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How To Set Up Voicemail
January 7th, 2015

Telephone Off The HookPlease leave a message, if I can figure out how to set up voicemail, that is.

By the completion of 2014, it was estimated that there were 1.75 billion smartphones in use around the world, and that number is estimated to continue rising quickly. Yes, that’s billion with a, “b.” What I am curious to learn, though, is how many of those people actually use their phones to the maximum extent of their capabilities. Because I do not. Not remotely.

This is a somewhat common malady in these times of ever-increasing technological advancement. It seems like the moment a particular device is mastered (or rather IF it is mastered), there is a new update, expansion, or replacement already hitting the shelves. There are some basic, fundamental features of any communications device, however, that are routinely used and very helpful to know your way around.

Here is a pair of guides of VirtualPBX Voicemail features that fit that category-

  • Guide to automating Voicemail Day/Night functions. This feature is ideal when a caller selects a particular queue after normal business hours and no representatives are in the queue. When activated, a caller is returned to a customizable message that can read standard business hours or redirect them to other extensions before giving the option to leave a voicemail.
  • Guide to activating Voicemail Text Notifications. This feature is important for employees on the move. Voicemail notifications can be programmed to your email, or users can elect to have that notification sent via SMS text message to their mobile phones.

We have a variety of how-to and tutorial services available for all of our hosted business phone services. We are one of the last companies to provide our award-winning, US-based support free of charge, and are always standing by to see how we can help you maximize your benefit from VoIP. Give us a call and find out, today!

From the Desk of the CEO: The Year in Review
December 30th, 2014

Fireworks Over San Francisco BayWell this is it, the last few days of 2014 are at hand and we here at VirtualPBX are thrilled with how the year has passed. Not only have our customers contributed to a stellar year of growth for us as a business, we have grown our team to a new height to accommodate all of our new functions, as well. We’ve been happy to welcome in so many new faces from across the world to across the hallway, and before we look forward to what’s next, I think it’s good to remember how we got here today.

Your Feedback, Your Features
We pride ourselves on service and part of that is listening to what many of you have mentioned would be helpful to you in your daily work. In response to your desire for even more control over your business communications universe from the ease of your vConsoles, we introduced one-click Dropbox integration for all of your recorded call storage needs.

Peace of Mind
Also, we’ve been proud to help many new companies protect themselves from the uncertain with our award-winning PBX Parachute, a service that mirrors on-site phone systems and deploys virtual reproductions of them in the event of a system failure.

Maximizing Performance
Because VoIP is the foundation of all of our products, though, improving the quality of service for all hosted telecom users is of paramount importance to us. With the battery of thorough analysis that comes with our weeklong ProSIP Network Health Check, we are sure to be able to continue offering the most complete business telephone solutions possible.

Looking Ahead
However, our current state is only as good as our commitment to the future. Therefore, insofar as progress and growth are concerned, our greatest advances may not be immediately evident to you, our valued customers. We have been hard at work developing some really exciting and disruptive technology that we’re thrilled to begin rolling out in the coming year.

We are excited with where we are going and proud of where we have been. I hope during this time of year you too can all look back with similar pride and enthusiasm for what is coming next at your company, knowing that we’ve got your communications needs covered no matter what direction you’re heading.

Thank you for another great year and I hope you all enjoy a safe and wonderful New Year’s celebration.

Infographic – ProSIP Network Health Check
December 22nd, 2014

You tell your employees to go home if they’re unwell, not just because they could get their coworkers ill, but also because when they aren’t feeling their best, they aren’t preforming their best. So where do you send your network if it’s not at 100%?

It’s difficult to know everything that is going on with your internet connection and, while Speed Tests are valuable tools for getting a snapshot of how things are operating at that moment, they don’t show the whole picture. This infographic below shows how a ProSIP Network Health Check will give you a complete and accurate understanding of your network’s performance, along with a battery of tools and suggestions on how to maximize it moving forward.

