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Reduced Support Availability – Storm Ophelia

Our office has lost power and communication lines due to storm Ophelia. This limits our ability to provide phone support. We recommend you contact us via email for any support requests.
We hope to restore full support ASAP. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Note that this does not affect the cloud phone service, only support services.

5 Top Tips: on Hiring Remote Freelance Workers


Freelancing is fast gaining momentum the world over for the convenience and flexibility it offers both parties: employer and freelancer. The hiring party gets to cast out its net over a wider pool of talent resource while saving on overheads and other obligations that a full-time or part-time employee might be entitled too such as health care benefits and holiday pay. Since freelancers are paid only on projects completed, companies make savings from not having to pay the freelancer an ongoing wage. For a company or an individual who has never hired a remote worker or maybe new to the hiring process, highlighted below are some useful pointers to set you down the right track.

 

  1. Knowing Where to Look.

 

Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular with freelancers because of the flexibility it offers. The elective work schedule, payment terms and job type are all incredibly attractive features that have seduced many a working professional to quit full time employment and jump aboard the freelancing train. Consequently, outsourcing talent to fit your job criteria has become much easier.

 

Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Craigslist and Freelancer.com are all great platforms that specialize in connecting employers with remote workers. These platforms attract freelancers from a broad spectrum offering web design and development to data entry and creative services.

 

  1. A Sizzling Job Post.

 

Attract the right sort of candidate with a well-crafted job post perfectly outlining your needs/expectations. Choose your words carefully, leaving the applicant in no doubt as to what your requirements are. This will save you time having to sift through proposals forwarded by no-goers.

 

Interviewing prospective freelancers is another integral part of the hiring process. The right interview questions pre-prepared will help make the selection process more efficient.

 

  1. Keep Communication Consistent.

 

Once you’ve found your man (or woman), it is important to maintain an open and constant line of communication with the freelancer. Make sure you are available to clarify/answer their questions as soon as you can so that workflow is not being compromised (many of the hiring platforms provide apps you can download on your phone which helps staying in touch with your freelancer a lot easier).

 

Furnish the freelancer with concise instructions or a briefing that clearly highlights job requirement, deadline, document links etc. Being organised from getgo will help your remote worker stay on the ball. It also helps avoid unnecessary misunderstandings or delays to the completion of the project.

 

  1. What’s Your Budget.

 

It is important to make sure that the number of freelancers you hire is consistent with your budget. The best approach is to hire one or two freelancers initially and gradually up that number as the need arises. This will give you a chance to get your feet wet without overstretching your budget. Also, this approach will help you distinguish the doers and makers from the time wasters!

  1. You Get What You Pay For.

 

Quality in any form – goods, products, services – is never cheap. You’ll have a variety of freelancers offering to do the same task from £5 to £500. As an employer, it can be tricky to know how to strike the right balance between the price you agree to pay and the value you expect to get.

 

You may be tempted to save cash by hiring a freelancer charging a cut below the rest; but no matter the sweet talking proposal the chances are the work delivered will be lacking in quality, finesse, and depth. The advantage of hiring more experienced freelancers – who often charge more – is that they need less supervision, meet deadlines without having to be prompted and 9/10 times deliver high quality work (sometimes even exceeding expectations).

 

Companies have a lot to gain by outsourcing their excess workload to freelancers. The pros of compiling and using a list of competent freelancers on your books far outweigh the cons.  Enjoy a host of talented options, get the job done competently and quickly, and the best part…pay-as-you-go!

 

LazyPBX logoThis article is part of a series of ‘Top Tips’ to help our startup and small business customers succeed ©LazyPBX.
LazyPBX provides a simple cloud phone solution. With LazyPBX you can build a custom call management solution in just a few minutes. 

 

Enhanced Congestion Management – Never Miss A Call

We’ve now enhanced the service so you can get email alerts or collect a voicemail if your LazyPBX account is call congested.

