Posted on August 27, 2021 by Charlie Galaviz
Business phone numbers offer a reliable and professional way for callers to contact your business. Aside from presenting a credible public appearance, business numbers can help you reach local, national, and international customers.
Additionally, the various business numbers offer different advantages, such as aiding branding, improving accessibility, and tracking campaign performance.
Today’s blog will share five types of business phone numbers to help you decide which type is right for your business.
Local numbers serve businesses from startups and entrepreneurs to national companies with regional locations. They appear more trustworthy and credible when appearing in local directories and search engines. Thus, they receive higher answer rates and incoming call volume. Finding a Local Number is easy. Using a Local Number lookup tool, you’ll be able to browse numbers in your area that are available.
Are you trying to expand your overseas business inside the United States? International Phone Numbers allow you to grow your business across the pond and beyond. Further, US-based companies can offer international customers inexpensive calling options by selecting from thousands of available numbers priced at $4.99 each per month.
Toll-Free numbers convey size and importance. They also provide a cost-free way for long-distance callers to contact your business. The most popular toll-free number prefix is 800, but 888, 877, 866, and 855 are also common. If you’re trying to improve accessibility to your business and don’t mind footing the bill, toll-free numbers are the way to go. You can browse Toll-Free Numbers starting at $1.99 each per month using our lookup tool.
Vanity Numbers like 1-800 Flowers leave a great first impression, they’re memorable, and they generate more business. At VirtualPBX, We believe Vanity Numbers are worth their weight in gold. Check out our guide on how to create an intelligent Vanity Number for your business.
DID Numbers (Direct-Inward-Dialing) eliminate the middleman when important callers are trying to reach a specific person or department at your business. They can even be routed directly to a particular ring group, device, or voicemail box. For example, DID numbers could be used to bypass a receptionist to provide a direct line to your sales team.
Claim Your New Business Number Today
Ready to claim your business number? VirtualPBX offers one of the largest databases of local, toll-free, vanity, and international numbers. And that’s just the beginning; VirtualPBX offers award-winning business phone plans for businesses of all types and stages. Once more, every plan offering includes at least three local or toll-free numbers for free.
If you would like to learn more, our experts are happy to offer a free demo of all that VirtualPBX has to offer your business.
Posted on August 12, 2021 by Rachel Anderson
The latest and greatest is now available on the VirtualPBX Softphone for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac users. Already the VirtualPBX employee favorite device, we’ve made a series of improvements to improve user experience. For those with automatic updates enabled, the below changes are already available to you. Need to download the newest version manually? No problem. Our apps page contains download links and instructions for each platform.
So, What’s New in the VirtualPBX Softphone?
Desktop (Windows and Mac) 6.4.2
- You can now join someone’s conference from the dialer. Type the host’s name and you’ll see multiple options appear – choose their Meeting Room and you’ll enter their conference.
- Changes in the conference (collaboration) toolbar:
- Assign Yourself the Floor
- Mute the Meeting
- Conference Resolution
- Assign Yourself the Floor
- Ability to provision an additional certificate name for a SIP server.
- When auto-upgrading to a newer version, if only one account is found on your device, the account will automatically be selected and only asks your password. This improvement aims to streamline the auto upgrade process for end users.
- Previously a built-in microphone on some Windows laptops appeared in the drop down list, but did not recognize sound. This issue has been resolved for several devices including the HP EliteBook 840 G6, Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga, Lenovo X1 Carbon, and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen8.
- Ability to assign (and un-assign) the floor to another person in the Participants tab.
There have been improvements to the overall stability and performance, such as:
- A fix for a broken link in file transfer.
- A fix for the chatroom error “Room not available” after the XMPP account reconnected.
- In Preferences, the “Use Native Dialer” option has been removed under Telecom Framework native integration. SIP calls will be made using the VirtualPBX Softphone rather than native dialer.
- A fix for an issue where contact suggestions are not visible on the dialpad while typing. This issue is observed when moving back to the dialer tab from other tabs on version 6.5.1.
- A fix for the voicemail count icon disappearing after declining an incoming call.
- Adjusted the size of the green call button on the dialpad.
