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Does your business have an old phone system that’s on its last legs? If it’s time for it to be replaced, you’ve got an important decision ahead of you. Buying the correct communications platform can truly make a difference to the success of your business.

With this 2-minute video, you’ll learn the 9 key questions to ask when upgrading your phone system.

International Calling with UCx

Whether you’re a small company or a large enterprise, chances are you have requirements for international calling. And if you don’t now, there’s a good chance you will soon. In today’s global age, having at least a handful of customers, partners and employees that are based outside of U.S. borders is increasingly common. So, it’s important to choose a high-quality international dialing solution that can help you do business no matter where the person on the other end of the phone is located.

At TPx, we pride ourselves on delivering high-quality communications on a cost-effective, flexible, tailored basis. To that end, our UCx hosted voice and unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platform offers three options for both calling internationally and supporting users outside of the United States.

To start, UCx users in the U.S. can call out to international numbers with an affordable International Select Outbound add-on bundle. The bundle includes 1,000 minutes of usage to 25 of the most commonly called countries.

Meanwhile, the International Inbound feature enables businesses to offer customers, partners, suppliers and employees from around the globe a way to contact them with a local number. The feature extends an existing UCx service internationally by providing an international direct inbound dialing (DID) number which automatically routes calls to a domestic U.S. DID. It’s ideal if a company is based in the U.S. but has a few users in other countries.

This inbound-only option also lets businesses leverage the power of IP voice to establish a local presence in another country. A customer in an overseas location can reach the business in the U.S. by using a local number rather than having to make an international call.  For example: let’s say your business is booming in Brazil, but you don’t have the means to open an office in Brazil at this time. You can get a Brazilian phone number which is routed back to your main number in the United States. You gain the appearance of being on the ground in Brazil, and your customers there don’t have to make an expensive international call to reach you – it’s a win-win.

We’re proud to add that TPx will also soon launch a two-way international service. This is a true international number that you can provide to your established business locations outside of the United States. It allows your employees in those countries to place and receive free local calls, including calls to local emergency services – and that’s all on top of the many other benefits of using our UCx service. While this may sound simple, it’s actually quite difficult for a U.S.-based phone service provider to offer this full level of service to international locations. After extensive development and testing, TPx is excited to be able to offer a complete international phone service to a rapidly-growing list of countries.

Here’s an example to help clarify the difference between the inbound-only and two-way services. Let’s suppose you have an employee based in London, and that employee uses their UCx phone to call the restaurant across the street and order lunch. With the inbound-only service, the call is actually an international call since it goes out with a U.S. number – even though, from the employee’s perspective, they’re only calling across the street. The two-way service creates a more natural calling experience – it’s a free local call that goes out on a U.K. number.

Does your business have a global bent? Call your TPx representative today to find out more about how our flexible UCx solution can help you expand internationally in the way that makes the most sense for your business.

 

SMS messaging, text messaging

Even with all kinds of advanced communications tools at our disposal, the humble text message still remains an integral part of everyday life. Perhaps the reason for texting’s staying power is its ubiquity. It doesn’t matter what kind of cell phone you have, or what carrier you use – you can still send a text message to almost anyone on the planet. In fact, about 4.2 billion people have the capability to text, which far exceeds the number of fixed phone lines globally (972 million).

Although texting is most often used in a personal context, it can be important in the business world as well. We receive work-related emails and phone calls all the time, but hardly ever text messages – and as a result, text messages break through the clutter. Consider that, on average: 17% of emails are opened, 20% of calls are answered, but 99% of text messages are read. That huge difference in the delivery rate just caused my jaw to drop, and I bet yours did too. Imagine the impact it would have on your business if you knew there was a 99% chance that your customer or prospect would see your message! I dare say that no other communications method can even come close.

There is one problem with text messaging in a business environment, though. To send a text message, you have to use your mobile phone. And these days, it’s most likely that phone is your own personal phone, not one issued by your company. Do you really want a customer or colleague to have your personal cell phone number? What happens if they call or text you off-hours? What if the battery dies and you don’t get their message right away? There are many ramifications to this approach, but most importantly, it doesn’t give you any way to keep your business life and personal life separated.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to that problem. I’ll let you in on a little secret: when it comes to text messaging, you don’t have to be restricted to using your cell phone. If your company has a unified communications platform like UCx, you can send and receive SMS text messages through the desktop app, exactly the same way that you’d send a chat message. Because those SMS messages use your business phone number, it means you can use a single phone number for many different methods of communication, including calls, text, and video. Even better, there’s no longer any reason to share your personal cell phone number for business use.

Text messaging may seem like a small detail at first glance, but it can be a huge competitive advantage to your business – as long as it’s done in a thoughtful and professional way. UCx with SMS integration gives your team the tools to tap into this powerful method of communication while maintaining a uniform business identity for every user. What a creative way to make use of familiar technology!

