Solutions for Construction Companies

Solving Common Problems For Construction Companies

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Imagine, you just got awarded the project of building the next world class New York City skyscraper!  It’s not just any skyscraper.  It’s part of a multi building complex that will consist of commercial office suites, retail shopping, and upscale penthouse apartments.  You’re going to build 5 awesome New York City skyscrapers!  You’re excited and feel confident, because you know you can do it.  As you’re getting your team together, you’re working through your logistics and come across a few challenges: construction

  • What is the most efficient and cost effective way to setup a command center at the job site?
  • How will the command center at the job site communicate with the main office?
  • How will the command center communicate with the “office” trailers at each building?
  • How will each building’s office trailer communicate with the construction workers at their respective buildings?
  • Basically, how do you keep your army synchronized and coordinated so that you can deliver that world class service you know you’re capable of?

The answer is really simple.  The SimiPlex Cloud Based Office in a Box Solution will get you up an running in no time!   The Office in a Box solution consists of the latest, state of the art Cloud Based Telephones and a 4G LTE Cellular Gateway, which not only provides your command center with Internet access, but also enables phone service!  Imagine, opening your Office in a Box, taking out your 4G LTE Cellular router and plugging it in.  Next, you take out your new phones, plug them into your brand new Internet connection, and you get dial tone… from thin air!  There are no wires!  There is no setup.  There are no back and forth phone calls between the phone company and Internet provider.  Everything just works, at a price point that you would never have thought possible!

When managing a construction project, time and money are of the essence.  You need to successfully deploy rapidly and cost effectively.  To have your phone company pull wires into your trailer (or multiple trailers) will take time and will be expensive.  The Office in a Box solution can be deployed onsite, usually within 24-48 hours after placing your order!

Having gone through the solution, let’s go back and revisit the questions.

What is the most efficient and cost effective way to setup a command center at the job site?

The Office in a Box Solution will enable you to setup a command center at your job site efficiently and cost effectively.

How will the command center at the job site communicate with the main office?

How will the command center communicate with the “office” trailers at each building?

Because the phones that deploy with the Office in a Box Solution are cloud based, they will sync up automatically to your main office.  If your main office phones are not cloud based, converting them to cloud based phone service will be a really simple process.  When all your phones connect to the cloud, you can just dial the extension of the person you wish to speak with, from any location to any location.  Your project manager can be at the main office and dial the extension of the foreman in Trailer #1, who can also dial the extension of Pete in Trailer #2 for a conference call!  Each trailer will get an Office in a Box, which will automatically link all your locations to each other and back to the main office.

How will each building’s office trailer communicate with the construction workers at their respective buildings?

This is really important.  You need to communicate with your workers who are in the building, but it’s really difficult to do that via personal cell phones.  Sometimes, their cell phone batteries die, sometimes one person has reception and one person doesn’t.  It’s difficult to remember everyone’s cell phone number, especially if you have people with different area codes.  With SimiPlex Cloud Based Office in a Box Solution for Construction Sites, you can purchase specially equipped rugged long range cordless phones which can communicate through 12 floors in an office building!  To reach someone, you just dial their extension number!  You no longer need a million post its all over your office, with everyone’s cell phone number scribbled on it!  Even better, the phones double up as walkie talkies, which can be very convenient when you need to get through immediately.  If you’re working on a project that’s spread out, such as a campus, the cordless phones have a range of 3,000 acres or 4.6 square miles!

Basically, how do you keep your army synchronized and coordinated so that you can deliver that world class service you know you’re capable of?

To quote James Doohan, “You need the right tool for the right job.”  By leveraging the right technology, you will get the right job done, in less time and with less cost.

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to ensure you have the right tools necessary to do the right job?

Solutions for Event Management Companies

Solving Common Problems for Event Management Companies

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If you’ve ever been to a business expo, a conference, or a corporate event, you’ve most probably already benefited from the services of an event management company.  For example, let’s take a business conference.  Here are some of the services you may have taken for granted as an attendee: Management

  • Conference Registration – You know, the web portal where you can register for the event.
  • Mobile App – A free app you can download, which will have all your registration info, plus the entire conference program information.
  • On-site check in – When you arrive at the conference, you check in at a booth, receive your badge, as well as a nice care package.
  • Lunch and refreshments – Everything just magically shows up, from the fancy napkins to the waiters. Who keeps on bringing those convenient water bottles that keep getting snatched up?
  • Keeping the event going on schedule – Things happen, and someone has to make sure that the event continues on track.
  • Internet Marketing – Publicize your event on social media, send out and track emails, and send reminders to attendees.
  • Collect Payment – Hey, money has to come in!
  • Customer Support – Someone is inevitably going to need support.

You have a business to run, and an event to put on, and you don’t have the time, effort, or energy to focus on the minutia of running an event.  You want it to just work!  That’s where event management companies excel.  They know the business, they have the relationships, and they’re best equipped to make it happen, so that you can focus on what’s important to you!

Now, event management companies also have needs.  Let’s take their communications, for example.  This past week I had the opportunity to speak with several event planners regarding their needs with regards to their phones.  I started off my conversation with A.S., a New York City based event planner, as follows: “I noticed on your website that your company offers onsite assistance at national events.  Can you imagine what it would be like if you can have phone service at your event, which ties in seamlessly to your main phone service at your office?  I’m not talking about getting a separate system.  I’m talking about a fully integrated system which lets you take phones from your office and plug it into a specially provisioned VoIP Router which routes the calls back to your office via an onboard SIM Card.  You basically, take this router to your event, plug in a few phones, and you get VoIP service out of thin air!”  Imagine setting up an outdoor sporting event and actually having access to business phones!  Or, perhaps, an outdoor technology extravaganza.  In this day and age, phone and Internet service are ubiquitous services that should not be limited by geography or circumstances.  As an event planner, having access to these services when your competitors do not, gives you a distinct technological competitive advantage.

L.D., the founder of a New York City boutique event management firm, told me as follows:  “One thing that can never happen is our phones going down!  Another very important thing for us is to have the ability to self administer our phone service, so that we can redirect people’s phones to their cell phones, and provision new employees with ease.  We need to have this ability both, from our laptops, and from our mobile phone browser, as many times we are all offsite at events and all we have with us is our mobile phones.”

Fortunately, for L.D., the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution can do all that and more.  Let’s start with the reliability of the service itself.  Our service is hosted in The Cloud, and is replicated across multiple secure data centers.  This means that if an entire data center went completely offline, there are still several other data centers available to route the call to and from your office.  Let’s say your office experienced a complete loss of power, the service will then route the call to your mobile phone, so that you never lose a single call.  Furthermore, with the SimiPlex 4G LTE capable VoIP Router, should your office Internet service go down, your VoIP phones will automatically re-register to The Cloud via the cellular network.  Your office phones will continue to function as if nothing happened.  When your Internet comes back up, the phones will immediately revert back to the wired Internet service.  Talk about peace of mind!

With regards to end user provisioning, the SimiPlex Admin Portal is extremely user friendly, enabling you to perform tasks such as renaming an extension, turning on call forwarding, or changing a forwarding destination, with ease.  With a few simple clicks, your change is activated, and you can go back to focusing on putting on a world class event!

