Posted on August 6, 2019 by Casey Houser
A staple of our Dash Business Phone System has received a major upgrade. Web Phone 2.0 is here and ready for use in your favorite WebRTC-capable browser.
The new features available in Web Phone 2.0 are discussed in more detail below.
The entire back-end code that powers Web Phone has been rewritten. This allows the new version to operate in ways the previous version was unable to. The primary example that differentiates 2.0 from 1.0 is Voicemail Management, where users have much more control over their data. Connection to the VirtualPBX Status Site also demonstrates the phone’s reach into account data.
While today’s release brings users several new features, this is not the end of the line. Web Phone will continue to receive updates previewed within the VirtualPBX Product Roadmap.
Voicemail Management is now possible from within Web Phone’s new interface.
Users can manipulate messages left on their Dash accounts. They may begin by searching for voicemails by date and caller ID. Then playback, download, deletion, and click-to-call redial are within reach.
It will no longer be necessary for users to log into their Dash dashboards just to retrieve contacts’ messages.
A new Status Indicator inside Web Phone connects directly to the VirtualPBX Status Site, revealing the state of the overall VirtualPBX platform.
Users will see a green-light icon that represents VirtualPBX 99.999% uptime and shows that all systems are running as expected. Any status issues will be shown as a red-light icon.
Updated User Interface
The updated User Interface also lends a number of benefits to customers.
First, the UI handles limited screen space in mobile layouts much more efficiently. Users will find that use of mobile versions of Chrome and Firefox will fit Web Phone 2.0 well.
A new Directory menu also makes it easier to search and click-to-call contacts. Both recent calls and permanent company directory are available at all times.
Finally, the Audio Options menu holds a more prominent place in the Web Phone dashboard. Users can use this menu to adjust the microphone and speaker used with their current configuration – whether that’s a desktop or mobile device.
What’s Stayed Consistent?
Web Phone is an integral part of Dash. It comes included free with all versions of Dash and has propped up many businesses that desire uncomplicated access to a phone at the office and on the commute.
Our browser-based phone is still easily accessible for any Dash user through its own web portal. And all browsers able to use WebRTC can use Web Phone to complete inbound and outbound calls.
Web Phone acts no differently than any desk phone, conference phone, or softphone attached to the Dash system. It has access to all the features included with a VirtualPBX account. As a user’s primary or secondary device, for example, it can be used within Ring Groups and linked within Auto Attendant.
Try Web Phone 2.0 Today
We invite all our current Dash users to Web Phone 2.0 and encourage any prospective businesses to sample our updated phone in a 14-day Dash Free Trial, complete with full access to Web Phone and all its features.
Posted on August 1, 2019 by Casey Houser
We’ve finally moved our private cloud storage feature out of beta. All customers of our Enterprise phone plan can now have their call recordings automatically transferred to an Amazon S3 account to improve their security and privacy in handling sensitive information.
It is still the case that VirtualPBX offers Call Recording on its Advanced and Enterprise plans with and included gigabyte of storage and offers room for purchase of additional space.
We now simply offer more choices for our customers. Any business that wishes to have its recordings transferred to personal cloud storage can now link its account to Amazon AWS.
Benefits of External Storage
Customers can expect to realize a number of benefits when they begin transferring their call recordings to off-site, private cloud storage, including enhancing security, saving space, and increasing ease-of-use when handling data.
VirtualPBX highly values its customer relationships and takes many measures to protect sensitive data. This mindset extends into the transfer of recordings to Amazon S3 servers which happens via HTTPS and SSL connections. Customer data is secure throughout all call recording data transfers.
Data also remains protected once recording data is on Amazon servers and outside the reach of VirtualPBX. Amazon S3 accounts are secure by default. Users and data owners are the only individuals who have access to the files they create unless permission is explicitly granted otherwise. Group policies and access control lists can be used to manage the collections of call recordings VirtualPBX customers store in their S3 accounts.
