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6 Call Flow Templates for Efficient Business Communication

The best call flow template for business in 2021.

Well-designed and efficient calls flows can help your business offer uninterrupted and reliable service when your customers need it the most. We’ve put together 6 call flow templates and examples …Read More »

What Is a Call Flow & Its Purpose?

what is call flow

As a business, one of your primary goals is to make people comfortable with your products and services, staff, and company. And part of creating that environment of comfort and …Read More »

How to Use Number Masking: Examples and Use Cases

how-to-use number masking examples

Phone number masking is a popular cloud communication feature being used by companies around the world for various reasons. In this post, we will go through different examples of number …Read More »

What is Inside Sales and How is it Changing in 2022?

inside sales

Inside sales have become the most popular sales model for B2B SaaS and many other high-ticket industries. But what are inside sales, how do they compare to outside sales, and …Read More »

The Ultimate Guide to PSTN Replacement Services

PSTN replacement services

Many network infrastructure professionals wonder if the PSTN is still relevant in 2021. Some modern organizations have already replaced the PSTN altogether with alternative IP-based solutions. This is known as …Read More »

What is Cloud Telephony & How Does it Work?

Cloud telephony

With the wide adoption of cloud computing and technology, companies have enjoyed greater versatility and efficiency by incorporating the cloud into their functionality. In this article, we will take a …Read More »

how-to-use number masking examples

How to Use Number Masking: Examples and Use Cases


inside sales

What is Inside Sales and How is it Changing in 2022?


PSTN replacement services

The Ultimate Guide to PSTN Replacement Services


Cloud telephony

What is Cloud Telephony & How Does it Work?


How to seamlessly transition to cloud communications.

Planning Your Transition to Cloud Communications


what is call analytics

What is Call Analytics?


guide to remote team management

Guide to Effective Remote Team Communication


8 reasons to go global with your business.

8 Reasons to Expand Internationally


Top countires for call center outsourcing in 2021.

Top 8 Countries for Call Center Outsourcing in 2021


How to transform your legacy contact center.

Transforming Your Legacy Contact Center


Comparing types of global expansion strategies.

Comparing the Types of International Expansion Strategies [with Examples]


What is customer service automation

Customer Service Automation: Definition, Features, and Best Practices


cloud contact center

What is a Cloud Contact Center? Definition, Features, Benefits


what is a geographic number

What is Geo-Routing and How Can Geographic Routing Help Your Business?


what-is-global-telephony-provider

What is a Global Telephony Provider and How To Choose One?


call metrics

6 Call Metrics to Track in Your Global Marketing Campaigns


Improve Productivity With These Must-Have Business Phone Apps

Aren’t we all glad we have smartphones that make it easy to get things done within a few taps?

There’s an app for almost everything these days. And this rise and acceptance of apps have made it easier than ever to take your business with you wherever you go.

From sending out important emails to checking business reports to engaging with your professional and social network. You can get all of this done by converting your phone into a business powerhouse.

Business Phone Apps to Help You Do Business On-the-Go

We’ve put together a list of business phone apps you should have to improve productivity and efficiency. We’ve divided our list of business apps into the following main categories:

  1. Business Communication
  2. File Creating and Content Management
  3. Project and Task Management
  4. Productivity

Obviously, you do not need every app in this (rather long) list but try them out and find ones that work best for your needs.

Business Communication Apps

Communication apps include voice, video, chat, messaging, and softphone apps. These business apps help you communicate effectively with team members and your network whenever required and through preferred channels. Here are the top communication apps for business:

Voice & Video

Email

  • Gmail
  • Outlook
  • Spark
  • Blue Mail
  • Cleanfox

Chat & Text Messaging

  • Google Chat
  • Slack
  • Signal
  • Viber
  • Telegram
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Microsoft Teams
  • WeChat

File Creation and Content Management Phone Apps

Business comes with a lot of document and file-sharing. And so, to breathe through the chaos, you will need file creation, storage, and management apps that will help you create and build with the best tools and share it with the right people. Here are the best file creation and management apps for business:

File & Content Management

  • Microsoft Office (OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • G-Suite (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides)
  • Dropbox
  • DocuSign
  • CamScanner
  • CloudConvert
  • Adobe PDF Reader
  • PDF to Word
  • Quip

Website & Design

  • WordPress
  • Squarespace
  • Weebly
  • Canva
  • Procreate
  • Infinite Design
  • Adobe Photoshop Mix
  • Adobe Capture

Project and Task Management Phone Apps

When managing multiple teams and projects, it becomes crucial to see the bigger picture and get a visual understanding of the progress your team is making. After all, where would we be without our checklists? Here are the top business apps for project and task management:

Checklist & Task Management

  • Todoist
  • Google Keep
  • Producteev
  • Nozbe

Whiteboard & Mind-Mapping Tools

  • Miro
  • MindMeister
  • Ayoa

Project Management Systems

  • Trello
  • Teamwork
  • Monday.com
  • Basecamp
  • Asana

Productivity Phone Apps

Finally, it helps to have tools that can help you take quick notes, track time spent on tasks, set reminders, check your finances, and so on. These tools can help you be productive and efficient. Here are the top business apps to increase productivity:

Time Tracker

  • Pomodoro
  • Toggl
  • RescueTime

Note-Taking

  • Evernote
  • OneNote
  • Google Keep
  • Notion

Finance & Accounting

  • Mint
  • Nerdwallet
  • Quickbooks
  • Cleo
  • Expensify
  • Wave
  • Hello Bonsai
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Google Pay

Calendar

  • Google Calendar
  • iCloud
  • Outlook Calendar
  • Timeful

Social Media

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Hootsuite

Recording

Misc.

