Hosted PBX vs. Standard PBX: Which Is Right for You?
August 12th, 2014
Choosing a hosted PBX service vs. a standard PBX service depends greatly on the needs of your business. But how do you know which is right for you? Sometimes the choice is easy – for example, a hosted PBX service would make the most sense for a company with employees who work outside the main office; a company where all employees are located at the same office location may find that a standard PBX system is more beneficial. Below are more details to help you decide which service is best for you and your business.
A standard PBX system makes sense when:
- All employees are located at the same office
- The company doesn’t mind high up-front costs in order to receive the lowest possible monthly costs
- The company wants the cheapest solution available and capabilities are unimportant
- The business is larger
- Customers won’t benefit from a toll-free service
- The company is not likely to change in size
A hosted PBX service is the best choice when:
- Not all employees are located at the same location – some telecommute, work away from the main location, or need to be available outside of regular hours
- There is not a brick-and-mortar location – the company is virtual
- The business wants low up-front costs
- Customers would benefit from a toll-free service
- The business is smaller
- The company is likely to increase in size
- The business experiences a high number of incoming calls
- System reliability and fault tolerance are important
- The business would like to avoid dedicating employees to outsourcing for PBX support
- The business would like a complete set of features
A PBX service helps save your business money, as well as offers additional features that simply can’t be had with a traditional phone system. Still not sure which is right for you? Call VirtualPBX today at 1-888-825-0800 for more information on our hosted PBX service. We can help you decide what’s most beneficial for your business.
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.
Panasonic Cordless Phones Deliver Business Quality
April 11th, 2012
Home and office phone systems have come a long way in the past few years. Numerous upgrades have made all types of phones more accessible, including cordless phones.
One of the more notable cordless phones available today is from Panasonic, one of the leading names in telecommunications. The Panasonic TGP500B is a feature rich desk phone replacement with outstanding voice quality and a range of productivity-boosting options. Integrated with SIP based technology, this cordless phone uses Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT) to improve call quality and support multiple handsets. Users can add up to 6 DECT cordless handsets to one base.
The Panasonic TGP500B uses new frequencies and digital technology virtually eliminating interference to provide you crystal clear communications. DECT 6.0 ensures there is no interference with wireless networks. With the convenient cordless design, you can have static-free conversations away from the base. The large range is perfect for today’s busy lifestyle, allowing you to escape the confines of the base station and freely walk around you home or office or even outside.
Features of the Panasonic include:
- Expandable Cordless Phone System with
Base Station and 1 cordless handset
- DECT radio technology
- 2.1 inch backlit LCD display on handset
- Includes power supply
- Wall-mountable base unit
- Add 5 additional cordless handsets
Overall, the Panasonic TGP500B VoIP Phone is easy to use and deploy, convenient and expandable. Virtual PBX is proud to announce the addition of this technology to its product line. The TGP500B model includes both the base station and one handset. Additional handsets can be ordered under the model number TPA50B.
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.
Three More Ways to Use Virtual PBX
February 8th, 2012
Create Podcasts – Podcasts are basically audio recordings that can be posted online and downloaded by anyone. Today, more and more businesses and individuals are choosing to communicate via podcasts as an alternative to radio and blogs. Unlike radio and T.V., podcasts are free to subscribe to and create. Interested in creating your own podcast?
Lucky for you, Virtual PBX makes it easy for you to record your own podcast right from your phone. Simply use Virtual PBX’s call recording feature to record an interview, discussion or anything else you want to share with the world. Every Virtual PBX system includes call recording at no added cost. In addition, the call recording feature is greatly customizable and easy to use. Every user with a Virtual PBX extension can record all calls automatically or select calls to record manually by simply pushing #9 during a call.
Have an alternate number – While having a single incoming business number gives your business a unified presence, it can often be very useful to have multiple incoming business numbers. In fact, every Virtual PBX plan can have an unlimited amount of phone numbers as part of the system.
Anyone can benefit from having multiple phone numbers. Let’s say, for example, you want to use one group of employees to answer phone calls for several different business identities. Virtual PBX can answer calls with different greetings on each incoming line and then route the calls to those employees. A preview announcement indicates which business identity was called, so the employee can answer correctly.
Another popular use for multiple numbers is to track response to marketing campaigns. Each advertisement or other marketing activity can include a different telephone number for prospects to get more information. Tracking the incoming activity on each phone number gives a real-time indication of which marketing activity is generating the most calls.
Get a soft phone – Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a full-featured Virtual PBX VoIP phone. Using VoIP phones with your Virtual PBX system adds great new features like direct extension to extension dialing.
Do you want to keep your personal cell phone number private? When you dial out using a softphone registered to VPBX, the caller ID you send is your Virtual PBX number, not your personal cell phone number.
In addition, by making calls through your Virtual PBX system, you can avoid roaming charges. With VoIP Anywhere, you can make calls from around the world through your softphone and Wi-Fi connection, getting U.S. dial tone for free. Don’t waste your money on costly international roaming fees. Call Virtual PBX today and save yourself some hard earned cash.
