Meet us in Las Vegas!

We’ll be attending the Channel Partners Conference 2014 event in Las Vegas, from February 26th to 28th.

Come by booth 8009 to learn more about how our Partner Program and how it offers multiple revenue stream opportunities to your MSP business.

See you on the Strip!1402-vegas-channelpartners

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The Top Business Communications Trends for 2014

Here’s a forward-looking article from Easy Office Phone that ran today in Small Business Opportunities. In the piece, our CEO Adam Simpson lays out his predictions for some of the key trends in the Hosted PBX market for the year to come.

Top Business Communications Trends for 2014, from Easy Office Phone

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Preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Six Tips to Ensure Effective Business Communications Systems

Easy Office Phone is pleased to present tips for retailers to achieve business readiness for the holiday onslaught. By implementing the right tools and communications systems, retailers can ensure that business and customer care run smoothly during the year’s biggest revenue-generating season.

In today’s virtual world, businesses must mind not only the crowd, but also the cloud. One critical way to get ahead of the holiday blitz is by moving to a cloud-based phone service. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approach, companies must start preparing for consumer demand by making sure that customer care is top notch and that call centers are prepared to deal with increased customer requests.

“After the shopping bonanza comes the surge of customer returns and requests. While retailers focus heavily on marketing and merchandising products and services, many fail to have the foresight to strategically implement the tools needed to cover the entire shopper experience – from point of purchase to consumer care,” said Adam Simpson, CEO of Easy Office Phone. “It’s vital for businesses to have the proper communications systems in place to handle consumer demands efficiently and effectively. Moving to a cloud-based phone service will enable businesses to provide excellent customer care this holiday season.”

Easy Office Phone provides the following tips for retailers to ensure effective communications systems during the holiday shopping season:


1) Use call queuing
– Queues are a powerful tool for handling calls in an orderly and efficient manner. Call queuing allows you to distribute calls to multiple staff as calls arrive, and will also hold calls in priority sequence if all agents are occupied. You can easily change which agents belong to a given queue, and even offer call preference to your top performers using skills-based routing.

2) Set target service levels and measure results – Responsiveness is critical during peak shopping periods as consumers will gladly shop at a competitor if your team can’t get to them in time. Determine an optimum response time and the target service levels feature will report how frequently your targets are actually being met in practice.

3) Use tracking and reporting tools – In addition to target service levels, use deep tracking and reporting tools to understand how your contact center teams are performing across a wide range of metrics including areas for improvement. Remember to make these evaluations in advance of the busiest days so you can make any needed adjustments without added pressure. Metrics can include: total number of calls, how many calls were answered versus abandoned, average hold time, average call length, and more. A good tracking and reporting suite will include the ability to easily export data to your favorite spreadsheet format.

4) Consider implementing “spillover” queues – Anticipate that at some point the influx of Black Friday or Cyber Monday calls will overwhelm your staff, despite their best efforts. The ideal solution is a spillover or backup queue that will receive those excess calls and pass them to a second group of agents who are standing by for this contingency. Additionally, if your business brings on staff on a temporary basis, and pays them based on calls taken, you can use the tracking and reporting tools from Tip 3 to ensure the accuracy of payments to these temporary agents.

5) Use your phone service provider’s Web interface – Companies with discrete product and service offerings may need separate phone numbers and call queues for each in order to handle requested volume. Use your cloud-based phone service provider’s Web interface to ensure that each product or service has a unique phone number, which points to a call queue staffed by appropriately trained agents.

6) Announce approximate wait times– Assume that your shoppers may not be patient enough to tolerate a reasonable hold time. Be sure to provide them with a rough idea of when they can expect to reach an agent. This feature is easy to implement through your phone service provider’s Web interface.

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Disaster Relief: Tips for Minimizing Communications Downtime During Natural Disasters

With hurricane season on the horizon and many businesses preparing for potential weather events, it’s crucial for companies to take steps to minimize any disruption in communications with employees or customers.

