Any members with experience and recommendations upgrading to a VOIP system?
A true VOIP system or one from, for example, your cable company?
If you are talking a real VOIP system - I can tell you from extensive experience that there is not a VOIP telephone made that can take the beating dished out in a pizza environment. They are made for cubicles.
If you decide you want to do VOIP, let me know - I’ve got a couple thousand dollars worth of top of the line Polycom phones I’ll sell you…
We use a service called Nextiva…auto attendant…2 incoming lines thru cable (need an adapter) plus it rolls over to my cell…can add other cell# if needed or add more service w/another adapter…adapter runs about $25/35…Nextiva service $35…super hi-speed internet (I have ob-line ordering too…5 static IP’s) $75…plus $70 for on-line service…less than $200 for phone/on-line/internet…my last phone alone was $270…
In the past year I’ve only had one major outage, when their backbone went out in CA…brutal sales loss…but they now have a better back-up plan as well…
I would do it again, but I would have my cell # as the primary, then rolling it over to Nextiva…so I’d still have 1 line I could reset (cell) if any other failure arose…
My simple auto attend just states the specials, then press 1 to order…no complaints from customers…
I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Are you speaking of the physical abuse? We run many call centers on voip. If the bandwidth is there, there are systems made to handle the volume of calls. From the physical abuse side, you shouldn’t let your employees abuse equipment.
If I ever decided to go VOIP, does anybody know if I would be able to use my existing PBX? It’s a Nortel Norstar CICS.
It seems like I would be able to, as I would just connect the lines from the VOIP gateway to the trunk of the PBX. The CICS really shouldn’t care what “type” of phone line it is, it’s just acting as something of a switching system… right?
I’ve had this question for a while and thought this thread would be a good place to ask.
Yes you can use the Northstar. You can even get VOIP modules to go with your system. I was a telecom tech in a former life and VOIP was just coming on the scene when I gave it all up for the glory of the dough.
Lol. I’ll make sure I hang up a sign.
I’ve had 3 major bands of SIP phones - including the common top-of-the-line Polycom’s. The handset will tolerate at most 2 or 3 “drops” to the floor before it become unusable. Sometimes only 1. I replaced more handsets on Polycom’s in 6 months than I did on Nortel’s in 6 years.
Also, the issues of sidetone, etc, that comes with SIP phones are increased with the loud nature of the background noise in a pizza shop. Most SIP phones can not be “turned up” loud enough to hear easily. Background noise causes a lot of clipping.
In a call center - you have people sitting in a cubicle - just like I said above. They do not take the normal day-to-day physical abuse that happens in a busy pizza shop as well as the standard tank-like Nortel phones.
It doesn’t sound like the OP was asking about a real VOIP system anyway - more like one that is providing POTS terminals to existing standard phone sets or (as someone else asked above) a Nortel CICS.
Indie, thanks for the recommendation.
The upgrade plan is going like this:
- Install high speed broadband (50mb download/10mb upload) service from Comcast for $189/mo.
- Port 4 existing POTS numbers over to http://www.nextiva.com for $100/mo.
- Once everything is installed, cancel existing AT&T service.
Nextiva will provide a gateway that connects to broadband and then to our existing PBX phone system. Nextiva also provides MOH, auto-attendant, and re-routing to an emergency number in case of broadband failure.
I’m a Nextiva customer & couldn’t be happier…only one problem in 18 months (a disaster none the less) but I’d never switch
Are you doing the 360 plan?
$289/mnth for 4 lines? That’s far more than what 4 “normal” lines would cost you in rollover, no?
Yes, its the 360 plan. However, I don’t know if others are available, thats what was suggested. Did I miss something here?
Oh, 4 lines cost alot more than $289. The way AT&T bills service, if you have deluxe service on 1 line, all 4 must carry it and be charged at that rate. They just charge way too much! I spend more with AT&T than I do gas for the ovens.
In the end, I’ll have fractional T-3 service, far better than DSL (at the moment), and manage to lower my tele charges by more than $200/mo.
Believe me, I wish I only had to pay $40/mo for telephone service, but that’s just not happening - here.
I don’t think you need the 360 for all the lines…just the main # & the $10 plan for the others…I don’t use a PBX but POTS lines into a Linksys (2 lines only) and a 3rd rolls over to my cell (or others if needed)
With on-line ordering, by call-ins have dropped 60% or so…
Plus, the Comcast seems a bit high…Brighthouse plan is only $75 - not quite the spped demon you have…never had any problem with a lower tiered plan…
So, $75 + $35 + $70 = cost for VOIP/Fax/Internet/On-line Ordering/Credit Card Terminal…far better than I was paying several yrs ago
You might be right about the 360 on all #s, but for the moment, I’ll roll with it. *Its not uncommon for us to redial customers, for location verification & directions so it helps tremendously to use any line available; the large majority of our customers are from every state in the country and every continent on the planet.
