4 Questions You MUST Ask Before Switching Your Current Hosted Telecommunication Provider

Many times in our professional and personal lives, we believe that the “grass is greener on the other side” — only to discover after making a change, that the grass isn’t greener at all. In fact, sometimes it’s not even grass, but the painted carpet stuff that they use in some baseball stadiums.

The reason we bring this up, is because some schools, businesses, and government agencies that are quite happy with their reliable and affordable hosted telecommunications provider, get seduced by a competitor that promises all kinds of benefits and extras — and for an “amazing low, low price.”

Yet in many cases, these promises never materialize. It’s all sizzle, and no steak. How do we know? Because we’ve been in the hosted telecommunications space for nearly 20 years, which is an eternity in this industry where the lifespan for most companies a few years — and in some cases, a few months!

And throughout this time, we’ve lost track of how many new players have entered the marketplace, created a whole bunch of flashy hype, and then disappeared — but only after leaving a trail of very angry ex-customers in their wake. Trust us on this, because we’re the ones they call to get them back on track, and get the advanced and affordable hosted telecommunications system they needed in the first place (and of course, we make it happen!).

And so, if you’re currently happy with your hosted telecommunication system provider — i.e. they’ve delivered on their promises and continuously demonstrated how much they value your business — but are nevertheless being “headhunted” by competitors, here are 4 questions you MUST ask to save yourself a great deal of money, time and regret:

1. Are you really getting a better deal?

On the surface, it make look like switching providers will lead to cost savings. But you really need to dig deeper and crunch the numbers to see if all that glitters is really gold. For example, many providers promise all kinds of free services, but in reality it’s not free forever. Often, it’s free for 1 year on licenses with a limited number of simultaneous calls.

Plus, there are always setup and support costs that need to be factored into the analysis. And speaking of support costs: many of the aggressive providers in the marketplace have regularly raised their support costs over the years. Many customers are very unhappy to realize that when they first signed up annual support costs were about 20 percent of the initial purchase price, but have since risen to 30 percent or more.

2. Do they specialize in hosted deployments?

The importance of this question cannot be underestimated! Many providers offer both on-premises and hosted deployments, but this doesn’t mean they support them equally. In most cases, the bulk of their resources are allocated towards their (much more profitable) on-premises product.

And don’t be fooled by promises like “oh don’t worry, you can use the on-premises product remotely”. This compatibility is NOT out-of-the-box. On the contrary, it is much more complex and requires excessive setup time, and it likely doesn’t support a Windows environment — which is what most organizations use.

3. How are internal class classified?

Some providers make a really big deal about how you’ll enjoy “affordable calling. But what they typically DON’T make explicit is that they count internal calls as part of simultaneous calls. For example, if you can have up to 16 simultaneous calls and 20 internal staff members are having a conversation (which equals 10 internal calls), then you will only be able to make 6 more internal or external calls. Any more, and — yes, you guessed it — you’ll have to pay more.

4. What is the support?

Where all (so-called) low cost providers make their money is on support, which they charge by the hour — and it’s not cheap! Furthermore, these providers typically don’t offer geo-redundancy support, which means that in the event of a local power outage due to inclement weather, natural disaster, or any other factor the entire system will go offline for minutes, hours — or maybe even days.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is clear and straightforward: do your homework, ask tough questions, and absolutely refuse to settle for fuzzy “marketing spin” answers. Because sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Isn’t it wiser to figure this out before making a switch vs. after?

Leading Hosted Telecommunications Firm DigitalPhone.io Adds Key New Talent to Workforce

DigitalPhone.io announced today that it has expanded its workforce in response to strong ongoing demand among businesses, government agencieseducational institutions and nonprofit organizations for its full suite of hosted telecommunications solutions.

Joining the DigitalPhone.io operations team are: Samantha Buggé, Project & Provisioning Manager; Marisa Diaz, Account Executive; Lisa Green, Account Executive; Arianna Forgay, Client Support Specialist; and Paige Sullivan, Client Support Specialist.

In addition, acclaimed Business and Executive Coach Ross Cox has been hired to assist DigitalPhone.io with strategic development, execution planning, and performance management. Mr. Cox has nearly 50 years of business experience, and is widely recognized as one of North America’s leading coaches.

Individually and collectively, these talented and experienced new team members will play a key role in helping DigitalPhone.io continue expanding its nationwide footprint, and provide current and future customers with an unparalleled level of support, value and service.

