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Power of Mobility: Switchboard to Go

When using Switchvox, it’s hard not to acknowledge the Switchboard as a powerful tool that is invaluable to many users. It gives you a real-time view into calls that are happening on your Switchvox system and, with appropriate permissions, it allows you to monitor queues, make phone calls, record calls, barge into calls, make video calls, and much more. The Switchboard works hand in hand with the Digium IP Phone on your desk to increase your productivity. But what happens when you’re not at your desk? How do you answer the ring backs that come from the Switchboard to initiate all of its calling features?

You might not know it, but you can configure the Switchboard to work with any of your converged phones. With this knowledge, you can take a laptop and our newly improved Switchvox Softphone for iOS and set up a powerful call management workstation at your house, in a hotel room, or even on the beach. The people you are calling or receiving calls from will have no idea you’re not in your office, and you will not lose access to any of the powerful tools that Switchvox provides.

Want to learn more? Take a quick tour and see the Switchboard in action. 

Hopefully this series of posts has shown you how the combination of the Switchvox Softphone for iOS, the Rapid Transfer feature of the InCall Menu, and the Switchboard can be combined to provide a powerful communications tool that you can take with you wherever you go.

For a quick overview, check out this video highlighting the Switchvox Softphone.

 

[Video] Comparing Pricing for UC Solutions | UC Tech Chat

The Tolly Group Study Compares PIVOT:SC with Zebra MC40

pivotscvszebra

 Spectralink Corporation, the global leader in enterprise mobility solutions for the healthcare, retail, manufacturing and hospitality industries, has announced the results of independent research on the performance and symbology support features of its PIVOT™:SC (8744) enterprise smartphone with a dual-mode camera/barcode scanner. The study, conducted by The Tolly Group, showed quantifiable benefits in comparing the PIVOT:SC to two phones with dedicated hardware scanners.

Read Press Release here

Read Tolly Group Report here 

IVRs: 5 Things You Really Don’t Need to Say

As a professional voice talent who specializes in voicing all manner of telephone applications — and as someone who’s done it for awhile — I can confess to some of it being quite formulaic. Basically, what everyone wants is a warm greeting for their callers, simple instructions as to which department people should shuffle their calls, and perhaps a courteous after-hours greeting explaining when people can call back and start the whole process again.

It becomes clear to me, though, that there are commonly heard aspects to automated phone systems which people hear all the time. Because they’re so familiar and widely heard, people are convinced they’re necessary in *their* systems, even when they just plain don’t make sense. Maybe these prompts were important at one time, but they no longer are needed.

Top 5 Things Not to Say Anymore

I’ve composed a list of ‘instructions’ which I’m repeatedly asked to voice, but just plain don’t make sense. These 5 prompts could probably be purged from phone trees forever.

  1. “Please leave your name, number, and a brief message….”

Is anyone unclear about what sort of information we should leave on a voicemail system? Has anyone not known what to leave in a message? Perhaps, in a panic, someone recorded: “…so, if you could get back to me about that, it would be great. My shoe size is 8 and a half, my favorite Jello flavor is lime, and my address is 10 Main Street. Thanks!” I think we all know what data is preferred in this voicemail message context. And, as for asking for a “Brief message?” It’s a veritable invitation for people to ramble.

  1. “To end this call, please hang up.”

Watch any child playing with a toy phone. What do children do when they’re finished talking? They hang up. Every time. They don’t need to be told. Neither do your callers.

  1. “Our website is: WWW….”

I’m going to play the “Caller is Smarter Than You Think” card, and send this out: I think we all know — by now — that most web domains start with “WWW” — correct? I remember the first time I had to say “WWW” in a radio commercial, and thinking: This is impossible to say smoothly. It’s become so automatic now, that it’s effortless for most people to say, and it’s now taken for granted that if you’re talking about a website, most will automatically begin with “WWW.” Unless your web address has a different log-in protocol, and your site begins with “WWW,” you’re safe in just writing “Visit our website at angrysquirrel.com for a full listing of our prices and services.” 

  1. “We Are Experiencing a Higher-Than-Normal Call Volume.”

So, if I’d called ten minutes earlier, I would have gotten straight through to the CEO? I don’t believe it. Especially when you encounter the message during off hours. Most times, when I’m asked to record that phrase, it’s a part of the company’s main IVR greeting and it’s not swapped in during the busy times and swapped out for a “Normal Call Volume” message. I maintain that it’s a device to make the company “feel” bigger; to make callers feel grateful that they even got through; and to make a caller more tolerant of her time on hold. (Plus, writing: “We’re short of call center staff” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.) It’s time to drop take this off your call script.

  1. “Please listen carefully, as our options have recently changed…”

Chances are, if your callers have called in on a regular basis, they’re probably pretty safe in simply pressing the extension they’re accustomed to, even if there are minor tweaks to the voicemail (and those are usually due to staff changes; it’s unusual for entire departments to have their extensions completely re-assigned.) What I actually frequently want to record for a company is this message: “Please listen carefully, our extensions have NOT recently changed; I just worked really hard recording these!”

