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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.

UC and CRM integration

Customers are letting businesses know in no uncertain terms that they expect a tailored experience every time they log in or call. Delivering that experience is becoming a baseline requirement and many businesses depend on robust CRM systems to enable that personalized attention. But you can’t get full value from this centralized goldmine of customer interaction data if it isn’t easily available, intuitive and integrated into the daily routines of call center agents, receptionists, sales and marketing professionals, and anyone else handling customer calls. If this data languishes in siloed interfaces, you’re missing out on its true potential to go beyond simply getting you a ticket to the dance.

Enter UCx Integrator, which unleashes the power of this critical data by making it available just when you need it. It integrates information from the CRM system (and other business apps) into TPx’s unified communications (UC) suite. So for instance, when a customer calls in, the person answering the phone will get an on-screen pop-up with the caller’s stored CRM information – so the employee knows the customer’s identity and history before they even pick up the phone. One click gets you to the customer’s full record.

The result? Prepared customer service reps with all the key info they need to efficiently take care of a customer’s query or concern in an informed, personal way. In short, it sends a message to the customer that your company knows them and is serious about treating customers like the guests of honor that they are.

UCx Integrator has a number of additional rich features, all geared to help customer-facing workers up their professional game. This includes full call control, so users can click to place, receive, transfer and hang up calls directly from the CRM, and concurrent search to uncover contact information across multiple CRMs. Users can also search and dial from a personal address book or the corporate directory, while real-time availability allows users to see if a co-worker is on the phone before transferring a call. Call logging, meanwhile, allows reps to see details on up to 20 recent calls, including missed calls. Users can also copy a phone number from any application, and it’ll activate a pop-up to dial that number.

Out of the box, UCx Integrator meshes with over two dozen of the most popular CRM systems and databases, including ACT!, ConnectWise, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage, and Salesforce.com. CRM systems are just part of the picture, though. UCx Integrator also brings value to common business applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus/IBM Notes, Google Contacts, and Skype for Business, and it works with more than 200 industry-specific applications in verticals such as legal, healthcare, finance, property management, and many more. And if none of those match up to your requirements, a custom integration may be possible.

Customers are the lifeline of your business, and in today’s hyper-competitive environment, offering them a platinum-tier standard of service can be a key differentiator. Reach out to your TPx representative today to find out how to unleash the data housed in your CRM and business app environments.

About the Author

Nicholas Clapper is a Senior Manager of Product at TPx. He has more than 10 years of experience in product management, and in that time he has built up his expertise in hosted voice services, particularly the BroadSoft platform. Nicholas leads a cross-functional project team at TPx that manages the company’s hosted communications products, including the UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service, SmartVoice SIP Trunking, and Internet access circuits. He is always looking for ways to help businesses communicate more effectively and more efficiently.

audio conferencing on laptop

When it comes to business communications, emerging channels like social media and video chat get a lot of ink – and deservedly so. But the tried-and-true ways of collaborating in the workplace persist, and in fact they are growing in usage. Nowhere is that more evident than in audio conferencing, which is still seeing impressive continued growth, driven in part by the rising adoption of unified communications (UC).

Audio conferencing is used for key applications like company-wide presentations, webinars, lectures and training events; but it’s also part-and-parcel of everyday business meetings, bringing together disparate and remote employees, partners and customers. Back in the pre-VoIP days (remember those?), a bridge had to be planned with a “reservation” made well in advance, and toll charges applied for every person dialing in. Can you imagine?

Today’s audio conferencing norm is clearly reservation-less and VoIP-based, and the combination of voice and on-the-fly bridging makes it a critical tool for supporting strategic business processes and collaboration. That’s why it’s still a sought-after tool for getting things done – even though it’s not as buzzy as some of the other collaboration channels out there.

Reservation-less service means that starting a call is as easy as dialing in and entering your conference ID number; so users are empowered to connect anyone, anytime with dedicated conference calling bridges. This alone increases ease-of-use (and adoption); but it’s the integration of conferencing with UC that boosts that value even further.

While standalone suites for audioconferencing are available, its inclusion in UC packages means that it can be seamlessly woven into the rest of the UC feature set: you can IM someone to join the bridge on the fly, or escalate a one-on-one call to conferencing with a click, all with support for IP phones, soft clients and mobile handsets. All of this goes to the improved user experience for team collaboration that remains at the heart of UC’s value proposition.

Plus, there’s no need to manage a separate contract, nor to deal with support and integration overhead with a third-party teleconferencing provider – and there aren’t any additional subscription or toll charges.

TPx’s industry-leading, award-winning UCx suite provides audio conferencing as a standard feature – meaning everyone in your company can have their own bridge. Reach out to your TPx representative today to find out how we can support all of your conferencing needs – and make collaboration easier and better.