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Cloud/Hosted VoIP Phone Systems vs. Premise Based VoIP Phone Systems

Cloud/Hosted VoIP systems have become a preferred choice for many that are looking for a new UC solution for their offices. And on the surface it's easy to see why. In most cases there is a small initial investment, one bill for equipment and service, the entire solution managed entirely by your hosted provider, latest technology, etc. However there are advantages and disadvantages to both cloud/hosted VoIP as well as premise based VoIP designs that should be considered before investing in a new solution for your office. Office Telesystems has taken this into consideration, offering both system designs. Here are examples of cloud and premise based VoIP systems:

NetFortris Fonality Cloud VoIP

Avaya IP Office


Advantages and Disadvantages to Premise Based and Hosted Solutions


Pros and Cons for Premise Based (server on site) Solutions (CapEx or OpEx Investment Options)

Pros

Favorable total cost of ownership long term for just a few sites
Security of network, control of your own equipment
Comparable feature set to cloud VoIP
More features on desk sets
Higher level of equipment support/dealer support, remote administration
Life span‐if system is leased, retain benefits of equipment after lease, no equipment payments (average phone system lifespan is 7-10 years)
CapEx or OpEx finance options
Remote worker options

Cons

Upfront equipment cost for CapEx/cash purchase (OpEx lease can offset this)
Integration to separate services provider, 2 or more bills
Cost of professional services added to initial CapEx, cost of upgrades ( can wrap into your lease to offset this)
Equipment possibly outdated quickly or no future upgrades available (Make sure your equipment is NEW or supported by manufacturer and provides software updates)


Cloud/Hosted VoIP Solutions Pros and Cons (OpEx)

Pros
Flexibility
Low cost initial investment
Multi-site integration
Lower short term total cost of ownership
Bundled payment plan for both equipment and service in most cases
Quick, easy disaster recovery
Easy to relocate endpoint devices, remote workers, remote administration
Robust software applications for call center, CRM integration,

Cons
Higher long term total cost of ownership (continual monthly payments)
Basic feature set (upgrades significantly increase monthly cost)
Lack of performance guarantees unless requested in contract at time of purchase
Minimal equipment and service for your money
Most require minimum 3 year contract term, locked in
Longer response times for service

Office Telesystems offers both on premise and cloud/hosted VoIP. We can help you determine which option is best. Give us a call or Request a Quote today.

Contact us today. (972) 484-4900, or in Tarrant County, (817) 529-1700. Nationwide toll free (844) 544-4900.

Getting the Most from Your Call Center, Inbound Service Center

Many customers who operate call centers or inbound service centers are interested in ways to connect their phone system, whether cloud or premise based VoIP, with their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce, Act, Goldmine, Sugar and others. In this blog we will discuss the various ways to integrate phone systems with CRM and benefits of CRM integration, along with chat, conference, whiteboarding and other features.

Request a Quote Here

Initiate outbound calls from a CRM application, WebPage, Outlook

NetFortris Fonality Cloud VoIP

Click-to-Call, Highlight Dial and more

Systems such as the NetFortris/Fonality Call Center Edition software includes a feature called Click-to-Call which allows you to hyperlink the phone numbers in your web based CRM applications contacts so that when you click the phone number, it originates an outbound call from your extension telephone. Other CRM integration tools such as NEC's UC Suite can provide similar integration.

Programs like Outlook that use a standard TAPI interface will be able to initiate calls from your contacts using CRM integration software from NetFortris Fonality, Ayava, NEC and Mitel products we carry.

TAPI

To initiate a call on a VoIP phone from an instruction page on a Windows-based software PC or laptop, a TAPI interface, which is available on many digital and VoIP systems, can be used. This is useful if a CRM application running on a desktop or laptop would like to place a call through the VoIP system to the associated employee's desk phone.
A TAPI driver is included in most CRM integration software for this functionality. It was developed in order to give the Microsoft dialer built into numerous tools (Including Microsoft Outlook) access to place calls through your phone system. 

  1. Support will be restricted to only manufacturer tested Windows versions and service packs.
  2. Support hours will be coordinated in advance by appointment only. 

