Posted on December 7, 2017 by Dan Quick
Following our recent addition of the all new ACD Queues on Dash, we’ve been getting some increased interest in how businesses can benefit from them. In some cases, those companies have been waiting their entire existence for the sleek and reliable call management that comes from the all-new ACD Queues on Dash, but for others, there has always existed an even more appropriate solution. Ring Groups, also commonly called Hunt Groups, are an alternative option to using a full call queue system like the ACD Queues on Dash that offer plenty of similarities and advantages for the right business over their more enterprising big brother. What else makes them attractive to some businesses is that Ring Groups are already an included feature in all Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited Plans. To help companies decide which departmental queue system to use for their business, we have the following comparison of the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups.
What are ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?
To begin outlining the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups, it’s best to make clear the basic function of each. Ultimately, businesses with a growing call volume found it was best to provide easy channels to drive inbound callers to the appropriate parties separated by their needs and the directed to the relevant departments. This is also where the term, “Departmental Queues,” comes from as queuing systems are generally divided along departmental and job-function lines. Early queuing systems provided by legacy telephone companies over copper wires required truly massive footprints to house expensive on-site hardware and were prohibitively costly for all but the wealthiest of businesses. As hosted telecom and VoIP platforms like the modern day Dash Plans began to replicate and improve on call queues, the technology began to become far more widely available to businesses. Along the way, though, and before products like the all-new ACD Queues on Dash were made available, there existed a clever alternative called Hunt Groups, or on Dash as they are still known, Ring Groups. Though the two technologies serve to answer the same general needs for businesses, they go about it differently and have their own strengths.
So What’s the Difference Between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?
Ahh, yes, the million dollar question. Below we’ll address some of the key differentiations between Ring Groups and ACD Queues and then you should have the information you need to determine which technology is right for your business.
- Complexity The core variation between the two technologies boils down to their vastly different complexity. Ultimately, Ring Groups are just a collection of extensions that a user selects to represent any given department or queue but remain static until the admin makes any changes. ACD Queues are dynamic lists of agents that can surge and act as backfill automatically per a predetermined hierarchy that admins can adjust as calls are being received. And because business can change on a dime, this means that ACD Queues are designed to react and adjust as call volumes spike proactively, and not necessarily require that an admin make those adjustments for the system.
- Customization A simple Ring Group can be made as elaborate as the user wants, but the number of options on how to do that is relatively limited. If there is a small organization and everyone shares roughly the same tribal knowledge and autonomy to serve customers, then they all could really be included in each one of the department queues a caller can choose from. From larger organizations where the skills and knowledge base is far more specialized and segmented, the departmental (and therefore the queuing) divisions are much clearer. However, because some departments will have more insight into others than just their own, they can be assigned to serve as backups to any particular queues. For example, Accounts Payable can field calls for Accounts Receivable and vice versa and perhaps Sales will be able to pitch in if Marketing is swamped, as well.
- Management From a people management standpoint, this is where ACD Queues are head and shoulders above Ring Groups. Admins can use any number of ranking systems to assign to their agents from how skilled they are, how tenured (meaning newer trainees can be given lighter call loads), and of course their skillsets or specialties. Also, ACD Queues allow for custom wrap-up times following calls for agents to properly annotate accounts and prepare for new calls along with a host of other options that all allow for equal and even call distribution among agents. Ring Groups do not have these advanced options available.
- Distribution Combining all of the above comparisons leads to this next key differentiator. Whereas ACD Queues offer a multitude of options on how a queue’s traffic will be divided among that department’s agents, the same cannot be said for Ring Groups. Ring Groups, instead, simply ring all members of a group simultaneously until one of them answers the call. In a small office, this can be just a small consideration, but as organizations grow, they often find that the surgical assignment of individual calls to specific agents to be a more effective and efficient method of handling inbound callers.
- Mobility One good thing about both systems is that, because they each operate on the award-winning cloud-based Dash platform, they each enjoy mobility benefits like no other system. All of the respective functions, reporting, analytics, and customizations for Ring Groups and ACD Queues can be accessed and managed from the palm of one’s hand anywhere there is a data or internet connection. This type of physical freedom has opened the doors to a new breed of call center that is completely decentralized and one that accommodates the popularization of the remote workforce.
