Features

Exactly What is an Auto Attendant?

what is an auto attendantMany companies looking to save money on their overhead come to us asking what is an Auto Attendant. At the most basic level, Auto Attendants are literally automated facsimiles of an in-office receptionist that will route callers to the appropriate parties. We’ve been fortunate enough to provided thousands of businesses with the cost-savings of Auto Attendants, Follow Me Calling, and the rest of the features that are unique to VoIP plans like Dash. Last week, we discussed how companies save money by hiring an at home receptionist, which is a good segue into another option to streamline operations; Auto Attendants.

How do Auto Attendants Compare to Real Receptionists?

Auto Attendants can do mostly everything that you’d expect from any in-office equivalent though they operate as an integrated feature within a VoIP phone plan. Because Auto Attendants are digital programs, though, they don’t offer the same coverage for businesses that rely on inbound foot traffic as much as they do inbound call traffic. For companies that aren’t reliant on having a receptionist to field both calls and walk-ins, however, VoIP-based Auto Attendants are more than sufficient. In fact, because Auto Attendants are programs, they’ll never need vacation time, bathroom breaks, and they don’t mind working overtime. Heck, they’ll even operate on a 24-hour window with only a few clicks of the mouse. Of course, we aren’t suggesting that you can replace all of the joys of a member of your team with a computer, but from a strictly functionality standpoint, Auto Attendants are excellent at giving your callers repeatable and consistently good experiences.

So How do Auto Attendants Work?

Much like all of your own business decisions, Auto Attendants will work as you desire them to. All of the features of an enterprise grade VoIP system like Dash are totally customizable to your exact specifications. That means that you can rotate pre-recorded greetings to coincide with holidays, promotions, or even emergency events. You can also arrange for clear, quick, and efficient extensions to be introduced early in the call, and you can even offer bilingual recordings if your market benefits from them, as well. The core functions of the Auto Attendant system are all designed to make the inbound call experience as smooth and effortless as possible, all while retaining the branding and personality that best presents your company to the public. And because Auto Attendant is powered by cloud-based communications, all of its duties can be accessed and manages remotely, from anywhere there is an internet or data connection.

While the Auto Attendant can’t also chit chat about the game last night or weekend plans, yet, we are always working on improving all of our core features. You can add any recommendations to existing services and even get a glimpse of what we have on the horizon, as well, all by checking out our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap on Trello. Or, you can always fee free to let us know directly on Twitter or Facebook, too. Either way, we hope that next time you hear someone ask, “What is an Auto Attendant?” you’ll be able to point them in the right direction.

Blacklisted Numbers: Keeping Your Business Connected… To the Right People!

Blacklisted NumbersWe’ve always made it our business to ensure that every single telephone call one of our VoIP users places or receives is connected as quickly and efficiently as possible. Today, we threw that all out the window with the introduction of our newest feature to the Dash business phone feature set. Don’t worry, though, because these are the calls that you’d have wished to never get in the first place, specifically, SPAM callers. With our new Blacklisted Numbers feature, you can begin to do just that.

Sometimes the Best Things are Those that go Unsaid

I’m sure you’re interested in talking about new office copier repair services in the middle of a board meeting. That’s just about as compelling as discussing the new slicer-dicer-banana-peeler that a telemarketer wants to interest you in right as you’re sitting down to dinner. Because we know how tedious some of the SPAM callers out there can be, plus how legitimately malicious some telephone fraud can be, we set out to address that issue. By introducing a Blacklisted Numbers feature to Dash, we’ve been able to empower users to add and manage all of the known SPAM numbers available. Additionally, then those blacklists can be immediately blocked from all extensions so that the callers can’t leverage other employees in their attempts to separate you from your wallet.

Plenty of New Features to Come

Remember that we’re constantly working to improve our existing technology in addition to introducing new products, every day. If you have any ideas on features you’d like to see added to your favorite VoIP plans, you can always follow our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap and make suggestions there. Plus, you can also qualify for early access to BETA programs, incentives, and just have a more involved role in the future composition and function of your own business telephone system, as well. You can also always find us online on Twitter and Facebook, too, plus our phones are open literally 24 hours a day if you need us. So drop us a line, we promise you’re not on the Blacklisted Numbers.

Exactly What is DNIS for Business Telephone Systems?

what is dnisA Dialed Number Identification Service, or DNIS, is a way for business operators to organize inbound callers into the topics they are calling about by using special inbound telephone numbers. That, on the surface, may not immediately describe exactly what a DNIS is, but it sets a necessary foundation for understanding one of the most common questions asked about business telephone systems today. Remembering, though, that DNIS numbers are capable of giving your employees a head start on their calls will frame much of their true power into a business context.

