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Migrating to the Cloud in Five Simple Steps

A future with more features, better reliability and less maintenance awaits you with Cloud Voice services. This simple guide outlines the five steps to activating your new communications system.

Step 1 – Needs Assessment

  • Discuss your unique needs with us so we both understand all requirements you may have or critical systems that need special attention.
  • Review and document any differences between your new cloud service and your current system including updating business processes or workflows that leverage your existing system.

Step 2 – Demonstration

  • Schedule a time with TCI for a Cloud Voice demonstration so you can see the service in action and ask questions.

Step 3 – Migration

  • Review technical requirements and system design that fit the unique needs of your business as determined in the needs assessment.
  • Confirm compatibility with third-party applications and validate integrations.
  • Export user data and configurations from your legacy system.
  • Configure network and firewalls in accordance with best practices.

Step 4 – Number Porting

  • Sign LOA to port DIDs and Toll-Free numbers to your new service.
  • Set up new phones with temporary DIDs for UAT in preparation for cut-over data.

Step 5 – Cut-Over

  • Activate system using ported DIDs.
  • Download and install client communications and collaboration software.

At every step of the way, we’ll be working with you to answer any questions you have and ensure a smooth transition.

Now that you know the five simple steps to migrate to the cloud with TCI, let’s begin the process. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

How to Improve Customer Service in Your Contact Center

Until recently, most contact centers looked like a sea of low-walled cubicles with agents speaking into headsets – with all customer transactions occurring at a fixed office location. Today, contact center agents can work just about anywhere: at home, in hired office space, or even on the move from a mobile device. But that’s not the only benefit mobility has on customer service.

Here are five ways you can boost customer service levels using mobility and cloud-based services…

1. Manage resources to maintain service levels

Some ebb and flow in contact volumes are seasonal, while other times volume may be unexpected. Whatever the case, with cloud-based contact center software, additional seats can be ‘spun up’ in virtually no time at all. Staff at other locations can be redeployed to manage customer interactions during busy periods. Agency staff can be online and handling inquiries and home workers can be ready to go at a moment’s notice. When call volumes stabilize, you can return to normal staffing.

2. Improve access to specialist skills anywhere

In some environments, contact center staff may need in-the-moment access to specialists. Rather than put the customer on hold until finding someone available who can help, the agent can use presence to see if the specialist is online and then either dial that person directly or send him or her an instant message while staying on the phone with the customer. Of course, UC tools allow specialists to be contacted on the go too. If a customer has a question that an agent needs a specialist’s opinion on, the agent can quickly communicate with the expert via a mobile device.

3. Attract and retain staff

Traditionally, contact center staff had to be recruited from a specific geographic location to work in the local office. With virtual contact center technology, businesses can now access a much wider employment pool. That means that you can hire exceptional agents, whether they live near your business or not. This is particularly helpful for contact centers that require agents to have specialist skills, such as technical, medical or legal expertise. And once you find stellar employees, offering them the option to work remotely can help retain them.

4. Ensure your business is always available

Single-site contact centers that cope well during normal working hours may struggle to offer the same level of service at other times. It may be difficult for customers to access the right specialist after regular office hours, especially if the expert is required to work in a fixed office location. But mobility tools allow customers to get their problems solved at all hours of the day. Allowing contact center staff to work from home increases the likelihood you’ll find agents willing to work night or even split shifts, making it easier to offer coverage around the clock.

5. Ensure business continuity in the face of disaster

Cloud-based contact center systems offer resiliency and mobility, meaning you can continue to serve your customers with little interruption caused by power outages, public transit strikes, natural disasters and other situations that may leave you without a place for contact center agents to work. If your office gets knocked out, agents can work from another location or even from home. In addition, staff from other departments and in other locations can be drafted to handle contact center functions remotely.

Ready to improve customer service in your contact center? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Understanding Voice Deployment Options & Selecting the Best Platform for Your Business

TCI specializes in providing custom solutions designed to meet the precise communication needs of large and small organizations…

A variety of cloud deployments are available to connect your company and every location in your enterprise – dedicated private solutions, shared public services, or hybrid combinations of both.

