You asked and we answered. Below are our top frequently asked questions regarding interactive voice response offerings (IVRs), including the benefits of using a VoIP (Voice over IP/Cloud) phone system.
Q: What are the different types of internet (broadband) connections?
A: There are three types of business-grade broadband connections: DSL (digital subscriber line), cable and fiber.
1) DSL (oldest and least reliable)
- DSL uses your local telephone lines (the same technology as dial-up internet) to transmit data at a higher-frequency band than those used for phone calls.
- DSL tends to be the slowest option of the three types of connections. It has higher latency (delay) and lower bandwidth (speed capacity) than cable. Plus, the speeds vary depending on your distance from the provider’s local office.
- DSL service is prone to reliability issues caused by storm damage. This is due to older wiring technology, which is being phased out.
2) Cable (most common and economic)
- Cable internet utilizes coaxial cables, which are the same kind of cables that deliver television data to a TV.
- Cable customers benefit from faster speeds than DSL and may even pay less (especially if bundling in a package with phone service).
- Cable is the most preferred and flexible option in the pharmacy industry, especially if fiber is not available or is too expensive.
3) Fiber (best option when available)
- Fiber-optic internet is the newest broadband option and has the greatest reliability and speed. It is growing in availability and popularity.
- This type of broadband internet uses glass fibers to transmit data and is typically the priciest broadband internet option because it is also the fastest (often reaching speeds up to 1 Gbps).
- Fiber internet connections are becoming more prevalent and affordable but are not available everywhere yet.
Q: What are the advantages of using a VoIP phone system?
A: There are many advantages of using a VoIP phone system, which include the following:
- Cost saving. VoIP phone systems utilize virtual call (voice) paths instead of phone lines. Because they are virtual, call paths typically cost less than physical phone lines. Another cost-saving factor is that VoIP phone systems are billed by a single provider although they are actually providing two services:
- Telephone service provider (carrier that provides dial tone)
- Phone system provider (company that provides phone system and phones)
- Easier install. VoIP is easier to install, configure and maintain. This is because it utilizes the same network protocol and wiring as your computers, modems/routers and network switches. Therefore, changes and support can quickly be made using a remote configuration portal rather than an on-site technician.
- Disaster recovery and failover. With a hosted VoIP phone system, calls will continue to be answered even if your phones are down due to no power. Instead of sending the calls to your non-working phones (no power), calls can be routed to another location or phone number (i.e., a mobile number). This is all possible because the phone service is hosted in the cloud. Furthermore, you can update your pharmacy greeting to reflect that the pharmacy is closed or update your hours in dire situations.
- More call features. VoIP allows for greater flexibility, and a range of call features are included without paying more (e.g., call routing, music on hold, hunt groups (roll-over), conference calling, find me/follow me, phone menus, voicemail to email and much more).
- Ability to change call capacity. Need to change the capacity or the number of concurrent calls that are able to come in? No problem. With the push of a button, VoIP allows you to increase the number of call paths instead of having to wait for a technician to come and install extra phone lines, which are required by traditional phone systems.
Q: Are there any reasons that a VoIP phone system may not be advantageous?
A: Although a VoIP phone system is typically advantageous, there are a few scenarios in which a VoIP phone system may not be a good fit.
If the pharmacy does not have a reliable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth, it may experience any of the following issues:
- Dropped calls
- Poor Audio Quality / Echo
- Latency / Delay during call
Also, switching to a VoIP phone system may not be possible if there are any technical or internal limitations. Because VoIP phone systems require an internet-based configuration, other factors may prevent the pharmacy from changing its telecom infrastructure. For example, the pharmacy may be sharing its telecom with another business or larger organization, so it may not be feasible to rewire the pharmacy or the organization may not support VoIP.
Furthermore, if the pharmacy is already under contract with its phone company provider, has a package that offers promotional pricing and is happy with the current provider, it may make sense for the pharmacy to keep the existing configuration.
Q: What are the minimum requirements to use the Digital Pharmacist IVR?
A: There are four requirements to utilize and optimize our current technology:
- You will need at least three phone lines. More lines may be required, depending on your call volume and configuration.
- Your phone service or phone system must be able to forward/route multiple concurrent calls (called multipath forwarding).
- The pharmacy must provide a Windows machine (Windows 7 or later) in order for the IVR system to integrate with the pharmacy management system. Our Digital Pharmacist Implementation Team will also require remote access and administrator privileges on the machine the IVR software will be installed on.
- Your pharmacy management system must activate the IVR interface for refills to pass to the pharmacy’s refill queue.
If you have any questions regarding your IVR, give us a call at (877) 959-7550 or email us at [email protected].