Posted on April 8, 2021 by Casey Houser
Our new e-book, Managing Remote Teams, is coming to a close. With the release of Chapter 6 that we’re announcing today, this marks the penultimate topic in our collection. In this next-to-last chapter, you can read all about remote team morale and how you can sustain a positive work atmosphere while employees are spread across the country.
Did you know that many studies show overall work performance and productivity being much higher when employees work remotely? And are you aware that morale can drop in that type of workplace atmosphere because of lack of personal interaction and feelings of loneliness?
You can make a difference for your team by implementing a few key tasks throughout the day that engage your team and keep life fresh and unpredictable between scheduled deadlines.
Lighten Existing Meetings
If you already meet with your remote staff in daily or weekly meetings, you might want to consider taking a few minutes in those meetings to include non-work topics.
To boost remote team morale, you could ask about what your colleagues’ have planned for the weekend. Tell them a story about an interaction you had recently when running an errand. Share a tidbit about your hobbies, and ask about theirs.
These types of conversations can lighten the mood and make work feel less about process and more about camaraderie. You’re in it together, so you should be able to share fun stories together.
Recognize Team Members’ Special Events
Take some time, also, to recognize the important events that happen in your colleagues’ lives.
Something as simple as saying “Happy Birthday!” in a group chat can make the workday better. You can also recognize anniversaries and novel family events like expecting a child.
Say congratulations or send a gift. Your entire department can help decide which gift(s) to purchase and increase your spending potential.
These types of interactions go a long way toward making people feel appreciated beyond the work they do as employees for your company.
Meet Outside The Workplace
Finally, our e-book chapter 6 notes that meeting outside the workplace can keep life interesting for everyone involved. Remote team morale can get a huge boost when employees know they will have a destination where work won’t be a priority.
You could initiate a bi-yearly get together for coffee at a downtown cafe. Or plan a larger journey that groups everyone together at a picnic site.
No matter the location you choose, workplace issues can be set aside so personal interaction can move to the forefront.
Check Out E-Book Chapter 6
If you want to read more about remote team morale, check out Managing Remote Teams E-Book Chapter 6. Then stay tuned to our blog for the announcement of Chapter 7, which will wrap up everything we want to address about remote team management and operation.
Sign up now to gain immediate access to all our printed chapter so far. You will read about topics like creating blueprints for business expansion, hiring new employees, and addressing internet security. Moreover, we talk about managing workplace expectations and keeping motivation and morale high while keeping the whole of your business organized. There’s something for every manager and employee to learn.
Posted on April 6, 2021 by Casey Houser
We want our partners to have the best. That’s why we’ve updated our Referral Partner Program to include a number of new features that help you better manage your account and show all the assets VirtualPBX Phone Plans offer.
The leading feature in this update is our Partner Portal that gives you immediate access to datasheets and whitepapers, training videos and guides, web banners, testimonials formatted for easy display, and much more. It also gives you a quick link to your dedicated VirtualPBX sales representative who is available to help you get started and build your personal program workflow.
Your Partner Portal
The screenshot provided here gives you a quick look into what your Partner Portal offers.
We’ve broken down our assets into types, and then into descriptions, notes about each asset, and attachments that either are the asset or which may be helpful in your actions as a partner.
For example, a whitepaper that describes our Custom Voice Solutions is provided as an attached document you can use to display that product and give potential customers a look at what VirtualPBX offers in building custom phone plan setups.
Our external review sites are also shown here as a type of asset. We offer attached screenshots for your convenience, but the links provided to those sites such as Capterra are likely what you will want to share or use to get more information.
Track Your Leads Too
You can also track your leads within your Partner Portal.
Quick input of a lead’s information will log that user in your Portal so you can view your progress with your client. You can change the status of any client – Under Review, Order Processing, Deal Won, and Deal Lost – and so you never lose sight of a prospect.
Payouts for Every Customer You Refer
Our payouts in the Referral Partner Program are competitive in the communications industry. You can earn rewards for every customer that signs up with VirtualPBX.
As a partner, you received 100 percent of the first-month service fees of a customer you refer when they stay with VirtualPBX for at least three months. A customer with 50 users on a yearly Advanced Plan, for example, would earn you $999!
Your Dedicated Sales Representative
All members of our new Referral Partner Program are also assigned a dedicated sales representative from our staff.
As our partner, this new feature gives you access to this VirtualPBX contact for any concerns you have during the entirety of your stay as a part of our team. Your sales representative’s email address and phone number are displayed in your Partner Portal for quick access.
