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Customer Service Pain Points a UC Solution Can Solve

More than 70% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. When a customer calls into your business with an issue, a poorly designed or outdated phone system can throw them over the edge, and you can quickly lose them as a customer. Understanding the most frustrating experiences customers have with a business’s phone system is the best way to design a solution that enhances your customer’s experience by solving their issues quickly and efficiently.

Here are some of the common customer pain points with a business phone system, and how a Unified Communication (UC) solution can solve them:

Pain Point : Inadequate staffing long hold times. (The customer might say, “I’ve been on hold for over five minutes. Maybe you should hire more people to answer the phones.”)

How UC Solves: Managers can correlate agent staffing with call reports, which show the heavy and low-volume call times during the day. Appropriately staffing call center agents based on call volume reduces on-hold time for customers, enables issues to be resolved faster, and can save on costs.

Pain Point: Confusing phone menu (IVR). A poorly designed IVR is a very frustrating experience for customers, yet the majority of businesses have just that: an outdated, unhelpful, confusing IVR . (The customer might say, “I pushed 2 for support and it transferred me to sales. Can I just speak to a manager now?”)

How UC Solves: The IVR was designed for several reasons: to enable customers to help themselves without involving an agent, to route customers to the correct agent who can help them with whatever they need, and to provide general business information. A solid UC solution will provide businesses with several options for their IVR needs, including stock voice prompts (Digium’s voice prompts feature the official Voice of Asterisk, Allison Smith), stock music, extension setup, and integrations allowing for more advanced features and capabilities. With the correct tools, your business can create a helpful IVR that will reduce customer frustrations and get them the information they need, faster.

Pain Point: Lack of communication mediums to work through a technical issue. (The customer might say, “I’m having an issue with this feature… there is a little box and a confusing popup thingy. I wish you could just see what I’m seeing.”)

How UC Solves: A web-based solution allows for collaboration among internal and external users (customers and agents) without the need for plug-ins, separate applications, or passwords; all users need is an Internet connection. Some customer issues are hard to explain without visually seeing what’s happening. In cases like this, the right UC solution allows employees to screen share or host a live video session to walk the customer through an issue or to demonstrate a feature.

Pain Point: Having to repeat information. (The customer might say, “I already dialed in my case number, and now you’re asking for it again?”)

How UC Solves: In addition to a well-designed IVR, CRM integration enables an agent to view detailed customer records as soon as the call comes in (including recent case numbers). If there is an issue, the agent can identify the appropriate person to handle it, check their presence to see if they are available, send them an instant message to give them a heads up about the call, and then route the call. While the IVR provides options for customers to be directed to the appropriate person, the CRM screen pop provides the agent information about the customer. With these two UC features, the agent should have a good idea of who the customer is and how they can help before they even engage in conversation.

Pain Point: Lack of proper agent training (the customer might say, “You aren’t understanding what I’m saying. I need to speak with a manager!”)

How UC Solves: Barge and Whisper features allow a manager to interact on a customer call by joining the conversation (barge) or speaking to the agent without the customer hearing the conversation (whisper). These features are also useful when training new call center agents on the appropriate (and inappropriate) ways to handle a customer issue. These conversations can also be recorded and filed in agent’s personnel folders or used for future training sessions.

Read how Clark’s Nutrition solved several customer-service pain points by implementing Switchvox


5 Tips for the Best IVR and Auto Attendant Messaging

If your company has an IVR system, chances are good that it might be the very first impression of your business for many of your customers or clients. Your IVR scripts are essentially your company’s first line of customer service, so you want to make sure your message to them is on point. Here are some simple ways to do that by creating a well-written IVR script and ensuring your voice prompts are helping your caller’s experience. Let’s take a look at this basic main menu IVR script sample and review the 5 reasons why it works.

IVR Script Sample

Hello and thank you for calling [Your Company Name]. If you know the extension of the person or party you wish to reach, please enter it now.  For sales, press 1. For technical support, press 2. For billing and payment inquiries, press 3. For more information on our company, press 4.To speak with a live representative, press 0 at any time. To repeat this message, please press pound.

1. Greet Your Clients From the Start

As we mentioned, your IVR script’s opening line should be as pleasant and professional as if you were shaking hands with a new client or business partner for the first time yourself. A quick intro is a perfect way to lead into your company’s menu option, which will efficiently direct your callers to where they need to go.

