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What Every Small Business Owner Should Know About Professional Voicemail Greetings

Posted by John Lee

May 10, 2018 10:51:24 AM

According to a report from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), there are an estimated 27 million entrepreneurs in the US starting or operating new businesses. With so many companies’ vying for success, your business should be leveraging every possible advantage to stand out from the competition. Your business voicemail greeting is often the first point of customer contact, so it's important to have one that projects professionalism and reliability. A professional voicemail greeting not only leaves a positive impression and builds trust, but also helps you effectively and efficiently manage your communications. 

 

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There are a number of options for customizing your business voicemail greeting. A unique professional greeting helps your company appear personable and knowledgeable. You can organize your message to share information about your company's products, direct callers to the appropriate department, or even provide directions to your location.

These could be details about the hours you’re out of the office or how to reach the appropriate employee to assist the caller. Eliminate the need to repeat information when it can be automated. Having your business information readily available will save time and money. 

The old cliché "time is money" plays an important role in investing in a professional voicemail system. Small businesses cannot afford to waste time or resources on inefficient communication. Helping customers’ access information instantly and efficiently through a professional voicemail system, helps ensure that your company can meet their needs, expeditiously and professionally. Staying ahead of the competition means your business must have organized systems in place to serve a customer from initial contact through providing  the solution to the client’s needs, the way the client wants it and most importantly when the client wants it. Contact us today to learn more about customizing your voicemail with our virtual phone system.

 

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Topics: Voice Communication, iPhone, Android, Cloud Phone, Improve Your Business

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

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

How A Virtual Office Phone System Improves Customer Loyalty

Posted by John Lee

May 10, 2018 10:41:37 AM

According to Gartner Group statistics, as much as 80% of your company’s future revenue come from existing customers. That's a huge to reason to invest in ways to boost customer loyalty and retention. By building the reputation of your business as trustworthy and reliable, customers will be more likely to go with your company over a competitor. Projecting a big business image helps build buyer confidence and a simple to use virtual office phone system is a “must have” if you plan to reap the advantages of an improved professional business repuation. 

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Customers want to go with a company that they trust, and with a virtual phone service, your business will provide greater reliability. With advanced call routing and customized menu options that make it easier for callers to reach you, your business will enjoy improved customer retention and loyalty. 

Enabling call routing forwards calls to any number simultaneously or in order so that customers can get a hold of you, every time. By being responsive, your customers will be able to get the help they need, and with ease. You and your team can even be working remotely and still take care of your customers without any hassle.  

A professional automated greeting gives your customers the feeling of security through professionalism. The automated greeting is the first impression your customers get of your company and needs to convey professionalism while efficiently directing them to the appropriate department or extension. Nothing is more frustrating then a call that goes unanswered.  Answering inbound callers promptly and effectively gives them a sense of trustworthiness and that their issues are being addressed.

With the myriad of benefits that improving customer engagement, employing a virtual office phone system is one of the best decisions you can make. The right business phone system comes equipped with a variety of features designed to suit the needs of any business, regardless of company size or industry. Cloud Phone lets you can manage all of your business communications through the convenience of your mobile device. To learn more about how Cloud Phone can increase customer loyalty, leave a comment here or on our social media channels –  FacebookTwitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

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Topics: iPhone, VoIP, Android

5 SMB Tools That Save You Time

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:32:57 AM

When you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, time is money, so wasting time just isn’t an option. If you are looking for tools that will help you handle all aspects of your business, from the mundane to the must-do, you’re looking in the right place.

iPhone SMB Tool

New cloud-based software, apps and mobile technology built for all aspects of small business operations are the perfect solution to increase productivity and get more done in less time. They allow you to run your business like an enterprise, without the high price-tag. Here are our top picks for SMB tools that can save you time:

Communication

Virtual numbers, like those available through Voxox Cloud Phone, are convenient for small business owners and entrepreneurs who don't have a receptionist or the time to sit in an office and field phone calls. It’s like having a professional phone service right in your pocket! Phone calls to your business number (virtual number you select) are simply routed to your cell phone. Virtual numbers can come with flexible features like call forwarding, faxing capabilities, extension options, and auto assistant, to name a few - so make sure you check with the service provider to see what perks are available with their virtual numbers solution.

