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Archives: February 2012

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.

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.
Recommended Routers: Airport Extreme and Netgear
December 28th, 2011

At VirtualPBX, we do everything we can to ensure each customer’s system always runs as quickly and effectively as possible. From using fully redundant systems with backups to guaranteeing 99.999% uptime, we take every precaution to give you the most reliable virtual phone service in the market. However, there are also steps our customers may take to ensure their VirtualPBX is running as smoothly as possible at all times. Below, we discuss one such method to improve your VirtualPBX experience.

To ensure your network can support VoIP traffic and keep your network within recommended parameters for jitter, latency, and packet loss.  With that in mind it is important to have a good router. Reports from our customer base have revealed some routers work better than others with SIP traffic and VoIP calls with our VirtualPBX service.

Routers are specialized computers connected to two or more different networks that perform “traffic directing” functions. They run software that allows the device to move data between different networks, determining the most optimal path. Routers move information in “packages” called Packets and can be wireless, wired or a combination of both.  Another primary function of a router is to share one Internet connection with many devices on the network.

The Apple Airport Extreme is reportedly best for people who want complete ease of use and 100% compatibility out of the box; the Apple Airport Extreme offers super fast wireless network access throughout just about any home, office, or classroom. This router includes:

·           Both wired and wireless connectivity

·           Single Ethernet WAN port for connecting to a DSL or cable modem

·           3 Ethernet LAN ports for connecting network devices

More features and specs can be found on Apple’s website.

Please note the Apple Airport Extreme does not support Quality of Service (QoS). QoS is a feature that enables routers to prioritize traffic, allowing the most important traffic to pass first. This results in improved performance for critical network traffic like your VoIP phone call. QoS equipment is useful with VoIP phones on LANs with high volumes of traffic.

For customers that need the utility of QoS, Virtual PBX’s customers found significant value in the Netgear WNDR4500 router. This router is perfect if you need advanced functionality like QOS and stateful pack inspection. This router features:

·           Both wired and wireless connectivity

·           Single Ethernet WAN port for connecting to a DSL or cable modem

·           4 Ethernet LAN ports for connecting network devices

·           Supports QOS and stateful pack inspection.

A product overview and technical specs can be found at Netgear.

We recommend checking all network equipment on site before deploying our service in your office. A good first check of your network can be done using our VoIP Speed Test. If your router is not one of these we discussed here, you may contact our VirtualPBX Support department via email at support@virtualpbx.com or via phone at 888.825.0800 option 2 to with any questions you may have.

As a part of our award-winning open systems initiative, our phones will work with a wide variety of other routers. For more information, please visit our Recommended Routers page at http://www.virtualpbx.com/services/recommended-routers//.

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!

Virtual Pbx® Awarded Internet Telephony’s 2011 Tmc Labs Innovation Award
August 5th, 2011

Virtual PBX Complete Honored for Exceptional Innovation

Virtual PBX has always watched out for every one of their customers, from the smaller businesses to the larger corporations, making sure to deliver products and services everyone finds useful for their business.

Virtual PBX’s latest solution is no exception, supporting a complete blending of analog and IP telephony, while also incorporating open SIP peering.   In doing so, Virtual PBX Complete ultimately meets the needs of all Virtual PBX customers from traditional landline clients to VoIP telephony customers.  Setting new standards for flexibility, features, price, and ease of installation, Virtual PBX Complete forged ahead, establishing new technology and employing out-of-the-box thinking.

This is what innovation is all about.  And this is why Virtual PBX Complete was named the 2011 TMC Labs Innovation Award winner.  The award, presented by TMC’s publication, INTERNET TELEPHONY, honors products that display innovation, unique features, and significant contributions toward improving communications technology. The TMC Labs Innovation Awards are granted to those companies demonstrating groundbreaking contributions to the industry.

“The Innovation Award exemplifies the best and the most unique products and services that this industry has to offer. Virtual PBX has proven its commitment to quality and the further development of the IP communications industry through its Virtual PBX Complete solution,” stated Tom Keating, CTO and TMC Labs Founder.

“Congratulations to the entire team at Virtual PBX for earning this great honor. I look forward to seeing more innovative solutions from them as the company continues to contribute to the future of IP communications,” Keating added.

