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Archives: March 2012

Save Money with GeoRoute®
March 21st, 2012

Many companies are not taking full advantage of the advanced technology available in telecom today. When used, this technology can greatly improve operations, and help you to provide better customer service.

Virtual PBX® offers the most complete and sophisticated hosted solution available today. One great example of this is our unique GeoRoute® feature, which can forward calls automatically to the right employee, ACD queue, or business location before you even answer the phone – based on the location of the originating number.

Here is an example: Let’s say you want to have calls from the western United States go to one sales agent, and those from the eastern part of the country go to someone else. With GeoRoute from Virtual PBX, we’ll monitor the caller ID of incoming calls and automatically route the calls based on area code.

Want another example? Imagine a franchise operation that wants to publish one national toll-free number but wants calls automatically routed to the franchise closest to the caller. GeoRoute will direct incoming customer calls to the appropriate franchise based on the geographic boundaries you create. This way, you can make sure the right franchise gets the call with no human intervention. In addition, as the calls complete at the franchise locations, the franchise headquarters don’t incur any expense from these calls.

Furthermore, with GeoRoute, there is no need for a central receptionist, and call charges don’t start until you answer the call, so expenses stay low.

There are a number of ways to implement GeoRoute. You can route calls based on just the area code, the area code and exchange, or the entire number. In addition, you may route calls the following ways:

  • Inside the answering system, transferring the call to an employee extension or ACD queue.
  • To a completely different phone system, such as a remote branch office or a different business.

Our telecom expertise, combined with unmatched flexibility and excellent customer service, allow us to solve your call routing challenges to help you build business and save money.

Save Money and Increase Productivity with SelectRoute™
March 2nd, 2012

Virtual PBX® pioneered ACD queuing for virtual phone systems, and is still way ahead of the competition. ACD queues are used when the caller wants to reach a business function, such as sales or customer service, instead of an individual. Usually, these callers won’t have a name, they just have a need.

However, some businesses want to route calls to an extension or ACD queue that is not a standard business function. This is where SelectRoute™ comes in.

SelectRoute offers call routing capabilities beyond the standard routing features offered by ACD queues. Instead of simply routing the call to the next available agent or a generic queue, SelectRoute routes the call based on direct user input that specifies how the call is to be handled so the call is routed to the correct agent.

Our SelectRoute option lets you route calls automatically based on a wide set of user inputs up to nine digits in length. Ask the user to spell out a product name, a company name, or an account number. The possibilities are limitless with Virtual PBX.

Below are common types of instructions that SelectRoute can support:

  • Route calls by geography: Area code & zip code– Route calls by NPA (Area Code), NPA-NXX (Area and Exchange Codes), Zip Code.Have multiple store locations or franchises seamlessly route calls to a single phone number by area code or zip code to the nearest location.
  • Menu Routing – Route calls by menu selection
  • Custom Routing – Route calls according to your own defined needs.  We’ve had clients route to different queues or extension based on the caller entering a model number or a product name.

You can even combine these call routing types to form customized routing to provide the best customer service and to enable your business to operate at optimum efficiency. They can also improve your businesses cost performance by increasing agent utilization and productivity.

A typical business often handles a variety of call types, each requiring a specific skill. The traditional method of reassigning agents with multiple skills to different queues at different times of the day in order make best use of their skills is inefficient.

Virtual PBX and SelectRoute alleviate this problem and enables your business to automatically route calls to the right agents, at the right time regardless of where the agents are located.

With SelectRoute you can even have custom greetings such as “To find the store nearest you, please enter your 5 digit zip code now”. Your caller enters their zip code, and your Virtual PBX system will route them to the appropriate extension or queue. It’s that easy.

But what if the caller enters the wrong information? Don’t worry. We have that covered. In this case, SelectRoute will route the call anywhere you choose, so your caller still gets help even on a bad data entry.

SelectRoute by Virtual PBX will help you create the best custom call routing system designed to fit your needs and send your callers to the right people quickly and easily every time. For more information, please contact our Support team, or call us at 888-825-0800.

Three More Ways to Use Virtual PBX
February 8th, 2012

Create Podcasts – Podcasts are basically audio recordings that can be posted online and downloaded by anyone. Today, more and more businesses and individuals are choosing to communicate via podcasts as an alternative to radio and blogs. Unlike radio and T.V., podcasts are free to subscribe to and create. Interested in creating your own podcast?

Lucky for you, Virtual PBX makes it easy for you to record your own podcast right from your phone. Simply use Virtual PBX’s call recording feature to record an interview, discussion or anything else you want to share with the world. Every Virtual PBX system includes call recording at no added cost. In addition, the call recording feature is greatly customizable and easy to use. Every user with a Virtual PBX extension can record all calls automatically or select calls to record manually by simply pushing #9 during a call.

