As I sip coffee from my comfy new work desk, and by desk I mean couch, I’m going over in my head just how to start this blog. The message is serious and sincere but the initial thought is a funny one…
The image that keeps coming to mind, to help really drive my blog point across, is a hysterical scene from one of my favorite shows – The Office. I know I have referenced the show before but it’s simply such a good one! The scene I am thinking of is when Jim gets Dwight to climb all the way up a telephone pole outside their office…and I mean ALL THE WAY UP. Jim was always playing funny pranks on Dwight, getting him to do or say outlandish things. Then, of course, stopping to stare directly into the camera with that loveable Jim Halpert smile…gotta love Jim. Gotta love the pranks. Gotta love The Office!
The reason Dwight was climbing that telephone pole was to chase after a random red wire Jim had tapped all throughout the office and eventually outside up a pole. Though hysterical, that’s not really why I’m referring to the scene. It’s just a great and relatable imagine of how someone can literally tap into your phone lines and make international calls, all the while jacking up your phone bill – without your knowledge.
It’s true. Time and time again companies and/or homes with old analog lines can easily be tapped into and taken advantage of leaving them with an astronomically high phone bill. A way around it is to install a secret pin that only company employees or owners know which you enter prior to the internal number dialed out. We have had a company or two, who refuses to put an interdental pin on their phone lines, hacked and have suffered the consequences of a high phone bill. It’s frustrating and a huge inconvenience. We do have an alternative solution now. One that is more beneficial across the board and downright SMART. Upgrade your phone system to a VoIP one!
One of our fantastic and loyal companies of many years, Maril Products located just over in Tustin California, had this happen to them not once but twice. It was that second occurrence that new owner Christian Whitehair decided to upgrade to VoIP. What was the reason for this hacking? Well they were simply on old outdated analog lines! Sometimes, we just love the comfort of what we’ve always known. However, analog lines are so much easier to hack into and dial away to anywhere in the world. As a VoIP user, the entire Network needs to be hacked. Not just a single analog line. Who were these thieves’ calling? International countries of course! Family, friends, perhaps even doing business over someone else phones lines, at someone else’s’ expense! Bottom line, it wasn’t Maril! There were hundreds of international calls made during a short period of time, causing them to have thousands of dollars in international fees that were just piling up on their phone bill. Thankfully, our IT team spotted this hacking fairly quickly and shut it down. At that point we reached out and, with Mr. Whitehair’s permission, began the painless transition of upgrading them to a new VoIP system.
After a couple weeks of their transition, we followed up with Mr. Whitehair on his VoIP transition and he had this to say about their recent upgrade…
“The install was very smooth! No issues whatsoever, and I really enjoy the new VoIP phones. I know we were initially a bit unsure about making the transition, but going from analog to VoIP was very easy. The installation took about 15 minutes and then I received the instruction guide from Bubble on how to set up (our) voicemail and they had a FAQ’s page which was helpful for new features such as parking calls, setting up voicemail etc. It is much easier now to see what calls I have missed and the on-screen display is very easy to navigate in order to call them back. The quality of the connection is also significantly better and I don’t have calls dropped occasionally, like would happen with the analog. I feel like I am probably just scratching the surface on the features of the phone, but for a simple manufacturing/distribution business it fits our needs. I will eventually get another phone to set up the home office given that benefit of VoIP.”
Not only are their lines secure now but also they are enjoying all the additional benefits of a VoIP phone system. Once we were able to sit down with Mr. Whitehair, demo the phones and explain it’s convenience, it was really a no brainer for him to switch. Switching was especially crucial for him and his company during the crazy pandemic of COVID. Their companies’ production of widely disinfectants was at an all time high! They desperately needed their lines of communications running and running flawlessly.
Maril Products has been relevant to the worldly crisis at hand and trying to help through the production of their product – Control III http://www.controlthree.com/. Very similar formula/chemical compound, but this is specifically a hospital grade disinfectant, which is effective against HIV-1, E. Coli, Salmonella, etc. Some guidance has come out indicating that the active ingredients in these two products (Physan 20 and Control III) are effective against coronaviruses. They can’t say for sure yet against this strain (COVID-19), but they are in the process of getting that tested in a lab. They sell Control III products to regional and national adult and children’s hospitals, VA clinics, various sleep labs and dental facilities across the US, and to individuals who are disinfecting hard surfaces in their homes. They also sell Physan 20 to agriculture customers in Vietnam, Korea, New Zealand, Nigeria, and India. A little further background on Maril is they have been selling this product as a family business for almost 30 years now and have always been headquartered in Tustin, California.
It’s been such crazy times from the very start of 2020. I mean, people did relate this decade to histories “roaring 20’s” but I highly doubt anyone knew just how ‘roaring’ it would start off being. It’s been quite the ride so far but some good still can come out of this year. After all, Bubble Communications was able to secure Maril Products communication systems, which in turn have been producing disinfectants for thousands! The snowball effect continues.