We will be happy to help you with everything from registering a new customer to gaining more information about a specific service or product we offer.
Sign Up Today
Getting started with our new Referral Partner Program is easy. You only need to fill out the form on our website, which will alert our staff to call or email you.
We may have a few more questions to ask at that point. Signup, however, can be extremely quick. We want to get you approved and offering your services as a partner as soon as possible.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Our sales representatives hope to speak to you soon.
Posted on April 1, 2021 by Casey Houser
Try something new in your company meetings! Keep the production and efficiency high and your meetings short with our new Video Conference Survivor feature.
You can vote your colleagues out of a meeting for any reason you want:
- It’s nothing personal, but maybe that speech has lasted a little too long. Vote them off!
- We really need to get started, so that story about your bearded dragon has to end right now. Vote them off!
Or give a thumbs up to anyone who’s doing a great job:
- Your presentation was only five minutes long. Thumbs up!
- That’s a great bowtie you’re wearing; very professional. Thumbs up!
Video Conference Survivor is offered exclusively at VirtualPBX, so don’t waste time in another meeting without it.
How Video Conference Survivor Works
The concept is simple. During a video conference, you click or hover over the person you want to vote for. The Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down buttons will appear. Then you make your judgment.
Click or tap Thumbs Up to let them know they’re doing everything you expect of a model video conference participant.
Or repeatedly press Thumbs Down to kick them out of the meeting.
Behind the scenes, the Video Conference Survivor feature calculates how many votes a person received and how quickly they received them. Then the participant is either send a nice virtual “Congratulations for being a great employee” message or are booted from the meeting.
Settings You Can Adjust
We’re not partial to how you want to use Video Conference Survivor at your company. That’s why we’ve provided you with a number of settings you can adjust when using the feature.
- Vote Multiple Times: Upvote or downvote a colleage multiple times in a meeting
- Multiple Vote Reset: How quickly your upvotes or downvotes reset (e.g. you can vote twice a minute)
- Upvote/Downvote Threshold: The number of votes, or the number of participants necessary to send a nice message or kick your colleague from the meeting
- Downvote Strength: Choose whether a colleague kicked out of a meeting can return, and in which time period (e.g. they’re booted for five minutes or 24 hours)
Keep Track of High and Low Performers
Maybe the best part about Video Conferencing Survivor is that you can track the performance of your entire team through our Advanced Call Reports tool.
We’ve updated our Reports selection to give you immediate access to “Video Conferencing Survivor Reports” that provide you with options to see overall colleague performance, upvotes, downvotes, and engagement metrics to use during your next employee training or morale meeting.
Just don’t be too harsh about morale. You don’t want to end up booted from the conference.
Start Voting Today
Our new Video Conference Survivor feature is available today.
It works on our desktop and mobile softphones to let everyone participate. It’s great for remote teams and perfect for those meetings that drag on and on and on.
Give it a try during your next department wrap-up or company information session. We know you’ll be happy with the results.
*Video Conference Survivor not actually available on VirtualPBX Business Phone Plans. April Fools! If you’d like to try our Video Conferencing feature for real, you can get in touch with our team or get started with an Unlimited Minutes Plan.
Posted on March 30, 2021 by Casey Houser
This past weekend, our COO Lon Baker, had the distinct pleasure of being featured with show host Nathan Mumm on the weekly technology podcast TechTime Radio.
The show’s lighthearted banter brings in audiences looking for a refresher of all things tech. Mumm and friends spoke with Baker for a few minutes about recent updates in the VirtualPBX platform and our stellar customer service that has made us a leader in the communications market for more than 21 years.
“What is That? Like Virtual Peanut Butter and Jelly?”
Episode 41 of TechTime opened with a brief poke at our company’s name in its first round of advertisements:
“Have you heard of VirtualPBX?”
“No. What’s that? Like Virtual peanut butter and jelly?”
“VirtualPBX provides affordable business phone plans…”
Clearly we’re not a provider of virtual sandwiches. We are able to take a joke, though, and out of the gate, TechTime Radio established itself as not taking life too seriously with this short exchange.
The advertisement set the stage for what later would be a more down-to-earth conversation with Baker who spoke first about what makes
VirtualPB&J VirtualPBX the best among its broad range of competition.
Breadth of Experience
“We have a breadth of experience both from a customer perspective as well as from a technology perspective. And that’s allowed us to keep growing with customers,” Lon said when asked about VirtualPBX’s leadership in the market.
