By Martha Chinnock
If you are planning on going skiing at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, you had better get a weather report before heading out on the slopes. By calling the ski report number, skiers can hear a message to find out the local weather, what runs and lifts are open, and how the slopes are looking for the day. If you desire, you can push a button and be connected with reservations. These features help keep the ski resort employees free from answering the same question over and over, and gives the callers exact information about the mountain. The owners of Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort have chosen to use Central Telemessaging’s VM III voicemail system to complete this task for them. Mt. Bachelor’s calls average about 100,000 minutes a month of time spent in voice mail that free up their employees to be productive in other ways.
CadCom Telesystems VM III is a full featured voice mail system that offers call screening, v-trees, multiple timed greetings, auto attendant, auto answer, and much more. Running on a Windows NT platform, VM III can interface with T-1, DID, and ISDN-PRI lines.
Providing DID numbers to his voice mail customers helps Ron Schlossberg, owner of Advance Communications, win many accounts. “We are in competition with the phone company for voice mail customers; however, they do not offer a telephone number to go with the voice mail box. We can offer to someone who simply wants a mailbox, and no live operator option, a number that his or her business line can be forwarded to. In fact, we will let them use the number for their business and let them advertise it in the yellow pages. Also, we can charge a significant amount more than the phone company can because they are not giving them a separate number. This works well for those individuals who do not want to receive business calls at home.”
Ron Schlossberg believes that voice mail is a real money-maker. “We know that it makes us competitive with other telephone answering services. If you are not using its many features, you are really missing out on profitable opportunities.”
Voice mail allows for call screening mailboxes that let its users record a message or greeting to be played for callers. This mailbox can be set up to tree to other mailboxes, or allow the user to leave a message.
Charlie Webb of Hirons and Co. has a lot of customers that use v-trees for their menu options. Right now, most of his customer base is medical groups, real-estate agencies, and property management. “A lot of our customers use multiple boxes for after hours calls. When the caller reaches the voice mail box, they are presented with an option–press one for sales, two for manufacturing, etc. This is also where they can press seven for an operator revert.”
Call screening is another important application that owners of telephone answering services want. Kay Mills, owner of Professional Communication Services, knows that this option helps save her operators time and allows them to spend their time more efficiently and profitably. Two-thirds to three-fourths of all medical calls are taken care of in voice mail. “I allow my customers to have a voice mail box that gives the users the hours of the office and the option to revert to an operator in an emergency situation.”
Mark Brown, owner of Venture Communications, uses the notification features to provide extra benefits to his medical suites. “One of our medical suite customers has different on-call doctors every night. The same pager is passed between the on-call doctors. Because of the stamp I can put out with the notification feature, I can constantly have the DID number and password the doctor needs to access their voice mail. This saves time for the doctors because when they are notified, all the information they need is right there.”
These applications are also beneficial to office suites, apartment complexes, and just about any other business that is not manned 24 hours a day. Sam Carpenter, owner of Central Telemessaging, uses grouping capabilities to enhance the usability of voice mail for his clients. Most of his clients are real-estate agencies, and he groups all agents from one agency together. This allows for group messages to go to everyone in the group and allows for a dial by name directory for the agents. “The flexibility we give to our customers is incredible. When I have forty or fifty mailboxes that can be grouped together to send messages to each other, it is really important. These are the kind of accounts that stay with me for years and years.”
Mark Brown, who is also a vendor of other voice mail systems, uses VM III to fulfill the needs of small companies with simulated in-house voice mail applications. “If a user wanted the basic, lowest level two-port voice mail system, it would cost them at least $2,500. I can give them all separate mailboxes, v-trees, custom busy greetings, and scheduling options, all for smaller fees per month. This simulates an in-house voice mail system.”
VM III can operate as a stand-alone single solution provider for all of your messaging needs. Not only does it perform all basic functions of a voice mail system; it has incredible faxing options that allow for faxes to be stored in a voice mail box for later retrieval. Also, messages and faxes can be retrieved, stored and manipulated using a desktop PC, VM III Messenger and a LAN.
To learn more, call 800-422-3366 or visit www.onvisource.com.
[From Connection Magazine – May 2000]