Author: Casey Houser
Posted on July 18, 2019 by Casey Houser
We recently conducted a nationwide survey of businesses to find out how office phone system use varies across markets.
Our respondents provided us with valuable insight about how businesses of varying sizes use their phones to prop up sales and customer service.
None of these responses come from VirtualPBX customers. Yet we admired their ideas and strive, in our own Business Phone System, to offer the types of features these business officials look for. Today’s blog will highlight some of the responses we received about office phone system use and provide commentary on the ideas each community member offered us.
Ciara Hautau – Fueled
- “We try to have as many people reach out to us via our contact form. Our phone system is then used to follow up with the lead and chat through our experience and answer any questions they may have. We try to set a goal to close as many deals as we can via our phone system. We also receive lots of phone calls from people who don’t want to fill out the contact form asking about our services and how we can help them. It’s safe to say without our phone line we would have lost a ton of business.”
Sean Pour – SellMax
- “As a company we aim to purchase used vehicles throughout the entire United States, so customers call into our phone number looking to obtain a quote for selling their used car. Our goal is to be able to handle as many inbound calls as possible, so having a system that can scale and distribute calls evenly across workers is essential to our company growth. We want as little hold time as possible, and to get to a live staff member as soon as possible.”
Ryder Meehan – Upgrow
- “We use our company phone system almost entirely for inbound sales calls. When leads call in it’s important that we have 100% coverage so the call is always answered quickly by our team. Our goal is to accept all inbound call in under 15 seconds, so we have a round-robin system that transfer to sales reps.”
Lisamarie Monaco – PinnacleQuote
- “As a company, my goal is to make all the calls. My goal daily is simply to get at least two sales each day. Each client is different. In the life insurance industry there is not a ‘one size fits all.’ Every client has different health issues, different medications, age, etc., so it is not a 10-minute phone call in most cases. It could be 1 hour or more.”
Ian Wright – BusinessFibre.co.uk
- “The main goal (KPI) we have around inbound sales is that all calls must be answered in less than 2 minutes (and usually much faster, often on the second ring). Anything longer than that and we’ll likely lose the sale. We’ve found that people who call are almost always the best customers in terms of account size and readiness to buy. However, they are also really impatient, so if you don’t answer your phone promptly you won’t get the sale.”
Tony Arevalo – CarSurance
- “Sales would mostly call out and had no limitations in terms of time spent on the phone. They would call mostly existing clients for new orders and receive calls filtered by customer support. This allowed the Sales team to focus on the most profitable clients and promising leads.”
Although Lisamarie Monaco spoke about the life insurance industry in their response, the remark that “there is not a ‘one size fits all’” in that industry rings true for the use of phones in sales departments as a whole.
Our respondents commented that speed in answering calls was important. That said, they also conceded that completing a large number of calls could sometimes take a back seat to the length of calls – if length meant securing a sale in a session.
If there’s one primary takeaway from those points, it’s that the customer has a lot of control over a business’s office phone system use. Like Ian Wright noted, there’s a balance between giving customers what they want and providing it in a timely manner.
VirtualPBX helps make it easy for sales departments to answer and route calls to the proper individuals with standard features like Automated Attendant and Ring Groups. These tools help your automated system filter calls so sales teams can answer them quickly. Furthermore, where outbound sales is concerned, cold calling can be bolstered by Voicemail to help sellers remain in touch with contacts who are eager to return your call but missed you when you were away.
Rodney Yo – Best Online Traffic School
- “Our goal is to provide the best customer support possible, even if that means spending longer than necessary on the phone. As a small online business, we rely on word of mouth and online reviews to get our business found. This strategy has paid off because people are always referencing our amazing customer service in their reviews, which also adds value to our offerings.”
Lisa Chu – Black n Bianco
- “Specializing in kids clothing, we receive lot of questions regarding fits and styles. Having a reliable telephone line is crucial to running our business. Our goal is to provide an answer to our customers as quick and efficient as possible. We try to keep the call under five minutes per customer. Our telephone line also needs to be clear and reliable because if we constantly have to repeat ourselves due to poor connection or sound it lowers our productivity and we are not able to meet the five minute per customer goal. Every business is different but having a great telephone service is one of the key components to the our success.”
