Your Portal is Changing!

As of 1st February 2018 your number management portal is changing.

What are the key changes for the new look portal?

Menu navigation has changed: when you first login, the landing page is a basic dashboard of real-time statistics for your account.

Navigation has been split into 3 distinct areas, replacing the existing tabular options:

There are now 3 main menu options which are touch screen friendly:

Personal User menu – this is where you can manage your own user settings and log out of the portal:

Dashboard is where you will be able to view and manage your real-time statistic dashboards once the development is complete – for the interim, a default basic dashboard is available.

Home is where you can access the management functions for Numbers and Accounts along with the Pulse reporting engine and new direct access to the Service Manager call plan management interface, Payphone Barring, Voicemail and Service Number Groups screens – previously navigation to these areas was through the Numbers screen:

All these menus are touch screen friendly; drop-downs can be accessed either by a mouse click or finger press.

The process of updating/maintaining your number remains the same.

Please don’t hesitate to call us on 0330 333 8755 or email us at info@directnumbers.co.uk if you have any questions or need help navigating the new layout.

Myriad Important Information – HTML Update

As a user of KCOM’s Myriad platform, we are pleased to tell you about the launch of our re-developed Service Manager interface in the white label portal which will come into effect on 15 November 2016. 

What is changing?

We are pleased to confirm, following a successful beta release in October, that the re-developed Service Manager interface (comprising Service Builder and Service Designer) in HTML5 will replace the current Silverlight version.

Why are we making this change?

We recognise that Silverlight is not compatible with touchscreen devices and additionally Microsoft announced that they will be withdrawing support in 2020, with many non-Windows browsers already withdrawing support.

HTML5 is a universally recognised cross platform code, which doesn’t require additional software installation (such as browser plug-ins). This launch will mean that you will be able to access and use the Myriad 2 Service Manager on touchscreen devices1, in addition to all popular web browsers2 on PC’s and laptops.

How do I access the new Service Manager interface?

From launch, the HTML Service Manager can be accessed in 2 ways via the ‘Numbers’ screen in the white label portal; firstly through the ‘Service Manager’ button located in the left-hand menu and secondly through the ‘Update’ option next to any of your service numbers which show as the product type ‘Service Manager’.

Are there any significant changes to Service Manager as part of this launch?

We’ve focussed our redevelopment on aligning the HTML5 version as closely to the current interface as possible and are confident you won’t see any significant changes to how Service Builder and Service Designer work today but the attached overview document details of the key changes to Service Designer for your information.

Can I still use the Silverlight version of Service Manager?

No, after launch Silverlight will be completely withdrawn from the Service Manager interface, including the ‘out of browser’ application – if you currently use this and try to access Service Manager in this way following the launch, you will receive notification message instructing you to access Service Manager via the Numbers screen in the main portal.

How you can track your marketing ROI using our virtual numbers.

Calling virtual numbers from mobilesYou would measure your web traffic in detail and analyse your click through rates through your different forms of digital traffic – pay per click search, banner display and organic because this data is important to any business if they want to track their marketing spend.

So why aren’t more organisations doing the same with their inbound phone traffic? Many companies are still using their one main phone number for their advertising, so it’s great when a customer calls but how do you know which piece of advertising is actually generating this call?

Here’s how you can track every call from all your marketing sources:

  • Print – Use a virtual number to allocate to your print advertising to see how different ads work for you. You may want to think about using local geographic numbers for ads targeting a local market, for example, a national gym chain may want to use a local 01273 telephone number on their ads when advertising to a Brighton audience.
  • TV/Radio – If you’re running TV or radio campaigns then this is probably taking up a sizeable sum of your marketing budget so tracking is very important. In these cases it is wise to look at using unique easy to remember ‘Golden’ numbers for your audience/listeners.
  • Digital – PPC, display and organic traffic is something most organisations should be tracking. Like tracking your web click through rates, using a unique phone number will allow you to track the source of your customer calls. It can be used with your landing page split testing to allow you to really drill down to which page is converting – for serious trackers you can allocate a different number to your organic, mobile, PPC and display landing pages.

