Posted on December 17, 2019 by Casey Houser
This week’s blog will take a look at an often-requested topic of discussion: how to answer the phone at work.
Of course, there are many approaches to the practice – ranging from professional to Buddy the Elf (who we admire for his creativity and expeditious approach to office procedures). Your own office likely has its own rules for how to say “hello” to incoming customer calls.
We’ll provide a few examples here for your own exploration. Feel free to add them to your office script or incorporate them into your own freestyle method of handling calls on our Business Phone System.
How to Answer the Phone Professionally
In order to create a consistent image, many businesses have their employees follow a standardized method of answering the phone. Their approach for how to answer the phone at work prioritizes consistency and professionalism in order to best address customers.
This can be an excellent asset when used properly. Consider what a business of your own size might say to an inbound caller.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs may wish to answer the phone in a standardized, professional manner to make themselves look more established then they actually are.
Image is everything, so why not emphasize that strength? You can try either of these scripts to fill the room with your presence:
Hi. This is Stephen from XYZ Corp. How can I help you today?
Hi. This is Stephen from XYZ Corp. How can I direct your call?
Although these scripts are short, they carry a lot of weight. Each one introduces the caller to the speaker (Stephen) and company name (XYZ Corp.), and each one gives the caller some type of direction (either to state their purpose or to determine the direction in which their call needs to be routed).
Many of these same types of qualities can be found in the Auto Attendant Phone Script Examples blog where we list additional scripts for use in your automated teller. You may want to consider use of the Auto Attendant, depending on your business’s situation. Whichever style of call handling you prefer, however, there’s no substitute for direct, dense messages that let the customer know you’re able and willing to assist them.
One sentence can make you appear capable of handling any task your larger counterparts are already trusted to handle.
Midsize and Large Firms
Larger businesses demand call routing that works efficiently. When an auto attendant isn’t in use, a live receptionist can make proper use of Ring Groups and a well-placed script to give customers a quick path to the proper departments.
How to answer the phone professionally in an enterprise? Try this:
You’ve reached BIG Corp – your source for paper and ink. This is Stephanie. How can I direct your call?
Thank you for calling BIG Corp. This is Stephanie at the reception desk. How can I help you today?
In both these cases, the script gets to the point and offers the customer essential information about the person and office they’ve reached. The scripts here are snappy and personable. They should be effective at giving the caller a sense of place and at giving the receptionist a good starting place for routing the caller to an appropriate location.
Creative Ways to Answer the Phone at Work
The scripts we’ve introduced here can be molded to fit your own business. You can include or omit persons’ names, company names, and stated locations. Furthermore, you can be as formal or informal as you please.
We do hope that you’ll always focus on the customer. They’re the most important part of the “How do I answer the phone at work?” discussion since they’re the ones seeking information from you.
That said, we’re completely fine with you loosening your tie a bit. Kick off your shoes. Or put on some elf shoes and try to answer the phone like Buddy the Elf.
How to Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf
Buddy, from the movie Elf, is shown answering a phone at this father’s office with this line:
Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?
Buddy’s direct. He introduces himself without stammering. He engages the customer without skipping a beat.
It’s an excellent script. While it may not have worked out in the movie – since Buddy is swiftly removed from any area with phones – you can find some redeeming qualities in his no-nonsense approach to customer interaction.
Be Direct but Creative
We hope that you can also find some holiday cheer in your inbound calls this holiday season.
We’d certainly love to hear about your own use of the line, “What’s your favorite color?” But you don’t have to be that ridiculous to make your customers smile.
Maybe ask callers how their day is going. Or start your script with a little of your own playful humor.
If you stay on-point, you can give customers a bit of a laugh while also giving them quick access to your business. What are your creative ways of answering the phone at work?
Posted on November 26, 2019 by Casey Houser
Today’s blog post will offer something a little different — it will be supported by our competitors’ opinions about the best VoIP phones of 2019 and 2020.
Many of the phones we offer in the VirtualPBX Store have made their way to other review sites. That gives us a great opportunity to show you that praise these devices have received outside our borders.
Don’t only take our word for it. See what they have to say.
The Balance Small Business – Polycom VVX Series
In its article this year, The 8 Best Office Phones of 2019, which was updated as recently as Nov. 21, 2019, The Balance Small Business noted the entire Polycom VVX Series as a great pick for businesses with employees who telecommute.
The VirtualPBX Store offers more than a dozen VVX models to suit the demands of businesses of all sizes. In particular, The Balance Small Business reflects on the 3.5-inch touchscreen display and video capability available on these models.
The review points out that employees “might be in remote locations, but this doesn’t mean [they] don’t need to periodically hold meetings or otherwise meet face to face.” Executives are able to take advantage of the VVX 400’s 12 lines and speed dial buttons to easily reach other employees.
