Posted on May 21, 2019 by Casey Houser
The past several months at VirtualPBX have been alight with activity as we’ve refined our new Dash Plans.
Now the day has arrived, and we’re excited to offer a new set of Business Phone Plans: Basic, Essentials, Advanced, Enterprise, and Ultimate.
This change, from three plans to five, better matches our business customers to calling features. All our new clients can expect to pay only for the features they need, whether they’re a single entrepreneur or global enterprise.
Included Features for All Businesses
Our primary goal with this move is to better address business needs. Therefore, while our set of available options may have changed, we still offer a collection of stock features that are included with every plan.
VirtualPBX CEO Paul Hammond explained that “every customer will continue to receive the same standard of 24/7 customer service and professional care we place behind all the work we do. Each plan begins with a free 14-day trial with no obligation to buy.”
Well-known features like Unlimited VoIP Minutes between system users, Ring Groups, Auto Attendant, Voicemail, Audio Conferencing, and use of the VirtualPBX Web Phone will come standard with every plan. All customers will also get at least one phone number with their signup.
The New Breakdown
“Our new Basic and Essentials packages reach the smallest of businesses, including startups and entrepreneurs,” Hammond continued. “Advanced, Enterprise, and Ultimate give more expansive options to midsize outfits and enterprises.”
Our new breakdown of plans offers its respective feature sets as follows:
- Basic starts customers with 500 minutes of U.S. calling and support for any desk phone or smartphone they wish to use on an account.
- Essentials includes unlimited U.S. calling, 500 toll-free minutes for use with an 800 number, and access to Digital Faxing.
- Advanced upgrades customers to 1,000 toll-free minutes and adds access to ACD Queues, Call Recording, and Webhooks.
- Enterprise’s 2,500 toll-free minutes stands alongside Private Storage for call recordings, access to the VirtualPBX API, and use of VirtualPBX Servers for dual use of Dash and VirtualPBX SIP Trunking.
- Ultimate joins 10,000 toll-free minutes with CRM Integration and access to Priority Customer Support.
Building Upon Each Other
Together, the new plans work like stair steps. Each successive plan uses the VirtualPBX feature set to build upon the last.
Basic provides the foundation with all the included base features. Then Essentials includes every feature Basic offers while increasing its toll-free minutes.
Advanced includes everything in Essentials. Enterprise includes everything in Advanced. And Ultimate includes everything in Enterprise.
Customers can expect to find plans that are priced better to fit their needs as organizations. While many enterprises will want access to the API offered in the Enterprise plan, entrepreneurs can do well with base features and a set collection of calling minutes.
We hope every size business can get what it’s looking for. Our new plans mean to work better for everyone, and we look forward to feedback on this company-wide change.
Posted on May 8, 2019 by Casey Houser
The size of your business comes secondary to the power of multiple business phone numbers.
Slim startups can boost their marketing efforts by using more than one number in their campaigns. Expanding enterprises can make their global ambitions more feasible with a handful of numbers at their disposal.
Keep reading for a deeper look at those situations and how your own business can benefit from using multiple phone numbers as part of a VirtualPBX account.
Starting Small, Marketing Big
Startups eventually reach the point where marketing becomes a pivotal activity in their development.
To attract customers, startups can take advantage of online and offline advertising in places like Google Ads and industry magazines.
The process of creating advertisements is straightforward enough. You create sensible ad copy, release it in the right location (online or printed publication), track the results, make changes, and complete a subsequent round.
Where this becomes most complicated is within the “track the results” phase. You need to know how and why your customers are reacting to your ads; otherwise, you won’t know how to improve them when the campaign has come to a close.
Multiple business phone numbers can help this process by segmenting differing campaigns from one another. For instance, if you have a single Google Ads campaign and a printed ad in Wired, and each one sports a separate phone number, you can tell which ad the caller reacted to.
Let’s say you scale your marketing to 20 online campaigns and 5 print ads. Great! Attaching phone numbers to every single campaign, or at least to groups of campaigns within the online and print subsets, can work wonders when you’re receiving dozens or hundreds of calls a day.
Enterprise Across the Globe
Likewise, many enterprises will also reach a tipping point. The sizes of their individual departments can dwarf other whole businesses.
