CloudPhone Blog

Subscribe to Email Updates

Try CloudPhone!

Recent Posts

Time of Day Routing: Five Ways Your Small Business Can Benefit

Posted by Erica Berry

May 30, 2018 9:25:00 AM

As an entrepreneur with a busy schedule, time of day routing can help you manage your incoming calls and keep communications flowing when you’re on the go. Much like call forwarding, time of day routing allows for incoming calls to be treated differently based on the time of day and day of week – meaning you can set up rules for things like automatically rerouting calls to a different destination when your business is closed or sending a caller directly to voicemail during blocked off meeting times.

checking time

Here are some real-life examples of how time of day routing can work to make your business communications smooth and seamless.

  1. Lunch Time

We all need a break during the busy work day, so rather than having your much deserved lunch time disturbed (whether you’re eating, taking a stroll or hitting up the gym), make a routing rule that sends all callers directly to your voicemail during your lunch hour. You can tailor the voicemail to let the caller know you’ve stepped out, so they should expect a call back shortly. Your messages will be waiting there for you when you return!

2. Closed

Rather than let your callers listen to multiple rings when your shop doors are closed, why not just send them directly to your voicemail after work hours? They will thank you for the time-saved and you can share a tentative call back time with them in the voicemail message. For those true VIP callers, set up a separate "VIP" number with different routing rules to have their calls forwarded to your cell, ensuring you’ll never miss an important call.

3. Not Open Yet

Most small businesses lack the budget for additional staff to answer incoming calls at all times, especially before start of the work day - yet, they can’t afford to miss even one opportunity either. To mitigate missed sales opportunities you can allow incoming calls between early morning hours to go to voicemail and then take later calls on your cell while you’re on the way to the office.

4. Vacation

If you’re on vacation, chances are you don’t want to take a business call. So what’s the next best thing? Send it to a team member you trust. With time of day routing you can set parameters around what days you’ll be out of the office and route calls go to an alternate phone number, device, or location. You can also choose to forward phone calls to another number that routes to multiple employees at once.

5. In a Meeting

Business meetings generally either mean progress or money, so interrupting them for incoming calls can be de-railing. For standing meetings, set up a new parameter so that you are not disturbed. For an off-the-cuff meet up, simply turn off your phone (assuming you’ve already set up a routing schedule!) and let another team member field the incoming calls. You’ll be able to focus and save yourself the embarrassment of your ring tone sounding mid-conversation.

To us, time of day routing is a must-have for any size business and once you try it out we’re sure you will agree! So what are you waiting for? Get your routing in place and while you’re at it, explore all the other cool features Voxox Cloud Phone has to offer.

Topics: Business Call Routing

Hitting the Concert Scene? Stay Jamming With Cloud Communications

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:53:39 AM

For music-lovers, summer is concert season, filled with warm weather, cold drinks, shorts and dresses, outdoor venues, tailgating—all the things you dream about during a long, cold winter.  Whether you’re attending a three-day music festival or a one-night show, listening to live music fills you with the kind of joy you can’t find anywhere else.

As the owner of a new small business, however, it seems like you might have to skip this concert season to make sure you are available to deal with anything that comes your company’s way. But don’t cancel those ticket orders just yet, because with a cloud phone small business phone number, you can see all the shows you want and keep your business rocking.  

Concert Scene

A cloud communications application helps you manage your business on-the-go  by providing communications services through your mobile phone, smartphone or laptop. So as you wait for your favorite band to come out on stage you remain reachable to colleagues and customers alike with mobile features like:  

  • Reach Me Anywhere. Cloud communications connects incoming business calls to you or your staff wherever you choose, on any device. If you and your friends decide to catch the concert’s opening act and you know you’ll be unable to answer the phone, you can have calls routed to multiple employees, ensuring that someone will be able to answer.
  • Auto Attendant. No matter where you are, when customers reach out to you they are greeted professionally and presented with menu options to connect them to the correct department. If you need to close your office unexpectedly on a given day you can alter your greetings digitally from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
  • Voicemail Transcription. Voicemails are automatically transcribed and delivered to your email, allowing you to read messages like an email. So if you are unable to hear an urgent message due to the fact that 120 decibels of music are invading your ear canals, you’ll be able to read it word-for-word in your email and answer the call immediately if necessary. 

