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April 13, 2009
Nextiva's Virtual PBX Sports Advanced Auto Attendant Capabilities
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
 
If you’re one of the few small business owners that hasn’t made the jump to VoIP phone service yet, here’s yet another compelling reason to ditch your old phone system and go with a hosted offering:

With virtual PBX (News - Alert) offerings like Nextiva’s Connect360, you can get an advanced, speech-enabled auto attendant that will field customer calls just like a phone system at a Fortune 500 company. Best of all, this advanced auto attendant comes bundled with the service at no extra cost.

As every business owner knows, providing prompt and reliable customer service is paramount – especially in this current economy. When a customer calls, they expect someone to pick up the phone right away and accurately transfer their call to where it needs to go, fast. As such, a company’s phone system is an important customer service differentiator.

It’s not a good thing if your customers are dialing into your phone system, but then hanging up shortly afterward due to frustration or long hold times.

You need a phone system with an auto attendant that treats every customer like their call really does matter – no matter when the call comes in. You need an auto attendant with flexible features and a pleasant, friendly, helpful, yet neutral voice. The system needs to let your customers dial by name – preferably using voice recognition so that all a caller has to do is say the first or last name of the person they are looking to reach. It should also have the ability to transfer calls immediately, without putting the caller on hold or making them wait while the call is being transferred.

Nextiva’s Connect360 virtual PBX does all of this and more. The system employs advanced speech recognition software from Nuance (News - Alert) to power its auto attendant capabilities. Not only does this speech-enabled auto attendant application enable fast and accurate call routing, it also helps businesses save money by reducing attendant staffing requirements and eliminating the need to print directories.

With the auto attendant on Nextiva’s Connect360 virtual PBX, you can automatically greet callers with any type of message. Best of all, different messages can be played automatically based on the time of day (for example, you can play a different message during non-business hours), day of the week (let callers know you’re closed because it’s the weekend or a holiday), or time of the year (maybe you’re closed for a week at holiday time or you run a seasonal business?). This allows you and key members of your staff to respond customer inquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – without having dump all your callers’ messages into a single voicemail that someone has to slog through every Monday!

Another important advantage of having an auto attendant is that it can drastically reduce your telecommunications costs. For example, if you’re providing your customers with toll free numbers, but your phone system causes many of them to have to call back, then you’re wasting money. You can solve this problem by deploying an advanced virtual PBX like Connect360 – caller frustration will be reduced, which in turn will significantly reduce the number of callbacks.

Nextiva’s auto attendant offers other advanced features such as music on hold, hunt groups, dial by extension and find me/follow me, which allows a caller to self-transfer a call to a secondary or alternative number provided by the system, such a mobile phone, remote office phone or home phone.

Nextiva, which specializes in virtual PBXs, made news on TMCnet in February when it announced that it had formed a new partnership with Carbonfund.org, one of the country's leading carbon offset organizations.
 
By becoming a member of Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree Partner program, Nextiva has joined a national movement of businesses and organizations that are taking a proactive approach to protect the environment. Carbonfund.org works with over 1,000 corporate and nonprofit partners including Discovery, Volkswagen, Amtrak, Dell (News - Alert), Orbitz, Staples and JetBlue.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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