  • IFTTT (If this, then that)
  • Clock (with time zones)
  • Square Register
  • iTranslate

What Business Phone Apps Are You Missing?

With other business-related systems and tools, you need to test these business phone apps to find ones that work best for your business needs. Some may require subscriptions, so you will need to judge if they are worth the price.

But a word of caution: while you work to make your phone business-friendly, remember to maintain a healthy work-life balance and switch off during off-hours. Toxic productivity can lead to overworking, burnout, and exhaustion. And that does not help you be your most productive and best self.

That being said, take time to find tools and apps to increase productivity, manage tasks effectively, and help you do your job well!

Call Center Trends in 2021

Call center trends are changing, and managers and agents should be aware of the upcoming shifts that will be taking place. Here are the 2021 call center trends to keep in mind when looking for ways to improve your contact center’s capabilities.

Developments in Call Center Trends

So, what’s new in the world of call centers? Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve observed a focus on remote working and virtual communication possibilities. Call centers had to adapt to these changes as well and use virtual call center software to stay connected and continue working efficiently. Additionally, we’ve noticed a rise in AI, automation, and chatbots, all meant to reduce the burden on agents while continuing to offer high-quality services.

Here are the top 2021 call center trends your business should be aware of and consider implementing:

1. Cloud Communication Solutions

Cloud communication is one of the most important call center trends with confidence in the cloud rising. UCaaS and CCaaS are two main cloud communication solutions available to businesses and call centers. UCaaS streamlines internal communication and collaboration while CCaaS improves customer interaction. Combining UCaaS and CCaaS solutions can give your help your call center shift to the cloud seamlessly.

2. Remote Work

The pandemic made remote working a necessity, and that led to the remote work trend. The ability to work from home (or any other location) may just mean the end of traditional on-premise call centers as we know it. And this brings us to the virtual call center software. Such software makes it possible for call centers to go virtual or move to the cloud, enabling agents to stay connected no matter their location.

Furthermore, your business can save on infrastructure, equipment, and utility costs. However, managing remote teams can prove challenging. Advanced virtual call center tools can help ease these concerns by making it easy for managers and teams to connect. Additionally, managers can use tracking or call recording software to oversee agent behavior and performance. Some common examples include call whispering, call barging, etc.

3. Artificial Intelligence

According to a recent report by Finances Online, the use of AI can help improve agent satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity as well as customer satisfaction.

Whether AI will overtake human customer service representatives or not is still in question. But for now, AI and human agents can work in tandem. While artificial intelligence has yet to become as capable as human agents, AI is improving every year. One of the growing call center trends is the increasing use of artificial intelligence software in terms of smart routing, multichannel support, automated processes. More on all of these below.

4. Automation & Self-Service Tools

Automation allows agents some wiggle room and can reduce their burden. In some cases, AI can help filter out simple queries so that agents can focus on more complex customer needs. We’re talking about using CMS or CRMs that automate processes and update information, so that everybody on the team has the right and most recent information. Some common automation tools and processes include:

  • Ticketing software
  • Automated email and text responses
  • Chatbots
  • Cloud IVR and smart call routing
  • Automatic call distribution (ACD)
  • Analytics and reports, and more.

By providing self-service tools — where customers can get information or resolve issues on their own — you can cut down the time agents spend on repeating simple, mundane tasks and services. For example, something as simple as signing up online, have an online guide to show how. This can reduce the number of calls coming in for sign-up help.

5. Omnichannel Communication

Customers are expecting multiple communication channels. And so, if you only offer phone and email, you need to start offering other services. Think: live chat, chatbots, video, text messaging, etc. This allows your business to connect with a wider range of audiences and meet your customers where they are. You may even consider jumping on social media platforms and engaging with customers actively and in real-time.

new call center trends
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#236008132 ID#27446420

6. Cloud IVR & Advanced Routing Options

The main reason to adopt cloud IVR and smart call routing is to reduce call wait times. Most people understand the struggle of waiting in long call queues or being bounced around from department to department. All of this to get an answer to a simple question.

Whether it is one of the top call center trends or not, businesses should continuously strive for shorter wait times for their companies. Here is where cloud IVR and call routing strategies come into play. Cloud IVR uses automated responses to greet callers and identify the purpose of their call. Then, based on their response, the IVR transfers the caller to the right department or assists them through pre-recorded messages and processes.

Another way to reduce wait times and to help callers reach the right department quickly is through call routing strategies. What strategy will work for your business depends on what you want to achieve and how your business offers sales and support. For example, do you want to offer 24/7 support or adopt the Follow the Sun model for customer support? Do you have high call traffic or fluctuating traffic? Do you have support and sales teams in multiple locations? Smart routing strategies include:

  • Time-based routing
  • Location-based routing
  • Skill-based routing
  • Simultaneous ringing (call groups)
  • Sequential forwarding (line hunting), and so on.

You may even choose to offer voicemail and callback options for customers who do not want to wait in line and are willing to receive a call from your company at a later time.

