How VoIP Can Improve the Customer Experience

 

Customers are the most important part of any business. Without them your business has no chance of thriving. A group of loyal, happy customers can be a deciding factor on the success or failure of an organization.

A happy customer can do a lot for you. They will most likely come back to you again and again and they are also likely to help spread the word about you, helping you reach new audiences and potential customers through word of mouth. In fact, according to a study conducted in 2012, 92% of respondents said they trust their friends’ recommendations.

Additionally, it was shown that a customer will inform an average of 9 friends about a positive experience, while telling 16 of a negative experience.

With that at stake, keeping customers happy and constantly improving the customer experience needs to be a top priority for any organization.

One way to help increase customer experience is to improve the way you communicate and connect with them. An efficient, top-of-the-line VoIP phone system can make all the difference when dealing with customers.

Really? Yep! We’ll walk you through why.

Never miss a call

VoIP phone systems are equipped with numerous advanced features like Find Me/Follow Me and call forwarding. They help ensure your business and employees never miss a call from your customers.

Find Me/Follow Me enable one call to register on multiple phones simultaneously. So, if one person is unavailable the call can be answered by another to talk to the customer.

Call forwarding lets employees have their work and mobile phones connected. A call made to the office when they aren’t present will automatically be transferred to their mobile device.

All of this combines to reduce customers’ time spent listening to a ringtone, on hold and drastically reduce unanswered calls.

VoIP extends support hours

VoIP systems are Internet-based, enabling them to possess complete geographic mobility – connection from anywhere. With this perk, business can hire remote workers who are available for 24-hour customer care to the public.

As long as you can have an employee available when your customers are, your business can guarantee customers can have their problems taken care of no matter the time of day.

VoIP auto attendant

Your VoIP phone also comes equipped with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. The IVR allows callers to manually select options from a list and be automatically transferred to their extension without a live representative.

Although this option removes a little bit of your company’s human element, it is a strong alternative if you do not have the resources to hire remote workers or a secretary. IVRs reduce labor and overhead costs of businesses while also reducing miscommunications for the caller.

VoIP increases phone call speed

With standard telecom networks, callers – even frequent ones – have to provide their representative with information every time they call, which is a tedious and time-consuming repetition.

However, a VoIP setup will automatically retrieve all the client’s information every time they call. This kind of efficiency get answers to customers faster and cuts back on their time on hold, which can seriously hurt satisfaction.

VoIP saves you money

This may not sound like a benefit to your customers. To your business, maybe, but not your customers. However, consider the results of being able to save on phone expenses and what that opens up for you.

The cost of VoIP is lower than a standard telecom network – both in upfront costs over time – which lets you cut down on your businesses overhead budget. Your overhead factors into pricing. Therefore, with fewer costs, your business will be able to offer lower prices on goods and services, keeping your customers satisfied.

With VoIP, businesses have the opportunity to provide a smoother, faster and more efficient communication process with their customers, substantially increasing their customer service abilities.

Ready to take the step to providing the best customer service possible? VoicePro’s team of professionals are ready to work with you. We will find the VoIP setup that best fits your needs and equip you with the knowledge and know-how to use it. Contact us today.

Tips for Preparing the Switch to VoIP

VoIP offers many large advantages over traditional phone systems.  The most significant of those being that VoIP allows for connecting your business on a global level as your employees to tap into your company’s phone system from virtually any location.

Because of this – and the large amount of money companies save on not only upfront costs but those over time – businesses all over the globe are making the switch to VoIP systems.

If you are one of these forward-thinking businesses, or tinkering with the idea, you are making a great decision! But how much will change will your company have to undergo to prepare for the switch?

Thankfully, not much.  However, there are a few things you can do to make switching to VoIP a smoother transition and start taking advantage of all VoIP systems have to offer sooner.

Make sure you have when you need

Another great perk of VoIP is that because it is entirely internet and cloud-based, very little equipment is require to make the switch.  However, there are a few basic considerations that a company investing in VoIP need to have available.

