Tag Archives: business phone

Reaching for VoIP: Grasping the Benefits, Avoiding the Obstacles

by Sue Walsh

Caller using mobile phoneVoice Over IP is no longer the new kid on the block. Emerging in the seventies, coming of age in the eighties and nineties, VoIP has matured as a feature-rich, wallet-friendly alternative to the wired services that were the backbone of the businesses of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Old-fashioned phone service is a funny thing: As a business owner, you plug a traditional phone into the wall socket and place it on your new employee’s desk. Apart from paying the bill every month, you might not think about it much after that. Phone service on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is just so straightforward and established, so plug ‘n play.

Yet a recent report by Software Advice, a free online service that offers VoIP system reviews, shows that 25 percent of the business owners they surveyed in 2014, who are currently using PSTN, would consider switching to VoIP. The reasons are pretty compelling.

VoIP is less expensive. Basic phone service, with no commitment or contract, costs as little as $9.99 with Phone.com. With our service, extensions are unlimited, features are plentiful, support is free, and you only pay for the phone numbers you need.

VoIP scales really well. And so easily! Need to add extensions quickly to support seasonal staff? No problem. Adding a brand new department to your business? No need to install additional trunk lines or guess at future capacity. VoIP service is truly elastic, growing or shrinking to meet your needs instantly and exactly.

VoIP is loaded with features. Local, toll-free and international numbers. Menus, queues and unlimited extensions. Forwarding, scheduling, faxing and SMS. Call management, voicemail, text-to-speech and voice-to-text. You can add, tweak and remove features as needed, and almost all of Phone.com’s features are included in your basic account.

VoIP is crazy-flexible and mobile friendly. Moving to a new location no longer means running a whole lot of new wiring or waiting for a phone technician to come out to your office. Your phone numbers and service simply move with you. It really is a new kind of plug ‘n play! And while PSTN might play nicely with your desk phone and fax machine, VoIP can extend phone, fax and SMS services to all of your wired, desktop and mobile devices, regardless of where you are located or traveling at the time. Think of it in terms of party games: If PSTN is really good at playing Simon Says, it’s crazy cousin VoIP is just outstanding at playing Twister!

So Why Aren’t Businesses Moving to VoIP Faster?

Software Advice’s report PSTN User Perspectives on IP Communications shows the key reasons business users are thinking about shifting to VoIP. At the top of the list? Price, mobile integration, features and scalability.

Primary Draws of VoIP - Image by Software Advice

Primary Draws of VoIP for PSTN Users (Source: Software Advice)

While it’s clear that business owners on PSTN are intrigued by all of these benefits, the idea that Internet-based VoIP services are not as reliable as legacy wired PSTN networks, especially in disaster and emergency situations, still lingers. If your connection goes down, so does your phone service, right?

Yes and no. VoIP systems designed to deal with downtime are available. Hosted solutions, like Phone.com, typically offer emergency routing to mobile devices. Our call-handling rules can redirect your incoming calls to a pre-set mobile number if connectivity to your primary VoIP device is disrupted. As long as you set those rules on your account, your calls will route to a mobile number.

We should also note that there are catastrophic disasters that will disrupt any phone service, regardless of whether it’s VoIP or hard wired. As business communications evolve, it makes sense to design your phone networks to spread connectivity and redundancy across all of your physical, IP and cellular networks.

The other reason business owners cite for not switching to VoIP is that of call quality. First, if you haven’t experienced a phone call using HD (High Definition) Voice, you will be amazed at the quality and clarity of your conversation!

According to our support team, occasional call quality issues can often be attributed to the speed and performance of your Internet connection. When our customers have consistent, adequate Internet connectivity, audio quality is not usually a problem. If, as a VoIP user, you’re experiencing degraded audio, we strongly suggest you check the performance of your Internet connection. Your ISP and VoIP provider should have tools to measure whether your connection is robust enough to support VoIP service.

If quality is a concern on calls forwarded to your cell phone, there are a number of variables at work, from the quality of your cell phone connection to the quality of the connection between Phone.com and your carrier. Our fantastic customer service team has the tools to help determine where the issue lies!

By taking these steps, businesses can ensure the reliability and quality they’ve come to appreciate with PSTN service, along with the array of services, benefits and savings offered by VoIP. Price, mobile integration, advanced features and easy scaling. It’s yours for the taking!

Why Generation Y Won’t Answer Your Voice Messages

by Sue Walsh



Why Gen Y'ers won't answer your voice messagesDo you dislike leaving voice messages for friends and colleagues?

You’re not alone, especially if you’re between the ages of 18 and 34. Research shows that millennials, also known as Generation Y, shy away from leaving voicemail, in favor of texting or using services like Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.

Recent articles in the New York Times and on NPR’s All Things Considered suggest that twenty-somethings, raised in a text-friendly culture with unlimited phone access to their friends, just don’t like waiting for the robotic voice instructions to end or that annoying beep. On average, Gen Yers send up to 60 text messages a day. They find texting more immediate and satisfying, and trust it more.

While millennials have been dubbed the “Me” generation, when it comes to messaging it seems more a matter of pragmatism than entitlement. Texting is simply faster and easier than leaving a message. A “Call me!” text will likely be answered more quickly than a voice message buried on your phone or in your Inbox. And millennials will often call the number that appears on a voicemail notification before listening to the full message. Again, they like to save time.