2. Keep it Short Sweet

The prompts in this IVR script sample are both direct and on message. Be concise. Remember, the time your caller spends navigating your menu is not just their time, but the time you could be more directly engaging them in a more meaningful way. We can all get frustrated with IVR prompts that seem as long as a Tolstoy novel, so in order to keep your callers focused on the menu options you are offering, try and keep your prompts economical. The caller’s attention span is shorter than you think.

3. Sometimes Less Is More

In keeping with the theme of concision, we find that IVR scripts featuring a long list of departments can sometimes be difficult for callers to navigate. Too many options at your main menu, and impatient callers start hanging up or pressing 0 for a live representative right away. A good way to avoid losing your caller is to keep a menu that is easy to digest upon first listen. Try narrowing the initial list of department options down to a few general groups (my recommendation is five choices, initially) and expand from there.

4. Departments First, Extension Second

Unfortunately, an all-too-common common mistake in many IVR scripts is the simple way each menu option is phrased. It is much easier to first get your caller’s attention by first announcing the department they may wish to reach (“For sales….”) followed by the extension number (“….press 1”). This phrasing gives your clients time to process the options and make their decision, rather than the other way around (“Press 1 for sales”). It may seem like the minutest of details, but it is far more effective at directing your callers efficiently.

5. When Was the Last Time Anyone ‘Dialed’?

This is a bit of antiquated terminology that really has no place in any modern IVR Script. Maybe 40 to 50 years ago people were ‘dialing’ with rotary phones from their homes, but in today’s fast-paced world, most of us have iPhones that operate at lightning speed. The prompt message “press” is a far more representative instruction today. Again, many clients and other businesses will draw an initial impression from their first IVR experience with you. The last thing you will want is for your company to sound behind the times.

Of course, as times change and IVR systems modernise, new trends and best practices emerge for better call navigation and caller efficiency in your phone system.

Following these suggestions will help to draft a good solid framework for your Asterisk prompts, and provide a smooth-flowing experience for your callers!


Let me help you build the perfect IVR.

Click here to listen to the voice prompts I have recorded for Asterisk Switchvox solutions.

World-class Art Museum Replaces Antiquated Phone System with Switchvox

Milwaukee (Sized)

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is a world-class institution filled with tens of thousands of famous pieces of artwork. Although many of their antiquated masterpieces draw in large crowds, the same cannot be said for “antiquated” technology. MAM realized having an old, legacy phone system was simply bad for business. When they began their search for the perfect communications solution, they discovered not all phone systems are created equal; in fact, many of the big players in the market simply offer bloated prices on complicated systems.

The MAM is located in a 341,000 square foot, state-of-the-art museum in the heart of Milwaukee, housing an impressive 30,000-piece art collection. The building itself is a true masterpiece designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. It features vaulted glass ceilings, suspension bridges, and a moveable sunscreen. Over 400,000 visitors per year walk the cathedral esque halls of the MAM, making it one of the most popular attractions in Milwaukee.

As a top tourist destination for the city, it is imperative to have a reliable communication system to provide the pertinent information that visitors call for every day. When MAM’s digital Nortel system began failing, they knew they had to replace it quickly. The first option they turned to was a solution offered by tech giant Google. With a recognizable name and a perceived image of quality, MAM erroneously selected Google Voice as the cure to their communications problems. While the system did have its advantages, the shortcomings were much more prevalent after implementation.

When MAM returned to their search for a communications solution, they were tempted with big brand systems. As an art museum filled with recognizable works from famous artists, it is easy to understand the lure of a popular brand name. In their industry, the more recognizable a name, the better quality it must be. However, as their search continued and popular telecom providers were giving competitive bids of more than $150,000, MAM turned to Digium partner Munger Technical Services for guidance.

After detailing their needs, Munger was able to pinpoint Switchvox Unified Communications system as the perfect solution for their phone system needs. Before the consultation, MAM had admittedly been sticking to research on larger brand solutions, which came with larger price tags and more complicated proprietary systems. After exploring Switchvox, they learned they could implement an easy-to-use, feature-rich solution that offered the scalability to grow in the future – and it came in $50,000 under budget. Also, since Switchvox is built on top of open source Asterisk, concerns over future upgrades became nonexistent since they would not be required to buy expensive software or equipment. The finishing touches in the decision–making process came when MAM learned their in-house IT department could easily manage Switchvox without the need to consult outside assistance.


