Business VoIP Simplified | Manufacturing enterprise technology
For businesses of all sizes, the pandemic has accelerated the transition to hybrid information technology solutions that facilitate remote and in-office communication and collaboration for customers and employees.
In today’s market, this increasingly involves mobile and desktop phones with built-in software that offers sophisticated voice, video, messaging, and workforce management capabilities.
This has increased the complexity of phone system requirements and given businesses a plethora of options. Users generally operate from desk phones and mobile devices and work more in and out of the office, so there is a greater demand for message forwarding to avoid missed calls.
In addition, a host of new services beyond calls are often expected, such as short message service (SMS)/multimedia messaging service (MMS), video conferencing, visual voicemail and call recording.
On top of all this, the phone system is increasingly connected via APIs to existing business systems such as contact centers, workforce management, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, so important data can be monitored and evaluated in different ways.
The challenge for businesses, however, has been dealing with quality and integration issues, as well as ever-increasing vendor prices and additional fees that can end up costing upwards of $70 per user every month.
When managers need services to stay operational but don’t have the time or inclination to deal with complex billing, they can feel captive to their technology provider.
“Business owners today feel beleaguered by all the software-as-a-service costs that are constantly rising, never falling. renewal or any changes,” said Eric Brackett, president of BTI Communications Group, a converged technology provider serving the business and logistics industries.
The company acts as a single-source supplier of complex telephony (VoIP), network and physical security systems, down to cabling and conduit installation as well as cybersecurity monitoring and protection.
“Bait-and-switch phone system pricing is a huge burden on businesses when it becomes overhead and operating expenses,” he adds. “Instead, managers want to capitalize the full cost over a few years or own the system with minimal operating expenses.”
Additionally, businesses prefer a phone system that includes access to all service options upfront, whether used or unused, at a low fixed monthly rate, eliminating additional costs and complexity.
“Business owners and managers appreciate having one line item on the invoice that covers everything. When prices don’t change for a set period of time, it eliminates the problem of escalating expenses and unexpected additional costs,” Brackett said.
He notes that such a system can improve both the customer and employee experience by integrating web services, including voice, video, SMS/MMS, smartphones and PCs, as well as the contact center. , CRM and workforce management.
“Today, a business phone system must allow working from anywhere, whether in the office, at home or on the go and offer the full range of communication technologies,” said Brackett.
He adds that some of the most advanced market options are now easier than ever to integrate and use. These allow company employees to use their own smartphones without buying new equipment since the service works with almost all mobile phone providers.
To streamline usage, a web portal can allow users to easily take control and manage the entire system through a simple interface. Video conferencing also makes it easy to collaborate anywhere on any device and some or all calls can be recorded and retrieved as needed.
Optimizing enterprise telecoms
Astral Energy of Montvale, New Jersey buys energy wholesale and retails it to over 15,000 businesses in the B2B marketplace. Ashton Fox, COO of Astral Energy, was looking for a more robust and stable solution than that provided by his existing telecommunications service.
“Many of our customers work on their smartphones while on the road, so it’s important to send text messages and multimedia messages to communicate with them. If our customers are having trouble reaching us or if we’re having trouble reaching them at because of our phone system, it doesn’t work,” Fox said.
“We were having problems with call quality, SMS and MMS service and technical support from our provider,” he adds. “We also wanted better price transparency. We didn’t want to find out later that we really needed a certain feature and be asked to pay more each month, which would impact our budget,” Fox said.
As a solution, Fox and Astral Energy turned to a new option in the enterprise market called GoodPhone by BTI which provides a complete web, voice, video, SMS, MMS, CRM, contact and labor for customers and employees.
The service works on smartphones and desk phones, as well as PCs used as phones.
A complete telephone service with all the necessary options costs a fixed monthly rate of less than $25/user. During the contract period, each user can use an unlimited number of telephones under the same flat rate. Phones can also be rented or purchased from BTI or existing VoIP devices used.
When employees use their personal smartphone by downloading the GoodPhone application, they no longer need to give their personal information to manage work calls. Instead, they can provide customers with a single office number to reach them and make or receive calls from their web phone, mobile app, or desk phone while still displaying the office number.
“Employees give only one work number and all calls and texts remain on the GoodPhone portal on their smartphone or PC application. If a customer calls their number and they do not answer on their smartphone, the call can be routed to company voicemail, not their personal voicemail,” says Brackett.
The service also allows businesses to send SMS promotions and contact customers via SMS and MMS messages, as well as track responses. Employees can monitor messages and set automatic replies with custom text from an account.
The service makes it easier to resolve customer issues by enabling searchable text archives with a 360-degree view of customer interactions. When video conferencing is required, the service currently allows up to 1,000 people to participate and up to 25 to share a screen.
Fox is very satisfied not only with the ease of implementation of the GoodPhone service, but also with its quality and reliability.
“The phones shipped to our office were already programmed, so I just had to plug them in. They basically handed me a turnkey system,” Fox said.
Fox understands that the technology integrator is not just a telephone company, which he says has helped improve system reliability.
“The system is much more comprehensive and robust than what we had before. He is very reliable and we have had no problems. In a year we had less than 20 minutes of downtime and they were very responsive in resolving this issue,” he said.
Fox credits the telecommunications service with lightening its director and COO roles. GoodPhone makes it easy to monitor and manage the workforce from anywhere and includes a web-based phone and smartphone app, call statistics/call center dashboard, and real-time reporting and historical.
“As a manager, how I can see and manage the entire backend is important. Unlike many apps, the mobile app actually works and doesn’t just direct you to a website or browser. I’m able to do pretty much anything I can do on a desktop inside the app,” Fox said.
“I’m able to manage my team more effectively with the service,” he adds. “For example, if there’s a problem with a customer on a phone call, I can quickly retrieve the recording on my phone to help resolve it.”
Other businesses also find it useful to simplify the complexity of their phone systems at a low, fixed monthly rate.
Market Contracting Services, a construction company in Chicago, Illinois, had remodeled its facilities and planned to buy expensive landline phones for the office, but reconsidered when its technology integrator suggested a better option, according to Esmeralda Macias, director of the corporate office.
“With the new VoIP smartphones that BTI has, we don’t have to pay for landlines. We can now see everything online through a portal, so we can see all incoming and missed calls,” she said.
According to Macias, employees no longer need to sit at a desk to take calls since they can do so wherever they have an Internet connection.
“Even after hours, we can forward calls to our smartphones. This translated into better customer support and more sales,” she said.
From a budgetary point of view, the VoIP telephone system was also a success. Not only does the system eliminate current carrier bills, it also includes unlimited local and national long distance.
“Landlines and service were going to cost a lot more. By implementing GoodPhone, we’ve already taken a head start financially – and we’re only just beginning to utilize the capabilities of VoIP phones,” she concludes.
Business telecommunications systems have long been complex and expensive, leading to user frustration. However, with more choice in the market today, businesses that integrate essentially all required telecommunications services through VoIP phones at a low fixed cost can streamline their operations and gain a competitive advantage.