The Benefits of Having a Virtual Phone Number for Your Business

As a business owner, you are probably interested in finding things that will save you time and money. A virtual phone number is a great way to simplify all of your communications needs, and it is also more affordable than any other option out there.

You Won’t Be Tied to a Single Phone

Your phone number is yours and yours alone, but since it is tied to a virtual phone system, you will never have to stay by a single phone to ensure that you don’t miss important calls. You can forward your calls to any device you want, whether this means the landline in your retail store, the VoIP phone you have in your home, or even your cell phone while you are on the go. It gives you the ultimate freedom to handle business wherever you are.

A Professional Appearance

Even if your business is still brand new and things are completely hectic every single day, you don’t want your customers to know that. A virtual phone number, particularly when it is toll free, provides an immediate look of professionalism and one that you really can’t afford to be without. Whether you are in your basement or at a desk in an upscale office building, your customers will never know.

A Great Way to Redirect Your Calls

Since virtual phone numbers come with tons of great features that you can use to your advantage, you’ll be able to direct your calls in any way you’d like. If you don’t have time to answer, you can send the caller to voicemail or perhaps even allow them to listen to a “sizzle line” so they can get the information they need. If you need to transfer someone to another department or individual, the system makes it easy.

An Expandable Service

For many owners of startup businesses, expansion is part of success. As your business grows, your virtual phone service can grow right along with you. You won’t have to go through the trouble of contacting a huge phone company and scheduling the installation of jacks; instead, all you have to do is contact the virtual service provider and add the numbers or the extensions you need.

Enjoy Great Savings

Your time and your money are valuable, and as a business owner, you likely already know that saving both can inevitably bring you success. A virtual phone number provides you with everything you need, and you will never have to pay for expensive installation fees. What’s more, since it is available to you almost immediately, you won’t have to wait around for the phone company to come and set things up for you. It doesn’t get any better than that.

The Best Possible Service

It’s important to provide your customers with the best service possible, and these virtual systems allow you to do just that. You can choose to have someone available to answer the phone 24 hours a day if you so choose, and you can automate the forwarding process depending upon the time of the day. What’s more, your employees will be able to answer the phone from anywhere, making their jobs easier and keeping them happier.

A virtual phone number is more than just a way for your clients and customers to reach you. It’s a way for you and your employees to save time, save money, and enjoy all of the features you need to get the job done.

5 Reasons To Use A Virtual Phone System With Your Small Business

So you have a small business or you’re in the process of creating one – which type of phone system do you want? The traditional landline or a virtual phone system, which is often referred to as a virtual PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system. There are advantages and disadvantages to using each one, so here is a detailed look at your options.

First, perhaps an exact description of these relatively new virtual phones is needed in order to make a sound business decision, especially when it comes to your business office communications – the heart of any company. Virtual means everything is handled online or over the Internet. These are VOIP or voice over IP systems, such as the popular Skype program which now has roughly 300 million users according to Microsoft which acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Many skeptics still balk at using the web for phone communications but these technologies are becoming much improved and may be the norm in the not too distant future. In the same light, many households are now dishing the traditional phone landline and going with a completely mobile option. Increasingly, most of our daily communications are going wireless/mobile, and many are connected via the Internet. Like it or not, most of today’s business communications are done through computers, cell phones and the web.

It is in this current framework which any business owner has to at least consider the “virtual option” when it comes to setting up their communication system. So here are 5 reasons to use a virtual phone system, followed by some reasons why you shouldn’t use it.

1. Cost – It is definitely cheaper to run a virtual phone system not only because the operating costs will be lower, but the initial startup or setup expenses will be much less than going with a traditional system. Actually, if you’re using your current cell phones, the costs will be very minimal compared to installing and maintaining a landline system.

2. Setup Time – One of the best advantages of going with a virtual web-based system, setup is almost instant. If you’re ordering virtual phones, these will take a week or a few days to arrive, but for the most part your phone system can be up and running within minutes. You can even “port” your current business phone number over to this online service or provider.

3. Mobility – Using a virtual system can give your employees and your business complete mobility. They and your company can be reached 24/7 from anywhere on the planet. If your operation has an active traveling salesforce, having your data and communications in the “cloud” may prove very beneficial.