Have an alternate number – While having a single incoming business number gives your business a unified presence, it can often be very useful to have multiple incoming business numbers. In fact, every Virtual PBX plan can have an unlimited amount of phone numbers as part of the system.

Anyone can benefit from having multiple phone numbers. Let’s say, for example, you want to use one group of employees to answer phone calls for several different business identities. Virtual PBX can answer calls with different greetings on each incoming line and then route the calls to those employees. A preview announcement indicates which business identity was called, so the employee can answer correctly.

Another popular use for multiple numbers is to track response to marketing campaigns. Each advertisement or other marketing activity can include a different telephone number for prospects to get more information. Tracking the incoming activity on each phone number gives a real-time indication of which marketing activity is generating the most calls.

Get a soft phone – Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a full-featured Virtual PBX VoIP phone. Using VoIP phones with your Virtual PBX system adds great new features like direct extension to extension dialing.

Do you want to keep your personal cell phone number private? When you dial out using a softphone registered to VPBX, the caller ID you send is your Virtual PBX number, not your personal cell phone number.

In addition, by making calls through your Virtual PBX system, you can avoid roaming charges. With VoIP Anywhere, you can make calls from around the world through your softphone and Wi-Fi connection, getting U.S. dial tone for free. Don’t waste your money on costly international roaming fees. Call Virtual PBX today and save yourself some hard earned cash.

True 800 Numbers Available
February 3rd, 2012

Since their development in the late 1960’s as an alternative to collect calling, toll free numbers have become increasingly popular.  Not long after their release, companies began to notice people preferred to do business with firms that had 800 numbers.

Over time, the original toll free numbers, those beginning with the digits “800” started becoming rare as more companies realized their importance in establishing a strong businesses presence. Additional toll free numbers starting with the prefixes 888, 877, 866, and 855 have been made available, but the original 800 numbers have become hard to get, and if you actually find one, they can be quite expensive.  Now, however, Virtual PBX has acquired a large block of these hard-to-get true 800 numbers, and we’re making them available at a very low cost.

Marketing Advantages of Having an 800 Number

  • Studies indicate companies receive more business advertising with an 800 number over any other phone number, no matter the type of business or the target market. An ad with a toll free 800 number almost always out performs the exact same ad without a toll free number. It is almost expected that a business will have a toll free number and businesses without one are potentially missing out on tons of sales opportunities.
  • An 800 prefix number is going to be a solid foundation for all your advertising. That “8-0-0″ gives your company an instant lift in trust, a more professional appearance, and virtually eliminates customer misdials. It’s rare in the business world that you find something that costs so little and provides so much in return.
  • The IDM institute of direct marketing discloses that having a toll free phone number for your customers to call can increase your response rate by 180%, another good reason to seriously think about using a 1- 800 number.

No Confusion

  • All the advertising in the world won’t make your phones ring if your audience can’t remember your phone number. 800 numbers are much more memorable and should be a critical part of your marketing effort.
  • Many people still wonder whether numbers other than true 8-0-0 numbers are toll free.A 2011 consumer research study found that 97% of consumers recognize the 800 exchange as toll-free, but few connected with the newer toll-free exchanges like 888, 877 and 866.

Credibility and Enhanced Corporate Image

  • A 1-800 number can improve your company’s image. It can help you establish a large, trustworthy presence with your client and prospects. Using toll free numbers will tell your customers that you are stable, professional, and serious. Even if you work out of your home, consumers often assume a toll-free 800 number is associated with a large company.
  • Moreover, toll free numbers expand your territorial reach encouraging people to call you from across the country or the world. Get an 800 number and put you company on a par with large corporations.

Here at Virtual PBX we recognize the benefits of allowing clients to call you for free, and have made it easy and affordable for anyone to get their own toll free number.  And we now have more true 800 numbers available than ever before.  We’re offering these numbers to clients at a reduced price for a limited time.  Contact us today to get yours.

Virtual PBX Receives 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award
January 18th, 2012

VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere Recognized for Innovation

Since its release in February 2011, VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere has been turning heads. People from a diverse range of businesses have praised and acknowledged VirtualPBX Complete as a cutting-edge service that delivers powerful features while reducing operational costs. This product has really hit home with small and medium businesses everywhere.

So far, VirtualPBX Complete has received two Product of the Year awards, two Excellence awards, a Best Products award, a Leadership award and an Innovation award. To add to the list is VirtualPBX’s latest 2011 Product of the Year award from TMC, a global integrated media company.

“I am happy to grant VirtualPBX with a Product of the Year Award. The editors of INTERNET TELEPHONY have verified that Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere displays quality and innovation plus provides real needs in the marketplace,” stated Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “I would like to congratulate the entire team at VirtualPBX for their commitment to advancing IP communication technologies.”

