SIP Trunking: So Much More Than a Dial Tone

SIP TrunkingThe first forms of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking services were fairly primitive, and were really just a way to get basic phone lines set up at larger companies. As with any technology, SIP trunks have evolved and developed into much more capable and attractive services, and are predicted to continue growing as a provider offering. When designing telecommunications packages for organizations, there are many ways to creatively arrange the system to make the most of current SIP capabilities.

Rich in Features

Modern SIP trunking packages contain a wide variety of great features such as toll free lines, full 911 services, fax lines, and caller ID. For enterprises that need more intricate phone networks, today’s SIP trunks also contain private MPLS, direct dialing for inbound extensions, PRI transparency, and connection to PSTN/POTS lines.

Some providers have amplified their offerings even further, and furnish call center and conferencing capabilities as well as progressive screening of calls, premium disaster recovery services, and on-site equipment. SIP trunking services may come as a flat fee option, potentially shared across multiple company locations and able to accommodate sudden spikes in call traffic through bursting flexibility.

Making a Move

Many companies still find themselves constrained by old telco lines and antiquated services that they paid high costs to implement and manage. For that reason, they may be hesitant to transition to modern services for fear of not fulfilling their predicted return on investment or concern with the unknown costs of installing a new system. The opportunity cost of missing out on advanced services is quite high, however. Offering improved productivity, better customer handling, and collaboration tools, SIP trunking services quickly make up for any initiation cost.

Leveraging Mobile

Supporting a mobile workforce is increasingly important in today’s market, and old tech simply doesn’t do the job. SIP trunking is an effective tool to handle the needs of this technologically advanced labor pool without requiring a dozen different vendors for telecom services or a huge investment in hardware. These systems are able to connect the old world with the new in innovative and graceful ways. The result is a constantly connected, cohesive set of teams that are providing excellent customer service and getting things done rapidly.

SIP trunking is a robust and flexible service that can dramatically improve communications and production for companies that implement it. To learn more about the benefits of this great arrangement, contact ROI Networks today.

Using Lines of Business to Craft an Effective Video Conferencing Strategy

Video ConferencingThe days when IT drove all technology purchasing decisions are long gone, at least for organizations that wish to move into the future. Now, employees and lines of business have far more influence over these critical choices. An area that is beginning to recognize this trend is video conferencing. A newer and quickly growing tool still in its infancy, it is ready to be molded and designed to properly fit company initiatives.

Advantages of a Centralized Approach

Centralizing the organization’s video strategy has distinct advantages. More buying power means better pricing, more features, improved service level agreements, and attractive contract terms. A centralized approach allows IT to provide more prompt and consistent attention to video conferencing services across the company.

This method of administration is beginning to lose traction, as each department has a specific set of requirements for the technology’s use. So many new, easy-to-use video tools are available now that employees don’t often need IT to help them in that area. Today’s solutions don’t require expensive devices or real estate to produce video results that are acceptable for many purposes.

A Dual-Pronged Approach

Specific lines of business (LOB) may require higher quality video conferencing products, especially those that are customer-oriented. An example of this would be sales and marketing material that must be slick and well-produced. If IT wishes to maintain any input or control of video use in such areas, they need to minister to those requirements. If IT does not furnish the appropriate tools and resources, shadow IT may result, where the department might create a rogue solution of their choosing.

The influence of different lines of business on the video strategy can easily cause the organization’s overall video conferencing approach to be segmented and compartmentalized if not handled properly. The involvement of IT is important so that security and performance are considered. For an optimal video program, a dual-pronged approach is helpful. Creating a plan with a central core that also encompasses peripheral departments with more specific needs helps to maintain consistency.

Video conferencing is an extremely powerful tool when used effectively. Integrating lines of business into the company’s communication strategy is a win for all segments. For more information on creating a comprehensive video program, contact ROI Networks today.

Comparing Progressive and Predictive Dialer Technologies

Call CenterAll outbound call centers share a common goal: to reach as many prospects in as short a time as possible. Auto-dialers have been a fixture in call centers for decades, and manufacturers have responded to niche needs by developing products with specialized capabilities.

