Announcing Newroads Cloud Contact Center

Posted by Bill Stuckey on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 11:06 AM

CloudContactCenterBanner Newroads is announcing today the availability of its Cloud Contact Center. These features when added to our Hosted PBX service or our traditional DID service will allow the business owner or manager to implement a monitoring and reporting strategy to greatly enhance their customer service. The Cloud Contact Center features such as call routing and call monitoring will ensure that your customers and prospects are handled in the most professional way. Your customer service and technical service representatives will be able to handle your incoming call loads with full disclosure on call queue lengths, waiting times, and call durations. Your supervisors will be able to monitor all your real-time call center statistics and also pull ad hoc reports to see trends over time. The old adage that "you can't improve what you don't measure" is never so important but in this competitive environment where customer interactions are the difference between winning and losing business. Features like Live Monitor, Whisper and Barge-in with your agents allow you to be the best you can be and train your agents in the least intrusive way. The real-time Statistics Display will allow you to monitor status of your queues and make sure you are meeting your service level standards. With the Wallboard your team can view the overall performance of the entire contact center and be aware of the service goals. The system will also allow your agents to perform wrap ups after the customer interaction tracking the outcome of the call. These wrap up dispositions will enable you to aggregate data into actionable insights.

Find out how Newroads Cloud Contact Center can make your business more productive. Call us at 479-242-0000 or email sales@newroadstelecom.com.

To download the Cloud Contact Center brochure click here.

 

Tags: cloud IP, hosted pbx Fort Smith, hosted pbx, advanced communication, cloud telephony, business planning, hosted voip, Cloud Contact Center

Music on Hold, Yes you need it!

Posted by Scott Winter on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 08:17 PM

What happens when a customer tries to reach your business today and is placed on hold? Are they sent off to the very lonely land of dead silence? Or, are you temporarily entertaining this very important prospect with some good old easy listening music? Perhaps even providing him some interesting facts and information about your company or present offers? Answer this question right and you might just save yourself a sale or likely many. In the communication world, dead air is a total disconnect from your prospect. When there is hold silence, the customer often times confuses this with a disconnected call. If they are uncertain, they will often hang up themselves before someone makes it back to them. Now, they are frustrated. Let's face it, no'one likes being placed on hold for any length of time. A good "music on hold" system won't solve a shortage of hands to field the call volume, but it can certainly help take the edge off of the wait. Frankly, it's just professional.   

Call Newroads Telecom today and let us assist you in installing and setting up a music on hold player for your business.          

Tags: newroads telecom, advanced communication, cloud telephony, business strategy, HubSpot Tips, tips and tricks, business tactics, customer service

Battle of the Bandwidth

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 @ 06:14 AM

We’ve all been there. We’ve all been that frustrated customer gritting our teeth to the ever-ongoing cheesy elevator music while we curse the name of AT&T or Comcast or whichever other big-wig Internet service provider as we’re on hold wondering why the hell we can’t get Netflix to load quickly (hey, our shows are important…totally worth cursing a big bad corporate name over). We’ve all been that poor sap on hold for hours on end as we imagine someone in a stuffy cotton button-down with their feet kicked up on the desk laughing and eating a hot dog as the phone blinks on and on while our palms get sweaty and we are borderline cardiac arrest all red-in-the-face (maybe just me? Was it the hot dog reference? I digress…).

The point I’m making is, that we have all been in a position where our importance as valued customers has been diminished by Big Corporate. We’ve played the Weakest Link phone game, where only the die-hards who’s phone battery-lifetime could last through the next ice age win the affections of our Internet service providers. What? That is so absurd. This is where shopping local saves our blood pressure levels.

Now, I know most people will go with a big name-brand Internet service provider like AT&T or Comcast because it has been around for a long time and the name is a buzz-word, but there is value in finding a local Internet service provider that you may not realize from the get-go. Many local ISP’s have been around just as long as some of their corporate competitors, AND they provide better service.  Did you know that in 2010, Comcast had to re-brand their digital service as “Xfinity” to steer clear of poor public perception and bad customer service reviews? Let’s get real, quality speaks louder than a brand. I guarantee, you wouldn’t keep long-distance dating a celebrity if every time you wanted to talk, they put you through a confusing process to talk to them and then kept you on hold for hours while they talked to all of their other suitors before you. No, the girl next door is much nicer, like she answers when you call her. And she has cookies.

