Home » Archive by category 'VoIP' (Page 2)

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: 2024

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.

cloud telephony cost research

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!

How to Choose the Right Softphone for Your Company?

Picking the best softphone for your business determines how your business interacts with its customers and vice versa. Find out how to choose a softphone with relevant features and add-ons that will improve business-customer communication and enhance caller experience.

What to Look for in a Softphone?

A softphone is an application that allows users to place calls from any location and device. All you need is a headset, VoIP service, and a stable internet connection. Then your teams can make and answer business calls from anywhere in the world.

Softphones work through the internet and on most devices, as opposed to desk phones. So, whether your set-up includes Windows or Mac devices, you can use a softphone with ease. However, you will need a VoIP service with credentials to log in. And an internet connection with enough bandwidth to handle multiple VoIP calls.

How do you pick a softphone that fits perfectly within your phone system while offering you advanced telephony features? Here are a few things you must consider.

1. Operating System

What type of softphone would work best for your employees and teams? Do you need one that runs on a desktop or smartphone or both? Does it matter whether the softphone is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, or Android devices?

There are various forms of softphones: mobile apps, desktop apps, web extensions, and web browser apps. Certain softphones can be accessed by logging in on a browser (such as Chrome) while others need to be downloaded to a device to use. Many softphones use WebRTC for functionality.

You will need to decide what type of softphone is most suited for your business set-up. For instance, if all your employees work out of the same office and reuse the same devices (computers), a desktop app or browser extension works well. On the other hand, if your teams work remotely, you may want a more remote-friendly option such as a browser extension that can be accessed for any type of device. Most softphone providers will offer their dialer in these different formats.

2. Softphone Features

The next, and perhaps most important step is determining your needs and required features. The main purpose of a softphone is to make and receive calls from any device and location. But that is not all a softphone does. Softphones can also store call details and records, allow for internal transfers and conferencing, and more. When choosing a softphone, you may want to consider the different features that come along.

For instance, the Global Call Forwarding softphone offers the following features:

  • Two-way voice calls with any of our numbers
  • CRM and helpdesk integrations
  • Call transfer within departments
  • Free in-network calls
  • Advanced call routing options
  • International call forwarding
  • Customized caller ID
  • Call detail records
  • Fully integrated contacts and call history features
  • Cloud call recording
  • Ability to call with one click
  • Voicemail

Think about how these features can further streamline your business communications. If you hold multiple offices or manage remote teams, being able to quickly transfer calls can save a customer’s time. Additionally, having an outbound calling service with a dynamic caller ID ensures you call international customers through numbers they recognize and feel comfortable answering.

Furthermore, having access to call records and contact information goes a long way in ensuring your teams stay up-to-date on customer interactions and offer better service.

3. Pricing Structure and Options

Softphones are cost-effective. However, different providers offer different pricing structures and payment options. Compare the prices of different providers along with the features and services they offer. Some things to consider include:

  • Do they offer different pricing tiers depending on the business’ size and the number of users?
  • Are monthly minutes included?
  • What features come with the plans?
  • Are there additional add-on services?
  • Do they offer a free trial that you could use to test the service?
  • How is the pricing structure laid out? Is it month-to-month or long-term contracts?

You do not want to get locked into a service contract when the service does not live up to promises made by the provider. It is important to test out the service and easily cancel it if needed.

4. Support for Outbound Calling

Your softphone should be able to support your outbound calling strategy. This means that if you have long-distance or international customers, your softphone should help you connect with these customers without any interruption or service issues.

Global Call Forwarding’s outbound calling service lets users connect with long-distance and international customers with high voice quality. Furthermore, we offer a dynamic caller ID feature that lets your employees customize their caller ID when calling these customers. In other words, you can override the existing caller ID to display a local or toll free number when calling customers in foreign countries.

Your customers will feel more comfortable answering your call when it comes from a local number than an unrecognizable and unknown foreign number.

5. Local and International Coverage

Lastly, can this service provider support your local and international calling needs? For example, you will need local and international numbers to stay connected to your customers. And so, it helps if you can get both your softphone and phone numbers in one place and through the same service provider. This can help reduce costs and time spent on two different providers and platforms.

