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.