Here are some considerations that will help determine the best platform or combination for your business…

  • What goes in the cloud? What stays? Start by identifying the applications that really matter and check for redundant functionality across applications; then focus on the key business and technical reasons for moving to the cloud. Use those decisions to shape the specific criteria for determining which applications should move to the cloud.
  • What level of privacy and security do you need? If you’re in government or a highly regulated industry like financial services or healthcare, you may want to consider combining a private, onsite platform with cloud services. A hybrid solution enables you to keep control of your communications infrastructure while still reaping cloud benefits like scalability, resiliency, and cost management. If advanced features, privacy, and control are essential to your business, dedicated private solutions will provide the customized tools and flexibility you need.
  • How important is reliability? If your workforce needs immediate and reliable access to complex data, like large multimedia files, consider storing your data using redundant onsite and offsite storage. If you operate a busy contact center, a dedicated private cloud solution combined with redundant backup can protect you from costly downtime – if you lose your onsite system, the cloud will be there. Likewise, if a network failure hits your cloud provider your in-house infrastructure will be your safety net.
  • Will the communications system grow and flex with you? For many small and mid-sized organizations, the public cloud environment can be very cost-effective. You typically pay on a flat, user-per-month basis. In addition, even though you may connect via a public Internet connection, you can overlay a private network service for added reliability. A hybrid solution gives you added flexibility to scale more broadband when needed, ensures reliability, and allows you to maintain control.

There’s even more to consider… Need help? TCI will help you refine your voice deployment strategy and implement a solution tailored to your specific requirements. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Hurricane Season is Here… TCI Experts are Ready to Help Prepare Your Business Continuity Plan

How Business Continuity planning with TCI helps protect your business…

First, our experts perform a thorough gap assessment to identify risks, threats and exposure before it’s too late. Then we recommend solutions and action plans to enable you to mitigate and effectively manage a crisis.

40% of small businesses who experience a disaster never recover…

TCI’s cutting-edge Disaster Recovery solutions are tailored to help protect your entire technology environment – from data and applications, to office computers, mobile devices, networks and phone systems.

Will your business continue to operate when disaster strikes?

Here are just some of the ways TCI’s comprehensive approach helps you safeguard what counts:

  • Determine appropriate risk reduction strategies, remedies, and alternatives for critical systems and networks, including affordable ways to address voice and data protection measures like off-grid power sourcing and secure off-site storage.
  • Enable a remote work program that can keep your business open when your office is shut down during an emergency.
  • Avoid critical data loss or recovery delays dealing with missing databases, disrupted systems, networks and more.

Make sure your business stays connected when disaster strikes. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com

 

Simplify Your Technology and Your Life… Get to Know TCI’s Managed Support Plans

Engaging an experienced, local technology partner brings a large pool of experts and technical resources to your business. TCI can help you take on any IT or Voice Communications challenge that comes your way, including upgrades, migrations, and relocations. We can even polish up and test your business continuity plans, so your organization doesn’t skip a beat during an emergency.

Full-Service Support

At TCI, keeping you connected is our top priority. We utilize best-in-class monitoring products to address any network problems detected. Our customers come first. TCI guarantees a timely response time and includes a primary technical consultant who visits your site multiple times a year, ensuring that your network is functioning at the highest level. TCI offers a comprehensive portfolio of resources necessary to install, integrate or upgrade new and existing communication networks.

Proactive Monitoring… Helping you maintain a healthy network

We take the steps necessary to monitor your networks, making sure they are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. The steps taken to ensure the best in proactive monitoring include:

  • Monitoring of servers, networks, and pre-approved third-party backup solution/services
  • Guaranteed repair response time
  • Providing a primary technical consultant
  • Providing a business solutions consultant

As Needed, Prepaid Support… Flexibility when you need it most

TCI offers IT support on an as-needed basis with a flexible plan that supports budget control and cost savings. Time purchased through Prepaid Support can be used for any purpose, including project assistance, technology implementation, repairs, consulting, planning, and reviews. Here’s what else you get:

  • Guaranteed timely response time
  • A primary technical consultant
  • First-attempt offsite repair
  • Renewal notification when available time balance falls to 20%