This is DigitalPhone.io’s second significant workforce expansion this year. In January, the company expanded its senior sales and support teams, respectively. Last year, DigitalPhone.io added two highly experienced and acclaimed executives to its leadership team: Steve Worrell, CPA as CFO, and Gary Tomlin as VP of Sales.

“There is no shortage of professionals in the labor market that have required technical knowledge when it comes to telecommunications systems and solutions,” commented CEO and Founder Nicky Smith, who launched DigitalPhone.io in 2000. “But we don’t just hire for ability — we also hire for attitude, and ensure that everyone who joins our team is committed to doing what is best for our customers — and where possible, exceeding their expectations. I’m confident that our exceptional new hires align with our values and vision, and will help us succeed and grow into the future.”

Added Smith: “We are also proud to create more high quality career opportunities in Greensboro, and continue helping this area thrive and grow. As the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce very wisely points out, our business community must be creative, innovative and agile to compete in attracting a 21st century workforce. We are honored and excited to be part of this solution!”

For additional information regarding DigitalPhone.io, visit https://digitalphone.io or email inquiry@DigitalPhone.io.

About DigitalPhone.io


DigitalPhone.io (formerly Carolina Digital) is a pioneer of hosted phone services, and provides products that improve the capabilities of business and education telephony, while reducing their overall cost. The company’s offerings stand out for their excellent value, including very competitive pricing, the industry’s deepest feature set, ease of deployment, and many user-friendly packages — from a full turnkey set-up including dial tone and VoIP phones, to automated call answering and routing solutions that work with existing land lines, cell phones or VoIP phones.

Best Practices for Cloud Telephone System Quality Assurance (QA)

At DigitalPhone.io, we aren’t mass market retailers who sell cloud telephone systems along with various other products, like smartphones, GPS systems, and SSD drives so tiny that you need tweezers and a magnifying glass.

We’re proud and proven VoIP Solutions Providers. And that means “one-and-done” customer relationships don’t fit with our business plan. For us to succeed and grow — which we’ve been doing for nearly 20 years — we need our customers to succeed. It’s not an option for them, and it’s not an option for us.

And one of the ways that we ensure that our customers take the shortest path to value and generate ROI and performance results is by implementing a comprehensive quality assurance (QA) framework. Here are some of the best practices that drive our QA approach and strategy:

Comprehensive Pre-Implementation Site Survey

Before we implement a cloud telephone system on our customers’ premise (i.e. installing managed routers, back-up power supplies, IP phones, etc.), we conduct a comprehensive site survey to evaluate critical network aspects, such as usage patterns, traffic flows, WAN bandwidth, switches, and more. This deep analysis process enables our team to adjust and optimize the infrastructure as required.

User Experience Review

Our user experience review is integrated into the pre-implementation site survey process, but is worth focusing on separately because it’s such an important part of the overall QA framework — and one that businesses that typically overlook or neglect when they work with mass market vendors (which basically involves getting some hardware in the mail and doing everything yourself).

As the term suggests, our user experience review is not so much about the technology, but about the people who will use it (as well as when and how). This data is then used to ensure that, once implemented, the cloud telephone system is immediately ready to support anticipated usage.

Quality of Service Prioritization

Another key part of our QA framework is analyzing and validating Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization settings. This ensures that the cloud telephone system is given suitable priority throughout different points of the network. Otherwise, there will likely be delays in packet delivery and other quality issues.

Establishing Metrics

It’s been said that “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.” This is true, but there is another piece of the puzzle that must be part of the equation: you must also establish the right metrics and key performance indicators (KPI).

With this in mind, our team establishes a suite of technology-based tools to monitor and optimize performance — not just during the implementation stage, but throughout the full life of the cloud telephone system. These metrics include (but aren’t limited to) burst density, compression, jitter, gap density, R-factor, mean opinion score (MOS), and many others.

We also monitor end user experience by focusing on key network performance metrics, such as codecs, VLAN configuration, link utilization, and so on.

Establish Resolution Tools

Another wise saying that we subscribe to is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why we install tools that give us valuable insight to identify and resolve issues that may emerge months or years down the road. These strategies include (but aren’t limited to) using VLANs organized by user group to keep an eye on traffic patterns, setting alarms to detect when traffic/usage patterns deviate from typical baseline norms, and so on.

The Bottom Line

Perhaps the best thing about our comprehensive QA framework is the price that our customers pay: zero. And that’s because, as noted above, we don’t just hope that our customers get the most value, performance and ROI from their cloud telephone system. We need them to — and so do they!

