Cloud-based business phone systems offer many advantages over a traditional hardware PBX. Hosted virtual PBX systems empower your business with cutting-edge features and the flexibility to work from anywhere without being tethered to a hard-wired phone system.
Because they’re so flexible, cloud phone systems can also help your business avoid these common communications nightmares.
1) You have too many numbers
How many telephone numbers do you have? An office number, of course. Then there’s your home office, work mobile, personal mobile, home phone, and at least one fax line. If someone has to call multiple numbers in order to get in touch with you, chances are they won’t. RingCentral simplifies telephone number overload by giving you one number that works in the office, on your mobile device, at home, and for faxes. Clients and colleagues can dial a single number and know that they can reach you no matter where you are. It’s much simpler and saves everyone the trouble of having to keep track of multiple contact numbers.
2) You lost your phone
Losing your mobile phone is bad enough. Losing your mobile phone when you’re working can kill your productivity—especially when you’re on the road. With RingCentral, losing your phone doesn’t mean you’re unreachable. RingCentral Desktop enables you to access your entire business phone system from any computer with an internet connection. You can make and receive calls, Business SMS messages, and faxes from your computer with all of the same phone features you’ve come to rely on. When you replace your phone, all you have to do is download the mobile app, and add your new number to your account. RingCentral integrates with your company’s directory, so all of your contacts are available from any device.
3) Business contacts texting your personal phone
Text messaging is increasingly used for business. Whether you’re texting with colleagues or clients, SMS messaging is a quick way to have ongoing conversations without the need to be available at the exact same time. It’s also effective for passing on information to your whole team at once. But the biggest drawback to using text messaging in the workplace is that you have to share your personal contact information. That leaves you open to getting work-related texts in your off hours or when you’re on vacation. RingCentral’s Business SMS feature gives you all the advantages of text conversations, but it works with your business number, so you can keep your personal number private and better separate your work and personal communications.
4) Your PBX hardware breaks down
Traditional PBX equipment can break down and take your business down with it. Using a cloud-based virtual PBX from RingCentral saves you from equipment disasters. RingCentral’s cloud PBX is housed in multiple Tier 1 data centers and features layers of redundancy and failover technology to guard against hardware failures. If a power outage, bad weather, or a major disaster happens in your area, your communications will continue uninterrupted. Even if internet service goes down, RingCentral users can call, fax, text, and host conference calls and online meetings using their mobile devices via cellular data networks.
With RingCentral, you can avoid all of these nightmares and turn all of your business communications into a dream.
Publish Date: January 3, 2017 5:00 AM
Got cassettes? Do you know anyone who runs a small business using an answering machine? Well, probably not, but who answers your phones, how, and what happens when no one can answer make a huge impression on customers. For example, Microsoft asked consumers for their opinion, and “more than 90% of people who took the survey would consider going elsewhere if they perceived the small business is using old and outdated tech.”
It’s not just about projecting the appearance of a larger and more professional company. The same survey also found that customers want your technology to make it easy to communicate with your employees or to make an appointment. Plus, 62% said they are likely to become repeat customers if a business uses modern technology.
Revolutionary, cost-effective cloud technology—Music to the ears of small business owners
So if your business phone system is stuck in the ‘80s, how do you bring it up to date? Cloud technology now puts the capabilities previously available only to large enterprises in the hands of small businesses. You can set up a cloud phone system almost instantly, without the big up-front investment and complicated set-up required for PBX hardware and software.
Any small businesses can quickly and cost-effectively leverage the features and capabilities of a virtual PBX in the cloud, including sophisticated call handling and mobile connectivity, as well as conference and video calling. And anyone can administer a cloud system from a web browser, which includes the ability to add lines, changes users, or set up advanced call handling features. Whether you are a construction company spinning up a jobsite office or a tax firm scaling up on seasonal workers, it just takes a click of the mouse to set up new lines. You can even drop-ship desk phones that plug in and provision themselves to the new number.
Better still, a leading cloud communications service provider like RingCentral bundles voice, fax, conferencing, business SMS and other functions in packages that are affordable for almost any small business. In fact, you may find that the monthly service fee for an all-inclusive business communications system may be less than what you are currently paying for stand-alone services such as voicemail, conference calling, and internet fax.
Big business features and a bigger brand image for smaller firms
Let’s look at some of the ways this state-of-the-art technology will impress your customers and make your employees more productive.
