Infographic: ACD Queues
June 12th, 2015
The ACD Queues platform from VirtualPBX is a simple, intelligent way to route calls and manage call volume. Managing the traffic and extensions of your ACD Queues enabled system is easy, too, but that doesn’t mean a little refresher wouldn’t help. That’s why we’ve created this intuitive infographic, so you can see clearly just how the system works.
Save on Professional Recordings
June 3rd, 2015
We all know how important it is for a business to make a good impression. That impression is created by a multitude of micro-moments that ultimately define the customer experience. But can we ever be totally sure that each of those moments is exactly how we would like it to be? We all tell horror stories about that one time a company had us on hold for hours, or that social media post gone wrong, or even the exact individual who gave us terrible customer service. For each of those bad experiences, it takes several good experiences to turn that customer’s perception back to positive. So what can you do?
Mastering the First Impression
Just like the homepage of a website sets the tone and defines the next steps for your brand online, so too does your phone system greeting. Unlike the homepage of a website, your callers give you their utmost attention when their call is answered. They are not browsing like they would online, they’re ready with a question or concern. Does your current greeting point them in the right direction? Does it make them feel taken care of?
Auto Attendant Greetings
One feature our customers take particular advantage of is the Auto Attendant. Small and large companies alike appreciate the value in professional appearance and seamless call routing that ensures their customers are directed to the department or individual that can answer their questions quickly. The auto attendant begins with a greeting that welcomes callers to the company, gives them any pertinent information, and promotes their brand. The next step depends entirely on your business structure. Common executions include directing callers to particular departments, for example, “For customer service, please press 2. For billing questions, please press 3.” Smaller companies may simply say, “If you know your party’s extension, please enter it now. To listen to the company directory, please stay on the line.”
Options, Options, Options
Every business is different. Our goal is to work with our customer’s unique brands to reach their ideal setup. This rings true for greetings as well. For many, uploading a custom greeting is ideal and lets customers hear a familiar voice from the get-go. For those who need a quick solution, synthesized greetings allow them to type out a script and immediately receive their recording. For those who want a real voice on the line for a low fee, we offer standard recordings that feature either a male or female voice from our in-house voice talent. Finally, for those who are looking for a particular impression in the highest possible quality, we offer professional greetings.
Professional Greetings from Snap Recordings
Earlier today, we announced via press release our new partnership with Snap Recordings. We’re very excited to be partnering with them and even more excited to offer our customers access to their library of over 80 professional voice actors in multiple languages and accents to best match their brand. What’s even better is that there is no mystery! At any time, customers can preview the voices of each available voice actor, and even hear some examples of recordings based on profession. Have a law firm? Listen to a sample greeting, on-hold message, voice prompt, or voicemail message for a law firm. In real estate? Listen to samples in real estate. Snap Recordings even offers special packages should you want to refresh your entire phone system user experience. Click here to take a look for yourself.
Save 15% in June!
Ready to rule your customer experience? For the month of June, we’re offering 15% off ALL VirtualPBX orders through Snap Recordings. Simply use the promo code “June2015” at checkout.
Memorial Day and Military Programs
May 22nd, 2015
This Memorial Day weekend you’ll hopefully be out camping, picnicking, road tripping, or just hanging around with your friends and family. One thing that we hope is involved no matter what you have in store, however, is a recognition of the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and their families so that we could all enjoy the freedom to do whatever we please this long weekend.
Success on the Battlefield, and in the Boardroom
There has been a rising tide of desirability for having veterans on staff as their many leadership and objectives-based qualities are just what corporate America looks for in ideal candidates. Furthermore, many veterans are taking their innate skills and focusing on building their own companies backed by the increasing number of entrepreneurial lending options catered just to veterans.
Our Turn to Serve
For years, VirtualPBX has been committed to supporting our nation’s service men and women as they reenter into civilian life. Fueled by the new influx of capital provided by veteran-focused investment, many of whom are bound to continue accomplishing new missions in business. Having trudged challenging roads enough already, we want to make their pathway to success in business as smooth as possible from here. That’s why we offer and will maintain evergreen, special military pricing incentives on our award-winning VirtualPBX business telephone service for current and former servicemen and women.
We know that what we have to offer pales in comparison to that which has been given to us so freely by our nation’s veterans. We also know that, while every customer benefits from our industry-leading support, we take unique care and pride in each and every one of our veterans that we have the honor to serve.
