Home » Archive by category 'VoIP'

What is SIP Failover and How to Set it Up?

As a business, the difference between a good and bad service is being accessible and reachable at all times. So, needless to say, the best way to build trust in customers is to be available whenever they need you.

This means keeping those phone lines working at all times.

In this post, you will learn about the importance of building fail-safes within your business phone system and how to set up SIP failover.

SIP Failover for Business Phone Systems

In an IBM study on planned vs unplanned downtime, 49% of IT directors listed data recovery as a top technical challenge, while 53% ranked loss of revenue as a top business challenge. As you can see, there is no upside to a system shut down, even if it’s for a few minutes.

Phone systems powered by voice over IP (VoIP) and session initiation protocol (SIP) are cloud-based. This gives them flexibility and mobility, as they are not limited to one physical location or device. But since SIP phone systems rely on the internet, it is important to keep your IT processes running.

Thankfully, SIP and VoIP phone systems provide users with backup phone lines and routing mechanisms to allow business continuity.

To better understand SIP failover, we will look at:

  • What is SIP Failover and Why Do You Need it?
  • SIP Failover Solutions
  • How to Prevent Phone System Failure?
  • Phone System Disaster Recovery
  • How to Set Up SIP Failover?

What is SIP Failover?

SIP failover is a backup operation that activates when your main SIP phone system fails. In other words, your phone service will fail over to the backup system or setup you have in place.

There are a few different reasons why your SIP phone system may fail:

  • Power or internet outage
  • Natural disasters
  • Crisis or conflict
  • Cyberattacks or DoS attacks, to name a few.

When disaster strikes, SIP failover automatically kicks in to ensure your business continues providing voice support with little to no downtime. Other terms for this action include SIP redundancy and VoIP failover.

Why Do You Need SIP Redundancy?

We are not always trained to consider creating backups for every process or system. But when it comes to your business, not having backup support in place can prove detrimental.

In the event your phone system fails, your business won’t be able to communicate with employees and customers — especially if they are all over the world. This will lead to significant downtime and delays if you don’t have SIP failover in place.

Consequences of business phone system failure include:

  • Service and productivity interruptions where customers cannot reach out for support and employees may not complete essential tasks
  • Inflated call volumes and hold times once your system is back up
  • Diminished customer and caller experience
  • Loss of consumer trust and business reliability
  • Missed business opportunities
  • Reduced sales and revenue overall

Benefits of Building Failover within Your Business Phone System

When you plan in advance, you can reduce the instances of your business phone system experiencing any interruption. SIP failover and redundancy strategies ensure your communication system has:

  • Access to a proxy so you can maintain business continuity
  • Reduced downtime and service interruptions
  • Seamless caller experience
  • Ability to offer reliable support to customers, even in the face of crises.

A diagram showing SIP failover for business.

SIP Failover Solutions (Prevention and Recovery)

So, how do you create a reliable and redundant VoIP phone system? Let’s look at different SIP failover solutions available at the prevention and recovery stages:

How to Prevent Phone System Failure?

The first step is to prepare in advance so that you experience little to no downtime during an emergency. You can do this by building redundancy into your phone system itself.

So, how to set up SIP failover?

Here are some ways to prevent business phone system failure:

1. Set up backup systems, devices, and teams

Ask your in-house IT and operation teams to create and maintain backup systems and equipment. Build redundancy into your network via alternate routers, switches, access points, and so on. Support your LAN infrastructure with the needed backup power and include secondary connections. You can also add call groups and remote teams to function as backups in case your primary team is unavailable.

2. Use a provider with multiple layers of redundancy

A high-availability provider can offer continuous cloud phone service with 99.999% uptime. This is because they have multiple geo-redundant data centers spread globally – letting them route calls via different channels if one channel is unavailable. So, you can rest assured that your calls will still run through their network if there is a crisis.

3. Set up geo-redundancy with business calling features

Your provider should also offer you SIP failover capabilities to create custom backup solutions for your needs. For instance, you can set up routing strategies that automatically kick in if calls do not connect to the primary or secondary destination. Look for top features such as VoIP failover and sequential ring.

4. Create a recovery plan beforehand

Finally, create a plan that outlines what will happen in case of a disaster. This should be quickly implemented when the time comes. You can plan for different disasters or crises and have backup solutions in place. Check out our disaster recovery plan templates to get started.

Phone System Disaster Recovery

The best way to protect your business phone system against downtime is to build a resilient system and create a disaster recovery solution. Recovering from a phone system failure depends on the reason for failure: natural disasters, internet outages, security breaches, etc. Let’s look at how you might recover from SIP failures in these situations:

1. Natural disasters

If SIP failover is already set in place, calls should automatically forward to the next location or device in your list. If your business is in a location prone to natural disasters, it’s a good idea to have teams spread across different locations. You can also add a call center BPO as a backup option. This way, the other teams can continue conversing with clients while your main team stays safe.

2. Network and internet outages

Access your cloud-based phone service from other locations and devices. For example, you can log into your Global Call Forwarding control panel from any smartphone or internet-enabled device. You can then change forwarding and routing rules or update your greeting message to adapt to your current situation and apply them in real-time.

3. Security breach

Activate your incident response team. Identify the threat and take the necessary action. Refer to your disaster recovery plan and contact your VoIP provider for crisis support. In this case, it may be best to halt your service to keep company and customer data safe.

How to Set Up SIP Failover?

As you can see, there are a few different ways to set up failover for your business phone system. But while utilizing all may seem daunting and expensive, you don’t need to do everything.

If nothing else, you should have at least the following three failover solutions in place:

  1. Redundant and reliable cloud phone service provider
  2. Advanced routing and forwarding strategies
  3. Phone system disaster recovery plan or solution

Voice Continuity with Global Call Forwarding

As a global cloud telephony provider, we understand the importance of remaining accessible at all times. This is why we have written extensively about VoIP reliability, SIP trunking best practices, and more. Our business voice redundancy guide provides actionable steps about how you can create a highly redundant phone system with multiple failover options.

Our goal is to help ensure your business can communicate with customers without any interruptions. Have questions about our failover solutions? Call us to learn more or chat with our experts today!

What is SIP Termination?

More and more businesses are adopting cloud phone systems for more flexibility and mobility. Cloud phone services, powered by VoIP and SIP, bring you high-quality voice that is manageable from any location and device.

Here, we’ll look specifically at SIP termination services and why you should upgrade your phone system with SIP trunks.

Understanding VoIP and SIP Termination

Before we get started, let’s quickly recap the basics of SIP. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol typically used to transmit voice and other unified communications via an internet connection. VoIP systems use SIP to send voice calls from one destination (your business) to another (customers). The only requirement is that your VoIP system remains connected to the internet.

To understand how SIP trunking works, we’ll go over:

  • What is SIP Origination?
  • What is SIP Termination + Benefits?
  • How to Identify the Right SIP Termination Provider?

Let’s start by understanding what these terms mean.

What is SIP Origination?

SIP origination — like voice origination — refers to the process of handling an originating call and successfully delivering it to the destination.

In the case of a business, the originating call is an incoming call, while the destination it will be delivered to is your company. Your global SIP provider receives incoming calls made to your phone number and then routes them to your system without any interruptions.

What is SIP Termination?

SIP termination is the process of sending phone calls from one provider (usually a SIP trunking provider) to another PSTN or VoIP provider.

In this case, you use SIP trunks to initiate and make outbound calls to customers wherever they are located. SIP termination comes with standard VoIP and SIP trunking features such as outbound calling, advanced routing, caller ID management, and more.

But what is SIP trunking, and how does it fit within your business phone system?