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to ensure that your time, effort, and energy is focused on achieving your goals, and not on things that would be best fulfilled by someone else?

Solutions for Contact Centers

Scalability For Startups

One challenge that is near and dear to my heart, is the one the every startup goes through, and that is, scalability.  It’s a chicken or the egg kind of thing.  Do you make the leap of faith and invest, or do you first grow organically, and only when you’re confident that you can support the growth do you grow.  The challenge is that you need one for the other to happen.  So, short of playing chicken (no pun intended), what comes first, the chicken or the egg?

This, obviously, is an abstract challenge that applies equally to all industries.  As with the macro scalability challenge, the same challenge exists with a business’s communications environment.  In my opinion, startups (small businesses too, but especially startups) are microcosms of large enterprises.  Every challenge that a large enterprise has, has a micro version manifestation within a startup environment.

A large enterprise has a finance department for accounts payable / accounts receivables.  A startup has an Entrepreneur on Quickbooks.  An enterprise has a marketing department.  A startup has an Entrepreneur writing content.  Same need, different scale.   Now, let’s take communications for example.  A large enterprise needs to communicate, a startup needs to communicate.  A large enterprise needs a phone system, a startup needs a phone system.  That’s simple enough to understand.  Let’s take this comparison to the next level.  How about a call center?  A large enterprise typically has some form of a call center that handles a massive amount of calls per hour.  What about a startup?  They’re going to need some form of call center as well, since they’re doing the same things a large enterprise is doing, albeit on a smaller scale.  Wait, there’s more!

Call center is such a 20th century term!  In the 20th century, the only common way you can contact a business is by phone.  I say common, because they had fax; however, most people did not send off a fax every time they had an issue or need.  They picked up a phone and made a phone call.  Hence the term, CALL center.

In this day and age, we have so many more channels with which to contact a business.  There is email, chat, and social media.  Due to the availability of multiple channels of communications, contemporary “CALL” centers are now referred to as Multi Channel CONTACT centers.  However, it doesn’t end here.  Multi Channel Contact Centers are now being left behind, in favor of OMNI CHANNEL Contact Centers!  What’s that?  Like a multi channel contact center, omni channel contact centers support multiple channels of communications.  However, they take it a step further.  With Omni Channel, your contact center maintains a seamless and consistent flow of communications to the end user across two or more channels.  For example, let’s say you tweet a customer service department, they respond to the tweet.  You then hit them up on a chat session, then send them an email, then call them on the phone.  With omni channel, your entire interaction flow will be maintained in the contact center’s database.  Each contact center agent you interact with, on whatever channel you’re on at the moment, will be aware of all your previous engagements on other channels, regarding the issue you are contacting them for.

Why should this matter to you?  The answer is, that in this day and age, consumers are much better educated than ever before.  Customer Service is the new paradigm of doing business.  Your entire focus and strategy of doing business should be one thing, and one thing only.  To serve and delight your customers, so that they award you with their repeat business. If you’re not doing this, someone else is!  If that doesn’t convince you, consider the following:

As Gerald Sinclair writes in the inContact Blog, http://www.incontact.com/blog/multichannel-vs-omnichannel-and-its-impact-on-the-customer-experience, “Research done by the Aberdeen Group shows businesses that adopted an omnichannel strategy benefited with a 91% year-over-year increase in client retention rates compared to organizations that chose not to implement this type of interaction plan. Reducing the confusion of different messages across multiple engagement channels is a key attribute in retaining customers and increasing profits.”

If you’re thinking about what does it cost to deploy an omni channel contact center, think about what it costs NOT to!

Which brings us back to startups.  How on Earth does a startup jump on the omni channel band wagon without overtaxing their micro budget?  This technology sounds expensive!  The good news, is that it’s NOT!  Thanks to a trend calls SaaS, or Software as a Service.  SaaS is very sassy, because it levels the playing field.  SaaS enables a one man (or woman) startup to leverage the power of Enterprise grade technology, on a scale that is right for their business.  With SaaS, you tap into cloud based solutions to deliver the same kind of service that the large enterprises have been used to, only at a much smaller price point.  The reason being, you don’t have to purchase infrastructure, as everything is in the cloud.  You just pay for what you use.

Therefore, our startup’s cloud based omni channel contact center can now compete and crush the big company’s service departments, as long as the Entrepreneur is willing to put in the time, effort, and energy to succeed.  This is pure empowerment!

My question for you is, what are YOU doing in your business to differentiate your customer service experience from your competition?  I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

Solutions for Insurance Brokers

Solving 5 Common Problems for Insurance Brokers

Last month I met with an Insurance Broker to discuss the challenges he is facing in his business, and how I can best assist him in alleviating those challenges.  “Insurance is a nickles and dimes business“, said Larry K.   You make money in drips and drabs, and become successful when you’re closing a high volume of policies.  This business model results in several challenges:

  1. Very high workload due to Insurance being a high volume business.
  2. Not being able to check voicemails when out of the office resulting in a full mailbox.
  3. Large volume of calls for claims, which should be handled directly by the Insurance Company.
  4. Preserving brand identity across multiple offices.
  5. Needing to scan and archive a high volume of faxes.

Let’s go through these challenges, one by one, and see if we can help this broker work more efficiently, resulting in an increase in policy closings.

1. Very high workload due to Insurance being a high volume business.

In any business that has a high volume of work, the first thing that the business needs to do is hire additional resources.  In the Insurance business, the resources that need to be hired are producers to go through the paperwork and close policies.  Once the resource has been hired, the best way to provide rapid onboarding while keeping costs down is to utilize cloud based services for the required technology component.  With regards to phone service, the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution deploys rapidly, with the only expense being a low monthly cost for the service.  There are no expensive license fees or equipment costs.  When a new employee is hired, just sign the person up, plug in the phone, and you’re in business!  With an unlimited calling plan, your new producer can hit the ground running!  In addition to that, with the included Call Analytics, you can analyze your producer’s inbound and outbound calling patterns to determine employee utilization levels, as well as which geographic regions require additional attention.

2. Not being able to check voicemails when out of the office resulting in a full mailbox.

Owning a small business means wearing multiple hats.  You have to make phone calls, answer the phone, fill out paperwork, go onsite to sell, pay bills, and deal with a broken printer; all at the same time!  Unfortunately, you can’t be in 2 places at one time.  Although quantum physicists have proven that electrons can indeed be in two places at the same time, we haven’t yet quite figured out how to harness that power to enable us to multiply ourselves!  This means that when you’re out of the office and a call rolls over to voicemail, you’re not physically able to respond to that message until you call in to check your messages.  If you’re out of the office for an entire afternoon and missing alot of calls, you can potentially fill up your mailbox pretty quickly, resulting in unhappy customers.  The good news is that with the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution you automatically receive all your voicemail messages in your email, allowing you to check and respond to messages on the go.  Leveraging the power of The Cloud, you can transform a 2 hour New York City traffic jam into productive work time, so that by the time you get back to the office, you are free to tackle the next batch of policies.  Furthermore, with the SimiPlex Mobility Package, you can have all your calls simultaneously ring your desk and mobile phones, so that you never miss that important call in the first place!  With mobility, you may actually get to listen to your favorite audio book during that 2 hour long traffic jam.