Thank you to all of our veterans, their families, and all active men and women in the Armed Forces. We hope you all get a moment of rest this weekend as we honor you and your sacrifices. If we can help you in any way or if you have any questions about the special military pricing, please do not hesitate to contact one of our expert support representatives today.
RadioShack- Building a Powerful Franchise One Transistor At a Time
May 18th, 2015
Some of us will remember being able to buy any number of different components to build a transistor radio or basic computers at the local RadioShack. Heck, even the first wearable technology, Lizzy, was constructed with a few odds and ends that came from the nationwide hardware retailer. Though things have not been so rosy lately for the ‘Shack. With the advent of online retail and big box stores decimating their market share over the last 15 years, the venerable retailer has had to make some big changes to stay afloat.
A History of Communications
Founded in 1921 by a pair of ham radio enthusiast brothers, RadioShack has been a model of American franchise business. Even in spite of deciding to close nearly 20% of their locations in 2014, RadioShack persists to be a desirable franchise business opportunity and still cracked into the top 150 companies in Entrepreneur’s 2015 Franchise 500 list of best franchise investments. Though there are many financial reasons that contributed to this favorable listing, one of the most valuable propositions of owning a RadioShack franchise has been far less tangible.
Brand Stability Equals Profitability
Even in the current state of affairs where RadioShack has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, there persists a very profitable endeavor to acquire the majority of their locations. If the company is in decline, sells dated technology, and is currently contracting, though, why then would there exist a bidding war for their last storefronts? The same things that investors want from them now is what entrepreneurs and IT professionals have known they would be able to get from them for almost a century- a consistent, authentic, enthusiast’s experience for communications technology. Creating a solid brand experience is one thing, curating and preserving it through global expansion how RadioShack has done for decades is entirely another. Maintaining that purity of a brand as it is entrusted to a multitude of franchisees is something that throttles many business owners as they look to expand their own companies. It doesn’t have to be that scary.
Keep Your Business Yours, Even When It’s Someone Else’s
No, that’s not a riddle or Zen kōan, it’s how business owners maintain consistent brand standards with their franchise partners everyday with VirtualPBX Franchise Phone Systems. With locations growing and cropping up all over the country, there exist two key challenges to keeping a brand’s core experience intact, Customer Connection and Brand Cohesion.
You’ve built a successful regional or national brand, how do you continue to connect customers over an increasingly large area with the right locations during rapid expansion? The best way to do that is with singular, corporate contact points in the form of your existing website and a national toll-free number. Just having a toll-free number can be a drain on your staffing requirements if it requires a call-center and operator functions, though. VirtualPBX toll-free numbers can be programmed to automatically direct your callers to the most appropriately located by identifying the caller’s area code and routing it to the nearest franchisee.
manage, change, edit, and monitor the content and function of the toll-free number from anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection.
The Unfair Advantage
RadioShack didn’t have access to these types of unified communications when it was founded. They, like you, have relied on the tried and true method of identifying a need and providing a reliable and valuable solution to fill that gap in their communities. Today, you can utilize the latest iterations of technologies that were designed with RadioShack components to ensure that your brand’s growth can be at least as potent, consistent, and effective as even the largest franchises in the world.
To learn more about how VitualPBX’s unified communications strategies can best be employed for your business, you can read more about it on our blog or get in touch with one of the VirtualPBX Franchise Experts today.
National Bike To Work Day
May 14th, 2015
May is National Bike Month and today with the second full week being Bike to Work Week and today, Thursday May the 14th, is National Bike to Work Day. That basically is like the epicenter of the your-co-worker-might-be-a-bit-stinkier-than-usual month that marks (for most) the gateway into the summer months. All of the added hours of commute time that the budget-conscious, fitness-oriented and environmentally-minded cyclists in the office will have to put in this month, plus the days away from the office that typically occur during the coming summer months, make finding ways to stay connected when on the road even more important.
Keep In Touch
Though cell phones, laptops, and devices galore have become ubiquitous in today’s society, not everyone wants to leverage their digital flexibility at the expense of their personal freedom. Giving out personal information like mobile and home phone numbers makes delineating clear lines between the beginning and ending of work hours difficult. Even for sales executives who are on-call more often than not, maintaining an element of anonymity for the times they do not want to be disturbed by work is important for a healthy work/life balance. Furthermore, for either budgetary or logistical reasons, carrying separate mobile devices for work and for personal use is not a realistic solution for many people or businesses.
Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too
Forget for a moment how ridiculous this expression is (seriously, I always eat all the cake I have, every time) and focus on how great it is when things work out with a double-whammy like it implies. Now you can use any device to conduct business. Whether it’s your work, personal, family, or borrowed device, as long as it has an internet connection, the VirtualPBX Softphone App mirrors your office presence from anywhere, anytime.
The VirtualPBX Softphone is an application that uses internet, wifi, or a network data connections to create a portal into your company’s hosted PBX system so that you can access it remotely. By using the company’s existing phone network, you can mask all of your communications with the work telephone number that you use when you’re at your desk in the office. No more missed calls, no need to share private information.
Get Started Now
Unlike how some of your bike-riding co-workers may have realized that they probably could have benefitted from a few rides beforehand to ramp up to their commute today, you don’t have to prepare anything to get started with the VirtualPBX Softphone App. In fact, the sooner you get the desktop or mobile app download, the sooner you can start working remotely as if you were in the office.
If you have any questions about the Softphone App or hosted telephone service for your business, you can always contact our award-winning VoIP for Business Experts. They have probably cleaned-up from their rides in by now, too.
Blocking and Tackling: It’s all about Fundamentals
May 12th, 2015
For sports fans, the Bay Area is a great place to live. We have two Major League Baseball teams, two National Football league teams, a National Basketball Association team (go Warriors!), a National Hockey League team, a Major League Soccer squad, and a host of other pro and semi pro teams ranging from Roller Derby to Cycling and everything between. Maybe it’s the great weather or big industries that are synonymous with Northern California, or maybe it’s just that we’re really fortunate, but the point is that we have an abundance of opportunities to improve business with lessons from professional sports.
Recently the NFL held its annual draft of college players into the pro ranks and this inspired many conversations around the office concerning each prospect’s relevant skills and upside potential. In spite of an impressive 40-yard-dash or bench press reps completed, however, the key thing that it always came back to was how fundamentally strong the athlete was. In sports, just like in business, how strong a foundational skillset and functional intelligence an athlete or company has will dictate much of how scalable and ultimately how successful they will be.
Operations – The Base of the Pyramid
We’ve discussed in the past how important basic operations and balance sheets are for avoiding a potential tech collapse, but basic skills go beyond accounting into other compliance and regulatory areas, too. For many large industries, like healthcare, legal, and any service capacity, proper record keeping isn’t just good business, it’s often times a matter of regulatory necessity.
They say a big part of success is just showing up, that’s true in a lot of ways and the concept extends to other areas of being present, too. Dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s is not the sizzle to any workplace steak, but it often makes the difference between success and failure. Think about how important procedure is in a court of law where improperly handled evidence or questioning can result in mistrials or dismissals. From a reporting perspective, many pitfalls and regulatory sanctions can be avoided by simply keeping organized records.
Avoid Human Error, Automate Compliance
Recording conversations, contacts, and events has become easier with email archiving, but for many businesses that is merely one portion of their communication. With so many critical conversations still occurring over the phone, establishing an equally reliable and automated call-recording procedure is the best way to mirror an electronic message capturing protocol.
VirtualPBX has a battery of call recording features that achieve the highest standard of compliance for business to keep running smoothly. From the convenience of the Extension Manager, call recording preferences can be set and changed from anywhere there is an internet connection and in real time. Features include-
- Set automated call recording by extension or by entire queue
- Toggle recording in call with a simple key-pad entry
- Set recording storage and delivery preferences to email, cloud storage, or send a recording directly to your DropBox account
The basics of record-keeping and operations aren’t solely responsible for a company’s success, but improperly addressing these things can effectively damage the chances of that success. To discuss how your company can keep its fundamentals strong with automated call recording and storage, contact one of the compliance experts at VirtualPBX today.
VirtualPBX Vendor Spotlight – Yealink
May 5th, 2015
We are fortunate to have some terrific vendors to partner with, especially when considering the intricacies of VoIP system compatibility with various VoIP phones. Both internally and externally, we are proud of the caliber of professionals that we get to rely on and learn from on a daily basis. Today, we’d like to shine the spotlight on one equipment vendor in particular, Yealink.
In the relatively young space of VoIP technology, Yealink is a veteran at designing and manufacturing technologically advanced desk and conference phones and equipment for hosted PBX phone systems. Founded in 2001, Yealink is focused mostly on building the tools for businesses to have truly unified communications. This holistic approach to building products deigned for complete, comprehensive communications strategies was one of the pivotal reasons that we chose to bring Yealink on board as a preferred provider of telephone equipment.
