#AskTheCEO The Cloud, Green Business, and How to Manage Stress

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This week we are continuing the new series called #AskTheCEO, where we will feature questions answered by our CEO, Avrohom Gottheil.  To have your question featured on a future article, send an email to info@simiplex.com, with a subject line of #AskTheCEO.

 

  1. How does Cloud fit in with the green business/ sustainable energy philosophy?

By now, we all know what cloud is.  With Cloud , you basically have all your equipment out there, in The Cloud. What you may not realize is that by having equipment in your office, you are also paying for electricity.  You’re pulling electricity from the utility company. Now, that electricity is burning coal or some other fuel that your utility company is using to produce this electricity, so right off the bat, by not having all this equipment in your office, you’re doing your part in providing a clean environment.  Now, you may ask – wait a minute, the data center is also using electricity!  So, how are you contributing to a cleaner environment by subscribing to The Cloud?  We’re still burning coal and polluting the environment?   The answer is, that although the equipment is actually in the data center,  it’s much more efficient than hosting it in your office.  The data center has server farms that support hundreds and thousands of clients; in many instances, on a single server!  Whereas, if you’re hosting that equipment in your office, you would need a server just for yourself.  Think about it.  If you imagine the difference between a thousand customers using one server, versus one customer using a dedicated server, it’s like taking a bus to work versus driving in yourself.  If you have a bus with sixty people, you’re using only one vehicle, but it’s transporting sixty people at the same time.  Although a bus is bigger than a car, you’re still burning less fuel per person than if each person took their own car.  The same is true with Cloud Computing and Cloud Communications.  By leveraging economies of scale with The Cloud, you end up using a lot less electricity per client, than having a dedicated server in your environment.

 

  1. With everything that is available to learn online, where should I go to start building my knowledge base in telecommunications?

There is a wealth of knowledge available online and sometimes there could be too much information, and I believe that’s where this question came from.  How do I know what to focus on in order to become successful in this industry?  I’d like to give you a couple of terms that you could Google, or you can go on Wikipedia and just familiarize yourself with these terms.  We have PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network – aka phone company or wide world) which we talked about in our last episode, POTS (Plain Old Telephone System – aka analog lines or traditional home phone line), and other types of phone lines – T1, ISDN-PRI (You can make 24 simultaneous calls on a single line!) What is DTMF?  DTMF stands for Dual Tone Multi Frequency, also known as touch tones.  SIP – Session Initiation Protocol. SIP is the technology that a lot of residential VOIP companies are using.  Look up the term VOIP (Voice Over IP) – What is it? How is it used? The Cloud utilizes VOIP.  Once you get through that list, you can go a little deeper.  Look up QoS (Quality of Service) – that’s the technology that enables voice quality over the internet.  Look up Network Security, you want to make sure that your communications are secure so understand what that term is.  Look up Contact Centers – you have different types of contact center – single channel, multi channel, omni channel. What’s the difference between them?  The following article is a good resource where you can learn about an Omni Channel Contact Center: http://www.simiplex.com/2016/07/21/scalability-for-startups/

 

Once you have an understanding of the basic concepts, then you need to sit down and figure out what it is that you want to do.  There are so many different things that you can do in the telecom industry, just like in any industry.  You could be an engineer.  You could install phone systems, you could support, you could maintain, you could sell.  Maybe you don’t want to work on phone systems.  Perhaps you would like to write a custom application that utilizes telecommunications.  I would say look up the terms and understand what telecom is.  Then figure out what is it that you want to do, and then go from there.

 