SIP trunking is a cloud phone service that initiates and transmits voice messages from one destination to another. You simply plug these virtual SIP trunks into your existing PBX or traditional phone setup.

SIP then adds high-quality VoIP capabilities to your phone system so that you can make and receive calls from any location and device. It also enables you to use advanced communication features as mentioned above.

Related: What is VoIP Termination and Why Do You Need it?

A diagram explaining how SIP termination protocols work.

Benefits of SIP Termination: Capabilities and Flexibilities

So, why does your business need to consider SIP termination as a part of your phone system?

From small businesses to large corporations, voice termination is a major part of providing proactive customer service and sales support. Your business requires a cost-effective and reliable way to connect with customers and prospects wherever they are located. So, you need a phone service that supports your team’s communication requirements.

Here’s what makes SIP termination, along with SIP trunking, a cost-effective and reliable business phone solution:

  • Cost-effective for local and long-distance communication
  • Competitive international calling rates
  • High deliverability and crystal clear audio quality
  • Large inventory of local, toll-free, and international phone numbers to choose from
  • Access to call management and advanced routing features
  • Eliminate the need for traditional PSTN or legacy phone systems
  • Low cost of additional hardware and maintenance
  • Added flexibility with access from any location or device

How to Identify the Right SIP Termination Provider?

While there are multiple SIP trunk providers out there, not all offer the same level of quality. So, it is important to take the time to understand which provider is a good fit for your needs.

When choosing the right SIP termination provider for your business, consider the following:

1. Research

Look at different global SIP trunk providers. Understand the scope of their service and features. Ask about network availability, reliability, and what makes them offer uninterrupted services.

2. Analyze

Compare providers based on pricing, plan capabilities, features, customer support availability, and so on. Look through customer reviews and case studies to see what current customers are saying about the service.

3. Reach Out

Contact sales to understand how they can help support your business’s specific needs. If you have a requirement or need that the business does not advertise, ask if they have any flexible or customizable solutions. Some businesses may be able to accommodate your request.

4. Test

Finally, ask if they offer a free trial, so you can test the service and experience the quality for yourself.

Related: 10 Best USA SIP Trunk Providers

SIP Trunking with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding proudly offers carrier-grade global voice service, including SIP termination. You can use our SIP trunking solution to expand your business’ reach in various countries around the world, and take advantage of our selection of call management features.

Want to learn more? Chat with our experts today!

A Complete Guide to Business Voice Redundancy

Customer service expectations have increased in the past decade, with more and more businesses being “forever accessible.” Many companies offer 24/7 support, while others are reachable via multiple communication channels. And some use customer service automation like chatbots and AI support to be ever-present when customers need them.

Because of these expectations and thanks to technological advancement — it is easier than ever to be there for your customers. Businesses like yours rely on having a constant stream of data and connectivity. So, what happens if your systems fail?

Specifically, what will happen if your business phone system fails and customers cannot contact their account managers? Or, interested prospects are not able to finalize purchases? They will simply go to a competitor who is easy to contact and more reliable. This is where building a fully redundant communication infrastructure becomes important.

In this guide to incoming business voice redundancy, we will look at why and how you must prepare your business to succeed and remain accessible at all times.

Using Voice Redundancy to Create a Seamless Caller Experience

Even with the growth of new support channels, conversations via email and phone account for about 81% of inbound communications. This means that most customers try to contact your company via phone.

Many businesses have redundancy and backup systems in place for different applications. But few make their voice or phone system redundant as well. It is essential to incorporate redundancy within your VoIP and network infrastructure to secure communication continuity in the event of disaster or outages. This ensures your employees continue communicating with each other and customers, even in a crisis.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

What is Voice Redundancy?

Voice redundancy is the process of implementing failover and redundancy by including backup systems within your network.

In other words, you integrate additional or alternate instances of devices, equipment, communication channels, routing strategies, and more within your VoIP infrastructure.

The purpose of redundancy in VoIP networks is to provide an alternative when your original network setup fails. So if your main phone system goes down, you automatically switch to the backup. This way, your business does not have to worry about downtime.

Most telephony providers offer increased reliability and new capabilities with their PBXs, VoIP systems, and call center software. These capabilities are often customizable – allowing you to create failover solutions that work best for your business.

Voice redundancy is also known as VoIP redundancy, failover redundancy, and VoIP failover, among other terms.

Understanding Voice Failover and Redundancy

One thing to understand is that failover and redundancy work alongside each other. And you can use different forms of redundancy to achieve VoIP failover in your phone system. But what does all this really mean? Let’s break it down.

Failover is the backup operation that activates your secondary setup when the primary system fails. Cloud phone service providers offer VoIP failover options customizable to each user’s needs. Failover is achieved by having redundancy built into your phone system.

Example of a failover solution — If your main SIP or PSTN devices cannot receive incoming calls, you can route calls to another destination.

What is incoming voice redunancy?

Redundancy is how you set up your secondary system. Redundancy improves your phone system’s reliability by providing alternative, independent paths through which calls reroute. This works best when your provider has redundancy built into their systems as well. And providers achieve this by having multiple data centers in different locations and working with other carriers.

Example of redundancy — Your VoIP provider works with a global network of local and regional carriers across different service areas.

A comparison of a network with voice redundancy and without voice redunancy.

Together, failover and redundancy ensure

  • Access to a resilient proxy for 24/7 accessibility
  • Seamless caller experience
  • Fewer interruptions for your business and your customers.

Types of VoIP Networks Redundancy

There are a few types of voice redundancy and different ways to implement it within your network. Let’s look at the top methods — high-availability vs fault-tolerant redundant systems:

High-availability works by using clusters of servers that monitor each other. These servers have failover protocols in place. If one server fails or stops working, backup servers activate and restart applications running on the failed server. This strategy does not need extravagant infrastructure, but may experience little downtime as the backup server starts up.

Fault-tolerant redundant systems utilize full hardware redundancy, where multiple physical systems mirror applications simultaneously. If one system fails, the other systems take over with no downtime. However, these systems are more complex and expensive.

High-availability network with redundancy versus fault tolerance.

Choosing between high-availability and fault-tolerant systems depends on a few factors:

  • Business communication infrastructure,
  • Communication and IT budget, and
  • How much downtime you can afford.

Why is Incoming Voice Redundancy So Important?

In the early days of SIP and VoIP, technology was not developed enough for reliability and redundancy. Voice quality was relatively low and failover options weren’t easily accessible. So when a crisis struck, systems would go down and stay down. Needless to say, uptime was a major concern

It is no secret that businesses need to ensure that the phones are working and available at all times. In the time it takes to get your systems back up and running, you may miss out on calls from customers and prospects. And as a business, you know the costs that come with losing out on opportunities and not being able to support your customers.

This is what makes VoIP geo-redundancy important. And thanks to advancements in telecommunications, cloud telephony providers today have multiple layers of redundancy and offer various failover solutions.

Consequences of Business Phone System Failure

Every large enterprise or small business should aim for call continuity along with other business continuity strategies. System architects and operations managers know the importance of managing internal and external communications.

If your phone stops working and you experience significant downtime, you stand to lose valuable business opportunities. Communication is entirely halted. Employees are unable to complete their responsibilities. Customers cannot contact your business for assistance. Sales slow down. And using private phones to call customers may further damage your business’s professional image.

Recovery can take longer depending on your disaster and backup plans. This is why planning and preparing in advance helps your business navigate crises more effectively.

Business voice redundancy provides fail-safe solutions on different levels such as backup servers, multiple phone lines, automated and advanced call routing, and more.

