Mobile phones, computers, smart home accessories, and even social media apps are all types of technology that provide a convenient experience to its users. Despite this reliance on technology in the average U.S household, most domestic consumers do not understand how the inner workings behind this technology came about nor who makes the decisions on what advancements should get made. The wireless network needed to run most devices, or the interfaces accompanying mobile phones and tablets did not just appear. A consumer market that does not understand the technology it relies on can lead to misconceptions of that very technology. Luckily, several organizations work to ensure that both the telecommunications and wireless infrastructure industry can thrive and that consumers are protected. Two such organizations are the CTIA and the OMTP.


The CTIA or Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association represent companies that use some form of communication technology in their day-to-day business. Wireless carriers, mobile app developers, and internet communication equipment manufacturers all receive representation from the CTIA.

A Brief History Of the CTIA

In 1984, the first iteration of the CTIA was founded under the name of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. In 2004, the organization merged with the Wireless Data Forum and became known as the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. With the merger came a new logo and title “CTIA – The Wireless Association,” though, in 2015, this got dropped with the organization choosing to be represented by CTIA only. With changes to the organization, came changes to the leadership. Tom Wheeler served as the chief executive officer from 1992 until 2004. If you recognize that name, it is because President Obama selected Mr. Wheeler to head the FCC or Federal Communications Commission in 2013. Tom Wheeler was replaced by Steve Largent in 2003, who was subsequently replaced in 2014 by Meridith Atwell Baker, the current serving president and CEO.

What Does The CTIA Do?

As stated above, the CTIA represents companies that work in the telecommunications and internet industry. They are also the ones that set guidelines for those companies to follow to ensure their business practices are ethical, though still able to grow. One of the CTIA’s most significant contributions to helping businesses grow comes in the form of the short code system, which is what companies use to send SMS messages as part of their Bulk SMS marketing campaign. As the CTIA created this system, they also have the responsibility of auditing its use. If a company using their system is not operating to the CTIA’s rules, the CTIA can report them to the mobile operator that forwards the messages, which can then either suspend or shut down the offending company’s marketing campaign.

The Rules the CTIA Enforces

As the CTIA monitors and distributes short codes for companies to use, they are the ones, as outlined above, that set the rules companies must play by when using text messages to reach customers. These rules are not actual laws, so a company in breach of them will not face legal action. However, they can see their marketing campaign stopped, so it’s best to stay compliant with these best practice suggestions. The rules outline the following:

  • What a marketing message sent via SMS can and cannot contain.
  • What a company must include in the message they send. Some examples of the necessary information include data and text rates, a link to relevant terms and conditions, an option to opt-out of the marketing campaign, and contact details for the company performing the marketing.
  • How frequently a company can perform text message marketing.

These are just some examples of what a company must do to remain compliant with the CTIA’s guidelines.  However, as stated above, the CTIA is not just about making sure consumers receive fair treatment. They represent businesses as well.

What The CTIA Does For Businesses

Without the CTIA, the government could place restrictions on the wireless technology that they do not fully understand. The CTIA represents businesses at all levels of government to ensure the industry gets treated fairly. One such example is the CTIA’s work to remove regulatory barriers against wireless infrastructure, t hub for wireless networks. The CTIA also legally challenged the FCC’s ruling on net neutrality, which led to mobile broadband getting classed as Title II under the act. Title II classes an industry as a utility, meaning consumers will receive the same service, no matter how much they are paying.  Though the CTIA feels open internet access is good, mobile broadband access is not the right way to approach such an idea.


The CTIA is a trade association that works on behalf of the wireless industry to ensure fair practice for both businesses and consumers, as detailed above. The OMTP served a similar purpose, though instead of being an association, it is an industry forum, and instead of working with wireless technology, they worked with mobile devices. The Open Mobile Terminal Platform got put together by several major companies in the mobile telecommunications industry, as a chance for those companies to come together and discuss the standards they should reach for, as the industry grows and develops. Some major companies that utilized the OMTP during its operating period include:

  • Huawei
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Nokia
  • Samsung
  • Sony Ericsson

A Brief History Of The OMTP

Unfortunately, the OMTP in itself is history and has been since 2010. The idea of a forum got conceived in 2004. OMTP was then put together by some of the biggest mobile operators, including O2, Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone. From there, the member base grew to include other big names such as AT&T and KT. Come 2010, the members of the OMTP transitioned themselves into the newly established Wholesale Applications Community. Previous responsibilities of the OMTP also transitioned or were handed over to similar associations, such as CTIA. Unfortunately, the OMTP took another hit in 2012, as the WAC closed down. The standards set by OMTP got transferred to the GSMA or Global System for Mobile Communications.

What Did The OMTP Achieve?

One of the aims of the OMTP, was for the group to define a set of standardized requirements for mobile applications to ensure consumers receive a consistent experience using apps, no matter their mobile device. However, OMTP also strived to find a balance to ensure operators and manufacturers can offer unique experiences through their devices. The OMTP was also responsible for setting the requirements in support of advance sim cards, with the same document detailing those requirements also outlining profiles for contactless and mobile tv, both of which are two prominent technologies used today. The OMTP was also responsible for a lot of the requirements mobile manufacturers aim to follow. One such example that consumers notice most is the building of support to see micro-USB become the primary method for charging and data transfer on mobile devices.

Through the BONDI initiative in 2008, in the form of a mobile widget, OMTP took its mobile application standardization further by defining interfaces running on Javascript API and security framework that would set the standard that mobile devices use to access additional features while remaining secure.

The Legacy Of The OMTP

The OMTP was a neutral forum, and though there was a focus on mobile devices, all forms of technology suppliers were able to contribute to, support, and provide OMTP compliant products. This open forum led to innovations that molded the mobile market as we know it, and signs of their work can get seen to this day, often through the GSMA.

