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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

Launch Your Startup into Success with a Small Business Phone System

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:52:57 AM

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

Launch_Successful_Startup

Photo Courtesy of Flikr User Sebastiaan ter Burg

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

Auto attendants

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

Conference calling

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

Voicemail to email

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

Virtual extensions

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

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

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

3 Communication Mistakes SMBs Make (and How Virtual Numbers Can Fix Them)

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:51:51 AM

Owning a small business is filled with challenges and those challenges sometimes lead to making the wrong decisions. No matter if you're just starting out or have been in business for years, making mistakes is all part of the learning curve—but a big part of being an entrepreneur is finding a way to put those experiences to good use.

When it comes to business communications, small businesses often struggle simply because they are using outdated technologies. If you're one of the thousands who can't seem to get your phone communications right, check out these three common communication mistakes and how fixing them with virtual numbers will not only save you money, but also can improve your communications and customer perception.

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Mistake #1: Paying too much for multiple lines

As a small business owner, you may be paying for extra phone equipment and plans for all your vital employees.

You're on the right track as far as having a dedicated phone line for your workers, which makes your business image more professional. But having to pay for extra phones and phone plans also hikes up your IT budget, and it means your employees have to manage multiple calling devices.

Virtual numbers let you drop all the heavy equipment and rely solely on the devices you and your team already own, since any calls to your business number go straight to any phone you'd like.
What's even better is that you'll only have to carry one device. Here's to 2015 tech at its finest!

Mistake #2: Using out of area phone numbers

When setting up shop in a new town, advertising with or calling clients from an out of area phone number is a clear sign that you're either a brand new business with no street cred, or an out of towner who can't be trusted. While these assumptions may or may not be true, using a virtual number with a local area code gives your business an automatic in with the locals.

Plus, if you have multiple locations or highly mobile staff, you can purchase numbers in a slew of area codes so you can appear local, no matter where you actually are.

Mistake #3: Not utilizing advanced features

If you’re like most small business owners, you're busy—so busy that you haven't taken 30 seconds to properly set up your voicemail or customize your phone settings. Well, to be honest you probably haven't done those things because you're still relying on land lines or your mobile carrier's phone service instead of virtual numbers.

Not only can virtual numbers, and all the advanced features that come with them—such as call forwarding, conferencing, voicemail transcription, and more—help you provide better communications for your customers and team members, but they also give the appearance of a larger business. Even if your small business has just a few employees, you have the ability to make your business look as large as you desire, as your auto attendant can route callers to individual extensions or departments such as sales, customer service, and billing.

Once you make the switch and take control of your business communications, these mistakes will be a thing of the past. Roadbumps are just part of the entreprenural experience, the real test is how you use them to better your business!

What are your biggest communications mistakes? Tell us how you virtual numbers have helped you succeed.

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Topics: Improve Your Business, Cost-Effective Solution, Virtual Phone System

How a Small Business Virtual Phone Can Set a Freelancer Free

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:51:07 AM

Whether you are a freelance writer, graphic designer or interior decorator, your creativity and imagination is what keeps your services in demand with customers. The quality of your work speaks for itself and you take great pride in making a client’s vision come to fruition.

Freelancer

When it comes to adopting the right business communications system, however, you may be having a difficult time making a decision. Fortunately, small business virtual phone systems exist just for successful entrepreneurs like you.    

A virtual—or cloud-based—phone system gives you much of the functionality you’d get with a legacy enterprise system at a much lower cost. You can set up professional greetings, designate extensions and have your voicemail sent to email so you won’t miss an important message. Furthermore, because your system is in the cloud your settings are easily accessible and you avoid installation and maintenance costs. Last but not least, all you need to get started is a mobile number!

Another advantage of adopting a cloud-based phone system is that if you decide to expand your freelance business into a full-fledged company, you’ll be sending a signal to millennials in the workforce that you are committed to running a modern business. When considering the emphasis younger workers place on a potential employer’s technology these days, attracting the best and brightest can be a challenge—one a virtual phone system helps you meet.

Being your own boss has many advantages, but one of the potential drawbacks is dealing with aspects of business outside of your comfort zone. Fortunately, today’s best-in-class technological solutions offer freelancers more tools than ever before. Yes, that is opportunity knocking at your door. Will you answer?

