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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - June 21, 2005

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

June 21, 2005

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today's edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest.

Today, we'll explore a major step Vonage is taking to boost its customer service efforts, and how that will affect you, the Vonage customer. We'll also look at why so many states, counties and cities would just love to pin a tax on your Vonage phone bill. We'll look a lively Vonage Voip Forum thread on what to do if a local "800" number blocks your Vonage call, tell you what it means if you hear a series of fast beeps when you pick up your Vonage-connected phone - and introduce you to a Forum Member who is looking for pointers in how to get his Vonage equipment to work with his laptop over sometimes-balky hotel room switchboards.

In The Headlines

Vonage Gearing Up For An Interesting New Support Service

On Monday, Vonage announced it would hook up with a customer-solutions platform vendor named Avaya to run some applications that should double the amount of customer service calls Vonage can handle daily.

The Avaya solution runs Avaya's Customer Interaction Suite, which is powered by Avaya Communication Manager IP Telephony software.

OK, we'll skip the corporate speak, and get to the part that will affect you, when you call Vonage tech support in search of a solution to a problem you are having (assuming you haven't also posted your problem t the Vonage Voip Forum).

This Customer Interaction Suite, reports several sources today, will let Vonage customer support agents start "buddy lists" of other agents who are online or reachable at the moment. This buddy list will have "presence" capabilities to detect when these folks are available, and be integrated with information about their area of expertise.

This means that if you speak to a Vonage tech, who is unable to resolve your problem, they will be able to almost instantaneously find someone with specific expertise in the issue that's causing you pain.

And, hopefully heal your pain, too.

Oh, How The Politicians Would Love To Tax Vonage Customers!

Very few of us outside government (and that's most of us) like to be taxed. I'd bet that a good number of Forum Members and readers would sign on the statement that at least some politicians never met a tax they didn't like.

But there is a counter-argument. Many if not most of us would disagree with it, but to combat that argument, we should realize where at least part of the momentum to tax Voip services comes from.

An article in today's (Tuesday) USA Today does a pretty objective job explaining why U.S. cities are quite freaked about the specter of losing tax revenue form traditional telephone services when some of their residents shift to mostly non-taxed Voip providers such as Vonage.

"Cities rely on the tax revenue generated (by telecoms) to provide critical services to their citizens," says Cheryl Leanza, an attorney for the National League of Cities. Taxes from local phone bills can account for as much as 21% of your phone bill each month, telecom analyst Scott Mackey adds.

Every time a customer switches from a local phone company to a service like Vonage, that could mean less money to run government services. At least that's the way that many governments see it. Whether or not government could be run more efficiently with fewer taxes, though - well, we know some places where that argument would be very valid. But we'll leave that for another discussion.

An speaking of discussions:

On The Vonage Voip Forum

On a new, but quite popular Vonage Voip Forum thread called blocks on local 800 numbers, Vonage Forum Member callisto kicks off the discussion with a frustrated account of his difficulties completing local toll-free numbers in the San Diego area. As several other members post in response, callisto could be encountering this problem because Vonage's national service does not recognize the "800" number's connectivity in the region where the service is based (New Jersey). Callisto writes that he tried to get around the issue by finding a local number to dial the business he was trying to reach, but the business did not want to reveal it. There are ways to find out a local number, but if it were me, well, that business takes your local check, right? I would consider switching to a business that will value your business enough to give you contact info you need to reach them.

In a thread called Pulsing Dialtone, Forum Member nuggetz1 asks what the series of "dialtone-like pulses" mean when he first picks up his Vonage-connected phone. I posted the answer: "you have messages, (and) you can check them online or over the phone."

I solved that problem: now here's one for you to solve. In a thread entitled Vonage On The Road-WINGATE Hotel (all-caps are the poster's), Forum Member and frequent business traveler themew describes his battle trying to get his Vonage setup to work with the phone system in the hotel he was staying. Late last night, fellow Forum Member scerruti posted some possible tips. We have a feeling this thread hits a nerve, and thus, will get lots of posts.

Maybe yours?

That's what's hot about Vonage today. Check with us tomorrow for the next edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest!!

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