3. Large volume of calls for claims, which should be handled directly by the Insurance Company.

I know, this one is a pet peeve for many Insurance brokers.  You don’t get paid to handle claims.  You get paid to sign up policies.  When customers call your office to file a claim, and you probably get several of these a day, it interrupts your work flow and wastes your time.  You have to explain to the caller that he needs to call the Insurance company’s 1-800 number, or you can offer to transfer the call for him.  After several of these interruptions per day, you’ve wasted quite a bit of time.  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, the solution is quite simple.  You can create a greeting for your business that sounds something like this:  “Thank you for calling the office of Insurance R Us.  Please listen carefully to the entire message as our menu options have recently changed.  Gracias por llamada la officina de Insurance R Us.  Para Español, por favor, oprima numero ocho.  If your call is regarding an Insurance claim, press 1 now to be transferred to our claims department.  If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time, or press zero for immediate assistance.”   When a caller presses 1, the system will automatically transfer the call directly to the Insurance company, without you even knowing about it!  One quick Call Analytics report will confirm that the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution is working for YOU!  You will be amazed at how much free time you have.  With all the new policies you’ll be able to close during your newfound uninterrupted quiet time, the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution not only pays for itself, but it actually becomes a money maker for you!

4. Preserving brand identity across multiple offices.

You’ve worked really hard building your business and your brand.  You’re now ready to take your business to the next level and open a new office.  One of the concerns you may have is how to ensure a smooth and consistent customer experience throughout your entire business.  Regardles of which office the customer calls into, the caller should hear the same greeting and be able to transfer to the required department or extension.  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, it’s quite simple.  Since all your offices will be connected to a single cloud based system, all system and automated attendant greetings will have a uniform voice and call flow.  What already works for you in one office, will be replicated across the board.  Furthermore, you can easily setup a distributed contact center, where agents are load balanced across all your locations.  With included comprehensive call analytics, the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution will help you provide your customers with the true world class service they deserve.  With service like this, you will knock your competition out of the park!

5. Needing to scan and archive a high volume of faxes.

In addition to having to scan and archive faxes, Insurance brokerage firms still rely heavily on faxing to transmit documents.  With the prevalence of mobile agents, how can technology be leveraged to bridge the gap between accommodating the need for faxing and embracing their mobile workforce culture?

The good news is, with the  SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution Internet Faxing package, you can send and receive faxes from any computer.  When you receive a fax, an alert is sent to your email, so you know the second the fax arrives.   As an added benefit, all internet fax mailboxes are secure and confidential.  No more dealing with an insecure fax machine that anyone can just walk up to.  Furthermore, you’ll save alot of time not having to scan in your faxes, as they are archive ready from the moment they appear on your computer.

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business in order to be able to optimize your workflow, so that you can close more business faster?

Solutions for Medical Industry

Solving 5 Common Problems for the Medical Industry

Imagine this.  A small medical practice is having growing pains.  Their waiting room is full of patients, phones are ringing off the hook, babies are crying, cell phones are jingling, and the doctors are all running late.  The frenzied office staff is trying their best to remain calm while juggling the increasingly impatient onsite patient inquiries, and the incessantly ringing phones.  Slowly, they plow through their workload, getting patients into exam rooms, processing payments, and booking future appointments.  One nurse is on the phone with an elderly patient, trying her very best to understand the symptoms of his ailment.  He is having trouble articulating, and she is having trouble hearing over the cacophony in the office.  She asks him some more questions, and then repeats them, as the patient is having trouble understanding her.  She speaks a little louder, hoping this way he can understand her better.  She can’t hear a word he’s saying and is almost shouting into the phone.  “When are those phones going to stop ringing?!?”, she thinks in frustration.

If you can relate to this, my heart goes out to you.  As a patient, or parents of patients, it can be very unpleasant, even downright frustrating, to be in an environment like this one.  It’s not like you have nothing better to do than to sit in a packed noisy waiting room, not knowing when you’ll finally get to see the doctor.  It seems very unfair.  You’re taking time off from work, or whatever responsibilities you have, to see the doctor.  You’re supporting his business.  Yet, it doesn’t seem like he cares. The attitude feels almost as if the doctor is doing YOU a favor by seeing you!  If you come late, you miss your appointment, and have to pay a missed appointment fee.  However, if the doctor is late, they don’t have to compensate you!  Besides, when are those phones going to stop ringing?!?  That noise is just driving you insane!  Perhaps it’s time to start looking for a new doctor.

As a member of the office staff, my heart goes out to you!  Your job is a thankless one.  Day in and day out, you’re dealing with angry patients.  They’re angry because they feel as if they have to wait indefinitely in a crowded noisy environment, and it’s all somehow your fault!  No one notices how you work tirelessly booking their appointments, processing their payments, helping them with their insurance forms, answering their questions, and getting them into their exam rooms.  No one thanks you for your hard work, and those phones just don’t stop ringing!  Perhaps it’s time to start looking for a new job.

As a practice owner or partner, my heart goes out to you, too!  You have a lot on your mind.  First and foremost, you’re trying to be the best doctor you can possibly be.  Because of your expertise and professionalism, you’ve earned a great reputation, which has led to an explosion of growth to your business.  You have a steady stream of patients, and your schedule is always full.  However, you are experiencing typical growing pains.  Do you hire additional office staff to handle appointment bookings, or will that set you back?  Do you have enough call volume to justify additional appointment booking staff, or is the current call volume just from patient inquiries?  Do you bring on additional doctors to ease the waiting room congestion, or are you taking on too much risk?  What will happen if there are no shows?  This will negate any benefit of hiring additional doctors, as you won’t have the money to cover them.  You really do value the business granted to you by your patients, but you’re not sure how to give them that world class experience they deserve, while maintaining a viable business at the same time.   The same goes for your office staff.  You want them to be happy here, to enjoy the work they’re doing, and enjoy working for you.  You realize that your staff is unhappy, and that puts your business at risk.  What can you do about it?  Also, how can you stop that incessant ringing without losing any phone calls?

There is another thing that’s on your mind.  Next week is the big golf tournament that you’ve waited for all year.  This event is really important to you.  Besides it being therapeutic, all the leading doctors and suppliers from your region will be there.  This is a tremendous business networking event, and it would be counter-productive to NOT attend!  However, you also have several important calls, which you’re expecting, during the golf tournament.  You can’t miss those calls either.  What should you do?

One more thing is on your mind.  At the golf tournament (assuming you get to go), you will be speaking with a local doctor who is looking to sell his practice.  Assuming you can negotiate a good deal, this will instantly double the size of your business.  The challenge you will then have will be how to promote brand uniformity across both locations, so that when patients call either office, they are greeted the same way?  You also want to be able to transfer calls across offices so that no matter which office people call into, they can reach anyone at the practice.  How do you establish your brand without a major capital investment?

Let’s review the challenges before we head into the solution:

  1. You are clearly understaffed. However, do you have enough call volume to justify hiring additional appointment booking staff, or is your staff just answering patient inquiries, which would require an adjustment in process?
  2. How to combat no-shows?
  3. How to stop the incessant ringing without losing business?
  4. How to be in 2 places at once; how to attend events without losing the ability to conduct business?
  5. Scalability and how to establish brand uniformity across your entire organization without a major capital investment?