  1. What do you do to relieve stress?

If you’re stressed out, you’re not moving up in life.  Here is what I do.   I work out every day.  I go running every morning. That, in and of itself, is a huge stress reliever. It helps regulate your hormones and your mood.  In addition to that, there are still stressful periods and events that come up, so how do I manage that?  What I would say is that it’s a mindset thing. What I mean by that is you have to become consciously aware that you’re under stress so that you can catch it and then manage it from there.  What I find, (and BTW this is not my own knowledge, I actually learnt this and I practice it every day), is that I become aware of when I am under stress.  Let’s take a perfect example.  You’re driving through New York City, and traffic is bumper to bumper.  You had to be somewhere an hour ago, and it doesn’t look like you’re going to get there any time soon.  What is the first thing that you notice about yourself?  Perhaps, you may start feeling irritated?  How does that feel?  Pay attention to the kinesthetic. When you’re relaxed, how do you breathe?  When you’re relaxed, you breathe deeply.  What happens when you’re irritated or stressed?  Most probably, you’re holding your breath or your breathing becomes very shallow.  The trick is to check in with yourself, even when you’re not under stress.  Ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?  How’s my breathing?  Hey wait a minute, my breathing is becoming very shallow. I must be under stress right now!” Then, you interrupt that stressful pattern and start breathing deeply. There’s a technique called “box breathing” where you take a deep breath for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, breathe out slowly for 5 seconds, and then  hold it for 5 seconds.  By breathing you are basically regulating your physiology to help yourself relax and calm down.  If you can become aware of the different states that you’re in, and apply the deep breathing, you’ll find that you can manage stress a whole lot better than you used to.

 

 

 

 

A little bit about SimiPlex.  SimiPlex Technologies helps businesses save time and money by ensuring they have the right technology in place to effectively optimize their business communications.  We are a one stop provider for all your communications needs.  Our vision is to help businesses, throughout the world, leverage the benefits of the latest in technology, while ensuring a simple and smooth transition throughout the entire process.  Our mission is to help businesses connect to the world with ease.  SimiPlex Technologies was founded on the premise of being completely customer focused.  Besides our expertise and proven state of the art product line, our entire focus is on you, the customer, and helping you solve your business problems.  We take the time to listen to your needs, and offer suggestions on how to assist you in fulfilling those needs.  We are not aligned with any specific vendor or carrier.  We suggest solutions that can fulfill your needs, from the vendor or carrier who is the best fit for your business.  Our premier concierge service will leave you feeling pampered and well taken care of.

The following statement sums up our differentiator:  Our value is NOT just in the manpower, or the Product Knowledge.  Our industry has many organizations who might provide it.  Our true value and differentiation is in our Time Proven World Class Methodology that provides consistent results, and removes the risk to you, our valued customer.  We are here to SERVE.  We are here to serve YOU!

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.

Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

 

The IoT – The Internet of Things – Taking over the World!

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For what seems like an eternity, The Cloud has been dominating every single technology based conversation.  It’s always The Cloud this, or The Cloud that, etc.  We’re starting to become more comfortable and well versed in The Cloud, and we can actually intelligently participate in a conversation about it.  Just as we’re getting into a groove with The Cloud, something else is making its way to the forefront: The IoT, or The Internet of Things.  What is that?  It sounds almost like a kind of zombie apocalypse!  I’m imagining an army of little robots connected to the Internet, and they’re taking over the world!  If that picture resonates with you, you’re not too far from the truth.

What is the Internet of Things?

Simply put, The Internet of Things, also knows as The IoT, is just the way it sounds; a bunch of things connected to The Internet!  When I say a bunch of things connected to The Internet, I mean everyday things.  For example, your television, coffee maker, refrigerator, washing machine, and even your dishwasher!  That’s right, your dishwasher can be connected to The Internet!  Why on Earth would you even want your dishwasher connected to The Internet?  It makes no sense?

Imagine this, you’re at work and you just received a phone call, from your In-Laws, that they’re coming over for dinner, but don’t worry, they’re bringing over some food and will “help” you with the cooking!  “Oh, I hope you don’t mind, Uncle Charlie and Aunt Peggy are coming along as well.  We all miss you so much and can’t wait to see you!”  As you take in a few deep breaths to calm yourself down, you realize that you kind of left the dishes for “later”, and that by the time you get home from work, you’ll need the entire stack washed and dried for your “guests”.

You make a quick call to your house.  Your 14 year old son just came home from high school.  “Max, can you please do me a huge favor?  I need all those dishes, that are on the counter, loaded into the dishwasher.  Can you do that for me?”, you beg.   Max responds, “Um, sure, but I have no idea how to set the dishwasher.”  You’re starting to panic.  This kid is practically a computer hacker, and he has no clue how to use a dishwasher?!?  You then remember that you just got your home wired for the Internet of Things, and you have a SimiPlex SmartHome.  You then hear Max’s confirmation that all the dishes have been loaded.  You thank Max for being so helpful, whip out your cellphone, and open the SmartHome app.  You click a few buttons and presto, your dishes are being washed, to perfection!