CEO of VirtualPBX, Paul Hammond, explains, “Our mission is to deliver communications tools that help businesses improve customer service and business productivity,” He continues, “This recognition from INTERNET TELEPHONY affirms the value of Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, which is making a huge difference for our business customers, who are also able to reduce their operational costs.”

For more information on VirtualPBX and this award, please click here.

Are You Ready for 2012?
January 11th, 2012

5 ways to start the New Year right

With the end of 2011 at our heels, it is time to look ahead to 2012. Focus on setting your goals and putting plans is place to achieve them. Need some help? Here are five ways Virtual PBX can help you start the new year with a bang.

  1. Examine your History – One great way a business can plan ahead for the New Year is to look at data collected from the previous year. Use you Virtual PBX reports to analyze your call stats from 2011 to help you staff more appropriately. Run a Call arrival Pattern Report to see what times of day you took the most calls. This report will clearly show you peaks and valleys in call traffic. This way you know what hours and in which queues to staff more representative.
  2. Use Call Recording to Monitor Agent Effectiveness – Using free call recording, managers are able to ensure rules are being followed, representatives are giving the best possible customer service, and customers are given accurate information. You can also use the call recording feature to train new employees.
  3. Save Money by using VoIP Phones and Soft Phones – There is never a bad time to save money so why not start saving this year. With Virtual PBX Complete, most companies will save between 40% and 80% on monthly phone costs. Use our VoIP phone service with a VoIP phone or soft phone and stop paying for expensive analog phone lines.
  4. Improve your Greetings – The main greeting is the first thing a caller hears when calling your number. This greeting should welcome callers and direct them to your departments and information. With Virtual PBX, there are multiple ways to customize your main greeting and make your small business sound like a big company. For instance, you can create different daytime and nighttime greetings and use our Day/Night scheduler to switch between them automatically.
  5. Keep up with the Latest Virtual PBX News and Offers – Make sure to check out our Virtual PBX Facebook page to hear first about news, new products and special offers. In addition, read tips to help you grow your business and connect with other business owners.
Why Vanity Numbers are worth their Weight in Gold
December 1st, 2011

In today’s world, vanity numbers have become extremely common among business owners. Once only associated with big corporations, vanity numbers are now readily available to anyone who wants them.

A vanity number is an alpha-numeric telephone number containing a word or phrase which is memorable and usually defines their corporate identity.  Some companies such as 1-800-FlOWERS and 1-800-PET-MEDS build their company around their business defining vanity number.

But what are the benefits of owning a vanity number and does your business need one?

One of the main benefits to having a vanity number is they are super easy to remember. All the advertising in the world won’t get your phones ringing unless your audience can remember your phone number. When you try to remember a phone number, you are using your short-term memory. The human brain can only keep so many things in short-term memory and that information is only stored for a few seconds to several minutes before it is gone forever. The best way to transfer incoming information into long-term memory is to link, associate or connect the incoming information with something in your memory which is meaningful. Switching a phone number from random numbers to words allows people to make memorable connections with that phone number and your business, therefore increasing the chance it will remain in their long-term memory.

Aside from the connection, you are reducing the amount of data prospective clients have to process from seven digits to a single word or phrase. This makes memorizing the number quick and easy and thus people are much more likely to call that number when they need that service.

In addition, memorable vanity numbers will help you generate more business by increasing effective word of mouth advertising and the potential to reach tons of people you would otherwise never reach. Studies show that a good vanity number can increase word of mouth advertising by as much as 200% and the percentage of return customers is higher.

Furthermore, a great vanity number will establish your brand and leave a lasting impression with current and future customers. Therefore, it is important to obtain vanity numbers that reflect both your industry and business name. Vanity numbers were once only associated with established national corporations thus people perceive a company with a vanity number as bigger and stronger.

Overall, if you are interested in increasing your potential customer base, securing your reputation and letting people know you are a true professional, consider getting a vanity number for your business.

For more information on vanity numbers please click here: http://www.virtualpbx.com/learn-more/phone-numbers/toll-free-phone-numbers/

Analog Telephone Adapter
November 17th, 2011

Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA’s) turn a standard analog phone device, such as a standard touch-tone phone or a fax machine, into a Voice over IP (VoIP) device.  An analog-to-digital converter, it takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data which is transmitted over the internet. Conversely, the digital signals received from your internet translate into analog signals you will hear through a telephone headset. This allows you to make calls over the internet without an IP Phone.

The obvious advantage of using an ATA is that you can use the phone you have on hand, either wired or cordless, with any VoIP service. So, if you want to take advantage of VoIP and not lose your favorite phone, an ATA is a great way to go. The same is true for businesses using analog lines.