Benefits of a Fully Redundant Phone System

When you set up VoIP redundancy and failover, you get

  • Reliable phone service with high uptime
  • Ability to failover to any internet connection and device
  • Uninterrupted service and business continuity
  • Protection against network disruptions and disasters
  • Managed voice continuity (MVC)
  • A fully redundant architecture

You can also enjoy these benefits when using a high-availability phone service provider.

Voice Redundancy Solutions & Best Practices

Redundancy is the key to failover and keeping your systems functioning at all times. Here are the 3 most important redundancy best practices and solutions to help you build a reliable phone system:

  • Prevent
  • Monitor
  • Recover

Let’s look at them individually.

1. Prevention: How to Add Voice Redundancy

You can include business voice redundancy within your phone network on two levels:

1. Provider-level: Find a provider with high-availability or multiple layers of redundancy built into their systems. Ask about their network and how they provide reliability. Do they have multiple points of presence (POPs) and data centers? What failover capabilities do they offer with their service and can you customize them? How do they prevent network interruptions? Does their voice traffic automatically failover to another carrier if one carrier or route goes down? And so on.

2. Features-level: Use failover capabilities to create custom backup solutions for your network. Use your IT and operation teams to create and manage backup systems in-house. This might include setting up additional hardware and equipment. You can also organize teams and call groups to function as backups.

Then, create automated routing strategies with your phone service provider’s failover features. Use advanced routing features so calls forward or ring on other devices or numbers if the first destination is inactive. Top features include VoIP failover, sequential ring, and simultaneous ring.

2. Monitoring: Keep an Eye on Your Systems and Services

Next, proactively monitor your network, phone numbers, service lines, and call quality. When you monitor, you’ll know if a number or service line stops working. Then, you can troubleshoot and implement failover options such as

  • Changing the destination
  • Switching to a backup phone number
  • Investigating the routing path

Your provider should be able to monitor their service and network, including your numbers. When finding a provider, it’s good to ask how they safeguard their network and call quality. Additionally, you want a provider who is responsive and easy to contact when you need support or troubleshooting help.

You can also monitor call quality on your own with a voice assurance solution like Spearline’s. This way, you are alerted to potential problems before they get out of hand and affect your business.

3. Disaster Recovery: How to Get Your System Back Up and Running

The last step is to recover when disaster strikes. And of course, this depends on the type of crises you face: natural disasters, network outages, data breaches, and so on. Create a disaster recovery plan beforehand that you can implement when the time comes.

With a natural disaster, your options may be limited and safety should be the top priority. If you have failover set up already, calls can route through different paths to different devices and locations.

With network or internet outages, you may need to change locations or devices. For example, you can access the Global Call Forwarding control panel online from any device. This way, if your primary phone setup fails, login to your account from your smartphone and make the necessary changes.

Add a new message to your IVR indicating slow service. Or, forward incoming calls to employees’ private devices. You can even enable employees to make outbound calls from their personal phones using the business phone number as the caller ID. This way, you maintain call continuity even if your primary setup stops working. Alternatively, you can outsource calls to a call center listed in your recovery plan.

If your phone system was hacked, leverage your incident response team to reduce the cost of a data breach. Once you have identified the threat, inform users on your network. Disconnect any devices and systems on the network. Contact your VoIP provider for support and crisis assistance.

Depending on the extent of the breach, you may be able to send calls to a different location. Otherwise, it may be better to halt service to ensure that customer and company data are not further compromised. When the time is right, inform customers about the breach so that they can take the proper steps to protect themselves.

How Does Global Call Forwarding Offer Business Voice Redundancy?

We know that outages and downtime can hurt your business. So, our voice redundancy solutions are designed to keep your business running smoothly.

Global Call Forwarding has a wide global network of reliable Tier-1 carriers with multiple POPs across the Americas and APAC. This enables us to provide high-availability solutions with multiple layers of redundancy as well as hard-to-reach phone service across the globe.

We also have an in-house-built secure voice communication app working on all platforms. And our control panel is accessible online through web and mobile devices. This way, you can stay connected from any part of the world and through any device.

More importantly, we utilize the highest quality voice termination to give you high quality and value.

All this lets us offer you reliable service with 99.999% uptime. Work closely with our dedicated account managers to find the right solution for your business phone system.

Call us today at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

Want to see our service in action? Read about how we helped EaseMyTrip provide uninterrupted support to international clients.

8 Common SIP Problems and Solutions

Effective communication systems are at the heart of successful businesses. SIP provides your business phone system with a dependable, cost-effective, and modernized service. While this service offers a ton of capabilities and benefits for your business, it’s normal to experience SIP-related issues every so often. We’ll discuss typical SIP problems and our recommended solutions.

Identifying and Troubleshooting Common SIP Issues

SIP trunking uses the internet to route calls, making your business communication easy and affordable. SIP provides reliable and stable communication services. But as with any technology, even SIP encounters technical issues. Although this service usually has a low downtime, it’s great to know tips for troubleshooting SIP problems.

Understanding Your SIP Trunk Phone System

It’s helpful to understand how your SIP system works to properly identify any upcoming issues. Before we get into common SIP problems and their solutions, let’s first review the basics of your SIP trunking service.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) works with VoIP to transmit and maintain multimedia communication through the internet. SIP trunks convert communication data into digital packets. The service then delivers the packets to your desired destination, also referred to as a packet switch network.

One SIP trunk includes several channels. Every channel represents one call, whether it is inbound or outbound. A SIP trunk with multiple channels enables you to simultaneously place or receive multiple calls. Additionally, SIP trunking works with most devices and can even be integrated with your PBX.

Now on to common SIP problems and solutions. We’ve divided SIP issues into two main categories and included our recommended fixes:

As we begin to discuss SIP problems, keep in mind your selected SIP service and settings. Also, you can review our glossary to familiarize yourself with the terminology used in this article.

Audio Quality SIP Problems

Communication is vital in any business. So, poor audio quality can negatively impact business calls. The first step in solving an audio VoIP problem is to identify the issue. Audio quality issues could be anything from jitters, echoes, and delays to broken audio. Keep in mind that some solutions apply to multiple SIP problems. Let’s take a deeper look at each issue, possible causes, and solutions.

1. Echoes

Phone echoing occurs when voice audio repeats at a later interval. Usually, the caller experiencing the echo isn’t the one creating it. Echoes trigger caller frustration and affect caller experience for both parties. The main cause of phone echoing is hardware problems or a slow internet connection.

Solution for Echo in Audio

The quickest way to eliminate an echo is to take your phone off speakerphone or lower the volume. Speakerphones use multiple microphones and speakers to transmit your voice. Since this function uses several microphones, voice audio is sometimes reflected back and causes echoing.

Keep an eye on your equipment. If you have a faulty microphone or headset, it can also contribute to echoing. Outdated or damaged equipment within your SIP or VoIP infrastructure — such as an old switch, headset, router, or cables — generates audio quality issues. Replace your old equipment or legacy phone system to help reduce unwanted feedback and audio interference.

Related: Modernizing Legacy Phone Systems: How and Why to Upgrade?

2. Delays or Latency

Voice delays are a significant pause between when you say things and when the recipient hears you. This is also known as audio latency or lag. Latency leads to callers talking over each other or prolonged pauses in the conversation. The common cause of voice delay originates from a low internet speed.

Solution for Audio Delay

If you have audio quality issues, check your current bandwidth power. Bandwidth affects both the upload and download speeds of your internet connection. For one SIP channel, your minimum bandwidth speed should be 100 kbps. This rate should increase depending on the amount of SIP channels or trunks you have. Contact your internet service provider (ISP) to ensure your network meets these bandwidth requirements.

If you’re still having audio trouble after checking your bandwidth power, review your Quality of Service (QoS) settings on your router. QoS enables you to prioritize different kinds of traffic on your network.

