Posted on October 1, 2019 by Jennifer Merrigan
VirtualPBX always has its ear to the ground with the latest and greatest in emerging technologies. That’s why we have so many happy customers! Because of that, we want to make it as easy as possible to allow our community to share their satisfaction with their peers.
We are pleased to introduce the all-new, VirtualPBX Customer Referral Program.
Earn Rewards With Our Customer Referral Program
Here are VirtualPBX, we make it easy to sign up. You can have your entire Dash business phone system ready and running in a matter of minutes! So why not make it easy for our amazing community of customers to share their great experience with their coworkers and friends while also earning rewards in the process?
Becoming an advocate in easy! All you need to do is fill out a form to get your very own customer referral code to offer your friends and then watch the rewards come in. Here’s what those rewards will look like:
|Number Of Users||1 User||2-10 Users||11-50 Users||51-100 Users||101+ Users|
Redeem Your Gift Card Through TangoCard
Once someone uses your referral code to sign up for VirtualPBX, you will be notified immediately. Then, once they have completed their onboarding process, you will receive an email from our rewards partner, TangoCard, will a voucher to redeem a gift card of your choosing! What’s more? We understand that being a part of the VirtualPBX community is much more than just “making money”, so if you choose to not accept a reward for referring, there are tons of option with TangoCard to instead donate your reward to a charity of your choosing.
Start Advocating Today!
Are you excited to jump right into advocating for VirtualPBX? Check out our Referral Program page to get started and you will be well on your way to sharing all that VirtualPBX has to offer with your very own Customer Referral Code.
Posted on September 27, 2019 by Charlie Galaviz
This cheatsheet is designed to offer a quick reference guide of Dash Business Phone System key functions and shortcuts. Whether you’re an Agent, User, or Administrator, these 5 basic functions are crucial for daily communications.
Quick Reference Guide
1. User Portal Log in via Dash Online
Agents can log in to the User Portal in one of two ways:
- Web User Portal – To log in to the User Portal, visit dash.virtualpbx.com. Once logged in, select “Mark as Ready” to log in to the queue.
- Feature Code – Log in quickly to the User Portal on your registered VoIP phone by dialing the shortcut *20 then pressing “send”.
2. Update Agent Status
In addition to logging in to the queue, Feature Codes allow agents to log out or update their availability in just a few taps:
Agent Login – Press *20 then press “send” on your registered VoIP phone.
Set Agent Ready – Press *21 then press “send” on your registered VoIP phone.
Set Agent Away – Press *22 then press “send” on your registered VoIP phone.
Agent Logout – Press *23 then press “send” on your registered VoIP phone.
3. Check Voicemail
Need to check your voicemail? Here are a few of the ways we make it easy for you to do so:
- User Portal – Once inside the Agent User Portal, select “Voicemail” in the top menu.
- Registered VoIP Phone – Once inside the Softphone App, dial *97 to listen to your voicemails.
- Web Phone – Once inside the Web Phone, select “Voicemail” on the left sidebar or dial *97.
For more ways to retrieve your voicemails, including sending them to your email’s inbox, visit our Dash Voicemail Guide.
4. IP Phone Call Transfer
The VirtualPBX Dash system has been designed to work flawlessly on a wide range of VoIP devices, allowing you to use the dialpad’s native functionality which includes call transfers.
- Press the native transfer button or icon on your VoIP device.
- Dial the extension, queue number, or outside number.
- Confirm your transfer.
5. Make a Call From Our Free Web Phone
Log in to the Web Phone using a Chrome or Firefox browser.
- Go to webphone.virtualpbx.net.
- Enter your email address.
- Enter the password from the first email.
- Click on Sign in.
- Click “Make a Call”
Award-Winning Support Available
We understand the process of learning new phone system functions can seem like a daunting task. That’s why our experts are available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year to guide you in the right direction. Our staff can be reached by online chat, email, phone, or by submitting a ticket here. If this isn’t your first rodeo and you prefer to get self-help, you can also check out our training videos, tutorials, and FAQs.
Posted on September 24, 2019 by Casey Houser
We re-worked our phone tree in our own design sprint so you don’t have to do it alone.
In our blog this month, we have discussed the concept of sprint planning as it applies to tasks like editing your own phone tree. This goal of these sprints is to complete a meaningful project within 30 days.
