Freedom with The Cloud

Have youFreedomWithTheCloud ever been in a situation where your voicemail box filled up because you were out of the office and couldn’t call in to check your messages?  How did that affect your relationship with your clients and staff?  Did it give you anxiety about losing business every time you stepped away from your desk?  Do you feel chained to your office?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I feel your pain.  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 items on your endless to do list.  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!

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to enable you to have the freedom to do the thing that you intially started your business for?

 

A little bit about SimiPlex.  SimiPlex Technology helps businesses with communications systems, which starts with the phones, but includes services such as Internet, Data Networking, Contact Centers, Cabling, Video Conferencing, and Security Cameras.  We focus on much more than just the phones.  We help you solve business problems in your business.  For example, a hair salon owner who is looking for help on whether or not to hire a full time receptionist.  Or a real estate broker who is concerned about preserving his brand identity when opening a new office.  Or a doctor who is looking for help to keep his waiting room calm.

To learn more about how we can help you with your communications needs, visit our website at http://www.simiplex.com, or call us at (212) 372-9847.

 

 

 

How secure is your business?

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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?

A little bit about SimiPlex.  Your phone is an integral part of your company.  For some of us, it’s the lifeblood of our business.  This is why we, at SimiPlex Technologies, consider ourselves to be much more than a phone vendor.  We become your trusted advisor, a role that we take very seriously.

We do this by focusing on much more than just the phones.  We help you solve business problems in your business.  For example, a hair salon owner who is looking for help on whether or not to hire a full time receptionist.  Or a real estate broker who is concerned about preserving his brand identity when opening a new office.  Or a doctor who is looking for help to keep his waiting room calm.

What we offer is the latest in technology, state of the art Cloud Based phones, where we save you time and money by not having to wait for a telephone company technician to arrive when something breaks.  The reason being, there is nothing to break!  You no longer need to purchase expensive equipment that breaks down or gets outdated.  All you need are your state of the art phones, plug them into a high speed Internet connection, and they just work!  With regards to your high speed Internet connection, we offer that too as well as the cabling that brings it all together.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people just aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

We, at SimiPlex Technologies, are the yardstick of quality.

To learn more about how we can help you with your communications needs, visit our website at http://www.simiplex.com, or call us at (212) 372-9847.

Top 10 Questions to ask your phone vendor

top10questionstoaskyourphonevendorAre 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?

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.
9. 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.

10. 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?

A little bit about SimiPlex. Your phone is an integral part of your company. For some of us, it’s the lifeblood of our business. This is why we, at SimiPlex Technologies, consider ourselves to be much more than a phone vendor. We become your trusted advisor, a role that we take very seriously.
We do this by focusing on much more than just the phones. We help you solve business problems in your business. For example, a hair salon owner who is looking for help on whether or not to hire a full time receptionist. Or a real estate broker who is concerned about preserving his brand identity when opening a new office. Or a doctor who is looking for help to keep his waiting room calm.
What we offer is the latest in technology, state of the art Cloud Based phones, where we save you time and money by not having to wait for a telephone company technician to arrive when something breaks. The reason being, there is nothing to break! You no longer need to purchase expensive equipment that breaks down or gets outdated. All you need are your state of the art phones, plug them into a high speed Internet connection, and they just work! With regards to your high speed Internet connection, we offer that too as well as the cabling that brings it all together.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people just aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
We, at SimiPlex Technologies, are the yardstick of quality.
To learn more about how we can help you with your communications needs, visit our website at http://www.simiplex.com, or call us at (212) 372-9847.

The best monetization strategy may be to not monetize

thebestmonitizationstrategyToday, I’m going to deviate from my usual industry tips and tricks, and focus on the Entrepreneurial demographic.  I’m going to go a little Gary Vee here, so please bear with me.  Today, I want to have a little talk about monetization, or in simple English, a strategy to make money off of people’s attention to your platform.  I would like to challenge conventional thinking about producing content to make money.  Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make money!  After all, we are in business to make money!  However, what I AM saying is that conventional strategies may be a bit short sighted, and with a bit of macro level thinking, the opportunity to make money grows exponentially.  I’m not going to give you opinions.  I’m going to state real facts from my own personal experience.

