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6 Business Phone Features You Need in 2017

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:45:16 AM

Being the tech savvy and business smart entrepreneur that you are, you know that a nimble, easy-to-use business phone system is a must-have to stay connected in 2017 -- so why is it that although communications technology continues to make strides every year (both in terms of convenience and cost-effectiveness), we continue to see antiquated phone systems in small businesses around the country? Let's do more this year to leave the old behind and rally around change for the better!

One key to making business communications effortless is to incorporate what you already have and use with what's new and simple. For many small ventures, "business phone system" doesn't have to revolve around special phone equipment and/or expensive contracts with local carriers.  There are services that quickly, easily, and affordably allow you to set up a business phone number and advanced business calling features. For example, with a virtual PBX service (like Cloud Phone!) you can instantly set up a business phone number that routes to your existing phone(s), among many other handy business features. This means you can easily use one device for all calls, but still keep your personal and business phone presence separate.  

So what are some of the awesome features of such a virtual business phone system? Here are 6 of our faves:

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  1. Extensions

Something that's a basic but important feature within a traditional business phone system is the ability to set up extensions, in case your callers need to reach a specific person or department within your small business.  The nice thing about the business phone number (called a virtual number) that you set up through a virtual PBX service is that you can also set up extensions that route calls to the cell phones of your business colleagues and/or employees, thereby bypassing the traditional type of business phone system setup entirely without losing the necessary connectedness.  It's so easy and doesn't require any special equipment -- just makes efficient use of everyone's existing phones, cutting out the expenses and keeping up with customer expectations.

  1. Business SMS

Texting is the new calling – and has been for a while – so why are some businesses so anti-text? Maybe because their current business phone systems don’t support it. But there are virtual PBX services that do. For example, two-way texting is complimentary with Cloud Phone subscriptions, allowing you to quickly and easily send and receive text messages from your business number. 

  1. Voicemail Transcription

Voicemail transcription puts all your voice messages into text so you can easily read them, then delete or save for later. One of our all-time favorite features, voicemail transcription is a great tool for busy people because it allows you to read a message if you’re in a meeting, check in on past messages without sorting through annoying voice files, or even forward the message to someone who can take care of the matter – all with just a click of a button.

  1. Management Portal

User experience is important because it can make managing and customizing your business phone system simple and easy (as opposed to a waste of  precious time!).  With the right virtual PBX service, the management portal allows users to quickly access call logs, update settings, change billing info, upgrade plans, add numbers / extensions, contact support - and best of all, you can access it from any location or device.

  1. Conference Calling

With a solid virtual PBX service, you can connect several callers at the same time on one call – which means even with dispersed team or clients across the country, you can still get work done. Conference calls save time and confusion from relayed messages, plus in 2017 we all know collaboration is the key to success. 

  1. Call Recording

Have you ever been on a call only to hang up and then instantly forget an important detail? Or have a client call in with a support issue you wanted to forward to your tech crew? With call recording you can listen in on your past calls to review details like new phone numbers or confirmation numbers, monitor support issues, and to forward a recording to a colleague.  Bye-bye paper and pencil!

Among your New Year's resolutions for your small business: re-evaluate your current phone communications approach and try simplifying!  From the joy you feel when not spending a fortune on your business phone system to the points you'll score with your team and clients for staying on top of business communications, we know adopting new phone communications tools like a virtual PBX service will make 2017 better and brighter. 

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Virtual Phone System, Mobility

Bring Remote Teams Together with a Cloud-Based Phone Service

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:45:07 AM

When choosing a phone service for your business, there are many factors to consider. You want reliable service with sophisticated calling features your customers and team members expect, all at a great price. While some phone services might have a few of the qualities you’re looking for, most traditional business phone services / landlines don’t measure up to new technologies with respect to flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

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In today’s world, where physical businesses, team members and even customers are located all over the globe, a cloud-based phone can be a life saver when it comes to keeping the lines of communications between team members open and affordable – no matter where they are.

Here are three ways a cloud-based phone service can help bring your dispersed team members together…

1. Connect with Team Members All Over the World

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A cloud-based phone service can offer you an effortless way to keep team members connected whether they are in a different hemisphere or just down the road. Many cloud-based phone services work with the mobile phones your employees already have, which empowers them to keep in touch effortlessly. There’s no need for multiple mobile devices or complicated (and expensive!) traditional hardware, just one single cellphone that will connect wherever your team members roam. Also, some cloud-based phone services (like our very own Cloud Phone!) offer a way to connect employees globally via a 3 or 4 digit extension, which can make those international numbers much easier to dial.

2. Save on Those International Bills

These days, many small businesses rely on virtual employees who work across the country or even around the globe. With a cloud-based phone service you can say goodbye to the days of high international rates, spending hours (or even days!) tracking down employees, missed messages and unreturned phone calls, because a cloud-based phone service is so flexible and affordable that a modern entrepreneur just can’t go wrong here when it comes to cost savings!