All the members of our staff definitely pride themselves on having a wide range of experience to draw from as they handle customer concerns. Beyond our individual know-how, we have instant access through our phone system and our other online communications systems to reach experts in their specific fields.
When we need information broad and specific about how customers will want to access our features, we can go to Lon Baker. Similarly, we can find information about the intricacies of phone servers and hardware from Len Cacioppo, our vice president of operations, and we can handle complex customer service issues with an individualized touch by seeking out Jeff Weinstein, our director of operations.
These are only a few highlights from our experienced staff.
“She Said, ‘I Remember You.’ It Was So Nice!”
Host Nathan Mumm addressed the customer service at VirtualPBX by recalling his onboarding experience with the VirtualPBX Softphone after having already used our phone service. TechTime Radio has used our product with success and recently began using our new softphone with its update that includes Business SMS and Video Conferencing.
He talked about how his customer support representative remembered him from a previous encounter and that it was “so nice!” to speak to someone who recalled his individual situation. He said it was phenomenal that the support staff was able to turn an ordinary onboarding experience into one that’s personalized for the customer.
Baker responded promptly, “That’s actually one of the keys. We bet on that. Everyone talks about technology, and what we bet on is customer service.”
Mentioning Our Latest Award Win
Finally, Mumm also mentioned our win of the 2021 Product of the Year award from TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine. This is our eighth straight year of winning this particular award, which is something that doesn’t come without effort, Baker pointed out.
“We work very, very hard for those awards, and we’re constantly trying to improve the overall user experience. The overall customer experience is what got us the edge in that award,” he said.
Listen to Our TechTime Radio Interview
You can hear more from Mumm and Baker by tuning into the full show that’s hosted on YouTube.
The week’s rundown includes discussion about the sticker price of popular gaming chat platform Discord, what it was like to play King’s Quest in the early days of home computing, and account ownership and rights on major social media platforms.
The episode overall ranges from the light (pb&j) to the heavy (account suspension), so there’s a little something for everyone if you’re interested in tech. Have a listen today on YouTube or find TechTime Radio on podcast stores at Apple, Google, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and Listen Notes.
Posted on March 25, 2021 by Casey Houser
Your business and its remote workers can benefit greatly from the use of business process analysis. Chapter 5 of our new e-book, Managing Remote Teams helps you understand the process of examining your business processes, turning them into blueprints, and using those as a guide for future company tasks.
The lessons learned in our e-book this chapter can apply to generalized business tasks as well as specific departments, like sales or customer service. Your successes will become evident so you can apply them as needed in similar situations throughout your calendar year.
Examine Your Current Results
When creating a blueprint during business process analysis, the big questions you will need to ask include:
- Are my current processes being used?
- Are those processes working?
- Where do we see success?
- Where are we struggling?
These questions are answerable when you consider the fine-grained elements of how your business operates. For instance, when looking at your daily sales workflows, you can learn a great deal about their effectiveness by using tools like Advanced Call Reports to see your progress.
Chapter 5 of Managing Remote Teams digs deeper into methods you can use to get a full picture of how well your business is operating.
Be Measurable and Transparent
During business process analysis, you may find that some aspects of your operations aren’t measurable. This may be inevitable, but it also needs to change if you want to build blueprints for your future.
If you were to ask how past hiring of remote team members has taken place, you will need to find information about the number of people you interviewed, the subset of candidates who were competitors for the job, and the performance of the person you hired since their first days on the job.
Were those elements documented? If you can’t find them anywhere, it’s possible that remote worker hiring is more of a policy than a process.
We dig into the difference between policy and process in this e-book chapter. When you think more about how your business is being measured or can be measured, you can more effectively work successfully from any location.
Effective Business Process Analysis
Managing Remote Teams Chapter 5 gives you 10 steps to follow when creating a business blueprint.
These steps help you focus your business process analysis into steps that can be written down and copied on demand. Consider that you will need to complete these tasks and more:
- Create an inventory of your processes
- Develop boundaries that give your blueprints scope
- Estimate time and costs for future work
The hard work here will pay off in future weeks and months. Business blueprints can lead your company toward repeatable processes that work. No more guessing about how to keep your remote team functioning as it should.
You can read more and gain insight about these topics by downloading our e-book today. And don’t forget to listen to VirtualPBX COO Lon Baker speak to the hosts of TechTime Radio on March 27th, 4 p.m. Pacific, about the future of our company an all the great new features we have planned.