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!

4 Signs that Your Business Should Upgrade to a VoIP Phone System

voip phone systemIn life, there are signs that alert us to potential trouble — and if we’re attentive and wise, we heed these warnings and avoid bigger problems in the future.

For example, our car may be sluggish and sputtering, and pleading with us for a tune up or some preventative maintenance. And our bodies often tell us through various aches and pains that we need to dial things down and take a break — or else a break may be thrust upon us.

Now, what does this have to do with telecommunications? It’s this: businesses also receive warning signs that their conventional landline phone system is no longer supporting their success and growth — on the contrary, it’s bogging them down and pulling them back. And while these signs aren’t as blatant as a car dashboard warning light, they’re pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for.

And so, here are 4 signs to help you clearly see that it’s time (or make that past time) for your business to upgrade from a conventional landline phone system to an advanced VoIP phone system:

  1. Your telecommunications costs are much higher than they should be.

Here’s something that most people don’t know: phone companies don’t make a great deal of profit from residential customers; in fact, sometimes they even lose money. But business customers are another matter entirely! They’re nothing short of cash cows, which is why bills range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars per month — and that’s on top of a wide range of other fees, such as for maintenance, technical support, and so on.

VoIP phone systems dramatically lower business telecommunication costs — and not just for the first year. The savings continue into the future, since there are no maintenance costs, no update or upgrade costs, no long distance costs, and adding numbers or extensions does NOT require physically adding new underground lines — which makes doing so extremely affordable.

Add up the numbers, and most businesses can expect to see a year-over-year savings of at least 40% compared to a conventional landline phone system. And it’s certainly not uncommon to realize savings of well over 50%.

  1. Your remote workers are out of the loop.

While remote working isn’t new, in the last few years it has skyrocketed. As noted by Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the US labor force now works remotely at least 20 percent of the time. And with the rise of tablets and other mobile technology devices, these numbers will only increase in the years ahead.

The good news is businesses that enable remote working substantially reduce overhead costs — which is especially valuable and vital for startups and small businesses who don’t just want to maximize working capital, but need to in order to survive.

The bad news is that conventional phone systems typically keep remote workers on the outside looking in, which makes collaboration difficult, drains productivity and reduces customer satisfaction. That’s where VoIP enters the picture and changes the game!

With a VoIP phone system, all employees, contractors and other authorized system users are connected on a unified, centralized cloud-based platform, which they can access anytime from and any device: computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Instead of working on disconnected islands, remote workers — whether they spend 100% of their time out of the office, or occasionally work in the field or from a home office (or their favorite Starbucks!) — are always in the loop, and can effectively collaborate, communicate and contribute.

  1. You’re losing business to larger competitors.

These days, SMBs can’t afford to be perceived in the marketplace as having less capacity and credibility than their enterprise-level competitors — or else some customers will take their business elsewhere. Unfortunately, this is what happens when SMBs are saddled with an old fashioned conventional phone system, which offers little more than features that haven’t been innovative since the 1980s: call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, and so on.

Of course, this begs the question: why don’t these SMBs simply add advanced calling features? The answer is even simpler: because phone companies charge an arm and a leg (and often a few other valuable body parts as well!). Remember what we said about business customers being cash cows? This is a perfect example.

A VoIP phone system permanently eliminates this excessive cost barrier, by providing SMBs with a full range of advanced enterprise-grade calling features at no extra cost, such as: voicemail-to-email, voicemail-to-text, video calling, auto attendant, one-number service, direct-inward-dial, and the list goes on.

The end result is that a VoIP phone systems significantly helps SMBs compete with the “big boys” in their marketplace — which is critical for short-term success, and long-term survival.

  1.  Your business is located in an area where brownouts are common.

As noted by a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the nation’s aging and over-burdened utility infrastructure triggers thousands of brownouts each year. These are relatively brief — but certainly noticeable — power outages that can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.

The problem for business is that going off the grid — even for 10 seconds — can mean the difference between impressing a customer, or losing them to the competition. It can also mean critical internal communications get delayed and costly misunderstandings occur.