CTIA Vs. OMTP – Two Industries, One Purpose

Both the CTIA and OMTP work to set standards within their respective industries that both benefit consumers and businesses. The OMTP performed its work in the format of the forum, which gave a voice to leaders in the mobile telecommunications industry, allowing them to set standards that, to this day, ensure consumers, no matter their chosen device, receive a similar high-quality experience. The CTIA, though an organization, focuses on wireless technology, to ensure that businesses can continue to grow and innovate, without compromising on consumer care. This responsibility does often coincide with the goals of the OMTP, which leads to two organizations aiming to better the telecommunication industry as a whole.

Understanding Call Center Software

Call centers are the backbone of a company’s customer support infrastructure, so they must use the best software for the job. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all package when it comes to call center software. Different companies need different things from their call centers. Though your needs may differ from other businesses, so require additional specialized software, some essential elements make up a successful call center. Before getting into that, you need to decide what type of call center you plan to be running.

On-site vs. Cloud-based

There are two types of call centers. On-site and Cloud-based.

As the name suggests, an on-site call center needs setting up at a company’s property, along with all the necessary infrastructure. A company that goes this route should prepare for quite an investment. The infrastructure has to get incorporated into the existing data center, and then the employees need training on how to use and maintain both the new software and hardware. It may sound like a lot of effort, but there is one significant benefit. A company that goes this route has full control of their system. You can design the software and hardware to meet your company’s specific needs.

The alternative is a cloud-based call center. Cloud-based software or Software as a Service (SaaS) gets hosted within the cloud. Company employees visit the online domain, log-in, and get to work. The software is easy to use, requires no maintenance from the user’s end, and is much more affordable than building everything on-site. It is also scalable, meaning a business only pays for what they use and can change the service to meet their needs in almost real-time. Many of these cloud-based software packages come with 24/7 support teams who are experts in the software. Getting that same support for an on-site system is not practical.

Incoming, Outgoing, or Mixed

Though choosing one of the above is an important decision for a company looking to utilize a call center, there is another factor to be considered. What type of calls do you intend to make from your call center? Are you only going to accept incoming calls, make outgoing calls, or perform a mix of both? Most call center software now supports both inbound and outbound calls, though that is not always the case. Call centers that focus on incoming calls are called reactive call centers.

A reactive call center or inbound call center answers consumers’ calls and then deals with a customer’s request there and then. Of course, not all problems can be solved on the first try. For this reason, there is usually some way for customer service teams to reach out to the customer. However, such a call center’s primary goal is to receive calls and process the request within those calls.

Proactive call centers are becoming the norm as customer service becomes a primary focus for companies. This type of call center calls the customer directly. They are also known as outbound call centers. They might call to push marketing material or to chase consumer feedback on a service or product. They can be a great way to get insights into how the service is received. In turn, that helps to improve the service on offer. Calling a customer to chase them for feedback is a full-proof way to provide the best customer experience and thus gain customer satisfaction.

The Call Center Software Essentials

Deciding whether to go cloud-based or on-site is only one part of call center software. Your chosen software needs to have the below key features no matter your decision. These features come as standard on the most popular cloud-based software. An on-site call center gives you full control, meaning you can choose what is and isn’t implemented. To get the most out of that freedom, you need to ensure your team has what they need to work efficiently. The main feature of a call center is its ability to handle calls.

Call Handling

The main job of a call center is making and taking calls. For that reason, the software in use should meet several criteria. First, it should be flexible in how it handles phone numbers. Many cloud-based services allow you to use an existing telephone number. If a company has an established customer base but is expanding, such a feature is vital. Second, and as touched on above, the software should also allow for outbound calling. That tends to come as default, though it is still important to double-check. Some other key features call center software should offer include:

●   Call center agents should be able to place a call on hold, mute, and be able to forward the call on

●   The software should feature some form of call recording. This is a great way to ensure your brand image is getting delivered to consumers.

●   Call blocking features ensure any spam and scam calls are blocked, so your call agents can get on with their jobs

●       A ticket creation feature will keep tabs on customer interactions. Some software does this automatically, while others require user input. Either way, the feature is essential.

Call Routing

The bigger the company, the more calls it can expect to receive. However, there will only ever be so many call agents available. And some of those agents are better equipped to deal with a call than others. With that being the case, call center software should provide some form of call routing. Some possible call routing features include:

●   IVR – Interactive voice response will automatically direct a caller to their intended destination. If they have a problem, they can go through to customer care. Are they looking to make a purchase? They can go through to the sales team. Depending on the software, this can get achieved via voice input or with key button prompts.

●   Some software allows for the call to get forwarded to an alternative phone. Call agents can answer the phone when they are away from the office, which is an essential feature during the COVID pandemic.

●   Consumers should be able to leave a request for a call-back instead of queuing when all lines are busy

●       Outline business working hours for consumers, so they know when they can reach you

Customer Management

The idea of a call center is to handle customer interactions better. Making your company more accessible to consumers via a call center is a great first step. However, there needs to be a management system to ensure each customer interaction is to a high level. Several systems are part of call center software that makes this possible:

●                Many companies already utilize CRM software to manage their consumers. The best call center software allows for easy CRM integration.

●                Some form of history log is essential for call center software. Call agents can update it as necessary to ensure everyone on the team knows what is happening with each customer.

●                Call center software should allow companies to push their caller ID to a consumer when calling out. It should also link to the CRM to show who is calling.

Call Monitoring and Analytics

A major part of a company’s success is its ability to monitor its workers and analyze a variety of data. Call center software makes this easy. Each call center team typically has a supervisor. They are responsible for ensuring the team is doing their job to the best of their ability. A selection of tools are at their disposal, provided the right call center software is getting used:

●   Standing over a call agent’s shoulder while they are on a call is intimidating and not practical. Some software will allow a third person to listen in to an ongoing conversation without being present.