With all these great features you might think only rock stars would be able to afford cloud communications, but in fact, it will help you cut your current phone expenses. With a system maintained by a third-party host you don’t need to worry about paying for installation or equipment updates, which means you’ll be able to afford all the concert tickets you have your eye on. 

There are few feelings as frustrating as being stuck late at work on a beautiful day while all your friends are out having a good time. When you adopt a cloud-based phone service you never have to experience that feeling again, because you can manage your business from any location, even if you are surrounded by your fellow music-lovers as they dance the night away.

null

Topics: Voice Communication, Improve Your Business

Virtual Numbers: 10 Frequently Asked Questions, Answered! (Part 2)

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:53:30 AM

Our two-part blog series on virtual phone numbers continues as we answer more frequently asked questions. Read on to understand the benefits that a virtual number could have on your small business! 

Virtual_numbers_iphone

5. Do I need any special software or equipment to make it work?

Virtual numbers work exactly the same as any other phone number – once you set up forwarding through your virtual numbers provider, all you need is your existing phone! 

6. Can I forward multiple virtual numbers to a single calling device?

You can get as many virtual numbers as you want and they’ll all reach you at the phone of your choice.

7. Can I forward a single virtual number to multiple calling devices?

Yes! Typically, when you're setting up call forwarding, you can indicate that you'd like the call to forward to multiple phone numbers that are associated with specific calling devices (e.g., your cell phone, desk phone, home phone, softphone on your computer, etc.), either sequentially or simultaneously.

8. What happens if I don’t answer?

If you miss a call to your virtual number, the caller will be forwarded to your virtual number voicemail box. You can customize this voicemail greeting to reflect your brand and provide callers with more information about your business.

9. What features come with a virtual number?

The beauty of virtual numbers isn't just convenience and cost-savings, it's also the advanced features you get that go beyond your typical mobile phone features. Each virtual numbers provider has a slightly different list of features, but just to give you an idea, here's the Cloud Phone list:

  • Auto Attendant
  • Call Forwarding
  • Call Screening
  • Extensions / Users
  • Fax (Inbound)
  • International Call Forwarding
  • Local Phone Number
  • Management Portal
  • Outbound Calling
  • Professional Greetings
  • Reach Me Anywhere
  • Toll Free Numbers
  • Voicemail
  • Voicemail Transcription

10. Can I still use my regular phone number? 

Yes, of course! Your regular phone number will function just the same as always –if not better. Now that you have a virtual number to field your business calls, you can keep your cell phone number private and make your voicemail greeting as goofy as you’d like. 

Now that you’ve got the virtual numbers FAQ, you have all the information you need to put your business on the path to communications success. Do you currently use virtual numbers for your small business? Or, do you have any questions on how to get your business set up with a virtual number? Post in the comments below or connect with us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

null

Topics: Virtual Phone System, Cost-Effective Solution, Mobile Productivity, Business Phone Number, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

5 Ways Virtual Numbers Can Keep Your Team Productive During the Summer

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:53:23 AM

With warm weather and sunshine enticing you and your team to play hooky, summer months can be some of the least productive of the year. Thoughts of travelling, hitting the beach and enjoying the outdoors can leave employees feeling unmotivated and drained. So why not let them fulfill their summertime dreams, all while keeping productivity up? You can with virtual numbers.

Technology and mobile gadgets allow us to travel and work from anywhere, all while keeping in touch with globally dispersed teams. Virtual numbers are a convenient and inexpensive way to take important work-related calls with you while you’re on-the-go – and maybe even allow you to extend your vacation!

picjumbo.com_HNCK7769

Here are 5 ways your team can use virtual numbers (and all the features that come with them) to keep productivity up during the summer months.... and still enjoy the sunshine

1. Call Forwarding

If you want to work outdoors and won’t be around the office, call forwarding lets you take calls straight to your cell and avoid the risk of missing an important call.

2. Call Screening

Maintaining a professional image is essential for building rapport with clients, and that means giving out your cellphone number, no matter how dedicated it may seem, can backfire. By receiving work calls to your business’ virtual number, you will know when you’re fielding a business call – and if you’re not prepared to answer, just send it to voicemail – saving you face in case they caught you waist deep in margaritas! 

