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Blocking and Tackling: It’s all about Fundamentals
May 12th, 2015

FoundationFor 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.

Grow With Confidence – Franchise Phone Systems
May 8th, 2015

Growth

There exist hosts of challenges to growing any business. For some businesses, many of those challenges can be avoided by shifting their growth strategies to a franchise model. Franchises allow for more rapid expansion and iteration, but also come with some concerns unique to them.

Change the Business, Not the Brand

Perhaps the biggest concern for expanding franchises is that they risk diluting the core brand that made them successful in the first place with every new franchisee they open. Not being able to directly oversee operations in all locations is a relative leap of faith for many business owners, but with the implementation of certain technology strategies, this becomes far less of a Hail Mary.

By implementing a franchise phone system, businesses can easily unify every franchise location in a single, nationally recognized, and appropriately branded fashion. With hosted PBX phone systems, every location can be routed to just like they were all different lines in the same office building. Unlike traditional, on-premises phone systems that require a physical connection to each telephone, VirtualPBX makes distance irrelevant and can connect all locations, even those that use a local phone number, to a single national toll-free number.

National Network, Personal Customer Service

Another benefit of utilizing a cloud-based telephone solution is that customers never have to know exactly where the nearest franchise location is. VirtualPBX offers a variety of different routing methods whereby inbound calls are routed instantaneously and based off the most appropriate metrics. Either with automatic analysis of the inbound callers’ three-digit Area Code or by offering a prompt to enter a zipcode or any other distinguishing number for a business, calls are always sent exactly to where they can be served quickly, passing on the benefits of a nationally recognized company to the franchisees.

These hosted telephone solutions are more advanced than can be achieved by even the most robust physical telephone systems, and yet they are also much more cost effective, as well. By switching to a hosted telephone service, many companies stand to save upwards of 40%-80% over their current, on-site options. We’re thrilled to have been able to help countless businesses achieve their goals by offering them a bolstered national appearance all while cutting their operational costs considerably. You can read about some of our satisfies customers through our reviews, and the 55Places.com case study that deals directly with franchise and call routing across a national network.

For any additional questions on how a VirtualPBX phone system can positively impact your business, get in touch with our expert, award-winning Customer Support Team today.

Attend a Conference From Anywhere
April 27th, 2015

Hello My Name Is

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.

On Demand for Customers, On the Clock for Providers
April 3rd, 2015

Delivery Guy

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.

You-tilities

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.

Champagne Taste, Beer Budget
March 23rd, 2015

Champagne Cork

My Dad used to talk about having champagne tastes and a beer budget in the sense that he always knew he wanted something nice but would always have to settle for whatever was a realistic option in his price range. We’ve all been there and, frankly, we’re probably in this situation more often than not. The double-edged sword of our modern society’s preponderance of options is that, while we are typically presented with options for anything from cellular service to airfare that are reasonably affordable, we are also assaulted with images and advertisements of options that are both much more desirable and astronomically expensive. Why can’t we just have both?

Unicorns

No, I’m not talking about the billion dollar Silicon Valley startups. But just as rare and incredible are the findings of intrepid bargain hunters and savvy business people alike when they find a real value in the marketplace. VirtualPBX Anywhere Plan should satisfy that definition, but the fact is that our award-winning business phone solution can no longer fly below the RADAR. All of the fanfare and recent recognition aside, the incredibly flexible and affordable VoIP phone service for businesses with distributed or mobile workforces has got a coach airfare with Gulfstream accommodations.

TrueACD Queues

TrueACD Queues are only available from VirtualPBX and are one of the most highly sought-after features of our most option-rich, powerful enterprise phone solutions for corporations, call centers, and even national political campaigns. What you may not realize, however, is that they are also part of the standard suite of features on every single Anywhere Plan package. TrueACD Queues outperform basic hunt groups that are common in traditional, physical phone systems in many ways, but none more importantly than in how VirtualPBX makes them available.

We monitor and maintain all of the servers and software that power our virtual phone systems we can improve and service it without you ever experiencing a loss of service. Anywhere Plan customers benefit from this because whenever they need to make a change to their phone system, reroute a call, program a queue, or make any one of literally hundreds of changes to their phone system that they want, all it takes is a few clicks of a mouse on their free, online web portal, and we handle the rest.

