Small Businesses Get Customer-Service Help from the Cloud – M5 Networks Launches Live Answer Service Metric

M5 Networks, Inc.What is the name of your business and URL?

M5 Networks (www.m5.net)

A brief synopsis of Live Answer Service Metric:

Live Answer Service Metric is a KPI (Key Performance indicator), allowing M5 customers to measure how often their staff are picking up their phones as opposed to letting calls going to voicemail.

This metric was once only available to advanced contact centers is now available to the entire enterprise.

Why did you start this company?

Our group of five founders was running a different software company and needed a voice solution that was reliable and flexible enough to fit their needs. After a lot of research and some false starts, they decided that the perfect solution was simply not available. This led to the realization that there had to be a better way and that there was certainly an available market for a team that could do it well.

Was your company started on a shoestring budget or funded?

Shoestring budget with funding from our founders, their families, and friends.

Who is your competition, and what do you do better?

There are two different types of competition: (1) on-premise PBX systems and (2) other hosted solutions. Our solution is superior to on-premise PBX systems because of the flexibility and power offered by cloud computing. The M5 cloud-based business phone solution is both hosted and managed. This means that customers do not need to house the phone system in a closet on-site, but instead, the system is located in secure data centers, and M5 takes responsibility for owning, configuring and managing it. M5 customers connect to the system through private connections for the best call quality and reliability.

There are other hosted providers in the market. Unlike these competitors, M5:

  • Responds quickly to our customers’ needs with the latest communication technology by leveraging the flexibility and power of our own software platform
  • Realizes the importance of the applications that already run the business. We have built “M5 Connect” to deliver insightful data to and from your CRM, ERP and ATS Systems
  • Commits to a proactive service experience designed to take care of all users (employees and customers). M5′s products, tools, and people will ensure that the move to the cloud is seamless and clients will fall in love with our phone system.

Why would a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc. use your product?

M5 Networks is committed to providing an outstanding customer experience that encompasses everything from installation to the quality of phone calls and interaction with the customer support team. At a time when most companies are making it more difficult to reach a live person for customer support, M5 remains committed to a fully managed solution. M5 Help makes it easy to interact with a customer support expert. If clients have an issue or a question, a simple press of the “?” key on the desktop telephone will directly connect them to a support engineer. If they want to know how to use a specific feature or how to use VoIP to improve operations, they just ask.

How could you effectively use these tools?

Most businesses claim they provide great service, but if they are not measuring their live answer percentage how do they really know.

You can manage what you don’t measure and M5 Network’s simple service metric gives all businesses a sense of how they are servicing their clients. If all your customers get a voicemail, how good can your service experience be?

Having access to this information allows the business to adjust staff to ensure they have enough people manning the phones.

This information can identify individuals who need to be accessible but are not using the tools like personalized call routing.

A short bio of your company:

M5 Networks, the market leader in business phone systems, is redefining what a business phone system can do by offering a wide range of solutions for all types of businesses and needs. From managing a sales force to a call center, M5 Networks’ client-focused, cloud-based solutions allow businesses to work the way they want to, while connecting them to their customers and integrating their business-critical applications. Headquartered in New York City, industry-award winning M5 Networks pioneered hosted VoIP in 2000 and today provides more than 2,000 companies with enterprise-class phone systems. For more information, please visit www.m5.net.

Do you offer free online or offline tools?

We don’t offer any free tools other than those made available to clients.

Are there different pricing levels?

Pricing is based on the type of connectivity, number of profiles (telephones), and the add-on features required. Add-on features include M5 Connect application integration, M5 Scribe voicemail to e-mail transcription, M5 Callfinity Contact Center, call recording, and others.

Do you have a blog that keeps users updated?

Yes, we have a very active blog that we try to make it informative and fun: http://www.m5.net/voice/

Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or ? Provide exact URL of each

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/M5Net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M5.Networks

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/m5-networks

How long have you been in business?

Since May 2000.

Number of current users? Estimated yearly growth?

We currently have more than 2,000 clients. We grew 81% between 2009 and 2010 and expect to grow 65% between 2010 and 2011.

How do you see your company in the next 2-5 years (more products or services?)

The landscape of business communications is changing rapidly. Workers are increasingly mobile and rely more and more on devices such as smart phones and tablets that may or may not be property of the company. M5 will keep up with this change and to provide people the flexibility to work where they want and how they want without sacrificing the control and analytics necessary to run the business. We will also focus on new business communication trends such as SMS (text messaging) and video.

How many employees do you currently have working with you and/or freelance contractors?

212

Are you looking to hire more people or contractors? If so, what positions and skills are you looking for?

We plan to add 100 employees this year mostly in sales and engineering.

What other web-based products would you recommend to entrepreneurs, business owners, or freelancers?

There are a few products that we love. Salesforce.com is one of the key systems we use to run all aspects of our business. Although the cost is not trivial, we think it is well worth it even for smaller companies.

We also use DropBox for sharing large files and SlideRocket for sharing our presentations with clients and prospective customers. Viemo is terrific for sharing video.

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