Product Review: SafeSoft’s Hosted Call Center Solutions 

I’ve been reading a book titled “Call Center Management on Fast Forward.” It is one of those “must read” books that’s been recognized by just about everyone who’s ever taken on the managing a call center. As the foreword says, “To successfully lead and manage, you need a good understanding of today’s unique customer contact environment and an effective planning and management framework.”

If your SMB is looking for a way to generate more sales leads, a call center is a viable option. Inbound call centers react to prospects who respond to your marketing campaigns. Outbound call centers are charged with finding new prospects.

Woman Calling Call CenterOf the two, an inbound call center is a bit easier to setup. You’ll need to find the right cloud based phone solution, hire the right people, train them, get them up to speed on each of your marketing campaigns, and write scripts they can use to respond to inbound phone calls. But don’t under-estimate the work involved in getting an inbound call center up and running. It’s a serious piece of work.

The outbound call center is a different animal all together. You have to be aware of and abide by the Do Not Call rules if you plan to contact consumers. Failure to do so could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in fines. And, you’ll need to write scripts for your telemarketers to use. You’ll probably want to do some A/B testing to see which script delivers the greatest number of new prospects. You’ll need to train your outbound callers. This, too, is a major piece of work.

Enter the turn key call center. SafeSoft Solutions, was founded in 2006. Headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA, they offer a same-day-deployment call center that helps SMB’s cost effectively increase sales, provide more personalized service, and deliver effective targeted marketing campaigns. In other words, SafeSoft offers both inbound and outbound call center operations.

Safesoft provides outbound calling as outlined in the video below, claiming up to 400 percent greater opportunity to generate new leads. Their cloud-based application, MarketDialer, provides an API that lets you connect leading ERP and CRM packages to the Safesoft product.

Their inbound call center product delivers automatic call distribution (ACD) that intelligently routes incoming calls to the best agent, a specific agent queue, an overflow queue, the interactive voice response menu, to a voice mail box or even to a specific agent’s extension.

Inbound caller data can be presented in a “screen pop” to the inbound agent’s desktop directly from the caller’s IVR selections or the caller ID.  Such personal contact and order information follows the call if it is transferred to another agent. If you’d like to learn more about the best way to set up a call center, a visit to SafeSoft’s website is a good place to begin. Feel free to contact me to learn more about Safesoft and other alternatives that can put you online with a cloud-based call center.

Product Review: Verizon’s “Premium Technical Support” Service Solves IT Problems For Remote Workers

Remote Tech Support Is A No BrainerWith the recent, tectonic shift toward remote working, businesses have had an unforeseen challenge arise: providing IT support for those users.  With the astronomical cost of headcount, training and infrastructure for in-house help desk centers, small and medium sized businesses often find that the smartest move is leveraging a turn key, third party solution.

Verizon, with its outstanding FIOS service, has taken steps to fulfill that need.  Its Premium Technical Support plan gives any FIOS business (or residential) customer 24/7/365 tech support that includes:

• Configuration troubleshooting for your computer or device (including tablets) to address issues like slow performance, browser configuration, networking connections, data backup and more
• Evaluation of and attempts to correct software, operating systems and networking issues
• Virus, malware and spyware support
• Software and peripherals support for network, video and sound cards, memory, hard drives, CD and DVD readers and writers, printers, scanners and networking equipment

The company says it premium service “…is intended to address networking and other technical support issues outside the supported scope of Verizon’s standard technical support.”  You can find the entire agreement here. Your employee must be a Verizon customer for HSI or FiOS, TV or Voice to purchase Premium Technical Support. It’s currently priced at $14.99 per month, cancelable at any time.

I tested the service when I spent time in New York and found the technicians friendly and competent. They’re all based here in the U.S., and they provide service for Apple, Android and Windows OS.

Once your employee signs up he or she will get a password to Verizon’s expert site at Take note, though. This service is for residential customers. Don’t try to sign up your entire remote workforce under your company’s name because the program doesn’t extend to businesses. Each employee needs to enroll individually.

Is Outsourcing the Help Desk Your Best Choice?

For small and mid-sized businesses, Verizon’s $17.99 per month plan offers a lot of value.