These are just some of the ways a virtual number can help track calls – the same principle applies to your email and SMS broadcasts, apps and any other form of advertising where you would display a phone number.

With our virtual numbers from Direct Numbers you’ll get a lot more than just a number:

kcom-portal

  • Add your own audio and branded messages for your callers and make them site specific, for example, ‘Thanks for calling our Brighton gym members line..’
  • Every number comes with its own online portal allowing you to run call stats reports and change services on your number. Why not set up a scheduled email report daily, weekly or monthly detailing your call traffic to be emailed directly to your marketing team.
  • Add IVR menu options and call queuing facilities on every number. This gives businesses of any size a professional sounding front-end to their phone service. Sometimes this will be the first interaction a potential customer may have with your company so make it a good one.

To find out more about any of the above then please contact us today for a demonstration

10 Reasons Why Our Customers Are Switching To A Cloud Phone System

cloud

So firstly, what is a cloud phone system? It’s basically a telephone network that runs over your internet connection and it’s hosted in the cloud on a supplier’s server which means you will not need any expensive PBX (Private Branch Exchange) kit to buy, rent or maintain.

A cloud phone system also gives businesses and organisations of any size the opportunity to have a professional and state of the art solution for the fraction of the price of a traditional legacy phone system.

We’ve highlighted below some of the key points why our customers are making the switch to a cloud:-

Cost – It’s hosted in the cloud so you won’t need to buy or lease a PBX box for your organisation. This also means you won’t have to endure any maintenance costs for the up keep of this kit. No large CAPEX commitments when making the switch!

Cheaper calls – the calls are carried over your internet connection so they work out to be a lot cheaper than your traditional telecom network charges. Calling a UK mobile is just 4 pence per minute compared to BT’s standard rate of 13.65p per minute + 17.06p set up fee*

30 Day contracts – Say goodbye to those long 3 year tie-ins that many of our customers have now managed to get out of. Rolling 30 day contracts are great for smaller businesses or start-ups that don’t want to have to commit to such a long period.

Multi-site – Got more than one work site? With a cloud phone solution you can link up all your offices, shops, restaurants etc under the one phone system without having to have kit installed at each location. All calls between these locations would be free as well.

Never miss a customer call again – Benefit from a variety of call features that are easy to use and set up. Stop missing customer calls by using services like call queuing and time of day routing. Set up a professional sounding IVR menu for your callers and redirect calls to the right department.

Clever smart phone app – The smart phone is a big part of our lives these days so benefit from having your work extension with you when you are away from the office. Make and receive work calls with our smartphone app means you can work remotely and stay in touch with your customers wherever you are.

Scalability – It’s a system that will grow with you without having to spend a fortune. Hiring new staff? New extensions can be added quickly and easily to your existing set up without having to spend a fortune doing it.

Plug n Play – If you’re like me then I still like to have a phone on my desk. With a large selection of pre-configured phones you literally just need to plug these into your available internet port and they are ready to be used.

Quality and reliability – Interconnected with BT data centres and 99.9% TUV certified means excellent crystal clear call quality.

Integration – Using a CRM like Salesforce or Zoho? Then bolt it on to our cloud phone system for a fully integrated CRM phone system. Of if you’re after full enterprise capabilities then integrate your cloud phone system with Skype for Business.

Looking to the future, BT have already announced that they will be switching off their traditional analogue PSTN and ISDN lines by 2025 so it makes sense to start looking at switching from a traditional legacy style phone system very soon.

Want more information on how to make the switch to a cloud phone system or if you would you like to see a demo then speak to us today at GO Telecom.

 

*BT call costs may vary. Always check directly with your supplier.