Transportation

Meeting with clients and business partners can be stressful, so using an app like Waze to make sure that you're never late for meetings and don't waste time in traffic can be very useful. Even Uber can be a great time saver when it comes to transportation. Set up a pick up time, plug in your destination, and pay all in just a few clicks -- plus, you won't have to worry about parking!

Accounting 

We all like to get paid, but creating invoices and expense reports are rarely at the top of our to-do list. Luckily, there are apps and software that make it easy to keep track of incoming and outgoing funds – TouchSuite, ZenPayroll and Xero are a few of our faves. Xero, for example, let's you send professional invoices, accept payment, track sales and income, create expense reports, and reimburse employees all from an app you can access from both your computer and mobile device -- perfect for those on-the-go. 

Marketing

Marketing is essential to growing your business, but without a dedicated marketing team it can be a lot of work and not something most business owners can dedicate time to. Automation apps and services, like Hootsuite, MailChimp and WordPress, have given us the ability to schedule social media posts, newsletters, mailings, blogs, etc. ahead of time, rather than having to stop everything and hit the "send" button, saving small business owners countless hours each week. 

Scheduling 

Online scheduling tools like Calendly are not only convenient for customers and clients, they are also a time-saver for busy business owners and employees. Body shops, hair stylists, nail salons -- basically any business that runs by appointment-- can benefit from an automated scheduling system that allows customers to see what times are available and claim a spot without ever calling into your business, holding up the phone line or even worse, taking up your or your employees’ time. 

Do you have a favorite tool that allows you to devote more time to your most important projects? Share with us on social media –  FacebookTwitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

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Topics: iPhone, Industry Trends, Android, Mobility, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

How a Virtual Phone System Could Give Your Etsy Business a Professional Presence

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:29:08 AM

ou're thinking about starting an Etsy business and one of the things you will need is a phone system. But, your team works from home− knitting scarves, making necklaces, crafting anything and everything− or you are a one person operation. For you, it just doesn't make sense to buy a traditional phone system so instead you’re considering getting a virtual phone system.

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What is a virtual phone system and what does it mean for you? A virtual phone system is a phone system that's entirely in the cloud - you get a dedicated business number and many powerful business-grade telephony features that are associated with it, but no hardware. All you need is your own existing mobile phone (or any phone, really!) − no special skills, or other equipment necessary! All calls to your virtual number (a.k.a. your dedicated business phone line) are directed to your mobile phone, and/or any other phone(s) of your choice, and can help your business convey a professional image, while staying connected and organized. 

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Here are some features you’ll love: 

One central number that routes to different departments (customer service, sales, billing, etc.). Even if you don't actually have different departments, but your store carries multiple products, or you have multiple stores on Etsy, or several employees who handle different aspects of the business, it is convenient for you and your customers to have a central and clearly organized hub for communication. When your Etsy customers call about anything associated with your products, not only will they be directed to the correct line, allowing you and your team to address the inquiry quickly, but they will also get the impression you are a professional, booming business!  

Voicemail transcription helps you keep customer messages organized. If you’re a musician or a potter (or perhaps someone who manages an Etsy store as a side business to a day job) you know that answering the phone isn’t always possible – plus who wants clay all over their device?! So, rather than going through all your messages and listening for specific requests and call back numbers, voicemail transcription automatically creates text and email messages that you can easily read and reference.

Professional greetings give your business legitimacy. No matter what kind of store you own or how long you have been in business, customers receiving your professional voicemail message will have more trust in your operation. Customization also lets you change the message whenever you’d like, allowing you to brand your business and keep your customers up to date on important information – holidays, when you’re on vacation, if certain products are out of stock, etc.