Learn More About Global Call Forwarding’s Softphone

Global Call Forwarding is a leading softphone provider. And we offer a multitude of cloud-based phone services. Curious about how our softphone can help your teams make business calls with high-quality service? Chat with our experts online or call us at 1 (888) 908 6171. We offer a free trial for businesses and are available 24/7!

SMS is Not Dead: How Businesses Can Leverage SMS Marketing in 2024

No matter who you are, when you hear the familiar ping of your phone letting you know you have a message, it is almost impossible to resist the urge to see who wants to get in touch.

Most of us will stop what we are doing and have a quick look, just to check if the message is something urgent from a friend, family member or client.

This natural human instinct to respond to a notification is why SMS is by no means dead. In fact, it is alive, kicking and essential.

Consider that according to Deloitte’s Mobile Nation report, 89 per cent of Australians own a smartphone. And while there are plenty of messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, SMS capability is pre-loaded on every device.

What’s more, when it comes to using smartphones, research has found that texting is the number one activity, even above using the device for phone calls.

Despite this, most major brands don’t have a mobile marketing strategy. They leave this amazing opportunity on the table; often because they fail to realize how simple and affordable sending automated texts via a bulk SMS platform can be.

Email vs mobile marketing

Sending a bulk SMS to your customers really is as simple as sending an EDM.

And while email open rates can be depressingly low (20 per cent is seen as a great result), studies have shown that texts and bulk send SMS open rates can exceed 90 per cent.

Due to the endless flood of emails received each day, people are increasingly turning off their inbox notifications. This is probably why marketing emails usually sit unopened for over an hour, while mobile marketing messages tend to get noticed in five minutes or less. Click-through rates are higher with texts as well (6 per cent for email vs 36 per cent for SMS).

Switching to mobile marketing and adding an SMS strategy to your campaigns just makes good business sense.

Related: Even more fascinating statistics about SMS marketing from SMSGlobal

Ways to use mobile marketing

With a bulk SMS platform, you can contact your entire database with a major marketing message or send personalized messages based on where your customers are at in their journey.

Here are a dozen awesome ways to integrate SMS to your client communications:

  • Bulk send special offers and limited promotions
  • Automate appointment or event reminders
  • Confirm orders
  • Send package delivery notifications 
  • Send Christmas, birthday or ‘client anniversary’ wishes
  • Bulk send new product updates
  • Share links to helpful content
  • Send customer surveys (you can even send a question with a yes/no answer and request responses)
  • Send competition entry links
  • Issue e-tickets
  • Start personalized conversations
  • Establish simple or complex recurring message functions

The way you use SMS can be tailored to your business and your customers. Get creative and have fun or use a bulk SMS platform as a practical way to support the people who rely on your business.

Related: Offbeat ways businesses use SMS to increase engagement 

How to use mobile marketing

Communicating with your audience using a mobile messaging solution is relatively simple. Once you have created your strategy and identified which customers you want to get in touch with, all you need is a platform designed to integrate SMS messaging with your existing technology. 

For example, if your business uses Salesforce, Zapier, HubSpot, WordPress, BigCommerce or Magento, you can connect it to an SMS platform like SMSGlobal. When a client signs up, makes a purchase or indicates that they would like more information, a text can be scheduled or delivered immediately. 

A good provider that gives value for money will be able to adapt to your existing platforms and will have a ‘built for you’ service, so you and your team don’t have to spend time figuring out how to activate your mobile messaging solution. They will even be able to take on the challenge of creating a bespoke HTTP integration that can work with your business’ unique software. 

SMS is what you make it

If you want the most direct line to your customers, integrate SMS messaging and create a mobile marketing strategy. Thanks to the current technology available, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the messages you send and how you initiate conversations with your clients. 

Softphone vs. Desk Phone: 6 Reasons to Use a Softphone

A softphone has all the functions and features of a desk phone, except it works on any device of your choice and in any location. Softphones provide flexibility and mobility without increasing your business expenses. So, why are softphones superior? Read on to learn more.

