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Welcoming 2014 With a Virtual Phone System
January 2nd, 2014

2014
2013 has whizzed on by and it’s time to start prepping for the New Year. Do yourself and your small business a favor by starting the year off right with a virtual phone system.

You might be wondering how switching to a virtual phone system could have such a positive impact on your business. This single change helps you reduce overhead and adopt more sustainable, affordable operating practices, giving you the potential to make 2014 the most profitable year yet.

Reduce Your Operating Costs

Making long-distance and international calls on a daily basis can certainly get expensive. Fortunately, there are many virtual phone system providers out there that offer affordable plans, including unlimited nationwide long-distance and even unlimited international calling. Plus, with a hosted system, the cost and responsibility of maintaining and repairing the equipment is shifted from you to the provider to help save you even more money. Forget about the set-up costs, maintenance visits and all the related hassle.

Lower Your Equipment Costs

Since the phone system is virtual and hosted off-site, it’s unnecessary to have a dedicated room in the office to house equipment. That frees up more office space for you and your employees.

Keep Your Telecommuters Happy

Telecommuting is a new reality in today’s modern workplace and offers countless benefits to both you and your employees. Telecommuters typically spend more time on the phone, and make more calls per day than office workers. Telecommuters are also happier, take less sick days and stay in their jobs longer. A virtual phone system is the perfect way to manage a remote workforce, while simultaneously increasing productivity and reducing overhead. It’s also a great sustainable and affordable business practice to attract and retain talent in a competitive marketplace,

So what are you waiting for? By investing in a virtual phone system, you can help save your business money in 2014 and beyond.

Beat the Winter Blues with Business VoIP
December 19th, 2013

Winter_BluesWith the first day of winter coming this Saturday, December 21st, you might be feeling a little blue. The advent of the winter season is an indicator of many things: flu season; cold, gloomy weather; frozen toes. It’s enough to make anyone want to hibernate under the covers and sleep till spring.

Here’s how business VoIP can help you combat that winter depression. We can’t promise you hibernation time. However, with communication tools like business VoIP that help you stay connected to your team and your customers, working from home is a seamless experience.

Softphone apps allow you to use your personal smartphone, laptop or tablet to make and receive calls, so long as there is an Internet connection. Plus, you’ll still be able to enjoy all of the excellent features that come along with a complete business phone system, including auto-attendant, TrueACDTM Queuing, virtual fax, custom greeting, virtual extensions and so much more.

So even if you’re working while lounging in your pajamas at home, you’ll still be able to maintain that sleek professional business image. And that’s as good a reason as any to invest in a business VoIP system.

You Can Take It with You – Using Business VoIP on Your Mobile Device
December 12th, 2013

It’s no secret that the world is going mobile, so it’s nice to know that business VoIP allows your work connections to be mobile too. Since, more than half of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices in many industries and geographic locations, it’s critical to have your office phone available wherever you are.
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You’ve probably heard of the many benefits that business VoIP systems have to offer small- and medium-sized businesses. They increase productivity. They eliminate the need to hire IT staff since users can easily make the necessary changes on their own time and at their own convenience. Plus, there are lower startup and maintenance costs. Since your business will be utilizing a data network instead of regular phone lines, you’ll be able to combine all communications into a single network.

One of the greatest benefits of business VoIP, however, is unprecedented access. You have the ability to access VoIP anywhere you go, as long as you have a connection to the Internet. In other words, you can go mobile without sacrificing all the fantastic, advanced features that your business telephone system has to offer. So if you have employees who work abroad, get stuck in traffic or work from home, business VoIP could be the perfect fit for your business.

As you begin prepping for 2014, keep in mind the many ways that business VoIP could benefit your business. It’s an even greater return on your investment knowing that you have the option of bringing business VoIP with you while you’re on the go.

3 Vital Things to Consider When Planning for VoIP
December 5th, 2013

When implementing voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), technical teams often overlook key elements. Without proper planning, these issues can come back to haunt a business. To ensure your business enjoys a painless transition with VoIP, we put together three vital things to include in your plans for a successful deployment of your VoIP phone system:

  1. Compatibility With Current Infrastructure
    The first step in any VoIP installation is ensuring the current infrastructure in place can handle a VoIP telephone system. By examining your current phone system dial plan and ensuring all extensions and patterns are functional, you’ll save yourself the potential headache of installing a non-functioning system. To be completely safe, consider a VoIP test. These tests can measure bandwidth, latency, jitter, and the port status of your network.
  2. End User Training
    It’s important that every user is educated on how VoIP works. Luckily, with minimal training, VoIP is easy to understand. However, the success of your VoIP implementation is reliant on the users’ acceptance to this new technology. Keep in mind that a little training can go a long way toward modifying less-than-excited attitudes. It’s natural to face a little resistance when new processes are put in place but taking the time to highlight the advantages of VoIP will help promote a smooth transition that doesn’t cost your company time and money.
  3. 911 Emergency Services Location Reporting
    There could be legal implications if you don’t have accurate location reporting with emergency calls, which is why you should address location reporting immediately. There are many options at varying price points to choose from. The most common solutions are a PSTN line with a voice gateway at each site, a Cisco Emergency Responder (CER) or similar application, or a carrier-provided 911 services system. Have your decision made before you implement.