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Voxox, Cost-Effective Solution

Cloud-Based Phone System and BYOD: Better Together

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:49:02 AM

Increasingly, business owners and employees want the comfort and ease of using their preferred device for work-related purposes. For small business owners like you, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend can actually be a major benefit because it means not having to purchase expensive work-specific equipment for you or your employees. 

byod-1

Photo Courtesy of Flikr User Sean MacEntee

That being said, if you want to embrace the BYOD revolution your phone settings have to be accessible from these mobile devices. As an entrepreneur you probably spend quite a bit of time traveling to trade shows, client meetings and more. You need to be able to change your company greeting or add an extension quickly and if you are like most Americans— 44 percent of whom have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any communications—the easiest way to make those changes is with a mobile device because at this point it is practically an appendage! 

With legacy phone technology, adding a line would require a technician to show up and changing your greeting would probably involve dialing in and rooting around in a complex system. Fortunately settings on today’s best-in-class cloud-based phone systems can be accessed from mobile devices. You can change your greeting digitally just by typing a message or add an extension in real time.  Additionally, with a web-based system you don’t need any special technological skills or knowledge to make adjustments—you just need a connected device.

Want to chime in about BYOD? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Cost-Effective Solution

What is a Toll Free Number and How Does it Work?

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:48:14 AM

Think toll free numbers are just for large enterprises or call centers? The reality is they can be an indispensable business asset for companies of all sizes – even a one- or two-person startup. Beyond providing customers and prospects with a free and convenient way to call your company, a toll free number offers a long list of benefits, such as brand recognition and credibility, and are a great way to expand your business into new markets.

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t cashed in on this inexpensive business asset simply because you didn't think it was easy to obtain a toll free number or because you aren’t clear on how a toll free number could help your business, read on.

Toll_Free_Woman

What is a toll free number?

A toll free number is a telephone number with special area codes (such as 800, 888, 877 and 866) that allow callers to dial your business without incurring any cost – making it an ideal form of communication for all types of businesses. Whether you run an e-commerce website or a flower shop, any business that requires customers to call in to make a purchase, connect with customer support, or inquire about a service can benefit from a toll free number.

Generally, toll free numbers are issued on a first come, first served basis, but going the extra mile for your customers and choosing a memorable number – like one with repeating digits or patterns – could make an impact on your call volume, sales and ROI. After all, making it easy for customers to contact your business is key to keeping them happy, which directly impacts your bottom line!     

Benefits of a toll free number

Toll free numbers can be extremely valuable to businesses looking to project a professional image. They not only provide your business brand with recognition and credibility, but they can also enhance your company’s perceived size and image – among other things. Here are a few ways toll free numbers can benefit your business: 

1. Appear larger than life.

Until recently, toll free numbers were most frequently used by enterprise level corporations or call centers, which is why having a toll free number – even if you’re working from your home office—can give the impression that you have a much larger operation. 

2. No location? No problem.

With a toll free number, location is obsolete. So whether you’re working from home or relocating your brick and mortar, you and your team can be reached simply by forwarding calls to your cell phone or any phone of your choice. Plus, if you're on the move, having a toll free number through a service like Cloud Phone lets you take all your important calls without being tied to a desk.

3. Improve privacy.

Not only does the added convenience of forwarding calls from your toll free number to your cell mean you don’t have to juggle multiple phones – it also means you no longer have to give out your personal number. Keeping personal and business calls separate is vital to maintaining a professional image for your business.

4. Virtual hub.

Many small businesses these days have remote workers, with no central office and no secretary to direct calls or take messages. With the right setup, a toll free number can act as a hub for your business calls – directing incoming calls to different “departments” or team members, as well as a message center. All it takes is a virtual assistant!

Does your small business have a toll free number? How does it benefit your business? Share your story with other small business owners and entrepreneurs by commenting here or on our social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Small Business Productivity, Toll Free Number, Improve Your Business, Cost-Effective Solution

Feeling Chained to Your Desk? Let Cloud Communications Set you Free

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:47:30 AM

As a business owner or professional, chances are you’re being pulled into 10 different directions throughout the day, meaning you’re running around and outside the office, away from your desk. So what happens when an important client unexpectedly calls your office number or a colleague sends you an urgent email?

Cloud Communication Office Desk

Well we hate to break it to you; if you have a legacy phone system, you’re just plain out of luck. However, with cloud communications you don’t ever have to experience FOMO (fear of missing out) again.

With a cloud communications application like Cloud Phone, business leaders can break away from the shackles of their desks. You can easily conduct business per usual while on the go and Cloud Phone gives you a fully featured phone platform that’s 100 percent “in the cloud.” That means there is no expensive hardware to buy, nothing complex to maintain, and no reason to worry about downtime or other complications.

Cloud Phone connects your incoming business calls to you wherever you choose, on any device whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The best part? You can also have calls routed to multiple employees simultaneously to ensure no call ever goes unanswered.

