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11 Call Center Technologies Business Leaders Must Know [2022]

A comprehensive list of the most important call center technologies.

Many businesses use a suite of call center technologies ranging from basic to cutting-edge. This technology helps companies achieve big benefits like increased efficiency and enhanced customer experiences. But, how …Read More »

FreePBX vs 3CX: Features, Pricing, Deployment

A comparison of FreePBX vs 3CX.

Want to upgrade your business phone system but don’t know which provider is better? In this comparison, we will look at FreePBX vs 3CX, specifically at their features, pricing, deployment, …Read More »

What is E.164?

What is E.164

E.164 is an international phone numbering plan for public telecommunications. This numbering format defines a general format for international phone numbers. It ensures that calls are delivered correctly by assigning …Read More »

Asterisk vs FreePBX: Features, Pricing, Deployment

asterisk vs freepbx

Want to upgrade your PBX but don’t know which provider to choose? In this comparison, we will look at Asterisk vs FreePBX, specifically at their features, pricing, deployment, support, and …Read More »

What is Phone Number Regulatory Compliance?

what is phone number regulatory compliance

This guide talks about phone number regulatory compliance with Global Call Forwarding. Phone Number Regulatory Compliance: An Overview Global Call Forwarding provides virtual phone numbers in more than 150 countries. …Read More »

3CX vs Asterisk: Features, Pricing, Deployment

3cx vs asterisk pbx

Want to upgrade your business phone system but don’t know which provider is better? In this comparison, we will look at 3CX vs Asterisk. More specifically, we’ll review their features, …Read More »

5 Ways to Leverage Time-Based Routing for Global Expansion

Improve your business’ reach and connect with more customers globally with time-based routing. Use this feature to make your business more accessible and to conduct operations in a flexible and reliable manner.

5 Ways to Use Time-Based Routing to Grow Globally

Time-based routing — also known as time of day routing — is a call routing or forwarding feature based on the time customers or business contacts call your business. You can set various call forwarding rules to best suit your business’ communication needs.

For example, with time of day routing, you can forward incoming calls during specific times of the day or days of the week to different numbers, lines, or devices. And so, send incoming calls during specific time periods to your satellite office, home phone, VoIP number, voicemail, or smartphone.

get advanced routing

Here are 5 ways you can use time of day routing for global expansion.

1. Expand to New Regions & Time Zones

Part of running an international company or expanding globally means that your business will have customers in different regions and time zones. This means that you need to be available for sales and customer support during these regions’ peak hours. Which, for some companies, depending on their global reach, means being available at all hours.

Time-based routing can help you route calls to satellite offices in these regions during their peak hours and then back to another location during their peak hours. This way, your business is available for its clientele whenever they need you.

2. BPO & Off-Shore Team Management

Most businesses that want to expand their reach globally choose business process outsourcing or BPOs to conduct standard business princesses and functions and ensure the continuity of operations overseas. Generally, these services include:

  • Sales and lead generation
  • Customer service
  • Accounting and payroll
  • Human resources

With time of day routing, you can have better control over your BPO and off-shore team management. For instance, have calls routed to these services during specific times of the day when the call traffic at your business is high or during off-hours.

3. Remote & Distributed Team Management

Time of day routing is also useful for businesses that have remote workers and distributed teams. Call management is made easy with this feature as you can have calls sent to these remote workers no matter where they are located.

Additionally, you can easily add or remove users to/ from specific ring groups. You can manage and keep track of your distributed teams with this simple functionality.

4. Flexibility for Entrepreneurs & Solopreneurs

Solopreneurs and small business owners need good call management to ensure they are not overwhelmed by customer calls. For this reason, time-based routing can help entrepreneurs decide which times to be active via phone and when to let calls go to voicemail or outsourcing services.

Maybe a tech solopreneur wants to accept calls only between 12 pm and 2:30 pm. For the rest of the day, calls can be forwarded to voicemail or remote offices, as needed. This way, time-based routing ensures business owners more flexibility so they can continue to focus on the product and service development or marketing efforts.

5. Work from Anywhere!

Lastly, time of day routing frees users to work from anywhere. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure or need to relocate, etc., simply have incoming calls sent to your location during time periods convenient for both you and your customers.

Leverage Time-Based Routing And Succeed Globally

If you are ready to expand globally with convenience and ease, time of day routing can be a highly beneficial tool. Get time-based routing when you sign up for any virtual phone number plan with Global Call Forwarding. You can set and adjust time of day settings for your calls as and when needed. Everything can be managed through your online control panel and go into effect immediately. Sign up on our website or call us today to learn more!

How to Expand Your Business to Russia as a Foreigner

Want to expand your business to Russia as a foreigner? You are in luck. Russia, the largest country in the world, is prime for new foreign investments. The country has massive untapped business potential, presenting your company an opportunity to enter the market. Here are some useful resources to help you enter the market successfully.