Posted on August 10, 2021 by Casey Houser
The two concepts of Domain Number Identification Service (DNIS) and Automatic Number Identification (ANI) are often lumped together, and often confused. Today we’ll outline the similarities and differences between DNIS and ANI so you can better understand each of them.
Both DNIS and ANI are built into the makeup of telephony and VoIP systems. You can learn about the underpinnings of your phone service by reading our What is VoIP? guide. For now, today’s blog will make a good introduction to the aforementioned concepts and can help you understand more about how your calls work.
What is DNIS?
DNIS lets businesses see the phone number that was dialed to reach their offices. This can be useful because of the range of ways that businesses offer callers to reach the same locations.
For example, consider a business that uses several local phone numbers and toll-free numbers which all reach a single office location. It presents these numbers across multiple web-based advertisements, billboards, and flyers. One local number is used for flyers, but several toll-free numbers are used in the ads and billboards, so how does the business know which number the caller has dialed? How can the company examine its marketing efforts to see what has been effective?
DNIS shows the phone number this business’s customer has dialed. Therefore, although all of its phone numbers can point to the same Auto Attendant, and each caller may think they have reached a unique part of the business, analysis of the inbound calls can reveal which part of its marketing efforts have led callers to its central office.
The importance of DNIS cannot be understated because it clears up any confusion about a customer’s intention to dial a specific number associated with a business.
We have a services page on the VirtualPBX website that can help you learn more about using DNIS to track and monitor your inbound calls. And you can read more about our customer, MESA Supplies uses our Advanced Call Reports tool to filter for DNIS values to track its own marketing campaigns.
What is ANI?
Although DNIS and ANI may seem similar – because they both focus on phone number identification – they actually don’t have more than that basic property in common.
ANI identifies the phone number associated with the caller. While DNIS may be useful for your business and its marketing efforts, ANI is more useful for billing purposes and is often used by carriers to determine who made a call, when it was made, and for how long.
- DNIS shows the number that was dialed
- ANI shows the number of the dialer
ANI tends to exist in the background. It’s not something that would ordinarily be useful to your business in any way beyond your phone bill. However, there are several layers to billing, including the amount you as a customer are charged and the amount your VoIP provider (like VirtualPBX) owes to its carriers (like Bandwidth). Costs are passed along the chain, so to keep track of it all, systems like ANI are used.
If you want to dig further into your call data, you can simulate what an ANI report would show by creating an Advanced Call Reports filter based on the Outside Number of your caller. The screenshot above provides an example of what that would look like for your own business.
Keep in Mind DNIS and ANI
We get the question “What is DNIS and ANI?” all the time from customers. We hope that this short primer helps you get a better understanding of these concepts.
If you want assistance working with DNIS at your own business, we’re happy to help. Start a chat with us today.
Posted on August 5, 2021 by Charlie Galaviz
Text messaging services allow savvy businesses to streamline customer correspondence, increasing sales and customer satisfaction.
Furthermore, studies show that text messages are a win-win for both brands and consumers. 83% of clients would prefer to receive booking appointments via text, and 45% of prospects would purchase a product after receiving an SMS.
Today’s VirtualPBX 5 blog will show you five simple and effective text message service strategies that the pros use to capture more business.
Want to spread the word about your latest sales promotion? While you may be inclined to send out an email blast, think again. SMS marketing, also known as mass texting, has a 98% open rate than email marketing, allowing you to take full advantage of your subscriber list.
Giving Quotes / Placing Orders
Build trust and loyalty from your customers by submitting quotes on-demand. Having an automated process for placing orders will not only boost your revenue, but it also shows your customers that you’re reliable. For example, if your sales team misses a call, you could instantly trigger a text message to be sent to the prospect. Remember, successful companies don’t let leads fall through the cracks; they create processes that keep customers happy while waiting in line.
Text messaging offers your customers a personalized and convenient way to seek help. Not only is it the preferred method of communication for 75% of customers below the age of 44, but it’s equally convenient for businesses. Best of all, your support can manage all the conversations in one place while utilizing the company line to keep their private telephone number discreet.
Missed appointments can affect the bottom line and hurt operational efficiency. Open rates for SMS messages are off the charts impressive. Therefore it’s the obvious choice when reminding your clients about upcoming appointments. Furthermore, studies show that more than 60% of people read their text within 5 minutes. Overall, SMS appointment reminders are a must-have for businesses that schedule appointments.