An Auto-Receptionist serves as your virtual receptionist, greeting callers and routing them directly to employees, departments, or to any landline or mobile phone in the world. This is a first big step to projecting an appearance that your company has it together. It welcomes callers with a custom company greeting—similar to what you hear when calling a large company—including a call tree that lets callers select departments or employees’ direct extensions. It even offers callers choices such selecting office locations or languages.
Set up professional conference calls. Doesn’t it look professional when you receive an email or text with a scheduled dial-in number? This features lets people on multiple phones gather on the same call bridge. Each person dials in to a central conferencing line and can hear and speak to all the other people who call in to the same bridge. With RingCentral Office, you can also set up online web meetings and HD video conferences at no additional cost.
Bring telecommuters into office. With a cloud phone system, your employees who work at home are completely integrated into the business phones system, just as if they were working in the office. They can either use the company phone system from their computers, or you can give them a full-featured desk phone that simply connects to an Ethernet port. Outside callers reach them from the main business number, and you can connect with them using direct extension dialing. They also have access to the company directory and voicemail.
Mobilize your workforce. The free RingCentral app for iOS and Android transforms a smartphone or tablet into a full-featured business phone. Your mobile workers make and receive calls using your business number. They also don’t have to dial in to the phone system or wait to return to the office to check voicemail because they have direct access to voicemails and notifications on their mobile devices. They can even participate in web meetings and video conferences on their smartphones.
Project a professional image with a single number and company brand for all of your calling. With a cloud phone system, your customers contact everyone at your company using the main business number or direct-dial extensions. If an employee isn’t available, the system routes the caller into company voicemail, or gives them the option to speak with someone else in your company. Calls from telecommuters and employees using mobile phones also come from your business number—not from the employee’s home or cell number. Plus, any employee—in the office, at home, or on the road—can instantly look up a coworker in the company directory and directly transfer the customer or partner to that person.
So with a cloud phone system you look like an established, trustable firm that knows how to use the latest technology. Customers reach your employees faster and employees respond faster. And with the capability to seamlessly integrate you remote and mobile workers into the company phone system, you can even set up a new office—without the office.
Publish Date: December 28, 2016 5:00 AM
Moving your business from traditional PBX hardware to a VoIP business phone system has many upsides. Additional functionality, easier management, and cost savings are common reasons why many businesses transition to a cloud-based system. VoIP providers vary greatly in the cost and level of service they provide, however. When you’re considering a provider, make sure they offer the features and level of service that your business needs. Here are some of the most important factors to consider as you decide on a VoIP provider.
1) Cost and Features
For many businesses, the potential to save money on telephony costs is a big motivator to consider a VoIP phone system—if not the biggest one. When compared to traditional telephone hardware, a VoIP system can significantly reduce costs. But look carefully at the included features. Some providers may charge extra for features that others include. If your business is entirely domestic, international calling is only going to inflate your costs, for example. When comparing providers, it’s important to know what features your business needs, and what features you can skip.
2) Mobile Apps
A VoIP phone system can offer huge benefits for businesses with remote workers. When sizing up providers, make sure to do an apples-to-apples comparison. Forwarding calls to mobile phones is a standard feature, but do they offer a full-featured mobile app that allows users access Business SMS, faxes, and advanced voicemail? If you need more than simple call forwarding, make sure you choose a VoIP provider that is fully invested in a complete experience for mobile users.
3) Third-party Integrations
Another important aspect to consider is how well a VoIP provider works with other services you already use. Without integration with third-party services, you could spend significant amounts of time migrating or re-creating business data that you already have inside another product. Whether it’s Salesforce, Google G Suite, Dropbox, or another product, make sure that your VoIP provider offers integrations with your other services.
4) Unified Services
Business telephones have evolved from landlines to cloud-based systems. UCaaS is the next stage of that evolution. Instead of engaging multiple providers for different services, businesses can get all of their communication needs met by a single provider in an integrated communications platform. There are many upsides to a unified system, starting with the flexibility to offer the features their employees need, from video conferencing and online meetings to team messaging and collaboration. Unified communications also scale and are much more flexible than traditional phone systems. Rather than relying on specialized technical support to add users or reconfigure existing systems, UCaaS can be configured by existing staff from a computer or mobile device. Managing costs is easier too, with all-in-one pricing from a single vendor.
Transitioning your business to a VoIP phone system offers significant advantages for businesses of all sizes. If you ask the right questions and know what to look for, finding the right plan from the right provider will save money, boost productivity, and expand the capabilities of your phone system.
Publish Date: December 22, 2016 5:00 AM
Being a small fish in a big pond isn’t easy. When your competition is so much bigger than you are, it can be a struggle to thrive, no matter how great your product is. But by using the right features of your business phone system, you can give your small business big-company credibility with customers and suppliers.
