Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3 Phone Features Small Businesses Cannot Live Without

First impressions count, especially in business. Setting up (or adding) only a few key phone features can make any size business look and sound more professional overnight, while ensuring that customers reach you when they need to. With so many features to choose from, we narrowed down our top 3.

1. Call Forwarding

With Call Forwarding, you can forward calls to another phone number (including a cell phone or home number) so you never have to worry about missing an important call.

You can set up rules, menus, and queues based on your needs.

Call Forwarding categories include:

- All Calls
- When Busy
- Do Not Disturb
- No Answer
- Selective Forwarding
- When Out of Service

With Call Forwarding, you can also choose to have calls blocked all together, or sent directly to voicemail.

2. Auto Attendant

An auto attendant acts like a virtual assistant and replaces the need for an actual receptionist or operator. It automatically greets callers and directs them to the right person or department by simply pressing a button.

For example: for Sales, press 1; for Support, press 2; to dial by name, press 3.

You can customize your auto attendant with a number of options.

- Dial by name directory
- Dial by extension directory
- Transfer to user
- Transfer to a user’s voicemail
- Transfer to another Auto Attendant

You can set up multiple auto attendants, including an auto attendant for employees.

For example:
To speak with John, press 1.

Once the call is transferred, a second auto attendant can be set up with additional options.

To leave a message, press 1; to reach me on my cell, press 2; to speak with someone in Support immediately, press 3.

Benefits of an Auto Attendant:

- Look bigger and sound more professional
- Replace the receptionist and/or operator
- Route calls efficiently and effectively
- Customize (set up separate auto attendants for business hours, after hours, and holidays)
- Record directly from your phone or upload a pre-recorded greeting

3. Find Me Follow Me (also referred to as Mobile Office)

With Find Me Follow Me, your office doesn’t have to be restricted to your main place of business. This powerful feature allows your employees to receive calls anywhere, anytime and from any device while still connecting all of your employees under one corporate phone system. Calls can be routed to a cell phone, another number (like a home office or hotel room), or another person (like a receptionist or a co-worker). You can even customize how you receive calls by day, time and even caller.

Benefits of Find Me Follow Me:

- Give out one number and work from anywhere without missing a call
- Keep your cell phone and home numbers private
- Customize how you receive your calls by day, time, and even caller
- Have calls ring to multiple phones at the same time or in an order of your choice (for
  example: ring your cell phone first, and then your home office).

TouchTone Business VoIP phone service arms customers with powerful calling features like these to help them run their business more efficiently. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why Call Centers are Making the Switch to SIP

Save money & simplify IT management

Many call and contact centers have chosen to make the switch from TDM to SIP trunking to not only cut costs and simplify IT management, but for its flexibility. Regardless of size, every call center will experience peak periods, or occasionally have spikes in call volume (especially those with outbound calling campaigns). SIP trunking accommodates these bursts in voice traffic quickly and easily.

Why SIP for Call Centers

Flexibility - With a T1/PRI, the number of simultaneous calls that can be made/had is limited to the number of lines you have. With SIP, you can add/remove lines as needed easily and quickly (in a matter of minutes) by calling your provider and purchasing additional SIP trunks, or in some cases just increasing your data connection. 

SIP offers a better utilization of the Internet because it combines voice and data traffic on a single network. Calls are routed through the Internet rather than the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), eliminating the need for costly dedicated voice T-1/PRI circuits and the expensive telecom services that go along with them. SIP technology enables locations to share unused call capacity. Companies can manage costs by merging multi-location businesses behind a single SIP trunk group
TouchTone’s IP platform intelligently assigns bandwidth based on call volume or Internet usage ensuring optimal use of available bandwidth at all times. When phones are not in use, additional bandwidth is assigned to Internet browsing and data applications.

Failover - SIP trunks can be configured with call queuing rules and can re-route inbound calls (automatically) in case of power failure or Internet outage.

Advanced features - Because SIP uses standard protocol, third parties applications, like call recording, call analytics and automatic call-backs, can be easily integrated. 

Why Carriers Hate Call Center Traffic 

It takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to ensure that a service provider’s network can handle short duration and dialer long distance. Because of this, service providers tend to stay away from call centers with short duration needs simply because they don’t make any money on these types of calls. 
TouchTone has invested a great deal of time and money in its technology and network, and has cultivated strong relationships with Tier 1 carriers to offer quality, reliable and scalable dialer and short duration termination solutions. 

Terminating over a billon call center calls each year, TouchTone provides on-demand, premium short duration and dialer termination to call centers with short duration needs, specifically those using predictive dialers, auto dialers, voice broadcasting or robocalls. 