In those posts, we’ve challenged you to complete your own design sprints. Now, to help you even further, we want to share the results of the sprint VirtualPBX used to improve the menu of its Automated Attendant. We called our own phone tree, analyzed its menus, and cleaned up the language which you can now hear when calling our main company phone number.
What is a Design Sprint?
The idea behind a sprint – whether it’s called a design sprint or referred to as sprint planning – is to complete a significant project at your company in a reasonable amount of time. The typical scope of a project should encompass no more than 30 days of work.
Sprints were originally developed for businesses that completed a lot of smaller tasks. Software development firms, for instance, could use sprints to release versions 5.02, 5.03, and 5.04 of their broader version 5 software across consecutive months. Each of the iterations would build upon the last and might include small feature releases or security improvements.
Notably, the sprints would avoid major improvements like a graphic redesign of the whole software package. That would take more than a month to complete; therefore, it would defeat the idea behind smaller iterations that combine into a greater whole.
At your own company, you can begin with design sprints by setting a goal, examining the goal’s pace and expected results, and being open to new information as you proceed. This type of analysis is discussed in more depth in the preceding link above and will be shown in specific examples below as you see how we re-worked our phone tree.
Our Phone Tree Project
Setting a Goal
Our goal for this design sprint was to optimize the messages contained within our Automated Attendant. We had multiple menus that were long-winded, so we knew that the journey through our phone tree could be much quicker and more efficient for inbound callers.
Pace and Expected Results
We knew this project would reach the edge of the 30-day mark. In summary, our steps within the overall project were as follows:
- Create a transcript of our phone tree menus
- Edit the transcript to tighten the language
- Record the new language into the Automated Attendant
We expected each step to take about a week. The project involved several departments – including several members of Marketing who approved the new language and company managers who fact-checked the material – and required the use of a third party to complete professional voice recordings of our transcript.
Creating the transcript of our phone tree menus was a relatively straightforward task. A member of the VirtualPBX staff simply called our main business phone number and listened to the presented messages. The various scripts were then placed into a shared document that others could edit.
We ended up with a starting group of a main menu, after-business-hours menu, and various sub-menus for departments like Sales and Services.
Editing the transcript proceeded similarly throughout the various menus. As an example, consider the main menu text that started our journey:
“Hello and thank you for calling VirtualPBX. Your call is very important to us. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time. For Sales, press 1. For Technical Support, press 2. For general account queries including plan changes, press 4. For Billing, press 5. And for all other questions or to reach an operator, please press 0.”
We took a heavy pen to the text by removing unnecessary language like the initial “Hello” and the following “your call is very important to us.” We knew that, by simply saying “Thank you…” that we were already greeting the caller and asserting that their call is important to us.
The paring of that greeting landed us with this final script:
“Thank you for calling VirtualPBX. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time. For Sales, press 1. For Technical Support, press 2. For general account queries including plan changes, press 4. For Billing, press 5. And for all other questions or to reach an operator, please press 0.”
By sticking to the bare essentials, we cut down the time it took to hear our menu options while keeping the language polite and informative for customers. We re-worked all of our menus with this same mindset and remained open to new information when the demands of one sub-menu were not identical to others.
We weren’t derailed when a sub-menu, for instance, required more explanation to callers about who they could reach or about the nature of a group (like addressing the nature of our 24/7 Support). On the contrary, we held steadfast to the ideal that each menu should be as short but as informative as possible. Your own transcript revisions should always ask, “What does the customer need here?” But that question shouldn’t force you into lengthy passages that contain information better addressed by an individual associate.
Recording the transcript allowed us to involve Snap Recordings. We sent our final transcript, including all our sub-menus, to the professionals at Snap who returned crisp audio files for use as we saw fit.
In this case, we uploaded our greetings into our Automated Attendant and made sure that the stated options in the audio matched our departments.
This final step in our design sprint was made easier through the Dash Phone System interface we offer to customers and which we use ourselves. Uploading was easy, and configuration of the menu options involved only a few clicks.
Get Started on Your Project
If you haven’t yet called your own phone tree, we hope you’ll begin soon.
The process of completing a design sprint, as we have shown here, can move smoothly if you prepare well and stick to your mission. We completed our own sprint in less than a month, but not because we practice this task often. Our phone tree was well overdue for a rewrite!
