General Telephony

One Easy Way to Avoid Ever Getting Dragged off a Plane

United Airlines Dragged off a PlaneIf you haven’t seen it by now, let me fill you in on what is likely to be of 2017’s biggest PR mess recently perpetrated by United Airlines. In a nutshell, United Airlines found themselves in a position to require four passengers to surrender their seats on a flight from Chicago to Louisville over the weekend. After offering vouchers for mileage credit and still having zero volunteers, the company claims that a randomized computer selection identified the passengers who would have their tickets canceled. What followed with one passenger who was unwilling to surrender his seat is pretty unfortunate and can be seen
in the video from the New York Times
. The fact that United felt it was a good decision to literally drag a customer off the plane is bewildering. United Airline’s gaff has rightfully dominated the national conversation over the past couple of days, but I believe there’s an opportunity to learn from both the airline and the passenger in this situation. And frankly, why shouldn’t we? If there’s an opportunity to reduce my chances of getting dragged of a plane, then I, for one, believe that I owe it to myself to take it.

The Airline is Only Guilty of Being Uncreative

Okay, this is where we’ll likely get a bit divisive. I have no problem with passengers being forcibly removed from planes. Period. As a frequent air traveler myself, I understand the “laws of the land” so to speak, are not skewed in my favor. FAA regulations are immutably in favor of the absolute authority of the pilot, flight crew, and any other airline official. Sure, that’s a lot of power to put into the hands of people who, at least in this instance, have proven to have highly flawed decision-making skills, but that’s just how it is. Therefore, while I’d be quick to vilify the airline employees who failed to consider any other option involving finding an alternate passenger, increasing the incentive to volunteer, or anything short of a violent removal of this gentleman, once they said he needed to be removed, they were well within their rights to do so, forcibly if necessary. At the risk of sounding like an authoritarian apologist, I’d remind the world that this type of control on airplanes is literally designed for the safety of everyone involved- both in the planes and on the ground. Remember that the circumstances that created these draconian laws in the first place were the events on September 11, 2001. That said, the security officer likely violated his departments code of conduct on use of force, but the airline, from my completely inexpert position, is only guilty of being boneheads, and not of any actual rule infraction. Moving on, let’s take a look at how easily this can be avoided for anyone who doesn’t want to be dragged off a plane.

Never Let a Job Get You Dragged Off a Plane

The man in the video has been identified as Dr. David Dao of Elizabethtown, KY. He claimed that he couldn’t leave the flight because he needed to take a shift and care for patients the next day. The veracity of his claim hasn’t been confirmed yet, and he has actually been operating on a provisionally reinstated medical license since 2015 after having to surrender it in 2005 following a conviction for charges surrounding illegal distribution of Vicodin. The doctor’s history is not on trial here, but it’s important to note that a man chose to invoke the need to get to work so vehemently that the airline felt no other options existed short of dragging him off the plane. This is ridiculous. I don’t want him or anyone else to be dragged off a plane, or dragged anywhere, for that matter. I certainly don’t want someone in this day and age to assert such a need to be physically in an office that it prevents a 75 minute long flight an additional 3 hours. I mean, it’s 2017 for crying out loud. Plus, the drive time from Chicago to Louisville is only about 4 hours and 30 minutes so, realistically, there is no excuse to claim an inability to get to work in light of the incentives United was offering. But alas, that was not the case.

One Easy Step to Not Being Dragged off a Plane

Here it is, folks, the one step process to completely avoid this unfortunate event. Chances are good, you already have the ability to do this, too; Work remotely. I know, it’s not the sexiest answer in the world, but more often than not, the best solutions are also the simplest ones, too. In fact, it’s estimated that over half of all US workers have jobs that can be done remotely, and with the latest innovations for video visits, yes even doctors can work remotely, too! Plus, considering the simplicity of working remotely and the fact that the majority of distance working tools actually save companies upwards of 80% over traditional phone systems, there is never any good reason to get dragged off a plane for work.

It Really is That Simple

To prove just exactly how easy it is to start a remote working policy at work, I can even offer you a free seat at our upcoming Remote Working Webinar. We’ll go over all of the aspects of maintaining strong company culture, ensuring open communications, and every other detail that teams new to remote working should consider. While all of those details will be helpful, after you leave the webinar you’ll be just as bewildered as I am why anyone would let themselves be brutalized by airport security over a job. Or maybe you think the airline was way off base? Let us know about it by signing up for the webinar or by joining the conversation on Twitter or Facebook and we can discuss it more. Until then, however, please be safe and courteous both on the ground and in the air, and do everything in your power to avoid getting dragged off a plane.

