Tag Archives: Telephony

6 Ways to Reduce Background Noise in Office VOIP Calls

Smiling handsome customer support operator agent making VOIP calls on a nice headset with a good quality microphone with hands-free device working in call center

The quality and clarity of VoIP calls, along with the features available makes the service a viable solution compared to traditional phone lines.

The incredible sound quality provided by modern VOIP calls has been commented on many times. The internet is now capable of conveying sound at as high or higher quality than landline telephones with no loss in detail along the way. However, just as HD tv allows you to see the pores of actors, high-quality phone calls suddenly reveal just how noisy your office really is.

Surely, you’ve heard the hum of fans and the murmur of coworkers on a call when another caller opens their mic to speak. No doubt, that same kind of office background noise can be heard on many professional calls. The good news is that there are several ways to reduce the background noise in VOIP calls without making the office a ‘quiet zone’. Here’s how:

1) Hand Out Quality Headsets

First, get every employee who makes VOIP calls on a nice headset with a good quality microphone. The headsets will ensure two things. First, that employees aren’t using their speakers to hear calls, adding to the noise and potential for call-echo. Second, a good quality microphone will be better at picking up only the speaker’s voice without picking up every rustle of paper or keyboard clack in a shared office space.

2) Reduce Fan Noise

Fan noise is a serious problem in office, big or small. The sound of your HVAC or the box fans you use to keep cool in spite of the HVAC can have a hugely negative effect on your call audio quality. That hum and rattle can be heard on an open mic and can make an entire conference call less pleasant. Do everything you can to reduce the noise fans make in rooms where calls occur.

This might involve repairing or updating your HVAC fans, replacing or cleaning your floor fans, or replacing noisy fans with modern quieter versions of same. Loud printers fall under the same rule.

3) Make Use of Noise Reduction Panels

Noise reduction panels are attractive pieces of wall art or subtly integrated pieces of furniture designed for offices to soak up that ambient sound. noise reduction uses a combination of foam and fabric to ‘catch’ noises as they pass and muffle them so that they cannot be heard at a distance. They can be used to create privacy, quiet spots, and simply to reduce the amount of noise that travels from one section of the office to the other. The more you decorate or build with noise reduction panels, the quieter your office can potentially become.

4) Hold Calls in Quiet Offices

If calls are an occasional but not constant feature in your office, then providing quiet offices may be enough. Allow employees to book or borrow the spare quiet rooms available in your office so that they can hold their occasional calls and conferences in audio privacy. This way, the murmur of coworkers or the hum of big-room HVAC vents will not reduce the quality of their calls.

5) Provide ‘Cone of Silence’ Desk Hutches

If you have an open workspace full of employees who are constantly making calls (or don’t have spare quiet offices) then an interesting alternative is to build sound-privacy hutches out of noise reduction panels. These hutches can even fold away and then be brought out when it’s time to make a call. Essentially, these hutches act as portable ‘cones of silence’ so that when an employee pops their head into the hutch, suddenly office noise is reduced and they are audibly alone with the call.

6) Fluffy Plantlife

Finally, never discount the value of fluffy plants. Cubicle hedgerows, walls of flowering vines, and other office greenery are great ways to absorb sound. Plants not only make people happy and improve the air quality, the fluffy leaves also catch sound and prevent it from wandering too far across the room. In combination with noise reduction panels, you might be surprised how quiet an open workspace can become.

Improving the audio quality of VOIP calls is about much more than bandwidth. By mastering the ambient noise in your office, you can ensure that every employee can make crystal-clear calls with their new VOIP numbers without offending or deafening their contacts with background sounds. For more VOIP insights on how to optimize unified communications for your business, contact us today!

How VoIP Helps You Manage Remote Employees

Business people using VOIP to manage remote employees

Having a phone service that works whether you’re in the office or on the road is key in today’s work anywhere workforce

Remote work is not just a fad or a way to draw in new talent, it’s a new way of doing business. Many businesses who already had remote workers are now celebrating the mobile technology that is making remote work so much easier and more efficient. Many more businesses are taking advantage of mobile technology to offer new remote positions or offer once office-bound jobs to remote candidates. But managing remote employees can still be a challenge for the supervisors and team leaders set to the task. Fortunately, there are tools for that, too.

VoIP is one of the best tools any remote-team manager can have, uniting the entire team through a shared communication system that works no matter where or how your team members are connecting. Let’s take a look at how VoIP solves classic remote management challenges and makes remote work management easier than ever.

