Posted on March 30, 2021 by Casey Houser
This past weekend, our COO Lon Baker, had the distinct pleasure of being featured with show host Nathan Mumm on the weekly technology podcast TechTime Radio.
The show’s lighthearted banter brings in audiences looking for a refresher of all things tech. Mumm and friends spoke with Baker for a few minutes about recent updates in the VirtualPBX platform and our stellar customer service that has made us a leader in the communications market for more than 21 years.
“What is That? Like Virtual Peanut Butter and Jelly?”
Episode 41 of TechTime opened with a brief poke at our company’s name in its first round of advertisements:
“Have you heard of VirtualPBX?”
“No. What’s that? Like Virtual peanut butter and jelly?”
“VirtualPBX provides affordable business phone plans…”
Clearly we’re not a provider of virtual sandwiches. We are able to take a joke, though, and out of the gate, TechTime Radio established itself as not taking life too seriously with this short exchange.
The advertisement set the stage for what later would be a more down-to-earth conversation with Baker who spoke first about what makes
VirtualPB&J VirtualPBX the best among its broad range of competition.
Breadth of Experience
“We have a breadth of experience both from a customer perspective as well as from a technology perspective. And that’s allowed us to keep growing with customers,” Lon said when asked about VirtualPBX’s leadership in the market.
All the members of our staff definitely pride themselves on having a wide range of experience to draw from as they handle customer concerns. Beyond our individual know-how, we have instant access through our phone system and our other online communications systems to reach experts in their specific fields.
When we need information broad and specific about how customers will want to access our features, we can go to Lon Baker. Similarly, we can find information about the intricacies of phone servers and hardware from Len Cacioppo, our vice president of operations, and we can handle complex customer service issues with an individualized touch by seeking out Jeff Weinstein, our director of operations.
These are only a few highlights from our experienced staff.
“She Said, ‘I Remember You.’ It Was So Nice!”
Host Nathan Mumm addressed the customer service at VirtualPBX by recalling his onboarding experience with the VirtualPBX Softphone after having already used our phone service. TechTime Radio has used our product with success and recently began using our new softphone with its update that includes Business SMS and Video Conferencing.
He talked about how his customer support representative remembered him from a previous encounter and that it was “so nice!” to speak to someone who recalled his individual situation. He said it was phenomenal that the support staff was able to turn an ordinary onboarding experience into one that’s personalized for the customer.
Baker responded promptly, “That’s actually one of the keys. We bet on that. Everyone talks about technology, and what we bet on is customer service.”
Mentioning Our Latest Award Win
Finally, Mumm also mentioned our win of the 2021 Product of the Year award from TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine. This is our eighth straight year of winning this particular award, which is something that doesn’t come without effort, Baker pointed out.
“We work very, very hard for those awards, and we’re constantly trying to improve the overall user experience. The overall customer experience is what got us the edge in that award,” he said.
Listen to Our TechTime Radio Interview
You can hear more from Mumm and Baker by tuning into the full show that’s hosted on YouTube.
The week’s rundown includes discussion about the sticker price of popular gaming chat platform Discord, what it was like to play King’s Quest in the early days of home computing, and account ownership and rights on major social media platforms.
The episode overall ranges from the light (pb&j) to the heavy (account suspension), so there’s a little something for everyone if you’re interested in tech. Have a listen today on YouTube or find TechTime Radio on podcast stores at Apple, Google, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and Listen Notes.
Posted on March 25, 2021 by Casey Houser
Your business and its remote workers can benefit greatly from the use of business process analysis. Chapter 5 of our new e-book, Managing Remote Teams helps you understand the process of examining your business processes, turning them into blueprints, and using those as a guide for future company tasks.
The lessons learned in our e-book this chapter can apply to generalized business tasks as well as specific departments, like sales or customer service. Your successes will become evident so you can apply them as needed in similar situations throughout your calendar year.
Examine Your Current Results
When creating a blueprint during business process analysis, the big questions you will need to ask include:
- Are my current processes being used?
- Are those processes working?
- Where do we see success?
- Where are we struggling?
These questions are answerable when you consider the fine-grained elements of how your business operates. For instance, when looking at your daily sales workflows, you can learn a great deal about their effectiveness by using tools like Advanced Call Reports to see your progress.
Chapter 5 of Managing Remote Teams digs deeper into methods you can use to get a full picture of how well your business is operating.
Be Measurable and Transparent
During business process analysis, you may find that some aspects of your operations aren’t measurable. This may be inevitable, but it also needs to change if you want to build blueprints for your future.
If you were to ask how past hiring of remote team members has taken place, you will need to find information about the number of people you interviewed, the subset of candidates who were competitors for the job, and the performance of the person you hired since their first days on the job.
Were those elements documented? If you can’t find them anywhere, it’s possible that remote worker hiring is more of a policy than a process.
