Adventures in Telecom's Brave New World

Planet Telecom - It's just better.

Posts tagged voip

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Old Tech - New Techniques for Hackers

An article came through my inbox today about a lawyer’s office in the United States that had over $20,000.00 in charges from their phone systems being hacked and pirated for voice traffic. 

While I’ve heard of this before (even locally), this article really stuck, and brought up a great point that few organizations really consider (mainly because a lot of them don’t know that this is possible!)

Older, legacy hardware isn’t just hard to find replacements for, or expensive to fix when it inevitably breaks, it’s potentially a security risk.  

And in today’s day and age, this is pretty understandable. We have moved light years forward in all technology in the last 10 years - for everything from computers, network infrastructure, mobile devices and cloud based technology. Is it really any wonder that older, outdated legacy hardware is an easy target for tech savvy criminals?  

Moving to a hosted solution can not only mitigate these potential security risks by taking your communications off site and placing it in a secure, managed area, it also moves the liability away from your infrastructure, having the provider become responsible to maintain security on the network - by people who are experts in network design and maintenance. 

As well, the feature set, scalability and maneuverability of a modern platform can improve the end user experience dramatically, and allow for an organization to best leverage their human assets in a more modern way.

Here’s a link to the article if you’d like to read it.

Filed under voip pbx legacy hardware phone systems planet telecom edmonton business communications

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Brand Evangelism

It’s one of the oldest cliches in business - do right by a client and they’ll tell three people, do wrong by them, and they’ll tell 10 (or something like that)….

The question is -  how do you flip those disproportionate numbers around, and have a happy client tell as many people as they can about what a fantastic job you’re doing and how much they’re enjoying your product/service?

The answer is deceptively simple: Deliver. Consistently.

Don’t promise the moon and deliver blue cheese - make it happen, or, fall on your sword and make it right.

Doing what you say you’re going to do (ie; deliver consistently) is the easiest and best way to create “Brand Evangelists” who will take their positive experience with your company out to their contacts, their co-workers and colleagues, essentially, their world.

This isn’t as simple as just referrals - this is the next level - where your product/service becomes a discussed topic - and you’re presented as a definitive answer to the question of competition  - effectively taking any other players completely out of the equation….

A Brand Evangelist turns “oh - try this company” into “you HAVE to call so and so -they’re who I use, and they’re the BEST!!”  

Everyone wants to have “someone” that they know and trust in a specific area of expertise - why not make it you and your company?  

In telecom, you will find most people will rate their vendor as “satisfactory” at the best of times - so you can imagine the uphill battle that we have in creating Brand Evangelists…. However, we’ve succeeded on more that a few occasions, and we’re continuing to grow - not because of a lofty marketing budget (don’t we all wish for one of those…..) but because of our clients - who are continuing to promote our brand for us - not because there’s necessarily anything in it for them - but because we’ve done a great job - and delivered on what we said we would, consistently. 

We all want our clients to become our Brand Evangelists - for the simple reason that if you do what you are supposed to do as a vendor, deliver consistently then you gain an organic marketing team - a pack of roaming Brand Evangelists, spreading the good word for your brand - completely cost free.

In the age of communication that we live in - where the term word of takes on a whole new meaning - a few enthusiastic words about your company will go far further than you can imagine.

If a small telecommunications company can do that - why can’t you?  

Filed under planet telecom voip edmonton business phone brand

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Why not be creative?

Leveraging telephony in new and interesting ways is always interesting, and that’s why Voice over IP is such a great space to be in. 

Having complete control over the way that a switch handles a call, (and why) based on pre-defined needs can be an extremely interesting way to showcase your company, but there is so much more that can be done in today’s age of technological advancements. 

In the age of the Web, and the ever present “On-Line Chat” bubble, integrating voice (and maybe an actual human being from time to time) into initiatives is something that is starting to become “de-rigeur” once again for marketers, sales focused companies, and organizations that get that customer service should be more than a redirect to an FAQ page. 

Imagine that - LIVE PEOPLE answering phones to talk to potential clientele, PEOPLE talking to people, rather than machines with obvious hearing problems frustrating callers into hanging up! 

Which begs the question - Why not be creative? 

In our age there’s so much that can be done with telephony, and more importantly, the canvas on which we can be creative with HOW we communicate is absolutely gigantic!

Tie telephony into your marketing to increase sales, offer local numbers in multiple markets to reach people that you hadn’t touched before - tie extended and creative voice services into your customer service initiatives to improve client satisfaction, and since we’re getting crazy here - why not look at your existing services and think about how you could do things better there too?  

We live in an age that a phone number can be called as easily as your blog can be accessed - simply by scanning a barcode.

A time where voicemail is no longer tied to a physical phone on a desk somewhere - it is living in the cloud, and can be delivered to an email account anywhere, which is much faster than calling in to “check your messages”

And your phones, oh your phones….They are really only dependant on power and an internet connection.

There are some fantastic ways to go about handling the way that you talk to people - especially if you want to think outside of the box….. 

So go ahead, give us a call - we’ll help you get creative, and start talking to people again.

We’re pretty sure that you’ll soon remember how good it can be.  

Planet Telecom - It’s just BETTER

Filed under voip planet telecom voice phones customer service marketing sales voice over IP microsoft TAG

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Feeling guilty about the environment? Telecommute!

At Planet Telecom, we’re passionate about doing things differently, thinking outside of the box, and looking to find big picture solutions to problems that businesses face every day

Sometimes, the solution to a problem that an organization faces is not always what or where you’d think it is.

