Posted on December 6, 2018 by Casey Houser
If you don’t yet have a toll-free number for your business, you could be missing a great branding opportunity.
While it’s true that U.S. households are moving away from landline phones in favor of cellular phones, their lack of need for long-distance plans should not color your perception of your own need for a toll-free number.
Sure, individuals can call your local business number for free, from anywhere, on any cellular plan. But can they recognize your local number as easily as 1-800-SKY-DIVE or 1-800-FLO-WERS?
These examples stand out because they’re memorable. If you grab the right vanity phone number, you can make your own business just as memorable.
How to Pick Your Vanity Number
VirtualPBX partners with TollFreeNumbers.com to help you get the perfect toll-free number.
On our partner’s website, you can type in the name or market of your business and find numbers that relate.
Any number you choose will work with the VirtualPBX Business Phone System, and we’ll even waive the porting fee if you get a number from TollFreeNumbers.com.
Your Toll-Free Number Will Work Anywhere
Aside from you new phone number looking cool, it will also be recognizable from anywhere.
Consider what you think of when you see an ordinary out-of-town number like (702) 555-1234. If you live in area code 408 and you see a 702, you know the number isn’t located near you. It’s a turn-off, and it looks unprofessional.
However, a 1-800 number implies that you’re a business, no matter where you use it. It’s basically a free local phone number — just branded to your specifications and portable to anywhere you want to take it.
On any billboard, online marketing campaign, TV spot, or magazine feature, your toll-free number will represent you exactly as you want to be. And any caller can access it for free.
Upgrade Your Marketing
You can also use 1-800 numbers to better track your marketing efforts.
Say you have a marketing campaign taking place on billboards in Dallas, Washington D.C., and Boston. If you use the same number on each billboard, it will be hard to track where people are calling from unless you ask them.
If you have multiple toll-free numbers, though, you can route those inbound calls to specific business representatives who will know, ahead of time, how to address the caller. The VirtualPBX business phone plans let you effectively route calls in a number of ways, including with Advanced Transfers and ACD Queues.
It’s holiday season, so while you’re grabbing a toll-free number for accessibility and marketing purposes, give your business an additional gift from our Refurbished Phones and Hardware Sale. We’re overstocked on many refurbished desk and conference phones, adapters and routers, and computers.
Click the banner below to begin shopping. Don’t wait! Our supply is limited, and the sale closes on December 31st.
Posted on November 20, 2018 by Casey Houser
At VirtualPBX, we take a lot of pride in our business phone plan features, including our VoIP service uptime, which we advertise as 99.999 percent.
That last digit might seem showy. We don’t mean to brag, though. The final .009 addresses an important issue: we deliver phone system reliability that not every service provider can match.
Our claim of that last digit is anything but simple. We operate six servers across the globe, work with multiple phone carriers, and protect our networks with enterprise-quality firewalls and backups to assure that your phone system is reliable.
99.9 vs 99.99 vs 99.999 Percent
It bears repeating that the figure — 99.999 percent — isn’t meant to be flashy. When you round to that many places past the decimal, you actually see some significant effects.
There are 525,960 minutes in a year. When you break those minutes down by the whole percent, you end up with 5259.6 minutes in each percent. In other words: 525,960 / 100 = 5259.6
This means that, if we only offered 99 percent uptime, you could see outages in your phone system, on average, of 5,259 minutes a year. That’s almost four whole days! It’s clearly unacceptable.
You can extend those calculations to the tens, hundreds, and thousands place by dividing the number of days, respectively, by 1,000, 10,000, and 100,000.
|% Uptime||Downtime per year (minutes)|
What we strive for at VirtualPBX is only five minutes per year of downtime. This industry gold standard is extremely difficult to reach, but it’s achievable through a number of efforts.
No VoIP service provider is equipped to properly handle enterprise clients without multiple servers to their name.
VirtualPBX’s global network of servers makes it possible for us to work with clients worldwide. They also assist with our reliability because we can lean on them as fallbacks for when a local outage occurs.
If, for instance, one of our U.S.-based servers experienced a power outage, we could immediately route traffic from that location to another inside the U.S.
Our clients’ calls would still connect because the second server picked up the slack.
Firewalls and Backups
In our servers, we use firewalls to protect malware from getting in, and we use backups to make sure your company information always remains accessible.
Our firewalls provide double-duty – like much of what you see in this article. They help keep the information in our servers safe by protecting them from internet malware and keeping bad actors at bay. They are essential for keeping yours and our data safe so the whole system can function as expected.
Similarly, our backups reach across multiple physical locations to provide a redundancy for both VirtualPBX processes and client information. Our global network gives us the ability to move important data from one secure lockbox to another. Everyone in our ecosystem remains protected and accessible.
Multiple Phone Carriers
As VoIP service provider, we connect calls through internet connections. We work with various phone carriers – think AT&T or Bandwidth – to connect calls to other VoIP devices, smartphones, and landlines.