Luckily, they are all fairly basic items that you may already have available.  In addition, the shopping list pales in comparison to that of a traditional landline system requirements.

Just make sure you are prepared with the following:

  • A reliable broadband connection. A good rule of thumb is that your company will need enough broadband that one-third of your employees can simultaneously use the phones.
  • Direct Inward Dialing (DID) Numbers. A DIDs are virtual numbers that allow you to route calls to existing phone numbers. It may sound a little confusing, but don’t worry, your VoIP provider will provide you with one. Just make sure you have it on hand.
  • Ethernet and RJ11 cables. These are your typical phone and internet cables. There should be plenty lying around the office. If not, you can buy them on the cheap!
  • The right phone equipment. Before installing the VoIP, you must determine how you each employee will be connected. There are a variety choices in phone equipment from digital IP phones, soft phones, Wi-Fi phones and analog telephone adaptors.

Add any necessary hardware

There are a variety of VoIP phone services that will require different network hardware in order to utilize it. What hardware your business requires depends on your needs and the features you want.

For example, the hardware you purchase may depend on the type of firewall your network has. Some firewalls will block VoIP ports.

Find the right provider

The most important part of the transition is making sure you have chosen a provider that will be there every step of the way, like VoicePro. From our initial conversation, through the installation and even after your system is being utilized, VoicePro is at your disposal to answer any and all questions, help you understand all your options, offer advice and help resolve any issues that may appear.

National providers cannot offer the type of personalized service and care that VoicePro can.  If your current provider isn’t cutting it or you are ready to make the switch to all VoIP has to offer, contact us today!

voicepro_phoneuptosnuff_emailfooter

VoIP and SIP: The Acronyms of Telephony

When investigating your telecommunication service options, it is very easy to get lost in the weeds.  When acronyms like VoIP, SIP trunking and others get thrown around, it can be enough to make your head spin if you aren’t exactly a techie or familiar with the subject.

However, understanding the technology available to you is important to find exactly what best meets your needs. Don’t worry, we can walk you through it!

We’ll cover the two big essentials: VoIP and SIP trunking; but first, let’s start off slow and go through the “P.”

Protocol

Understanding VoIP and SIP trunking is made infinitely easier if you’ve got a grasp on Protocol.

VoIP and SIP trunking allow users to use the Internet – which was designed for the transmission of data but technically not voice – for vocal communication. A number of terms are used to discuss transmitting voice over the Internet including: Internet telephony, voice over broadband, broadband telephony, IP communications and broadband phone service. So, whenever you hear these different terms being tossed around don’t worry, they are all basically conveying the same thing.

However, in order for computers and other digital devices to exchange messages and information, a protocol system has to be established.

Protocol is a well-defined format used by developers to exchange consistently understandable messages. These protocols have become an industry standard due to them being an essential to reliable communication.

All VoIP and SIP trunking are is different protocol systems!

VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol

VoIP services convert voice into a digital signal that travels over the web. Essentially, your average computer or Internet-connected device has the capability of acting as a circuit-switched network, like a traditional land-line phone. If you are calling a regular phone, the signal is converted into a regular signal before it reaches its destination.

VoIP allows for a wider range of communication and a seamless transition from Internet and traditional voice communication. It is usually offered via subscription on a month-to-month basis.

SIP Trunking: Session Initiated Protocol

SIP is capable of transmitting all types of media, not just voice. These “trunks” transmit packets of data, which can include voice and other data, like video. However, unlike VoIP, SIP trunks are a physical connection, making them more suited for intra-business communication.

Between their differences, VoIP and SIP trunks actually go hand-in-hand and are traditionally offered together.

Having a hard time picturing it? Think of it like this: consider the difference in the ability to make just a voice call to the ability to make a video conference call. VoIP services allow for the voice conversation, but transmitting video for a face-to-face over the web would require SIP trunking.

