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Erica Berry

Recent Posts

7 Simple New Year's Resolutions That Will Improve Your Business Phone Communications in 2019

Posted by Erica Berry

Jan 31, 2019 12:00:00 PM

New Year's resolutions don't have to be big commitments you'll give up on by the end of February. As a business owner you have enough to stress about, let alone committing to your over-the-top New Year's resolutions! So we've put together a list of resolutions you can commit to and accomplish in just a few minutes. These will not only improve your business phone communications, but also save you time and make you more productive all year long. New Years Resolution 2019

 So, here's our list. Start checking them off today:

  1. Sign up for a virtual number (if you haven't yet!) -- brainstorm your strategy on how to take advantage of extra numbers that route back to your main line.
  2. Commit to communicating via text with clients -- it saves time and can make a big difference in business productivity. 
  3. Keep your voicemail greeting updated -- fresh and relevant is something your clients will love! 
  4. Update your phone directory as needed -- ensure that your callers' time is valued and respected with an efficient way to reach the department or person they need within your business.
  5. Utilize voicemail transcriptions -- another time saver and great for keeping your voicemail messages on record.
  6. Set up call forwarding -- especially useful when you're on the go.
  7. Use your Virtual Receptionist(s) -- a great way to keep your business phone communications professional.

So what's the next step? It's time to take these resolutions and put them into action. New Year's resolutions are designed to bring improvements during the coming year and these seven simple resolutions will have your business phone communications rocking in 2019!

Topics: Small Business Productivity

3 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Tips for Your Small Business Phone System

Posted by Erica Berry

Dec 21, 2018 12:00:00 PM

The holidays are upon us and businesses everywhere, big and small, are working hard to beat the holiday rush. As a small business owner, your time and resources are limited, especially during the holiday hustle, so we put together a few last-minute ways you can update your small business phone system to have a seasonal twist!

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Here are a few simple ideas on how to reign in the holiday spirit and treat your audience using your business phone in just a few minutes:

1. Record a Festive Voicemail

When clients call and they can’t reach you because you’re with family for the holidays, the next best thing is your voicemail—so why not make it fun by adding a little holiday flare? A customized and cheery voicemail will show your personality and give your clients a memorable experience. Try something like this: "Ho, ho, ho! You've reached Mindy's Salon. I'm either away from the workshop or with another little elf. Please leave a message and I'll call you back! Happy holidays!"

2. Send a Cheery SMS

Snail mail is great, but a text is a fast, convenient and inexpensive way to stay in touch with your client base. Over the holidays, send a festive message wishing them a Happy Holiday… and if you can, include a coupon or discount code for use in the New Year!

3. Create Holiday Extensions

With a virtual phone system like Voxox CloudPhone, updating extensions is easy, so adding in an extension for the North Pole or Santa's Workshop will give your customers a delight. It's also super easy to switch back to normal once the stockings and garland are packed away!

We hope these tips will liven up your business’ seasonal marketing and provide your clients with a little holiday joy! Do it today and share any fun client responses you get in the comments below!

 

Topics: Cloud Phone, SMB

4 Easy Ways to Thank Customers and Increase Business

Posted by Erica Berry

Nov 8, 2018 8:08:00 AM

The holidays are a time of celebration, giving, and showing thanks and gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life – including your thriving small business! Relaying client appreciation is a simple way to show you care and value their business, plus it gives your business a reason to get in touch, enabling you to foster brand loyalty. Staying top of mind is essential in keeping your customers engaged and their line of business open.

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there’s no better time than now to kick-start your holiday marketing plan. Here are a few simple ideas you can put into action today using your virtual phone system, like Voxox Cloud Phone:

 1. Create a Special Offer Phone Number

If you’re in direct response sales and take orders over the phone, creating a virtual phone number specific to special price ads is a perfect way to show your customers you appreciate their attention – and their business. Here’s how it would work: Your company runs an ad—radio, print, digital—and each advertisement has a special “discount” number to call. The buyer gets a deal and you get the sale!