Expanding Your Business in Russia as a Foreigner

Entering your company in a new market, especially one in a different country, requires documentation and other essential processes like registering the business, finding an appropriate business name, and so on.

Here are a few helpful steps to guide you when expanding your business to Russia as a foreigner.

1. Get the Right Immigration Status

To be able to expand your business to Russia as a foreigner, you will need the appropriate immigration status. And so, it is important to check if your current immigration status allows you to start a business in Russia. If you do not have one yet, you will need to decide if you need a residency or work permit.

2. Decide How to Register Your Business

When expanding your business to Russia as a foreigner, you have the following options:

  • Register as an individual entrepreneur or sole proprietorship.
  • Register using a Branch or Representative Office (RO).
  • Establish a Russian Legal Entity as a —
    • Limited Liability Company
    • Partnership, or
    • Public or Private Joint Stock Company.

Decide on a Local Company Name

This is an important part of expanding your business to Russia as you want to make sure that your business name is available and not already in use. Additionally, you will need an address for your business when registering it.

4. Prepare Documentation

The Russian Legislation states that the founders of a business looking to open or expand to Russia will need the following documents:

  • Full company name as well as any abbreviations that may be used
  • Names and signatures of the founders
  • Amount of shareholder contributions plus the nature of these contributions
  • Business plan as well as rules of the company
  • Legal responsibilities

This process may differ based on the type of legal structure you choose to register your business under.

5. Register Your Business with the FTS

Next, register your business with the Federal Tax Service (FTS) by sending them the following documents:

  • Registration form with notarized signatures (R200)
  • Copies of foundation papers
  • Proof of legal status as the business founder
  • Receipt of state registration fee (R4000)

If your application is accepted, then your business will be registered for tax purposes and you will receive the following documents:

  • Certificate of State Registration
  • Tax Certificate
  • Tax ID number
  • Copy of foundation papers with the mark of the registering authority
  • Extract from the Common State Register of Legal Entities

6. Open a Bank Account

Opening a Russian bank account is the next important step in expanding your business to Russia as a foreigner. To open a business account, you will need:

  • Notarized copy of signatures for the account (R200)
  • Documents confirming the identity and authority of the signatures on the account
  • Tax Certificate
  • Russian business license
  • Founding papers

7. Get a Russia Phone Number

Next on the agenda is to get a Russian phone number. You can purchase Russian numbers from a virtual phone service provider like Global Call Forwarding. Russia toll free numbers will give locals within Russia the option to call your business for free, no matter where you are located. Local Russia numbers let them call you for regular local calling charges.

Investing in Russian phone numbers will help you get in touch with locals, business contacts, and institutions as you prepare to move your business to Russia and build local networks. Have calls routed to any number or location of your choice with international call forwarding.

8. Advertising & Promote Your Business

Finally, you can start promoting your business as an international business. Consider using international SEO and digital and social media advertising to boost your business’ international visibility.

Get Russia Phone Numbers with Global Call Forwarding

We offer business numbers for companies looking to expand globally without dramatically increasing their phone bills. You can enjoy advanced communication features such as creative routing strategies, call recording, and more to improve customer service. Sign up today or speak with one of our global specialists to learn more!

Related: Understanding the Different Types of Telephone Numbers in Russia

Understanding the Different Types of Telephone Numbers in Russia

Want to learn more about the different types of Russian phone numbers available? In this post, we detail the different Russian phone number types and uses.

Different Types of Telephone Numbers in Russia

Russia has a variety of phone number types with different purposes that range from free calling to mobile to emergency special numbers. The country dialing code for Russia is (+7) and the trunk prefix is (8).

If you plan to do business in Russia, then understanding the difference between numbers types proves necessary. Russia uses an open dialing plan with four levels for local, zone, country, and international.

Russian phone numbers are administered by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media. They are under a unified numbering plan with Kazakhstan.

Let’s look at the different types of phone numbers, their format, and how to get a Russian telephone number.

1. Russian Local Numbers

Russian local numbers or geographic Russian numbers are phone numbers most commonly used by local businesses and residents. Individuals using these numbers incur local calling charges. Local numbers have a distinct area code for the region they are assigned to. For example, you can get local Russian numbers for the following major Russian cities with these area codes:

  • Moscow (495)
  • Omsk (3812)
  • Saratov (8452)
  • St Petersburg (812)

The format for Russian geographic numbers is: 8 (area code) xxx-xx-xx

As a business, you can get a Russian local number from a virtual provider even if you are not located in Russia. You can have incoming calls routed to your office, situated anywhere in the world. Locals call a local number which then gets forwarded internationally to you. This gives local Russians an inexpensive way to connect with your business, even if it is overseas.