7. Call Metrics & Analytics

If your call center isn’t already tracking and analyzing call center metrics, you risk falling behind. The best way to identify how your call center is performing is by tracking metrics and KPIs. Common call center KPIs include:

  • Average time in queue
  • Average handle time
  • First call resolution
  • Customer satisfaction score
  • Occupancy rate
  • Agent absenteeism.

Want to learn more? Check out our list of top call center KPIs.

8. Improvements in the Workplace

You are probably aware by now that customer satisfaction is one of the top priorities of any business, but what about the satisfaction of those employees who directly deal with those customers? Many companies often neglect and forget their call center agents.

It is important to realize that customer service agents are the backbone of any company because they are the face of your company. If your agents are unhappy, then your customers will certainly not be happy to deal with them.

You can improve their overall performance by offering moral and psychological support for your agents. After all, dealing with angry customers all day does take a great deal out of a customer service agent. It is no surprise that one of the top call center trends, therefore, is focusing on EX and making employees feel comfortable and confident in their jobs.

9. Reward Your Agents

There are times when a call center must keep up with large surges in call volume. During these times, agents can become overworked. Call centers have some of the highest turnover rates in any job. To combat this, call centers can look to ideas from management on how to keep employees motivated during these highly stressful and taxing times.

Some ways that you can keep your call center employees excited to come into work is by:

  • Creating office-wide competitions,
  • Offering rewards or incentives, and
  • Recognizing your employees for their hard work.

If you have noticed a lack of motivation in your contact center, try some of these motivating ideas to wake your crew back up and get them back in action. Taking a bit more time to reward these employees will result in happier agents, increased productivity, highly trained and seasoned agents who are loyal to your company, and better overall customer service.

9 Ways for a Call Center to Use a Web Dialer

More and more companies (call center or not) are using a call center dialer or a web dialer to support their outbound calling strategies. The main reason is that this type of dialer can be used on any device and from any location. Here we will discuss what these dialers are and 9 practical ways you can use them to increase productivity and customer relations.

what is a web dialerWhat is a Web Dialer?

A web dialer or call center dialer is a keypad tool that allows your employees to make business calls through a computer or smartphone. Call center dialers and web dialers are not meant for call centers exclusively. Regular businesses that engage in outbound calling for sales or customer retention purposes can use this dialer to connect with local and international customers. Virtual phone service providers like Global Call Forwarding offer web dialers with their outbound calling service.

Who Can Use a Call Center Dialer?

Businesses of every kind — start-ups, remote and hybrid workspaces, small businesses, large enterprises — can use a web dialer to manage their inbound and outbound calling efforts. Depending on what type of company you operate, there are two types of calling:

  • Inbound calling: incoming calls by customers, prospects, and vendors usually for customer service and support.
  • Outbound calling: outgoing calls made by your team to customers and prospects to increase sales.

A web dialer allows you to receive and make calls from your computer or smartphone. This means that you do not need to invest in desk phones for every employee. They simply download a software, application, or browser extension. Most providers will offer a call center dialer with additional features such as the ability to save caller notes, update contact information, check voicemail, CRM integrations, etc.

Web Dialer: 9 Practical Uses

Here are the top 9 ways your team can use a call center dialer to increase productivity and efficiency.

1. Sales and Lead Generation

Use the call center dialer to quickly contact various prospects on your sales list and generate new leads. You can store and update prospect information, notes on the interaction regarding whether they qualify, whether they demonstrate an interest in the product, need a follow-up call, and so on. This way, you create a contact and the next time you call them, you have a history to build off of, and can quickly dial the number. Dialers are a call center favorite when it comes to calling large volumes of customers.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

Besides merely calling to make a sale or appointment, you can use a web dialer to promote your brand and increase visibility. Use market research to identify target audiences and demographics. Then, contact these potential prospects from this list and introduce them to your brand and its products and services. You can offer them a promotion or direct them to your website where they can learn more about the services you offer. This will help you get closer to target consumers.

3. Connect with International Clientele

Global Call Forwarding’s outbound calling service comes with a customizable caller ID capability. This means you can customize your outgoing caller ID and override it with a toll free or local number (of the location being called) previously purchased. Customers who receive such calls will see a toll free number or a local number and are more likely to answer the call. The main reason is that local or toll free calls are inexpensive compared to international calling.

You can get multiple international toll free and local numbers for countries across the world. With this service, you can call internationally for much cheaper rates and avoid paying long-distance calling fees.

4. Welcome New Customers

Use your call center dialer to welcome and verify new customers when they sign up or make their first purchase. This will demonstrate customer care as it shows that you value their business. You can verify purchases, offer to help them understand your service better, activate accounts, and so on.

5. Follow-Up on Recent Purchases

Check in with customers who made recent or repeated purchases with follow-up calls. Ask for feedback, how the experience was, or anything that can be done to improve the service. This too will display that your business cares about how customers interact with it. Your team should always try to improve customer service and this is one way to do so.

6. Reach Out to Abandoned Carts

Abandoned carts occur when an interested customer starts the check-out process but does not complete it. In other words, they abandon their cart and don’t make a purchase. Follow-up on abandoned carts with calls to identify reasons why customers may hesitate to purchase your product or service. Inquire how processes can be made simpler or help them complete the purchase.