About the Author

Stacey Kendall is the Product Marketing Manager for TPx’s suite of Communications & Collaboration services. With over 20 years of experience in marketing communications for highly technical and regulated industries, she presents complex topics in a straightforward manner for current and prospective customers. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She resides in the greater Boston area.

stay connected on your day off

This time of year, there is a distinct possibility that you’ll wake up in the morning, see a perfectly sunny forecast, and have a Ferris Bueller moment. If you’d rather spend the day driving around in your best friend’s dad’s Ferrari, you’ll be glad to know that UCx gives you the ability to carry on with business anyway.

You may find these features of UCx to be particularly helpful on your Day Off:

Calling on Mobile App

When you’ve got the UCx mobile app running on your iPhone or Android phone, you can use your smart phone to place and receive calls on your business phone number. Your callers will have no idea that you aren’t in the office… that is, unless they can hear the baseball game in the background.

Chat on Mobile App

You can also use the UCx mobile app to send instant messages to your colleagues back at the office while you’re on the road. For example, while you’re visiting downtown, you could ask your coworker from the city: “Where’s a good place to park the car?” (Just don’t do it while you’re driving!)

Call Forwarding Selective

If you don’t want your cell phone to ring off the hook all day, but you definitely want to be able to answer when your dad calls to check in on you, you can use Call Forwarding Selective to only forward those calls that matter most.

Voicemail Transcription

With the Voicemail Transcription add-on for UCx, you can receive your voicemail messages as transcribed emails. In other words, if you find yourself somewhere that’s too noisy for you to listen to your voicemail – such as a parade that spontaneously breaks out into a synchronized dance routine – you won’t miss a beat, because you can read your voicemail instead.

Remember that life moves pretty fast… if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. And when you’re not tied down to your desk phone, it’s so much easier to live!

 

About the Author

Stacey Kendall is a Product Marketing Manager at TPx Communications. Her role is focused on marketing for TPx’s suite of Communications & Collaboration offerings, including the UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service and SmartVoice SIP Trunking. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She resides in the greater Boston area.

Music on Hold

We’ve all been there: someone puts your call on hold, or you’re stuck in a call center’s queue, and suddenly you’re hearing that dreaded music. Why, oh why is it always light classical… can’t they use something more interesting? The answer to that question is more nuanced than you may think.

The Role of Music on Hold

First, let’s talk about why it’s important to have music on hold in the first place. Suppose you’re that caller that got put on hold or into a queue, and you heard absolutely nothing. How would you know that you haven’t been disconnected? 90% of callers in this situation will hang up within 40 seconds… and I can’t say I blame them. Waiting is hard enough, but waiting in silence – while also wondering if you just got hung up on – is just brutal.

On-hold music can also serve another purpose: it’s an effective tool for marketing your business. Did you know that 20% of callers have purchased additional products based on the offers they heard while on hold? Imagine the impact that could have on your business!

OK, But Why Is It Always Classical?

There are a couple of reasons why music on hold tends to be full of innocuous instrumentals. Pop music is just that – popular, and callers’ ideas of what’s popular and what isn’t can vary wildly. Sure, your younger callers would be thrilled to hear a little Ed Sheeran on the line, but your older callers might roll their eyes (I’m just thinking out loud here). Instrumental genres like classical or light jazz are something we can all agree are tolerable for a short wait, even if they’re not our personal favorites.

Another reason that you might not consider is copyright protection. In the U.S. and most other countries, copyright law does not allow you to use copyrighted music in your phone system without a proper usage license. If you did decide to use that Ed Sheeran song as your on-hold music, you’d have to shell out a lot of money to get it licensed. For most businesses, that level of expense won’t be the best use of your valuable resources. It’s much more cost-effective to use music that’s royalty-free or in the public domain. Fortunately, there are plenty of vendors out there who will provide this type of music at a very reasonable cost; and some will even do a custom voiceover on top of that music track.

How to Change Your Music on Hold in UCx

Once you’ve settled on the type of on-hold music you want for your business, it’s easy to update it if you’re a UCx customer. There are four steps:

  1. Make sure your music file meets our specifications. (We suggest using Audacity, which is free and easy to use.)
  2. Upload the file to your Announcement Repository.
    1. Log in to the UCx Web Portal at voice.dscicorp.com with your admin credentials.
    2. On the Profile – Basic menu, select Announcement Repository.
    3. Click Add.
    4. In the Name text box, enter a name that will be used to identify your new music.
    5. Click Choose File and select the music file on your computer.
    6. Click OK to save your changes.
  3. Use the Music/Video on Hold menu to specify which file to use for your on-hold music.
    1. Click Services on the left menu, then select Music/Video on Hold in the Basic column.
    2. If applicable, select Edit next to the Group or Department name.
    3. Click the radio button next to Custom Music/Video File, then select your newly uploaded file in the drop-down list.
    4. Click OK to save your changes.
  4. With the file uploaded and all changes saved, your next caller will hear your fantastic new on-hold music.

And that’s all there is to it!

Have you changed the on-hold music for your business lately? If so, what was it about the music you chose that made it perfect? (Yeah, that was another Ed Sheeran joke…)

 

About the Author

Stacey Kendall is a Product Marketing Manager at TPx Communications. Her role is focused on marketing for TPx’s suite of Communications & Collaboration offerings, including the UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service and SmartVoice SIP Trunking. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She resides in the greater Boston area.