2. Russian Toll Free Numbers

Toll free Russian numbers work like any toll free number: they are free for Russian locals to call. The toll free prefix used is (800). This means that businesses, customers, leads, vendors, etc., can call your business from within Russia for free. Again, virtual providers will give you the opportunity to use a toll free Russia phone number from outside the country. Therefore, if you want to expand your business to this country but don’t want to move there, you can still offer sales and customer support through toll free numbers.

The format for toll free Russian numbers is: 8 (800) xxx-xx-xx

3. Russian Mobile Numbers

Russian mobile numbers starting with prefixes (939) or (958) are mobile numbers with SMS capabilities. That means that these numbers can receive instant messages. Using mobile numbers can help your business offer SMS as an alternative to phone calls, increasing accessibility.

The format for Russian mobile numbers is: 8 (939) xxx-xx-xx

4. Russian Special Numbers

Russian special numbers are emergency numbers for local Russian residents, such as:

  • 101 – Fire brigade
  • 102 – Police
  • 103 – Ambulance
  • 104 – Gas service
  • 112 – General emergency
  • 107 – Directory assistance, Rostelecom
  • 109 – Directory assistance (free, limited info)
  • 009 – Directory assistance in Moscow
  • 100 – Talking clock in Moscow
  • 115 – Info on electronic government services

How to Get a Russian Phone Number

To get a Russian telephone number, simply sign up on our homepage. We offer Russian virtual numbers, toll free numbers, and mobile numbers. You can also get a universal toll free number (UIFN) that includes Russia, among other countries. To sign up or learn more, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with our global experts online today!

7 Types of Customer Complaints & How to Resolve Them

The best way to provide A+ customer service is to identify common customer complaints and be prepared to resolve them. Having your agents and reps trained to quickly and effectively handle complaints will lead to better and improved customer service. And this sets you on the path of gaining loyal and returning customers.

Resolving Common Customer Complaints

Customers reach out to a business for a variety of reasons ranging from help with signing up, product inquiries, request for quotes to assistance and support. However, they do not always have a good experience. This is why over the years so much emphasis has been placed on good and effective customer service.

So, what are some common types of customer complaints and how can they be resolved?

1. Waiting in Queue for Long Periods

Problem: Most of the time customers calling a business for customer support end up waiting in line for 15-45 minutes. Waiting on hold can be extremely frustrating for customers who have a small inquiry or an urgent issue.

Solution: Have more agents on call during high call volume periods. For most businesses, these periods occur between 12 pm – 2 pm (during lunch) or 4 pm – 6 pm (end of the workday). Additionally, use call routing to forward calls to different agents or office locations, when one is overburdened.

2. Long Response Times

Problem: One of the most common customer complaints is long response times. This includes customers sending emails, queries through webforms, responding to voicemails, etc., and not receiving a response within 1-2 business days.

Solution: Prioritize responding quickly and actively. Ensure your employees are on top of the emails, queries, voicemails within 1-2 business days. Longer than that and a potential customer will go with a competitor instead. While automated responses can do the trick, personalize these responses to make them less “mechanical.”

3. Frustrating Automated Systems

Problem: Dealing with chatbots and IVR systems can be hard, especially for customers that have a unique issue. Automated systems are useful for handling simple, common, mundane tasks such as:

    • Transferring calls to the right department
    • Offering troubleshooting help
    • Providing company information
    • Activating or renewing services, etc.

Customers love self-service. However, more complex tasks will need a real agent’s help. Additionally, some customers may not even know how to use and navigate through an IVR system. Some may select the wrong option and end up in the wrong department. While others may find the long menu options more annoying than helpful.

Solution: Have a simple and easy-to-use automated system with an option for voicemail or “speak with a representative” easy to find. Keep menu options short and clear. Avoid jarring hold music or repeating your services on a loop when calls are transferred. And also, be sure to allow for the option to “speak to a representative.” This way, customers can request to speak with an agent if all else fails.

4. Being Passed Around

Problem: Customers being passed around from one employee to another will definitely leave your business for another more organized and efficient one. This includes in-person, phone, and email conversations.

Solution: When they connect with your business, it should be easy for them to find the right person to speak with. Therefore, your teams need to be organized with useful department extensions or email addresses. An IVR system will come in handy here; offer menu options to callers such as Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Customer Support, Press 3 for Billing & Accounting, etc. Route calls effectively using attribute-based routing to ensure customers get the help they need with their preferences in mind.

5. Impatient or Rude Staff

Problem: This is a no-brainer. Agents that are impatient and trying to quickly resolve a call without making the customer feel welcomed and valuable or are rude and condescending will lose customers promptly.

Solution: Train your agents and reps to adopt active and empathetic listening, be patient on their calls, and behave appropriately with customers. We recommend that you use these customer service tips for 2020.

6. Staff Not Helpful or Knowledgeable

Problem: Customer complaints also include staff or agents being unhelpful or unaware of a solution. When customers interact with your business for customer support, it is usually to inquire about a product or resolve an issue they are facing. And so, they expect to talk to someone who has the knowledge and expertise to assist them.

