Features

The Best Way For Millennials to Use Voicemail

Right off the bat, some people may be thinking, “Wait, Millennials use phones for talking?” Okay, admittedly many of the younger men and women in the workplace are more accustomed to texting and Snapchatting than they are to placing and receiving phone calls. That doesn’t mean that employers care a whole lot, though, because conversations over the phone are still an integral part of conducting business. It’s exactly because of that that we wanted to redesign our Voicemail Manager to make it easier for everyone, Millennials and otherwise, to use their voicemail box.

The Most Important Thing about Voicemail Messages

I’ve often read about how Millennials these days are so unaccustomed to using phones to place and receive phone calls that on the rare occasions their phones ring, they freeze like a deer in headlights. If answering a call isn’t an option either because you’re preoccupied or paralyzed with the shock of an inbound call, voicemail begins to be very important. Which brings me to the most important thing to remember about your voicemail messages, and that is to actually listen to them. I know that sounds like I’m speaking another language for some people, but the fact that you can see the inbound number and simply reply back with a text is no reason not to hear what the caller had to say, first. Fortunately, now that Dash has a totally redesigned Voicemail Manager, that process is easier than ever.

Using the New Voicemail Manager

Borrowing from the philosophy of focusing on a consumer application finish and the intuitive design of Dash that has made it the darling of the telecommunications industry, we’ve developed a fittingly simple Voicemail Manager. The most popular features of the Voicemail Manager still exist, but just with more functionality and a cleaner interface. Specifically, users can still have voicemails forwarded to their email automatically, but now the management of the messages is simpler, too. Users can now organize, listen to, forward, delete, save, and generally manage their voicemail messages more easily than ever before. With a simple interface that borrows design elements from the popular Fax Manager, the redesigned Voicemail Manager is ideal for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with their voicemail. And while I’m specifically calling out Millennials for the target beneficiaries of a streamlined voicemail experience, the reality is that everyone can benefit from saving time and the new Voicemail Manager accomplishes just that.

Millennials Use Voicemail

Try it Yourself

And here’s one of the situations where we all need to borrow from the Millennial playbook, rather than pretend they only have lessons to learn from older employees. I’m referring to the freemium model of applications that seems to be wildly successful across consumer applications. We aren’t going to adopt a true freemium for Dash, but we can do one better than just about any other VoIP provider out there. In addition to offering a 30-day money back guarantee on all of our plans and services, we’re also proponents of being able to try things before you buy them, too. That’s why you can have up to 2 weeks or 1,000 minutes of unfettered Dash access for you and your entire company with our generous Free Trial of Dash. So go ahead and sign up now for a totally risk-free, no-obligation test drive of the award-winning Dash Business Phone System with the totally redesigned Voicemail Manager! And remember to let us know what you think by following us on Twitter or Facebook, we’re looking forward to hearing from you soon!

6 Reasons Why Businesses Should Still Use Fax

Fax Machine Fax ManagerFrom ride-hailing apps beating up the taxi industry to business messaging platforms giving email a run for its money, the introduction of new technologies typically comes with the abandonment of older ones. There exists, of course, some need for hard copies of letters to be sent and received and certainly, there isn’t a substitute for the intimacy of a voice conversation on the horizon, either. Sometimes, though, when the increasing prevalence of new methods of communications monopolizes our attention, we can often forget about other methods even if they’re still very much in use. Specifically, the fax machine is one of the previously essential, now all but forgotten business essentials. But is it totally forgotten? Not remotely. In fact, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of fax’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Here we’ll look at a few of the biggest reasons that businesses should still use fax as a primary tool for some of their most essential communications needs.