At some point, every business will an experience an office move. This time can be hectic and confusing but it is also a time to evaluate your business services. It is a natural breaking point for you to determine if you should change or upgrade an integral office service. It is not very often that a business is tasked with moving its entire operations into a new building. One of the main things that business look to change during a move is their phone system.
Do you have an on-premise business phone system? Do you take your phone system with you to the new location or ditch the onsite hardware and go with a hosted cloud platform? Before you can understand which is the best option for your business ask yourself these three questions:
1. Do I have a phone vendor that can move my specific phone system?
2. Does my current system meet all of my businesses needs?
3. Can you afford or are you okay with having downtime during the move?
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, then it may be time to look at other options out there for your business phone services such as hosted cloud phone systems.
We recommend upgrading to a cloud phone system when your business moves. The main reasons to upgrade include:
· Elimination of excess hardware
· No Downtime
· Ability to add new features and integrations to your workflow
· Future proofing your business communications
Choosing to move your current phone system means that you will experience downtime. On the day that you move your phones, you will have to uninstall them, transport them to the new office, reinstall the system, and make sure that services are still working. Sometimes there are things that you phone company need to do to make sure that this goes off without a hitch. In this process, it is possible for hardware to be damaged or something to not be installed correctly. Upgrading to VoIP phone system at your new location can be done while your phones are still plugged in at your old office, so that on the day you move all you have to do is have your employees show up! Eliminating all of the on-premise hardware makes for less possible issues while also future proofs your business with new and improved features. On top of that, the next time you move it is an easier system to quickly unplug and move to the new office.
When it comes to moving your business, it is imperative to make sure that you prepare well in advance. If you are considering changing your phone system during a move, then you will need time to allow for the process to occur. You will need time to:
At Bubble, we help our customers move their phone systems sometimes in less than a few days. Now, this is possible because they are our customers; however, we are able to asset new customers with
getting services up and running in their new locations in under two weeks. When it comes to porting and installing new services, some companies struggle at achieving this quickly. The main reason is because most companies use third party companies to do their porting. At Bubble, we do all of our porting in house which allows us to be flexible with timelines and work with our customers to install services as soon as possible.
As cloud phone systems become more prevalent, more and more companies will choose to use an office move as a point in which to upgrade their phone system and eliminate the excess hardware. Nowadays, it is incredibly hard to even find a phone vendor that knows how to install older on prem PBX equipment.
To recap, it is important to prepare in advance for an office move. Contacting your vendors and service providers to inform them of your move early is important in ensuring that your new office will be installed and ready to go. It is provides time for your network to be re-establishe
Alright, who still owns a fax machine? Better yet, who still USES one? Have they become a thing of the past? Or are there some companies out there that still use them? Chances are, if faxes are still being sent, they’re more than likely being sent a tad differently now days.
When I’m out in the field speaking with various business owners about their telecommunication avenues, one area and question I always bring up is – are you still tied to a fax machine and if so, why? I am constantly surprised with how many companies still have a machine but rarely put it to use.
Fax machines tend to only suck money out of business than are put to good use. For instance, if you’re not sending out relevant fax documents to other companies, you are probably receiving junk through them. This will inevitably cost you money. You’re paying for the service by using paper and ink! My first “big girl job” out of college was in the music industry.
We had a fax machine…and I never understood why because we never sent one single fax through it. We mainly used the big hunk of junk to print. However, every morning I’d open up the office, turn the fax machine on and BOOM. There were 5 to 10 faxes that came through and every single one was junk. Advertisements for cruises, vacation rentals, restaurant’s, the list goes on for entertainment junk…the promos were endless! Endless waste of paper, ink and time spent reading them; basically – a huge waste of money! Have you bought printer/fax machine ink lately? It is an expensive purchase!
Thankfully, as time passed and technology evolved, the wave of the future took over fax machines, too. Just as phones became cellular, Internet expanded and technology grew, faxing started to become insignificant. Emails took over and at the click of a button you could send just as much information through an email as you could a fax. This is essentially how e-fax was born.
There are still some companies that rely on faxing for orders, receipts and other important documents. Faxing these forms just felt more reliable. So what was the solution? Transitioning faxes into emails – better known now as EFax.
How does e-fax work you might be asking? Well its super simple, easy and cost efficient. You still have a fax number, you just now enter it into the “to” section of your email. You scan and attach what you need to fax over to the recipient, add the phone number to be faxed to follow by @…whatever the end of your fax provider uses and wah-la. A Fax is sent. You’ll still receive an email back indicating the fax was sent and received.
Most telecommunication companies offer e-fax as an option but each varies with guidelines and what they offer. I’m here to breakdown interesting facts about e-fax and important things to think about when choosing a provider.