7. Execute Customer Retention Strategies

Bringing new customers abroad can be more expensive than retaining customers. Having the ability to quickly contact important and valued customers can help you improve customer relations. Some good customer retention strategies include calling customers and prospects to:

  • Schedule new appointments
  • Set sales appointments at more convenient times
  • Remind them of upcoming appointments, payments, renewals, etc
  • Help reduce abandoned carts, and more

Keeping in touch with customers shows that your business is customer-focused and this will help you retain existing customers.

8. Raise Funds/Donations

Another useful application of a call center dialer is when your organization is conducting a fundraising campaign. You can reach out to members or prospects, present your campaign, and more through an outbound calling service.

9. Collect Customer Surveys and Feedback

Finally, a call center dialer can speed up phone surveys and help you collect feedback from customers about certain services, products, or interactions. Use this feedback to improve your overall service and offer better customer care.

download web dialer guide

Need a Call Center Dialer for Your Business?

Voice IP and web dialers can work together to give you the right tools to support inbound and outbound calling. Your business may fall behind if you do not take advantage of the right tools.

You can get a web dialer with our outbound calling service attached to your virtual phone number plan. Sign up today on our homepage or contact us for more questions!

15 Best Business VoIP Providers [2021]

Need to find a new business voice over IP provider for your office phone system? Look no further! We have put together a list of the top 15 VoIP providers for your convenience.

Who is the Best VoIP Providers for Business?

A voice over IP phone system uses the internet to transmit voice and video messages between two parties. This makes VoIP an ideal and cost-effective solution for businesses with considerable call volumes as virtual calls are cheaper than traditional calls.

Sorting through VoIP providers can be overwhelming. To make the process easier, we have listed 15 voice over IP providers and provided information regarding:

  • The features they offer
  • Any set-up or cancellation fees
  • Long-term commitment requirements
  • Free trial information
  • Costs and plans available

With this information, your business can find the ideal cloud phone system for office communication. To learn more about the various factors involved in finding the most suitable provider, read our article about choosing the right VoIP provider.

*Note: Prices and information about VoIP providers noted in this post are current and subject to changes.

1. Global Call Forwarding

Features:

  • Variety of virtual phone numbers
  • International toll free numbers for more than 160 countries
  • Unlimited extensions for different departments
  • Fax, SMS, and Voicemail to Email
  • Various call routing options
  • Business VoIP
  • Virtual call center features:
    • Call recording
    • Outbound calling with customizable caller ID
    • Customizable IVR systems, etc
  • Online account management
  • 24/7 customer support

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contract: No; cancel anytime; no cancellation fees

Free trial: 7-day free trial for business accounts

Cost: Global Call Forwarding offers 5 different virtual number plans that come equipped with VoIP features. These plans start as low as $7.96/mo.

2. Nextiva

Features:

  • Unlimited calls, texts, faxes nationwide
  • Unlimited video conferencing
  • Free HD phones
  • Mobile VoIP app
  • Call recording
  • Toll free minutes
  • SMS

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No

Free trial: Yes; 30-day full refund guarantee

Cost:

  • Professional — $20/user/mo
  • Enterprise — $27/user/mo

3. Vonage

Features:

  • Call analytics and reporting
  • 24/7 US customer support
  • Expert installation
  • Integrations: Salesforce, Zendesk, Zoho

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime; no cancellation fees

Free trial: 14-day free trial

Cost:

  • Mobile — $19.99/mo/line
  • Premium — $29.99/mo/line
  • Advanced — $39.99/mo/line

4. RingCentral

Features:

  • Unlimited calls, fax, SMS, conferencing
  • Document sharing
  • Voicemail-to-text
  • Call recording
  • Integrations: Office 365, G Suite, Slack, etc
  • Analytics and reports

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No, cancel anytime

Free trial: Yes

Cost:

  • Essentials — $29.99/user/mo
  • Standard — $34.99/user/mo
  • Premium — $44.99 /user/mo
  • Ultimate — $59.99/user/mo

RingCentral offers discounts if plans are paid annually instead of monthly.

5. 8×8

Features:

  • Unlimited calling and faxing (up to 47 countries)
  • Video conferencing
  • Mobile app
  • SMS
  • Team messaging

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime

Free trial: Yes, 30-day

Cost: Plans starting at $12/mo. To get a customized quote, contact 8×8’s sales team.

6. Ooma

Features:

  • Mobile app
  • Easy DIY set-up
  • Virtual receptionist
  • Extension dialing
  • On-hold music
  • Conferencing
  • Keep your current phone number or purchase a new one

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime

Free trial: 30-day free trial

Cost: Plans starting at $19.95/user/mo

7. Dialpad

Features:

  • Voice, video, text sharing on any device
  • AI tech to transcribe calls
  • Add and edit employees and users
  • Encourages remote working
  • Business SMS
  • Integrations: G Suite, Salesforce, Zendesk, etc
  • Analytics
  • Call routing

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime

Free trial: 14-day trial

Cost:

  • Standard — $20/user/mo
  • Pro — $30/user/mo
  • Enterprise — contact customer service for a quote

Dialpad offers discounts if paid annually instead of monthly.