Next, you set the central air conditioner to the perfect temperature, and set the oven to start preheating at precisely 4:37 pm.  You also set your lighting to the proper level, and some soothing classical music to begin playing at 5:35 pm.  You do all this from your mobile app, while at work!

Needless to say, dinner was a smashing success!

Let’s examine some more benefits of the Internet of Things:

 

The Perfect Morning:

What time do you wake up in the morning?  If you’re like me and wake up at 4:15 am, you’ll notice that it’s kind of dark outside at that hour.  When you turn on the light, the room is instantly flooded with an offensively bright light that causes your eyes to recoil in pain.

Imagine the following scenario.  At 4:13 am, your bedroom lighting illuminates, to a soft and gentle level.  It increases in intensity, ever so softly, every 15 seconds.

Your alarm clock wakes you up at exactly 4:15 am, playing music that makes you want to jump out of bed and take over the world!  By now, the lighting is at 15% illumination, which is perfect for when you just wake up.  As you go about your business of getting ready for your day, the lights continue its steady incline, until they reached your desired level at the desired time.  Upon entering the kitchen, you are greeted by the smell of freshly roasted coffee, which was timed for your entry, to perfection!

My question for your is, what does your perfect morning look like, and what needs to happen for it to materialize?

A little bit about SimiPlex.  SimiPlex Technologies helps businesses save time and money by ensuring they have the right technology in place to effectively optimize their business communications.  We are a one stop provider for all your communications needs.  Our vision is to help businesses, throughout the world, leverage the benefits of the latest in technology, while ensuring a simple and smooth transition throughout the entire process.  Our mission is to help businesses connect to the world with ease.  SimiPlex Technologies was founded on the premise of being completely customer focused.  Besides our expertise and proven state of the art product line, our entire focus is on you, the customer, and helping you solve your business problems.  We take the time to listen to your needs, and offer suggestions on how to assist you in fulfilling those needs.  We are not aligned with any specific vendor or carrier.  We suggest solutions that can fulfill your needs, from the vendor or carrier who is the best fit for your business.  Our premier concierge service will leave you feeling pampered and well taken care of.

The following statement sums up our differentiator:  Our value is NOT just in the manpower, or the Product Knowledge.  Our industry has many organizations who might provide it.  Our true value and differentiation is in our Time Proven World Class Methodology that provides consistent results, and removes the risk to you, our valued customer.  We are here to SERVE.  We are here to serve YOU!

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.

Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

US Presidential Elections and the Cloud

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You’re probably wondering how on Earth I’m going to tie in the US Presidential Elections to Cloud Communications.  After all, this is a real stretch, even for me!  However, the political landscape has everything to do with cloud technology.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here are some recent headlines:

  • Trump brags about using ‘other people’s money’ amid questions over charity use – 9/20/16
  • Trump Campaign Announces Trump Talk – 9/19/16
  • Sources: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago – 6/30/16
  • North Korean media praises Trump (6/1/16)
  • Clinton burying Trump: $42 million to $1.3 million – 6/21/16
  • What We Know About Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server – 9/2/16
  • Donald Trump: I would force Mexico to build border wall – 6/28/15
  • Trump reveals how he would force Mexico to pay for border wall – 4/5/16

 

Let’s go through each one of these.  By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll be convinced about the connection between politics and The Cloud.

 

Trump brags about using ‘other people’s money’ amid questions over charity use – 9/20/16

In an article posted at http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/20/politics/donald-trump-foundation-other-peoples-money/ CNN states:  ” Donald Trump bragged Tuesday there’s ‘nothing like’ using other people’s money, hours after a report said he used more than $250,000 from his charitable organization to litigate lawsuits against his business interests.

Trump, while calling for building safe zones in Syria financed by Gulf states, vaunted the benefits of doing business with ‘OPM.’

‘It’s called OPM. I do it all the time in business. It’s called other people’s money,’ Trump said. ‘There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money because it takes the risk — you get a good chunk out of it and it takes the risk.’

Ok, what does Trump using other people’s money have to do with Cloud Communications?

