Tips for an Effective Business Meeting and the Benefits
July 23rd, 2014
Meetings are a necessity in almost every industry and they provide a myriad of benefits for the participants. Some benefits are more obvious than others – the evident goal being to ensure alignment and clarify meaning through voice interaction, as opposed to spending numerous hours reading through email chains. When you need innovative concepts to come to a solution, a brainstorming meeting might be the key to success. One final obvious benefit is education. Meetings are often the best solution to educate individuals; questions can be asked and a more personal approach can be taken. Teleconferencing is a great option due to its ease of use and convenience for all parties involved, and flexibility in terms of location, timing, and the number of potential participants.
In addition, there are some less obvious benefits for meetings:
- Socialization – The brief socializing before and after the meeting can be an important factor for employee engagement and team building – especially when those involved work remotely and may not get the chance to speak to each other often.
- Awareness – As opposed to written communications, issues or risks associated with a plan or solution are more likely to be brought up during a verbal dialogue.
- Development – Professional development occurs as individuals are challenged to speak up amongst their peers. This is where character, quick thinking, and communication skills are often developed.
Four tips to follow for a great meeting:
- Keep it short, simple, and to-the-point.
Consider how long the meeting will take and schedule that amount of time to stay on track. Keep everything short and to-the-point to ensure unnecessary banter and off-topic conversations.
- Create an agenda prior to the meeting.
This will help keep the meeting on track, as well as allow others to prepare and set expectations. A brief list of topics goes long way.
- Ensure accountability.
Ensure expectations and accountability by clarifying what’s expected of everyone before and after the meeting, particularly if this is a team effort. One easy way to do this is by taking meeting notes and capturing action items in bold along with the designated person for the task.
- Go virtual.
To increase convenience, more and more business are going virtual with VoIP conferencing. Phone conferencing is easy to use and is perfect for meetings between those in the company or outside customers, vendors, and more. Conferencing via telephone offers flexibility and convenience for all parties involved.
Learn more about the benefits of conferencing from VirtualPBX and how it can aid in an effective business meeting
Optimize the Way Your Business Operates with Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS)
June 12th, 2014
There are a variety of ways to track the progress of your business and create strong business opportunities. However, are you doing everything you can to ensure your business is successful?
Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS) is a tool that allows your employees to capture useful data from your callers, while offering the opportunity to uniquely answer calls. DNIS offers your business the ability to track and categorize the calls you receive so you can uniquely answer each individual call. From the moment your employees see the number from which the customer is calling, the employee can immediately address their needs. This enables you to create a more personalized experience for callers, whether they’re customers, clients, or potential partners while also saving time.
There are a myriad of options when setting up your DNIS telephone numbers:
- You can set up toll-free numbers that are specific to individual products.
- Have dedicated lines that can be created for multilingual customers.
- For larger clients, you are able to set up “VIP numbers” which directs them quickly to their destination.
- You can now monitor the frequency and volume of calls a specific sector of your business receives.
So how can you get started?
DNIS numbers include local, toll-free, and international numbers and are able to be added to your current VirtualPBX system at any time. Interested in seeing exactly how DNIS can benefit your business? Call VirtualPBX at 888.825.0800 ext. 2 to learn more.
Which VirtualPBX Plan
is Better for Me?
April 30th, 2014
With VirtualPBX, you’re not forced into a payment plan that doesn’t match your business. Most companies will find our flat rate plans will provide the most savings, and give the peace of mind that comes from knowing how much your bill will be each month, regardless of usage. Other businesses, usually those that don’t use the phone a lot, will benefit more from our usage based plans – why pay for unlimited use when your needs are low?
This is what most companies market as “unlimited”. There is never any such thing as “unlimited” in the telecom industry. Let’s just get this straight right up front. Carriers charge each other on a price per minute basis when they hand calls off to one another, so at some point in time that cost makes it down to the consumer. However, VirtualPBX doesn’t really push the “unlimited” as much as they push flat-rate. It’s a flat rate under normal business usage. Here’s what the flat-rate plan comes with:
- Anywhere from $39.99/mo down to $19.99/mo per user, depending on how many extensions are needed
- Unlimited free minutes for typical business use
- No charge for long distance any where in the continental US or Canada
- 1,000 minutes of toll-free included in every plan
- Most companies with typical phone use
- Employees who work in offices or home offices with broadband internet
Usage-based plans basically means you pay for only the minutes you use. This can be extremely useful if you don’t have that many inbound calls or make many outbound calls. You don’t need to pay a higher flat rate per extension because your overall usage is low compared to the average office.