How Do You Monitor The Telephone Preference Service?

angry man

 

The Telephone Preference Service is a free opt out service that allows consumers to officially register their choice not be contacted by unsolicited sales or marketing calls.  In order for this to work, the telemarketing companies have to apply for a license to be able to screen their data.  This should stop the company making calls to registered numbers, and avoid large fines from the governing bodies.

The TPS ask registered consumers to allow up to 28 days for all “nuisance” calls to stop, as it then becomes a legal requirement for establishments not call these numbers, but as we have all probably experienced, sometimes there are instances where this is not the case.  The data a particular business owns could be much older than the date of the consumers registration, and coupled with a poor screening process, some of these calls are allowed to get through.

Luckily, the most efficient screening practice is now available to telemarketing companies.  Our NFON powered VoIP telephone system can be tailored to monitor the TPS database in real time for all employees making outbound calls.  A short message will play to advise the agent that the number that they are calling is a TPS registered number, and then give them the option of hanging up the call or continuing with it if they have gained explicit permission from the customer.

This feature can reassure call centres that they are sticking to the very stringent rules that govern this industry, and helps to avoid some hefty fines in the process.  With call recording , call centre monitoring, call queuing  and real time stats available to you, there really has never been a better time to switch to the cloud.

 

Big Changes to 08, 09 and 118 Numbers Happening on 1st July 2015

From the 1st of July 2015, OFCOM will be making changes to the way that service numbers charged. Service numbers are ones beginning 08, 09 or 118, so if you are using one of these numbers then the following information is very important.

UK calling info

The calls will now be charged to the caller in two parts:

Access Charge:

This part of the call is charged by the caller’s phone company, so for example Vodafone, EE, O2 etc. according to their contract rates.

Service Charge:

This part of the call is charged by the organisation offering the service, so for example if you have a number through Direct Numbers, our network provider is KCom and they will be charging this part of the call.

What This Means For You:

If you have any of these number prefixes with us, it means that you will now have to review all of your marketing materials and advertising where your number is shown to reflect the new charging in order to make it clear to the customers. You must ensure that your service charge is clearly displayed everywhere that you advertise or promote that number. The service charge should be prominent and in close proximity to the number itself. The recommended form of wording is as follows:

“Calls cost Xp (or Xp per minute) plus your company’s access charge”.

Our Numbers Starting: New Retail Service Charge Price Point (incl VAT) from 1st July 2015
Service charges

The good news for consumers –
Freephone number (0800 & 0808) will be FREE from mobiles as well as landlines from this date as well.

Full information on the changes, including what advertising needs to be reviewed, and well as a list of FAQ’s is available through this website: http://www.ukcalling.info/

There has never been a better time to start thinking about switching your 084 or 087 business number to a customer friendly 03, 01 or 02 number.

Speak to Direct Numbers to see how we can help you switch your number over.

Let’s Do Business – Brighton Expo

A big thank you to everyone that came to see us at the Let’s Do Business Brighton Expo last week.  It was a fun show to do and it was great to meet so many people.  We went a day early to set up ready for the morning which was a nice luxury to have seeing as the beautifully set Brighton Racecourse is on our doorstep.  Despite the fact that it was the only day of the week with awful weather, the show was a big success and we wanted to say thank you to everyone involved.

The winner of our raffle, and proud new owner of a Kindle Fire HD, was Gemma Doughtyof YMCA Downslink Group.  Congratulations Gemma.  We will hopefully be doing more shows this year, follow us on Twitter for more information on upcoming events where we will be exhibiting.

We hope to see you at the next Let’s Do Business Brighton Expo!

 

LDB Brighton Stand

 

 

Freephone Numbers – Free At Last!

iStock_000019988830XSmall

Businesses have thought for a long time that having a freephone contact number is a great way to entice people to call them.  It’s certainly more attractive to the consumer than calling a service charge number, like 0871 or 0845, and also as its a non-geographic number, it can help your company appeal to a national audience.  The only downside to this is that most members of the public generally tend to make calls using their mobile phones, and the network providers have been charging quite a large sum in order to call a number which you have intended to be free.  This has seen the emergence and the success of 03 numbers.  They are charged at a local rate from landlines, and are covered as part of the free minutes packages that are included in bundle deals and mobile minutes packages.