You’ve heard that old cliché about making a good first impression, and it’s especially true for small businesses. Phone features like Auto-Receptionist and answering rules lend your small business a little gravitas from the first contact. Offer callers the option to reach different departments—no need to tell anyone that all of those “departments” ring the same phone in your home office.
Call forwarding can also help your business make a big impression. Forwarding calls to multiple phones ensures that you can easily be reached at any time. RingCentral desktop and mobile apps enable you to take business calls on a computer or mobile device. Your callers won’t know the difference, but they will notice how easy it is to get in touch with a real live person inside your business. Meanwhile, you’ll have full access to all of your business calling features from anywhere.
RingCentral also enables you to add local numbers wherever you do business. Customers will appreciate the local feel, with RingCentral’s simple, flexible account administration tools, you can control call routing from anywhere. And with RingCentral’s Caller ID options, you’ll always know where a call is coming from, even if you have multiple incoming lines. With RingCentral’s simple admin interface, setting up customized greetings or call routing based on the number dialed is a snap.
Incoming calls are only part of the solution to making your small business feel big. How you handle the messages that come in also affects the way people see your business. RingCentral’s missed-call notifications and message alerts can be customized to fit the way you work. You could send voicemail and fax alerts via SMS to your mobile phone for quick handling, for example, while missed calls are emailed for follow-up all at once. Customizing notifications allows you stay on top of your business and be super-responsive even if you don’t spend all day sitting near a telephone.
Your RingCentral number does more than just calls, however. With a single number, you can also send and receive faxes and use Business SMS to text with customers and colleagues—using your own mobile device. It’ll help your business present a professional, polished image without the need to buy or carry a separate mobile phone for work.
When your business is ready to expand, your RingCentral phone system adapts as your needs change. There’s no equipment to buy or install in advance. Instead add additional extensions as you need them, without having to call in specialized technical support to wire new lines.
RingCentral offers your small business the features you need to succeed, and as your business grows, your phone system is ready to grow with you.
Publish Date: December 21, 2016 5:00 AM
RingCentral’s cloud-based business phone system gives you the features and flexibility to handle all of your business communication. It’s simple to set up, and unlike traditional phone hardware, doesn’t require specialized technical support or training. In fact, the system is designed so that users can handle most of their own account management. Everything is designed to work together, and there’s plenty of ways to customize RingCentral. In less than the time it takes you to read this article, you can make your business phone system even better.
Set up business hours
Everybody needs some downtime. Personalize your hours in your RingCentral account to control how calls are handled when you’re “off the clock.” This is perfect for part-time employees who are only available on certain days, or for making sure that business calls don’t interrupt you at home late at night. Hours can be the same every day, or you can set custom hours for each day of the week.
Set up your business hours under User Details in your RingCentral account. Then in Call Handling & Forwarding, specify how you want calls handled after hours. Outside of your business hours, callers can be sent directly to voicemail, hear an announcement with no option to leave a voicemail, or be forwarded to another number.
Voicemail is a great tool for when you can’t get to the phone, but it can also be overwhelming if you receive a lot of calls. RingCentral’s voicemail options can help you handle incoming messages. When you can’t stop to listen to a message—you’re on a call or in a meeting, for example—voicemail preview enables you to read an automatic transcription via email or in RingCentral desktop or mobile apps. It’s a quick way to screen messages and prioritize responses. RingCentral’s voicemail-to-email feature delivers voicemails as email attachments, so you can listen to messages all at once, even if you’re away from your desk. And of course all messages are also available from RingCentral’s desktop and mobile apps for maximum flexibility.
Block telemarketing calls
If your phone is ringing off the hook with repeated calls, log in to your RingCentral account and block unwanted calls. Call blocking is flexible, allowing you to block specific callers or even entire area codes, and you can choose from different message options that are played to blocked callers.
RingCentral also offers flexible routing options for incoming calls. But did you know that notifications are just as flexible? Missed-call notifications and message alerts are completely customizable to fit your workflow. Voicemail messages can trigger text alerts to your mobile device, while incoming fax notifications are emailed to an assistant, for example. Customized notifications can save time, as well as help ensure that you’re always on top of messages that need your attention.
With just a few small adjustments, you can tweak your RingCentral account to help you work better and more efficiently, with less distraction. Focus on your business, because we’ve got your business communication covered.