- Prices start at just $9.99 per month
- Pay only for minutes used
- Unlimited users
- Same system features as the flat-rate plans because it’s the same system
- Toll-free is built into the plan minutes
- Companies with low phone use
- Employees on cell phones or land lines
Still not sure which plan is best for you? Not a problem. To help make it a little easier, we’ve put together a little calculator where you input the number of users that need an extension and the rough amount of minutes that they use each month for inbound and outbound calls.
Please click to learn more about the plan calculator.
So, bottom line is that VirtualPBX has the right plan for you. And even better is no matter which plan you choose, you can use the hardware VoIP phones with them, allowing you to cut all ties with your land line and traditional carriers. This could save you a lot of money. And that’s why VirtualPBX is doing what they’re doing.
Even More VirtualPBX Voice and Faxmail Features You Can Rely On
April 29th, 2014
Here at VirtualPBX, we understand how frustrating it can be to miss that important call you’ve been waiting for… so we’ve gone ahead and created the best features in the industry to ensure you never have to miss another phone call again. With our unique voice and fax messages options, receiving communications is more convenient than ever. You can get a voicemail or be alerted of a fax message awaiting your reply via email, pager, web, and even text message.
Aside from never-full mailboxes, centralized messaging, voicemail interrupt, and fax viewing options, below are even more benefits you receive when you choose a VirtualPBX business phone system.
- Personal greeting
Give your callers a distinctive greeting and allow your personality shine through. With a customized voicemail greeting, callers can hear your voice rather than a traditional recording.
- Phone, email, and web notifications
Depending on the nature of your business, it can be crucial to know when you have a new voicemail or fax message awaiting your reply. With the VirtualPBX system, you can be alerted via email notification, pager, web, or even through text messages sent directly to your cell phone.
- Phone, email, and web message delivery
Now you can retrieve your messages from almost anywhere. Get them via any touchtone telephone, routed to your email as .wav files, or from any computer with Internet access and speakers.
- Automatic callback
How many times have you wanted to return a call only to realize that the caller didn’t leave a phone number? With VirtualPBX, you can return a call to the number from which the message was left with one button – no manual phone number entry is necessary.
Call VirtualPBX at 1 (888) 825-0800 to learn more about our voice and faxmail options today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Never Miss Another Important Call with VirtualPBX Voice and Faxmail Options
April 16th, 2014
VirtualPBX prides itself on offering the top features in the industry. One feature that will prevent you from ever missing another important call again, even if you’re on the road, is our voice and fax messages feature. We understand the frustration of missing important phone calls and faxes, so we’ve done our best to ensure that you are connected to your clients, customers, employees, and partners at all times.
From never-full mailboxes, centralized messages, voicemail interrupt, and fax viewing options, we have our bases covered… do you? Check just a few of the benefits below when you use VirtualPBX.
- Never-full mailboxes
Tired of running out of room in your virtual mailbox? VirtualPBX offers the option to automatically open more message space for you when your mailbox becomes full. We move older messages out to make room for any new messages. Your old messages are archived for two weeks so you have plenty of time to recover them or choose to have the message file sent to your email which you can then save indefinitely.
- Centralized messaging
We understand the importance of having more than one phone with its own voicemail, especially when you’re running a business. Rather than searching through each voicemail separately to check your messages, we’ve developed a way to let you centralize all of your messages within a single system.
- Voicemail interrupt
Your VirtualPBX extensions can listen to callers in real-time as they leave a voicemail on your business phone system. You are able to pick up the call at any time, just as you can with a traditional home answering machine, by pressing the pound key.
- Fax viewing options
Get incoming faxes automatically, without the need for a fax machine – it will save you time and money. With VirtualPBX, faxes can be delivered as .pdf files via our web tool or through your email.
Learn more about our voice and faxmail options today. Call VirtualPBX at 1 (888) 825-0800. We look forward to hearing from you!
Preparing your phone system for a storm
November 1st, 2012
As an assist to clients affected by hurricane Sandy this week, we posted information about how to prepare for a big storm and keep communication flowing during the storm. We’re posting it here for reference, since winter is nearly upon us. We hope it will be helpful to any of you that may experience storms in the coming months.
