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Follow-me calling

Technology That Fits Your Business
October 28th, 2014

Do you remember the first time you had email sent to your phone? If you’re like many of us, that will forever mark both the beginning of a new era of personal technological advancement and also the termination of the, “I haven’t seen that yet,” excuse for work. But we take the good with the bad, right?

We live at a different pace these days, a fact most likely attributable to more deeply integrating mobile communications into our lives. With this higher dimension of connectivity we have the ability to consume entertainment and news from anywhere in the world, check in with our personal lives via mobile social networking, or simply have clearer, more reliable cellular connection in a wider range of locations than ever before. But with that omnipresent connection comes a lot of added work and scheduling that sometimes can be a bit much to manage.

The intersection of information access and time management is exactly where today’s top developers are working to literally improve our lives. Organizational tools such as Evernote or David Allen’s Getting Things Done are useful for staying focused in this often frantic, fast-paced lifestyle. These types of time and task management apps are widely available now because developers have recognized that the way people live and work is changing, and they’ve got the opportunity to help us get where we’re going. Though we used to conduct business around the limitations of our technology, people are now designing technology that fits for the way we want to conduct business.

That’s exactly why VirtualPBX business telephone plans have unique features like Follow-Me Calling that allow you to work how you need to and where you want to. Additionally, there’s a brand new twist on the popular Call Recording option that now lets you save and retrieve recorded call data just as conveniently. Going forward, businesses can now save calls with a single click from their vConsole directly to a Dropbox account. Dropbox is a virtual data storage management service that has a clever platform where you can access, review, and even share via email all of your saved calls from any mobile device or computer.

How do you want to work? Do you get to use technology to accommodate your schedule, or do you have to change plans to fit into the construct of your current business tools? Take a peek at the VirtualPBX Plan Comparison to see which one, and which features like Call Recording or Follow-Me Calling, can support the type of business you want to have.

Firedrill Confirms Business Telephone Strength
October 10th, 2014

Firedrill exposes vulnerability in telephone systems

Today at our corporate headquarters in beautiful downtown San Jose our building underwent a routine fire drill. Okay, short of having to trudge down the 187 steps to the ground floor from our office, we were all really quite fine to get some beautiful Silicon Valley sunshine. That’s because our office calls followed us outside. Our neighbors weren’t all so lucky.

Coincidentally, some of our co-tenants have employed VirtualPBX Office for their business phone needs so our days all kept on rolling without missing a beat thanks to the follow-me calling feature. For both of us it was almost like our professor decided to hold class outside. Business as usual, but with a nicer view.

Once the drill was over and the building cleared for reentry, the scene resembled a crowded commuter train as our neighbors were loading themselves into elevators in a surprisingly frantic hurry to get back to their desks. Turns out, if you don’t have the latest VoIP technology keeping your company connected no matter where they are, you can miss a lot of important work. All kidding aside, it was admittedly pretty nice to be able to continue conducting business on our own schedule, and not on that of the local Fire Inspector.

Right now, new customers to VirtualPBX Office or current VirtualPBX Anywhere customers who upgrade to an Office Plan will get one month of service for free if they buy the NEW Desktop VirtualPBX Softphone. Don’t let life keep you from speaking to your clients. Stay connected with VirtualPBX Office and enjoy all of the flexibility of a customizable, feature-rich phone system without the hassles and costs of a traditional copper wire telephone provider. All of the details of how you can get your first month of VirtualPBX Office are right here.

Thanks, and good luck out there!

Which VirtualPBX Plan
is Better for Me?

April 30th, 2014

With VirtualPBX, you’re not forced into a payment plan that doesn’t match your business. Most companies will find our flat rate plans will provide the most savings, and give the peace of mind that comes from knowing how much your bill will be each month, regardless of usage. Other businesses, usually those that don’t use the phone a lot, will benefit more from our usage based plans – why pay for unlimited use when your needs are low?

