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

Making your Smart Phone Smarter

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Oct 8, 2013 8:34:00 AM

I use my smart phone as a level, flashlight, music player, GPS, contact manager, calender, calculator, game console and, oh yea, a phone. I get my office e-mail and office voice mail and sync with my office contacts with my phone. There seems to be no end to the tricks and tools this little chunk of technology can perform. Every month we hear about new "killer aps".

Here's one that really is impressive. By loading a free ap on my smart phone, and licensing my office phone system for mobility, I can morph my smart phone into my office phone. Mobility allows me to make and receive calls from my smart phone using my office phone extension. Even more impressive, I can transfer calls, record conversations, send calls to my office voice mail, set up conference calls, and access my office phonebook.Mobility Ap

Calls from the Mobility Ap show my office phone number, not my cell, and incoming calls show the caller ID of the incoming call. No one needs to know you are actually at a ball game or fishing. Best of all, you can log in and out so you decide when you want to take calls on your cell. Lastly, if you don't answer, the message in stored in your office voice mailbox so you can treat it like all the other business messages.

If you'd like to call me and talk about my new ap, dial my office number - 203-234-4901. Of course, I may be doing hot yoga, and you'll never know.

Hot Yoga

Topics: VoIP Phone System, Smart Phone, Office Phone, Business Telephone Systems

Adjusting to Your New Business Telephone System

Posted by Justin Stackawitz on Mar 22, 2012 10:35:00 AM

This blog continues the train of thought that I began with an original entry about managing the transition from one phone system to another. In that case, I was referring specifically to overseeing a project and taking care of the important details required when implementing a whole new technology (something that I am very familiar with as a Project Manager!).

But what happens once the install goes without a hitch, and you’re all alone with your shiny new phone system?

Typically, at Granite Communications, our goal is to train the new system users on the basics of everyday use, while intentionally leaving out all the little gory details of every last possible system function that someone might encounter….well, never! This is designed so that the average telephone user can hit the ground running on their new system, while those that intend to take advantage of the more advanced features of a system can fill in those gaps as they move forward (with our guidance, of course).

Hopefully, you have been adequately trained by the folks who installed and programmed the system, so you at least know how to operate your desk telephone enough to be able to make and receive phone calls! But, chances are, there are also some things about the new system which are significantly different than what you were comfortable with on your old system. This can be a challenge. Remember that practice makes perfect! Us humans are, for better or worse, creatures of habit; so after you have spent the last 5 years getting used to the ins and outs of how to efficiently use the telephone on your desk, it should come as no surprise that it would be a bit jarring to have to re-learn a whole new set of habits with your new telephone.

It can become frustrating, and even overwhelming, to make this adjustment, especially if you are someone who relies heavily on your telephone communications. For example, I will never forget the day that  I was doing some follow-up training with the very busy receptionist (after the basic group training) at a fairly large company who had just installed a brand new VoIP telephone system. In this case, she was on day 1 or day 2 with her new system, and was still having trouble getting 100% comfortable with it. Old habits die hard, and after about an hour and a half, she was ready to pull her hair out! The good news is that it wasn’t long before she turned the corner, and started getting used to just how to process all of her calls most efficiently. In fact, I probably could have stopped in two weeks later and she would have taught me a thing or two about the system that I had never seen before!

The moral of the story is that change, ultimately, is good. Initially, there will likely be some growing pains, and there will most definitely be an adjustment period at the very least; but once you come out on the other side of the changeover, and you are comfortable with the new technology, your business will thank you for it.

Topics: Business Telephone Systems, training, train

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, busines phone systems, Business Telephone Systems, voicemail, Auto Attendant

Should I have a maintenance program on my business phone system?

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Sep 23, 2011 2:37:00 PM

Let me start by saying I never buy extended warranties. When I go to Best Buy and the sales person starts bringing up the extended warranty I tell them "Don't even start, I never buy extended warranties." I guess I am a  risk taking fool!
I have to give Chris Hoffman from Great America Leasing in Cedar Rapids, IA credit for helping me realize there is a difference between an extended warranty and a maintenance program. He came to Connecticut a few years ago to help us design our managed services program.
So why should you cover a business phone system with a managed service program? This post will explain why I believe it's a smart business move.
  1. Technology changes - Back when I started selling small business phone systems in 1986, they were stand alone systems. The software was burned on chips on the processor and the system did it's thing without interaction with your computers or data network. If you needed to interface with another system, you added a card that performed that task. Today, business phone systems are yet another application server on your information network. They interact with client PCs, software applications, and servers. So, when another system is upgraded, if you don't keep your phone system software up to date, you can lose that interaction. A managed services program provides a software upgrade subscription so your systems remains compatible.
  2. People forget - A business phone system can have  a transformative  effect on your business, but only if people know how to use it. A managed  services plan provides for ongoing training and as the system evolves will ensure that new capabilities are actually used.
  3. The way you use the system will change - If you get a bill every time you make a change, then you will hesitate to make changes even though it might make you more productive or provide better customer service. I hear it all the time..."I'll just wait until I have a few changes..." If there were no cost, then you'd make the changes that would benefit your business. A managed service plan allows you to have your vendor make changes with no service charges.
  4. Discounts - Typically, a managed service program entitles clients to reductions on additional business with the vendor. If you are a growing firm, or planning more investments in technology, the savings can be substantial.

Does this mean next time I go to Best Buy I'll say "yes" to the salesperson when she brings up an extended warranty? Probably not. But I believe that a well designed managed services program benefits most organizations.

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Topics: VoIP Phone System, Business Telephone Systems, small business phone system, managed services plans

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