Jared Weitz – United Capital Source
- “Phone usage is high within our organization, with considerable focus on communication with clients. Our goal is to always have someone available to speak with a client or lead at any time. We go beyond phone calls and are able to easily and quickly communicate via text message with clients after hours and whenever needed. Being readily available when working with businesses finances helps to greatly put people at ease and rest assured they can receive the support needed at any moment.”
What we saw here that stood out most is our respondents’ emphasis on reliability and accessibility in office phone system use. With our own 24/7 customer service, we relate strongly to Jared Weitz’s comment that “being readily available… at any moment” gives customers a sense of ease. They know that, when something goes wrong, the lines of communication will always be open.
Similarly, like Rodney Yo pointed out, customer service can often mean “spending longer than necessary on the phone.” What’s necessary to solve a problem is not always what’s necessary to assist customer with everything they need, including giving them peace of mind. Yo’s and Weitz’s comments here go hand in hand because they realize that as-quick-as-possible calls aren’t always the answer.
The VirtualPBX Phone System takes note of that reality by having the aforementioned Ring Groups keep track of busy lines and route incoming calls accordingly to available individuals. Furthermore, our system Dashboard includes the Live Call Monitoring feature that allows administrators to keep informed about busy and available users. Admins can address callers during peak hours and when customer service is using extra time to assist customers.
Yet, we also resonate with Lisa Chu’s sentiment that keeping calls under five minutes can be essential when working with a high volume of calls. We help businesses keep connected to customers with secure servers and 99.999% Uptime so their phone lines will be clear and reliable.
A Quick Thank You
We wanted to thank all the respondents to our survey. It’s not just the ideas from within the VirtualPBX team that helps create the system we have today and the features coming forth as shown on our Product Roadmap; it’s the preferences of our customers and community that drive the communications market.
Clearly, we and other providers play a key role in the daily operations of many companies. We’re happy to offer a product that can address those needs and let businesses offer great products and service to their own customers.
Posted on July 16, 2019 by Casey Houser
One of the most common questions we get at VirtualPBX is this: How are my business calling minutes managed locally and internationally?
Our Essentials, Advanced, and Enterprise Plans come with unlimited local minutes for calls to the contiguous U.S.
International calls are billed at low per-minute rates. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to distinguish when they will make local and international calls.
For all businesses with bases in the U.S. and abroad, their collective question is simply a matter of where the call is routed to, not where its coming from. This brief blog will explain the details.
VirtualPBX Has Worldwide Servers
What you need to know first is that VirtualPBX uses six datacenters to route call traffic – four in the U.S. and two in Europe.
This means is that, when you place a call, it will be routed through the internet from your location to the closest or most logical server.
Four types of routing may take place, depending on where you call from and where you want to reach. A few examples:
You call from Atlanta to San Francisco: The call moves from your Atlanta phone to a VirtualPBX server in the U.S. and then terminates in San Francisco. This is considered a local call.
You call from Mexico City, Mexico to San Francisco: This time, your call moves from Mexico City to a U.S. server and then terminates in San Francisco. This is also considered a local call.
You call from Mexico City to another location in Mexico City: In this case, your call is sent from your location to a U.S. server but is then routed back to Mexico City. This is an international call.
You call from Atlanta to Mexico City: Here, your call reaches a U.S. server when then relays your call to Mexico City. This is an international call.
Your own business calling minutes will reach into one of these categories. The key is determining where your calls terminate.
Where Your Calls Terminate
How do you determine when a call is considered local and not international? Think about where the call ends.
Looking at the examples listed above, you can see that options 1 and 2 are local. Those calls are directed to recipients inside the contiguous U.S.
In examples 3 and 4, although your calls would use a VirtualPBX server in the U.S., you don’t reach a recipient with the U.S. These are considered international calls because your recipients are not considered local with relation to the server that handles the call.
Your Own Business Calling Minutes
If you’re considering VirtualPBX as your phone system provider, think about the recipients of most of your outbound calls.
Do you call mostly to the contiguous U.S.? Great! Those calls will be considered local, and you can benefit from unlimited local minutes in our plans.