True 800 Numbers Available
February 3rd, 2012
Since their development in the late 1960’s as an alternative to collect calling, toll free numbers have become increasingly popular. Not long after their release, companies began to notice people preferred to do business with firms that had 800 numbers.
Over time, the original toll free numbers, those beginning with the digits “800” started becoming rare as more companies realized their importance in establishing a strong businesses presence. Additional toll free numbers starting with the prefixes 888, 877, 866, and 855 have been made available, but the original 800 numbers have become hard to get, and if you actually find one, they can be quite expensive. Now, however, Virtual PBX has acquired a large block of these hard-to-get true 800 numbers, and we’re making them available at a very low cost.
Marketing Advantages of Having an 800 Number
- Studies indicate companies receive more business advertising with an 800 number over any other phone number, no matter the type of business or the target market. An ad with a toll free 800 number almost always out performs the exact same ad without a toll free number. It is almost expected that a business will have a toll free number and businesses without one are potentially missing out on tons of sales opportunities.
- An 800 prefix number is going to be a solid foundation for all your advertising. That “8-0-0″ gives your company an instant lift in trust, a more professional appearance, and virtually eliminates customer misdials. It’s rare in the business world that you find something that costs so little and provides so much in return.
- The IDM institute of direct marketing discloses that having a toll free phone number for your customers to call can increase your response rate by 180%, another good reason to seriously think about using a 1- 800 number.
- All the advertising in the world won’t make your phones ring if your audience can’t remember your phone number. 800 numbers are much more memorable and should be a critical part of your marketing effort.
- Many people still wonder whether numbers other than true 8-0-0 numbers are toll free.A 2011 consumer research study found that 97% of consumers recognize the 800 exchange as toll-free, but few connected with the newer toll-free exchanges like 888, 877 and 866.
Credibility and Enhanced Corporate Image
- A 1-800 number can improve your company’s image. It can help you establish a large, trustworthy presence with your client and prospects. Using toll free numbers will tell your customers that you are stable, professional, and serious. Even if you work out of your home, consumers often assume a toll-free 800 number is associated with a large company.
- Moreover, toll free numbers expand your territorial reach encouraging people to call you from across the country or the world. Get an 800 number and put you company on a par with large corporations.
Here at Virtual PBX we recognize the benefits of allowing clients to call you for free, and have made it easy and affordable for anyone to get their own toll free number. And we now have more true 800 numbers available than ever before. We’re offering these numbers to clients at a reduced price for a limited time. Contact us today to get yours.
Virtual PBX Receives 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award
January 18th, 2012
VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere Recognized for Innovation
Since its release in February 2011, VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere has been turning heads. People from a diverse range of businesses have praised and acknowledged VirtualPBX Complete as a cutting-edge service that delivers powerful features while reducing operational costs. This product has really hit home with small and medium businesses everywhere.
So far, VirtualPBX Complete has received two Product of the Year awards, two Excellence awards, a Best Products award, a Leadership award and an Innovation award. To add to the list is VirtualPBX’s latest 2011 Product of the Year award from TMC, a global integrated media company.
“I am happy to grant VirtualPBX with a Product of the Year Award. The editors of INTERNET TELEPHONY have verified that Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere displays quality and innovation plus provides real needs in the marketplace,” stated Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “I would like to congratulate the entire team at VirtualPBX for their commitment to advancing IP communication technologies.”
CEO of VirtualPBX, Paul Hammond, explains, “Our mission is to deliver communications tools that help businesses improve customer service and business productivity,” He continues, “This recognition from INTERNET TELEPHONY affirms the value of Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, which is making a huge difference for our business customers, who are also able to reduce their operational costs.”
For more information on VirtualPBX and this award, please click here.
Enter to Win Free Movie Tickets
January 5th, 2012
Do the increasing costs of movie tickets have you staying at home? If you love seeing movies on the big screen but can’t justify the cost, Virtual PBX has the contest for you. And it couldn’t be easier. Through March 1, 2012, Virtual PBX is offering you a chance to win free movie tickets. All you have to do is send us your best tech tip for using Virtual PBX.
Just think of all the ways you use Virtual PBX in your day-to-day life to improve your business and make your life easier. It could be a way you customize your greetings or use the Virtual PBX reports. Now Pick you favorite example and send Virtual PBX an email explaining how and why you use this particular feature.
Please see one of Virtual PBX’s tech tips below to help you get started:
Route Callers Using CallerID
Are you in the situation where you need to route your inbound callers to certain extensions, queues, or to a voicemail box based on their caller ID? Do you get annoying calls from the same phone number? Virtual PBX’s AutoRoute feature can handle that for you.
AutoRoute can route a call to any extension, queue, voicemail box, or even block the caller by using some or all of the caller ID. AutoRoute is located under the Admin tab in the web interface. Just create a new entry, enter a portion or all of the caller ID, and then select the Route Action.
To enter, reply to this message or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your name and the phone number where we can best reach you
- Company name
- Mailing address (to send your movie tickets)
- Approval to reprint your tip using your name and company name
- Your tip
Virtual PBX will send two free movie tickets for tips we quote on our web site or include in emails, and your business will get some free publicity.