Solution: Train agents in the subject matter of your product and service as well as the industry they serve. Create knowledge bases for employees to use when they are in a pinch and need additional support. Furthermore, you may even consider call barging and call whispering to have supervisors and managers enter a call and provide support.

7. Poor Product or Service

Problem: Another common complaint is that the quality of the product or service is poor and deceptive. Customers may feel that the description of your product or service doesn’t match the result which can lead to cancellation and refund requests.

Solution: Take these complaints seriously because they may be an indication of a much larger problem with your product or service. Customer feedback is useful not only in improving the development of your service but also in understanding your customers’ expectations and preferences. Train your staff to deal with unhappy customers. Once you see a common issue with your product, be prepared with solutions, alternatives, refunds, or promotions for future customers that may experience the same issue.

Why Paying Attention to Customer Complaints is Important

Listening to your customers and their complaints can help you improve how you serve them. Additionally, it will help you offer better and more efficient service. This can directly enhance customer support and increase customer retention, as these two factors are necessary for any business’ success!

Virtual Call Center Software: A Complete Guide [2022]

Virtual call center software can help you expand your business’ reach, attract and retain more customers, and improve your outbound calling strategy. And it does all of this while keeping your monthly bill low. Here is a comprehensive guide to virtual call center software, it’s benefits, and how to choose the perfect type for your needs.

What is Virtual Call Center Software?

Virtual call center platforms help connect agents and employees from different locations or offices. Such a software makes remote working and work-from-home a possibility. Virtual call center software generally uses VoIP technology and virtual phone numbers to enable inbound and outbound calling regardless of agents’ locations.

Voice over IP technology makes it possible to send voice and video messages through the internet. This way, you are not bound to your landline and location to make and place calls. As long as you have an internet connection, you can route calls to any device of your choice (smartphone, computer, laptop, tablet, etc).

With this ability, your call center and its agents can operate from anywhere in the world while still offering high-quality service.

Call Center Software: On-Premise vs Virtual

So, why should you consider a virtual call center software instead of on-premise call center software? Here is a table to highlight the key advantages of going virtual instead of on-premise:

Virtual On-Premise
Location needs Call can be placed and answered from any location Calls can be placed and answered from the main office only
Scalability Flexible Static
Hiring Flexible In-house IT team required
Office expenses Low to zero costs due to remote working and telecommuting Office space, desks, chairs, laptops, computers, desk phones, etc.
Agent turnover rate Low agent turnover rate 30-45% agent turnover rate (US)
Communication features Access to virtual communication features in one platform; call recording, outbound calling, automated IVR, etc. Limited access to communication features; call transfer, extensions, voicemail, etc.

Elements of a Virtual Call Center Software

What does a virtual call center software offer users? The purpose of a virtual or cloud-based software is to create and maintain reliable connections from any location. Here are some key elements of virtual call center platforms:

1. Handle Calls from Any Location

With such a software, your business is accessible from any location and is not limited to one specific geographical area. Remote workers and traveling agents will benefit from this the most. Additionally, if you have employees in different states or countries, you can offer customer support to more time zones. Customers in those states and countries can receive service during the times most convenient for them.

2. Offer Global Support

With virtual phone numbers, you can get local or international toll free phone numbers for more than 170 countries across the world. This way, you can offer your services to more businesses beyond your state and country and increase profits. And if you hire agents in these areas, they can offer real-time support to locals.

3. Use Outbound Calling to Connect with Local and International Customers

Outbound calling is a service that uses VoIP technology to enable local and long-distance calling for inexpensive rates. Instead of paying international calling fees, you will be paying your monthly subscription. Furthermore, with the dynamic caller ID feature, outbound calls can display specific local or toll free numbers to increase the chances of recipients answering or returning calls.

4. Use Automatic and Intelligent Call Routing

Use an interactive voice response or IVR system to route and direct calls based on a variety of rules or strategies. This way, incoming calls move to the right department or employee, saving time and improving the caller experience.

5. Record Business Calls

A cloud-based call recording software is capable of recording up to 100% of all incoming and outgoing calls. Depending on the type of business you run, you can use these recordings to:

  • Train new employees
  • Conduct performance reviews
  • Define company standards
  • Protect against business or personal liability
  • Resolve misunderstandings, and so on

6. Improve Customer Experience and Satisfaction

Excellent customer experience is extremely crucial to your business’ overall growth. If current customers aren’t happy with the service they receive, they will look for a better service elsewhere. It is therefore recommended to use a virtual call center software with advanced communication tools to enhance caller experience. Such a software can help reduce wait times, transfer callers to the right department, offer 24/7 customer service through different channels, and more.

7. Keep Track of Important KPIs

The best way to manage call center performance is by tracking relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). Call center KPIs include:

  • Average response time
  • Average handle time
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
  • First call resolution (FCR)
  • Percent of abandoned calls, and more

These KPIs can help you, as the manager, identify how each agent or employee is performing and where they need to improve.

