Phones Plus, Inc.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Transparency – Just a darn cool tool

I am sure that there are a fair few people out there who have no clue what network transparency means or how it can be used to make life much easier in businesses with multiple offices. What transparency does is make many physical locations appear to outside callers to be under one roof, rather than spread about in different towns, cities, or even states.

Transparency is a great tool because it makes life easier in offices that work closely together even if they are not geographically close together. Say we have a building in Milwaukee and another one in Chicago where management has to work together on a deal. When they need to ask questions of one another, the manager in the Milwaukee office can simply dial the extension of the manager in Chicago to whom he wishes to speak and they are connected. No call had to be placed, no secretary had to pick up or transfer the call – it was all done as an interoffice page.

The same holds true with transferring calls and conferencing in additional people who need to consult on what is being discussed. An example is that a call comes into the Chicago office but the person actually needs to talk to someone in the Milwaukee office. Rather than having that customer hang up and call the other office, Chicago can just transfer the call to Milwaukee with no disruption to the call. It makes the flow of business very smooth and seamless. Another example is now that the caller is talking to the right person in the Milwaukee office, they need to ask some questions of someone in the Chicago office. The person in the Chicago office can easily be conferenced in to the call so everyone who needs to be in on the conversation is there and contributing.

Having this tool makes life easier for everyone – especially your customers. Just think of how frustrated you get when you call to try and get something taken care of and you are told to hang up and call this other number for another department. It is frustrating and in this day and age, totally unnecessary for businesses to have to function that way. Transparency is a tool for not only making your life easier as an employee, but makes life easier for the people you need to survive in business… Your customers. That is really the key to the whole thing - giving your customers the easiest solution to communicating with the people they need to reach in your company. It will make your business much more productive and your customers happy that they don’t get the runaround when just trying to get things accomplished.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Understanding Your Phone Bills

It seems that these days, service providers make our bills as confusing as possible so we won’t keep a close watch on what we are being charged and why. It is very true that a lot of people look at their phone bill, get frustrated with the way it is laid out, and give up on trying to figure out what all of those charges are. This is how people end up with third party billing charges and unnecessary service charges for insurance among other things.

The best way to stay on top of your phone bills whether they are your own personal bills or the ones at work is to occasionally call your service provider and talk to them. It is hard to get through and frustrating to spend what feels like a month on hold every time you call, but it is well worth the time it takes when you see your bill not getting out of control. I will usually call from work when I need to talk to a service provider because I know it will be a quick conversation to just touch base with them and I can put the call on speakerphone while I am on hold so I can do something else while I wait.

Once I (finally) get a real, live person on the phone, I will ask them any questions I have about my bill and make sure that I am getting the lowest rate for my service plan. Surprisingly, if you haven’t spoken to them in a while, usually the person will tell you right away where savings are available without you even having to ask. Taking the time to call and speak to a person at the phone company will give you the chance to make sure that you know what you are actually getting charged and what those charges are for.

Some phone companies will try to sell insurance on your cabling in your building which is generally pretty unnecessary. If you feel better knowing you have it, go ahead and pay for it, but it won’t help you if you have a problem – the phone company will send someone out who will tell you there is a problem and leave without doing anything to fix it. Then, there is the third party billing. You can generally tell when this is taking place because you will be looking through your bills and suddenly the logo at the top of the page will change. That is because all of the charges on that page are coming from a third party and really have nothing to do with your service. These are easy enough to cancel and usually you can even get a refund for the entire time you were being charged for that bogus service. Just hang onto those bills so you can prove when it actually started.

If you are willing to invest some of your valuable time into making sure you look over your service provider bills carefully each month, you can save a lot of money in the long run. It is very important to let your service provider know that you would like slamming insurance and protection against third party billing. These are free account guards that will protect you from getting charged for bogus services that do nothing for you. You also need to make sure that your service provider knows that you look carefully at your bills and that you will call them about anything that looks different or strange. Quite often, the tactic is to call later in the afternoon or evening to catch a part time employee who doesn’t know any better and get them to authorize adding unnecessary service to your account.

If you are smart and proactive about your service provider bills, you can have great success in saving money and time both at home and at work, so make that call and start saving!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Phones Plus :: RSVP

Phones Plus :: RSVP

Here is a link for you to sign up for our SIP trunking lunch and learn. Sign up soon - space is limited and this is going to fill up fast! Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How emergency mailboxes can increase productivity while saving money

Many businesses today are worried about how their customers or patients are going to reach them after normal business hours in case of an emergency. Many times the solution ends up being the sleepy, detached voice of a nighttime answering service or receptionist. The problem is that they are not a part of the day to day activities in your office – that nighttime answering service has no idea that customer A has been experiencing problems all day and needs to be handled delicately to avoid further frustration. In letting someone so detached from what goes on in the office all day be the voice of your business at night, you are potentially opening yourself up to a host of issues.