Publish Date: December 20, 2016 5:00 AM
Railserve provides safe and reliable rail services for manufacturing companies. Operating at more than 65 locations across the US and Canada, with 1,000+ employees, we are the largest provider of these services in the US. Our customers include 16 Fortune 500 companies, as well as three of the top privately owned companies and six leading internationally owned companies.
Part of my job at Railserve is making sure our employees have the technology they need to do their jobs. At each of our sites, there are people doing traditional office tasks indoors, as well as people working outside with the rail cars. Their technology needs differ, which is something I keep in mind.
Five years ago, I chose Google Apps for Work as our company’s business software platform. I saw security advantages to having critical apps (such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar) based in the cloud. And I liked that people could access these apps and their data with a range of devices, including computers, phones, and tablets.
When it came time to upgrade our telephone system, I wanted to build on that decision, which has proved to be a good one, and transition us to a cloud-based VoIP solution. My requirements were: support for the differing needs of our workforce, integration with Google apps, and a system I could maintain easily myself.
RingCentral met my requirements completely.
In terms of supporting everyone, RingCentral runs on all of the devices our employees use, from computers, laptops and tablets indoors to mobile phones outside. For their mobile devices, people simply install the RingCentral app to get all of the communications functionality they would have in the office. This gives a lot more functionality to the employees who work outside the office, which is the majority of our workforce.
The integration of RingCentral with the Google apps is really important to me because it’s a way of helping employees be more productive. For example, they can make and receive calls in Gmail, where they also have all of the call control options they would have in RingCentral, such as mute, transfer, record and hold. They can click to dial any phone number in their Gmail contacts. They can also schedule a RingCentral meeting or audio conference from within Google calendar.
Besides improving productivity, I’m noticing another benefit of the Google-RingCentral integration: more collaboration among our different sites. Perhaps this is because it’s so easy now for people to reach one another. When they don’t have to leave one of the Google apps to reach another employee, they seem to do it more often.
Finally, in terms of ease of management, RingCentral is great. There’s no need to bring in outside expertise like there would be with a PBX system. I manage all of our 72 users at all of our locations myself, and can easily add users and locations when necessary.
For me, RingCentral is a natural part of my company’s transition to the cloud. In meeting my needs for management simplicity along with the diverse communications requirements of our workforce, RingCentral is our phone system for the future.
Publish Date: December 15, 2016 5:00 AM
More and more we are seeing that enterprises are asking for a more consultative approach to help them achieve maximum ROI from their business communications services. We understand the pain points that enterprises experience, and are here to help them discover resolutions and approaches to ensure their implementation and ongoing management is successful.
I am very excited to share with you that we now offer an Extended Enterprise Support Program for our Professional Services customers. The program is designed for IT organizations who need a more mentored service approach that ties directly to business performance. This provides enterprises with premium support services and a dedicated technical account manager and customer success manager.
I’ve worked with many of our enterprise customers to ensure their deployment of RingCentral services is a success, as defined by their goals and objectives. Recently, our Professional Services team worked with Brightway Insurance on their deployment of RingCentral Office and RingCentral Contact Center by stepping in as an extension to their IT and engineering staff. Now that their system is up and running,they have engaged us to provide ongoing network assessment, optimization and troubleshooting.
My team’s ultimate goal in working with our customers is to be there for them at every phase of the deployment and integration, including: initial planning, strategic consultations, comprehensive implementation or integration designs, and ongoing support and system training. At Baierl Automotive, our team played a big role in implementing a solid communications infrastructure and maintaining the company’s overall customer experience, which was a critical business initiative of theirs
With 2017 just around the corner, we are looking forward to working with more customers, new and old, to insure that RingCentral is there to support them with their needs for their RingCentral services. For more information on RingCentral Professional Services and Extended Enterprise Support, please click here.
Publish Date: December 13, 2016 5:00 AM
When it comes to features, VoIP business phone systems offer many advantages over traditional PBX hardware. Usually, solutions with added features or convenience come with additional costs, but RingCentral offers these added features for less than the cost of traditional phone hardware. Here are some of the ways that upgrading to a virtual PBX will save money.
On-site PBX phone systems are expensive. Up-font costs can be steep, and unfortunately for your bottom line, that’s really just the beginning. When considering total cost of ownership for a traditional PBX system, don’t forget recurring fees for maintenance, upgrades, and changes. Time spent learning the system, as well as any downtime that becomes necessary for fixes and changes, all add to the overall cost of your phone system.