Ad hoc Support…

Our ad hoc support is ideal for businesses and organizations with their own IT staff that may require occasional support to compensate for vacations, sick days, personal days, and unforeseen challenges. This level of support allows you to utilize TCI as often as needed. We offer the best in specialized expertise, project assistance, or development help whenever you need it. Ad hoc services include:

  • Troubleshooting hardware and software problems
  • Changing and/or upgrading hardware and software
  • Moving or adding new site locations
  • Monitoring networks and servers

Expand, upgrade, or integrate new technologies to improve your business and simplify your life… Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Infrastructure as a Service… Simplify Your Building & Campus Connections

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an IT environment that is provisioned and managed by TCI. With IaaS, you simplify your life and avoid the complexity of buying and managing your own IT and network infrastructure. Rather than paying a big upfront capital expense, your affordable monthly subscription covers everything you need.

TCI’s experienced experts handle all of the details: design, build, test, certify and support…

  • Structured Cabling – Inside & Outside Plant
  • Managed Wi-Fi
  • LAN/WAN
  • Mobile Devices
  • Endpoints
  • Server Rooms
  • Data Centers
  • UPS
  • Security

We’re flexible… You can own any aspect of your IT environment and subscribe to IaaS for the elements you’d like us to manage. IaaS offers…

  • End-to-end setup, implementation, and testing
  • Ongoing monitoring and support, including a 24×7 help desk
  • Upgrades that include new equipment as network technologies evolve and improve

With over 40 years of certified networking experience, TCI’s trademark craftsmanship offers the expertise and project management you need for today’s technology infrastructure. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Ignoring Your Voice System or Service? Complacency Can Put Your Business at Risk

The best communications systems are virtually invisible in your organization. Your teams, customers and partners rely on the integrated voice, data and video capabilities these systems provide to stay connected, collaborate and work more efficiently. When things are going right, it’s easy to be lulled into complacency. But the longer your software has been neglected, the more likely it is that someone can find a way to exploit its vulnerabilities.

Collateral Damage

Proactive service updates help ensure your business is ready to smoothly handle unexpected events and cyberattacks on your communications system. When you keep your communications platform up-to-date with the latest software and features, it’ll be protected with fixes that address security flaws and close security holes that could be exploited. TCI ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

The Cloud is Ideal for Remote and Hybrid Workforces

Some of the changes you implemented to deal with the pandemic will likely remain in place as you and your teams take advantage of convenient and cost-effective new ways of working. That means it’s time to take a closer look at cloud solutions.

A purpose-built cloud makes it easy to provide unified and scalable communications to anyone, anywhere, on any device. Your entire organization benefits from increased mobility, richer team collaboration and better ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. And you no longer have to worry about managing, scaling or securing a premises-based system. Outdated technologies, obsolete systems and invisible vulnerabilities are no longer a costly IT issue or a risk to your business.

With TCI’s decades of experience and understanding of cloud-based communications and our solutions, you’ll have everything you need to smoothly transition to the cloud in a way that makes the most sense for your organization. And as new technologies emerge, we’ll help you integrate them in innovative ways so you can unlock all the capabilities cloud communications have to offer.

It’s Time to Get Going

Whether your next steps are to immediately start planning your migration to the cloud or to simply get current and stay current with software updates, now is the time to make your move with TCI.

We have the solutions, expertise and relationships in place to help ease your transition to the cloud. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

The Bad Guys Are Listening… Preventing Desktop Phone Hacks

Many offices have IP phones, but unknown to most users is that hackers can actually listen to everything that’s going on in the room – whether or not you are on a phone call.

Hackers from a remote location have been able to exploit some IP phones’ vulnerable software and firmware to gain access – even phones sitting behind a firewall.

Here’s some of the mischief hackers do when they ‘tap’ your IP phone:

  • Listen in on your phone conversations and identify who you’re calling.
  • With access to the phone’s microphone, hackers can feed the conversation into a speech-to-text engine and post the transcript to social media.
  • Since the microphone never shuts off, hackers can listen to everything the phone hears, such as conversations in a company’s board room.