Learning the terminology and functions of your telecommunications technology can be a headache.  But, with the right team at your side walking you through every step it can be a breeze. VoicePro’s customer care advocates, sales team and technicians are all extremely knowledgeable, available and happy to help you with any concerns or questions.

If you are ready to start working with a winning team, contact us or call 314-292-5465 today!

Why More and More Business are Going VoIP

In this day and age, most would agree that utilizing a VoIP phone system in your business just makes sense. In fact, one-third of all business are using them and research trends point to a growth of almost 10% from 2014 to 2020.

So, why has a system introduced 20-some years ago become a major boom in the business world today?

Changes in technology have improved VoIP, features and functions year after year. Changes to how the world conducts business. These changes have all contributed to a growth in VoIP usage.

Here is a more in-depth look at some of the key reasons VoIP is the present and future of business communication.

Globalization

The world is more connected than ever, especially in the world of business. Many business, even smaller or more localized ones, utilize oversea employees, clients and contacts, multiple branches within a state or across the country and employees and employers are traveling more than ever.

VoIP allows for instant and easy communication across any distance, whether it is a branch across town or across the Pacific Ocean. New VoIP phone systems allow for communication anywhere, anytime. Without this level and efficiency of communication, many businesses cannot keep up with demands of modern business operations.

Business Priorities

Getting something done as quickly and as cost efficient as possible is Business 101. VoIP systems are as easy to install as ever and come with low overhead costs.

Hosted VoIP systems, for example, are stored and maintained by an off-site provider, so installing a hosted system for your business is as quick and easy as hooking up the phones and internet. And no equipment and installation translates to low up-front and monthly costs.

In addition, managing the growth of your business and phone system is a breeze with the ease of adding, removing or relocating lines.

Mobility

Not all business is conducted at the office anymore. There is a growing need to be able to conduct business anywhere at any time with the rise of smart phones, tablets and laptops.

Combine that with the constant travel requirements for many employees and executives, hotels, airport terminals and even your home need to have the same kind of communication capabilities as the office. VoIP makes these requirements possible, connecting office phones and computers and mobile phones and computers under one network.

Technical Support

Let’s face it: not everyone is an expert on phone systems – a shocking revelation, I know. Sometimes things go wrong and it is the duty of the provider to resolve this problem.

With VoIP, users can receive 24/7 internet-based support, eliminating the need for an on-site technician. Many VoIP providers also offer IT services and training.

VoIP Quality Continues to Get Better

The biggest reason for VoIP expansion is the simple fact that it is a superior system that keeps getting better over time. Voice quality, efficiency, ease of use and helpful features all come give VoIP the edge over other systems

Is your business keeping up or falling behind?  VoicePro can help bring your business up to speed with the latest VoIP technology, features and services. Whether your current system is dated or obsolete or you need a hosted or
on-premise VoIP, we want to help your business grow. Contact us today to learn what VoicePro can do for you.

voicepro_phoneuptosnuff_emailfooter

 

What is the Internet of Things, and how is it changing VoIP?

It feels like everything these days has Internet and communication capabilities. Whether it’s your refrigerator that lets you know your low on groceries or a parking lot that tells you when a spot is available, everything is connected. In fact, according to Cisco, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

This is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). It allows objects to connect to sensors, which communicate with data from the Internet to provide improved functionality and information. IoT is rapidly shaping the business and consumer landscape, connecting everyday appliances with the Internet to give us a cleaner, better and smarter world.

 

It is even changing the world of VoIP.

 

Since VoIP is an internet-based phone system, your VoIP phones and all these different devices share the ability to be connected to each other anywhere, anytime and over any device. They all flow over the same network.

You can connect to your calendar, so all your VoIP phones are notified of upcoming events. Messages from your smartphone can be programmed to automatically drop into your email and your VoIP phone. You can connect with your car to send alerts to your phone when it needs maintenance, or even just get alerts in your car away from the office. You can even adjust the temperature on your thermostat without having to leave your seat.

 

So what do some of these innovations have to do with business?