●   Call analytics let a company keep track of the number of calls that call agents missed, how many led to a successful resolution, and more

●       Individual agent stats can help a company optimize the call center team. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. If a particular agent answers a call slower than others and takes longer to reach a resolution with a consumer, the software should show it.

Predictive Dialing

Predictive dialing is a part of call center software designed for those that make outbound calls. It uses an algorithm to dial out to consumers automatically. Predictive dialing eliminates call agent downtime and removes the job of physically dialing someone. For such a process to be efficient, the algorithm needs to consider multiple factors, including:

●   The rate of call connection

●   The average time a call agent spends on the line

●   When and how long call agent breaks are

●       The number of calls that get abandoned

The predictive dialer system monitors these stats and more throughout the day before updating the algorithm as necessary. With the results analyzed, the system can calculate how many agents are free at any one time. With an idea of how many calls get abandoned, it knows how many consumers it can call at once. Once a consumer answers a call, the system will transfer the call to an agent and log the exchange.

Such systems are popular among telemarketers, as they are looking to make as many calls a day as possible. Debt collection companies also utilize such systems. However, if you were to use such a system, you need to ensure you are up-to-date on the applicable legislation. Both federal and state-level regulations protect consumers, with the TCPA being one of them.

An alternative system is a progressive dialer. A progressive dialer only dials out when a call agent marks themselves as available.

The Top 5 Pieces of Call Center Software on the Market

The above gives you everything you need to find call center software that meets your needs. Opting for an on-site solution gives you a lot of flexibility. You can put together a system that checks all of your boxes. However, you should prepare to pay for it, as putting together a system from scratch does not come cheap. Many businesses will opt for the alternative cloud-based SaaS system for the advantages outlined above. With that in mind, below are 5 of the best SaaS systems on the market at the time of writing.


The call center software on offer from LiveAgent comes as part of their help desk solution. That solution itself offers various means of communication for call agents to utilize. Inbound calls and outbound calls, live chat, and social media messaging are just some examples.  Call routing and call recording are additional features of interest. Internal communication is also possible through the system. Finally, the software does come with an API to integrate into other systems, including your CRM, with ease. These features come to users with the all-inclusive package at $39, per user, per month. There is a 14-dayfree trial available for those who want to try before they buy. Unlike other call center software, there is no usage fee on top, making LiveAgent an affordable option.

Zendesk Talk

Zendesk already has a name for itself as being one of the top customer service platforms. Zendesk Talk is their attempt at a call center solution and it’s easy to see why it appeals to all sizes of businesses. The software comes with a variety of call handling solutions to ensure companies never miss a call. If the company’s call center does go down, there is an emergency routing feature. That way, a customer will always have their call answered. One feature that doesn’t come as standard on other call center software is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. A free trial is available if you prefer to try out the software before committing to a monthly fee. If you would rather jump in and pay for the service, there are various tiers at different price points. There is one tier that comes free of monthly fees though it has minimal features. No matter which option you go for, you will need to pay for your usage on top.


Talkdesk is completely browser-based though that doesn’t stop it from offering a wide variety of functions. Call handling and routing features are just some examples of what is on offer. Talkdesk’s standout feature is that it ensures the entire call center team knows what is happening. It does this by forwarding email notifications for missed calls while desktop notifications let an agent know a call is incoming, even if they are away from the phone. Talkdesk integrates with 30 of the most popular customer service applications, including Shopify. Pricing is per a user’s needs, so it varies depending on the level of features required.


Five9 gives focus to making call agents more efficient. It offers predictive and progressive dialing, along with a variety of workforce management tools. Insights to call agent performance allows a company to get the most out of the team. Built-in CTI pop-ups allow those same agents to access customer data on the fly. The better equipped a team is, the better it can serve consumers. Like other cloud-based services, Five9 works on a subscription model. A company only pays for what they need, though pricing does start at $100 per user, per month. That makes it one of the more expensive solutions on this list. Though the service is extremely customizable, there is no indication of a free trial.


Aircall call center software is available for desktop and as a mobile app, meaning a call agent can answer a call anywhere, provided they have an internet connection. The routing capabilities of the software make this even easier. Users never have to miss a call from a customer again. There is also a variety of call handling tools and analytics on hand. It is easy to link to a variety of sales software, including Salesforce and Shopify. The API also means it can integrate with CRM systems. In short, it is an excellent piece of call center software. The basic package comes in at $30 per user per month. Even then, there are a lot of features to make use of. $100 per user per month provides even more advanced features. Custom pricing is available for those who can’t find what they are looking for in the two packages. There is a free trial on hand, which allows a user to get to grips with the system before committing.

I Don’t Want to Pay For Call Center Software

Cloud-based software is already more affordable than the on-premise alternative. However, in the current climate, companies are looking to save money wherever they can. With that being the case, there are free pieces of call center software. It is worth noting that they will never be as comprehensive as the paid alternative. But, if a company only requires minimum functionality, they might prove useful.

One of the most popular free tools is Bitrix24. For software that does not cost, there is a lot of offer. Call routing, call recording, and automated greetings are just some features. However, it is only suitable for a small team. There is also no IVR though it is available when upgrading to a paid plan.

Another free alternative is CallHippo. It is straight forward with no unnecessary features. It even allows for sending and receiving SMS messages, which is not something all paid services offer. It is free, so there is a downside, and that is that it only allows for two users. A small business can work with such limits, though it will be difficult even then. A paid plan will open up more possibilities.

Freshcaller is the final free contact center platform worth a mention. It allows for unlimited call agents and comes with nearly all the features a call center needs. Of course, some features found on paid plans are missing, such as IVR and call recording. However, if paid yearly, the software is one of the more affordable alternatives.

Free Isn’t Always Best

In short, there are free pieces of call center software on the market. If a company only needs limited functionality, then it might work for them. However, many paid plans come with free trials, so it is worth investigating. You will find that your call center team’s productivity skyrockets, which, in turn, makes the monthly fee worthwhile.