We stuck to the guidelines of the design sprint to achieve our goal. You can do it too.
Posted on September 20, 2019 by Casey Houser
Have you looked at your business’s phone bill lately? You might be paying more than you need to.
We’d like you to consider VirtualPBX for your next Business Phone System, so take a few minutes to examine your current phone bill. Then consider these features that are included in all our plans but are missing or priced higher at our competitors.
You’re even welcome to send us your phone bill! Reach out to our Sales Team to talk about switching to VirtualPBX.
Not included on Vonage Mobile plan
One essential part of every business is the need to accept incoming calls from customers. Our Automated Attendant makes that easy by presenting callers with your custom greeting and routing them to individuals and group extensions.
If you’re routing incoming calls manually, an auto attendant could make your business more efficient by freeing the time of your receptionist. Many employees are working double duty by answering phones and handling other concerns like filing paperwork, writing copy, and even developing software.
Let our Automated Attendant lift that burden from your shoulders.
Not included on Vonage Mobile or Premium
Part of the power of our Automated Attendant comes from its attachment to Ring Groups.
With Ring Groups, you can sort users into logical groupings – like department or location. Then you can give that group a phone system extension that rings the group’s individual users in an order you choose.
Your Auto Attendant can ring the department head’s phone for the first 20 seconds, then the lead writer for 20 seconds, and then the social media manager for the final 20 seconds. Or you could ring them all at once or any combination you desire.
Keep your departments organized with our Ring Groups.
Not included on Nextiva Basic
Audio Conferencing gives your entire office the opportunity to meet in group phone calls.
Conferencing is an excellent choice for distributed teams that have regular meetings. Any user on our Business Phone System can dial into a meeting room or create their own room. Individual rooms can even be protected with a PIN.
It’s also possible to bring customers or stakeholders into conferences. System users can bring outside parties into calls with a few presses of the conference button on their VoIP phones.
Keep your teams connected with Conferencing.
Not included in Grasshopper Plans
One of our newest features, Zapier Integration, is also one of our most exciting.
With Zapier, you can connect your web-based services to our Business Phone System. It allows you, for example, to log your incoming call data within a Google Sheet or receive a Slack notification when a call comes in.
Zapier can help teams manage repetitive tasks that would normally eat into their productivity. It works well for small businesses and enterprises alike.
Keep your applications connected with Zapier Integration.
Ready to Send Us Your Phone Bill?
We’re standing by. Grab that phone bill and send us a quick email.
Our Sales team will consider the features you need and the price you’re paying now for phone service. Then we’ll do our best to beat that price and offer you an even better set of features.
And don’t forget that, throughout the month of September, you can save up to $5 per user on any new VirtualPBX Phone Plan. Click the banner below to compare our plans and sale prices.
Posted on September 17, 2019 by Casey Houser
Although it may seem like a silly goal at first, it can be extremely valuable for your team members to learn about business-related communication types.
Within your business, you might speak upward to a manager, downward to a subordinate, or laterally to a co-worker. Then, with a broad scope, you might also speak with customers. Both internal and external communication might not come easily to everyone at your company, so it can be a helpful tool to educate them about how they might manage these various styles of communication. Moreover, learning communication types can help them better assist customers with sales and services.
To that end, let’s again use the sprint planning model – this time to create a company document that outlines each communication style.
Communication Types Overview
We’ll start with a quick overview of a few broad communication types. This will set the stage for using them as part of a business sprint.
Upward Communication (Internal)
Speaking upward refers to communication a person would have with their manager or anyone higher than them in the ranks at a company.
This communication type is often exemplified by formality. They’re initiated with simple greetings like “Hello” or “Good morning.” Then they’re often closed with a “Good bye” or “Thanks.”
The body of any conversation can vary widely in context. However, it can include shares of important information that begin from the bottom and move upward. In other words, it’s proper for employees to share information with managers about their department activities so the hierarchy can function effectively.
Downward Communication (Internal)
Speaking downward refers to communication a manager would have with an employee. It’s the direct opposite to upward communication.
This communication type will likely include all the niceties of upward communication. “Hello” and “Thanks” will continue. However, it will seek to gather information in many cases rather than share it.