 

All this boils down to giving you a smarter office. Connecting VoIP to the IoT can build an office that works faster, smarter, more efficient, from anywhere at any time. More and more businesses have or are currently making the switch to VoIP because it decreases the costs of business ownership, while improving efficiency for users. Imagine the possibility of pairing the potential of a connected world with your VoIP phone.

Picture equipment that notifies your company for the need for maintenance via text or email, eliminating the runaround of contacting and scheduling. All done automatically. Imagine crafting a smart home, giving you the ability to stay just as connected but in the comfort of working from home, or any location. The possibilities are endless when everything around you can be integrated with your VoIP.

 

When it comes to communication, desktop computers and PC’s are falling by the wayside because of the ease and efficiency of VoIP. VoIP is a powerful business tool on its own, but when connected to the IoT, it significantly enhances a person’s ability to conduct work and connect with other employees.

Are you and your company using VoIP? Get your company running faster and more efficient by integrating your phone systems to the world around you! VoicePro can help you update your phone technology or answer any questions you may have. Contact us today or see what kind of services we can provide for you.

Hosted versus Premise Systems

Is your current phone technology obsolete, outdated, not supported or are you just looking to embrace the newest technology? It may be time for you to upgrade your business’ telecommunications system.

Technological advances in the industry have paved the way for faster, more reliable and more efficient phone systems. There really has not been a better time to upgrade! The first step is deciding what kind of system you want for your business.

You have two basic options: Hosted and Premise VoIP. Both have their pros and cons and one may be better suited for a setup than another.

Don’t know the difference? Don’t worry! It isn’t that complicated, and we will walk you through the basics you need to know before you make a decision.

Hosted VoIP

With hosted services, all your voice and multimedia communications are sent, received and stored in a cloud. Because of this, hosted VoIP is often referred to as Cloud VoIP. All equipment is stored and maintained off-site by the provider.

Premise VoIP

As you can probably imagine, premise VoIP is the exact opposite. A more traditional set-up, premise VoIP puts all components of the system within the office location. Internal lines are integrated within a LAN.

Cost

Because they come with little equipment to set up and install at your offices, hosted networks carry with them a smaller up-front cost. After installation, costs remain relatively low for hosted systems. Because they are monitored off-site, there is very little to no maintenance cost to keep equipment tip-top. All upgrades and extra features come at the cost to the customer, but you can pick and choose what you want or not. There are also slightly higher monthly costs as you pay the provider for their service.

Premise VoIP will cost you a greater bit to start as you are responsible for purchasing all equipment necessary and installation. Maintenance costs also run higher because that is another area you take on responsibility. On the plus side, monthly service charges are much lower after initial expenses since the equipment is in your care. For all further maintenance and installation, you will have to bring in a technician also.

Expansion

Adding a new line or expanding new locations with hosted systems can be done easily by simply adding new users to the cloud as needed for seamless integration. There may come at a slightly higher service charge each month. Downsizing your required number of lines is just as easy. Either way, you must ensure your bandwidth is large enough or adequate enough to handle the load since it is all online.

With premise VoIP, expanding locations or adding new lines must be done through purchasing a larger application and IP phones to accommodate the change. Although, like the up-front installation, this will not affect the monthly charges as much. If your size is in flux, you may be forced to eat some costs.

Other Features

Hosted providers have a lot more resources and knowledge at their fingertips when it comes to the tech side of it. This aspect helps you avoid confusion in installation, maintenance and installation of new features. And, although it is conducted over the web, the loss of internet is not catastrophic due to its ability to easily reroute calls.

Although you have to care for the equipment yourself, many services provide equipment and IT training and keep 24-hour troubleshooting. VoIP trunks can also be installed to help keep costs down and help secure calls in the event of internet loss or power outages.

There is a lot that goes into finding the right service for you, so don’t do it alone! VoicePro offers both hosted and premise systems and carries all the up-to-date services your business needs. Call today at (314) 426-8900 or schedule a free consultation online.