A VoIP business phone system offers many cost advantages over older PBX hardware. Pricing is simple and affordable, and the low monthly fees are per person so your expenses are predictable and easy to manage. Maintenance is handled for you, and phone systems can be administered from mobile devices, reducing the need for expensive specialized technical support and training over time.
VoIP phone systems are also scalable, which saves money. With a traditional hardware PBX system, you have to anticipate future needs when you purchase equipment, essentially paying for capacity before you need it. On the other hand, buying only what you need at the moment means that you’ll be facing costly hardware upgrades when your business grows. In either scenario, you’ll end up spending more money than you would with a scalable VoIP solution.
A cloud-based VoIP phone system saves you these headaches. Making changes to your system can be done on the fly. Configure lines for new employees from mobile devices or a web interface. Virtual PBX easily accommodates everything from regular seasonal expansion to periods of rapid growth. And because your VoIP system can be administered by existing staff, you don’t have to call in specialized tech support, which can be expensive, so you’re able to respond quickly to changes in your communications needs.
It wasn’t too long ago that mobile phones were the exception, rather than the rule. But today, nearly everyone in the workplace has a mobile device. Bring your own device (BYOD) policies can increase productivity, and are often an attractive perk when recruiting new employees. BYOD has direct financial upsides for your business as well. For one, you won’t need to buy mobile devices anymore. RingCentral Mobile securely integrates iOS or Android devices into your cloud-based business phone system. Users can make voice calls and send Business SMS messages using their company numbers, and still have access to resources like company directories. Users can also add or delete devices on their own, without needing to engage IT staff for simple changes.
If you do business internationally, a VoIP phone system has many money-saving advantages over traditional PBX systems. RingCentral offers affordable international calling rates and the flexibility to add international phone numbers as needed. With an international number, you can create a local presence without the expense of opening up regional offices. Local or toll-free numbers are available in more than 70 countries. Calls can be routed to any extension in your home country, and RingCentral’s flexible Caller ID controls let users select outbound caller ID information to give your business a local feel while still remaining cost-effective.
If you do need phone service for international offices, RingCentral Global Office unites employees located anywhere in the world on the same secure communications network with the same features. Global Office increases productivity across borders, while reducing your IT overhead and international calling costs.
Check out RingCentral’s ROI Calculator to see how much your business will save by upgrading to a VoIP phone system.
Publish Date: December 13, 2016 5:00 AM
You probably already know about many of the great advanced communications features that RingCentral brings to your business phone system. But did you know that with RingCentral for Desktop, your computer is also transformed into a complete communications solution? Here are our favorite features that will help you work smarter and turn you into a communications hero.
1) Business SMS
As technology has allowed us to work from anywhere, it has also raised the expectation that people are reachable at any time via phone or email. Increasingly, text messaging is also being used for work-related communication, both between colleagues and with clients. But sending text messages from personal devices can come across as less professional, and it also requires you to reveal your personal contact information
With RingCentral Business SMS, you can send messages from your business number, without exposing your personal contact info. RingCentral for Desktop makes SMS even more convenient, because you can use your desktop to send and receive messages. This allows you to respond quicker as you don’t need to switch devices, and you can easily communicate more details with the use of a full keyboard, as well as access to all the documents and information on your computer. Using Business SMS via RingCentral for Desktop saves time, improves communication, and maintains a professional image by using your business number.
2) Call flip
We’ve all been on an important call when it’s time to dash out the door to a meeting. With Call flip, you can switch an in-progress call to your mobile device (or any of the extensions in your RingCentral account). You’ll never have to waste a client’s time by hanging up and calling back.
To flip a call from RingCentral for Desktop, simply click the Flip button and select from your list of extensions. The process is completely seamless to whoever is on the other end of the line, and you can continue your conversation immediately without interruption.
3) Text-to-speech reply
When you’re on a call and another call comes in, you can either pick up the new call or send it to voicemail. RingCentral for Desktop adds another option: sending a text-to-speech reply. If you can’t pick up, RingCentral for Desktop lets you send a customized response to the caller, which they then hear as a spoken message. Instead of your caller leaving a message that you’ll have to listen to later, text-to-speech reply lets you communicate quickly with a second caller.
Choose from preconfigured options to let the caller know when you’ll be able to call them back, ask them to try you again later, or let them know you are “on the way.” Or you can type a message to your caller—perfect for situations when you know why someone is calling. Using text-to-speech replies, you can quickly let a caller know you received their documents or are working on a solution to their problem, for example.
Text-to-speech even allows callers to respond to your message. After they hear your reply, voice prompts allow the caller to send back a quick “Yes,” “No,” or “Urgent, please call immediately” message that pops up in RingCentral for Desktop.
