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Blog Archive - August 2017

Smartphones Versus Landlines - Who's Winning, Why And How You Can Benefit

24 August 2017 at 15:08pm

The traditional phone landline is engaged in a battle with the smartphone, and the landline seems to be losing.

The vast majority of people these days have a smartphone. It's not that uncommon these for someone not have a landline at all. The smartphone provides them with all the telecoms they need, whether at home or elsewhere.

The smartphone is ubiquitous, handy, and essential for a lot of people. In fact, it has gone beyond essential for a lot of people. The phenomenon of smartphone addiction is actually becoming recognised by some medical professionals.

So - the situation we have is the smartphone in a seemingly unstoppable march, stealthily taking over global telecoms supply, while the landline apparently slinks into retreat.

There is a way to make this global trend work to your advantage.

With VoIP, you can use your smartphone is more ways than ever before. Softphone apps are now available to download and use, and this changes how your smartphone can function. It is no longer just a mobile phone, it has been transformed into a VoIP-enabled mobile office!

The app for the smartphone (also called a 'softphone') is software, downloaded onto your smartphone. It works in tandem with a VoIP service, allowing you to carry all the extra features and functions in your pocket.

Once downloaded, it allows you to make and receive calls, transfer calls, and serves as your office phone system.

You can call customers showing your advertised company number, you will be included in any ring groups that have been set up, and you can even have music for callers to listen to if they are on hold!*

In short, all the features you have on your office VoIP service will transfer into the smartphone in your pocket.

Because a VoIP system is not tied to any particular location, you can transfer it to anywhere you have a stable internet connection. While using a smartphone, it is using 3G or 4G to connect to the internet.

Working from home becomes as easy as plugging your deskphone into a different internet connection. Just unplug it from the office connection, take the phone home, and plug in to your home connection. As long as the phone is connected to the internet it will work.

Not only will your phone work, the whole of your office phone set up will work. You can transfer calls to a colleague, or pick up a colleague's phone if they don't answer.

You can call out displaying your advertised company number, rather than your personal mobile.

You can give your company's virtual receptionist or a pre-recorded greeting message.

The range of features available is limited only by the features you have on your business VoIP service.

So in the battle between landlines and smartphones, the smartphones have scored another win. The landline loses on the grounds of flexibility and available feature-set. The smartphone now adds the softphone app to its arsenal, and takes the fight directly into the business arena.

See more about the Bria softphone app
See more on our Hosted VoIP services
See more details on our Fully Managed Hosted VoIP

*The features available on your softphone app will be dependent on the VoIP system serving your main phone system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Connect Remote Workers In Different Locations

17 August 2017 at 17:08pm

As Providers of VoIP, we manage communications for many different styles of office set-up.


One of the most challenging set-ups to tackle and manage, is one for a larger company operating from many disparate locations.


There are a few challenges with such a set-up, including keeping everyone in the team connected, and ensuring calls coming in are handled correctly.


If we look at the situation without using a VoIP system, then we have a bunch of remote workers, working in different offices, answering their own phones. they will need to use their own home phone, or their own mobile. They will be displaying these numbers when calling customers. Customers will be calling them on their own numbers. And remember, all this is happening whilst these workers represent your company.


Now let's look at the situation with a VoIP system.


In this scenario, we have an over-arching phone system, serving the needs of all the remote workers. Workers will receive calls to your official company number, and can call out displaying the same.


Workers can transfer calls between themselves and call each other internally. They can also see if colleagues are on a call or are currently available*.


Using a SureVoIP® Hosted VoIP service, a company can set up a phone service where their advertised numbers rings to any or all employees specified, no matter where they are working. Sally could be working from a satelite office in another city. Allan could be based on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, and Jim could be travelling to meet an important client, only able to use his smart phone to communicate. They will all be included in the company phone set up. They will all receive calls to the company number, and they can all transfer calls from one to the other. They can also call each other as an internal call, which provides another benefit - all calls between SureVoIP® users are free, so employees will save on their bills!


Employees can also call out and display the official company number, giving a far better impression than calling customers with their own mobile or home phone number showing. This presents a far better image, giving the customer a sense of dealing with a more cohesive organisation. It also acts as an aid to employee security (as it removes the possibility of revealing personal info to customers).


An additional advantage is how the incoming calls are handled. You can have all employee phones ring, or have them ring in sequence if some workers are prioritised. With our Fully Managed service, you can even have a virtual receptionist. Using this, you can then have calls routed to the most appropriate person. For instance, a customer calls in, and wishes to talk about a recent invoice. Your virtual receptionist (or IVR menu Auto-attendant, to give it its proper title) listed the option 'Press 2 for invoicing queries'. When they press 2, the customer will be directed to Allan (the invoicing person), who is on his island off the Scottish coast.


Not only that, but if the customer wants to discuss a quote with Sally, the sales executive, then Allan simply transfers them through.


And if the customer wants to talk to Jim, then Sally just transfers him on. Not only does the call transfer seamlessly, but it will also reach Jim anywhere he has a 3 or 4G connection. A Soft phone app joined with a Hosted VoIP service means your office is in your pocket.


So, as you can see, an office of three people has been transferring, collaborating and taking part in the customer journey. And one was in a different office, in a different city. One was miles away on an island. And one person was using an app whilst travelling.


The list of available functions and features doesn't end there. Our Fully Managed Hosted service gives conferencing, so you can set up calls with multiple people. It gives Time of day Routung, so you can divert all your calls at certain times to a specific destination (for instance an on-call engineer). It also gives call recording, so you can rest easy that you have the facts at hand should there ever be a dispute with a customer.


So not only a telecoms solution like a traditional office, but a lot more besides!


Get in touch to find out just what a Hosted VoIP service can do for you.