ProSIP Network Health Check Infographic

Network Health Check – What Affects VoIP Call Quality
December 8th, 2014

heart-rateToday, the most successful businesses rely heavily on their network to get through daily operations. At VirtualPBX, we work with you to ensure that your network is performing at its best, which is why we offer a VoIP speed test to assess your network before you switch to VoIP, along with a ProSIP Network Health Check if you experience issues as your business and the strain on your network grows. ProSIP Network Health Checks are professional grade network analyses specifically focused on your network’s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Essentially, SIP is the method by which all media data is sent and received online. This is the portion of your network responsible for your VoIP data and the focus of the ProSIP Network Health Check. While most businesses experience little to no problems with their network or VoIP quality, there are times when they may find their VoIP quality impacted. The three most common things that impact VoIP call quality are:

  • Bandwidth delivered by your ISP
  • Capacity of your network
  • Performance of your network

What Affects My VoIP Quality?
While there are three top culprits of diminished VoIP call quality, as mentioned above, other factors could include your ISP failing to deliver what you pay for. With the rise of content streaming and social networking, congestion has become another cause of poor VoIP call quality. Mobile devices are a factor as well, as mobile devices continue to create new and unexpected demands from your VoIP phone system’s network.

ProSIP Network Health Check
Unsure what is affecting your call quality? When you sign up for VirtualPBX’s ProSIP Network Health Check, you can expect an intensive, weeklong analysis of your network. With this check, we can help determine exactly what is happening on your network and how that is impacting your network’s performance – from there, we will send you a plan and help you make the needed improvements.

It’s our goal to ensure that your VirtualPBX phone systems are running smoothly. If you feel that you’re not getting the best quality from your network, let us know so we can help identify the problem! Sign up for a Network Health Check here.

Network Health Check – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
December 3rd, 2014

Break DownI remember one time my brother was driving the family car when all of a sudden the engine died and it came to a stomach-turning, agonizingly slow stop. It turns out, when a trio of teenage boys is (ir)responsible for the proper upkeep of a vehicle, little things like failing to change or add motor oil can, well, go unnoticed. It also isn’t terribly helpful when the, “check engine,” indicator doesn’t work so the few times an adult drove it, there was no way to tell that anything was the matter. Unfortunately, most of our business systems today don’t even have indicator lights to tell us when things go awry – what we don’t know can be what really hurts us.

So who’s in charge of changing the oil on your internet service? Chances are, like most people, you may have run a speed test once or twice, but that only provides a brief snapshot of your current capacity, and not a clear picture of your network’s performance overall. Throughout the day as new users join and leave your network, spikes of activity and bandwidth bottlenecking occur with regularity. While a simple web search may not noticeably reflect these fluctuations, something like several video streams during lunchtime could threaten the quality of VoIP calls on your shared network. To truly determine your network’s capacity, you need to examine more than just a snapshot, you need a longer, more in depth cross-section.

VirtualPBX’s ProSIP Network Health Check is a comprehensive, longitudinal analysis of your system conducted by a team of connectivity experts over the course of a week. When used in conjunction with a VoIP Speed Test, this longer period gives the team the opportunity to study your network throughout its typical flow in and out of high-use periods. This way, if you have an indicator light that should have been going off at any point in your company’s typical week, you can now see it and do something before your engine burns out, so to speak.

By looking at your network’s performance holistically, the experienced team at VirtualPBX is able to assemble a comprehensive understanding of how best to optimize it for your hosted business phone calls. Once you know what you need to about your connection and can rest easily knowing that someone is changing your oil, it should be smooth roads for as far as the eye can see. Happy motoring.

DNIS – The Carpool Lane for Phone Calls
November 21st, 2014

Ever wonder what it would be like if you could bypass the seemingly endless list of extensions on most telephone systems and get directed right to exactly the person you need to speak with? So do your customers. With an advanced Direct Number Identification System, or DNIS, your callers are treated to a much sleeker and quicker on-hold experience. VirtualPBX has a full library of toll-free, local, and international numbers for you to choose from to generate dedicated phone numbers for anything from a promotion or product line to an exclusive VIP line that, when dialed, automatically reaches the members of your team who are ready for those specific callers. Plus, using DNIS numbers also sorts through otherwise unorganized call data so that your team can learn and grow to create stronger, more profitably customer experiences using a litany of call reports and data. All of this while keeping you free to pay attention to the things that really matter. Check out this handy infographic to get a better understanding, and get in touch with one of our DNIS experts if your business could benefit from an improved call-waiting experience.

DNIS Explained

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.

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.

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.