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Dash Business Phone System Interface

Features Blogs

Our hosted phone system, hardware like headsets and smartphones, and services like SIP Trunking offer numerous features to small businesses and enterprises. Read more about those features here.

5 Last-Minute Phone System Updates: Holiday Business Hours and More

Gift Box - Last-Minute Phone System Updates Like Holiday Business HoursPreparing for holidays at your business doesn’t have to be a chore. With a few quick updates, you can change your holiday business hours and other essential phone system settings before your team takes a well-deserved break.

These 5 last-minute phone system updates are essential for any business. Let your customers know about abbreviated hours, changes in staffing, and any promotions you may be running.

1. Update Holiday Business Hours

Business Hours Settings - VirtualPBXSet your Holiday Hours in the VirtualPBX Phone System with a quick login and a couple number entries. This takes only five minutes but informs how the rest of your phone system acts.

Business hours let other tools like your Auto Attendant know when to route callers to individual employees, phones that ring whole departments, and individual or group voicemail boxes if necessary. Setting these hours is an essential first step for keeping your phone system synchronized with your ongoing business activities. Make sure these are up to date whether you’re on holiday or back to a normal operating schedule.

2. Adjust Auto Attendant(s)

Auto Attendant Routing - VirtualPBXYour Auto Attendant benefits most from the proper setting of holiday hours. Every Auto Attendant at your company works as an inbound call filter that makes sure employees and departments are sent calls they should take.

Our Holiday Hours feature lets you select when calls are routed; Auto Attendant chooses how and to whom they are routed.

Within the Auto Attendant, you may want to update your greeting to announce your seasonal hours. You should also make sure that your routing settings – pressing one for sales and two for customer support, for instance – are correct for the season. You might want to include or omit a specific department from your routing selections to match your team’s availability.

Make sure to adjust your Multiple Auto Attendants for any of the phone numbers on your account that might be affected by any end-of-year changes.

3. Brighten Voicemail Greetings

Both your auto attendants and your Voicemail boxes may need a refresh.

As a business owner, you may want to update your attendants yourself. You can urge employees to update their voicemail greetings with some holiday cheer and help them make quick work with a tutorial about creating greetings from our blog.

Holiday greetings wording doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep things simple by announcing your expected work hours and when you will be out of the office. Follow our tutorials to keep your greetings short, positive, and informative.

4. Change On-Hold Greetings

ACD Queues Pro Hold Treatment ExampleWhen using the VirtualPBX ACD Queues Pro feature, you can create unique hold treatments for customers that are waiting in a queue. It’s easy to insert audio clips into those settings so customers can hear about your latest holiday deals.

You can take advantage of our Snap Recordings Promotion and download several free, professional recordings to use as hold messages and voicemail messages. Then take 20% off your next order from Snap to prepare for the coming year.

On-hold greetings follow the same type of format your auto attendant and voicemail greetings should follow. Keep your messages brief so you can hold your customers’ attention.

5. Forward Your Calls

Our Call Forwarding feature also works well with changing holiday hours.

Your system users can set their own forwarding preferences by entering their user portal. They simply enter their phone number where they wish to receive calls.

Call Forwarding Settings - VirtualPBXAll calls directed to their VirtualPBX system extension will ring their chosen number. Most often, we find that our customers use personal mobile phone numbers when choosing to forward calls.

It isn’t always easy during the holidays to be near an office phone. With Call Forwarding and a personal smartphone, employees on-call can be reached no matter their location, and their personal voicemail boxes will always work as a backup in case they don’t pick up.

Preparing for the Holidays

Preparing for the holidays, even if you’re doing it at the last minute, usually only takes a few quick system updates.

Still, your customers will gain an improved experience with your company when they know at which hours you will be working. They will also appreciate the consistency of experience you provide by routing them to the appropriate contacts and being forthright with your holiday messages.

Take a quick audit of your holiday status today, and take a few minutes to adjust your holiday business hours and messages.