We dig into the difference between policy and process in this e-book chapter. When you think more about how your business is being measured or can be measured, you can more effectively work successfully from any location.
Effective Business Process Analysis
Managing Remote Teams Chapter 5 gives you 10 steps to follow when creating a business blueprint.
These steps help you focus your business process analysis into steps that can be written down and copied on demand. Consider that you will need to complete these tasks and more:
- Create an inventory of your processes
- Develop boundaries that give your blueprints scope
- Estimate time and costs for future work
The hard work here will pay off in future weeks and months. Business blueprints can lead your company toward repeatable processes that work. No more guessing about how to keep your remote team functioning as it should.
You can read more and gain insight about these topics by downloading our e-book today. And don’t forget to listen to VirtualPBX COO Lon Baker speak to the hosts of TechTime Radio on March 27th, 4 p.m. Pacific, about the future of our company an all the great new features we have planned.
Posted on March 23, 2021 by Casey Houser
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up inside an office. You can adjust your working location depending on how you feel. And now that it’s spring, we’d like to show you how to use VoIP phones at home while taking advantage of the nice weather.
In particular, you will find that VirtualPBX Phone Plans support the Follow Me Calling feature and the Move Feature Code, which help you stay connected to your colleagues and customers no matter where your office is today.
Follow Me Calling
Starting with Follow Me Calling, lets consider what would happen if you decided to immediately step away from your desk and onto your back porch.
It’s spring, so maybe you just needed a breather from the stuffy inside air. Or maybe it’s amazing outside and you want to complete a few hours of work in the sunshine. Your porch might even have better chairs than the ones inside.
Reasoning aside, you don’t want to lose access to inbound calls. Using multiple VoIP phones at home, however, is easily managed from within the VirtualPBX system.
Ring All Your Devices
Follow Me Calling works by routing your inbound calls to one or multiple devices you specify. If you use our VirtualPBX Softphone on your desktop computer and on your mobile phone, you can specify both those devices in your Follow Me Calling settings.
You can ring both devices at the same time, have one ring after the other, or overlap their ringing in any configuration you please. This can be done with any two or more phones that are associated with your user on your VirtualPBX account.
Account administrators can set a user’s ringing pattern and add devices to the user if necessary. You can find Follow Me and other settings in the main Users menu of the VirtualPBX dashboard — clicking on the User Features button for any user you want to edit.
Move Feature Codes
An underused part of our phone system is the vast array of Features Codes we have available, including the Move code.
Move helps you change from one VoIP phone at your home to another without having to place the caller on hold.
The process of using move occurs in three steps:
- During an active call, find an additional device assigned to your user on your account
- Dial 6683 (M-O-V-E) on that second device
- Continue your call on the second device
A Simple Example of Move
You can initiate Move on your VoIP phones at home without any additional administrator setup. Typical use of our desktop and mobile softphone works again as a great example.
If you’re currently in a call on your desktop softphone but you want to walk outside, you can do so within your mobile softphone. Simply pick up the mobile softphone, dial 6683 (M-O-V-E) on it, and your call will automatically be transferred to that device.
There’s nothing else you need to do to complete the call transfer, and the person you are speaking to will not be notified that the Move has taken place.
Take Advantage of Spring With VoIP Phones at Home
One of the primary goals we strive for at VirtualPBX is to make work easier for our customers. The uses of Follow Me Calling and Feature Codes are one example of how our phone system flexes to meet your needs. In this moment, we’re glad it’s spring and hope that you can take advantage of good weather even when workplace responsibilities call.
You can use these features together or separately. It would also be possible to manage more than two phones inside of a Follow Me Calling setup. You could also Move your call to more than one device during a single call. Maybe it starts to rain outside?
In any case, we hope our feature pages linked in this article will be enough to get you started. You can find assistance both in our 24/7 Online Support and through our Support Pages that show you how to edit your users and change your settings.
Posted on March 18, 2021 by Casey Houser
We’re thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the 2021 Product of the Year Award from TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine.
This year’s award win is special because it’s our eighth consecutive win. Since 2014, we have developed a phone system that has continued to innovate in the market and serve our customers well.
“What we have achieved, how far we have advanced through this decade, it’s amazing to see how our phone system has grown,” said Lon Baker, COO of VirtualPBX.
“The Product of the Year awards expect continued innovation and market-changing aspects of your product. With our Business Phone Plans, we have reached that goal in many ways. This past year of effort has brought us the power of Business SMS, the connective ability of Video Conferencing, and so many other new features that not only lead the pack but also have changed the face of what we offer as a telecom.”
TMC CEO Rich Tehrani had his own meaningful words about what it takes to win this award and demonstrate leadership in the global communications industry.
He said that 2021 Product of the Year Award winners “have demonstrated innovation and excellence” in their markets and that they are “prominent players who consistently demonstrate the advancement of technologies.” In short, they are innovators, and they have stepped to the forefront because of how they continue to address market needs from one year to the next.