8. Zoom

Features:

  • Single app for voice calls, video, meetings
  • HD audio
  • Voicemail
  • Call recording
  • Video and web conferencing
  • Integrations: Salesforce, Microsoft 365, G Suite

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No

Free trial: 14-day trial

Cost:

  • Basic — Free
  • Pro — $14.99/mo/host (up to 9 hosts per account)
  • Business — $19.99/mo/host (10+ hosts per account)
  • Enterprise — $19.99/mo/host (100+ hosts per account)

9. Jive

Features:

  • Convert computer, mobile into calling device
  • Free video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Unlimited SMS and messaging
  • Auto-attendants
  • Call queues
  • Integrations
  • Voicemail and fax

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime

Free trial: First month free

Cost: Contact sales for an exact quote.

10. OnSIP

Features:

  • Polycom phones included
  • Unlimited voice and video calling
  • Call parkingCall recording
  • Sayso website chat
  • Ring groups
  • Announcements

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: N/a

Free trial: Yes

Cost:

  • Unlimited —$18.95/user/mo (includes phones and headsets for 5+ users)
  • Basic — 49.95/mo per account + 2.9¢ per minute

11. PanTerra

Features:

  • System suitable for multi-location and remote users
  • Team collaboration features
  • Free SIP phones
  • Mobility on any device
  • Contract discounts

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: no; cancel anytime

Free trial: 30-day trial

Cost:

  • New Customer offer — $14.96/user/mo
  • Get an exact quote by contacting customer support

12. 1-VoIP

Features:

  • Call forwarding
  • Call recording
  • Extension transfer
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call queues
  • Phone included with the Professional plan

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime

Free trial: No

Cost:

  • Contact sales for an exact quote.
  • Metered — $14.97/mo/extension
  • Corporate — $19.97/mo/extension
  • Professional — $29.97/mo/extension

13. Mitel

Features:

  • Unlimited calling and conferencing
  • Integrations: Outlook, G Suite
  • Video collaboration
  • Web conferencing (desktop sharing)
  • Mobile apps

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: N/a

Free trial: N/a

Cost:

  • Essentials — $20.99/user/mo
  • Premier — $26.59/user/mo
  • Elite — $38.49/user/mo

14. ClarityTel

Features:

  • Virtual PBX
  • Unlimited calling
  • 40+ calling features
  • Call recording
  • Call transfer and waiting
  • Logs and activity reports
  • Mobile connect and apps

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No

Free trial: 30-day money back

Cost: Plans starting at $14.99/mo/line. Contact customer support for an exact quote.

15. Intermedia

Features:

  • Free business phone for every user
  • Conferencing calling
  • SIP trunking
  • Contact center reporting and analytics
  • IVR and call routing

Set-up fees: No

Long-term contracts: No; cancel anytime

Free trial: N/a

Cost: Contact customer support for a price quote.

Get VoIP For Your Small Business

Global Call Forwarding offers outbound calling and various call center features for businesses across the globe. These features encourage communication across borders through reliable and high-quality calling. To learn more about VoIP providers and how we can help you build a strong cloud phone system, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!

3 Common IVR System Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

An IVR system, when created right, can positively influence office productivity and efficiency. You can improve caller experience while distributing calls effectively and evenly with an automated system. However, there are some common mistakes often made when designing an IVR system and we’ll highlight them in this post.

Designing an IVR System

An IVR system or interactive voice response system is meant to ease the burden on the caller and the receiver. This is especially useful for companies that have large incoming call volumes. The interactive voice system, if executed properly, can reduce wait times, assist callers in completing tasks themselves, and also transfer the call to the right agent or department.

Thanks to growth in telecommunications, IVR technology has advanced to the point that it can be fully automated and operate without an agent needing to interfere. It will answer calls by using prerecorded messages and prompts to help callers navigate and find a resolution, to help them help themselves. And yet, there are some areas where you may fail when designing the system. Let’s look at the top 3 along with some other common mistakes.

1. Making the Prompts Too Complicated

When callers contact your business, it is usually to make an inquiry or have an issue resolved. And so in such cases, the sooner they can get assistance, the better. If your prompts are too complicated or too vague, callers may have trouble navigating the automated IVR system. It may prove hard for them to find the right answer for their concern. Additionally, if your prompts are too detailed and long, chances are, they may forget the options due to zoning out or not paying enough attention. This will result in misplaced calls and generate more frustration.

Solution: Provide only necessary information, keeping it simple.

Consider the value of each statement and see if you can redo it to provide basic information in less than two sentences. Remember: less is more. And reducing wait times is important as well.

2. Providing Too Many (Irrelevant) Menu Options

When designing your IVR system, keep in mind that while you want to provide as many options as you can, you do not want to overwhelm your callers. Confused callers will select the wrong option and end up in the wrong department which defeats the purpose of having an automated system.

Solution: Arrange menu options in easy-to-follow categories.

Consider the most common issues or concerns that arise and create menu options accordingly. This way, callers won’t get confused and will find what they are looking for quickly. Check out our article about IVR strategies for ideas on how to map out your system.

3. No Satisfaction Survey

It is important to know how your IVR system is doing and how callers are interacting with it. The whole point of such a system is to improve caller experience and increase customer satisfaction. Therefore, it is essential to study if your callers are satisfied with your customer service efforts.

Solution: Include a customer satisfaction survey.

You may choose to include an automated survey at the end of the call or send followup email or text messages. Remember to first ask your caller if they’d be interested in providing feedback before sending them IVR survey material.