With eFax, a well-known company, you can send and receive faxes through a web interface or directly from your email. On one hand, there is the ability to configure international and toll-free numbers. However, eFax is held back by its high cost, upfront setup fee, and problematic user experiences on the web. In addition, you actually don’t own your efax number.
When you enter into an agreement with the company, you are just signing up to “lease” an efax number from them. Meaning, if you ever decided to leave them for another provider, you won’t be able to port out your efax number or take it with you. How crummy is that? They also reserve the right to cancel your account at anytime. Even crummier!
With Bubble Communication you own your own fax number and can get up and running much easier with the guidance of our superb customer service team. When a fax is received, you will also receive it through your inbox. The fax itself will be received in a pdf format as an attachment in the message. You can also check your faxes in your email account and as well you can check them on our Web Portal under Messages if you leave the option active for “leave copy”.
Bottom line – the fax machine is a symbol of obsolete technology long superseded by computer networks – but e-faxing is actually growing in popularity. If you want to find out more about e-faxing, how inexpensive and user friendly it can be, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be happy to answer all of your e-fax questions and welcome you to the e-fax world!
At this very moment, I am sitting on my couch with my cat, a cup of coffee in hand, and an empty house writing this blog.
As of a few days ago, Orange County issued a strong suggestion that all residents stay in their homes because of the Covid-19 virus. At this point, my customer service team was already working from home and it was finally time for me to do the same. As I packed up my things, I made sure to unplug my desk phone to bring home.
For the first time since I started overseeing our customer service team, and really in our twenty years of business, our entire customer service team was going to be working from home. Like many other businesses, we did not have time to prepare for how this was going to work. It happened almost overnight.
All of my team had taken home their work phones, connected to their Internet, and continued working. As if they were all in the office, side by side. I can call their extensions, I can intercom individuals, and I can page the whole team to provide group updates. A true VoIP Phone System makes it easier for inter-office communication, managing your employees and ensuring quality work, while everyone works from home.
Monitor Your Team with Busy Lamp Fields
A Busy Lamp Field (BLF) is a light on an IP phone which tells you whether another extension connected to the same business group is busy or not. In the above photo, you can see my customer service team’s names and extensions. Jorge at extension 79 shows that he is busy on a call. The redacted number under his name in red is the phone number of the customer that he is on a call with.
There are many benefits to BLF’s including my ability to monitor my team’s activity in real time. When our main customer service line rings, I can make sure that the call is getting picked up and the customer is being attended to. If I am looking to talk with a member of the team, I can make sure that they are currently available by looking to see if their BLF is busy.
BLF’s are helpful for call pick up when a colleague’s phone is ringing when there are away from their desk. For instance, if a colleague isn’t at their desk and they receive an incoming call, someone else can pick up the call simply by clicking the flashing BLF. This is helpful under the circumstance that an employee is out sick you can monitor their phones activity and pick up the calls that are going directly to that colleague’s number.
BLFs can be customized for each person in your office so that you can have the BLFs for the individual’s that you contact the most. On top of the ability to monitor coworkers, the BLFs also function as speed dials to those colleagues.
Continue to Train and Coach with Call Monitoring, Whisper, and Barge
One of the reasons that BLFs are a useful feature is being able to know when your team is on a call and then utilize features such as monitoring, whisper or barge to help train and guide them through calls.
- Monitor show you the real-time status of another user in your business group. If they are on a call it tells you who they are on a call with and allows you to listen to the call.
- Whisper allows you to coach your employees while they are on a call with the customer without the customer hearing you. It is as if you are whispering in their ear advice or tips for handling the given situation.
- Barge allows you to interject yourself into the call if you hear that the situation needs upper management or that the employee needs some help handling the customers case.
These three features make remote management possible. It allows for real-time insights into your team’s workflow and tasks and allows for continued training from the comfort of your home.
Finally, the use of our call recording feature allows you to ensure the quality of your teams calls. Being able to listen to the recording of your teams’ calls ensures that they are staying focused and handling customer’s concerns. It holds them accountable to the same standards that you hold in the office.
There are many benefits to a VoIP phone system that allow working from home to be an easy and seamless transition. The management benefits make it easy to continue your daily duties of guiding, coaching, and monitoring your team. Even though everyone is stuck at home, a VoIP phone system makes work feel as interconnected and seamless as is possible.
What does 5G even mean? In very basic terms, it stands for “5 Generations”. As technology advanced over the years, so did the generations of speed, and therefore our lack of patience! Here is a quick history lesson on the levels of generations our Internet and devices have gone through in a short period of time.
If you think back, you may recall the progression of the network of these “generations” starting from that first cellphone. Remember those old brick phones we lugged around? How bulky, big and colorless! Where the hit game was, “snake”. If you were a cellphone user of this generation, you’ll undoubtedly remember this game! My how back then, that was considered an exciting way to pass the time. These “brick” phones were the first generation – generation “E” or “1G”. This generation didn’t last very long, as there wasn’t much to do on these phones but call other cellphone users (or play Snake!). Generation E and 1G quickly graduated into 2G, 3G and then 4G LTE.