More Shopping Choices Drive The Future of Telecommunications

Telecom shopping choicesFor anyone who had either shopped for a car or simply wanted to play around with the latest and greatest options available in the automotive industry, the days of writing to request a catalog are long gone. Previously, a fully interactive car builder was only found on high-end vehicle websites, but now even the most economy rides on the road can be built into a nearly limitless array of configurations before ever stepping foot into a dealership. Cars aren’t the only place that more shopping choices are playing a role in reshaping the consumer experience. Everything from the alphabet soup that is some people’s coffee orders to the ability to customize everything from new bicycles to smartphones has driven the shift to a unique purchase process than ever before. That’s how we are accustomed to shopping and, frankly, it’s only one of the reasons why we’ve built similar customization into our own VoIP products and services.

Building More Options Into VoIP Each Day

While they may not have the same type of daydream potential as customizing your next dream car, our flexible VoIP products and services represent a new era in telecom, one where customers, not providers, decide what their service looks like. In fact, we have had such success building unique telecom systems for our customers that we’ve even begun offering Custom Voice Solutions that offer a bespoke and totally unique system for businesses in need. With this service, we employ a smooth collaborative process with our customer to identify all of the parameters of what their ideal communications network looks like. Then, following the presentation of various proposed solutions, we take the best option and implement it for the customer. Perhaps in this way, Custom Voice Solutions are less like building a new car online and more like having a custom kitchen installed in your home without all of the delays and hidden costs, that is!

Business Needs Supersede Shopping Choices

The fact that each organization has differing needs is exactly why we have more shopping choices than almost any other telecom provider. We offer products that can’t be found anywhere else in the entire hosted telecommunications industry that leverage the same type of customization today’s shoppers expect. We made them like this because we know all of our businesses are unique and so, too, are their needs. Plus, engineering-heavy products that lack the gloss or intuitiveness of consumer applications have historically dominated the VoIP industry. This doesn’t work for everyone because not every business has an on-site IT engineer to operate a complex VoIP system. That’s why we think that anyone who can use a desk phone should be able to use their virtual phone system, too. With that in mind, our Dash platform continues to win accolades for its revolutionarily simple interface and intuitive design. With Dash, any employee can be designated as an admin because anyone can navigate the system within minutes of exposure to it.

Unbranded Service for Ultimate Shopping Choices

Well, to be more specific, VoIP Clear Fix Service is less of an unbranded service and more of a brand agnostic one. But similar to Dash, VoIP Clear Fix Service has also won a heap of praise and recognition from the telecom industry because of its limitless applications for business to improve their hosted communications, regardless of who their telecom provider is. VoIP Clear Fix Service boosts shopping choices for telecom customers because, thanks to our vast array of expertise with unified communications systems and fluency with a plethora of ISP and VoIP service providers, we’re able to offer VoIP remediation services for any hosted telecom customer, anywhere. Additionally, because many VoIP providers have either limited or pay-for-support customer service options, VoIP Clear Fix is often times the least expensive or only remediation option available for non-VirtualPBX clients.

Looking Forward Towards Even More Options

As long as we present options that provide a specific benefit to our customers rather than ones that merely represent added options for options’ sake, we’ll keep moving forward. Fortunately, the unique products we offer and the customizable features of those products themselves continue to delight business owners who have struggled to find meaningful and lasting solutions to their communications challenges. The positive feedback these products gain from our customers, our own expectations as consumers, and the feedback loop from our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap all contribute to our mission of improving VoIP options across the board. Who knows? Maybe even someday you’ll be poking around with the equivalent of a sports package and roof rack as you build the future of VirtualPBX products online. Of course, that may be a few more years off yet, but it’s fun to think about.

Be Prepared – The Boy Scout’s Motto & VirtualPBX VoIP

be prepared with VoIPRecently, my nephew achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the the Boy Scout’s of America. For those of you who are aware of what this designation means, thank you for the congratulations, but I obviously had nothing to do with it! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Eagle Scouts or scouting in general, the Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank that a scout can hope for. Representing less than 5% of all scouts ever, those who achieve Eagle Scout have been known to actually include it on their professional resumes due to the high level of dedication that reaching this rank represents. All of this is to add some context to one of my fondest memories (and at this point, one of the only remaining memories!) of scouting; the Boy Scout’s Motto, “Be Prepared.” This simple and effective reminder to plan ahead and stay adaptable is the basis of today’s blog.