A major concern of many businesses today is their ability to be more environmentally responsible. 

Wanting to help is one thing, but many organizations still find themselves sitting on the sidelines, frustrated by their inability to implement potentially costly environmental initiatives, find that many solutions require a reduction in “quality of life” at the office, or, inevitably turn into “make work projects” resulting in lost productivity, participant attrition, and a decreased desire from the organization to participate, leaving the initiative floundering in no man’s land – essentially making it a waste of time and money. 

SO – what can small and mid-sized businesses do to help affect the change that we all want, be better stewards for the environment, and have a positive impact? And where to start? There are so many options…..

Today, let’s look at the concept of helping employees to telecommute. While  there are most certainly naysayers out there for this, we have to remember - “Work is an activity, not a place”……. Just because someone is “at work” doesn’t mean they’re “working”……and vice versa. (Besides, if you really have to babysit your employees to make sure they’re working, you’ve already got a problem….)

Traditionally, telecommuting has been regarded as an employee benefit, as well as a cost saver and potential productivity booster for the employer (which is most certainly true too - we will address this more in another post) – However, there is the ENORMOUS potential to have an extremely positive effect on the environment - simply by reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by your employees who are just trying to get to the office. 

Reduce the amount of people who have to drive to work, and you reduce the amount of C02 your organization is directly responsible for producing. 

While this may seem like an odd or even overly simplified way to attack your organization’s carbon footprint –the proof is really in the proverbial pudding!

For the sake of consistency, let’s take a middle of the road approach, and assume that everyone is driving a “medium” car, and, we’ll use the national average commute distance of 7.2KM each way (14.4km total – Edmonton is actually higher at 15.6KM round trip).

If you have an organization that has 25 employees who can telecommute (instead of commuting in vehicles) just one day per week – this can result in your organization directly reducing C02 emissions by 2.8 TONNES a year!*

(That’s 5,600 pounds – which, for comparisons sake is roughly the equivalent of 11 full grown male grizzley bears, a 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 (regular cab), or roughy 12,346 litres of water…..) 

When an employee is not in the office, you don’t need to have their lights or their computer on, resulting in lower power consumption – which further reduces your overall environmental impact as an organization (not to mention costs).

Planet Telecom’s Compello hosted IP Centrex product allows you to deploy a telecommuting strategy right out of the box!

The nature of our technology enables workers to be virtually anywhere that there is power and high speed internet – be it the office, home, or elsewhere - an employee’s extension can go with them, and be where they are allowing them to operate literally as though they were at their desk in the office.  Now, work is what you do, not where you do it, and you’re helping the environment - which makes everyone happy!

Does your communications vendor think about these things? Don’t you think they should? 

Now that you know that a communications strategy that can directly reduce your organization’s overall carbon footprint, what are you waiting for? 

Drop us a line today, and we can help build a communications strategy that allows for telecommuting employees.

Planet Telecom - It’s just BETTER.

Filed under carbon footprint telecommute save the planet environment voip telecom

15 notes

Soft Costs (What about Morale? )

As we start to come out of the recession and feel the purse strings loosen a little, there seems to still be a lot of focus on hard costs, without examining the idea of “other” costs. When we look at the price of a solution, do we REALLY know what it costs, and are we considering what the actual costs are when we add in the potential variables (ie; “soft costs”)? 

While for business, hard cost is most certainly a primary consideration (as it well should be) we are starting to see that select organizations are embracing the idea of cost versus value in order to deliver what they actually need - and developing a lasting productive solution that delivers consistent, measureable value and actually includes consideration for soft costs - as opposed to resorting to cutting corners to save a few dollars. (Which inevitably leads to an increase in both hard and soft costs down the road……) 

In fact, I don’t believe it has EVER been successfully argued that doing it poorly twice (or even three times….) is ultimately cheaper than doing it right the first time…..

If a solution is able to solve a specific set of problems, or be more efficient, then it will generally reduce the amount of time that someone has to spend on it or with it.

When considering this type of high level “soft cost” you can add hourly (or billable) rates, productivity-per-manhour measurements, and even revenue generation.

At another level, businesses are starting to consider whether or not a solution has the ability to influence staff morale…..Staff morale directly contributes more to the bottom line than almost any deployment has the ability to, and is almost completely manageable by the organization. A happy staff is a productive staff,  while an unhappy staff is going to slow down projects, create process headaches, and serve to slow down the overall forward momentum of any organization. 

Knowing that, wouldn’t you want to deliver them the tools to work more efficiently and be happier?

Does the communications solution that you’re examining consider the element of morale within your organization?   

Did you think that a communications solutions provider would even consider this?

Planet Telecom has!

Planet Telecom’s Compello Office solution allows workers to increase their management of one of the most critical morale elements - work life balance - and work remotely from almost anywhere while maintaining a visible local presence. This allows employees to shorten a lengthy commute, escape for the winter months, or work from home in their pyjamas - having a direct effect on staff morale.  

Staff morale and how it is directly tied to productivity is always a consideration of business, but is not necessarily always added into the value column when considering what things really cost when deploying a solution. 

It never hurts to consider the soft costs when looking at solutions, and as a business, considering whether a provider has thought about these types of scenarios could potentially be a real cost saver in the long run….

Planet Telecom - it’s just BETTER.

Filed under telecom voice over ip voip planet carrier voice business morale phones PBX hosted