Each new generation gave us something exiting to look forward to and rapidly evolved. 1G was the simplest, as it merely transmitted voice or sound. Next came along 2G, which introduced texting. Talk about mind-blowing technology at the time! Now you didn’t have to call someone to connect, you could just send a quick message over to the person you want to get ahold of. A very quick and concise message, that I believe had a max amount of words or “characters” you could send at a time. However, it made correspondence happen with convince and leisure. How cool. When 3G evolved, it gave us the mobile web. Now that was quite an upgrade. What did 4G LTE do? Basically, just made the previous generations about 10 times faster. So the riveting question now, and somewhat confusing one, what will 5G bring us?
The whole hoopla that is being made about 5G in easy understandable translation – it’s basically, “crazy fast”. Let’s first think about 4G, which can transmit data and messages at 2 gigabits per second. With all things considered, pretty fast, right? However, there is a latency rate with 4G. In other words, sending a message or any information to someone won’t get there instantly. There will always be somewhat of a lag in transmitting your data. Well, with 5G, it’s basically sending messages and information about 10x faster, reaching 20 gigabits per second. There is about a zero latency rate between devices! That is wicked fast. It’s allowing you to communicate in “real time”. The lag between information being transferred won’t even be noticeable or really, in existence anymore. Humans can’t even operate that fast!
Another great advantage to 5G won’t be just speed. 5G will also allow a lot more devices to connect to the Internet at once, and still remain insanely fast. This year alone there are expected to be between 20 and 30 new 5G devices released. As of now though, anything that is marketed as 5G, still needs 4G networks. Why, you might ask?
Unlike 4G, 5G cannot travel between walls yet or even through bad weather. Now that’s a bummer. Think of your microwave. You can’t “nuke” anything on the outside of it, only within the microwaves walls. 5G currently acts very similar. It achieves its’ ridiculous speed with milometer waves and maxes out at only a few hundred meters. This makes it really hard to have 5G networks working solo. Essentially 5G networks still rely heavily on 4G to make the initial connection, before it can transition and transmit data over to 5G networks, if any only where it is supported. This is technically known as the NSA – non-standalone network. Many different sources say that by the end of 2020 our 5G networks will become SA – standalone, not needing 4G to be the liaison. No matter, 4G will continue to improve as well over the next year. Especially until 5G can SA, 4G networks are desperately needed to bridge the gap. Soon, the real advantages of 5G will come in massive capacity and low latency, beyond the levels 4G technologies can achieve.
The above relationship description between 4G and 5G has caused AT&T to get a little overenthusiastic about its up and coming 5G networks. AT&T has started to call its 4G network “5G Evolution”. They’re doing this because it seems improving 4G (which will always continue to happen) as a major step towards 5G. They are technically right, of course. But the phrasing is designed to confuse less-informed consumers into thinking “5G Evolution” is in fact 5G. When it most definitely is not. So how can some carriers market a 5G network? Well to understand this, you must understand there are 3 different levels of 5G – Low, Middle & High.
In understanding 5G speeds, you need to also understand that they’re directly related to how wide the available channels are, and how many are available. In low-band, you will have narrow and very few channels available, very similar to 4G. Mid-band 5G will provide a bit more “room” or available channels. Then there will be lots of availability in high-band, since it’s technically not being used. As you can probably imagine, high-band is most attractive due to the huge amount of unused airwaves but is currently very difficult for carriers to work with.
Like other networks, 5G use a system of cell sites that divide their territory into sectors and send encoded data through radio waves. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless connection. The air interface is designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than 4G LTE, though.
Currently businesses run on Internet speeds that 4G provides. With 5G rolling out, businesses will now be able to provide a much lower latency rate, across the board. Meaning, you’re going to be able to transmit data in less than a blink of an eye. Downloading and uploading speeds will drastically change and change the way we do business in general. Sending and receiving data via email, uploading and downloading files, will all be able to happen in what we consider as, “real time”.
This is going to completely change the way businesses are ran internally and therefore, externally. They will be able to communicate with colleagues, consumers,
product specialist, anyone and everyone, in just milliseconds. Video conferencing will have zero lag and drag. Connecting with customers across the world will all happen, so fast and smooth. No more frustrating freezes and waiting time! We are truly living in a world of the “now” with 5G entering the equation. We really are jumping into the wave of the future. Sit back, relax and enjoy the 5G ride!
Recently, a meme resonated with me in this crazy week: ‘your grandparents were called to go to war while you are called to sit on the couch….’.
Though this may be true, I’m concerned that our generation will struggle deeply with the effect and beyond. Today our world revolves around interaction.
