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Justin Stackawitz

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Is Your Answering Service a Thing of the Past?

Posted by Justin Stackawitz on Dec 2, 2011 3:33:00 PM

You are probably saying to yourself “I thought Answering Services have been a thing of the past for ten years!”. You might be surprised. I have worked with countless business phone systems for organizations that are still, even today, reliant on subscription-based outsourced answering services. Admittedly, the far majority of these are in the medical (or dental, or veterinary, etc.) community, as they naturally have a greater need to ensure that every single call from a patient gets answered appropriately.

As telephone systems, and more specifically voicemail systems, have evolved over the years, businesses have had the opportunity to migrate their after-hours answering responsibilities from the recurring cost of a service that has live humans answering all calls to automated attendants which not only eliminate the need to pay a service on a regular basis, but also will route calls to their intended destination. For industries that do not typically receive emergency level phone calls during non-business hours, this was an easy switch to make…basically a no-brainer. However, for those in the medical industry, or any others for which emergency calls can be received during off hours, there continues to be trepidation that an automated attendant simply cannot replicate the level of service provided by a human being answering a phone call.

We are finding now, though, that because of further advancements in the technology of current voicemail systems, they have the ability to effectively replicate the duties that a live answering service can provide, even in emergency situations. Granite Communications has many clients which have implemented this level of use for their voicemail systems. Using the options available in today’s voicemails, there are medical facilities (and property management companies, and plumbers, and oil/heating companies, etc.) which can simply direct callers to a designated emergency mailbox, which can then immediately notify – by home phone, cell phone, beeper, even e-mail – an on-call Doctor, or technician, or serviceman. This allows the on-call professional to quickly respond to emergency requests from their patients/customers.

Of course there are still operations out there with the philosophy that the only way to properly handle these type of calls is with a live answer 24/7…but as the technology has advanced, so too have the options available to companies in this situation.

Topics: Business Phone System, Business Phone System, busines phone systems, Business Telephone Systems, voicemail, Auto Attendant, Auto Attendant

Self Administration of Your Business Telephone System

Posted by Justin Stackawitz on Nov 18, 2011 4:50:00 PM

For some organizations, it may be tempting to want to have as much direct control over their own business telephone system as possible. This, of course, depends on just how technically savvy the phone system administrator is, and how often changes to the system are anticipated.

For someone with an Information Technology background, they are more likely to be hands-on oriented and would have the wherewithal to make programming changes with their phone system confidently. On the other hand, for someone that is not as comfortable with newer technology (especially in the case of VoIP telephone systems), they are more inclined to want to have someone completely administer system changes for them.

Fortunately, due to the tools that are available to us at Granite Communications, we have the ability to cater to the full spectrum of telephone system administrators. For the folks that prefer to handle everything themselves, we can load programming interfaces directly on their computers locally and arm them with the information to access their system at any time to make changes. In many cases, this can even be as user friendly as a browser-based interface window.

For those that are wary of doing more harm than good by altering their phone systems themselves – and that is a realistic danger – we can simply arrange to make any and all programming changes ourselves. With today’s technology, we can easily gain remote access directly to a customer’s phone system, allowing us to make most changes right from Granite Communications’ office. This helps to remove the burden of system administration from someone that is not comfortable with it.

Lastly, there are those people that fall somewhere in between completely hands-on and completely hands-off. For customers such as this, we will take the responsibility of making major changes that have potentially negative results if not performed properly. At the same time, for more routine programming needs, we can assist this level of customer either by phone or via remote access, by working together with them to make necessary alterations.

All in all, it is Granite Communications’ goal to support our customer base by providing as little or as much hands-on programming help as is desired by the customer…

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