The solution to all of this is using a feature already built into several voicemail systems. Emergency mailboxes put your customer/patient in rapid contact with someone who knows what is going on with them and is aware of what they are looking for. They also allow the employee to hear the tone of the customer’s voice so they know if this is a serious issue that they had better have some solutions for, or if it is a simple question. The advantages of this direct contact are immeasurable because employees get direct contact with customers even after hours and customers feel comforted to know that they are reaching someone who knows them and their situation.

The sequence of the emergency mailbox function is as follows… A customer calls your main office number at night and selects the emergency mailbox prompt from the auto attendant. The customer is either given a directory of mailboxes or leaves a message in the general emergency mailbox. From the point that the customer hangs up after leaving the voicemail the mailbox will call the person assigned to that mailbox at a designated number and let them know that they have a message waiting. Now the employee can either listen to the message via a keystroke on their cellular phone or they can call the office to listen to the message. Now the employee knows how urgent the situation is and can deal with it accordingly. If the employee would not listen to the message, the mailbox could be set to hunt to another designated number until someone listens to the message or repeat call the same employee until that person listens to the message.

As you can see, this is a very effective tool to help your customers reach the correct person to deal with the issue when they need help, even if it is a night. The system ensures that someone is going to hear the message as quickly as possible and that the customer gets to be the one delivering the message. This will eliminate the need for a night receptionist or a costly answering service to try to handle your very important customer’s needs.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

SIP Trunking Lunch and Learn

Phones Plus, Inc. is hosting another lunch and learn on the topic of SIP Trunking.  The event is going to take place on Thursday, June 10th at the Doubletree Hotel in Brookfield from 11:45am to 1:00pm.  We have 3 delicious lunch options - A french dip sandwich with fries, a cobb salad with a dinner roll or a grilled chicken caprese sandwich with fries.
Keep an eye on our website because the sign up form should be up there within the next couple of days.  We look forward to seeing you there!  Our last lunch and learn on this topic was an amazing success and very informative for a lot of people.

Have a great weekend all.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

FreedomVOICE® and Phones Plus, Inc. Announce Strategic Partnership

Companies Join Forces to Raise Awareness for the FreedomIQ Hosted VoIP PBX

NEW BERLIN, WI - April 29, 2010 – FreedomVOICE®, creators of the industry leading FreedomIQ® Hosted VoIP PBX, and Phones Plus, Inc., today announced the formation of a strategic partnership. The companies have aligned in order to distribute and promote the popular FreedomIQ Hosted VoIP PBX.

“We couldn’t be happier with the new partnership,” said Eric Thomas, CEO of FreedomVOICE. Phones Plus, Inc. understands the true value of the FreedomIQ Hosted VoIP PBX. They’ve demonstrated that they are a qualified, mature company and we are looking forward to working with them.”

As a unified communications provider, Phones Plus, Inc. has many years of experience and has built a solid reputation as the region’s leading technology organization. Now an authorized dealer for the FreedomIQ product, Phones Plus, Inc. will be responsible for business development and representing FreedomIQ in the community.

“We’ve been interested in the FreedomIQ hosted VoIP PBX since day one,” says Mr. Thomas Sodemann, Vice President of Phones Plus, Inc.. “Hosted VoIP phone systems are being adopted by business owners at an increasing rate, and FreedomIQ is a top product option for this segment.”

With powerful features designed to serve entrepreneurs and enterprises alike, FreedomIQ offers industry leading call quality, impressive cost savings, valuable disaster recovery tools, and has become priceless to telecommuters and remote workers.

FreedomIQ was named by Unified Communications magazine as a recipient of the 2008 Product of the Year Award and by TMC’s Communications Solutions as the 2007 Communications Solutions Product of the Year.

Find out more about the FreedomIQ Hosted VoIP PBX by visiting or by calling (262) 784-2311.


Since 1981, Phones Plus has committed to establishing lasting business relationships with our clients. Phones Plus offers innovative voice, video, and data networking solutions that increase our clients’ profitability and gives them a competitive advantage in their marketplace.

Phones Plus recognizes the critical need for a communications company that combines leading technology with top-quality service and support.

Our mission is to provide exceptional value through managed services that eliminate technological obsolescence, ensure a fixed cost for our business partners, and maximize the profits, productivity, image, and competitive advantage of those partners. Highly trained and motivated professionals give you measurable results.


Founded in 1996, FreedomVOICE® develops and markets FreedomIQ®, a hosted VoIP PBX service allowing businesses and professional offices to interact more effectively with their customers, clients, patients and associates. FreedomVOICE® also offers a comprehensive slate of integrated virtual office solutions, enabling business owners to enhance company image, communicate seamlessly with customers, track marketing effectiveness, and increase profitability.