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Blog Archive - June 2017

Redundancy, Back ups, VoIP and the Internet

08 June 2017 at 16:06pm

Redundancy, Back ups, VoIP and the Internet

Or

How To Stop Internet Failure From Ruining Your Day

 

If you are reading this article on our website then it's safe to say you have probably heard of VoIP.

The technology to use internet to deliver phone calls has been around for a while now, and is becoming increasingly accepted as standard practise amongst the business community.

The additional features and functions it offers over the 'traditional' phone model makes it very desirable for business use.


The one downside is the requirement for an internet connection. If your internet fails, then your calls will fail too.

Many see this as a deterrent to using a VoIP service. However, there are a few methods available which limit this risk.


The first, most obvious and easiest to set up method we recommend is via using Call Forwarding to an independent number. If you can set up a landline or mobile phone number as a fail-over, then any calls which miss your VoIP system will still find you using the fail-over number.


The second method we recommend is to use a good ISP. A reputable, business-grade ISP will employ back up systems, so if they do ever experience any issues it won't affect your service. This is done by setting up a fully redundant, business-grade infrastructure. For example, SureVoIP® internet connectivity is delivered over a network which employs a fully redundancy back-up system (if any part of our network should suffer a failure, then your traffic would find its way to the internet via another, completely independent set of connections).


The third method we suggest you consider is using two (or more) independent internet connections. In the event of your main ISP suffering a failure, then your calls and data traffic switch to the alternate provider. This is a good way of ensuring continuity of your service, and should be considered if you handle a good deal of VoIP calls, and these calls are critical to how your business operates.


Not many companies can do without phone and internet services these days. In fact, it is doubtful if there are any. These services are critical to general operations. Banking and invoicing systems, CRM systems, work-flow management systems all rely on connecting to cloud platforms. Not being able to connect with these will mean many staff spending a lot of time with nothing to do! Worse than this, they won't be able to pass the time on Facebook or reading the news!


When your phone calls are being delivered over the internet, then the problem would be even worse. Not only can you not connect to vital internal systems, but you are also missing customer calls.


Bearing the risks in mind, most business users of VoIP who see phone communication as critical would be well advised to consider the impact of an internet outage, and to have in place a recovery plan.


Using one, two, or even all three of the options listed in this article will certainly help.


Using the first option will at least give you the reassurance of knowing you are receiving customer calls. We recommend this as a standard 'fail-over' option to many of our customers. It is easy to set up, and reliable. As calls are reaching you in a completely independent way to the internet, then you still remain able to communicate in the event of internet or ISP issues.

 

The second option listed will give you the reassurance of always using built in redundancy. As your thoughtful ISP has already factored in fail-over options, then you can relax a little bit. This method gives the reassurance of a back up, without the necessity of having more than one connectivity supplier. This will require you to do a little bit of research regarding any potential ISP's network infrastructure. Check their network, their technical specifications, and any other information you can get your hands on regarding how they have built their network. If you can't see any of this, then be prepared to keep looking. The chances are, if they have gone to the trouble of developing a system such as this, they will be shouting it from their website! If no information is there, wonder why.


The third option we explored is probably the most expensive, but is a good idea for larger companies. If your customer communications are critical, and your business relies on internet, cloud-based platforms or emails, then this is option is well worth considering. It may introduce an additional cost and layer of complexity to administration, but it will prove well worth it if your primary ISP suffers a major incident. It may be an additional expense, but think of the possible expense of an outage. Lost staff time, missed customer calls, loss of reputation. All these should be factored in when weighing up your options.

 

If you wish to discuss your options just get in touch.

 

Click here to see more about the internet connectivity options we can provide

 

Click here to see more about our Call Forwarding options

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How To Appear Bigger Than You Are

01 June 2017 at 15:06pm

Don't worry, you haven't stumbled upon a blog devoted to 'How to react if you are being attacked by a bear'.

 

This blog will give an overview as to how Hosted VoIP phone services can benefit smaller companies and sole traders.

 

One of the initial challenges to overcome when working for yourself is how best to manage your image. It is tricky to set up a company, win over customers, do all the necessary admin, and balance your books. It can be a bit like spinning plates, only there are far more than you actually handle!

 

Well SureVoIP® can at least help with one aspect - Presentation.

 

It is a sad but true fact that we judge on appearances, before anything else. Psychologists tell us that we judge the personality of someone we have just met within a quarter of a second.

 

Don't feel guilty - it's not just you, and it's not really your fault. The human brain is used to processing millions, if not billions of pieces of data every day. It does this by pattern matching, and it does this by making guesses. The brain basically takes a rough overview, assumes this pattern repeats itself, and fills in any gaps in its perceptions with these guesses.

 

This how optical illusions work. The brain has created lots of short cuts in order to process the vast amount of data which surrounds it, and optical illusions use this. The famous Muller-Lyer illusion pictured is a good example.

Muller-Lyer Illusion

 

We can use this trick of the brain to work in favour of the smaller business.

 

The Muller-Lyer illusion relies on mental shortcuts to fool your brain
 
Customers are used to certain levels of service when calling companies. This works in both a positive and a negative way. Service which doesn't match the image projected will prove harmful to that company. For instance, if you are thinking of buying from a company, and their website has spelling mistakes on the home page, the chances of you buying from them will quickly decrease.

 

The alternative is also true. If a company's service meets or exceeds your expectations, then you will be far more likely to buy from them.

 

This is the key point of this article, and this is how VoIP can help the smaller business.

 

By working on your presentation, you can greatly improve how customers perceive you.

 

Customers and potential customers make assumptions, or ;guesses', to refer to our potted psychology summary given above.

 

We can use this mental trait to our advantage. Giving a level of service associated with a larger company will create this mental image in the customer's mind.

 

Therefore, making use of a phone system which creates an appropriate image will work to enhance customer's perception of your company. People have fewer reservations about dealing with a larger company, so appearing as larger will result in a better image, and more successful dealings with callers.

 

This can be achieved by using many of the features and functions of a VoIP service. This kind of phone service adapts well to people working from differing locations, so you don't need a physical office. You can transfer calls between users as if you were all located in the same place. Callers will always experience the same phone set up, no matter which employee they dial. Music on Hold, coupled with a menu auto-attendant, gives the re-assurance of being in contact with a larger company. It also means that all your users have a cohesive 'brand identity' to callers.

 

Conference calling opens the door to more in-depth meetings, without having to physically travel to meet.

 

All your callers can get in touch using your company advertised number, and reach any of your staff members.

 

All a big improvement to just handing out your mobile number and hoping for the best!

 

We even offer a paired down service for Sole Traders. Our Single User service gives a useful range of functions, and is designed specifically for the single person working on their own.

 

For more info on our Hosted services

To see details of our Single User service

More info on the Muller-Lyer Illusion

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