Power at Your Fingertips
With all of the enterprise-grade unified communications endeavors that Yaelink undertakes on a regular basis, it was no surprise they had the most impressively feature-rich phones available at entry-level price points. The Yealink SIP-T21P was a no-brainer for us, even after consider the dozens of other options that are available in that price range, as the go-to workhorse for any size business that needs a reliable VoIP phone mainstay.
The SIP-T21P provides a battery of functions with unique features typically reserved for phones at much higher price points, including-
- High Definition sound clarity
- Crystal clear LCD display screen
- Two Ethernet Ports each supporting Power over Ethernet (PoE)
- Total VoIP and soft-switch capability
We’re so glad to have Yealink as part of our network now that we’d like nothing more than for you to find out first hand what makes their equipment so competitive. To make buying VoIP phones for business even easier than normal, we’re offering a very limited opportunity to buy the Yealink SIP-T21P at a rare discount. These discounts are only available through the end of May, 2015, or as long as supplies permit, so don’t hesitate to discover the Yealink advantage for less.
For any questions about any of the premium VoIP equipment and service that we provide, please contact our award-winning Customer Support Team who is standing by to help you right now.
Attend a Conference From Anywhere
April 27th, 2015
Staying on the cutting edge of your industry can only be done with a combination of real life application, trial and error, and continuing education. The continuing education portion is especially important because, while plenty of solid refinement and experience can be achieved in the laboratory of day-to-day business, without learning from other experts we’d potentially miss out on critical new trends and tactics.
“Hello, My Name Is ________________”
One of the more popular ways to gain your continuing education credit is through the burgeoning conference market. And boy or boy is it ever burgeoning. A city known for a laundry list of not fit for print indulgences, Las Vegas, NV, is also the site of some of the most massive conference and convention audiences in the world. According to the City of Las Vegas, over 22,000 conventions that drew over 5 million attendees were held in the city’s massive, and numerous, conference halls last year. Needless to say, sharing information to a wide audience in a directed fashion is so valuable, that companies invest literally billions of dollars each year to get involved on both sides of the presenter and attendee spectrum.
Of course, not all companies can afford to send their employees all over the globe chasing down the next big idea and trend, let alone are they able to include all affected employees in the journey when they can. Furthermore, making certain that the information gained by those who do attend is shared quickly and efficiently is another challenge that some companies face.
Hold Your Own Summit
Okay, it may be difficult to reproduce the glam, glitz, and swag that comes form a proper Las Vegas conference, but you can execute the same type of quality group education from the convenience of your home office. Teleconferencing is the best way to engage larger groups of people in a simple, effective way. Plus, much like how Sin City is the site to where people travel from all over the globe, teleconferencing also brings together dispersed groups better than anything else can, without all of the airfare.
Teleconferencing can bring people together from over the phone lines, but when you have multiple people in one place, having a proper conference phone is important to getting everyone in the room involved. There are many options out there for a quality product, too many, in fact, to realistically consider all of them as contenders. VirtualPBX has narrowed down the field for you with the best values for high-performance phones and even have a very limited special opportunity to save on select models.
Injecting new ideas into your organization is critical for staying competitive and teleconferencing is one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways to do that. To learn more about how to bring teleconferencing to your team contact the conferencing experts at VirtualPBX today, and you won’t even have any more “creative” expense account charges from Vegas ever again.
Secure, Functional, and Friendly – Cloud-Based PBX Out Preforms On-Premesis PBX
April 17th, 2015
The folks at Software Advice, the free online reviews tool for software buyers, have released the second part of their SIP Trunking Provider and Implementation User Research Report, and we’re pleased to see the results. Software Advice takes complex IT and software issues and distills them for non-technical users to make simplified software decisions. In this two-part research project, they studied the usage, effectiveness, and satisfaction of hundreds of network telephony experts and found conclusive evidence that SIP trunking was a supreme advantage for SMB’s looking for cost-effective ways to maintain a secure, high-quality business phone service. In the second part of their research on the topic, Software Advice Analyst, Daniel Harris unearths more findings in support of a hosted PBX phone service for business.
One very compelling finding of the report is that users of cloud-based PBX systems were nearly 29% more likely to have all of their desired features supported by their phone service than were their on-premesis PBX colleagues. This conclusion is emblematic of one of the most convincing reasons to switch to a hosted telephone service. Features included or added onto an on-site PBX system – from introductory to the most robust – can be prohibitively expensive. However, those same features and more can be included with most any level of cloud-based PBX service.