Do you call mostly outside the contiguous U.S.? We offer low per-minute rates for all international calls. Our Sales team can provide you with those rates.
Finally, do you mostly make calls within your own business? Excellent! You can make unlimited calls between system users, on any of our plans, for no extra charge.
Use of your business calling minutes may fluctuate and shift between different areas of your plan. All businesses have different calling needs, so we’re happy to discuss your situation and find a VirtualPBX plan that best suits the types of calls you expect to complete.
Don’t forget our July 2019 Sale that will save you $2-5 per user, for the life of your plan, when you sign up before midnight on July 31. We hope you’ll join us soon.
Posted on July 11, 2019 by Casey Houser
VoIP call quality – one of the highest priorities we have at VirtualPBX – has seen its share of skepticism.
People wonder how their calls can be clear when their web traffic speeds fluctuate. Since VoIP uses the internet to complete calls, they assume their calls will also see peaks and valleys.
The truth is, the call quality of a VirtualPBX Business Phone System can match landline clarity and consistency. You just need to mold it properly. And we can help.
Choosing the Right Provider
As we’ve noted before in this blog, not all service providers are equal. They differ in the options they present (like allotted calling minutes and feature sets). Of course, they also differ in price.
Where it matters when you talk about VoIP call quality, however, is that they differ in the manner of which phone system setup takes place.
Consider that VirtualPBX offers personalized onboarding for every customer that signs up for our Business Phone System.
Our Sales team also makes sure your business gets the correct plan level for your needs and has the infrastructure to keep your call quality clear.
Harden Your Infrastructure
VoIP phone services use the internet to facilitate call transmission. Therefore, you need to have a strong infrastructure base to handle the calls you want to make.
When speaking with our Sales team, we will help determine how much bandwidth your current internet offers. Then we might suggest a Network Health Check or Network Monitoring to see if your desired call volume will work within that bandwidth amount. Or we can help you find a new internet service provider to assure increased bandwidth and improved network reliability.
You can see a quick overview of bandwidth requirements on our VoIP Speed Test page. If your bandwidth doesn’t support the number of concurrent calls you need to make, we can work with you to improve your infrastructure.
Create Your Own VoIP Call Quality
Depending on the service provider you choose and the bandwidth your internet connection affords, your VoIP call quality can vary.
We make it a point to provide the best service in the communications industry. We make sure your business can handle your desired call volume and, when we’re satisfied your system can support VoIP, we overlay a wide range of features and 24/7 customer service in your phone plan.
Our effort begins before you even purchase a business phone plan, whether you’re an entrepreneur or enterprise.
You don’t even have to take our word for it. Start a 14-Day Free Trial in the month of July and save $2-5 on every user, every month, for the life of your plan.
Click the banner below to get started.
Posted on July 9, 2019 by Casey Houser
If you haven’t yet started with VoIP, this could be your chance. Choose VirtualPBX, or switch from your current provider, in our July 2019 Sale and you could save $2-5 per user for the life of your account.
This sale works a little differently than our other promotions. When you sign up for VirtualPBX in the month of July, you will save $2 on Basic, $3 on Essentials, $4 on Advanced, and $5 on Enterprise for each user you add.
No promo code to enter. Only flat-rate discounts for everyone on Monthly and Annual subscriptions.
View our July 2019 Sale here to sign up or begin your 14-Day Free Trial today.
Savings Upon Signup
To give you an idea of what you’ll save at signup, consider this example:
You’re a midsize business of 25 employees. Each of those 25 are placed in an Annual Advanced account that affords them Unlimited Local Minutes and Automatic Call Recording.
Normally, this signup would cost $24.99 per person, resulting in a monthly total of about $625.
Our July 2019 Sale drops that cost to just $20.99 per person. This lowers your monthly cost by $100 to just $525.
Life of Your Account
This sale extends beyond your initial signup. Unlike other promotions you may have seen, you can expect to receive those same savings for as long as you’re a VirtualPBX customer.
Consider again that your midsize business has purchased the annual Advanced account.
Our July 2019 Sale will have dropped your yearly costs by $1,200!
Choose Our July 2019 Sale Now
Ready to get started with the VirtualPBX Business Phone System?
This promotion lasts only until the end of the month, so don’t wait to take advantage of our July 2019 Sale.