4. Efficiency – Having all your business communications readily accessible by all parties can make for a very efficient operation. All faxes, sales stats, memos… can be easily send/received by all your workers. The use of voice mail, message forwarding, Internet faxing… even a virtual 24/7 receptionist can make for a smoothly run business.

5. Interconnectability – Needless to say, computers run most modern day businesses and having all your company’s phone and office communications neatly connected with the web and your computers will synchronize /digitize your whole operation. Files, calls, sales orders… can all be in digital form where they can be easily accessed by all your workers. Having all your office communications directly plugged in to your email, fax and phone calls via a virtual PBX system does connect the whole show.

Now, these are all valid reasons to use a virtual phone system but there are a few drawbacks. Mainly, the issue of privacy and security has to be considered when it comes to the Internet. We have all heard horror stories of private data being stolen or hacked and any information stored on a computer connected to the web can be compromised. While we are slowly improving security and many in the general public now use the web for such things as banking, shopping, faxing and phone communications – the general overall distrust is still there and has to be considered.

While encryption and increased security measures do make most communications secure, small businesses should still make sure any sensitive data stored online is completely secure. The same goes for your business phone communications, check with the provider to see exactly what security measures are in place and how your private data is stored online. In a similar vein, you should thoroughly check out the “quality” of the provider and make sure they have a reliable service with good support.

Another issue simply has to do with your customer or client base, if you have a traditional client list who prefer using landlines (especially when it comes to sensitive data or information) you might want to stick with a traditional system. However, if your client base is completely comfortable with virtual phones and communicating via the web, then a virtual PBX system may be a more suitable option for your business. Even though most of your customers won’t notice the difference, the old adage, the customer is always right does come into play here and should be followed.

Lastly, maybe it’s a little redundant to say, but all your business communications are vital to the success of your company or operation. Just keep in mind, in this era of cell phones, VOIP services and cloud providers of all sorts – going with a cheaper and more efficient virtual phone system is a definite option, but like always it’s your call.

Why Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) Is Good for Business

Every business needs to be accessible and there are so many available means that companies can use to get them closer to their customers. That is why constant innovation is being done to make sure that more and more channels become available to improve business accessibility.

Before companies started putting up those more advanced and engaging websites, there was the telephone. And, even when all the world is moving towards online technology, these telephones will continue to be part of a company’s operation. However, it also went through some amazing evolution. The most amazing of which is the Interactive Voice Response System (IVR).

IVRs are systems integrated into the telephone systems that helps identify, sort, and route calls coming externally and internally. This system has been around for a number of years and has gone through a lot of innovations in order to improve efficiency when integrated in a company’s telephone systems.

Among the advantages of getting an IVR system are the following:

Offer automated off-site customers support. With a traditional telephone system, customers call a company and somebody needs to answer the phone in order to accommodate customers’ concerns or queries. With an IVR in place, the company can actually attend to these concerns and queries without having to delegate a staff to answer the phone call. In this system, a message can be pre-recorded and is used to instruct customers to press the right button for their concern or query to be attended to. This means that customers can call a company anytime of the day and be assured that they will be accommodated.

Appropriate support according to what the caller needs. The IVR can also be customized to screen calls and sort them according to what the customers need. Simple concerns such as billing, account information, payment details, simple troubleshooting, delivery details, among others can be accommodated by and attended to by pre-recorded messages. However, complex concerns that need the assistance of customer service attendant can be directed to the concerned department in the company.

Collect information about callers. The data collected from the calls received in the IVR is very useful to analyze the needs of customers. It could monitor what kind of concerns are often received. From this data, the company can create adjustments in its services in order to improve its relations with customers.

Improve total customer satisfaction. By having a system that allows off-site customer support, customers are given a convenient way to sort out their concerns about a company’s services or goods. Instead of having to go to the company’s office for their concerns, they can do so right at the comfort of their very homes through their telephones. And, since the company’s off-site customer support service through the telephone is available 24/7, customers can get service support anytime they need.

Reduce cost. The IVRs can be programmed to respond to simple customer concerns and queries and they can attend to more than one call at a time. This means that companies do not need to beef-up on personnel for off-site customer support.

Given these advantages, having an IVR system in place in a company’s communication system can really help improve its operational efficiency.