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Blogs

Three Signs It Is Time You Considered A Leased Line

14 September 2017 at 15:09pm

Connectivity is an essential for most modern businesses. It is very rare that a company could survive without a good, stable internet connection. Those that could survive would find growth very difficult without this major resource being available.

For most people, internet means 'Broadband'. This is the standard connection, and is the lowest rung of the connectivity ladder. It suffers contention (more on this topic later), with a high possibility of faults or errors in operation, and suffers poor issue fix times.

After this, there are the 'Fibre' variants. FTTC, and more recently FTTP, are both ways of increasing your upload and download speeds, and both may work well for you.

 

1st Sign - You Require Guaranteed Upload And Download Speeds

Fibre and ADSL both suffer from unpredictable Upload and Download speeds. As your business grows and your usage grows correspondingly then the requirements you have from your connection will outreach what ADSL can supply. Fibre offers some improvement, but isn't the guaranteed solution some think.

The problem with 'Fibre' (and note that 'Fibre' is in inverted commas here) is that it isn't actually Fibre. Or, more accurately, it isn't an end to end Fibre connection.

The connection from you to your local street cabinet is still copper wire, and it is at this point that your connection will be throttled back. A good analogy might be a caravaning holiday (bear with me on this). Your car might be perfectly capable of travelling at 100 mph, but it isn't going to do that speed while towing a caravan. The caravan is limiting how fast your car can ultimately go. In the case of FTTC, your copper wire is the limiting factor. It doesn't actually matter how fast the 'Fibre' part of your connection is. Your speeds will still be limited by your 'caravan', the copper wire connecting your house or business to the BT cabinet.

ADSL suffers from the slowest speeds of all Connectivity options. As a consumer-grade option, it does not come with guaranteed issue-fix times, and is not suitable for supporting multiple users uploading and downloading data files. This problem will be compounded if you use a VoIP service for your telecoms.

 

2nd Sign - You Require A Service With Long-term Stability

Both ADSL and Fibre products also suffer from a problem termed 'Contention'. This means that, in essence, the more people around you, the lower your connection speeds will be.

The problem occurs due to the afore-mentioned BT cabinets. These little green boxes dot around our towns and cities, and make sure we all connect and remain connected to the public telephone network. It is this network that delivers internet connectivity - for most of us at least.

As more and more connections are needed, while neighbourhoods expand and houses are built, so this resource is shared between more and more users. As each new house is built, and new connection is requested and set up, so the original cabinet speed is 'shared' between additional users.

 

3rd Sign - Your Business Relies On Your Connection To Function And You Wish To Protect Against Possible Loss

This is the time when we 'get legal'. Neither ADSL or Fibre Connections provide a guarantee. If you look closely at an advert for ADSL or FTTC you will spot a small asterisk next to the speeds claimed. This asterisk relates to two very important words. The two words are "Up To".

"Up To" covers the Provider in question, and means that the advertised speed is not necessarily the speed you will receive. The "Up To" speed given is just what it says - your speed will be anywhere up to the speed quoted. So if you have signed up for an "Up To" 50Mbps service, your Provider can provide a service anywhere between 0 and 50Mbps. This is one of the main disadvantages of using an ADSL connection for business - it is inherently unpredictable and unreliable.

FTTC is a more reliable service than ADSL, and is more suitable for business use, but still lacks an actual, legally binding guarantee that your service will not fall below a certain level. Providers are not required to deliver estimated speed predictions, and there are no legally binding penalties in place should the service fail to deliver what was promised.

 

The Solution - A Leased Line

So, bearing in mind the pitfalls of taking 'off the peg' solutions, there is another way - a Leased Line.

A Leased Line is a dedicated, end-to-end connection between your business and the national internet network.

It gives guaranteed Upload and Download speeds, and these are symmetrical, so you don't suffer from slower upload speeds than download speeds.

It also comes without the risk of Contention.
It also gives you legal redress should the service fall below the agreed speeds.

