Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with RCN Hosted Voice.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
One area for improvement is the Web Portal. It's not a full-view screen, it's more like a minimized screen. You don't get the full view of your desktop. It's more like a five-inch by five-inch view. I think they said the software was designed that way. I don't know if there's going to be a newer version coming out later. With Google Chrome or if you open Excel you have the full view of your screen. You can see everything. With their portal, you have the web browser in the background in full view screen, but the actual portal itself is minimized, not a full screen That's the only issue that I asked them about it. Other than that, I think their calling features, settings, the voice to email, they're all okay.
The way that you listen to your voicemail messages through the receiver so that you can't fast forward or rewind - I don't like that at all. I listen to them all the time through the portal. In fact, if we didn't have the portal, I wouldn't like the phone system.
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.
I use the voicemail transcription feature but I'm not sure about the security of the voicemail system, as you can only use numbers for a password, and your direct-dial number is your username. That's kind of vulnerable to brute-force attacks. The passwords are limited to six digits, so I'd be a little concerned about security on that end, but I don't think anybody's really leaving too much personal information on their voicemails. My only complaint with RCN's service would be that I've had issues getting phones sent out that were good to go. I think it's just the particular rep I have assigned to me. One of them who did the on-site changeover was not really attentive and just wanted to get the heck out of here. It seems he also takes that kind of attitude when he originally sends me a phone. My workaround is that as soon as I get the phones from him, I just contact another guy at their tech support and he resolves my issues immediately. RCN as a whole is pretty good, but that one individual guy that I have isn't the best. Our strategy, as far as how it's deployed is that we have RCN supplying everything. It's split into two different modems; VoIP is on a secondary line for security reasons. All those VoIP lines are on their own switch, a dedicated network. Everything's hooked up to the wall rather than through a computer.
I'm not sure they can change it because it's the programming, but the Auto Attendant with the dialing in: We had to tweak our extensions because of the way the menu is set up. That's just their program, but I would say the flexibility in the dialing-in options could be improved. In our old system, you just dialed the extension directly. With this system, you have to put a "one" in front of it to trigger it. A lot of clients didn't know that and they'd keep trying to dial the old extension number and would get nowhere. So we had to tell people about dialing the "one" and some people thought that was the extension number so some people would dial two "ones". It's been a little confusing. We're dealing with it. It's not even a horrible aggravation, but it's the biggest stumbling block.
Wireless needs improvement. We have a manufacturing facility and the majority of the managers walk around with 2.4 gigahertz cordless phones and they have to walk, sometimes, throughout three different buildings. Of course, being 2.4, they lose reception in one of the three. We're still looking for the quintessential IP phone, the one phone that will actually be SIP-enabled and use the WiFi and be able to carry through the three buildings. We still have not found that phone yet. I'm sure it exists, we just haven't been introduced to it. At the time, five years ago, when RCN came in, they didn't have anything like that. I'm sure nowadays, they probably have something like that, I just haven't had the time to look into pricing something like that. But if I had a magic wand, I would say from the get-go: wireless SIP phones.
Because we are supposed to administer the phone system on our own, they gave us some training in the beginning. But if it's something you don't use a lot, you forget. It's a little bit more complex than just picking something up one day and knowing how to use it. If they had better ongoing-training options, for example, if they put something out on YouTube where you could just go and look for individual things that you need by looking at a video, that would be very helpful. Something that says, "Here's how you change people's extensions," or "Here's how you do this, here's how you do that."
The analytic part of it, the control panel, those are their biggest areas where they have to improve. There are competitors out there where, when you open the control panel, they have tons of analytics, the ability to add lines, to see which people are on the phone. I've gone through this with a bunch of people at RCN before. They have a great product, but they could make it outstanding with the right analytics and control panel. To do a call recording takes forever. In their control panel for administrators, like myself, who have to manage the system, it would be nice to have a feature where I could go on there, order a phone if I need one, get a line, and see which members of my team are online right now.
If they could improve on their response times, making them even faster than they are right now, that would be great.
It should be easier to set up new phone additions to the network. Also, while we certainly like the voicemail to email feature, it is not something we set out as a requirement of the systems we were looking at. It would be more user-friendly if the voicemail was transcribed into text, but the audio file works well.