In 2011, Bill Vogel, the Principal & Managing Broker of Vogel Advisors, found that his firm was outgrowing the TalkSwitch IP-PBX phone system it was using. His growing real estate business was in need of more advanced functionality than the on-site phone system could offer. He began his search for a replacement.
While researching his options, Bill decided to look into hosted business phone systems. Ultimately selecting OnSIP, it turned out to be a great decision for his business: "Our telephone costs were cut by approximately 50% when we found OnSIP."
In addition, he took advantage of the many enterprise calling features offered by a business VoIP service. These features enable his staff to work smarter, and his story provides an example of how a commercial real estate company can successfully implement hosted VoIP.
Vogel Advisors: Providing Experienced Real Estate Advice
Vogel Advisors is a commercial real estate firm located in Royal Oak, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. Bill and his staff of about 10 employees work with clients to acquire office space, as well as lease, sublease, and sell any current spaces that a client might own.
As with many growing firms, Vogel Advisors' portfolio of clients expanded over the years to include large, multinational corporations as well as nonprofits and SMBs. Bill employed new agents to handle the increased business and hired a few remote workers. These agents are constantly on the move, visiting client locations and office spaces, and perform much of their work on the road. The business's call volume also fluctuated constantly, and he needed a way to unite this mobile workforce while reinforcing his firm's professionalism.
All of these factors created new variables in his search for a phone system and ultimately led Bill to consider hosted VoIP. Hosted platforms easily unite geographically separated offices and employees, and provide a greater degree of flexibility when compared to in-house phone systems.
OnSIP's Flexible Pricing Options
Completing his due diligence, Bill researched a variety of cloud VoIP services. Today's platforms are quite powerful: cloud VoIP providers have begun to integrate other forms of communication beyond voice into their plans, including video chat, messaging, and texting. Known as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), these integrated platforms offer a wide variety of real-time communications features, integrations with leading CRM and helpdesk software, and pricing options.
Bill ultimately selected OnSIP because we offered a plan that was a good fit for his firm’s calling patterns. Our Pay-as-You-Go Plan allows customers to pay for their phone calls on a per-minute basis. For many businesses, it doesn't make financial sense to buy a phone plan that offers ‘unlimited’ calling: if you're not on the phone constantly, you're most likely spending more than you need to on your telephone bill.
In addition, the Pay-as-You-Go Plan doesn't charge per user, seat, or phone - an ideal fit for a company where employees need multiple phones (for example, a home office phone, a softphone app, and a regular desk phone) or an office that has phones in low-traffic areas (such as a lobby or kitchen phone).
“I reviewed multiple hosted PBX options, and OnSIP offered the most features and flexible plans for the money by far,” says Bill. By only paying for the calls that his business makes and the features that it uses, Bill was able to save over 50% on his monthly phone bill!
Cloud Phone System Features for Commercial Real Estate Firms
Real estate firms are expected to provide a high level of service to their clients. Business owners can rely on hosted VoIP services in their efforts to do so, and Bill’s story of how he implemented OnSIP provides great examples of how to use a hosted phone system for commercial real estate environments:
- Bill set up his company's business hour rules (BHR) so that calls received during regular business hours are answered by his in-house staff, while after-hours calls are forwarded to a professional answering service. This feature allows you to define where you want to route incoming phone calls during any time of the day - a smart way to ensure that an important call is never missed.
- Bill equipped each of his team members with the OnSIP app. Using the app, Bill’s staff can keep in touch with clients even if they are away from their desks. The phone is available for Chrome, Firefox, Mac, and Windows. The app can make and receive calls to and from the PSTN, as well as make video calls. The app also integrates with Zendesk and even displays a real-time call dashboard for call queues.
- For each of his phone users, Bill enabled voicemail-to-email. By automatically sending a voicemail message to an agent's email address, the feature has increased his team’s responsiveness to their clients. Messages can easily be reviewed by opening the email's attached .WAV file.
Other enterprise calling features provided by cloud VoIP can nicely address other needs of a real estate business:
- Keep track of incoming calls to a call queue with a real-time call dashboard. These dashboards provide critical information such as: phone statuses of individual agents, how many callers are waiting in the queue at any given time, and which caller has been waiting the longest. More advanced dashboards even allow you to listen or barge into a live call as needed.
- Set up a call group to efficiently distribute incoming calls to a team or department. Calls will be distributed among specified members of the call group based on a chosen ring strategy:
- Simultaneous Ring: All group members' phones will ring at the same time when an incoming call arrives. The first person to answer takes the calls.
- Hunt Group: Each group member's phone will ring in a pre-defined sequence until a person takes the call.
- Record calls as needed for legal or training purposes. Most VoIP providers offer call recording services, which allows managers to review conversations at a later time. Recordings are typically deposited in easy-to-access web portals.
Hosted Phone Systems: Lower Costs, Higher Productivity
In choosing OnSIP for his commercial real estate business, Bill dramatically reduced his telephone costs while equipping his employees with tools that help them in their day-to-day responsibilities. Using the OnSIP app and a few other resourceful features, his staff is able to quickly answer calls and stay in touch with clients even when they find themselves working away from their desks.
Considering a switch to hosted VoIP? Download our free guide on cloud phone system for commercial real estate firms by clicking on the button below!