By being hosted in the cloud, virtual phone systems aren’t hindered by the same limitations of their physical, on-site counterparts. This means that for any added feature or modification to an existing one, neither specially trained technicians nor unique and expensive equipment is required. By simply reconfiguring the cloud-based system from an online management portal, a sophisticated VoIP provider allows users to be masters of their own phone options, without any special training.
Considering the high technical fluency of the audience in the Software Advice report, configuration challenges shouldn’t be something that were often encountered in implementing new PBX systems of any variety. However, even though the lack of special training wasn’t a concern with this sample group, there persisted to be challenges for configuring the on-premises PBX with SIP trunking.
The compatibility of physical devices is one reason the expert IT world struggles with on-site PBX systems. PBX hardware is not unlike mobile phones that require a specific type of charging cable or TVs or monitors that require certain AV connections. These types of incompatibilities are much more challenging to overcome than simply finding a converter, though.
“When it comes to configuration, our respondents have more difficulty configuring on-premise systems than cloud systems, most likely because of the proprietary hardware involved in this setup,” said Daniel Harris of Software Advice. Where physical configuration can eventually be overcome with costly work-arounds, there are still issues with making the on-premise hardware recognize SIP trunking software. Unlike the malleability of codes, hardware can’t be as easily updated to accommodate new third-party applications.
“With on-premise systems, however, the SIP trunking provider has to ensure that its service can support proprietary PBX software and hardware from a third-party vendor,” Harris added.
Secure From Every Angle
More often than not, we are assailed with new reasons to be concerned for our data security. While not typically the first place we expect intruders to try and illegally access information, securing business phone lines is especially important. This is another reason why IT pros were keen to report more robust security on their cloud-based PBX over an on-premise option. One of the more popular ways to secure SIP trunking transmissions is Transport Layer Security (TLS), a method often used to secure payment information online. Idealized for securing the transfer of data packets that VoIP conversations are converted into, TLS encrypts the SIP requests between clients and servers, or in this case, businesses using cloud PBX systems and their SIP trunking providers. The heartiness of this method is ideal not only for the protection of financial information online, but for the prevention of DoS (Denial of Service) attacks like have been perpetrated against banks and the US government.
Past research has already shown that SIP trunking offers meaningful cost savings for small and medium businesses, but this new study suggests those savings go even further. By not tying up the limited bandwidth of a company’s tech team with cumbersome, troublesome, and unsecured telephone connections, an SMB can free itself up to focus on the jobs they want to do to grow. Also, added savings come from the prevention of crippling security failures that might be suffered absent the staunch defenses offered by a strong security configuration to any cloud-based PBX.
For more information on VoIP for business and for any questions you may have on how to configure a cloud-based telephone network that will bring these savings to your company, contact our award-winning business experts today.
On Demand for Customers, On the Clock for Providers
April 3rd, 2015
Consumers expect content and services unique to their needs delivered to them on their schedules more today than ever before. It used to be that a pizza delivery was about as close to on demand, customized service that most people could expect. Now, though, mobile technology and ever-increasingly sophisticated information management are combining to create an unprecedented land rush for developers all trying to be first to market with more on-demand applications.
From Palm to Project
Ride sharing applications like Uber and Lyft are becoming more of the norm everyday, but now with services like Handy and TaskRabbit, consumers can get everything from help packing for a move to a wrench for their leaky faucets 24 hours a day. For people who don’t want to limit their at-home dining options to only restaurants that have delivery in their area, there is even Eat24 which has over 20,000 take-out options across the country and on-demand delivery.
As long as there is an opportunity to make an experience more user-centric, consumers will grow continuously disenchanted with services that don’t meet their exact specifications. Though this trend has been the purview of areas like streaming content and on-demand housework, it is likely to affect how utilities and other professional services begin operating soon, too.
Exemplary of the made-to-order economy are hosted telephone service companies. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is likely the best, non-consumable vertical to employ on-demand offerings to customers. The flexibility inherent in any hosted phone system far surpasses that of any physical PBX from traditional phone carriers, but innovative companies are taking that one step further.
With near limitless options in how systems are configured, products like SelectRoute and GeoRoute from VirtualPBX are designed exactly to cater to businesses that don’t want to simply order off of a menu of features, but want to design something to fit their company’s appetite as they see fit. With so many different ways to customize VoIP systems, specifically with routing options dispersed and field-based businesses with dispersed and employees, VirtualPBX is tapping into the pulse of consumers with their custom options. To learn how your business can get exactly what it needs, exactly the way you want it, you can get in touch with the award-winning service professionals at VirtualPBX, today.