Screen Pop/Web Launcher

Systems such as the Netfortris/Fonality cloud VoIP may include an optional software program named HUD Web Agent that is used to identify inbound calls by Caller-ID information in your CRM, among many other things. One of the features of HUD is a setting called “Web Launcher” that will allow you to open up a custom configured URL automatically in a web browser window when a call comes in. You can pass the Caller-ID number to your web application in a variable to allow you to look up your customer information by Caller-ID information. Also available, along with caller-ID number information, is the caller-ID name and the extension number of the extension receiving the call.
You can configure the URL to match the URL needed to integrate with your web-based CRM application. We know of customers using this to pull up customer/opportunity records in SugarCRM and Salesforce.com CRM systems using this feature.

Software CRM integration from Avaya, NEC, Mitel and NetFortris/Fonality allow for incoming calls to "Screen Pop" contact information directly onto your PC or laptop screen in your existing CRM. VoIP deskphones and IP Softphones can provide this capability, whether from a hosted or on premise VoIP offering. Ask one of our expert sales reps for more information.

Open a URL when placing an Outbound call

Similarly to the functionality described above, many CRM Integration tools will allow you to open up a custom configured URL automatically in a web browser window when a call is originated from within your CRM software. You can pass the caller-ID number of the number being dialed to your web application in a variable to allow you to look up your customer information by caller-ID information. Also available, along with caller-ID number information, is the caller-ID name and the extension number of the extension placing the call.

Detailed Call Records

For some CRM integrations, the logged historical records of each call are needed in order to compile a history of calls between customers and agents. Although this is an advanced, customized integration that will be very specific to your CRM application, we do sometimes get requests for this. You can collect the call data records (CDR) from your call accounting system in Comma Separated Values (CSV) format and insert them into a database of your choice, or store them in the software with a specified PC or laptop design with adequate storage to handle your call reporting achives. Products such as Metropolis Office Watch, Office Watch XT and Profit Watch are considered the very best in the industry for management of historical call data. For many desktop software applications, this information can be provided in call records for the individual user as well.

Custom Call Routing and Special Configuration

Many call centers operate multiple queues, and want to be able to intelligently route calls to different Queues using number dialed (DID) or by more specific information entered by the customer. The NetFortris/Fonality Call Center Edition already includes a Call Sequence item named “Go to Submenu by Number Dialed” that you can use to route calls based on what phone number was dialed by the caller. However, sometimes more intelligent routing is desired for applications like the following:

  • Prompt caller for contract number, and be routed to a priority queue if they have an active contract in your database.
  • Look at the caller-id of the inbound caller, and look up what state in the US they are calling from, and route them to the closest local office.
  • Prompt the user to enter their zip code to be routed to your nearest retail store.
  • Integration with your logistics system to allow customers to know when shipments are due to arrive.
  • Allow lookup of billing information (last payment received, remaining balance, next payment due date, etc.
  • Other features in cloud and premise based VoIP systems desktop software offerings include conference calling, chat between extensions, whiteboarding a Microsoft Office file for training and other features.
  • Voice recognition and text to speech voice synthesis features are available, along with other custom integrations. Each project is proposed based on custom requirements and is offered using fixed rate pricing based on engineering time required to perform the integration. 

All of the above (and more) are available from Office Telesystems are available via cloud VoIP and premise based VoIP offerings. For cloud VoIP, Office Telesystems is your authorized NetFortris Fonality dealer for local and nationwide implementation.

Contact us today to find out how we can help your support or service based call center or contact center become a better customer service environment. Contact us today! (972) 484-4900 or (817) 529-1700. Toll Free (844) 544-4900.

Why Do You Need Call Accounting or Call Management Software?

Why do You Need Call Accounting in your Office?