The Ultimate Guide to Business VoIP

Communication is vital to any business. Especially today, if your business isn’t focused on the best communication tools, it could very well start slipping behind the competition.

This is why business VoIP is critical. Unfortunately, even though the term’s been around for well over a decade now, not enough businesses know what it is.

That’s what this blog is set to change. We’re going to explain what business VoIP is, what it offers, and why it’s so important to your short and long-term business success.

The Basics

Let’s get right down to the basics. Business VoIP is all about communication.

VoIP is an acronym that stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. That’s a fancy way of saying you can talk to other people using only your Internet connection.

You may see it referred to as an IP phone system. Or even Voice over IP. Whatever the name or term, it is focused on a powerful method of connecting businesses in the modern tech age.

How does VoIP work?

It may sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. First, let’s consider your basic email message. When you compose an email to Aunt Selma and hit send, your letter isn’t actually sent in one nice, little package. Or page.

It’s broken down into the most basic components: bits and bytes.

One part of the email might go from New York to San Francisco through Chicago, a rural town in Texas, Denver, and then L.A. while another part goes down to Atlanta before firing over to St. Louis, then to Boise, Portland, and finally its destination.

Once all the data arrives, the operating system or email program reconstructs all those parts back together.

The same idea happens with VoIP. Instead of letters being separated, the person’s voice is broken down into what are called ‘packets.’ These little audio packets are then transmitted through the ether we called ‘the Internet’, or ‘web,’ as it was once referred to in the olden days.

Once all the packets reach their destination, they are reassembled.

Bet you didn’t realize there was so much to communicate over the Internet! Well, this is the basic idea for how communication happens over an Internet connection. And the best part is you don’t even need a desktop or laptop anymore to make it happen.

VoIP can be used via a tablet or smartphone. Now, it might be a bit difficult to understand why one might need VoIP for their business on their smartphone if they already have a cell phone number.

It’s about numerous factors, including the options available, a designated number for your business, receiving transcribed email messages.

What about lag times?

Now, you might assume that since the audio of your voice has to be broken down into packets that it means a lot of lag time.

In other words, how long do you have to wait to hear the person on the other end of the line?

There is lag, but you’ll have that with nearly every form of modern communication. Even cell phone calls have ‘lag’ times.

The better the VoIP service, the less you’ll notice lag when talking to someone over that business VoIP line.

Occasionally, though, it can be noticeable. You may even reach a point where there’s a few seconds between you speaking and the other person responding. That doesn’t always mean it’s a slowdown with technology, it could be that other people are contemplating, thinking and reasoning.

For the most part, though, business VoIP has come a long way from its inception and offers a precise, powerful, and potent means for businesses of all types and sizes to connect to their customers, partners, employees, and more all around the world.

Most of the time, you won’t notice any lag, unless you’re in the same room with the person on the other end of the line. Then, we’d wonder why you were bothering with a call in the first place!

Fundamental Advantages and Disadvantages of Business VoIP

Now, there are certainly plenty of advantages to utilizing a business VoIP. But there are also some disadvantages you need to be aware of before running out and signing up for a provider.

We’re going to take a deep dive into some of the key, fundamental advantages and disadvantages you should have a clear understanding about from the beginning. Keep in mind, if you research more about business VoIP, you’ll find a few other points. Some of them are valid and some are more focused on opinion rather than anything resembling fact or even consensus.

Overall, though, what you’ll discover the deeper you dig into business VoIP is that it’s a powerful asset for any business – regardless of whether you’re a one-person operation or have a team of hundreds, possibly even thousands.

Key Advantage #1: Business VoIP is cost-effective.

Compared to traditional business phone services, you can find a wide range of cost-effective services. Of course, there are going to be plenty of companies that overcharge for their VoIP services, but thanks to the accessibility and availability of it, there are more competitors marching onto the field every year.

Basic economics stipulates that the more competition, the lower the price points. That means lower entry costs to get started with business VoIP.

It’s best not to jump on the first provider you come across, even if it’s a well-known international brand. Make sure you shop around for the one that’ll best serve your business needs.

Key Advantage #2: Business VoIP offers low installation times.

There’s no need to be wary of business VoIP if you’re not tech savvy. Sure, some providers have some complicated parameters to follow, especially when you begin digging into the secondary features, like autoresponders and all, but there are also some solid companies making it simple for just about anyone to use.

You can even contact most providers today and get your service up and operational the same day. Try doing that with traditional phone companies. In the best of circumstances, you’d probably have to wait a week or more before an installer could get out to your company and get things set up. On top of that, every time you have an issue, you’ll have to wait for the technician to come out and evaluate the problem and offer a solution.

Not so with business VoIP. Of course, that doesn’t mean all providers are the same, but many of them offer same-day setup and installation. In fact, you could probably get set up and operate with your own business VoIP within an hour.

As for the technical part, most of the providers we’ve found have decent support teams that can step you through any struggles you may have, either in setting up your phone line, connecting to the Internet, downloading the associated apps, and even getting your voicemail messaging established.

As with anything tech related these days, you’ll discover there are some components that can cause a bit of frustration in the beginning, so be willing to reach out to the provider’s tech team for guidance.

Key Advantage #3: You can use business VoIP on the go.

Travel a lot for your business? That means you could be missing a slew of calls every day. Not so with business VoIP.

In fact, some providers focus more on apps you’ll download to your smartphone that will ring through, so you can bring your business line everywhere you go, even if you’re on the road a lot.

Also, with business VoIP, you may be able to have texting service. Not all providers offer this, and some may deal with responsiveness issues, but the best services have solid platforms where you can treat your cell phone as the de facto call center whether you’re in the office or away.

Key Advantage #4: Lower costs.

Compared to your traditional phone companies, business VoIP providers offer lower call costs in many cases. They can do that because the calls are connected over the Internet rather than a hard phone line.

