Posts on Dec 2016

What Is the Best Phone Number for Your VoIP System?

voip world

When you are setting up your VoIP system, one of the first tasks is to select your phone number. While this may seem simple enough, it’s important to note that there are several different types of numbers available for your VoIP system, including: toll free numbers, local numbers, and universal numbers. Understanding the benefits of each type, along with what kind of business it is suitable for, will help you make the right choice.

Toll Free Numbers

With a toll free number, your customers can contact your VoIP system from any location for no charge, even if they are located internationally. However, you will be charged a per-minute charge for these phone calls and a small monthly fee. Toll free numbers are easily recognizable across the globe, and since customers know they will not be charged, they are more likely to pick up the phone and connect with you.

If your company has customers in several countries, you could likely benefit from a toll free number; however, it is worth noting that you will need a distinct number for each country you are doing business in. Since international phone calls can be pricey, a toll free number will encourage interaction from new customers who wouldn’t be willing to pay to speak to you.

Local Phone Numbers

When you opt for a local phone number—also referred to as a Direct Inward Dialing (DID) number, you provide a number with a local area code. Local numbers can be especially beneficial on a VoIP system because they give the appearance of a local office even if you are located in a different city. While local phone numbers are not technically free to call, most home phone systems allow for unlimited local calls. Cell phone users can also call your local number with no additional charge except for using their allotted minutes.

If you are working to portray a local presence, a local number can be a reassuring sign to your customers. It makes you seem more approachable, and since there is no limit to the number of local phone numbers you can have within your VoIP system, you can establish one for every market you are targeting.

Universal Numbers

Universal International Freephone Numbers, or UIFN, are similar to standard toll free numbers in the fact that they can be called from across the world without a charge to the caller. The big difference, however, is the fact that with a universal number, you only need one actual phone number. Instead of managing several toll free numbers from several countries, you can use the same phone number worldwide.

Universal numbers are a great option for your business if you want to streamline your VoIP system. However, there are additional restrictions and registration fees associated with universal numbers, and you have to have them registered in at least two countries for them to be valid. It’s also worth noting that universal numbers can take up to six months to be up and running.

As you can see, there are several notable phone number options for your business. To learn more about each type, and for help determining which one will be the smartest choice for your company, contact Top Line Communications now.

Read More

Tips for a Successful SIP Trunk Migration

sip trunk migration

SIP trunking takes multiple communication methods and intertwines them into one streamlined, cost-effective system. When you have decided that your company can benefit from this VoIP system protocol, it is time to begin SIP trunk migration. Here are some tips to help you with this complex process.

Plan Thoroughly

Before you can begin the SIP trunk migration, you must be thorough in the planning stage. Take a complete inventory of your current infrastructure, including DIDs and voice circuits, by reviewing your billing statements and/or installation records. Next, you need to figure out how all of these components are used. An SIP trunk can only handle so many phone calls, and you want to make sure you install enough SIP trunks to handle yours.

Be Ready for Important Decisions 

While SIP trunking does bring substantial flexibility to your VoIP system, you need to be prepared for some key decision points that will come up during the migration process:

  • What is more important to you: superior call quality or a reduced bandwidth?
  • Are you going to choose shared MPLS circuits or opt for dedicated ones?
  • What are your plans for the analog items that are no longer paramount, such as the modems and fax machines?
  • Are you going to use internal resources for the SIP trunk migration, or go with a reseller or PBX vendor?

Choose a Carrier Carefully

The carrier you choose for your SIP trunking can play a big role in how successful and affordable it is. Here are the things you need to consider when picking an SIP trunking carrier:

  • What is the NPA-NXX-XXXX footprint? Does it cover the areas you require service?
  • Does the carrier offer multiple linking points to prevent failed calls?
  • What initial costs are required for the SIP trunk migration?
  • What are the reoccurring costs you need to be prepared for?

Test Everything

Once the SIP trunk migration is complete, thorough testing is of the utmost importance. You need to know, without a doubt, that everything is working properly before you open up your VoIP system to customers. Some of the specific areas to test include:

  • Inbound calls, including: standard DID, toll-free, DID with blocked numbers, DID to voicemails, and IVR
  • Outbound calls, both DTMF and VoIP
  • Call forwarding, extending to a mobile device, and carrier take backs and transfers
  • Inbound and outbound fax capabilities

The more thoroughly you plan and prepare, the more successful your SIP trunk migration will be. Once it is intact, your company will be able to reap the many rewards that SIP trunking can bring to your VoIP system. To learn more about how Top Line Communications can assist with your SIP trunk migration, contact us now.

Read More

Online Businesses Offer Phone Support via VoIP Phone System

how voip works

4 Reasons Why Your Online Business Needs Phone Support

If you run your business online, whether it is for a product or a service, chances are the vast majority of interactions are done via email and chat. While those are valuable communication methods, if you do not also have VoIP phone system intact to route callers to your support team, you could be missing an essential piece of the puzzle. Here are four reasons why VoIP phone service routing is key for your long-term business goals:

Earn Customer Trust

Earning the trust of your customers is crucial. You may have an abundance of testimonials and case studies proving your worth, but when it comes to building trust, nothing compares to talking with a live person. A VoIP phone system can route customers and prospects to customer service representatives, to get their questions answered and their issues solved. In doing so, they will know they can count on you the next time help is required.

