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Weather closes your office - Is your business phone system ready

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Mar 22, 2018 10:38:00 AM

 

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As the 4th Snow Storm hit New England this March, Granite's support staff spent much of the day helping our customers set up their business phone systems for another unscheduled business closing. Some of our customers have systems that are quite old, so making changes are not as straightforward as with newer systems. 

With a little planning, even legacy business phone systems can be configured so that an unexpected closing is simple and allows your customers to reach you if they really need to.

Simply follow this three step process:

1) Determine what level of support your customers require - For many businesses, simply letting their customers know that your  office is closed is sufficient. Some companies, such as IT support firms, medical practices, and sales organizations, will need their customers to be able to reach a live person. Other firms choose to have their customers leave a message in a mailbox and then call back the clients who need assistance.

2) Determine what options are available with the specific telephone system and network services installed in your office - Contact your phone system provider and discuss what level of support you wish to provide your customers when you are forced to close your office. Don't assume that you are limited by the functions of your phone system. There are creative solutions that combine capabilities of your network services, tricks that all good phone system techs know, and third party apps or software. Apply the KISS principal so that your staff can activate the inclement weather procedure easily and your customer can understand your options. 

3)  Set up the solution and document the procedure - Work with your providers to set up the programming, record the appropriate greetings, and activate any network services / applications that are required for the solution. A little pre-planning goes a long way and will make closing the office a simple process which and keep your customers happy. Lastly, document the procedure and share with anyone who may be tasked with closing the office. 

If you are evaluating new business phone systems, include the above factors in your search. Granite Cloud Phone service supports excellent options for closed and after hours call routing and messaging. Since Granite Cloud Phone System supports remote phones, soft-phones and mobile apps, as well as SMS messaging, you can create a virtual office that allows your employees to be connected to your customers from anywhere at anytime. 

If you'd like to discuss options for closing your office or see if there are services that would benefit your firm, contact me. 

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Gregg Haughton has been helping clients improve productivity, enhance customer service and lower costs since 1996. He has been shoveling snow in New England for even longer.

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Topics: Business Phone System, Customer Service, How to choose a business phone system, Cloud Phone System

What are the advantages of a Cloud Phone System?

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Feb 15, 2018 4:29:58 PM

Top 10 Benefits of a Cloud-Based Phone System

 

1. Fully-Integrated Communications System

Integrating a company’s communications with other business applications for business processes and workflows helps increase efficiency. Business tools that operate in the cloud are easy to deploy, enabling employees to stay connected whether they are in the office or on the go. In this way, the cloud provides a consistent business presence and helps to increase productivity with seamless access to CRM tools, email, instant messaging, voice and videoconferencing.

2. Control Over Modes of Communication

Cloud solutions give employees anytime, anywhere access via a smartphone, desk phone or softphone to all their calling features.

3. High End Business Features

A cloud-based phone system provides small businesses access to the types of network applications that one would typically find at larger corporations. These include features such as a Virtual Assistant, Call Center, Call Recording, and Advanced Reporting. HD Voice IP Phones have superior sound quality.

4. Mobility and Ease of Use

Today’s workplace is increasingly mobile, and small businesses especially need to be able to operate from multiple locations. With a cloud-based system, employees have access to features that allow them to be connected from anywhere so that they can be reached while on the go, giving customer-facing and revenue-producing employees greater control over their productivity.

5. Time Management and Efficiency

Web-based customer portals enable staff to manage their system more efficiently. Full access to a customer’s system and account allows them to spend fewer resources on project management and focus more on work that adds to the bottom line. Cloud solutions can easily integrate with other cloud-based applications, providing mobile employees access to all the features and functionality they need to work just as efficiently as if they were in the office.

6. Flexibility to Scale Up (and Down)

With a cloud-based phone system, businesses can add as many extensions as they need to accommodate heightened call volume, or, if necessary, simply call in to deactivate these extra extensions. Unlike traditional systems, businesses only pay for the services they need for as long as they need them.

7. Business Continuity

A cloud-based communications system is likely to be unaffected by outside factors such as severe weather or other issues that may keep employees from getting to the office. With a cloud-based system, businesses can maintain a consistent presence — and access the tools needed — to keep things running smoothly.

8. Improved Customer Service

With the Virtual Receptionist or Auto Attendant feature, businesses can easily direct calls to various departments and even create greetings unique to a given department. Call Center functionality provides even workload distribution and metrics for monitoring your customers experience.

9. Open Standards IP Phones

Businesses can choose from a wide range of telephone terminals to match the requirements of the user or location. These phones will work on many provider backbones so you can migrate to other service providers without having to buy new equipment. Open standard telephones cost much less that proprietary phone system hardware.

10. Cost Savings

Moving telecommunications off of expensive PBX platforms and to the cloud can be less expensive relative to monthly service rates versus that of a traditional system, helping to reduce costs and, ultimately, increase profitability. Maintenance and repair costs are eliminated.

Granite Communications is New England's premier Cloud Phone Service Provider. If you would like to schedule a consultation to see if cloud phone service would benefit your business, please contact us.

Topics: Cloud Phone System, Hosted Phone System, small business phone system, Business Telephone Systems, How to choose a business phone system

Quick tip on how to choose a busines phone system

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Mar 25, 2011 8:43:00 AM

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OK, so you have decided it's time to replace the phone system that you have been using for ten years. What next?

I am going to make a bold suggestion...before you go to Google and start researching phone systems, talk to an experienced business telephone system sales person. 

What's that? Talk to a salesperson? Are you nuts?

Hold on, and hear me out...

I have been selling business phone systems since 1989. In the past 22 years I have worked with thousands of companies implementing the systems that I designed and sold. I have seen most every problem and opportunity. To each new client, I bring that collective experience.

Now more than ever, you need someone who has experience to help you pick the technology that will improve your customer service, enhance your employee productivity, and lower costs.

A good sales person will ask you questions about your business challenges and goals. Then, drawing on their experience, recommend a solution. A good sales person will help you understand how the technology you are considering will benefit your business. And a good salesperson with manage to conversion from your old to new system and make sure you get the benefits you are paying for.

Finally, after you have the proposal in hand, then research the proposed system.  The Internet is a wonderful tool to validate solutions that experts have suggested.

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Topics: How to choose a business phone system, Business Phone System

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