A manager who expects to be informed about department activities would need to listen more than share. They might ask leading questions such as, “What has your progress been on Project X?” to inquire about a specific task that’s been a recent priority.
Lateral Communication (Internal)
Speaking laterally refers to communication between employees on the same level of the business hierarchy. Two entry-level employees speaking with one another is one example. A board meeting of department vice presidents is another.
In these cases, some informal language could become commonplace. There’s no need to impress and no threat of being reprimanded. Greetings like “Hey” could replace “Hello.” A “See ya later!” could end a conversation.
The type of information passing at this level could include both shares and inquiries. Managers might need to know about the ongoing activities in other departments, so they might ask leading questions for that purpose. Entry-level employees could just as easily share their experiences with onboarding activities or about their similar day’s tasks.
External Communication With Customers
All the previously-discussed communications types here are defined as internal because they happen within a company. When anyone at the company speaks to a customer, it’s defined as external communication.
Like the upward and downward types of internal communication, external is usually more formal than informal.
Employees at any level should greet customers with a formal “Hello” or “Good morning.” Then they’ll want to continue with that same style of discussion throughout the conversation.
This mode of communication is similar to downward communication because it also relies on information gathering. You will always want to help the customer with some type of issue – whether it’s signing up for a service or troubleshooting a broken product. This requires a lot of listening on the part of the business so issues can be addressed efficiently.
Communication Types in a Sprint
You can create your own communications document as part of a business sprint. The steps are straightforward enough that the task shouldn’t take more than a few weeks.
1. Define Your Goal, Educate Yourself
Your goal here is to create a shareable document that everyone at the company can read to learn about communication types.
To create that document, you’ll want to educate yourself about the types listed above and the ways in which they affect your company. Look into other literature about communications styles, and look at the relationships your business contains.
Most businesses will have a structure that places managers above employees and will see multiple people in those types of positions. Your business will have its own unique elements, though, so it will be good to note where the least and most communication takes place.
2. Speak to Department Heads
A great way of gathering information about how your company functions is by speaking to department heads.
These individuals may not be involved in every discussion in their department. But if they’re effective managers, they will witness most of what takes place.
They will be able to share the types of conversations they have with others at the company. Furthermore, they can share what they’ve seen between others, which can lead you to further interviews with employees.
3. Speak to Employees
Your conversations with department heads should lead you to employees.
These individuals can give you reciprocal information about how the department functions and what communication types are most prevalent.
In Steps 2 and 3 you will be creating a sort of ethnographic study. While this could be interesting regarding each department’s actual function (or disfunction!), the primary goal is to use what you’ve learned here in Step 4 where you’ll compile exact information as it applies to your company’s operations.
4. Write the Document
You will want your document about communication types to include both generalized and specific information.
In particular, it could be helpful to start with an overview of the types and their functions within any organization. This will allow readers to become familiar with the broad strokes of the topic.
Then you can you move into specific examples of how one person might speak to another. You can draw from your interviews with managers and employees to create short scripts about, for instance:
- A manager asking an employee how a project is progressing
- A middle manager providing a progress report to the CFO
- An entry-level sales person speaking to a customer
Finishing an Effective Sprint
While it won’t be possible for you to address every last communications situation, you can touch on a number of common themes revealed from your interviews with individuals at the company. This will help everyone at the company get an overarching look at the way the company functions at its core, and it could educate individuals who aren’t aware of specific differences in communications style across organizational levels.
The impact of your document could spur behavioral change at any level of the company. Although it could seem obvious to some people that formality is generally required when speaking to customers, not everyone has had the same personal or professional upbringing.
At VirtualPBX, we might want to use this document as part of our onboarding process for new employees. Our own KP360 post about managing a remote team speaks about introducing new hires to standard company documents. This type of instruction, alongside other introductory materials, can help us better handle sales of our Business Phone System by preparing employees to deal with customers and the managers who monitor their work.
Your sprint in this particular instance could also lead to future shorter sprints that use this document as their lead. You could create a sprint with the goal of creating an educational spreadsheet about communications types. Or you could take your ethnographic pseudo-study and show members of the company how various departments are working (or not working) well.
In any case, using this project as your first sprint should create some positive effects at your company and will help you better understand the way a sprint works to lead a project along a timely schedule.