Despite attachment to headsets and live streams, personal, human connection remains critical to a healthy existence. In the wake of this current nightmare or annoyance (however you view it), extroverts, like myself, will undoubtedly suffer. At Bubble, in order to contribute comfort and relief, we put together a ‘how to’ blog post on ways to work from home.
While working from home may seem like a dream situation, there are caveats that prevent many from successfully implementing the work-style. Focus and continual productivity away from the ‘normal’ workplace, can be a challenge.
Domestic distractions can be powerful temptations to engage in more entertaining activities. Or, if you have one of those OCD genes, domestic tasks can draw you away from the employment work at hand. Here are a few suggestions to remain work-focused and driven, even in your PJ’s.
Step One: Create a dedicated workstation.
If the couch and your lap support the work computer, chances are, reruns of The Office will divert your attention. Surely, we agree that Michael Scott captivates any audience far more than an employment task. Excel spreadsheets versus the “Dundee’s”.
Duh. No competition! Trust me, I’ve likely watched the entire series 4-5 times… on the low side. I assert confidently, that I am not alone. Moral of Step One: Secure the likelihood of successful productivity and create a proper workstation …. Mega-desk included. The couch is for respite, not work.
Step Two: Set Work Schedule Hours.
Prepare to go to work as normal on a commute that is steps away instead of miles. Establish a routine start time, break time and lunch period.
List these times on your daily calendar and share with your supervisor and/or associates to provide clarity and accountability in your daily schedule for all and especially, you! A solid schedule avoids detours created by household distractions. Without it you’ll find tasks you would otherwise overlook.
Human nature is weak. Minimize barriers and fortify yourself mentally, to focus and execute!
Step Three: Abide by your Work Schedule.
If you set it, don’t forget it! As mentioned, there are countless potential distractions. For example, there are two – 12 week-old puppies curled up at my feet.
Imagine fighting the challenge to play with them in a moment of writers’ block! They are the cutest enticements ever! To self-govern, I set incremental goals to complete before a distraction is allowed to overrule: write one more paragraph, send one more email, call my boss for task guidance or motivation, etc.
Step Four: Plan meetings and “Happy Hours” as usual !
In this magnificent and sometimes, overwhelming, world of technology, Skype meetings or Skype Happy Hours are very convenient to create! Priorities rule and Work remains the priority thanks to the work schedule in place (See Step Two!).
This includes Work Meetings. Simultaneously, don’t restrict yourself from the outside world. There are numerous avenues to communicate besides phone calls and emails. Initiate connection with variety.
The comforting aspect, literally comforting, is that you can rock business on top and loungewear on the bottom! Yes, wear your business-collared shirt with the cute (or handsome) blazer and sport PJ bottoms and slippers under the table!
Similarly, consider “Happy Hour” encounters where you can easily break into a bottle of wine or make that ‘corona-tini’ for an employee exchange and unwind in this resourceful means of connection in a world gone crazy. Do not allow the virus to interfere with, or compromise work relationships! It remains an opportunity to vent and share common experiences, lessons and victories in life and work. An added upside, no concern for the drive home.
Step Five: At the end of today, layout tomorrow’s itinerary.
It’s wise to keep work flowin’, when you’re goin! You’re in a groove by the end of the day and more focused, so keep it rolling! Write task lists for the next days’ calendar and designate importance with bullet points, so you can dive right in when you ‘arrive’ at the office.
It is the perfect distraction-buster for what lies around every household corner and key to a strong start that secures a solid finish of another productive day.
Small businesses are typically left out of the conversation when it comes to upgrading your telecommunications. Most owners don’t even know that VoIP phone systems for small businesses are available and cost efficient. At Bubble Communications, we services customers of all sizes and upgrade smaller accounts from analog into the world of VoIP every day. There are a few different cases in which a small business would benefit from our VoIP Phone System.
You have an expensive bill with a large National Carrier such as AT&T
Do you find yourself paying astronomical prices for your business to have one phone line and a fax? On some of the large carriers, I have run into customers who are paying upwards of $160 for ONE line. Yes, you read the correctly. If you have been on the same carrier for years, then your price is astronomically higher than those of new customers. With our VoIP phone system for small business you can receive more features such as the ability to transfer to cell phones, have a call portal where you can control your forwarding, and have music on hold so your customers don’t just hear white noise.
Since most small business assume that VoIP phone systems are out of their price range, they never look at the possibility. The reality of it is that VoIP is cheaper for a small business than the cost of paying the large national carriers for the same old phones and poor customer services that you have had for years. With Bubble, you will upgrade your phone, receive more value and features, and potentially lower your cost.
You are in an area where you have bad internet and are under the impression that VoIP services are not available to you.