Find Me, Follow Me

Nearly every modern VoIP system comes with a feature known as “Find me, follow me”. This sounds like something a pet dog might do, but it’s really a highly useful way to keep in touch in the multi-device world we live in. Once, a manager trying to get in touch with a remote employee would have to call three or four different numbers, send an email, and leave voicemails if the employee isn’t at their desk. Not anymore.

With VoIP, you call one number and the find/follow feature does all that extra checking. The VoIP number then rings the employee’s desk phone. If they don’t pick up, it rings their home office phone, then their cell phone, then their home phone. It can then call the VOIP app on their laptop, then their tablet, then leave a message in email about a missed all. VoIP does all the tedious phone-tag of chasing down someone on the device or phone closest to the remote employee in question.

Scheduled Availability

VOIP can also know where your remote employees should be during the day and which device they are most likely to answer. Let’s say a remote employee works at home but also takes lunch, meets clients, or occasionally takes their children to after-school activities. By filling out their calendar and schedule properly, they can ensure the closest device to them is always the one that rings first.

As the manager, you simply call their VoIP number and the system does the rest. If the schedule says your employee is scheduled to be at lunch, it rings their cell. If they’re working, it rings their desk phone. If they’re traveling, it rings their laptop app phone instead. The schedule can save hours of time each year by calling the right device first.

Call Forwarding To/From Anywhere

VoIP’s device flexibility also makes it easier for managers and remote employees to connect from anywhere on either end. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling from your cell, computer, or desk phone. It doesn’t matter if your remote employee is on their laptop, cell, in a hotel, or at their home office. The VoIP number can connect to any device or computer running the app and to any phone number that has been connected. This enables the ultimate in mobile workforce so that managers and employees can both be remote, office-bound, traveling, or any combination at all.

Pings, Alarms, and Messages

VoIP an also enable managers to send small pings, alerts, alarms, and messages to their remote employees without a complicated hassle. Many VoIP systems connect to SMS messaging, allowing managers and employees to trade texts and live chat messages as well as audio phone calls. The VoIP app installed on any computer or mobile device can also be used as a cloud management platform, allowing managers to build schedules for their employees including alarms, alerts, and messages. You can even call your employee’s voicemail directly to use the voicemail-to-email feature as a way to dictate memos to team members.

Emergency Device Flexibility

Finally, VoIP is not bound specifically to the devices and numbers that the team sets up on purpose. Let’s say a remote employee’s laptop dies, their toddler drops their cell in the toilet, and their dog chews their home internet lines. They can still be reached via their VoIP number on a borrowed, public, or emergency device simply by installing and logging into the platform app. At home, on the road, or on business trips your team will can always get back in contact no matter how many of their own devices are out of commission because VoIP is cloud, not network.

As the manager, even you can take advantage of this flexibility. If the office power goes out, if you’re away on a business trip, or if you suddenly need to connect while on a no-phones vacation: any computer or borrowed device can become an extension of your VoIP number by installing the app.

VoIP is one of the best things that has ever happened to remote work and managing remote employees. If you need to be a communication hub between team members who do not always share an office, VoIP is the best possible way to keep track of your team and provide a universal way to stay in touch. For more information about how VoIP can improve your business’ communication efficiency, contact us today!

VoIP Phone Systems Or Traditional PBX Phone Systems: Which Will You Choose?