“In the event of a disaster, business owners have even more to worry about than most people,” says Adam Simpson, CEO of Easy Office Phone. “They have to take care of themselves and their families like everyone else, but they’re also responsible for ensuring their staff will be safe and their business will stay as close to 100% operational as possible. That means taking precautions to safeguard their communications systems.”

Easy Office Phone’s tips for minimizing communications downtime include:

1. Set a protocol: Well before the next disaster arrives, your employees should know exactly what you expect them to do if an event occurs. Develop a simple checklist for employees to follow and ensure every staff member has a copy. Do not allow for any confusion or uncertainty in the event of a disaster – you cannot afford it.

2. Assess your current business continuity plan: Determine which regular activities are mission-critical, and then apply worst-case infrastructure scenarios to see whether your plan holds up. For example, if your entire office building loses power, how can your staff continue fielding customer support inquiries?

3. Ensure your office phone service is virtualized: For most businesses, phone continuity is mission-critical. Cloud-based phone service greatly increases the odds that your main phone number will remain reachable and your clients will know you’re in business – even if a disaster takes your office entirely off the grid.

4. Obtain backup numbers from all staff: Because you can never be too prepared, be sure to develop a comprehensive staff contact list, including cell phone numbers, home numbers and personal email addresses. Some staff may not wish to receive cell phone calls outside of office hours, so your list should clearly note which numbers are to be called in emergencies only. It may also be helpful to implement a contact tree so all employees know who to expect an emergency call from, and if they in turn need to call someone else on the list.

5. Ensure key documents are virtualized: Ask your staff to develop a list of documents and files they regularly use and need access to. Implement a practice of backing up these key files to cloud-based storage on a regular basis. Remember, you may have only limited advance warning of an impending disaster – preparing now saves your staff from having to scramble at the last moment to decide which files are most critical, or worse, losing documents they may have saved locally if the power or servers unexpectedly shut down.

6. Tell your staff they can work remotely: Believe it or not, many employees will attempt to commute to the office even in extreme weather – unless you’ve told them otherwise. If your employees cannot safely travel to the office or office infrastructure is compromised, you need an alternative. Implementing a virtual private network (VPN) and cloud-based phone and email services will remove a great deal of pressure by enabling staff to access office files and emails from home, and make and receive calls from anywhere.

7. Set a point person: Although the above tips are crucial, implementing them does involve some work. As with most aspects of business, a clear leader is important. Designate a single trusted staff member to work through the steps – and do it now, so you have a chance to review and test your system well before you truly need it.

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“What it’s Worth vs. What it Costs” – MSP Compensation in the Hosted PBX Market

With the explosion of Hosted PBX into the mainstream telecom space, managed service providers have a variety of product options to choose from. MSPs seeking to resell voice and data services must now consider impact to resources, cost of acquisition, and training capabilities, and balance these against potential revenues. In this piece we’re going to examine how to make an informed decision on the program that’s right for you, by considering “What it’s Worth – Versus what it Costs.”

To get started, look at how you attract and obtain clients in the first place. Between your various marketing initiatives, you’ll have a certain cost of acquisition for each new client. A symbiotic partnership with a Hosted PBX provider should lower your average cost of acquisition by helping to push fresh leads to you – leads that did not require budget adjustments or staff time from your side. Remember that meeting these prospects to discuss Hosted PBX will very likely open the door to the additional MSP services you offer, allowing you to up-sell and cross-sell other core products. The result is a greatly increased ROI. When choosing a provider, it’s therefore important to ask whether they can provide local leads in your area, and participate in co-marketing with mutual benefit.

The next key in offering Hosted PBX is minimizing the time, effort, and ultimately money your business must expend to add the service to your portfolio. A properly designed Hosted PBX program for MSPs will use streamlined web-based processes to deliver a very “light lift” for your business, allowing you to quickly and easily add Hosted PBX to your MSP toolbox. Before committing to any program, have your representative explain how their systems will provide for easy integration. If you foresee issues with impact to resources, onboarding, or ongoing training, look elsewhere, no matter how attractive the compensation may seem. Your prospective partner must fully understand your current processes for onboarding new clients, and be able to easily integrate into your existing sales cycles.

