Dash Business Phone System Interface

VirtualPBX Blog

The VirtualPBX Blog showcases topics that matter most to your business. Whether we discuss a trending Top 5 or dig deep into telephony, these features offer something for every business.

Top Hashtag Holidays for Business in 2019

Which Hashtag Holidays are great for business? If you’re looking for the top Social Media Holidays, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re in the fields of law, real estate, or IT, there are perfect hashtags for your brand. To help you plan ahead for the new year, we created a free downloadable Hashtag Calendar below just for professionals like you.

Which hashtags are the best of the best? Try out these top Hashtag Holidays for business in 2019.

Top Hashtag Holidays for Business in 2019

Downloadable Social Media Calendar for 2019

We hope you enjoyed our top 5 hashtag holidays for business in 2019. Don’t forget to download the full calendar below or add it to your Google Calendar by clicking the + icon in the bottom right corner. Did we miss any? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Why You Should Adopt a Straight to Voicemail Policy

Arrow Painted on Pavement - Go Straight to VoicemailThere are a number of situations in which the phrase “straight-to-voicemail” is not a dirty term.

One primary situation is the daily switch from when your office is open to when it’s closed. Your office hours demarcate the times when you are, and when you aren’t, available to customer concerns. It’s a simple concept with a lot of power.

When a business takes advantage of voicemail and strict office hours – rather than taking every call at all hours – its employees can be more productive and present a more professional image.

Not yet convinced? Read along to take a look at how you can better use your Voicemail Service.

Office Hours

Say it aloud: Office hours are a precious resource.

If you’re answering calls outside of operating hours, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Setting the boundary of office hours helps employees and customers know what to expect from your fine establishment. Leaving that boundary open can result in confusion.

Office Hours - VirtualPBX Business Phone SystemAnswering Calls at Home

As an example, consider that the storefront of your small business closes at 7 p.m. each day. Then think about what happens when you answer a workplace-related call, at home, from your personal smartphone at 9 p.m.

You’ve let that customer cross the boundary of your business hours. They’ve also stepped into your personal time.

While this isn’t the end of the world, it could first upset your work-life balance. Then it could establish a pattern where you expect yourself to answer calls from home. And soon, customers begin to expect it too.

Before long, office hours mean little because they no longer start or stop employee-customer engagement.

It Can Wait Until Morning

Most of the time, the calls you answered at home can wait until the morning.

  • If you’re answering questions about whether or not you have a product in stock, you won’t be able to deliver it until the next day anyway.
  • If callers inquire about your return policy, you’ll need in-office resources to handle their concerns.
  • And when callers ask about your hours of operation (!), your Automated Attendant could have easily taken over.

Voicemail and Auto Attendant Will Filter Calls

For nearly all your situations, sending off-hours calls straight to voicemail makes sense because it lets you filter messages and prioritize responses.

During the night, voicemail messages will collect; then, first thing in the morning, you can sort through them all. It’s easy, from that point, to decide which messages to take action on first.

Many messages can be preempted within your automated attendant – such as an option for listing your office hours and a pre-recorded list of extensions and business location information. Within that same automated menu, you can also give callers options for reaching individual departments, which will increase the chances that callers will reach the proper individuals at your office.

In conjunction, voicemail and auto attendant make sure messages end up in front of the right people.

Is Straight-to-Voicemail Right for You?

The type of situation described here should work well for many businesses – small and medium-size ones especially.

Community book stores; general shops; restaurants; clothing boutiques; hardware stores; and other types of businesses that don’t operate 24/7 are perfect candidates for a straight-to-voicemail policy. They all possess a handful of common ideals and procedures:

  • Not open 24 hours a day
  • Do not ship goods after normal business hours
  • Non-life-saving goods and services

This leaves out some facilities, however, like large call centers and hospitals. It may also miss some midsize outfits, like us at VirtualPBX, where our 24/7 Customer Support helps inform and troubleshoot for our global client base.

Those businesses outside the fray can make strategic use of Ring Groups and ACD Queues to keep their always-on engine running.