The company’s high-performing switch and redundancy capabilities can handle a massive amount of concurrent calls without sacrificing quality. With pay-as-you-go pricing and no short duration penalties, customers can count on TouchTone Communications to deliver consistent, quality voice termination to support demanding call center needs.

To learn more about call center SIP trunking, visit call 800-900-3668.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Maintaining Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity with SIP Trunking

Business as usual, no matter what the weather

The National Hurricane Center released separate storm surge warnings for the 2015 storm season – this is in addition to warnings about tropical storm and hurricane-force winds.

As the number of natural disasters and cases of extreme weather rise, it becomes increasingly important for businesses, small and large, to have a clear and detailed business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place to help alleviate risk after a service disruption.

Severe weather can strike at any time, leaving permanent and long term loss. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a natural disaster. Of the remaining companies, at least 25 percent will close within two years of the disaster occurring.

A properly designed business continuity plan is intended to help reduce the overall impact of an unexpected event (natural or man-made) and return a company to pre-disaster operation as quickly as possible. 

Why a Business Continuity Plan

- Protect employees
- Minimize rash decision making in a time of crisis
- Minimize loss of data
- Facilitate timely recovery of business functions
- Minimize loss of revenue/customers
- Maintain public image, brand, and reputation

Having the Right Technology

One of the most important components of an effective business continuity plan is making sure that your business is equipped with the right technology.

Compared to traditional circuits, SIP trunking doesn’t only provide cost savings and simplifies IT management, but also delivers an incredible amount of flexibility. 

Trunks can be provisioned in minutes rather than weeks, and phone lines can be added and removed quickly and easily. 

But not all service providers offer the same features. When looking for a SIP trunking provider it is important to look for one that offers automatic failure in the unfortunate event of service disruption.

Businesses need to be to be available 24/7 regardless of the weather outside. SIP trunks can be pre-configured with call queuing rules, and can re-route inbound calls (automatically) in case of power failure or Internet outage. For example, if your Los Angeles office encounters a service disruption, calls can be forwarded to your San Francisco office, your home or an auto attendant.

And because SIP Trunking numbers aren’t fixed to a geographical location, outbound calls can be made using the same numbers and phone system features from another location as if you were in the office.

SIP trunking provides businesses with a powerful, highly adaptable and scalable communication solution to ensure that no matter what the weather outside, they are up and running. 

To learn more about TouchTone’s SIP trunking solution, including automatic failover, please contact your sales manager or call 800-900-3668. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Choosing the right Internet connection and speed for your business

The Internet connection and speed you choose for your business depends largely on several factors. In addition to speed and cost, you should also consider reliability, consistency and security. Keep in mind that pricing and availability vary greatly on location. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can advise you of the best and cost effective options.

Factors to consider:
  1. Employees / size of company
  2. What is your Internet being used for / what is your current usage?
  3. Does your company / staff use a lot of video and audio applications? Video and audio files are large, and transmitting them over a network uses a lot of bandwidth. As your company looks to use multimedia, it is important that you have adequate bandwidth to manage these large files.
  4. Do you use, or plan to use cloud solutions in the near future? When you are accessing cloud services, you will require a more robust Internet connection.
  5. Do you use, or plan to switch to VoIP? VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and is commonly referred to as Internet phone service. VoIP technology allows users to make and receive calls using a high-speed Internet connection instead of a standard landline.  When making or receiving a VoIP call, sound (voice) quality can be affected if not enough bandwidth is available.  On average, each phone call will consume about 88kbps of upload and download bandwidth.  Not enough bandwidth may cause choppy or garbled calls and delayed audio.

Internet service types can be broken down into 3 main categories:

  • Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)
  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
  • Private Lines / Point to Point

Connection Types Available: 

  • DSL
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Ethernet / EoC / Fast Ethernet
  • T1
  • DS3
  • OC3
  • OC12
  • GigE
  • Cable
  • Satellite
  • Wireless
  • nxT1

DSL can satisfy most home offices and small businesses, but for companies that require more speed and reliability, an Integrated T1 is a more practical and cost effective option. It is highly flexible and could be used to run multiple services (such as voice and data) over the same line.

If you are connecting two or more locations, most companies opt for a Point-to-Point Private Line or MPLS network not only for cost purposes, but for security and reliability.

Here is a breakdown of some of the advantages of each type of Internet circuit. Your Internet Service Provider can discuss the most viable and cost effective options with you based on your requirements.  Speak with an Internet Specialist now.

Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)
Dedicated Internet Access provides congestion-free transmissions with speeds that range from 1.5 Mbps - 10 Gbps. DIA is a perfect solution for those businesses that require reliable Internet connectivity, but still want to leverage the cost advantages of using the public Internet. 