As some people may know, I have a podcast called #AskTheCEO where I interview Entrepreneurs and ask them about their businesses, motivation, and inspiration; so that people can learn from them, and become inspired to succeed in life.  I’ve had conversations with people who asked me what my monetization strategy is.  I responded, not that I don’t have a monetization strategy; but rather, my strategy is not to monetize.  There were some people that got it; however, some people could not wrap their heads around the fact that I’m “wasting” a few hours a week speaking with guests, editing the videos, and posting it on social media.  The average weekly investment is about 5 hours.  “You mean you’re doing it for free?!?”  One person asked me incredulously?  “You really need to rethink your strategy.  You should take these 5 hours and put it back into your business”, said another.

Here is the deal.  If you look at it from the perspective of a 2-3 year plan, they are all correct.  If I’m looking for a short term ROI (return on investment), then my strategy is full of holes.  However, Gary Vaynerchuck is fond of saying “Life is long” and “think macro”.  I’m in this for the long run, so having a 10 year plan for ROI doesn’t scare me at all.  I am not fazed by time.  To help you understand what my ROI strategy is, I’d like to quote The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from The Go-Giver, written by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  By the way, I’d like to give a huge shout out to my good friend Mark Richards, a Reverse Mortgage Planner at Fairway Independent Mortgage in Ridgewood, NJ, for sharing this book with me.

The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success are as follows:

  1. The Law of Value – Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. (Think about this for a second.  How does that change the way you think about monetization?)
  2. The Law of Compensation – Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. (Again.  Think about this!)
  3. The Law of Influence – Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
  4. The Law of Authenticity – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
  5. The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

 

Having gone through these Five Laws, I would like to suggest the following.  Rather than focus on the short term, what if you focused on the next 10 years.  Now, it’s really not possible to know what’s going to be in 10 years from now, so it’s not a literal suggestion.  That would be what Verne Harnish, in the book Scaling Up, calls a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  However, what if you focused on your strategy as if it were for the next 10 years?  How much differently would you think?

Going back to my podcast, my strategy is long term.  Therefore, my focus is on building a community and gaining a following.  I am building this following by giving tremendous value and asking for nothing in return.  As my You Tube stats can testify, what I’m getting in return is their attention, which is growing day by day.  Each guest I interview exposes me to a new audience, who I honor by not asking for anything in return.  In return, they grant me the gift of their attention.

Ok.  So, what do I get out of that?  Where’s the strategy?

Businesses, even large corporations, are run by people.  Period.  The more people that grant me the gift of their attention, the greater is my exposure to potential referrals and business opportunities.  It’s like having my own ad channel!  So, think about it this way.  I put in a massive amount of work upfront for, say, 5 years.  Then, the system runs its course and referrals start pouring in.  It sure beats cold calling any day – and it’s a whole lot more fun, too!

By the way, it has already started happening.  Referrals are already trickling in after only a few months!  By following the 5 Laws mentioned above, you will set yourself up for success in life, beyond your wildest dreams!  I wish you much success and best of luck.

My question for you is, what are you doing to honor those that grant you the ultimate gift of their attention?

A little bit about SimiPlex.  Your phone is an integral part of your company.  For some of us, it’s the lifeblood of our business.  This is why we, at SimiPlex Technologies, take our role as your trusted advisor very seriously.

We do this by helping you solve business problems in your business.  For example, a hair salon owner who is looking for help on weather or not to hire a full time receptionist.  Or a real estate broker who is concerned about his brand identity when opening a new office.  Or a doctor who is looking for help to keep his waiting room calm.