 

Though some technology may not be as up-to-date or unexplored due to smaller budgets (which is really the only downside to choosing a local ISP, if you would call that a downside), the value in acquiring personal service by far can outweigh more modern toys.  In choosing a local ISP, you are provided with hands-on support, faster resolution to issues, and personal customer service (many local ISP’s know their customers name, issue, and resolution before they ever answer the phone!).  Rather than fighting through the hold time, you are presented with accessible customer service with all the same price value and bundling options as Big Corporate.

 

All I’m saying is: do yourself (and the Internet) a favor. Shop Local.

Newsroads Telecom provides local internet, phone systems, computer support and managed services to businesses in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Lowell and Tonitown, Arkansas. Contact Newroads Telecom today to find the internet, phone, or computer service that’s right for you.

Top 5 Reasons to go with a Local ISP versus a National ISP

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 @ 06:10 AM

Reason #5 location, location, location.  In the big scheme of things a huge deciding factor when selecting an internet service provider is what’s actually available in your area.  Let’s face facts, it is comforting to stick with a National ISP, a familiar name, one you’ve heard on loads of commercials.  So when it suddenly occurs to you that your old ISP doesn’t serve your new address don’t panic.  There are plenty of Local ISPs out there to choose from.

Reason #4 cost is generally a determining factor when choosing any kind of service provider and choosing an ISP is no different.  National ISP advertise inexpensive upfront costs that usually come with large price tags later on down the road, such as annual agreements and early termination fees.  These low prices often do NOT include taxes and other associated fees that can really add up.  In the end, that low monthly bill your expecting turns out to be a far cry from what you thought it should be. This alone can lead to me shopping around for another service provider.  Your Local ISP is going to offer you price options that don’t change and are often quite a bit more reasonable then a National ISP. 

Reason #3 download and upload speed is another determining factor when selecting an internet service provider.  The nice thing about choosing a Local ISP is that your speed is often more reliable for one simple reason, the amount of data usage at any given time.  That obscenely fast download speed, offered by your National ISP, is only wonderful if that’s the speed you’re actually getting.  Data cables are only capable of transferring a certain amount of data at any given time, when usage is high, than speed suffers as the cable reaches capacity.  Simply put your local ISP can offer you a more consistent speed since the amount of data being transferred is only as much as the number of customers they are servicing.

Reason #2 reliability may not be the first thing you ask when shopping for a new internet service provider, however it is possibly the one thing that can make or break your relationship with your ISP.  As we move towards a wireless, paperless society we rely more and more on our ability to quickly and easily access this information via the world wide web.  If for any reason there is a disruption in this vast array of information on the information super highway, than suddenly, or so it may seem, life comes to a screeching halt.  Every millisecond we spend down costs us money, whether you are a major corporation or a single consumer.  Technology occasionally fails, this is a fact of life, however your local ISP is likely to have a service technician available and near by to get you up and running, while your national ISP may take several times longer due to the greater distance in service area.

Reason #1 customer service is, or at least to me, a deal maker or breaker.  It is the first impression we as consumers gather on that initial phone call to inquire about service.  If that voice we hear on the other end of the line is friendly, clear and inviting, than chances are we’re in, or at least the ISP has made it past our first cut.  Even after you have chosen the ISP retained their services and have been a happy customer without issue, it would only take one person with the wrong attitude to cause a break up!  Customer service is the single most important thing a business can offer, more important then cost and speed.  If the customer service is poor chances are a break up is in the near future.  We’ve all heard the scenario, your being on hold for a hour or longer only to be hung up on or told you need to call a different number after the computer voice you have been communicating with finally acts like it understands you and transfers you to what you think will be a real human voice!  It is a far more likely scenario, that your local ISP will have an actual human voice answer the phone in the first place further and that this person will likely be the person who can actually help you!

Newsroads Telecom provides local internet, phone systems, computer support and managed services to businesses in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Lowell and Tonitown, Arkansas. Contact Newroads Telecom today to find the internet, phone, or computer service that’s right for you.

Making It Count: 5 Steps to Customer Service Problem Solving

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 @ 11:24 AM

The truth is that a business isn’t a business unless they have business.  A customer base is the foundation of a business’ ability to operate and function. And chances are that if you are a business owner, you have experienced a dissatisfied customer once or twice or (realistically) multiple times (all the time). Now, the key to managing these situations so as to satisfy your customer or to remedy their issue with as little damage to the relationship as possible lies in a few critical actions:

1. Quick, Efficient Responses: In customer service, the best method of responding to an issue is to respond to it with urgency, staying present to the issue at hand. This way, your customer knows they are your priority.  Customers want nothing more than to know they have your attention; and the more expedited the response they receive from you, the stronger message you send that they are receiving what they desire from you.  Difficult and challenging clientele tend to be more time-sensitive, so when a business responds to this sensitively and efficiently, their angst is more likely to be lessened.

