Category Archives: Communication Trends

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.

Three Ways to Improve your VoIP Call Quality

VoIP Call QualityMany businesses hesitate to switch to VoIP due to concerns over call quality. Will your customer service lines suffer due to the change? The hesitant businesses often recall the past when Internet connections were sluggish and wonder if their own Internet connection is up to the task. That is a fair concern, even if present day VoIP has improved a great deal. Here are a few ways that you can make sure your VoIP call quality is up to your business’s demands.

Use New Headsets

VoIP call quality depends, in large part, on your microphone and earphones. Many people make their calls on headsets but use outdated equipment. These people run the risk of dampening their VoIP call quality. If you try better quality headsets, you—and the people you’re calling—will hear the difference. Headsets with short, insulated cords tend to have better results with VoIP.

Eliminate Jitters

VoIP—as stated—works via the Internet. More specifically however, it works by delivering the voice information in small packets. If you want that information to make sense to the end user, they need to be spaced evenly and delivered consistently. There are a few types of network issues that can disrupt this information delivery. Depending on the severity of the VoIP call quality jitters, there are numerous solutions. If the problem isn’t that bad, try swapping Ethernet cables with Cat 6 cables. Cat 6 delivers information to the source a lot quicker than Ethernet, and thus reduces the odds of it scrambling. If your jitter problem is severe, you can install a jitter buffer.

Lower Bandwidth Use

Sometimes VoIP users simply have an overloaded bandwidth. If your VoIP call quality is suffering as a result, there are a few solutions. You should stop downloads when using VoIP and eliminate simultaneous calls. However, the best solution is simply to spend a little bit on increased bandwidth usage. It depends entirely on how many calls you receive on any given day.

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

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 Five Most Important Methods for Securing Your Wireless Network

wireless networkWireless networks have been a huge leap forward in the telecommunications world. While their benefits are large, they do have one big drawback; they are one of the most vulnerable access points into your system. Unfortunately, hackers have discovered numerous ways to steal your personal information via your wireless network. The following methods are ways in which you can ensure that your information remains safe.

Customize Your Network

Many people leave their router in the default mode after they set it up. The first, and arguably most important, tip is to customize your router admin name and password. Be sure to make it complicated (i.e. using letters, numbers, and special characters). Just remember that your default username and password are public, which is why you need to customize it.

Install Updates

Always be sure to install updates. Once firmware becomes outdated, it is a vulnerable point in your wireless network. Given enough time, hackers learn how to outwit firmware, hence the frequent updates. Additionally, updated firmware provides new features and quicker Internet speed.

Install Firewalls

All routers have a built-in firewall. When setting it up, be sure to activate it. It is also a good idea to install firewall security on your laptops and desktops.

Disable WPS

The WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) could leave your network vulnerable to a hack. WPS makes it easier to pair devices to your router. While this is a great convenience, it also permits unwanted guests easier access to your network. If you turn it off, you can have greater control over who has access to your wireless network.

Use a VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) is vital to your wireless network security. VPN’s use a third-party server to protect your information in another layer. It prevents potential hackers from viewing your internet traffic and habits.

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

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.

Mitel Completes ShoreTel Acquisition – What’s Next for Mitel Partners?

Mitel partnersMitel recently announced the completion of its ShoreTel acquisition. Last July Mitel announced that they had reached a deal to acquire the company. The move was likely motivated by increased customer demand for cloud-based solutions. The newly merged corporation will be the #2 company in the Unified Communications (UC) market. However, what does this mean for current Mitel partners and customers?

A UCaaS Market Leader

In a press release, Mitel reassures their clients that the merger is one of two compatible companies. Mitel views their merger with ShoreTel as a method in which to make each company stronger. As case in point, the merged company now has the #2 market share position in the global Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) space. In their release, Mitel also made it clear that they want all Mitel partners to share in their success.

As companies around the globe seek to transform their enterprises through cloud communications, Mitel therefore is now in a better position to aide them. Mitel and Mitel partners can now better incorporate a inimitable suite of cloud solutions and applications.

What does this mean for Mitel partners?

Even with this change, Mitel partners themselves won’t have to make any alterations. With the acquisition finished, Mitel and ShoreTel plan to begin the work of integrating. Even with the change, Mitel states that their top priority is still to support and inform their partners. Their release further states that within the next ninety days their partners can expect:

  • Mitel partner programs not to change.
  • The Mitel portfolio will not change.
  • The ShoreTel portfolio will not change.

Mitel concluded their statement by saying that as information changes, their partners will be informed well in advance.