There are some important things you can do to make sure your Virtual PBX phone system keeps your business connected during a storm. Virtual PBX systems are in a hardened co-location facility that is part of the national infrastructure. It has multiple sources of power and connection, coming in through different feeds, and is unlikely to be affected by any storm, no matter how severe. We’ll take your calls as long as the phone companies are still delivering them. The issue is making sure you have some place for us to send them.Whether you’re using our standard Virtual PBX Service or our disaster recovery product, PBX Parachute, we recommend that you do the following:
- Figure out which extensions in your system are the most important for uninterrupted phone calls. This may be all of your extensions.
- Talk with the extension owners for those extensions and get alternative phone numbers where they can be reached during the storm. Suggestions include cellular phones (many cell phones will work even if power is down), home phones if they are staying in town, or phone numbers of relatives they will visit if they are leaving the storm area.
- Change the Call Routing for each of these extensions to include the alternate phone numbers. If there is a specific number they want to be tried first, make that the “Default” number. You can exclude office phone numbers if you are sure the employees won’t be at their office phones.
- Be sure that employees know how to update their Call Routing list as things change. This can be done through any browser or from your smartphone via one of our free apps. Just download the Virtual PBX app from the iPhone App Store or Google Play. If your employees need to learn how to do this, they should run our short Extension Owner QuickStart training.
- Let all of your employees make sure they know how to reach someone in charge if things go wrong, whether it’s related to the phone system, or not. Most companies could benefit from an emergency contact list, that can be used to let people know what’s going on, status of the office, and information about other workers. The best way to do this is to decide which Virtual PBX extensions people should call.
Most important of all, please be safe. We sincerely hope that all goes well with your people, as well as your business. Our thoughts are with you.
The VirtualPBX Team
FREE iPhone and Android App from Virtual PBX
September 28th, 2012
Who doesn’t love free apps? If you have a smart phone, you love apps and there are a ton of them out there providing quick, easy and convenient ways to access nearly everything. And thanks to Virtual PBX, there is now a new free app for you to love.
Virtual PBX has released a helpful new application which breaks the mold in the Hosted PBX Market. Virtual PBX Extension Manager, the new free application for Apple iOS and android devices, makes it easy for Virtual PBX customers to have access to all of the most-used functions of their phone system, directly from their iPhones.
“We’re excited to introduce the first business extension management app with this advanced level of functionality for iPhone users,” said Paul Hammond, CEO of Virtual PBX. “As an iPhone user myself, I love to have the Virtual PBX features I use the most right at my fingertips, and I am certain our customers will appreciate it, too.”
Using a simple, intuitive interface users can manage extensions on multiple Virtual PBX accounts, mark their extensions as unavailable, and even redirect incoming business calls to any of up to four different phones. Virtual PBX’s free application also includes iPhone-based presence management, a feature exclusive to Virtual PBX.
The Virtual PBX Extension Manager App makes presence management available through the user’s phone, allowing them to log in and out of queues as needed. With the use of exclusive intelligent queue algorithms, Virtual PBX reduces caller hold times by not forcing calls to extensions where no one will answer. This means better efficiency for the customer and happier callers. And who doesn’t want happier callers? Have happier callers with the new free app from Virtual PBX.
Save Money with GeoRoute®
March 21st, 2012
Many companies are not taking full advantage of the advanced technology available in telecom today. When used, this technology can greatly improve operations, and help you to provide better customer service.
Virtual PBX® offers the most complete and sophisticated hosted solution available today. One great example of this is our unique GeoRoute® feature, which can forward calls automatically to the right employee, ACD queue, or business location before you even answer the phone – based on the location of the originating number.
Here is an example: Let’s say you want to have calls from the western United States go to one sales agent, and those from the eastern part of the country go to someone else. With GeoRoute from Virtual PBX, we’ll monitor the caller ID of incoming calls and automatically route the calls based on area code.
Want another example? Imagine a franchise operation that wants to publish one national toll-free number but wants calls automatically routed to the franchise closest to the caller. GeoRoute will direct incoming customer calls to the appropriate franchise based on the geographic boundaries you create. This way, you can make sure the right franchise gets the call with no human intervention. In addition, as the calls complete at the franchise locations, the franchise headquarters don’t incur any expense from these calls.
Furthermore, with GeoRoute, there is no need for a central receptionist, and call charges don’t start until you answer the call, so expenses stay low.
There are a number of ways to implement GeoRoute. You can route calls based on just the area code, the area code and exchange, or the entire number. In addition, you may route calls the following ways:
- Inside the answering system, transferring the call to an employee extension or ACD queue.
