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!

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.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: How We Keep Your Business Up and Running 24/7/365

While email and web chat are increasingly becoming preferred communication channels, many of today’s customers insist on being able to pick up the phone and get in touch with a business – whether it’s to ask questions about a potential product or service, get support for a prior purchase, or for any other reason.

But what happens in the event of a power outage caused by a disaster, or even a shorter – but certainly noticeable – brownout resulting from the country’s aging and over-burdened utility infrastructure? Well, if you have a conventional phone system that uses an on-site IP PBX, then instead of hearing “thank you for your call, how may I help you?”, your customers will hear “sorry, the number you have reached is out of service, please try your call again later.”

Unfortunately, many customers won’t “try their call again later.” Instead, they’ll head to a competitor whose phone lines are working normally – and they’ll never look back. To avoid that unacceptable scenario, here are the key ways that our hosted VoIP solution keeps your business up and running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year:

Geographically-Dispersed Cloud Infrastructure

All communication that takes place via our hosted VoIP phone system – including file sharing, video conferencing, instant messaging, and so on – is supported by a geographically-dispersed cloud infrastructure. As such, during a local power outage your business does not have to worry about disappearing from the radar screen. Everyone on your team will be able to continue sending and receiving calls, and accessing all system features – even as other businesses nearby using conventional phone systems cannot even get a dial tone.

Automatic Failover

Our hosted VoIP phone systems utilizes a broadband internet connection to transfer both audio and video (for web and video conferencing). If your ISP suffers a power outage or your internet connection goes offline for any reason, an automatic failover response takes over and switches to a secondary connection. Then, when the primary connection comes back online, it automatically switches back. Your IT team doesn’t have to make any configuration changes or modify the system in any way.

Carrier-Grade Network Security

Our hosted VoIP phone system is NOT run on the public internet. Rather, it is managed on a private and highly secure data network, which is protected by end-to-end encryption mechanisms including Transport Layer Security/TLS and Secure RTP for transmitting media. In addition, our expert team installs and configures all security patches and updates to thwart zero-day threats.

In addition, our hosted VoIP phone system features robust password protection for managed routers, as well as for web-based dashboard access. In addition, all system access and usage is tracked for compliance, quality assurance, and audit trail purposes.

Granular Security Controls

Your business will be empowered with granular security controls to ensure compliance and prevent unauthorized usage. For example, specific access and permissions can be granted to different users/groups, and restrictions can be imposed (e.g. maximum time per call, geographic calling restrictions, etc.).

24/7 Monitoring

Speaking of our expert team: we continuously monitor and test the system to ensure security and integrity. If there is any actual or potential threat or vulnerability, alarms are automatically triggered, and the issue is thoroughly investigated to resolution. We have also recently strengthened our enhanced and comprehensive telecommunications fraud management program, which covers the following:

  • Monitoring all outbound traffic to detect anomalies at the automatic number identification (ANI) level.
  • Automatically blocking suspicious calling that may be the result of subscription fraud, IP PBX hacking, abuse of service terms and conditions, internal fraud, employee theft, phishing, pharming, and payment fraud.
  • Implementing customized system rules using conditional criteria, which are based on known fraud trends and tactics.
  • Flagging calls to/from numbers linked to confirmed fraud cases noted in industry-wide “hot lists.”
  • Creating and scoring profiles based on key risk indicators, such as volume, dialed destination, etc.
  • Analyzing robocalls by researching and analyzing each telephone number, and accessing carrier and consumer reports.
  • Automatically notifying you if fraudulent activity is suspected or detected.

The Bottom Line

It goes without saying that your business can’t afford to go off the grid for even a few minutes – let alone hours, or in the case of a severe event like a hurricane, tornado, ice storm, flood or fire, for several days. That’s where DigitalPhone.io’s Business Continuity infrastructure enters the picture and closes the gap!

To learn more, contact DigitalPhone.io today for a guided demo of our hosted VoIP phone system (336) 560-4400.

How to Get Your Boss to Switch to a Cloud Telephone System

It’s not quite Mission: Impossible and you’re not expected to scale buildings or wear scanner contact lenses. However, you know from experience that convincing The Powers That Be in your business to invest in a new solution can be a challenge — or a struggle.

