VirtualPBX Blog

B2B Nation: The Evolution of PBX Podcast

We’re proud to have been asked by experts on recommending technology to consumers and small business owners, TechnologyAdvice, to provide a little bit of insight into the evolution of hosted telecom. Now, you can hear what we had to talk about on SoundCloud.

Past, Present, and Future

Sitting down with B2B Nation: IT podcast host, Josh Bland, we had the opportunity to discuss how our VirtualPBX history coincides, and in many ways defines, the history of hosted PBX. We also had a chance to, without disclosing anything too specific about what we have in the works, discuss how what we’re doing today will shape the future of the industry.

The Cutting Edge

Though this isn’t the first podcast we’ve done lately for various business experts, and we hope it won’t be the last. What made this event so special, however, is that it comes on the heels of a big win for us in the industry by being awarded the TMC and Internet Telephony Product of the Year for the all-new Dash business phone system. By launching such an innovative and intuitive platform for SMBs to boost their business phone systems performance, B2B Nation Podcastwe’ve made it clear that servicing our customers is as important as driving improvements to the hosted telecom industry as a whole. That said, we invite you all to learn about why Dash has made such an impact in such a short time, see what our customers have to say about our service, and let us know how we can do even better.

Always Looking To Improve

We believe a high tide will raise all ships, so the more you help us improve, the more the industry will improve to keep up. Thanks for helping us get to where we are and we’re looking forward to working hard to keep earning a seat at great podcasts like B2B Nation and, more importantly, your trust to deliver all of your business communications needs.

VirtualPBX 5 5.0

VirtualPBX 5

It’s that time of the month. The VirtualPBX 5 is back at it again with our favorite topics, gadgets and news from the month of April. This month we were fortunate enough to have virtual tickets to Facebook’s F8 Conference and Social Media Marketing World 2016. We were impressed with the developments towards optimizing human interaction to say the least. But even more so, we are inspired by the overall theme of individuality. Whether your goal is to work remotely from the French Alps, make quirky viral videos, run a marathon, or provide the world with clean drinking water, technology allows us to connect our passions with our environments.

Here are our 5 favorite connected technologies for the month of April.

  1. Smart phones, smart watches and now smart clothes. Lumo discretely combines data and performance enhancing coaching into your everyday life.
  2. If remote employees were superheroes their capes would be Lifepacks. This mobile office will keep your superpowers charged.
  3. Facebook Live will disrupt the world’s largest social network in 2016.
  4. A solar panel water bottle that interconnects the atmosphere to make fresh filtered water.
  5. Samsung’s Gear 360 camera is a game changer for consumer video recording technology. There is no limit to which environment humans will become immersed in next.

5 Tips to Boost Your Brand’s Communications Strategy

Modern Marketplace Communications TipsIn the concept of an open marketplace in the earliest days of business, there was basically a need for vendors to have literally the loudest voice in order to make a sale. Now that we aren’t all competing for the ears and attention of consumers in a single, isolated corner of the world but rather for the attention of the global community, simple yelling just won’t suffice. It’s with that in mind that we’ve put together a few tips for maximizing the effect of your communications strategy along with suggestions on how to make it happen.

1. One-to-One Communications

Yes, this means have a conversation. Though you will be addressing thousands or even millions of people every time you email, tweet, or post online, you need to recognize that each time you do that you are inviting the possibility of just as many individual conversations as well. In fact, in many ways the level of success you have with a social campaign will be measured by the engagement you have from each post, only strengthening the importance of opening with a conversational tone. Billboard-style statements will only carry so far these days, so instead consider each line of text that your company presents as an opening line of dialogue. When consumers have as many different channels to engage with a brand as they currently do, if you aren’t positioning yourself to have a dialogue, they may just have it without you and you do not want to be left out of the conversation.

2. Be Authentic

This should go without saying, but with the increasingly segmented nature of social media, there has been a distillation of the communities that frequent certain areas. This can be either a boondoggle for companies that have focused in on the characteristics of their market ad potential customers, or it can also be a recipe for disaster. A problem arises only when brands have assumed that they can waltz into new social arenas to engage with targeted demographics without respect for the authenticity it takes to also be a credible voice. The best way to avoid this happening is to remain humble and honest (two of the most important tenants of authenticity) by gradually establishing a foundation of credibility. Fans of a certain television show or recreational pastime who share key demographics with your ideal customer will likely warm to your presence in their community as long as you aren’t blatantly disregarding the importance of actually talking about whatever it is that makes that community unique. Remember, you are not the expert in their hobbies, and they can smell a phony a mile away.

3. Relevance is Key

This is perfect segue into the topic of relevance. It should go without saying, but like in all communications, the first and foremost important concept to address is considering the audience. For consumer communities who are based around technical and work-related topics, it’s appropriate to discuss the more proprietary aspects of your product or service that provide a performance benefit. This type of content, however, will not be as useful in an arena focused on the finer aspects of Harry Potter fan fiction. The point is that you want to be seen as a credible resource for when your audience is ready for some buying questions, and you will only get there by establishing a reputation for consistently offering relevant and credible information.