Connection Types Available

  • T1
  • n xT1
  • T3 , DS3
  • OC3, OC12, OC48
  • Fast Ethernet
  • Gigabit Ethernet


  • Reliable, high-speed Internet connectivity - 99.9% network availability guarantee
  • Pay one flat fee for unlimited usage
  • Supports growing demands for Internet access and data sharing
  • Get high-performance network quality and availability with service level agreements (SLAs).
  • Manage costs for service provisioning, bandwidth changes, and site development.

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) / VPN
MPLS offers customers a great deal of adaptability when it comes to network set up because it allows them to mix and match access types and speeds for each of their individual locations. This offers a significant cost savings, 10% to 25% over comparable data services (frame relay and ATM); and almost 40% for companies who add voice and video traffic. 

A VPN keeps data safe as it crosses the public Internet by using encryption. A MPLS VPN refers to a virtual private network that is built on top of a multiprotocol label switching network. MPLS VPN is deployed to create a secure connection between branch offices at different geographical locations.

Connection Types Available  

  • DSL
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Ethernet / EoC / Fast Ethernet
  • T1
  • DS3
  • OC3
  • OC12
  • GigE


  • Cost savings – Perfect for multi-location businesses and enterprises. MPLS allows for multiple access types and speeds for each of your individual locations to deliver the most cost effective Internet solution while maintaining performance, reliability, and security.
  • Private, safe and secure – A VPN keeps data safe as it crosses the public Internet by using encryption such as IP-Sec, PPP, or SSL
  • Flexible Routing – Customers can choose a CPE and managed router services, or they can maintain control over their own routing.
  • Improved performance – MPLS offers Class of Service (CoS) and Quality of Service (QoS) network-wide routing based on individual business requirements. Data can be split into different categories such as real time traffic, priority traffic, and low priority traffic.
  • SLA-Backed - Customers receive 99.9% uptime, network availability, packet delivery, latency, and jitter guarantees.

Private Lines
Private lines provide high-speed dedicated point-to-point connectivity for voice, data, and video applications. Private lines serve as secure options for companies looking to connect to the Internet, connect multiple locations, or interconnect data centers.

Connection Type Available

  • T1
  • DS3
  • OC3
  • OC12
  • Ethernet / Fast Ethernet
  • GigE circuits

  • No limitations due to network congestion
  • Guaranteed throughput
  • No restrictions based on time of day or day of the week
  • Constant and predictable latency
  • A secure, dedicated channel
  • A predictable price without usage based variations

Have questions, or would like a free quote, call 888-TOUCHTONE or e-mail

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Job Listing: VoIP Engineer

Position:  VoIP Engineer    

Company:  TouchTone Communications – Whippany, NJ

Experience:  Mid-Senior Level

Job Function: Engineering

Employment Type: Full-Time     
Industry: Telecommunications

Job Description

Provide engineering support for TouchTone VoIP and TDM Networks across the U.S. This key position is responsible for technical operations support and performance management of all elements of the TouchTone Network. This position will be instrumental in assisting the company to deliver high levels of service availability.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Must have a thorough understanding of call flows and signaling protocols which include SIP,   RTP, TDM including ISDN, DTMF and FXS/FXO, TCP/IP, LAN Switching, Routing protocols, L2/L3, device configuration, VLAN, etc.
  • Must have strong knowledge in the following: Sansay VSXi or similar VoIP Telephony, Lucent LCS or similar TDM experience, Cisco and Juniper data networking routers and switches.
  • STRONG KNOWLEDGE and combination experience of TDM - signaling PRI, CAS(DTMF), FXS/FXO, Data - LAN/WAN and VoIP - SIP/RTP.  
  • Demonstrated experience using Wireshark and other quality based IP tools used to monitor Jitter, Packet Loss, etc.
  • Knowledge of telecom principals and terminology, including DID and Toll Free numbers, LATA OCN and NPA/NXX.
  • Full understanding of VoIP architecture, including SIP and VoIP implementation.

About TouchTone Communications

Headquartered in Whippany, NJ, TouchTone Communications is a privately-held, debt free company established in 1993.  TouchTone provides nationwide voice, data and VoIP services, including Dedicated Voice and Data, Hosted PBX, Enterprise SIP, Call Center Termination, Conferencing, MPLS and Ethernet, and Switched LD services to residential, SMB, public sector enterprise, government and wholesale customers.  TouchTone is a facilities-based carrier offering services through its own proprietary network and through multiple Tier 1 networks, with major points of presence in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Newark, NJ.  TouchTone prides itself on providing the highest quality service at the most competitive rates, while always maintaining highest levels of customer service. 

What We Offer

* High-energy atmosphere                * Work with a highly motivated and dedicated team

* Competitive salary                         * 401K

* Medical    Benefits                         * Generous PTO program

Send cover letter and resume to JOBS@TOUCHTONE.NET.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Need to get the word out fast? An IVR solution can help!