To be fair, it’s (probably) not that your boss delights in saying no, or enjoys borrowing a phrase from the universal parents playbook: “we’ll look into it at a later date.” It’s a lot more pragmatic and down to earth than that.

Simply put, smart bosses — which are the kind that make decisions that keep folks (including you) employed — don’t loosen the purse strings because they think something looks interesting or seems like a good idea. Instead, they approve procurements based on data and facts.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what your convincing proposal, pitch or presentation for a much-needed — and probably long overdue — cloud telephone system will include. Here’s the territory that you need to cover:

1. Your business will dramatically lower telecommunications costs.

Some cost saving promises are just that: promises. But they never come to fruition, because the savings are either paltry or negligible.

This isn’t a risk with a cloud telephone system. Depending on your usage needs, your business can expect to save anywhere from 25 percent to over 50 percent. And this isn’t just a one-time saving. It’s ongoing year after year. That’s money that your business can re-invest to drive growth — or hey, better yet, hand out some well-deserved raises and bonuses.

2. You’ll enjoy unprecedented mobility.

We’re all familiar with the convenience of being able to use our personal smartphones to connect with whoever we want, whenever we want, and wherever we are. However, conventional business phone systems are a different story. Other than call forwarding, mobility really doesn’t exist.

However, a cloud telephone system enables true — and unprecedented — mobility. You and the rest of your colleagues can make and receive calls using your smartphone anytime and from anywhere. What’s more, you won’t incur any long distance costs, you can link to your car’s Bluetooth system, and perhaps best of all: your business’s name and number will show up on Caller ID instead of your personal name and number.

3. Scaling in Either Direction is Fast, Easy and Affordable

With a conventional phone system, scaling up or scaling down can be costly and frustrating. With the former, technicians may need to dig and lay cable. With the latter, you can be stuck with costly lines and capacity that you don’t need — but are paying for month after month.

A cloud telephone system eliminates both of these risks. Scaling up is seamless, and you can easily add numbers through a web-based dashboard. There are no cables to lay, and virtually no limit — you can have 5 users, or more than 5000. On the other hand, if you consolidate operations and no longer need numbers, you simply let your affordable licenses expire. It’s as simple as that.

4. Your team will benefit from advanced carrier-grade features.

Last but certainly not least: your boss is always saying that the team needs to be more productive and efficient.

A cloud telephone system makes this happen with a wide range of advanced carrier-grade

features that either aren’t available with a conventional phone system, or are excessively (or prohibitively) expensive. These features include voicemail-to-email, video conferencing, auto attendant, and the list goes on. You and your colleagues will be doing more with less, which makes your boss happy. Everyone wins.

Need help convincing your boss to switch to a cloud telephone system? Contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. (336) 560-4400. We can help you prepare a data-driven proposal — or if you wish, we can even deliver the presentation on-site in front of your thrilled boss!

5 Ways that a Hosted VoIP Phone System Boosts Mobile Productivity

DigitalPhone.io is a cloud-based business phone system that saves you money while increasing productivity and mobility.

In the past across most industries and sectors, remote workers were the exception (and we’d all hear them brag at parties about their glorious office-less job). However, these days remote working isn’t just trending, but it’s the norm!

3 Out of 4 Workers Will Be Mobile by 2020

According to research from IDC, the number of mobile workers in the U.S. will grow to a staggering 105.4 million by 2020, at which time approximately 3 out of every 4 employees will work at least part — if not all — of the time away from the office.

Given the surge in remote working, it’s easy to understand why businesses of all sizes — from small startups to large enterprises — are investing in systems and solutions that boost mobile productivity. And one of the ways that they’re achieving this mission critical objective is by switching to an advanced hosted VoIP phone system.

Below, we highlight the 5 ways that a hosted VoIP phone system significantly and sustainably boosts mobile productivity, which is as good for remote workers and GREAT for an organization’s competitive advantage, customer experience commitment, and overall bottom-line:

1.  Anytime, Anywhere Connectivity

Simply by installing a lightweight app on their smartphone (iPhone or Android), remote workers can access the hosted VoIP system to make or receive calls from anywhere, and at any time (see note below). What’s more, they can instantly connect with through instant messages, and check the status of their colleagues before making or transferring a call.