In order to be seen as valuable innovations, new products and services must be strong enough to progress into the marketplace.  In addition, fast changing technologies and lifestyles cause people to have greater expectations. Customers are used to products that constantly improve and make their life easier.

“This recognition demonstrates the significant impact Virtual PBX Complete innovation has had on our market,” said Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX. “This award, coupled with the enthusiastic responses from our customers, is a testament to Virtual PBX’s hard work and commitment to provide services that meet the wide range of customer needs.”

“Virtual PBX has demonstrated to the staff of TMC Labs that Virtual PBX Complete is truly innovative in the IP Communications industry. Virtual PBX Complete has made contributions which have resulted in significant advancement to the industry,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We’re proud to reward Virtual PBX’s hard work with a TMC Labs Innovation Award this year.”

The 2011 TMC Labs Innovation Award highlights will be published in the July and August 2011 issues of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

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.”

The Results Are In!
March 14th, 2011

Survey says: owners of small and medium-sized businesses see cost savings, improved productivity by adopting virtual office approach.

You may have noticed that the number of people choosing to work from the comfort of  their own homes is increasing as this lifestyle becomes more attractive to workers and employees.  This phenomenon comes as no surprise given that today’s technology and business services make working from home easier than ever.

“Small-and medium-sized business leaders are on the forefront of embracing virtual offices to boost business efficiency, cut costs and provide more flexibility to their workforces,” said Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX. “At Virtual PBX, we’re responding to the needs of this growing population with technology designed to make it easy for them to stay in touch with colleagues and clients. In particular, we’ve seen strong interest in our Virtual PBX Complete solution, which allows our users to leverage the industry’s deepest feature set and the flexibility to use any phone, all at 40-80 percent savings over traditional phone services.”

Virtual PBX, inventor and leading supplier of hosted PBX services, recently learned the effect virtual offices have on businesses, surveying over 600 Small-and-medium business representatives – including CEOs, owners, partners, directors and sales managers.   The survey incorporated a wide range of topics including frequency of virtual office use, perceived effectiveness in a virtual setting, virtual office costs and use of technology that supports virtual offices.  The results were very interesting, to say the least.

Lets start with the top reasons SMBs adopt virtual offices.  According to the survey, the number one reason to work from home, chosen by 61 percent of respondents, was flexibility, followed closely by cost savings (54 percent), geographic distance of staff (42 percent) and the desire to reduce commute time, cost, and pollution (41 percent).

So just how many people work virtually, from home offices, coffee shops and other not-traditional locales?  A whopping 60.9 percent of respondents work from a virtual office almost all the time and 27 percent will work outside the office 2-10 days a month.  In addition 57 percent of survey-takers indicate that half or more of their workforce works outside the office during a typical month.

The below results may be part of the reason working from home is so popular among SMBs:

•   The majority of respondents – 59 percent – feel they are more  effective working from a virtual location than in a traditional office.

•   On the cost-savings front, 43 percent of the SMB leaders reported they save $1,000 or more each month on items such as rent, IT equipment,     phone service and supplies by using a virtual office. (Eight  percent of this group saves more than $10,000/month.)

Cell phones are extremely popular among virtual workers, with 87 percent of respondents using them as a business communications device.  However, landlines are still quite popular, coming in as the second choice at 49 percent.  VoIP phone lines and computer-based VoIP soft phone are used by 25 percent and 20 percent of the survey-takers, respectively.

According to the representatives, having both a local and a toll free number is extremely important in a virtual office, allowing them to appeal to both local customers and those outside their region.  Two-thirds of respondents have a local number for callers to reach them on while the same number also indicated they have a toll-free number.

Disliking “on hold” music, our survey takers much preferred their phone system features include “custom music or messages while on hold”.  This feature was even more popular than built-in conferencing, call forwarding to any phone, and caller preview.

On a racier note, some participants were all too honest when asked what they wear when working virtually. 3 percent of respondents admitted to working from home in their birthday suits!  Of the remaining survey takers, 50 percent prefer the comfort of working in shorts, T-shirt, and flip-flops; 37 percent dress up in business casual attire;  4 percent just stay in their pajamas and 2 percent dress to the nines in formal business attire.

So what did we learn?  Working virtually can help you to be more productive, help you save time and money, and apparently even save some people the hassle of dressing for work in the morning!  Let’s just make sure those particular employees attend the audio-only conference call!