Although the storage allotment for Call Recording in a VirtualPBX account is generous at 1 GB (and only $4.99 per additional gigabyte), this space can be filled quickly by businesses that complete a lot of recordings.
Calls recorded at approximately 57 MB per hour would fill the 1 GB limit in about 17 hours.
- 1000 MB / 57 MB = 17.5 Hours of recording
A company of 100 individuals who each recorded just 15 minutes of voice data every day would then fill that 17.5 hours in fewer than three days.
- 57 MB / 4 = 4.25 MB per person per day
- 100 Employees * 4.25 MB = 425 MB Total recording per day
- 1000 MB / 425 MB = 2.4 Days to use storage allotment
Each company’s recording load will be different. Depending on the circumstances, some businesses will meet their storage allotments quickly, while other will do so more slowly. Regardless of the case, though, transferring recordings directly to external storage will reduce the load on VirtualPBX servers.
Amazon S3 storage pricing can be found at this link, which includes a monthly calculator to estimate costs.
The same companies that record a lot of conversations will also require more intensive management of their data.
It’s easy for a medium size business to handle a few dozen recordings across the span of a month. For an enterprise with hundreds of recordings a day, its management of that enormous volume could best be served with automatic transfer to Amazon S3.
VirtualPBX gives users the ability to play back, download, and delete recordings from within the phone system dashboard. Recordings are stored in a single folder for each user.
Amazon S3 can be configured to sort files into multiple categories. It offers a more complex system for handling files, so it easily addresses the need for management of hundreds and thousands of files.
Private Cloud Storage: Getting Started
There isn’t much customers need to know before they decide to begin transferring recordings to external storage.
Once a company selects the option, VirtualPBX users will find their recordings automatically transferred to Amazon S3. Recordings will not be saved to their VirtualPBX account, and recordings won’t be available for management within the dashboard.
Of course, this requires that businesses have both an active VirtualPBX account and an Amazon S3 account.
The only additional effort necessary to make the switch is to Configure Amazon Storage and set the VirtualPBX account to reach Amazon. After that, all recordings will automatically be sent to private cloud storage.
We’re happy to help you get started with this exciting feature. If you’re interested in more detail, feel free to call or email us to discuss your options and configure your account.
Posted on July 30, 2019 by Casey Houser
You have questions about managing a remote team. Kevin has answers.
Our KP360 series continues today with Kevin Peyton’s perspective on managing a remote team. As our Vice President of Sales, Kevin has interviewed, hired, onboarded, and managed dozens of individuals during his tenure — preparing them to sell the VirtualPBX Business Phone System.
Now he’s here to share his knowledge with all other managers who find themselves in remote work situations. His brief interview went something like this:
Hiring a Remote Team
What do you look for in a new hire?
When interviewing a potential candidate for the Sales team, I first want to know if there’s a technical fit between their skills and the requirements of the job at VirtualPBX.
Do they have the requisite experience necessary to perform the job well? This should include hard skills like Sales experience. I want to know that they’ve been involved in finding new clients and closing deals. When it comes to closing deals, I want to hear about their levels of involvement – including situations where they were the architect of the sales cycle and when they worked in group settings.
The hard skills are important to have because they tell me whether, technically, someone can complete daily tasks in my department. More than that, though, they reveal soft skills like self-motivation, competitiveness, sense of humor, and curiosity.
The technical fit (a person’s resume) reveals a person’s cultural fit (their personality and drive) for a position. Managing a remote team requires that I understand both those aspects to my new hires and my long-time team members.
What do you mean by cultural fit?
I want to find out what motivates someone. If they have demonstrated self-motivation by working above and beyond their prescribed duties, that can be much more important than just closing X number of large deals in a month.
What I look for in my team is the ability to answer two questions about any lead: What does a business have now? Why are they looking for something different?
A new hire’s enthusiasm and competitiveness can help get to the heart of those two questions. Their humor and personality also help show me whether they will work well with the rest of the team.
What’s the most important thing you tell interviewees?
I’m candid about what they’re getting into. There shouldn’t be any surprises for either of us.
