TPx Blog

By Nancy Ridge of Telecom Brokers

As a technology adviser, I often consult with small and medium business (SMB) owners who recognize the importance of technology to the growth of their companies but don’t have the time to stay on top of the latest products and services available to them. As a result, I spend much of my time keeping business clients up to speed on today’s rapidly changing technologies, new players and viable solutions. Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about TPx UCx solutions.

Those of us in California have known TPx, formerly TelePacific, as the provider that set the standard for quality of service and commitment to customers for the past two decades. The company has a proven history of focusing on relationships as much as technology, which helps us deliver a range of solutions to meet the evolving needs of business users and take care of those users long after implementation. Over time, TPx has evolved into a national managed services carrier whose UCaaS, SD-WAN and managed IT solutions help SMBs drive workforce productivity, improve the quality of products and services, and attract and retain new customers.

I say this as an impartial industry observer and representative of dozens of carriers and other service providers. Our company, Telecom Brokers, works with hundreds of independent sales agents to provide all manner of technology solutions to business clients across the country. In the past, our agents’ discussions with clients frequently focused on phone service, Internet access and network connectivity. That’s still a part of the conversation, of course. But increasingly our agent partners are talking to clients about addressing functional challenges that cause them to be inefficient, serve customers poorly or lose business.

Increasingly, our agents are leveraging TPx products to present new ideas to SMB clients. For example, rather than define collaboration, mobility and cloud as separate domains, TPx enables us to present them as integrated components of its UCx solution. UCx supports file sharing and makes it easier and more secure for mobile employees to stay connected on the go. UCx also gives businesses the ability to transcribe voicemails that can then be read and stored as email, and connect customer service reps in an internal call center that’s integrated with their CRM to deliver pertinent customer information.

With UCx, there also is no need for a separate conferencing service. Indeed, UCx conferencing services perform well and offer features and controls not available with many other systems. That pleases a lot of SMB clients, but they are most excited to learn that they can combine UCx with SD-WAN for Quality of Service (QoS) and failover, even for a single location. In other words, they don’t have to fear moving to VoIP even if they’ve previously experienced poor quality with well-known VoIP brands.

I’ve only touched on a few of the advantages of UCx, but it’s these kinds of capabilities that make life easier for our SMB clients. The challenge for technology distributors like myself is that clients aren’t aware of all the benefits. But that’s a challenge I’m happy to take on if it helps my clients do business better.

About the Author

Nancy Ridge is executive vice president for Telecom Brokers, a full-service technology distributor with a portfolio of products which includes phone service, Internet, MPLS, cloud computing, security and other communication related products from over 150 global service providers. Ridge has served national and key accounts in the telecommunications and utility industries for more than 27 years, serving in senior management positions. She also is past president and co-founder of Women in the Channel, a past board member for Technology Channel Association. Ridge has been recognized as a 2013 nominee for Orange County Women in Business award, and was honored by a 2015 Silver “Stevie” award from the American Business Association for her work with Women in the Channel.

 
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.

When I was a kid, I will never forget the first time I rode my bike to our local store that I had previously only been able to walk to.  The wind in my face, the pavement moving so fast it was a blur.  Not to mention how quickly I could get there…it was a HUGE difference!  I never realized how slow walking was until I rode my bike.

Of course, I didn’t know it then, but looking back on it now I was experiencing what is known as a Quantum Leap.  A Quantum Leap, according to Webster anyway, is an abrupt change, sudden increase, or dramatic advance. Riding my bike to the store versus walking was definitely all those things. I never ever looked at going to the store the same way. I certainly didn’t entertain the idea of ever walking to the store again.  Why would I…I had my bike. Fast forward several decades, more of them than I would like to admit, and we have that same type of Quantum Leap going on in business communications.

Unified Communications is redefining how businesses respond, communicate, and service their clients, vendors, prospective customers, and everyone in between.  Whether it is the power of a “I need help now” plea to a predefined group of contacts, the ability to effortlessly review a contract remotely with potential for a signature, or just being able to have your office phone “follow” you wherever you go, Unified Communications (UC) is changing the way we all do business.  Just like my bike all those years ago changed my ease and ability to go to the store more quickly and efficiently, UC will DRAMATICALLY INCREASE the speed and efficiency you conduct your business.  The Quantum Leap you will experience when upgrading to a BEST IN CLASS Unified Communications Solution like UCx will be one that you always remember.

Oddly enough, there are still a lot of you that are still “walking to the store” with your current communications set up.  You are not convinced that this technology will help your business.  You have no idea how much faster you could be going.  There are others of you that may have tried “riding your bike”, only to find that the technology or company you chose didn’t get you where you wanted to be.  Our award winning UCx Platform can help you overcome both of these.  Just remember, until you make the move to UC, you won’t realize how slow you’ve been moving.