“Each recipient is a verifiable leader in the marketplace,” Tehrani finished.
Internet Telephony Magazine has granted this award for more than 20 years and has established the honor as one of the most prestigious in the industry.
Through the struggle of 2020 and within the pressure of a world gripped by pandemic, we pushed forward with a range of new features geared toward one huge change in the market: remote work.
Many businesses are moving to remote work to keep their employees safe. We have responded in kind with Business SMS to give businesses of all sizes the option to use our VirtualPBX Softphone on mobile and desktop so they can send unlimited messages to colleagues and customers. Texting here works similarly to how consumers expect on their phones, so there are no hoops to jump through to get started.
Video Conferencing, likewise, has helped our customers with their remote work situations. It works as a direct replacement to Zoom or Google Meet and can accept as many as 200 participants in a single high-definition video call. Businesses can hold internal meetings and share video chats with customers. Screensharing is now possible through the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone.
These options have arrived alongside many other features released in the past year, including Multiple Auto Attendants, Advanced Call Reports, ACD Queues Pro, AWS Intergration across call recordings, voicemail, and faxing, and expansion of the VirtualPBX API to include SMS and expanded data access.
Looking to the Future
Innovation and response to the market doesn’t stop for us. We launched our new Flex Plan recently to better cater to remote workers.
Now we’re revamping our collection of plans once more. The biggest changes here come with movements in available features, a significant lowering of prices for our Unlimited Minutes Plans, and a huge increase in available storage for call recordings.
- Our Essentials Plan now includes Business SMS and Video Conferencing
- Prices have been lowered to $19.99/user, $24.99/user, and $36.99/user for Essentials, Advanced, and Enterprise Plans for 2-99 users on annual rates
- Storage has been increased to 250GB for Advanced, 500GB for Enterprise, and 10GB for the VirtualPBX 1000 Plan – as much as a 250-fold increase from previous storage allotments
We’re always looking for what customers need the most and adjusting our plans to fit.
What we believe TMC and Internet Telephony judges see in our product is the same hope we see in ourselves. We hope our Business Phone Plans provide an excellent value and extensible feature set to businesses of all sizes. In this pandemic, we have recognized the need for businesses small and large to take their operations remote, so we responded with new features that made the most sense to our changing day-to-day.
Posted on March 11, 2021 by Casey Houser
Our new e-book, Managing Remote Teams reaches out to managers and team leads as they bring their teams into part- or full-time remote work. Chapter 4 speaks about the direct role managers play in remote team success.
Now that you know about how remote teams function and the ways your business can benefit from allowing your staff to work from home, you can concentrate on the daily impact managers have on their employees who work from a range of locations. We’ll show you the tips and tricks, and what actions to avoid, as you move your team throughout the year.
Our Tips and Tricks
What do you do, daily and weekly and monthly, as a manager? There are a number of tasks and practices you should familiarize yourself with if you want to see your remote team grown and begin to trust in the process or working outside an office.
As a leader of remote workers, your daily routine might need to adjust as you continue to motivate your staff and remain accessible.
One of the most important aspects to a good remote team manager is their willingness to accept feedback. When you ask your team – often and with sincerity – how the workplace can improve, you open up your business to change that arises from the people who experience the daily grind closest.
Set Clear Expectations
Your clarity is paramount when it comes to having tasks completed on time and within bounds.
Set deadlines like you would normally for all tasks your employees need to complete. Make sure that everyone understands what it means for a task to be complete and how they can submit assignments so you know they have arrived.
Make Your Schedules Clear
It’s simple to keep your entire team calendar within a single program. We list a number of alternatives in our e-book.
Remote team success hinges on the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing. Using an online scheduling system allows you as a manager to set your deadlines for tasks and see the progress that’s taking place on line items. It also helps your employees see what everyone else is working on so they can ask questions and provide feedback directly to others involved in the same projects.
What to Avoid?
We talk in detail about practices you should avoid as a remote team manager. If you want to see remote team success, get started with a few quick tips:
- Don’t change your expectations of workplace performance for in-office versus remote employees
- Stray clear of leaning (virtually) over an employee’s shoulder while they’re trying to work
- Don’t ignore progress made throughout the day, even if that progress is small
Finding Remote Team Success
Overall, it’s not difficult to switch to being a manager of remote employees.
You can still expect your employees to perform tasks throughout the day. You can still have conversation about important topics alongside banter about personal interests. You can remain diligent with deadlines for all the projects on your desk.
The biggest change with remote work is that new hires, and many of the people you have worked with for years, will be a little farther away than the desk across the room. A quick refresher in virtual etiquette can help you nurture all those relationships no matter how physically distant your team has become.
Check out Chapter 4 of Managing Remote Teams today to take a deeper look at how you can find remote team success.