For businesses of every size, the pandemic accelerated the shift toward hybrid
information technology solutions that facilitate both remote and in-office communication
and collaboration for customers and employees. In the marketplace today, this has
increasingly involved mobile and office phones with integrated software that offers
sophisticated voice, video, messaging, and workforce management capabilities.
This has augmented the complexity of the phone system requirements and presented
businesses with a plethora of options. Users usually operate from office phones and
mobile devices and are working more in and out of the office, so there is a greater
demand for forwarding messages to avoid missing calls.
Photo Courtesy: BTI Group
Also, a host of new services beyond calling are often expected such as Short Message
Service (SMS)/Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), video conferencing, visual
voicemail, and call recording. On top of all this, the phone system is increasingly
connected through APIs to existing company systems such as contact centers, workforce
management, and Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs), so important
data can be monitored and evaluated in various ways.
The challenge for businesses, however, has been dealing with issues of quality and
integration, along with constantly escalating provider prices and add-on fees that can end
up costing over $70 per user each month. When managers need the services to stay
operational but do not have the time or inclination to sort through complex billing, they
can feel like a captive of their technology provider.
“Today, business owners feel besieged with all the software-as-a-service fees, which
constantly creep upwards, never downwards in cost. They are enticed with low offers to
start, and then the price doubles or triples on renewal or any changes,” says Eric Brackett,
President of BTI Communications Group, a technology convergence provider serving the
business and logistics sectors. The company acts as a single-source provider of complex
phone (VoIP), network, and physical security systems, down to installation of wiring and
conduit as well as cybersecurity monitoring and protection.
“Bait-and-switch phone system pricing is a huge burden on businesses when it becomes
overhead and an operating expense,” he adds. “Instead, managers want to capitalize the
full cost over a few years or own the system with minimal operating expense.”
In addition, businesses prefer a phone system that includes access to every service option
from the start, whether used or not, at a low fixed monthly rate, which eliminates extra
fees and complexity.
“Business owners and managers appreciate having only one line item on the bill that
covers everything. When the prices don’t change for a fixed period, this eliminates the
issue of escalating expenses and surprise add-on costs," says Brackett.
He notes that such a system can improve both the customer and employee experience by
integrating web services including voice, video, SMS/MMS, smartphone and PC, as well
as contact center, CRM, and workforce management.
Photo Courtesy: BTI Group
“Today, a business phone system needs to enable working from anywhere, whether at the
office, at home, or on the go, and offer the full breadth of communication technologies,”
He adds that some of the more advanced marketplace options are now easier than ever to
incorporate and use. These allow business employees to use their own smartphones
without purchasing new equipment since the service functions with almost every cellular
provider. To streamline use, a web portal can enable users to take control and easily
manage the entire system through a simple interface. Video conferencing also facilitates
collaboration anywhere on any device, and some or all calls can be recorded and
retrieved as needed.
Optimizing Business Telecom
Astral Energy of Montvale, New Jersey buys energy wholesale and sells it retail to over
15,000 businesses in the B2B market. Ashton Fox, Chief Operating Officer of Astral
Energy, sought a more robust, stable solution than his existing telecom service provided.
“Many of our customers work off their smartphones on the road so texting and
multimedia messaging is important to communicate with them. If our customers struggle
to reach us or we are challenged to reach them because of our phone system, it doesn’t
work,” says Fox.
“We were running into some issues with our provider’s call quality, SMS and MMS
service, and technical support,” he adds. “We also wanted better pricing transparency.
We didn’t want to find out that we really needed a certain feature later and be asked to
pay more for it every month, which would impact our budget,” says Fox.
As a solution, Fox and Astral Energy turned to a new option in the business market called
GoodPhone by BTI that provides complete web, voice, video, SMS, MMS, CRM, contact
center, and workforce management service and integration for customers and employees.
The service functions on smartphones and office phones, as well as on PCs used as
Complete phone service with all the needed options costs a flat monthly rate of less than
$25/user. For the contracted period, each user can utilize an unlimited number of phones
as part of the same flat rate. Phones can also be rented or purchased from BTI, or existing
VoIP devices used.
When employees use their personal smartphone by downloading the GoodPhone App,
they no longer need to give out their personal cell information to handle business calls.
Instead, they can provide clients with one office number to reach them, and make or take
calls from their web phone, mobile app, or desk phone while always displaying the office
“Employees only give out one business number and all calls and texts stay within the
GoodPhone portal on their smartphone or PC app. If a customer calls their number and
they don’t answer it on their smartphone, the call can be routed to the company
voicemail, not their personal voicemail,” explains Brackett.
The service also allows businesses to text promotions and contact customers via SMS and
MMS messages, as well as track the responses. Employees can monitor messages and set
auto-responses with customized text from one account. The service facilitates resolving
customer issues by enabling the search of text archives with a 360-degree view of
customer interactions. When video conferencing is required, the service currently allows
up to 1,000 people to participate and up to 25 to share a screen.
Fox is very pleased not only with the ease of implementing the GoodPhone service but
also its quality and reliability.
“The phones shipped to our office were already programmed, so I just had to plug them
in. They essentially handed me a turnkey system,” says Fox.
Fox appreciates that the technology integrator is not just a phone company, which he
believes has helped improve system dependability. “The system is far more global and
robust than what we had previously. It is very reliable, and we don't have any issues. In a
year we had less than 20 minutes of downtime, and they were very responsive in getting
that resolved,” he says.
Fox credits the telecom service for easing his duties as a manager and COO. GoodPhone
facilitates monitoring and managing the workforce from anywhere, and includes a web
phone and smartphone app, a call statistics/call center dashboard, and real-time as well as
“As a manager, the way I can see and manage the whole backend is important. Unlike
many apps, the mobile app actually works and does not just direct you to a website or
browser. I’m able to do virtually everything I can do on a desktop inside the app,” says
“I'm able to manage my team more effectively with the service,” he adds. “For instance,
if there’s an issue with a customer on a phone call, I can quickly pull the recording on my
phone to help resolve it.”
Other businesses are also finding value in simplifying the complexity of their phone
systems at a low, flat monthly rate.
Market Contracting Services, a construction firm in Chicago, Illinois, had remodeled
their facility and planned to purchase costly landline phones for the office, but
reconsidered when their technology integrator suggested a better option, according to
Esmeralda Macias, the firm’s office manager.
“With the new VoIP smartphones BTI has available, we don’t have to pay for landlines.
We can see everything online now through a portal, so can view all incoming and missed
calls,” she says.
According to Macias, employees no longer have to sit at a desk to take calls since they
can do so anywhere they have an internet connection.
“Even after hours, we can transfer calls to our smartphones. This has translated into better
customer support and more sales,” she says.
From a budgetary perspective, the VoIP phone system has also been a success. The
system not only eliminates current carrier bills, but also includes unlimited local and
domestic long distance.
“The landline phones and service were going to cost a lot more. By implementing
GoodPhone, we are already way ahead financially - and we are just getting started with
using the capabilities of the VoIP phones,” she concludes.
Business telecom systems have long been complex and costly, leading to user frustration.
However, with greater choice in the marketplace today, businesses that integrate
essentially all required telecom services through VoIP phones at a low, fixed cost can
streamline their operations and gain a competitive advantage.
For a free 14-day trial or a zero-commitment review of telco bills, call 1-800-HELPBTI
(1-800-435-7284); email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit https://www.btigroup.com.
By Del Williams
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California