Now, let’s address these challenges, one by one.

Challenge:  You are clearly understaffed.  However, do you have enough call volume to justify hiring additional appointment booking staff, or is your staff just answering patient inquiries, which would require an adjustment in process?

Solution:  In order to effectively manage your call answering staff, you first need to measure your call volume.  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, you can run analytics reports on your incoming calls.  The metrics produced by these reports will show you, not only how many calls you received, but also what kind of calls you received, and more importantly, WHEN you received them.  You can then determine your peak call volume time period for the week.  Then, apply some formulas to the data to determine whether or not to hire a full time receptionist.  For example, let’s assume that 25% of callers will book an appointment.  Let’s also assume, you’re loosing 25 calls on your busy hour (reports will show you that).  Suppose a regular office visit is $75.  25% of 25 is 6 (rounding it down to the nearest whole number).  Multiply 6*75 = $450.  This is how much business you’re losing due to not having a full time receptionist.  Assuming a receptionist gets paid $15/hour for 8 hours, your cost is $120 a day.  Utilizing these reports will empower you to make decisions such as which days of the week to hire additional staff.

This is also very helpful the other way around.  If you’re looking to cut costs, but don’t know if you can eliminate the receptionist, the call volume reports can also help you make that determination.

Challenge:  How to combat no-shows?

Solution:  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, you can integrate your phones to most cloud based CRM Packages and Calendars.  If your practice is not using a CRM package, you can also integrate your phones to Microsoft Outlook and Google contacts.  This means that every time a patient calls in, her history and next appointment pop up on your computer screen, so you can easily remind her of her upcoming appointment.  We also offer SMS reminders for proactive appointment confirmation.  There 2 combined solutions help increase patient attendance by 68%.  According to a PubMed study mentioned in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, regarding the use of telephone and SMS reminders to improve attendance at hospital appointments, the study shows that a 39% improvement in the baseline attendance rate can be expected when manual reminders are employed, and a 29% improvement when automated reminders are used.

Challenge:  How to stop the incessant ringing without losing business?

We get it.  At times it gets really busy.  The receptionist is performing double duty by simultaneously checking in onsite patients, as well as booking phone appointments.  While all this is happening, the phones continue ringing incessantly.  All that noise is very disturbing to patients and office staff, alike.  In the long run, this can hurt your business.  However, if the phones don’t ring, you won’t book enough appointments to remain profitable.  What can you do about this?

Solution:  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, you can setup an automated queue so that while the phones do ring, they only ring one at a time.  If the receptionist, or front desk, is on the phone, the calls will queue until she becomes available again.  This way, while the calls are still coming in, your environment remains calm and inviting, enabling you to deliver to your patients that world class service they deserve.  As a bonus, with the touch of a single button, you can forward all calls to voicemail.

Challenge:  How to be in 2 places at once; how to attend events without losing the ability to conduct business?

You have a life to live.  One you want to enjoy, with family, friends, and doing the things you love!  Possibly travelling.  You also have a business to run.  How can you do both at the same time?

Solution:  The SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution has a feature called Mobile Twinning, which automatically and simultaneously rings your desk phone AND your mobile phone for ALL calls, ALL the time!  Because it functions automatically, it is simple to use, and reliable.  It works all the time.  With Mobile Twinning, you hand out to your clients and contacts a single phone number, your office number.  Mobile Twinning grants you the freedom and flexibility to balance your work life and personal life.  With Mobile Twinning, you can answer calls from anywhere.  You can take a vacation and customers won’t even know that you’re gone!  So why be stuck at the office?  Let the office come to you!  Pairing your mobile device to the cloud gives you this new found freedom!  You are still available on a work line, but you’re still able to do the things you love, when they matter the most!

Challenge: Scalability and how to establish brand uniformity across your entire organization without a major capital investment?

As a medical practice grows beyond their initial location, and expands to multiple offices, they need their communication system to grow with them and adapt to their changing needs, as opposed to holding them back.  With legacy premise based phone systems, some of the challenges growing businesses face are as follows:

  • Disparate systems at each office with no ability for interoffice transfers. – Calls can only be routed to staff members who are currently physically at that location.
  • In house expertise is required to manage and maintain the phone equipment. – In order to make any changes to your phone system configuration, you need to have someone on staff that is capable of making those changes. This is an added expense to running your business.
  • Toll charge when making interoffice calls. – Collaborating with your staff and coworkers incurs an expense every time you pick up the phone to talk to them.
  • Lack of brand uniformity across offices.

Solution:  The SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution grows with your business.  Let’s address each of the challenges listed above:

  • Disparate systems at each office with no ability for interoffice transfers – Since its connectivity is to the cloud and not to a physical location, it is able to easily scale to the needs of your business. If you add new offices, just add phones and you’re done!  All the system programming and routing intelligence is stored and maintained in the cloud.  Therefore, the ability to route calls between offices, is no more complex than routing calls down the hall!
  • In house expertise is required to manage and maintain the phone equipment. – All phone system user management changes are made via our online portal, and is so simple to use, that anyone can do it! Alternatively, our helpful support staff will be more than happy to assist you with any system administration you require.
  • Toll charge when making interoffice calls. – Since all your offices will be running on a single cloud based system, there are no toll charges when calling between offices. To reach a person, anywhere in the company, just dial their internal extension, even if they are on the other side of the world!
  • Lack of brand uniformity across offices. – Since all your offices will be connected to a single cloud based system, all system and automated attendant greetings will have a uniform voice and call flow. Furthermore, you can easily setup a distributed contact center, where phone receptionists are load balanced across all your locations.  With included comprehensive call analytics, the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution will help you provide your customers with the true world class service they deserve.  With service like this, you will knock your competition out of the park!

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to enable you to serve your clients and staff members, from any place, at any time?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below.

Solutions for Salon Owners

Three Common Challenges For Beauty Salon Owners

While working with and speaking to beauty salon owners, I came across three common business challenges.  Perhaps one or more of these resonate with you.

  1. Loosing bookings due to being understaffed.
  2. Incessant ringing is disturbing the ambiance.
  3. The stylists own the clients.

Let’s address these challenges, one by one.

Challenge:  Loosing bookings due to being understaffed.

As most salon owners will admit, having a receptionist seems like a big overhead; however, if the demand is there, they will easily pay for themselves, as well as save your therapists a lot of time that could be better utilized elsewhere.  The question is, how do you know when to hire someone as a dedicated receptionist, versus having your existing staff answer the phones?

Solution:  In order to effectively manage your call answering staff, you first need to measure your call volume.  With SimiPlex Cloud Based Communications, you can run analytics reports on your incoming calls.  The metrics produced by these reports will show you, not only how many calls you received, but also WHEN you received them.  You can then determine your peak call volume time period for the week.  Then, apply some formulas to the data to determine whether or not to hire a full time receptionist.  For example, let’s assume that 25% of callers will book an appointment.  Let’s also assume, you’re loosing 25 calls on your busy hour (reports will show you that).  Suppose a booking is $75.  25% of 25 is 6 (rounding it down to the nearest whole number).  Multiply 6*75 = $450.  This is how much business you’re loosing due to not having a full time receptionist.  Assuming a receptionist gets paid $15/hour for 8 hours, your cost is $120 a day.  Utilizing these reports will empower you to make decisions such as which days of the week to hire additional staff.