3. Broken Audio

When words or voices continuously cut in and out, you’re experiencing choppy or broken audio. Inconsistent audio increases miscommunication between parties. The usual source of broken audio is packet loss. Packet loss occurs when certain pieces of data are not successfully transmitted. Typically, network or internet connection problems contribute to packet loss.

Solution for Broken Audio

Although WiFi is usually strong enough for basic internet access, Ethernet may be a better option for your VoIP phone system. An Ethernet cable increases internet speed, lowers network latency, and offers a more stable connection. This is a possible solution to packet loss that causes broken audio and jitters.

Streaming services take up bandwidth power and contribute to internet traffic on your network. When making or receiving calls, consider closing the streaming services to increase call audio quality.

Related: 10 Best USA SIP Trunk Providers

4. Jitters

Call jitter occurs when voice audio is missing or jumbled. Similar to broken audio, audio is lost and never delivered to the recipient. But unlike broken audio, voice data has the potential to be delivered out of order. This affects the overall quality of the call and often leads to miscommunication. Packet loss also triggers this issue and originates from a poor internet connection.

Solution for Jitter in VoIP Calls

Again, poor internet connection and insufficient bandwidth contribute to many common SIP problems, including audio quality issues. A stable and strong internet connection sets you up for the best audio quality. Double-check that you have the appropriate amount of bandwidth available to power your devices and services.

A jitter buffer intentionally delays incoming audio data packets so that the caller receives clear sound. You can use either a static or dynamic jitter buffer. A static buffer is set up through your hardware by the manufacturer. Whereas, a dynamic buffer is software-based and easy to modify to the needs of your network.

5. No Sound

This issue occurs when your call successfully connects, but you can’t hear anything. In some instances, the other caller may not be able to hear you. Lack of sound results in a constant exchange of “Hello?” and “Can you hear me now?” which is really aggravating for both people on the call.

Solution for No Sound in SIP Calls

Firewalls provide your network with security to prevent unauthorized network traffic. However, your firewall may be preventing your audio packets and SIP in general from working properly. To fix this, make sure firewall and PBX ports are open to your provider’s recommended settings. For Global Call Forwarding users, open ports 10,000 to 60,000.

One of the most common SIP problems

SIP Connection Issues

SIP trunks and VoIP calls make business communication both reliable and efficient. However, users may sometimes experience SIP problems when making, receiving, and connecting calls. Here are some common SIP connection issues and solutions:

6. Inability to Make Calls

Outbound calling is an essential part of operating a business, especially for call centers. It can derail your company’s efforts or business transactions if you cannot place outbound calls. Some services clearly indicate if outbound calling is disabled or unable to connect with a message or icon.

Solution When Unable to Make Calls

First, make sure you have the outbound calling feature added to your account. To check if you have this feature, reach out to your service provider or IT support. Global Call Forwarding users can review your enabled services in the Control Panel or speak to your dedicated account manager.

If you have outbound calling enabled, double-check your SIP credentials. Make sure to confirm the validity of your SIP user ID, password, and domain information with your provider.

Additionally, check that your SIP trunk is set to the proper codec. Codecs both compress and decompress data to reduce file size and consume less bandwidth power. Different codecs provide various data transmission times, known as bitrates, and bandwidth requirements. Contact your SIP provider with questions about correct codec names.

For our users, use codec G.711 for all SIP trunks. The Global Call Forwarding network supports the G.711 codec, which provides the best VoIP call quality and uses no compression.

7. Dropped Calls

When calls randomly end or stop in the middle of your conversation, you experience a dropped call. Businesses or call centers with high call volumes might also experience dropped calls after a specific amount of call time. Dropped calls tend to create caller frustration for both parties.

Solution for Dropped Calls

Dropped calls typically originate from a poor network connection or limited bandwidth power. Analyze your internet speed, connection, network traffic, and available bandwidth power to identify areas of improvement to your network. Consider contacting your ISP or looking for a VoIP quality test online to obtain this info. Additionally, take a look at your QoS settings and make sure to prioritize all voice calls.

Ensure both your software and hardware are updated as needed. For software, consider turning on or allowing automatic updates.

8. Missed Calls or Not Receiving Calls

Calls that go straight to voicemail or don’t properly come through your phone system are considered missed calls. This is another common SIP problem that could affect your company. When you miss calls, you miss business opportunities. So, let’s solve this issue.

Solution for Missing Calls or Not Receiving Calls

If you’re not receiving calls as intended, ensure your firewall isn’t blocking your inbound calls. Simply access your firewall to authorize or manually add your provider’s IP address.

Setting up a friendly trunk can also solve this issue. A friendly trunk allows the call to proceed to the next step in your SIP system. It’s best to ask IT support for help with friendly trunk configuration. But if you’re a do-it-yourself person, you can configure a friendly trunk using open-source PBX software like FreePBX, Elastics, or Asterisk.

Solve Your SIP Problems with a Reliable Service

Selecting the right VoIP provider will help eliminate persistent SIP problems. Look for a SIP trunk provider that understands your business’ communication needs and offers reliable services.

Global Call Forwarding delivers a clear-cut SIP trunking service. We offer 24/7 support and a dedicated account manager for every user. This dedication helps avoid VoIP problems before they begin. Our affordable and straightforward plans provide a stable and reliable service with no roadblocks.

Call us today to learn more or request a demo!

What is a VoIP Infrastructure?

An in-depth guide to VoIP infrastructure for business communication. Learn how an efficient VoIP architecture can set your business up for success by making voice calling reliable, crystal-clear, and cost-effective. We will cover:

Optimizing Your VoIP Infrastructure

When adding VoIP functionality to your virtual phone system, you need to consider the best way to design your communication infrastructure to increase reliability, reduce costs, and maintain high call quality. Optimizing VoIP infrastructure means preparing your phone system for success and giving your employees the right tools to do their jobs effectively.

What is VoIP?

To understand VoIP infrastructure, we must first understand voice over IP (VoIP) and how it works. Voice over IP is a common and popular technology that enables communication between two parties over the internet instead of traditional phone lines. With traditional lines, voice traveled via electrical signals and copper wires; this meant the farther the voice traveled, the more you paid.

On the other hand, VoIP converts voice into digital signals and transmits voice messages over the internet instead of traditional copper lines. And so, you can place long-distance and international calls without paying high calling rates. Additionally, since these calls run over the internet, the voice quality is high and reliable. All of this makes VoIP a solid communication solution for businesses that want to expand their services worldwide.

So, what is VoIP infrastructure?

VoIP infrastructure is the setup of your backend voice infrastructure and how calls will move between a business, its offices, and customers. It refers to the connection, bandwidth, software, hardware, phone equipment, VoIP phone service, softphones, internal connections, and external connections that will make up your business communication system.

What to Consider for a VoIP Infrastructure?

When planning out your VoIP phone system, you need to consider different layers of VoIP infrastructure to determine your needs. These are the main VoIP requirements to pay attention to:

1. VoIP Phone Service

First, you need a reliable VoIP phone service that will give you the features, services, and coverage you need. Peruse and compare different VoIP providers so that you understand what they offer and how they can help you build a robust and cost-effective phone system.

2. Business Phone Numbers

You might even need to purchase cloud phone numbers or port your existing VoIP number to your new service. Most VoIP providers offer business phone numbers such as toll-free, local, and international numbers from different countries worldwide. These numbers come with international call forwarding so that you can forward them to your team’s location anywhere in the world. You can buy multiple numbers for target countries and forward incoming calls to your main office, regional and remote teams, or call center.

