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Infographic: How VoIP Works
October 30th, 2014

Voice over internet protocol, or VoIP, has increasingly become the ideal way for businesses to cut costs while at the same time improve the benefits and reliability of their phone systems. But while many businesses understand the many reasons to switch to a virtual phone system, there are still some people who don’t know how VoIP works. If you’re not sure how VoIP works or if you’re just interested in how great features like skills-based routing with TrueACD QueuesFollow-Me Calling, and DNIS numbers work, check out this useful infographic.

How VoIP Works

True Toll-Free 800 Numbers Boost Performance
October 25th, 2014

Using toll-free numbers for your business is a great way to elevate your company’s image, establish a national presence, and ultimately boost overall performance. Clients can call from anywhere in the country with no charge, and your number can be listed in a nationwide directory of toll-free businesses.

Since their introduction, it was immediately clear that people preferred the convenience and cost-savings of doing business with firms that employed toll-free 800 numbers. Developed in the late 1960’s as an alternative to collect calling, toll-free numbers have only become increasingly popular ever since. The original 800 numbers’ value steadily increased as they were quickly claimed as more companies realized the importance of toll-free calling for business.

In fact, the advantages of having an 800 toll-free number are quantifiable as indicated by numerous consumer studies, as well.

  • A 2011 consumer research study by 800connect found that 97% of consumers recognize 1-800 numbers as being toll-free but were far less likely to make the same association with newer toll-free exchanges like 888, 877 and 866
  • The Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing in the UK found that providing an 800 number in advertisements that previously didn’t have one listed can increase their response rate by 180%
  • That same study found that, when considering two otherwise equal advertisements, consumers were significantly more likely to engage with the one with an 800 number listed than the one without

The ubiquity of toll-free calling today is great for consumers but it has left companies without a clear source for providing the service. That is until now. VirtualPBX owns a bank of the original 800 numbers that can distinguish businesses from those that rely on the lesser-known toll-free prefixes such as 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844.

Obtaining one of the emblematic 800 numbers is as powerful of a confidence-builder for your customer base as it is easy to accomplish. You can claim one of these numbers for as long as they are available and, if you’re curious about making a custom, vanity toll-free number, here are some useful hints on how to begin.

The Top 3 Benefits of the VirtualPBX Softphone App
October 2nd, 2014

VirtualPBX’s softphone app for iOS and Android allows users to turn any computer, tablet, or cell phone into a full-featured VoIP extension. Softphone App users can make and receive calls over their mobile device’s wifi or data connections and can make outbound calls associated with their business caller ID rather than a personal number. With our VoIP Anywhere technology, you get all the same, great features of VirtualPBX business phone systems, from centralized voicemail to call recording and beyond. It’s easy; all you have to do is register your softphone as a VoIP device and open the softphone app to begin. Below are the top three benefits of VirtualPBX’s softphone app.

Save Money While Traveling
You can save on roaming charges by making calls through your VirtualPBX Softphone. With VoIP Anywhere, users can get a U.S. dial tone for free by simply using either a wifi connection or your plan’s minutes rather than paying expensive hotel rates or large international roaming expenses on your cell phone.

Mobile Call Interruption
With VirtualPBX Softphone, you don’t need to worry about missing a personal call while using your phone for business. If a personal call comes in while you’re on a business VoIP call, the VoIP call will be put on hold until you answer or decline the personal call.

Little to No Cost
Adding a softphone to an office plan offers users little to not cost, as it operates off of any existing VoIP line – there is no charge for minutes used. VirtualPBX Softphone only uses your VirtualPBX plan’s minutes.

Learn more about the benefits and features of VirtualPBX Softphone or contact us at VirtualPBX today for more information by using the “Chat now” window on this page or by giving us a call at 888-825-0800.

Built on a Foundation of Service
September 18th, 2014

Built on a Foundation of Service

Okay, we can admit, it’s nice to get noticed every now and then. That’s why when VoIP and PBX Industry Analyst, Daniel Harris, of technology review company Software Advice wanted to include VirtualPBX in their suite of product offerings, we were thrilled.

“We wanted to include VirtualPBX here because we were looking for hosted PBXs who lead the pack in innovation and quality of service,” Harris said. “As our readers are mainly small business owners, we were also looking for hosted PBX systems that provide exceptional service for buyers in this niche, and VirtualPBX certainly fits the bill.”

Software Advice professionals consider how well a product’s features are married to high quality customer service when making recommendations to their clients. In that area, we are proud to say we buck the trend of offshoring our support teams and charging extra for their service.

We understand that our success is critically linked to the success of our customers. That’s why we have an entire team, in-house, that is dedicated to helping them maximize their familiarity with and benefit from VirtualPBX’s suite of products.

“One of the features of VirtualPBX that especially impressed me… was the incredibly easy setup–few VoIP providers allow a business to start service with nothing more than traditional analog desk phones,” Harris added. “I was also impressed by VirtualPBX’s disaster recovery options and quality control mechanisms including the dedicated service team which helps to manage customers’ network settings.”

It’s always an incredible honor to receive industry recognition for our customer service, but the best praise we can ever hope for is that from our customers themselves.