However, from July 1st 2015, the regulators of the industry, OFCOM, have announced that
free will finally mean FREE.  0800 and 0808 numbers will be non-chargeable to the customer when they call from mobile phones.  This is great news not only for your customers, but also for businesses that may have suffered from a loss in calls due to people not wanting to use their mobile to enquire about their services.  This change should encourage more companies to use freephone numbers.  Not only are they now completely customer friendly, but virtually hosted 080 numbers can provide a plethora of call handling services, such as IVR, call queuing, call whisper, as well as being able to manage this all online with a dedicated portal.  These features can give your business a professional appearance, as well as providing you with an easier call management system, especially if you are advertising your business with a mobile phone number.

For more information on 080 or 03 numbers, please visit www.directnumbers.co.uk.

B.Y.O.D: A Growing Initiative

Given the time of year, you could be forgiven for turning up at work with a nice bottle of red having misheard someone in the office telling you to B.Y.O.D. in to work tomorrow, however give it a few months and this acronym might be a policy heard commonly in the workplace.  B.Y.O.D. stands for “bring your own device”, a new initiative being implemented by some companies across a number of industries.  It allows employees to use their own laptops or phones in the workplace to access company data or receive emails to their iPhones.  Given the rate in which our technology improves, most people usually have better equipment at home than they use in the office, and of course are more comfortable using it.

Of course, this initiative has divided opinions; on the one hand you have the company security and data protection to consider, and on the other this resourcefulness will save companies a tidy sum on their technology overheads.  The general consensus about the idea as a whole is that it IS going to happen, and governing bodies have already started issuing guidelines, as well as informing enterprises to put B.Y.O.D. policies in place.  A balance of cost efficiency and security could be hard to find.

Seeing as this is a blog from Telecoms company, it was inevitable that we would end up talking about something industry specific eventually, but a good example of the equilibrium can be found in FMC technology.  Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) is a feature of the N-Connect VoIP phone system that allows employees to use their mobile phone as a device coupled to their office phone extension.  Handy if you are out of the office or working from home, but more applicably it can provide the sense of balance companies need when considering B.Y.O.D.  It saves money, as colleagues trying to reach an employee at home don’t have to call mobile numbers; they simply dial the internal office extension number for that person.  There is no need for a company mobile phone, as the employee is using their own smartphone, and calls made through the application are charged through your main office VoIP system.  The application is also voice encrypted with Secure Real Time Transport Protocol (SRTP), meaning that it is safeguarded when transferring multimedia content via network structures, as well as an ever changing cryptography key when making calls.

Well, we did say it was a good example!  For more information regarding the N-Connect VoIP phone systems featuring FMC, please visit our new website, at www.directfromthecloud.co.uk

 

Olympia Business Show – A Thank You

So, the exhibition season is over for 2014, and it was definitely a lot of fun as well as hard work!  The final leg of the ‘Direct Numbers On Tour’ expedition saw us arrive in Olympia on Wednesday afternoon to set up our stand and get a sneak preview at what everyone else was doing, and once we were done we could not wait to get started the following morning.  The Prysm Group had certainly put a lot into the organisation of this huge event which attracted over 25,000 visitors over the 2 days, including the very successful “speed networking” and “tweet to meet”  functions which culminated in meeting some wonderful likeminded people.

Direct Numbers would like to thank everybody that came to visit our stand, and all the people involved in making this a very successful business show.  We are pleased to announce that we have a winner of the Kindle HD Fire raffle that we held, and of the hundreds of business cards that we took away with us, it was lucky Deborah McPhilemy of Teddys Inc that was selected to receive the prize.  Well done and congratulations.

We hope to see you at more exhibitions at Olympia in the future.