Tag Archives: Softphone

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.

3 Ways to Improve Employee Productivity with a Hosted PBX

Hosted PBXOne of the most important factors in a company’s success is their employee’s productivity levels. There tend to be two schools of thought on the matter; either develop incentive programs or use restrictive policies to ensure that they remain working. However, there is potentially a simple answer. When you provide your employees with the best possible tools, they’ll be able to do their job efficiently. There are many different tools to help people work and communicate more effectively, but Hosted PBX has features that not only provide something new but also allows companies to get more out of the resources they already have in place.  

Less Downtime for Technical Problems

An outage can be extremely problematic for any employee who is on the phone for long durations throughout the day. Hosted PBX solutions alleviate this problem because troubleshooting them is far easier. Furthermore, if a user’s individual phone they can use the softphone on their computer or in an app on their mobile phone.

Increased Mobility

Many industries have seen a rise in remote employees in recent years. Without a tool like Hosted PBX, it would be difficult for these employees to stay in constant communication with the office. Hosted PBX allows these employees to access the company’s communications system. Additionally, their calls can even be routed from their desk phone to whatever app or computer they are working from.

Unified Inbox

Many employees have stopped listening to their voicemail due to time constraints. Who wants to listen to ten voicemails just to get to the one that is relevant? Hosted PBX has a helpful feature that converts voicemail to mp3 files in your e-mail inbox. This permits you to sort through them and find the relevant ones that much quicker.

A Hosted PBX solution has benefits to any company. Not only can help reduce costs, but it can increase employee productivity by giving them a tool that permits them the ability to perform their jobs efficiently. If you have any Business Phone System questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Top 4 Business Phone System Aggravations and How to Fix Them

Business Phone System AggravationsYour business phone system is, perhaps, your most vital communication tool. However, sometimes Business Phone System aggravations make it seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Fortunately, for each of the following Business Phone System aggravations, there is a solution.

#1. When The Phone Lines Go Down, I Have to Fix the Problem

Hosted voice solutions are delivered via the Internet, which begs a valid question: “When the Internet crashes, what happens?” Unfortunately, when the Internet is down, your phone will go dark until Internet service is restored. In this scenario, your provider will work on finding the problem and fixing it as soon as possible.

However, that doesn’t exactly answer the question of what happens with the phone lines go down? If your company has a traditional business phone system, then you are accountable for power, uptime, connectivity, vendor management, and carrier services. If the lines go down, you will be completely without service until you can take care of the problem.

The upside to hosted voice is that if your Internet crashes, while your phone will not ring at your desk, other features will remain operational due to built-in redundancy:

  • Call Routing
  • Voicemail
  • Auto-Attendant
  • Soft Phone
  • Direct Inward Dial (DID)
  • Find Me Follow Me – also known as Mobile Twinning
#2. It is Very Difficult for Employees to Make Changes, and Yet it is Our Responsibility to Make the Updates

One of the biggest problems with a traditional business phone system is that they are not easy to alter after they have been installed. The biggest reason for this is because they are proprietary—meaning they require a qualified engineer to make the necessary changes and updates. For this customer, that means that they have to pay (typically be the hour) each time the technician visits.

The great thing about hosted voice solutions is that you can make most of the basic changes or upgrades without help. Your provider should make the large changes and upgrades.

#3. Scaling your Business Phone System is Difficult

Premise-based business phone systems aren’t easy to scale. Usually modular components and software licenses are needed if you want to expand your premise-based system. This puts a business in the challenging spot of attempting to predict what kind of phone system they will need 5-10 years down the line. Not only is that risky, but you can end up purchasing equipment you don’t need.

Hosted voice solutions remove this aggravation. Adding or eliminating users and services can be done without breaking a sweat by simply telling your provider when you need the change made. They can virtually make the change and adjust your monthly cost accordingly.

#4. The Only Thing my Phone Can Do is Make Calls and Receive Voicemails

Unfortunately, most business phone systems friendly to your budget are typically lacking in features. Budget-friendly business phone systems often are only capable of receiving/making calls and getting voicemails.

Hosted voice, however, allows you a vast assortment of advanced features. Here are the most popular:

  • Voicemail to email/text
  • Caller ID business name and phone number
  • Personal Attendant and Virtual Auto Attendant
  • Find Me Follow Me: allows your desk phone to ring on 5 different devices at the same time (so wherever you are, you can receive calls made to your office)
  • Receptionist Dashboard: give your receptionist an all-encompassing view of your phone system
  • Soft Phones: no handset needed because you can make calls right from your computer or web browser
  • Move Your Phone: from desk to desk, to conference room, to home (work from anywhere)
  • Reporting: how many calls in and out; full call detail records; available at any time

Many premise-based Business Phone System aggravations are erased by a hosted voice solution, assuming it’s a good fit for your business.

If you have any questions regarding hosted voice, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Can a Softphone Be Right for Your Business?

Over the last few years, technology has evolved tremendously. Sometimes the change comes so fast, consumers aren’t aware of the new products available. One of those new products is the softphone.

13850081 - laptop and cellphone, business communication concept.

The term softphone might lead one to believe that it is a literal phone, but instead it is an application that acts as a phone. The app is a little bit like Google Voice; it allows users to make and receive calls over VoIP.  It works by downloading the app and using your VoIP features from your smartphone, desktop computer or laptop.

The major benefits of using a Softphone is the ease of communications and the cost savings. The only drawback would be relying one hundred percent on an Internet connection. If your business has reliable Internet though, it could be perfect for your communications needs!

3 Benefits of a Softphone

Conference1When you hear the term “Softphone”, it is natural to assume that it is an actual phone, but it’s not; the term Softphone actually speaks to a software program or app (i.e., Google Voice) that permits a user to place calls over VoIP. It gives your smartphone, desktop, or laptop the ability to act as a powerful business phone.

  1. Cost Savings—One of the best things about Softphone applications is that many of them are available for free. Oftentimes, VoIP providers will even include a Softphone application in their package. In addition, the software for a Softphone can be pushed out to users preconfigured, unlike a desk phone. With a Softphone, no one from IT needs to do anything besides provide support.
  2. User Friendly Features—Desk phones can often be confusing; for call forwarding you have to type a series of buttons and to put a call on hold, there’s another unlabeled button. In contrast, the user interface for a Softphone features a customizable labeling option and drop-down menus. Some of the features of a softphone (including some that you won’t find on a desk phone) are:
  • Call forwarding
  • Hold capabilities
  • Call transfer
  • Conferencing
  • Voicemail
  • Greeting capabilities
  • Text/Instant Messaging
  • Echo cancellation for improved sound quality
  • Address book
  1. Flexibility—If a person needs to move his or her office, the phone can be unplugged from the wall and plugged into any Ethernet jack or switch. The number and programming doesn’t change. A Softphone has even more flexibility than that; as soon as the computer is powered up, the user is ready to get back to work. This is the same for a laptop or a cell phone—you simply need the Internet!