TechRadar – Yealink SIP-T46S
TechRadar also pointed out, in its Best IP Phones of 2020 review, that a large screen and intuitive display can work well for midsize firms.
We found it funny, but definitely appropriate, to see TechRadar’s observation that “this Yealink IP phone is great option if you’re seeking a phone with a big and useful display that’s operated with buttons rather than using your greasy fingers.” How often do you consider the impact a touchscreen will affect your productivity? Sometimes grease happens, and sometimes it’s a huge win to have a button to press.
The Yealink SIP-T46S confirms the extensibility offered by this model’s USB ports, which can accept a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi dongle to open the main unit to a wireless headset or local internet.
TechRadar also added that the T46S’s 16 lines and “fantastic call quality” help open this model to the midsize business crowd. Executives in this market may find themselves with more than one SIP account and speaking to other employees, managers, and company stakeholders on a daily basis – all of which demand clarity of voice.
The Best VoIP Phones of 2019 and 2020
The reviews we profiled here are just a few of those available in a crowded search for “best VoIP phones.” Our hope is that these two picks can help you narrow down the choice in finding new phones for your office.
There are multiple models available in the VirtualPBX Store within the Polycom VVX series and for other Yealink models as well. Take a look through what we offer, even through the refurbished models, and don’t hesitate to ask the VirtualPBX Sales Team what phones would fit best at your business.
Posted on November 13, 2019 by Casey Houser
Whether you plan to telecommute during the holidays or your full-time job is remote, setting up a home office for remote work can be a challenging endeavor.
Which computer do you use? Do you need a smartphone for daily tasks? Is your setup portable for work from home and the coffee shop?
VirtualPBX COO Lon Baker has refined his workstation to keep him productive at home and on the go, both inside the VirtualPBX Phone System and outside to other digital mainstays like Slack and Google Docs. Today’s blog highlights his personal work setup so you can make your own office equally as fitting.
List of Devices
Here’s a brief list Lon’s workplace devices and some descriptions of their uses:
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max for remote work
- Google Pixel 3a for backup and development
- 12.9″ iPad Pro with LTE for most work
- 15″ MacBook Pro for macOS and Windows Product Development
- Apple Magic Mouse
- Apple AirPods and Ear Buds
- Anker Dual USB-C Charger
- Joby GripTight Pro TelePod Tripod
- Roost Laptop Stand
An Interview With the COO
Lon answered a few questions about his chosen devices and his daily work routines. When setting up a home office for remote work with your own company, his considerations could be useful for your own situation.
What is the primary reason you use this combination of digital devices?
“I want an office setup that gets me through the entire workday. It also needs to be portable so I can take it anywhere.
“I work from home most days. But I also travel frequently and work from my car, the airport, coffee shops… Each of those locations have different demands.
“My tablet, computer, and smartphone all have data connections so I don’t have to worry about finding Wi-Fi. And their battery life is great. I can work all day without a problem.”
How does this setup differ from your setup five years ago?
“The biggest change is that I don’t have to carry a typical computer. I have the MacBook, but I use my iPad and iPhone for most work.
“I can throw them into my backpack at a moment’s notice while remaining accessible to the VirtualPBX team.
“The tablet is great for holding presentations in meetings. I can use it to take notes quickly with its pencil, and I can easily work on documentation, answer emails, and complete product development.”
How do you make use of the tripod?
“This was one of the biggest challenges in setting up my home office for remote work. I was frustrated with the quality and orientation of video that was coming out of my laptop, and I wanted something better.
“The quality of smartphone cameras are excellent and often better than what you find in a laptop webcam. I can use my phone in the tripod to show my face clearly and get the video quality I want.
“It’s a benefit for me and my team. I have meetings every morning, so my team can see me, and I can sit tall and see my own orientation in the phone’s screen.
“This also works well for video conferences with anyone outside the company. I just clip my phone into the tripod.”
What’s the biggest intangible benefit to your remote work setup?
“There is a freedom that I didn’t have before. I don’t feel trapped at home because I wouldn’t be able to find Wi-Fi or because my battery wouldn’t last.
“I can be connected all the time. I always have my phone with me, and my other devices easily fit into the same bag as my cycling gear.
“My big outdoor activity is endurance cycling. My phone is there if I need it in the middle of a bike ride. Then when I return, everything else is accessible for short updates or longer meetings.”
What do you want for the future of your remote work?
“With the exception of the tripod, my current setup is about two years old. It’s great.
“The only elements that hold me back are in software. Some development work can be difficult on a tablet, for example, because the software doesn’t work well on the hardware.
“I expect to see advances to that in the years to come. I also think battery life will continue to get better as software becomes more efficient.”