FLAT-RATE PLANS

This is what most companies market as “unlimited”.  There is never any such thing as “unlimited” in the telecom industry.  Let’s just get this straight right up front.  Carriers charge each other on a price per minute basis when they hand calls off to one another, so at some point in time that cost makes it down to the consumer.  However, VirtualPBX doesn’t really push the “unlimited” as much as they push flat-rate.  It’s a flat rate under normal business usage.  Here’s what the flat-rate plan comes with:

Plan Overview

  • Anywhere from $39.99/mo down to $19.99/mo per user, depending on how many extensions are needed
  • Unlimited free minutes for typical business use
  • No charge for long distance any where in the continental US or Canada
  • 1,000 minutes of toll-free included in every plan

Best for:

  • Most companies with typical phone use
  • Employees who work in offices or home offices with broadband internet

USAGE-BASED PLANS

Usage-based plans basically means you pay for only the minutes you use.  This can be extremely useful if you don’t have that many inbound calls or make many outbound calls.  You don’t need to pay a higher flat rate per extension because your overall usage is low compared to the average office.

Plan Overview

  • Prices start at just $9.99 per month
  • Pay only for minutes used
  • Unlimited users
  • Same system features as the flat-rate plans because it’s the same system
  • Toll-free is built into the plan minutes

Best for:

  • Companies with low phone use
  • Employees on cell phones or land lines

PLAN CALCULATOR

Still not sure which plan is best for you?  Not a problem.  To help make it a little easier, we’ve put together a little calculator where you input the number of users that need an extension and the rough amount of minutes that they use each month for inbound and outbound calls.

Please click to learn more about the plan calculator.

So, bottom line is that VirtualPBX has the right plan for you.  And even better is no matter which plan you choose, you can use the hardware VoIP phones with them, allowing you to cut all ties with your land line and traditional carriers.  This could save you a lot of money.  And that’s why VirtualPBX is doing what they’re doing.

Virtual PBX Reduces International Dialing Rates
December 8th, 2011

Making international calls has often been an expensive proposition for small and medium businesses. If you have clients living overseas or live abroad yourself, you know keeping in touch with people around the world can be extremely expensive.

Just in time for the busy holiday season, Virtual PBX is making it easier than ever to stay connected by lowering their international dialing rates. With Virtual PBX, you no longer need to purchase an international calling card or waste time searching for lower rates. Virtual PBX is excited to announce new international rates, with some cut by as much as 80%.

Virtual PBX worked hard with its carriers to push rates lower while maintaining high quality, crystal clear calls, and they are passing all the saving onto you. Call land lines in London or Buenos Aires, or mobile phones in Hong Kong for as low as 1.9 cents per minute. So stop watching the minutes on the phone when you are calling abroad and enjoy the savings.

Virtual PBX also offers two other great ways to save big for global phone calls.  If you have employees in other countries, you can set them up with an extension that incorporates a VoIP phone or softphone.  Then, calls to their extensions can be free.

If your client base is international, Virtual PBX can get you a local phone number in thousands of cities around the globe for a low monthly rate.  Your clients can call in at little or no cost because the number is local to them, and you get no extra per-minute fees for the inbound calls.  .

These discounted international options give excellent value and are part of the many reasons Virtual PBX is an easy choice for companies with global interests. With Virtual PBX You can be sure that you’re getting the best value for your dollar no matter who or where you call.

Specific rate information can be found on our website at www.virtualpbx.com.

How to Prepare your Small Business for Summer
June 23rd, 2011

Spring is over and summer has finally arrived. People are turning off their computers and heading out for fun in the sun.  Unfortunately, your business can’t close for the summer, but there is no reason why your business can’t have an enjoyable, successful summer season.  So what are you going to do to prepare your business for summer?

Take a worry free vacation

It can be very stressful for business owners to be away from the office on vacation.  Worrying about missing an important call or losing potential customers can keep you from enjoying a much needed relaxing vacation.  With Virtual PBX, your vacations can always be stress free.

By setting up Virtual PBX’s “follow me calling” feature, extension owners can create a list of phone numbers where they will be available, such as the number of a hotel line, their vacation home, or cell phone. With follow-me from Virtual PBX, you never have to miss an important call because you’re on vacation. We can reach you any place there is a phone.

