News and Views

What is a PBX Phone System?

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Small Business Phone Systems | 0 comments

What is a PBX Phone System?

PBX stands for private branch exchange and is a business phone system that has been in use in one form or another since the 1960s. A PBX phone system makes connections between internal telephones of an organization, so employees can call each other without having to use an outside line. If you’re using a phone system where each employee has their own extension, you’re using a PBX. (more…)

Signs Your Office Phone System Needs Repair or Replacement

Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Small Business Phone Systems | 0 comments

Signs Your Office Phone System Needs Repair or Replacement

Every physical asset of your company will need to be repaired and, eventually, replaced. Office phone systems have a long lifespan if you purchase high quality equipment, but even these will need to be repaired or replaced at some point.

There are several signs that your phone system is not operating at its best capacity. Don’t let it get worse or you may lose business by not being able to connect with your customers. Get your office phone system diagnosed to determine how to best address the issue.

Sign #1: If your phone system has been dropping calls regularly, your office phone system may need to be replaced. The equipment may be outdated or just deteriorating with age. Sometimes this problem can originate with the service provider or the phone lines, not the phone system. One of our technicians can help you find the source of the issue, regardless of the cause.

Sign #2: Voicemails disappear or can’t be saved at all. Depending on the business phone system you are using, this might be because one of the voicemail settings has been changed or reset. If you aren’t sure how to determine if this is the cause, call our office. For phone systems we are familiar with, we can tell you how to reset your voicemail. If this fails to fix the problem, your office phone system may need repair or replacement.

Sign #3: Water or some other liquid has damaged the phone. It can be easy to accidentally spill something on your phone when it sits on your desk, and many minor spills won’t cause damage. However, if you do spill something and your phone starts to malfunction, unplug it from it’s jack and give it a chance to dry. If after drying and plugging your phone back into the jack your phone continues to not operate properly, one of our technicians can recommend what to do next.

Office Phone System Troubleshooting You Can Do

There are some issues that don’t require you to call a technician to come out. Here are a few things you can try before determining your business phone system needs repair or replacement:

  • Interference from an alarm system can sometimes cause you to not hear a dial tone. This can often be fixed by disconnecting your alarm system for a few seconds and then reconnecting it. If this doesn’t fix the issue, then the alarm system is probably not the reason your phone is “dead” and you should call a technician.
  • Hearing static on the line? If you are using a cordless phone, the batteries may just need to be replaced or charged. Give it some fresh juice and see if that solves the problem. If that doesn’t fix the issue, it is likely a hardware or phone line issue.
  • If you need to unplug your phone from its jack for any reason, use a sticky note or some other method to temporarily mark the jack. This eliminates the guess work when it comes time to plug your phone back in.
  • If every telephone extension on your system is “dead,” check to see that your PBX/KSU is plugged into an outlet that is providing power. A circuit may have been blown, a battery backup may have failed, or there may simply be a loose connection.

What Kind of Maintenance Do Business Phone Systems Need?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Small Business Phone Systems | 0 comments

What Kind of Maintenance Do Business Phone Systems Need?

Ever called a business only to receive an error message, such as “This line has been disconnected?” If you have, that business’s phone system may just have been on the fritz, but chances are you didn’t try calling again. Don’t let that happen to your business. To ensure your business phone system can continue to serve you, keep up with its maintenance — doing so will save your company time and money, both in repair costs and in lost employee productivity.

These are a few of the common maintenance needs your business phone system may be overdue for.

Cables need replacing: Sometimes a damaged cable can compromise call quality and cause other problems with phone systems. But damage isn’t always the reason to replace cabling. Older cables can begin to falter at the end of their useful lifespan, or they may just be obsolete and not as compatible with your newer equipment.

Catching repair needs early: Report problems to your system provider as soon as they are noticed. Sometimes equipment can be damaged or misaligned, but can be fixed quickly when caught early. Stewart Telecommunications customers can call 707-442-1123 if they are experiencing problems with their phone system.

Program errors: When your small business phone system is giving you an error message or isn’t acting like it should, don’t wait to call this into your system provider either.

Phone extensions need to be added or removed: Whether you’ve brought on new employees or had some leave, you should keep only the phone extensions you need active. Others can either be disconnected or redirected. You should also replace your in-house phone directory when you make these changes.

Voicemail updates: Just as when employees begin work or leave, updating the voicemail system is vital. If you don’t remember how to program a new message, call your system provider.

Phone line needs to be moved: Promoted an employee and now she gets her own office? She doesn’t have to change extensions — phone lines can be moved or extensions changed depending on what your organization needs.