Enterprises have hundreds to thousands of employees, so their departments can become enormous. An accounting department that’s 100 employees deep may be split into its own sections that deal with new contracts, global connections, and taxes, just to name a few areas of focus.
If an individual needed to contact that accounting department but only had one line into a central part of the business, it could become a mess. A single Automated Attendant could route the caller correctly, but it would be a messy experience for that person.
A direct line to the department could make routing much simpler. In fact, separate lines for accounting, marketing, HR, sales, and other departments would make contact to those places easier for everyone involved.
Callers wouldn’t have to navigate deep auto attendant mazes. Businesses could publish their individual departments’ numbers and let the subsections of those departments easily delineate themselves by extensions.
Multiple Business Phone Numbers in Your Market
How do you currently shape your growing business? If you haven’t tried organizing your marketing efforts or company growth with a set of business phone numbers, it could be time to start.
Adding numbers to a VirtualPBX Business Phone System account is easy and cost-effective. Numbers can be used at your discretion and routed anywhere you like, even in complex arrangements that would require a custom voice system setup.
Posted on May 2, 2019 by Casey Houser
If your business has expanded across national borders, you’ll want to begin using phone numbers local to those countries. In tandem, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the international number formats each new number will copy.
Not every country uses the same type of spacing and digit count found in the U.S. (XXX-XXX-XXXX). Your knowledge of phone number formats outside the States can help your professionalism as a business owner, and it can help your business’s expansion move smoothly with a VirtualPBX Business Phone Plans in the future.
Here’s a starter list you can use to begin your education.
The U.K. presents a challenge: Depending on the location they address, its phone number area codes can have lengths of 4 (the most common), 3, 2, and 5 (the least common).
The 4-digit codes precede a subscriber number (the equivalent to the final XXX-XXXX in U.S. numbers) length of 5 or 6. The 3-digit codes precede number lengths of 7. The 2-digit codes precede numbers of length 8. And 5-digit codes precede numbers with lengths of either 4 or 5.
London phone number format, therefore, is (020)XXXX-XXXX. The leading 0 here is the national trunk code, so it doesn’t count toward the aforementioned digit tallies.
Less well-known Brampton presents a number of (0169 77)XXXX.
VirtualPBX can use any of those international phone numbers, whether you’ve moved office to the capital or rural town.
Germany’s phone number format regulations are a bit tighter.
You’ll still find area codes that range in length from 2 to 5 digits – not including the trunk code, of course. Its standard subscriber number length, however, is now set to 11 digits, including the area code.
Prior to 2010, Germany used to allow phone numbers at variable lengths. You might have found phone numbers as short as two digits.
Today, though, you can expect to get a local number that’s 11 digits, or 10 if it’s local to a major metropolitan area like Berlin.
India uses what are known as Subscriber Trunk Dialing (STD) codes for its phone number format. Similar to area codes, they precede a subscriber’s phone number and can range from 2 to 8 digits.
Shorter STD codes apply to larger cities. New Delhi uses 11 as its STD. Jaipur uses 141.
Phone numbers always combine with the STD to reach a total of 10 digits. Therefore, a New Delhi number would look like 11-XXXXXXXX, and a Jaipur number would look like 141-XXXXXXX.
Phone Number Format Primer
While we can’t cover all the phone number formats in this article, this is a good place to get started.
Know, at least, that not all countries subscribe to the same format the U.S. uses. Make yourself familiar with the types of conventions out there. Most of all, don’t expect that a standard set of digits or conventions will always apply in every situation.
VirtualPBX can make use of local numbers in any country where we offer service. In addition to our phone number coverage in the U.S., we can help you reach across the globe but remain a local presence in your countries of choice.
Good luck in your expansion efforts.
Posted on April 30, 2019 by Casey Houser
You’ve already done the hard work of expanding across the U.S. Now it’s time to think about using a vanity toll-free number with your VirtualPBX Phone Plan.
More than just a communication lifeline, a toll-free number can be a representative for your business. The use of a vanity number in this context lets your personality and intention slip into customers’ memories – all with a few letters/digits.
Let’s discuss, for a few minutes, the influence you can gain by adopting a number that speaks for you.
Grab Customers’ Attention
Which one stands out more? The regular toll-free number, or the vanity toll-free number?
Unless you have a penchant for digits, the option above that spells out “cycling” is much more attention-grabbing than its counterpart.
