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Archives: June 2012

Virtual PBX Unveils New Flat-rate Plan Benefits
June 26th, 2012

We are excited to announce several changes in our flat-rate plans that will be of immediate benefit to all clients of these plans.  The net effect is that everyone on these plans can save even more!

First, the price for our 1 User Flat rate plan has been reduced from $39.99/month down to $34.99/ month.  Effective immediately, everyone on a 1-user plan will see a $5 per month reduction in cost.

Second, we are making all ACD queues in flat-rate plans totally free.  If you have multiple departments, such as sales, customer service, billing, etc., you can set up a True ACD queue for each one at no additional cost.  And you get all the same benefits – skills-based ranking, load balancing, call recording, and everything else – all at no cost.  If you’re a smaller company, you can look more professional by setting up additional departments with more queues, while keeping costs low by routing calls to the same employees for each queue.  The price of ACD Queues on flat-rate plans was $15.00 per month, each. Now all ACD Queues on Flat Rate plans are Free.

Finally, we’ve cut the cost for additional phone numbers in half!  You’ve always received 2 free phone numbers with our flat-rate plans, and additional numbers were $10 per month each.  Now, they’re just $5 a month. What can you do with more phone numbers at this new low price?

  • Optimize your marketing costs by assigning a separate phone number to each advertisement, campaign or promotion, and see which campaign gets the most calls.
  • Get extra direct-dial numbers for your top executives so your most important clients can reach them directly, without going through the auto-attendant.
  • Add local phone numbers in multiple cities to give your company a local “feel” and generate more business.
  • Add a nationwide toll free number so clients anywhere can reach you for free.  It will increase your inbound call volume and will also give you a stronger company image.

All these changes are available immediately to both new and existing clients. For more information, call one of our sales reps at 888-825-0800, option 1.

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.

Enter to Win Free Movie Tickets
January 5th, 2012

Do the increasing costs of movie tickets have you staying at home? If you love seeing movies on the big screen but can’t justify the cost, Virtual PBX has the contest for you. And it couldn’t be easier. Through March 1, 2012, Virtual PBX is offering you a chance to win free movie tickets. All you have to do is send us your best tech tip for using Virtual PBX.

Just think of all the ways you use Virtual PBX in your day-to-day life to improve your business and make your life easier. It could be a way you customize your greetings or use the Virtual PBX reports. Now Pick you favorite example and send Virtual PBX an email explaining how and why you use this particular feature.

Please see one of Virtual PBX’s tech tips below to help you get started:

Tech Tip
Route Callers Using CallerID

Are you in the situation where you need to route your inbound callers to certain extensions, queues, or to a voicemail box based on their caller ID? Do you get annoying calls from the same phone number? Virtual PBX’s AutoRoute feature can handle that for you.

AutoRoute can route a call to any extension, queue, voicemail box, or even block the caller by using some or all of the caller ID. AutoRoute is located under the Admin tab in the web interface. Just create a new entry, enter a portion or all of the caller ID, and then select the Route Action.

To enter, reply to this message or send an email to sales@virtualpbx.com with the following information:

  • Your name and the phone number where we can best reach you
  • Company name
  • Mailing address (to send your movie tickets)
  • Approval to reprint your tip using your name and company name
  • Your tip

Virtual PBX will send two free movie tickets for tips we quote on our web site or include in emails, and your business will get some free publicity.

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!

Virtual PBX Reports
June 30th, 2011

Knowing the trends in your caller traffic is important in making informed, timely business decisions.  With Virtual PBX’s 16 real-time web-based reports you can analyze your call traffic in numerous ways.  All reports can be exported as a CSV into your preferred spreadsheet or as XML into your customer relationship management (CRM) database. You can also run multiple report results simultaneously.  So what are the various reports and how can you use them to best benefit your company?

The first report available to you is the Extension Incoming Call Report. This report will help you to gauge your extension owner’s productivity by showing how many calls they took for a certain time period. This report also shows you the call duration, if the call connected, went to voicemail, or was abandoned.  With this report you can also better plan your staffing requirements throughout each day more effectively.

The next report, the Extension Call Summary Report, gives a basic overview of how many calls were taken by each extension.  It will show the total amount of calls per extension and break down the amount of calls connected, going to voicemail, voicemail abandoned and abandoned.

You can also keep track of how your ACD Queues and the agents in those queues are performing with the Queue Call Summary Report.  For each ACD queue, this report will show you the overall number of calls offered to the queue, number of calls actually answered, number of calls that ended up going to voicemail, as well as the number of calls that were abandoned – in other words, the caller hung up before they were successfully answer by an agent.

If you want to make sure you have the right amount of queue coverage during certain times of the day, the Call arrival Pattern Report is perfect for you.  This report will clearly show you peaks and valleys in call traffic.  You can select the report start and end dates, time increments (15 min, 30 min, or 1 hour), select which ACD queues, as well as which Virtual PBX phone numbers.  You can even export this report to a bar chart for easier reading.

Just using the above four reports could vastly improve the success of your business.  Imagine what you could accomplish with all 16 real-time reports in your hands!  Be sure to read our next blog post to find out more about how the Virtual PBX reports can streamline your business.

How to Prepare your Small Business for Summer
June 23rd, 2011

Spring is over and summer has finally arrived. People are turning off their computers and heading out for fun in the sun.  Unfortunately, your business can’t close for the summer, but there is no reason why your business can’t have an enjoyable, successful summer season.  So what are you going to do to prepare your business for summer?

Take a worry free vacation

It can be very stressful for business owners to be away from the office on vacation.  Worrying about missing an important call or losing potential customers can keep you from enjoying a much needed relaxing vacation.  With Virtual PBX, your vacations can always be stress free.

By setting up Virtual PBX’s “follow me calling” feature, extension owners can create a list of phone numbers where they will be available, such as the number of a hotel line, their vacation home, or cell phone. With follow-me from Virtual PBX, you never have to miss an important call because you’re on vacation. We can reach you any place there is a phone.

Work outside and enjoy the long summer days

This is another great way you can use Virtual PBX’s “follow me calling” feature.  Work from a park, your back yard, the beach or anywhere you want to soak up some rays.

Let voicemail screen your calls

When you are on vacation or enjoying the summer with family, allow yourself to return only those calls that are truly important or emergencies.  With every Virtual PBX extension you can listen to callers as they leave you a voicemail message. If you need to take the call, simply press the ‘#’ key to interrupt the caller and start talking live.

Check your voicemail via email

You can even have your messages routed to your email as .wav files so you can listen to them from your computer. Or if you prefer, messages are also available through our Virtual PBX browser-based web portal.  All you need are headphones or speakers.

Promote a summer sale or Event

Use Virtual PBX to promote a summer sale by using our Online Greeting Manager to upload a new auto-attendant greeting.  You can upload your own, record by phone, or order them through the Virtual PBX studios.

Change your Summer Hours

Maybe you’ve increased or decreased your hours for summer.  Use the Day/Night mode settings in your Virtual PBX to play a day mode greeting and a night mode greeting, adjusting the hours per day that you are open.  During night mode, you can send all calls to voicemail so you can enjoy a quiet evening!