3. International Extensions

If you are planning to travel out of the country, you can set a 3 digit extension to follow you no matter where you are in the world. Say you're based in California and are planning to go to Belize on a family trip. As a business owner you're not able to unplug for too long, and luckily Belize has only a 1 hour time difference from your usual work day hours. You can set your virtual number to forward to your hotel or a local cell phone you rented, and the caller (who is dialing your main business line and extension will be able to reach you (if you want them to!). A great way to balance work and play and make the kids happy to stay abroad longer.

4. Voicemail

If a caller ends up at your voicemail, for whatever reason, they won’t be the wiser that they called a virtual number linked to your cell phone – as they’ll be prompted to leave a message by your custom, professional voicemail greeting. And you can easily and quickly pick up the voicemail, no matter where you are.

5. Voicemail Transcription

Listening to a voicemail isn’t always easy, especially when your cell service isn’t strong. But voicemail transcription lets you read your voicemails via email or text – so as long as you can grab a wifi signal you’ll be in the loop.

If you’re feeling a summer slump in workplace productivity or are looking for ways to avoid it all together, provide your team with the tool they need to succeed – a virtual number! With the right service, set-up is easy and because the benefits of virtual numbers go far beyond mobility, you’ll be reaping the rewards all year long. 

null

Topics: Cloud Phone, Virtual Phone System, Mobile Productivity, Business Phone Number, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Increasing Productivity with a Small Business Phone System

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:53:13 AM

As a small business owner with limited resources, improving productivity is likely at or near the top of your priority list. But if you type “how to improve productivity for a small business” into a search engine, the number of results you’ll receive will probably be similar to the number of stars in the universe.

New articles and videos filled with tips and tricks for improving operations are constantly popping up on the Internet and while many offer quality suggestions, the sheer volume can be a bit overwhelming. Implementing a dozen different strategies at once is probably not the best idea, so we suggest you start with one—adopting a small business phone system.

Small_Business_Productivity

Photo Courtesy of Flikr User Sebastiaan ter Burg

A phone service designed specifically for small and microbusinesses can increase productivity—specifically mobile productivity—by putting the power of an enterprise system in your pocket. With a cloud-based phone service you can use your mobile phone to get:

  • A business-specific line where you can be reached no matter where you are
  • Voicemail to email that ensures you get important messages even while you’re traveling
  • Professional greetings that can be customized from anywhere you have Internet access 

On top of productivity gains you’ll see your company can also cut costs with a small business phone service. Monthly fees are reasonable and because the service is web-based and maintained by the vendor you’ll avoid installation and maintenance costs altogether.

When you own a small business, you simply can’t afford to let valuable time go unused—fortunately you don’t have to.

Want some tips on creating a great mobile workforce? Take a look!

null

Topics: Voice Communication, Cloud Phone, Improve Your Business

Extending Your Business Presence with a Small Business Virtual Phone

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:53:04 AM

Those of you running your own non-employer business understand that at any given moment you might be your company’s billing, sales and marketing departments—all at once. As a sole proprietor you simply don’t have the option to turn a task over to a coworker. But just because every department of your company is actually just you, it doesn’t mean you have to look small-time to the outside world.

Small_Business_Cloudphone

A small business virtual phone can provide the same features and functionality offered by traditional wire-based systems including easy-to-set-up extensions for your departments. With this technology all you need is a mobile phone to get your business looking like a Fortune 500 company. 

For example, let’s say a prospect or new client calls your business specific line—another feature of a small business phone service—with a billing question while you’re in the tunnel at Grand Central Station or on an airplane to Los Angeles. Because of your location, you’re unable to answer the call. You are unable to answer the call. With a small business virtual phone, your customer is professionally greeted and presented extension options for each division of your company, giving you big business presence that projects an air of credibility.

No matter what industry you are in, competition is stiff in today’s congested marketplace. According to a customer service survey by Zendesk, 55 percent of customers said they switched to a different company for a product after having a bad customer experience, which can include something as seemingly insignificant as an unprofessional interaction with a company’s phone service.