Last – but certainly not least – are training considerations. Even the most streamlined and efficient Hosted PBX offering will require a certain amount of ramp-up and training time. Your goal should be minimizing impact to your resources while maximizing the information your staff absorb. Look for a comprehensive set of training tools, accessible at any time via the web. Also note that well-designed training programs won’t stop at having trainees watch a few videos. Your Hosted PBX partner should offer ongoing training and sales support, such as regular webinars. Finally, the best partners offer dedicated staff resources, providing responsive “in-field” support and training when you’re onsite. The training sessions should be followed up with testing to ensure that you and your staff are ready to start positioning, selling, and deploying Hosted PBX. Be sure to fully understand training resources when making a decision on any prospective partner.

I would be pleased to discuss our Dealer Program and how it addresses all of these crucial points to provide an ideal fit for your MSP business. Please contact me as shown below.

Carl Watene
V.P. Sales and Channel Development
Easy Office Phone
Find-me/follow-me: 866 671-0111 x 371

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How to expand your MSP portfolio and increase revenue, without the Hassle!

Hosted PBX Dealer Program

MSPs can quickly expand their portfolios and reduce revenue – without the hassle! -when they join our Hosted PBX Dealer Program.

With the ever-increasing demand for voice services, there is now a compelling reason to add Hosted PBX to your portfolio. You may even be considering becoming a Hosted PBX provider yourself.

The issue with offering and managing Hosted PBX service in-house is not limited to finding a suitable platform. Offering a total solution requires a system with per minute and per second billing. Adding another layer of complexity is technical support and staff training. On top of that, you’ll have to deal with number porting, network infrastructure, multiple layers of redundancy and rate center agreements.

You may think providing voice service might be easier through a hosted platform that can be rebranded, allowing you to provide support. Sounds nice, but your name is now on the line for voice quality and network issues outside of your control!

You now need to ask – are you prepared to become a telecommunications company? Do you have the necessary resources and skillset to deploy, support and manage a PBX solution?

How will this impact your relationship with your clients if the voice portion of your services ever experiences issues? With so many barriers, is it worth trying to become a full service voice and data provider?

The reality is that most MSP companies won’t get there by themselves, at least not without hassle and impact to your business resources.

When looking for a Hosted PBX solution, you will need to know:

  • Is the Platform proprietary or off-the-shelf
  • Does the network have multiple redundancies
  • Can they provide or port numbers in both the US and Canada
  • What kind of support does the host company provide
  • Do they have an acceptable SLA
  • Can they provide sales tools, such as a portal to craft proposal and contracts
  • Do they offer sales training
  • Do they offer sales collateral

WILL THEY BE THERE WHEN YOU NEED THEM?

I have developed a program specifically for MSPs, and we have hundreds of MSPs throughout North America.

Easy Office Phone (EOP) is a North American telecom company offering a proprietary class 5 soft switch with a full suite of features, operating on multiple Tier 4 Data Centers.

Using network infrastructure strategically placed throughout North America, we deliver business-class service, designed to optimize voice quality and reliability. This means layered redundancy, coupled with an SLA that your clients can rely on. The network has layer 2 infrastructure in both the US and Canada.

Our cloud-based phone service is a cost-effective alternative to traditional on-premise PBX systems. Our call center platform offers a feature-rich desktop tool allowing supervisors to effectively manage their call center queues with agent or group reporting, using historical and real-time metrics. In addition, we seamlessly integrate into Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Sugar CRM and more with screen pops, click to dial, extension transfers and conferencing from the CRM screen. Our proprietary PBX system is kept in the forefront of technology with new features remotely upgraded to your handsets for free, keeping your system current longer.

The EOP Dealer Program provides additional benefits to your business by expanding your portfolio, while complimenting your existing products and services. We have developed a Dealer portal to help support lead tracking, proposal & contract generation, and account activation. Our dealer-centric interface helps you optimize your sales process and gives you access to deep sales training information to ensure you are successful without impacting your core business.