For all others primed and willing, a straight-to-voicemail system could work wonders.

Don’t be afraid to let your voicemail work for you. Give your auto attendant purpose and let your customers know what to expect. See your productivity increase while boosting your image as a brand that knows how, and when, to handle customer concerns.

Voice Mail or Voicemail? Which is Correct?

Dictionary - Is it voicemail or voice mail?Should you write “voice mail” or “voicemail”?

VirtualPBX offers Voicemail in all its phone plans. Have we been grammatically incorrect this whole time?

We’re here to get to the bottom of the issue. Settle the score. Unravel the mystery. Dive into statistics. Read through the dictionary!

Sound exciting? Keep reading.

Searches for Voice Mail or Voicemail

At VirtualPBX, we keep informed about the types of web searches individuals complete.

For instance, our statistics show us that people search for the word “voicemail” as many as 70,000 times per month. We also know that searches for “voice mail” rank at about 6,500 per month.

What’s most interesting is that at least 100 searches per month try to discern which of the above phrases is correct. Is it “voice mail or voicemail?” they wonder.

Settling the Score

We looked to a few top-notch sources to decide whether or not our Phone Plans need a refresher in primary school English.

Merriam-Webster

Our first stop, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, reveals that both “voicemail” and “voice mail” are correct. It cites the two-word version as the primary usage type (sorry 70,000 searchers!), but recognizes the single-word variant as common.

It also notes that the use of “voice-mail” could be correct when applied in an attributive manner, such as: “I make use of a voice-mail system.”

Oxford Dictionary

We get a much more succinct answer in our visit to the Oxford Dictionary. It simply refers to the single-word spelling before offering a brief definition:

“Voicemail… A centralized electronic system which can store messages from telephone callers.”

Grammarist

Taking a look at Grammarist, we found that using two words – voice mail – was likely more common when the technology was first created. Like many similar computer-based concepts, though, use of one word – voicemail – has risen in popularity.

Like the two-word web site transforming into website, we as a society have condensed voice mail into a simpler form.

Searches Reveal Popular Opinion

The search volume for “voicemail” clearly defines the transition from two words to one. Thousands more people seek to find a voicemail service than a voice mail service.

It’s also notable that searches for “voice mail or voicemail” prove popular. Those queries hold together the idea that the telecommunications industry and the public are still in a transition period with message storage software.

The capability of voicemail systems are changing. Alongside changes like the inclusion of email notifications as a standard option, we all see the altered spelling of these systems’ collective generic title.

We’re happy to be standing on the side of progress – both with our use of the term “voicemail” and our overall company ambitions. And we’re thrilled that our knowledge of spellng and grammer isn’t in question.

Try These Auto Attendant Phone Script Examples

Auto Attendant Phone Script ExamplesWhen you’re getting started with your VirtualPBX Business Phone System, one of the first features you’ll want to configure is your Automated Attendant.

Today, we’ll try to make that task a little easier. You can use these auto attendant phone script examples for your small startup, medium-size business, or large enterprise.

We’ve broken down our scripts by business size. There are two scripts for each type – a formal and informal – and each one is free for you to modify.

Small Business Auto Attendant Phone Script Examples

Small businesses are unique in their needs. They often have fewer employees, less resources, and smaller storefront footprints than their counterparts.

Small business bakeryA small business’s phone system, however, must be as robust as its resolve to conquer those challenges. An Automated Attendant, in particular, will need to route calls efficiently while conveying the capabilities of the business in question.

Your callers should get a sense of your size from the first second they reach your phone tree. This will set the stage for the personal interactions the caller should expect upon reaching one of your employees. Even if you run a small business by yourself, these two scripts are for you.

Informal Script

  • Introduction: “Hi, this is Carla from the Main Street Bakery. I hope you’re having a great day.
    “Our bakery is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 7. See our collection of cakes at beautiful 123 Main Street, or online any time at 123MainBakery.com.
    “Press 1 for our main reception or 2 for special orders. We take custom orders for individuals and groups.”

