Posted on January 7, 2020 by Casey Houser
We’ve made some changes to our Web Phone recently to make managing your queue status in our ACD Queues easier.
Now any user can set themselves as Active or Away, or end their session altogether, with a single button click inside our Web Phone’s menu. No more toggling between your browser-based phone and the ACD Queues portal to manage your status.
Here’s a quick explainer of how it all works.
Our ACD Queues Feature
If you’re not yet familiar with ACD Queues, you should understand that it’s a feature available within our Advanced, Enterprise, and new Minute 500 and Minute 1000 plans.
This feature allows businesses to precisely route inbound callers to agents. It follows protocols like Round Robin to cycle callers to random agents or Least Calls to ring the agent who’s answered the least number of calls.
This works well for businesses that need to route calls to multiple agents but want to evenly distribute those those calls.
Previously, agents had to log in and out through the Queue itself. That’s no longer the case if they use the VirtualPBX Web Phone. Now they set their Queue status as Ready or Away or click End Session to log themselves out.
Take a Look at Web Phone Queue Status
In the sidebar menu of the Web Phone, a Begin Session button is prominently displayed for users who are part of a Queue. They can begin their session by clicking that button.
Once they’re logged in, an agent can then see their queue status in a drop-down menu. This menu starts off as Active but can be changed to Away or End Session by clicking the menu.
It only takes a few seconds for agents to change their status or completely exit a queue as necessary.
Save Time With Web Phone
The VirtualPBX Web Phone has gained a number of new features in recent months. When we upgraded to VirtualPBX Web Phone 2.0, we improved our user interface and added a voicemail management and a status indicator.
We also expanded Web Phone’s ability to accept new features like this ACD Queue Status selector.
This is just the beginning of what we have in store for our Web Phone. It’s accessible to all VirtualPBX customers, so we hope you can find use for it at your own business.
Posted on December 18, 2019 by Casey Houser
At VirtualPBX, we like to talk about the unlimited minutes available in our phone plans, but not every business needs that capability. Sometimes, a few hundred minutes is enough, so we have launched our new Per Minute Plans as an alternative to our traditional user-based plans.
Minute 300, Minute 500, and Minute 1000 give businesses a chance to save money without sacrificing essential features like Automated Attendant, Ring Groups, and Call Forwarding. These new plans start at $9.99 per month and are a great option for businesses that need reliable business phone service and powerful features, but which don’t need to complete a lot of calls.
Keep reading for a quick overview of our new offerings.
Features of Minute Plans
All our new Per Minute Plans come loaded with features. For any Minute tier you choose, you’ll receive:
- Web Phone for calling from your web browser on any device
- Automated Attendant to give your business a 24/7 presence
- Ring Groups to create department and other group extensions
- Audio Conferencing that brings together employees and customers
- Digital Faxing that makes sending/receiving documents easy
- Zapier Integration to link all your web-based applications
In addition, each Per Minute Plan offers its own level of included minutes and extra features. Business that need more minutes, or which desire an expanded range of features, can choose a higher-tiered plan to better suit their needs.
- Minute 300 offers businesses 300 local + toll-free minutes and includes 1 free phone number.
- Minute 500 allows for 500 minutes of calling and includes 2 free phone numbers. It also adds ACD Queues capability for advanced call routing.
- Minute 1000 boosts included minutes to 1000. It comes with 3 free phone numbers, Call Recording so no important conversations are lost, and Webhooks to wire your business phone system to internal applications.
Each comes with an expansive set of base features that make the Per Minute Plans affordable and useful for businesses that are just getting started or that experience a low call volume each month.
VirtualPBX CEO Paul Hammond spoke about this pairing of low cost and rich feature sets:
“Minute 300, 500, and 1000 give businesses an economical option for their voice service,” he said. “Now for only $9.99 a month, an entrepreneur can bootstrap their initial marketing efforts or provide a dedicated business number to their contacts. Entrepreneurs and small businesses can grow their operations and upgrade VirtualPBX service as necessary – to other Per Minute Plans or our unlimited-minutes Dash Plans.”
“Calls can be easily forwarded to personal devices. And Minute users can expect to receive the base set of powerful features we offer to all our clients.”
We’re offering these plans as a starting place for businesses that want to bootstrap their operations. We want to connect with organizations that don’t receive a lot of call volume yet still need reliable business calling features. And we’re making it possible for customers to expand their operations up Minute tiers and beyond.
Get Started With VirtualPBX Per Minute Plans
Interested businesses can speak to the VirtualPBX Sales team today. We’re happy to help you decide between minute-based and user-based plans to see what fits your business best.