IP phones are basically computers and manufacturers periodically issue software and firmware updates to plug security holes. The trouble is that smaller businesses – and many larger ones – are still lax about keeping their systems updated with the latest patches.

The most effective way to stop hackers from taking control of your IP phones – or any other computer – is to keep the software and firmware current with the latest patches from your phone manufacturer.

Ignoring these patches – or waiting too long to implement them – could leave your business exposed to hackers bent on doing it serious harm.

Concerned about possible IP phone vulnerabilities at your location? We have security and communication solutions that can protect your business. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Better Collaboration… Integrate Microsoft Teams with Mitel-Powered Telephony, Contact Center & CRM

Now you can improve the productivity of your Microsoft Teams users with Mitel’s advanced telephony, contact center and CRM integrations.

Check out the Video Overview

Give your users the calling features they need to be successful with Mitel’s end-to-end suite of communication tools. By pairing Mitel-powered service with Microsoft Teams, you can save time and improve your calling experience with integrated telephony, conferencing, and contact center.

Let Microsoft do what they do best and let TCI and Mitel do what we do best – delivering seamless connections. TCI has over 40 years of industry expertise and Mitel is a global leader in helping businesses connect, collaborate, and provide better experiences for their customers.

Get the Best of Mitel + Microsoft

  • Click-To-Call – Save time and reduce entry errors by simply clicking on any phone number to place a call.
  • Contact Center – Improve your customer experience with integrated options for simple or robust contact center capabilities.
  • CRM Integration – Increase agent efficiency with Mitel’s native CRM integrations including Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.
  • Outlook Integration – Easily schedule meetings and automate your presence and call routing as your schedule changes.
  • Single Sign-On – Eliminate multiple logins with our Active Directory integration for a single password across systems.
  • Advanced Telephony – Enhance your collaboration experience with call routing, hunt groups, presence, call history, call merging, and more.

Make the most of your collaboration tools without sacrificing enterprise telephony features… Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Leading a Hybrid Workforce? 5 Ways You Can Help Your Team Succeed

In the coming weeks and months, companies will reopen their offices and allow employees to return – with a few key differences. Many firms expect to adopt a hybrid approach in which employees split their time between the company’s facilities and their home offices. Here are five effective strategies for leading your teams…

1. Build a Healthier Culture

Blending time in the office with work at home, employees may benefit from a better balance, finding it easier to log off on remote days and finally getting that social connection on in-person days. Managers can improve workplace culture by actively fostering positive connections and relationships with and among team members, further helping to reduce stress levels.

2. Eliminate “Proximity Bias”

Managers and employees are both at risk of falling into the same trap of relying on or trusting those they see most often. This “proximity bias” can be overcome in several ways:

  • Create and set expectations about how team members will communicate with each other. For instance, set guidelines for who should be invited to each meeting.
  • Pay attention to how you spend your day and be sure you give all team members a fair shake.
  • Set a basic rule that all meetings should be held on videoconference – whether employees are in the office or not.

3. Ensure the Right Tools are Available

Videoconferencing, webchat, and other collaboration tools will retain their importance in the hybrid environment. Some upgrades to the company’s office space will be required to manage the needs of both types of workers. Businesses may need to improve the video and sound quality of conferencing technology, as well as provide the right resources for hoteling. Remote working technology should enable employees to switch between the company’s workspace and their home offices seamlessly.

4. Reconsider Productivity Metrics

In the pre-pandemic world, managers often drew a direct line between an employee’s time in the office and their productivity. A better approach post-pandemic is to manage productivity rather than measure it. Strategies include:

  • Inspire your team by focusing on your organization’s mission and purpose.
  • Support and care for your employees, and they’ll go the extra mile for you.
  • Communicate more, and when you do, be more transparent.

5. Focus on Mentoring

Coaching and cultivating employees can be achieved by holding more one-to-one meetings and using the time to discuss both work and personal issues. As it becomes harder to separate work from personal life, creating an understanding of individual pressures can lead to collaborative solutions that help relieve stress. In addition, using tools like screen-sharing will increase efficiency, effectiveness and buy-in.

The new technology and world of hybrid work may seem daunting and challenging, but TCI has the solutions and expertise to help you lead a successful transition. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.