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!

In-House PBX+SIP Trunking vs. Hosted VoIP

What’s the Smarter Phone System Investment?

When it comes to making wise investments, organizations need to borrow a page from the consumer playbook and “get the most for the least.” This doesn’t necessarily mean getting the cheapest price. It simply means that businesses need to assess their needs, conduct marketplace research, evaluate potential solutions, and select the one that delivers the most long-term value.

However, just like consumers, sometimes businesses can mistakenly head in the other direction: getting the least for the most. And since this unfortunate fact doesn’t come to light until after a purchase decision is made, businesses in this situation are forced to absorb the excess costs or purchase a replacement. Either way, it’s costly, time consuming, risky and frustrating.

Here’s what the above has to do with business VoIP phone systems. Some businesses are led to believe that they’ll get the most for the least by purchasing a low cost in-house PBX system, and then purchasing relatively inexpensive SIP trunks (these are telephone line trunks delivered over IP using the SIP protocol, and are necessary for an in-house PBX system to function).

Yet, like some ideas that sound good in theory, this is typically NOT a wise money-saving strategy. Here are the key reasons why:

  • Deployment Costs

One of the primary cost advantages of a VoIP phone system vs. a conventional landline hosted system is that businesses can use a single voice/data network vs. purchase separate networks.

However, this is often not the case when using an on-premise PBX with SIP trunking. To prevent data network degradation— and angry end users — many businesses are obliged to purchase a separate internet connection. This can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year, depending on the number of users.

  • Training Costs

It goes without saying that a VoIP phone system will only generate efficiencies and advantages if people use it! However, end user training isn’t included in the on-site PBX+SIP trunking strategy. Businesses must purchase this separately from a consultant or telecommunications firm.

However, this isn’t a cost category with hosted VoIP phone systems. Training is included in the package, because a phone system that isn’t being used properly and fully isn’t an asset — it’s a liability.

  • Support Costs

Perhaps the only thing worse than having unhappy IT staff, is paying for unhappy IT staff. Yet that’s the scenario that many businesses face with on-site PBX+SIP trunking, because instead of completing the tasks in their job description, IT staff are bogged down and held back by endless support requests, software upgrades, configurations, and so on.

As such, businesses must pay higher labor costs (i.e. their IT staff is less productive and/or they must hire additional IT staff), or they must purchase a pricey maintenance contract.

With a hosted VoIP phone system, all support — including handling end user inquiries and performing system upgrades/updates — are covered by the off-site Solutions Provider. And since hosted VoIP phone system deployments use managed routers, many system configurations and changes can be made remotely when the business is closed.

  • Electricity Costs

On-site PBX systems need greater computing power, both for regular operation and for cooling. They also need larger uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units to run the system in the event of a power outage. This translates into hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in additional electricity costs.

With a hosted VoIP phone system, power requirements are minimal. Only Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches and modems/routers need power, along with a relatively smaller network of uninterrupted power supply units.

The Bottom Line

When businesses do the math and add up all of the costs of ownership — both direct and indirect — they typically arrive at a surprising conclusion: the money they expected to save by going with on-site PBX+SIP trunking is not just offset by the added expense, but eliminated. In other words: they would have achieved their goal of “getting more for less” by choosing a hosted VoIP phone system from day one!

To learn more about your options, and to get a clear and accurate understanding of the REAL costs of on-premise PBX+SIP trunking, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

4 Reasons to Choose a Local VoIP Vendor

We all know that all businesses these days need to 4 Reasons to Choose a Local VoIP Vendor

We all know that all businesses these days need to “think global and act local.” But when it comes to selecting the right VoIP vendor, this wisdom needs an adjustment: “think global and choose local.”

Let’s start with the first part of this advice: think global.

What this means is that small and mid-sized businesses should ensure that they get the same enterprise-grade telecommunications features enjoyed by large multinational firms, such as: auto attendant, live call forwarding, call transfer, automatic call distribution, online message access, call queuing, call announce, company directory, hold music, voice and fax email messages, message notification, and call analysis, and reporting. And of course, the system must be quick to learn and easy-to-use.

Now for the next part of this advice: choose local.

Choosing a local VoIP vendor – and in this context, local can also be defined as regional (e.g. Midwest, Southeast, etc.) – is vital for 5 key reasons:

1. Pre-Sales Consulting

A local/regional VoIP provider will visit your business on-site – possibly multiple times – to assess your needs, consult with your different user groups (e.g. executive, technical, infosec, operations, etc.), analyze your infrastructure, and provide you with a solution that is custom crafted to fit your needs and align with your budget.

National vendors put the bulk of their resources into sales – not into pre-sales. And so while you may get some videos to watch or brochures to read, you shouldn’t expect someone to physically come on-site. And even in the few instances where this is the case, the person or team that arrives will have their “contract signing” pen at-the-ready, and will do everything they can to seal the deal – not objectively assess your needs.

2. Expert Installation and Configuration

Many businesses that choose “mass market” nationwide VoIP vendors quickly recall the old adage: you get what you pay for. Or in this case, you don’t get what you don’t pay for – because installation and configuration is a tedious, time consuming and complex process that can last for weeks. Quite often, many businesses that head down this path end up paying a consultant to clean up the mess, or they pay their VoIP vendor exorbitant “professional services” fees, which more than offset any cost-savings they hoped to realize.

Thankfully, the above isn’t a risk when choosing a credible local/regional VoIP vendor. That’s because their in-house experts – who understand the technology inside and out – will handle all installation and configuration details. And since they’ll have carefully assessed your needs (per the pre-sales consulting described above), you can look forward to a smooth, streamlined and stress-free experience.

3. 24/7 Responsive Support

The importance of 24/7 responsive support cannot be underestimated – not because you should expect something to go wrong with your VoIP system, but simply because your business isn’t static and fixed: it’s dynamic and evolving.

For example, at some point in the future – and it could be sooner than later – you may need to equip employees with an IP phone that they can use from their home office. Or, you may want to provide your sales reps with mobile apps so they can stay connected while on the road. Or, you may want to launch a remote call center to handle a surge in customer inquiries.

Whatever the scenario, you can be assured that a local/regional VoIP vendor is ready, willing and able to respond. This simply isn’t the case with most large vendors. When you need assistance, they’ll either refer you to a FAQ or some other (useless and confusing) resources, or they’ll sell you a very pricey maintenance package.

4. You’ll pay less than you think.

Many businesses that expected to save big by choosing a nationwide vendor discover that the opposite is true: they’re paying more and getting less than if they went with a local/regional vendor.

This is why nationwide VoIP vendors are popular acquisition targets these days: they’re cash cows. Customers think that they’re saving money and getting a better deal, when this simply isn’t the case. The numbers don’t add up.

The Bottom Line

Thinking globally and acting locally is a critical business paradigm. But when it comes to choosing the right VoIP vendor – which is one that will provide you with the shortest path to value – then it’s all about thinking globally and choosing locally!

To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Your consultation with us is free. Your consultation with us is free. Call (336) 544-4000.