Note: we mentioned that remote workers can make and receive calls at anytime. However, if desired, system administrators can create customized rules that govern when this is possible, such as during regular business hours. It’s also possible to set geographic restrictions to prevent calls if they are made or received beyond a certain distance from the office.

2. One Number vs. Multiple Numbers

Remote workers typically have multiple phones — which means they have several phone numbers. For example, they often have an office number, a corporately-owned smartphone number, a personal smartphone number, and a home landline number (and possibly a separate home office number as well). Trying to reach remote workers can be like a time consuming process of trial and error!

However, a hosted VoIP phone system eliminates this hassle and confusion. Remote workers can route all calls to their smartphone (or any other number if desired), which means that colleagues and customers only have to remember and dial one number vs. multiple numbers.

3. Consistent Caller ID Profile

Despite the productivity advantages, many businesses don’t want their remote workers making outgoing calls from their smartphone because their personal name/number will show up on the other parties’ Caller ID. In some cases, this can simply look amateur and unprofessional, while in other cases the concern may be about worker safety and security.

Fortunately, neither of these are risks or issues with a hosted VoIP phone system. All outgoing calls only display the business’s name and phone number on Caller ID.

4. Seamlessly Transfer Live Calls

With a hosted VoIP phone system, remote workers can seamlessly transfer live calls from their smartphone to any other IP phone that is connected to the system — including those that are installed in other locations — and continue to call without interruption.

For example, they can answer a call using the IP phone on their desk, transfer it to their smartphone as they walk out of the office to their car, and then transfer it again to their car via Bluetooth.

5. Full Call Control

With a hosted VoIP phone system, mobile workers can manage their contacts, voicemails, call history, answering rules, greetings, presence, and all other configurations from a single location. They can also pick-up voicemail-to-email and voicemail-to-text messages throughout the day (or night if required!).

The Bottom Line

These days, the question isn’t whether businesses need a mobile telecommunications strategy and solution, but how quickly and affordably they can put one in place. At DigitalPhone.io, we make it happen for as little as $20 per user, with unlimited advanced calling features and full mobile integration to empower today and tomorrow’s remote workforce.

To learn more about the benefits of a hosted VoIP phone system for your multi-site organization, contact the DigitalPhone.io team at (336) 560-4400 today, or click the Contact Button on your right. Your consultation with us is free.

Why Switching to a Virtual PBX System Before Your Office Move is a Smart Idea

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of businesses — from small firms to large enterprises — have upgraded from a costly and limited on-premises PBX phone system (a.k.a. landline system), to an advanced, feature rich and future-proof virtual PBX system (a.k.a. hosted VoIP system).

If your organization is eager to join the ranks of your counterparts — and indeed, your competitors — who are reaping the rewards of a virtual PBX system, then you may be holding off until after a scheduled office move is complete. Here are three reasons why the delay is unnecessary, and even counter-productive:

1. Moving the system doesn’t cost a cent.

Moving an on-premises PBX phone system is time consuming, complex and must be done by telecommunications specialists vs. traditional moving companies— which means that there’s a hefty price tag involved. But moving a virtual PBX phone system doesn’t cost a cent. All that needs to be packed, moved and unpacked are IP phones.

2. The system will remain operational

Moving an on-premises PBX phone system means taking it offline. And if a technical problem or issue arises — and this is often the case — the downtime can stretch into days.

However, a virtual PBX phone system eliminates this risk, simply because the system is not located on the premises the begin with: it’s housed with the VoIP Solutions Provider. As such, it never goes offline, and there is no downtown or disruption to either staff or customers. Calls can easily be made/received via smartphone during the move, or temporarily forwarded to other locations and/or phones (including landlines in home offices).

3. Re-Installing IP Phones takes seconds

Re-installing IP phones in your new location is remarkably fast and simple: all that you need to do is plug them in. They will automatically initialize and start working as reliably as they did before the move. What’s more, all of your system configurations — such as customized greetings, call forwarding rules, voicemail boxes, security settings, ring settings, and more — will remain intact.

To learn more about the benefits of switching to a virtual PBX phone system in the near future — so you can reap the rewards before, during and after your move — contact the DigitalPhone.io team at (336) 560-4400 today. Your consultation with us is free.