8. Offer Multi-Channel and 24/7 Customer Support

The most attractive feature of virtual call center software is its ability to offer not only voice but other forms of communication as well. You can offer phone, email, live chat, troubleshooting help via IVR, and more. With live chat, chatbots, and an informative IVR system, you can also provide customer support 24/7 by routing calls to different offices or by using pre-recorded and automated messages to assist callers/users.

5 Top Reasons to Switch to Virtual Software

A virtual call center platform offers a wide range of features to enhance business communications. And it does so without increasing hardware costs. Here are the reasons why your business should consider getting such a software:

1. Greater Efficiency and Lower Costs

Virtual call center software does not include excessive hardware or installation. Plus, you do not need a specialized IT team in-house to maintain the system. Furthermore, since it works virtually, you can choose to have a small office space and have employees work from home or remotely. All of this helps cut down costs while maintaining efficiency and productivity.

2. Offer Work-From-Home Flexibility

You can offer employees the option to work from home. This broadens your hiring pool and helps you expand not just your staff but your business’ reach. You can have multiple remote workers in different time zones and offer extended customer service hours. Additionally, with growing work-from-home trends, you’ll be providing your employees with a flexible and comfortable work lifestyle that helps with retention and motivation.

3. Set Up New Centers Quickly with Low Costs

Furthermore, if you want to add or set up new centers, you do not have to worry about getting new phone lines or purchasing additional hardware. You can set up new offices quickly and simply have calls routed to the new location, keeping your existing numbers and lines.

4. Gain Access to a Multitude of Virtual Communication Features

With virtual call center software, you have access to voice calls, video conferencing, SMS/instant messaging capabilities, and more. This gives you the opportunity to offer better customer service in ways that customers and prospects will appreciate.

5. Improve Employee/Agent Satisfaction

Finally, with easy-to-use software and flexible work options, you will be increasing employee/agent satisfaction. This is essential to training call center agents and motivating them to continue to do a good job.

How to Choose the Ideal Virtual Call Center Software?

When choosing the perfect call center software, consider the following factors and look for a virtual call center platform that:

1. Is Easy to Set Up and Use

When researching various software and virtual phone system providers, pay attention to the software’s ease-of-use. Is it too complex? Would the complexity hinder use and performance? Global Call Forwarding’s virtual communication system is quick to set up and use. You don’t have to worry about extra hardware to purchase or install. And you can train new employees to use the software within minutes.

2. Comes Equipped with Relevant Features

Virtual communication features are an important aspect of any virtual call center software. However, not all features may be relevant to your needs. Determine what features you need and which would be good additions. We offer the following features:

  • Multiple virtual phone number types (toll free, local, and international numbers)
  • Call forwarding and routing options
  • Call recording
  • Outbound calling (with dynamic caller ID)
  • Interactive voice response (IVR system)
  • Unlimited extensions
  • Call transfer
  • SIP trunking, and more.

3. Helps You Cut Down Communication Costs

With a VoIP phone system, you can cut down on costs while still expanding your business and entering it in international markets. Therefore, look for a software provider that can give you the global reach you desire. List down the cities, markets, and areas you want to target and find a provider that offers you communication solutions for these areas within a reasonable budget.

4. Offers Reliable and Quality Service

Additionally, you want to choose a provider that has had some experience and credibility in the industry. See how long providers have been in the market and what customer reviews and testimonials are saying about the service. Is this a service you can rely on? If you’re not sure, can you easily get out of the service or is it contract-based?

5. Has a 24/7 Customer Support

Finally, look for a provider that offers 24/7 customer support, whether it is phone, email, live chat, trouble tickets, or an online knowledge base to assist you with issues. A provider should be easily accessible and reachable whenever you need them.

Get Virtual Communication Solutions with Global Call Forwarding

Want to learn about our virtual call center solutions? Call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online to see how we can help improve your business phone system today.

Everything You Should Know About Global Expansion After COVID-19

What can your business do to attract post-pandemic customers and increase customer retention? From call forwarding to securing your online transactions, here we look at the different steps you can take to bring customers back to achieve your global expansion goals.

Global Expansion in the Post-COVID-19 World

COVID-19 has placed a pause on growth in 2020; both locally and internationally. Businesses around the world have had to make changes and adjustments to survive, and quite a few haven’t. So, what do global expansion best practices look like in the post-COVID-19 world and what can businesses do to make it through?