- Cost One of the other clear distinctions of Ring Groups and ACD Queues on Dash is the cost of each approach. Ring Groups are included in Dash Plans as just one of dozens of advanced features whereas ACD Queues are a premium feature not unlike Salesforce CRM or Webhooks Integrations that also come as an available option to businesses. Whichever direction a company chooses to go, however, it is abundantly clear that each of these options is wildly more flexible and affordable than anything offered by an on-site telephone option.
Get Started With Better Call Routing
Another similarity that both Ring Groups and ACD Queues on Dash have is that getting started with either is as simple as 1-2-3. In most cases, new users of Dash can be up and running and actually making and receiving phone calls in as little as 5 minutes. Simple head to the Dash Plans page, pick the one that works best for your budget, and you’re off and running. Also, we’re around 24/7 so you can always contact one of our expert Support Staff or even find on social media at our Twitter or Facebook accounts. No matter how you decide to reach out, though, we’ll be happy to help you answer any other questions you may have about the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups, and which will be the right strategy for you and your business.
Posted on November 29, 2017 by Dan Quick
Just when you thought we couldn’t pack any more functionality into the award-winning Dash Business Phone System, we’ve got another big piece of news to share. For years, we’ve been providing the most robust and capable enterprise-grade business telephone features for businesses of all sizes and on all budgets. We’ve done that by offering a variety of plans and core technologies that power them, but recently we’ve been able to begin solving a greater number of businesses needs with a single platform- Dash. Now that Dash is established as more than just a pretty face thanks to its massive library of core functionality and new features like Salesforce CRM and Webhooks Integrations, Dash has become a legitimate telephone service solution for even the largest of organizations. Now, with the introduction of the all new ACD Queues on Dash, there is a Dash Plan for every company.
What’s New in the All-New ACD Queues On Dash?
Many of our longtime customers remember our TrueACD Queues for some of our legacy plans. These were industry-leading technologies that gave companies an previously unseen level of control and visibility into their call queues at a fraction of the cost than traditional phone service providers were charging. We’ve used those years of experience and feedback from our users and have learned invaluable lessons which we poured into the all-new Call Queues for Dash. All of this means we can offer the most reliable ACD queues in the business with several key improvements, too. First of all, the entire interface has been rethought to fit into the sleek and intuitive design of Dash that has become so popular. This makes navigating and managing all of an entire company’s worth of call queues simple and effective from the palm of your hand, anywhere you happen to have an internet or data connection. Second, is the revolutionarily simple call monitoring interface. With a simple and elegant tile interface, the admins instantly have clear and actionable information in real time on how their queues are performing and what types of call loads are being handled. At a glance of the monitoring view, an admin can immediately see call traffic at the queue or individual agent levels and manage call routing based on a variety of intelligent methods, plus, agents themselves can have the same remote flexibility, too. Agents manage their status by simply toggling their options through the same Dash portal or using shortcut keys on their VoIP device. Any single one of these innovations would be enough to get many queue users to jump for joy and they’re all included in the all-new Call Queues for Dash.
Get Started With the All-New ACD Queues On Dash Today
Like all of our new features from our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap, there are beta periods and soft launches to allow for some of our customers to experience the new functions first hand and provide feedback. This communication loop is essential to the overall success of our newest features and allows for us to test them in real-world conditions before announcing them. Because the all-new ACD Queues on Dash are no exception to this rule, they have been out in the field for some time and many of our Office Plan users are migrating to them right now. To make that transition yourself or to inquire how to include call queues in your current Dash business phone service, contact any one of our Sales or Support representatives. Also, if you’re already using the new departmental queues on Dash and have any questions, we are always available 24/7 for your needs and have also updated the online ACD Queues Support Guide to let you troubleshoot on your own schedule, too. No matter how you manage them, though, we hope you love the all-new ACD Queues on Dash and are looking forward to introducing you to the next great release before too long, too!
