Lower Your Business Phone Bill in Five Steps

Businesses live and die by the bottom line. Bills are factored into monthly expenses such as rent, employee costs, and even office supplies, but often times the phone bill is overlooked. Sure long distance charges are monitored, but business owners often don’t take into account maintenance fees, hidden charges, and built-in cost inefficiency that drive phone bills to excessive highs.

A new V1 VoIP phone system can substantially lower the total cost of ownership with more functionality than they have today. Once a business gets to 10 employees, a better phone system is needed otherwise it will kill the growth. Don’t be the owner that realizes you are losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month on phone solutions because you haven’t upgraded to VoIP.

If you have been hesitant about switching to VoIP services for you business needs, V1 VoIP offers five ways that upgrading to our modern services and solutions will help save your business money and make your more functional.

1. Plain Old Telephone Service
Here, your costs are pretty straightforward. You have a number of lines, and you pay for them monthly. But do not forget to add in your time (or your employees’ time) spent requesting a new line from your phone service provider— as well as any fees associated with this. You can factor this into your annual cost. As far as one-time fees, you pay for phones and cabling.

1. Learn How to Assess “Total Cost of Ownership” of a Phone System Solution

total_cost_ownership

This step is particularly important, quite frankly, if you don’t already have a hosted or “cloud” VoIP phone system. Why? Because there are other costs to consider beyond the monthly phone bill. We recommend you baseline your total cost of ownership and understand what the switching costs would be if you chose an alternative on-premise solution. Here are common on-premise solutions:

2. POTS Lines with Centrex Service – In this case, you’re paying for Centrex to add extension dialing and voicemail boxes to POTS. Again, the pricing for this is pretty simple: your monthly Centrex bill with your telecom provider plus your time spent on change requests. One time fees include phones and cabling.

3. Traditional On-Premise PBX Service – This one is a bit more involved on the hidden-cost factor. If you’re using a Toshiba, Nortel Meridian, or Panasonic system that relies on a separate network from your LAN, you likely use a telecom consultant to maintain it. If your system has reached end-of-life status, you may even be paying a premium on your maintenance contract. Be sure to add your ongoing support costs to your monthly T1/PRI bill. One time fees: PBX equipment (thousands), phones, cabling, and setup charges from a telecom consultant.

4. On Premise IP Phone System (PBX) and UC – Whether it’s open source (e.g. FreePBX/Asterisk) or commercial (e.g. ShoreTel, Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft Lync), an on-premise VoIP phone system solution has ongoing maintenance costs: you employ an IT person on staff, or you have an IT consultant. Either way, an IT specialist (not necessarily a telecom specialist) handles system upgrades, equipment maintenance, and assistance in adding a new phones/features to your platform. Be sure to consider those contracts in calculating your total cost. Add that to your monthly phone bill for your PRIs or SIP Trunking service. For a very complete assessment, you could add in your PBX’s power consumption as it runs 24/7 in your office. This can be found in manufacturer’s documentation, but it’s probably not substantial compared to your other costs. One time fees include phones, PBX equipment (thousands), and setup charges from a telecom consultant.

5. Employee Cell Phone / Residential Phone Bills – The systems described thus far do not support remote extensions or registered phones, so you may be footing the bill for your on-the-go and remote employees to answer calls on their cell or a residential line. If so, add this to your total costs.

6. Conference Call Services – If you currently have an on-premise solution (such as Centrex) with no conference bridge capabilities, you may be paying for a conference call or webinar service such as GoToMeeting. Add this to your total costs.

Finally, if any of these solutions are becoming unreliable for you, consider what that phone system downtime is costing your business.