RingCentral for Desktop puts an advanced business communications system in your computer. Integrate these three features into your workflow and become a phone hero.
Publish Date: December 12, 2016 5:00 AM
To better serve our multinational enterprise customers, we launched RingCentral Global Office earlier this year, and we’ve seen great traction to date. Nearly 400 multinational enterprises are now using Global Office, which is more than double the number of customers from the first half of 2016. In addition, Global Office is now available in a total of 30 countries, up from 14 in the first half of the year.
A single cloud solution that streamlines communications across geographies, Global Office meets the demands of an increasingly distributed and globalized workforce. The solution is available across countries in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, US, and UK. In addition to geographic expansion, RingCentral Global Office customers also now have access to German, French, and UK English language support.
In talking extensively to our customers, we heard their IT pain points and challenges with deploying their unified communications solutions abroad. To make their lives easier and ensure they can easily scale their businesses as they grow, we’ve built the most complete and seamless global solution for voice, video, conferencing, messaging, and collaboration. With RingCentral Global Office, enterprises can unify their entire workforces efficiently and cost effectively.
Designed to enable a multinational enterprise to appear local in-country for its customers in different countries and also act as one integrated business, Global Office capabilities include:
To learn more about RingCentral Global Office, click here.
To view the complete press release, click here.
Publish Date: December 8, 2016 5:00 AM
As business itself changes, business phone systems are also in a state of evolution. Phone systems have moved from hardware PBX systems to virtual PBX solutions. Instead of having a closet full of telephone equipment, small businesses can offload the cost of buying and maintaining equipment to service providers and get their telephony delivered via the internet.
While phone systems remain crucial to most types of businesses, unified communications platforms offer advanced features that companies need to thrive in a modern business environment. That’s where UCaaS (unified communications as a service) comes in.
UCaaS represents the next stage in the evolution of communications. Now small businesses can get all of their communication needs met by a single provider in an integrated communications platform. There are many upsides, starting with simple pricing that doesn’t require you to purchase dedicated equipment. UCaaS offers small- and medium-sized businesses the flexibility to offer the features their employees need, from video conferencing and online meetings to team messaging and collaboration, presence notifications, and more. Unified communications are also scalable to fit both long-term and seasonal growth.
A unified communications solution provides simpler and more economical access to a wide variety of features. By adopting a UCaaS solution, businesses can eliminate the costs of installing and maintaining hardware, as well as reduce the IT costs of supporting a range of separate services that aren’t designed to work together. With UCaaS, companies are able to be more agile, adopting new technologies as a company’s communication needs change.
UCaaS systems also offer much more flexible administration than traditional phone systems. Rather than relying on specialized technical support to add users or reconfigure existing systems, UCaaS can be configured on the fly from a desktop computer or mobile device.
UCaaS can do so much more than save money and time, however. Unified communications also empowers users by providing better tools while using devices that they are already familiar with. Telephone calls are no longer the sole method of interacting with customers or colleagues, and UCaaS solutions are poised to adapt to the ways your business works.
Whether it’s Business SMS or RingCentral Glip team collaboration, a UCaaS solution allows your employees to communicate using the most appropriate medium. Because UCaaS systems are built around users rather than specific equipment, companies can easily integrate remote workers, whether they are full-time or just occasional telecommuters.
UCaaS also takes the headache out of BYOD. RingCentral works seamlessly on computers, phones, and tablets. Because users are already comfortable with their own mobile devices, there’s less strain on IT personnel for support. UCaaS simplifies the complexities of working across mobile devices, and the seamless integration across platforms improves productivity and your ability to focus on business rather than equipment.
Flexibility and mobility are key features of a modern communications system. UCaaS gives your business the ability to connect employees and customers as easily as possible and offer features that will keep your business moving forward.
Publish Date: December 7, 2016 5:00 AM
At Open Mortgage, we work hard to empower the dream of homeownership for everyone, from young people purchasing their first home to seniors enhancing their retirement strategies with a reverse mortgage.
This diverse customer base means it’s necessary to support a variety of ways to interact with customers. Those who prefer digital transactions can use our website that lets them do much of the mortgage process online. For customers who would rather work with a Loan Originator (LO) more closely, we have physical offices with LOs around the country.
The need to be all things technical to all people drives much of what I do in IT, including how I support Open Mortgage’s workforce. I want to enable them to work efficiently wherever they are — from home, a customer’s home, a coffee shop, or their office. This is why we use Google Apps for Work and RingCentral for our communication and collaboration tools. This combination of solutions is an excellent fit for my “all things technical to all people” approach, and I’ll give you a few reasons why.
