All posts by John Hagan

Customer Service Team

Questions To Ask When Reviewing A Cloud Based Contact Center Solution

In a previous blog article, we stated that it might be a good time to consider moving your Contact Center to the Cloud. This post is going a step further and provide you with a few questions to ask prospective contact center cloud suppliers.

  1. Unified Platform
    Does their contact center solution manage the end-to-end user experience?
    Does it consolidate your infrastructure and connectivity into one.
  2. MultiChannel/Omnichannel
    What communication methods are supported and are they integrated?
    How easily can their system make changes to the call routing setup?
  3. Scalability and Reliability
    Does their platform have a published uptime guarantee?
    What is the fail over and redundancy features, any options for SD-WAN?
  4. Cloud Expertise
    Is their solution 100% cloud-focused?
    How long have they been in business?
  5. Support
    How much experience does their support team have in implementation and best practices?  Do they come on site to train my users on the system?
  6. Maturity
    How many companies have adopted their solution and who are they?
    Can they provide references?
  7. Scalability
    How many agents can you support across all customers?
    How many interactions are supported at a time?

We hope these questions will help you move in the right direction as you decide if a cloud contact center is for you.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides voice, data, mobile and cloud business solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact the TeleData Select team at 404-257-1502 or CONTACT US  for via email for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of upgrading to a new cloud based contact center.

Reasons To Consider A Cloud Based Contact Center

Does your company make outbound calls to customers or receive inbound calls?  How do you manage your sales force, provide customer service, or offer help desk support? Do you employ home based call center agents.  Do you currently have an onsite phone system (more technically known as a PBX) that you manage?    As organizations continue to embrace having their applications, services and phone systems in the Cloud, it may be time for you a cloud Based Contact Center too.

Below are good reasons to consider a cloud based contact center.

  • Improved overall experience for your customers.
  • Easy way to improve and develop more productive sales agents.
  • Expands customer communication channels like email, chat, social media and mobile.
  • Can eliminate the effort around managing your current contact center software.
  • Greater operational visibility into your call center agents’ activity.  i.e. Monitor calls, listen to the conversations.
  • Better call data reporting and analytics.
  • Easy to change and administer with minimal agent training.
  • Cloud based contact centers have a lower cost of ownership.
  • Can be integrated with CRM databases like Salesforce, Zoho or your proprietary customer database.

Today’s customers are very demanding. They want faster service, knowledgeable agents, and new ways to communicate.   Business conditions can change overnight and call volumes go up and down.  Providing the infrastructure, installing and managing the call center tools you need to support your business is an expensive and time consuming effort. A cloud based solution is a good alternative that should be investigated.

Our next blog will talk about what questions to ask your contact center sales person.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides voice, data, mobile and cloud business solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact the Teledata Select team at 404-257-1502 or send us a note via this CONTACT US LINK for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

Cost Cutting Sign

Cost Containment Can Lower Your Telecom Expenses

For too long, we have watched companies scale back critical segments of their businesses.   From employee head counts and marketing budgets to mission critical customer service functions, all have been impacted.   However, as the economy continues to improve, we are seeing more and more companies starting to move back into growth mode. They are reviewing their telecom services as they relate to security, compliance, internet speeds, VoIP phone systems and more. 

 The smart ones are looking at their services with an eye for value and quality. Which ones are worth their cost and which ones are wasting money. They are wise to look for ways to reduce your operating costs, especially costs that are not advancing your business goals.

A good place to start looking for wasted money, is your telecom bill. Let’s face it:  phone and telecom bills are loaded with carrier cost recover fees and no-published fees like FCC, USLC, E911, FLSC charges and who knows what else.  Did you ever wonder what all these fees are for?  Some other items to watch out for are automatic renewals.  

Additionally, if your business has multiple locations with numerous phone lines, faxes, modems, fire and security alarm lines, you may no longer know what exactly you are getting billed for. You might even be able to just cancel some non-necessary telecom lines to reduce your overall telecom costs. 

