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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

Going on a Summer Vacation? Get a Cloud-based Phone Service

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:47:53 AM

To most everyone’s delight—particularly after a nightmarish winter--summer has finally arrived, meaning a lot of folks will be getting ready for that long-awaited summer vacation. The salty Italian air, waves crashing on the beach, tan skin, hot sun’s rays—you have been dreaming about it for weeks!

Summer Vacation Cloud

The only thing strong enough to break you out of this dreamlike haze and bring you back to reality is the remembrance that you are the owner of a small business, and while you do trust your colleagues, you also know that as the head honcho it is always possible that something only you can handle could come up.

This is a problem scenario, but one with a solution—a cloud-based phone service. A small business phone service offers an array of capabilities that will benefit you and your business no matter where you may be traveling this season.

Let’s take a look at some of the fantastic features that a cloud-based phone service offers:

  • Auto Attendant: Customers are greeted in a big business manner, guided to the correct department. So you can rest assured that even if you are touring the Vatican or at a winery in Florence your customers are being well served.
  • Reach Me Anywhere: Connects your incoming business calls to anywhere, on any device. You won’t have to worry about missing important business calls overseas because your cloud service will connect them all to your phone. Relaxing on the Italian coast? No problem! You are still in reach for “can’t-miss” calls.
  • Voicemail Transcription: Voicemails are converted to text before they’re delivered, so you can read the message if listening isn’t an option—and on vacation, sometimes it simply isn’t.

Using a cloud-based phone service allows your small business to conquer all of the problems travel presents for a small business owner like Roman Empire conquering Italy. And doesn’t every business want a phone system that helps it triumph over all challengers?

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Voxox, Business Phone Number, Auto Attendant, Improve Your Business, Mobility

Small Business Phone Systems: The Perfect Multitasking Tool

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:47:23 AM

Picture this: You’re sitting in a meeting when your phone buzzes indicating that an important voicemail just arrived. Unfortunately, you can’t pick up your device and listen to it. So you’ll spend the next 40 minutes tapping your fingers until you can get the information you need.

It goes without saying that multitasking in the business world can be extremely difficult. There are often a variety of tasks that need to be accomplished and no time to get them done. But with the right technology, you can be pulled in 40 different directions at once and not have to worry about maintaining stellar communications. The key to accomplishing this is a cloud-based phone service.

Small Multitasking Tool

Using a cloud-based phone service, incoming voicemails and faxes can be transcribed to email so you can read your message right over your mobile device or laptop. And for calls that require immediate action, you can route them to anyone on your staff, in any location you choose.

Another great feature of small business phone systems is the ability to customize outbound messages on the fly so you can stay in touch with important contacts as you move from the board room to the taxi to the airport.

The best part is that you can get access to all of these features without having to maintain any on-premises equipment. A cloud-based phone system will provide you with essential communications tools that will be updated and maintained by a third-party host.

So if you are looking for a way to focus more critical business processes and less on making sure you’re getting all of your phone messages, perhaps it’s time to give the cloud a try. You’ll be multi-tasking like a champ in just a matter of minutes.

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Topics: Cloud Phone, iPhone, Android, Small Business Productivity, Mobile Productivity, Business Phone Number

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, Small Business Productivity, Business Phone Number, Improve Your Business

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, Small Business Productivity, Business Phone Number

Real Estate Agents: Cloud Communications Apps are Valuable

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:41:58 AM

We’re all familiar with the old adage that the three most important aspects of real estate are location, location and of course…location. Of course, we would never be so bold as to dismiss this tried-and-true idiom, but we do have a little something to add. 

Real Estate Cloud Communications

As a self-employed real estate agent, you probably spend much of your time running from open houses to apartment showings all over town. Working in a service industry also means you have to devote your full attention to each client and can’t afford to answer calls or listen to voicemail messages during an appointment. 

But as an independent contractor that barely has time to sit down during the day, maintaining a brick-and-mortar office doesn’t make much sense. So how can you ensure you don’t miss important communications about a client’s newly accepted offer or a great new property just coming on the market?