Being Prepared Means Packing Smart

When you plan a trip, it’s not rocket science to take a peek at the weather at your destination to pack accordingly. But the inclusion of several key contingencies is always a prudent decision, too. A packable rain jacket, for example, is one of those items that doesn’t add too much to your luggage and yet the benefit of having it when you need it far outweighs the cost of lugging it around if you don’t. Traveling for work is no different in the sense that there are some staples you need to bring to any conference or sales trip. But what about including an extra phone charger or presentation clicker with your business cards and slide printouts? Certainly, you won’t want duplicates of all your business tools, but every added level of redundancy is also an extra layer of insurance against any of life’s many surprises. This is why increasing your reliance on cloud-based tools like a Dash Plan is a great way to both broaden your options and lighten your overall load at the same time.

Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work

As we recently discussed, traveling for work or for life is something that can be an enriching and rewarding experience. Unfortunately, though, for those who don’t have the right tools available to them at work, it can also be a costly consideration if time away from the office directly translates to time away from actually working. Fortunately for us at VirtualPBX, we get to practice what we preach. In fact, it’s because I’m personally prepared with an array of remote working resources that I’m actually able to keep connected while typing this from a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. This isn’t exactly how I expected to see my workweek panning out, but because I have with me the simple and effective VoIP plans that we provide to thousands of businesses all over the world, I was confident I could handle it. With just a simple data or Wi-Fi connection, I can have all of my telephone calls forwarded to me anywhere in the world. Furthermore, I can circumnavigate any of the costs associated with placing calls from these distant locations using those same tools. And to keep my private life private, these calls can be masked with my office telephone number on caller ID so I won’t have to reveal my personal mobile number if I don’t want to. While the circumstances of how I found myself to be working from one of the earliest global hubs of commerce are ones I may wish to forget, the fact is that because of VirtualPBX, they aren’t remotely enough to keep me from getting the job done.

Where the Boy Scout’s Motto Can Lead You

I don’t expect that my nephew is going to find himself in need of having to navigate the convoluted procedures of exiting the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul anytime soon. That said, should he be traveling for work in his future career and be equipped with the same flexibility of VoIP from VirtualPBX, I’m exceedingly confident that he’ll handle it all in stride. He is an Eagle Scout, after all. Plus, in retrospect, considering that 11 of the 12 astronauts to walk on the surface of the moon were all Boy Scouts, maybe thinking he’ll be wandering around in Turkey killing time between flights is actually setting sights a bit too low.

Until then, and thanks to Dash VoIP, I’ll be prepared for anything that the world throws at me.

Why VoIP Will Dominate the Future of P2P Marketing

Why VoIP Will Dominate The Future of P2P MarketingI recently returned from Social Media Marketing World 2017 in sunny San Diego, California. All the fresh Pacific air got me thinking about why VoIP will dominate the future of P2P marketing.

P2P Marketing is Rising to the Top

P2P (Person-to-Person) marketing is a practice which focuses on creating meaningful interactions. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, it’s about connecting 1-on-1 with your prospects, customers, and communities. Marketers are seeing a transformation occur right before our eyes — B2B and B2C marketing is being broken down into a melting pot of human interaction — where marketers are leaving behind their respective mass approach strategies for a more personal approach.

What is VoIP? Why is it the Future of P2P Marketing?

In a nutshell, Voice over IP (VoIP) technology allows people to make phone calls over the internet. In a world that is becoming more connected daily through the internet, VoIP calling is becoming the go-to way for businesses to seamlessly connect their products and services with willing buyers all over the globe.

