Business Communications A to Z: First in a Series

    What's in a name? Sometimes, a lot of confusion.

    If a name is an acronym (like VoIP or IVR or DoS) and you're not familiar with the term, learning about today's business communication systems can be frustrating. Acronyms and industry terms encapsulate critical, sometimes complicated concepts into an abbreviated shorthand; if you don't know the language, having a knowledgeable conversation or reading a white paper can be tricky.

    ShoreTel to the rescue. We're all about simplifying your UC (that's unified communications) experience. We've created a business communications glossary that can give you the ABCs of VoIP UC, PDQ.

    This blog is the first of a series that will give you an insider's view of business communications jargon. We begin with a short statement (with key phrases underlined) and then translate it with help from our downloadable Business Communications A to Z:  A Helpful Compendium Of Unified Communications & IP Telephony Terms, Acronyms & Phrases.

    This statement starts both at the beginning of UC and at the beginning of the alphabet, with a focus on the As:

    Delivering an A+ in Customer Relations
    The development of ATM ushered in the era of VoIP. With the advent of improved availability and advanced software, customers received better responses and service through automated attendant, ACD and ANI-- and businesses benefited from fewer abandoned calls.


    The development of Asynchronous Transfer Mode, a type of wide-area network circuit that transmits data in packets of a fixed size, ushered in the era of "Voice over Internet Protocol," (phone service provided over the Internet) because ATM made data performance predictable and manageable.

    With this advance, savvy engineers and entrepreneurs designed new approaches to business communication systems from the ground up. One benefit of their "start with a clean sheet" approach was vastly improved system availability, measured in a metric based on the probability of hardware failure. For example, ShoreTel's unique system architecture brings availability to a 99.999% ("five nines") performance rate--that's a single, one-hour hardware failure every ten years.

    Concurrent VoIP software development has expanded the sophistication of communication solution features. Companies now commonly use automated attendants, a customizable way for an organization to quickly route incoming calls to their destinations, ensuring calls are always answered effectively while keeping administrative headcounts low. Automatic Call Distribution, a related feature found in high-volume contact centers, routes incoming calls to the appropriate call center customer service agents.

    Enterprise contact centers offer increasingly resourceful tools to ensure the highest possible customer experience. These tools (which can track customer history, preferences, orders and trouble tickets) hinge on Automatic Number Identification, a feature that allows the caller's phone number to be captured even if caller ID is blocked. When a call center agent can begin a call prepared with full customer background, that agent saves lots of time and can best anticipate a customer's need.  That speed of service leads to fewer abandoned calls, which are those disconnected by a customer while on hold and waiting for service, which greatly increases a company's contact center effectiveness.

    Get your own copy of Business Communications A to Z:  A Helpful Compendium Of Unified Communications & IP Telephony Terms, Acronyms & Phrases here.