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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

The Proof is in the Texting: Why You Should Add SMS to Your Small Business Communication Mix

Posted by Natasha Grach

May 10, 2018 10:28:56 AM

SMS helps you grow your business by instantly connecting you with the people you need to reach when you need to reach them. While other forms of communication, like phone calls and email, certainly have their spot in the business communications roster, it’s time to make SMS a front-runner and here are some stats that will push you to take the leap.

We just published a brand new post on the Voxox blog with a slew of stats on SMS effectiveness that will show you where texting can make a difference for your business.

Did you know that you can send and receive text messages with your Voxox Cloud Phone number? Using SMS through your virtual phone system keeps your personal messages and your business messages separate. Getting started with business SMS is super easy (here’s how).

 

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Topics: Cloud Mobile Phone, Business SMS

Voxox Cloud Phone Now Supports Two-Way SMS for Toll-Free Numbers (and Gives Business SMS Away for Free!)

Posted by Natasha Grach

May 10, 2018 10:28:20 AM

 

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We are excited to share that our Cloud Phone service is now supporting two-way SMS for toll free numbers!  Not only that, but Cloud Phone customers will also get complimentary SMS that they can use with their toll free numbers. It's an awesome deal - check out our announcement here.

Topics: Texting, Toll Free Number, Business SMS

How to Improve Your Customer Service with SMS

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:23:31 AM

As a small business owner you know great customer service is very important for not only keeping your current clients happy, but also for attracting new business by way of referrals. You also know that providing top notch customer service isn’t always possible when you’re on the go or when you’re out working to build your business. So, how can you do both? With SMS.

SMS isn’t just for big corporations with mega marketing budgets. It’s actually a practical solution for small businesses looking to provide stellar customer service. SMS is an affordable and simple way to reach and be reached by clients. When your business phone number is connected to your smart phone, you’ll always be able to help.

Here are a few ways you can use SMS to improve your customer service.

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Provide Speedy Service

Texting is a quick and convenient way for clients to communicate a problem or ask a question. Likewise, it’s often quicker and more convenient for you or your team members to respond to a text than answer a call.

Here’s a scenario:

Say you own a two person car repair shop. You have a client at the front desk paying for a repair and your mechanic is out in the garage working on a car. At this same time you receive a text and a phone call – which one are you more likely to respond to in the moment? Our bet is on the text.

Rather than listening to a voicemail, calling back and playing phone tag, the text allows you to read the question or comment and reply immediately – you could even include a photo (ie: a snapshot of your mechanic working on the client’s car). Prompt responses make customers happy. Phone tag does not.

Record Keeping

Texting gives both you and the customer a record of the conversation, conveniently storing important information right on your phone. Have you ever been in a situation with a client where referencing a text saved you face or helped you provide better customer service? So have we. Not only is it handy to know what you and a client have discussed but having the ability to easily pull up important information like an order number or an address straight from a text makes staying on top of customer care easy.

Here’s a scenario:

You own a small screen-printing shop and do work for all your local schools. Baseball season is right around the corner and the team has ordered new jerseys. A pre-season game was added to the roster last minute and they need the jerseys stat! The client texts you with the order number asking if it can be rushed. You research the order number and see that only half of the jerseys have been printed. You assure the client you’ll have them ready by the end of the week – plus you’ll even drop them off. The client messages you the address and you’ve not only made their day, but also made it super easy on yourself to map your route on your phone’s GPS. 

Skip the Hold Music

Texting allows you and your clients to reach one another directly. No waiting on hold, no phone tag or leaving voicemails that go unreturned for days – or for eternity. Ease of communication can make or break a business deal and can cause current clients to love or leave your business.

Here’s a scenario:

A potential client of your PR company is coming into town to meet you and your team. The client is arriving early and wanted to bump the meeting time up. They call to let you know but are stuck on hold. Out of frustration they hang up and call again. After several attempts and a voicemail, they show up at your office annoyed (and two hours early). You’re in the middle of a conversation with another client and have to cut the call short in order to accommodate the in-person meeting. Now – imagine all of this would have been avoided if your potential could have texted to let you know they were arriving early!

Help Multiple Clients

Juggling phone calls isn’t easy, but messaging several people at once can be. Whether you have a steady stream of messages or experience bursts during busy seasons, you’ll find SMS to be a customer service life saver. 

