RCN Hosted Voice Review

Sidecars allows us to distribute calls to people, but the voicemail system is confusing


What is our primary use case?

We use the system as our main office phones for receiving calls and distributing them to staff members at their desks.

How has it helped my organization?

I don't know if the system has really improved anything, but it has maintained some of our capabilities and functionalities in the way that we receive calls and distribute them to the relevant staff members.

In terms of packet loss, I don't think I've personally experienced anything like that. There haven't been any dropped calls that I can report.

What is most valuable?

The sidecars on the main phones that we use, the ones that receive the calls, are really important. They help us to distribute calls to people, from reception. That's an important starting point for us.

What needs improvement?

I use the voicemail transcription feature on my phone and I think all staff members do. We also have voicemails that we receive from our main number and that can be really confusing. It's something that I've recently had some problems with: The way that these calls are bounced around from line to line before they land in a specific voicemail box that we have to check. I had to call and was on the phone with someone from RCN for almost an hour, just trying to explain how I needed a copy of these voicemails to go to my email. It was really difficult to parse through all of the technical features to find where these voicemails were landing, from what line, and how to get myself added to that.

Some of the technical aspects of the using the sidecars can be really confusing. It's apparently on us to update the sidecars on the main phones that we use. We have so much staff turnover. Apparently, we'll have to go in and add each person and change the name on every single button, every time we add a new person or change a name. That would certainly be some room for improvement: the editing of the names on the sidecars.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't really had to change any of the functions that we've got. I haven't really had to gauge the scalability at all.

How is customer service and technical support?

From the perspective of placing work orders, support is really good. The business services Tier 2, for the simple technical issues we have, are always really quick to respond. When it comes to simple things, it's very good. It's always prompt and it's done by email. It's usually really simple.

It certainly doesn't hurt that their customer service is US-based and within the markets.

But when it's complicated issues, it's noticeably different. It's like having to "translate" between languages. I have to describe the capability that I'm looking for many times to either a tech or a person in sales. They will try to come up with a solution that really doesn't cover what we want or need. There's quite a bit of back and forth and it feels like you have to speak multiple languages and explain it more than once to explain something as simple as, for example, "I need a copy of each voicemail message in my email."

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really complex. We had some problems with distributing the calls when these phones were first installed. We went through a few different types of phones that we were using at reception. I don't fully understand why, but we had gotten used to using one phone and then, a few months later, we had to switch it to something else. It was not very straightforward when they were first installed.

We were having failed transfers with some of the phones for three or four months after they were first installed. I don't know if that's part of the normal install process.

I wasn't involved in the implementation strategy. We got these RCN phones when we moved and we just explained all of the functions that we liked and needed from our old ones that we wanted to keep for our new ones.

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with RCN.

What other advice do I have?

Be flexible because things don't always turn out as you might think they should, at the beginning.

In terms of uptime of the system, it does pretty well now. I haven't seen any bigger problems lately. We have around 70 to 75 daily users of the phones and there are at least four or five people who are answering the reception phone. We have three or four people who take care of the system's maintenance. The system is used daily, throughout the week. As far as I know, there aren't really any plans to increase usage, other than potentially adding a few phone lines.

Regarding the automatic upgrades, I don't really see them happen. If they're happening automatically, then it seems that they're working.

I would rate the system at six out of ten. We had a lot of problems with the install, with the initial rolling out and using of the system. This was despite the fact that my predecessor had many meetings with a representative about the capabilities and functionalities we were used to and wanted, none of which seemed like they were very complicated. That was really frustrating. 

In the meantime, the daily functioning of the phones is fine. The business services Tier 2, the email service that we use for the smaller, quicker technical things, is always really prompt and usually very helpful. But again, some of the more complicated things can feel like a nightmare.

To get to a perfect 10 they need to work on listening to what the customers want, and not necessarily from a technical perspective. They need to understand not just the technical aspect of what the phones do, but the reality of what it's like using them.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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