Use Dynamic Caller ID to Promote Your Business Locally

Use VirtualPBX Dynamic Caller ID to Promote Your Business LocallyBusiness promotion begins in the opening seconds of a cold sales call. It starts when the customer picks up their phone (before they decide to answer the call), and if you promote your business locally in that moment, you can increase your chances of having a productive conversation with your lead.

Our Dynamic Caller ID feature offers an excellent way for your business to promote itself locally whenever your team members make outbound calls. It works by using one of your Business Phone Plan phone numbers whenever your dialed number meets a specific criteria.

You display a number for your business that matches a city or region of the lead you’re calling – and in that moment, you make a small connection that says, “I’m familiar because I’m local.”

Three Parts to Dynamic Caller ID

There are three ways that Dynamic Caller ID can identify and match your dialed number:

  • A personal Feature Code you assign to a system User
  • The area code included in your number
  • A regular expression that matches exactly or partially the number you have dialed

You can set any one of the above options to present one of your phone numbers as the Caller ID. The following brief sections will demonstrate ways in which you can use each method to promote your business locally.

VirtualPBX Dynamic Caller ID Settings

Match Your Personal Feature Code

VirtualPBX Dynamic Caller ID - Feature Code OptionWhen using the feature code option, you set a unique code inside the Dynamic Caller ID settings.

The code used here must be unique from all the included Feature Codes in your plan that allow you to access system features like Voicemail and Call Queues. It must also be unique from all other Dynamic Caller ID codes you have created. Each code will be able to display a single caller ID you have assigned.

The example pictured in this screenshot shows a code of *333. If this were live in your phone plan, any user could dial “*333” before they dial an outbound number. The phone system would then show the person they’re calling a phone number you had chosen.

This is a great way to give a single user a way to personalize their outbound calls during a sales or marketing campaign. For example, if they were calling people in the 408 area code in California, they could all use *333 to make sure the number those recipients see is the 408 number included in your phone plan.

Your team member may also be the only one who receives calls at the phone number assigned to *333. The presentation of that individualized phone number, regardless of how your phone system would default to displaying its caller ID, can help this user receive return calls on their own device without impacting generalized calls for the business.

Match Your Area Code

VirtualPBX Dynamic Caller ID - Area Code OptionFor teams trying to promote your business locally over a larger area, you could set up several Dynamic Caller ID rules for a variety of area codes.

As with feature codes, you can match only one area code dialed to a single caller ID number you will display. Filling out “408” in the area code option could therefore match to your 408 business phone number. You would, however, need to create a second rule to present your 669 business phone number to other call recipients in that same geographical area.

Rules can be changed by system admins at any time. You can set up new rules for new campaigns to have the presentation of your business always match the locations in which you’re calling.

Get Specific With Regular Expressions

Using regular expression in Dynamic Caller ID is a bit more advanced than the previous two options. The screenshot here is just one example of how you could use a regular expression to match the area code of an outbound dial.

VirtualPBX Dynamic Caller ID - Regular Expression Option

Briefly, the “^408\d{7}$” does four distinct things when it tries to match a phone number.

  • The carat “^” starts the match at the beginning of the number you have dialed
  • The “408” looks for the exact digits four, zero, and eight – in that order
  • The “\d” looks for any digit, and the ”{7}” says to match seven digits
  • The “$” ends the match at the close of those seven digits

With these rules in place, “4085551234” phone number in the screenshot will match because it meets all of those criteria set in the regular expression.

A dialed “14085551234” would not match, though, because it doesn’t start with “408” and doesn’t have a total of 10 digits.

Regular expressions help you be more exacting with your outbound dialing rules. The example above achieves largely what you could do with the area code setting described earlier.

However, you could use regular expressions to match the hypothetical local code “555” that begins any number you have dialed. A regular expression of “^408555\d{4}$” would match both the area code and the local code of any number dialed in that location.