As email costs you virtually nothing to send and receive, VoIP calls are cost-effective in nearly every possible way. In fact, many VoIP providers offer inclusive calling plans, including unlimited calls to a variety of preselected nations.

For example, need to connect with team members in Brazil or Peru? Choose a provider that includes those nations in their plan. Have a high number of clients from Italy? Focus on the providers that make it cost-effective to connect with them whenever they need.

Key Advantage #5: You can record calls.

As a business owner or manager, you may have a need to record calls. Most of the time when you call a major company for customer support, what’s one of the first things they say?

“This call may be recorded or monitored for customer support and training purposes.”

It’s a protection. For you, your company, and the caller. Some business VoIP providers offer call recording options, but at an extra fee. You’ll have to determine how important this is for you.

It might not be all that important now, but could be important in a year or so. You don’t want to have to switch business VoIP providers when your company is expanding, so be diligent to review all options you may want, either now or down the road.

Another key point to consider when it comes to recording calls is storage. How long will the business VoIP provider save those recordings? Some may store them for up to seven years.

It may also be vital to download the recordings so you can save them for future reference. Remember, call records can be useful in training as well as protecting you and your company into the future.

Key Advantage #6: Advanced features.

There are simply too many possible advanced features to list, and each provider will be different, so review what they offer to determine if that would have value to your company now or in the future.

Extensions are another consideration to make. You may have just one company phone number, but require multiple extensions. Some business VoIP accounts charge extra for each extension, while others may include three or so in the baseline price.

Key Disadvantage #1: It’s reliant on Internet connectivity.

This doesn’t sound like much of a negative, but consider the possibility of a power outage. Even though your company is open, if the Internet is down or power is out, you won’t be able to make or receive calls.

At least not through the traditional desktop phone.

You still may be able to connect through your smartphone, if you have service at that time. Also, as 5G technology comes online more this year, this type of issue will become a thin of the past.

Key Disadvantage #2: Call clarity can be an issue.

Depending on how solid your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is, clarity of calls can be impacted by a slow connection. If your phones rely on WiFi and the signal is weak, that can cause breakup of the phone call.

Make sure you have a strong, stable Internet connection for your calls and wherever possible, when using a desktop-style phone, connect it via ethernet cable directly to your Internet router.

Key Disadvantage #3: Hidden costs with some providers.

Do you get frustrated when making a hotel reservation because the cost of the room doesn’t show the ‘hidden’ resort and other fees? Suddenly, you expected to pay $100 for a night which turns into $135, and that’s before taxes and other fees.

Frustrating, right? Well, some business VoIP providers play a bit of a game with their prices, too. You may sign up for $29 a month service, and suddenly end up paying $64 because you pay for the number, each extension, and some other ‘features’ you thought were included in the original price.

Shop around and be diligent. Need some potential prospects to start with? Here are a few business VoIP phone systems you might want to consider.


The technology with Grasshopper VoIP is solid and is perfectly suited for small businesses. If you want unlimited extensions, this could be a great option to consider.

They’ve received a number of awards and were a leader for the 2019 Small-Business Grid Report for VoIP. You can keep your existing business phone number and port it over to Grasshopper, free of charge.

They offer a discount if you pay annually and a flat monthly fee, which will be determined by how many numbers and extensions you’ll require.

Jive Communications

A flexible business VoIP, this is a company that can flex with yours. For example, you may have a seasonal company and only need service a few months out of the year. No problem with Jive.

They also provide a tiered pricing structure so the more employees you have, the less you pay per month as a flat rate.

Jive partnered with GoToMeetings, which provides a robust conferencing solution you may not find with other providers.

They have great support, including videos and 24/7 reps, who can help you if you run into any trouble along the way.


You can have a business phone system or rely on inbound call centers with Dialpad. They also have a call analysis and transcription system, which can be beneficial for select types of businesses.

They offer two main pricing structures: standard for $20 a month baseline and Pro for $30. They also have options for larger companies, but you’ll have to contact them to find out how much.

The Standard option does provide unlimited calls, SMS and MMS messaging, as well as group texting.


Nextiva has a high favorability rating among customers, and about 9 out of 10 would recommend them to another business owner.

They offer feature-rich solutions. You also get free number migration as well as a free toll-free number. You can save money by having a long-term contract or pay monthly.

This company is focused on non-techie business owners, so if you’re not fond of trying to configure every little gadget and gizmo, this could be perfect for you.


At the end of the day, business VoIP offers some of the most robust communication solutions for small to mid-sized companies. Even if you’re currently a one-person operation, business VoIP will provide you a base of operations and phone options with which to grow and expand in the future.

It’s a good idea to separate your business phone from your personal landline or cell phone. Not only does it provide a more professional approach, it’s also a measure or protection for you and your personal needs.

When seeking a business VoIP, be sure to research each provider thoroughly, look through the details, and when you do, you’ll be able to determine which one is ideal for your current needs, future goals, and budget.

Bear in mind, though, that every VoIP is dependent on the Internet service your business has, so make sure you have a solid, stable provider and a good router, and you should be good to go.

Your Guide to Understanding Call Centers

When you have a problem with a product or service or wish to make a purchase or have a general inquiry, you call the number provided by the company you purchased from. If dealing with a small company, you may go through to the actual store. However, more often than not, you will go through to a call center working on behalf of the company. You have likely spoken to a call center operative, whether you know it or not. They are on the front line for a business, and for that reason, it is essential to understand how they work and how they might benefit you.

What is a Call Center?

In short, and as the name suggests, a call center is a center that receives and makes calls. Call centers staff call operators to manage each incoming and outgoing call. These representatives keep track of their customer interactions and often update shared software so the company hiring them can see their progress.

Typically, these call centers operate in one of two ways – reactive and proactive.