I want a new hire to understand what the job will be like. And I want to know how the candidate will work in the job. When that knowledge is passed along properly, the process of onboarding and daily work will move more smoothly.
Onboarding a New Hire
How does your remote onboarding process typically proceed?
We take multiple video calls throughout the new hire’s first weeks.
We’ll talk about the systems we have in place, processes we use to manage sales, and products available to our customers, such as our flagship Dash Phone System and our SIP Trunking service. We’ll also work through typical scenarios where I can play the role of a client to see how the new salesperson handles situations.
There’s a lot of documentation and company collateral that employees need to become familiar with. I’ll assign homework, basically, that they can read through at their own pace.
What’s the most important aspect of onboarding?
Both in managing a remote team and an in-person team, this answer is the same: Employees should follow certain standard internal processes that keep the whole team working as an organized group.
Our CRM system, as an example, could be used 10 different ways by 10 different people who interacted with it. New hires have learned how to use tools in ways that fit their previous organizations. Now I have to get them up to speed with the process at VirtualPBX.
While each individual can have their own style in closing deals and working with customers, the information that makes it into the CRM – or any other central Sales system – should be standardized. When I look at a client’s history one year from now, I want to know where to find correspondence, deal details, phone number, etc. If those details aren’t all put in an expected location each and every time, the process breaks down.
Managing the Remote Team Day to Day
What are your requirements for daily, remote work?
I like to have one team meeting a week. This helps keep everyone on the same page. Team members can give progress reports about bigger projects they’re working on that impact the rest of the group.
Additionally, I take time throughout the week for frequent, but brief, check-ins with individual team members. This gives me the opportunity to see how everyone is handling their personal tasks, including closing deals with clients and generating new leads.
I also hold longer one-on-one meetings to discuss issues at greater detail. I might have questions about a large deal that’s taking shape, or the team member might have concerns to raise that wouldn’t be appropriate in group meetings. These meetings are a good time for those types of issues.
How do you make sure tasks are being completed?
I can gain a lot of information from group and individual meetings.
I also have access to metrics like calls made or deals closed in the past week or month. This data gives me a good indication of the cadence of someone’s work. I can also see live statistics about how calls are being handled on the VirtualPBX platform; this will show me how long call sessions have lasted, who has taken any number of calls in a day, and other detailed information about how work is progressing during the day.
If an individual typically completes 50 calls a day and I see that, this past week, they only completed 10 a day, then something is wrong. I can investigate further by speaking to that person in a one-on-one.
How much autonomy do you prefer to give your team?
In a perfect world, I like to give broad directions and let my team members handle the details.
Individual style plays a strong role in how much I interact with employees. One person might need more hand-holding than another.
Similarly, one person might complete 20 calls a day and close a lot of big deals while a second person might complete 50 calls and close many more small deals. It’s best when every individual can show their personality and let that guide them to productive daily work.
I’m always available for assistance. When my team is working hard, completing tasks, finding new leads, making sales, and using tools properly, then the whole machine operates well. The most difficult part of managing a remote team is keeping all those parts moving.
Posted on July 25, 2019 by Casey Houser
VoIP phone networks, typically, are easy to set up. You just plug your phones into ethernet cables. Job done! But sometimes a basic VoIP network configuration isn’t enough.
Occasionally, businesses have unique or complicated situations that are best served by communications professionals. For example, a pop-up call center for a political campaign would want its installation of dozens of phones to work without error. A large office, similarly, might want to delegate the installation of hundreds of phones so its daily tasks can continue without interruption.
VirtualPBX offers on-site installation to any business in the contiguous U.S. that needs a helping hand. This blog will show how that helping hand can proceed by referencing the two examples suggested above – situations that may be similar to what your business is facing.
Immediate Political Call Center Operations
Although the VirtualPBX Business Phone System works with phones from our online store to automatically provision them to a user’s account, this easy process might not offer enough assurance to a call center that needs to begin operations right now.
Many of our clients purchase half a dozen phones, receive them in the mail a few days later, plug them in, and begin making calls. It’s a relatively simple operation that doesn’t leave much in the way for mistakes.
