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VoIP Update

Date: 9/15/2017 8:29 AM EDT

How Do Hurricanes Effect Office Equipment?


In the telecommunications equipment and service world, we call this Disaster Recovery. How businesses keep going during a natural disaster is known as business continuity. So, BW Communications wants you to have a plan in place that keeps your business protected in the face of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma.

As a small-to-medium sized business, you should have a process to keep business going. This may mean you have a process to continue building your widgets or an essential employee plan. However, communication is key to success for all businesses. Ensuring your communication infrastructure is paramount to business continuity. 

Here are some key questions you should ask when creating a Disaster Recovery Plan:

  • Will your telephone system work in the event of a power outage?
  • How can you protect your equipment in case of an office flood?
  • What’s your communication plan for your employees?
  • Who needs to report to work?
  • How will you relay these messages to your employees?



For more information, email me, Harry at harry@bwcominc.com.




Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 7/21/2017 1:45 PM EDT

Fees Associated With a VoIP Phone System


For more than 18 years in the telephone business, BWCommunications has answered the cost question many times. The simple answer is…”it depends”. The real answer depends on a few factors that affect the price of an office telephone system.

First, the purchase of a VoIP Telephone System is much like purchase of a vehicle.  With so many options available, price ranges can vary drastically. Take the Chevrolet Suburban for an example. The starting price is $49,000 just with the basic package, it can quickly cost over $80,000 once you add 4-wheel drive, leather interior, entertainment package, GPS system, chrome finishes and more.

A VoIP Telephone System can average from $18.00 per telephone set to $39.00 per telephone set. However, the price varies based on the features your company requires. For example, if you have a customer service department which requires Call Recording, there is a $5.00 fee per user to add this feature. Application Integration like Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce and other third party apps, there is a $6.00 fee per user to add this feature.

BW Communications recommends a site survey to help determine you exact needs and price.

The site survey involves a thorough examination of your business needs including:
  • Cabling
  • Hardware – Switches and Router
  • Internet Bandwidth
  • Physical Telephones
  • Number of Telephone Lines
  • PBX Capacity
  • Internet and Voice Fee Analysis



In summary, the cost of your business phones is unknown until we get to know your environment as well as the functionality of your business and employees. It is our job to ensure you are getting the most effective option at the best price. For more information, email harry@bwcominc.com or call 1-888-415-2430.

Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 6/15/2017 11:42 AM EDT

Many time clients will ask us what makes BW Communications different from other VoIP provider companies like RingCentral, Vonage, Shoretel and 8x8.
It’s a great question, and here are six differences when it comes to comparing our local company with National VoIP business phone providers.