It has EVERYTHING to do with Cloud Communications.  You see, Donald Trump is a very smart businessman.  He recognizes the value in using other people’s money because it mitigates risk.  The same benefit applies to Cloud Communications.  Suppose you wanted a new, state of the art, phone system for your business.  If you purchase it outright, you will take on risk.  First of all, you will impact your cash flow, as phone systems are not cheap, especially the good ones.  Next, you have to hire someone (or pay someone) to maintain it.  Then, as new technology becomes available, you have to either pay more money for the additional benefits and features, or risk falling behind your competitors who DO have the latest in technology.  Finally, what will happen to your business if your phone system fails or your place of business experiences a disaster?  That’s right, you have to pay for a business continuity solution.

With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, those risks disappear.  Your provider (that’s us) performs all the necessary maintenance and support, all new features become available to you immediately, at no extra cost to you, and business continuity is included.  All of our cloud based solutions feature multiple data center redundancy across the United States, and some of them even include global redundancy!  With the SimiPlex mobility package, your business continues to function even if your entire office is incapacitated.  Calls will continue to ring into your business via your mobile phone.  You get all this for a low monthly cost that will leave your cash flow flowing freely.  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, you will save money, time, and mitigate risks, just like Donald Trump, by using OPM; Other People’s Money.

 

 

Trump Campaign Announces Trump Talk – 9/19/16

The Trump Campaign writes in an article posted on https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/trump-campaign-announces-trump-talk as follows:

“The Trump Campaign is excited to announce Trump Talk, an interactive phone banking system developed for supporters to spread Mr. Trump’s message to Make America Great Again.

Trump Talk allows users to remotely call Trump supporters from a computer or phone. The program engages users to level up through the number of calls made with the ability to win prizes for high-volume callers for when a certain number of calls is reached. Trump Talk is personalized to each individual’s lifestyle and availability by asking user’s daily goal every time they log on.”

Let’s discuss the technology Trump is using to accomplish his Trump Talk Let’s Make America Great Again initiative.

Mr. Trump is using a technology similar to the SimiPlex Cloud Omni Channel Contact Center.  He’s using a bank of phone lines to enable the masses to reach him.  He is using an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) solution to direct the call flow by asking a series of questions and recording the responses in a database.  He is using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution to keep track of caller’s lifestyle and preferences, and call analytics to keep track of the frequency of each caller.

If Donald Trump were advising you about your business, he may suggest that you look into the SimiPlex Cloud Omni Channel Contact Center solution, so that you can offer seamless consistent results to your customers, every single time, no matter which agent handles the calls.  First of all, you get access to a bank of phone lines, in the cloud.  This means, you don’t have to pay the phone company to install the bank of lines at your office.  The line usage is included with our service.  This frees up your cash flow for more important things, such as growing your business.

Our built in IVR system will direct your call flow and free up your agents from mudane activities which can be automated.  Callers can perform automated tasks such as looking up account balances, placing orders, and opening service requests, all from a touch tone telephone.  Freeing up your agents will lower your operating costs and free up some more of your cash flow, by enabling you to maximize your agents for the customer interactions that require human interaction.

Our CRM integration will enable your agents to effectively capture important pieces of information , so that the next time this caller contacts your business, any agent answering the call can pick up where the last one left off.  With world class customer service like this, your business will crush the competition!

With built in call analytics, every piece of information is tracked.  Know who is calling, when he’s calling, how many times he called, and what his service experience was like.  You will know how well your agents are supporting your customers, and how well your business is running, overall.  Knowledge like this will empower you to make executive decisions such as, “Do I have enough call volume to hire additional staff?” as well as “What is my busy hour, and which parts of the day/week/month do we need additional help?”

With a solution like this, you can help Make America Great again by buidling a healthy business, dominating your industry, and crushing your competition – all by using OPM –  Don’t spend your own money, use Other People’s Money by going with The Cloud!

 

Sources: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago – 6/30/16

North Korean media praises Trump – 6/1/16

In an article posted on BuzzFeedNews https://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/sources-donald-trump-listened-in-on-phone-lines-at-mar-a-lag?utm_term=.jud0EVygE#.vaQaMYjlM Aram Roston writes the following:

  • “Trump had a phone console near his bed that could connect to every phone in the estate.
  • Several workers said Trump used the equipment to secretly listen in on phone calls in the mid-2000s.
  • Two Trump supporters said the tycoon didn’t eavesdrop.