 

2. Communication of the Process:  Keeping your customers in the loop about what’s going on and holding authentic conversations with them is a powerful way to not only diminish any negative feedback you could receive from them in relation to their issue, but is also strengthens the trust they have in you as their business provider. And having a trusting relationship with you is more valuable than, well, anything, really. If your customers know that they are actively involved in the process of problem solving, they are more likely to keep retention with your business because they have a relationship with you: it’s no longer a matter of where they spend their money, but who they can trust to give them the best service possible.

 

3.  Be open:  Listening with aims to understand, rather than listening with the intent of replying is the best way to not only hear your customer out, but to gain their respect. Even if you already know what they’re going to say, allowing them to fully express their concern and then collectively creating resolution together enables a better connection between your customer and your business. It is easy to write off a customer because they are annoyed or temperamental, but being open and standing in an integral relationship adds value to your business; we all know that word of mouth is the best advertising you can have and being combative because your customer is combative is the quickest way to lose that value.

 

4. Remain Calm:  The poet Rumi says, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” Now, this may not be the most pragmatic of undertakings, but there is a lot to take away from this idea. Rather than retorting to your customers’ emotions with the same ferocity as they might have, lowering your voice and speaking more slowly reflects on your customers and enables them to settle down and speak more rationally.  Then, both of you can approach the situation on a calm, clear platform unaffected by any initial emotional pretense.


5. Cooperate. Rather than competing for who can be right in a customer service argument, cooperate to create resolve.  If you really believe in your work, dissatisfied customers can be challenging, but in doing good work and cooperating with customers who voice issues—the work only becomes better by being versed in your customers’ reviews and feedback. As a business owner, the greatest thing you can do to strengthen your business is to strengthen the relationships you have with your customers. It’s the ultimate team building exercise- remember! You’re working WITH your customer and FOR them! Not against them! And therein lies the real value of a great business.

A final thought:  Sometimes peace is often better than fighting unnecessary battles. There are customers that will often times take so much of your time and energy that it comes to a point where you must choose to cut your losses in aims to still retain value as a business. When the situation seems a stalemate, walk away. Your business will be stronger for not fighting in vain.

Newsroads Telecom provides local internet, phone systems, computer support and managed services to businesses in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Lowell and Tonitown, Arkansas. Contact Newroads Telecom today to find the internet, phone, or computer service that’s right for you.

Make the Most of Your Internet Connection

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Fri, Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:12 PM

A few helpful tips on speeding up your Internet

 

One of the biggest annoyances of this day and age when it comes to modern technology is an Internet connection that is not being maximized to its full ability. Nothing gets us tapping our fingers out of our own impatience more than slow download times and sluggish page loads. There is hope, though! With a little inquiry, it is easy to manage your own bandwidth and use it to its full capacity (without even having to call your Internet service provider!).

One of the easiest ways to make sure your connection is running at its optimum speed is to make sure you have an up-to-date malware protection program installed on your computer. Malware eats up bandwidth and thus slows download time. Ensure that your device is protected against malware.  It is also wise to avoid off-brand free-share and download sites. Always check sites that may contain unwanted add-ons (viruses) that may damage your computer or disrupt your software.  Keeping current and updated anti-spyware and firewall programs on your computer is a good tactic in keeping your internet speed running at its largest capacity, but having too many programs blocking the same sites can slow down your speed as well, so it is smart to keep one comprehensive program that can perform all of those tasks at once.

The browser you use is also an important factor in the speed of your download time. A proficient tool in increasing your Internet speed is Internet Cyclone, and loband.org may be used as a browser inside of a browser that disables pages from loading with images, decreasing the time it takes to download the page. If you are using Internet Explorer or Firefox as your browser of choice, downloading Google Web Accelerator is a useful tool that is meant to speed up broadband connections, it may also slow the connection, though, so testing it on your device would be a good option to see what works best for you. If you are using Firefox specifically, the Fasterfox extension and Firetune are great accelerators for maximizing your download speed. Google Chrome has also proven itself to be an efficient browser, with quick download times and concise connections.

Among all of the tricks of the trade, making sure that you are operating with updated software is probably the best tactic you can use when optimizing your broadband connection. Having up-to-date software that is created to run at quicker speeds while taking up less space optimize your connectivity while not fully occupying your system. All in all, system maintenance and upkeep is the best bet when troubleshooting Internet connectivity.