Your first step to saving money is to perform a Cost Containment Audit. The audit will review all of your telecom bills, looking for overcharges and unused services to uncover wasted dollars. You owe it to your company’s bottom line to look at all expenses. 

Teledata Select offers a complimentary Cost Containment Audit of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.

Handshake

The Benefits of a Telecom Aggregator

The telecom industry changes rapidly, in both the technology available and the costs to get and use it. It is hard for a small business to stay competitive if it is not keeping up with the technology available to it. That is where a Telecom Aggregator comes in.

Broker HandsTelecom Aggregators have established agreements with the local telecom service providers to resell their services. Typically, Aggregators can offer these services at a discount.

Aggregators are the single point of contact for all the services that they have resold. This allows for a simpler customer service experience when questions arise or services need to be changed.

The benefit becomes most apparent when a company with multiple locations gets bills and communication from multiple service providers.
Some of the benefits that Telecom Aggregators can provide are:

  • A single source for access to the best rates and service offerings for Data, Voice T1, PRI, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Lines), MPLS, Private line and wireless.
  • Provides cost saving alternatives for 800 inbound and International long distance.
  • Takes responsibility for verifying that bills are accurate and meet contractual obligations.
  • Delivers a comprehensive portfolio of service solutions to streamline costs.
  • Assembles, manages and seamlessly integrates multiple network providers into a single customer solution.
  • Provides carrier portfolio and solution expertise to address clients evolving growth initiatives.
  • Customizes telecom expense reporting for multi-locations.
  • Allows invoices to be paid by parent or individual sub-location.
  • Provides on One call for support and trouble resolution.
  • Improves overall support and simplify the customer experience.

In short, Telecom Aggregators shoulder the burden of negotiating with the service providers before the sale, managing the service installation(s) and handling customer service interactions after the sale. A good Telecom Aggregator provides a dedicated team that can handle any and all issues for all voice, data and cloud services.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

SD-WAN Logo

What are SD-WAN Benefits

The number of implementations of SD-WAN is growing by leaps and bounds. According to Gartner, spending on SD-WAN products will rise from the $129 million spent in 2016 to $1.24 billion in 2020. It is really only recently that it has crossed over into a widely accepted solution for WAN management, especially in the small and medium sized business market. We are getting a lot of questions about so I thought I would provide a non technical overview of what it is and why you might want it.

Before we get too far into the benefits, let’s define SD-WAN. Software-Defined WAN is a technology that distributes network traffic across traffic between the main office, branch/home offices and data center sites. It uses networking concepts that have been used to manage Datacenter Traffic to automatically determine the most effective way to route the traffic across Wide Area Networks.

SD-WAN Map

 

The main goal of SD-WAN technology is to deliver a secure reliable WAN connection with as much software-based technology as possible. This can be used to deliver basic WAN connectivity, or it can be used for premium business services such as VPN, WAN optimization, and applications delivery control.

I see four benefits to why a customer might want to implement SD WAN

  1. Lower cost for more bandwidth – If you have an MPLS implementation, you know that you are locked into a single provider for all of your endpoints that have top speed limits. On the other hand, SD-WAN is provider agnostic. It allows for multiple cheaper broadband connections of whatever type is available. The multiple conenctions can be blended to provide higher bandwidth.
  2. Provide backup internet connection in the event the primary internet circuit does down – The World’s Busiest Airport, Hartsfield Jackson, had a major power outage effecting thousands of people during the busiest travel time of the year. The first thing that I thought of was where was their backup power? Didn’t they have emergency generators and power coming from two sources.
    By implementing an SD WAN solution – this would provide an alternative pathway to keep their internet service working in the event of an outage. However, it is important to note that you should consider two diverse carrier or telecom provider pathways. Best practices for reliable uptime state that there should be at least 2 separate internet connections from different providers over separate pathways.
  1. Reduce costs by adding a backup disaster option – Not all that long ago, true QoS (Quality of service) for Voice over Internet telephone service, Telecom providers would recommend using a Managed Network to Network circuit called MPLS to connect your VoIP voice services. However, with the internet getting better and latency being reduced, many carriers are now OK with almost true QoS by using SD-WAN. By using two internet service providers plugged into an SD-WAN device, the voice and data packets are carried over the carrier with the least latency. Kind of like driving down the interstate highway using switching lanes to the least congested lane. By canceling out the managed circuit from a VoIP provider, you could potentially offset the cost of a second internet circuit and implement SD-WAN while still providing QoS.
  1. Peace of mind – Most of us would be OK if we lost our phone service for a while, but not so happy about losing an internet connection. I remember not so long ago, it was worth it to pay the $20.00 a month at a Starbucks to use their internet service. The same with airports and hotels. Luckily, those days are gone but our need to be on a good internet is greater than ever. A redundant internet connection is a core benefit for SD-WAN and removes the uncertainty of the impact of a single provider’s internet service going out.