2. List Your Must-Have Phone System Features

ChecklistOpener

At this point in time, if you’re considering a phone system replacement, we wouldn’t recommend anything that isn’t VoIP-based. Business VoIP solutions nowadays provide hundreds of phone system features and leverage existing IP networks for savings on infrastructure and maintenance. Take the time to think on your must-have phone system features so you can get apples-to-apples base quotes on pricing. For your convenience, here are top features we often see businesses needing:

Extension dialing across locations
Voicemail
Auto Attendant (Virtual Receptionist)
Ring Groups
Call Distribution Queues
Music on Hold
Conference Bridges
3. Approach Phone System Providers with Your Must-Have Features and Current Bill

Now that you’ve baselined your current expenses and have a list of needed features, you can efficiently approach new phone system providers for price quotes. We’ve already reviewed on-premise phone systems (for which you’ll want to approach a local IT consultant or rely on your internal IT staff). Let’s take a look at costs to consider for hosted solutions:

1. “Virtual” Lines – A.k.a. call forwarding, this is a solution like Grasshopper that forwards extension calls to your existing phones. If you have this, or you consider a service like this, you can expect to pay for the existing phone service (e.g. POTS or cell phones), plus your monthly Virtual Phone Service. A common mistake is to simply consider the monthly Virtual Lines service cost, but the actual phones (POTS or employees’ cell phones) can substantially add up.

2. Cloud Phone System – A hosted business VoIP service such as OnSIP will deliver a monthly phone bill for the business phone system features and calling. Most providers such as 8×8 or RingCentral charge a flat fee per user. (OnSIP has a unique pay-as-you-go model for features and calling.) These services are typically intuitive enough that you may not need a dedicated IT professional to run them, but some charge fees for adding new phones and features. One-time fees include potential setup charges and purchasing phones. Additionally, some cloud phone system providers such as ShoreTel (commercial-grade) and Ooma (SMB-focused) require on-site equipment.

You’ll want to ask for quotes on both the initial setup and ongoing maintenance costs. Then, translate those quotes to annual total cost of ownership vs. your existing solution long-term— for the next 5-10 years.

4. Assess The Value and Savings From Modern Phone System Features

Switching-To-A-New-LMSIf you currently have a traditional phone system solution, you may be missing out on features that save your business money. As Entrepreneur.com put it, “If your phone system doesn’t offer much more than a dial tone, a few extensions and voice mail, it could be holding back your business.”

For example, perhaps you run a Centrex system and have a receptionist answer the phone for a main number and transfer calls to extensions. With an IP phone system, you can leverage an Auto Attendant feature to perform that function and reallocate your receptionist’s efforts to other important work.

Or, perhaps you have an on-premise IP system that you need to dial into to check your voicemail. How much time savings would you and your employees experience from receiving voicemail to email from a hosted phone system solution? Furthermore, perhaps your Sales team uses Salesforce.com— Would you benefit from performance improvements that a phone system integration with Salesforce can provide?

At this point, there are so many productivity-enhancing features that (especially hosted) business VoIP can offer, that we won’t cover them all here. Instead, as you get quotes from phone system providers, ask them how they can help your business run more smoothly, and factor their offerings in.

5. Take the Plunge! Select a New Provider and Enlist Your Team

One of the most common hurdles we see for business owners is finding the time to make the switch. If you cannot find the time yourself, you might consider an alternate phone system solution provider with whom a staff member can work. For example, find a local IT consultant whose quote covers all the aspects of total cost of ownership so that you feel confident it’ll mean savings for your business. Or, select a hosted VoIP provider that has extensive setup support and easy-to-use management interfaces; that way, a staff member can head up the phone system migration and ongoing changes.

If you are worried on the cost of switching, you should be able to revisit your total cost of ownership assessment to find the savings in the long run. Plus keep in mind, if you are on an end-of-life phone system, you may reach an actual end-of-life moment, which could be very costly to your business and put you in a bad position. As an entrepreneur, we’re confident you will make the best decision to lower your business operating costs!

Turnkey VoIP Systems: Are You the Next Managed Service Provider?