This is also very helpful the other way around.  If you’re looking to cut costs, but don’t know if you can eliminate the receptionist, the call volume reports can also help you make that determination.

Challenge:  Incessant ringing is disturbing the ambiance.

We get it.  At times it gets really busy.  The receptionist is performing double duty by simultaneously checking in onsite clients, as well as booking phone appointments.  While all this is happening, the phones continue ringing incessantly.  All that noise is very disturbing to clients who are paying a premium for what they expect to be exceptional service.  In the long run, this can hurt your business.  However, if the phones don’t ring, you won’t book enough appointments to remain profitable.  What can you do about this?

Solution:  With SimiPlex Cloud Based Communications, you can setup an automated queue so that while the phones do ring, they only ring one at a time.  If the receptionist, or front desk, is on the phone, the calls will queue until she becomes available again.  This way, while the calls are still coming in, your environment remains calm and inviting, enabling you to deliver to your clients that world class service they deserve.  As a bonus, with the touch of a single button, you can forward all calls to voicemail.  This is very useful on days when you are hosting special events, such as classes.

Challenge:  The stylists own the clients.

This challenge is a real big one for salon owners.  When a stylist outshines her peers, there is always a risk that she will leave and go work for a competitor, or open her own business, and take her clients with her.  According to Camille Albane, “In the chair-rental model, a salon owner is a landlord whose tenants are actively undermining his or her business. The owner has a following thanks to his or her own skills, but doesn’t know most of the salon’s other customers well. That’s especially true of hair coloring, where 80 percent of clients retain their colorist year over year.”  What are some simple steps a salon owner can take in order to secure the investment she’s made in her business with her heart and soul?

Solution:  With SimiPlex Cloud Based Communications, you can integrate your phones to most cloud based CRM Packages and Calendars.  This means that every time a client calls in, her favorite cut and color preferences, along with preferred products, and next appointment, pop up on your computer screen.  We also offer SMS reminders for appointment confirmation.  If a stylist leaves, the owner has a better chance of retaining that customer because she wouldn’t want to give up that awesome world class experience!  If your salon is not using a CRM package, you can also integrate your phones to Microsoft Outlook and Google contacts.

Solutions for All Kinds of Businesses

How Secure Is Your Business?

How secure is your business

Today I’d like to focus on security.  One of the things that keeps business owners up at night, besides worrying about how they’re going to make the next payroll, is the fear of someone breaking into their business.  Things may get stolen.  Their business may get completely ruined, or even worse.  They may lose their intellectual property.

One way of implementing a good security solution is by the use of surveillance cameras.  Now, not all cameras were created equally.

One of my partners recently told me a story about a customer who is a meat distributor, who noticed that meat was disappearing from his shop.  To solve that problem, he installed a camera right inside of his walk in freezer.  A short while later he discovered (no surprise here) that one of his guys was swiping slabs of fillet minion and stuffing them into his pants!

Now, a camera is only as good as the data it records.  So, if our meat bandit wanted to keep his job secure, as well as his daily supply of fresh steaks, all he has to do is walk over to the controller box and delete the recording.  Then, he’s all set for another day and another heist.  This presents a new problem.  You can have the best security system in the world; however, if you are dealing with an inside job, you’re back to square one.  How do you keep your business safe from the people you’re supposed to trust?

With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution you have the ability to record your surveillance video directly to The Cloud.  Because there is nothing on premises to delete, even the most determined tech savvy carnivorous caper will not be able to tamper with your recordings.  This helps keep your business safe and secure, no matter what happens.

My question for you is, what steps are you taking to keep your business and intellectual property safe and secure?

Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Phone Vendor

Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Phone Vendor

Are you considering making a change to your communications infrastructure?  With the rise in popularity of The Cloud, people are flocking to it by the dozen.  While there are numerous benefits to embracing The Cloud, with new technology comes new concerns.  Here are my top 10 questions I recommend people ask their phone vendors before pulling the plug on their old clunker PBX.

  1. How will this solution scale with my business? Many companies are cash strapped these days.  Budgets are small, yet needs are plentiful.  Your vendor has just proposed a solution that meets your needs today.  The question is, how will this solution scale when your needs change?  Suppose in 6 months from now you hire 5 more people.  Will this solution enable you to accommodate that growth?  What if, in a year from now, you opened a new office in another city?  Will this solution enable you to seamlessly transfer calls between cities just as you once transferred calls between departments? 
  1. What happens in the event of a disaster? Many of us in New York remember Superstorm Sandy.  The subways were flooded, and power was out in many parts of the city.  Suppose your company was affected by the storm and your office was without power for a week?  What would your callers experience if they were to call your office during a similar power outage?  An acceptable answer would be that your phone lines still continue to function, despite your office being without power.  Callers will hear your automated attendant greeting, and transfer to people’s voicemail boxes.  Messages will then get distributed via email.  An even better answer would be, besides everything that was just mentioned, callers will be transferred to people’s mobile phones.  You never miss a call, even during a natural disaster!  Let’s take this one step further.  What were to happen if your cloud provider was the one that was affected by the storm, yet your company was in a different region, unaffected by the disaster?  Suppose their data center got completely flooded and was destroyed!  What happens to your phone service?  Do your phones continue to function?  The answer you want to hear is that they have multiple geographically redundant data centers.  Your business should never be affected by a disaster at a data center.
  1. What happens during an outage? Sometimes your service provider may have an outage.  We hope it never happens.  It usually doesn’t.  However, you’re still concerned about how you will be affected in case there is, God forbid, a service outage.  The answer I’d want to hear is that they’re setup to automatically route inbound calls to your mobile phone, so that you never miss an important call.  Of course, you can always opt to send your calls to an answering service, like doctors use.  However, the point is, there should always be a provision for an outage.
  1. What happens when my Internet goes down? I hear this one all the time.  “My cable Internet is down.”  The point of failure when it comes to The Cloud is your Internet connection.  There is no way around it, you need the Internet to access The Cloud.  Depending on your uptime requirements, your phone vendor may suggest getting redundant Internet connections from two different providers, or even having a 4G LTE Cellular Data backup so that your phones can still continue to function, despite an Internet outage.  Due to financial considerations, having a redundant Internet connection may be out of reach for some small businesses.  A good Cloud provider can still continue to process calls even if the Internet goes down at your location.  Acceptable options are as follows: 

a. Inbound calls continue to route to the main company greeting. Upon attempting to transfer to an extension, the call will immediately route to voicemail.  The voicemail will then be emailed to the called party, who can then call back via his or her cellular phone.

b. Inbound calls will be programmed to route to a designated cellular phone or 3rd party answering service.