3. Sophisticated Calling Features

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Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a mom-and-pop, a professional phone service is a must. Not only does it give customers the impression that you’re a bigger business, but it also makes staying connected much easier for employees and business partners. There are many compelling calling features that a cloud-based phone service might have that will help your workforce do their jobs effectively. Here are examples from our cloud-based phone service, Cloud Phone:

  • Dedicated business phone number (toll free or local) that forwards to any existing mobile phone or landline
  • Simple 3-digit extensions that forward incoming calls to employees / departments anywhere in the world
  • Voicemail transcription with email delivery
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call screening
  • Web Callback
  • And more!

If you’re still relying on outdated technology to keep your business communications afloat, it’s time for your company to move on to a more convenient, cost-effective and feature-rich business phone option like a cloud-based phone service. It will change the way your team members communicate, for the better!

Have questions about how to make the switch or want to share your cloud-based phone service success stories? Comment below or connect with us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+.

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Cost-Effective Solution, Mobility, Mobile Productivity, Business Call Routing

Three Things You Don't Know About Cloud Communications Applications

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:45:01 AM

With communications coming over a dizzying array of channels it’s no wonder that many companies can quickly become overwhelmed and fragmented. But there is hope. In fact, there’s more than that—there are cloud communications applications!

Cloud Phone

Cloud communications applications are the perfect way to seamlessly integrate your telecommunications strategy and tools into one intuitive system, and your one stop shop solution for a small business phone number. But even if you’ve heard a little about the technology, you may have missed a few things along the way:

  1. Wires are O-U-T: When you leverage cloud communications you essentially put an entire enterprise PBX system in your mobile phone. When that happens, there is no need to keep a legacy wire-based system around the office. So it’s time to rip it out!
  2. Set up in a flash: Did you know that with a cloud communications application like Cloud Phone you can start configuring your system in one minute? Yes, it may sound too good to be true, but it’s as real as the mobile phone you can use to get a business-specific number and get cranking right away.
  3. Always affordable: Getting rid of on-premises hardware does more than make life easier—it helps you cut costs as well. Without equipment to maintain and keep updated in your office you cut out on recurring costs—forever!

Benefits like these make cloud communications an easy choice for small business phone system your business. And now that you know what these applications are all about, it’s time to get started!

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Topics: Voxox, Business Phone Number, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Five Smart Uses of SMS for Small Businesses

Posted by Natasha Grach

May 10, 2018 10:44:53 AM

It's often a bit awkward having to give out your personal cell phone number so that clients can send you text messages about business matters. Luckily with technologies like virtual PBX services, you can give out a "http://info.cloudphone.com/blog/5-clever-ways-to-use-phone-numbers-to-grow-your-business" target="_blank">business phone number and have both your business calls and texts instantly routed to your existing cell phone. You maintain a professional image and separate work/life identities via your dedicated business line, while also evading the extra cost and hassle of having to manage two devices. How often do business owners find themselves texting back and forth with their clients and employees?  It's so informal, right?  With 90 percent of people reading a text message within the first 3 minutes, according to MobileSQUARED, it's the fastest and most effective way to get in touch! 

Here are some uses of two-way business texting that can be highly impactful, while also not encroaching as much on your work life balance as handing out your personal cell number might.

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1. VIP Customer Support

Providing great customer service is essential for keeping clients happy, but sometimes phone and email communications just won't cut it. That's where text messaging comes in. Giving your VIP client contacts -- the ones with the killer accounts -- access to text support through your business phone number (aka ability to reach you anywhere at anytime) is a sure way to keep them happy and coming back for your products or services.

2. Escalation

Texting with clients and colleagues is a fast and efficient way to escalate an urgent matter. Sometimes you have to explain a situation in depth, whether it's an email or a voicemail, but the person you're trying to reach is not in front of a computer or can't pick up the phone and listen to a message (in a meeting, perhaps). A text can be incredibly useful to notify someone about an urgent communication that you've sent them -- and also a quick way to receive a response. 

3. Company Announcements

With hundreds of emails coming in each day, it's inevitable we will overlook one here and there -- even if it's internal, and from the boss. Plus, with teams working remotely and with little time to spare for distracting and long group meetings, text announcements just make sense. So, next time you have a company announcement like a new initiative, sales incentive or social event, try SMS. You'll be able to communicate the details effectively without upsetting workflow. 

4. Subscribing to a Work-Specific SMS Marketing List

There are times when you need to subscribe to a work-related marketing list. But there's that fear of using your own personal cell phone number, in case you start getting unwanted communications, reminders, marketing offers, etc. If you have a virtual PBX service providing your SMS-enabled business phone number for your company, you can always add a temporary virtual number to your account for things like this. The cost is low and this additional virtual line can be canceled fast.