A cloud communications application can help you keep in touch with clients and project a big business presence even if you don’t want to spend money on physical office space or a legacy phone system. Top-shelf services offer a company-specific phone number that rings to your mobile number so there is no need to give out personal contact information. Additionally, a cloud communications application can also provide:    

  • Business-class voicemail-to-email functionality
  • Easy-to-configure professional greetings
  • Extensions for different departments, even if each department is only you
  • Settings that can be accessed and adjusted via the Internet

We’d like to reiterate that it is not our intention to rebuff one of the principle tenets of the real estate industry, but rather to add our own little touch. A cloud-based small business phone system can’t improve a property’s locale, but it can certainly help with your business communications as you move from location to location.

Maybe location is the key after all.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Voxox, Business Phone Number, Mobility

Want to Grow Your Cleaning Services Business? Get a Local Phone Number Strategy That Works!

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:40:47 AM

Owning your own cleaning services company is tough. Whether you have a housekeeping services business or a mobile car wash, you are in charge of buying your cleaning supplies, coordinating calendars with a constantly changing schedule, keeping your books simple and accurate, and then finding time to actually clean. But to grow your cleaning services business you also need to find new clients and retain the clients you already have.

 

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Some ways to alleviate administrative busy work include using digital services like Calendy for appointments, Amazon for supplies and Freshbooks for your finances – but something we'd like to focus on today is how to get a local phone line for your cleaning services business without the need to buy and maintain a traditional business phone system.

Virtual PBX services like Voxox Cloud Phone offer inexpensive business phone plans with professional features, including local phone numbers for the region(s) your cleaning company serves. With these local virtual numbers, you won’t need any special hardware or even an office phone because they connect directly to your cell.

Getting a local number through a virtual PBX service will help grow your cleaning services business in a few ways:

1. Handle all calls professionally.

Because all calls to your local business number are routed to your cell, you can answer on the fly or send calls to voicemail with just the touch of a button – whether you’re in the car on your way to an appointment or scrubbing a tub! Having complete control over your business’ phone communications, along with the support of a laundry list of professional features– auto attendant, call forwarding, SMS, call recording, etc. – means that your clients will always have the best possible customer service.

2. Appeal to the locals.

Using the area codes associated with the locations you serve will help build rapport with the community. People are often interested in supporting local service providers, and one way to spot a local contact is via their area code. Put these numbers on your business card, referral fliers and in local bulletins!

3. Enter new markets.

If you are actively working on expanding your carpet cleaning business to new areas, you can get a local phone number in a variety of places and reap the benefits. By expanding your service area, you’ll open yourself to more potential clients and more opportunity to grow your business. With Voxox Cloud Phone, for example, you can sign up for up to 25 different local numbers that all conveniently ring to the same phone –so you can find one, or several local numbers and neighboring area codes that fit your needs.

4. Manage your account on the go.

As a small business owner, you don’t have a lot of time to spare. So why waste those precious minutes managing two separate calling devices? With virtual PBX services (like Voxox Cloud Phone!), all calls are routed to your existing cell phone or that of your employees, as needed. You have different local phone numbers for various reasons, from tracking to marketing, but all calls end up ringing a single device. If you don't pick up, the callers are sent to a professional business voicemail, separating your personal and business communications seamlessly and efficiently. Plus, you can manage all of your virtual PBX features from your online portal – add more lines, remove numbers that you don’t need, etc. It’s simple, it’s fast and it will give you more time to focus on the things that really matter, like growing your business!

So, what are you waiting for? Go get a local phone number from a virtual PBX service and see how it can help your business grow. Set up is simple, painless and fast – but if you need help we’re here for that too.

Topics: Business Call Routing, Business Phone Number, Local Number

How Cloud Communications Helps Parents and Small Business Owners

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:39:23 AM

As traditional gender roles continue to dissolve, mothers and fathers find themselves sharing both earning and childcare responsibilities. Looking to dispel old stereotypes of fathers solely as breadwinners, in early June, the White House held a conference to examine the changing role of working fathers in America today.