Location
When you deal with some National VoIP Providers, you’re likely dealing with someone in a remote sales office hundreds of miles away from Washington DC Metro Area.  They may not have any local presence in terms of sales or support, meaning you’re going to be doing things 100% remotely. That may not seem like a big deal but there are different challenges and service experiences that can arise from hiring a national provider.
Site Survey
It’s difficult for any sales associates to truly learn much over the phone about your business, if there is no onsite meetings or survey conducted, there are many business & technical assumptions they will have to make. This lack of familiarity and understanding of your staff, office layout and technical design may cause massive headaches and problems down the road.  Most importantly, the solution is usually over the telephone simplified because no one physically came to your office to understand your real communication problems. 
Typically, national providers will send a quick proposal with many technical and business assumptions. If you’re a smaller office with less than 10 or so phones, this might be alright. If you’re a larger organization with more complexity, this will become an issue. It’s difficult to engage your current operation with an “over the phone” type relationship. At BW Communications, the sales engagement is on-site. This means we survey your current operation, as well as interview you to get know your communications needs.
Product
Most the differences have NOTHING to do with product feature set or capabilities.  Most of the phone systems available have very similar features and phone hardware; the differences are usually not even noticeable to most end users and businesses.  The difference primarily has to do with the service experience you prefer.  There is no right or wrong in hiring a National VoIP Provider located hundreds of miles away but there are major differences you should be educated in.
The type of IP Phones may impact your overall price. There are best in class phone hardware like Cisco and Polycom, and there are less expensive and lower quality alternatives. You may even hear “free IP Phones with your hosted phone service”.  Be careful because they are free for a reason, and always the least expensive and least user friendly type of phone. Like cell phones, there are many brands and options nowadays that it can get overwhelming. Think of Polycom like you think of your Apple iPhone; they are very popular and widely accepted as the leader in IP phone technology.
Installation
If you got with a national provider, it’s likely that your phones will be shipped to you in a box and a link to a video to help you set it up. The national providers expect you to either plug it in yourself, or hire a local IT vendor to do it.
This could be a disaster, especially if downtime matters to your business. It’s an even bigger disaster if there are more than 10 phones, due to more network complexity. You will really need to be on their A-game on the day of the installation.
Many IT vendor don’t want to deal with the installation and ongoing support services related to the phone system.
End User Training
Another thing national providers over simplify is the end-user training. This is either going to happen over a webinar, or through watching some tutorials online.  you may have no idea how to get the most out of your phones.
VoIP phone systems have a ton of new technology that comes along with it. From the actual IP phones themselves, to additional network demands, to software applications on computers and smartphones, to the online portal for the administer the system, there is a lot to take in. If you aren’t sure how to use everything correctly, you won’t be getting the most out of your system.
At BW Communications, a staff member will train you & staff, and spend time with you to ensure you know how to use the technology you paid for. They’ll teach you what you need to know quickly so you can start using your system correctly as soon as possible.
Support
If you go with a national provider, you’re going to reliant on your IT vendor or someone via phone or email for support. With BW Communications, we can provide on-site support services and changes as needed. We can send out our technicians to address and fix your issues.


Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 4/26/2017 9:09 AM EDT

What No One Tells You About VoIP

As many companies, big and small, transition telephony to Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP, they experience the benefits and the pitfalls of new technology. BW Communications has spent 17 years in the telecommunications industry. We have seen good and bad transitions. VoIP has so many cost-savings benefits that these out way the shortfalls you may experience with the technology. The most common problems we’ve experience with VoIP include:
  1. Voice Quality
  2. Bandwidth
  3. VoIP Router
  4.  Power
  5. Security
  6. Emergency Calling

Breaking each VoIP problem down provides an effective way to solve each problem.

Voice Quality. Ever call someone and experience a delay or echo? These can be signs of poor Quality of Service (QOS). Delay’s or latency usually has one of three causes: Propagation Delay, Handling Delay, or Queuing Delay. Latency can usually be fixed by prioritizing network traffic.

Bandwidth. Internet connection plays a huge role in VoIP technology. If you are running your business in an office building, you need to ensure you have proper bandwidth to handle computer web-surfing IP traffic as well as telephony traffic. This means you need to have business class high-speed internet in place in your office.

VoIP Router. Equipment for VoIP telephony can greatly improve QOS. Many small businesses try using a traditional router to handle both computer and telephone traffic. However, if you are unable to prioritize the traffic on that router, you may need to invest in a VoIP router. Without a router that is configured for packet prioritization, call quality can be impacted by the other users on your network. For example, if during a call, another user on your network downloads a large file, without packet prioritization, your call quality could be degraded. A VoIP router prevents this from happening by giving priority to voice traffic on your network.
VoIP routers are not an expensive piece of hardware. A VoIP router for a small business ranges from $300.00 for a five person office to under $1,000.00 for a 25-person office.

Power. Keep in mind, just like other electronic equipment, VoIP equipment needs power to work. If you experience a power outage, your telephone system will go down. In addition, if there is a power interruption, your UPS will only handle power for a few minutes.

Security. In the recent past, security was not a concern with VoIP technology. However, it has become more of an issue. Things to be mindful of include: identity or service theft, eavesdropping, viruses and more. Occasionally, Vishing has been an issue as well. Vishing is the term given to VoIP phishing scams. This involves a party calling you faking a trustworthy organization (e.g. your bank) and requesting confidential and often critical information.