5. Take Orders

If you're buying something for business purposes, you might want your business-related texts to be captured separately from your personal texts -- another handy use of a virtual PBX service. Say you're ordering supplies, or even pizza for an office party...always good to have a separate record of your business expense-related communications.

SMS is an essential part of our everyday lives -- it's how many people connect these days and it's accessible to nearly everyone. SMS can be a very useful tool to keep in touch with clients and colleagues when phone and email just won't do -- but keeping your business identity separate from your personal identity is typically a good idea.

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Topics: iPhone, Android, Cloud Phone, Texting, Mobile Productivity, Business SMS, Cloud Phone Mobile App

Make This a Blockbuster Summer with Cloud Communications

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:44:45 AM

There’s a reason movie studios target summer for their biggest releases: customers are in a positive frame of mind and ready for the spectacle of a summer blockbuster.

Similarly, this summer could be a blockbuster success for your business—and cloud communications might just be the way to achieve it. As mobility and connectivity reach new levels of sophistication and power, cloud communications has become the name of the game. Its blend of galvanizing tools and easy-to-use interfaces empower businesses like never before.

Blockbuster Summer

With a cloud communications application like Cloud Phone—a new offering from Voxox designed specifically for small businesses—you get a myriad of benefits, including:

  • Consolidation of communications tools, making them easier and more intuitive to use
  • Low price points and no additional service or hardware maintenance fees
  • Anywhere access
  • The reliability of a system maintained over the Internet

Add to those benefits features like a professional auto attendant, virtual extensions, Reach Me Anywhere call forwarding and voicemail transcription and you can see how a cloud communications application provides the functionality of a Fortune 500 small business phone system at a fraction of the cost.

So don’t settle for poorly produced sequels this summer like upgrades to a dated legacy phone system or costly downtime. You’ve seen that film before and it’s played out.  Instead, harness the power of cloud communications this summer and make your company a box office smash!

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Topics: Voxox, Business Phone Number, Small Business Productivity

Don't Juggle Multiple Phones, Get a Small Business Virtual Phone System

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:44:18 AM

Are your pockets heavy? Are your pocketbook strings tethered from all the equipment you are toting around? Does a typical dinner out involve your three cell phones sitting next to your flatware? Ah… the trials and tribulations of being a one-man business.

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The fact is that today’s budding entrepreneurs are forced to do more with less. They wear the sales, marketing and operations hats—in addition to the CEO cap. Moreover, they tend to technical support problems in addition to investor meetings. And the only way they can manage all of this is with three or four phones on hand.

Trying to figure out how you can get down to just one phone? Then say hello to Cloud Phone, your small business virtual phone system. Let’s take a closer look at what Cloud Phone offers:

  • Scalability: Today you may be a one-person show, but three months from now you may have four individuals on payroll. Instead of paying for extra seats every time you scale—or for multiple phones—choose a small business virtual phone system that scales with you. With Basic, Plus and Pro plans, Cloud Phone allows you to easily add users to your system.

  • Value-Add: Your personal iPhone may be great when it comes to Siri and apps, but you need a phone for your business that has enterprise-class features and capabilities. Cloud Phone allows you to compete aggressively with the big boys in your space with its plethora of value-adds. Features include instant conference calling, voicemail-to-email notification and professional call greetings, among others.

  • Cost Savings: Keeping up with several phones is not only a nuisance; it can be a budgetary nightmare. With Cloud Phone, your fledgling company can enjoy initial and ongoing cost savings because your phone system is operated and maintained by Voxox, creators of Cloud Phone. This means you can say goodbye to upfront investments and repair and maintenance costs. You can also say goodbye to that hassle of managing multiple phones (which also affects your bottom line).

So… you ready to head to the trash can? Simplicity and affordability await!

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Small Business Productivity

How a Local Small Business Virtual Phone Number Equals Customers

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:44:11 AM

Competition in today’s global marketplace is fierce, and your customers are constantly bombarded with affordable alternatives to your product or service. Their attention is fragmented and that means retention is increasingly difficult.

This problem has a surprisingly easy solution: a small business virtual phone number. Through solutions like Voxox’s Cloud Phone, a local phone number puts your customers at ease and makes it easier for you to gain their loyalty.

If you’re worried about someone being there to answer that number or take the appropriate message, don’t be. Not only do tools like Cloud Phone offer that small business virtual phone number, they also offer services that help you manage it, like:

Small Business Virtual Phone

  • Customizable voicemail: professional-level greetings offer the highest level of personalization, allowing your business’ character to shine through
  • Auto attendant: no message will go unanswered, and will always be routed to the appropriate business partner
  • Voicemail transcription: even in a crowded room or a busy meeting, business owners will remain in touch with their clients

This kind of sophisticated, comprehensive solution can help you build trust with your customers. Trust, in a crowded and fragmented marketplace, may be the number one commodity that keeps your customers coming back.