The 6 Reasons Why Businesses Should Still Use Fax

Faxing is still one of the most commonly used forms of communication across the globe, but domestically it has gotten a stereotyped as a dated technology. The unimpressive status that fax has been relegated to couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth, though, and these are the biggest reasons why businesses should still use fax-

  1. Security A fax is still one of the most secure forms of file transfer in the world. A fax travels over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) that is inherently more secure than digital methods. Additionally, it’s also converted into base64 binary encryption before transmission and reassembled only once it has reached its prescribed destination. This means that the message would have to be personally intercepted at the physical location where the fax was sent. Any attempt to interrupt that transmission would result in a failed fax send or would only yield an indecipherable garble of sounds.
  2. Global Reach Ironically, none of the latest high-tech products would ever hit the shores of the United States without a network of reliable fax machines. Globally, faxing is the standard for business communications. This is especially prevalent in the international logistics and shipping industries when trade routes cross into parts of the world where high-speed internet is rare and the only reliable communications lines are over the PSTN.
  3. Legal Clearance Some organizations will no longer accept documents that haven’t been faxed because they know the transmission is secured and because the source is always verifiable. Unlike the ability to mask email signatures and sources, faxes come from known originations and are delivered securely. In fact, most government agencies rely heavily on fax for public communications and the CIA doesn’t even accept Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests unless they are sent via fax machine.
  4. Small Footprint For many newer businesses with space and expense concerns, the notion of buying a bulky fax machine is as impractical as it is embarrassing. Faxing has been around a long time now, though, so advances in technology have effectively eliminated the need to own a physical fax machine and still benefit from the secure and global benefits of fax communications.
  5. Confirmation of Receipt Unlike email read receipt requests that are as irritating as they are easy to ignore, faxes come with two ways to confirm the message was received. First of all, because the message is sent in the aforementioned encryption, only the entire message can be delivered and partial messages due to service interruption or interference are canceled in their entirety. Secondly, a confirmation page can be requested that will only print if the receiving number completely receives the incoming message.
  6. Modern Polish Some exceptional modern fax services are as clean and user-centric as the most popular consumer applications. The recently updated VirtualPBX Dash Plans faxing service is totally paperless and can be sorted, searched, and managed as easily as a modern voicemail interface, as pictured below.
    VirtualPBX Fax Manager
    Users of Dash can even send faxes directly from the totally updated Fax Manager. Plus, faxing is natively integrated into the award-winning Dash interface so every employee can manage a unified communications system as well as if they were an IT engineer.

One More Reason Why Businesses Should Use Fax

In a word- cost. Faxing a document is less expensive than sending certified mail, it’s more secure than email, it’s better at reaching more corners of the globe than anything else, and it’s something that already exists in the gold standard for hosted business communications; VirtualPBX Dash. Plus, not that all of the VirtualPBX Dash Plans have been adjusted to include even more budgets than ever before, there isn’t a reason to not use fax! The new face of online faxing is sleek and efficient and ready to add an additional arrow into the quiver of your business. For more information on the redesigned Dash Email to Fax Feature or any of the other features on Dash, you can contact us directly or on Twitter or Facebook. Either way, following us will make sure that you don’t miss any other surprises about business communications.

VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone and Salesforce CRM Integration is here!

Salesforce IntegrationAs you may have heard on our Remote Work Webinar yesterday (a video of which is available to view), we are known for using our own products to facilitate flexibility in our attendance policies. One of the most commonly used tools we use is, unsurprisingly, also one of the most popular products for our customers. Of course, I’m referring to the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone. The fact that we use our own softphone to conduct business, however, shouldn’t come as news to anyone, much less if you happen to follow our blog with any frequency. What currently makes it special, though, is that now the same softphone we’ve relied on for so long combines the flexibility of our hosted telephone service along with the thorough tracking and reporting of Salesforce.