VoIP can help save your business money while providing it with added features that you wouldn’t normally find in a typical analog phone. By keeping these three things in mind before deploying VoIP, you can ensure the time and money you expected to save with VoIP is gained by your business.

Ready to Take the Plunge? Upgrade to a Virtual Phone System
December 4th, 2013

Still considering VoIP for your business, but not sure if it is right for you? For those still on the fence about making the switch to hosted VoIP, here are a few compelling reasons why you should take the virtual phone system plunge.

Keep remote field workers productive
With softphone apps, you can stay connected to the rest of your team, even when you don’t have access to your handset. Using your personal smartphone, laptop or tablet, you can continue to make and receive calls, as long as there is an Internet connection. Plus, you’ll still have access to all of the great features that come along with a complete business phone system. Traveling on a business trip or working from home will feel like just another day at the office.

Free up your office space
Since everything is done over the Internet, a virtual phone system doesn’t require any equipment on-site. You can get rid of the bulky equipment and free up that valuable office space for more productive purposes.

Disaster-proof your business
With a virtual phone system, there is no expensive PBX equipment in your office to go down or get damaged during a natural disaster. If there’s a storm in the forecast, your employees can continue working from their IP phones at home or wherever they have a broadband Internet connection. Your business stays 100% productive, no matter what the weather looks like outside.

Keeping in mind the potential productivity gains for yourself and your staff, as well as the cost-saving benefits, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from diving in and investing in a virtual phone system.

Home for the Holidays? Stay Connected with a VoIP Phone System
November 27th, 2013

Did you know that a VoIP phone system could be your saving grace this holiday season? With Thanksgiving tomorrow, we’re sure you’re already thinking about gobbling up some turkey and fighting off that tryptophan daze.

But what happens if you’re also expecting an important business call that day? You might assume that this means swapping family time for a trip to the office. But what if you had another option to consider?

With the assistance of a VoIP phone system, you can give your employees the option to work from home. Since the only thing that’s needed to access your VoIP business phone system is a high-speed Internet connection, your employees can stay connected even while working their way through a second helping of mashed potatoes. That’s sure to make for some happy employees.

Plus, most VoIP service providers offer features that allow you to forward your office number to any mobile device, enabling you to make and receive calls from your office number even if you’re dialing from your personal cell phone. You can maintain that professional business presence anytime, anywhere.

So kick up your feet, enjoy this time with your loved ones, and let your VoIP phone system take care of all of your communication needs, secure in the knowledge that you can still respond professionally if an emergency comes up. Happy Thanksgiving!

How VoIP Saves Your Business Money
November 26th, 2013

More and more businesses are slowly but surely replacing the traditional analog telephone systems with new and improved VoIP telephone systems. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and allows you to run your phone service through your Internet connection rather than your local phone company. So what are the benefits? Primarily, there are a variety of added features that VoIP offers, including auto-attendant, TrueACDTM Queuing, virtual fax, custom greeting, virtual extensions, and much more. These features are simply not available with a traditional analog phone that so many businesses have given up on.

Aside from the increased variety of features available for businesses, both small and large, is the fact that VoIP can help save your business money. Did you know that you can save 40% to 80% on your monthly phone bill with the installation of VoIP? There’s no PBX hardware to buy or maintain and there are often plans to fit your specific business needs, so you will never over-pay for a service you don’t need.

Save Up-Front on Equipment and Support
A traditional business phone systems require expensive PBX switching hardware that needs routine maintenance – a typical PBX switch costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000 per user. A great VoIP PBX provider will do the installation, maintenance, upgrades, and enhancements for free, saving you thousands of dollars on your phone system. A VoIP telephone system can grow with your company, regardless of size.

Full Service at Lower Cost
Low cost doesn’t mean low quality. Small businesses can now get all the same features as large businesses with a plan that’s right for them. When you choose a good VoIP provider, your monthly phone bills will be lower, thanks to free long-distance calling in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the fact there is no need for a separate fax line or fax machine. You get to choose the pick that’s right for your business, with smaller businesses choosing usage-based plans and larger businesses selecting the flat-rate plans with unlimited minutes.

With added features and lower-costs, what’s not to like? If you’re unsure about whether or not your internet connection can handle VoIP, take a VoIP test and see if VoIP is right for your business.