You could be this specific if your campaign tries to target neighborhoods for campaigns that are highly localized, such as for a political campaign or a promotion that’s taking place with a select few individuals.

How Do You Promote Your Business Locally?

Setting up Dynamic Caller ID to promote your business locally can be simple. In most cases, you can pick a specific area code or assign a new feature code to one of your users. Then you’re off to the races.

That said, structuring a campaign, organizing sets of multiple rules, purchasing additional phone numbers, or using complex regular expressions can require outside help. Which we’re always happy to provide! Start a quick web chat with us today to discuss how you can use Dynamic Caller ID to your advantage.

Follow The Steps of This Business Texting Example

Follow This VirtualPBX Business Texting Example There’s a lot of flexibility with our Business SMS feature that lets you send and receive SMS text messages as part of your Advanced and Enterprise VirtualPBX Plans.

You can keep texting constrained to your personal devices and send replies in a one-to-one manner with your customers.

Or you can attach inbound text messages to Zapier workflows to automate their receipt and your company notifications, use the VirtualPBX API to return your messages through a third-party program like Airtable, and set up Zapier to ask for feedback through a followup SMS after customers fulfill a goal in your CRM.

The options are legion, which can be great until it becomes overwhelming. That’s why today we wanted to share a complete example that includes as many of those options as possible. Check out the following workflow and accompanying video to see how exactly you would use our Business SMS in an involved, but functional setup that improves your management of texts.

A Text Message From Receipt to Reply

Consider a business that works only through appointments. This might be a computer repair shop that does home visits or a hairstylist who doesn’t take walk-ins. They receive text messages through Business SMS and see those messages sent to their VirtualPBX Softphone.

Everything else shown in this video and described in the sections below expands upon that initial receipt. The video here offers a visual walkthrough of all the steps below.

1. Receive the SMS

Business texting is as straightforward as the personal texting you’re used to. When a customer sends an SMS to your business phone number, you can have it configured to appear on your VirtualPBX Softphone. This example shows the text arriving as a customer’s simple request to set an appointment.

2. Automatic Notifications to Your Web Apps

One of the elements that sets business texting apart from consumer texting is its notification capabilities. You can use the VirtualPBX Zapier Integration, for example, to monitor when your phone number receives a text. When it does, you can have a notification sent automatically to your Slack channel or your Trello board. You don’t need to have your VirtualPBX Softphone active to know you received a text.

3. Sending an Appointment Confirmation Through Airtable

Another helpful part of business texting is the sending of replies. Of course, you can reply to individuals through your softphone on a one-to-one basis. You can also combine logging and sending of messages into a single Airtable setup. Our team can help you get started and build an Airtable setup to your specifications.

4. Followup in Tandem With Your CRM

At VirtualPBX, we use a CRM called Pipedrive to manage our customer contacts. With this and other CRM platforms, you can create deals or contracts inside of the system, essentially marking your customers as having an appointment with your business. When you finish the appointment and close the deal, you can have your Zapier workflow send a followup SMS to your customer, thanking them for their time and possibly asking them to provide a rating about their experience.

Make This Workflow Your Own

Now that you see this workflow in action, take time to think about how a similar setup could help your business. You can easily add or remove one step or another. We’re also happy to help you with that process when you decide to extend your Business SMS to other platforms.

Provide Multilingual Support With Multiple Auto Attendants

Image of Globe - Provide Multilingual Support with VirtualPBX Auto AttendantsIt’s not uncommon for businesses to provide goods and services to a wide range of populations. Even if your small business is local to a U.S. city state, it may still have a need for multilingual support to match the communities it serves.

One benefit of our new Multiple Auto Attendants feature is the ease with which you can address multiple languages for your inbound callers. You have certainly heard “For English, press one; para español, marque dos” or a similar phrase when calling customer support for a business; now you can replicate that same inbound call flow at your own company.

How Our Multiple Auto Attendants Are Applied

All our Unlimited Minutes Plans offer Multiple Auto Attendants. The addition of multiple attendants compliments our Auto Attendant that comes with every VirtualPBX Plan.