Newsroads Telecom provides local internet, phone systems, computer support and managed services to businesses in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Lowell and Tonitown, Arkansas. Contact Newroads Telecom today to find the internet, phone, or computer service that’s right for you.

How to keep your business going through the next Snowpocalypse….

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 @ 08:59 AM

Did this past Polar Vortex or Snowpocalypse shut your business down? When the weather outside was frightful, was your business still delightful?

 

Each year you can count on a random snow/ice storm hitting our area and shutting down the schools and businesses for a few days, and this year we have already seen several.   But spending a little time now can help prepare your business so that you, your employees, and your customers make it through the chill without getting hot under the collar.

 

First of all is to have a plan.  Will you just close your doors until the thaw?  Will you have employees work from home?  Will you direct your calls to a recording or to another location or to an answering service?  How will you get that message out (email, voice mail, etc).  Churchill’s “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” is never more true that during a disaster.

 

Second is to be able to implement that plan without having to be at the office.  Can you access your office network remotely?  Have you pre-recorded “Inclement Weather Announcements” that you can remotely implement, or can you change your Auto Attendant greeting remotely?  Can you access your Main Number Call Forwarding from your home?  Are you able to check your voicemail messages from anywhere?  Will your systems operate if your business loses power?  Can your employees access their work information from their home to keep orders moving along?  Does everyone know their PIN numbers and Passwords to access their information from a new location?   It doesn’t help to have a plan if someone still has to make it through the blizzard to flip the switch.

 

Having features like Remote Call Forwarding, or Voicemail Off-Premise Access can give you flexibility to change things on the fly regardless of where you are located.  Even having an Auto Attendant that gives you a “Bad Weather” option menu, that can route calls to cell phones or Voicemails, can help callers get the info they need without you leaving your house.  And adding VOIP phone solutions and VPNs can allow people to work from their home and still have access to everything the same as if there were sitting at their desk.

 

Newroads Telecom can help you put together a plan now, so that you stay calm, cool and collected while the next Polar Snowpocalypse covers our town.  We have calling features from simple remote call forwarding to advance Incoming Call Manager Solution that you can access and control from any phone or internet connection.  We offer phone system solutions that can make staying at home as productive as working in the office.  And we also have the expertise to help implement a VPN solution so that you can access your company office data from any location.

 

Don’t wait until you see snowflakes to start thinking about your options.  As with any unexpected disaster, success is based on your level of planning and preparedness beforehand.  Whether it is snowflakes or the proverbial bus running into the power pole, disaster can happen any day, year round.  So start planning today.

 

Newroads Telecom was founded in 2000 with a vision to provide small and medium sized businesses with a cost effective communications solution using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and next generation hardware and software. We currently serve Western and Northwestern Arkansas and sections of Eastern Oklahoma with our advanced communications facilities. Our communications services include local voice services, long distance, and high speed connections using DSL and T1 facilities along with Ethernet connections to our customers with speeds exceeding 100Mbps. We also provide advanced Internet applications such as web hosting, email hosting, domain management, collocation facilities, and call center disaster backup services. Our headquarters in Fort Smith, Arkansas houses a 6,000 sq. ft. data center with redundant power and air conditioning.

How to Choose the Best Local ISP

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Tue, Jan 14, 2014 @ 10:43 AM

When shopping around for local Internet service, it often means that a customer will compare several different companies.  Initially, it is wise for the customer to decide if they want a dial-up connection or broadband services. When comparing local ISP’s, some contributing factors in a customer’s decision will likely be the connection speeds offered, price, and location.  In the end, a customer will make their final choice by selecting a local ISP that offers the best type of services that they are looking for.

A customer’s first step in selecting the best local ISP is to research and learn about the options available to them. A customer may find that they may acquire DSL, dial-up service, broadband, or satellite depending on where they live. Once a customer has learned what types of services they may enlist, their preferences are then determined.

The majority of people prefer broadband service to dial-up Internet, as broadband is a constant connection. Considering that going online with broadband Internet is as simple as perhaps opening a web browser, it makes it a more desirable Internet solution.  With dial-up services, customers must have a local-access number and they must allow their computer’s modem to dial into the connection—this takes a few moments, and in comparison to a broadband solution, it may seem like it even takes too long.  With broadband services, a customer is also able to talk on the phone and use the Internet at the same time.

The speed of a connection is also a critical determiner for when a customer is choosing a local ISP. In general, broadband services provide the fastest Internet speeds—though speed can differ from service provider to service provider. A customer would be wise to compare the speeds between services when looking for a local ISP. This way, they are able to gauge who provides the type of service and the Internet speed that they are looking for. If a customer is only using the Internet on occasion, or if they aren’t concerned with connection speed, they may select a dial-up service that meets their needs.

