Posted on December 28, 2018 by Charlie Galaviz
Are your business greetings pushing people away? You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don’t let your telephone etiquette lead customers to competitors.
Avoid negative reviews by taking advantage of free pre-recorded holiday greetings by January 7th and by recognizing these business blunders.
Tips For Business Greetings in 2019
Not all telephone greetings are created equal. Above all, you’ll need a highly sophisticated greeter and call routing manager. The award-winning VirtualPBX Business Phone System does just that. With first-touch features like Auto Attendant, Custom Greetings, and Automated Directory, your customers will be left in awe of your enterprise-class professionalism.
Posted on December 20, 2018 by Casey Houser
If you or your employees use their personal phone numbers at work, it’s time to invest in a business phone number.
It’s not uncommon for new businesses to use personal mobile phones as workplace devices. This isn’t always bad. But work-life balance can be disrupted when personal numbers become your business numbers.
When your business has its own phone number, it opens up a world of options for yourself and your employees. You can utilize extensions to create a workplace network; your phone system can easily link employees in your network into meaningful subgroups; you can send all your contacts to voicemail when you need some hours to yourself. Our VirtualPBX business phone system can do all those things.
Let’s take a look at how you can make those examples a reality at your own small business.
Your Own Workplace Network
Virtual business phone systems, like ours at VirtualPBX, let you provide unique extensions to all your employees. You can create as many or as few as you like, and you can utilize a single main business phone number throughout.
Consider the number 555-1234. If that was your business’s phone number, you could attach an extension for yourself, 0001, and your chief operating officer, 0002.
Then you could be reached from an external line by first dialing 555-1234 and then entering x0001. Similarly, you could reach your COO at x0002, either by dialing the external number first or by simply using the x0002 extension from within the virtual phone network.
This network of extensions is easily accessible, no matter how many employees you add to your system. The web of desk phones and software-based phones you create gives every employee a place in your organization and a way to separate their personal numbers from workplace activities.
No longer will your phone “system” be a patchwork of individual mobile phones, inaccessible to each other through an internal link. And no longer will employees have to carry their work with them out of necessity, not choice.
The use of Ring Groups lets you further organize employee extensions into meaningful categories. It’s often easy to use departments as a guide for this task.
As a small business, you might have two people assigned to a marketing team, another three in sales, a few more in customer support, and a sprinkling of managers that oversee those departments. The use of Ring Groups lets you define those same categories in your virtual phone system dashboard.
From Auto Attendant to Department Groups
When you receive a call on your business phone number, the inbound caller will reach an Automated Attendant where they can press “1” to get to marketing, “2” to get to sales, and so on.
The Automated Attendant then accesses your Ring Groups to move the caller to the department they chose. In the marketing department, for instance, the inbound request could first ring the desk phone of Sherry, your department lead, for 10 seconds. Then it could begin ringing the softphone of Bob, the copywriter, for another 20 seconds.
You can have inbound calls ring one or more phones simultaneously, or in series, for as long as two minutes each.
Feel free to get creative and ring individuals by seniority (with the new hire first in line, of course). You could even rank them based on the number of times they brought in doughnuts for the whole office.
In any case, your organization here reinforces the workplace network as a business – not personal – entity.
Go to Voicemail
Even the most busy executive’s day will come to a close. At that point, it’s helpful to have a ready voicemail for all the communications you might have missed.
You and your employees can access their own Voicemail boxes to hear messages they missed during off-hours.
You can even set Holiday Hours in preparation for special events and set your business hours for when all calls can be routed to users’ voicemail boxes.
The proper use of voicemail is a powerful weapon against workplace burnout. It lets you save business concerns for the following day, giving you a much-needed escape from the grind of always being available.
The Utility of a Business Phone Number
All these aspects of a business phone system begin with your adoption of a dedicated workplace phone number.
Your business phone number funnels all your inbound and outbound call traffic through a central location. You can control how calls move within your phone system for improved flexibility and sanity as a group of employees.
Customers will appreciate the consistency and usability of your phone network. Meanwhile, you can appreciate the separation of workplace and personal concerns made possible by a phone number and virtual phone system that works always to your benefit.
Need some phones to attach to that new business phone number? Check out our Refurbished Phones and Hardware Sale taking place until Dec. 31.
Posted on December 18, 2018 by Casey Houser
You run a smart business. Your customer base in the U.S. is solid, so you’ve worked through tax regulations, pricing, and supply chain issues to expand your presence. All that’s left is international calling.
How will you reach new customers in Canada, Mexico, and beyond when your base is in the U.S.? How will your customers reach you?