To learn more contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Your consultation with us is free! Call 336-560-4400

Thinking of a “DIY” VoIP Phone System for Your Business? Think Again!

Don't DIY a Business VoIP Phone SystemThe strongest and most successful businesses aren’t those that out-spend their competitors. Rather, they out-smart them by knowing when taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach makes strategic and financial sense — and when it’s a really bad idea.

What does this have to do with VoIP phone systems? It’s this: there are some mass market VoIP vendors in the marketplace that want businesses to think that a DIY VoIP business phone system is easy, smart and cost-effective.

However, if you ask an overwhelming number of businesses that have been misled by this hype, you’ll discover that the experience is tedious, disappointing and expensive; the latter because within weeks (or sometimes days) of implementation, businesses are forced to call a VoIP Solutions Provider to come to the rescue, and put in place the phone system that they believed they were getting to begin with!

Still not convinced? That’s good: because here at DigitalPhone.io, we deal in facts instead of myths, and believe that an educated customer is the best customer. With this in mind, here are the three reasons why a DIY VoIP Phone System will soon have you sending out an SOS:

1. If something goes wrong, you’ll be on your own — unless you’re willing to pay.

You can completely ignore any service promises that mass market VoIP vendors make, because WHEN (not if!) you have an issue or need to reconfigure your system, you’ll be told that your only option is to purchase a ridiculously expensive maintenance plan, or pay through the nose for a technician to provide on-site service.

However, if you purchase your system from a legitimate VoIP Solutions Provider, then you’ll get exceptional and responsive technical support without paying an extra cent. What’s more, your VoIP phone system will include a managed router, which enables technical experts to perform a wide range of maintenance, troubleshooting and configuration tasks remotely — which means they can be taken care of rapidly; often within minutes or hours of identifying an issue or submitting a request

2. Don’t count on the help resources being all that helpful.

You may have some talented technicians in your business who can solve all kinds of challenges. But even these DIY wizards are going to fly the white flag of surrender when they see what kind of “helpful resources” are in store for them when it comes to dealing with VoIP configurations and issues: outdated FAQs, useless videos, and manuals that are so incomprehensible that they might as well be from IKEA.

On the other end of the spectrum, your in-house IT team won’t face any installation or support burden. Everything is handled by your VoIP Solutions Provider. That means no white flags of surrender (or angry emails saying “if I get one more end user asking me how to set up the auto attendant feature I’m going to go  @#!@*&! crazy!”)

3. Don’t expect to take the shortest path to value.

It goes without saying that you want to start reaping the rewards of your VoIP phone system ASAP, so that you can take the shortest path to value and start generating cost savings and performance gains. But none of this is going to happen with a DIY system, because it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it thing. To get the most value, you need to monitor various metrics, and optimize based on actual system usage. You may also need to resolve issues with your ISP (some ISPs are notorious for exaggerating bandwidth speeds, and a VoIP phone system is going to reveal the truth!).

Fortunately, with a VoIP Solutions Provider, you don’t have to worry about paying more for less, or taking the long and winding road to value and ROI. That’s because they — not you — will take care of all system monitoring, testing and optimization, and make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders.

The Bottom Line

There are times when doing things DIY makes sense. But then there are other times when partnering with experts is the right way to go — and switching to a VoIP phone system definitely applies! We’ll conclude with the sage advice of 19th century social thinker and philanthropist John Ruskin:

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all.

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. 

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

To learn more about getting the VoIP phone system that your business wants, needs and EXPECTS from day one, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Call us at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation is free!

DigitalPhone.io Accepted into NCAPCS Preferred Partners Program

Leading Hosted Telecommunications Firm DigitalPhone.io Accepted into NCAPCS Preferred Partners Program

DigitalPhone.io, a leading hosted telecommunications firm that serves businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations and educational institutions across the US, proudly announced that it has been accepted into the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools’ (NCAPCS) “Preferred Partners Program”.

The innovative program, which launched in 2017, is available to select vendors that have a verified track record of serving NCAPCS-member charter schools, and have demonstrated a clear commitment to supporting their current and long-term success. Approved vendors must also have a current NCAPCS Business Membership in good standing, and agree to offer NCAPCS-member charter schools discounted pricing.  