Power surges: Keep your phone system’s power cord(s) plugged into a surge protector that is equipped with Automatic Voltage Regulation to reduce the risk of both power surge and brown out damage. Equipment that has experienced electrical trauma often needs to be replaced.

Business Phone System Failure: Older small business phone systems are more prone to failure due to incompatibility with newer equipment or merely old age, but you can reduce the risk of system failure by upgrading the system before it falters. Another key to preventing this worst-case scenario is keeping up on recommended maintenance.

Is your business in need of an updated phone system? Call Stewart Telecommunications for a free consultation at 707-442-1123.

Your New Office Phone System is Installed — Now What?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Small Business Phone Systems | 0 comments

Your New Office Phone System is Installed — Now What?

Having a new office phone system installed can make your business more efficient and productive. Once the system has been installed, our service technicians will show you how to use your new phones and how to make the most of this new asset for your business.

To make sure your office is ready to take advantage of the technology, it’s best to prepare for success. Here are a few actions you can take to make the transition go smoothly for your business.

Set up voicemails — When customers or prospects call your business and no one is currently available, they need to be able to leave a message and know it was received by the right person or department. Set up the voicemails for each phone line with accurate information; callers should know what business they have called as well as what desk or department.

For some business phone lines, it is appropriate to provide the answers to common questions, such as your business’s hours of operation or physical address. Just remember to change the voicemail later if this information changes. Keep the information on how to change your voicemail in a convenient location so you can make changes if need be. If you forget how to change your voicemail message, give us a call and we can walk you through the process.

Update directory – For business phone systems with multiple phone lines, having a directory can be vital to providing someone the right information or quickly getting in touch with a particular person. If your new office phone system added extensions or made any changes, update the phone directory immediately and send a copy of the new version to all employees. This will ensure everyone has the information they need to stay connected.

Even if your new business phone system won’t be adding or changing any extensions, it may be time to update your employee or department directory anyway. If your current directory has several extensions or names added or crossed out, the installation of your new phone system is an excellent excuse to update the list.

Train employees – Your new phone system won’t be much use if your employees don’t know how to use it. After the system is installed, we can show you how to transfer calls, set the time and date, adjust voicemail settings and how to complete any other functions your business requires.

Employees who don’t receive this training directly from us should be caught up to speed on any functions they will need to know. Have another knowledgeable employee show them how to use the system or have a mass demonstration for several employees. It s shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes for a quick demonstration. You may also consider typing up the instructions for common functions and send a copy to your staff.

Your new office phone system can add to the value of your business and ensure it is in a position to grow, especially if you correctly set up voicemails on each line immediately, update your directory and train your employees to use the system properly.

Ensure Your Small Business Phone System Works Before the Holidays Arrive

Posted by on Dec 5, 2012 in Small Business Phone Systems | 0 comments

Ensure Your Small Business Phone System Works Before the Holidays Arrive

The holiday season is often when your business phone system gets put under the most strain. Even if you aren’t a retailer, many people try to work in service calls and other needs or your employees may have to make more outgoing calls than the rest of the year to reach their quotas. Your business phone system needs to be able to handle the increased incoming and outgoing calls without losing business.

How do you ensure your small business phone system is up to the task? There are a few signs that can help you determine its status.

  1. Can your current phone system handle an increased number of incoming and outgoing calls? It may serve you well during the slower seasons, but is your phone system able to keep up during the busy season, too? Much like the power companies, they must design the electrical grid to handle the largest power pulls, not just the average power usage.

  2. When you are on the line, do you sometimes hear clicking or static sounds during winter? This may mean the phone unit itself, the phone system or some of the wiring is failing, or that adverse weather conditions are affecting your service.

  3. Is your business phone system scalable? It is often wise to plan for your business to expand, so you need to have room to grow. If you are nearing your system’s capacity, it may be time to upgrade.

  4. Do calls get dropped for no apparent reason or do voice mail messages disappear (or never get saved)? These basic functions need to work for your company to succeed.

  5. How often do you need to make service calls for your phone system? When you are taking time and money to call for service repairs regularly, consider the annual cost of fixing an ever-failing phone system versus installing a new system. It’s not as expensive as you think when you pick the right provider and system.

  6. Are your current phone services cutting into your holiday profits? Many of our clients save hundreds of dollars or more on the monthly costs for their phone bill when they upgrade.

  7. Is your phone system able to support VoIP business solutions and is it compatible with your newer networking equipment?

This year’s holiday sales are expected to increase 4.1% nationwide over 2011 sales figures, according to the National Retail Federation. Is your business phone system ready? If not, or you aren’t sure, you can contact us for a no-obligation assessment of your current system and a quote for a new installation if your current system is obsolete.