You’ve worked tirelessly to build a great product or service and to generate leads and the last thing you need is to forfeit lose out on business because your phone system makes a bad impression. As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make…” well, you know. 

null

Topics: VoIP, Cloud Phone

Launch Your Startup into Success with a Small Business Phone System

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:52:57 AM

So, you’re a hot new startup operation with the potential to make an immediate impact on the market. But do you have the communications capabilities to support your goals? If you are struggling to find the right enterprise phone solution, perhaps you are looking in the wrong place.

Launch_Successful_Startup

Photo Courtesy of Flikr User Sebastiaan ter Burg

A small business phone system is designed for small companies and startups like yours. It gives you big business presence for a low monthly price, including features like: 

Auto attendants

When customers get a professional automated greeting they get the feeling they are dealing with a Fortune 500 Company and not a brand new venture. So if you happen to be indisposed when an important call comes through, your customers have a first impression that keeps them coming back. A small business phone system managed through the cloud also gives you ability to change your greeting—or other settings—as long as you have a connection.

Conference calling

Nothing looks more professional than the ability to loop in another member of your team to get an answer for a potential client at a moment’s notice.

Voicemail to email

Suppose you’re in a meeting, and you receive an important voicemail but you don’t want to leave the room. A voicemail transcription service takes care of this, granting you the power to read your voicemail right over the interface of your mobile device.

Virtual extensions

Virtual extensions are another way to extend your business presence. Even if you are a sole proprietor you can configure your system with extensions for billing, sales, or customer service departments.   

As a new business owner there is no reason to settle for less than the functionality you need or pay more than you can afford. Now, go forth and succeed!

null

Topics: Cloud Phone, Cost-Effective Solution, Improve Your Business

5 Steps to Micro-Business Social Media Success

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:52:50 AM

You took the plunge and started your own micro-business (i.e., a business that operates on a very small scale with just one or a handful of employees). You’ve created a logo, launched your website and set up a Facebook page, but now what? There are a thousand questions running through your head: should my business also be on Twitter? What about Instagram? How should I use my newly founded social pages to build brand awareness and gain clients while also running my company?

We get it, effectively using social media to market your business can be hard. Between decoding social media jargon, managing ads, organic reach and sharing relevant content across your social channels, there’s not a whole lot of time left to manage your business. However, there are ways to achieve social media success – even if you are a one or few-person micro-business.

CP_Office copy

Here are five steps to help your business’ social media channels work for you:

1. Stay focused

There are dozens of social media outlets, but putting your energy into one or two that best fit your business goals will gain you more than spreading yourself too thin. If you’re not sure where you fit in, find out where you clients hang out. Are they on LinkedIn, Twitter or Snapchat? Go where your ideal clients are – and be patient!

2. Complete your profile

Each social network has its own way of displaying profile information, but regardless of what format your bio comes in, it’s important to fill out all applicable aspects of your social profile – especially your contact info! While many of us do not want to share our personal phone numbers on our social media profiles, we do want clients to be able to get in touch. This is the perfect opportunity to use your Cloud Phone number. Your followers will know how to get in touch with you via phone, if they like, and your cell phone privacy is still intact – it’s a win-win!

3. Develop Street Cred

Having a social media presence means more than just having a page on Facebook and an Insta account. You also need followers – and you get them by being interesting, relevant and engaging. Invite influential people and industry leaders to Like your page, create compelling graphics, geotag when necessary and use all of the features social networks have to offer like hashtags and events.

4. Work Smarter

Content takes time to develop, so why do entrepreneurs continue to write blogs, create videos and take photos that they only share once? Because they often don't realize all the ways they can effectively leverage and disseminate content. Take a blog post for example, there are so many ways to cross-promote it: share the link on Facebook, create a promo image and share with the link on Instagram, create tweets from the content, etc. Use hashtags or @ mentions when applicable to broaden your reach and if you’re still in a bind for time, try sharing tools like Hootsuite that let you schedule posts in advance.

5. Drive traffic to your site

Your website is the hub of your business, but social is where people go to talk about it. When sharing deals, photos, events, etc. on your social pages, be sure to direct readers to your website for more information. This will increase traffic to your site, allow your readers to learn more about you (because they’re already on your site) and if you track analytics you can find what your clients are most interested in!