See more about our Fully Managed Hosted service.


Find out more about our Hosted services.

 

* Requires BLF function on hardware


 

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How To Be in Two Places At The Same Time

10 August 2017 at 14:08pm

Most people in a work environment know the feeling of wishing to be in two places at once.

 

It's a busy day, the phone is going constantly and you haven't even touched your emails.

 

Unfortunately, try as we might, we can't quite help you with your work load. However, we can help you to be in two places at once!

 

If you work with a customer base abroad, then we can help you to 'be' in the country with your customers, as well as being in the UK.

 

Using one of our international numbers, your customers can call a local number which they recognise, and reach your phone system in the UK.

Having a local number, recognised by your customer base, lends reassurance, and a feeling of closeness, to your interactions.

 

If we reverse the situation for a second, how would you feel if you were evaluating suppliers, and one had a number in your local area, and the other had a number in a different country?

 

I think most of us would be happier with the supplier with the local number.

 

There are three main reasons why this works:

 

1) We are all happier inside our comfort zone, rather than outside it. Anything we have previous experience with gives a reassurance factor. in this case, the customer is experiencing a phone number area code which they have seen or used before. This increases the chances of them phoning you whilst they know or can see the number. Psychologists term this 'Familiarity'.

 

2) The number will be easier to remember. As we have moved the number forward into the person's consciousness, their mind starts the process of finding where the number is familiar from. This means the customer is more likely to be able to remember your number unaided. Psychologists term this part of the memory process 'Recollection'.

 

3) The appearance of locality. A local supplier will be easier to contact, more responsive, and more likely to understand your wants and needs. From a simple, common sense viewpoint, it makes sense to choose the local guy. Placing yourself amongst the local competition gives you this advantage too.

 

So, as you can see, not only is it possible to appear somewhere and actually be somewhere else, from a customer communication point of view, it can be very beneficial to do so.

 

Make sure you are maximising your impact in your foreign markets.

 

We can supply a variety of international numbers, and we can often give you the city or area code of your choice.

 

If you operate abroad, get in touch to see how we can help.

 

 

 

 

 

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Screaming Customers, Disputes and Confused Staff - How Call Recording Can Benefit You

03 August 2017 at 16:08pm

VoIP opens more possibilities than using a 'traditional' phone system. One of these possibilities is the ability to record your calls with out the need for any special equipment or phone lines.

All users on our Fully Managed service, for instance, can have all calls recorded automatically by our system.

 

No hardware or specialist devices are required on site, no training or specialist staff will be required, and no specialist phone will need to be bought.

 

Our Fully Managed VoIP service can be set to record all your calls, both in and out, and all it takes is an email to our Technical Support team. That's it!

 

No rushing to a hardware store, credit card in hand. No phoning round various suppliers to compare prices. No reading manuals, leaflets or instructions. And no visits to the local college or polytechnic to get yourself trained in IT hardware installation and maintenance.

 

Just a quick email, webchat or phone call.

 

If you request it at the start we will enable it from the day and time your service goes live. Every call, both in and out, recorded and saved in case you need it.*

 

Recording is useful for all customers who wish to reassure themselves against future disputes. In the unfortunate event that a dispute does arise with a customer, and the customer is claiming something has been promised but not been delivered, then the recording of the call can easily be sourced and listened to by management or senior staff. The issues moves from personal opinion into simple fact. The recording will not lie, and will give all involved a reliable reference point.

 

Equally, the recording will not get confused, misunderstand or jumble the facts as time goes on. It is an unfortunate fact that, in times of stress, people often become confused. If the person is a disappointed customer, they are likely to have twisted facts round in their head, and this is completely unintentional. It is simply human nature, we all find it hard to believe we have made a mistake, and when engaging in a dispute with a supplier it can be difficult to back down. So your irate customer can be difficult to calm down, and they may not wish to listen to your side of the story.

 

With a recording of the call, you are armed to give him the simple facts of the matter. It is no longer in doubt who said what, to whom, or why. Everything said can be listed to and reviewed. Your company may be right, or the customer may be right, but you will know the facts of the case.

 

Recordings can also be very useful when it comes to staff training. It can be difficult to take in advice, keep products and services in mind, and chat to a customer when you are a new start and everything is unfamiliar. Listening in on live calls can make people feel uncomfortable, and may make the new start nervous. But reviewing calls, when everyone is calmer and the employee can think more clearly, can prove far more advantageous. Remove the stress from the situation, and pass on clearly your expectations during a review session. Clearly explaining what you want them to do and say will be far more difficult when a live call is actually taking place. It will be easier, and prove more effective, when they are calmer and can think about what is being said, and react to advice being given.

 

Call recording is especially useful for those who work in the Legal or Finance sectors. These industries are very open to accusations of misleading advice, mis-selling or other unscrupulous practices.

 

It also means that Regulating Bodies can review what is being said by those in the industry to their customers. Whenever a complaint is raised by a member of the public regarding a company supplying financial advice, products or services, the Regulatory Body will ask to review all the calls which are relevant. In which case, they put themselves in the driver's seat regarding assessing the situation. They no longer have to listen to two sides arguing about who said what and to whom. They can listen to the whole dialogue, and decide on the facts of the matter.

 

If you are a company operating in the Financial sector, then you are actually legally bound to use Call Recording. New legislation currently planned to come into force means these recordings must be kept for at least five years, and possibly seven.

 

If you are a Financial Services company, and wish to discuss our Additional Call Recording product, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

 

If you a company of any sort which wishes to use Call Recording to provide assurance in the event of possible customer dispute, start a conversation with us and we can discuss the many advantages we can offer, including the standard Call Recording our Fully Managed service offers.

 

 

*Our standard Call Recording gives three months, or 5 Gb of recordings, whichever occurs sooner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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