Learning Center

How to Choose a Phone System

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When deciding to buy a new phone system, there are several items you need to keep in mind. Follow these steps to help determine what you need.

First, Establish the Basic Business Needs

Consider what is driving your decision for a new phone system by first accessing your current situation. Ask and answer these questions:

· Have you outgrown your current system?

· Are there new features or applications you want to add such as collaboration, video, cell phone integration, desktop screen pops, database lookups or wireless voice?

· Are you having problems maintaining a new system or problems with service level?

· Do you have a high level of missed or abandoned calls?

· Is it difficult for customers to reach the correct employee?

Knowing why you are looking and what basic needs you are trying to achieve will help narrow down your choices.

Second, Analyze Call Flow and Design the Ideal Call Flow for your Business

Now that you know why you are looking for a new phone system, what do you want that phone system to do? Don’t make it about the great new “whiz-bang shinny” feature – go back to basics. It’s important to know why people are calling and how you handle those calls now.

Who will be calling? Customers looking for support? People wanting to buy your products or services? People wanting to reach other people for general information, billing, follow-ups or telemarketing?

Asking these questions will establish the basic needs. For example, if your company has multiple departments, an automated attendant can be used to route calls to those departments based on factors such as time of day, number dialed and reason for call. Or would it make your company more effective if callers were able to reach mobile employees by routing directly to the cell phone?

Third, Design the Best Solution for your Business

Now that you know the why and what, that is, why you are considering a new phone system and what you need that phone system to do, it’s time to analyze the how. At this point you will probably be working with a consultant or voice communications company.

Here are some things to consider that can help guide you through this process.

· Consider what existing infrastructure can be used with the new system. For example, cabling. Today’s converged IP-PBX systems often support both IP and digital/analog phones and your current cabling can be used.

· Discuss with your vendor how the proposed system will handle exact call flow sequences – this  will prove if the solution works for your business.

· Always be conscious of future growth – it is typical to plan for your new communications system to be in operation for a minimum of 7 years. A good rule of thumb is they system should have double what you believe is your growth projection.

Conclusion

As with most buying decisions, the best decisions are made when you are completely aware of the specific reasons that are driving your buying decision. By focusing on how calls are currently handled, what the pain points are for both customers and employees, and having some sense of your future growth and needs, you will make the best decision.

A good communications solutions provider can be your best asset in this process. Find a vendor that will work with you to help you identify needs specific to your business and leverage they best available technology to meet those needs.

Buying A Phone System

Your guide to buying a business phone system.

Your enterprise network – on demand

Today, companies and firms, whatever their size or business model, need to stay connected. However, the cost of their network equipment is often not in line with their real use. Obtaining a network infrastructure that meets business demands and adapts to their actual needs is an important challenge. Keeping costs in line with the ups and downs of the business is also an ongoing challenge. If you don’t want to pay for network equipment when it is not in use, then applying a cloud model to equipment is an ideal solution for minimizing payments. By paying for only what you use at fixed daily costs, you avoid paying for a network that isn’t used over a weekend, during holidays or even for several months if there is low seasonal activity.

This new model first appeared two years ago in Australia where companies were quick to appreciate the benefits. And, it wasn’t just in one industry, but across many such as school districts, ski resorts, sports arenas, hotels and more, who only pay for what they use.

For example, Accor recently asked ALE teams to see if they could be charged for network equipment, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, telephony/video-over-IP, based on occupancy. Benefits for Accor with this new cloud service is that if a room is not rented out, there is no need to pay for the connections in it. The time for paying for unused equipment is gone. It’s time to align costs to actual corporate activities and cash flow.

A payment model that is in sync with revenue

The model has already exceeded seasonal sectors: In the UK, the government will pay nothing in CAPEX (equipment purchase), only OPEX (expenses by activity). It’s all about evolution. Companies want to invest at the same pace as their business grows and have specific needs for certain features such as telecommunication solutions.

Many companies, who do not have the financial resources to spend for the long term, are open to this type of service. For example, when construction begins on a new building, its network equipment needs will put demands on the existing building’s network. Buying enough equipment to support the expected new network requirements is a financial burden that puts pressure on the project from the start. Meanwhile pay-on-demand connections level the playing field against competitors.

This ability to provide on-demand network capabilities is also important for CIOs to address. If the technical directors do not find ways to act quickly, they will be hampered by a need to find more purchasing budget to start their projects, then they run the risk of losing visibility and control over their IT responsibilities.

Manage the physical infrastructure as a service

In practice, network on demand equipment has enterprise applications with a reporting function, which send a statement every hour to the seller that installed the equipment to generate a monthly bill. Taking readings at the source is no problem and relies on the economic model of a domestic Internet server. The equipment continues to belong to the provider and the user is charged according to the specific services they use, such as video on demand or long-distance telephony. Often these facilities enable companies to regulate their consumption and avoid any unpleasant surprises.

This metering capability also provides resellers the ability to offer additional managed services. In addition to pay-per-use, the new tools analyze the cost of network traffic and provides resellers information that they can use to give advice on how to be even more efficient in their use of the network. To date, this is the only network management tool that takes the analysis to an application level (how such software is used, is the network appropriately sized for this use, etc.) This allows for more accurately prioritized business flows to prevent degradation of the user experience on applications.

