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Archives: June 2011

FiftyFlowers.com Chooses Virtual PBX to Save Time, Money and Resources
June 20th, 2011

Online Flower Company Blossoms With Virtual PBX Complete System

As a growing small business with offices and customers all around the world, FiftyFlowers.com knows the importance of maintaining a professional image and keeping employees connected at all times.  Early on they realized the carrier they were using was not up to par with the high level of service they were determined to provide.

In 2007 they found the perfect solution that allowed them to not only keep its worldwide offices running smoothly and employees connected, but also save hundreds of dollars per month.

“Before Virtual PBX we relied on a simplistic 1-800 carrier in Canada that frequently dropped calls,” said Blu Atwood, co-founder and CMO of FiftyFlowers. “We needed a PBX solution that was both scalable and affordable, and our search led us to Virtual PBX. By enabling us to pick from available bundled solutions, we saved a few hundred dollars within a month of deploying the system, while we benefited from all the great features of a traditional PBX.”

With the expensive and resource intensive traditional PBX system out of the way, FiftyFlowers was now able to provide their customers and employees with great customer service, easily utilizing all of Virtual PBX’s numerous features to keep everyone connected.

This past February when Virtual PBX introduced Virtual PBX Complete, FiftyFlowers switched immediately to this new plan, knowing Virtual PBX Complete’s multiple features and flexible options would work perfectly for their growing company.  With Virtual PBX Complete, the company is now able to use a mix of VoIP and landlines, allowing its employees to choose the solution that best fit their needs.

“FiftyFlowers is the perfect example of a growing business that needs a stable phone system in order to provide stellar customer service,” said Paul Hammond, CEO and president of Virtual PBX. “Our Virtual PBX Complete is an all-in-one solution that allows our customers to choose the plan that best suits their needs, without having to skimp on features and reliability.”

 

Virtual PBX and PrintsMadeEasy Fight Confusion From Joplin Devastation With Volunteer Support Line
June 2nd, 2011

Volunteers Field Calls for Victims Using the Joplin Tornado Info Facebook Page

24 minutes is all the warning the residents of Joplin received to prepare for the F5 tornado that would completely flatten three miles of this small city in Missouri.   The devastating tornado has been declared the most deadly in years, leaving in its path at least 139 victims and over 100 missing people.

Surrounded by the mayhem left by the tornado, PrintsMadeEasy (http://www.printsmadeeasy.com) saw first hand that communicating reliable information was nearly impossible and quickly becoming a critical issue.   They were determined to help the people of Joplin stay connected by setting-up a support line for the victims and volunteers.  Susie Matthews, online operations director at PrintsMadeEasy, quickly contacted Virtual PBX (http://www.virtualpbx.com/), enlisting their support.

As a longtime customer of Virtual PBX, Susie knew the hosted phone service would be the perfect solution, allowing volunteers to answer questions about drop-off sites for donations, locations of volunteers and hospitals, and to take down missing-person updates.

Virtual PBX responded by providing PrintsMadeEasy with additional phone lines, a local number and automatic call distribution (ACD) queues to help manage the increase in inbound calls. This support line fields calls for the Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page created by PrintsMadeEasy to help the people of Joplin stay connected.

“Because we’re so close to the disaster in Joplin, we did not want to just sit back and watch, especially since most of us are familiar with the places that were hit,” says Matthews. “Virtual PBX has been great by donating its hosted phone system, which has worked well for us in the past, along with a local number for people to call.  We encourage anyone interested in joining us in our efforts to give us a call.”

As PrintsMadeEasy donates their free time to taking calls and updating the Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/joplintornadoinfo), they may soon need more volunteers.  With Virtual PBX, Matthews can quickly and easily create additional extensions for volunteers.  PrintsMadeEasy and other volunteers can even make and receive calls on-the-go, as Virtual PBX can allow calls to be directed to any phones anywhere. Volunteers currently working outside the affected area can now provide immediate response.

Such an influx of support and aid required organization, and Virtual PBX was glad to be able to offer some much needed assistance.

“When a longtime customer calls asking for practical help to provide a vital service like their support line, the only reasonable response is ‘yes,’” says Paul Hammond, CEO of Virtual PBX. “After viewing the devastation, it’s heartening to know that we can provide assistance that makes a difference, and we’re grateful to Susie and her team for their hard work. We’re glad we could help.”

To follow along on Facebook about any needs you may have regarding the Joplin disaster please visit http://www.facebook.com/joplintornadoinfo for more information.