Posted on November 21, 2017 by Dan Quick
Faxing is something you may or may not be familiar with in a business setting. There was a time when faxing was the most cutting-edge and revolutionary business technology around. Of course, that may have been around the time that it was introduced, roughly about two generations ago. Needless to say, things have changed since then, dramatically so in the world of business communications. Why is it, then, that fax machines tend to still be made and sold online? It was news when the last commercially produced VCR was discontinued, and they aren’t as old as faxing is. This is most likely because there are a few reasons that faxing is still relevant, and will most likely remain relevant well into the future. And with that in mind, we’re offering these following examples of what is keeping the mostly-forgotten technology of faxing up and running.
Out of the Spotlight, Not Out of Commission
The fax machine isn’t the sleekest, sexiest, the most sizzling hot new piece of office hardware you can find these days. In fact, most offices that use fax machines still will have them as part of the popular, all-in-one model of printer/copier, so that makes it unlikely that you’d even recognize a modern fax machine if you only knew the bulky, clunky, noisy behemoths of yesteryear. And in spite of the relative invisibility of the venerable fax machine, they are persistently in the quiver of business communications tools of successful organizations the world over. These following reasons are the ones chiefly responsible for faxing’s continued relevance.
- Paperless Faxing
Faxing technology has evolved considerably from the days when rolls of direct thermal printing paper began spooling out messages over 50 years ago. Much like the majority of modern technologies and business systems, faxing can be done completely paperlessly. Digital paperless faxing can send and receive documents directly from an email inbox with email to fax. Using email to fax reproduces all of the benefits of a fax machine without ever having to worry about running out of toner, loading paper properly, or that annoying tonal cacophony that accompanied any sent or received fax from back in the day. And seeing as how email-to-fax is included with all of our advanced cloud-based business telephone systems, it’s easy to see why many businesses don’t have any intention to kill the fax machine just yet.
- It’s like The Soccer of Business Tools
Or rather, football, if you will. I draw this comparison because soccer is the world’s biggest, most widely-participated-in sport. So, too, is faxing. More businesses in the global economy depend on faxing rather than email mostly because broadband internet penetration in the world as a whole is nothing like it is here in the United States. In fact, even domestically we are well behind many of our developed world companions in access to high-speed internet. This is a situation that’s ideal for faxing because faxing technology was developed to only use the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN, effectively any non-ethernet telephone line). And seeing as how raw materials, shipping hubs, and supply chain integrity all rely on being virtually continuously updated and accessible in order to successfully bring products to market, the simple telephone wire is the most important and ubiquitous form of communication on the planet.
- Safer Than Email
Faxing is based on “Base64 Binary Encryption,” and while this may sound like gibberish, it’s clearly the secret to faxing’s most compelling feature. This encryption technology is not just possibly the biggest reason for its longevity, it’s also the golden ticket for it to be the primary communications method for some of the world’s largest industries. Specifically, Law Offices and any medical organization that wants to conduct business within the United States or with a company that operates here needs to have access to a fax machine. According to HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations, the only recognized process for document security is faxing. Also, faxed documents remain to be the only digitally transferred signed documents that are legally recognized, as well. Therefore, any business that ever interfaces with a legal representative (ergo, all businesses everywhere) will most certainly at some point be required to send or receive a fax machine. Even with such a relatively old security protocol as Base64, faxing has stood the test of time and remains to be one of the most secure document transfer options available, and certainly the most affordable.
Nobody has a crystal ball, so it’s impossible to tell for certain if someone somewhere is working on a technology to sweep the world and supplant faxing as a stalwart of business communications. That said, barring any such wild development, it’s safe to say that faxing will probably remain a necessity for businesses well into the future. Don’t have your digital faxing strategy figured out yet? Don’t worry, because like I mentioned, email-to-fax is available on all Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited Plans so you’d be able to take faxing with you anywhere your business went if you wanted. Plus, because all of our Dash Plans are on sale for our massive Cyber Monday Sale, there’s never been a better time to prepare yourself for the future than right now! When Monday rolls around you’ll have to act fast, though, because we’ll only be extending those saving for one day and one day only. You can click on the banner below to learn more.
Posted on November 16, 2017 by Dan Quick
We’ve had a busy year of improvements and enhancements to our premier hosted business telephone service, Dash, but there’s still time to make gains before the calendar rolls over. That’s why we chose to press the gas down in our innovation labs and have just this week launched the all new features for Dash as part of our overall Business Phone Integrations compatibility strategy. Starting now, all Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited Plans will come with the ability to include Webhooks Integrations that work with as many as 750 of the most popular and useful business applications.