Why Use a Softphone Instead of a Desk Phone

A softphone is a software-based communication application used to make telephone calls over the internet. You can download it on any device (computer, tablet, smartphone). Some softphones are desktop applications that run on Mac and Windows devices. Other softphones are web-based and accessible through web browsers or smartphone apps for iOS and Android devices.

You can get a softphone through a business phone service provider or through third-party softphone apps. It is recommended, however, to get the one your provider offers as that would typically work best with your phone service.

Let’s look at how a softphone works better than a desk phone:

1. Quick and Easy Set-up

Softphones are easy to set-up and use. To set up your softphone, you will need a link or mobile app and login credentials given by your provider. You can then use this link on compatible browsers or download the app. Then, you type in your login credentials and you now have access to your softphone on any device.

You do not need any extra equipment — such as a specific type of desk phone — or additional configuration needs to make your softphone work. You can use softphones on existing devices and, therefore, there is no need to purchase a new phone.

2. Take Your Business With You

The best part about using softphones is that they work in the cloud. This means that you do not need to carry your office desk phone with you when you travel for business. You can simply access your phone service account via your softphone on any device and in any location. All that is required is a stable internet or WiFi connection.

Softphones help remote team management. Whether your employees travel for work or your teams work remotely, they can stay connected and reachable on their business line through their laptops or smartphones.

3. Answer Calls from Any Device and Keep Personal Numbers Private

When you use a softphone from your personal device, the thought usually is that your personal cell number or home number will be displayed on outgoing calls. However, that is not the case. The point of a softphone is to let you use your business phone line from any location or device.

As such, you can mask your personal number and instead display your business number when making a call. Furthermore, incoming calls made to your business number will forward to your softphone on your personal device without your number being made public.

4. Check Business Voicemail and Update Contacts On-The-Go

With the growth of softphones as a common business communication tool, providers have worked on making these software-based tools more efficient and useful. This has led to softphones having numerous features besides just a dialpad. These include:

  • Adding and updating contact information
  • Updating call notes
  • Having access to contact history and interactions
  • Easy call transfers with access to the office directory
  • Virtual voicemail forwarding
  • Customizable caller ID that lets you choose which business number to display
  • Making outbound calls to any location in the world with international business numbers
  • Having access to call reports and activity logs
  • Viewing other active users
  • In-network calls

With these features, users are working in sync with other employees to maintain continuity and productivity.

5. Less Equipment Needed in the Office

Since a softphone can be used on any device, your office doesn’t need to invest in top-quality desk phones. In fact, if your business has a BYOD policy, employees can simply use their own devices to make and receive calls, even within the office. This saves your business considerable communication-related costs as you do not need to purchase new equipment.\

Related: How Much Does a Softphone Cost?

6. Host Voice and Video Conference Calls

Some softphones also offer voice and video conference calling capabilities. This further encourages collaboration and helps with business meetings, sales pitches, and more.

Time to Get Your Business a Softphone?

A softphone simplifies the process of making and receiving business calls by enabling employees to stay connected no matter where they are or what devices they are using. Get a softphone today to streamline your calling process and improve office efficiency. To learn more, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171.

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

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

Call Monitoring Explained

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

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

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

Who Uses Call Monitoring Software?

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

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

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

Key Features of Call Monitoring

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

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

Benefits of Call Monitoring

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

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

5 Call Monitoring Best Practices

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

1. Set Clear Objectives

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

2. Provide Useful Scripts

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

3. Learn from Bad Calls

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

4. Study Metrics

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

5. Be in Compliance

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

Does Your Business Need to Monitor Calls?

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

Downloadable Call Monitoring Scoresheet Templates

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

Download Your Free Call Center Scorecard Templates

CC Scorecard download

What is Fax Over IP and 4 Benefits of Using FoIP

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

What is FoIP? Fax Over IP Explained

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

How Does Fax Over IP Work?

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

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

4 Benefits of Using a FoIP Service

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

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

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

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

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

Is Fax Over IP Right for Your Business?

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