Virtual PBX Receives Network Products Guide 2011 Hot Companies and Best Products Award
May 19th, 2011

Virtual PBX Complete Selected as a Winner in the Hot Technologies Category

Virtual PBX, once again proving their commitment and drive to constantly create award-winning services, wins Network Products Guide’s 6th Annual 2011 Hot Companies and Best Products Awards in the Hot Technologies category.

Network Products Guide, the industry’s leading technology research and advisory guide, honored winners from all over the world in Las Vegas on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, during the 6th annual dinner and presentations.  The esteemed annual award is the world’s premier information technology award honoring achievements and recognitions in every facet of the IT industry.

The Network Products Guide Award marks the second prestigious honor Virtual PBX has received in less than six months. Virtual PBX Complete — Virtual PBX’s turnkey service for small and mid-size businesses — also recently received Internet Telephony Magazine’s 13th-annual Product of the Year Award.

Receiving the coveted industry award from Network Products Guide further validates Virtual PBX’s position as a company well positioned to ensure their customers have an easy-to-use yet extremely powerful phone system to help present a professional image over the phone to their customers, prospects and employees.

An annual achievements and recognition awards program with active participation from a broad spectrum of industry voices, the coveted annual Hot Companies and Best Products recognition program encompasses the world’s best in organizational performance, products and services, executives and management teams, successful deployments, product management and engineering, support and customer satisfaction, and public relations in every area of information technology.

“This esteemed industry and peer award recognition of Virtual PBX Complete by Network Products Guide is truly an honor,” said Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX. “The recognition in the ‘Hot Technologies’ category demonstrates that Virtual PBX is continuing to meet the needs of our customers by providing solutions that are best-in-class.”

Virtual PBX Honored to Receive its Seventh Award for Open VoIP Peering
January 14th, 2011

Virtual PBX, the pioneers and market leader of the virtual phone system, was honored to received their seventh award from Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) for their innovative Open VoIP Peering service. This particular award was presented by TMC’s NGN Magazine, the leading resource for communications service providers.

The NGN Leadership Award recognizes the growth and evolution of applications and services designed for next-generation networks and the enabling technologies that make them possible. Virtual PBX was recognized in the Services category.

“This recognition of Virtual PBX’s Open VoIP Peering service is a testament to the company’s continued commitment to providing customers with innovative solutions that meet their demanding business needs,” said Paul Hammond, CEO of Virtual PBX. “Being selected as an NGN Leadership Award winner is truly a mark of distinction and further validates Virtual PBX’s leadership in the VoIP market.”

So far Virtual PBX has received 3 product of the year awards, 2 leadership awards, 1 Product Innovation award and 1 telephony excellence award for the Open VoIP Peering solution they released in November of 2008. No stranger to winning awards, Virtual PBX’s 7th win comes on the heels of their impressive ‘2010 Best Telecommunications Services in San Jose’ award.

The many accolades that Open VoIP Peering has received truly are a testament not only to the company’s strength and dedication in bringing to market the most innovative product conceivable, but also the products immense popularity with Virtual PBX Customers everywhere.

The Open VoIP Peering Solution stands out from the masses, being the only VoIP solution to allow users to choose which option they like on a call-by-call basis to meet their individual needs. In addition, unlike competitors who charge extra for proprietary digital-enabled phone extensions, with Virtual PBX there is no additional cost for accessing soft phones.

“Virtual PBX was recognized for its exceptional work in advancing NGN services and technologies. Open VoIP Peering has proven exceptional and its innovation has contributed to the transformation of the industry,” stated Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Congratulations to the entire team at Virtual PBX, and I look forward to more innovations in the coming year.”

The 2010 NGN Leadership Award winners can be found in the May/June 2010 issue of NGN Magazine.

For more information, please visit www.tmcnet.com.

Why Saving Money with VoIP Peering is So Cool
December 2nd, 2010

In our last post we explained the basics of VoIP, how SIP became the default standard in the VoIP industry, and the fact that even though most VoIP providers have adopted the SIP protocol, they use a proprietary implementation to keep calls within their own network. In this post, we will expand our discussion on SIP, explain SIP URI, why Virtual PBX chose to adopt the open SIP URI standard for VoIP communication, and finally why this gives you the freedom to choose the VoIP solution that works best for you and your business.

In 2009, Virtual PBX broke the mold by expanding our feature set to allow calls to go through the Virtual PBX virtual phone service, but rather than dial out to find the extension owner at a phone number, they could instead have the Virtual PBX service send the call via SIP to their VoIP service of choice that accepts inbound calls via SIP URI.