- To a completely different phone system, such as a remote branch office or a different business.
Our telecom expertise, combined with unmatched flexibility and excellent customer service, allow us to solve your call routing challenges to help you build business and save money.
Save Money and Increase Productivity with SelectRoute™
March 2nd, 2012
Virtual PBX® pioneered ACD queuing for virtual phone systems, and is still way ahead of the competition. ACD queues are used when the caller wants to reach a business function, such as sales or customer service, instead of an individual. Usually, these callers won’t have a name, they just have a need.
However, some businesses want to route calls to an extension or ACD queue that is not a standard business function. This is where SelectRoute™ comes in.
SelectRoute offers call routing capabilities beyond the standard routing features offered by ACD queues. Instead of simply routing the call to the next available agent or a generic queue, SelectRoute routes the call based on direct user input that specifies how the call is to be handled so the call is routed to the correct agent.
Our SelectRoute option lets you route calls automatically based on a wide set of user inputs up to nine digits in length. Ask the user to spell out a product name, a company name, or an account number. The possibilities are limitless with Virtual PBX.
Below are common types of instructions that SelectRoute can support:
- Route calls by geography: Area code & zip code– Route calls by NPA (Area Code), NPA-NXX (Area and Exchange Codes), Zip Code.Have multiple store locations or franchises seamlessly route calls to a single phone number by area code or zip code to the nearest location.
- Menu Routing – Route calls by menu selection
- Custom Routing – Route calls according to your own defined needs. We’ve had clients route to different queues or extension based on the caller entering a model number or a product name.
You can even combine these call routing types to form customized routing to provide the best customer service and to enable your business to operate at optimum efficiency. They can also improve your businesses cost performance by increasing agent utilization and productivity.
A typical business often handles a variety of call types, each requiring a specific skill. The traditional method of reassigning agents with multiple skills to different queues at different times of the day in order make best use of their skills is inefficient.
Virtual PBX and SelectRoute alleviate this problem and enables your business to automatically route calls to the right agents, at the right time regardless of where the agents are located.
With SelectRoute you can even have custom greetings such as “To find the store nearest you, please enter your 5 digit zip code now”. Your caller enters their zip code, and your Virtual PBX system will route them to the appropriate extension or queue. It’s that easy.
But what if the caller enters the wrong information? Don’t worry. We have that covered. In this case, SelectRoute will route the call anywhere you choose, so your caller still gets help even on a bad data entry.
SelectRoute by Virtual PBX will help you create the best custom call routing system designed to fit your needs and send your callers to the right people quickly and easily every time. For more information, please contact our Support team, or call us at 888-825-0800.
Ensure Business Continuity with PBX Parachute
February 17th, 2012
In the event of a disaster, what is your business phone system disaster recovery plan? If your customers, partners and employees can’t reach you, how much business will you lose?
At VirtualPBX, we understand your office phone system is vital to your business. Many companies have business continuity in place for their data and network systems, but business continuation for phones is usually much more immediately important, but unfortunately often not included in the overall disaster recovery plan. Not being available to take calls can mean lost revenue, your customers losing confidence in your company, and in some cases, going out of business.
Don’t be unprepared in the event of a phone system outage. VirtualPBX has made it quick and easy for anyone to set up a disaster recovery system for their phones and ensure business continuity around-the-clock. No matter what type of phone system you have, including inbound and outbound call centers, PBX Parachute by Virtual PBX can protect your company.
Acting as a hot standby phone system, PBX Parachute can mirror your primary phone system and take over if your on-site PBX fails or if your place of business is not accessible because of fire, flood, or electrical outage. There is no hardware to boot, no software to run, and no data to move. PBX Parachute simply waits in the background until needed, making it automatic and practically instantaneous. In addition, you have the option to route calls to alternate phones in any location, such as cellular phones, home phones, alternate branch office phones, or other hardware VoIP phones or softphones. Callers may not even know there has been an outage.
PBX Parachute can act as a backup phone system as part of an overall business continuity plan, or it can simply act as an employee emergency hotline so employees have a place to call and check in during a disaster. For more information, please visit our phone system business continuation and phone system disaster recovery pages.
With plans starting as low as $400 per year, PBX Parachute by VirtualPBX will allow you to deliver uninterrupted business communication anytime, anywhere, allowing you to continue to take inbound phone calls no matter what the situation. Recover your business voice with PBX Parachute by Virtual PBX.