MagicJack VocalTec, the company best known for its voice over IP (VoIP) phone service that plugs into a PC using a USB MagicJack adapter, has jumped into business communications. The company opened a new subsidiary—based in Alpharetta, Ga.—fittingly named MagicJack for Business.
The company designed a new suite of services for companies that want to project a more professional image, at least when it comes to voice communications. The first offering,
MagicJack for Business Home & Office is designed for, as the name suggests, small office/home office (SOHO) settings. According to Keith Reed, senior vice president and general manager at MagicJack for Business, this plan stuffs a lot of functionality into an affordable package (a Premium plan for growing companies is in the works).
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After becoming an established name and achieving success in the consumer VoIP market—with 2.3 million customers and counting—MagicJack turned its attention to the voice calling needs of small businesses. "It's a generally underserved market from a quality, price, and service standpoint," Reed told Small Business Computing.
So Reed and his team of 30-plus specialists got to work on the Home & Office product, which launched this past June. MagicJack invested heavily in research and development to determine the needs of businesses and to "make sure we got the right feature set."
Prior tech acquisitions gave those efforts a boost. First came MagicJack's merger with VocalTec which provided softphone, softswitch, and application server technologies for managing voice communications. Then the company acquired Broadsmart, a cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provider for $40 million. Specializing in multi-location VoIP services for midsized and large companies, Broadsmart brings the expertise, technology, and rock-solid reliability that businesses of all sizes demand from their phone systems, Reed said.
Ringing Up Reliability and Customer Care
Poor call quality, dropped connections—or worse, phones that never ring—are off-putting at best and deal-killing at worst. MagicJack's history of acquisitions is just one sign of the company's commitment to bring enterprise-grade voice communications to businesses of all sizes and stripes. In fact, Reed acknowledged that his company's own customer care center actually runs on some of Broadsmart's technology.
MagicJack for Business offers 99.99 percent uptime, or "four nines" in techie parlance. At worst, customers may suffer a mere 1 minute per week of downtime, give or take, of the 10,080 minutes that make up a week. It's a high-availability rating that Reed said his company strives to improve, perhaps reaching the "five nines" territory.
If and when customers need their questions answered or if they encounter an issue, Reed said that MagicJack for Business provides live, U.S.-based customer support specialists to help, 24/7. For do-it-yourself types, the service's customer portal blends modern and intuitive user experience with powerful tools to set up and manage the service.
"Seventy-four percent of small businesses handle their own IT, and telecom can be a really complex animal for a lot people, so we're trying to solve that," Reed said. "We're focused on the customer experience."
Customers can use MagicJack for Business to get a new phone number or they can port an existing one. The company claims that the IP phone installation process takes only minutes to complete, which helps small businesses get up and running quickly.
Simple, predictable online billing takes the guesswork out of what it costs to keep in touch with customers, co-workers, suppliers, and everyone else with a hand in running a small business. In terms of features, MagicJack for Business offers a free conference bridge, extension dialing, and—wait for it— music on hold, the telltale sign that callers have reached a serious business.
MagicJack for Business also does away with restrictive contracts. Customers can add, remove, and reassign lines based on a whim or as their needs change or grow. The base price of $14.99 per month includes unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, voicemail, e911 service, call forwarding, and a host of other business-centric capabilities. You can purchase additional lines for $9.99 per month.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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