1. Americans Believe the Pandemic Won’t Affect the Country’s Global Standing

As the United States continues to open businesses by adopting social distancing measures, Americans believe that this obstacle won’t hamper the country’s international reach and standing. Focus for businesses recovering can include:

  • Support for small businesses
  • A quick switch to remote working and online shopping
  • Community-led projects designed to boost local businesses while maintaining safety protocols
  • Advertising campaigns focused on supporting local businesses

2. International Travel Will Recover

While most countries locked down borders and stopped flights, experts predict that tourism and international travel will pick up once the pandemic is over. Tourism, international travel, and international trade are necessary for global expansion. And although almost every country has enforced travel restrictions, experts predict that an international travel boom should be expected when the pandemic weakens and vaccines are made available.

How to Expand Your Business During a Pandemic?

So, in order to prepare for a post-pandemic world, what can your business do to get more global customers in a post-pandemic world? Here are some tips:

1. Global Communication Tools

Invest in global communication tools to expand your customer base. If your business was focused on in-person meetings, then switching to other communication channels should be the first priority. Use voice and video conferencing, live chat, email, and instant messaging as convenient ways to converse with customers.

Video conferencing, specifically, is growing more and more popular as users can communicate in real-time, first-hand, and have visual interaction. Tools like live chat, email, and instant messaging are also preferable as not all customers are able to have phone conversations. However, as a business, being active on these channels and responding promptly is a must.

By adopting new communication tools, you can appeal to local and international customers. Create new relationships and maintain old ones. Right now, customer service is the most important it has ever been. Closed stores, slow shipping times, etc., have customers on edge. But being able to reach your business and get real answers can help post-pandemic customers stay loyal to your business.

Furthermore, you can use international call forwarding to have incoming calls from different locations and countries routed to your main office or remote workers. This is a good way to maintain communication with international customers without the hassle of international calling charges.

2. Secure Supply Lines

Businesses in the import/export industry or those that import/export products need to stay on top of their supply lines. This means securing your products as well as clarifying logistics to ship locally and globally. If port lines are closed for target countries, then consider switching to air freight, or other similar measures that can transport your shipments.

3. Offer Safety and Security

Finally, in these uncertain times, safety and security are of paramount importance. Many businesses have switched to online-only business operations while some stores remain open. And so, it becomes your responsibility to maintain safety within your store and among your employees as well as in your online transactions. In other words:

Your customers should feel safe whether they are visiting your business in person or making an online purchase. Send letters via email or outline your safety measures on your website so that they know exactly what you are doing for your business and for them.

Adapting to a Post-COVID-19 World

COVID-19 has brought the whole world to a standstill. However, instead of dwelling on what we are losing, it helps businesses to look at the future and what they can do to win their customers back. Here’s to looking at the future and hoping for the best!

Call Monitoring: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Call monitoring is a call center feature that can be used by businesses of every type and size to improve their customer service and build strong customer relationships. Learn how this feature works and the best ways to use it.

Call Monitoring Explained

Call monitoring software or call listening is a call center feature that allows managers or supervisors to listen in on a call. This feature is commonly used to improve quality assurance and customer service. Some other terms for call monitoring include call logging, agent monitoring, and quality monitoring.

Call listening enables calls to be monitored with or without the agent or employee’s knowledge. Some providers may even give you the option to record and store such calls for future use.

Need a call monitoring scoresheet to evaluate your agents’ performance? Scroll below for call monitoring scorecard templates!

Who Uses Call Monitoring Software?

Any business trying to improve or maintain its customer service standards may use call monitoring to do so. Callers will hear the message: “This call may be monitored for quality assurance.”

And so, call monitoring is a common feature used in call centers, sales, and customer service companies. This feature can be used to:

  • Train new agents (used by managers and supervisors)
  • Conduct performance analysis (used by managers and supervisors)
  • Gather customer insights (used by marketing departments)
  • Determine the quality of leads (used by marketing departments)
  • Improve sales calls and lead generation (used by the sales department)

Key Features of Call Monitoring

Monitoring calls is more effective when done in conjunction with call monitoring features that let users participate, observe, record, and analyze calls and interactions. Some of the top features that support call monitoring software include:

  • Call monitoring dashboard — Included as part of a call center software; used to track certain metrics and study call logs
  • Detail records — detailed logs and reports of incoming and outgoing calls to study caller preferences.
  • Call whispering — informs agents about where a call is coming from (which advertising campaign or channel) before they answer it.
  • Call barging — enables managers and supervisors to join a call between a customer and agent to aid the agent in resolving the call.
  • Hosted call recording — records inbound and outbound calls and stores them for future reference.

Benefits of Call Monitoring

Like any advanced phone system feature, being able to monitor business calls comes with a variety of benefits. Call monitoring lets you not only listen in on calls but also to take the necessary steps to improve your business’ overall customer service efforts. Here are the top benefits of using this feature:

  • Improved quality assurance
  • Fewer training sessions for new employees
  • Remote agent management
  • Reduced number of escalated calls with upset or angry customers
  • Higher first call resolution rates
  • Gathering customer insights and feedback, etc.