Here’s a scenario:

You run a small floral shop and are always slammed around the holidays. While you’re able to take orders over the phone and in person, text requests are easy and allow your clients to message in an order without waiting on hold, reaching a busy signal or coming into the shop. Once the order comes in, you can send a confirm number, ask any questions and also get card messages, verbatim. Plus, once the order is ready you can send a text alert, or even give them a heads up when the order is delivered.

Your small business already has a reputation for providing exceptional customer service, so keep it up and make it easier on yourself with SMS. Learn more about SMS for business here and get started today. It’s fast, easy and your customers will appreciate it!

Find out more about Cloud Phone features!

Topics: iPhone, Android, Cloud Phone, Texting, Mobility, Business SMS

Business Phone 101: How to Get a Local Phone Number

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:20:30 AM

You want to get a local phone number for your business, but you don't want a landline and you don't want to carry--or pay--for another cell phone plan. We don't blame you. Local phone numbers can be invaluable for businesses looking to gain credibility in a local market, especially with businesses built and run out of a personal home. Getting a dedicated "virtual number" that routes to your mobile is a financially practical and convenient solution for your home-based business.

Virtual numbers work directly with the cell phone you already have, which means you have no equipment to buy, nothing to service, and just one phone to keep track of throughout the day. Getting a local phone number for your business is easy - and inexpensive- if you know where to look. Here's what you need to know before you select a provider:
1. User & Department Extensions
Just because you're a one person (or small) operation working from your home doesn't mean your business phone communications should suffer. Some services that provide virtual numbers may also offer multiple extensions to allow you to either hook up multiple people to the same line or create "departments" to give your company a bigger business feel -- after all, as an entrepreneur you do wear many hats! The number of extensions can impact the price, so be sure to choose what best fits your current needs. Voxox Cloud Phone offers unlimited extensions, with the option to add or remove extensions on the fly as your business changes, without charge.

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2. Minutes
Some businesses use their calling features all the time and some just don't. Knowing how often you'll be on the phone will help you pick the best plan for your needs, at the best price. From paying per minute to plans of 1,000 to unlimited minutes, it's easy to find a calling plan that's right for you.
3. Text Messages
Clients and customers of days past may not have appreciated a business-related text message, but as people rely more on SMS for everyday communications, business to consumer SMS is on the rise. Imagine being able to text your client a meeting location, or update them on the status of a project with a simple text--and vice versa. It's fast and it's easy. If you're not sure text is right for you, look for a plan with a lower number of monthly messages and move up as you see fit. Or go for unlimited and text your heart out.
4. Number of Lines
The number of lines you can have on your single plans differs from the number of user and department extensions. Lines refer to new numbers. So if you have a home office and want two lines (say one is for clients and one is for your suppliers) you'll need to choose a plan that allows multiple phone numbers. Providers like Voxox Cloud Phone also let you choose between local and toll-free numbers, or a mix of both if you sign on with multiple lines. Read more here on why both types of numbers might be good for your business.
5. Features
Not all virtual phone numbers are created equal when it comes to features. Some features, like voicemail, come standard, but other conveniences like conference calling and voicemail transcription might come at a premium. Check out the listings of included features before you select a plan, and make sure you're not getting charged extra for those features you really want.
6. Free Trial
Just because you think you need something, doesn't mean you do. By seeking out a provider that offers a free trial period of at least 30 days, you'll have a chance to try the service and see if it fits your needs. If you love it, keep it. And if you don't, look for another provider or communication channel that better fits your business.
7. Management
Being able to manage your account easily on your own, without having to call a representative and wait on hold, is a life saver for busy business owners. Voxox Cloud Phone, for example, offers a simple and intuitive online management portal where you can add and remove lines and extensions, and pay your bill. You can even track activity to see if your current plan is right for your changing needs. If you find out it's not--go ahead and choose a new plan with the click of a button.
8. Cost
The cost of getting a local phone number via a virtual number is lower than you may think – considering the convenience and much needed features that should come with it. With a basic plan starting at just $12 from Voxox Cloud Phone, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something within your budget. Plus, unlike traditional mobile and landline plans, you don’t need to buy any extra equipment, or pay technician or start up fees.
Is there anything else you may want to consider when looking to get a local phone number for your business? Let us know and we’ll help answer your questions. Check out our plans and features here.

Topics: Cloud Phone, Virtual Phone System, Local Number, Business Phone Number, Business SMS