  1. Who do I call for support, and what are the hours? This is extremely important.  First of all, you want a phone number where you can reach a live person.  When you’re having a service affecting issue, you don’t want to send an email, nor do you want to leave a message for a callback.  You need to have access to someone who can help immediately!  You phone is the lifeblood of your business, and any phone vendor who is honored with your business, needs to respect that fact.  While it’s OK to have 8×5 M-F support hours for non-service affecting issues, the only acceptable answer to this question is 24x7x365.  I have a customer who had a service affecting issue on New Year’s Day.  He texted me about his problem, and I, his phone vendor, jumped on it immediately.  Realizing that this issue is beyond my capability to address, I escalated it to the Cloud Provider.  Being the top notch company that they are, within minutes I received a text message from their VP of Operations that the matter is being looked into immediately.  I then received a call back from their Technical Support manager, who called me from his house during a New Year’s Day party!  This is the kind of dedication you want from your phone vendor.
  1. What is the turnaround time for support? Just to be clear, there is a difference between reaching a live person, and having the right person address the problem.  Many times, when you call into a support organization, you’re speaking to someone who creates a trouble ticket.  This ticket then gets passed on to the appropriate level support person.  The turnaround time between opening a ticket and working with an engineer should be pretty short, depending on the severity of the problem.
  1. What is supported? This one is a no-brainer.  Everything should be supported.  However, be careful.  Sometimes your router or firewall may not be supported by your new Cloud Provider.  Sometimes, your data network is not up to speed.  Have your phone vendor articulate what components of your network infrastructure is supported and what is not.
  1. What is your warranty policy? The answer you want to hear is that everything you purchase is under warranty for the duration of your service agreement.  If you purchase brand new phones and signed up for a 5 year agreement, then your phones should be covered for 5 years.  If a phone stops working, it should be replaced at no cost to you.
  1. What is my eligibility when new features are rolled out? One of the advantages of The Cloud is that new features are made available to you immediately.  Most of the time, it’s at no extra cost.  You don’t have to go through expensive upgrades as you do with an on premises PBX.  Find out upfront what’s eligible and what’s not.
  1. What are my self-service options? While it’s really nice to have your Cloud Provider service your phone system, sometimes it’s a lot quicker doing certain things yourself.  For example, if people move around frequently at your company, it’s much more efficient for you to be able to log onto a portal and make those changes yourself, than to call your provider every time a change is needed.  This is especially true with larger organizations.  Find out what options are available, and if it serves the needs of your business.

My question for you is, what questions are you asking your phone vendor to ensure that you get the best value for your business?

The Importance of Brand Identity

The Important of Brand Identity

Today, I’d like to discuss brand identity as it pertains to communications. Sally Hogshead, in her New York Times bestseller book Fascinate, talks about the importance of having a fascinating brand. “People identify with fascinating brands: They identify themselves, their opinions, and their community. (As the commercial says, “Are you a Mac, or PC?”)” You’ve worked very hard building up your own fascinating brand. It’s your identity! Your customers know exactly how to reach you. They know which menu options to press, which extensions to transfer to. If they call in for support and need to be transferred somewhere else, it’s smooth and painless. Do you know why? It’s because you’ve put your heart and soul into your business to ensure it works that way!

Now, imagine this. You’re business is growing, and you’re expanding. You’re opening up a new office in another city. You’re concerned about preserving your brand identity in your new office, because IT IS your identity! How will callers be greeted when they call your new office in Los Angeles? Will they be able to transfer seamlessly between offices as they were once able to transfer between departments?

Consider the following. Vernie Harnish, author of the famous book Scaling Up, in his blog titled ” Your Brand’s Promise: Make It Wisely” (https://gazelles.com/article/your-brands-promise-make-it-wisely) talks about the importance of keeping a brand promise. “What is the promise you’re making to your customers that both really matters to them and makes you different from your competitors? Would it be obvious if I went to your website or looked at your marketing materials? This Brand Promise decision is at the heart of an effective strategy to differentiate your firm from the competition. And your devotion to delivering on the promise must be maniacal and complete or the promise becomes an empty slogan. ” If you think about it, the ease of reaching someone at your company is an unwritten brand promise, if that’s what you’ve been delivering until now. Therefore, it becomes critical to preserve this brand promise when scaling up your business.

The SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution makes preserving your brand identity and keeping your brand promises simple and easy. (Note: That statement is a brand promise!) Because all your information is stored in The Cloud, what works at one office is easily replicable. Your greetings, menu options, departmental structures, and transfer destinations are all replicated in The Cloud, without the need to reinvent the wheel. This enables you to easily scale from one to 100 locations, or more! With the power of The Cloud, transferring calls across the globe becomes as easy as transferring it down the hall!

My question for you is, what are you doing to enable you to keep your brand promises to your customers?

Inside The Cloud

inside-the-cloud

We are starting a new documentary series called Inside The Cloud. This is where we tour various Cloud facilities and report on what’s inside.
Have you ever wondered what happens inside The Cloud? We hear a lot of hype about the versatility and resilience of The Cloud. However, as you know, The Cloud is a mystery. What actually goes on inside their facilities?
There are many moving parts to The Cloud. First and foremost you have the Data Center. This is a facility which houses the equipment that provides services in The Cloud, as well as the Internet and phone line connections used by the equipment. A good Cloud provider has multiple redundant data centers, so that if one entire location were to fail, another data center in another city is available to immediately take over its services. The Data Center is the heart of The Cloud. This is where it all happens.
Next you have the NOC – Network Operations Center. A Cloud provider’s NOC is like NORAD for The Cloud. You have lots of people with lots of computer screens on their desks, and giant monitors on the walls displaying various geographic renderings in various levels of magnification. I recently toured the NOC facility for Enqwest, one of our valued Cloud partners in Fairfield, New Jersey. It was a very exciting experience. I met Calvin, one of their senior NOC administrators, who gave me a tour of what happens inside his corner of the NOC. He had several large monitors mounted on the wall. One of them had a map of the United States which had icons all over it, indicating customer locations in various states of alert status. Calvin zoomed into the map to display the status of a customer in Beverly Hills, California. The map showed the GPS location of this customer, including a street map. I was able to see all the details of the VoIP router at that location. I could see which Internet provider was delivering service, what its IP Address is, as well as whether or not they had a backup Internet provider. I could also see how many phones they had deployed, their respective MAC Addresses, as well as their current state. I could see that the service was running smoothly with no alarms present. Should there be any issues, their onsite equipment, such as the router and/or phones, can be reprogrammed and even rebooted directly from the NOC console in New Jersey! Think of the NOC as the brain of The Cloud. This is where important decisions are made to keep your service running smoothly 24x7x365.
Finally, you have the Contact Center. This is a very integral part of the entire operation. The Contact Center is the point of contact between the customer and provider. This is where we, the customers, interact with The Cloud provider for support on our services. When things go wrong or when we just want to make a change to our account, the Contact Center is there to help us with our needs. You can think of the Contact Center as the ears and mouth of The Cloud. This component helps us feel safe that there is someone on the other end looking out for our best interests.
I hope this has been helpful in demystifying The Cloud, and introducing you to its various moving parts.
Hurricane Clouds and Disaster Recovery

hurricane-clouds

A while ago, I was at a technology expo and had the pleasure of having a very animated conversation with the Google Cloud Infrastructure team.  One of the things we discussed was a practical application of the Cloud as it pertains to Telecommunications.  Now, you would ask me, but what on Earth does Telecom have to do with The Cloud?  One is phone equipment installed in your office, the other, I imagine, is a server farm in a bunker somewhere under a mountain?
Now, imagine this…
You are a New York City hedge fund broker, and you’re looking to upgrade to a new phone system.  What are some of the fears and pain points you are concerned with at the moment?
Having dealt with hedge fund brokers and knowing how demanding their schedule is, I imagine the fears and pain points to be as follows:

  • Fear of being without phone service.
  • Fear of being without phone service for even one second!
This kind of sums it up.  Without phones, their business grinds to a screeching halt, or even worse, plummets into the abyss of major losses.  So, how can a telephone system calm the broker’s fears, and what does The Cloud have to do with it?
Let’s dig a little deeper into the fears listed above and explore what the broker really wants.  On a high level, he wants his phone to work ALL the time.  What does that mean?  In order to understand this, we need to understand what can go wrong.  Here are a few scenarios:
  • The phone system crashes – ouch!
  • The phone lines go down – double ouch!!
  • The phone breaks.
  • Power goes out – for a whole week!
  • Internet goes out.
  • Hurricane.
  • Tornado.
  • Earthquake.
  • Atom bomb.
You get the picture.  Regardless of any and all of the situations listed above, this broker still requires his (or her) phone service to be completely operational!  Now, you will ask me, seriously!  How can a person’s phone work without phone lines?  Or when it’s broken?  Or when there is no power for a week?  Or during an earthquake – or an atom bomb explosion?!?
The answer is, Yes!  It is possible, and the hedge fund broker requires this level of service!  But how?!?
Now you’re starting to understand why I was so excited when I spoke with Google.  Let’s roll over the scenario again.  A hedge fund broker in New York City decides to purchase a new phone system for his business.  The primary requirement is that thebusiness should continue to function despite any and all external happenings.  So, how does a phone system facilitate business continuity during a disaster?
There is where the versatile SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution enters the picture.  For starters, let’s take a few simple scenarios (before we get to the atom bomb explosion):
  • Scenario 1:  There is a raging hurricane outside and the roads are not passable.  People just can’t get to the office.  So far, all utilities are intact.  We have power, phone service, and internet access.  We just can’t physically get to the office.  With the always included SimiPlex Mobility package, you can take home a phone, plug it into your broadband internet connection, and have it connect to the office via the cloud.  Congratulations!  You now have an office phone, at home!  With this, you can calmly handle all your responsibilities as a hedge fund broker, from the comfort of your home.  Let the storm rage on!
  • Scenario 2:  The hurricane just took a turn for the worse.  The wind is howling!  The rain is coming down hard!  Trees are being uprooted and tossed around like children’s toys.  Then, finally, the unthinkable happens.  The office loses power!  Fortunately, your phones are connected to the cloud, and your cloud provider’s data center is outside the storm area.  Or even if it is in the storm area, the data center’s power is backed up by batteries.  When the batteries get drained, the motor generator kicks in.  The broker is able to continue making phone calls from the comfort of his home, with peace of mind.
  • Scenario 3:  It’s a quiet, sunny day.  Everyone is in the office, and life is great.  Some kid is flying a drone outside the office.  You think it may be a bit too close for comfort, but you have other things to do than to concern yourself with what’s going on outside.  All of a sudden, BOOM!!  That is not a good sign.  The drone crashes into the wall and rips down your electirc wires!  The lights go out!  Fortunately, your IT provider set you up with a battery backup for your network equipment.  The lights may be out; however, calls are still coming in and out, and business is still progressing as if nothing happened.

So far, so good.Let’s take this a little further now.Let’s revisit the hurricane scenario.The winds have increased in intensity.The rain is coming down even more forcefully.Suddenly, the internet at your cloud provider’s data center goes out!With no internet at the data center, how are you going to connect your remote phone and continue making calls? Business mustcontinue… at all costs!What is a broker to do?

Do you remember my meeting with Google?  This is the scenario I presented to them, and this is why I was so excited when speaking with them.  Cloud providers, don’t just operate out of a single data center, for this reason.If something were to happen to that single data center, they’d go out of business faster than the kid crashing the out of control drone.  Established cloud providers operate out of multiple, geographically dispersed data centers, for redundancy and resilliency.  Should an entire data center lose power or internet, there are many more data centers across the country and around the world to pick up the slack and keep your business going.

Let’s head back to the hurricane.  The Internet at your cloud provider’s data center just went down.Fortunately, you deployed the resilient SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution.  When your phone is not able to connect to its data center, it will automatically register onto the next available data center in the cloud.Your extension and voicemail will come back to life!
Even the kid with the wobbly drone can’t take out your phone service.Your phone service has now kicked into overdrive!

You are so excited that your phone is working, despite nature’s best effort to thwart your business, that you fail to notice a scuffle break out between your dog and cat.  Your dog is chasing the cat around the house, when the doorbell rings.  You get up to answer the door.  It’s your brand new piano, being delivered… in a hurricane!  After all, New York is the city that never sleeps.  It keeps on going, no matter what.  Just like your business.  As they are bringing the piano into your office (hey, a guy needs his music!), several things happen, all of them simultaneously.  The dog chases the cat onto your desk, the cat knocks your SimiPlex Cloud phone off your desk, the piano mover trips on your phone, and drops your piano… right on your phone!  A loud CRUNCH is heard, and time stops for a moment… until your cellphone rings.  It’s the million dollar client from London whose call you were waiting for all day.  Thankfully, you have enabled mobile twinning for your extension.  This feature pairs or twins your mobile phone to your desk phone, enabling you to receive all your business calls directly onto your mobile phone.  Your business is able to continue, even without an office phone!

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to enable you to continue doing business no matter what happens?   I’d love to hear from you, please leave us a comment.

How to Build World Class Contact Centers that Empower You

how-to-build-world-class-contact-centers-that-empower-you

One line that I hear repeatedly in business is “The market is saturated!”  Upon examining the situation, I usually respond “True.  The market is saturated with people all doing the same thing!  You need to differentiate yourself so that you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.”  This is simply Marketing 101.  The question then becomes “What can I do differently?”  (Marketing 102?)

Let’s shift the conversation over to Contact Centers.  Everyone’s got them.  If you have a business, you have a Contact Center.  You may not know it, but Joe, over there in the warehouse, is your Contact Center.  Everyone prides themselves on their excellent “premier” customer service.  The problem is, everyone is doing the same thing!  You’re thinking that you are leveraging the latest in technology to provide your customers with a state of the art “customer experience”.  Well, guess what.  You’re competition is doing the same thing!  OK.  So what CAN you do differently, that your competition is NOT doing?

The answer to this question is the same answer to the question in the first paragraph of this article.  Think outside the box!  To do that, let’s first understand what’s INSIDE the box!  I’m going to open the box and list several items that are in use in Contact Centers throughout the world.  Let me know if any of these sound familiar to you:

  • Call Analytics
  • Call Recording
  • Intelligent call routing
  • CRM
  • Video Conferencing
  • Website
  • Credit Card Processors

This is all pretty basic, don’t you agree?  If you want to operate a successful Contact Center, you NEED to have all of the above.  Period.  However, as I stated above, all of this is IN the box.  If you have all of the above, you’re running a Contact Center that is no less than your competition, but also no MORE than your competition.  What you are looking for is a WORLD CLASS Contact Center.  According to Dictionary.com, world class is defined as ranking among the world’s best; outstanding.  Let’s take the items listed above and tweak them so that they represent the world class Contact Center we’re looking to build.