3. Hardware Phones and Equipment

Based on your communication needs and business setup, you may require some hardware and equipment. This usually includes physical desk phones that work with VoIP such as Grandstream or Polycom, computers and laptops, headsets and microphones, etc.

4. Software and Softphones

You can also go the other route and use a cloud-based softphone. Softphones let users make and receive calls from devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones. You can use a softphone from a web browser or as a computer or smartphone app. They provide more flexibility and mobility as users can connect from any location or device, and they don’t need a desk phone at all times. Most VoIP providers offer a softphone with their service but make sure you check when finding a new provider.

5. IP-PBX System & SIP Trunking

If you already have a VoIP-enabled phone or an IP-PBX system (3CX, FreePBX, Cisco, etc.), then you can simply connect your VoIP phone solution to your existing phone system. This means you do not have to plan out or re-adjust your VoIP infrastructure for a new service.

You can also integrate SIP trunking within your cloud PBX or IP-PBX system. Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) is a service where you bring your own VoIP or SIP trunking carrier and plug it into your existing phone system. This way, you get to choose and control what carrier and service quality you want for your phone system.

6. VoIP Bandwidth

To make VoIP work, you need a VoIP service and an internet connection with a suitable bandwidth to handle your business’ call volume. This makes VoIP bandwidth an essential part of your VoIP infrastructure. When finding a new provider, check with them how much bandwidth will be required to manage your call volume. This is usually determined by the number of phone lines needed, how many calls occur simultaneously, and other applications using the internet.

7. Internal and External Connectivity

Call management is crucial to operating a business efficiently. VoIP can span across different locations and teams, connecting them all together via one centralized hub. And so, you need to determine how your teams will communicate internally and externally what VoIP features will help manage this communication. In other words, how will your teams communicate amongst themselves and with your customers and vendors?

Small businesses might handle all communication within one office and use phone, chat, and email to collaborate. But they may have to manage incoming calls from customers in other regions and countries. Similarly, medium-sized businesses might have teams spread across key target markets and need to regularly manage incoming calls from global customers. In these cases, you will need to consider how your VoIP phone system will handle these calls and route them effectively to the right department or agent.

8. VoIP Security

Lastly, you want to understand how secure your VoIP network is and how to maintain security across the whole system. Have a conversation with your provider; ask them how their service is encrypted and what ensures network security. Additionally, ask how you and your teams can keep your systems safe. If you manage remote teams, make sure you have a BYOD policy in place so that employees know how to keep their devices and, by extension, your business information secure.

5 Common VoIP Network Diagrams

When you choose to switch over to a VoIP system, you want to design a high-performance, low-cost one that meets your business needs and infrastructure. And so, we’ve listed down some common VoIP diagrams to illustrate visually how a VoIP phone system is set up.

Here are some examples of VoIP network architecture:

1. Cloud-Based Phone System

VoIP Infrastructure Diagram

A cloud-based VoIP phone system runs over the internet and connects across different locations and countries. Most cloud or hosted VoIP systems are hosted by the provider. In other words, your VoIP provider hosts or manages the servers and technology. This means that your business does not need to worry about operating and maintaining servers. You only need a deskphone and an internet setup to make your VoIP phone system work.

This is what a standard VoIP architecture looks like:

  • The business will likely have one VoIP service provider and an internet service provider (ISP) offering cable internet, DSL, or fiber working through a router.
  • Each workstation or desk will have one Ethernet network drop and a network switch.
  • The switch then connects to all necessary devices such as your deskphone, computer, softphone, etc.

2. IP-PBX System With SIP Trunking

VoIP Infrastructure Diagram with SIP Trunking

Most businesses might already have a PBX system installed for their communication needs. In this case, switching to a VoIP infrastructure is relatively easy as you simply need to integrate it with your IP-PBX system.

A PBX is a private phone network connecting all phones within a business. You can connect this PBX to your PSTN lines, foreign exchange office (FXO) ports, or SIP trunks. A common combination is using SIP trunks within an IP-PBX system. SIP trunking allows your teams to make and place calls simultaneously without the need for physical lines connecting to the system. Since PSTN is becoming increasingly outdated, SIP trunking is often a PSTN replacement solution.

This is what an IP-PBX with SIP trunking VoIP system looks like:

  • The business will likely have one ISP offering cable internet, DSL, or fiber working through a router.
  • They will also subscribe to a SIP trunking service.
  • Users will then have to plug in their SIP credentials into their PBX system, which connects to other phones, computers, softphones, etc.

3. Single Office Location

Single location infrastructure

This VoIP architecture is for small-to-medium-sized businesses that primarily operate from one location.

  • The business will likely have one internet service provider (ISP) offering cable internet, DSL, or fiber.
  • Each workstation or desk will have one Ethernet network drop and a Power over Ethernet (PoE-enabled) switch for VoIP implementation.
  • Connect VoIP phones to the network drop.
  • If you opt for softphones, connect computers or laptops to the network drop instead.

4. Multiple Office Locations (Global Offices)

VoIP Infrastructure for multiple office locations

Medium-to-large-sized businesses with multiple locations will need a more complex VoIP architecture setup.

  • The business will likely have more than one ISPs offering cable internet, DSL, or fiber.
  • Each workstation or desk will have one Ethernet network drop and a Power over Ethernet (PoE-enabled) switch for VoIP implementation.
  • Connect VoIP phones to the network drop.
  • If you opt for softphones, connect computers or laptops to the network drop instead.
  • VLAN tagging will limit network congestion.
  • Connect offices to each other via business phone numbers and call forwarding. Example: You can automatically forward calls from one office to another during certain hours or set up failover forwarding in case of an emergency or disaster.

5. Remote Employees

VoIP Infrastructure for remote working

Businesses with remote employees or employees spread across different regions can use this VoIP architecture to maintain business continuity through one central hub. Since employees will have different providers and network equipment, this setup is more complex but also flexible.

VoIP infrastructure for remote employees:

  • Hosted VoIP phone systems make it possible for users to connect from any location as long as they have an internet connection.
  • You can send employees deskphones and computers to use for business purposes.
  • Alternatively, you can have them use VoIP softphones which they can download on their computer, laptop, or softphone.
  • Connect remote employees to each other via business phone numbers and VoIP forwarding.

A crucial element to keeping remote VoIP calling secure is to educate your employees about keeping their internet and devices safe. Create a technology policy that details how they should use business-related technology and what best practices to follow.

Add VoIP for Better Call Quality

Want to bring VoIP functionality to your phone system? Learn more about business VoIP solutions offered by speaking with our experts.

Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or request a demo today!

6 Best IVR Number Providers

It is easy to get lost in a growing sea of IVR number providers. While there are many out there, the good quality and easy-to-use ones are still rare. You want an IVR provider who offers you a quality product with responsive support.

Choosing the Right IVR Number Provider

Your IVR provider will determine how callers interact with your business phone system. An efficient automated system will cut down on wait times and assist callers without frustration or confusion. The right IVR number provider will help your business:

  • Prioritize call management and efficient handling
  • Enhance customer and caller experience
  • Improve call resolution rates and increase responsiveness
  • Use automation to increase office productivity

IVR Number Providers: Top Features to Look for

So, what makes a good IVR number provider? Here are a few factors and features to look for in your new IVR provider:

  • Easy-to-use IVR manager or call flow designer
  • Customizable and adjustable platform
  • Low- to no-code IVR manager
  • Access to IVR features:
    • Call transfer
    • Failover forwarding
    • Advanced call routing
    • Automation options
  • Low cloud IVR cost

6 Best IVR Number Providers

Here we list the top 6 IVR number providers with information about features and pricing so that you can make an informed decision:

  1. Global Call Forwarding
  2. Twilio
  3. Nextiva
  4. RingCentral
  5. Five9
  6. 8×8

*Note: Costs mentioned in this article are current at the time of publishing and may be subject to changes.

1. Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding offers a fully customizable, no-code cloud IVR system along with their virtual phone number plan. You can use their IVR manager within the control panel to set up simple to complex call flows. They offer tutorials and support materials during the onboarding process to help acquaint your team with the manager.

Global Call Forwarding IVR cost:
Global Call Forwarding offers cloud IVR for free with a virtual phone number plan. So, the cost of IVR is the price of a business phone number. For example, US numbers start at 7.95/month with access to our full IVR manager.

2. Twilio

Twilio is a cloud contact center that provides advanced and customizable business phone solutions from voice to video. They offer IVR and other voice features along with their programmable voice service. You can create IVR workflows within their IVR studio; no coding required.

Twilio IVR cost:
The price of their IVR system is the price of their voice service. They offer three different pricing options: Pay-as-you-go, volume discounts, and committed-discounts, which are based on the type of call or amount of minutes you will use. For example, local calls with the pay-as-you-go pricing start at $0.0130/ minute.

3. Nextiva

Nextiva offers voice and call center software to businesses of all sizes and industries. You will need an account with them to use their call flow builder to design your IVR system. They also use natural language processing (NLP) to bring conversational AI to your IVR system.

Nextiva IVR cost:
Nextiva offers advanced IVR (auto-attendant) with a Nextiva VoIP service. Their voice solutions start at $17.95 /user/month.

IVR number providers
Source: Stockphoto.com O#1202 – ID#100150145640

4. RingCentral

Like others listed in this article, RingCentral also offers IVR and auto-attendant services within their voice phone service plans. You can use their Visual IVR Editor along with other features from their dashboard.

RingCentral IVR cost:
RingCentral offers multi-level auto-attendant and multi-level IVR is a premium feature within their Message, Video, and Phone (MVP) package. Their plans with auto-attendant (and other features) start at $30.39/user/month.

5. Five9

Five9 offers IVR as part of their inbound contact center solution. This solution brings you various business phone service features from IVR to advanced routing and more. Their IVR service comes with omnichannel routing and screen pop.

Five9 IVR cost:
Five9 has three different pricing models: Monthly On-Demand, Per-Minute Fees, and Annual Contracts. You will need to contact their sales team to get a quote for their service.

6. 8×8

8×8 offers a basic IVR solution that lets users create menus and self-service options. Like others mentioned above, these are designed for users to use on their own, without the need for code or expert support. They also feature a visual editor to help users map out their IVR paths.

8×8 IVR cost:
8×8 offers IVR within any of their X series plans, which start at $12/user/month.

Global Call Forwarding: An IVR Number Provider

Part of reviewing different IVR number providers is reaching out to them and understanding what your business communication system would look like with their service. To learn more about the advanced IVR solution offered by Global Call Forwarding, speak with our experts today! Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online.

What Is Cloud Telephony & How Does It Work?

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 look at:

Definition of Cloud Telephony

What is cloud telephony? Cloud telephony is a cloud-based phone system that works through your internet connection.

It is a type of unified communications as a service UCaaS that brings all your business communication needs in one place. It lets businesses move their phone service to the cloud with the help of cloud PBX to make the process seamless while providing high-quality voice service.

Other names for cloud telephony include cloud calling, cloud communications, and cloud phone systems. A cloud telephony system consists of:

  • VoIP phone service — to transmit calls with high quality
  • Cloud or virtual phone numbers — from various countries globally
  • Softphones — to convert any device into a business phone
  • Outbound calling — to make outgoing calls with specific caller IDs

When you choose cloud telephony for your business, you can say goodbye to poor call quality and latency issues, as well as logistical problems such as long-distance fees, service network blockages, network restrictions, and more.

Related: Cloud Communication Stats: 2022

How Does it Work?

Cloud telephony uses VoIP to transmit calls via the internet. It is not attached to one specific location, making it easy for users to make and receive calls from any location and through any device. By doing so, your business can expand beyond its immediate geographic boundaries and enter new markets cost-effectively.

But what does this look like within your business? You can integrate cloud telephony within your existing system. This means you do not have to purchase new equipment or hardware. In fact, you can even use a softphone on your computer or tablet instead of using desk phones.

The best part about using a cloud phone system is that you can control the service from any location through an online control panel. Here, you will have access to all features and full control over your phone numbers. You can add new numbers or users, make changes, add new rules, and more.

Example of Using Cloud Communications for Business

Suppose you run a business located in the US but want to expand your operations to Singapore. Traditionally, you would decide to set up a local office in Singapore. This could take weeks of preparation: filling out paperwork, hiring local agents to handle licensing and legal matters, investing capital in the country, leasing property, hiring staff, and more.

Alternatively, you can buy Singapore virtual phone numbers with an outbound calling service. This lets you call local customers and businesses with a local caller ID, even when calling from the US. And when you are ready to set up a local office, you can easily expand your cloud telephony system to cover the Singapore office as well. Or, you can operate solely on digital channels.

Benefits of Using a Cloud Telephony Service

What is cloud-based telephony used for? Different types of businesses—SMBs, startups, large enterprises, and individuals —benefit from when using cloud telephony for their business phone service:

Here are 5 reasons why your business should get a cloud telephony service:

  1. Quick and Easy Implementation
  2. Taking Your Business to the Cloud
  3. Expand Globally in a Cost-Effective Way
  4. Access to Advanced Call Management Features
  5. Flexibility for Your Business

Benefits of cloud telephony.

1. Quick and Easy Implementation

Since cloud phone systems don’t need additional on-site hardware, you can get it running pretty quickly without technical support or installation. Your cloud telephony provider will take care of most of the implementation, leaving your employees to continue working without any downtime.

2. Taking Your Business to the Cloud

We’ve seen a rise in cloud-based apps and software such as project management systems, HR software, CMS, CRMs, phone service, and more. These apps and solutions let us conduct business from any location and device—a boon during the pandemic as most people had to quickly switch to working from home.

And so, your business will miss out if it does not adopt cloud-based business solutions. It is also important to note that cloud-based solutions are often more reliable and secure, making them a good fit for businesses.

3. Expand Globally in a Cost-Effective Way

Cloud communications allow your small-to-medium-sized business to grow globally. You do not have to be physically present in a country to sell products and offer customer service. Simply buy a local or toll free number for that country specifically and route calls to your office located elsewhere. You can do the same with other countries and regions within your expansion plan. Scale your business at your own pace with flexible and advanced phone solutions.

4. Access to Advanced Call Management Features

What makes a cloud communication system worth it is the array of features, services, and add-ons you get to use. Different providers will offer you different feature sets. When choosing a provider, it helps to determine what you need from your cloud telephony system.

For instance: Do you need to automate call routing? Do you need to record all or some calls for customer research purposes? Do you need to override your caller ID when calling internationally?

Here are the top features and services you can get:

  • Cloud phone numbers (local and toll free numbers)
  • International call forwarding
  • Cloud IVR
  • Advanced call routing (follow the sun routing and geo-routing)
  • Outbound calling
  • Cloud contact center solutions
  • SIP trunking
  • Call recording
  • Call masking

View a list of features offered by Global Call Forwarding.

5. Flexibility for Your Business

Switching to the cloud opens up a lot of avenues for a business. Traditionally, entering a new market meant opening a brick-and-mortar store or local office. However, depending on your business model, you might find it cost-effective to run everything virtually. That is, instead of developing a physical presence, you can manage operations from your headquarters, located in another country. And cloud telephony makes it possible to do this.

You can sell your products and services online and ship them internationally. And for customer service, you can direct calls from this new market to your headquarters or a remote agent. This reduces the need to create an expensive and resource-intensive branch office to interact with customers.