Each account has a limited number of ‘channels’, at unexpectedly busy times these can max out. Previously callers would get a message with a default ‘lines busy’ message. Now we’ve revamped the inbound call handling and Number Block so you can customise the message played and trigger an email notification or voicemail. This means you will now know immediately if congestion hits and can quickly respond to and calls which don’t come through.

Here’s how it works.

We’ve added some new parameters to the Number Block called Overflow Message and Overflow Email. The overflow settings are used when the maximum line capacity is reached (inbound congestion).

You have 4 options with settings ;

  • If Overflow Message and Email are empty a default ‘lines busy’ message is played to the caller.
  • You can customise the congestion announcement by adding an Overflow Message of your own.
  • If you add an Overflow Email AND an Overflow Message a voicemail will be taken and sent to the email address.
  • If you set an Overflow Email only, then the default message is played and an email alert will be sent (ie. no voicemail collected).

Monitoring Congestion

Obviously email alerts and voicemails are a great way to be notified about congestion, but the best way to track congestion is on the Call Analytic page where it’s automatically graphed as Congestion – Inbound.

Reducing Congestion

If you find you have too much congestion overflow then you need to adjust your number of channels (call capacity).  You can increase line capacity from the menu Account > Supplements > Line Capacity.

 

 

 

New Divert Call feature block

 We have added a new feature block Divert Call to facilitate simple diverts.

Sometimes you just want a ‘quick divert’ and using the User Extension block can be overkill, to facilitate this we’ve added the Divert Call block.  The block is quick to configure, it only requires you add the phone number you will divert to. In this case illustrated below when the number +35312345679 is called the mobile phone configured in Call Divert block will ring.

 

More information can be found in the documentation here.

 

pay4phone.com on your card statements

pay4phone.com

New description on card transaction statement.

Please be aware of the following change on your card statements. When a charge is processed for lazyPBX the business name description that now appears on the card statement will be WWW.PAY4PHONE.COM.

Pay4phone.com is a business name of Red Squared Ltd, which provides the service LazyPBX.

 

Goodbye plans, hello Elastic Pricing…

Our first big change in 2017 is scrapping our regular plans (free,seed,grow) for Elastic Pricing, we are positive you will find this much more straigthforward. 

Customers told us choosing a ‘plan’ was not flexible enough so we’ve listened and moved to an elastic model. The concept is simple, you want more call handling capacity, you pay more – you need less, you pay less.  Everyone gets all the features and extensions are free.

We have also introduced optional free call bundles which makes managing your monthly costs more straightforward.

A good analogy is to imagine your phone system as a hardware unit which needs a telephone cable for each call in or out.  Adjusting capacity is like adding or removing cables, but the cables are virtually managed by dragging a slide bar in your browser. Note that call capacity is calls in and out, calls between extensions or the number of extensions you can have are not affected.

Changing your capacity is simple, you just slide ‘channels’ up or down and the price goes up or down.  Like this..

 

Here’s answers to some questions we think you might have:

I am on now plan x, what changes for my account ?

Nothing (unless you want to), you remain on your existing plan until you decide to switch.

How do I change to elastic pricing ?

There is a new page called ‘supplements’, select that from the main menu. Once you ‘apply changes’ on the call capacity page you will be on ‘elastic pricing’.

capacity_menu

How much does it cost ?

£4.99 per extra channel per month, the first channel is free.  When you adjust capacity the new price will be displayed. 

What exactly is a channel ?

An active call takes up one channel, however channels are measured separately for inbound and outbound calls (nice!). For example if you have capacity set to 2, then you can have 2 active calls in and 2 active calls out at the same time (4 calls). Note that call forwarding would fully use 1 channel as there is an inbound leg and an outbound leg.

How do I know how many channels I need ?

You need to predict what the maximum number of active calls will be at your busiest time, either inbound or outbound.  For example if you mainly receive calls and you expect to have 10 incoming calls at the same time then the capacity should be set to 10.  Note that calls that are on hold or waiting in a call queue will use up a channel.

Note that if your inbound channels are exceeding you will automatically get congestion graphing in call analytics.

congestion

How do I know how many channels I currently have ?