Asking for Feedback
Don’t be shy to ask customers for feedback via text message. As email open rates trend downward, text messages are more likely to be read. Happy customers are usually delighted to leave a positive review about how fantastic your customer service is. When the next customer sees your excellent online reviews, you’ll earn more business, and the cycle will continue.
Add Business SMS to Your Workplace
Ready to grow your business using texting for business? VirtualPBX allows you to send and receive SMS messages from the convenience of your business phone system. You will have the power to fully automate SMS marketing, send an SMS from your CRM, and utilize our API to make a custom Business SMS integration. Best of all, VirtualPBX allows you to communicate from your business line, in order to keep your personal information secure.
Posted on August 3, 2021 by Casey Houser
We have made some big changes to our Business Phone Plans lately. What’s the biggest? Our introduction of the new VirtualPBX Spark Plan.
Spark fills a need for businesses that have a low call volume for inbound and outbound calls with customers but still want to keep their team members connected through audio and video conferences. It lets you add as many users as you like to your plan, gives you 1000 minutes of call volume to customers, and lets you have unlimited minutes of calling between system users.
If that sounds good, keep reading for a few more details about the latest addition to our plans lineup.
Getting Started With Spark Plan Features
We made the VirtualPBX Spark Plan for smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of call volume. However, we’re well aware that having a low amount of customer contact in your phone system doesn’t mean you want to be limited in your feature set.
Spark starts with three phone numbers and 1000 minutes of calling. You can mix local phone numbers and toll-free numbers as you see fit, and you can use your allotment of minutes to complete calls to customers (outbound) and take calls from customers (inbound).
Your inbound calls can make their way through the Auto Attendant on your main business number, and you can route calls to individuals and to Ring Groups depending on how you structure your office. We also include Zapier Integration to help you notify your team when a call or voicemail has been received by linking those events, for instance, to a Trello board or Slack channel where your team can see the events recorded.
Connection to Your Team
You can always use your Audio Conferencing and Video Conferencing features to complete calls with customers, but what the VirtualPBX Spark Plan prioritizes is the use of conferencing to keep your team in touch with one another.
There’s a difference between your allotment of external and internal minutes.
Your included 1000 minutes for calling customers is meant for you to reach customers; those are external calls. In contrast, your internal minutes are unlimited and are the times when you complete calls to another team member from a device on your account.
If you use your VirtualPBX Softphone to call another user on their VirtualPBX Softphone, you will have completed an internal call and used none of your 1000 minutes. This call would be unlimited and you can talk and talk…
You can extend this type of calling to as many users as you need, which is why we call this an unlimited users plan.
Examples of Businesses That Fit Spark
How do you know if you’re a good fit for Spark? First, you should fit at least one primary criteria:
- You have relatively low call volume to or from customers.
If you will keep below 1000 minutes of calling per month, that’s a good starting point. If you need many more minutes, check out our Unlimited Minutes Plans.
A few examples of business types might also help you decide if Spark is right for you.
You’re the smallest of small businesses as a sole proprietor of a budding business. While you definitely want to grow, you’re still in the early stages of getting your product or service put together.
At this point, you only have a few investors to call, and maybe a handful of friends and family who are helping you brainstorm ideas or source products. Those limited number of calls put you well below the included minutes for Spark, so picking this plan could work well as you gain some steam.
You’re an online entity with a robust chat platform that handles the bulk of your customer contact. Maybe you’re looking for a little more flexibility with how you handle complex customer issues and communicate with your team.
For now, the online chat can keep your customers happy, and you can use Flex to call customers who are in tough situations. Your remote team can also get its video meetings away from time-limited calls and embrace unlimited, high-definition video conferencing with VirtualPBX.
Non-profits aren’t always multinational operations. Many of them complete most of their outreach through in-person events and emails, and their number of staff members can be counted on one hand.
You’re one of those, and all you need is a phone plan to hold a few meetings a week with your team. You can talk about upcoming events, evaluate ongoing marketing tasks, and know that all your meetings can take place with a team that’s spread across the country.
Try the VirtualPBX Spark Plan
We hope this quick introduction to Spark has been helpful. If these sound like the phone plan features you need, have a quick chat today with our team or begin the signup process yourself to get started.