A Leased Line also comes with SLAs (Service Level Agreements), which gives financial compensation in the event of service disruption, and therefore some reassurance regarding your service level. If your connection falls below a certain speed for a set time duration, then you are entitled to some form of recompense. This functions as compensation for your loss of service, and also as a motivating factor for the Provider to ensure you receive what was advertised and signed up for.

If a customer requires a stable, high quality internet connection then we always recommend a Leased Line.

It gives the reassurance of a dedicated connection built solely for the customer, with specified service speeds.

It won't suffer contention, even if a new housing estate is built in between the customer and their exchange.

And it offers an SLA covering the customer should there be any issues.

 

Contact us if you wish to know more about a Leased Line for your business.

If you are considering internet connectivity, but are not ready for a Leased Line just yet, see our other connectivity products here.

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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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Never Miss A Message

28 July 2017 at 16:07pm

Traditionally, a person who tried to call you when you were busy left a message on the device they phoned you on. This is the way things have worked up to now, and the way most of us have become used to working.

 

But - is there a better way?

 

Using a VoIP service, there is.

 

Our two tiers of Hosted VoIP (both Basic and Fully Managed), and our Single User services include a better solution. We call it Voicemail to Email, and is an extremely handy feature included as standard with our business-grade VoIP services.

 

It allows callers to get their message to you in a more efficient way than the traditional message left on a device. As the message is left, the system automatically emails you to tell you a message has been left.

 

Not only that, but the email will also include an audio file which contains the message. No need to keep checking your various phones and devices, your notification will be automatic.

 

This is especially handy as some recent studies suggest most of us check our work emails on an almost continual basis. One US study cites the incredible figure of 4 hours per day spent checking emails! If you are anything like me, you will check every 10 minutes or so, just to keep up to date with ongoing issues and catch correspondence.

 

So, assuming I am roughly average (which may or may not be the case) then email is one of the best ways of getting a message to you.

 

The frequency at which we check for new messages, and the importance of email as a tool for business communications, means we perhaps prioritise this media above others.

 

Having messages sent to your email account also means you have them stored. You can easily create a folder for messages, and keep them as long as you wish.

 

Alternatively, you can create a folder on your PC, tablet, or smartphone, and store the records there. Find all your messages quickly and easily. Refer back if there is ever an issue or dispute, and find out exactly what was said.

 

An additional advantage of having messages sent to you is an improved reply time. As you are more aware of your messages, and they are sent to you in a more convenient way, your ability to respond is naturally improved. Take less time to respond, and have fewer people waiting for you to get back to them.

 

As your messages are stored away from the device, it means you can access these messages wherever you are. A bonus for those who work from home.

 

See more on our Hosted solutions. Contact us to discuss VoIP in depth.

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How We Got Connected

21 July 2017 at 10:07am

18 months ago, we began the laborious process of building our SS7 Interconnects with BT (in Edinburgh and London). We knew this would be a lengthy, time-intensive and expensive process. The reason we embarked on this project was to increase SureVoIP's network capability, and create a platform for growth that would outreach our competition.

After significant investment of time, resources and hard cash we have completed the climb to the top of the SS7 mountain. And the future looks amazing from our new vantage point!

 

We are very excited to be able to continue our strategy of innovation and technical expertise, and the completion of this project is a landmark on this journey.

 

In keeping with our ethos of delivering the best possible VoIP service, we decided to move towards the SS7 (Signalling System No. 7) Interconnect. It allows us to provide the highest possible level of service to customers and Partners.

 

The Interconnect works connecting us to the heart of the national PSTN network - a fancy term describing the public phone network (the infrastructure which delivers all traditional phone calls and internet over copper or fibre cables).

 

The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is governed by Ofcom, the Industry Regulator. This monitoring extends to SS7 Interconnects, and is more stringent at this level. Factors such as uptime and pricing policy are closely monitored, giving aded reassurance to customers. This is a major point scored over our competition. We are proud to be transparent, conscientious and honest, and this monitoring empahises this commitment.

 

Ofcom regulation gives customers a level of reassurance not available from other providers, who do not submit to this regulation.

 

Our service is appealing to potential customers through our innovative product line, which we continually develop in response to customer demand. SureVoIP® itself offers a stable, reliable and trustworthy telecoms provider, having operated for 6 years and satisfied the needs of a varied client base.