Call center workers using a cloud-based phone system or VoIP Phone System

VOIP is the way to go for your business communications

Premise-based PBX phone systems are no longer the go-to option for businesses like yours. There are various reasons why failing to upgrade to a cloud-based phone system from an on-premise PBX phone system can significantly hinder your business.
Some of the disadvantages of using a PBX phone system include restrictions on customer service, increased downtime, and a limited amount of features.
Disadvantages Of PBX Phone Systems
The majority of consumers who are searching for products and services on a daily basis will prefer to communicate with a company that has a reliable and strong customer service. Does your current PBX phone system have the ability to answer some of your most important customer service questions?
How many times does one question need to be transferred?
How long does a customer have to wait on hold?
Do customers ever end the phone call because they were tired of waiting on hold or being constantly transferred?
If you are using a premise-based PBX phone system, you may not be able to find the answers to any of the above questions. You are likely not getting the type of features and resources you can get from a cloud-based phone system. When you use a cloud-based phone system, you will be able to use features like call recording, queue management, call reporting, etc.
Another disadvantage of an on-site PBX phone system is the high amount of downtime. When your PBX phone system fails, this means you will have to wait for your provider to arrive at your workplace to repair the problem. There is no guarantee that the provider will be able to repair the problem the same day. If your system is down, you will not be able to take phone calls or receive phone calls. No one wants to go through this as a business owner or manager, right?
When you use a VoIP phone system in your workplace, you will have a system that has been securely established. You will be able to use the same type of service that police officers, emergency responders, and other emergency services use. If a cloud-based phone system has been beneficial and reliable for them, we think this system can be the same for you.
If you have been looking for ways to cut some of your business’s unnecessary costs or if you have been looking for ways to improve conferencing and other communication methods, you may want to think about making the switch to a cloud-based phone system. Switching to a cloud-based phone system can become one of the best communication solutions your business has ever made.
We know you will not want to deal with complications, stress, and headaches in your workplace on a daily basis, right? We think you deserve to have a telecommunications system that will allow you to work easily and effectively.
When you have a cloud-based phone system, you will not have to be bothered with the constant technology talk and the blaming of who caused damage to the system. When you have a problem when you are using a cloud-based phone system, the only thing you will need to do is call the support number of your cloud-based phone system provider. After you make the phone call, a professional will handle any issue that you may have. You will not have to worry about downtime or unnecessary costs on repairs that could have been avoided.
On-site PBX phone systems were once the only option for businesses to use. Since this is no longer the case, don’t you think it is time for you to see how a cloud-based phone system can contribute to the current and future success of your business? Contact us today for a consultation.

The Benefits of Voicemail to Email

Phone keys mobile communication - Voicemail to email concept

Can you get your voicemail when your not in the office?

Voicemail is an important part of business communication, but it can be a nuisance to manage. Why should you have to replay all your messages to find the one you need to hear again? What do you do if you press the wrong key and accidentally delete an important message? The good news is that there’s a VoIP feature that lets you receive all your voicemail in your inbox. This feature, logically, is called voicemail to email.
Messages in your inbox
When you enable the feature, your VoIP system forwards each message to your inbox as an audio attachment. The subject line and text will tell you when it arrived, what number, and the caller’s name if it’s available. You can choose to delete messages from your voicemail automatically when they’re sent, or to leave them there. Leaving them gives you extra flexibility, but auto-deletion guarantees your voicemail will never be full.
Once the messages are in your inbox, you can employ all the tools that are available for managing email. You can sort them into folders, mark them as high-priority, and forward them. You can set up filters to highlight messages from some callers and mark others as spam.
Sometimes an old voicemail message is the only place you have an important piece of information, such as a caller’s phone number. Being able to get back to it easily can save a business deal.
The limit on your messages is only the limit on your inbox. That’s usually a very generous cap, but voice attachments are large, so you may need to delete or archive old messages.
Messages as audio files
The attachment holding the voice message is an audio file, usually in MP3 or WAV format, so you can treat it as an independent file. This is useful for archival purposes. You can save the attachment as a file, delete the message from your inbox, and have a permanent record. This way you can save as many messages as you want, organizing them into folders using any scheme. For instance, you can save all voice messages from a supplier and save having to ask questions they’ve already answered.
Transcription to text
You can choose to have the VoIP system put a text transcription of each message into your email. This will save time when reviewing your messages, especially if you’re in a noisy environment where it’s hard to make out what the caller said. Copying down phone numbers while listening to voicemail is seriously annoying. Having the number in the transcription is much easier.
Not all voice transcriptions will be equally useful. If the signal-to-noise ratio is poor, the transcription could be spotty. Even so, it will often give you enough of the message to tell whether it needs your immediate attention or not. Sometimes the transcription could even pick up words that you have trouble identifying.
Extra convenience
Letting your VoIP service send your voicemail to your email makes the messages far more convenient to handle. All your communications are in one place. You can review the messages at your desktop as well as your phone.
If you know your associates are using voicemail to email, you can be more confident that they’ll get your voice messages and notice them. People are apt to ignore or lose messages on their phones, but if they’re getting them in email, they’ll pay more attention to them, and you’re more likely to get a response on the first try.
SystemsNet offers hosted PBX and VoIP, with features including conferencing, auto attendants, “follow me,” voicemail to email, and much more. Contact us to learn how you can have a better business phone system.