Instant set-up means that once you decide you want a virtual phone system, you can set it up in minutes. There’s no need for professional help or maintenance, so your phone line will never be down, and your customers will never be without support. 

Scalability allows you to add lines or remove lines as your team changes − paying for only what you need and keeping your overhead low. This is the perfect solution for seasonal Etsy business like a Christmas décor store or a jewelry maker that brings extra team members on to help handle skyrocketing sales for Valentine’s Day.

Mobility lets you and your team to work from anywhere while still staying connected. If you want to go on vacation, relocate your business or hire a team member on the other side of the country, a virtual phone system has the functionality to accommodate all your moves without a hitch.

With all the professional perks and cost savings that come with a virtual phone system, your business (and wallet) can’t afford not to try it out. Give your Etsy home business a big business image with a virtual phone system and be sure to let us know how much you love it!  

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Topics: iPhone, Industry Trends, Mobility, Improve Your Business, Cloud Phone Mobile App

Cloud Phone Receives Double the Recognition

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:26:07 AM

We like the sound of that! We have our customer, Enevor, to thank for the 2014 Golden Bridge Awards where we took home Silver Winner for the Best Deployments and Case Studies and Solutions for USA. The coveted annual Golden Bridge Awards program recognizes and honors the world's best in organizational performance, products and services, innovations, executives and management teams, case studies and successful deployments, and more – from every major industry in the world.

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Cloud Phone was also named as a finalist for the 2014 BIG Awards for Business, organized by the Business Intelligence Group. As the premier annual awards program honoring organizations, products and executives from companies worldwide leading their industry, the BIG Awards for Business are judged by recognizable leaders within industries. We’re honored to have been acknowledged here!

As you may know, Cloud Phone provides a dedicated business telephone number (toll free or local line) that can be routed to any existing mobile or landline phone.  The caller is greeted professionally with an auto-attendant that presents various options, including the ability to reach other employees and departments via a simple extension (regardless of where the employee is located worldwide).

Other advanced business features include sophisticated call routing, voicemail transcription, web callback, and more, all within a sleek, simple design. A 100% Web-based service, Cloud Phone can be leveraged by just one user as easily as it can scale into an advanced VoIP system that supports hundreds of phones and multiple office locations. 

Check out what Cloud Phone has to offer by starting your free trial here:http://www.cloudphone.com/

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Topics: iPhone, Company Announcements, Android

Create Fireworks for Your Small Business with Cloud Communications

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:25:00 AM

This summer, will your small business explode like a Roman candle on July 4, or fizzle out like a dud? Here are a few ways to light up your small business with a robust suite of cloud communications solutions:

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Increase productivity:  You may be busy, but business continues even when you leave the office. Contacts need to be able to reach you wherever you go. The cloud will give you the ability to carry around your enterprise communications solutions at all times, so you never miss a crucial call or voicemail.  

Cut costs: The costs of maintenance and installation prices for on-premises phone equipment is staggering. It’s much easier—and cheaper—to pay a small monthly fee and gain access to fully baked feature set than to pay for new equipment and make upgrades. You will also avoid the hefty costs of network downtime, which is difficult for a business of any size to recover from.

Leverage big business features: When a customer tries to reach you, they should not be able to tell you are a small business with six employees or a Fortune 500 company. Features such as an auto attendant, voicemail to email transcription and the ability to route calls to other members of your team will add a processional touch to your operation that will let you look like a much bigger business. 

The stats don’t lie: In a recent study, 70 percent of respondents indicated that the cloud can deliver efficiencies and cost savings. So, are you ready to make the great migration to a cloud-based phone and watch your profits explode skyward like Independence Day fireworks?

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Topics: iPhone, Voxox, Android, Cloud Phone, Cost-Effective Solution, Mobile Productivity, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

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

Cloud Phone Now Has Free Business SMS Included with All Calling Plans!

