Yesterday, we announced that we are now offering integrated services with bridgeSpeak, a ShoreTel Technology Partner, to auto dealers. bridgeSpeak recently received it's certification in the ShoreTel Technology Partners Program for it's Automotive Retail (AR) solution.
What exactly is bridgeSpeak?
For auto dealers, bridgeSpeak can bring in an additional $13,000 in monthly revenue (According to conservative analysis based on 2008 NADA data), just by developing an integrated communication system. This system brings business development, customer relations management and dealer management systems into one centralized communication strategy.
The idea behind bridgeSpeak is that customers are missing appointments (often just forgotten), sales people are missing calls or opportunities to pull the customers in, all resulting in missed revenue.
bridgeSpeak connects the DMS and you phone system to automate alerts and notifications for customers of appointments, sends service reminders, and customer satisfaction follow-up communications after the appointment.
When your phone rings, bridgeSpeak creates an instant "Pop Up" of customer information and up-sell messaging. More than just caller ID, know who you're talking to, what their service and sales history is, and how you can specifically help them.
Our integrated solutions with bridgeSpeak provides automated customer retention solutions that include:
- Automatic DMS Integration
- Appointment Reminders
- Missed Appointment Follow Up
- Lost Souls/Due For Service Follow Up
- Special Order Parts Notifications
- Customer Satisfaction (CSI/SSI) Follow Up
- Car is Ready Notifications
- New Car Purchase Service Department Introduction
- Sales Thank You
- Happy Birthday
- Lease Expirations
- Speech Recognition Interactivity – Automatic Appointment Scheduling
- Ability to Transfer Calls to Your Staff
For more information on how your business can increase profitability through our integration with bridgeSpeak or other unified communications products, contact us.
by Scott Strochak, President and CEO
The adoption of unified communications technology is a valuable asset for any business. Every industry and each individual business has it’s own communication needs. bridgeSpeak develops and provides industry-specific applications to fit these specific needs. The Atomotive Retail solution is designed to connect anto dealers’ business systems (DMS, CRM and Business Development) with their VoIP phone system to improve all aspects of phone-based customer communication.
In April, bridgeSpeak announced its completion of the certification for ShoreTel’s Technology Partner Program. This is exciting news for the auto industry, as bridgeSpeak can now offer customers quality communication solutions with ShoreTel’s award-winning phone systems.
As a ShoreTel partner, we are expanding our reach at Xtelesis to incorporate the bridgeSpeak technology into our customer offerings. We are excited to develop relationships with auto dealers and to provide them with specific solutions to best fit their customer communication needs.
We are tremendously excited about our new relationship with bridgeSpeak. We consider it our primary job to find communications technologies that help our customers serve their customers better and bridgespeak is exactly that.
If you own or run a car dealership, you now have a very cost effective way to integrate your phone system into your DMS (if you’re not in the auto dealer business, you have no idea what I’m talking about, but keep reading, just for fun!). You can have customer information pop up immediately when a customer calls and be able to provide better customer service and generate more revenue. That’s what we’re all about here at Xtelesis: finding ways to make your business better. Give us a call and we’ll see if we can help you.
For more information, call 888-340-XTEL
While Scott Strochak, Xtelesis President and CEO, was at Interior Architects in Dallas a few weeks ago, he spent some time with their staff teaching them how to use their new ShoreTel VoIP phones.
"Brilliantly simple." That's ShoreTel's motto, and you'll see from this video overview of basic phone functions that it is indeed just that. Take a few minutes, watch the video, and learn more about the ShoreTel phones.
Let us know if you would like to learn more about ShoreTel phone systems for your business!
The adoption of video teleconferencing and other unified communications technologies are changing the business landscape as more businesses are turning to unified communications as a means to reduce spending.
While the financial benefits of video conferencing may be more easily recognized as the use of the technology can significantly reduce spending on travel, for example, other unified communications (UC) technologies can also financially benefit a business.
The CDW 2010 Unified Communication Tracking Poll clearly indicates that IT Directors are confident in the cash-saving capabilities of UC (54% of those polled stated reduction in operating costs as number one benefit of UC), but it also indicates that cash flow results in the most significant challenges of planning and implementing a UC Solution.
