We’ve been around for a long time and have collected some of the best minds from across several industries, and we think it’s high time they got their day in the spotlight. In this series of blogs we’ll be unearthing some of the technology and talent that power our hosted communications platform.
Ensuring that the thousands of new companies that switch to VirtualPBX every year have a smooth and seamless transition is a responsibility that we take quite seriously. For the vast majority of them, setting-up their new Dash VoIP plan is simple and they can be up and running in about five minutes. We also have a category of customer that includes far more complex organizational needs and, for them, we offer a high-touch onboarding and system management service aptly named our VirtualPBX Concierge Service. Linda Freitas is one of our most experienced and capable Onboarding Specialists who has seen just about every possible configuration of business phone system imaginable. Also, never one to take the fact that we’re a global company too lightly, Linda is one of the most worldly and well-traveled people you’ll ever meet. In fact, last year she visited a total of 6 new countries but we happened to catch her while she was here in California to sit down for this installment of VirtualPBX Tech Talks.
So Linda, what is the first thing that most companies encounter or ask about when they start setting-up their Dash account?
That really depends on if the company is a new enterprise or if they’re coming to VirtualPBX from a different business phone service. For folks with an existing phone plan and their own telephone numbers, we can port in their numbers so they never have to worry about losing their current number. For other companies that don’t yet have a telephone number, they just have to pick one from our number bank. This is actually fun for a lot of people because all of the Dash Plans come with at least one number included and we have literally hundreds of thousands of numbers, from local numbers to international numbers to toll-free numbers, to choose from. The sheer amount of options can get a bit overwhelming for some folks so I always remind them that they can add new numbers for just a few dollars whenever they want, that generally helps them be comfortable with the decision.
Great, so once they have their number situated, what is the next thing people will typically look to accomplish?
Easily the biggest thing that people get excited about is setting up the incoming call strategies for their phone system. Honestly, it doesn’t sound that jazzy on the surface, but once admins begin realizing the extent to which they can control everything about the path of an inbound call, it makes sense why they love the Virtual Receptionist. There are a few major templates on how to route the inbound call, and easily the most popular is direct to the Virtual Receptionist. That’s because businesses generally enjoy being able to put the power of choosing where to go right into the hands of their callers, and they can do that without having to tie-up any of their employees in the process.
Other than the few major tracks that you mentioned people can choose to direct inbound call traffic, what makes the Virtual Receptionist really all that special when it comes to customizations?
Again, there are a bunch of nuanced edits that can be made to really fine-tune the experience for any business, but for the sake of time, I can talk about two of the big ones. First is the way people can customize the audio message of the Virtual Receptionist itself. This is a big deal for basically everyone because a franchise that doesn’t own all of its locations would still want a uniform message for the company and even a smaller mom and pop shop would want to keep the message as authentic as possible as to not alienate anyone who has come to expect a certain level of personal attention from a neighborhood business. The audio can be recorded to your computer and uploaded, we can have our professional audio partner Snap Recordings record it for you, or you can even use the automatic text-to-speech feature where you just type in what you want the receptionist to say. The other big feature for most people is the programmable business hours. In just a few clicks you can arrange for the opening and closing hours, lunch hours if necessary, and even holidays for the entire year to be determined so you don’t ever have to worry about if you set up voicemail for a long weekend ever again. Plus, once you’ve set the hours, you also have the option to tailor the inbound call experience to cater to the fact that nobody is around to answer the call with additional audio messages and even unique routing options. Again, once people get to tinkering around with the Greetings Manager, they realize how much better it is than they ever expected.
Let’s go back to the audio options you mentioned just now, what is the text to speech feature all about? Is that something people can reliably trust to sound relatively human?
Absolutely! This new text to speech platform is an advanced system that sounds terrific. There are some nuances to all automatic speech programs that need to be understood, but once you’re aware of them it’s a pretty easy process to navigate.
What types of things should users be aware of when they’re getting started with text to speech?
It really boils down to pacing. You want these messages to have the same pace and cadence of a normal conversation, and the best way to ensure that is adding punctuation strategically. For example, just tossing a comma or a period in whenever you would normally be taking a breath is always a good way to make sure the message comes out in a comfortable, natural fashion. Plus, you can preview the message whenever you want simply by dialing your number and listening right there over the phone.
Okay one more thing, what are your next big travel plans for 2018?
Well, to be honest, I always have a million different places to go, but so far I think I’ll be staying relatively close by with a trip to the Caribbean somewhere. I know that’s already pretty great, but I always like to get a new stamp in my passport, so if it does happen, I’d hope it’s Spain so I can get some tapas!
No matter where Linda or the other members of her team will be, you can rest assured that you’ll get the award-winning Customer Support that VirtualPBX is known for at any point in your onboarding process. Plus, because we’re one of the only companies to include our Support Team at no extra charge, you can use their expertise any time you want. And because we’re also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we really mean it when we say any time! So what are you waiting for? Get started with your new Dash Plan today, and we’ll be sure to be here if you want some help getting on-boarded. In the meantime, let us know where you’d go visit if you could pick anywhere in the world by joining the conversation on Twitter and Facebook, and for the record, I’d go see the Northern Lights in Iceland before the season is voer!