Softphone and Salesforce – The Perfect Combination

By now, most companies at least know what Salesforce or customer relationship management (CRM) software is, let along have their own software at work. For those who may not, however, Salesforce CRM allows organizations to organize, automate, track, and measure for success any of their sales team’s efforts. And seeing as how you already know how the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone, like most of our VoIP Products, allows for an unparalleled boost of productivity by allowing flexibility for employees like never before. Joining these two impressive business tools may seem like the best idea since sliced bread, and we’ve even been having customers asking why we didn’t do this sooner! To be fair, this is the best thing to happen to softphones in ages, but we just haven’t been able to launch it publically until right now. Curious what other incredible integrations or functions we have cooking? Of course you are! That’s why we’ve published a VirtualPBX Product Roadmap to keep you apprised on what we’re working on. There’s no promise we’ll put everything on there but we are committed to including some of the most popular feature requests and suggestions on there as they arise.

Is Your Business Ready to Integrate Salesforce?

I sure hope so, because we have the right Dash Plan for you! Not only will you be able to integrate your Salesforce CRM into your VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone, but the reports and data that this union produces will streamline your sales efforts more so than just using Dash alone. That’s just about the best endorsement we can offer to a VoIP plan, by the way, so give yourself the opportunity to find out more. If you already use Salesforce, you already know how much you rely on it. To get an idea of how incredible it would be to use it with an advanced hosted telephone system, you can try out a full version of Dash, right now, with our two-week free trial. Keep in mind, though, that while the free trial is a no-hassle way to try Dash and its entire set of core features, we don’t currently offer the Salesforce CRM integration on the free trial. But don’t let that stop you!

Go ahead and give Dash a spin for a free fortnight and let us know what you think. You can also just get in touch with us here or on Twitter or Facebook. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Exactly What is an Automated Attendant?

What is an Automated AttendantWhat is an Automated Attendant is something that people new to hosted telephony often ask us. Often referred to as Auto Attendant, AA, AutoAttendant, or even Virtual Receptionist, an Automated Attendant is one of the most important features on a hosted telephone system because it’s the first point of contact for inbound callers. In this post, we’re going to review the different types of Auto Attendants, use cases, and other elements as well. Our goal is to bring you all of the information you need to answer confidently the next time someone asks you what an auto attendant is.

What Kinds Of Auto Attendants Are There?

This question can be a bit misleading because, although they can be presented in a variety of ways, all Automated Attendants are effectively the same technology. That said, how a business chooses to use it, or how their VoIP provider makes it available, will determine what the final Auto Attendant looks like.

  • Simple Menu System – This is the most basic Auto Attendant you can have with an easy to navigate recording of a business’ extension options. Typically this is a computer generated or pre-installed voice recording and has little or no preloaded branding available for a business.
  • Recorded Greeting – This method of using an Automated Attendant lets a business leverage some personality or seasonal promotion. By recording your own messages (or leveraging a professional recording option), you can have the actual voices of your team members on the recording. Also, this is a good way to rotate the message to highlight events on the calendar.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System – Not to be confused with an actual Auto Attendant, IVR’s are designed to achieve the same type of directory services but include added functions for systems that take voice activated bill pay, customer service, etc. These systems are very expensive and rarely used outside of large enterprise organizations and, for the sake of telephony, are viewed as a distinct system to traditional Automated Attendants.

Why Use Auto Attendants?

Use cases for Automated Attendants vary as widely as the types of companies that employ them. The cost savings of an Auto Attendant system, though, are generally reason enough for most businesses to entertain experimenting with them. Combine the simplicity and reliability of leveraging a virtual receptionist with the overall benefits of a hosted business phone system, and most businesses that try an Auto Attendant will generally never go back to a traditional phone system ever again. Some of the benefits of a hosted system that pertain to an Auto Attendant specifically, however, are below.