5 Call Monitoring Best Practices

To get the best out of this call center feature, you need to implement these call monitoring best practices:

1. Set Clear Objectives

As with any other business decision, set clear goals and objectives. Determine why you will be monitoring calls, make a list of the KPIs to measure, and prepare a scorecard for evaluations.

2. Provide Useful Scripts

A well-written script can go a long way in ensuring customers feel valued and heard. And by giving your agents and employees useful scripts, you give them the tools they need to offer assistance, troubleshoot, and provide solutions for common issues. This can help improve first call resolution rates.

3. Learn from Bad Calls

Treat bad calls as a treasure-trove of info. These calls can help you identify what went wrong and how to not repeat those interactions with other customers. Additionally, these calls make valuable training materials for new agents.

4. Study Metrics

Measure and analyze the KPIs and metrics you have been tracking. Find out which areas are working well and which need improvement. Brainstorm with your team to find ways to implement changes that align with your company’s standards and customers’ expectations.

5. Be in Compliance

Features like call monitoring and call recording have laws that differ across different countries. And so, depending on where your business is located and where your customers call from, you will have different federal and state laws to abide by.

Does Your Business Need to Monitor Calls?

Monitoring calls can give you insight into the current state of your company’s customer service and sales. And you can use that valuable information to improve your services and build better customer relationships. To learn more, speak or chat with one of our telecom experts today!

Downloadable Call Monitoring Scoresheet Templates

Ready to get started? Then, grab our call monitoring scoresheet or evaluation templates below, share them with your managers, and start evaluating your call center’s performance! We have scoresheet templates for Outbound Sales calls, Inbound Sales calls, Customer and Technical Support calls, and Chat support.

scorecard
Download Your Free Call Center Scorecard Templates

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The Chinese Telephone Code Plan Explained

Want to learn more about the Chinese telephone code plan? Find out which Chinese phone number type is the best fit for your business. Also, we outline common China VoIP issues and what telecom companies are doing to provide better virtual communication in the country.

Understanding the Chinese Telephone Code Plan

Chinese phone numbers are organized and assigned by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. According to their plan, there are different formats for landlines, mobile numbers, and toll free numbers. The Chinese country code is (+86).

We will delve into the finer details of the Chinese telephone code plan so you can find the right business phone number for your company.

1. Chinese Local Numbers

In major Chinese cities, landlines or local numbers have a 2-digit area code followed by an 8-digit subscriber number. Some cities have a 3-digit area code with a 7- or 8-digit subscriber number. When a local landline number is called from another number within the same area, the area code does not need to be dialed. Local Chinese numbers with area codes include:

    • Beijing (10)
    • Guangzhou (20)
    • Tianjin (22)
    • Shanghai (21)
    • Zhengzhou (371)
    • Xiantao, Tianmen, Qianjiang (728)

The format for Chinese local numbers is:
(area code) + xxxx-xxxx

As a business, in or outside of the telecom industry in China, having a local number lets local customers call you by paying regular local calling charges. And so, even if your business is not located in the country, customers do not have to pay high international calling charges to get support.

2. Chinese Toll Free Numbers

China toll free numbers are business numbers that give local Chinese callers a free calling option. This is because toll free service providers charge the business using the toll free number instead of the caller. By doing so, you give interested and potential customers a way to contact your business for free.

An international business located outside of China can use these numbers to gain more Chinese customers or build local networks. Incoming calls can be forwarded to your office, wherever it is located.

The format for Chinese toll free numbers is:
(010) + (800) + xxx-xxxx

3. Chinese 400 Numbers

China 400 numbers are also a part of the Chinese telephone code plan. As their name indicates, 400 numbers start with the prefix (400). These numbers are reachable from anywhere in the country, making them a good business phone number option.

The format for Chinese national numbers is:
(400) + xxx-xxxx

4. Chinese International Codes

China has four international call prefixes that residents, businesses, and foreign callers can use. These international codes include:

    • Mainland China (+86)
    • Hong Kong (+852)
    • Macau (+853)
    • Taiwan (+886)

How to Call China from the US

To dial a China phone number from the US, you will need to dial the US exit code (011) and China country code (86) before the subscriber number. Follow this China phone number dialing format:

Calling a China local number: 011 – 86 – Area code – xxxx-xxxx

Example: 011 – 86 – 20 – 3333-3333

Calling a China toll free number: 011 – 86 – Toll free code – xxxx-xxxx

Example: 011 – 86 – 800 – 3333-3333

Calling a China mobile number: 011 – 86 – 1 Mobile code – xxxx-xxxx

Example: 011 – 86 – 122 – 3333-3333

Related: How To Call China From The United States

Common Problems with China Virtual Numbers

Demand for China virtual phone numbers has grown substantially in recent years. However many businesses have gotten frustrated while trying to find a reliable phone number to use in China. Since there are so many amazing opportunities in China, businesses want to continue their presence and therefore a reliable service needs to be available. At Global Call Forwarding, we are working hard to solve these issues. So, what are the common problems with Chinese virtual phone numbers and how do we solve them?

