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Archives: August 2010

Show Your Company Phone Number from Any Phone!
August 18th, 2010

If you’ve called a customer using your home phone or cell phone, then you’ve probably had them call you back on that same phone number — they just redial the caller ID left on their phone.  Suddenly your personal phone is your new “business” number.  It’s like having people visit your home when they should be going to your office or store.  What a pain.  But all is not lost.  By using Virtual PBX, you have a way to show your company phone number on outbound calls without having to reveal the number from which you’re calling.  Convenience and privacy all in the same call!

This feature is called “Virtual Calling Card”.  It’s perfect for calling from a cell phone, a friend’s house, a hotel, or even a pay phone…if you can still find one that works!  And you don’t need to keep track of special code numbers and dialing strings – you just dial yourself.  This feature is accessed by logging into the phone system over the phone.  Some of our customers are unfamiliar with this feature or think it’s harder to use than it really is. Truthfully, it does take a few steps — call into your Virtual PBX phone number, press #, enter your extension number followed by #, then enter your phone password follow by #.  Realistically, all of that can be accomplished via a speed dial on your phone.  There is an alternate way to log into your phone system by pressing the CallBack button on the Call Routing tab.

Once you are logged into the system over the phone, you press 3 to make an outbound call.  The system will ask you to enter the phone number you wish to dial.  That’s all there is to it.  Once you enter the phone number, the system will dial, showing your Virtual PBX phone number as the caller ID to your call recipient. So not only is this convenient, but it’s also secure as you’re not showing your personal phone number when you call your customers, vendors, or contacts.

You do need to make sure that your system is set to show your Virtual PBX phone number on outbound calls.  This is the default setting, so unless you changed it, it should be fine.  That setting is edited under the Advanced Configuration settings of the Auto-Attendant.

Also, if you have multiple Virtual PBX phone numbers, you can show any one of those on your outbound calls.  A beautiful thing!  Just make sure to dial into the system using the number that you want to show on your caller ID.  So this feature is not just convenient and secure, but also flexible!

So now you and your personnel use your Virtual PBX to make a bunch of outbound calls.  How do you know who called whom?  You can track all of your outbound calls using the Extension Outbound Call Report.  This report shows the date, time, extension numbers, extension owner caller ID, duration of the call, and the phone number of the party dialed.  This is a great report if extension owners use the Virtual Calling Card feature to make customer call backs to customers or vendors.  It’s great detail, but it’s also great for accountability.

With the Virtual Calling Card feature from Virtual PBX, not only can you show whichever Virtual PBX company phone number you wish in the caller ID when you make your outbound calls, but you also get the satisfaction of NOT having your personal contact phone number show up on caller ID displays of your customers, vendors, and business contacts.  It’s convenience, flexibility, and personal protection at the same time.

Virtual PBX Goes Straight to SIP
June 2nd, 2010

SIP?  What’s that?!  VirtualPBX announced that we can send calls directly to a SIP-based VoIP service.  But what does that really mean to you?  While the official press release hits most of the big points, let’s quickly discuss the different options for receiving calls from your Virtual PBX service, as we don’t have to send calls directly to a phone number anymore.

Let’s start at the top.  By default, VirtualPBX will take the inbound call to your local or toll-free VPBX number, puts the caller on hold, then dials out to find the extension owner at whatever phone number they want — home phone, cell phone, essentially anything with a phone number.  However, you now have options.

There are VoIP services out there — CallCentric, Ekiga, and Truphone, just to name a few — that are very cost-effective and could actually take the place of your land line.  Some of them will allow you to register a hardware VoIP phone to their service so you have a phone on your desk.  A lot of these VoIP services are based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which is the standard protocol for sending calls over the internet.  And through our VoIP Peering feature, Virtual PBX can send the call directly to your VoIP phone service, not by dialing a phone number, but rather through the internet back door using a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) which looks like an email address:  user@voipservicedomain.com.  Not all VoIP phone services provide a URI, so please check with your VoIP phone service provider.

Now all you have to do is put that SIP URI in the Call Routing page of your extension.  For How-To information, please check out this training video.

Why is this so cool?  Firstly, a VoIP phone service could save you money each month by taking the place of your land line.  Secondly, it makes our iVPBX plan even more flexible now that we can send a call to any SIP-based VoIP phone service provider.  The iVPBX plan can potentially save you big money since you get a local phone number, five extensions, and upwards of 20,000 minutes built into the system as long as we send the call to a SIP-based VoIP phone service — all for $49.99/month!

With this new feature, Virtual PBX is now the most flexible — and most cost effective — virtual phone service in the market delivering calls to not just whatever phone number you want, but now to whatever SIP-based VoIP phone service you wish to use.  That’s why Virtual PBX is so cool.