Although a newer technology, SD-WAN has been living up to its billing as a tool that can provide greater business capabilities at a lower cost. Reviewing how SD-WAN benefits can support your business is worth your time.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

baby NY and Father Time

Looking back on Technology

While walking the aisles of Best Buy the other day, I got to thinking about how far technology has come in my life time. It is said that the cell phone in your pocket has 1000’s of times more computing power than the computer that got the Apollo 11 to the moon and back. I thought it would be fun to see how much 2017 technology used by us consumers has changed over the years.  

Computers:

Dual Floppy Disk Drives were how we shared information before the internet and computer viruses. At 1.44 megabytes, they wouldn’t come close to being able to store a single picture from your phone, a single MP3 song or the average Kindle Book.

Old Desktop PC        Tablet Computer

Phones:

When a phone was just a phone but one of the coolest things you thought you would ever see.

Old Brick Phone               iPhone X    

Cable TV:

Unless you count a younger sibling that you could order around, the first cable box didn’t have a remote and needed a clear channel 2 or 3 to work on.

Old Cable Box       Cable Channel Lineup Screen             

Video Rental:

Remember “Be Kind, Rewind”?

Blockbuster Sign    Netflix Home Screen

Video Gaming:

It would be an interesting test to see how long the original game of pong would keep a gamer’s attention today…..

    Modern Gamer Setup 

Watches:

Its amazing how a smart watch went from Nerd to Hip!

Calculator Watch    Smart Watch        

 

Sure, I still don’t have flying car in my garage but we definitely have come a long way in a very short time. The really impressive thing about these advancements is that with all of these giant step advancements, the prices continues to fall making them available to wider and wider audiences. This pushes demand for more and more technology that makes people’s lives better and look forward to using.

We look forward to updating this post next year to see how the photos above will change and what photos we use that we can’t even imagine now. Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2018.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Keypad

How Do Your Customers Relate To Your Auto Attendant?

It is said that you never get a second chance at a first impression. When your customers call your business, what is their first impression? How many buttons do they need to press to answer the question they are asking? Do they get lost in the key pad maze of voice mail prompts and computerized voices that is all to frequent as companiesAuto Attendant Maze try to offload customer service to the auto attendant? It is very important to pay close attention to what your customers experience when they call your business.

Below are 10 good items to think about when setting up your business incoming call flow and your business auto attendant:

  • How many options are you going to provide in the prompts?
  • Is your auto attendant a backup to calls being answered by a live person when they are busy or otherwise?
  • Does the auto attendant greeting sound professional?
  • If the receptionist is busy, how many rings should a customer have before the auto attendant engages?
  • Do you have an afterhours auto attendant that provides callers a way to reach someone in the office after the receptionist leaves? i.e. Dial by name directory?
  • If you have multiple offices, does your business have a consistent message at each office?
  • Music on hold is a way to let customers know that their call has not been dropped. Are you using the  ‘canned” music that comes with your phone system? How is the sound quality?
  • What do callers experience when calls are forwarded to other users?  Do you provide your callers a warm transfer or does the receptionist just forward calls directly to the extension?
  • Can the receptionist provide the caller options in cases like the called party is on the phone or would you like to leave a message in their voicemail?
  • Have you changed the canned auto attendant greetings? When I call customers and here a greeting, many times I can tell what phone system or voice mail system a customer is using.    Example:  “You have reached our ShoreTel Voice Mail, please leave a message for John Doe”