Posted by Natasha Grach

May 10, 2018 10:14:10 AM

We are excited to announce that Cloud Phone now includes free business texting for all of its calling plan subscribers. This is particularly awesome because many popular virtual PBX services do not offer two-way texting for free within their monthly calling plans. We are including between 1,000 and 5,000 monthly text messages at no additional charge for Cloud Phone customers because we want to provide the best business value. 

Check out our full press release below:

Voxox Cloud Phone Adds Free Two-Way Business Texting Across U.S. and Canada for Customers with Paid Monthly Calling Plans
Two-way SMS is typically not included without additional cost with popular virtual PBX services, differentiating Cloud Phone for its business value
SAN DIEGO – October 5, 2016 – Voxox®, innovator in cloud communication solutions for businesses with the most comprehensive Unified Communications Platform as a Service, today announced that it has included two-way texting at no additional cost for all customers subscribed to Cloud Phone, the cloud-based virtual phone system for entrepreneurs and very small businesses. The paid subscription plans, which range from 1,000 to 5,000 minutes per month, will now also include between 1,000 to 5,000 free text messages per month, depending on the plan. Popular virtual PBX services typically do not include two-way texting within their monthly calling plans without extra charges or fees. The inclusion of free SMS for Cloud Phone customers is in line with Voxox's strategy to differentiate its services by providing the best business value. 
"Two-way SMS has been our most requested feature for Cloud Phone with 60 percent of customers indicating in surveys their desire to add business texting to their accounts," said Bryan Hertz, CEO and co-founder of Voxox. "Not only did we add the feature but we also included it for free with all Cloud Phone calling plans, which is unorthodox in our space. Our goal with Cloud Phone is to disrupt the marketplace with innovative features and unique offers that empower micro-businesses."                                                                                                                                            
Cloud Phone enables “micro-businesses” (businesses that operate on a very small scale), as well as individuals and small organizations seeking a business-grade telephone presence, to easily obtain local and toll free numbers that support up to 25 extensions and advanced call routing capabilities. With Cloud Phone, users can place and receive calls, manage call activity, access features such as voicemail transcription, call recording, device transfer, faxing, and much more -- all within a sleek, elegant design. No special equipment or advanced skills are necessary to use Cloud Phone. Once a Do It Yourself (DIY) set-up is completed online, all that a user needs is a calling device (e.g., mobile or landline phone) to which calls can be routed. The effortless user experience and set-up process, which can be completed in less than a minute, along with highly competitive global calling rates and exceptional call quality, are key differentiators as compared to alternative solutions.
Cloud Phone comes with a complementary mobile app for iOS and Android. The Cloud Phone mobile app leverages Voxox's new breakthrough VoIP codec, a technology used to encode and compress voice signals into digital form for transmission. This is particularly significant for small businesses with a disbursed or traveling workforce, as the codec dramatically improves voice quality in poor bandwidth settings, such as hotels, convention centers, rural locations, etc. To hear the dramatic difference visit, www.voxox.com/codecdemo.
Apart from two-way business texting available through Cloud Phone, Voxox also offers wholesale SMS services for text-enabling business communications through a web service API. More information available at http://www.voxox.com/business/sms.
To sign up for Cloud Phone, please visit www.cloudphone.com.
About Voxox
Voxox is an innovator in unified cloud communication solutions for businesses. The foundation of the company's offerings is its award-winning unified communications Platform as a Service, which enables the company and its customers to build powerful, scalable applications and services. For end-users, Voxox provides an extensive suite of carrier-grade business phone solutions, including its flagship business app, Cloud Phone, as well as SIP Trunking, hosted PBX, and a wide array of wholesale services, such as high volume SMS. For service provider partners, Voxox delivers cutting-edge mobile and desktop applications that integrate voice, video, messaging, fax, media sharing and more. Voxox is headquartered in San Diego. For more information, please visit http://www.voxox.com.

Topics: iPhone, Company Announcements, Voxox, Android, Cloud Phone, iOS, Small Business Productivity