Some Other IVR System Mistakes to Consider

  • Recordings that are unclear or of poor quality
  • Not enough language preferences
  • Poorly organized information
  • Long wait times or no approximate wait times
  • Jarring hold music or voice volumes
  • No call-back options
  • Hard to reach live representatives (in the case of fully automated IVR systems)
  • Outdated information

Create Your Ideal IVR System

Testing and feedback are two important aspects to take into account when setting up your IVR system. You want to make sure that it creates an easy-to-follow and comfortable experience for your caller. To learn more about IVR and how you can get the service, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171.

5G is Coming – What does that mean for you?

4th Generation technology (4G) is what we’ve all become most familiar with as we use our cell phones to send text messages, download information, and search the web. 5G (5th Generation) technology will take 4G to a new level. The infrastructure of 5G is modeled around software, which limits the interruptions that tend to affect 4G connectivity, such as dead zones and wifi interruptions. This is good news for business owners who prefer mobility to a traditional office space. As the number of virtual businesses continues to increase, working on-the-go is becoming the new normal, which means an interruption in mobile connection can negatively impact companies and professional relationships.

Technology excites us because it’s constantly evolving and introducing us to new concepts. Looking back over the past five years, technologies now exist that we would have never thought possible. These innovative systems are changing the way we work and live on a daily basis. 5G is one of those technologies that will make the unimaginable tangible and easily accessible.

So, 5G is coming, what does that mean for you? Most of us are working with mobile technologies as we run businesses and hire team members within our company. We know what 5G can do for the general consumer, but 5G will also change the world of business. With 5G, workers can get more done. 5G will also serve as a competitive tool that increases productivity and opens the door for new employment and business opportunities.

What 5G means for your business

Almost everyone has a cell phone to make phone calls, handle work-related tasks, and also download apps, games, and music. As mobile technology continues to improve and connect more networks, our devices are already operating at a speed that may have seemed impossible in the past.

5g coming soon
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100196235700

Here are some points to consider:

If you download a movie or large files, how long does it take? For many people, the answer to this would be a few minutes or maybe even an hour. 5G technology is 10 times faster than 4G, meaning that data transfers in seconds instead of minutes. With 5G, large downloads could take about 5 seconds.

Unlike 4G technology, 5G has been built around the concept of software instead of hardware. Therefore, 5G is less expensive to use and update. 5G technology pairs perfectly with virtual phone systems because virtual phone numbers are also based on software and online connectivity, instead of hardware that has to be replaced every time changes occur within the system or upgrades are needed.

5G is Coming. What does that mean for your customers?

Consider the fact that we are all consumers living in a world where we are constantly introduced to more technology. These technologies are smart and the response times continue to get shorter. As a business owner, you can’t remain competitive if you don’t offer immediate solutions and customer service.

If you are an entrepreneur using a virtual phone number to provide customer service, the amount of time it takes you or your team members to assist customers will have a direct impact on your number of sales and loyal customers. The amount of time modern consumers are willing to wait continues to shorten, but the instant transfer of information with 5G means information will be available at our fingertips almost instantly.

5G is Coming – What does that mean for your employees?

You can expect customers to call your virtual phone number in need of assistance. To properly assist them, you will need to have their information and product guides readily available when needed. Today, pulling up information during a call means sifting through multiple files and online databases. With the introduction of 5G, software connections will be far more advanced.

5G will allow needed information to be shown instantaneously without the usual delays. This upgrade will help customer service representatives better assist callers because they will be able to diagnose and work on the issue quickly.

Working quickly brings more business because agents can handle more calls. Simultaneously, customers will feel that you are more reliable. With such a powerful increase in speed and reliability, your company can accommodate more sales and incoming calls. As agents work faster, there will also be more time for them to take breaks and handle other important tasks.

5G is Coming – What does that mean for your metrics?

Sharing current information with everyone at the call center is one of the best ways to analyze strategies and create new approaches. One of the main details to track is the reason why callers are exiting phone calls. Were they on hold too long? Did they find the answers they needed?

While some companies receive customer reports and other key metrics on a weekly basis, 5G will allow companies to generate and update reports in real time. This high level of transparency will naturally motivate everyone to do their best. With 5G, you can expect higher levels of productivity and healthy competition as a result.

The Importance of a Virtual Phone System for Businesses

Many businesses see how necessary it is to use virtual phone systems to connect with their current customer base. And they recognize these systems as a great tool to establish connections across new markets. Cloud-based phone systems with virtual numbers allow sales teams to connect with local and international customers for affordable prices. And they come with various cloud communication features like time-based routing, hosted call recording, customized voicemail greetings, and more.

What Can Your Business Do with a Virtual Phone System

Most entrepreneurs don’t start off with a lot of disposable capital that they can use on fancy corporate offices. Most small business owners have to invest every dollar earned in the early years for growing their company. Many small businesses don’t survive as a result of wasting money on unnecessary resources. Entrepreneurs in the know realize that when they’re trying to grow their businesses, having a virtual phone number is a great investment that will be rewarded at a tremendous rate. Virtual phone numbers keep you connected and relevant in today’s markets, without a major financial commitment.