Here are just some of the solutions that will get you and your business into YOUR Quantum Leap:

 

UCx Bundles

No other unified communications (UC) product delivers more functionality or value than UCx. And you don’t have to take our word for that – it’s racked up industry awards ranging from innovation accolades to multiple “UC product of the year” honors.

But sometimes you don’t need all that functionality, all of the time, for everyone in your organization. So, we’ve made UCx available in three easily-scaled user bundles that give you clear and direct control over the features you implement.

This way, you can spend only on what you need, with the ability to seamlessly scale up as your company grows and your needs change. Since it’s a managed solution, making changes is easy. And with the ability to mix-and-match bundles among your users, every member of your team will have the right set of tools for his or her specific job.

Here’s a quick rundown of our UCx user bundles:

UCx Basic

For lobbies, conference rooms, and visitors.

As the name implies, this package offers basic voice calling, with usage pooled among users. UCx Basic is ideal for common areas like break rooms, hallways, or conference rooms that just need a dialtone. It’s also a good fit for the lobby and visitors’ offices, since it’s unlikely that visitors will need to access features like instant messaging or voicemail.

UCx Voice

For office-based employees with no mobility needs.

Office workers can seriously benefit from the productivity gains afforded by UC – and even more so with the unique, intuitive calling features offered by the UCx Voice user bundle. These include hoteling, do-not-disturb, simultaneous or sequential ring for incoming calls, and much more. UCx Voice is the perfect solution if you’re looking to replace an old phone system and gain new functionality, but not quite ready to make the jump to full UC.

UCx Complete

For employees comfortable collaborating on multiple devices.

Our full-featured UC service takes into account that today’s knowledge workers need new ways to connect and collaborate. UCx Complete offers everything the other two bundles do, plus a feature-packed UCx app (available for desktop and mobile devices) offering productivity-enhancing features like chat and SMS messaging, online meetings, and built-in audio and video conferencing. Even better, there will be no more wrestling over shared conference bridges or accounts – because every UCx Complete user gets their own dedicated online meeting room with a 50-user audio bridge, group chat, and screen sharing!

Contact your TPx representative today to see how easy it is to put together a package of UCx bundles that can let your business reap the benefits of UC, while paying only for what you need and use. Stay ahead of the competition and make the most of your employees’ time.

 

set up UC for holiday

Winter is finally abating and warm days, long holiday weekends, and summer vacations lie ahead. As companies prepare for barbecue season, setting up call forwarding and preparing holiday phone schedules should be on the to-do list. The good news is, a unified communications (UC) platform like UCx can help companies manage all of these needs through complex call routing and collaboration, so your team can enjoy the summer season without impacting productivity or your customers’ experience.

First and foremost, companies can better serve their customers and partners by letting them know when the office or store is closed over long weekends and during summer breaks. Much like an out-of-office responder for email, a holiday greeting means that callers won’t be left wondering why no one has gotten back to them. For example: 

“Thanks for calling Our Amazing Company! Our Main Street office will be closed on Monday, May 27th in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.”

And for some businesses, the doors may be closed for the day, the weekend, or even for the whole week, but callers may need to still get through to you if necessary. In this case, you’ll want to communicate that too:

“To leave us a message, please press 1. If this is urgent, we’re still here to help — please press 2.”

If you’re a UCx user, off-hours greetings and call routing can be set up in the Auto Attendant and Call Forwarding functions, respectively.

For the Auto Attendant, you can set up separate holiday, vacation, and off-hours greetings and save them in the Announcement Repository ahead of time. You could even program a special message for the annual company picnic if you choose.

Companies can also make sure calls are properly routed during off-hours by programming alternate dialing menus in UCx’s Call Forwarding feature.

Call Forwarding allows you to redirect incoming calls to another number you specify, which could be anything from your mobile phone to a colleague’s extension. There are several different types of Call Forwarding to choose from, including options to forward all inbound calls or just calls from certain numbers.

Comprehensive UC systems also make it possible to set up geographic routing, or georouting, to forward incoming calls to their destinations based on their originating location. For example, you might want to have calls from California go to your sales rep Jack in Los Angeles, and have calls from any of the six New England states go to your sales rep Jill in Boston.

When the time comes for being out of the office, it’s a simple click to activate the right greeting and call forwarding pattern for the occasion. You can also automate when these call flows kick in by scheduling your business hours into an automation system.

If you’re a TPx customer, simply log in to the UCx Web Portal and click “Schedules” on the profile home page. By clicking “Add,” you can enter a new Schedule Name (such as “Vacation” or “Memorial Day”) and select a Schedule Type (Holiday or Time), and click “OK.” Once it’s added, you can access it from the Schedules page, click “Edit” and enter starting and ending times.

Regardless of which UC platform and provider you use, it’s a good idea to test your greetings and call flows before you need them – it’ll help reduce some of the stress that comes with getting ready for a holiday or vacation. Enjoy your summer!

 

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 ServiceSmartVoice SIP Trunking, and Internet access circuits. He is always looking for ways to help businesses communicate more effectively and more efficiently.