Think of the Auto Attendant as a feature that applies only to your Main Number. Your plan will come with several phone numbers, and one of those numbers will be used as your Main Number. Customers that call that number can be sent to your Auto Attendant where they will hear your custom greeting and can select their choices for reaching your company (“Press one for Sales, Press two for Customer Support…”).

Now think of Multiple Auto Attendants as a feature that can apply to any phone number in your plan. A recent blog post of ours explains more about how you can attach one of these attendants to a Direct Inward Dial (DID) number or use a specific number for a new marketing campaign – each with their own unique greeting.

Multilingual Support by Nesting Attendants

Your Main Number attendant and your Multiple Auto Attendants can work together to help you provide multilingual support.

When combining these features, you may want to consider your Main Number as the default location that most customers will reach. It could be the number posted on your website, business card, billboards, and online advertisements. It might also say nothing more than “Welcome to XYZ Corp. For English, Press one. Para español, marque dos.”

Nested Auto Attendants Diagram

This message might seem short, but by having the dialed one and two each reach their own sub-attendant, it opens up your business to route customers according to their language needs. Those needs are met by the other attendants you customize for them. Moreover, the transition between attendants will be invisible to callers, so their experiences should be helpful and without any indication that your phone system has moved them from one attendant to another.

Multilingual Support With Direct Phone Numbers

Although using your Main Number attendant with the Multiple Auto Attendants feature can be extremely useful when setting up multilingual support, you can achieve a similar effect by using Multiple Auto Attendants on its own.

Our Essentials, Advanced, and Enterprise Plans give you 5, 10, and 15 phone numbers, respectively, to use however you wish. One of those numbers should play the role as your Main Number. The others can be used creatively, and it’s possible you may want to use one or many of them for multilingual support services.

Direct Number - Multiple Auto Attendants Diagram

You can have any of your numbers point to one of your multiple auto attendants, which of course can then provide a greeting and call routing as you see fit. Used this way, customers would not have to sit through an initial menu just to pick their language.

Reaching Globally

This same logic could apply to phone numbers you use in a range of other countries. If your headquarters is in the U.S., it would be appropriate to have callers reach an English-based attendant through your Main Number. Your other plan phone numbers, however, may be specific to Mexico, France, and Italy, as just three examples, and an auto attendant could be created for each one.

This type of setup would be specific to your business’s situation and the countries or communities it reaches. Multilingual support would extend to those populations with ease, and you could reconfigure their attendant menus quickly with changes in products, services, or the type of outreach your company completes.

Setting Up Nested Auto Attendants

The configuration of attendants from your Multiple Auto Attendants feature is found in the “Auto Attendants” menu on the left-hand side of your VirtualPBX Dashboard. After clicking that button, you will see a listing of your existing attendants and a button for “Add Attendant” to create a new one.

Create New Auto Attendant Settings

After creating an attendant, you can click its name to open up a configuration menu. This configuration will contain a button that reads “Available in Main Menu.” This is how you make any of your multiple attendants available as a sub-attendant for any other attendant. It’s how you allow customers to press one and be routed immediately to the English-appropriate menu.

You can tell your attendants to reach a nested attendant in two ways. Your Main Number attendant is reachable through the dashboard’s Main Number menu and then through the Incoming Call Handling drop-down menu. It looks like the following image, and clicking “Virtual Receptionist” will let you change your routing options.

Virtual Receptionist Menu

For any one of your multiple attendants, you can access the same “Virtual Receptionist” text through their individual Settings menu, which is shown with a wrench icon in your Auto Attendants list of attendants you have created.

Auto Attendant Routing Configuration With SubmenusIn your routing options, you will see the dropdown menus for the button to press and the path it should take. Shown here, any of your multiple attendants marked with the “Available in Main Menu” will be selectable.