There’s never any pressure to buy, and in starting a Free Demo of our Minute-Based or User-Based Plans, you can experience everything VirtualPBX offers with no expected commitment.
Posted on December 17, 2019 by Casey Houser
This week’s blog will take a look at an often-requested topic of discussion: how to answer the phone at work.
Of course, there are many approaches to the practice – ranging from professional to Buddy the Elf (who we admire for his creativity and expeditious approach to office procedures). Your own office likely has its own rules for how to say “hello” to incoming customer calls.
We’ll provide a few examples here for your own exploration. Feel free to add them to your office script or incorporate them into your own freestyle method of handling calls on our Business Phone System.
How to Answer the Phone Professionally
In order to create a consistent image, many businesses have their employees follow a standardized method of answering the phone. Their approach for how to answer the phone at work prioritizes consistency and professionalism in order to best address customers.
This can be an excellent asset when used properly. Consider what a business of your own size might say to an inbound caller.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs may wish to answer the phone in a standardized, professional manner to make themselves look more established then they actually are.
Image is everything, so why not emphasize that strength? You can try either of these scripts to fill the room with your presence:
Hi. This is Stephen from XYZ Corp. How can I help you today?
Hi. This is Stephen from XYZ Corp. How can I direct your call?
Although these scripts are short, they carry a lot of weight. Each one introduces the caller to the speaker (Stephen) and company name (XYZ Corp.), and each one gives the caller some type of direction (either to state their purpose or to determine the direction in which their call needs to be routed).
Many of these same types of qualities can be found in the Auto Attendant Phone Script Examples blog where we list additional scripts for use in your automated teller. You may want to consider use of the Auto Attendant, depending on your business’s situation. Whichever style of call handling you prefer, however, there’s no substitute for direct, dense messages that let the customer know you’re able and willing to assist them.
One sentence can make you appear capable of handling any task your larger counterparts are already trusted to handle.
Midsize and Large Firms
Larger businesses demand call routing that works efficiently. When an auto attendant isn’t in use, a live receptionist can make proper use of Ring Groups and a well-placed script to give customers a quick path to the proper departments.
How to answer the phone professionally in an enterprise? Try this:
You’ve reached BIG Corp – your source for paper and ink. This is Stephanie. How can I direct your call?
Thank you for calling BIG Corp. This is Stephanie at the reception desk. How can I help you today?
In both these cases, the script gets to the point and offers the customer essential information about the person and office they’ve reached. The scripts here are snappy and personable. They should be effective at giving the caller a sense of place and at giving the receptionist a good starting place for routing the caller to an appropriate location.
Creative Ways to Answer the Phone at Work
The scripts we’ve introduced here can be molded to fit your own business. You can include or omit persons’ names, company names, and stated locations. Furthermore, you can be as formal or informal as you please.
We do hope that you’ll always focus on the customer. They’re the most important part of the “How do I answer the phone at work?” discussion since they’re the ones seeking information from you.
That said, we’re completely fine with you loosening your tie a bit. Kick off your shoes. Or put on some elf shoes and try to answer the phone like Buddy the Elf.
How to Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf
Buddy, from the movie Elf, is shown answering a phone at this father’s office with this line:
Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?
Buddy’s direct. He introduces himself without stammering. He engages the customer without skipping a beat.
It’s an excellent script. While it may not have worked out in the movie – since Buddy is swiftly removed from any area with phones – you can find some redeeming qualities in his no-nonsense approach to customer interaction.
Be Direct but Creative
We hope that you can also find some holiday cheer in your inbound calls this holiday season.
We’d certainly love to hear about your own use of the line, “What’s your favorite color?” But you don’t have to be that ridiculous to make your customers smile.
Maybe ask callers how their day is going. Or start your script with a little of your own playful humor.
If you stay on-point, you can give customers a bit of a laugh while also giving them quick access to your business. What are your creative ways of answering the phone at work?
Posted on December 12, 2019 by Casey Houser
Today’s guest post was written by TechWarn, a digital safety advocate and news site.
Data is not what it used to be, especially to brands and businesses. Of course, data has always been important in the business setting, but the rate at which data is being coveted these days brings a new twist to the whole game.
That makes it necessary for brands to protect their data better. By extension, there is an increased need for secure file transfer channels so that a data breach doesn’t affect the data in motion.
Importance of Secure File Transfers
Businesses have a thousand-and-one reasons to invest heavily in the security and safety of their file-sharing protocols.
For one, it costs way more to recover from a data breach than it does to prevent one from happening at all. Speaking of costs, companies also get a lot of negative publicity when a data breach is found out.
This was the case with Yahoo when the brand was found to have lost the details of a stunning 3 billion accounts to hackers. Besides the negative press that this brought Yahoo, it also slashed the worth of the brand so much that it was acquired for an arguably lower price than would have been expected without the data breach fallout.