Working Parent and Child

One of the goals of the conference was to promote “extensive workplace flexibility options” that make it easier for fathers to work and help take care of young children. But while large enterprises can address this issue with organizational policies like paid parental leave, small business owners may find it a little tricky. When you own a small company or work as a sole proprietor, there might not be anyone to pick up the slack if you take off even a few days.

 A cloud communications solution, however, can help make parenthood a little easier for both mothers and fathers by helping them do business more effectively from a home office. On top of being affordable and easy to set up, a cloud-based phone system maintained over the Web provides all the business features you’d get with a traditional wire-based office system, including:

  • Reach Me Anywhere functionality that routes incoming calls to any device you choose, even if they arrive while you are cooking dinner.
  • Voicemail transcription that lets you read voicemail messages when you can’t listen because your baby is crying.
  • Web-based settings that is easy-to-adjust and accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection, including your kid’s after-school karate class.

So if you’re a small business owner looking for a better work-life balance and a little more time with your kids, cloud communications solutions can get the job done—just like you do at work and at home every day.

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Business Phone Number

Virtual Numbers: 10 Frequently Asked Questions, Answered! (Part 1)

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:36:23 AM

Virtual numbers have some powerful features that can help you convey a professional image and drum up business. From giving the impression you’re a local business in more than one region, to creating the perception of a larger corporation overall, to keeping your personal and work lines separate, virtual numbers allow you to create the type of "phone presence" that your business needs to succeed—without breaking the bank.

If you’re not savvy to all the ways virtual numbers can improve your business communications, or even what a virtual number is, read on for answers to all your burning questions…

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1. What is a virtual number?

A virtual number is a telephone number (or "DID") that is not directly associated with a calling device or telephone line. Typically, virtual numbers forward incoming calls to pre-set mobile, landline or VoIP phone numbers that are associated with specific calling devices. Business professionals can opt to have one or many virtual numbers route to a single phone or multiple phones, based on their business needs.

2. How does a virtual number work?

Once you choose your virtual numbers, you must set them to route to phone numbers that are directly linked to a calling device, such as your cell phone. The virtual number provider typically has a portal for the set-up process. With Cloud Phone, for example, this takes less than a couple of minutes to set up.

Once the virtual number is set to forward to your calling device of choice, callers will be able to reach you through that number at that device. If you don't pick up the call, they typically will be routed to a separate voicemail that you can set up with the appropriate message, based on the goals of your virtual number strategy.  Some services, like Cloud Phone, also offer voicemail transcription for virtual numbers to make retrieving voicemails as easy as possible.

3. How do I make calls from my virtual number?

It's also possible to make a call from a virtual number. Some services will allow you to dial the virtual number and then, when prompted, dial the number of the person you’d like to call. Another option that may be offered through your virtual number provider is "web call back" where you enter both numbers into a web form and the two calls are bridged together instantly to create an outgoing phone call. The recipient will see your virtual number on their caller ID – just like any other call.

4. Why do I need a virtual number?

Having a separate phone number (or numbers) for your business can be essential to maintaining a professional image, but carrying around two mobile devices or being tied to a desk just isn’t convenient or cost-effective for many types of businesses. A virtual phone number lets you stay connected on business matters, while still keeping your personal communication on the same device. Also, you can gain strategic benefits through virtual numbers. For example, when selecting numbers to represent your business, you can choose phone numbers with area codes you want to do business in to help you build relationships with customers and potential clients in those areas. You can also opt for toll free numbers if there is no regional benefit to you, but you'd like the number to be memorable and professional.

From looking bigger to appearing local, virtual numbers can give you the edge your business needs to grow. Here are some additional resources on the benefits of virtual numbers for business:

Make Your Small Business Look Bigger With Virtual Numbers

4 Reasons You May Want a Virtual Number

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Topics: Industry Trends, Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Small Business Productivity, Business Phone Number, Improve Your Business