With the right VoIP phone system, you can easily answer those questions and overcome the challenge of international calling. It doesn’t have to crush your dreams of expanding beyond your borders.
Inbound Calling: How Will Customers Reach You?
An excellent example for demonstrating the use of international calling is the travel agency. Let’s consider a travel agency that has a home office in Washington D.C. but offers deals for international hotel stays and local sightseeing to individuals in Canada, Mexico, and Germany.
Presence at Home, but Not Abroad
Immediately, you can see the problem. The travel agency’s base is in one location – D.C. – but that base isn’t in the countries where it offers travel packages. Callers in the U.S. might not have a hard time calling the D.C. office. However, customers already traveling would have a difficult (and expensive) time reaching the States.
International phone numbers disguise that disparity in locations because they act like local numbers for callers. The travel agency can, through VirtualPBX, order an international number to provide a number of benefits to its callers abroad.
Local Rates, Convenience
For inbound callers, the primary benefit of international numbers is that they pay local rates.
The U.S. citizen who traveled to Germany for two weeks won’t need to concern himself with connection charges or exorbitant per-minute rates if he needs to reach the travel agency during his stay.
Similarly, the German citizen looking for local deals to an up-country weekend tour can call into the D.C. office as if it’s right down the street. For the same rate as calling the downtown coffee shop, she can reach across thousands of miles of land and sea.
Callers will also find convenience in the inbound calling process. International travelers often have to make special arrangements to get a new cell phone or service so they can remain connected throughout their trips. If they can complete local calls, they can avoid the burden of dialing international calling codes while also sidestepping high calling rates.
Benefits for Businesses
International phone numbers from VirtualPBX are priced at a low monthly rate. Businesses can then accept as many international calls as their plans allow – from 1,000 minutes on our Basic Dash Plan to unlimited minutes on our Unlimited Dash Plan.
International numbers route directly to a business’s office. Features like Call Transferring and Ring Groups can then help their Automated Attendant or employees move inbound calls to any department or individual on their account.
Businesses then gain the peace of mind in knowing that anyone, in any country they serve, can contact them at a moment’s notice.
Businesses can also sign up for a VirtualPBX business phone plan to get low rates on international calls to other countries.
All our plans include free calling to Canada. To all other countries, including Mexico and the U.K., we have used our relationships with international carriers to keep rates low.
Unlimited VoIP Minutes
Businesses that have locations in multiple countries can also use our phone service to complete calls between system users for free.
For example, a business with offices in the U.S. and the U.K. can use a VirtualPBX plan to gain free calling between those locations. When users in the U.S. office want to reach their satellite in the U.K., they simply dial the U.K. user’s extension to complete the call.
Because that office-to-office call resides in the same calling network, we don’t charge any extra fee or any extra minutes to complete the connection.
How Can International Calling Benefit You?
You might not run a travel agency. But if you have offices in multiple countries or offer services abroad, international numbers could offer you many operational benefits.
Your customers will experience friction-free calling when trying to reach your office. Your employees can easily reach each other across borders, regardless of the miles between them. If you don’t already supply international number for your customers or link your offices through a global phone network, this is your call to switch.
Need some new phones for your office? You’re in luck. Our Refurbished Phones and Hardware Sale has discount prices on desk phones, computers, and telephony hardware that’s ready to ship. Sale ends Dec. 31st!
Posted on December 13, 2018 by Casey Houser
Securing a virtual number, or many such numbers, can give your customers a direct line to individuals at your business.
It isn’t always desirable to route customer calls through an automated attendant. Maybe you, as a department head, have a VirtualPBX Mobile number or a dedicated VoIP phone in your office. By attaching a virtual number – also known as a Direct Inward Dial (DID) line – to that phone, you can let customers ring your personal phone directly.
The VirtualPBX business phone system supports virtual numbers so you can use your main business number, individual phone extensions, and DIDs together for a more flexible way to keep in touch with your callers.
How Might You Use a Virtual Number?
There are many use cases for direct numbers that reach individuals at your company. As just two examples, consider the impact of DIDs on your C-suite executives and your on-the-go sales persons.
The Top Brass
Your CEO, COO, CFO, and all other executives hold a unique place in your organization. They make decisions that affect all other employees at the company, and often they speak with high-level parties such as investors and stock holders. Therefore, those business supporters need a direct line to the top brass.
It wouldn’t present a good image to have an investor call your business – only to have them sit through a phone queue. It’s much more professional for each executive to have their own virtual number that can ring their desk or mobile phones.