Are you in one of those pockets in Southern California where there are no cable or fiber providers? Do you only have access to your local telecom company such as AT&T, Frontier or Verizon? If so, we have a solution for your phone service. Using our cellular technology, we can run a VoIP phone system for small business. With this technology, you can run your phone lines, a fax line, and credit card machine. Even though you may be stuck with limited options on the internet side, you have more options for your voice services.
You just work off your cell phone because it’s just you!
Is it just you in the office? Do you use your personal cell phone for business? If so, Bubble can help you regain your privacy while not having to spend a large monthly sum on cell phone bills. Our product offers a soft phone for your business number that allows you to receive and make calls from your business number. If you have the need to turn off work calls, you can! The beauty of our VoIP phone system for small business is that it can be customized to your specific needs no matter how big or small!
Small businesses have different needs for their phone systems. Some businesses rely heavily on their phones whereas others hardly use their phones. They just have a business line in case someone calls them. Regardless of your business’ level of phone use, you should strive to have the best product for the value at a cost-efficient price.
One of the main things to ensure is that whichever business phone system you choose to use it allows you the opportunity to grow and expand as business changes and your needs change. It is never to late to look at getting a VoIP phone system for small business!
Customer Case Study
In Southern California, there are a lot of areas that still have issues with internet connectivity. A small auto shop in Orange is a perfect example of why switching their phone service to Bubble is not only cost-effective but also more valuable.
What they had:
The customer had one business phone line with AT&T and was paying approximately $180 per month for their service.
What we offered:
We offered a VoIP phone that would run behind the 4G cellular connection. This would also run his credit card machine. The customer saved about $50 dollars, upgraded his equipment, and received more features for his phone than what he had with AT&T.
Just because you are in an area with poor internet connectivity does not mean that your business is limited to only one option. At Bubble, we work with customers to find a unique customization for their business communications.
What are the perceived barriers to VoIP Phone Systems for Small Business?
- Reliable Internet Connectivity– VoIP requires a stable internet connection to ensure voice quality.
- Hardware Costs– Most small business think that VoIP will require a large upfront cost for hardware; however, most of the time you can upgrade your services and receive new equipment and still possibly save some money monthly!
- Fear of Poor Quality – Most businesses rely on their phone service. Business owners are afraid that VoIP delivers poor quality, unreliable service. Technology behind VoIP is over 20 years old. Today, VoIP quality is crystal clear and reliable. However, service with different VoIP providers can drastically impact quality. Bubble is an FCC and PUC regulated phone company. We are not reselling service
What are the benefits of a VoIP Phone System for Small Business?
- Access to a wide range of features – Have you always wanted music on hold for when a customer calls in? Features such as music on hold and call waiting are popular tools that small businesses can get access to by switching to VoIP!!
- Flexibility and Growth– With VoIP you can start small and expand as quickly as you need. A VoIP system is customizable to your business specific needs at any time.
Why choose Bubble Communications as your VoIP provider?
- Hands OnSupport – From sales to installation to customer service, we walk you through every step of the process.
- Customization – Business phone systems are not a one size fits all model. We work with you to customize your phone system.
- Crystal Clear, Quality Voice Calls– Our network is phone first ensuring that your voice calls get priority so that you don’t have issues with dropped calls, static, or delays.
Re-cap of why your Small Business should switch to VoIP:
- Cut your costs
- Increase features for your employees
- Receive better customer service
Of all the many reasons to switch to VoIP, the ability to cut your costs, increase the features available to your employees and receive more support are the main reasons small business switch to Bubble on a daily basis. Contact Bubble today by calling us at 714-599-7900 for your free consultation and bring your business into the world of VoIP!
When was the last time you took a look at your businesses phone bill? What was the base price that you signed up for? How much do you get charged in taxes? If you still use a legacy phone system and haven’t changed your phone carrier in the past year, you may be charged with hidden fees, taxes and surcharges.
Upgrading to a VoIP phone system could potentially save you some money while providing more value for the service purchased.
When it comes to your communications, internet charges are not taxed by the federal and state. Taxes and fees on your communications bill are generated only from voice services.
If you’re currently using one of the large national phone carriers (Vonage, Ring Central, ATT, Verizon, 8×8, or Spectrum), you should be aware of these hidden fees or surcharges.
These are usually way above the initial quote that their customers are currently paying. Below I will breakdown some invoices from these different carriers so you can get more insight into your monthly telecommunications bill.
- Voice Services Charge Total: $94.98
- Taxes, Fee, and Surcharges: $47.30
- Percentage of Voice Bill: %50
The Federal Universal Svc Recovery Fee is a surcharge that Spectrum uses under the guise of having to pay a surcharge to the FCC for your services. See their website for a breakdown of taxes and surcharges that could appear on your Spectrum bill.
