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!

5 Reasons Why a Conventional Premises-Based Phone System is So Expensive

When we analyze a customer’s telecommunication needs and present a customized solution, the first thing we usually hear is: “wow, I had no idea that we could be saving so much!”

Of course, there are several reasons why a hosted VoIP phone system dramatically reduces telecommunications costs — and we’ve highlighted some of the key factors in this article.

However, the other side of the coin that we want our customers to understand, is that conventional premises-based phone systems are (and always have been) excessively expensive. Here are the key reasons why:

1. Maintenance Fees

Maintenance fees for a conventional premises-based phone system can reach into the thousands of dollars a year. What’s more, most businesses have no choice but to pay the exorbitant fee, because they lack the in-house expertise to maintain the system on their own. It goes without saying that this profitable detail is not lost on phone companies that view maintenance agreements as cash cows.

2. Service Charges

Few things in this world are as frustrating as getting “dinged” by vague, unexpected and usually unjustifiable service charges. Well, phone companies take this to the next level by billing for anything and everything they can that falls outside the Service Level Agreement (which as noted above, businesses are already paying for).

And that’s not even the worst of it: fixing telecommunications-related problems isn’t cheap. A single on-site visit from a technician will cost a few hundred dollars, and all replacement parts (such as a new handset) will make the bill even bigger — and more infuriating!  

3. Weird Monthly Fees

Phone companies are famous — or make that infamous — for charging weird monthly fees that show up on the bill. Sometimes it’s a few dollars, other times it can be $50 or more. Over a year, it can easily add up to several hundred or more than a thousand dollars. But for what!? Nobody really knows. The basis for these charges are rooted in an incomprehensibly complex agreement that even give lawyers a headache to read.

4. Scaling

Everyone who launches a business hopes that they’ll grow big. However, phone companies have a different dream: one in which they bill expanding businesses through the nose when they want to add new numbers.

5. Adding Calling Features

Last but certainly not least, businesses that want — or need —carrier-class calling features like voicemail-to-email and auto attendant will see their phone bill rise, rise and rise some more. Evidently, phone companies haven’t received the memo that voicemail, Caller ID and call forwarding are no longer “super-ultra-mega-advanced features”. They’re basic staples that all businesses expect, and so do residential customers for that matter. This isn’t 1990.

The DigitalPhone.io Advantage

At DigitalPhone.io, we don’t charge for maintenance, and we never tack on weird and inexplicable service charges or monthly fees. This not only helps our customers save money, but they get cost certainty as well, which makes budgeting easier and more predictable.

Plus, our hosted VoIP phone system comes with a full range of carrier-class calling features, and scaling up to add new employees is fast, easy and remarkably affordable.

To learn more, call us at (336) 560-4400 today, or click the Contact Button  on your right. Your consultation with us is free!

DigitalPhone.io’s New Video Highlights Benefits of Hosted VoIP for Education and Government

DigitalPhone.io, a leading hosted telecommunications firm that serves customers across the U.S., has launched a new video that highlights the key benefits of their hosted VoIP phone system for educational organizations and government agencies.

The new video, which is available for on-demand viewing at https://digitalphone.io/education-and-government, explains that unlike conventional phone systems that are costly to purchase and maintain, offer limited features and functions, and are inflexible when it comes to making changes or scaling, a VoIP hosted phone system from DigitalPhone.io:

  • Requires minimal up-front capital expense costs
  • Delivers substantial year-to-year cost savings
  • Is flexible, customizable, scalable, and easy to change
  • Supports both an in-house and remote workforce
  • Is secured through several integrated strategies
  • Provides advanced carrier-class features
  • Uses multiple technologies to ensure business continuity
  • Is simple and easy to administer and monitor through a web-based portal
  • Is backed 24/7/365 by best-of-class technical and end user support

“Today’s government organizations and education institutions need a telecommunication system that is innovative, feature-rich, scalable, efficient, easy-to-use and secure,” commented DigitalPhone.io’s CEO Nicky Smith. “That’s why they’re choosing a VoIP hosted phone system from DigitalPhone.io — and reaping significant and measurable rewards from day one.”



Added Smith, whose company is a leading provider of USAC Category 1 eligible hosted telecommunications to K-12 schools in the Southeast U.S.: “We also know that just like their counterparts in the private sector, some end users in educational organizations and government agencies are less excited than others about adopting new technology. That’s why our training team makes the learning curve gentle, easy and fun. Within minutes, people who were reluctant to use the system enthusiastically embrace it, and wonder how they ever managed without it!”

For additional information on DigitalPhone.io’s hosted VoIP phone services for education and government, 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. Learn more at https://digitalphone.io.

4 Ways that a VoIP Phone System Optimizes Customer Experience

On today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, satisfying and impressing customers — both prospective and current — isn’t just important: it’s essential. In fact, a study by Walker Information concluded that by the year 2020, customer experience will be the number one brand differentiator in the minds of customers — surpassing traditional factors such as product and price.

In other words, within a couple of years the vast majority of customers in both B2C and B2B spaces will knowingly, willingly, and happily pay more for something from a business than they could from its competitors, provided they feel as though they’re getting great service and support.

Of course, price position and value will still matter (because they’ll always matter). But leaning forward to close the gap with customers will increasingly determine whether a business will have a prosperous future — or if it will struggle to stay afloat.