What is cloud telephony?
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#100033099327

How to Choose a Cloud Telephony Provider?

Choosing a global telephony provider for your business’ cloud communications can be tricky. There are many providers out there claiming to offer high-quality service for low rates. But you need to find one that you can rely on and works within your budget.

Here are 7 tips to consider when choosing a cloud telephony provider:

  1. Proven Reliability and Reputation
  2. Service Quality and Certifications
  3. Cost of the Service
  4. Features and Integrations
  5. Contract Lock-In and Migration Support
  6. Customer Support and Account Management
  7. Customer Reviews and Testimonials

1. Proven Reliability and Reputation

The first thing you want to know about your provider is their reliability. Consider these:

  • How long have they been doing business?
  • What are customers saying about their service?
  • What certifications and awards do they have?
  • Are their employees experts in the industry?
  • Do they have a proven track record of providing high-quality service?

Dig deep with your research and compare providers to see which one is more reliable.

2. Service Quality and Certifications

High uptime, low downtime, and excellent voice quality are required for any successful cloud phone system. Your cloud phone service provider should provide redundancy and failover forwarding so that you can maintain business continuity, even during a crisis.

Also, look closely at their service level agreement (SLA). This should outline their service objectives, exceptions and exclusions, remediation policies, and so on. To get the most out of your service, you want to choose a provider that promises 99.99% uptime with multiple layers of redundancy.

You may also want to look at their security and industry compliance. Ideally, your new provider will have some of these certifications in place:

  • HIPAA Compliance: For healthcare service providers.
  • ISO/IEC 20071: Global standard for security threat responses.
  • PCI Compliance: Handle credit card payments securely.
  • SOC 2 Compliance: Incident response plans to protect privacy and data.
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP): Enterprise-grade security in every call.

3. Cost of the Service

Next, you want to understand what your service entails and what is included in your bill. In other words, what exactly are you paying for? You want to pick a provider who has transparent pricing with no hidden fees. Look for pricing specifics like:

  • Type of pricing: Per month / per user per month / per line per month
  • Number of users on the plan
  • Monthly vs annual pricing and discounts
  • Technology and equipment requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability: Is it easy to change or adjust your plan?
  • Costs for inbound and outbound calls: For different number types
  • Additional per minute rate
  • Cost of additional features, add-ons, and integrations
  • Other fees: installation or setup fees, mandatory taxes, service fees, cancellation fees, etc.

We offer full transparency on our pricing page, so you know what is and isn’t included in your phone service plan.

4. Features and Integrations

The main reason for choosing a new provider is to have a better business communication system. And so, it is essential that this new provider offers your features and add-ons that help you achieve your goals. Review their features and integrations to see if they make a good fit for your needs.

5. Contract Lock-In and Migration Support

If, for whatever reason, this provider does not satisfy your needs, you do not want to be locked into a long-term contract and struggle to cancel or face any complications when migrating to cloud communications. Review the contract carefully for lock-in clauses and the cancellation policy.

6. Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Customer testimonials and reviews are a great place to gauge how customers like you use this provider’s service and what, if any, problems exist. You can also see how the provider responds to bad reviews and what they do to resolve an issue.

Want to know how our customers use our service? Check out our customer testimonials.

Customer Support and Account Management

Since your phone service is crucial to the successful running of your business, you should be able to get assistance quickly, in case something goes wrong. So, you need to evaluate your provider’s customer support:

  • Is it fast and responsive?
  • Do they offer 24/7 support?
  • Are they available on live chat, email, call?
  • Do they respond to trouble tickets within 24 hours?
  • Will you have a dedicated account manager to manage your account?

You can test their customer support during the free trial process or ask about what options they offer beforehand.

Switch to Cloud Telephony with Global Call Forwarding

As you can see, cloud telephony is the future of business communication as remote working becomes more common and companies are looking to expand globally. With a cloud phone system, you can expand and scale while keeping costs low and managing your teams through one central system.

Want to know more about the cloud telephony solution offered at Global Call Forwarding? Book a demo today or chat with our representatives online!

Planning Your Transition to Cloud Communications

Growing a business means upgrading your systems and tech to use more efficient solutions that will help your employees do their job better.

Upgrading your business communications, in that vein, means improving the way your business communicates internally and externally. This means gaining high-quality voice, reducing downtime, and maintaining business continuity. A transition to cloud communications can ensure your phone system functions efficiently and continuously without interruption, no matter where your teams are.

Here is an in-depth guide on migrating to cloud communications, focusing on:

 

Why Should You Transition to the Cloud?

A recent trend within business technology is the adoption of cloud solutions such as cloud storage, cloud computing, cloud-based management systems, cloud communications, and so on.

The main reason to upgrade your legacy phone system is access to better and more secure services. But that aside, there are many reasons to transition to cloud communications—from wanting to revamp its business phone system to bringing on new features and services. You can get:

  • Access to advanced features and services
  • More reports and data
  • Better cloud security
  • Flexibility and scalability
  • Increased collaboration and productivity
  • Improved business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Cost-effective and user-friendly systems.




Benefits of Migrating Communications to the Cloud

But why your business should consider cloud communications depends on what you want to achieve with a cloud phone system.

  • Do you want more reliable service?
  • Do you want to expand globally in a cost-effective way?
  • Are you looking to scale your customer support and sales reach?
  • Do you want to manage local, global, and remote teams through one centralized communications platform?

A transition to cloud communications can help you do these and more. Here are the top benefits you get when you migrate to cloud communications:

  • High-quality voice service with multiple layers of redundancy and low downtime
  • Access to new and advanced call management features
  • Ability to work from any location and device
  • Support for local, global, and remote teams
  • Reduced risks and improved business continuity across different locations
  • Ability to scale your business globally with cloud phone numbers.

What to Avoid During a Cloud Communication Migration?

Even as you prepare for the switch, you may miss out on some key aspects that can impede the success of your new communication system.

Top mistakes to avoid when transitioning to cloud communications.

Thankfully, you can avoid and resolve these issues by communicating with your employees and cloud phone service provider. An experienced cloud phone service provider can help you avoid these issues and transition smoothly.

Related: Transforming Your Legacy Contact Center

What to Keep in Mind When Transitioning

Things to keep in mind when you transition to cloud communications.When you decide to adopt cloud communications, you need to pay attention to 3 key elements:

1. Technology

Your phone system technology and equipment must be aligned and prepared for the transition. It is, therefore, important to review what you currently have and if you need anything else.

Tools and features — Which services and features are being used, why, and by whom? How do your teams communicate internally and externally? What valuable tools and features are missing in your existing phone solution? What business processes can benefit from new communication features?

Network — Can your existing phone network and internet service handle the increased demand of the new provider and service? Do you need a new provider who can support your plans to scale your business? What changes do you need to make to improve security, such as switching your router or firewall?

Equipment — Can existing equipment and hardware be reused, or do you need to replace them with new hardware? Does your cloud telephony provider a service that can be integrated within your existing network? For example, using a softphone for placing business calls through the computer.

2. Processes

This part of the process focused on understanding what your ideal business communication process looks like and identifying gaps to fill.

Map Out Existing Communication Processes — How does your business communicate internally? How do your local, global, and remote teams share information and collaborate? What are some ways to improve this type of communication? How do you handle customer-related inbound and outbound calls? What disaster recovery and redundancy plans do you have in place or need to have?

How to Improve These Processes — How can new features support your business communication goals and processes? What new features and additional services do you need (instant messaging, live chat, advanced routing, etc.)? How can you use cloud telephony to expand globally and improve call management?