The first reason is faxes. You may think faxes died out with the advent of email, but no. There is a great deal of paperwork in the mortgage industry (as you well know if you’ve ever purchased a house). While some borrowers may be comfortable reading and signing all that paperwork using a computer or mobile device, many are not, especially those seeking reverse mortgages.
With Google Apps for Work and RingCentral, faxing has been streamlined significantly. Our LOs no longer need to have separate phone and fax numbers; one number handles both with RingCentral. It might seem like a small thing, but having all information flow to one number avoids a lot of confusion. People also appreciate having cleaner-looking business cards and email signatures.
When an LO sends in loan paperwork (as a fax), it goes directly to the recipient’s email account. The LO doesn’t have to do any scanning because the information is already in PDF format. Similarly, when there’s a need to fax something back, the recipient can either fax directly from Google Docs, or use RingCentral’s FaxOut option to send a PDF or other document directly from Google Drive.
Second, the Google-RingCentral integration benefits not only our LOs, but all of our employees. For example, when an employee is in an email and there is a phone number they need to call, one click on the number automatically dials the phone for them. A simple integration like this saves an employee some time and makes for a more user-friendly experience. And ultimately it improves our customer service since calls can be returned more quickly.
A third advantage is the integration between RingCentral and Google Calendar. Previously, scheduling a call or a conference call required numerous steps and a number of applications (email, calendar, phone directory, etc.). Now employees can simply pick the appropriate time in Google Calendar and in one click can create an invite that automatically includes all the necessary audio conference dial-in information. This saves time and eliminates the frustrating process we used to have, wherein someone would have to create an invite, create a conference bridge, and then manually copy/past the dial-in information into the invite. When you have multiple conference calls a day, one click makes a significant difference. This also alleviates the accidental copy/pasting of wrong dial-in information into the invite.
I appreciate anything that helps me make our employees’ work lives easier, which is why I value the Google-RingCentral integration. It streamlines so many of the routine office tasks that people do every day. When their work lives are easier, they can deliver better customer service. Every time that happens, it helps strengthen Open Mortgage’s commitment to service, and that helps us be the kind of mortgage lender we want to be.
To find out more about RingCentral-Google integrations or sign up for a free 30-day trial, please click here.
Publish Date: December 7, 2016 5:00 AM
For small businesses and startups, there is a lot to be said for saving space and resources. It might seem preferable to work on a phone system that is managed entirely within your office, but sometimes the desire for this control is significantly outweighed by practicality. Although an internally maintained system can offer a number of advantages, it is important to bear in mind the benefits offered by the alternative.
A VoIP phone system offers a range of features and benefits, and as any small business or startup owner knows, every advantage is a tool that can be used to thrive.
But first, what is hosted VoIP? Put simply, it is a telephone system that is managed from an external space; a VoIP provider “hosts” your equipment in the cloud, and you pay a monthly charge for the service. Although this is a simplification of the process, it is essentially enough for business owners to understand what they are signing up for.
So what are the benefits of hosted VoIP? And why should your business think about joining the cloud? Take a look at the information below to find out.
1) Space. This is the simplest benefit of hosted VoIP, but it is easily one of the most important. With the majority of equipment located elsewhere, your business does not have to dedicate any space to it—likewise, with the system being operated remotely from your business, you do not have to invest in installation or clunky hardware. This can save you time and money, and can be a huge relief for a small business or a startup that can’t easily afford to spend out on equipment or installation costs.
2) Maintenance. As well as removing the stresses that come with storage and space, having your system hosted elsewhere also removes the hassle of maintaining it. Although there are various features and systems that you will still manage with an internal dashboard or management system, you do not need to take care of physical equipment. This reduces the resources required and, as an added bonus, also provides you with cover. With a hosted VoIP system, maintenance responsibility lies with your supplier—you can expect constant, quality service, maintained by experts.
3) Quality. Some business owners may worry that a hosted system sacrifices quality. In fact, this is not the case at all. Although you may lose direct control of your equipment, you can still expect to receive the highest quality service through your cloud-hosted service. Indeed, the features offered with hosted VoIP are comparable to non-hosted service in almost every way, meaning that your business can feel more than confident in the functionality you work with.
4) Cost. VoIP is a cost-effective option for any business—and for small businesses and startups, that cost-effectiveness is vital. Just like larger, more established companies, small businesses need to get the best service possible. Unlike larger, more established companies, though, they do not always have the capital to shell out for what they need. This is why hosted VoIP is beneficial. It allows small businesses to compete with larger rivals, without fighting uphill against inferior equipment.