The program offers multiple revenue streams in addition to your existing business and we encourage our partners to offer voice as part of the managed service package or “Support Package.”

EOP’s representatives are trained on the platform and will help qualify your clients’ needs to recommend a solution that will reduce risk and monthly costs while increasing efficiency by utilizing features within our platform.

Our Dealer Support Group is responsive, friendly and knowledgeable. They’ll show you how to utilize our service to meet and exceed your clients’ requirements.

Contact me (see below for details) or have a look at the following links for more information.

Carl Watene
V.P. Sales and Channel Development
Easy Office Phone
Find-me/follow-me: 866 671-0111 x 371

http://www.easyofficephone.com/plans/hosted-pbx-dealer

Please see testimonials, case study & review site “Which VoIP”:

http://www.easyofficephone.com/resources/testimonials

http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1098313/township-of-north-glengarry-chooses-easy-office-phone-as-new-phone-service-provider

http://www.whichvoip.com/voip/business-voip-reviews/easyofficephone-voip-review.php

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Cloud Security with Hosted PBX

Cloud Security with Hosted PBX

Learn how a Hosted PBX service can enhance security in the cloud.

Cloud security is an increasingly significant consideration for IT professionals. In its recent survey, AccelOps, Inc., a leader in integrated Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), performance and availability monitoring software, interviewed 176 IT security professionals. One of the key findings was that responsibility for cloud security rests overwhelmingly (78%) with businesses’ internal IT staff.

Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX phone service can enhance overall cloud security while lessening the already significant load on IT personnel. In today’s post we will explain how moving your phone service to the cloud can help.

  1. Electronic invoice delivery. Our invoices are stored in an SSL-secured web portal, and you can also choose to have them delivered via e-mail. This means no more printed bills and conspicuous envelopes left at doors or on desks.
  2. Similarly, faxes are archived via our portal, and can also be delivered to specified e-mail addresses – in contrast to printed faxes with potentially sensitive data being left on a fax machine.
  3. Administrators can set web portal access levels on a per-user basis, ensuring that only appropriate parties can manage powerful high-level functions.
  4. International calling capabilities are highly adjustable. Administrators can enable or disable international calls on a per-extension basis, and can also set an overall spending limit for international calling in any given month. These safeguards can help prevent potentially costly unauthorized calls to overseas numbers.
  5. Users with administrator-level access can remotely disable a phone from using Easy Office Phone’s cloud PBX service. For example, if an employee leaves the company and doesn’t return the hardware, his or her phone can be disabled to prevent unauthorized calls.
  6. Tracking phone usage is easy. Web portals provide managers with up-to-the-minute call records with options to filter by date, staff extension numbers, and call type. Exporting records to spreadsheet format is quick and simple.
  7. Monitoring calls for quality, compliance or training purposes (such as assisting new staff members during live calls) is a snap with Easy Office Phone’s silent monitoring feature.
  8. Where greater call transparency is needed, Easy Office Phone can record all calls and deliver the recordings to a secure cloud-based storage service.
  9. Call centers can leverage the power of our Virtual Call Center package, which provides even more robust tracking and accountability metrics.
  10. Easy Office Phone has built its service on a robust backend network, including Tier 4 datacenters with strictly controlled access, 24/7 monitoring and onsite support staff.
  11. All individual servers are protected by industry-leading encryption to further enhance security.
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Video Conferencing gives communications more impact

Video Conferencing with Hosted PBX

Adding video conferencing to your Hosted PBX service can greatly increase the impact you deliver during meetings and presentations.

Did you know that Easy Office Phone now offers video conferencing? Have a look at this San Francisco Chronicle article discussing the technology and its benefits to business: http://bit.ly/Z2YklG

You can also check out the full text below.

Video Conferencing now available with Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX

Easy Office Phone, one of North America’s leading providers of Hosted PBX business phone service, announces that it is now offering video conferencing.

