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 Service, SmartVoice SIP Trunking, and Internet access circuits. He is always looking for ways to help businesses communicate more effectively and more efficiently.
At TPx, our goal is to help you break free from the constraints of voicemail and email, to enable more productive, collaborative working. UCx, TPx’s award-winning Unified Communications (UC) solution, will revolutionize the way you do business by giving you the tools you need to add agility and flexibility to your everyday communications. Forget about phone tag and endless waiting for someone to respond to your emails.
We’ve put together a quick two-minute video overview of UCx that showcases how we can re-energize and accelerate how you do business, from the corporate office to the home office and everywhere in-between:
Unified Communications: Your Competitive Differentiator
Customers, colleagues, and competitors are pushing the boundaries of how, when, and where they work. The tools you choose can make the difference between thriving in this virtual environment, and constantly playing catch-up with the competition.
High-Quality Voice Service
UCx offers a wide range of advanced features, but it also does just the basics with standout quality. Bolster your workday with collaboration and connection over the high-quality VoIP service that TPx is known for. Launch an audio or video call from the UCx app, or click-to-dial from your desk phone.
The UCx Difference: More Than a Phone System
UCx is a powerful phone system, but it’s also much more than that. At a glance, you can see if your contacts are available, and if they’re away, if they’re on the phone or in a meeting. You can ask a co-worker a quick question with an instant message, and instantly pass screens back and forth. For conferencing, you can invite anyone in the world to join your meeting, even if they don’t have UCx – no more waiting for software to download or sessions to start.
Enabling the Mobile Workforce
When you’re not at your desk, you’ll still have the power of UCx right at your fingertips. With our full-featured Android and iOS apps, you’ll be available whenever and wherever you choose, with chat, presence, contacts, calling, and conferencing all available through one intuitive app.
Backed by White-Glove Customer Care
UCx lives in the TPx cloud, and is backed up by our 24-hour, 365-days-per-year TPx network operations center. That means your service will be highly reliable and will auto-update over time. And as always, UCx is backed by our TPx team with our total commitment to customer care.
Welcome to today’s office – which might not be in the office after all. UCx gives you everything you need to keep your business moving forward from anywhere. Whether you’re working from home, visiting a customer, packing up items in the warehouse, or taking your kids to soccer practice, you can stay connected without being stuck at your desk.
Contact your TPx representative today to see how UCx can keep you ahead of the competition and help you make the most of your employees’ time, wherever they happen to be.
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.
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.
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.