It pays for every business to spend a little extra time on their their company greeting. Fine tuning your auto attendant, individual voicemails and music on hold will provide a good overall customer experience for inbound callers.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Georgia serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for High speed business internet via fiber, coax, satellite and wi-fi along with custom solutions for a full featured business Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system.   Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services.

Handshake

Cisco’s Broadsoft Acquistion. Good for the customers?

Internet Hardware manufacturer Cisco just announced that they are buying BroadSoft, the technology innovator in cloud PBX, hosted VoIP, unified communications, andCisco Logo contact center solutions for businesses and service providers across 80 countries. The deal, worth $1.9 billion is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

This deal is expected to allow Cisco to further diversify away from its stagnating switch and router business. It would also give Cisco a stronger foothold inBroadsoft Logo selling unified communications software to big telecom firms.

As for Broadsoft, my first reaction is this could be a good thing for their customer base. Cisco has deep pockets to invest in Broadsoft’s software offering. Of course time will tell how the transition goes, but it is in Cisco’s best interest to keep Broadsoft’s over 500 service providers worldwide supporting millions of subscribers.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Crowded Office

Getting To Simple, Aggregating your Telecom Service.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the owners of companies with multiple locations. They were looking for a way to consolidate all of their telecom bills into one easy to manage invoice. By the end of the discussion, I realized that they were really looking for a simpler way to manage their Telecom services; Consolidation of multiple invoices, reduce overall cost, receive better service and support when ordering or downsizing telecom services and have just one company to call that can handle all their needs.

Studies have shown that over 60% of companies with multiple locations are unaware of their exact communication cost. The bills can vary in format depending on vendor and location. Billing ConsolidationSome can contain hundreds of pages. To add further complexity, monthly invoices can have different rates plans, contract terms and details of charges that are very difficult to review.

If it gets done at all, reviewing and insuring that telecom bills are correct is a time consuming task for a company’s IT and Accounts Payable teams.

So what’s the answer? More and more companies are hiring an aggregator service to manage their telecom vendors. An aggregator becomes the single face to a customer to all of their telecom suppliers. They combine invoices, insure their accuracy and manage the resolution of any discrepancy. They’ll manage any service changes that the company has requested.

There are many Aggregating services out there. Before selecting one, ask the following questions:

  1. Can I have one bill for all of my telecom services?
  2. Is your service compatible with my accounting software?
  3. How many telecom carriers can you consolidate onto one invoice?
  4. Do you have a dedicated project manager or one point of contact?
  5. Which vendors do you have experience with and how long have you been in business?
  6. Can you absorb my existing contracts or I do not have to pay early termination for conversion?
  7. Do you have an easy to use invoice and can you show me an example?
  8. When I have an issue or need support, who do I call?

In conclusion, the right aggregator is a good solution for many telecom users, be they companies with multiple locations or even a single location with multiple vendors. The important thing is hiring the right aggregator.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

Austin Mural

We are at the Channel Partners Evolution Conference

Channel Partners Evolution Logo

Hello from the Great State of Texas, Austin in particular. We are here for the 2017 Channel Partners Evolution Conference. The theme this year is about how solution providers must evolve to meet the changing needs of the end customers. There will be presentations of the latest technology offerings, innovative business strategies, speakers from the industry and more. Agents, VARs, MSPs, integrators and consultants will converge to meet vendors with state-of-the-art services and partner programs, network with peers and take in a new slate of educational programming.

It will be a busy couple of days but don’t doubt that we won’t be taking in some of that famous Texas BBQ that we have been hearing so much about.

Follow us on twitter as we update you on the comings and goings.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.