Work outside and enjoy the long summer days

This is another great way you can use Virtual PBX’s “follow me calling” feature.  Work from a park, your back yard, the beach or anywhere you want to soak up some rays.

Let voicemail screen your calls

When you are on vacation or enjoying the summer with family, allow yourself to return only those calls that are truly important or emergencies.  With every Virtual PBX extension you can listen to callers as they leave you a voicemail message. If you need to take the call, simply press the ‘#’ key to interrupt the caller and start talking live.

Check your voicemail via email

You can even have your messages routed to your email as .wav files so you can listen to them from your computer. Or if you prefer, messages are also available through our Virtual PBX browser-based web portal.  All you need are headphones or speakers.

Promote a summer sale or Event

Use Virtual PBX to promote a summer sale by using our Online Greeting Manager to upload a new auto-attendant greeting.  You can upload your own, record by phone, or order them through the Virtual PBX studios.

Change your Summer Hours

Maybe you’ve increased or decreased your hours for summer.  Use the Day/Night mode settings in your Virtual PBX to play a day mode greeting and a night mode greeting, adjusting the hours per day that you are open.  During night mode, you can send all calls to voicemail so you can enjoy a quiet evening!

Virtual PBX Adds VoIP Phones and New Flat-Rate Plans!
February 25th, 2011

Polycom SoundPoint IP 335

Virtual PBX Adds Hardware VoIP Phone Support

The time has come — Virtual PBX, provider of the no-compromise business phone system, announced support for hardware VoIP Phones along with new flat-rate plans, fortifying their lineup of industry-leading plans and services. With this, Virtual PBX now controls the phone call from the inbound phone number ALL the way down to the phone on the desktop. You can now have a truly complete phone system integrating phone numbers, free long distance and IP phones into one cost-effective solution.

We now offer two award winning plans from which you, the customer, can choose: the new flat-rate plans and the original usage-based plans. Even better, you don’t have to be on the flat-rate plans to use the VoIP phones – we’ve set up the system to support the phones on either plan. So feel free to pick the plan that works best for you and your business, and also decide how you would like the system to reach you. You can be contacted through the VoIP phone(s) and/or contact phone numbers via a landline or cell phone. The freedom to choose is in your hands.

We also offer you the freedom to save! With Virtual PBX you can simplify your life and your budget by cutting the ties with your landline carrier. There is really no need for a landline anymore seeing as how you can make and receive phone calls using a VoIP phone and your Virtual PBX service. So go on ahead and save that money each month with Virtual PBX Complete. With our phone service you can enjoy a savings of anywhere from 40-80% in traditional phone system and landline costs – that is a huge savings! Given that telecom costs are a major expense in everyday business, Virtual PBX provides business communication that is affordable, easy and accessible from wherever you need to be with a low monthly fee and no contracts or setup costs!

Please see the plan details below and save money with the plan suited for you:

Flat-Rate Plans:

These are your traditional “unlimited” plans that so many companies try to market. However, Virtual PBX does it right as there is a fair-use policy in place (much like every other VoIP phone service out there) that allows 5,000 minutes of inbound minutes per extension, aggregated at the account level. So a 5-user system would include upwards of 25,000 inbound local minutes. That’s amazing. Most companies won’t touch that. Yet, they can have this system for around $150 per month, and that already includes the e911 fees, Federal and FCC taxes. The flat-rate plans are as follows:

  • 1-User: $39.99/mo
  • 4-User: $23.99/mo/ext
  • 10-User: $21.99/mo/ext
  • 20-User: $19.99/mo/ext
  • 50-User: $19.99/mo/ext
  • Extra Extensions: $24.99/mo

Usage-Based Plans:

These plans are what Virtual PBX used to pioneer the hosted phone service market. On these original plans you only pay for the minutes used each month. As the plans go up, you receive a larger block of free minutes and the price for additional minutes becomes cheaper. These plans come with unlimited users and all the same features as the flat-rate plans. Virtual PBX has the following usage-based plans:

  • VPBX-5: $9.99/mo (300 minutes, extra minutes are 6.5 cents/min)
  • VPBX-10: $24.99/mo (600 minutes, extra minutes are 5.8 cents/min)
  • VPBX-20: $44.99/mo (1,000 minutes, extra minutes are 4.7 cents/min)
  • VPBX-50: $94.99/mo (2,500 minutes, extra minutes are 4.4 cents/min

VoIP Phones

Virtual PBX now supports hardware VoIP phones connected to the service. This is a superb addition as now you can make phone calls and show your Virtual PBX caller ID on every outbound call. And you don’t have to use a cellphone or landline to make that outbound call. All you need is an Internet connection. Virtual PBX sells the following phones that arrive pre-configured and ready for use:

  • Polycom SoundPoint IP 321: $99.99 (single ethernet port)
  • Polycom SoundPoint IP 335: $139.99 (ethernet pass-through port; backlit display)
  • Polycom SoundStation IP 5000: $599.99 (conference phone)

With Virtual PBX there is no need to get phones from one provider, calling plans from another, and features from somewhere else. Get it all in one place. If you are looking for a complete, no-compromise business VoIP solution for your business, Virtual PBX is the answer.

Getting The Most from your Virtual PBX this Holiday Season
November 15th, 2010

During the Holiday season, it is important for your business to be attentive, promotional, and creative. The holidays are just around the corner. Is your business ready?

With a little know-how and a friendly phone system like a Vvrtual PBX, you can easily accomplish all this and more. Here are 6 great ways VirtualPBX can help you best connect with your customer base this Holiday season.

Holiday Schedule Message
With most businesses experiencing increased call volume during the holidays, it is sometimes difficult to attend to each customer’s needs. Providing a Holiday Schedule Message is a great way to keep your customers informed of Holiday business hours or who to contact in case of an emergency. This will not only ensure customers are updated with your holiday schedule, it will also and reduce the number calls needed to be answered.

Provide a Holiday Greeting
The holidays are a great time to let your customers know how much you appreciate their business, and what better way to thank them then through a holiday greeting when they dial your number! You can use the Greeting Manager on the web portal to set up a new greeting. Your customers will certainly appreciate this holiday message.

Play Holiday Music
During the stressful holiday season, playing cheery Holiday music is a great way to help your customers relax and slow down. Playing holiday tunes for your customers is simple with the Virtual PBX System. Choose from a wide selection of holiday songs by going to the Admin tab and clicking “Edit” under Music on Hold. Virtual PBX also gives you the option to record your own greeting, upload a greeting or have a profession holiday greeting recorded. Options for greetings are found under the “Greetings” tab.

Mention Seasonal Promotions
The International Council of Shopping Centers predicts holiday sales to increase anywhere from 3% to 3.5% this year. Take advantage of this busy shopping season by sharing special discounts and holiday promotions with your customers. Virtual PBX can help you quickly promote your sales via a special On Hold Message. Virtual PBX can help you upload your On Hold Message or record one for you. You can order it under the “Greetings” tab. And remember, most businesses get many new customers and retain loyal clients through seasonal promotions.

Use Call Forwarding
Don’t get stuck in the office this holiday season. With call forwarding, you can go holiday shopping, trim your tree or spend extra time with family all while answering business calls as if you are in your office. Simply put your home or cell phone in as a contact phone number in your extension, turn Follow Me Calling on, and sneak out for some holiday fun.

Set Santa Up with His Own Extension
Who doesn’t love the thought of Santa Claus during the holidays? Get into the holiday spirit by creating a special extension for good old Saint Nick. With Virtual PBX you can create a mail only extension for Santa Claus where customers can feel free to leave you a holiday message. In addition, your customer’s kids will definitely enjoy hearing Santa Claus wish them happy holidays (you’ll need to find a person with a jolly deep voice to record that message!). True, this doesn’t directly affect your bottom line. But your current and potential customers will definitely remember this. And having them remember you CAN have an effect on your bottom line!

Virtual PBX Provides Winning Service for New York International Spirits Competition
October 26th, 2010

When you are hosting the world’s foremost spirits and wine competition, it is crucial to have a phone system that can back you up all the way. Luckily, Adam Levy, the host and founder of the New York International Spirits Competition (NYISC), was well prepared to recognize and award the best spirits and wines in the world.