Woman on Headset in Call CenterInteractive Voice Response (IVR) solutions are increasingly being implemented by both small and large businesses to improve overall customer experience and to cut costs.

An outbound IVR solution allows companies to deliver automated, personalized messages to hundreds of people quickly and inexpensively. Messages can be pre-recorded or event triggered. Event triggered messages can offer a wide range of options and/or require further action to be taken by the person answering the phone (for example, “Your appointment is scheduled for Monday, July 21. To keep this appointment, press 1. To reschedule, press 2.”). Responses can be collected through the phone’s keypad or though spoken words with voice recognition.

Common applications for outbound IVR applications include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Payment reminders
  • Order statuses
  • Shipment notifications
  • Appointment confirmations
  • Account alerts
  • Shipment notifications
  • Surveys
  • Refills/reorders
  • Fundraising requests
  • Notifications and closings

Industries benefiting from IVR technology:

  • Financial
  • Airlines
  • Banks
  • Pharmacies
  • Political
  • Travel and tourism
  • Polling and surveys
  • City and state governments
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Schools 
  • Churches 
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Customer service and call centers
  • Collections agencies

Benefits of outbound IVR solutions:

  • Cost advantages – leveraging VoIP technology, large volumes of outbound messages can be sent quickly, reliably, and inexpensively.
  • Frees up office personnel and call center employees to work on more valuable tasks.
  • Calls can be made off business hours when customers are more readily available.
  • Flexible and scalable – IVR technology allows different events to trigger different responses allowing for a better overall customer experience.
  • Proactively reach customers avoid high volumes of inbound calls during business hours.

IVR service and software provider reputations depend on who they choose as their voice termination provider. An IVR solution is only as good as its ability to complete calls.

TouchTone Communications works with Tier 1 carriers to deliver reliable, quality voice termination to IVR service and software providers. TouchTone's high-performing switch and redundancy capabilities can handle a massive amount of concurrent calls without sacrificing quality. With pay-as-you-go pricing and no short duration penalties, customers can count on TouchTone Communications to deliver consistent, quality voice termination to support demanding needs.

Looking for IVR voice termination? Call 1-888-TOUCHTONE, or e-mail

Monday, July 14, 2014

What’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

and How Can It Help Your Company or Business

Woman using IVR system
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an effective tool to get messages out in a timely, professional, and cost effective manner. Many businesses are using IVR technology to help cut costs and to improve customer sales and support.

Interactive Voice Response allows a computer to automate interactions with telephone callers through the use of voice recognition and touch-tone telephone keypad entry.

IVR solutions use pre-recorded voice prompts and menus to present information and options to callers, and entries made on a phone's keypad to collect responses. Some also enable responses to be gathered through spoken words through voice recognition.

For example, airlines use an IVR system to help retrieve flight information and real-time flight delays. They can set up their IVR system to recognize callers by their registered phone number.

For example: Would you like to check the status of your flight to Chicago? For yes, press or say 1. To hear additional options, press or say 2.

Businesses and companies use an IVR to help direct customers to the appropriate party and to help streamline customer service.

For example: Hello and thank you for calling Joe's Auto Parts. If you know the extension of the party you wish to reach, please enter it now. To speak with the operator, press 0 at any time. For Sales, press 1. For Support, press 2. For Billing, press 3. To repeat this message, press pound.

TouchTone Communications’ customer, New York-based Dial Global, is a full-service radio network that produces and distributes radio programming to more than 6,000 stations in the U.S. One of their services, Radio Voodoo (an IVR system), answers phones for radio stations and makes it possible to use caller recordings in station programming. Dial Global provides the technology, and TouchTone provides the toll-free and DID termination.

"Radio Voodoo is a service that specializes in allowing radio stations to have their phones answered by an IVR. Stations then use the audio left by listeners during radio shows or in promotional announcements. Radio Voodoo has partnered with TouchTone as a provider of toll free origination and DID termination. As you can imagine, radio station traffic has great highs during contesting and sometimes great lows depending on market size. TouchTone has been able to balance the sometimes huge spikes from stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles while servicing the smaller stations in Lubbock, TX, Massena NY and St. Joseph, MO. 

The best part about working with TouchTone has to be the customer service. At Radio Voodoo, so much of our success has been the team at TouchTone coming up with creative ways to find solutions to our problems. They are energized, engaged, and do not rest until we arrive at a solution. TouchTone is very much a part of the team that has made Radio Voodoo a must have for radio stations across the country."

~Dee Perkins, Distribution Sales Manager
Dial Global

Looking for IVR voice termination? TouchTone Communications provides quality, low-cost in-bound (local and toll-free) and outbound calling to IVR service and software providers. To learn more call 888-TOUCHTONE or e-mail