  • Call Analytics and Insights
  • Call Recording and Transcription
  • Intelligent Call Routing
  • Integrations with third party CRM & HR platforms
  • Custom White Labeled Video Integration
  • Custom Website and Mobile Apps Integration
  • IVR credit card processors

Let’s go through this list, one by one.

  • Call Analytics and Insights – We all know what call analytics is. On a basic level, it’s a report that gives you certain data which helps you analyze the performance of your Contact Center.  Like I said, all Contact Centers (well, except maybe for the one with Joe in the Warehouse) have this.  Now, what if you wanted to go deeper.  What if you wanted a specific level of insight into the inner workings of your Contact Center, but your current Contact Center Solution doesn’t offer it?  What if you wanted a custom report that shows you a comparison between your metrics on the third Tuesday of every second month versus the second Thursday of every third month?
  • Call Recording and Transcription – We all know what Call Recording is. What if you wanted to have your recordings automatically transcribed?  Why?  Imagine this.  You are running the Contact Center for an Organ Donation Center.  Every single phone call is life & death.  You are either dealing with hospitals requesting life saving organs, or speaking with bereaved family members who are giving you consent to harvest their loved one’s organs.  It goes without saying that every single call must be recorded.  Let’s say, in 10 years from now a family member decides to sue you for extracting a heart without consent.  You’re thinking, “I have nothing to worry about because I have the recording.”  Guess what.  Assuming you can find the recording, the recording is 75 minutes long, and the consent is somewhere in the middle.  What if the phone call was automatically transcribed.  You can then print out a copy and have the family member sign it. This will save you a lot of stress and aggravation.  A document is much easier to file away and find when needed.  With a quick text search, you can quickly locate the relevant portions of the call.
  • Intelligent Call Routing – What if you wanted to route a call to a specific agent based on some custom criteria? For example, if it’s Monday between 11-2 send it to x1234.  If it’s Tuesday between 1-3 send it to x5678.  Unless the first Friday of the month is in the second quarter of the year, and the last agent this person spoke with is on vacation.  You get the drift.  What if you really wanted to do something that your existing “excellent” Contact Center just can’t do?
  • Integrations with third party CRM & HR platforms – We all use CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) in our business. What if your favorite CRM does not integrate to your Contact Center.  Think about the automotive industry.  The DMS (Dealer Management Systems) owns your infrastructure.  They don’t integrate with too many platforms.  What would it feel like to have the freedom to choose your own communications and Contact Center platform and have it seamlessly integrate with your DMS or CRM?
  • Custom White Labeled Video Integration – Imagine you’re a recruiting firm looking to hire talent from all over the world for your Fortune 500 customers. Your office is in New York City, but the candidate is in Singapore and your client is in London.  What’s the big deal, you may think?  Just hop on a Skype session and interview the candidate?  Keep in mind, that this may work on a smaller scale, like for an Entrepreneur who wants to hire a new employee in a remote location.  However, for a large company that wants you to hire hundreds of people per week, you need something a little more scalable.  The video conference solution has to integrate with your corporate HR system in order to document the entire interview process.  Wouldn’t it also be nice to present a branded look and feel to your Fortune 500 clients when they go to your video conferencing site?
  • Custom Website and Mobile Apps Integration – Imagine you’re running a suicide prevention hotline. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you, but they need to be anonymous.  How do you integrate your website with your Contact Center to enable things like “Click to call” functionality, where the person in need can post a message along with their phone number on your website and have an agent call them back, coupled with SMS text messages to the person in need, while protecting the individual’s privacy and without replacing your entire Contact Center?
  • IVR credit card processors – What if a customer calls in to make an account change and your agent notices an overdue balance. How do you currently handle this situation?  I imagine the customer would need to make a payment of some sort.  I also imagine a very uncomfortable situation for the agent answering the phone.  He or she now has to explain to a customer that he can’t solve this person’s problem yet because the bill has not been paid.  Not to mention this wastes valuable time that the agent can use to help someone else.  Would it not be nice to have the system automatically detect the account balance and transfer the caller to your company’s payment system?  What if you didn’t have a payment system?  How much would it cost to purchase one?  What if your existing Contact Center solution doesn’t have this capability?  Do you have to get rid of it and buy a new one?

The good news is that you don’t have to throw away your Contact Center!  All you need is a plug-in that will give you the capabilities you want.  The SimiPlex Contact Center Plug-in integrates with your existing Cloud Based or Premise Based Contact Center Solution via SIP.  The plug-in becomes a SIP extension which you route your calls to.  It collects and processes the data, while passing the call on to your agents.  At the end of the day you will have the best Contact Center Insights you have ever dreamed of, and it won’t cost you an arm & a leg!  You will look like a hero!  For call recording transcription, just pop in the plug-in and record away.  The system will automatically transcribe and file the recordings as you need.  The same goes for Intelligent Call Routing.  Let the plug-in do the heavy lifting for a fraction of the cost of a fork life upgrade.  The plug-in will integrate with your DMS or CRM to provide you with the utmost freedom of choice.  With regards to branded video conferencing, you will leave your customers feeling like they are getting five star concierge service.

For the custom website and mobile app integration, the plug-in takes care of everything.  For the suicide prevention hotline, the plugin will encrypt the person’s phone number and only post a reference number to the website.  The agent will click on the reference number and the system will securely call the person in need.  The system will also send out SMS messages from the agents assuring him/her that help is on the way.  You don’t have to change your Contact Center solution at all.  You just need to think outside the box!  The same goes for IVR credit card processors.  From your company’s automated attendant, prior to transferring a call to the queue, transfer the call to the plug-in’s SIP extension.  The plug-in will check the account balance and handle the call accordingly.  The plug-in can also handle certain kinds of payments, so that you may not have to purchase 3rd party payment processing gateways.

By leveraging the latest in technology to get your company outside the box, you will provide your customers with the five star world class customer service they deserve, and stand out from the competition like a light house on a dark night!

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to become world class and to differentiate yourself from your competition?

A little bit about SimiPlex.  SimiPlex Technologies helps businesses save time and money by ensuring they have the right technology in place to effectively optimize their business communications.  We are a one stop provider for all your communications needs.  Our vision is to help businesses, throughout the world, leverage the benefits of the latest in technology, while ensuring a simple and smooth transition throughout the entire process.  Our mission is to help businesses connect to the world with ease.  SimiPlex Technologies was founded on the premise of being completely customer focused.  Besides our expertise and proven state of the art product line, our entire focus is on you, the customer, and helping you solve your business problems.  We take the time to listen to your needs, and offer suggestions on how to assist you in fulfilling those needs.  We are not aligned with any specific vendor or carrier.  We suggest solutions that can fulfill your needs, from the vendor or carrier who is the best fit for your business.  Our premier concierge service will leave you feeling pampered and well taken care of.

The following statement sums up our differentiator:  Our value is NOT just in the manpower, or the Product Knowledge.  Our industry has many organizations who might provide it.  Our true value and differentiation is in our Time Proven World Class Methodology that provides consistent results, and removes the risk to you, our valued customer.  We are here to SERVE.  We are here to serve YOU!

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