You can see this at the top right of the PBX manager.

current_channelsWhat call bundles are available and what are the costs

see our pricing page

 

28/09/2016 – Outage on number routing

Our carrier partner for UK numbering suffered an outage this morning from approximately 10am to 12am. This affected all calls inbound calls to the UK numbers we provide and some outbound calls were affected. This is a large operator using carrier grade equipment, outages are rare. The cause is currently under investigation a full report will be issued and we will pass on the findings.

We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.
We will post more details here when we have them.

Update 29/09/2016 – Carrier Incident Update (note this refers to the carrier infrastructure, not our infrastructure)

Total Length of outage2 hours 53 Minutes

“At approximately 08:45 on 28/09/2016 there were reports of significant issues within our voice infrastructure which resulted in the loss of services across multiple voice platforms, including our own Service Desk telephony solution which impacted our ability to receive calls from Customers or to proactively call out.

**Carrier** initiated troubleshooting activities and discovered that our Voice Session Border Controllers (SBC’s) could not perform the required lookup activities against one of our resilient lookup servers.

This server was not immediately removed from the pool as it was still accepting network traffic and overall looked to be responsive. However, the process that controls the lookup server was not responding.

As the lookup server was unavailable there was a resultant backlog of calls which caused our SBC’s to hit connection limits.

This was escalated to the 3rd line systems team who upon extensive diagnosis discovered the failed process within the lookup cluster and restarted the failed process, at which point the backlog cleared and normal service resumed.

We have escalated this software fault with our 3rd party software vendor and are working on monitoring improvements to allow us to detect and respond to this type of failure more efficiently in future.

We continue to monitor the environment. The incident will not be set to resolved until such time as we are satisfied with the responses of our software vendor, and **Carrier** have conducted a full architectural review.

Sincere apologies for the disruption this has caused you.”

New User Extensions – includes VoIP support with dialing out.

We’ve replaced the old Extensions Block with “User Extensions”. Our goal was to make Extensions re-usable and add support for attaching VoIP desk phones (yes, you can now make calls directly from your PBX phone).

Each User Extension features:

  • A three digit extension code which can be used for in-call transfer or calls between extensions.
  • A VoIP line to which a SIP compatible desk phone may be attached for making and receiving calls.
  • A Phone line which is used to answer calls on regular phones such as a mobile or landline (call transfer is supported but you can’t originate calls).
  • Personal Voicemail which is delivered any email address.

There’s no need to make any changes to your current configuration, existing Extension Blocks will continue to work. However the process for adding new Extensions has changed.  See the user guide for getting started with User Extensions here.

User Extensions are easy to use. Simply add them, then drag them to the call flow on the canvas.

Adding User Extensions

Adding User Extensions

Coming with user extension is the ability to add a call whisper.  The call whisper feature allows users to answer calls in the most appropriate way.

Adding Call Whisper to a call

Read more about using User Extensions 

 

CallSwitch app now available on google play store.

CallSwitch app - remote control from your android phone

CallSwitch app now available on google play

The CallSwitch Android app is now available on google play.

With the CallSwitch app you can remotely switch a call path.

Imagine your office phone number needs to be quickly re-routed because the phone lines are down OR you have a single support number which routes to a staff member on call OR you change location for work irregularly… These are example scenario’s where CallSwitch is invaluable.

How it works ? – Simply build a CallSwitch into the ‘call flow’ at LazyPBX.com clound phone service, then switch the call routing on demand from your android phone.

You will need a lazypbx.com account to use the app.

  • Free, quick to install, no advertising.
  • Requires an account at lazypbx.com to work.
  • Simple configuration using QR code scan to attach the app to the cloud phone service.
  • App supports multiple ‘switches’

Get it at play store

Improved inline feedback for parameter settings….(may require a cache clear)

We’re constantly trying to make the graphical PBX manager more ‘user friendly’.  We’ve now replaced the old (rather technical) pop-up with some inline feedback on the parameter settings.  If you don’t see these or have problems with forms not validating please clear your browsers javascript cache.

feedback for incorrect parameter settings.

We’ve improved form feedback for incorrect parameter settings.