Emergency Calls. Not all VoIP providers provide emergency 911 calls. Be sure to ask for this feature when you set up your VoIP service.

Whether you’ve already implemented VoIP or are considering updating to VoIP, problems exist. The best course of action is to fully analyze your system before making any changes. You may need a simple software tweak or an investment in new hardware. Bottom line is you need a company that can help navigate both the benefits and features of VoIP as well as the challenges. We recommend you look for a telecommunications company with experience to help.

Call us today for more information! 1-888-415-2430

Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 3/27/2017 5:11 PM EDT

4 Ways to Improve Customer Experience

From the moment your customer picks up the phone, they are looking for results from your company. What kind of impression are you leaving with your customers via your business telephone system? Are you using your cell phone for business in an office building? I bet you find yourself saying, “Can you hear me now?” a lot. Are your customers stuck on hold for long periods of time without actually speaking to a person?

In today’s marketplace, customers want immediate solutions to their problems. And, they want their products and services to come with exceptional customer service. The telephone is often a weakness in many business cultures. In order for your employees to provide the level of service your customers demand, you must provide them with the tools to get the job done right. Your telephone system can be your competitive advantage.

Here are 4 simple ways you can improve customer experience using your telephone systems:

Quick Reference Sheet
Transferring Calls. Do your employees know how to transfer a call? Who are the employees that frequently transfer calls? Is a telephone system Quick Reference sheet available for all employees.

In addition, to knowing which buttons to push, it’s important that your staff provides quality customer service when they transfer a customer to a different extension. Before you transfer a call, please inform the customer that their call is being transferred, and let them know why they will be transferred. Ask the customer for permission to transfer them and wait for an answer. It’s also polite to provide the customer with your direct number/extension in case the call gets disconnected.

·         Voicemail. In any business immediate communication with your customer is important. When you create your voice mail greeting, be sure to sound upbeat, don’t rush, and avoid background noise. Share basic information, be courteous and smile when you record your greeting. The most important feature of voicemail is getting the return phone number. Did you know your phone system can give you the call-back number? Never miss the opportunity to speak with a customer by using the call-back feature. Need help setting up your voicemail? Click here to see great examples of how to set up your voicemail.

·       
 Remote Access for Employees. It’s no secret that customers demand instant answers to the questions they have. The key to providing instant gratification is to provide employees with the tools they need. Can employee’s calls be routed to their mobile phones if they are out of the office? Can voicemail be sent as an email or text to their mobile phones? Do employees have the ability to call out using the phone system instead of their mobile number? All of these features provide for a better customer experience as well as employee satisfaction.
·         


      Customer Availability. Use the Call Find Me/Follow Me feature to route calls through a user-defined list of numbers. The numbers may be called simultaneously or sequentially, either in a preferred order or in accordance with the user's scheduled activities and locations. Once the list has been called and no connection made, the system may route the call to voice mail.

In the end, your business telephone system is a lifeline for your customers and employees. It helps your business run smoothly and speaks volumes to your customers. Make sure you put your customer first not only when you implement products and services, but, also, when you invest in your telephone system. Call me, Harry, at 1-888-415-2430 or email me to learn how to improve your customer experience.



BW Communications, Inc. 

Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 2/6/2017 8:18 AM EST


Save Up to 36% Over Traditional Carriers

Easy plug and play setup



Custom Telephone Plan

BW Communications will work with you to design a telephone plan that’s right for your business. Every business is unique and your phone system should be too.
  •          Your plan will identify the lines and features you need.
  •          Unlimited long-distance calling throughout the United States and Canada.
  •          Port existing telephone numbers.
  •          BW Communications will guide you through each step.

 Easy 3 Step Process

Step 1 System Basics. Review your current Internet usage. Choose a phone number or port your existing telephone number.
Step 2 System Requirements. Identify the number of telephone sets and how many telephone lines you need.
Step 3 System Customization. Identify the features your business needs and BW Communications will give you your price.
That’s our simple 3-step process!