Local ISP’s also differ in their pricing structures. For instance, a dial-up service will typically be cheaper than a broadband solution. For a customer to select the very best local ISP for their Internet solution, it is wise for them to research and compare companies that provide what they are looking for. Often times, local ISP’s will offer introductory benefits for new customers that make services more affordable.


Newroads Telecom was founded in 2000 with a vision to provide small and medium sized businesses with a cost effective communications solution using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and next generation hardware and software. We currently serve Western and Northwestern Arkansas and sections of Eastern Oklahoma with our advanced communications facilities. Our communications services include local voice services, long distance, high speed connections using DSL and T1 facilities along with Ethernet connections to our customers with speeds exceeding 40Mbps. We also provide advanced Internet applications such as web hosting, email hosting, domain management, colocation facilities, and call center disaster backup services. Our headquarters in Fort Smith, Arkansas houses a 6,000 sq. ft. data center with redundant power and air conditioning.

Benefits of Dedicated Bandwidth

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Fri, Jan 03, 2014 @ 11:07 AM

Dedicated bandwidth is reserved for one subscriber; your connection is yours and yours alone.  This ensures that you always get the same high rate of throughput, no matter what other any other subscribers may be doing, without any drop in speed at peak times.  You can use 100% of your bandwidth at all times, you always get the speed you’re paying for, and you aren’t affected by network congestion.  Dedicated bandwidth is often symmetrical, meaning that the connection can send and receive data at the same speed. 

Businesses can benefit from dedicated bandwidth in lots of ways.  A dedicated connection can save you money, increase efficiency, reduce headaches, and generally make your business run more smoothly.  Here are a few of the main benefits of dedicated bandwidth.

Faster connections mean more productivity – With dedicated bandwidth, web pages will load faster, and hosted applications will respond quickly.  The more easily your employees can get to what they need, the more efficiently they can do their jobs.

Streamline and consolidate IT resources – With fast dedicated connections between locations, you can share IT resources over the network instead of using local servers in each office.  With less actual hardware, your network will be more manageable, needing less time and resources to maintain.

Faster backup and recovery – Dedicated bandwidth can offer faster backups with less down time.  When backups aren’t such a hassle, they can be done more often, so you have a better disaster recovery plan.  And if you do need to recover information, it can be done quickly and easily.

There are many more benefits of using a dedicated connection, especially when combined with VoIP service.  Why not look into dedicated bandwidth and see how it can help your business?

Newroads Telecom was founded in 2000 with a vision to provide small and medium sized businesses with a cost effective commiuncations solution using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and next generation hardware and software. We currently serve Western and Northwestern Arkansas and sections of Eastern Oklahoma with our advanced communications facilities. Our communications services include local voice services, long distance, high speed connections using DSL and T1 facilities along with Ethernet connections to our customers with speeds exceeding 40Mbps. We also provide advanced Internet applications such as web hosting, email hosting, domain management, colocation facilities, and call center disaster backup services. Our headquarters in Fort Smith, Arkansas houses a 6,000 sq. ft. data center with redundant power and air conditioning.

VoIP Capabilities

Posted by Jeff Clarke on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Imagine a phone system that’s easy to use, completely customized for your business, cost-effective, with a long list of features and great support.  It’s as close as your local VoIP provider.  A hosted PBX VoIP system can reduce your costs while giving you more for your money. 

With a hosted PBX solution in place, you have nearly endless capabilities.  If you need to add extensions, it can be done in a day.  Does your sales staff spend a lot of time out of the office?  Their lines can be programmed to forward to a cell after a certain number of rings at a desk.  Faxes can be sent and received at any user’s computer, through email, anywhere they have internet access.  You can set office hours for separate departments, after which calls are directed to that department’s voicemail.  If you need to add holiday messages or information into your hold music, it can be uploaded with a single click.      

Choosing a local provider for your VoIP service ensures that you get the most out of your system.  With a local VoIP provider, most changes can be made in minutes, with just a phone call.  If you ever have problems with your service, you can be assured of a quick response by phone or on site.  And if you ever have questions about what your service can do, or an idea that would improve the way your business runs, just call your provider and ask.  Chances are, if you can think of it, your hosted PBX can do it!

A phone system that can grow with your business, improve your professional image, increase productivity and efficiency, and be entirely customized.  That’s a hosted PBX VoIP system, and it’s available from friendly local professionals in your area.  You owe it to yourself and your business to find out how you can get more out of your phone system today!