With a VoIP phone system, fearing brownouts are a thing of the past. That’s because the system is supported on an on-premise network of backup power systems, which immediately and automatically spring into action in the event of power loss. Even if computers and laptops can’t be turned on, users can simply access the VoIP system from their smartphone. Incoming calls from customers, partners, suppliers, vendors or anyone else continue as usual with no disruption or reputation-damaging “we’re sorry, the number you have called is not in service” recordings.

If your business is experiencing any — or possibly all — of the above, then it’s clearly time to upgrade to a VoIP phone system! To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

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Carolina Digital Awarded Montgomery Community College Contract for New VoIP Phone System

Hosted telecommunications firm Carolina Digital announced that it has been awarded a contract by Montgomery Community College to install a state-of-the-art hosted VoIP phone system at the school’s campus in Troy, North Carolina.

Carolina Digital was selected by Montgomery Community College’s leadership team per a competitive and formal bidding process that lasted several months, and involved multiple vendors. Ultimately, the decision to go with Carolina Digital was based on a combination of the company’s technical expertise, capacity, service commitment, quality assurance, reputation and cost-effectiveness. The new hosted phone system includes more than 100 certified VoIP-based phones, and implementation is expected to be complete by mid-December.

“We recently made upgrading our phone system technology a top priority,” commented Cindy Ellison, Dean of Technology and Resources at Montgomery Community College. “With Carolina Digital, we are saving approximately 80 percent compared to the cost of upgrading our old system, while accessing a range of new and advanced calling features that our team is excited about using, such as voicemail to email. We are also very impressed by the crisp and clear audio quality, and the fact that there is no added support or maintenance burden for our IT team is a significant advantage.”

“Our relationship Montgomery Community College started more than six months ago when Cindy reached out and asked questions about our solutions and products,” commented Carolina Digital’s CEO Nicky Smith. “We were pleased to be invited to participate in the competitive bidding process, and are looking forward to being a long-term strategic partner to help the school maximize their ROI in the years ahead.”

Added Smith: “Many community colleges around the country are fed up dealing with legacy telephone companies and PBX hardware vendors, which charge exorbitant fees and lack personalized customer support. That is a clear contrast to our team of in-house experts, who pride themselves on delivering personalized, responsive service. What’s more, we can just as effectively communicate with technical experts and specialists, as we can with executives and end users. To us, world-class support and service isn’t an add-on to what we do. It’s built into our DNA, and it makes all the difference to our customers.”

For additional information regarding Carolina Digital, visit http://carolinadigital.net or email inquiry(at)carolinadigital(dot)net.

About Carolina Digital

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 landlines, cell phones or VoIP phones.

Inteliquent Seeking to Raise Profile

Inteliquent connects millions of phone calls and text messages from U.S. telecom companies like AT&T and Sprint, as well as next-generation communication providers like app developers. It’s a critical role in how people around the world connect each day, but few people know its services exist.

The company’s CEO Matt Carter is looking to change that. ‘We are seeing an explosion of text messaging growth among the population and what these companies are looking for is an alternative network to help them to accommodate all that growth – and that is where we come in,’ said Carter. Last week, Inteliquent said it generated revenue of $90.8 million in the second quarter of 2016, an increase of 71.6%, or $37.9 million, from $52.9 million of revenue in the second quarter of 2015. The growth was primarily driven by an increase in minutes of use, as well as an increase in the average rate per minute. The company said its second quarter 2016 net income of $9 million compared to $10.0 million in second quarter of 2015, while its adjusted EBITDA of $19.2 million in second quarter 2016 compared to $21.0 million in second quarter 2015. Minutes of use increased 55.8% to 53.9 billion minutes in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 34.6 billion minutes in the second quarter of 2015. The average rate per minute for the second quarter of 2016 was $0.00168, an increase of 9.8%, compared to $0.00153 for the second quarter of 2015. Inteliquent has a fortress balance sheet with zero debt, $120 million of cash and plenty of borrowing capacity. Carter said the cash position serves a number of purposes including M&A and a dividend. ‘Our cash position helps us win major deals with customers,’ said Carter. ‘If a customer wants to outsource a major part of their network services to us, they can be reassured that they are working with a company that will be around tomorrow.’