Setting Up a Home Office for Remote Work
Lon’s setup is unique to his own situation. The use of a tablet and smartphone work well for his active lifestyle and need to reach VirtualPBX at all hours of the day.
Your own situation in setting up a home office for remote work will be different. However, you may find similarities in your location (always on the go) or your hardware freedoms (primary use of cloud-based apps).
VirtualPBX allows its entire workforce to operate remotely because of its reliance on cloud-based software and through the features of its own phone system, which offer every employee a centralized way to remain connected in meetings and through text and shared documents. Lon’s hardware takes advantage of that freedom.
We hope that you can gain some remote work setup ideas from this look into our COO’s collection of gadgets. It took him years of iteration to get to this point. We’d like you to be able to start immediately.
Posted on November 12, 2019 by Casey Houser
When it comes to the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, many businesses ratchet their marketing campaigns to reach eager buyers of goods and services. You might be one of them. But are you sure which holiday marketing KPIs to focus on to gauge your success?
The truth is that key performance indicators (KPIs) for the holidays aren’t any different from indicators for your success during the rest of the year. What is different, however, is the content of your campaigns and the reasons you might run a new style of advertisement.
Our blog today will talk about reach and engagement through impressions and clicks. We’ll show how the broad topic of our Business Phone Plans can be the focus of different campaign styles and how you can use the impressions and clicks KPIs to step up your holiday marketing strategies this year.
Jump to any subsection:
Reaching Customers Through Impressions
One of the most important marketing KPIs is the impression. An impression is when your campaign’s advertisement is placed in front of a user.
An individual completing a Google search might see an ad that looks something like the VirtualPBX one shown here. In this case, they might have searched for the term “VoIP for small business” in order for Google to create the impression.
The impression is the best metric you have to see how many people are viewing (but not necessarily clicking) your ads. It’s a great starting place to see if you’re reaching too few or too many people. And using inventive holiday marketing ideas to customize your ads for the season can result in a number of impressions that works well for your particular goals.
Impressions in the Holidays
The ad shown here is not themed for the holidays. It’s also likely that many of your ads are not themed for the holidays either.
What can you do to gingerbread-spice your ad and turn an ordinary marketing strategy into a holiday marketing strategy? We’ll take the lead here and transform our own ad for an example.
- Headline: VoIP for Small Businesses | Business Phone and Internet | VoIP Plans for Small Businesses
- Description: Keep your small business connected with VirtualPBX customizable VoIP phone service. A phone plan that has exactly what your small business needs with VirtualPBX Dash plans.
Our holiday marketing strategy here could be to reach entrepreneurs as they’re thinking about starting a business in the new year. Considering that many people create New Year’s resolutions, we could address that idea in our ad.
- Headline: VoIP foFinding Engagement Through Clicksr Entrepreneurs | Business Phone and Internet | Get Your Business Started!
- Description: This is your year! Keep your New Year’s Resolution going with a new Business Phone System from VirtualPBX. We have VoIP for entrepreneurs starting at only $17.99 per month and no contracts. Get started today.
Our transition to the seasonal theme of the New Year’s resolutions is highlighted in the excitement generated in the second ad. We’ve used a few exclamation points and made the language more personal. Focusing on a “new year’s resolution” or “VoIP for entrepreneurs” keyword here could also narrow down the impression we create. Furthermore, linking to our Phone Plan Features would work here because we know the exact type of person who would search for this type of material.
You can do the same by picking a theme that’s relevant to the season. You might have a particular type of shopper in mind; or maybe you’re having a holiday sale. Then you just need to pick a relevant keyword and specific link (like an individual product page or sale’s announcement landing page) to get your updated ad in front of the right shoppers.
Finding Engagement Through Clicks
Impressions show their true influence when paired with the click KPI. A click is when someone engages with your advertisement and clicks on one of its links.
Clicks can occur in a variety of locations in an advertisement. What you see here is a Facebook ad that lets viewers engage with its image (which is clickable) and its “See More” text expansion link. Users can also click on the VirtualPBX brand name at the top of the ad.
In this case, you can also see that the ad was shown to 128 people and that it gained 5 engagements. Post engagement here may include multiple clicks on one or more of the available links.
Social media KPIs are not dissimilar to the Google campaign shown above. They both reach relevant viewers through impressions and realize engagement through clicks.
Your Social Media Focus
One way you can differentiate your social media campaign in a place like Facebook is to use a relevant image.
It’s clear that this VirtualPBX ad is themed for the holidays. With only a glimpse, you can recognize the image of Santa Claus, the candy canes and snowflakes, and the large greeting (“Happy Holidays”).