In our last blog we described SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as the default protocol on which the VoIP industry has standardized. A SIP URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) is basically an internet “address” for a VoIP service allowing one VoIP user to call another VoIP user by using the SIP URI. A SIP URI resembles an e-mail address and follows the format of user@domain.com or user@Ipaddress (e.g. User@192.168.1.7). The “user” portion of the URI could be a user name or resemble a 10- or 11-digit phone number. The “domain” portion is the domain of the VoIP provider and can be a name or an IP address. For instance, CallCentric uses the following format: 17775551212@in.callcentric.com.

There are many VoIP services available which fit this mold and are very cost-effective, including CallCentric, Ekiga, Truphone, and Gizmo5, although after being purchased by Google in 2009, Gizmo5 does not accept any new sign ups. With most of these VoIP services, you download a softphone to your computer, which is a software application that has a dialpad and is used to make and receive phone calls, typically using a USB headset or USB phone. However, some of the above services go a step further and allow the user to purchase a hardware VoIP phone and register it to the service, thus allowing the user to have a phone on their desk. This configuration could allow the user to replace their land line if so desired. With most of these services, users can call each other for free. But users can also get a phone number, or DID, and attach it to their VoIP service allowing users outside their VoIP network to call them as well. This feature will usually add a monthly or per minute cost to the service.

Now that we’ve explained SIP URI and some of the VoIP services that have implemented it, let’s circle back around to why Virtual PBX chose to support it. Through our VoIP Peering feature, for which we have won the Internet Telephony Excellence Award 2 years in a row, users can choose to have the Virtual PBX service reach them on not only their cell phones and land lines, but also send calls via SIP URI directly to the VoIP service of their choice. You can find information on how to do this in our training video.

So why is this so cool? Let’s put the parts together. Not only can a VoIP phone service save you a lot of money over a traditional land line with long distance, but if it’s truly an open SIP solution, then it can work with other VoIP services on the market. All this allows users to choose best of breed VoIP services that truly meet their telecom needs and the needs of their business rather than being tied down by proprietary VoIP solutions. With Open VoIP Peering, Virtual PBX is now the lowest-priced and most flexible hosted PBX solution on the market, allowing users to mix and match their Virtual PBX virtual phone system with the SIP-based VoIP softphone (and/or hardware phone) service of their choice, or with one they were already using. This creates amazing opportunities for businesses to best meet all of their feature, cost and reliability needs. And that’s what happens when vendors like Virtual PBX put the customer first.

Hosted PBX Versatility – A Phone System For Any Business
July 16th, 2009

Part 2 of today’s double-header, the versatility of a hosted PBX

A not-so obvious benefit of a hosted PBX solution such as Virtual PBX is the versatility of the system and the ability to modify, configure, and use the system for almost any business or purpose. The reliability of the system allows it to act as remote backup phone system that provides instant, automatic failover. With the ability to point multiple phone numbers to different locations along with comprehensive reporting and logging services a business can implement remote call tracking solutions for marketing, advertising or other needs. And if you’re attempting to offer “virtual” customer service to your clients, there’s no more valuable a feature that you can have in a phone system than automatic call distribution – an intelligent call routing mechanism that sends callers to virtual departments and their representatives. One particular market where customer service is critical is franchising.

Our COO Greg Brashier (@gbrashier on Twitter) recently penned an article in Franchise Update magazine detailing how a hosted PBX provides a cost-effective solution for franchising organizations that are keyed in on customer service.

Who’s on Hold?: Hosted PBX Offers A Cost-Effective Fix For Customer Service

With the downturn in the economy, good old-fashioned customer service can be a major differentiator for businesses trying to keep their existing customers and attract new ones.

Businesses that interact with and sell to customers over the telephone must be particularly vigilant that their phone technologies don’t inadvertently alienate their customers. Positive perceptions can quickly erode if customers encounter too much on-hold time, unclear directions on how to reach appropriate service personnel, or (the most dreaded of outcomes) a busy signal.

Many companies are finding that hosted private branch exchange (PBX) phone service technology can be a cost-effective tool that also helps them improve their phone presence and customer responsiveness.

A hosted PBX service provides customers with advanced phone answering and call-routing features–without the expense of purchasing their own PBX hardware or the added costs of installation, ongoing maintenance, and support. It’s ideal for small and mid-sized firms, companies with a distributed workforce, and those that want toll-free number services.

Vicorp Restaurants, which owns Village Inn and Bakers Square restaurants, is widely known for its award-winning freshly baked pies. However, its archaic phone system had started to become a liability during the company’s busiest time of the year, Thanksgiving through Christmas. A large number of customers seeking to order pies received busy signals or were put on hold for long periods before reaching a live person who could help them. Vicorp decided it was time to establish a more efficient way to handle the holiday rush and provide great service for its pie-loving customers

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