The progressive dialer and the predictive dialer are two of the most widely used types of auto-dialers, but what differentiates them from one another? How do they compare, and how can companies choose the option that’s right for them?
The Progressive Dialer: How It Works

Progressive dialers use call lists, from which they automatically dial numbers in sequence, one at a time. A progressive dialer will only place a call if there is a call center agent ready and waiting to speak to the person on the other end.
The Predictive Dialer: How It Works

A predictive dialer, by contrast, calls multiple numbers at once, regardless of whether or not a call center agent is ready at the exact moment the call is placed. Predictive dialers work by using data analysis to “predict” how long it will take before an agent is free to speak to the next customer, and places calls accordingly.

In addition, a predictive dialer is capable of anticipating the likelihood of a call going unanswered, based on trends generated by the call list in use. If the situation warrants it, predictive dialers will increase call volumes to make up for downtime caused by unanswered calls.
Progressive Dialer vs. Predictive Dialer: How to Choose

Progressive and predictive dialers both have their strengths and drawbacks. While progressive dialers are not able to match the sheer call volume that predictive dialers are capable of generating, they do add a more personal touch by ensuring that an agent is always on hand to speak to a customer who answers the call, without exception.

Conversely, predictive dialers are the better option when it comes to maximizing efficiency. Progressive dialers offer major efficiency improvements over manual calling, but come up short in comparison to predictive dialers. On the down side, they can result in customer-end frustration, since a customer may answer a call before an agent is ready to speak to them. In such cases, the customer may abandon the call, even though a prompt can be used to let them know an agent will be with them shortly.

The business communication experts at ROI Networks have extensive experience helping clients choose the right technologies for their unique needs. To learn more about the dynamic, next-generation solutions available to today’s enterprises, please contact us to consult with an ROI Networks professional.

The Contact Center Can Make Or Break The Customer Experience

We’ve all had at least one bad customer service experience via call center, and poor experiences can mean customer losses. But retaining customers doesn’t have to be a struggle. Check out the infographic below to find out more about how the right contact center software can turn disgruntled customers into happy ones, and help you manage your client relationships to increase revenue.

Contact Center

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4 Must-Have Features for a Call or Contact Center

Contact CenterThe contact center is an essential part of any service-oriented business’s infrastructure. To function optimally, call and contact centers require certain technical capabilities, especially in the connected age. Even businesses that don’t need or maintain a strictly defined call center can benefit from having their customer service staff adopt leading technologies.

In particular, there are four key features that are indispensable to the modern call center: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), social media, real-time reporting, and a suite of tools that facilitate specialized functions referred to as “monitoring,” “whispering,” and “barging.”

Here’s a look at how each of these tools supports core call center functions:

VoIP

Legacy landlines may still have a place in some call centers, but they are in massive decline largely thanks to the rise of VoIP telephony. These Internet-connected voice communication platforms facilitate streamlined and interconnected functionality with other customer support systems, all while dramatically lowering operational costs.

VoIP systems also require far less infrastructure and hardware and enable customer service agents to work remotely, which can generate even more cost savings.

Social Media

Increasingly, social media platforms are being used for complaint resolution applications, and to collect and address feedback from customers. From a business standpoint, it’s important not only to leverage the power of social media as a way to connect with customers, but also to correctly monitor it.

Employees should be carefully trained in the proper usage of social media platforms. As many industry observers have noted, the correct response can defuse even the most tense and critical situations. When used constructively and positively, social media can be an extremely powerful supplementary contact center tool. However, management should carefully monitor social media channels to ensure they’re being used in accordance with company objectives.

Real-Time Reporting and Statistics

Technologies that support real-time tracking, reporting, and statistical management help improve customer service. They also help management identify and correct systemic inefficiencies while providing key insights into employee performance.

Call queue reports, call volume statistical tracking, and inbound/outbound call history tracking are a few of the most commonly used applications of these tools. They can be configured to present data from a range of viewpoints, which maximizes their relevance when seeking answers to specific questions.

Monitoring, Whispering and Barging

These contact center tools allow supervisors and management-level staff to:

  • Listen in on calls (“monitoring”)
  • Communicate with the service agent without the customer’s knowledge (“whispering”)
  • Join or take over the call if necessary (“barging”)

In addition to improving service and operational efficiency, barging, whispering, and monitoring are extremely useful training and employee evaluation tools that every contact center can benefit from.

The communication professionals at ROI Networks are experts at helping businesses improve their contact center capabilities. To learn more about these and other technological solutions for call and contact centers, please contact ROI Networks today.