Dash Integrations With Webhooks Explained
When we launched the Salesforce CRM and VirtualPBX Softphone Integration, we knew we had touched a nerve with our customers. The rate at which people began to swarm to the new integration proved just how valuable it is to be able to automatically combine data from a telephone contact into other pertinent business systems. Therefore, we saw this and wanted to expand on the benefits our customers could have from using their Dash Plans, which is why we’ve unveiled the new Webhooks integrations for Dash. Just like Salesforce CRM integration allows for call functions to be communicated to and activated from the CRM platform, this functionality allows for call data to work equally cohesively with hundreds of other business applications, too. Plus, with the popularity of these types of integrations being abundantly clear, we’ve also decided to give the first integration away for each system for free! That’s correct, every Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited Plan will each enjoy the first Webhook for free, and any additional ones will only cost $9.99/month.
How to Get Started
As anyone who has been following our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap can tell you, we’ve already opened up the Webhooks options to all of our customers and so you can just hop into your Dash account and start playing around with them. If you have any questions, of course, we’re always available for you 24/7, or you can take a look at our Online Support Guide for Dash and Webhooks to see if you can troubleshoot your way through it, too. Also, because we’ve recently announced our big plans for a massive Cyber Monday Sale that will include all of our Dash Plans, if you’re not yet on our popular, award-winning platform, there’s never been a better time to switch. Simply follow the banner below for all the details and we’ll have your business integrated beyond what you ever thought was possible (and for way less than you’d expect) in no time!
Posted on November 2, 2017 by Dan Quick
If you have been anywhere near the United States of America for the past 20 or 30 years, you know all too well how insane the days following Thanksgiving are for retail. Horror stories of people being trampled and fistfights erupting at retail stores with door-buster deals have been woefully commonplace as the Black Friday sales earn their dark moniker. However, with the proliferation of online sales from both local and national retailers, some of the chaos that has plagued the shopping malls of America has subsided. The split in where shoppers go to purchase holidays gifts for their friends and family (or sometimes for themselves, as is the case too often in this author’s experience) has created a unique challenge as retailers have been pressed to choose which channel to focus their attention to during this critical sales period. DNIS, or Direct Number Identification Service, is a telephony technology that unifies the efforts of hybrid online/brick-and-mortar retailers and helps to track the ROI on marketing efforts at the same time.
DNIS for Holiday Sales: Two Birds, One Number
A DNIS is a number that advanced telephone service providers, typically on a hosted business phone system like Dash, offer to companies that serve a variety of purposes, but that can also track seasonal promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By including a unique DNIS telephone number (including toll-free, if desired) with all of the seasonal promotions that a company creates, they accomplish several key objectives for a successful holiday sales season.
- Cohesive Promotion Materials By having one number to use for an ad campaign surrounding the holiday sales period, a business can ensure that there is brand continuity across all platforms. Plus, because audiences to a digital ad can either click-through to an e-commerce site, call, or even inspire a visit in person, it’s important that they have uniformity in how to reach out.
- Accurate ROI Tracking Because holiday traffic can be new business or returning customers, discerning who is actually coming in as a result of your ad campaign can be difficult. DNIS allows for all of that to be easily tracked and recorded and call-volume can be pulled in real time from an online dashboard.
- Seasonal Branding Also, because DNIS numbers are made a la carte to serve your needs as they arise, this also creates a fun branding opportunity, as well. VirtualPBX owns tens of thousands local, toll-free, and international telephone numbers, any of which can be used as your next DNIS option. With that great of a pool to draw from, choosing a holiday specific and on-brand vanity number that is easy to remember and a good representation of your brand is just another benefit that DNIS provides.
Get Your DNIS Campaign Started Now
The clock is ticking and you may already begun seeing (far too many, in some cases) holiday decorations all over. That’s why securing your DNIS number now and getting your campaign started ASAP is so important. Act now and get in touch with us today to get the ball rolling on capturing all of the important holiday retail sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you can.