Learn more about why the Milwaukee Art Museum chose Switchvox over competitors and saved $50,000

Building the Business Case: Convincing Your Boss to Upgrade the Phone System

As more and more legacy phone systems are reaching their end of life, system administrators all over the country are researching their options and taking on phone-system replacement projects for their clients or boss. Technology forums across the internet (such as Spiceworks or Reddit) are filled with system administrators asking other IT professionals which phone system they are using and how their implementation projects are going. While it’s understandable that the first hurdle in upgrading technology is comparing solutions, the second (and hardest) task is often gaining the support, buy-in, and budget needed from decision makers.

Many times, businesses don’t even know what their current monthly communications costs are and simply don’t realise exactly how much money they are dumping into their legacy systems. As a sysadmin, you know the benefits of upgrading a phone system, but you need to present your case in a way that the boss will understand – including cost savings to the business. Your job is to position the proposed technology in a way that effectively communicates the problems it would solve, the additional business advantages it would provide, and the overall return on investment (ROI).

In order to receive approval for a new business phone system, here are some suggestions for presenting your business case to your boss.

Issues with Current System

When presenting your business case for a new phone system, along with your suggested solutions, first remind your boss of the issues with the current system. Are you getting customer complaints about the ability to reach employees? Are the hardware parts becoming impossible to find and order? Did you finally realise you were spending hundreds more than you should be every month for a system that doesn’t even have a conferencing option? Reminding the boss how much your system is holding your business back will make it much easier to present your proposed solution. If you can put data and statistics behind these problems, it makes your case for increased efficiency a lot easier.

Network Evaluation

Based on your complete network assessment and map of the current infrastructure in place, present your proposed solution and state your case as to why it’s the best option. Include:

     Features: Standard and advanced features offered, as well as the advantages of having them. What specific benefits will users experience with these new features? What indirect benefits will the users enjoy, such as streamlines processes or shorter on-hold times?

Here is an example: “As you know, teachers want to be reachable outside of school hours, but aren’t comfortable with parents having their private cell phone numbers. Using the Switchvox Mobile app, teachers can make and receive phone calls to and from parents on their cellphone using their personal extension. The parents only see the school caller ID, and teachers can keep their phone numbers private.”

     Cost: Pricing between an on-premises solution and a hosted solution look very different, as one is an up-front capital expense, and the latter is a monthly expense based on usage. Whichever deployment type you choose, explaining it as an investment that will pay for itself is important (especially when you compare it to what you are currently paying, which is likely to be much higher). If you pay for the on-premise system up front, it will be a lower TCO than a hosted system will be. However, if your business lacks the capital for an on-premises system and has the required setup for a hosted system, the expense become operational, and is based upon usage and number of extensions. While the TCO of a hosted system is higher than an on-premises, the little to no up-front cost is a major selling point to decisions makers. Think of it this way: Netflix has a much higher TCO than your DVD collection, but which one are you getting better use out of?

Another element of cost includes what a new system would save every month in terms of employee staffing, and IT support and maintenance. If you put your phone system in the cloud, you no longer require IT support and maintenance of a PBX server in your building, which “would save [insert dollar amount here] a month in expenses.”

   Timetable: Include an explanation of when you think the system should be deployed, and what impact it could have on the business (example: most schools upgrade their phone systems in the Summer months when staffing is minimal). This

Additional information. Your boss is likely to ask you several questions about this project, so having a solid understanding of your proposed solution is essential. Know about this information or be able to easily access it:

– Support options available

– Manuals training resources (for both IT admins and users)

– Hardware required for implementation (gateways? IP phones?)

– Structure of monthly bill

– Case studies references from businesses in a similar industry

See what Switchvox UC is all about

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New Digium IP Phones are Now Available


Digium is pleased to announce the release of a new series of Digium IP Phones. The models included in this new D6x series are the D60 value phone, the D62 gigabit value phone and the D65 gigabit feature phone. List pricing for the new series is as follows: D60 – $224.29 AUD, D62 – $304.97 AUD, and D65 – $385.65 AUD.