In planning a UC Solution, 46% of the more than 900 IT directors polled by CDW listed securing budget commitments as the biggest obstacle to overcome. Twenty-nine percent stated their most significant challenge in UC planning is securing reliable cost projections.
The implementation of a UC solution always comes with a price tag attached. However, the total cost of ownership, from planning to execution does not have to break the bank. When planning a UC solution, it is crucial to consider the total cost of ownership of any solution. There is more involved than upfront expenses. Maintenance and management of your business’ UC solution will cost something, but how much? How much will your UC solution and associated technologies cost you or save you over time?
To help determine the TCO of IP Phone systems, ShoreTel has joined with Alinean to provide a TCO Calculator. Use the ShoreTel TCO Tool to calculate and compare the total cost of ownership of alternative unified communications solutions. You can also contact an Xtelesis TCO expert to help you with your calculations.
In this economy, we understand that staying within budget is your bottom line. We have a variety of solutions we offer our customers that come with a range of flexible pricing options. Contact us for more details on how we can help business implement phone systems, video conferencing and other UC technologies.
In early 2009, Gartner researchers predicted that video teleconferencing would replace 2.1 million airline seats by 2012. As the economy has declined and businesses have reduced or completely cut their travel budgets.
Airline travel is becoming more and more for pleasure, not business. Those who would have jumped on a plane and headed cross-country for a business meeting, are staying put, and instead, having those meetings via videoconferencing.
In late 2009, Research Now and Global IP Solutions surveyed more than 1,200 business professionals in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China about the use of videoconferencing. The results confirmed the expected.
Forty percent of those surveyed in the U.S. said their company would be deploying a videoconferencing solution within the next six to 24 months. Eighty percent of those surveyed in China expected their business to roll out videoconferencing solutions in the next 18 months.
The survey also showed that businesspeople relying on video teleconferencing aren’t relying on the most expensive technology out there. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed rely on free applications like Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL and Skype for their video teleconferencing needs. The remaining 21 percent use systems such as those offered by Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize
The biggest concern, however (as expressed by 61 percent of those surveyed) is reliability of video conferencing – video delay and freezing. Most of these concerns can be alleviated by the selection of a video teleconferencing solution that operates on a higher bandwidth – like from Cisco, Polycom or LifeSize.
And by the way, selecting one of these solutions over Skype, Yahoo!, Gmail or AOL doesn’t have to break your business’ bank. These companies all offer a wide range of solutions, from those that can run on the desktop, to fully integrated telepresence suites.
A study by ABI Research suggests the telepresence global market hit $568 million last year and will reach $2.7 billion by 2015. This number could be much higher, as integration with unified communications platforms and the extension of video to laptops and smartphones (take video chat capabilities of Apple’s iPhone 4 and the HTC EVO, for example) drives what continues to be one of the few markets to be unaffected by the recession.
The ROI of video teleconferencing is simple. Reduce travel costs. Reduce the fatigue of executives and employees, increase collaboration with colleagues and clients in other locations, and you will see a rise in productivity.
At Xtelesis, we offer a wide range of LifeSize video conferencing solutions, from LifeSize Express for video conferencing from your PC to the full telepresence experience in HD with LifeSize Conference 200.
1. PhonesPlusMag –Video Communications
2. EWeek.com – Video Conferencing on the Rise
3. PhonesPlusMag – Video Conferencing on the Rise
Unified Communications is certainly a buzzword easily tossed around the business world these days. Defining that buzzword isn’t quite as simple.
For business owners who are trying to figure out what it all means, we want to dissect the topic for you.
There are several definitions of unified communications. In their 2010 Unified Communications Tracking Poll, CDW, a technology solutions provider for businesses defines unified communications as “the convergence of enterprise voice, video and data services and software applications to achieve greater collaboration among individuals or groups and improve business.”
