When it comes to telephony (or VoIP), there have traditionally been 2 types of organisations I have come across. You have old school outfits that have been laying cabling and wiring analogue systems since the dawn of time and are used to crawling through small dusty cupboards. Then there are IT organisations who have always dealt with computer hardware and software. Typically, they have been running a break fix model and more recently moved to proactive monitoring via the likes of RMM.
Each organisation faces their own hurdles when it comes to VoIP. The experienced exchange veterans have always deployed phone systems a specific way and not dealt with IT. And the newer IT companies have not had experience with voice networks. They face technical challenges to learn how it is deployed. This is of course resolved fairly quickly when both outfits gain experience in how VoIP works. They quickly learn how it is deployed and become comfortable with best practice around these more modern technologies.
I regularly travel around New Zealand as a technical trainer for 3CX certifications. I also share the new functionality released with our solutions, on various channels. (Fun fact: I had not travelled to the South Island before my role here!). A lot of conversations I have, feature similar themes. I’ll recap below.
Is VoIP a good fit for my customer? There are a lot of telcos out there offering similar services aggressively
A VoIP solution is a good fit for anyone who wants to experience cost reductions on their phone bill, provided they have the internet bandwidth to use it. Most of the time a customer will be price driven. However, a lot of the cloud solutions offered here in NZ are very basic offerings where a phone rings, but that’s about it. The moment I or a reseller demos 3CX for instance you can see staff members’ eyes light up as they realise that they can get so much more out of a system. Functionality we take for granted such as presence, video conferencing, advanced call flow, reporting, CRM integration (love contact screen pop!) etc. excites them. Immediately the questions start to fly asking whether x or y is possible and 99% of the time the answer is yes!
I looked at VoIP years ago and it was just too hard. I’m not sure we have the resource in house for this?
75% of any successful installation is planning. The rest is making sure the network setup is correct and a call flow has been signed off before you even get started. One of the value adds that Soft Solutions has is our in-house resource to assist with scoping (give us a call!). We have chargeable professional services for newer partners on their first deployments, as they become involved in the VoIP space. On top of the free technical training available for 3CX, it helps to utilise our resources for the first installation. Have a technician on hand to watch and learn, as we step through an install and best practice for getting it right the first time. This leaves a very happy end customer and increases the knowledge held by the reseller. Voice technology has made leaps and bounds since its first steps into the world. The days of cowboy installations ruining the end user experience are mainly behind us. Although, these can present an opportunity for partners to get in and remedy rogue systems as well – nothing better than a system audit to uncover things. We can help demo 3CX in person or via a video conference, to any potentials as you get the hang of pitching these smarter technologies.
Simultaneous call (SC). I am bamboozled
A simultaneous call is any established call between point A and point B. The simplest way to look at this is to imagine the tin can string telephone we had as kids. Any party that needs to call via the tin phone will have a string joined between them, whether they are inside or in a tree house. It is licensed via the string, not the tin cans or type of string used (think codecs). Sizing the correct SC count can seem tricky. Generally, if it’s a small business, you may be able to get by with a small number if they aren’t active on the phone all the time. The opposite would hold true for a contact call centre with queues or a hotel that needs wake up calls. The more strings that you need between people, the higher the simultaneous call count you require. Upgrading to a higher SC is now easier than ever. We can assist with sizing it correctly the first time, or help move to a license with a greater capacity if required. Just always remember any call is a SC – internal, external, queues etc.
Won’t someone think of the fax / analogue line?
Fax is one of those older technologies that is slowly giving up the ghost. It is still popular with law firms and medical institutions and presents a challenge when it comes to VoIP. Fax is an analogue technology (Electric Printing Telegraph when it was invented in 1843). Devices known as Analogue Telephony Adapters (ATA’s) drive a conversion between analogue and digital. There are specific codecs they can use for it. The problem with fax is it is entirely dependent on the analogue line quality. Anyone who has worked with POTS (plain old telephony system) knows how flakey it can be with line voltages, preannouncement times for caller ID, etc. A simple general recommendation is if a customer absolutely needs a fax machine, just leave it as is. Leave the machine, leave the line and let it sit there until the end of time.
Well Matt, I sure would like to have one of these in person conversations!
We are here to help and are only a phone call away. As mentioned, we are often visiting your part of the country. Every time we hold an event, we always come away with probing questions typically not asked online. People connecting with people in conversation is really important. We also have a NZ VoIP LinkedIn group where we share the latest news; a monthly VoIP email packed product info and upcoming sessions in person. Last but not least, we also have our Weekly Newsletter which covers a succinct range of news, events and promotions from our managed brands. Seize the opportunity to ensure your customer is not talking to someone else. Explore how VoIP can work for your clients.