I’m really excited about growing the next phase of phone answering by having the ability to ring #s out of town when calls come in. Potentially, we could have some chair-borne CSRs working part-time from home, no matter where they live.
I haven’t pursued OLO because of the difficulty attached to our location. It may be viable in the future, but currently, I don’t see much return in it. Believe me, I’d rather not answer calls, but it is what it is…
I’m just so excited to finally decide on this upgrade and get a little relief from the AT&T bandits along with their limitations!!! A big thank-you to Indie and Patriot’s for suggesting this approach!
The 50/10 has been installed. Its actually 50/11.5mb - every little UP helps.
The SIP-Trunk has been received, it has a total of 8 RJ-15 ports for POTS sets.
The LOA was sent a week ago, for porting existing AT&T numbers from L3 over to Nextiva. Got a message from them today that it was rejected because of a ‘pending’ order. wtf?? There’s been no orders on that account for nearly 3 years… Called AT&T and their system automatically ‘triggered’ a port order, just to stop the request and have me call in. You gotta love their business model.
Pending any further excitement, we should be able to go live with Nextiva within the next 10 days.
we had a work around solution @ 1st…Nextiva gave us a # & we 1st had calls from AT & T forwarded to the Nextiva # while the porting went thru…took a couple of weeks & no one new the difference…
My telephone service is the most important part of my business. If my electric goes down, I have a generator. If refrigeration or mixer or oven goes down, I have back up equipment. However, 90+ percent of my business comes in via telephone. Call me old fashioned but I am not willing to gamble on voip or on a phone service reseller. I know the features available are out of this world for voip but the risk of downtime is something I am not willing to take. I have a friend who switched to voip phone service 1.5 years ago and he has had several instances of downtime. 1 hour of downtime during a peak hour would cost me close to $1000 in business as well as dozens of potential lost customers. I hate AT&T as much as the next guy but they do offer some deals. We have 7 lines with rollover, unlimited long distance, and dsl internet(which we don’t even use because cable modem is more reliable in our area) for less than $400/month. We had to add the unlimited long distance and the dsl to get a 50% discount on our bill. In over 22 years in this business I can only remember 2 or 3 occasions when the phones went down and they had them back up and running very quickly. My internet goes down that often every month!
All phone systems will fail @ one point or another…I’ve only had one issue in the past 3 years…
My personal cell is added to the call/roll-over system…so if the VOIP fails on my end, the cell will ring…
I’m told now nextiva has a back-up system if their side fails…don’t know what that is off-hand…
For me, the savings was worth it…
The porting was yesterday. AT&T dropped us at 12noon, and it took a few hours to config the SP…8000 (the sip trunk). Everything was completed, tested, and working properly by opening @ 5pm. You can do a lot with that 8000!!
Expansion, is where it gets exciting (for me). We now have the potential to have remote CSRs for answering pickup/delivery orders. I should finish testing the remote csr (using a virtual PC running a pos session) and a forward to phone that echoes incoming calls. The only requirement is a broadband connection (1.5Mbps) a computer (any os) and phone. Ideally, I’m looking at running 4 - 6 virtual pcs on the server.
I know the best expansion is Online Ordering! But, our market isn’t anywhere near that in the next 5 years. Until then this should be the best bet.
*Don’t know if I said it before, but you can have emergency backup numbers, in case of internet outage, either from the provider or the service. Since cable and phone companies have power backup everywhere, it would take a major internet outage, on a national level, to drop our service. In that event, we have backup cell coverage. If all 3 fail, we’re probably having a major solar flare or nukes dropped on us.
I should make my money back on this by June2011.
So cool… some of you other semi-geeks might like this.
So the port went well, and I’ve got the system set-up to also ring other numbers during the evening rush (or whenever). Logged onto a virtual PC connection (using ultra vnc, but any vnc terminal app should work: published the vpc on a free DYNDNS) running a POS terminal and successfully took ‘practice’ orders from a forwarded number off-site. If you ‘full size’ the screen, its looks just like the terminal you work on in the store. You can also use any other type of pc, ie, a macbook, or macpro, or IPAD. Its working like a charm.
It looks like I’ll be able to take a vacation to Hawaii, and work part-time on the beach, taking delivery orders for the store (if I really needed to). Very kewl.