There are a few key capabilities of unified communications (UC):
- E-mail – ability to access email through Outlook or a similar interface
- Voice – amplifying standard capabilities with desktop handsets or Internet-based softphones with easily accessible voicemail
- Video – integration of video teleconferencing
- IM – tighter security for inner-office chat conversations
- Calendars – ability to manage schedules and projects of SMB owners and employees
- Directory Services – lists of contacts easily managed and shared, just like the calendars
Benefits of an effective UC deployment are vast. Some benefits include:
- Cost saving – managing multiple services together, such as e-mail and telephony reduces costs associated with both hardware and software
- Efficiency – the “one-stop-shop,” of UC services enables IT departments of SMBs to dedicate more time to other valuable company tasks
- Increased productivity – with one program to manage multiple communication channels, employees work more efficiently
- Flexibility – UC does is not limited to a physical location, enabling users to work productively inside the office, or on location
- Green – Perhaps one of the most attractive benefits of UC is the decreased footprint unified services leave on the environment. Less hardware and software means a need for less power. Because UC also enables employees to work outside the office, the overall carbon footprint associated with business is drastically decreased.
So how are businesses and organizations really utilizing a unified communications network and what benefits have they seen? Ask any IT director or business owner, and likely, the answer will be the same. Lower costs, increased productivity and improved decision making.
“Our unified communications deployment will save $10,000 annually, and it will enable our staff, from receptionists and attorneys to finance officers and parks personnel – all constantly on the go – to be more accessible to their colleagues and consultants. Why wouldn’t we do this?” Kim McKinney, CIO/IT director of Broome County, NY told CDW for their 2010 Unified Communications Tracking Poll.
(Resources: CDW 2010 Unified Communications Tracking Poll, 5 Benefits of Unified Communications from eWeek.com)
Deciding whether to use hosted or on-premises unified communications solutions is never an easy decision, and a question that stirs constant debate. Much of that decision-making process will be based on the structure and philosophy of your business practice. Do you outsource service not directly related to your business? If so, a hosted PBX solution might be right for you.
What are the differences between having your PBX system physically on your premises versus a hosted solution? Most of these distinctions are related to cost, control, and features of the system.
This article on VOIPNews.com breaks down the pros and cons of each option.
When considering cost, a hosted solution will have a lower setup cost, but may have higher long-term service charges and fees. Having your PBX solution on premises might require a higher initial setup, but you will generally see a lower total cost of ownership over time, as your service is managed internally. However, managing your solution on premises does not mean you won’t incur maintenance expenses, and often these are difficult to calculate ahead of time.
Control of a PBX solution is another factor to consider, but the distinctions are clear. If you hold your system on premises, you have complete control over all functions of your service. With a hosted solution, your service provider has control. The question is really which are you most comfortable with. When it comes to control of your system, a hosted solution may allow you and your IT department to be freed up to focus on other important company tasks, rather than managing every little detail of your unified communications solution, which in and of itself can be a full-time job.
Features and functionality of a unified communications network is key in determining the best fit for your business, but the decision is simple. Select the option that has the features you want and need. This may be a hosted solution, or you may find that an on premise solution allows you to incorporate the features that best suits your business needs.
Xtelesis offers both hosted and on premise solutions for our customers and a competitive pricing structure to help you make the decision that you are most comfortable with and that best fits your needs. With hands-on installation and training, we will be sure you get the most out of your PBX solution.
Looking for an On Premise solution? XteleVoIP On Premise PBX offers these features:
- Reliability – no single point of failure
- Ability to scale the size of your system up or down with minimal expense and disruption
- Complete control and flexibility to manage your systems
- Reduced monthly long-distance charges
- Lower total cost of ownership than traditional services.
If you’ve determined a hosted solution best fits your small to mid-sized business needs, an XteleVoIP Hosted PBX will offer you:
- Ability to eliminate complex and expensive PBX hardware and software
- Ability to scale the size of your system up or down with minimal expense and disruption
- System management by Xtelesis experts
- Flexible pricing structures
- Low set-up and operational costs
If you would like more information on either our hosted or on premise PBX solutions, contact us.
We are pleased to announce that we have received two top honors from ShoreTel. Our company has received the 2010 ShoreTel Circle of Excellence Award and has been chosen to join the ShoreTel Million Dollar Club.
ShoreTel, Inc., is the leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems with fully integrated unified communications (UC). Winners of both the 2010 Circle of Excellence award and the Million Dollar Club were announced at the annual ShoreTel partner event.