Levy easily and efficiently ran the NYISC with the Virtual PBX® business-class phone system. Already familiar with the best, he knew VirtualPBX would be the perfect system to keep him in contact with a multitude of judges and vintners, and manage numerous calls from any location. In addition, receiving all the award submissions was no problem with the built-in faxing capabilities offered by VirtualPBX.

With Virtual PBX, Levy was able to significantly reduce overall costs and have access to vital features including follow-me calling and inbound fax. He estimates the new system saves the company around $980 a year on phone charges.

“After using Virtual PBX at a previous company, I knew that they offered a great service that would be easy for us to implement,” said Levy. “Today, our team relies on Virtual PBX to retrieve all of our voicemails and faxes, even when we are in completely different locations. In particular, we value the ease-of-use and varied feature set, which allows us to work out of our home offices and on-the-go when we’re at tasting events.”

The industry’s leading spirit experts are a huge part of NYISC’s overwhelming success. To compare and select the winning spirits, they had to be in constant contact with buyers, sommeliers, restaurant owners, distributers and importers. They never missed a call or fax as the virtual PBX system effortlessly routed the hundreds of entry forms as well as numerous calls to the appropriate line.

“A majority of our customers are on-the-go and require flexible resources to help them keep up with the needs of their clients, regardless of their location,” said Paul Hammond, president and CEO of Virtual PBX. “With the industry’s strongest set of features included in our standard plans, we give customers like the New York International Spirits Competition a cost-effective and powerful business phone system that delivers peace of mind.”

Our congratulations to Adam Levy and the New York International Spirits Competition. We’re proud to be involved with such a prestigious event!

Show Your Company Phone Number from Any Phone!
August 18th, 2010

If you’ve called a customer using your home phone or cell phone, then you’ve probably had them call you back on that same phone number — they just redial the caller ID left on their phone.  Suddenly your personal phone is your new “business” number.  It’s like having people visit your home when they should be going to your office or store.  What a pain.  But all is not lost.  By using Virtual PBX, you have a way to show your company phone number on outbound calls without having to reveal the number from which you’re calling.  Convenience and privacy all in the same call!

This feature is called “Virtual Calling Card”.  It’s perfect for calling from a cell phone, a friend’s house, a hotel, or even a pay phone…if you can still find one that works!  And you don’t need to keep track of special code numbers and dialing strings – you just dial yourself.  This feature is accessed by logging into the phone system over the phone.  Some of our customers are unfamiliar with this feature or think it’s harder to use than it really is. Truthfully, it does take a few steps — call into your Virtual PBX phone number, press #, enter your extension number followed by #, then enter your phone password follow by #.  Realistically, all of that can be accomplished via a speed dial on your phone.  There is an alternate way to log into your phone system by pressing the CallBack button on the Call Routing tab.

Once you are logged into the system over the phone, you press 3 to make an outbound call.  The system will ask you to enter the phone number you wish to dial.  That’s all there is to it.  Once you enter the phone number, the system will dial, showing your Virtual PBX phone number as the caller ID to your call recipient. So not only is this convenient, but it’s also secure as you’re not showing your personal phone number when you call your customers, vendors, or contacts.

You do need to make sure that your system is set to show your Virtual PBX phone number on outbound calls.  This is the default setting, so unless you changed it, it should be fine.  That setting is edited under the Advanced Configuration settings of the Auto-Attendant.

Also, if you have multiple Virtual PBX phone numbers, you can show any one of those on your outbound calls.  A beautiful thing!  Just make sure to dial into the system using the number that you want to show on your caller ID.  So this feature is not just convenient and secure, but also flexible!

So now you and your personnel use your Virtual PBX to make a bunch of outbound calls.  How do you know who called whom?  You can track all of your outbound calls using the Extension Outbound Call Report.  This report shows the date, time, extension numbers, extension owner caller ID, duration of the call, and the phone number of the party dialed.  This is a great report if extension owners use the Virtual Calling Card feature to make customer call backs to customers or vendors.  It’s great detail, but it’s also great for accountability.