●   Reactive – A reactive service entails a call agent reacting to a customer’s incoming call. An existing or potential customer will reach out to the call center. From there, the customer service agent will process the case and deal with it as necessary. This type of service is also known as an inbound call center.

●   Proactive – A proactive service instructs call agents to reach out to consumers. It could be to assess consumer satisfaction, push marketing material, or generally perform market research into how to improve the service. As this type of service is the opposite of the above, it is known as an outbound call center.

Companies are often opting for proactive service. It allows them to detect an issue before it becomes too big a problem. It also helps with improving service and, thus, client retention.

What Do Call Centers Do?

There are many reasons why a company may turn to the service of a call center. As touched on above, and the most popular reason, is customer support. Customers have complaints and questions and it is the job of a call center help desk to make sure they are handled.

On occasion, call centers can serve a more specialized purpose. The operators can offer specific technical support instead of a consumer bringing a product to a location. Other after-sales care is also possible to meet customers’ needs, though the call center team will need educating before providing such support.

Finally, though not the only other possibility, call centers can act as a company’s sales line. Again, the operators do need information on the product/service. They should also have access to any other relevant marketing material.

Who Owns the Call Center?

As touched on above, companies can contract a third party’s service who will then provide a call center service. They have the infrastructure in place already, so it can provide an easy solution if a company starts getting more calls than they can handle internally. The downside to this solution is that the company offering the service is not as knowledgeable as the business contracting their service. On the other hand, some companies will opt to keep an internal call center if they have the funds to do so. They know their brand and how they want to portray themselves.

Where Are These Call Centers?

There is an image that goes with the term “call center.” A large office with individual stations that call center agents sit at with their phones. It can be loud and crowded. However, in more recent times, that is no longer the case. In fact, many call center services are performed from an individual’s home.  Some companies may use a small team and thus have them work on-site, though it is still much different from the call centers shown in movies. Through the use of cloud technology, multiple call agents working from home can access the same technology and thus share information with ease. With that being the case, it eliminates the need for a physical office. In answer to the question “Where are these call centers?” they can be anywhere. As long as there is a stable Internet connection, a customer service representative can work from anywhere in the world. This is known as remote work and has proven invaluable in the times of COVID.

The Technology That Makes Call Centers Possible

Of course, the above is only possible due to certain technology. The type of software required will depend on whether the call center operates on a business’s site or via the cloud. If on-site, the company is responsible for maintaining the software, which will be installed via the on-site data center. There will be a need for an expensive investment, though it gives a company more control. If a company opts for a cloud-based service, getting set up is easier and more affordable. Software for a cloud-service comes as SaaS, or Software as a Service.

No matter how a company proceeds with putting a call center in place, they will need a CRM system. The customer relationship management system is what allows companies to keep track of their consumers. A call agent will enter a caller’s information into the system, along with any additional notes. That way, if a different call agent talks with the same caller, they can get up to date with the situation quickly.

There may also be a need for some form of routing software. On occasion, the reason for the call may relate to a certain call agent. This will depend on a company’s level of service, though consumers prefer to deal with the same person each time. Some form of routing software, such as an IVR or interactive voice response, can get a customer to the right agent.

Finally, all good call centers need to monitor their performance. SaaS solutions often have analytics and metrics as part of their CRM. If a company is creating a call center from scratch, they need to consider how they will measure performance. What level of monitoring a company will require will define what ability their systems need. Some examples include call monitoring or feedback monitoring.

What is a BPO Company?

On your search for a call center service, you will likely come across BPO companies. The two get compared so much that the terms are often used interchangeably. This is both correct and incorrect.

A BPO or Business Process Outsourcing company handles part or all of a process for a company. There is no limit to what a BPO is willing to do, whether managing a company’sfinances, handling marketing, or acting as a call center. With that being the case, a call center could be considered a BPO. However, a BPO is not strictly a call center.

To work in a call center, a potential agent needs to have a basic understanding of computers, good negotiating skills, and excellent communication skills. For a BPO, the criteria are much more demanding. The required service of a company will dictate the necessary skill set. If a company needs social media marketing, the agents of the BPO must be experts in this field. The same is said for any other service a company might require.

Call Center Vs. Contact Center

Another term that is wrongly used interchangeably is “Contact Center.” Yes, both a call center and a contact center handle communications for a business. However, they are two different models that offer different communication methods.

What is a Contact Center?

Like a call center, a contact center can handle incoming and outbound calls. They can also handle digital means of communication, which is where one of the differences lie. Through the use of cloud service and VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol, customers can reach out to a contact center with a variety of communication channels. Webchat, email, and text messaging are just some examples.

Typically, all these forms of communication and more come through a single platform. This allows a contact center to provide a consistent brand image to consumers, no matter how and when they get in touch. In truth, contact centers are somewhat eliminating call centers. Consumers prefer the ease of other means of communication that a call center can’t provideand a contact center is happy to fill that gap.

Is There Still a Need for Call Centers?

As stated above, contact centers are phasing out the lesser equipped call center. An integrated system with multiple means of voice and digital communication is hard to beat. However, companies are still finding a need for call centers. While many consumers prefer the ease of digital communication, there are still those that like to know they are talking to a real person. Companies can use call centers to reach out to consumers over the phone. This more direct approach can help boost their reputation. It is also easier to solve a problem via a phone conversation. Finally, talking to a customer directly allows a company to gather information better. That information can then be passed on to improve the company as a whole.

What Solution Should You Choose?

At this point, you should have an idea of what a call center is and how it will benefit your company. The question, then, is should you opt for a SaaS solution or create your own via on-site infrastructure? Unless your company is massive, with free floor space for a dedicated data center to support your call center, SaaS is always the better option. It is more cost-effective, it can be scaled to meet your needs, and if something does go wrong, you can trust the experts at the service provider’s end to fix it. Additionally, those same service providers may offer full contact center services on top of voice calls. Going digital, with the capacity to receive calls, will let you better reach your consumers. The better the customer experience you can provide, the better your customers will treat you.