In fact, the process of connecting calls can get complex, as we discuss in our feature about how VoIP calls use the PSTN.
The way we’re able to hand calls between users is by working with carriers. Our portfolio of relationships with these companies means we can reach phones across the globe, and it also means we can increase our uptime.
We aren’t limited to handing off calls to a single carrier. Therefore, if one of our carriers experiences a problem, we can look to others to help route calls to the proper destinations.
You can read even more about the structure of the public telephone network in our comprehensive guide, What is VoIP?.
Does Your VoIP Service Measure Up?
We maintain and bolster our 99.999 percent reliability by doing everything we can to protect your data. We secure our relationships with carriers and work hard to continue our position as a leading VoIP service provider.
Does your current service provider measure up? If your service isn’t what you expect, it could be time to switch to a better business phone plan.
Posted on November 13, 2018 by Casey Houser
The holiday season is in full swing. For all the small businesses and enterprises out there: It’s time to winterize your VoIP phone system.
Today is the day to update your Automated Attendant, sweeten your Customer Greeting, correct those Holiday Hours, and change some individual Voicemail greetings to let customers know when and how you’ll be available in the coming weeks.
This post will lead you through our Dash Business Phone System settings so you can easily make your changes before the customer rush.
Automated Attendant and Customer Greeting
Your Automated Attendant, if you use one, will face your customers before anyone else they encounter in your VoIP phone system. It greets everyone with important information such as your hours of operation and a friendly hello.
In all cases, you will want your Attendant to be personable but brief. When recording its introduction, don’t just launch into “Press 1. for Sales, 2. for….”
Take time to say “happy holidays” so your callers feel welcome. And don’t forget to update your mention of business hours, since they might change for the days surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other holidays you celebrate this time of year.
To access your Automated Attendant in Dash:
- Click Main Number in the left-hand menu on your dashboard
- Click the Incoming Call Handling sub-menu
- Select the Virtual Receptionist link in the Open Hours tab
In the new window that pops up, you can change your Text to Speech dialogue, record your own new greeting over the phone, or upload a file from your computer.
This is also the time to change your menu selection where customers can dial to reach specific departments. If you’ve added a temporary department for holiday product returns, for example, you can add a selection for that group.
And if you don’t have an Automated Attendant selection for your holiday hours, this makes a great opportunity to add one.
Mentioning your abbreviated or extended hours in your Automated Attendant is only the first step. You can use the Holiday Hours feature in Dash to route your callers based on when you’re open or closed.
In your Dash Dashboard:
- Click Main Number in the left-hand menu on your dashboard
- Click the Office Hours Strategy sub-menu
- Select the Custom Office Hours radio button, and update your times
- Click the Office Holidays sub-menu
- Update the days your office is closed
Make sure to also return to your Incoming Call Handling sub-menu where you can select the Open Hours, Lunch Hours, After Hours, and Holidays tabs and tell the system how to route your calls during those times.
During your open hours, for instance, you may want you calls to go directly to a Ring Group. But after hours, you might want to move callers directly to the Automated Attendant.
Individual Voicemail Greetings
All the users in your Dash VoIP phone system have the ability to make their own Voicemail greetings. Your Automated Attendant might only speak for the business as a whole, but your individual employees can give callers a unique message for their statuses.
Any employee can update their voicemail: 1. Dial *97 2. The system will prompt to record a greeting, or the user can press 5 at the main voicemail menu 3. Record a greeting when prompted, then press 1 to save, 2 to listen, or 3 to re-record.
During the next several weeks, employees may be out of the office more than normal. Or their personal schedules might not fit exactly with company hours. A personalized holiday voicemail can clear up any inconsistencies.
Your personal greeting can also be a warm reminder that you will return the caller’s call soon.
Is Your Holiday VoIP Phone System Ready?
Changing these Dash settings shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Yet they can offer a host of benefits for your business and your customers.
Updates to your greetings and business hours are essential when customers want to reach you or learn how you’ll function throughout this busy season. Don’t keep them in the dark. Take a few minutes to update your system, and everyone will be happier for it.
Posted on November 6, 2018 by Casey Houser
If your enterprise phone system is more than 15 years old, there’s a good chance you use an on-site PBX. And if you do, there’s a great chance that SIP Trunking could improve the way you make calls.
An SIP Trunking setup from VirtualPBX can save you money and increase your phone system’s flexibility. You just need to know if you’re ready for the service.
Read through this short guide to determine whether or not SIP Trunking is right for you.
Do You Have an On-Site PBX?
SIP Trunking – to be extremely brief about its setup – connects your private branch exchange (PBX) to the internet. It turns your PBX phone system into a virtual PBX service. It lets you move from your local server to the cloud.
Therefore, if you want to use trunks, you will first need an on-site PBX.
