Q: Why does my business need converged communications technology?
A: Converged Communications combines the convenience of the telephone with the intelligence of the computer. By merging these two most commonly used and significant technologies, businesses can enhance their customer service, reduce overhead costs and boost their staff productivity. Leveraging technology can also provide the competitive advantage your business needs in today's business climate.
Q: Isn't the Internet replacing most telephone technology?
A: The growing prevalence of Internet access still pales against the availability of the telephone. Virtually everyone in the world has access to a telephone. With the advance of cellular and wireless technologies, accessibility by telephone is greater than ever before.   The emergence and fine tuning of Voice over Internet Protocol [VoIP] combines these technologies lowering both implementation investments and ongoing costs associated with voice communication.  Looking forward, the best "customer service" companies will provide access to customers in whatever means the customer chooses (phone, fax, email, Internet, snail mail, etc.). Technology has evolved toward combination applications as well. For example, some web applications incorporate "call me now" links to trigger a live agent call to a customer browsing on their company's web site.
Q: When might a business need an IP-PBX phone system?
A: Does your business experience high call volume (inbound and/or outbound calls)? Are you thinking of adding more employees? Do you have many employees on the road? Are you thinking of moving into new office space? Would you like to connect multiple branch office communication systems together? Or, do you simply need more functionality than your current phone system can offer? If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, you should seriously consider an IP-PBX phone system.
Q: What type of businesses use IP-PBX phone systems?
A: IP-PBX phone systems are ideal for businesses that rely on their telephone as their communication lifeline to customers. Typically, small to medium-sized businesses that experience high inbound and/or outbound calls will benefit significantly from call control and customized call-handling options. Examples of industries Alternate Access has worked with include banking, real estate, construction, staffing, florists, auto dealers and other service business.
Q: What benefits will I receive from a unified messaging and universal access?
A: Unified messaging means that all email, voicemail and fax messages are received in one In-box. Save time by opening only one desktop program (e.g. Microsoft Outlook) to view all communications. Sort and filter messages by important customers, vendors, urgent matters, hot prospects, etc. Universal access allows you to listen to voicemail AND email messages via the telephone when in remote locations. Unified messaging makes communications more manageable for busy professionals.
Q: What is the value of an auto attendant?
A: Auto attendants answer and route all calls consistently, 24x7. Callers can be transferred more quickly to the person they choose to speak with without the unnecessary on-hold time that occurs when a receptionist is bogged down by multiple calls. Liberated from answering routine calls, the receptionist can concentrate on work that makes your business more productive and profitable. Even if you choose all calls to be answered by a ‘live’ person, an auto attendant can rout the call to the appropriate person or work group prior to the caller being connected—increasing your business efficiency and caller satisfaction. 
Q: Why does my business need a fax server?
A: FAX technology has vastly improved productivity and reduced costs for companies large and small. Fax servers present faxes at the desktop in a similar fashion to email. This allows the recipient to read, forward, archive or print needed faxes. "Junk faxes" can be deleted without wasting paper as in a traditional fax, thus saving operations cost. Employees do not incur "walk time" (to the fax machine) or "talk time" (waiting for other faxes to go in or out of a traditional machine); hence productivity is increased for the business.
Q: What benefits will I receive from speech recognition applications?
A: Speech recognition allows callers to request information or input information using natural language. It can replace or work in conjunction with touch-tone input, and is generally more intuitive and easier to use for all callers. For callers with disabilities, the elderly, or people with rotary phones, it is an imperative tool to allow them to communicate with your business. Because applications can be developed to interact in multiple languages, speech recognition broadens a business' reach to new customers and across geographies.
Q: When are interactive voice response (IVR) systems appropriate?
A: When your business receives a substantial volume of repetitive calls for information, verification, or to check or report status, or when your phone is ‘ringing off the hook’, it is wise to evaluate whether IVR technology can take some of that pain away. IVR is an excellent method of meeting callers' needs quickly, without distracting your workers from more critical tasks that keep your business running or impact your bottom line.  And, they are also an excellent way to let your customers do as much business as possible with your business during their hours of operations, even if they differ from yours.
Q: What value does Alternate Access add to my converged communication solution?
A: As a solutions provider, Alternate Access is keen on understanding your business objectives and how your business operates before recommending solutions to make it better. While the industry is still relatively young, since 1993 Alternate Access has provided converged communication solutions and custom applications to companies ranked in the Fortune 1000 as well as small businesses with as few as 1-10 employees. Unlike many of the "brand name" players that have more recently joined the market, we come from a vantage point of integrated computer telephony rather than having an understanding of only computers or telephone systems. This unique understanding of the technologies, their applications and limitations sets us apart in the marketplace and lets us help you implement a converged communication solution that gives your business a true competitive advantage.

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