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.

Mitel Team Collaboration

What is the most essential part of running a successful business? Communication of course! As cloud applications become more and more popular in large and small businesses, business communications are moving to the cloud.

So how does Unified Communication (UC) come into play? It provides integration of real-time, enterprise communication services such as voice, instant messaging, web & video conferencing, mobility features, audio, desktop sharing, data sharing, and so much more.  UC provides a consistent, unified user-interface and user-experience across multiple devices and media-types. 

  • Team Collaboration is a Time Saver

Workers spend an average time of one hour per day communicating via email, meetings, leaving voice mail, etc. What could save some of that valuable time? Cloud-based team collaboration software, such as Mitel Team Collaboration Software allows you to stop checking multiple messaging applications because all messages can be corralled into a single app and screen. 

  • Improve Team Collaboration and Communications with BYOD

The Find Me/Follow Me feature allows you to be able to reach colleagues right away.  A good collaboration experience is one that employees can take work with them so that projects can get done anywhere, anytime, over any device.  Today’s workers need to access critical, and often sensitive, business information from wherever they’re working: at home, at a client site, on the road, etc. Cloud-based communications allow employees to quickly locate and retrieve information in real time from any device—and not just when they’re back in the office at their computer.  That means customers can get answers faster, and stay happier longer.

In case you didn’t know, BYOD is expanding in popularity due to a rise in millennials in the workforce. When your business leverages BYOD policies you can utilize business collaboration apps that help your company become more productive, efficient, and collaborative. BYOD helps optimize your business as well, since you can do more with less. Employees only need a single device that they can use for personal and work purposes.

ACS believes that a good rule of thumb is, no matter your size, no matter the industry, the key is to adopt an agile communications and collaboration system that empowers your workforce to operate, create and innovate with seamless flexibility and total mobility.  

How to Grow a Business Phone System for Remote Employees

6308410_sAs a manager, you know that locating employees that are right for your business can be a challenge. It may require you to look outside the area of your physical office location. This means that you may have to incorporate the idea of remote workers into your business philosophy.

And while any remote worker would possess a personal smartphone, business calls are more effective on a private line that ensures reliable call quality. How will you ensure you have a business phone system for the any remote employees that will enable them to be productive right away?

Generally, the best part of a on-premise business phone system is the reliability, caller identification, and voicemail features. However, modern cloud business phones systems allow employees (including remote workers) to:

  • Quickly set up new phone line
  • Implement detailed call analytics
  • Easily link their phone to CRM and ERP applications
  • Take advantage of click-to-dial technology

If you’re growing, hiring and building a business that leverages remote staff, then an on-premise phone system without cloud functionality might be limiting their productivity.

With cloud-based VoIP technology, you no longer have to deal with these challenges. Onboarding a new remote employee is as simple as purchasing a phone, connecting it to the Internet and downloading some software. And best of all, as long as your remote workers have a reliable internet connection, the call quality will be just as clear as the traditional business phone system!

Summertime…Time to Move that Business Phone System!

20523729_sWhether you’re moving to a new office or opening a brand new one, choosing the right business phone system for your new location is critical. An office move is the perfect time to make the transition to a cloud-based VoIP phone system that puts your company ahead of the curve. Here are a few of the benefits of a cloud-based VoIP business phone system

You are no longer handcuffed to your desk

If you are a salesperson, VoIP is especially helpful. If you’re using a traditional phone system instead of something like VoIP, each morning can find you coming into the office and spending a  lot of time checking messages and calling people back. With a mobile app, you don’t have to be stuck at your desk.  Instead of customers calling your office line and finding a voicemail greeting, you can set it up to have the call come through to your cell when you are not at your desk. Not only does this save you time, but it’s better customer service.

Only one phone number

If you are a service company or a real estate office, your staff is usually out in the field. In this case, they have to use their cell phone. With a VoIP system, you only have to use one phone number, whether you are calling from your office phone or cell phone.

Cost

Cost is always a relevant factor in any investment. The best option is to go for a business phone system that does not necessitate out of pocket expenses but still has all of the features you require. Remember, technology is always changing and you don’t want to be stuck with an outdated system after only a few months.

The Top 4 Reasons to Switch to a Modern Voice and Data Network, Part 1

avaya phone old dayNot too long ago, there were only two ways to communicate; a face-to-face discussion and picking up the phone and dialing. Obviously, then, your business phone system was your lifeline to the outside world.

Today, a lot has changed. Just to name a few, there is video conferencing, texting, and mobile communications. While still important to your livelihood, old fashioned phone calls are becoming less and less the norm for conducting business.

Thus, one of the first things we at ACS examine when helping a new client is their monthly voice and data services bill. Unfortunately we’ve seen some outrageously high bills. There are numerous factors that boost your company’s monthly phone bills. Over the next two blogs, we’ll take a look at how to make the most out of your monthly communications expense.

Several providers…and several bills

Problem: It’s not out of the norm for a business to have one provider for their business phone system and a different provider for their data needs. Needless to say, when a business has more than one service provider sending them bills, they are a lot more likely to spend extra money for the communications costs. A lot of the time this occurs because when new services are tacked onto your plan, old services are not terminated.

Solution: One way to solve this problem is to employ a telecom cost consultant to make recommendations on how to consolidate the various services and providers. A consultant can also help make suggestions on what is outdated and can be completely eliminated from your plan.

Legacy phone lines and circuits

Problem: Legacy business phone systems operate with PRI Circuits and analog lines. These are nothing more than public switch telephone services and are rapidly becoming obsolete.

Solution: SIP Trunks and new PBX lines (or even a Virtual PBX) are other options. These choices all utilize the Internet as the method for outgoing and incoming phone calls. These can be more cost-effective and efficient for businesses in today’s world. Even alarm companies, which traditionally used analog lines, are switching to cell technologies and the Internet. Even faxes can be sent out over the Internet.

Stay tuned for this Wednesday when you will learn two more reasons to switch to a modern voice and data network!

Allowing Personal Devices for Work…Worth the Risk?

As the mobile workforce and teleworking movement becomes more commonplace, many are discovering that using their own personal devices allows them greater efficiency. However, the risk of personal data mixing with the business should give you pause.

 I’m sure everyone reading this has heard the news stories about high-profile public figures having issues with private information being leaked. 

However, preventative technology can help allay your fears. Apps like ESI’s Ditto can create solid lines between the virtual workplace and the user’s personal space. The best part of such an app is that most don’t even sacrifice the features users require when it comes to using a “virtual office” platform.

It’s a win-win situation, enabling users to use a single device for business and personal use. Discrete enterprise policies can be applied to only the work side of the device, all the while allowing the user the ability to use their personal apps without worry. The apps are able to re-route calls, give voicemail notifications, and allow on-the-fly call recording. All of these are crucial for those who frequently work away from their desk. It means that these employees won’t become less efficient or suffer performance issues. It even saves companies money!

 As we continue to move away from hard-copy documents and toward paperless environments, the importance of using a platform that offers security and privacy is crucial for employers and employees.