3. People

Part of preparing your business for a transition to cloud communications is to get everyone on board, including employees, suppliers, customers, prospects, stakeholders.

First, you need to understand how your staff uses the existing communication system and what they need from the new phone system. Their feedback is crucial in the successful adoption of the new system.

Once the migration process begins, everyone will need formal training to move the process along smoothly. Everyone who uses the new system will need the training to understand how the new system and features work. Your provider should provide such onboarding training and support. It’s a good idea to create guides and knowledge bases that everyone can access for information.

If there are any changes to workflow and processes (such as flexible working options or new customer support centers), make sure to communicate these effectively with policies in place.

Planning for Cloud Communications in 2021.
Source: Stockphoto.com – O#100102492272 ID#100186088462

How to Transition to Cloud Communications Successfully

By preparation for your transition to the cloud, you can:

  • Migrate with little disruption and low downtime
  • Implement a solution tailored and customized to your business’ requirements
  • Improve your workflows and processes
  • Provide training and support for staff, stakeholders, and customers.

Here are the 6 steps to a smooth and successful cloud communication migration:

Step 1: Visualize End Goals

First, you need to determine what you want your new business phone system to do and how much you want to spend on it. Then, you can start to look for the right provider with relevant features and a compatible service plan.

Step 2: Review the Current Situation

Next, audit your current system. What assets, capabilities, and processes are working well? What is essential to your business and teams? Get feedback from employees and others using your phone system.

Step 3: Identify Improvement Opportunities

When doing your review, identify what is lacking in your current system. Different cloud phone service providers offer different tools, features, and add-ons, but not all may be necessary for your needs. So, it is crucial to know what you need from your provider to make your business run smoothly and efficiently.

Step 4: Find the Right Cloud Phone Service Provider

Once you identify what you need, you can look for the right provider and cloud communication solution. Compare top providers, review plans and pricing, look at customer reviews and testimonials. You also want to understand the onboarding process and migration support so that you can transition smoothly without any interruptions or downtime.

Step 5: Prepare your Business

Then, you need to get everyone on the same page with training and onboarding. This change will impact different sections of your business: staff, customers, vendors, and suppliers. So, they need to prepare as well.

Step 6: Assess Network and Test

As you transition to the new cloud communication system, you want to test and make sure everything is running efficiently on your network. Your provider can help with configuration and testing.

Cloud Communications Transition with Global Call Forwarding

Migrating to the cloud is a big step, but one in the right direction. It can elevate the way your business communicates with customers and partners, and it can support your expansion plans and establish your business as a credible and reliable one.

Global Call Forwarding can help you build a cloud communication system that works for your business. We offer a wide range of call management tools and additional services so that you can focus more on your business and customers instead of your phone system.

Speak with our experts to learn more. Call us today at 1-888-908-6171 or chat with us online.

What is Call Routing?

Are you looking to improve caller experience when customers contact your business? Responsive phone support is crucial to increasing caller satisfaction.

And one way to make your business reachable and responsive is with call routing. Try different advanced call center routing strategies to reduce wait times and help callers reach the right department or employee quickly.

Call Routing Explained

Call routing is a call management tool that distributes incoming calls based on rules set by your business. In other words, you can set rules to route incoming calls to specific employees, offices, departments, or phone lines, as needed. This can help you manage high call volumes.

For example, you can set a rule to route calls coming to your main office to another location (such as a satellite office) during certain hours of the day. Or, you can set a rule to route calls coming from certain locations to a remote worker in that time zone or region.

These routing strategies help you organize incoming business calls during on and off-hours. And you can ensure callers are taken care of even outside of your regular business hours.

How Does Advanced Call Routing Work?

Advanced call routing is also referred to as an automatic call distributor system (ACD) since it automatically distributes calls to the right person or department. Callers do not have to input extensions. When they call a business, they may interact with a cloud IVR system or auto-attendant. Based on the rules set, the IVR will automatically route the calls or ask for more information about the caller and then route the call to the right department.

Benefits of Using a Global Call Routing Service

But what are the benefits of advanced call routing for your business? By routing calls strategically and effectively, you can help callers get assistance quickly. This improves customer experience as they don’t have to wait in long lines or move from employee to employee just to get information. And you can improve the overall experience of your customer support and sales teams by dividing the work and spreading it evenly.

Here are some of the key benefits of using a global call routing service:

  1. Route callers to the right person or department; eliminate confusion
  2. Offer 24/7 follow the sun customer support
  3. Provide global customer support
  4. Reduce wait time and call abandonment rates
  5. Reduce the number of missed calls
  6. Connect callers with agents within their time zone or location
  7. Connect callers with employees they have previously interacted with
  8. Improve customer satisfaction
  9. Offer virtual voicemail and self-service options
  10. Add custom greetings and pre-recorded messages
  11. Balance out employee workload

What is call routing?

Call Routing Strategies and Best Practices

There are a few different ways to route calls coming into your business. This mainly depends on what you are trying to accomplish and the size of your business and customer-facing teams.

Once you have these basics down, you can start identifying routing strategies that fit within your infrastructure. You can route calls through an IVR system or ACD system with pre-set rules and pre-recorded messages. Here are the top call center routing strategies:

1. Time-Based Routing

With time-based routing, you can route calls to specific offices, lines, or employees based on the time of the call. For example, calls that come in during off-hours or the weekends can be directed to remote workers or employees in different time zones. This type of routing is also known as time of day routing.

2. Location-Based Routing

Route calls based on the location of the caller. This is a good strategy for businesses that have customers in multiple regions and countries around the world. You can group together regions within the same time zone or close by. And then forward incoming calls coming from customers within these regions to agents assigned to these regions. You can also forward calls internationally to different offices or locations with an international call routing service.

3. Skill-Based Routing

This strategy works along with your IVR system. The IVR system presents the caller with a menu of options to choose from. Based on the caller’s input, the system routes the call to the agent with skills that match the caller’s input. For example, customers needing assistance in specific languages can converse with employees fluent in those languages by opting for that option within the IVR.

4. Simultaneous Routing

With this routing feature, you can ring multiple phones with one number. This means incoming calls ring on all phones assigned within your hunt group or ring group. You can set your ring group to include employees in the main office, satellite offices, remote workers, and so on. Then, as a call comes in, whoever is available can jump in and assist the customer. The customer won’t have to wait for an available line.

5. Sequential Forwarding

Sequential Forwarding — also known as sequential ringing — delivers incoming calls down a predetermined list of numbers. If the employee assigned to the first number doesn’t answer it, the call moves to the next in line.

6. Round Robin Call Routing

The round robin routing strategy is the most common one. Most businesses start out with this routing technique and then evolve from there. This routing strategy helps distribute incoming calls evenly. The first call goes to the first employee in the predetermined list. The second call goes to the next person on the list, and so on. Once the last person on the list receives a call, the next call is sent to the first employee.

7. Least Occupied Agent Routing

With this strategy, calls are routed to the agent waiting for the longest. In other words, the call is sent to a line that hasn’t received a call in a while. This routing strategy ensures that no agent stays idle for too long. And distributed calls evenly among agents.

8. Holiday Rules

Set call forwarding rules for major holidays in advance. Calls coming in on these days can be forwarded to voicemail or office different locations. This way, callers can leave a message or get a response from your teams in other countries and time zones, when your main office or core employees are on vacation.

Get Advanced Call Routing with Global Call Forwarding

The call center routing service from Global Call Forwarding is highly customizable. So, you can design a phone system that works best for your needs. Map out different ring groups. Set up rules for different situations and times. Upload voice messages, custom greetings, and menu options. And create a better caller experience for your customers. Speak with our experts to learn more about what our service can do for your business. Call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online!