Archives for 17 Jan,2012

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Music on Hold for business phone systems


Music on hold for business telephone systems provides a great marketing tool as well as enhancing the marketing image of your business to both customers and suppliers.

A music on hold player is an easy and cost effective addition to any phone system. Most music on hold players nowadays are MP3 players – so have no moving parts ensuring a long life.

As the new MOH players are MP3, most come with a memory card to load music or messages on, simply pop the card into your PC and use the bundled software to create and upload your audio file.

MOH is now more commonly know as Messaging on hold, as companies use Holding as a free marketing slot. Some examples of pertinent marketing messages:-

1) Details of Special Offers

2) To cross sell other product ranges

3) To launch new product ranges, or announce new office or store openings

4) to make company informercials, such as web address or direction details

Many of the MOH systems we supply include loyalty free music and some have professional recordings included. Smartinfo also have partnerships with studios and actors to record a professional message, and overdubbed on your choice of music type from classical to retro to pop or rock.

Customers who added MOH to systems have always been ecstatic with the results and ‘band for buck’ image it purveys.

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Phone Systems for City of London


Smartinfo have provided telephone systems and phone system upgrades to financial institutions in the City of London for the past 7 years. One of the Vendors we work closely with are Mitel, based next door to us on Bishopsgate, near Liverpool street.

Mitel have a suite of telephone applications such as CTI, Mobile extension and Turret replication with line key for open channels, giving a more compact and effective turret. Line keys can be set up to stay-open or stay-alive in trading environments. CTI can be introduced to hot- conference in colleagues or external trading parties, with the click of a mouse and keyboard.

Smartinfo have supplied banks, brokerages, clearing and exchanges, trading screen and software providers throughout the City and Canary Wharf.

Please give us a call to arrange an appointment at the Mitel Demonstration suite to see a live demo of what can be done for you city based business.

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Richard Wilson on Hold – Part 2 – Automated Systems


Last nights “Richard Wilson On Hold” program on automated systems.

We have written before on automated systems, our view is a very straight forward one. If they are simple (as is the case with Auto attendants) they can work very well.

We do not however advocate their use to replace every possible human activity. We would suggest in an office with say 100-200 staff a system whereby you “say the persons name you want to talk to” can work well. IVR or interactive voice response work on algorithms of speech recognition – and are improving all the time.

The example of cinemas is the other extreme, where the voice algorithms are more complex (nationwide accents, odd film titles), and are not effective, where a more old fashioned auto attendant, press 1 for Tintin or 2 for Silent Movie would be more effective – We have used this for theatre bookings systems which is very effective as calls can be processed 24-7 when the box office is not even manned. Some times the use of technology can be over engineered, for technologies sake.

We are no expert on Automatic tills (!) but as we are based in the City next to Liverpool Street, the very busy Tesco and Boots always had very long 20 minute queues before the rows of automated tills were installed, if people want to buy alcohol and weighed items they should join the queue for the manned tills – there is still a choice.

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Richard Wilson On Hold – industry view on automated phone systems- Part 1 Holding


Last nights “Richard Wilson On Hold”

Though we would just comment as an industry insider on automated telephone systems.

The program covered two distinct areas of the phone system industry,

1) Being put on hold before you get to speak to an operator. In phone system terms call centre software is called ACD – or automatic call distribution. This enables a larger number of calls to be handled by a fewer number of people, so put basically if you have 100 calls coming into a call centre at a particular time, with ACD software you can que 75 of the calls when the 25 operators deal with enquiries.

As a phone system solution provider we provide the tools to enable a business to achieve this, what tends to happen is these tools are ‘abused’ or cranked up to unfair wait times on clients, typically when a new manager in a call centre is brought in, or a new operations manager has to cut costs, usually by cutting staff. In real terms the 25 could be cut to 20, then 15 then 10 people over time and rounds of cuts.

We recommend hold times of less than 2 minutes. If consumers could see it form the other side, if you are a call center of 25 operatives that gets 5,000 calls a day (circa 625 an hour, 25 calls each op per hour), but many call centres dealing with consumers get many more calls between 12:30 and 2pm – when most consumers are free to make personal calls at lunch – so 25 operative may need to handle 1500-2000 calls in the lunch hour – and this is how ACD software should be used to smooth the curve, as most would concede its hard to find people who only want to work for an hour at lunchtime, let alone the space needed to seat them!

A more cynical point was the use of 0870 and 0871 numbers where the operators purposely hold customers (certain football clubs will not be mentioned), as the called company ears revenue on the call. Thankfully this has been tackled by the regulator, reducing the cost of the calls to these numbers. These practices still however prevail and we hope to see regulation stamp them out further.

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Phone system for Islington (N1) Estate agents react to market conditions using Smart Telecom technology


Smartinfo have an estate agent customer in Islington, London.

The estate agent was started by two partners and had grown to 2 offices, the main in Islington and the second in Hampstead.

Their traditional incumbent provider had failed to keep abreast with the latest developments in telecoms technology, both in relation to telcom services and phone system features that can enable their business model.

Initially we consolidated their ISDN and analogue lines, and converted them into SIP trunks – this enabled more efficient line usage, ie they could cut down from 8 lines to 4 Sip trunks (Sip trunks can also be increased and decreased instantly at busy times, on a monthly basis).

All new Sip trunks are now delivered into the main Islington office. Calls to Hampstead are delivered into Islington lines, but ring in Hampstead on IP (Voip) phone extensions, unless unanswered in which case it can overflow identified to Islington N1 HQ.

As the market over the last couple of years has fluctuated the partners have used the phone system to react, where bigger players could not and as a consequence folded. The Hampstead branch office was closed as a physical office, but calls were not taken by its staff in Islington, with no noticeable change to the public clients.

As an entrepreneurial pair, one decided to emigrate to South Africa, to replicate the same business model there. He took an IP phone and was able to continue his administrative role (Accounts and legals) as if still in the UK. (With the use of some cloud based access to London PCs).
As he embraced his new SA lifestyle he also had a requirement for his SA mobile to be attached to the sytem, to take calls at un synchronised hours and on the school run – this was achieved with Mobex so he had full call control, so the ability to transfer the call from his SA mobile back to a London Extension seamlessly.

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Accountancy Profession clamouring aboard.


Smartinfo Ltd, a City of London based leading supplier of Alcatel, Mitel and Samsung telephone systems along with electronic surveillance and mobile phone solutions are considered the Telecoms equivalent of Sage to the accountancy profession.

This is reflected in the number of firms signing up to use the cost-saving telecoms solutions Smartinfo are offering them. Accountants are considered very cautious in recommending the services of providers to their clients. Smartinfo have found that their Accountancy Practice Customers have no reservations about introducing them to their clients. This is because they see which client would benefit from the cost savings and productivity gains Smartinfo offer. Their advice is based on their own positive experiences of reducing costs and working smarter.

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