When it comes to successfully reselling turnkey VoIP systems last year, the newest statistics are telling us that Managed Service Providers are at the top of the list. The unified communications market is one that has been gathering a lot of attention in the past few years, which can be attributed to a lowering in the costs associated with upgrading a business communication system to one that can now support high-tech VoIP services. That’s why there’s been such a high interest in what it takes to resell turnkey VoIP systems lately.

Turnkey VoIP Systems

Now that turnkey VoIP systems are considered to be very affordable, the majority of SMBs are now looking into what they need to do in order to upgrade their business communication platform. Even though the majority are looking, not quite half of this market has made the decision to actually make the upgrade. The main reason is because they’re just not sure. They’re not sure about which VoIP services they should sign up for. They’re not sure about how much it’s going to cost them to install and utilize this updated business communication system. They’re not sure if they’re choosing the best turnkey VoIP provider for their particular type of business. And they’re not sure if they should also sign up for cloud communication services.

So that means that there are still more than half of the SMB market that needs to upgrade their current landline based business communication system. Are you ready to be their Managed Service Provider?

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

There’s a lot to know when it comes to being a Managed Service Provider. Taking on this responsibility means that you’re going to be in charge of offering the best communication services to your customers, which includes services like Hosted PBX, Sip Trunks and VoIP-based services. And because the high majority of business owners want to do business with one person vs. a number of people, the more you know the better! When you’re able to offer your customers a lot of choices, which really adds value to your reselling company, they’re going to be happy because the only have to deal with one person – you!

Anytime a potential customer, or even a current one, asks you for your advice on VoIP related and cloud communication services and/or products, it’s essential that you’re ready with the right answers.

Want to be a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

If you’re ready to be a Managed Service Provider, we invite you to contact us today. What we want you to know is that we can help you understand the many challenges that are ahead for you when you choose this challenging yet very rewarding career. And it’s essential that you understand the best ways that you can grow your customer base, which for the most part includes offering potential customers a number of services and/or products that can help them stand out from the competition. We can help you do that!

It’s also imperative that you understand that right now is a great time for you to get started (since more than half of all SMBs still need to upgrade their communication platform). Because there’s still such a large market of business owners who need to sign up for high-tech VoIP and cloud communication services, you can definitely expect to earn the oh-so-important recurring revenue you’re looking to earn this new year.

White Label Communication

Our professional staff here are at White Label Communications are waiting for you to contact us so you can become the professional Managed Service Provider that you know you can be. If you’re ready to have total ownership of your customers so you can earn recurring revenue margins of up to 70%, be sure to contact us today.

Reselling Turnkey VoIP Services Profitably = A Focus on the Customer

In order to be successful in any business, it’s essential to put a focus on the customer. I mean, where would any business be without its customers? This makes putting a large focus on how to best take care of your customers a very essential part of your reselling success. There are quite a few resellers currently reselling turnkey VoIP services who think that it’s not a big deal if they lose a few potential customers. They figure that there’s plenty of prospective VoIP customers out there in need of VoIP services, and for that reason they simply don’t put a necessary focus on great customer service.

This is a huge mistake. Current reports are telling us that when a customer is satisfied with their VoIP services, they’re highly likely to recommend their VoIP provider to other people they know.

This means that for every potential VoIP customer who contacts you for information, if you give them the best customer service you possibly can, you have a chance of not only getting their business, but the business from all of the people that they know, too.

Turnkey VoIP Services

Turnkey VoIP services have finally arrived, directly effecting the way we do business these days. When a company signs up for VoIP services, they’re going to get access to a number of extremely beneficial communication features that can help them make their company stand out far above the rest. One of these features includes never having to worry about missing a phone call, as the ability to forward phone calls is now an option.

And because there’s a lot of business competition going on these days, every business needs to take advantage of any option that will allow them to better serve their customers.

Another VoIP feature that’s proving to be very popular these days includes having access to an auto attendant, which provides callers with a list of options on where they would like to be transferred when they call into a business without having to first talk to someone. And because VoIP is internet based, it’s truly easy for any company to offer their customers the service they’re looking for, no matter what time it is.