The voicemail to email notification feature delivers voicemails instantly to your email, so you never have to dial in to access your voicemail again. What’s more, its voicemail transcription feature automatically transcribes voicemails, so you can read important messages when you can’t listen

Stop living in the past with legacy communication technology and step into the “now” with cloud communications. You’ll never experience FOMO again. 

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Voxox, Small Business Productivity, Cost-Effective Solution, Business Call Routing

Cloud-Based Phone Service Helps You Focus Critical Business Processes

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:45:47 AM

Did it finally happen for you? After months upon months of wishful thinking and fruitless efforts, have you solidified your business idea, secured VC funding and honed your value proposition? Are you ready to transform your startup idea into a fully-baked reality? Congratulations!

Global Business Processes

So now what?

The truth is that for the 543,000 new businesses that get started each month, a vast majority fail due to poor planning, a lack of forecasting and a failure to embrace innovation. But you don’t want to go down that path. After all, you have worked too hard and you have a killer idea. So what do you do after you get the big idea? To begin, you need to immediately consider the gold-standard technology that will take you from fledgling to full-forced in a matter of weeks. Let’s take a look at where you need to begin when it comes to 21st century technology:

  • Assess Your Limitations: You can’t identify what services and offerings you need until you understand your limitations. For example, are you currently one-man shop, unable to support the payroll of multiple employees? Or perhaps you are operating your business out of your basement, even though you want to establish an international presence? Restrictions like these, for example, suggest the need for a robust business phone system, one that boasts a wealth of features from auto attendants that can greet your calls professionally to voicemail-to-email notifications that can allow you to handle calls on the go. Once you understand your setbacks you can identify the technology that will allow you to level the playing field.
  • Evaluate Your Expertise: Are you all thumbs when it comes to technological installations, upgrades and compliance requirements? Then perhaps you need to go the cloud route and entrust these daily tasks with a third-party provider, especially when it comes to your phone. A cloud-based phone service for example, allows you to focus on critical business processes—such as growing your customer base and conceptualizing best-in-class marketing tactics—as opposed to mundane administrative tasks such as upgrades, maintenance and troubleshooting. You can leave all that to your third-party cloud provider.
  • Consider Your Budget: As any budding entrepreneur can confirm, planning and sticking to a budget is of the utmost importance. While the big-ticket items like startup financing and office leases can steal your attention, don’t lose sight of the fact that other considerations—like technology—can eat up your budget. Therefore, after you get the big idea it’s important to take a look at your finances and determine where you want to place your spend when it come to technology. If you go the cloud-based phone service route, for instance, you can enjoy a reduction in CAPEX/OPEX spending—since you need less physical equipment and personnel to support your phone system. As a result, additional dollars can be allocated to other innovations such as WebRTC, UC and M2M technologies.

So now that you have technology considerations of your checklist, what’s next on your list?

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business, Cost-Effective Solution, Business Call Routing

Pack Cloud Communications with Your Picnic This Summer

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:45:23 AM

Ah, the tail end of summer time and the living is easy…or at least it should be. But let’s face it. As the owner of a fledgling company, summer is really just another season. That’s because securing VC funding and identifying the avant-garde technologies that will take your company to the next level is much more important than picnicking and beaching.

Summer Picnic Basic


Photo Courtesy of Flikr User Steven Depolo

But what if you could achieve a perfect work-life balance and do both? Thanks to cloud communications you can. Whether that summer lunch takes place during the work day with a prospective business partner or on the weekend with your kids, you can remain connected thanks to the functionality afforded by cloud communications applications. For example, by leveraging Cloud Phone for your small business system, you can take advantage of the following capabilities while enjoying the nice picnic spread:

  • Auto attendant, or the virtual receptionist that can professionally route your callers to your mobile device to uphold the guise that you are at the office
  • Voicemail-to-email notification so that your voicemails can be delivered as voice packet attachments to your cell phone so you can respond to calls in real time

  • Reach Me Anywhere, a capability that connects incoming business calls to you and your staff wherever you choose across any device

With spending on cloud services expected to surge to more than $180 billion by 2015, now is the time to cast your eye toward such technology if you have not already done so. Moving critical applications to the cloud—like your small business phone system—will not only save you money by allowing you to forgo expenses related to maintaining hardware and systems upgrades, it will also augment your productivity.

To learn more about Cloud Phone, a best-in-class cloud communications technology, and to try our service for free for 30 days, click here!

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Topics: Small Business Productivity, Cost-Effective Solution

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.

remote-teams

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, Mobile Productivity, Mobility, Cost-Effective Solution, Business Call Routing