4. Qualitative Versus Quantitative

This is probably one of the hardest things for marketers to accept, but focusing on quality over quantity is pivotal in accomplishing the previous steps to boost a brand’s communications strategy. Every good business endeavor will have certain characteristics and certainly measurability is a big one. In marketing that means that growing the social footprint, increasing the total number of impressions, and generally widening the reach of a particular megaphone will likely be both the way to measure your success and the way to justify the value of your work to your organization as a whole. This is why it is often hard for marketers to remember the value of a single, high-quality interaction in the face of mountains of analytics. Considering, though, how a single review can make-or-break a young business or how a truly empathetic customer service interaction can humanize and bolster a larger organization, the value of treating each and every interaction like it is the only customer you have cannot be overemphasized. This may be a difficult sell to the folks in the corner office, but success here will mark success in all of the other steps as well.

5. Have Some Fun

It’s important to remember that your customers aren’t employees 100% of their lives, and neither are you. That’s why it’s important to loosen up a little bit from time to time. Your brand has a personality, and so do you and your fellow marketers, so make sure to showcase that from time to time. Many companies have various charitable endeavors that they find near and dear to their hearts and that’s a safe place to start, but remember that it’s okay to just have a little fun from time to time, too. Even if you are following the four previous tips to the letter, speaking only about features or products that provide a performance benefit can fatigue your audience, so mix it up a little. Doing this will differentiate your brand and keep your audience interested. And remember, an interested audience is an engaged audience.

For more of our useful business information, helpful communications strategies, and for a little bit of our fun side, you should follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. We’re always online and would love to hear what you have to say about this or any other post from our blog. In the meanwhile, we’ll probably be found discussing the season premiers of Silicon Valley or Game of Thrones.

Telecommuting in Silicon Valley

CalTrain Telecommute in Silicon ValleyFor millions of people, commuting to and from work represents both the means to achieving their professional goals and the pure bane of their existence. It is estimated that Americans spent a whopping 42 hours a year of their lives in traffic heading to and from work. After that settles in and you’ve stopped plotting ways to get out of the office ahead of the crowds, let me offer some observations I’ve had in my daily grind.

To be clear, before I continue, you might get the wrong impression but let me assure you- neither I nor any member of the VirtualPBX community is opposed to team sports. Quite the contrary, in fact. That being said, for anyone who lives and commutes in a major sports market via public transportation has probably encountered some of the same problems me and my fellow CalTrain commuters experience during baseball season. Yes, even in an even year, the San Francisco Giants home schedule is a royal pain when it comes to getting home from work. To get an idea of the challenges that Bay Area denizens experience when there is a home game in the evening allow me to offer the following analogy.

Vanpool Meets Van Wilder

The CalTrain is effectively a big carpool for people trekking up and down the peninsula to their various schools and offices each day. Like any such community, there is a familiarity and solidarity that comes from sharing this experience; we all ride or walk to the stations when it’s raining, we all are delayed the same amount of time for mechanical troubles, and so on. The group also shares a love-hate relationship with the Giants’ home schedule because it means that our otherwise peaceful mini-van is injected with about 1,500 rowdy, seat-occupying, noise-making sports fans. Oh, did I mention that drinking alcohol is permitted on the train? Because it is, and it’s also a big part of what makes the quadrupling of train’s regular population so challenging. Anyway, as you can imagine, these nights can motivate people to try and avoid the crowds as best as they can.

Tools For Telecommuting

However, for those who are fortunate enough to have an employer who has embraced a work from home policy, there is hope! For anyone who needs to change their schedule to be at home, due to a baseball game or a newborn or anything between, having an array of hosted communication tools for distance working is irreplaceably helpful.

  • A VoIP Softphone will allow employees to appear to be at their desk whether they are taking an earlier train home or simply working from a home office. This is good for not only receiving calls away from work, but for placing them virtually from an employee’s office number, too.
  • For me personally, Follow Me Calling is incredibly useful because I don’t ever have to know in advance where I will be to accept a call, the incoming call finds me by following a series of numbers I decide for it to try.
  • Finally, for folks who need to stay flexible in their hours, they need to have the same flexibility over what devices they can use, too. Dash from VirtualPBX has one of the most comprehensive device compatibility platforms ever seen, so you can be sure to be able to use whatever hardware you want to get the job done.

While commuting will never likely be totally free of hassles, I suspect nobody really expects that to be an option. Using these helpful telecommuting tools from VirtualPBX is a surefire way to eliminate many of the objections an employer may have to adopting a work-from-home policy, however. And seeing as how it has been proven time and again that remote workforces are more productive and profitable than their in-office compatriots, hopefully you’ll have everything you need to, ahem, pitch, your boss the idea of how to avoid the baseball crowds moving forward.

Infographic – Earth Day

Earth Day is a great time to remind ourselves to live with a small footprint, especially at the office. We all know that there are recycling bins and composting services becoming more common, but what else can you do from an operational standpoint to be kinder to the world around us? In addition to one of the only comprehensive e-waste recycling resources around, we’ve also put together this handy infographic to help you jumpstart your eco-strategy.Earth Day

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