The digits in the first option above spell out “cycling” – you just can’t see it at first glance.
If you owned a bicycle or motorcycle shop, you could use 1-800-CYCLING in print and digital ads to immediately grab customers’ attention. Customers could then more easily remember your phone number since the word “cycling” is familiar, whereas 292-5464 is not.
Solidify Brand Identity
You can take this one step further by giving your phone number a feeling.
If you were a vacation company, 1-800-CHILLIN could evoke an emotional response in customers before they even call.
Using the word “chillin” is memorable. Its use as slang (the abbreviation of “chilling” or “chilling out”) also gives the number a casual air about it.
Customers would see 1-800-CHILLIN as a representation of the vacation company’s brand style: Casual and playful, and responsible enough to create a phone number easy to remember, which adds professionalism to the image.
Be on the Lookout
Not every vanity toll-free number will be available for you to use. In fact, 1-800-CYCLING and 1-800-CHILLIN are already taken.
You can improve your chances of getting a relevant number by using different prefixes (like 866 instead of 800) and being creative with your slogan.
A few minutes of brainstorming should be enough to get started.
Find Your Own Vanity Toll-Free Number
Check our partner TollFreeNumbers.com to see what’s available. You can use any of the numbers available there with any VirtualPBX Phone Plan.
Remember that your number doesn’t need to match your business name exactly. Once you have a few options, type them into TollFreeNumbers to get a list of numbers and suggestions for alternatives.
Before you know it, you’ll be impressing customers with your creativity and hopefully seeing a boost in call traffic for your efforts.
Posted on April 26, 2019 by Charlie Galaviz
Does your business telephone number catch the eyes or ears of customers? According to MarketingCharts.com, toll-free vanity numbers on visual ads can experience an 84% higher recall rate over traditional numbers. However, vanity numbers are 9x more memorable when advertised over the radio.
Vanity numbers aren’t the only numbers that are easier for the brain to recollect. Desirable area codes, historic years, and patterns impact the recall rate of local and international numbers as well.
Want to learn how you can give your telephone number an edge the first time it’s seen or heard? Check out our 5 tips to create a stand out business number.
5 Tips to Create a Stand Out Business Number
- Create an Association
Telephone numbers that signal a commonality or a relation with the audience are far less forgettable than numbers that are completely randomized. For example, a sporting goods franchise could consider the number “2323” because of its ties to Michael Jordan. Numbers that end in a year, pattern, or a famous athlete’s jersey number create an association and are far more likely to be remembered.
- Explore Vanity Numbers
Vanity telephone numbers are easy to remember, informational, and improve brand recognition. Selecting a vanity number is the perfect time to create an association between your product/service and your audience. Choose the vanity number that makes the most sense and is easy to recall. For example, 1-800-Flowers is a brilliant vanity number because it gives customers insight into the product, brand, and domain. Explore the largest selection of vanity numbers to find the perfect number.
- Strike Prefix Balance
Similar to selecting the “com” website domain extension, the “1-800” prefix is the most widely recognized toll-free number prefix. Other popular prefixes include 888, 877, 866, and 855. If your desired 1-800 vanity toll-free number is taken, consider how memorable “1-855-LAWYERS” is compared to “1-800-4368-5192”. Above all, striking a balance between association or vanity is more important than the prefix itself.
- Share DID Numbers
In figurative terms, DID numbers can be compared to handing out the key to the city. In medieval times, having the key to the city meant you were free to come and go without approval from the guards. DID numbers are virtual numbers that give direct access to individual employees without having to go through the telephone tree. Neat right? Therefore, DID Numbers are more likely to be saved to your customer’s contact list because of their desirable nature.
- Vocalize your Number
Ever had to repeat a voice message multiple times to catch the callback number? When broadcasting your telephone number it’s important to pronounce the number slowly and repeat the number more than once. In addition, a clever jingle like the 1-800-General commercials can be an effective way to introduce your number to the customers working memory. By effectively vocalizing your number, your audience can subconsciously remember your number without realizing it.
Get More Calls, Get More Business
In conclusion, telephone numbers are one of the key ingredients to building a sustainable business. VirtualPBX offers the largest selection of local, toll-free, and international telephone numbers to choose from. We’ll even help you find the perfect business phone plan to compliment your new telephone number. What do you have to lose? Transform your communications today.