All that, and we have not mentioned the loss of customer trust that comes with such instances.
These are huge costs which no business should pay – especially when they could have prevented something of the sort from happening in the first place.
How Companies Can Protect Their Data Transfers
There are various methods of data transfer that companies can use. The methods they employ will inform the type of protocol that should be established around the data in question. Getting into the specifics of each type of transfer and each type of security protocol available is outside the scope of this piece.
Speaking generally, however, there are measures that businesses can put in place to ensure sensitive files and proprietary documents do not get into the wrong hands.
Some of these include, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring End-to-End Encryption – Most businesses can secure the data on their servers by encrypting it. Proper use of encryption can make files unreadable to anyone that obtains the data.
Data encryption begins the process of data protection. It protects data in place but does not protect access to the server itself.
An insecure connection could serve as the entry for the data breach. This is why businesses should be as aware of the encryption of their target destination as they should be concerned about their encryption protocol.
- Encrypting Connections – Businesses need to make sure that encrypted connections between servers and devices are available. They also need to make sure individual employees actually use those connections. End-to-end encryption is only effective when it becomes standard practice for employees to use it.
IT departments carry a heavy weight here by creating those connections and by needing to educate non-IT employees about how to use encrypted connections. A common use case for connection encryption is the virtual private network (VPN). Installing a VPN can make it easy for individuals to complete secure file transfers.
Maintenance of that type of encryption practice is essential and will include customizing VPN logs to not store sensitive data about your data transfer activity.
- Educating the staff – It bears repeating that, no matter how great your internal file transfer protocol is, human error could be the one thing to ruin everything.
If the employees of the business aren’t aware of the proper file transfer practices, they could end up being the weak link in what could have been an otherwise strong chain. Thus, ensure every member of staff, especially the ones handling sensitive data, receives adequate training on proper data handling.
Data privacy and security should not be an afterthought for any company, but a cause of constant consideration. Investing in a firewall and leaving it to chance is not enough.
With the growing threat of data breach and security – as well as clever ways through which hackers are perpetrating their attacks – it is important to always be in the loop with new and improved models of keeping sensitive data safe and secure.
Businesses can get started by doing their research about how services like VirtualPBX support encryption. From there, encrypting data at rest, establishing a VPN for secure file transfer, and committing to data security education and practiced usage of these structures is essential.
Posted on December 10, 2019 by Casey Houser
VirtualPBX has partnered with Snap Recordings for the 2019 season of giving. We’re excited to offer you a holiday voicemail greetings pack and 20% off your next order with Snap.
You can download the Holiday Message Gift Box at this link. Then look for the Holiday Message Guide and the coupon code (“HOLIDAYVPBX”) to claim your 20% discount. Claim your Gift Box before Jan. 07, 2020 to take advantage of this value-packed promotion!
Holiday Message Gift Box Contents
Here’s what you get for free from Snap Recordings:
- 12 total holiday messages
- 6 female-voiced messages and 6 male-voiced messages
- 4 greetings for each gender expressing “Seasons Greetings,” “Merry Christmas,” and more
- 2 voicemail greetings – holiday-themed
You can use the provided messages in any way you choose. The variation in messages caters to the needs of all businesses, whether or not they wish to refer to Christmas or only to the holidays in general.
Each message has been created by the professional staff at Snap Recordings. The same polish that adorns these messages are a reflection of what you’ll see in future greetings you order from them.
Take 20% Off Your Next Order
Following the holidays, you’ll probably want to change your Automated Attendant and voicemail boxes once more. The holiday voicemail greetings pack will only get you through the end of the year.
This is why VirtualPBX and Snap have offered you 20% off your next order of greetings. Just use the coupon code “HOLIDAYVPBX” during your online checkout.
Or Do It Yourself!
If none of the above options meets your needs, you can always record your own messages. Snap gets you started with that project as well.
You can download the Holiday Message Checklist alongside your free holiday greetings. Snap helps you make your holiday messaging checklist and check it twice.
It asks basic questions like, “Are your holiday hours mentioned up front?” to ensure that your custom greetings are effective at addressing your customers. Then it gives you multiple holiday voicemail greetings and auto attendant greeting examples from which to draw inspiration.
You can fill in each example’s blanks with your own company name and phone number. Or simply use them as a spark for creativity.
Have a Great Holiday
From all of us at VirtualPBX, we hope you have a great holiday.
Don’t work too hard. Enjoy the season and maybe a few extra cookies. Just don’t forget to set your holiday voicemail greetings and auto attendant messages first.
And don’t forget to take advantage of this promotion by Jan. 07, 2020.