An ATA needs to have an underlying VoIP service, such as VoIP service from VirtualPBX to work.  Typically, you will get credentials from your VoIP provider that will include a username/URI and a password.  You then need to configure the ATA to use these credentials.  Once you have this done, assuming you’ve attached a phone and the ATA is connected to the internet, calls can be made over the internet to and from the analog phone.

It may be slightly cheaper to use an existing phone with an ATA than it is to buy a new VoIP phone.  However, you won’t have all of the same features that you would usually receive with a VoIP phone.  For example, system directories, call logs, and other features of a VoIP phone won’t be available in the same way on an analog phone.  So if you want the extra features and capabilities, your best bet is an IP Phone. However, if you would rather not invest in a VoIP phone at the moment, an ATA is the way to go for affordable VoIP service. You may lose some features but in some cases you will save money.  You can visit our VoIP Phone List page to compare prices and capabilities of our VoIP and ATA devices.

Some of our clients use ATAs to connect hardware fax machines to their virtual PBX service.  While most clients simply use our virtual fax functions for both inbound and outbound faxing, some people want to employ a standard hardware fax machine.  It gives them a paper printout of their fax and may fit better into existing processes.  Typically, this is done by setting up a VoIP-enabled extension for faxing and then using an ATA to connect the fax machine. Adding a fax phone number that rings directly to the fax extension allows the fax machine to work just like it would on a separate analog phone line, at a fraction of the cost.

VirtualPBX sells and supports the Cisco/Linksys SPA2102 ATA.  Other ATAs may work with our service, but we’ve found that some don’t handle faxing well.  For more information, give us a call at 888-825-0800.  We’re here to help!

VirtualPBX Introduces VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere for iPhones, Android Phones and Computers
September 21st, 2011

VoIP Anywhere streamlines VoIP bandwidth requirements to allow VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections

In modern day business, the ability for workers to stay connected wherever they are is invaluable. Traveling to international destinations, working in between their homes and their offices, people are constantly on the move and having a phone service that can keep up with them is crucial.

Although cell phones are great for taking important calls when away from the office, the costs of calling are high, especially when it comes to roaming charges. Furthermore, dialing out from a mobile phone shows the user’s personal caller ID, not the company’s phone number.

VirtualPBX now offers a cost effective way to stay in contact with anyone, anywhere with its newest enhancement to VirtualPBX Complete – VoIP Anywhere. Customers can now use their smartphones and computers as VoIP handsets with complete business phone system capabilities. This is drastically cheaper than cellular roaming, long distance charges, and hotel room rates. VoIP Anywhere is very inexpensive, flexible, and functional, offering advanced functionality at a fraction of the price. With VoIP Anywhere, your smartphone becomes your office extension, receiving calls just like you were at a hardware VoIP phone, as well as displaying your company’s caller ID information when you make outbound calls. In addition, VirtualPBX announced support for HD Voice for HD-capable devices.

“Our launch of VirtualPBX Complete has generated tremendous demand from our customers. As they embrace our system, they are increasingly seeking the freedom to access their VoIP business features on any device, wherever they are,” said Greg Brashier, COO of VirtualPBX. “By introducing VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, we are delivering that freedom and flexibility to carry their business extension anywhere in the world.”

Because of VirtualPBX’s commitment to open systems, users can avoid the high costs of proprietary software and choose the option that best fits their needs. With VoIP Anywhere, turning your computer or smartphone into a VoIP Extension is easy. Just register any softphone, such as those available for Android phones, iPhones and computers, as a VoIP device in the VirtualPBX service to access VoIP Anywhere capabilities. Once registered, simply open the softphone application to make calls and access all of VirtualPBX’s system features, such as business caller ID for outbound calls, call recording, call transfers, presence management and reporting. By reducing bandwidth requirements for VoIP calls, VirtualPBX allows high-quality calls to be placed over 3G, 4G and WiFi connections.

New System Features

  • Calls from ANY device: With VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, turning your smartphone or computer into a full-featured VoIP phone is simple. Using any standard softphone and a minimum of a 3G connection, any device can be accessed through your existing Virtual PBX number.
  • U.S dial tone: VoIP Anywhere provides a U.S. dial tone while avoiding high international dialing rates. Dialing a U.S. number from an international location can even be free with VirtualPBX’s flat-rate packages.
  • HD voice: The new VoIP Anywhere system negotiates HD voice on any HD device. If the device you are using supports HD, then the call can automatically be connected with HD quality.
  • Business caller ID: Calls made from a VirtualPBX extension can send the company’s phone number for caller ID. With VoIP Anywhere, mobile users no longer need to worry about giving out their personal cellular numbers while making business calls, and contacts know how to get back in touch with the company, not just the individual.

Learn more about VoIP Anywhere capabilities here.

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.”