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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.

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.

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//.

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!

You Can Rely on VoIP
November 2nd, 2011

As VoIP is such a new technology, you may wonder how reliable it is. Communication is key to any business, so it must be reliable.  Most companies rely on multiple forms of communication, including telephones, email, web services, and more.  Of all these communication types, phone calls demand the highest level of instant interaction, and any delay or trouble with a phone call is noticed more quickly.  So call quality and reliability of your phone service are critical.  A major interruption in service can greatly impact a company’s performance and have far-reaching consequences and even poor call quality reflects negatively on your business. Inconsistent or unreliable phone service is simply unacceptable. So, if you are considering switching from a traditional phone service to a VoIP phone service, you may wonder if VoIP is something you can rely on.

Simply put, today, VoIP can be extremely reliable. VoIP has been around long enough for all the big issues to be worked out. With a good VoIP provider and solid internet service, problems such as latency, jitter, static, and dropped calls have been eliminated. Interestingly, the reasons some people worry about using VoIP – sound quality, dropped calls, intermittent loss of service – are the same concerns that afflicted the original PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phone system. PSTN quality has continued to improve over its many years of use, and old-style analog phone systems using copper wires for connection have become the standard for call quality.  VoIP is still undergoing important changes, but by selecting the right VoIP provider, you can already get quality and reliability that rivals analog connectivity.   VoIP communication services are progressing and evolving faster than ever and the issues associated with VoIP are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

In fact, now VoIP telephone service can be even more reliable than traditional telephone service and provide better features at a lower price. VoIP telephones will often work in situations when traditional telephone services won’t.  Suppose, for example, that you need to work from both home and office.  With VoIP, you can have service anywhere you have an internet connection. So even if you loose internet connection in your home or office, you can make and receive phone calls from any internet connection anywhere, whether you take calls on your desktop VoIP phone or a softphone on your computer or smart phone.  And the internet itself  is very reliable. It has built in redundancy, routing packets around any failing links.  The biggest reliability issue will be with your own Internet Service Provider (ISP), so you’ll want to select a provider that has a solid reputation for reliability.  To check your current service, you can run our VoIP Test and see the bandwidth, jitter, latency, and packet loss associated with your current connection..

In addition, the sound quality of a VoIP call can be as good if not better than a call made through traditional landline services.  This is because with VoIP, your voice breaks down to a digital form, which can be exactly reproduced at the other end of the call, unlike with landlines which can inject noise or lose strength over distance.

The real question in VoIP reliability may be in your choice of VoIP provider.  You’ll want to choose a company with a strong reputation for reliability, and know what they do to make sure your phone system stays up and running, all the time. VirtualPBX has taken all the precautions to ensure you will have the most reliable VoIP service available.  Our service runs in a secure, hardened data facility that is part of our national infrastructure.  It has many sources of power, carriers, and lines, including primaries and multiple backups in each area.  In addition, we’ve built the whole system with reliability in mind.  Every component has multiple backups and redundancy.  So if a component fails, your calls are not affected.  In most cases, over half of our equipment could fail and you’d still get your calls.  This is one of the reasons Virtual PBX is so well known for its reliability and quality.  For more information, check out the Quality and Reliability page of our website at http://www.virtualpbx.com/learn-more/quality-reliability/.

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 Agent Program
July 28th, 2011

In our last blog, we explained why joining the VirtualPBX Affiliate program was an excellent way to jump aboard the growing wave of VoIP technology and expand your sales opportunities.   In this entry, we will discuss a different way to partner with Virtual PBX – the Virtual PBX Agent program.

Virtual BX Agent Program

The Virtual PBX Agent program is designed for high-volume, hands-on business partners who are interested in providing their customers with a quality virtual phone service, while at the same time continuing to be their customer’s primary point of contact for all things telephony as well as other services the Agent may sell.

Unlike a one-time payout, the VirtualPBX Agent program allows you to build long-term residual income you will continue to get paid a percentage of the customer’s monthly service fee.  You will continue to be paid as long as they’re a Virtual PBX customer and as long as you are a Virtual PBX Agent.

Advantages of the VirtualPBX Agent Program

When you become a VirtualPBX Agent, you can offer your customers a service that fills a critical function in their business – their PBX service. By supplementing your current portfolio of products and services with VirtualPBX, you meet more of your customers’ business needs and strengthen your relationship with your customer as a valued business partner and trusted advisor. And as customers rely upon you for more, you will be able to expand your sales opportunities in all aspects of your business.  By partnering with Virtual PBX, you get;

  • Robust Product Offerings
  • Competitive Commission Structure
  • Training and Agent Support
  • Award-Winning Service
  • Simple System Interface
  • Sales and Marketing Support

Our Virtual PBX Agent program provides true competitive advantage.

We have put together a comprehensive program designed to enable our Agents to be as productive and successful as possible. We believe that building long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships are the key ingredient to customer satisfaction, increased sales, and profitability.

Our agent program provides all the services and features the business customer demands.  Our system is easy to setup for you and your customers, and we provide all the materials and support you need to make the sale.  Agent benefits include:

  • Marketing Support – We provide on-line marketing tools, collateral, and content to support your marketing and sales efforts.
  • Sales Training – We have documented our most successful practices in our sales methodology, which we will share with your sales organization. We will also cover how to qualify prospects, countering objections, and competitive closing tactics.
  • Sales Support – Our sales team is available and compensated to support your sales team, if they have questions about our service or how to sell it. We even support you on joint sales calls when the opportunity warrants the extra effort.
  • Support Training – We provide second level support for advanced features that require operational support and configuration by VirtualPBX; and support to any technical issues.

Virtual PBX Agent Responsibilities
As an Agent, you will build and maintain the customer relationship by providing support to the initial sales transaction, providing first level end-user support after the sale, and on-going account management to growth the business.

Execute a full marketing plan
We expect our Agents to develop and execute a full marketing plan to introduce VirtualPBX to the current customer and prospect base. The plan may include direct marketing campaigns such as email or postcard blasts, dedicated web page, partner developed collateral, and event marketing.

Maintain customer relationship
As an Agent, you will build and maintain the customer relationship by providing support to the initial sales transaction, providing first level end-user support after the sale, and on-going account management to growth the business

Meet minimum revenue commitments
Agents commit to achieve an agreed minimum level of VirtualPBX revenue of $10,000 per year.

The VirtualPBX Agent program is an excellent way to build a growing base of residual income from your customers that need a virtual phone system.  If you’re in the position of hand-holding your customers and maintaining your position as their go-to contact for all things telephony and technical, then the VirtualPBX Agent program is perfect for you.

To learn more about the VirtualPBX Agent program, please see our Partners page at http://www.virtualpbx.com/communities/overview/partners/affiliate-signup/

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.