Happy Remote WorkerHowever, if you have concerns about confidential or proprietary information stored on your employee’s device, take time to review the agreement to understand how the Verizon technician treats such material.

Also note that it’s sometimes necessary to change settings on the computer, some of which could cause custom software made for your business to stop working. If there are specific settings that must not be changed, you’ll need to make your remote employees aware of them. A short document spelling out any such issues would help your employee communicate those matters to Verizon before the technician begins making adjustments.

Too, when settings are changed, you may want to get a report on what was changed. Registry changes, for example, can fix problems as well as introduce new ones.

I hope you find this helpful. I feel it’s important to share information on IT issues; it’s part of what we do.

Finally, I am not suggesting that Verizon is the very best solution. You can find dozens of other “managed service providers” (MSP’s) that offer similar services via a simple web search. Many of them also handle break/fix problems with hardware. However, if you want to look further into details of the Verizon plan, you can reach their team at 866-785-8145, or on the online form here.

Addition Resources

Terms of Service

Finding and Getting Rid of the “Junk Fees” in your Phone and Data Bills

I remember the first time I went on a cruise…  I expected to be kicking back, eating all the food I could stuff into my mouth, having a few laughs and stopping off on a bunch of ideal, little islands – all for one all-inclusive price.

It didn’t take long for my rage glands to jump into overdrive when I discovered the cruise line was charging me a daily parking fee at the port, a fuel surcharge (presumably to fuel the ship), a “Wait Staff and Housekeeping Service Fee” as well as “Government Tax and Other Fees.” When the dust cleared, forty-six percent of my final expenditures had gone to unadvertised, miscellaneous junk fees.

It’s likely your telecom invoice is not much different. After all, we’re accustomed to having to pay miscellaneous fees as consumers—used oil disposal fees, airline carry-on baggage fees, a whole host of mortgage closing fees and many others. Businesses know we’ve become desensitized to the blood letting, so they’ve become more aggressive in adding new fees and increasing the existing ones.Telecom Junk Fee Rip Off

Junk Fees Are Creating Lawsuits

Lawsuits over junk fees, and misrepresentation of what fees actually pay for, abound. Frontier, a broadband provider, is being sued by plaintiffs who claim they are being billed for certain state and federal taxes, 911 surcharges even though they do not apply to broadband service. “It is merely a junk fee that Frontier imposes on customers,” the lawsuit says. “The fee bears no relationship to any governmentally imposed fee or regulation, and is nothing other than an effort by Frontier to increase prices above the advertised price.”

The suit, filed in 2011 finally went to court in August, 2015.  In 2011, the website reported that 300 million wireless customers collectively pay $155 billion in fees in addition to their standard voice and data plan costs.

Junk Fees Pay for the “Cost of Doing Business”

Even more annoying is that telcoms charge fees even beyond that $155 billion for their costs of doing business. One Verizon wireless subscriber reports paying nearly $13 per month for a “Federal Subscriber Line Charge,” (which goes directly to Verizon’s bottom line).  According to the FCC, “This fee is regulated and capped by the FCC, not by state Public Utility Commissions. It is not a tax or a fee charged by the government. The money received from the subscriber line charge goes directly to local telephone companies.”

So what can you do?

Taking on multi billion dollar telecom companies to dispute junk fees without an expert in your corner usually isn’t the most productive use of your time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though: Because over-billing and junk fees have become so commonplace, a slew of companies specializing in telecom invoice and contract auditing have sprung up in the last few decades.

These audit firms specialize in finding billing errors, recover funds and credits, and correct future billings. Many work on a contingency basis with no upfront costs to retain their services.

Here are a couple options:

Contingency Telcom Auditing
Global Solutions

An even better solution

For many organizations there’s an even better solution for eliminating junk fees though. VoIP offers an alternative that is largely devoid of fees and taxes, including the junk fees the traditional telecom giants use to line their pockets.

While E911 regulatory fees and state taxes are often levied by local government responsible for emergency response, there are no federal taxes on VoIP communications services.  If you’d like to learn more about how VoIP can eliminate junk fees, feel free to contact us.

Additional Resources:

FCC Resource For Understanding Your Telephone Bill

Reader’s Digest Article On Hidden Fees