1. Mobile access

Toll free numbers in China are not accessible from mobile phones. If a business uses an 800 number for their company, their customers can call them through landlines only. Customers dialing from a mobile phone won’t be able to reach this business. Secondly, there are two 800 numbers in China; one for southern China and one for Northern China. This means, to be accessible to customers in all of China, a business will need two toll free numbers. To combat this issue and because of the lack of mobile access for 800 numbers, 400 numbers were created. 400 numbers can be reached from mobile phones and you don’t need different numbers for north and south China. The only difference is that customers pay a regular, local cost.

2. Long setup times

China requires that you have documentation of your business or a passport before getting virtual phone numbers. Conversely, you do not need a physical address in China to get a local phone number. Either way, waiting for the approval of these documents can take a long time. In order to bypass these wait times, you need to choose a provider with a good relationship with Chinese providers.

3. VoIP regulations

China VoIP regulations are different compared to other countries. Over time, several VoIP services have been banned in China with only certain VoIP providers allowed to operate. These providers are usually allowed only when China owns a majority of the company. Therefore, adding new VoIP providers becomes very difficult. Chinese VoIP providers have seen an improvement in the country’s willingness to partner with outside countries. The easiest place to gain a phone number is in Beijing, but outside of the country’s capital, it is still a struggle. The 400 numbers have the most common services available from VoIP providers. With 400 numbers, there is better consistency in call quality. As more companies take their business to China, the service will continue to improve.

4. Number porting

Number porting is not as advanced in China as you may find in other countries. Changing service providers in China will mean a few extra steps, involving canceling your number and buying a new phone number from your new provider. This issue has not been fixed, but if you choose a reputable VoIP provider that allows you to test their service before signing a long-term contract, you won’t waste any money on advertising a new number.

5. Number availability and limitations

Local numbers are difficult to set up in China due to their many restrictions. As China’s economy grows and more businesses choose to expand their global reach, the difficulty has lessened. However, complaints about call quality are common. Many providers only provide access to Beijing or Shanghai. At Global Call Forwarding, we offer local numbers in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tongchuan, and Hong Kong, with a reliable connection.

The future of China and the VoIP industry shows promise for growth. Although it is difficult at the present time, VoIP providers and China have been working hard to establish better connections and they continue to get better.

Getting Chinese Phone Numbers

Global Call Forwarding offers a variety of Chinese virtual phone numbers that work within the Chinese telephone code plan. You can use these numbers to start a new business in the country or expand your business to China. Call us today to learn more!

What is Fax Over IP and 4 Benefits of Using FoIP

As businesses transition to the cloud and internet services, your faxes should not be left behind. Fax over IP or a FoIP service is an IP telephony service that enables fax transmission via the internet, which makes sending and receiving business documents easier and safer.

What is FoIP? Fax Over IP Explained

Fax over IP — also known as FoIP service or eFaxing — is an telephony feature that sends fax documents using internet protocols instead of the PSTN. Public switched telephone network (PSTN) has dominated the fax transmission game for years. However, internet protocols have paved way for services such as fax over IP to become possible. All that is required is a reliable internet connection and bandwidth to carry the faxes.

How Does Fax Over IP Work?

A FoIP service works similarly to voice over IP; that is, files are converted into digital packets and then transferred from one endpoint to the next. With eFaxing, your fax document is converted into a packet, encapsulated in a transport protocol, and transmitted to the destination. Both endpoints are usually fax machines that work with a FoIP gateway or adapter to enable the sending and receiving of faxes.

In some cases, your business can even get a fax forwarding service that forwards incoming faxes directly to your email. In other words, when your fax machine receives a fax, it can reroute the fax to a predetermined destination such as a business email ID.

4 Benefits of Using a FoIP Service

So, why should your business consider getting FoIP? Here are the top 4 benefits of using a fax over IP service:

1. Unified communications
You can easily fit or integrate FoIP into your existing business communication tools. This means that you do not need a separate or additional analog network to use the service. You can access important communication tools from the same network.

2. Content management
By transmitting fax over an IP network, you can manage important business and customer documents by digitizing, archiving, emailing, and storing them on the cloud.

3. Lower costs
Faxing over IP is often less expensive than using a traditional fax machine. For instance, the per-message rate is lesser than PSTN. Additionally, by unifying network connectivity, you are paying for one less network. This can result in definitive cost-savings.

4. Remote access and usage
Lastly, you can access the faxes from any device; even in areas where physical fax lines cannot be installed. This is an advantage for businesses with remote workers and distributed teams using their own devices.

Is Fax Over IP Right for Your Business?

There is only one way to find out: give a FoIP service a try. If your business deals with faxes on a daily basis and you want a reliable means to handle important documents, then FoIP may be the right solution. Call our experts today to learn more!