The new D6x series of Digium IP phones feature a complete physical overhaul of our desk phones’ aesthetic. They have an entirely new design that provides an impressively slim, sleek and modern look on your desk. They come with a handset that feels even better in your hand. And, they’ve got a gorgeous desk stand.

We’ve upgraded the entire D6x line to include big, beautiful 4.3 inch full-color screens. You get that large screen even on the D60 value phone. The fonts are larger, the resolution is great, and everything is easier to read. The phone’s user interface has been fully updated to take advantage of these new screens and makes use of colour cues (not queues, you call centre fans) to help guide the behaviour of the user. Green is good, red is bad. Active calls are blue, held calls are grey. As you use the phone, colour cues can be found throughout, making it easy to know what you should, and probably shouldn’t (don’t hang up that call!) be doing.

The D65 also benefits by including support for wireless protocol (think about it) headsets. If you were paying hundreds of dollars for an EHS-capable headset, you can now buy much less expensive headsets, pair them with your D65 and get great performance, great battery life, and the freedom to take your calls wherever you roam around your workplace, and you can save a bunch of money.

Digium’s D6x series of IP phones require Switchvox 6.2 or DPMA 3.1 or later.

At launch, we’re introducing a couple of new features with the D6x series of IP phones: Multicast audio playback and 802.1X authentication.

You can take advantage of the new Multicast audio playback feature by upgrading to Switchvox 6.3 or DPMA 3.1. Or, if you provision your Digium phones using XML, just check out the updated config options on our wiki docs.

Users of Digium’s existing D40, D45, D50 or D70 phones, take heart. You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve added the Multicast feature to them as well, available with a firmware update to the 2.1 release.

Availability is immediate, so contact Wavelink today.

Why Financial Firms Are Investing in Unified Communications

In the highly competitive financial services industry, every piece of technology implemented makes a difference in the client’s experience. Investing in a business communications solution that maximizes efficiency and creates a pleasant experience for clients is the key to expanding a firm’s portfolio and maximizing profits. Additionally, the next generation of talented financial planners, analysts, and brokers are entering the workforce and gravitating toward firms that embrace flexible and remote work options- and the tools that enable it.

While there are multiple reasons for a business to implement a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution for calling needs, forward-thinking firms are investing in Unified Communications (UC) solutions for a more diverse set of tools to increase collaboration and productivity.

Here are just some of the ways financial firms are using UC features to increase profits and expand their portfolio.

Personalized Client Experience

Potential clients make a judgment about your firm within seconds, and it begins with your automated phone system. The interactive voice response (IVR) or auto attendant UC feature can help you create a simple and logical menu for your clients to follow and can be used as a tool to reduce call volume by directing clients to the appropriate department or person. Customize your IVR with Switchvox’s professional voiceover prompts, play announcements or music, enable auto-payment, set up appointment reminders- the list of possible integrations is endless.

Financial firms handle multiple client accounts at a time, and keeping track of all that information can be a challenge. UC solutions allow for integration of the firm’s CRM (customer relationship management) systems and client databases, which prepares employees for the client interaction before they even answer the phone. When a client calls the firm with a financial question, a screen pop-up will show pertinent client information, which can include name, contact information, location, notes of prior discussions, and more. This not only personalizes the client experience, but it conveys the information required to get the client to the appropriate person right away. Clients expect top-notch service and communication from their financial advisor, so making the right impression and personalizing their experience is essential to building trust and maintaining a long-term relationship.

Always Available

The Switchvox platform is 100% web-based, which allows employees to access the entire feature set, from any browser, from any location via internet connection. Financial planners need to be available to clients beyond the convenient nine-to-five office hours, so a UC solution with mobile capabilities is vital. Available to all users is the Switchvox softphone app for iPhone® and Android®, touting the same features and abilities of the desktop version. Switchvox Mobile allows on-the-go employees the ability to make calls from their mobile device and have their clients see their firm’s caller ID information pop up, not the employee’s personal mobile number. This helps keep a consistent, professional image for your firm while maintaining the privacy of employees. With the presence feature, employees can let everyone in the firm know where they are located or what their availability status is via the Switchboard, the Switchvox mobile app, or their Digium phone. With call rules, they can personalize the order in which their phones ring, increasing the chance of being reached. For example, if Jake is in-and-out of his office all day, he can set incoming client calls to ring twice on his desk phone, then automatically transfer to his mobile phone. Or, if he is home sick and doesn’t want to be bothered, his “out for the day” status automatically adjusts his call rules to send all incoming calls straight to voicemail. Of course, all calls from VIP clients and upper-level management can be directly transferred to his mobile phone, any time of the day.