  • Professional Image – Adding an automated greeting to an on-site business phone system is incredibly costly. That’s why many businesses employ a hosted VoIP option as a way to promote a larger, more professional business image to callers, well before even actually speaking to them on the phone.
  • Save on Overhead – Having an Auto Attendant is like hiring a receptionist who never takes sick days, always shows up on time, and is willing to work for free. All jokes aside, virtual receptionists are literally that, hosted telephony’s cost-saving answer to the headaches of hiring dedicated phone receptionist staff.
  • Improved Call Navigation – Not to be overlooked is the simple ease of use benefit that callers who encounter an Automated Attendant experience. By streamlining the menu options to inbound callers with an Auto Attendant, businesses can also shorten the path for callers to get their support, sales, and miscellaneous needs met.
  • Increased Efficiency – Having a virtual receptionist is more than just a cost saver, it’s also a one-way ticket to increased productivity on a team. By eliminating calls to the wrong people and by freeing employees from the diligence it takes to keep an ear open for the phone, they are also liberated to focus more on getting the job done throughout the day.

Auto Attendants Are Just The Beginning

Automated Attendants are definitely one of the most popular and most widely used elements of a hosted business phone system, but they represent only a small fraction of VoIP’s total capabilities. Modern day VoIP telephone systems for businesses include an entire battery of intelligent, mobile, and integrated options that are either cost-prohibitive or simply unavailable on traditional PBX platforms. To experience the total battery of VoIP features with no risk, businesses can take a free, 14-day trial of a hosted phone system with Auto-Attendant included. Now, with the information above and the opportunity to try a phone system for yourself for free, there should never be a need to ask what is an Automated Attendant ever again!

Leave the Office for Valentine’s Day

leave the office for valentines dayTo be honest, most people don’t need a reason to leave the office because they typically have a few on standby and ready to go. But reasons to leave the office for Valentine’s Day are a little more understandable because most folks also understand the importance of spending the day or evening with a special someone. We spend a lot of time talking about the flexibility of our hosted communication systems because they are just what the situation calls for when you need to be working but also be somewhere outside of the office. What I want to address here, though, is that sometimes you need to leave the laptop at home for a while.

When Working Remotely is a Liability

I was fortunate enough to take a special, pre-Valentine’s Day outing over the weekend to the old growth redwood forests of Northern California. To do this, I had to rely on a combination of working around an absence and trusting I had the right tools to get the job done while I was away from the office. Fortunately, that trust comes easily for me because I rely on the recently updated VirtualPBX Softphone App on my smart phone and Follow Me Calling that forwards calls to me on any device or number I choose for when I’m not right at my desk or laptop. The flexibility that these tools offer me to stay in constant contact when I need to be working are invaluable for when I need to leave the office. Okay so that’s it, right? End of story? Not quite.

Leave the Office, or Leave the Office Behind?

Normally, for folks like us, when there is a need to work remotely that gets met with remote telecommunications tools we consider that a happy ending. While that remains the case, there is something else to consider with this particular instance of being flexible with your work schedule; sometimes it’s necessary to leave the phone behind. We’re just as focused on designing and delivering reliable business phone systems as we are on ensuring that they’re used properly, too. Often times that means leveraging our award-winning VoIP Support Team but also it means reminding remote workers about the dangers of mission creep in an out-of-office environment. When we work outside of the office, we have the tendency to let the clear delineations between working and nonworking hours evaporate. Certainly, this is part of the appeal of working remotely! But there comes a time, and for many folks that time is today, when we need to remember the real important things in life, specifically the people we share it with.

Don’t Catch the Early Train Just to Stay Glued to the Phone

For those of you who are amending your typical work day to accommodate special plans for Valentine’s Day, good for you. I’d urge you, though, to remember that just because you can work from anywhere, perhaps tonight’s special dinner out isn’t the time nor place to practice that. Plus, because you can have voicemails on Dash sent to your email, all of the work you set aside will be patiently waiting for you when you’re done. And for everyone, please remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t solely for couples. Whether you’re on cloud nine or if you’re feeling down in the dumps today, try calling your mom or sibling to wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day. They’ll appreciate hearing from you, and then you can turn off the phone and focus on enjoying all of those fancy chocolates that will be on sale tomorrow.

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