 2. Record a Festive Greeting

Updating your voicemail is a quick and easy way to stay relevant and it gives your callers something to smile about! Try adding a bit of the warm holiday feels to your greeting, like this:

Thank you for calling (insert company name). We are sorry to have missed you but are very thankful for your call and wish you a very happy holiday season! We will return your call shortly!

3. Send Thoughtful Texts

Texting isn’t just for teens anymore, businesses are hopping on the SMS train and customers are loving the new way of communicating. Sending your clients a “Happy Thanksgiving” or holiday-themed message with a coupon code or a sale notification is an amazing way to show your appreciation and get them back in the door—a win-win!

4. Turn on Reach Me Anywhere

The holidays are a busy time for everyone and that includes your customers. If you’re in a retail business or run a shop where instant and direct client communication can make or break a sale, turn on the Reach Me Anywhere feature on Voxox Cloud Phone so you’ll never miss a call… or a sale. This is easily turned off once the holiday rush passes, but your clients will appreciate your “always on” status.

A positive customer experience is crucial to customer retention and referrals and directly impacts your bottom line. On the flip side, a negative experience or even a lack of experience (read no contact at all) can have your customers looking elsewhere to fill their needs. One contributing factor to the customer experience is customer appreciation, and lucky for business owners, that’s something you can influence.

Use this list to surprise and delight your customers throughout the year – and add in a few tactics of your own!

4 Ways to Engage Customers When They Just Don’t Have Time to Listen

Posted by Erica Berry

Sep 28, 2018 10:30:00 AM

With back to school now in full swing, everyone is just a bit busier. Whether you are a business owner who happens to be a parent, or if you own a business where parents or school age children are your main customers, you know that back to school season and school months can be a hectic time for your business!

Staying top of mind for your busy clientele and making sure your calendar is full is key to keeping your bottom line intact—shout out to photographers, local barbers, restaurant owners or the neighborhood coffee shop! With new technology and automated systems, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with your customers in a number of ways.

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Here are a few ideas on how to keep your clients engaged:

1. Send Extra Text Reminders

Sending an extra text reminder is never a bad idea on the regular, much less when parents are busy running around shopping for tonight’s groceries or dropping kids of at practice. By reminding your clients about their hair, nail, massage, etc. appointment several times leading up to it (i.e.: a week before, day before and day of), there is less chance it will slip off their radar and a better chance you won’t be stuck with an empty, unpaid seat.

2. Make Old Fashioned Phone Calls

Depending on your business and your relationship with your clients, calling your customers before their upcoming appointment or reservation is a great way to make sure your calendar stays booked. If you own a restaurant, confirm the reservation a day ahead of time. If the original customer can’t make it, at least you’ll know the table is open for another paying patron.

3. Offer Timely Discounts and Sales

Everyone loves a deal, especially money-conscious parents, so why not take advantage of it with a promotion or coupon? Sharing a text or email campaign offering your clients a discount on coffee during a certain time of the day (perhaps right after school drop offs) or a coupon to your restaurant on a usually slow week night is a great way to drum up business!

4. Record Themed Voicemails

If you own a business like a photography studio or a hair salon where incoming calls are the norm, have fun with your voicemail greetings. Try holiday themed ideas or a play on words with your business name or the season. For example, “Hi there! Are you FALL-ing into a hairstyle rut? Our expert stylists can help. Please leave your name, number and preferred time to come in and I’ll get back to you shortly. We look forward to sprucing up your ‘do!”

When put to work strategically, automation and technology can save your small business time and money – and generate business! At Voxox, we aim to make running your small business easier by providing a convenient, reliable and cost-effective solution for business phone communications.

Have any other ideas on how local business can use technology and automation to engage their customers? We’d love to hear it. Comment below!