- Service Charge Total: $346.32
- Taxes, Fee, and Surcharges: $106.32 (Taxes: $27.43, Surcharges: $78.89)
- Percentage of Voice Bill: About 30.6 Percent
Per AT&T’s website, the Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge, Cost Assessment Charge, Federal Universal Service Fee and more are not government imposed taxes but rather ‘costs’ that they have that they pass to you as the customer.
Under surcharges and Other Fees there is a charge for State Regulatory Fee. My question to you is: If this is indeed a state tax why is it not listed under the government taxes and fees? AT&T says that your state may or may not charge this surcharge. The only example of a state that does is Hawaii.
- Service Charge Total: $844.52
- Taxes, Fee, and Surcharges: $324.98 (Taxes: $132.37, Surcharges: $192.61)
- Percentage of Voice Bill: About 38 Percent
The Regulatory, Compliance and Intellectual Property Fee is a fee Vonage passes off to their customers to cover some of their costs. As stated on their website, this fee is not a government mandated fee. It’s a Vonage specific fee and is typically just additional profit to their bottom line.
The Emergency 911 and Information Services Fee is also not a government-mandated fee. It covers the cost of providing you with 911 and 411 services.
Vonage states that the Federal Program Fee recovers charges that they have to pay to the FCC; however, this fee is pure profit for telecom companies. There are little to no charges that the FCC requires of phone carriers.
Why are taxes different with VoIP phone systems?
State and government taxes are unavoidable. The percentage of tax on your phone bill will vary depending on what state you live in; however, your phone company should be realistic with you regarding the rough estimate that your taxes will cost.
For example, customers that use Bubble’s VoIP phone systems typically have a tax rate between 4 – 10 percent depending on the services that they require.
There is one surcharge, Federal Subscriber Line Charge, that telecom companies pay to the government at cost per line. With an analog phone system, you pay a percentage of the price per line.
Using a VoIP system, you can have a multitude of handsets, features, and capabilities that do not require you to have individual lines.
Thus, this surcharge is based on a lower amount of lines, since VoIP phone systems are based on the number of seats/handsets required by a company and not by the number of lines.
One of the reasons these fees and surcharges are so frustrating is that customers are unaware of them until after they’ve committed and are locked into a contract. Now, you are stuck in a term paying more than what you originally expected for your phone services.
It is disheartening that most large national providers have taken up this practice of disguising hidden fees in their bills and tricking customer to sign up under the guise of a low monthly base.
Here at Bubble Communications we do not add on mysterious or hidden charges to our customers’ bill. We try to be as transparent as possible in regards to the taxes and fees they will receive in addition to their base monthly.
Think about it this way – can you think of a tax, in the United States, that is between 30-50 percent? I definitely can’t think of any. So why is okay for your telecommunications company to charge you taxes in this range?
Stay on top of your service providers and make sure to hold them accountable to the rates and services that were offered to you at the point of sale.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons why you owe it to yourself to take your business to the next level of communications and switch to a VoIP Cloud Phone System!
You may be wondering why you should switch your business phone system from its current, but very outdated analog phone system, to the popular buzz of the business world – VoIP. After all, why ‘fix’ something that’s not broken? Well, what if you could manage your voicemails and/or faxes, the same way you do emails? Quick, virtual and with no paper trail to worsen your carbon footprint… VoIP cloud phone systems will allow you to do just that. This is just one small yet enticing feature a VoIP system can offer you. Keep reading to learn more about the top reasons to switch to VoIP.
Now, you can take your business on the go. VoIP cloud phone systems allow you to make and receive calls, from your business phone number; virtually anywhere you are in the world where there is an Internet connection. The positive effects this portability can have on a business are practically limitless. Just connect your VoIP telephone to any Internet connection, and you’re ready to start making calls, wherever you are in the world. In accessing your own online portal, you can manage all your calls and even your messages, anywhere you go.
2) Fun and Free Phone Features
VoIP customers can enjoy a plethora of fun and free phone features that will undoubtedly make employee work productivity increase. Some of these fun features include, conference calling, call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail to email, caller ID and call recording. Normally, many of these features that are included with a hosted VoIP provider, are additional charges through any other traditional phone plan.
3) Affordable Long Distance
In using any traditional phone company, Long Distance Plans are going to be quite pricey. This is because you are still using hard analog, wiring to place your Long-Distance calls. You’re at a much higher risk of encountering one of the many issues that are associated with those traditional analog services/wiring. In using VoIP, since you are essentially connecting your phone over the Internet to make phone calls, your Long-Distance plan is going to cost considerably less. Many VoIP providers will offer either international calling plans or low per-minute international rates.
4) Cloud Based Solutions
All your data, including the actual recording of voice calls, can be saved and stored in the cloud. You can analyze your data for customer quality guarantee, helping to improve your service and overall company performance. Most credible VoIP companies will also offer a ‘safety-net’ feature. That means, even an emergency or natural disaster won’t shut you down.