The biggest giveaway that your business uses an on-premise PBX is that you have a giant server in one of your closets. This server would connect all the lines running to your desk phones and conference phones, which could number in the hundreds.
Your IT department will know where it is.
VirtualPBX SIP Trunking works with most PBXs that are SIP-enabled, including those from vendors such as Mitel, Avaya, and Samsung. Our Sales team can help you determine if your hardware will connect to our service.
Are Your Bills Expensive and Unpredictable?
It’s likely that, if you use a PBX, you also use primary rate interface (PRI) lines. A PRI connects your PBX to the public telephone network. It gives you a dial tone, but it’s limiting and expensive.
If your enterprise has more than 50 employees, you could be paying for two or more PRI lines and spending hundreds of dollars per month to accommodate that large population.
You probably pay a telecommunications company a monthly bill for your PRIs. And you might find hidden fees associated with the use of those lines. It can add up quickly.
At VirtualPBX, we lower your monthly costs into one predictable bill, no matter how many calling channels you need.
Is Your Call Capacity Unreliable?
Depending on your setup, an on-site PBX with PRI lines can keep you from doing business as you expect.
PRI lines on your PBX can only handle a set number of calls at once – a maximum of 23 per line. If you reach that maximum, no incoming or outgoing calls can be completed. You won’t be able to reach your customers, and your customers won’t be able to reach you.
VirtualPBX SIP Trunking can handle a virtually unlimited number of simultaneous calls, and its base plans start with 20 standard channels and 5 “burstable” channels, which give you a buffer during peak hours.
It’s also easy and affordable to purchase new channels, so VirtualPBX can scale with your enterprise as it grows.
Are You Ready for SIP Trunking?
If you have an on-site PBX, your service bills are sky high, and your calling is unreliable, it’s time to switch to VirtualPBX. You can keep your existing hardware but free yourself from the cost and hassle associated with an on-premise system.
Contact our Sales team today for a quick quote.
Posted on November 1, 2018 by Casey Houser
There are various settings in our Dash Business Phone System that can turn an ordinary IP phone or smartphone into something a seasoned professional would be proud to call their own.
In only a few minutes’ time, any Dash administrator can easily enable Follow Me Calling, Call Forwarding, and Hot Desking for any user on their account. Each user’s IP phone will then quickly gain super powers that let their owners remain connected to the office no matter where they’re located.
Today, we’ll take a deeper look at those three Dash features. You’ll see how they help users move about the office and remain mobile, all without losing the ability to connect to Dash.
Follow Me Calling
Follow Me Calling lets Dash users distribute calls to any IP phone listed in their user account. As an example, consider a user with two phone on their account – a desk phone and the VirtualPBX Softphone.
As an admin in the Dash Dashboard, you will first select the Users section on the left-hand navigation bar. Then click the user’s User Features tab.
In this GIF, you can see a user’s feature set. Clicking the Follow Me tab shows their desk phone and softphone in a new window. You can move the sliders to have a user’s phones ring in sequence or simultaneously.
Deceptively simple in its effect, Call Forwarding can work wonders for any user on the go. This setting in Dash simply transfers all incoming calls for a specific user to a phone number you set.
From the same User Features tab, select Call Forwarding to see this screen. Then you can tell Dash to forward calls to the user’s desk phone or mobile phone – entering the user’s number in the provided space.
If you select the “Forward direct calls only” option, only inbound calls placed directly to one of the user’s devices will forward to the selected number. If the user is part of a Ring Group, this option would prevent their calls from transferring to that number.
An individual user can also change their own Call Forwarding settings by entering the Dash User Portal, navigating to My Settings, checking the Call Forwarding option, and entering their phone number.
Hot Desking lets users log in to any phone in the office. If an employee moves from a back office desk to the storefront, they can use Hot Desking to have all their calls transfer temporarily to the storefront phone.
It’s important to note here that Hot Desking and Follow Me Calling are not compatible. Follow Me Calling will be turned off whenever a user has hot desked into a phone.
From the User Features menu, you can select the Hot-Desking tab to see this new screen. You will provide the user with an ID, which is mandatory, and a PIN, which is optional. Then the user can enter Dash’s Feature Codes to use any IP phone tied to your Dash account.
Using the codes listed in this image, a user could move to their storefront phone, dial *11, and follow prompts to enter 0001 for their ID and 9999 as their PIN. Later, when the user is done at the storefront, they can dial *12 to log out.
Now You’re a Professional IP Phone User
That’s all it takes to join the elite. Seriously. Your admin powers may now have granted an untold number of users the ability to move about the office and remain mobile.
Without these options set, your employees could remain tied to their desks. Set them free by changing their Follow Me Calling, Call Forwarding, and Hot Desking options at your soonest opportunity.
Want to be even more pro? When you’re done with these settings, take a peek at our VoIP Guide to dig more into the role that IP phones play in your business phone system. It’s an in-depth read we think you’ll enjoy.