“I had the opportunity meet with Gary Tomlin from DigitalPhone.io last month when his company sponsored our Job Fair in Durham,” commented Rhonda Dillingham NCAPCS’s Executive Director. “We spoke about the Preferred Partners Program, and based on their interest in joining, I contacted two NCAPCS-member charter schools that they’ve served — Arapahoe Charter School and Bethany Community Middle School — and both spoke very highly of their experience with DigitalPhone.io. We’re pleased to include them as a preferred vendor, so they can help our members get the affordable technologies and systems they need to improve school communications and safety, and enhance overall performance and efficiency.”

“We are delighted to be part of the NCAPCS’ Preferred Partners Program,” commented Gary Tomlin, DigitalPhone.io’s VP of Sales. “It is abundantly clear that Rhonda’s focus is on offering the very best to the association’s membership, which is why vendors in the program cannot simply offer pricing discounts and expect to get accepted. They must also demonstrate a dedication to the success, vision and values of charter schools, and we are extremely proud of our commitment and contribution in this area. We look forward a long and rewarding relationship with the NCAPCS and all of their members!”

For additional information regarding DigitalPhone.io, visit https://digitalphone.io or email inquiry(at)DigitalPhone.io.

About DigitalPhone.io

DigitalPhone.io (formerly Carolina Digital) is a pioneer of hosted phone services, and provides products that improve the capabilities of business, education, government and nonprofit organization telephony, while reducing their overall cost. The company’s offerings stand out for their excellent value, including very competitive pricing, the industry’s deepest feature set, ease of deployment, and many user-friendly packages – from a full turnkey set-up including dial tone and VoIP phones, to automated call answering and routing solutions that work with existing land lines, cell phones or VoIP phones. Learn more at https://digitalphone.io.

The Key Benefits of a VoIP Phone System Auto Attendant

While VoIP phone systems offer many enterprise-grade calling features such as voicemail-to-email, video conferencing, live call forwarding, direct-inward-dial and the list goes on, the one that most businesses instantly fall in love with — and wonder how they managed without — is auto attendant. Here are the key benefits:

1. Fully Customizable

An auto attendant is more than just an answering machine. It’s a functional and customizable 24/7 digital receptionist that lets callers quickly connect with the right individual or team, instead of having to go through a live operator or run the risk of getting “bounced around” because someone made a call forwarding mistake (with this being said, callers who do wish to contact a live operator can be given the option to do so).  

2. Multiple Messages

What’s more, an auto attendant can be configured with multiple messages based on pre-set variables, such as where calls originate from, what number was dialed (e.g. new sales number vs. technical support number), the time of day (e.g. an after-hours message can automatically start at 5:01pm), and so on.

3. Look BIG

An auto attendant can make any business look like an enterprise — even if it has a small staff roster or recently launched. This is a critical factor that can make the difference between connecting with customers, or losing them to larger competitors.

4. Save Thousands a Month

Since an auto attendant does the work of a receptionist — and in fact, does it better and more efficiently — businesses can save thousands of dollars a month in staffing costs. That’s money that they can be put back into the business to help it grow. At the same time, staff that was previously bogged down by answering and forwarding calls have more time to deal with higher priority tasks (e.g. dealing with escalated customer issues, etc.)

Best Practices for an Auto Attendant Script

As noted above, businesses can customize a variety of auto attendant scripts based on their needs. Below are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Configure the auto attendant to answer the call on the first ring.
  • Start each script with a warm, friendly and professional greeting.
  • For an after-hours or weekend script, inform callers immediately that the business is closed (i.e. don’t risk making them think that the business is open, only to disappoint them later on). Make sure that the script also provides the normal business hours.
  • Keep each script as brief as possible.  
  • Remind callers immediately after hearing the available options (or prior to that if desired) that they can dial their party’s extension at any time, or reach a live operator (if applicable).  
  • It’s generally advised to limit the menu to 5 options. Also provide callers with the ability to re-listen to the options (e.g. “press the pound key to repeat this message”.  

Sample Auto Attendant Script

Here is a sample auto attendant script for ACME Incorporated (under the visionary guidance of CEO Wile E. Coyote).  

Thank you for calling ACME Incorporated, where we offer the very best in anti-roadrunner technology.

If you know your party’s extension, please enter it at any time. For a staff directory, please press the star key.

To speak with our sales team, please press 1.

To speak with our customer service team, please press 2.  

For information on our hours of business, location and website, please press 3.  

If you would like to speak with a member of our team, please press 0.

If you would like to leave a message, please press the pound key.  

To hear this menu again, please press 9.  

To learn more about the benefits and advantages of a VoIP phone system auto attendant, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Your consultation with us is free.