Traditional Phone PBX Systems Vs. VoIP Phone Systems: Which is Right For Me?
November 21st, 2013

In today’s age of technology, more and more businesses are opting for VoIP phone systems over traditional PBX phone systems due to the added features and lower costs. VoIP, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, is a system that delivers voice calls over the internet rather than a traditional phone line. Many VoIP systems are cloud-based so no on-site installation is required and there are no complicated settings to configure, as one might find in a traditional phone system setup.

The Facts

According to a survey by Independent market research specialists, Vanson Bourne:
• 1/5 adults regularly use VoIP
• 1/3 of businesses are currently using VoIP
• 9/10 businesses that use VoIP do so to reduce monthly phone bills
• 1/4 businesses that don’t have VoIP are considering implementing VoIP within the next year

The Features
Businesses are choosing VoIP phone systems over traditional phone systems not only due to the lower cost of initial setup and low monthly phone bills, but because of the variety of added features you can’t find anywhere else. Some of the more popular features include professional greetings, music on hold, custom auto-attendant, call forwarding, virtual fax, TrueACDTM queuing, call recording, and conferencing… just to name a few.

Save Money
Regardless of the size of your business, a good VoIP provider will offer more than one plan in order to suit your business needs. This means that a small business can get just as much out of VoIP as a large corporation, without signing on for extra features or minutes that are not needed.

VoIP was chastised for its reliability and quality in the past, making a traditional phone system a more favorable option for those not worried about saving money. However, through evolving technology and many upgrades, VoIP phone systems continue to rise in popularity among businesses and what was once considered the “phone of the future” is rapidly becoming the industry standard.

Getting Your ROI from Business VoIP
November 20th, 2013

Congratulations, you’ve made the wise decision to invest in a business VoIP service. In order to take full advantage of the many benefits that business VoIP has to offer, it’s important to make sure you’ve laid down a solid foundation.

Here are three tips to help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment:

  1. Make sure your Internet connection is up to par: The primary requirement for business VoIP service is a reliable Internet connection – and speed is king. A slow Internet connection can ruin even the best VoIP service. Tools like ProSIP® Total Assurance Monitoring can help you conduct 24/7 performance monitoring of your network and will provide you with detailed insight into how your network is used by your team.
  2. Invest in a cloud-based PBX system: If you’re a small to medium-sized business, a cloud-based PBX system is a great choice Imagefor you. After all, there’s no need to buy, install and maintain an on-site PBX. With cloud-based VoIP, the PBX of your phone system is housed in a secure data center. Instead of an upfront cost for a server, you simply pay a monthly service fee based on the number of users and type of calling plan you have.
  3. Get to know your VoIP system: Business VoIP service offers a vast amount of features that traditional phone lines simply can’t provide. You’ll have access to custom auto-attendant, virtual fax, professional greetings, music on hold, call forwarding, TrueACD queuing, call recording, conferencing and more. If you take the time to educate yourself on how to use these features, you can expect to be rewarded with increased productivity and substantial cost savings.

With the right preparation, you can expect that hosted VoIP will deliver a significant return on your investment. Plus, VoIP systems generate business benefits beyond the hard costs, delivering added value to your business.

 

Choosing the Right VoIP Provider For Your Business
November 14th, 2013

Compared to conventional telephone services, VoIP services will lower your telephone bill significantly, typically 40-80%. And most service providers offer service features similar to traditional services features, such as caller ID, call waiting, call blocking, call transferring, speed dialing, 3-way calling, etc. along with the added features that are simply not possible with a traditional analog phone system, e.g., custom auto-attendant, virtual fax. Finding the right VoIP provider can be tough, as there are many to choose from, and you’re looking to get the most for your money. Below are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right VoIP provider for your business.

  1. Cost Effectiveness
    Every business is different and while some larger companies may find that they call internationally regularly, smaller companies may find that certain services like free international calling may not be beneficial to their business. A great VoIP provider will offer a plan that specifically fits your needs – why pay for extra features that you don’t need? Look for a VoIP provider that will save you money and give you the features that you need by offering more than one plan to fit your need and budget.
  2. Value-Added Features Without CostImage
    Aside from saving your business money, you are most likely switching to VoIP due to the vast amount of features offered that you simply cannot get with a traditional analog phone. In addition to custom auto-attendant and virtual fax, additional features include professional greetings, music on hold, call forwarding, TrueACD queuing, call recording, conferencing, and more.
  3. Great Customer Service
    Look for a provider that provides the best reliability in the industry, with fault-tolerant components and near-zero downtime. Check to see their customer support availability, as well as how easy and convenient it is to get in touch with someone if you ever experience difficulty with your VoIP phone system.

These are just a few things that make a great VoIP provider. You want to look to ensure that the plans offered are cost-effective for your business and that the provider offers the features you need without added costs. Great customer service is also a must. Before making a decision, be sure to “shop around” and check out online reviews to see which provider is best for you and your business.