Infinitely flexible, premium service at pennies to the dollar of what a traditional phone system would cost you may not exactly be Dom Pérignon, but nothing tastes as good as saving tons of money and getting more than you thought possible. Go ahead, take a sip.

Auto-Attendant & Waffle Irons
March 13th, 2015

Waffle IronFake it Until You Make It: Auto-Attendant

I remember going into one of my first interviews at a financial firm years ago remembering what a broker I worked with used to tell me, “fake it until you make it.” I went into that room with the intention of doing just that and, who would have thought? They saw right through me. Trying to be something you aren’t isn’t just a bad idea, it’s bad business.


Polite Introduction, Impressive Polish

Fast forward to today when I was thrilled to learn about how one of our satisfied customers uses his Auto Attendant feature. He likes the VirtualPBX features so much that he left a glowing Yelp review that you can find on our Testimonials page. Auto Attendant is the best way to get a centralized call directory experience for your callers. Answering and providing options to callers without an actual receptionist is more than just a way to cut down on overhead and operational costs, it’s also a way to elevate the first experience callers will have with your company.

David V., a customer from Rowland Heights, CA, said that, “We’ve been using VirtualPBX for years. It helps our company appear much bigger than it is while also providing the services we need.”

That is a terrific review and we’re thrilled to help people boost their morale with such a dialed-in, detailed decorum. However, I would also like to suggest that David already had the professionalism and stature that he found in the Auto-Attendant all along.


No Need to Pretend

It was while I was reading David’s review that I was reminded of the advice from my former coworker. I don’t believe that companies like David’s need to fake anything, I believe he already has the large, successful corporation that he wants to be viewed as, VirtualPBX merely made it possible to sound that way a little bit sooner. Was Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman not already a visionary when he used his wife’s waffle iron to make the sole of the company’s first running shoe? Of course he was. And just like how Nike saw how it could rival the then-dominant Adidas with an innovative, cost-effective alternative, companies like David’s are doing the same thing every day.

VirtualPBX’s Auto-Attendant and the mountain of other features it comes with are helping entrepreneurs find innovative, cost-effective alternatives to the relative indentured servitude of traditional phone service. With the vision to see and seize an advantage, and the right tools to get the job done, VirtualPBX is helping today’s David’s become tomorrow’s Bowerman’s.

Get in touch today and see how we can help make your business dream a reality.

Choose Your Business Adventure – SelectRoute
February 23rd, 2015

CompassIf you remember the popular adolescent fiction books, Choose Your Own Adventure, you know that the appeal of these books was that the reader decided how the story unfolded. At certain key moments in the life of the story, readers would be presented with options on how characters or story elements would behave, thus creating a unique narrative specific to each read. You are the both the reader and the author of your business’ story, and having options at every turn is as important as anything else in determining how the story unfolds.

Not All Businesses Fit The Mold

Having a handful of options in how to route calls is a nice feature available from advanced business phone system providers. But what happens to those businesses that don’t find their ideal method in one or two, limited options? Not getting the opportunity to build services the way that an entrepreneur wants is the laboratory in which she will test out her own possibilities. SelectRoute is the result of exactly that type of situation.

32 Flavors of Routing

To be honest, there really are as many varieties to route with SelectRoute as you can imagine. Seriously. But the point is that chocolate and vanilla are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Route calls by geography – Have callers input their postal code or area code and then route them to the agents or locations that can serve them the best
  • Menu Routing – Route calls by menu selection
  • Custom Routing – Route calls according to your own defined needs, from product numbers to invoices or case numbers, if there is a figure meaningful to your business, you can use it to route

You give your customers the products and services that they expect, why shouldn’t you get the same from your utility providers? VirtualPBX’s proprietary SelectRoute is emblematic of the flexibility inherent in well-designed VoIP phone systems. To get your call routing tailored to your business’ exact specifications, or for any other VoIP questions you may have, contact the routing experts at VirtualPBX today.

Success is a Fresh Roll – Franchise Phone Systems
February 20th, 2015

Submarine SandwichThere’s turmoil at the top of the McDonald’s flow chart and the world’s largest restaurant chain’s stock is reeling. Not all of the global fast food company’s heartache can be attributed to executive leadership, though, so it provides an opportunity to compare it to another fast food giant.