For quicker expansion, this type of service is rendered by a supplier. Moreover, the company retains the option to train its internal teams and to buy access to analytics to optimize its own network themselves. But, from the moment the infrastructure is considered a service, companies tend to rely on a supplier whose mission will be to ensure proper operation. In this model, internal technicians are able to refocus their time on the integration of cloud applications such as Salesforce, along with the rest of the company’s business applications. It’s predicted that by 2017, many companies will choose to pay for all of their network functions “on demand”, as this system is attractive for all the reasons I’ve mentioned.

How to cook a good unified communication solution?

OpenTouch Conversation tutorials made easy

I consider myself a rather good cook. I like to cook, and to eat, and love almost everything related to food. Nowadays I look at recipes to get the whole idea of the meal, then work it up on my own. But when I started getting hooked on cooking, I was very far from being able to do that with confidence.

I imagine it happens to almost everyone, that relatable moment when you want to do a simple action, but have no idea how to do it. In cooking, that happened when I first came upon words like “blanch the onions” or “sautéed meat”.

And here is where the magic of YouTube begins. Two clicks, a few letters on my keyboard and I can find a video explaining what a sauté of veal is, and how to make it. A short, very focused and easy to repeat video is available to help me to hone my skills at home, instead of going to cooking classes and asking a chef.

That is what “How To” videos are all about: Helping people to understand short actions, and how to do them on their own. This kind of video is not only available for cooking — just type “how to” on YouTube and you will see the range of videos available, from “how to draw” to “how to tie a tie”, every topic is covered (or close enough).

Knowing all that, when I started using the Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch® Suite applications, of course I searched for videos. I first watched complete tutorials videos like the one for OpenTouch Conversation for PC. These videos are useful because they show a complete use case with features and applications to your daily job that you might not even know existed.

So it was handy when I discovered the OpenTouch Conversation 2.2 Tutorials — they are short videos (from 25 to 50 seconds – but truly helpful), focused on one and only one action. Perfect for someone who knows how to navigate through the app but needs information on specific topics. Last but not least, these videos will be updated at every new release, helping people understand the new features more easily.

Let me add this little tip, if you binge watch them by viewing the whole playlist, you might even discover some features you had absolutely no idea existed! For example, did you know that you can use OpenTouch Conversation as a softphone? Well now you do! Happy viewing and hope you find these “how to’s” helpful. Let me know here!

Is Your Phone System Bad For Customer Satisfaction?

Technology-Consutation-phoneCustomer satisfaction is not just about the quality and value of your products and services. It is also about how quickly clients, partners and suppliers can reach you, how well they are greeted, and how long they need to stay online to have their questions answered.

Satisfied customers generate repeat business, and effective communications can dramatically raise your level of service. Ensure that you handle incoming inquiries professionally with an efficient greeting system that welcomes clients by name and rapidly refers them to the right sales person.

Making Public Administration More Efficient

ProductivityTo serve the public, you need to focus on client satisfaction and always be reachable, at your desk or on the move. If you leave your office, you must be able to forward calls to voice mail and check voice mail remotely while maintaining privacy and a professional image. The communication system must handle call overflow when you are busy serving a client. The system must provide end-to-end call management, with a professional welcome and efficient call routing to the right destination. To increase staff productivity, the system needs to be integrated with administration operations.

OPENTOUCH SUITE FOR SMB TO THE RESCUE

The OpenTouch Suite for SMB for Public Administration tailors the communication system to the unique needs of your organization, whether it is a small town hall or a government ministry, by providing:

  • Feature-rich applications that keep you connected and improve call handling
  • A flexible communication server and network infrastructure with powerful embedded features
  • A range of wireless and wireline digital and desk phones for professional IP or digital telephony

The OpenTouch Suite for SMB for Public Administration enables busy staff to better serve the public with an efficient, featurerich communication system. The OpenTouch Suite for SMB provides end-to-end call management, seamless, flexible services and on-site mobility.

Cloud Phone Systems

Open Touch Cloud Telephone

OpenTouch Conversation for iPhone – Overview

Building Your WiFi Network

WiFiIf you are building or considering building your Wi-Fi network, our tutorial will help you realize the most efficient, reliable, secure and extensible solution for your business. Download our Wi-Fi tutorial to help you plan and select the best Wi-Fi for your business.

Our tutorial contains crucial subjects that will help you drive a successful Wi-Fi project. One that is capable of evolving with your business needs for the next 5 years. Some of the questions covered include:

  • How many access points do you need?
  • Do you need a controller or not?
  • How many users can each access point support?
  • How will you power your access points?
  • Do you need a single or dual-band radio solution?
  • How can you plan for future growth?
  • What is the value of a site survey?

We hope you find this tutorial a valuable tool in your selection process. Since 1968 Telspan has provided organizations like yours with complete telecommunications solutions. Telspan looks at your business and designs a system that operates the way you need it to. By combining system installation, maintenance, coordination and consultative services, we create a communications solution that fits your business and its changing communications requirements.

If you would like more details on what communications system is best for you please call us at 860-761-1411.

Welcome To The New PC Era

Communication is changing. The PC is no longer at the center of our working world, and location and devices are not important. Choice is everything — you should be able to leave your desk and pick up right where you left off on any of your devices.