Start right away with our Mobile app.

Call 1-888-415-2430  or click here to get started today!

Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 1/4/2017 7:39 AM EST


NEW YEAR SPECIAL! Welcome 2017 with a new PBX!

Does your PBX look like this? 

Are you afraid to look in your telephone closet?

You can trade in your old PBX and get credit toward a cloud PBX.

If your PBX is struggling to keep up with your business then take your telephony to the cloud and trade-in your existing PBX! Need a New PBX?

On-site PBXs can be costly to maintain, difficult to scale and are often challenged to support mobile users. By moving to the cloud you can reduce costs, add new voice services and improve both your customer experience and staff productivity. 

8 Benefits of Moving to a PBX Cloud


Reliable. 99.999% platform availability through multiple redundant data centers and telecommunications providers.

Scalable. Cloud application unlimited scalability from one to thousands of users.

Simplicity. VoIP telephones provide an intuitive, multi-featured user experience for all employees. 

Flexibility. Web portal ensures that users, numbers and call policies can be created or updated in realtime.

High Call Quality. Excellent VoIP call quality as a hosted VoIP service provider using proprietary call-handling architecture.


Cost. No maintenance, no upgrades, no support charges and fixed cost call packages.

Integration. VoIP PBX systems can easily be integrated with Call Center, Support, and Sales software packages such as Salesforce, Microsoft Outlook, Browser Plugin, and URL Agent.

Disaster Recovery. We’re dedicated to making sure your service remains uninterrupted and even if access to your office is compromised, your VoIP service remains operational and calls can be instantly re-routed via the web portal.

Are you ready to make a change? For more details on our New Year’s Special, email harry@bwcominc.com or give us a call 1-888-415-2430



Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 12/8/2016 10:35 AM EST



Did you go to school to be a computer technician, and now you find yourself in charge of computers and a telephone system? Have you updated your computers, but you have no idea when your telephone system was last updated? Does your telephone closet look like this (see image 1)? Well, BWCommunications wants to explain the importance of the PBX and why you should keep it updated.

Image 1
What is a PBX? The first step in understanding the importance of your PBX is to understand what it is. A PBX (private branch exchange) is a telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. Image 2 depicts a basic or typical telephone system and PBX.
Image 2
Do you have enough telephone lines to support your growing business? How do you know the amount of telephone lines your PBX will support? It’s simple if you know how to configure a PBX, but most computer techs, network administrators, and business owners aren’t telecommunications specialists. It’s vital that you analyze the amount of telephone use with existing extensions before you order additional telephone lines. You should consider the user’s job functionality to determine the need for additional lines as your business expands.

How expandable is your PBX? Are your customers getting busy signals? If your customers are calling your sales department or customer service and can’t get through, you have a problem. The licensing costs to expand your PBX may be significant especially if you have an older model. Support for older hardware is hard to get and can be very costly. Again, the PBX is the heart of your telephone system and you need to consider it’s hardware expandability carefully when making a decision to expand or upgrade.

What functionality are you looking for in a telephone system? Do you consider job functions when considering telephone options? Have you surveyed various employees on telephone functionalities they need to perform their jobs better? When assessing your telephone system, it’s important to consider the human element. Employees provide valuable insight on features that can make their jobs easier and make their performance more efficient. Do you have employees who travel a lot? Are they using the PBX to make business calls? Remember, your business and your brand is represented through your telephone number as well.

BW Communication recommends you consider your current telephone system, the employees that use the system, and the future of your company when you look at your telephone closet and your PBX. All those telephone cables connecting to the PBX are like all the veins and arteries of your heart. Don’t let your telephone system skip a beat!