So, why should your business change its business phone system? Here are the top reasons to get a cloud phone system:

Work From Anywhere

With all of the features a virtual phone system provides, there is no need to sit by the phone in your office after hours. With call redirection services, you can take important phone calls when you’re traveling or working from home. And there is no delay for the caller to get in touch with you. They simply dial the same number as your office and you are instantly connected to your mobile phone or the device of your choosing. Missing phone calls is nearly impossible, but if you do, you can even forward voicemails as MP3s or text messages through to your email or fax machine. So no matter where you are, you can remain connected.

virtual phone numbers
Source: Stockphoto.com O#100012355324

Forward Calls Internationally

Additionally, you can route incoming calls internationally with an international call forwarding service. With this service, you can forward international calls made to your virtual phone number to another phone number or line in a different country. For example, your Mexico customers call your Mexico local phone number. You can set calls to this number to be forwarded to your office based in London. Your Mexican customers won’t be charged for an international call; they’ll pay regular local calling rates. And you get to connect with them without opening a physical office in Mexico.  This way, international call forwarding within a cloud phone system helps businesses expand globally in a cost-effective manner.

Related: How to Set up a Virtual Phone System?

Route Calls Smartly

Like redirecting calls to your cell phone, you can also route calls to the right departments within your company. Callers interacting with an IVR menu can choose an option on their keypad. This will redirect them to the best person to help them out.

On the other hand, if you are waiting for a very important call and need to go into an emergency meeting but cannot afford to miss the call, you can always redirect them to someone who is available during that time frame to take the call. The best part is that when you’re away, you don’t have to worry about missing any important calls; you can even set an away message. Whether you’ve stepped out to lunch or went home for the day and need to spend time with your family, you can notify your clients why you cannot come to the phone and redirect them to an alternate means of communication, or details on when they will be called back.

Access Cloud Communication Tools

Depending on your cloud phone service provider, you can get access to various advanced communication features when you get a virtual phone system. Here are some of the more popular features businesses use:

Offer 24/7 Customer Service

The best way to see your business grow to new heights is to have stellar customer service skills. After all, loyal customers are the lifeblood of any business. The best way to excel in your customer service skills is to be available to your customers at all times. With features like simultaneous ringing and sequential forwarding, your customers will never have to hear a busy tone when calling your business.

Scale and Grow

With the number of different plans available from virtual phone system providers, you can easily find one that meets your current demands. However, sooner or later your business will begin to grow and you will demand more from your service provider. Service providers like Global Call Forwarding will grow with your company and offer several different plans that will work with you at any stage of development, along with the additional services you may need for maximum efficiency in handling your communication needs.

Get a Cloud Phone System with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding offers businesses with virtual phone systems tailored to improve office productivity as well as caller experience. Our cloud phone numbers come with advanced features and services so that you can create the right business phone system for your company.

Understanding How SIP Trunking Works

Global SIP trunks can give your office phone system a boost by connecting different extensions through the internet. Let’s have a look at what global SIP trunking is and if your company needs a new phone system.

What is SIP Trunking?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a means of initiating and sending voice and other unified communications services through the internet. And global SIP works with IP-enabled private branch exchange systems (PBX). A PBX system connects incoming calls with any extension within your company. Before SIP options were available, calls were made through public switched telephone network (PSTN) lines. But now, SIP trunking takes this a step further by enabling the PBX to send and receive calls via the internet eliminating the need for standard PTSN. And so, SIP gives voice over internet protocol (VoIP) capabilities to your regular PBX. It works with virtual phone lines that run through bandwidth data.

VoIP capabilities enable the ability to transmit voice, text, video, image, and other files from one system to another. And companies are increasingly switching to VoIP office systems to streamline and organize their internal and external communications. With global SIP trunks, you can stay connected with your team as well as your customers through different mediums.

How Does SIP Trunking Work?

Global SIP trunks transmit voice, video, text, and other unified communication from one user to the next via the internet. SIP trunks work with VoIP to convert voice signals to digital packets in order to transmit them effectively and accurately. Originally, PSTN cables were used to transmit calls between two to more users. With SIP trunking, users can now deliver calls over an internet protocol instead.

Global SIP trunks can easily integrate within a PBX system, so no additional equipment is needed. This allows them to communicate across geographical boundaries and virtually without worrying about high long-distance calling fees or logistics. This adds more flexibility, mobility, and scalability to a business phone system.

SIP Trunks and SIP Lines

SIP trunks hold multiple SIP channels or SIP lines. Each SIP channel is one inbound or outbound call. Therefore, being able to have multiple channels in one global SIP trunk means that users can place multiple calls simultaneously.

For example, if your provider offers you a SIP trunking service with 30 SIP channels, this means that your business can make and answer 30 calls concurrently. Therefore, your business does not need to invest in purchase phone lines.

Small- to medium-sized businesses are often able to conduct operations effectively with just one trunk. However, how many SIP lines does your business need? This depends on the average number of calls occurring simultaneously. In other words, how often do your teams communicate with customers or business contacts at the same time? Do you have periods of high call traffic often? and so on. Global SIP trunk providers offer a variety of plans to meet varying business needs; these include but are not limited to:

  • Multiple or unlimited channels
  • Unlimited channels with a set number of minutes
  • Limited channels with unlimited minutes
  • Multiple trunks for various offices (or office locations) within the same network.

Speak with your SIP provider to find the right plan for your business.

Choosing a SIP Trunk Provider

Picking the right SIP provider for your service can help with fast provisioning and successful implementation. You want a SIP trunk provider that understands your business communication needs and can offer the right SIP services for a reasonable price.

Global Call Forwarding offers a straightforward SIP trunking service with 24/7 customer support to get you set up and running efficiently. Our affordable plans and predictable billing means that you have no surprises or hiccups but stable and reliable service.