  • 85% of our customers recommend VirtualPBX to others
  • 90% of our customers are completely satisfied with VirtualPBX
  • 95% of our customers say they receive great customer service

Thanks for letting us get to do what we love, be your complete business phone solution. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with VirtualPBX or VoIP in general, please feel free to share your comments with us! The full Software Advice article is available to read here.

How to Create a Smart
Vanity Number

September 4th, 2014

Create Smart Vanity Numbers: How to

A vanity number is a must-have for businesses looking to increase their bottom line, particularly those who advertise through print, radio, or television. Studies show that a vanity number can increase word of mouth advertising by as much as 200%, as well as increase the percentage of return customers. Expecting rushed viewers or listeners to remember a random 10 digit number is unreasonable and unreliable. However, not all vanity numbers are created equally. While any vanity number is preferable to a traditional phone number, creating one can prove to be challenging without taking proper precautions.

Below are a few tips and examples from VirtualPBX on choosing a vanity number for your business.

  • Avoid alpha-numeric numbers such as, “C4R5” for “cars” – while it’s unique, it’s too difficult for users to remember.
  • Stay away from hybrid numbers such as 1.800.593.PETS. While “PETS” is easy enough to remember, 593 is less than ideal in terms of choosing a memorable vanity number.
  • Repetition is good. 1.888.555.YARN is a great example of a memorable number that uses repetition to its advantage.
  • Using a business name within your number is good only if it is reflective of the business or is a well-known brand, e.g., 1.800.555.FORD or 1.888.HAIRCUT are both good examples. However, 1.877.MICHAEL for Michael’s Flower Depot wouldn’t be memorable, as consumers are unlikely to associate “MICHAEL” with flowers.
  • Sometimes one extra letter is okay; for example 1.800.DISCOVER is the number for Discover Card.
  • Use simple, unmistakable spelling. Consider how your vanity number will sound when repeated in conversation, radio, or television. Avoid slang words with variations in spelling.

When chosen properly, your viewers and listeners will be able to associate your phone number with your business. In turn, your bottom line should increase as you provide customers a convenient, memorable way to reach you.

VirtualPBX offers vanity toll-free numbers, as well as 800 numbers to improve your business’ line of communication with customers, vendors, partners, and more. Contact us today for more information at 888.825.0800.

How Bandwidth Can
Negatively Impact VoIP Quality
…and How to Improve It

August 24th, 2014

Bandwidth Can Negatively Impact VoIP Quality

It’s widely-known that business VoIP phones rely heavily on your Internet speed. A High-speed Internet connection provides VoIP with clear, high-quality calls and is a necessity in any business with an implemented VoIP phone system. However, what most people don’t know is that network bandwidth plays a large role as well. VoIP needs a certain amount of bandwidth to be usable. Businesses rely on a number of other Internet activities and while you might have enough bandwidth for VoIP to remain clear, when traffic spikes in one area of your network, your VoIP call suffer a loss in sound quality, resulting in static… or even drop completely.

So how do I determine if I have enough bandwidth?
While there are a number of network speed and bandwidth tests available online, it can be difficult to determine the right amount of bandwidth to meet your specific business needs. Because of this, you may want to contact the experts.

How do I find the right network bandwidth provider?
Once you’ve determined what amount of bandwidth is required to meet your business needs, it’s important to shop around for a reputable provider. VirtualPBX makes it easier to shop around and takes the search out of your hands. Simply request a quote, and VirtualPBX will search your local providers for you in order to provide you with the best quote for the bandwidth that you need.

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:

  1. Figure out which extensions in your system are the most important for uninterrupted phone calls. This may be all of your extensions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

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.

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.

No Confusion

  • 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 Reduces International Dialing Rates
December 8th, 2011

Making international calls has often been an expensive proposition for small and medium businesses. If you have clients living overseas or live abroad yourself, you know keeping in touch with people around the world can be extremely expensive.

Just in time for the busy holiday season, Virtual PBX is making it easier than ever to stay connected by lowering their international dialing rates. With Virtual PBX, you no longer need to purchase an international calling card or waste time searching for lower rates. Virtual PBX is excited to announce new international rates, with some cut by as much as 80%.

Virtual PBX worked hard with its carriers to push rates lower while maintaining high quality, crystal clear calls, and they are passing all the saving onto you. Call land lines in London or Buenos Aires, or mobile phones in Hong Kong for as low as 1.9 cents per minute. So stop watching the minutes on the phone when you are calling abroad and enjoy the savings.

Virtual PBX also offers two other great ways to save big for global phone calls.  If you have employees in other countries, you can set them up with an extension that incorporates a VoIP phone or softphone.  Then, calls to their extensions can be free.

If your client base is international, Virtual PBX can get you a local phone number in thousands of cities around the globe for a low monthly rate.  Your clients can call in at little or no cost because the number is local to them, and you get no extra per-minute fees for the inbound calls.  .

These discounted international options give excellent value and are part of the many reasons Virtual PBX is an easy choice for companies with global interests. With Virtual PBX You can be sure that you’re getting the best value for your dollar no matter who or where you call.

Specific rate information can be found on our website at www.virtualpbx.com.