The video conferencing feature responds to the growing need for mobile workers to enhance their work experience with high quality business telecommunications capability. A recent Robert Half International survey asked 1,400 CFOs which perks were most likely to strengthen employee retention and motivation. At 24 percent, the second most important consideration was flexible work hours and telecommuting. Recent IDC research indicates the world’s mobile worker population will total more than 1.3 billion (more than 37 percent of the total workforce) by 2015.

With Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX and a soft phone, mobile staff and their managers can immediately start enjoying the benefits of telecommuting and video conferencing. Employees who travel often – particularly those who need to check in with head office regularly – will now be able to enjoy the additional benefits of face-to-face collaboration. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has noted that as much as 80 per cent of what humans “say” is expressed in their body language, meaning that video conferencing enables much more meaningful and impactful sessions than are possible during simple voice calls.

Product or service demonstrations that require visual contact are an excellent fit for video conferencing. A sales representative demonstrating a new smartphone to a corporate customer can now easily show him/her the benefits of the device, visually and in real time.

Another highly beneficial application of the technology is increased ease of screening prospective new employees. Where in-person meetings are not convenient, or where managers are tasked with hiring staff who will work remotely, video calls offer a superior means of gauging a prospective employee’s personality and demeanor.

Potential cost savings make the solution even more attractive. Typical video conferencing solutions are offered on a per-minute basis, and can potentially represent monthly fees of thousands of dollars above and beyond a company’s core phone service costs. Easy Office Phone customers, however, can add video capability to their Hosted PBX service for a very affordable, flat-rate monthly fee.

Easy Office Phone staff are available to discuss the company’s video conferencing technology and its benefits for businesses of all sizes and industries. Customers and interested parties can call 1-866-671-0111 or visit www.easyofficephone.com for more information.

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Guest Post: Can VoIP Services Do the Heart Good?

VoIP - Good for the heart?

Can VoIP Service actually be good for the heart? By allowing for more and greater quality vacation time, there’s a good chance this is in fact true.

While the recent documentary, Running Out of Time, shows how we as a society tend to overwork ourselves, it also revealed some troubling statistics. Documentary writer John De Graaf uncovered a study that showed women who skip vacations have a 50% higher chance of a heart disease diagnosis over women who take vacations from work. Meanwhile, men who passed on vacations increased their chances of suffering from a heart attack by one third.

These surprising heart disease stats are certainly something to take to heart, but in an increasingly demanding and competitive work environment, how can we afford to shut off our phones, close our laptops, and jet off to the Caribbean?

Sadly, the answer is most of us can’t, at least not without missing important business negotiations or client calls. The good news, for the sake of your heart and your job, is that there is a way to take a vacation and still keep up to speed with your business all thanks to VoIP service.

So let’s get to the heart of VoIP. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) refers to an Internet telephony system that carries phones calls over the Internet instead of the traditional phone line. VoIP providers offer a cheaper alternative to using a traditional phone company, while also increasing your business’s flexibility and mobility. With VoIP service, you can send and receive your business phone calls on your mobile device or another landline without incurring hefty charges, regardless of whether you’re in the Bahamas or the south of France.

Mobile Apps
Many top VoIP providers offer business VoIP plans that include mobile applications for smartphones. This feature allows you to sync your office number with your iPhone or Android.

When you make calls with this app, your office number will show up on the caller ID, and if a caller dials your office number, your mobile device will ring. Additionally, with this feature, you can turn off your mobile’s data roaming and connect to WiFi to make calls, which will eliminate any international roaming charges.

With this VoIP feature, you and your mobile device can veg out in a poolside cabana without the fear of missing any important calls from your clients or business.

Call Forwarding Feature
Business VoIP companies also provide the free Find Me Follow Me feature. This option lets you program other numbers to simultaneously or sequentially ring when someone calls your business VoIP number. This means you could forward your calls to your beach house or hotel’s landline, along with your mobile device as well. With Find Me Follow Me, you can indulge in some much needed R&R and still receive your business calls at the same time.

While this option is free of charge for nationwide calls, you are encouraged to contact your VoIP provider about any international calling conditions and fees if you’re traveling abroad.