Get Started With Our Help

If you need assistance setting up the Multiple Auto Attendants feature for multilingual support or any other task, start a chat with us today. We’re happy to help you navigate the system and test your configurations so your customers will have a great experience every time they interact with your company.

Receive Voicemail-to-Text With Our Newest Feature

Woman Using Smartphone - Receive Voicemail to Text With VirtualPBX Voicemail TranscriptionAll users of our Unlimited Minutes Plans and VirtualPBX 1000 Plans will now receive voicemail-to-text transcription as part of their system reminder emails.

Your users have always had the ability to receive alerts about new voicemail messages through brief emails. Now those alerts have been expanded to include Voicemail Transcription, which offers computer-generated text that matches the messages callers have left to the voicemail box associated with those users.

Transcriptions are included at the close of each reminder email. They can be useful for reviewing your messages without needing to interrupt a meeting or a quiet room.

New Reminder Email Structure

VirtualPBX Voicemail Reminder Email SampleThe primary difference between the past and current email reminders comes at the close of each email. A simple example is shown in the screenshot here, which can be seen at full size by clicking on the image.

Transcription starts near the bottom of the email. All other necessary information about the call is there as it was in the previous form of our email reminders, including the identification (name and phone number) of the caller and the time and date when the message was created.

Those brief pieces of information are necessary when deciding how and when to reach the caller. Now the addition of voicemail-to-text transcript will expand how you can use that data and use emails as part of your daily workflow.

Voicemail-to-Text Benefits to Users

What you get with Voicemail Transcription is an extension of how voicemail has existed for years. It simply moves audio information into a text format. This can be useful for a range of situations.

Process Voicemail Messages More Quickly

Why not complete more than one task at time? With voicemail-to-text capability, you can check your email and read your voicemail messages together.

It will continue to be possible to log in to your VirtualPBX dashboard to manage your voicemails. There, you can listen to individual messages, download them to your computer or phone, and delete them. The process of deciding which messages to keep and which to discard can begin with a quick check of your email inbox.

Improved Search Capability

Audio playback doesn’t lend itself well to a search. You can label downloaded messages with accurate filenames, but an entire transcript could improve further the labeling and sorting process.

If you can complete a text search in your email software, you can begin to search for important voicemail messages. Voicemail-to-text, therefore, creates a record of information that is more beneficial to future information gathering – especially if you have a large volume of messages in your inbox every day.

Automation

The management and processing of transcriptions can also be automated for an entire company.

Using our Webhooks feature, you can capture the text of a voicemail when it is left in an email inbox. Webhooks can be created within seconds from the online VirtualPBX Dashboard. In this case, selecting the “Notifications Webhook” type will get the text output you need.

Information that’s available with the output of “Notifications Webhook” will include information about the user in your system who received the voicemail message and the caller ID of the person who completed the call. Because of that, you can filter for the name of a voicemail box or the inbound phone number when using Zapier to send notifications to your other web apps.

A Zapier setup with webhooks will provide you with a URL to enter into the VirtualPBX system. That URL captures the relevant call data so you can use Zapier to filter for what you need and send messages and logs to Slack, Airtable, Trello, Google Sheets, and more.

Accessibility

Voicemail-to-text ability in our Voicemail feature can also assist users who are hearing impaired in some way.

For anyone who has difficulty hearing or may be deaf, a traditional voicemail setup may not work well on its own. A secondary service may need to be used to process audio and transform it into text. The VirtualPBX system can now cut out that middleman by providing the translation action on its own.

VirtualPBX Email Notification Settings ScreenGetting Started With Voicemail-to-Text

The only setup necessary for your plan users to get started with Voicemail Transcription is to enable the “Send Voicemail to Email” option in their user portals. A quick sign in at dash.virtualpbx.com will let them select the Settings & Devices menu option, click the “Send Voicemail to Email” checkbox, and save the email address they prefer to use.

From that point forward, Voicemail Transcription will automatically provide notification emails for all received emails. Transcripts will be provided at the bottom of each notification email.