Often times, businesses that are investigating new business telephone systems are attracted to the many advantages of a hosted PBX option over a standard, on-site telephone system. The cost savings of a cloud-based telephone service such as VoIP over a legacy, copper-wire platform are often enough to get companies to switch. More often than not, the added functionality and flexibility of VoIP with features such as DNIS end up being the icing on the cake, too. Being able to add, remove, and manage multiple telephone numbers for pennies on the dollar over what an older telephone system would cost makes understanding what DNIS numbers are and how to use them effectively more important now than ever for establishing a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

How do DNIS Numbers Work?

As a way to sort inbound callers based on their needs, DNIS numbers give advance warning of the exact reasons for a call before an employee even answers it. Even for the most difficult to impress clients, that’s an impressive and expedited way to deliver the best customer experience possible. VirtualPBX DNIS numbers are numbers selected from our proprietary bank of tens of thousands of local, international, and toll free business telephone numbers that have been given a special designation to your particular business operations. That exact designation is limited only by the bounds of your imagination in that we currently have DNIS in use for dozens of categories of reasons for our customers. To help illustrate some of the more common ways to leverage this feature that is included with every Dash account, we’ve outlined some of the more popular ones below.

  • Track ROI on Promotional Spending Lets say you want to venture into print advertising, billboards, or any other new medium for your business that can’t be tracked with digital methods like UTM codes. To gauge the effectiveness of the campaign, you could ask all of your inbound callers how they found you, or you could just put a DNIS number on the printed advertisement and then you’d know anyone using that number got it from the advertisement in question. That type of data is also available real time with your Dash VoIP account, too. Plus, that’s way more accurate and appealing to showcase in your next marketing dashboard than all of the hash marks made by your team.
  • Assign Team Leaders to Key Accounts For strategic accounts, you want to have your best people handling them at all times. That’s not to say everyone on your team isn’t capable of handling the demands of your most important accounts, but it does mean that they would also benefit from the enhanced service of being recognized as a strategic account off the bat. By giving a DNIS to these clients, your inbound team can immediately know they are about to field a call from a particular tier of business, giving everyone the chance to treat the call with the importance it requires.
  • Bilingual Business We have telephone numbers for businesses from well over 100 countries across the globe, and as a result, we also have customers with a variety of different language requirements. Being able to ensure that your language-specific callers reach the team members who can help them quickly and smoothly is another way to use DNIS.
  • Assign Numbers to Specific Products For companies with large divides in the products or services they provide, dividing the inbound traffic to the appropriate parties is another useful way to leverage DNIS numbers. Because product specialists are, well, specialized in their particular area of expertise, they need to be used as effectively and efficiently as possible. And having them only fielding calls pertinent to their area of expertise is far more effective than having them transfer out calls to other team members.

How Would You Use a DNIS?

These are obviously just a few of the virtually endless variety of ways a company can use DNIS for their operations. How would you use them for you company that we haven’t listed here? Make sure to let us know on Twitter and Facebook, or better yet, you can even sign up for a free consultation on all of the possible ways that a unified communications system can benefit your business today!

We’ve Updated Our Extension Manager App for vConsole!

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One of the most storied and successful VoIP plans for business, VirtualPBX Office Plans, has been around long enough to have seen it all. From the first iterations of the web-based telephone management portal, vConsole, to the introduction of advanced enterprise grade features like TrueACD Queues. Plus, having recently undergone a total redesign to update the interface to meet modern expectations, everything seemed to be about as good as it could be for the award-winning business VoIP platform. But, because we like to keep the pressure on and the pedal down, we went ahead and made some huge updates to the ecosystem of apps that Office Plan users rely on.

Introducing the All-New Extension Manager App

VirtualPBX’s wildly popular Extension Manager App for iPad and iPhone is sporting a totally new design and is updated to satisfy users even under the highest levels of scrutiny. Inspired by the high-gloss and user-centricity of all of the latest editions into the VirtualPBX line-up, the new Extension Manager App was built with more than just a focus on simplicity and usability in mind. The VirtualPBX engineers behind this new edition of the app also leveraged all of the feedback they’ve received from user input, beta testing, and in-app behavior and feature use to make it as comprehensively useful as possible. Plus, the added gloss and shine of the new app is more than just a fresh coat of paint as it still packs a punch when it comes to doing business. Telephone administrators can monitor call status and toggle agent status (logged-in/logged-out) even including Follow-Me Calling features all from the palm of their hands with the Extension Manager App.

Stay Tuned for More Updates

We love making new products that people use to get their jobs done more quickly and efficiently than before, but we need your help to keep pressing the envelope, too. Sign up for our VirtualPBX New Products Newsletter, chime in on our Product Roadmap, or let us know what you think by commenting or messaging us on Twitter and Facebook. Without your added insight into our work, we’d never be able to get these products to the point where they are as powerful and intuitive as they are useful and indispensible for you to conduct your business. We’ll keep an eye out for your thoughts, and in the meanwhile, enjoy the new app!

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!

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