We focused on the Christmas holiday here because the time was right for all those elements. And since we’re just saying “Hello!” it was appropriate to link the ad to a broad section of our website like the Phone Plans page.
Similarly, if you’re looking to generate more clicks as a trackable social media KPI, images are a great way to draw in the viewer. Then don’t be afraid to keep your hyperlink broad because of the nature of your audience.
Drive Calls to Your Company
When used in conjunction with a phone system, seasonal marketing can help drive calls to your business.
Campaigns on PPC and social media platforms can include multiple phone numbers that lead directly to your business. The use of Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers, which are direct lines to an individual, group, or voicemail box, can reveal important statistics like call volume as they relate to a particular ad group.
For example, you can see the impressions and clicks that a single ad receives, and separately, you can tally the calls received from that same ad when it uses a unique phone number. From there, you can compare the impressions with number of people who visited your site or called your office, which will reveal a detailed picture of how your ads are moving people to your business.
Simplify Your Holiday Marketing Ideas
You don’t need a shopping bag full of complicated KPIs to shine during the holidays.
Keep your focus on impressions and clicks (and on phone calls if you’re daring), and make sure your advertisements work well with the season. This advice, however generalized it may seem, is our best holiday marketing tip to give.
You want to reach your audience. But you don’t want to lose yourself trying to make sense of too many performance indicators. Keep things simple so you can offer relevant, useful advertisements to potential customers while keeping your busy holiday season intact.
Posted on November 7, 2019 by Casey Houser
Today’s guest post was provided by TelephoneVox – a company that specializes in the production of professional audio for telephone switchboards.
Today, the brand is considered a fundamental element for the company, a pillar on which most of the business performance is based, even more than the product itself. Building a positive brand reputation, therefore, is of the highest importance.
A telephone switchboard, also referred to as an Automated Attendant or interactive voice response (IVR) system, can help build that reputation by assisting customers in a friendly and efficient manner. The benefit of using an automated call processing service can be found in both hardware switchboards and through hosted phone services like those offered by VirtualPBX.
Why is the Brand so Important?
Several prominent marketing experts have spoken publicly about the role that brand reputation plays with respect to consumer loyalty and integrity.
Bruce McColl, head of marketing at Mars, has noted the limits of the brand-consumer relationship. He remarked in an interview with The Drum that expecting consumers to love a brand is “one step too far.” He said the challenge is to resonate with consumers on a personal level while keeping in mind that “nobody wakes up and thinks ‘what does Snickers have to say today?’”
Likewise, Byron Sharp, a marketing expert at the University of South Australia, has stated that, if the product is readily available and if the experience offered by that brand is top-quality, it will be easier for the consumer to become fond of the brand and remain loyal in the future. “Familiarity breeds contentment,” he said in a post on his personal blog.
Product purchase is affected by many new offers that come up daily, so brand recognition becomes more important as a differentiating factor that lies beyond what individuals might outwardly consider (like price or availability).
Building Positive Brand Reputation Through the Telephone Switchboard
It is essential for brands to maintain and build reputation, and the audio messages played by their telephone switchboards can be one of the best methods to use. A switchboard, automated attendant, or IVR is typically simple to configure and is consistent in its contact with inbound callers.
Why is a good audio message the key to a brand reputation?
An individual’s call frequency to any company often depends on the amount of information or support they require. When they’re in need, they will reach out. Otherwise, they’re probably happy with their service and will keep to themselves.
Although the latter situation is generally positive, it doesn’t afford your company many opportunities to build your brand reputation with the customer.
With those limited contacts, however, come powerful opportunities to root the concept of a brand by taking advantage of a genuine voice recording. An person’s voice can show the customer that, despite the limited information in a switchboard greeting — an initial greeting and a layout of touch-tone options — the brand wants to make a personal connection with the caller.
In direct contast, many companies use social networks, chatbots, and instant messaging to build their brand image. They rely on text-driven messages that, although convenient, may lack the personal touch that an audio-based message can convey.
What Is Your Best Brand Experience?
Think about the best experience you had with a brand’s automated attendant.
You were probably greeted by a clear, professional voice that guided you through the company directory. If there was a wait, it was likely enlivened by music that made the wait for a live employee less taxing.
This type of experience can turn into a positive memory which, ultimately, helps gain trust in the brand. Your follow-up interaction with the company from your ‘best brand experience’ likely also moved more smoothly. It would have taken you less time to process the transaction since you didn’t have to consider the trustworthiness or good/bad feelings about a brand in addition to product price and availability.
The positive brand reputation had already been created, and it carried into the future transaction.
Customers are the lifeblood of every company. Managing your brand through a switchboard can offer rewards that other forms of brand-customer interaction cannot replicate. The way you invest in your own automated attendant will determine the improvement of your own brand reputation.