Virtual Calling Card
Many of the best VoIP providers feature virtual calling cardss, which you can purchase for a nominal fee. Much like a physical calling card, this option provides you with a number to dial before making a call from anywhere in the world. This VoIP feature lets you make international calls to your business clients and customers at much more affordable per minute rates than with a traditional phone or mobile phone service.

If you’ve purchased a calling card, you can easily make an affordable call back to your boss in the states to explain you’re extending your European vacation.

VoIP to VoIP
An additional VoIP feature to consider while planning your heart healthy vacation is that all VoIP to VoIP calls are free. Calls you make with your VoIP mobile app to your business’s Internet phone number count as complimentary VoIP to VoIP calls as well. VoIP to VoIP calls are all free regardless of distance, call duration, or international borders.

Regardless of whether you’re watching movies in bed on your staycation or you’re basking on the beach in Italy, you can still send and receive business VoIP calls without paying a single penny or even a Euro.

Just as some business matters are too urgent to put off, so is the matter of your heart’s health. VoIP service offers an easy and affordable way for you to indulge in a much needed vacation without your work piling up.

Chloe Mulliner is a tech content writer for VoIP Review, working out of the San Diego area.

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New Customer Success Story – Municipality of over 10,000 residents chooses Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX

We are pleased to announce that the Township of North Glengarry has selected our Hosted PBX service to run its various municipal offices and service centres. See the full release on Yahoo Finance or see below for the text.

Township of North Glengarry - logo

The Township of North Glengarry, with over 10,000 residents, selects Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX to run its municipal offices and service centers..

Township of North Glengarry chooses Easy Office Phone as new phone service provider

Township saving 80% over traditional service, with better integration and improved efficiency

BURLINGTON , Ontario, Jan. 14, 2013 – Easy Office Phone is proud to announce it has been selected as the phone service provider for the Township of North Glengarry, Ontario. The company will provide sophisticated Hosted PBX service to the Township’s municipal centres and staff, which collectively serve more than 10,600 residents.

The Township, located between Ottawa and Montreal , was seeking a phone service provider that could effectively unify its multiple locations, including offices, fire stations, recreational areas, and administration groups. After an in-depth pilot program, the township selected Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX service.

North Glengarry has been looking to improve cost efficiencies across its various centres since 2008. Rick Elderbroom, GIS/IT Manager, has led a technology initiative to unify North Glengarry’s communications across its 17 municipal offices and service locations.

Prior to the selection of Easy Office Phone, all of the township’s locations were paying individually for phone, fax and Internet services. As a result, communications were not cost-efficient.

The township also recognized that coordination between locations could be improved. To reach each other, staff needed to place external calls, which reduced the speed of communications. This issue was particularly acute in North Glengarry’s mobile workforce.

Mr. Elderbroom led a pilot project in North Glengarry’s corporate office. Working with Easy Office Phone staff, the town conducted a “stress test” to examine network requirements and prepare for the adoption of Hosted PBX technology across the township. Easy Office Phone’s service, which employs Tier- 3 datacenters and premium transit links, was selected based on its ability to produce a consistently high quality of service.

Structured, methodical deployments followed. At each rollout stage, Easy Office Phone worked closely with North Glengarry staff to implement service seamlessly across the township’s many locations.

Since inception, the township has realized cost savings of approximately 80 per cent over the traditional landline services previously in place, freeing up significant revenues for redirection to other municipal priorities.

Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX platform treats the township’s multiple locations as belonging to a single campus. As a result, communication between separate locations is now tightly integrated, thanks to direct-dialing between employee extensions. Administrative management of multiple locations is also greatly simplified with Easy Office Phone’s web interface.

To increase efficiencies in the mobile workforce, Easy Office Phone’s service offers seamless integration across all endpoints. Township staff working from mobile phones can now easily answer and make calls, even when working outdoors or from remote locations.

“We started this process looking for improvements to cost efficiencies, and Easy Office Phone has certainly delivered,” says Elderbroom. “That said, the solution brings additional value to the table that goes well beyond savings. Our communications are now seamlessly integrated across locations, which has meant major improvements to the speed and efficiency with which we conduct township business.”

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