With the Virtual Calling Card feature from Virtual PBX, not only can you show whichever Virtual PBX company phone number you wish in the caller ID when you make your outbound calls, but you also get the satisfaction of NOT having your personal contact phone number show up on caller ID displays of your customers, vendors, and business contacts.  It’s convenience, flexibility, and personal protection at the same time.

5 Reasons Why You Need Telephone Disaster Recovery
June 15th, 2010

When disasters occur, a company has a lot to deal with. Protecting your employees and assets is important, but can still leave you paralyzed. It’s one thing to protect your data and network, but what about ongoing customer interaction? It may seem old-school, but a company’s telephone number is a primary customer-interaction channel. During a disaster, without some method of continuing to carry on customer interaction, you’ll be dead in the water and hemorrhaging clients. A lot of companies have disaster recovery plans in place. But unfortunately, a lot of those same companies don’t include telecom in the DR plan. Here are five reasons to not put off your telecom disaster recovery plan.

1.  There’s Too Much at Stake

People insure their health, their cars, and sometimes even their mail. But many overlook the need to protect their company’s primary customer interaction channel – their phones. They might think it’s expensive, or they might think they don’t have the time. But if your phone lines fail, or your people cannot get to those lines, then what’s at risk isn’t just current business being lost – it’s a permanent blow to the reputation and credibility of the company. Busy lines, emergency signals, hold time, disorganization, and lack of status updates will severely damage your corporate image. Even if you’re willing to risk the days or weeks it takes to repair the damage, it can be months or years before your image is restored.

2.  43 Percent of Companies Have Had a Major Disaster

Power loss, office loss, or even damaged power or phone lines can and do occur. There’s no reason to not protect your business against disaster. Almost half of all businesses suffer extreme loss of data and communications. Considering how much each client is worth to your company – how much is at stake on every call – how many calls are you willing to risk on a flip of the coin?

3.  Even a Minor Disaster Can Cost Major Amounts

Total loss means losing every client until your phone system can be repaired, which could take days or weeks. This will ruin a business. But even minor problems like equipment malfunction, temporary electrical outages, or roads going out mean that you put a lot of stress on the rest of your business to try to make up for it. Having a fall-back plan isn’t just for hurricanes, fires and terrorism: It’s for anything else that may arise, even if it’s seemingly mundane. A good plan can and will keep you from losing your clients and your reputation.

4.  65 Percent of Businesses Have Weak Telecommunication Continuity Plans

A 2009 study from the Business Research Institute revealed that of all the recovery points necessary in the event of a disaster (data loss, employee management, notifications, etc.), 65 percent of businesses surveyed said telecommunications was the weakest link. Given the importance of the phones to a business, this is a surprising statistic. That’s a significant majority of businesses that lose big whenever any kind of disaster occurs. Even a small investment of time and money to establish some sort of telecom disaster recovery plan will go a long way toward protecting your company.

5.  It Doesn’t Cost Much Money or Take Much Time to Protect Your Company

A good telecommunications disaster recovery plan can be put together in a matter of hours, not days, and the costs are trivial compared to the risks. This isn’t the business of comparing the price to the value of what’s being protected. Figuring ROI on disaster recovery investments is extremely hard to determine. The better question: What is a client worth to the company? Typically, the cost of a telecommunications disaster recovery service is a mere fraction of the cost of a lost client. That alone should be a major decision-making factor in putting together a proper telecommunications disaster recovery plan.

Why is Virtual PBX talking about this?  Because a by-product of using our service is automatic telecom disaster recovery — your phone calls are being handled by an off-site service.  With Follow Me Calling, you don’t have to be in the office to take your calls.  Even if you have a hardware phone system that you’re not intending to do away with, protect it and those inbound calls using our PBX Parachute service — a virtual phone service for disaster recovery purposes.

Bottom line is that too many companies leave their main asset – their phones – unprotected. A disaster or even a small phone line outage could cost a company significantly, both in customer revenue as well as a hard-earned reputation. With a bit of effort, some good research, and a simple telecom disaster recovery plan, a company can weather the storms of small mundane outages as well as the large natural disasters. And best of all, their customers may not even know it.