The Eat Fresh Franchise

Having just opened up its 30,000th location, Subway Restaurants is the largest collection of franchise business owners in the world. While the franchise model is in no way solely attributable to the relative health of the company compared to their Golden Arches rival, examining what makes a successful franchise is worthwhile nonetheless.

Granted that there are definitely franchisees who own more than one location, but having 30,000 separate entrepreneurs and all of their thousands more employees is an enormous impact on the economy. That many jobs means that maintaining a strong, viable brand is crucial for the success of the restaurant chain. For many franchises smaller than the multi-billion dollar hoagie colossus, there are certain tools that can be employed to help accomplish just that.

Business Standards Are Brand Standards

Just as every strong brand has guidelines to represent itself and its likeness in a particular, effective way, there are operational guides that should be established as well. This is no more important for any organization as it is for a franchise network.

Franchisers rely on a wide variety of partners who are afforded the opportunity to represent the brand, but are also charged with upholding its integrity. When you can’t expect to manage your team in a traditional, non-dispersed fashion, you have to ensure as much uniformity is integrated into the franchisee’s business model as possible. A great deal of that begins where most business does, on the phone.

Franchise Phone Systems

Franchise Phone Systems from VirtualPBX are the effective way to keep the public access of your franchise partners in tight, locked step. By initiating a Franchise Phone System you can execute a variety of functions that would otherwise be expensive, or require additional staff to accomplish.

  • Reduce cost with consolidated phone expenses and unlimited lines
  • Present one, toll-free national number for all of your franchise locations
  • GeoRoute all incoming calls to the most appropriate local or regional office
  • Create uniform and custom greetings and recordings for all of your locations
  • Grow and expand your network of locations without any additional tech staff
  • Plus manage this and much more all from anywhere you have an internet connection

For details on how to benefit your franchise from the use of a Franchise Phone System, contact one of our franchise experts today. They will be able to help you launch a total redesign of your regional or national franchise, but they won’t be able to help you make a Monster Mac. Enjoy.

Not All Routes Are Created Equal: User-Assignable Ring Times
February 18th, 2015

StopwatchVirtualPBX believes that you need to have the right options made available to you for a service to be worthwhile. That’s why we offer so many different strategies to use when routing your calls to traveling or dispersed workforces. But much like a growing company’s success can be a challenge if they don’t have the right partners who can scale with them as they grow, having these routing options are irrelevant if they don’t come with the preferences to use them appropriately. Enter, User-Assignable Ring Times.
 

Ringing 90 times before Voicemail Isn’t Helpful

With User-Assignable Ring Times, each extension can dictate how long a call rings on a given line before a routing action is taken. This means that if you are using Follow-Me Calling, and are at the fourth number you listed on your call forwarding cascade, you can shorten the ring time between each routing so that your customer gets to you sooner. Also, you can make sure that certain routing actions are given an appropriate amount of time to connect, too.


Not all Support Teams are Local

Okay, I admit, this is a shameless plug for the award-winning members of our VirtualPBX Support Team who are located right across the hall from me. In America. Sometimes, customer support agents are located overseas. If that’s the case, or if your after-hours support team is abroad or in another time zone, those types of transfers can take an added moment or two. Customers who are calling with problems are the most important calls, and having a trained professional from your team speak to them is crucial. Adding a moment or two extra to the ring time for these longer routing maneuvers might be prudent to keep them from being bumped to voicemail during the transition.

Whether you need to tweak your ring times a bit or if you have any questions about how to employ one of the many different routing options for your account, of course, you can get in touch with our Support Team. If I hear their phone ringing, I’ll let them know it’s you.

Infographic – Route Calls the Way You Want
February 17th, 2015

Traditional phone service would hamper the ways businesses could design their call routing. With VirtualPBX VoIP, you don’t have those, or really any restrictions on how you route calls. From methods that give dispersed workforces flexibility to GeoRoute options that keep an even playing field for sales teams, VoIP customers get to choose what works best, not their phone provider. You can decide how to run your business, why shouldn’t you decide how you route your calls, too?

Infographic: Call Routing