If you have any questions on Mitel, or other Business Phone System questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

The 5 Most Important Aspects of VoIP Business Phone System Preparation

VoIP Business Phone System preparationVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has innumerable benefits, but there are a few accompanying challenges. The good news is that these challenges aren’t difficult to overcome if you prepare accordingly. We’ve listed the six most important aspects of VoIP Business Phone System preparation below.

Calls

The first thing you should determine is what kind of calls you need to make. There are a couple of different ways to make a VoIP call; from a desk phone, from a computer, or from your smartphone. Prior to making any networking decisions, you need to figure out how you are going to make calls.

Cables

Another important VoIP Business Phone System preparation is to get the correct Ethernet cables. Cat 6 cables are one of the better choices, but they may prove too costly for smaller businesses. Cat 5e cables are a more budget friendly option, and should work fine for most businesses. However, potential VoIP users should avoid older Cat 3 cables, as their capacity and compatibility is not a good fit for VoIP.

Power Supply

Next, you need to ensure that you have the appropriate power supply. Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables are the best option; they allow devices not plugged into an AC source the ability to draw power from your internet.

Router

Like many things on this list, you need to determine if your router is able to handle the new traffic from VoIP. If your router doesn’t have Packet Per Second (PPS) capability, you should upgrade it. PPS capability provides traffic shaping and allows you to prioritize voice and video data on your network.

Firewalls

Software-defined firewalls are vital to VoIP Business Phone System preparation. Software-defined firewalls are designed to filter internal data traffic and packets as opposed to only data traffic.

These tips should aide you in making the proper decisions regarding your new VoIP system. If you have any questions regarding VoIP or business phone systems in general, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Tips For Protecting Your Employees From Cyber Security Attacks

cyber security attacksCurrently, cyber criminals are abundant on the Internet. They have a plethora of methods in which to penetrate your system. If you are not careful, they will attack your system. This means that you will have to educate your employees on the risks of cybercrime, as well as the methods used. Below are some tips for protecting your employees from cyber security attacks.

Educate Your Employees on the Warning Signs

There are typically red flags concerning cyber security attacks. Unfortunately, these signs aren’t always obvious. Foreign items on your computer, extremely slow Internet, and suspicious email activity are all indicators of security attacks. The general rule of thumb when it comes to cybercrime is that it is better safe than sorry.

Test Your Employees

Always test your staff on cyber security attacks. This doesn’t have to be formal testing, but oral quizzes or interactive games can be beneficial for ensuring that they—and your company—won’t become victims. The more you cover this material with your employees, the better prepared they will be when they inevitably face a hacker.

Require Your Employees to Attend Trainings

When permissible, you should mandate that your employees attend cyber security trainings. This should include your IT team, even if they are already versed in cybercrime. Technology changes from day to day, and cybercrime is no different. There is always something new to learn concerning cyber security attacks.

Unfortunately, hackers are developing new techniques every day. If you don’t have continuing conversations with your staff, you will likely run into problems. You should also dedicate time to cybercrime in staff meetings or online trainings. The alternative could cost you a lot of time and money.

If you have any questions on cyber security, or other Business Phone System questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Useful Call Transfer Tips

call transferOne of the most useful—and taken for granted—features of most business phone systems is call transfer. Call transfer is important to the general cohesion of a company. However, perhaps the most important benefit of call transfer is that you can route you customers to the appropriate department. Transferring customers effectively can drastically improve your customer satisfaction levels. The two most common types of call transfers are blind and warm transfers. Below, we’ll delve into the specifics of both.

Blind Call Transfer

A blind call transfer is when you transfer the call to a different phone or person without speaking to that person first. You merely answer the call, figure out who the customer needs to speak to, then transfer it to the proper person.

Blind transfers are great for customers seeking basic information. By using a blind transfer to send these callers onward, the customer spends less time on hold. Blind transfers are also useful when shorthanded and you require help assisting customers.

Warm Call Transfer

Warm (or Attended) call transfers occur when you need to provide information to the person you are transferring the call to. As opposed to blind transfers, you don’t simply transfer the call along and hang up. Instead, you put the customer on hold and then dial up the person you wish to transfer the customer to. Then, you can brief them on whatever issue the customer is having.

Warm call transfers are especially useful if your customers experience varied issues. They also provide higher levels of service; when the receptionist can brief the appropriate colleague on the customers’ issue, the customer doesn’t have to spend time re-explaining their problem.

Knowing how to take advantage of call transfer can improve the general cohesion of your company. At the same time, it can also improve your customer satisfaction levels. 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 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.