In light of the above, here are 4 ways that an affordable, versatile and scalable VoIP phone system helps businesses optimize customer experience:

1. VoIP Reduces or Eliminates Hold Times

With a conventional landline on-premise PBX phone system, customers are forced to wait in a line-up until the next available rep or agent is available. The big problem here, however, is that many customers won’t wait for longer than about 30 seconds.

What’s more, many of the customers who do wait grow increasingly frustrated. And like a storm cloud full of rain, they burst their unhappiness it on the rep or agent who (finally) gets to them — which makes things worse for everyone.

A VoIP phone system doesn’t force customers to queue in a local PBX. Instead, it instantly routes them to any available agent or rep, regardless of where they’re located. The result is that customers spend less — or ideally, no — time on hold, and more time having their important needs addressed and solved as quickly and pleasantly as possible. Everyone wins.

2. VoIP Quickly Routes Customers to the Right Team the First Time

As long as we’re putting together a list of things that customers hate, right next to (or perhaps ahead) or lingering on hold is bouncing around from one person to another. In fact, some customers get so frustrated that they bounce right out the door — and straight to a competitor.

A VoIP phone system features a built-in customizable auto attendant, which picks up calls on the first ring, professionally greets customers, and enables them to choose the team they wish to reach — e.g. sales, service, billing, and so on.

Not only does this help customers quickly connect with the team person the first time, but it makes things much more efficient for agents and reps who spend more time making customers happy, and less time (or ideally, no time) transferring them to another team.   

3. VoIP Allows Customers Connect to Specific Employees 

Many businesses — and especially small and mid-sized firms — have more people than they do available phone lines, which invariably means that some employees don’t have their own unique phone number or extension.

Or at the very least, given the high cost of adding new lines — especially of the on-site PBX is at maximum capacity and hardware changes are necessary — new hires must often wait weeks or months before they get their own phone number. While this is obviously bad news for affected employees, it’s even more frustrating for customers who may want to quickly and easily reach a certain individual (i.e. the specific sales rep they were talking with yesterday, the specific service technician that was helping them last week, etc.).

A VoIP phone system ends this pain. Within seconds and with no hardware changes or upgrades, employees get a unique and dedicated phone number or extension, which they can immediately share with customers, add to their email signature, put on their business card, and so on.

What’s more, employees can easily forward incoming calls to their smartphone when they’re on-the-road or working from home. And when they call customers, their company name and number appears on caller ID — not their personal name and number.

4. VoIP Uses Voicemail-to-Email to Improve Response Times

There are times when employees cannot easily check voicemail, such as when they’re away from their desk, when they’re on a conference call, when they’re attending a workshop, and so on. As a result, several hours pass before voicemails are picked up — which frustrates customers and can lead to lost sales and churn.

A VoIP phone system features voicemail-to-email, which instantly captures voicemails in an audio file and emails it to the designated employee. As a result, they can respond quicker, or if desired, forward the audio file to a colleague to take rapid, appropriate action.

The Bottom Line 

As noted by Forbes: “getting customer experience right is no longer a luxury, but a critical business priority.” A conventional landline phone system blocks this fundamental objective, while a VoIP phone system enables it. It really is as simple as that!

To learn more about closing the gap with your current and future customers — while saving thousands of dollars a year on your telecommunications costs — contact the DigitalPhone.io team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

Is Your Business Being Held Back by Your Premise-Based PBX Phone System?

A growing number of organizations are saying goodbye to their conventional analog on-premise analog PBX phone system. Here are the key reasons why they’re saying good riddance to a bad system:

  • Excessive up-front costs: premise-based PBX systems are expensive to purchase, install and maintain. For many small and mid-sized businesses, the CapEx burden is prohibitive, and for larger organizations it’s unjustifiable.
  •  No cost certainty: the cost of operating a premise-based PBX system is based on usage (regular calling along with long distance costs). As such, it’s virtually impossible for organizations to know how much their monthly, quarterly and annual telecommunications costs will be. This often leads to budget shortfalls — which ultimately leads to greater risks and higher overall operating costs.
  •  Lack of scalability: adding new lines to a premise-based system typically mans physically installing them, which is costly and inconvenient. What’s more, if the maximum number of lines are in use, then organizations must purchase another PBX.
  •  Lack of business continuity: a premise-based PBX system functions through a network typology with a single point of failure. As such, when a part of the system fails, the entire system goes offline. It can also be days for a technician to perform on-site repairs.
  •  Lack of support: premise-based PBX system vendors and phone companies typically do not work and play well together — because when something goes wrong, they each start pointing the finger at the other. As a result, organizations are caught in the middle and must broker a solution that fits within the service level agreement (SLA) of both their PBX vendor and the phone company. This is a tedious and time consuming process, and usually one that leads to higher costs (about the only thing that PBX vendors and phone companies agree on is the mandate to tack on fees and sell pricey maintenance agreements).
  •  Limited features: premise-based PBX systems don’t offer the kinds of carrier-class features that today’s organizations need, such as video calling, instant messaging, real-time status information (i.e. the ability to see if colleagues are available), integration with other systems in the environment (e.g. CRM, automated marketing, etc.), and the list goes on.

Ready for a Change?

If your organization is fed up with a limited, restrictive, inflexible and excessively costly premise-based PBX system, then contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. We’ll take you on a live guided tour of our advanced, cost-effective and feature-rich hosted VoIP phone system. Your consultation with us is free, and our experts will gladly answer all of your questions. Our experience is your advantage!