  • Connect to People who are Ready to Buy – Imagine if “Small-Business Bob” could dial an extension at your business and be directed to the right person or department who could help him instantly. With a cloud-based telephone system, you can customize exactly how Bob interacts with your business based on his intent.
  • Cutting Through All The Noise of Social Ads – Advertising on social media is great for likes, comments, and shares, but the real conversions happen when you connect with your prospects on a deeper level. Connecting with people via phone is an excellent way to separate your brand from the competition on social media with meaningful interaction.
  • Traditional Ads are Running out of Real Estate – If you are banking on running inexpensive Facebook Ads you may be disappointed by your Reach and CPC data in the near future. Marketers are going to have to pivot their strategy away from traditional ads and focus on creating meaningful P2P interactions with their audiences for true conversions.
  • Time is Money – Whether it’s a prospect or an existing customer looking for help, customers in 2017 want instant access to qualified support. People don’t want to sit for hours in a ticket queue. If your business is not offering timely support, your customers will seek out a competitor of yours that does.
  • Personalized Communication – People want to speak with other people, not brands or robots. VoIP calling is a more effective way to build personal connection while communicating complex products, services, and support. By using a P2P approach to explaining your products and services, you can better identify the best solution for a that particular customer’s needs instead of offering a one-size-fits-all approach.

People Want Emoji Heart-Shaped Eyes

Mass customer communications as a form of marketing is going out of style. In order to succeed in 2017 and beyond, businesses will need to employ a VoIP Business Phone System to establish a more personal approach to sales, marketing, and customer retention. Unlike businesses, People have emotions, preferences, and hobbies that play an integral role in their purchasing behavior. Establishing a P2P approach to marketing is the key to winning over customers.

Spring Cleaning – VirtualPBX Recommended Network Hardware

spring cleaningIf you didn’t realize, this week saw the official last day of winter on Monday. And while that may be a little challenging to believe for some of our PBX Parachute customers on the eastern seaboard who were snowed in much of the last week, that also means that Spring has officially sprung. There are plenty of analogies about rebirth and planting seeds for a harvest and whatnot that all speak to a “new beginnings” attitude this time of year, but we focus on something else. As much as we may not be proud to admit it, we are just like many others and look at Spring as a time to clean house, sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively. It is this sentiment that was the motivation for us to review our listing of Recommended Network Hardware to make sure we are offering the best options available to our customers.

Recommended Network Hardware

Why bother with a list of recommended network products, you ask? Well, let’s just say that having been in the industry for as long as we have, we’ve had occasion to come across the latest bit of “Snake Oil” insofar as new hardware products are concerned. Additionally, throughout our years of third party Network Monitoring and maintenance, we’ve also seen plenty of businesses suffering from subpar hardware choices that may have saved them a few cents up front, but ended up costing them much more in the long run. That’s why we’ve regularly maintained a curated list of recommended hardware options at various price points for our customers. Between bad actors and uninformed purchases, plenty of businesses are often at a disadvantage based on the quality and reliability of their hardware decisions. Plus, considering that a hosted business phone requires so very few actual physical devices to operate, reliance on those devices operating at a satisfactory level is at an all-time high.

Why These Products?

To actually make it onto the list of VirtualPBX Recommended Network Hardware, a product has to pass through a series of stringent barriers first. Beginning with thorough stress testing of the actual performance of the item, we first check the data thresholds of a product. Then we subject them to a variety of durability and reliability tests that ensure the item not only can meet the performance claims of the manufacturer, but will it also handle the occasional surges beyond those limits that are commonly reached through the course of a product’s lifetime. Then we look at a combination of factors including pricing, competitive landscape, and even go as far as to make sure the manufacturer satisfies the overall sustainability and ethical standards that we subject all of our business partners to. The end result is a thoroughly vetted, exhaustively tested, and value certified array of Recommended Network Hardware for businesses of all sizes and on any budget. So go ahead and take a look at the latest updates to the product list and compare them to what you’re currently using in the office. Not sure if your network challenges are related to the hardware you’re using? We can help! Just reach out to one of our Networking Hardware Experts and we can help assess your current hardware situation as well as walk you through your options, so get in touch now!

The Future of Recommended Hardware

If you’re anything like us, new technology is something you’re passionate about. That’s why we wanted to also let you know that in addition to the updates to our Recommended Hardware, we also have some exciting things in the works for entirely new products, not just a list or recommended ones. However, it’s a little early to totally let the cat out of the bag, so we can’t share all the details just yet. That said, sign up now to receive notice when these all-new products hit the market. We expect you to be more than impressed with what they’re promising, so it should be worth your time, trust us.

Also, if you haven’t seen us posting all about it on Twitter or Facebook, we’ve currently got part of our Social Media Team down in San Diego for the Social Media Marketing World conference, so make sure to follow along as we share the latest tips and tricks of the social experts!

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