This script allows the personalization of the business owner to shine. It favors a warm greeting and well-wishing over the technical details of the business-customer interaction. That said, the greeting is short so the hours, location, and phone tree options are presented quickly to the caller.

Formal Script

  • Introduction: “You’ve reach the Main Street Bakery – open weekdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and online at 123MainBakery.com.
    “Press 1 for reception or 2 for special orders. We take custom orders for individuals and groups.”

Here you can see the personalized greeting removed. Instead, the location and hours of the business are placed at the front. Callers receive the necessary information about the business’s hours and location so the can easily decide how to take action.

Medium-Size Business Scripts

Medium-size businesses occupy a space that requires the personal touch of a small outfit but the technical capability of an enterprise. They’re expected to have enough personnel and resources to quickly resolve customer concerns and promptly ship orders.

Medium size business board game shopThis requires that the medium-size player present itself as both a sensitive listener and an imposing market force. The automated attendant phone script examples shown below set the stage for that balancing act.

In your own business, take the time here to modify these examples so they clearly show your business’s capabilities. Extend the department list for as long as necessary – keeping in mind that customer patience with automated systems is limited. When menus take too long to list or contain more than five items, customers have been shown to take their business elsewhere because they’re too frustrated to continue.

Informal Script

  • Introduction: “At Top of the Line Board Games, we’re happy to have your business.
    “Visit our gaming store at 555 Gameway Blvd., from 7a to 7p, 7 days a week. Find games online at TopLineBoardGames.com.
    “Dial 1 for the front desk; 2 for customer support; or 3 for manufacturing.”
    “Thanks. And have a great day.”

This script, like all those you’ll see in this article, gets to the point. Although it does prioritize a welcoming introduction, it’s offers a short description of the location and hours. It also breaks down the company departments into three distinct groups.

The final send-off – “Have a great day.” – won’t interfere with the caller’s ability to make an informed choice. It bookends the professionalism suggested in the menu that displays a store front, customer support department, and manufacturing department.

Formal Script

  • Introduction: “You’ve reached Top of the Line Board Games. Visit our 555 Gameway Blvd. location any day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Or find us online at TopLineBoardGames.com.
    “Dial 1 for the front desk; 2 for customer support; or 3 for manufacturing.
    “Thank you for your business. We’ll speak with you soon.”

In this case, the friendly greeting is replaced by the name and details of the business’s operating hours. The menu is still short and clear. Then there’s room for the send-off at the close of the message.

With no fluff, the caller is ready to interact with the business in no greater than 20 seconds. They’re also reassured that they will soon speak to a business representative.

Enterprise Business Scripts

Enterprises, with their hundreds of employees and multiple national and global locations, get a reputation for being gruff. They’re all about the business and forgo personal interaction, right?

Enterprise business machiningIt doesn’t have to be that way. VirtualPBX enterprise features give large companies the ability to smoothly handle customer interactions. In addition, our succinct auto attendant phone script examples for enterprises show how even the largest of businesses can blend production capability and solid customer service.

Your enterprise will need to work hard to keep its auto attendant menu short. By presenting callers with only a few options, you’ll keep their attention. Furthermore, a concise menu leaves room for a friendly greeting as shown in our first example script below.

Informal Script

  • Introduction: “Welcome to Global Metal Machining. We take pride in our custom materials and our customer service.
    “Use the following list for information and to reach our departments. Dial 0, at any time, to reach an operator.
    “Press 1 to place an order; 2 to check an order’s status; 3 for billing concerns; 4 for other customer service concerns; and 5 for locations and hours.
    “Thank you for doing business with us.”

This script is a bit longer than our others for small and midsize businesses. Even so, it takes no longer than 20 seconds to speak.

Your automated attendant would present a light touch in this situation. The introduction welcomes visitors, which indicates your attitude toward doing business with them. You also briefly present your product in the opening sentence.