Because turnkey VoIP services includes so many benefits for business owners, you would think that it would cost more than the limiting landline services many business owners are still using to this day. But for the high majority of businesses, the cost of turnkey VoIP services is actually going to be lower than what they’re paying now for their communication services.

Customer Focus

The reason why there’s such a focus on providing excellent customer service is simply because there are so many choices from customers to choose from these days. These customers know that if they reach out and contact a business for information and don’t receive that help and support they’re looking for, they can simply contact another business.

This makes it essential for anyone reselling turnkey VoIP services to provide the absolute best customer service possible if they want to be a successful VoIP reseller.

In fact, since more and more businesses are putting an emphasis on providing great customer service, we suggest going above and beyond what customers expect. What you want them to say after contacting you for VoIP information is, “Wow! I can’t believe the great service I just received! I’m not only going to give my business to this company, I’m going to recommend them to everyone I know!”

Reselling Turnkey VoIP Services

If you’re someone who’s interested in reselling turnkey VoIP services, contact us today for more information. You’ll not only get access to our VoIP reselling program, which includes all of the information and support you’re going to need to be a successful VoIP reseller, we’ll also help you when it comes to providing both potential and current customers with the best customer service possible.

Turnkey VoIP Services Have Arrived! Why SMBs Are Now Using The Cloud

When the costs associated with upgrading a business’s communication platform from landline to VoIP started lowering considerably a few short years ago, it caught the attention of many small and medium-sized business owners. The majority of business owners until then have been using a landline, as subscribing to VoIP services were deemed to be quite costly. It was the big businesses that were able to afford paying for high tech VoIP services, giving them an even bigger edge than they already had.

But now that anyone can afford to pay for high-tech VoIP services, the playing field has evened out a bit. This means that anyone who is now utilizing VoIP technology can have the same communication advantages as any other company doing business today, including the large corporations.

Turnkey VoIP Services

Current reports are telling us that more than half of all small and medium-sized business owners are now using some form of turnkey VoIP services. Once landline using business owners began to find out how beneficial a VoIP based communication platform could be, they quickly began to look into the best way to go about updating their platform from landline to VoIP.

Because there’s a lot to learn when it comes to updating a communication platform with a new communication technology, current VoIP resellers are reporting that once a business owner decides to make this essential upgrade, they’re finding out even more about the variety of other VoIP benefits that can help them make their business stand out far from the rest. One of these benefits allows a business to store information in a virtual Cloud.

The Cloud

Because the Cloud offers many additional benefits when it comes to storage, Cloud based services are quickly changing the way we do business these days. When a business utilizes the Cloud, they’re simply going to have access to a virtual storage system that allows them to work much more efficiently. And it doesn’t cost a lot to set up a virtual Cloud for a business, as the system is software based and thus there’s no need to purchase any additional and/or expensive hardware.

Why More SMBs Are Using The Cloud

The reason why more small and medium-sized business owners are utilizing Cloud services these days is directly related to their ability to save money. Another reason is because they’re ready to update their phone system, which is important to do if it’s been longer than 3 years since their last phone system upgrade. The option to lease new phones vs. buying new phones is also available.

Cloud based service plans are also available, as well as flat rate fees, which business owners are finding to be very beneficial when it comes to financially managing their new and improved phone system. And because information is stored in a virtual Cloud, again, business owners don’t have to be concerned about managing any hardware equipment, which is going to save them both time and money.

A few reasons why using a new phone system utilizing The Cloud can be very beneficial:

The cloud can be accessed by any one, and at anytime, no matter where they happen to be at any given moment.
The ability to route and even redirect a phone call is now an option.
If a business is moving from one location to another, a cloud based phone system is much easier when it comes to transferring a phone system to a new location.
You can keep your current phone numbers, no matter where your new location happens to be located.
If there happens to be an emergency and the power goes out, you can still connect with others using mobile phones.