 

Not being a Reseller of the products of a larger company's products marks us as unique in Scotland. Moving from a reseller position to an independent provider position was one of the factors motivating us to complete the SS7 Interconnect.

 

As a result, our network infrastructure stands head and shoulders above the competition.

 

Feel free to read more about our Network, or see more blog articles to read about VoIP generally.

This article also features on the Scottish Business News Network.

 

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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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How We All Benefit From Integration and Collaboration - Open Source and APIs

25 May 2017 at 12:05pm

As those who know about our company will be aware, SureVoIP® has been geared from its inception to be pro-Open Source. Open Source is the term given to software which the developer has allowed access to for other developers.

 

This is more than a just a statement, it affects how SureVoIP® functions, and how we approach things. It shows a different approach to developing solutions.

 

Let's compare an Open Source approach to the more traditional purely profit-driven approach. When companies are developing software purely for profit, they work in isolation. A team of developers will have a brief, and will work to fulfil this to the satisfaction of the client company.

 

This reflects the 'normal' business approach. A gap in the market is spotted, and a product or service is developed to fill this gap. This is a generally accepted business model, and works reasonably well.

 

However, if we stop to analyse it for a second, we can spot some obvious flaws. The first is that all these products are being developed in isolation. No one individual or business is taking an overview, and there is no guarantee to customers that product 'X' from one company will work with product 'Y' from another company.

 

As I say, this is fairly normal. After all, we wouldn't expect a manufacturer to design a TV to work with another manufacturer's remote control!

 

But, if we extend this thinking to the internet, we run into difficulties.

 

The internet has essentially become a plethora of connected things, enmeshed within our daily lives. We now expect to share a news story by clicking a 'share' icon, and update our Facebook page by using s smart phone app. It is increasingly common to be able to turn on our living room lights at home, by using a smart phone app. As the much talked about Internet of Things becomes prevalent, we will soon expect to order groceries using a voice-recognition device, or expect our fridge to order more milk without us even knowing it's running low!

 

So if we look at internet-based products and services within the framework of the individual product development model, we see this connected aspect would quickly fall apart. With no financial motivation to develop links between disparate products and services, we would simply have a stand off between companies waiting for others to absorb development costs.

 

But - introduce collaboration and integration into this picture, and things change significantly. In fact, you end up with our present day connected world, because it simply couldn't exist without them.

 

Different companies develop products which simply must work with products developed at other times and by other companies. An open, collaborative approach to development is an essential ingredient in this mix, a bit like the flour in a cake recipe. You can have all the icing and cherries you like, but without something to bind all the ingredients together, you don't have a cake!

 

As a pro-Open Source company, SureVoIP® works with collaboration in mind. We are fully committed to this approach - it informs all our development programmes, and has done since the company's inception.

 

We allow full access to our API (Application Programming Interface - read on to find out more), giving other developers the ability to integrate with our systems. This in turn allows a better customer experience, with the internet developing in response to customer needs and expectations.

 

The model of a single company developing products in isolation would not allow this level of cooperation. in fact, it would work against it, as development would stall. The small company with a good idea for customers might be able to develop a new product or service, but would be unable to integrate it with anything. After all, a new app must be able to work with smart phones, or it a waste of development time. The small company who developed it would literally have been better of not bothering, as they will have wasted development time for nothing.

 

This why APIs are so important. An API (or Application Programming Interface) allows developers to integrate with the back-end of other products. It is essentially a set of rules which governs integration, allowing developers to marry two pieces of software, applications or programs together. In this way, new products can be developed and released, with the knowledge that it will be functional and work across devices. Without this, we end up with our single company development model.

 

For the internet we are used to to continue to deliver all the things we expect, then we simply need this collaborative approach.

 

It is the glue which holds all these potentially disparate things together, or, to return to our cake metaphor, the flour which binds all the other ingredients.

 

 

More info on our Developer API

More info on our Outbound SMS API

More info on our Outbound Fax API

 

More informative articles on VoIP and the Internet

 

 

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