A cost-effective hosted VoIP telephone system levels the playing field and can help your business to overcome the obstacles that might otherwise stop you in your tracks.
Although there is a range of options to choose from, for a small business, hosted VoIP might well be the best bet.
Publish Date: November 30, 2016 5:00 AM
RingCentral is about to hit the road for Manhattan, and we’d love to see you there. Join us on Thursday evening, December 15, at Hudson Mercantile for RingCentral Forum Live.
This exclusive event will feature Frost and Sullivan’s strategic consulting expert, Elka Popova, discussing how advanced communications are bringing about profound transformations in business today. You’ll also hear how RingCentral’s cloud communications solutions empower connected global enterprises.
Following the presentation, there will be a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception with a DJ—plus valuable giveaways for everyone and Amazon Echos for the first 50 registered attendees.
RingCentral Forum Live begins at 5:30 p.m. at Hudson Mercantile, just one block from the Javits Center, so it’s a great way to keep the conversation and camaraderie going if you’ll already be attending the Salesforce World Tour in New York that day.
Don’t miss this opportunity to discover ways you can improve communications, collaboration, and information sharing across your organization. To reserve your spot at RingCentral Forum Live, RSVP today.
Publish Date: November 29, 2016 5:00 AM
Did your workforce go mobile while your business phone system stood still? People’s love affair with mobile devices is transforming the workforce. For example, half of all workers now use a mobile phone even when sitting next to a desk phone, and 84 percent of those age 18–29 report using mobile devices to work two hours per day on their own time. However, while your employees may be hooked on smartphones and tablets, these devices are often not hooked in to the company phone system—and not controlled by you.
Bring your own device (BYOD) brings its own set of issues
Due to the cost and complexity, many small businesses don’t issue smartphones to their employees. But running a small business on a hodgepodge of employee-owned mobile devices can create an array of issues. In many cases, mobile users must dial in to the company voicemail system. Plus, they can’t forward calls, access the company directory, or extension-dial coworkers. Employees also communicate with important contacts using their personal phone numbers—not your business number—and store your customers’ contact information on their devices.
The cloud mobilizes small businesses
Fortunately, the cloud has revolutionized the way small businesses work, collaborate, and support their customers. Today’s mature cloud communications systems not only offer high-quality, low-cost voice communications but also give mobile users complete access to the company phone system. For example, the RingCentral mobile app for iPhone®/iPad® and Android™ essentially transforms a smartphone into a full-featured business phone with integrated HD voice, fax, text, conferencing, online meetings, and team collaboration, as well as access to voicemail and the company directory. In addition, the app allows mobile users to access the latest features like video conferencing and integrations with popular business productivity apps like Salesforce®.
By putting the company phone system at your remote workers’ fingertips, a mature cloud communications system like RingCentral Office® delivers a number of transformative business benefits.
1) Single number for phone, fax, and text messages. Customers and coworkers no longer have to dial multiple contact numbers to reach one person. In addition, eliminating the use of personal phone numbers protects employee privacy and helps preserve customer relationships.
2) Easy access to voicemail from outside the office. Employees sometimes wait to return to the office to access voicemail, which can cause problems and result in lost business. The cloud makes employees more responsive to customers and partners by directly integrating voicemail notifications into the mobile device.
3) Company directory access and extension dialing. The seamless integration provided by the cloud means managers and coworkers can reach mobile employees with a quick extension-dial from a company directory—which is accessible directly through the mobile app.
4) Reduced costs and visibility in BYOD billing. The free RingCentral mobile app makes it easy to transform employee-owned devices into secure corporate business phones, saving you the cost of issuing company phones. RingCentral Office also includes voice, fax, text, conferencing, and web meetings in a simplified bill with a low, all-inclusive monthly subscription fee. Additionally, simple reporting tools let you see how your employees use the service, including how much usage is for business vs personal.
5) Protects valuable data. Sensitive company data and business contacts often reside on employee-owned mobile devices. With a cloud solution, customer contacts and other critical information reside in the cloud—only the app is on the device. Likewise, if an employee leaves the company, you can block access to customer contacts and other valuable data simply by disconnecting the device from the cloud system. Better still, the data remains available in the cloud, where you can access it.
So if your business communications system hasn’t moved into the mobile era, perhaps it’s time to move to the cloud.
Publish Date: November 21, 2016 5:00 AM