Posted on July 2, 2019 by Casey Houser
As a customer, you’ve probably experienced the chill of on-hold music several dozen times in your life. As a business, you probably offer hold music to your callers as a matter of course.
Hold music gives customers a transition between customer service representatives. It fills the blanks with more than empty space. Depending on the style, it may even be entertaining or informative.
This you know. But are you aware that on-hold music can keep customers engaged with your brand and improve the outcome of inbound calls? When you structure your Business Phone System properly, you give customers confidence that you’ll assist them well and quickly. We’ll take a deeper look at these ideas in the paragraphs that follow.
The History of On-Hold Music
A pioneer of telephony, Major General George Owen Squier, who was credited with the invention of multiplexing, also helped develop the concept of Muzak.
Squier’s development of multiplexing in the early 1900’s – the technique of transmitting multiple signals across a single wire (such as more than one phone call across a single copper wire) – made it possible to send music through wires without the need for radio signals, which was expensive to send and receive at the time.
Before radio became cheaper to consumers and businesses in the 1930’s, Squier’s efforts lead to the development of wire-fed music that was piped into, among other places, elevators. This led, of course, to the overarching term, elevator music.
Breaking the Silence
A comprehensive blog post at Beatsuite mentions that the Muzak company was a frontrunner in this market. The company’s involvement ultimately lead to a second generalized term still in use today: muzak.
Muzak, Beatsuite notes, is characterized by being “easy listening, relaxing, and lounge.” It has meant to function so well as a space filler that, although it was present, “you barely knew it was there.”
From Elevators to Phones
Beatsuite also notes that, in 1962, an inventor names Alfred Levy had developed and patented a technique to create an on-hold music system similar to what we hear today.
The key to effective on-hold music, both in the 60’s and today, is its function as a space filler that listeners “barely” know is there.
If background music was more intrusive, it may not have the same positive effects seen in business telephone systems.
On-Hold Music Benefits
When callers leave a queue or hear static during a call, the experience between the business and caller is hindered. Hold music and messages help keep callers at ease, and it may keep them informed while they wait to reach a sales or technical service team.
A study published at the Journal of Applied Social Psychology revealed that playing pop music “you wouldn’t expect to hear” can somewhat buffer a caller from negative thoughts typically associated with customer service calls.
The study showed that, for instance, Micheal Jackson’s “On the Line” performed better than Jackson’s “Heal the World.” Although both are recognizable as Jackson songs, the former didn’t patronize customers with a subtle message of healing humanity. “On the Line” did the job of helping customers pass the time, but it didn’t suggest how their experience would be wonderful or fulfilling, which appeared to be heavy-handed.
Beatsuite notes in its blog that on-hold music helps callers avoid silence. It also points to a USA Business Telephone Today study that showed 52 percent of callers hanging up after one minute on hold when they sat in silence. Contrary, only 13 percent were found to hang up after one minute when background music was played. And only two percent hung up after one minute when music and information were offered while on hold.
Moreover, that study suggests that individuals perceive time to pass much more quickly when they had listened to music and/or information.
Show Off Your Brand
Your own business can use on-hold music to give customers a better experience when reaching out to your sales and support teams.
It could be worthwhile to conduct your own studies about which type of music works best for your customers. If that’s out of reach, however, you could start with a few basic steps:
- Play songs that are upbeat and recognizable
- Intersperse music with messages that show off your brand
- Be kind to customers by respecting their time with decent music and quick answer times
The messages you pass along to your customers are contained within the background music itself and within your spoken messages.
Looking at the research, it’s probably best to keep your customers’ on-hold music within the bounds of easy-listening pop. Just stray away from “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” when making your selections.
You can also mix in messages about your recent sales or promotions. Callers will be interested to know how they can benefit in their future interactions with their brand. Reminding them to be “stay positive” within your messages, though, could backfire as much as positive pop songs.
What VirtualPBX Offers
All our Business Phone Plans come with an Automated Attendant that’s capable of playing on-hold music to your callers.
You can program it with custom songs and messages. Or if you want something more professional, you can contact our partner, Snap Recordings, to create greetings, announcements, and hold music (with or without messages) that fit your needs.