However, managers of political headquarters will spin up their call centers at a moment’s notice. They want to accept donations and begin reaching voters without delay. The gravity of the situation calls for professional intervention.
VirtualPBX techs can set up as many phones as necessary at a campaign’s headquarters. They can make sure the VoIP network configuration of all desk phones, conference phones, and mobile apps will work immediately and won’t demand follow-ups or calls to technical service.
For an detailed look at what we offer political campaigns, you can download our Campaign Headquarters Datasheet at this link or by clicking the image above.
Installing Hundreds of Devices
More than anything, a VirtualPBX tech’s takeover of installation procedures frees business professionals to complete their daily tasks as they normally would.
Political headquarter managers can focus on running an efficient campaign and reaching voters. Large businesses in any field can fulfill orders, reach customers, and plan for the next big product development.
Even business with dedicated IT departments might want outside help when it comes to a project of large scale. VirtualPBX’s on-site visit to install 100+ phones could take many hours or days. While this is well within the grasp of IT staff, the loss of an entire day could disrupt a business’s schedule unnecessarily.
The CEO of any enterprise can rest assured that the VoIP network configuration at their business will proceed efficiently and work well when complete. We know that heads of business have more important things to do than worry about hardware installation.
On-Site VoIP Network Configuration
Know that the need for on-site VoIP network configuration is minimal. We have created the VirtualPBX Phone System to be easy for any business to begin using.
Yet, not every business presents a typical situation. If you find yourself wanting professional help, we offer that option. Our in-person installation of VoIP phones and networking hardware is available to all 48 states in the contiguous U.S.
Call today to discuss your situation with one of our trained professionals. And if you haven’t signed up for VirtualPBX Dash just yet, you can save big through the end of July! Click the banner below to get started.
Posted on July 23, 2019 by Casey Houser
With so many utilities tied to the internet – desktops, laptops, smartphones… – it’s no surprise that clients worry about their business VoIP call quality before signing up for a hosted service like VirtualPBX Dash.
It’s true that a hosted phone service uses the internet to manage phone calls. What’s not true, however, is that its quality has to degrade when you stream videos or download files.
This blog will briefly discuss the concept of traffic isolation as it relates to the VirtualPBX VoIP Clear Fix service. You can use VoIP Clear Fix with a VirtualPBX plan or with your current VoIP provider to separate voice traffic from everything else. It keeps calls clear even when the network is under heavy load.
Let’s take a look at what it does and how it can work for you.
Traffic Isolation With a VPN
You might normally think of a virtual private network (VPN) as something you use to protect your internet traffic as an individual.
VPNs act as a tunnel through which data can flow, either with or without encryption. You point your own traffic to a commercial VPN to protect sensitive personal information. Or you can create a VPN out of your own personal devices to create a secure network of computers.
What VirtualPBX does with VoIP Clear Fix is a little different. Instead of moving all of business’s internet traffic through a VPN tunnel, it creates a network for only your voice traffic to keep your business VoIP call quality clear and consistent.
This isolation of data means that a certain amount of bandwidth can be allocated to voice data. It also means that Quality of Service techniques can easily be applied to voice data to assure its fidelity at all times.
Assuring Your Business VoIP Call Quality
What this means for you as a business is just as varied as the uses of VPNs.
If you have low bandwidth overall at your business:
- The uncontrolled mix of voice, video, web browsing, email, etc. may cause your call quality to suffer. When a supplementary or replacement service provider isn’t available, you can take the resources you have and segment them as necessary for calling and web browsing.
If spikes in call volume negatively affect your voice quality and internet browsing:
- Whether your call volume peaks at a particular part of day or is variable, isolation of VoIP data can smooth calls and allow traditional web traffic to function normally.
No matter the issue, our engineers can assist. Our application of VoIP Clear Fix could immediately improve your business VoIP call quality. And if we need to take it further by assisting your search for a new service provider or helping you switch to Dash, we’re on board for anything you need.