What we offer is the latest in technology, state of the art Cloud Based phones, where we save you time and money by you not having to wait for a telephone company technician to arrive when something breaks.  The reason being, there is nothing to break!  You no longer need to purchase expensive equipment that breaks down or gets outdated.  Just purchase your state of the art phones, plug them into a high speed Internet connection, and they just work!  With regards to your high speed Internet connection, we offer that too; and the cabling that makes your connection work.

Just remember, when you need a reliable phone to make a call, call SimiPlex, where we bring Simplicity to a Complex World.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people just aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

We, at SimiPlex Technologies, are the yardstick of quality.

To learn more about how we can help you with your communications needs, visit our website at  http://www.simiplex.com, or call us at (212) 372-9847.

Solving 5 Common Problems for the Medical Industry

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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.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

 

Mobility and the Cloud

mobility-and-cloud.pngLet me ask you a question.  Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that you had an important call coming in, but you didn’t know when the phone was going to ring?  There are so many other things that need to get done, and it seems like such a waste to just sit by the phone all day, waiting for that important call.  Yet, if you didn’t answer the phone when it rang, your whole day was just wasted!  Did you ever have one of those days?  What are some options you can apply to this situation?

Let see:

(1) You can ask your best friend to sit by your phone and transfer the call to you when it rings.  If you ask nicely and offer to buy him some pizza, I’m sure he’ll agree!  –Not too practical.

(2) You can bribe one of your kids to do it.  Pizza does wonders for kids.  –Also, not too practical.

(3) You can forward your calls to your cell phone. — Getting warmer.  The challenge with this option is that you have to remember to turn the feature on and off.  Otherwise, you run the risk of missing calls.  Suppose you know your calls are forwarded, and you walk out of the office.  However, in reality, you forwarded your phone YESTERDAY, but then turned off the forwarding when you came back into the office.  Now, you’re 200 miles away from the office and you remember that you forgot to hit that Forward button!  By now, I’d be ordering pizza for my best friend.

When it comes to features and functionality, my rule of thumb is Keep It Simple!  If you want seamless functionality, it has to be simple.  The less user interaction you have, the simpler it is!

For this, I present option (4) Mobile Twinning!

Mobile Twinning is a feature that automatically and simultaneously rings your desk phone AND your mobile phone for ALL calls, ALL the time!  The key word is “automatically”.  Sure you can turn it off.  However, that would defeat its purpose.  Because it functions automatically, it is simple to use, and reliable.  It works all the time.  With Mobile Twinning, if you’re waiting for an important call from a VIP client, but you have your son’s soccer championship to attend, you no longer have to choose between work and family time.  You can have it all!  No more missing out on those formative years!  You just can’t beat that!  Or, can you?

Believe it or not, there is one thing better than having Mobile Twinning.  Have you ever travled Internationally?  Say, to Italy?  How much do you think it would cost to call home on your cell phone?  Or, how much would it cost to receive that “important” work phone call on your American mobile phone in Italy?  I would venture to say, alot of money!  How much would it cost to rent an Italian SIM card?  Probably alot less than international roaming, but still more than if you didn’t have to rent a foreign SIM card in the first place!   In that case, Mobile Twinning doesn’t do you much good.  However, there is an element to Mobility which is inherent to Cloud Based Phone Systems.  That is the ability to connect back to the cloud via a mobile app using your phone’s data or WiFi connection!  Several US carriers provide free global data.  Even if you don’t have global data, there is always WiFi at an Italian Starbucks.  With a Mobility App, also known as a Softphone, you can make and receive calls over a mobile data (or WiFi) connection, as easily as if you’re sitting at your office in New York City!  You can use the app on an iPhone, Android, and even an iPad.  Congratulations!  Mobility has now kicked into overdrive!

With full blown mobility, you never have to miss a single call.  You have the peace of mind to do what’s most important to YOU.  You can go about your business with ease, even when you’re working across the globe!

My question for you is, what are YOU doing in your business to enable you to be productive in any setting, no matter where it is?  I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

Scalability For Startups

Technology.

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.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.