Improve Customer Retention

If a customer is frustrated with something—whether it’s a technical issue, a product issue, or a service issue—they want to get help immediately. They don’t want to wait for an email or online chat. By having a VoIP phone number the customer can call, you can instantly work to make the customer happy. This will keep them loyal instead of causing them to seek out your competitors while they are waiting for a reply.

Be Available for Orders

While the majority of online shoppers are okay with completing the entire transaction online, there is a still a decent percentage of shoppers who would rather pick up the phone and call. This assures them the transaction is being completed properly and all of their questions are answered. A VoIP phone system can also provide an alternative payment option for those shoppers who are weary of online credit card payments. If you do not offer phone support, you could be missing out on substantial possible revenue.

Earn More Money

There is no rule that says VoIP phone support routing has to be free. If the majority of your customers are satisfied with only online interactions, then you can offer phone support for an additional fee. By offering this premium service, you can capture the customers that want immediate, personalized help while still keeping your bottom line intact. It is not ideal for every industry, but some customers are sure to take advantage of the service.

By incorporating a VoIP phone system into your online business, you can improve customer service options, retain current customers, and capture new ones. To learn more about the VoIP phone support options available for your business, contact Top Line Communications.

Read More

3 Valuable Benefits of SIP Trunking

how trunking works

SIP trunking is the most commonly used protocol within a VoIP system, and it’s popular for a reason. By flawlessly connecting various communication methods into one modernized service, SIP trunking can provide companies of all sizes with a streamlined structure, expanded communication capabilities, and reduced costs.

Streamlined Structure

There are several ways that SIP trunking can bring a simplified structure to your VoIP system:

  • SIP trunks can operate through existing equipment and applications, eliminating the need for physical phone lines.
  • Since SIP trunking combines all forms of communication—including home phones, texting, office phones, mobile phones, laptops, video chat, etc.—into one contact address, it creates a cohesive virtual presence.
  • SIP trunking can automatically prioritize incoming messages and calls, making them much easier to manage.
  • With SIP trunks, users can specify when and how they would like to be contacted, so they always remain in control of their communication.

Expanded Communication Capabilities

As mentioned, SIP trunking can combine all forms of communication, which can provide your company with additional voice and data capabilities. Not only does SIP trunking offer your standard features, like caller ID and local calls, it can effortlessly translate various forms of communication and present them to the end user in the proper format. For example, if one user only has text capabilities, and the other only has voice capabilities, the SIP trunk will provide translation between the two parties. SIP trunking can also translate video messages, web-based interactions, and more, opening up a new world of communication options for your company.

Reduced Costs

Since SIP trunking runs through your VoIP system, it costs much less to setup the protocol and keep it maintained versus a standard phone line. Additionally, SIP trunking is not contingent on a specific geographic location, so you can use it wherever you are—even at home. There is no need for a physical office just so you can have a phone line. Oftentimes, SIP trunking will use the public telephone network to process calls, which means there are no additional charges for DDI rentals and calls between sites. In most cases, SIP trunking can also eliminate the rental charges you pay for ISDN lines.

By implementing SIP trunking into your VoIP system, you can remain competitive in an ever-evolving technological world. With a simplified structure, advanced options, multiple communication methods, and reduced costs, SIP trunking is an excellent choice for your company’s communication needs. To learn more about how SIP trunking can be incorporated into your VoIP system, contact Top Line Communications today.

 

Read More

SIP Trunking FAQ: What You Need to Know

sip trucks

SIP trunking is a phrase that is becoming more commonplace in the virtual communications world. If you hear it, and are not familiar with it, then it portably sounds like a foreign language. However, once you break it down, SIP trunking isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems.

What Is SIP?

Before you can understand SIP trunking, you need to understand SIP. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, which is basically the name of the technology that is used to establish communication over a specific data network—most commonly the Internet. Your VoIP system uses several different protocols to portray various communication methods, and SIP is just one of the protocols used. SIP is able to carry several types of data, including voices, emails, videos, and more, and it can also initiate multi-party communication, such as conference calls or group video discussions.

What Is SIP Trunking?

SIP trunking is essentially the term used to define the actual data connection provided by SIP. Unlike traditional phone lines, an SIP trunk does not require any physical wire connections. Instead, your SIP trunk provider relies on your data circuit (ex: cable modem, Ethernet over copper, DSL, T1) to relay information between your phone system and their network. SIP trunking is the protocol that is most commonly used in VoIP systems.

Why Switch to SIP Trunking?

Many companies choose to switch to SIP trunking because it eliminates the need for physical phone lines. Not only is this more convenient, since it runs through your VOIP system, it is substantially less expensive to set up and maintain than a traditional phone line. SIP trunking can also provide you with caller ID and the ability to accept local calls.

How Many SIP Trunks Should I Install?

There are two main factors that determine how many SIP trunks your company will need to integrate into their VoIP system:

  • How many phone calls are usually being made at the same time? You will need one SIP trunk for every 2-3 users that require concurrent use of the system.
  • How much bandwidth does your company have available? Each SIP trunk uses bandwidth, so you will not want to install more SIP trunks than your system can handle. Either that, or you will want to expand your bandwidth capabilities.

SIP trunking is an excellent way for your company to cut costs while improving their communication abilities. To learn more about SIP trunking and to discover how it can be integrated into your VoIP system, contact Top Line Communications now.

Read More