Everyone in this situation benefits from the addition of virtual numbers. Executives get the direct lines they need to effectively reach the most dedicated company supporters, and those supporters have a solid connection to the organizational leaders with whom they most need to connect.
Deeper in the company trenches, sales persons create meaningful relationships with the individuals who buy your products and services.
They often benefit from callers who make it through your main business line’s automated attendant. However, in some cases, they want customers to reach them directly, both during and outside of office hours.
A virtual number in the hands of a sales person, especially one who works during their commute or is often on the go, can work wonders here. Like the CEO, the sales person can prioritize customer needs and use a direct line as an easy, effective way to connect with important customers.
Perhaps such customers need a speedy price quote or access to the sales person’s location. A quick call to the virtual number does the trick.
Power at Your Fingertips
Only you can best decide how to use direct lines. Your enterprise may have a large need for virtual numbers for the dozens of top executives at multiple branches. Or your startup might constantly be mobile and use DIDs as a matter of convenience.
In any case, your customers will benefit from proper choices regarding this matter. We’re here to help you set up your main line, forwarding options, any virtual number you choose, and all the other phone system features available through VirtualPBX. You can use as many DIDs as you need and rely on your automated attendant and personal extensions for all other use cases.
In search of some new hardware for your office? Look no further than our year-end Refurbished Phones and Hardware Sale. Just don’t look too long. The sale ends December 31st! Click the banner below to get started.
Posted on December 11, 2018 by Casey Houser
Today’s guest post comes from Snap Recordings, a professional voice recording service provider with over 100 male and female voice talents that has been recognized as a leader in professional voice recordings for business phone systems. Order professionally recorded greetings by Snap Recordings from within your Dash account.
Most businesses will see a significant increase in phone calls during the busy holiday season. While this is great for your bottom line, more callers means longer hold times, and that can create caller frustration during an already stressful time of year. Does your phone system have the holiday cheer necessary to keep callers happy and engaged?
By adding professional holiday greetings and music to your business phone system, you can create a more festive experience for callers and reduce hangups. Meanwhile, you can focus on critical operations like tackling customer concerns and shipping goods.
Best of all, you don’t need to start from scratch. Simply adding some festive holiday background music and short seasonal greetings to your existing messages may be all you need to see positive results. Try these phone system preparation methods as soon as possible.
Add Holiday Cheer to Your Telephone Greeting
When you adjust your holiday hours and customer greetings in the VirtualPBX phone system, you give your callers the opportunity to stay up-to-date with ongoing company events. With a simple, friendly greeting, you can offer the courtesy of mentioning your changing schedule, and you can lighten the load on your receptionist.
Moreover, you can cross-promote your products and services to a captive audience. Customers may have to sit on hold for a few more minutes than usual, so it’s in your best interest to share important information about new products and possible shipping time changes while your audience is waiting.
Do all this with a bit of mirth. Research from as far back as the 1980’s has shown that providing structure to on-hold programming — through appropriate messages and music — can help reduce the perceived time a caller thinks they’re on hold. In short, your cheerfulness in messaging that sits alongside festive music can decrease the mental strain customers feel when they wait for a live company representative.
Express your gratitude to your customers and clients. Let them know you appreciate their continued business. Be as heartfelt as possible, and remain dedicated to a few effective goals by following some industry best practices.
Holiday Greetings Best Practices
Only use professionally-recorded greetings
Even the best self-recorded greetings fall short when it comes to fluid voice and crisp audio quality. Customers won’t perceive your business as competent and professional if you don’t sound professional.
Keep messages sincere
The holidays evoke warm, happy feelings, and your holiday greetings should have that same tone. If you want to sound honest and heartfelt avoid overly-wordy or sterile greetings.
Avoid religious sentiments
While many people have a religious connection to this time of year, not everyone shares the same beliefs. Unless your religious message resonates with your entire client base, you’re better off sticking to secular greetings.
Choose the right music
Working with a professional gives you access to a large library of holiday tracks. Be sure to choose holiday music that compliments your brand and conveys a tone that is in line with your image.
Don’t wait until the last minute
The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Getting started on your holiday greetings as soon as possible is the best way to set yourself up for success.
Grab Your Holiday Gift Box Today
Snap Recordings is offering VirtualPBX customers a Holiday Message Gift Box that includes 12 ready-to-use professional, pre-recorded holiday voicemail greetings and hold messages, a Holiday Messaging Guide, and a promo code good for your first order. Grab your gift box before January 7th, 2019 to take advantage of this value packed gift!
Don’t forget about our year-end Refurbished Phones and Hardware Sale. The sale ends December 31st!