5) No Mo’ Maintenance
In using a hosted VoIP cloud phone system, there’s no need to constantly replace or fix unnecessary parts. There’s realistically no equipment for you to purchase or maintain. The only hardware needed is the phone (Soft phone, IP phone or even Cell phone) and then everything can be done electronically through the phone’s software. We recommend Polycom phones as the best hardware available for your VoIP phone system.
6) Only Pay for What You Use
In using a traditional phone system, you had to specify the number of lines or numbers you would need prior to your usage. Frequently, businesses would overestimate their need and therefore end up paying much extra for something not even being used. VoIP lines and numbers on the other hand, can be calculated immediately. This will ensure you are only paying for calls and services used.
7) Easy Upgrades
Upgrading to newer technology doesn’t always have to break the bank. Through most hosted VoIP companies, the only hardware needed is the actual IP Phone, which can be programmed and upgraded remotely. Even the most basic phone models come equipped with a plethora of fun features and you can always make modifications later as your needs change.
8) Office and Employee Management
While using a VoIP cloud phone system will help you better communicate with customers, your internal business can also benefit from using VoIP by enhancing communication between employees. VoIP services make it easy for employees to hold phone conferences, share contacts, send messages and keep in constant contact with one another to keep workflow moving forward.
9) Toss your Fax Machine
Faxing has become more and more a wave of the past. However, some businesses do still need to send and receive the occasional fax or two. With a VoIP cloud phone system, you can electronically receive and send your faxes via email. It’s a great way to minimize the use of paper and cut costs in a big way!
10) Service and Customer Support
There are two different sides and advantages to a VoIP user and the support received. The first side, as a user – you are going to receive a very detailed and hands on experience. Through your trusted VoIP providers’ support, you will have a flawless online platform that you’re able to tailor and custom to your own business needs. On the opposite side, as a business offering VoIP, you’re able to act and achieve goals, along with deadlines, much faster. Through the extremely efficient and many accessible ways of communicating quickly with clients and colleagues, you’re able to have quick and constant avenues of communication. So, you’ll never miss a beat or a sale.
Ultimately, office phone systems and the provider you choose for your company, will have an impact on business. A good or bad impact, depends on which provider you choose. It will impact your business’ service, customer gratification and sequentially, whether or not they want to move forward in becoming your customer. In this fast pace world we live in, some businesses will overlook the importance of each interaction with potential customers. Not a wise decision. You’re trying to gain their business, therefore, you must treat each outreach with importance. Your communication methods need to be reliable in order to do make a sale and gain a customer.
Through your daily interactions with customers, you’re really guiding them through your sales process, while hopefully exciting them along the way! You really want to impress them with professionalism while ramping them up with their product purchases. The best way to be able to instill that excitement, and of course product confidence, is by demonstrating stellar communication skills. Always better to have more communication with a customer than not enough. It reassures them that they are in the right hands. The features and service you use is of extreme importance in providing that reassurance. The most important of these is your line of communication with them – office phone systems.
Now, to further that thought, it’s imperative to ensure your employees are using the best methods to communicate with customers daily. After all, it’s a reflection on your business. You want to have the right tools of communicating in place, running seamlessly and are nothing but enhancing client experiences. It would be a shame if the methods used for communication, reflect poorly on your service.
There are popular tools used for communication, such as Microsoft or Google. Often they’re used by smaller businesses and are not very reliable. It’s important to take into consideration if these tools are in fact useful or causing issues. Such tools include messaging platforms, SMS, emails, and phone system capabilities. These tools can be viewed as helpful but due to their lack of consistent quality, can definitely have a negative effect on professional communication. Especially when using a phone company who provides third party services.
You want to make sure your phone company is not a third party provider. It’s CLEC and FCC Regulated. Having a third party provider will effect the quality of your services because their lines are not direct. In essence, third party companies are “renting” their lines, which is why you can experience delays in conversation or even worse dropped calls. How’s that for poor reflection on business?
The quality of office phone systems and whether it is performing at peak productivity level should be a top business priority. Every interaction employees’ have with customers, will ultimately affect the overall experience they have with your business. Think about it, if your communication with customers is poor, your service is going to be poor. Therefore, you’r going to have a lot of unhappy customers, who could effect business by writing negative online reviews. It’s a snowball effect and one that could easily be solved with the right company, system and tools.
There are some offices who are still working with a PBX phone system, not a problem. Now you can easily equip it with a reliable cloud phone system, too. Popular IP PBX systems can be modernized with high-performance VoIP features, especially certain systems such as Avaya, Cisco, or Polycom.
If your current phone system is not supporting your needs and truly benefiting you and your company, it’s time to make the switch and join the millions of other successful VoIP users. Don’t resist the change! Through the use of the right phone provider you can create a reliable system that gives positive experiences. At the end of the day, it’s the service you’d expect, it’s the service you need.