Ultimate Guide to Ringless Voicemail Drops

Have you ever gotten a new voicemail message, and yet your phone never rang? If yes, then you received a message from an automated software system called a ringless voicemail drop. Ringless voicemail, or RVM, delivers prerecorded audio messages directly to a cell phone voicemail. In the modern era, a ringless voicemail drop is a useful marketing tool. Businesses use this strategy to reach new prospects. They also use it to stay connected with their existing ones.

Marketers find ringless voicemail technology efficient. But how does this technology work? Is setting up ringless voicemail costly? Is it legal? Why do recipients have divided opinions? Read on to find out more about ringless voicemails.

What are Ringless Voicemail Drops and How do They Work?

A ringless voicemail drop is a server-to-server communication method.  It enables a direct placement of voicemail messages into a recipient’s mailbox without their phone ringing. So, there’s no contacting the recipients directly. This technology bypasses the phone call function and leaves a missed call alert. There is no dialing, ringing, or entering the message into a voicemail system. Instead, the message is loaded directly onto the recipient’s voicemail server.

A ringless voicemail campaign is useful to both marketers and prospects. Marketers save time and money. They don’t have to dial numbers and wait for a party to pick up the phone. Their chances of reaching their customers through RVM are higher than using other marketing techniques. Customers, on the other hand, receive their message without being disturbed. It is a less-invasive way for customer outreach. They can see the marketer’s phone number in the caller ID. And then, it’s up to the recipients to answer or not answer the voicemail.

So, how do ringless voicemail drops work? It allows a server to directly drop an audio message into a subscriber’s voicemail inbox. The message is dropped onto the backend of the phone system. In other words, the phone won’t ring as there is no traditional phone call. The message can be delivered to both mobile phones and landlines. Landlines need to have a carrier-provided voicemail service.

How Effective are Ringless Voicemail Drops?

A ringless voicemail drop is considered a less intrusive marketing tool. It doesn’t disturb the recipient. Plus, people are more likely to receive the message that goes through voicemail. They will see there’s an unopened message. After that, they will choose the best time to listen to the recording. They are more likely to check who’s calling before deleting it.

This marketing model is more effective than traditional telemarketing campaigns. Using ringless voicemail is a practical way of drawing in leads. It is also a cost-effective solution for reaching customers. Its response rate is higher than both social media and emails. Social media views are less reliable in terms of reaching a targeted audience. Also, emails can quickly end up in a spam folder. Voicemail drops are more personal and provoke curiosity. They’re less invasive than cold calls, too. Therefore, a voicemail marketing strategy is an advanced method for advertising products and services.

Compliance with Rules and Regulations

There is currently no legislation in the United States prohibiting the use of ringless voicemail drops. But, there are some restrictions, like with other marketing services.

Ringless voicemail is technically not a phone call. The phone does not ring when the voicemail goes in. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or the TCPA, protects consumers only from robocalls. Therefore, this marketing strategy falls into a grey area with the TCPA.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented regulations that protect consumer privacy. It protects them from being dialed by automated software. In 2003, FTC created the National Do Not Call Registry. These regulations prohibit telemarketers from making unwanted, unsolicited sales calls. But when sending voicemails, dialers don’t have to remove customers who are on the registry. Most of them respect their customers’ wish not to be contacted. This decision helps them protect consumers and thus maintain an honest reputation.

In other words, ringless voicemail is legal in some states. Others have ruled the practice of sending out ringless voicemails illegal. It is legal at a federal level.

What is the Cost of a Ringless Voicemail Drop?

The cost of ringless voicemail drops can vary. Many factors can contribute to the cost, including the provider and service. The rates can range from one or two cents to as much as twenty cents per message. Typically, you can get lower costs when buying in bulk. Also, it is crucial to find a provider that will charge for only successful drops. Therefore, there isn’t a precise answer to this question.

Compared to other marketing tools, ringless voicemail is more effective. It is a strategic, cost-effective method of gaining an edge over competitors.

Setting up Ringless Voicemail Drops

Many voicemail marketing services can help you if you are planning on building a ringless voicemail campaign. Whether you’re planning to boost your sales, leads, or revenue, there are specific steps for you to follow.

1.      Define your goals

Take some time to think about your target market and your target audience. What tone of the message will work best? How do you want your prospects to react? What words should you use in your voicemail message to connect with your customers? This data will help you create messages that get higher rates of callbacks. It’s also essential that you abide by the TCPA rules, so make sure you don’t miss this step. And finally, be careful when uploading your customer contact list. Make sure you do not include customers that are on the National Do Not Call Registry. You want to keep the marketing integrity of your business.

2.      Upload your message

Before you record your message, keep in mind that it has to be clear and concise. Moreover, it has to be easy for your customers to understand. It’s of the utmost importance that you stay upfront and honest. Otherwise, your message may sound spammy. You don’t want your customers to lose focus either, so keep it short. Include all relevant details to ensure successful communication with your clients. Remember, your goal is to incentivize a response.

3.      Choose a custom caller ID

The next step is providing a caller ID number for recipients. Select a custom caller ID you wish your potential customers to see when they receive your voicemail. Note that caller ID service is available for digital telephones only.

4.      Schedule a voicemail drop time and date

Your ringless voice message can be delivered at any time. This feature is one of the benefits of this marketing technique. When sending your voicemail, consider the customer location. Try to choose the most optimal time. When is your audience most likely to see the notification?  This could be during their lunch break, after 5, or at another time. It’s up to you.

5.      Track your success

Your marketing campaign has been launched. Now it is time to track your results. You will get detailed reporting on the number of successful drops, overall campaign cost, and more. You can then use the results to make adjustments and improvements.


What industries benefit from ringless voicemail drops most?