Cost is another benefit you’ll be able to pass along to your customers after adopting a small business virtual phone number. With a low monthly service fee that covers all of Cloud Phone’s services, business owners can drop expensive legacy phone fees from their books and pass those savings to customers—and everyone loves savings.

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Send Profits Sky High With Cloud Communications

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:44:04 AM

As a small business owner you are probably an expert in turning a consistent profit even with relatively thin margins. By stretching your resources as far as they’ll go without overextending your bandwidth you’re able to strike a balance that allows you to thrive in a difficult market.

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Photo Courtesy of Flikr User Sebastiaan ter Burg

But what if you could take a little bit of the pressure off? Wouldn’t it be nice to worry less about expenses and more about expanding your company? If you’ve been asking these questions recently, a cloud communications application may hold the answer. 

A cloud communications application gives you all the functionality of a traditional enterprise system without the hassle and cost. The system is maintained over the Internet, so you won’t have to pay for an expensive installation visit from a technician. You can get up-and-running in a matter of minutes and because you don’t need any hardware to use the phone service, you’ll never have to pay for equipment upkeep. 

A cloud communications application can also give your company a boost in productivity by sending callers to the right departments or extensions the first time through the automated attendant. With a fully-baked solution you get big business features like:

  • A toll free business-specific phone number to give to customers and contacts
  • Reach Me Anywhere technology that connects incoming business calls to you and your  
             employees anywhere you choose on any device
  • Voicemail transcription that lets you read your voicemails when you can’t listen


Clouds typically reside in the sky, but with a cloud communications you can send your profits soaring skyward as well. With entrepreneurs like you adopting this technology in droves there is no doubt that cloud communications is the future of business

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Small Business Productivity

7 Things That Cause Your Call Quality to Suck (and how to fix it)

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:43:57 AM

INTRODUCTION:

The list post is one of the most popular and readable blog formats on the web. It is composed of -- you guessed it -- a list, and includes short explanatory paragraphs about each item.

Use your introduction as a way to tell the reader how this collection of ideas will help them. Keep it light by including a personal story. If you have any data that you can include relating to your list, include that in your introduction, too.

Here are some examples of how we use list blog posts here at HubSpot:

BODY:

Now deliver what you promised in the first section. This is the longest part of the post, so make it easy to read. Use short paragraphs, bullet lists, and bold headings to set different sections apart.

Some common section headers include:

1. Reason #1 why writing a list-based post is helpful

2. Reason #2 why writing a list-based post is super helpful to your marketing

3. Reason #3 why everyone should be writing list-based posts

You can use bulleted lists, numbered list, or multiple headings. Include as many steps, numbers, or bullets that will allow you to discuss your topic thoroughly.

Here are some pointers to make the best possible body of your blog:

  • Include visuals
  • Include short explanatory phrases in your headers
  • At the end, transition into your conclusion


CONCLUSION:

Now it’s time to say goodbye and wrap up your post. Remind your readers of your key takeaway, reiterate what your readers need to do to get the desired result, and ask a question about how they see the topic to encourage comments and conversation. Don't forget to include a Call-to-Action!

Congratulations! What a lovely list post you've created!

Topics: Cloud Phone, call quality, code c

Having Business Math Problems? Solve It With Cloud Communications!

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:43:39 AM

Are you losing sleep trying to calculate your monthly budget? If your budgetary math is preventing you from experiencing the full benefits of entrepreneurship, here’s a hint: You need to revise your strategy and invest in a cloud communications solution in other words a small business phone number with tons of cost-savings and features.

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Here are some of the great benefits the cloud will afford your organization:

Hardware savings: Migrating to the cloud will help your business avoid the hassles a costly legacy-based phone system. This means you can re-allocate the money you would need to spend on a server elsewhere in your organization. Legacy systems also require lengthy installations and ongoing maintenance which can drain resources and eat up all the time of your IT professionals. With the cloud, you never have to worry about paying for malfunctioning equipment or upgrades.

Rent savings: Once you invest in a cloud communications solution, why bother renting an office? Your workers can log in from any remote location and get access to the same communications features they’d have with a desktop phone. Employees are sure to be happier and more productive, as 79 percent of all workers claim they want to work from home at least part time.

App savings: Business often requires a heavy volume of mobile texting, chat and conference calling. Instead of using third-party applications, invest in a cloud communications solution that gives you access to an affordable and easy-to-use platform.

 The bottom line is that if the math for your business isn’t adding up, you won’t find the answer in a calculator. You’ll find it in the cloud.

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Small Business Productivity