By using these five strategies you can develop an engaged social community and manage your micro-business – all within a day’s work and on a shoestring budget. Do you currently use any tools to help manage your social pages? Or are you struggling to keep us? Share your tips and your stressers in the comments below.

Topics: Small Business Productivity

5 Benefits of Virtual Phone Numbers for Small Business Owners

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:52:28 AM

For entrepreneurs like yourself, every hour of the day is dedicated to growing your company and every dollar earned is reinvested. With so much on your plate, having an inexpensive and professional way to manage communications for your growing business can be a life-saver. 

Enter: virtual phone numbers.

DeathtoStock_SlowDown4_copy

Virtual phone numbers can help you control your "phone presence" in an affordable, convenient way. This is why small-business owners everywhere are turning to them to maintain a professional image and keep money in the bank. Here are 5 benefits of virtual phone numbers:

1. Keep business and personal communications separate.

Sometimes you just don't want people you don't know very well to have your personal cell phone number. This is particularly true when you want to publish a phone number for your business online. (Who'd want their cell digits floating around the web?!) A virtual number lets you have a dedicated phone number for your business contacts that's separate from the direct cell number your friends and family use—all from one device. Also, when placing a call from your virtual number, the person on the other end sees your business line as the caller ID.

2. Consistent branding for your business.

Maintaining a professional and consistent image across all your communications is key to business success. Customers may think of you differently if they get a "Hey, this is Bob. Leave a message!" versus "You've reached Robert Smith Financial Advisers...". Now that you have a separate business line, you can create a custom message for your clients, letting them know they’ve reached your business, rather than your personal cell—giving you the professional edge you’ve been craving.

3. More features than your cell phone number. 

With virtual phone numbers, you typically get additional features, such as call forwarding, SMS and email notifications, advanced customization of your settings, advanced conferencing capabilities, etc. With business solutions, like Cloud Phone, you can also get simple extensions for employees (anywhere in the world!), voicemail transcription, and a ton of other useful features that you wouldn't necessarily get when using your personal cellphone to field business calls.

4. No dedicated hardware. 

Talk about flexibility and cost-effectiveness! Virtual phone numbers can work with your mobile phone and your employees' mobiles, so you don't have to pay for an expensive premise-based business phone system or extra phones to stay connected.

5. Toll free virtual numbers. 

Think the toll free number is a thing of the past? No way. The ability to make your business line a toll free number is a great way to expand your business and reach new markets.

If you want to increase efficiency, promote a professional image of yourself, and make it simpler for friends, family and business contacts to connect with you, consider adding a virtual phone number to your business profile. 

Have questions about how to add a virtual number or want to share how virtual phone numbers have improved your business communications? Comment below or connect with us on social media – FacebookTwitterGoogle+.

null

Topics: Virtual Phone System, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Score Big with Cloud Communications During the World Cup this Year

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:52:18 AM

The most popular, most highly anticipated sporting event is about to get underway bringing waves of global excitement along with it. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be watched by hundreds of millions of people this year, many who will cheer themselves red in the face when their home country scores a big goal.

If you are planning to follow the event closely, you can remind yourself every time you see a goal that you can score a victory for your small business by adopting cloud communications. Switching from a wire-based, legacy phone system to a cloud-based phone service is like scoring a miracle goal with just seconds remaining on the clock, because your company can simultaneously boost productivity and cut costs.

A cloud-based system is maintained over the Web through a third-part y vendor, meaning you don’t have to worry about installation and maintenance expenses. Furthermore you get one, low monthly bill that never comes with any surprises.  The cloud also offers all the features you’d get with a traditional enterprise, including:

  • An auto attendant that greets callers professionally and presents them with menu options

  • Voicemail transcription that turns voice messages into text that can be read when listening is not an option

  • Business-class voicemail that makes retrieving old messages simple and easy

  • Instant conference calling that boosts productivity and enhances collaboration

Whether you’re a fan of the U.S., Brazil, Italy, France or a different country, we know that you are certainly a fan of making more money in your small business. So even if your team doesn’t prevail in the World Cup this year, you can win big with cloud communications.