By clearly making an operator available at option 0, you’re saying that your door is always open. The menu items are also logically placed in order of importance. Your hours and website sit within a sub-menu, so callers aren’t bothered by those particulars which might be less important to a manufacturing company than to a food service or board gaming outfit.

Formal Script

  • Introduction: “Welcome to Global Metal Machining.
    “For information and to reach individual departments, use the following list. Dial 0, at any time, to reach an operator.
    “Press 1 to place an order; 2 to check an order’s status; 3 for billing concerns; 4 for other customer service concerns; and 5 for locations and hours.
    “Thank you for doing business with us.”

This script highlights one important change: the introduction. In our informal script above, the business states its product (custom metal materials) and its intention (high-quality customer service).

The formal iteration here takes away those elements; it dives directly into the menu. In doing so, it saves callers a few seconds, which can feel like forever in these types of situations.

Neither enterprise script here is right or wrong. They just offer different approaches to the same task. If you want more formality in your presentation, choose this script.

Notice that both these scripts include a “thank you.” There’s always room to be polite and thank your customer for their business.

Conclusion

Before adopting and revising one of these auto attendant phone script examples, take a few minutes to consider the needs of your business.

Do you prefer an informal or formal approach? How can you whittle down your listing of departments and menu options to five or fewer? Is it important, up front, to list your location, hours, and website?

These basic inquiries will help you pick an auto attendant script that’s right for you and your customers. One that’s easy to create, quick to hear, and simple to navigate.

Why Every Employee Needs a Voicemail Number

Voicemail Number Mic

“Mic Input – Recording Equipment” by Gavin Whitner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Every employee in your office needs a virtual voicemail number.

With only a central voicemail box:

  1. Both your employees and customers will notice your lack of personalization
  2. You will experience a daily slowdown when sorting messages for individual departments
  3. Your professionalism will suffer on a personal and public front

Don’t let a single silo tarnish your image or your capability.

Let Your Personal Side Shine

When you set up a voicemail box for every employee in your care – like what’s possible with VirtualPBX Phone Plans – you give everyone, and every department, a unique outlet.

Customers who reach your automated attendant will want to dial “1” for Sales or “2” for Marketing to reach your experts at each level. When it’s after hours, those customers can leave detailed messages to individuals who know how to handle their concerns.

What would happen with a single company-wide voicemail box? Customers would hear a generalized message, such as the “we appreciate your business” cliche, and then immediately lose confidence that their words will be heard or addressed.

Speed Up Your Daily Customer Interactions

Those same messages would get lost in a sea of other unrelated concerns. Your department heads might only receive their messages second-hand. Worse, they might not receive them at all. In either case, the customers’ fears would be realized.

A secondary consequence of this situation is your lost time. Someone has to sort through your single inbox; that person may need to listen and transfer messages to an armful of departments.

This could eat up hours of their time, and it won’t improve the functioning of your operations. You’ll only spend too much time striving for a mediocre-at-best result.

Individual department heads can sift through their messages much more quickly. They will understand customers’ issues and can return calls or process order requests without first playing, ahem, the telephone game with a receptionist.

Boost Your Professionalism

The ultimate consequence of single voicemail number silo is that your professionalism suffers.

When you can’t offer customers reassurance that their messages are heard by an expert, you leave them with a bad interaction without even speaking to them in person.

When you can’t depend on your internal processes to inform department heads about important customer concerns, you erode those heads’ trust in the whole company structure.

Professionalism is both an external and internal business concern. Having a voicemail number for your central receptionist, your possibly-dozens of department heads, and anyone else with access to a phone gives everyone involved in your business operations the confidence you want to express.

Messages will reach their intended targets. Customers will – even after hours – have positive interactions with your brand. Employees will have important work naturally forwarded to them.

All Employees Need a Voicemail Number

Even the most junior employee will need to receive messages now and then. Give them, and their senior counterparts, confidence and capability in their positions.

Give them each a voicemail number they can quickly reach with a feature code. Then link your automated attendant to anyone you want customers to reach. It’s that easy.