Growing up with caller ID, millennials may also assume that if a workmate sees their caller name and chooses not to pick up, they do not want to answer. Not answering can seem like a rejection, and having to leave a voice message can feel, to use a Gen Y-ism, lame.

Finally, admit it, you might teach or sell or coach for a living, but we all feel a bit tongue-tied when we leave a voice message. A text message is easily edited.

All in favor of scrapping voicemail shout “yeah!” Unfortunately, most of us work in businesses that span at least a couple generations of workers. And our parents and grandparents still love the sound of our voices on their answering services. Voicemail may one day go the way of the telegram, but until then, we’ll still need to leave a message after the beep from time to time.

A few tips for leaving your voice message? Sit up tall and take a deep breath before beginning. Then say who is calling and leave a short, detailed and friendly message with a smile.

Finally, if you just don’t want to have to log in and listen to all those messages sequentially, use a service like Phone.com’s voicemail-to-text, which sends voice messages to your email or phone to read over a latte!

Streamline Communications with Our Killer Mobile App!

by Sue Walsh


defense_researchDefense consultant Edward Tj Gerety III communicates daily with clients and partners in the international community. A Co-Founder of Defensive Research, Gerety was looking for a business phone solution that would allow him to communicate efficiently wherever he found himself.

“Phone.com’s mobile app lets me communicate flawlessly with clients on all of my devices,” says Gerety. “Not only can I use a single identifying number across those devices, but if I’m busy with a client I can instantly redirect other VIP clients calling to another partner with just a tap of an icon on the app.”

Phone.com’s free Mobile Office app let’s you:

  • Place and receive calls from your Phone.com number
  • Hear, view and manage voicemail messages and faxes
  • View call logs for your account
  • Send and receive SMS messages
  • Host conference calls from your mobile devices

Gerety notes that these and other Phone.com features come at a huge cost benefit. “I’m saving, on average, $45 a month compared to my previous VOIP service,” he says, “and they offered only a tenth of the options, along with a fraction of Phone.com’s excellent customer service.”

Flexible mobile management, great features, cost savings and exceptional customer support—what’s not to love about Phone.com? We love making business easier for our clients!

AFAR: At the End of the Line for Animal Rights

by Sue Walsh



Phone.com Customer Service Pooch

Customer Service pup Wino, enjoying the green grass at Phone.com’s Poway offices.

Customer Advocates for Animal Rights (AFAR) came to Phone.com through our affiliation with Grassroots.org, a partnership that gives non-profits one year of free phone service.

Based in Michigan, AFAR’s goal is to advocate on animal-rights issues, educate the public on spaying and neutering, and celebrate the special bond between animals and the people who care for them. Their phone line is used to raise funds and gather support to provide no-kill temporary housing and care for strays.

Director David Farr says Phone.com has definitely helped move AFAR’s work forward. “As we grow, Phone.com is there, meeting our needs, often even before we know we need something.”

AFAR uses a Phone.com customized toll-free number. This feature lets customers pick a number that is easy for callers to remember and dial because it uses letters associated with the organization. For example, AFAR’s donation and support line is 1-866-224-AFAR.

Sancho, our Chief Happiness Officer

Sancho, our Chief Happiness Officer

David says AFAR staff are impressed by the friendly, helpful support they receive from Phone.com Customer Service. “They always go the extra mile, providing quality service.”

What David doesn’t know, is that at Phone.com, we love our dogs! From tiny Wino the Dachshund-Beagle pup pictured above to three-year-old Pit Bull Sancho, the hounds rule our Customer Service center.

We wish AFAR every success in protecting and advocating for our furry friends!

Wanted: Robust Business Phone Service to Do Business in Washington

by Sue Walsh

SSDP LogoFor any non-profit organization running an office in Washington, DC, operation costs can be a killer. Rent, keeping the lights on, marketing—and oh yeah, phone service. You need a really good business phone service if you’re an international, grassroots organization like Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).

SSDP is a student-led network that advocates for drug-policy reform and safer program implementation. The organization works to effect change, for example, on financial-aid eligibility for drug offenders who want to study, medical marijuana legislation, and Good Samaritan policies, among other issues. They have 3,000 active US members and over 200 student chapters.

“We went from having one line shared by all [three] staffers, no individual mailboxes, and no ability to forward messages or transfer calls to cell phones to having a fully-functional business phone system,” says Executive Director Betty Aldworth.

Since late last year, Aldworth says the Washington office has grown from three to six staffers. “Without Phone.com I can’t imagine how much more difficult conducting our day-to-day business would be.”

Betty Aldworth raves about Phone.com’s easy-to-use customer settings and flexible call-forwarding options, but cost savings are clearly a big win for SSDP.

“​We are saving about $100 per month by switching to Phone.com, but that’s from basic phone service to a full business platform. … I can’t imagine how much this service would cost if we were getting this robust a set of features through a traditional provider, but it would certainly be much, much more expensive!”

She also loves dealing with our Customer Support team. “The product is tremendously easy to use, but when I can’t figure something out, ​friendly folks like Derrick (Phone.com Customer Support specialist) are always right there at the click of a button to help answer any questions.”

We’re glad we make your day and work easier, Betty!