Topics: Business SMS, Cloud Phone

Why call transfer makes sense for small business

Posted by Erica Berry

Jul 30, 2018 9:00:00 AM

With the increased number of remote workers in the US and across the globe, chances are you have team members who work from a coffee shop across state lines or a beach on a tropical island. Wherever they are, having a call transfer feature for your mobile (powered by a service like Voxox Cloud Phone) allows you to transfer business phone calls to the mobile phones of your colleagues—no matter where they are and all while you're still on the line. 

The ability to seamlessly transfer calls not only gives your business a professional feel, but it also allows you to keep the caller engaged. Rattling off a phone number and expecting a caller to remember it and actually call back is a lot to expect. Once they're on the line, you don't want to lose them due to outdated technology. 

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Here’s how call transfer works:

Let's say you're working from home and you receive a call to your sales extension from a prospective client (with Voxox Cloud Phone you can configure multiple "departments" to ring to the same phone). You answer and after a brief conversation realize your colleague, Ben, was the one who originally scoped them out and has been working to close the deal. Rather than jumping in the middle, you decide Ben should take the call. You let the caller know they'll be transferred, you enter Ben's virtual extension, and voila—Ben's phone is ringing and he's connected with the client on the spot.

Ben picks up, closes the deal and your business just earned a new contract. Would this have happened if you told the caller they needed to hang up and call Ben directly? Maybe, but why risk it?

While not all sales hinge on a phone call and not all phone calls are the crux of a sale, call transfer offers two enormous benefits: convenience for your team and callers, and a professional feel that won’t go unnoticed. It’s important, especially as a small business, to recognize the image you portray to incoming callers when your phone system sounds and acts like a business phone system should.

Call transfer is a feature that all businesses, big and small, need. When coupled with additional enterprise level features like conference calling, business SMS and voicemail transcription, your phone system starts to work for you—saving you time so you can focus on building your business.

Topics: Cloud Phone, Business

The More, the Merrier: How Your Small Business Can Benefit from Multiple Virtual Receptionists

Posted by Erica Berry

Jun 22, 2018 9:06:00 AM

Entrepreneurs and small business owners have been making the switch to virtual number services because they are cost efficient, convenient for travel and come with a slew of enterprise-level features. One of such helpful features is a Virtual Receptionist (also known as “auto-attendant”). This automated service handles your incoming calls, allowing callers to be transferred to an extension or sent to a specific voicemail without going through a real-life telephone operator or receptionist. This can be a life-saver for small businesses unable to afford a full-time employee for fielding calls. The Virtual Receptionist saves time and money, while maintaining the business image and operations. 

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If one Virtual Receptionist helps keep your business communications flowing... imagine what multiple Virtual Receptionists can do! Voxox Cloud Phone has taken this question seriously and recently launched the ability for Cloud Phone users to program multiple Virtual Receptionists that can route from one to the other. Having multiple Virtual Receptionists lets smal business owners create multiple greetings and menu options for callers, creating even more efficiency in communications. 

Here are a few ways you can put this new feature to work for your business today:

1) Menu option that connects to a Spanish language Virtual Receptionist

Spanish is the second-most widely spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese), with over 400 million native speakers, so chances are your business has gotten a Spanish-speaking caller or two! Providing a convenience and courtesy like a bilingual Virtual Receptionist menu will not go unnoticed by your Spanish-speaking customers.

2) Two businesses on one account with their own greeting and menu options

Micro or small business owners that want to go in on a virtual phone system together to save a little bit of cash can each program their own Virtual Receptionist to fit their business needs. This is also a cost effective and convenient feature for those who own more than one business and want to consolidate phone services for their companies.

3) Switching between weekday and weekend Virtual Receptionist menus

Some virtual phone systems like Voxox Cloud Phone let you set call answering parameters based the day and time. Combined with the multiple Virtual Receptionist feature, you can make sure callers are always receiving the correct message and menu options – no matter when they call.

Have any other ideas for how to use multiple Virtual Receptionists? Comment below and share with us!

Topics: Cloud Phone

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.

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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

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! 

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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+.

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

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!

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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. 

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

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.

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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