Keep It Natural, Avoid Clichés

I think it’s possible to design a phone system which gets the job done. You want a message that welcomes, sorts, informs, and thanks. It’s best to have it written in such a way that the spoken words read conversationally…and can therefore be read in a natural, candid way which avoids formulas and clichés.

What are your pet peeves when listening to a company’s call recordings? Which dated messages would you delete?

Easy Call Portability with Switchvox

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Since the release of the updated Switchvox Softphone App, I have been taking more and more of my calls from my iPhone as I move around the office. As my mobile usage has increased, I rediscovered the power of another, older Switchvox feature that gives me unparalleled flexibility in how I take and manage active calls. This is the Rapid Transfer feature of the InCall Menu.

Using Rapid Transfer

With just a few minutes of easy setup, I can configure two items to take advantage of the Rapid Transfer feature. First my extension is configured to ring both my desktop Digium IP Phone and my Switchvox Softphone App. The second configuration is my desk phone, designated as ‘1’ for Rapid Transfers, and my mobile app is designated as ‘2’. With this configuration, I can answer all my calls from either device, and with three presses of the dial pad, I can easily move calls back and forth between the two devices without interrupting the call. The person I am talking to can’t even tell the transition has happened.

Flexibility with Calls

Here’s a scenario that illustrates the powerful Rapid Transfer feature.

Let’s say I’m speaking to a colleague at their desk. My mobile app starts buzzing. When I look at my phone, I see it’s an important client calling that I need to speak with, and I won’t make it back to my desk before the voicemail system picks it up, so I answer the call. This is not a conversation I want to have in my colleague’s office or the hallway, so I begin walking to my office while exchanging pleasantries with the client. I get to my office as the conversation starts to get serious, but I would rather take the call on my desk phone because the handset is more comfortable to hold than my small mobile device. I pull up the dial pad on the mobile app and dial **1. My desk phone immediately begins ringing. When I answer my desk phone, the call is moved to that device, and the call on my mobile application automatically hangs up. I don’t have to tell the client to hold on, transfer her or ask if I can call her back. She can’t even tell anything has happened. I can now finish the call on my preferred device.

You can see the power and convenience this provides. Calls can move the other way as well. If I’m about to leave my office and a call comes in, I can answer it on my desk phone, then migrate it to my mobile device to finish the call if I need to get on the road for a meeting.

A total of six devices can be configured to have calls handed off between them. I have a home office with another Digium IP Phone attached to our Switchvox and have had occasions when I start a call on my desk phone at the office, move it to my mobile device for the drive home, and then move it again to my desk phone at home to finish the call.
In my next blog post, I’ll tell you how you can still take advantage of the power of the Switchboard when you’re on the road and away from your desk phone.

[Infographic] Record-Breaking Wi-Fi Usage at Super Bowl LI

Record-Breaking Wi-Fi Usage at Super Bowl LI

Data and Infographic courtesy of Extreme Networks

Digium IP Phones Designed for Switchvox

Switchvox Softphone App 3.0 Improves User Experience

The Switchvox mobile development team released the 3.0 version of the Switchvox Softphone for iOS on December 5, 2016. The big change with this release was the integration of Apple’s CallKit SDK for call handling. This allows SIP calls in and out of the app to behave almost exactly like native calls.

This change improves the app tremendously as the user experience and reliability of handling calls through the app is now on par with the desktop Digium IP Phones.  For me, this is exciting for several reasons:

  • I am proud to see our team innovate and be very early to adopt and integrate the newest features included with the Apple iOS platform.
  • I am happy to offer new, more powerful solutions to our user base.
  • As a user myself, the enhanced mobile experience has made me much more productive in my day-to-day workflow. 

The biggest improvement in my eyes is the ability to allow the user to determine which calls are most important. In previous versions of the app, calls that came into the native phone application always took precedence over calls that were being handled by the Switchvox Softphone App.

The development team did not have a say on how to handle this because of limitations of the platform at the time, so the only options we had were to place the call on hold, play dead air to the caller, or drop the call. We picked placing the call on hold because that was the least jarring to the caller on the other end, but it was still a less than optimal user experience. As a result of this limitation, I would often hesitate to take important calls that came in through our mobile app, or I would answer them and ask the caller if I could call them right back on through my wireless provider.

With the enhanced call handling allowed by CallKit, I no longer have to worry about other calls interrupting my mobile app calls. I am more available to those who need to reach me without the hassle of callbacks or rushing back to my desk.

The improvement in call handling as well as the optimisations to how much power the app draws from the battery make the Switchvox Softphone App a wonderful companion for users who are on the road a lot or often away from their desks.

In my next blog post, I’ll tell you how to combine an older and often overlooked feature of Switchvox with the new mobile app to give you maximum flexibility in how and where you take your calls.