 Here are 20 Reasons: Request a Quote


1. Detect fraudulent phone activity. Track questionable inbound and outbound calls, helping you quickly detect problems and avert risks.
2. Reduce Labor Cost by identifying peak calling times, adjust staff accordingly
3. Alerts on defined trigger patterns for calls like 911, 411 and other sensitive numbersGet 911 notification by extension, text, phone call, on screen.
4. Facilitate timely client billing and cost recovery. Set time/date for billing reports that automatically calculate usage and cost by client, tenant or partner.
5. Scheduled Reports. Email reports automatically based on preset criteria, allowing managers to respond immediately to call volume changes. This can reduce your labor costs.
6. Measure Campaign Responses and Effectiveness. Know where your prospects are calling from and to which campaign or ad they are responding to.
7. Analyze Traffic. Capacity planning tools help you identify peak calling times and who’s calling. What-if analysis allows you to balance infrastructure needs and take proactive measures to ensure uninterrupted and efficient phone service.
8. Flexible call costing & time-billing-Flexible options for bill back.
9.Trunk Analysis-Eliminate underutilized trunks for cost savings
10. Multi-site capability providing consolidated or individual office reporting 
11. Export reports to multiple formats like Excel, Word, PDF, HTML (to view using Web browser on the internet from Web folders)
12.Call costing with user-programmable rate plans and rate tables
13.Automatic scheduling of all reports and data archival
14. Time billing reports based on hourly consulting rates
15. Completes the feedback loop on agent productivity and phone presence, telemarketing efforts and service levels
16. Understand call distribution (IN/OUT) for agents during various times in the day and days of the week by category
17.Wildcard searches for random/specific calls, information
18. Import contact information from ASCII files generated by Outlook etc.
19.Network-based remote and consolidated multi-site reporting capability.

20. A complete call management tool to increase productivity, profitability, with rapid return on investment! 

Call Accounting/Call Reporting software is available for both cloud and premise based VoIP phone systems. Ask for a product demonstration today! See more at our Call Management Software page.

Request a quote or call (972) 484-4900 / (817) 529-1700. Toll Free (844) 544-4900.

What Type of Voice Services or Cloud VoIP Should You Invest In and Are You Paying too Much?

Office Telesystems offers carrier services and cloud VoIP solutions. Read on!

Analog (POTS) lines, PRI, SIP Trunks and Cloud VoIP Phone Systems usually have a contract associated with them. Which is right for you, and are you paying too much?

No matter what voice and internet carrier services (AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Business, Logix, etc.) you have for the phone system in your office, chances are you have an auto renewal clause in your contract (most agreements are 3 year terms) with the provider you currently have. In most cases, a written cancellation 60-90 days before your contract ends is required on your contract. If you do not address this prior to your contract expiration, your providers contract may auto renew and you’ll be paying 30-50% more than you should for your services for another year, and even longer in some cases. This includes cloud or hosted VoIP phone systems, which are also offered in a contract term format.
Check your contract now. If your voice/internet services or cloud/hosted VoIP solution are coming out of contract, Office Telesystems could save you up to 50% or more on these services, which can also include faster internet, more inbound/outbound lines and other service enhancements. Many cloud VoIP phone systems also include voice/internet carrier services along with your desk phones, endpoints, and the features associated with them. If your phone system is a premise based VoIP design, by reducing your voice and internet service provider costs it can also help you afford that lease payment on a new system, perhaps even pay for the entire monthly payment! Office Telesystems works with several different providers so we can find the right one for your needs. Office Telesystems offers premise based VoIP phone systems as well as cloud based VoIP systems such as Fonality cloud/hosted solutions.

Service Types Include:

Analog or “POTS” lines Request a Quote
These are the type phone lines you have at home or in a small businesses. They use copper wire or may be delivered by VoIP. Many small businesses still use them if their needs are minimal. 2-6 lines coax or ethernet type internet are still cheaper than dedicated fiber services designed for larger applications and many don't require a contract of 3-5 years. They are adequate for most offices with 2-12 employees. Some of these services are provided with no contract.

PRI ServiceRequest a Quote
PRI has been around for a while but is still very prominent in the marketplace. Each PRI circuit allows for up to 23 voice channels or “call paths” and can be sold as a “fractional” PRI, usually provided with 6 or 12 channels instead of a full PRI's 23 channels. You can even have multiple PRI's. Many larger premise based systems can hold 8 PRI's or more with 23 Channels each! There are some advantages of PRI services over analog lines. All carriers we partner with provide PRI type services as part of their carrier offerings. In most cases, systems will require one PRI card for per PRI circuit. The cost to deliver PRI service to offices has decreased steadily over the last few years, but may be more that others such as SIP trunks. As contracts come up for renewal, there is a good chance for a customer to save money on services renewal, enough to justify a new phone system or an increase in internet speed (bandwidth). PRI generally gives better sound quality throughout your system over analog lines, along with some offering direct dial numbers, a block of long distance minutes and less cost per line than analog lines when your needs require over 8 lines. PRI also can let your phone system provide additional features that are not available with analog lines, such as linking your mobile device and other features.