Documentation Reporting

For client information storage and reference, emails and voicemails are handled in the same manner through Switchvox. Voicemails are automatically received and stored as .wav files, which can be accessed via business phone, mobile softphone application, or email- so nothing important is ever lost in the shuffle. If the voicemail contains important client or portfolio information, employees can simply store the voicemail files into the client’s folder just as they would with an e-mail.

Financial planners do a lot of independent work, but it’s important for managers to understand how their ship is being operated. For client and investment tracking information, Switchvox generates global call logs that provide firms with the information needed to save the firm and their clients money. Call reports can be generated on-demand or scheduled on a regular basis, and serve as a way for firm managers to ensure their goals are being met and clients are being taken care of. If Kelly is consistently sending her clients’ calls to voicemail, the manager knows it’s time to have a discussion with her and ensure clients receive the attention they deserve. On the other hand, if Joe is on the phone with clients for several hours, a discussion about time management and priorities may need to happen.

Call recording is also available through Switchvox, and is a valuable tool for any business dealing with confidential information, especially finances. Record conversations on-the-fly and keep an electronic copy of the investment details or verbal permissions in the client’s file.

In the financial services world, a missed phone call can be a missed opportunity worth thousands. UC solutions such as Switchvox provide your financial firm with the tools and capabilities needed to ensure your success in this highly competitive industry. While significantly reducing costs (up to 70%) , Switchvox helps improve client interaction and collaboration, recruit and retain top talent with tools that support flexible work options and mobility features, and provides the reporting capabilities that managers need to ensure their firm is performing at a high level and growing business. Also, every feature within Switchvox is included for every user, at no additional cost – and that’s a smart investment!

Find out why this California financial firm chose Switchvox over Avaya for their communication needs


Switchvox 6.2 Features

Queue Call Control

Multimedia Chat


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11 Reasons System Administrators Love Switchvox

System Administrators love Switchvox

When a system administrator is tasked with upgrading a business phone system, there are several boxes to check when comparing solutions. Employees care about features and integrations, managers care about cost control, and sysadmins care about simplicity and flexibility on top of everything else.

The Switchvox Unified Communication (UC) solution has been a favourite choice of sysadmins across the country for several years because it satisfies the needs of every role in an organisation. The all-inclusive feature set is extensive, the system is affordable and offered in both a hosted and on-premises deployment, and above all else, it’s widely acknowledged in the IT community for its simple and easy-to-use interface.

Here are several reasons why system administrators love Switchvox:

  • The Switchvox GUI uses simple drop-down menus and quick links to efficiently maneuver through the system, eliminating complex scripting and coding.
  • The in-line help menus offer easy access to information such as next steps and terminology definitions. Access to these menus saves time for both employees and IT staff as most answers can be found without inquiring a third party.
  • With permissions, IT has complete control over who has access to what features and menus. These permissions can be updated at any time via web browser.
  • Administrative tools like IVR, call rules, and network administration are easy to configure and deliver powerful results.  Admins can set up least cost call routeing, advanced automation through the interactive voice response (IVR) system, call recording, music on hold, and more.
  • IT staff members can deliver useful integrations with other business tools like CRM, ERP and more.
  • The Extend API lets IT build integrations with Switchvox using common programming languages such as PERL and PHP.
  • JAVA API for Digium Phones allows IT to write their own applications for the handset. Notifications from other systems are delivered right to employees’ desk phones.
  • The Digium phones provision with Switchvox both through the GUI and directly on the phone in under 60 seconds.
  • The Switchvox Softphone for iPhone gives IT complete call control from their mobile device, giving them the ability to be everywhere at once. IT staff can make and receive calls, record, transfer, conference, and more- from anywhere.
  • With Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), admins can easily transfer calls from their desk phone to their mobile phone, which allows them to continue the conversation with a user and not have to give out a mobile number to reach them on.
  • Admins can create reports on system status, phone status, disc usage, and many other vital statistics through the Switchvox reporting tools.

Watch the webinar below to learn more about these and many more reasons System Administrators love Switchvox

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