Want to learn more about our service? Book a demo today or chat with our representatives online!

Benefits of Global SIP Trunks: Changing the Way Your Company Communicates

There are many benefits to incorporating SIP and VoIP into your communication solutions. Virtual communications make it easier to converse through different mediums reliably. And they open doors for your business by expanding your reach and ensuring clients can connect with you from anywhere. Additionally, you can get virtual phone numbers from a SIP trunk provider like Global Call Forwarding that works alongside your virtual office system. So, what are the many benefits of global SIP trunking?

1. Easier on the Pocket

VoIP is known for providing high-quality service at cheaper and more reasonable rates. And it becomes even more worth it when you consider that it is transmitting multimedia files at those rates, something traditional lines cannot do.

2. Supports and Encourages International Calling

For businesses with an international clientele, this service can help reduce your long-distance calling charges. And this is simply because the call is routed over an international call forwarding service through the internet. You can get virtual numbers such as toll free numbers or local numbers.

3. Offers Unlimited Number of Channels

SIP trunks host an unlimited number of channels so you can use it no matter what your bandwidth is. Sold in smaller quantities, these lines are easy to set up and more cost-effective than traditional lines which sell in bundles of 23. And you can have multiple virtual lines running through the system.

4. Improves Scalability

SIP trunking also allows you to scale up or down easily as lines can be added in gradually based on your need and convenience. And, you can increase capacity at any time.

5. Reliability

Since SIP services work on broadband internet connections, they can enter and cover different geographic areas. And so, with SIP, you can set up and manage unlimited geographic and non-geographic numbers. This is perfect for companies with remote offices and employees.

6. Helps Adopt the Follow the Sun Model

Use global SIP trunking to smoothly switch to the Follow the Sun model, a customer service approach aimed at offering 24/7 global customer support.

An image showing global sip trunks.

Improve Communication Systems With Global SIP and VoIP

Global SIP trunks don’t require a lot of new and expensive equipment and are very easy to set up. You can contact an ISP or SIP provider to learn more about how you can use global SIP trunking to support your business. Enhance your company’s communication system with SIP and VoIP today.

Top VoIP Speed Tests (As of December 2019)

Think your VoIP connection is lacking something? Use one of these top VoIP speed tests to measure internet performance and quality. This way, you will know where your VoIP connection needs to improve to support your communication needs.

Top VoIP Speed Tests

Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) systems route calls over the internet. They do this by converting voice signals to digital signals and transmit them through your broadband connection. In order to use VoIP systems comfortably, you need to have a strong internet connection. This is where speed tests come in. Top VoIP speed tests check how your internet is doing on specific factors such as:

Latency: Time delay experienced by signals from the transmission to the receiver. Higher latency leads to a delayed sound effect but doesn’t degrade sound quality.

Jitter: Delay between sent and received packets. The more the delay, the more sound and latency will degrade and suffer.

Upload and Download speeds: Time taken to download or upload (send and receive) files. With higher speeds, heavier data packets can be sent without fear of delay or disruption.

As of December 2019, these are the companies that provide the top VoIP speed tests that will help you understand where your VoIP service needs work.

ZD NET

To check your VoIP speed with ZD Net, open their speed test link, select the type of connection you want to test (cable, 4G, DSL) and your location with the zip code. Then, you will see the results through graphics to help you best understand how your system is working. Make sure you enable Flash Player to use the test.

Freeola Broadband Line Quality Test

Freeola is an internet service provider offering internet services to small businesses in the UK. You can check your download and upload speed here and also learn why your broadband is slow and how to fix it. Simply, go to the Speed Test tab, and click ‘Start.’ No additional information is required.

Speedtest

Speedtest, by Ookla, tests internet performance through mobile and desktop apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Apple TV. You can also get the browser extension to check internet performance without disrupting your web experience. Once you decide how and what you want to test, simply follow the instructions on the website.

8×8 VoIP Readiness Test

8×8 measures internet performance and quality by passing simulated VoIP traffic to your device. To use this, you will need to visit the VoIP test tab under Resources and Tools and then click ‘Start.’ Based on your results, you will know if your connection is ready to switch to VoIP.

Voiptoners

To check your VoIP speed, visit Voiptoners speed test tool and click ‘Go.’ The results will tell you how many recommended and maximum lines you can have based on the strength of your connection.

Ping-test.net

Ping-test uses a graphic to demonstrate how your internet is doing. When you visit the website, click ‘Start Test’ and it will conduct a variety of ping tests over different servers. This service is most popular for its latency scores.

OnSIP VoIP Test

OnSIP works like the other speed tests except that it requires you to complete a short form begin starting your test. This form asks for your email, name, phone number, company number, and the number of employees.

MegaPath Speed Test Plus

To use MegaPath’s speed test, you need to select the location or city nearest to you and then start the test. The results will then let you know how your internet is functioning.

Bandwidth Place

Besides testing your internet upload and download speed, latency, and jitter, Bandwidth Place lets you share your results with others as well.

Why Testing Your VoIP Speed is Important

As mentioned earlier, good VoIP and internet speed is essential to the proper running of your VoIP phone system. And so, it is good to occasionally test your speed to ensure calls made and received are not interrupted. And also, to ensure files are easily sent and received. Because VoIP systems don’t only route voice calls, they also enable video calls and file sharing. So, test your VoIP speed today with one of these top VoIP speed tests.