Cloud or Hosted VoIP systems Request a QuoteIf you have a cloud based VoIP system, you usually have a contract term associated with your system. Evaluate your system 6 months or so before your contract expires to see if it is providing you the features you need, and if you are getting adequate support from the provider. In many cases, if you have purchased your VoIP desk phones, you can re-purpose these phones onto a new cloud or hosted provider.

SIP Trunks: Request a Quote
Cloud or hosted VoIP systems utilize SIP trunking, but todays premised based systems can utilize this type of service as well. SIP Trunks are a VoIP type voice line, or “call path”, similar to PRI design but with a different delivery to your office. The number or SIP trunks can vary from just a few to a few hundred in one location, whether in cloud design on premise based. In many cases, SIP trunks can save you money over both PRI and analog lines. Another main advantage to SIP trunks is that multiple area codes can be provided in one location for centralized answering. If you're using a premise based VoIP phone system, you can usually add SIP licenses on the same card in your system that supports your VoIP phones. And as mentioned, SIP licenses for an existing VoIP card will cost less than a PRI card in many cases. Also, SIP service per call path can be less than PRI, so many small businesses can realize larger system benefits such as direct dial numbers, multiple area codes and increased call quality.

Ask Office Telesystems how we can help get you the right services provider for your cloud/hosted VoIP or premise based VoIP system. It could end up providing enough cost reduction monthly to pay for a whole new system! Call us today (972) 484-4900, (817) 529-1700 or visit our website at www.officetelesystems.com. You can also call our nationwide toll free number, (844) 544-4900.

Mobile Extension, Mobile Twinning. Pick Your Flavor!

Request a Phone System Quote Today

For many business owners, organization leaders, and employees alike, the telephone system in their office, whether cloud VoIP or premise based VoIP, is packed with features that are rarely utilized. Many features in today’s business telephone systems have been designed to increase productivity, productivity, customer service and seamlessly connect people anytime at anyplace. A properly designed phone system will give you far reaching benefits you may not realize.

One feature that is valuable to those who are regularly on the go during or after working hours is Mobile Extension, also called Mobile Twinning by some manufacturers. Nearly all of today's cloud and premise based VoIP phone systems include this feature. The ability to be mobile and communicate with your customers and co-workers alike can dramatically improve the efficiency and productivity of an office. Hybrid VoIP Systems such as the Avaya’s IP Office, Mitel MiVoice, NEC SV9100 and SL2100, along with NetFortris/Fonality Hosted VoIP all come with the ability to link your cell phone or mobile device to your office extension. Many systems allow you to call back into the office from your mobile device and use your extensions direct number caller ID to call out from mobile device on your office phone system lines! Using this method presents the caller identification as if the call was being made from your desk. Not only does this preserve your personal contact information, but also appears more professional.

Mobile Extension, Mobile Twinning, Cell Phone and Mobile Device Apps.

There are many benefits to Mobile Extension/Mobile Twinning. With this feature your extensions direct number becomes your one-number access. Paired with a mobile phone app from the manufacturer, you can use your cell phone as an extension from the office as well! Therefore, anyone who tries to reach you only needs one phone number to call and you can keep your cell phone number private for incoming calls and utilizes an office number for outgoing calls. 
How often have you been on an hour long drive back to the office hoping that important call doesn’t get missed? With Mobile Extension/Mobile Twinning, you can be reached regardless. If an incoming call is not answered at the mobile extension, it will utilize your office voicemail. If a Mobile Extension/Mobile Twinning call is answered, users can transfer the call, place on hold, or even engage in a conference call. Check to see if your system is set up with this option. PRI or SIP trunk services are usually required for proper operation of this feature.
Other desktop phone features that can be accessed by Mobile Extension/Mobile Twinning users and cell phone apps include Do Not Disturb, Station and System Speed Dial, Internal Group Paging, Meet Me Answer, Voice Over, Account Code, Park Hold, and Park Hold Answer.
Having the ability to conduct business, professionally and while on the go, can be critical to your business success. Those who travel regularly, take personal time off, or possibly have an unforeseen circumstance come up can all benefit from this useful mobility feature. With the flexibility of Mobile Extension/Mobile Twinning, the benefits are endless. Ask one of our sales experts about how this feature can benefit your business today at

(972) 484-4900 or (817) 529-1700, or visit our website at www.officetelesystems.com. You can also call us from anywhere nationwide at (844) 544 4900.