Recipients of the Circle of Excellence award are recognized for their exceptional achievement in both customer satisfaction and revenue excellence. A Circle of Excellence award is the highest honor ShoreTel bestows upon a partner.
"We are honored to be a part of this elite group of resellers. It is a real testament to our hard work and focus on ShoreTel products," said Scott Strochak, Xtelesis President and CEO. "ShoreTel is a great partner of ours and we look forward to continuing to grow our partnership with them.”
As a member of the ShoreTel Million Dollar Club, we are honored to be one of ShoreTel’s top revenue-producing channel partners for Fiscal Year 2010.
“Our sales teams have worked tremendously hard to help us achieve this award," said Strochak. "And since the ShoreTel product is so advanced in its architecture and ease of use and manageability, it practically sells itself."
Read more about each of these awards on our news page.
Xtelesis has had the pleasure of working with Interior Architects, a corporate interior design firm with 13 offices in the U.S. and abroad, for 10 years.
Recently, Scott Strochak, Xtelesis President and CEO visited the Interior Architects Dallas office, to help set them up with their ShoreTel VOIP phone system.
We had a chance to sit down with Bryan Almquist, Director of IT at Interior Architects and ask him a few questions about his experience working with our company and the ShoreTel products.
Check it out!
LifeSize HD Videoconferencing Demo Day - Thursday, Aug. 19
If you've considered plugging in HD video conferencing for your business, come out this Thursday and see a LifeSize Demo.
You haven't really experienced videoconferencing until you've experienced LifeSize. At this demo, you'll get to see first-hand what all the buzz is about! We'll also teach you how to cut your travel costs, increase face-to-face interactions and share knowledge with LifeSize HD Video Conferencing.
This LifeSize Demo happens once every month on the 3rd Thursday, so come out and have lunch on us! Please join us at one of our open house locations in the Bay Area Los Angeles Area or Seattle WA.
Lunch will be provided.
Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 11:00 am - 1:00 pm PT
Register now for a demo!
ShoreTel Call Manager & Director Training - Friday, Aug. 20
Call Manager Training
Constantly getting asked questions on how to use features of Call Manager? Invite users to this refresher or get new users trained on the basics of Call Manager.
This training is held every third Friday of the month at 2 pm. Register now!
Are you a ShoreTel System Administrator, do you have a question on how to use ShoreTel Director? Ask our engineers about how to use or enable features and functions of your ShoreTel phone system.
This training is held every third Friday of the month at 3 pm. Register now!
Scott Strochak, President and CEO
by Scott Strochak, President & CEO
Hi. Welcome to the Xtelesis blog! While we like to spend most of our time actually helping clients communicate better, the marketing team here thought it would be a great idea to share some of our ideas with the blogosphere to perhaps inspire you to make changes in your organization. There is so much technology out there, so many buzzwords, that it is often (always?) impossible for the lay person (or even someone in the business) to know what is right for their situation. The purpose of this blog is to help folks like yourself separate the wheat from the chaff and make better buying decisions for yourself and your organization.
Xtelesis is what we call an IP Communications integrator. If you haven't noticed, the word VoIP has crept its way into our daily lexicon and it can mean many things to many people. To us, it means Voice (and Video) over Internet Protocol. In its most basic terms, we're taking a voice or video stream and coding it in the IP protocol and then using some sort of IP network to transport it. That's it. Not a lot of magic or mystery to that although some folks out there would have you believe it's the most complicated thing short of landing a man on the moon (millions of parts on that thing!).
However, what does get somewhat complicated is making your enterprise network ready to have voice/video packets co-mingling with your regular data packets. When your computer goes out and makes a web request from www.google.com, if the network between your computer and Google is congested, some packets may get dropped. No worries, the IP protocol is designed to send and resend so that, eventually, all the data gets there. Which is fine if you are waiting for a web page to load. Not so good if you are waiting for the next word from the person to whom you are talking. This is why you need an IP Communications Integrator like Xtelesis that knows networks! That's what we do. We make your network ready and then put all sorts of cool communications tools on top of it. Give us a shout and we'll see if we can help you, too.