TechTip: Password Protecting Your Conference Call
May 21st, 2010

VirtualPBX’s conferencing feature makes it quick and easy for you to host a conference, and now with more free conference minutes, we make it more affordable! You also won’t need any special conference call-in numbers, or long complicated PIN’s. Your participants just call your virtual PBX phone number, select the conferencing option from the auto-attendant, and enter the extension hosting the conference. That’s it!

However, some of you may want a little more security to your conference call. Not to worry, we give you that option as well. To password protect your conference and require your participants to enter a numeric password, simply do the following:

1. Log in to your virtual PBX extension here
2. Click on the “Conference” tab for your extension

3. Click on the “Yes” option for “Entry Password Enabled”

4. Enter your custom 4-10 digit numeric password in the text box

5. Click the “Update” button to save the changes

That’s all there is to it. Your conference room is now password protected.
For more information and FAQ’s, be sure to visit our Support page.
Send Calls Where They Belong
May 4th, 2010

Sometimes you’ve got to get your calls to always jump into the right place without any involvement. Maybe you’ve got that guy who just won’t quit calling about problems you had nothing to do with. Or there’s a special client you want to make sure always gets handled by you personally. Or this one: with your new marketing campaign, you need all calls from Western United States to go to your Western Region sales rep at x805.

With AutoRoute from Virtual PBX, you can handle all the scenarios above and more. Virtual PBX monitors the caller ID of incoming calls and automatically routes the calls based on area code, area code + prefix, or the entire phone number. Consider AutoRoute to be the very first filter the calls go through before they even hear your welcome message.

You can have an unlimited set of entries in your AutoRoute list. Just log onto your account, jump over to the admin tab, and select AutoRoute from the left menu. You then create an entry with the caller ID that you want to look for. Here’s a few standard formats:

  • No Caller ID: Obviously, calls without a caller ID. Like telemarketers. Just saying.
  • 4 digits: 1 + 3-digit area code. Example: ‘1408’ nixes calls from the San Jose, CA area.
  • 7 digits: 1 + 3-digit area code + a complete prefix. Example: ‘1408567’ for north San Jose.
  • 11 digits: The whole thing. Get individual callers. Example: ‘14085556789’

Once a call comes in that matches one of your filters, the calls can be routed in one of six ways:

  • Blocked: The caller will hear “This number is blocked”, then the system disconnects the call
  • System Operator: Calls are sent directly to the system operator extension
  • Extension: Calls are sent directly to the specified extension
  • Extension Voicemail: Calls sent directly to specified extension’s voicemail box
  • Extension Faxmail: Calls are sent directly to specified extension’s faxmail box; really effective if you receive a lot of faxes from the same sending fax machine
  • ACD Queue: Calls are sent directly to the specified ACD Queue

The applications and uses for the AutoRoute feature are vast and many. It’s automatic routing without the caller having to press any buttons. Like we mentioned about, things like routing VIP customers directly to their account manager; routing inbound sales calls from across the country directly to the proper sales rep’s extension, blocking unwanted callers or telemarketers, or making sure your grandma always reaches you when she calls the business number instead of bothering the billing department.

With Virtual PBX’s AutoRoute feature, the routing of your inbound phone calls could be completely automated. And the best point of all is that it is free – it’s built into every Virtual PBX system. Free is good. Can’t beat free.

Go Green. Go Virtual PBX
April 27th, 2010

With Earth Day just behind us (Thursday, April 22, for those who never got to it) it’s a good time as any to think on what we can do to keep our planet in good shape.  There are plenty of things we have been doing already, for home and business, such as recycling excess paper, or even go paperless where possible, and use more efficient lighting.  But what can you do about your old phone system that you need to upgrade?  Why buy a piece of hardware that takes up energy, space, and will eventually end up being thrown away for what few parts can be recycled?

With a virtual phone system from Virtual PBX, you don’t have to worry about any of that.  Without having to go out of your way, you can do your part to reduce the amount of resources wasted.  It’s easy to have a Fortune 500 sound and functionality without having any extra telecom hardware at your office.  Without the hardware phone system in your office, you save room, electricity, and you won’t contribute to any trash heaps when you get rid of it many years from now.  Instead, you put those responsibilities in the hands of a more specialized, more efficient processing center that uses only a fraction of the resources because it can provide service to many customers at once.

But there’s another “green” that is important as well.  With Virtual PBX, you’re not just helping to save the environment – it’s also a money saver!  You don’t need any up-front capital to purchase a hardware phone system.  You also don’t need the annual maintenance costs that most hardware phone systems need (but sometimes not told about when you purchase them).  You can save money by limiting the amount of inbound phone lines coming into your place of business to handle multiple calls.  In fact, with Virtual PBX follow me calling, you might not even need as big an office space.  All employees could be unified under one phone number no matter where they are located…and your callers will never know.

So while Earth Day can be a good reminder for taking care of the environment, you can take advantage of the money-saving and environment-saving features of Virtual PBX every day.  Not only are you helping take care of our planet, but it gives you more time and money to concentrate on what is important to you.