A second source said he had direct knowledge that Trump ‘could pick up the phone in the bedroom and listen to any conversation that was going on.’ This person said Trump used it “to eavesdrop.” This source said that some staff, who used a separate switchboard, knew when Trump was listening in on calls, because when he did, a light on that switchboard would come on.

A fourth source said that Mar-a-Lago had a common type of company phone network that had a ‘barge-in’ capability. ‘Barge-in’ allows certain users to tap into and discreetly monitor other calls in the network. This source said Trump did occasionally monitor phone calls of employees but declined to give details.”

MSNBC posted  http://www.msnbc.com/tamron-hall/watch/north-korean-media-praises-trump-696716355615

“Donald Trump received praise from the North Korean State Media, labeling Trump a ‘wise politician.’ The editorial urges America to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton.”

Hmmm.  I wonder if these two headlines are connected?

While staying out of polititical gossip, if you have a contact center in your business, it’s important to keep in mind the following features that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un know inherently:

  • Call Listen
  • Call Record
  • Barge-In

These features are part of the Quality Management features offered by the SimiPlex Cloud Omni Channel Contact Center.  With these features, your supervisors are able to monitor the quality of service your agents are delivering to your customers, and provide coaching, as necessary.  Barge-in enables a supervisor to barge into an ongoing call with a customer and provide assistance.  With the benefits delivered by Quality Management, your contact center will truly shine as the gold standard in customer service.  Your competition won’t stand a chance!  (Neither will Kim Jong-un’s!)

 

Clinton burying Trump: $42 million to $1.3 million – 6/21/16

In an article posted on CNN http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/20/politics/republicans-cash-crunch-donald-trump/ Theodore Schleifer writes:

“Donald Trump faces an extraordinary money deficit unheard of in modern presidential politics, entering the month with tens of millions of dollars less than Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s campaign had $42 million in the bank as of May 31, according to its report filed with the Federal Election Commission Monday. Her super PAC Priorities USA has $52 million.

Trump’s campaign has $1.3 million.

The gulf emerges as Democrats lay out plans to spend that cash on an onslaught of television advertising that Trump has shown no urgency in matching. Clinton and her allied groups are planning to spend $117 million between Tuesday and Election Day on television — much of it anti-Trump television — while Trump and his groups have $700,000 in time awaiting him thus far.”

It’s clear to me why Trump raised less money.  It’s because he doesn’t have to spend as much as Clinton.  By utilizing the best The Cloud has to offer, Trump can save millions on his communications needs, and you can too.  Whether you’re growing a business or running for president, utilizing a cloud based solution will leave you with so much extra money, that your competition will be left wondering!

 

What We Know About Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server – 9/2/16

In an article posted by the New York Times  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/27/us/politics/what-we-know-about-hillary-clintons-private-email-server.html?_r=0 Alicia Parlapiano writes:

A federal judge on August 22 ordered the State Department to plan for the release of nearly 15,000 emails uncovered by the F.B.I. during its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information on a private email domain as secretary of state. In July, The F.B.I. recommended no charges against Mrs. Clinton and said that there was no evidence that those emails were ‘intentionally deleted,’ but called her handling of her email at the State Department ‘extremely careless.’

This goes back to the old Cloud vs Premise debate.  Hillary Clinton utilized a premise based email server.  Somehow, through some ‘accident’, thousands of emails were mysteriously deleted.  Had she taken advantage of a cloud based email server, those emails would have been replicated on multiple servers across the globe, with no chance of them being ‘accidentally’ deleted.

The same benefit applies to your communications.  By leveraging a cloud based communications solution, should one data center experience a disaster, your communications will instantly become available on another data center at a different location.  Your services are replicated in real time to prevent a break in your business communications flow.  With The Cloud, your business is truly protected.