Any industry that needs to send their message to a large customer base can benefit from ringless voicemail. Some of them include insurance, realtors, debt collections, non-profit organizations, etc.

Can I deliver to landline phones?

Yes, but only if the carrier that supplies the landline has voicemail capability. Keep in mind that landlines have a lower response rate.

Is the recipient billed for a ringless voicemail?

The recipient is generally not billed for the delivery of the ringless message.

How many messages can I send a month?

It depends on the credits you buy. Essentially, there’s no limit on how many voicemails drops you can send or buy.

How long can the message be?

The length of the voicemail depends on the carrier and service. Most carriers have a length limit and you cannot exceed it. Ideally, your message shouldn’t be longer than 60 seconds.

Free VoIP

Is There Really a Free VoIP Service?

VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is the most efficient way of making phone calls. A VoIP system is used to make calls through the internet, rather than through a mobile network or regular landline. It converts your analog voice signals into digital ones. Then, it sends the signals as data over your broadband connection.

VoIP also consists of other forms of communication, including textual and video. Thanks to the efficiency, affordability, and simplicity, VoIP is an in-demand technology. It has become more popular than a traditional phone line. But is it free? Are there services that offer free local and long-distance calling? If yes, what are the best free VoIP providers? Read on and find out more about free VoIP solutions.

Getting Started

VoIP technology is a cost-effective and reliable way of communicating. That’s why many people are moving away from the traditional phone service over to VoIP.

Switching over to VoIP requires setting up your own VoIP phone system. You can set it on your computer or smartphone and make phone calls using VoIP apps or software programs. With specific programs, you are able to call mobile numbers or landline numbers too. However, making these phone calls might come with a certain pricing plan. That means that free VoIP calls might be limited to those who also have the app.  In addition to installing apps and computer software, also called softphones, you can create a VoIP system using a regular landline phone. All you need to do is get a digital VoIP adapter and plug it into a router or socket.

Moreover, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer VoIP calling to their customers. This feature is often included in their internet package. In other words, a VoIP system is an add-on service that costs the same as a traditional landline. So, it is usually not free. Plus, it may require paying additional monthly fees, depending on the provider. Contact your ISP to find out more about your options and rates.

Free VoIP Services

As opposed to regular phone lines, VoIP won’t rack up your phone bill. Even though some might lack voicemail or call waiting features, you get an enhanced calling experience with VoIP services. Let’s say you are working from home. Video calling, recording your calls, and video conferencing are beneficial features. Here are some of the most popular free VoIP options on the market.


Skype is a VoIP app that offers free Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls. It also comes with the option of calling regular landlines. You can subscribe and call any phone number in the US. Moreover, you can make phone calls worldwide through the World Skype Credit service. Its free plan includes screen sharing, file sharing, etc. There is also “Skype for business” that comes with four different plans.


Viber is one of the top mobile apps that offer free calls, texts, and video conferences with other Viber users. It used to be an app operating on iOS and Android only. Today, it is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems over WI-FI connections. And most importantly, making international calls using your smartphone with Viber is also free. When making a call to a non-Viber user through Viber Out, a fee is applied. In this case, you can choose a plan that suits your needs. For example, there is a monthly subscription plan, as well as the Viber Out credit.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is another popular app that provides free VoIP services. It offers free voice calls, instant messaging, and video calls. On the downside, the app doesn’t support making calls to real phone numbers like landlines.

Are Business VoIP providers free, too?

There are free VoIP solutions for businesses as well. However, there’s a catch. Most providers offer free trial packages to attract new clients. These solutions often come with limited features that might not work for some businesses. No CRM integration, limited minutes, or enough minutes on a lower speed tier are some of them. Nevertheless, these features are ideal for freelancers and small businesses. Bitrix24, Dialpad, and OnSIP are among the top free VoIP platforms for businesses.

Ooma, on the other hand, offers both free and premium services. The basic service is free, but you need to pay state-imposed monthly fees. Its sophisticated functions include call waiting, voicemail, and allows for making 911 calls. Another useful feature is that it supports text messaging and SMS. Ooma is designed for both residential and business use.

Additionally, there are many VoIP solutions for businesses that have mobile teams or work from home. Grasshopper, for example, is a desktop app that works just like a traditional phone system. There’s no need for additional hardware as it integrates with the phones you already have. You don’t have to be in the office to take calls or send messages. Grasshopper offers a free 7- day trial. If you opt for this service, you can choose between four different plans. The Solo plan only costs about $26 per month.

Free VoIP Phone Calls with Google Voice

Some time ago, Google Voice only worked with incoming calls. It was previously called Google Talk. In April 2008, Google introduced VoIP calling using Google Voice. The new version gave people and businesses a chance to save tons of money on outgoing calls. You can make free calls to the United States and Canada and low-cost international calls. There is no expensive hardware to buy or long-term arrangements to sign. Additionally, you can make calls in areas without any cell service, as long as you have a Wi-Fi network.

Furthermore, Google Voice allows its users to connect to other Google services they use. So, how do you set it up? Well, you need a working phone number before you get started. First, install Google Voice. Google Voice will give you a phone number, which you can keep for as long as you want. Then, link the service to the phone (an existing phone number). Now you’re good to go. You can then make any adjustments you want, like changing your voicemail greeting.

Sending and receiving texts through Google Voice is also available, whether you use Wi-Fi or cellular data. You can send text messages to anyone in the US or Canada free of charge. But, beware of roaming fees when you are outside the US. If you’re using cellular data to send messages, roaming fees might apply.

In Conclusion

Free VoIP has an incredible value as a new way of virtual communication. Unlimited calls and texts are some advantages you can reap from VoIP at both homes and in businesses. Switching over to VoIP, however, entails a stable and consistent internet connection. The quality of voice and video calls depends on how fast (or slow) your internet is. A phone number isn’t always necessary as most VoIP apps and software only require you to register. Explore your options and choose the right VoIP solution for optimal results.