Finding A Great VOIP Phone System Solution For Advisors

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 21:19
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Finding A Great VOIP Phone System Solution For Advisors

Tags: phones | productivity | VOIP

VOIP is now more widely embraced but no vendors are tailoring a solution to advisors. However, some A4A users have had success with VOIP.

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I’ve written about the benefits of my company’s VOIP phone system. We integrated the VOIP system with our CRM, so recordings of all client calls automatically are saved in our CRM.
 
This feature keeps everyone honest—our clients as well as our staff. But this is only one of the features with great benefits derived from our VOIP system.
 
Other notable benefits include cutting the monthly phone bill (12 lines) in half from about $900 to $400, adding extensions in remote locations—including foreign countries, and a web-based dashboard for forwarding incoming calls to my cell or home phone and getting all my messages emailed to me. I can also monitor any calls to or from my staff without them knowing I am listening and have many other benefits from the VOIP system.
 
But my company is not an advisory firm. Advisor Products and Advisors4Advisors have much more technology expertise than advisory firm. While my experience with VOIP indicates what could be done, it is not typical of what advisory firms actually do.  
 
Please post a comment with the name of your VOIP phone experience and a short description about what’s good or bad about it.
 
I’ll use that as a starting point for researching a detailed story about VOIP phone systems in which I report on ideas that can save you money and make your life easier.
 
Are you using a hosted VOIP system or hosting it yourself? Tell us about it.
 
Have you integrated your VOIP system with a CRM? Did you hire a consultant to switch to VOIP?
 
If you know the name of your your carrier or SIP trunk provider, please also share that.
 
Would greatly appreciate guidance from A4A members on this issue.   

Comments (6)

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Paul@EWM
A Great and timely topic.

We've used RingCentral for three years now and are in the process of firing them. Their suite of services is comprehensive. However, should you need tech support, expect to spend hours pointing out that the router is, in fact, not always the problem. Then, for real service, call their competitors, as we did, as RingCentral's customer service sets the bar for how bad customer support can be.

My wife's business has used Nextiva for about the same amount of time. Their website is not quite as fancy as RingCentral. However, they answer the phone rapidly, in good English, and they have yet to blame the router for anything! In fact, they helped me troubleshoot a RingCental problem.

We're in the process of porting our number from RingCentral to Nextiva.
Paul@EWM , June 01, 2011
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brentb843
Prices that are quoted in the linked article seem high for most practices compared to what we have with 8x8. Very professional and has CRM integration.

We moved from Vonage in 2007 and have never looked back.

brentb843 , June 01, 2011
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agluck
We were paying Verizon $800 to $900 a month for phone service on 12 phone lines. Plus we had the expense of an outside phone consultant. When we switched to VOIP, now pay half that for 12 lines. I think that's fairly inexpensive.
agluck , June 01, 2011
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wealthben
We switched to a hosted VOIP system approximately a year ago and it is not integrated with our CRM. Unfortunately our experience has been a relative headache. We've experienced several outages of more than an hour and we have also experienced periodic issues of dropped calls and inability to make or receive calls. To make matters worse, when there is an issue with our VOIP host, they're using the same system so they are unreachable via phone. It is clear that I was not thorough enough in my research on this particular company. However, I do think that a VOIP system will continue to be a solution for us and that a different provider will greatly improve our experience.
wealthben , June 01, 2011
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brentb843
Andy - I think your price in good, but some of the comments on your previous posting showed higher numbers.

You should consider a Friday webex with 8x8. They have a discount for advisors on TD and a pretty slick and cost effective platform.

Their virtual office pro product has web meeting, phone, fax and mobile. Most importantly, whenever we have had issues (I believe 3 in 5 years) a live person picks up in California in about 2 rings.

brentb843 , June 02, 2011
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BrianEdelman
Switching to a VOIP system looks easy but can turn into a train wreck very quickly.

Things you need to consider include: Internet Speed, Internet Redundancy, Network Health and Internet/VoIP Independence.

We have had success with 8x8 but had to set "Quality of Service" in the network to prioritize the VOIP Packets.
BrianEdelman , June 09, 2011

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