 

 

Donald Trump: I would force Mexico to build border wall – 6/28/15

Trump reveals how he would force Mexico to pay for border wall – 4/5/16

The Washington Post states the following:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-would-seek-to-block-money-transfers-to-force-mexico-to-fund-border-wall/2016/04/05/c0196314-fa7c-11e5-80e4-c381214de1a3_story.html

Donald Trump says he would force Mexico to pay for a border wall as president by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home to the country, an idea that could decimate the Mexican economy and set up an unprecedented showdown between the United States and a key regional ally.

Another complication in Trump’s remittance proposal is that he also wants to deport all 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, many of whom come from Mexico.

Let’s think about what this means for businesses.  Any business employing Mexican workers would be faced with the dillema of having their workforce stranded on the other side of the wall.  How will this affect your business?  Will you have to higher new staff, at a higher rate of pay?

Fear no more!  With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution Mobility Package, before they’re deported, your workers can install a mobile app which enables them to make and receive business calls on their mobile phones via VoIP, all the way from Mexico!  Outgoing calls will show the company Caller ID, and any call can be transferred to other extensions throughout the company.

When Donald Trump finally does build the wall, your business will be able to function smoothly, thanks to The Cloud.

With the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution, your business will thrive by saving time, money, and providing world class service to your customers.  This will stimulate the economy and Make America Great Again!

 

My question for your is, what are you doing in your business to Make America Great Again?

 

A little bit about SimiPlex.  SimiPlex Technologies helps businesses save time and money by ensuring they have the right technology in place to effectively optimize their business communications.  We are a one stop provider for all your communications needs.  Our vision is to help businesses, throughout the world, leverage the benefits of the latest in technology, while ensuring a simple and smooth transition throughout the entire process.  Our mission is to help businesses connect to the world with ease.  SimiPlex Technologies was founded on the premise of being completely customer focused.  Besides our expertise and proven state of the art product line, our entire focus is on you, the customer, and helping you solve your business problems.  We take the time to listen to your needs, and offer suggestions on how to assist you in fulfilling those needs.  We are not aligned with any specific vendor or carrier.  We suggest solutions that can fulfill your needs, from the vendor or carrier who is the best fit for your business.  Our premier concierge service will leave you feeling pampered and well taken care of.

The following statement sums up our differentiator:  Our value is NOT just in the manpower, or the Product Knowledge.  Our industry has many organizations who might provide it.  Our true value and differentiation is in our Time Proven World Class Methodology that provides consistent results, and removes the risk to you, our valued customer.  We are here to SERVE.  We are here to serve YOU!

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.

Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

 

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.

 

Solving 3 common challenges for Real Estate Brokers

real-estate-broker.pngAs is written at http://www.realestatewiki.com, “The Swanepoel Trends Report discusses numerous strategies brokers and agents can follow to increase their income and maximize the opportunities created by the shifting market conditions.”  The first strategy they list is:  Maximizing Technology and the Internet to the Fullest.  With that said, here are a few industry challenges, as well as the solutions that empower real estate brokers and agents to utilize technology to increase their productivity and maximize their business opportunities:

 

Challenge: The agents own the relationship with the clients.

Your clients are calling their agent’s cell phone, not their business phone.  When an agent leaves your brokerage, so do his clients.  What can you do to protect yourself from losing your client base when the agent leaves?

Solution:  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, your agents hand out to their clients a single phone number, their office number.  When the agent leaves, the phone number is assigned to a new agent, and the client remains within the brokerage.  As an added bonus, Mobile Twinning grants agents the freedom and flexibility to balance their 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!

 

Challenge: How to fax a mobile workforce?

Real Estate firms still rely heavily on faxing to transmit signed documents.  With the prevalence of mobile agents, how can technology be leveraged to bridge the gap between accommodating the need for faxing and embracing their mobile workforce culture?

Solution:  SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution includes Internet Faxing capabilities with each extension.  You can send and receive faxes from any computer.  When you receive a fax, an alert is sent to your email, so you know the second the fax arrives.   As an added benefit, all internet fax mailboxes are secure and confidential.  No more dealing with an insecure fax machine that anyone can just walk up to.

 

Challenge: Scalability.

As a real estate brokerage firm 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 firms face are as follows:

  • Disparate systems at each office with no ability for interoffice transfers. – Calls can only be routed to agents 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:  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 agents 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 deliver world class service to your clients no matter which office they call?  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.