For more assistance with your PBX, contact me, Harry White via email harry@bwcominc.com or call
1-888-415-2430. 
Harry White


Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 11/8/2016 9:26 AM EST


Whether your business has 5 extensions or 50 extensions, it’s important that you choose the right service provider for your voice as well as data communications. Basically, you want to make sure your getting both the features and the value from your telephone and internet service provider. BW Communications has worked with a variety of providers from Verizon, Comcast, COX, Vonage and Ring Central to name a few. There are several factors that going into choosing the right Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution for your business, and we recommend you start with the following features:

Infrastructure. When you interview a data cabling company, make sure they use BICSI standards when they install your cables.Is your cabling CAT 5e or below? Without the right infrastructure it doesn’t how much bandwidth you have or service provider you use., nothing will properly. Is your telephone closet well organized and are cables clearly documented with extensions?

Hardware.  Before you assess your service provider, it’s important to take a look your telephone features. We recommend you take an inventory of your PBX and evaluate the capabilities it provides. You may need to create or update a physical inventory of what you currently have in place. Is your company experiencing growth? Can your current system handle the growth? Our unsolicited advice, take a survey of your employees, find out if there are features of the telephones that hinders their productivity.

Documentation. Gather your service bills as well as hardware documentation. You may discover a feature you’re looking for is already in place. When was the last time you analyzed what you are paying for in your bill This will prevent a lot of wasted time and money.

Value. The most important aspect of choosing the right VoIP provider for your business is value. Let’s face it, we are all in business to make money. We want to make sure we are getting the most bang for our buck. BW Communications recommends a full network services billing evaluation which includes an audit of your existing billing and network services information as well as associated network providers.
 
Start by determining existing trunking quantities, private line counts, and off-premise extensions that need to be retained or augmented. Then, gather traffic reports where relevant and document hard drive and related voice storage capacities. Finally, collect traffic or busy study reports from local telecom carriers (where relevant) and design alternatives. You can read more on our website: www.bwcominc.com.

In summary, the bottom line is the bottom line. What we want to make clear is that by reviewing your VoIP provider, we hope you will get more reliable service and increased bandwith at reduced costs. We want to see your business immediately save money. Got questions? We have answers. Send me an email harry@bwcominc.com to chat more about choosing the right VoIP provider for your business.

Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment

Date: 10/2/2016 1:36 PM EDT



Does looking at your telephone closet scare you? If so, this is a must read! Your employees probably won’t tell you that your phone system is out of date, but you may hear them complain about old telephones, cable soup, and reducing overhead expenses. Who handles these complaints? How are they affecting your bottom line? These complaints can be signs that your telephone system is costing you money.  We’ve listed 5 indicators:
  1. Old Telephones. Here are some features that every modern business phone system should come with: extension dialing, call transfer and waiting, anonymous call rejection, selective call rejection, conference calling, auto attendants, and group voicemail to name a few. If your phone system is lacking these features, chances are it’s hurting your business, especially with today’s client-centric world. Not to mention the clarity and speed that comes with updated telephones.
  2. Capacity. A common indicator we see is the lack of capacity for both telephone and extensions. Many businesses max out their telephone systems or PBX before upgrading.
  3. Capabilities. Is your phone system lacking functions that can help employees be more productive? Do you have teleworkers in your organization that use your business phone system? Would conferencing capabilities reduce travel expenses?
  4. Cable Soup or Spaghetti. These aren’t technical terms, but we hear them a lot. So, you’ve got a telephone extension in the corner cubical that isn’t working. The jack isn’t labeled and the patch panel isn’t labeled according to BICSI standards. What does this mean? You can’t troubleshoot the problem. Now, you have spaghetti.
  5. Voice and Data Bills. Does your service bill leave your eye’s crossed? Are there technical terms you don’t understand? Are you employees getting the bandwidth they need to keep with their work? Are you long distance fees too high? What is too high for long distance.



I feel like I’ve left you with more questions than answers. Bottom line… Would your business suffer if your telephones were down? If the answer is yes, then, these indicators should be considered. Take a survey of your organization. Make a list of functionality your employees are looking for in your telephone system and get to work so you can save money using your telephone system rather than your telephone system costing you money.

To talk more, call me, Harry White at 1-888-415-2430 or email harry@bwcominc.com.

Posted by BW Communications, Inc. | Post a Comment