Tag Archives: small business

Voice 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.... Read More →

As businesses and home users set aside traditional analog phone services, replacing them with Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), one of the challenges becomes allocating the right amount of bandwidth to your Internet phone service. How much of your current bandwidth is needed for high-quality voice calls? This is a question we are asked every day by our customers. Start by asking yourself a few questions: What is the actual data upload and download speed that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) delivers? What other services and applications on your network consume a portion of that available bandwidth? Are there Quality of Service (QoS) settings that you can tweak to optimize your network for VoIP? Minimum and Recommended Bandwidth for VOIP Service The bandwidth that our VOIP phone service requires depends on the number of concurrent calls you want to make. The table below shows the minimum bandwidth required to make... Read More →

Defense 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... Read More →

[caption id="attachment_19184" align="alignright" width="250"] Customer Service pup Wino, enjoying the green grass at Phone.com's Poway offices.[/caption] 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.... Read More →

With so many companies building an online presence, it's easy to forget that we still rely on the humble telephone to do business and create success. Small companies use their phone lines to answer customer questions, take orders and deal with vendors, which is why a memorable vanity number is such a valuable asset. What is a Vanity Number? A vanity number is a local or toll-free phone number made up of a string of numbers or letters that are either easy to remember or represent your business well. For example, 858-555-5000 or 1-800-FLOWERS. Software Advice, a Texas-based service that helps businesses select the right software for their needs, recently published a great decision tree (shown below) that will help you choose the best vanity number for your business. At first glance, the chart looks a bit intimidating, but the process is simple: Find the best word or phrase to represent your business... Read More →

At Phone.com, we love our Channel Partner Program (CPP). It allows businesses that would benefit from bundling Phone.com with their own services to offer their clients superior VoIP phone service! While Phone.com provides software tools, training and support for CPP Agents, the agents work one-on-one with their own clients to provide great customer support. Matthew Demaree, CEO of HTDNET, a Virginia-based computer consulting and web-hosting company, signed on with the CPP Agent program in 2011 after using our phone service for a couple of years. "We became authorized Phone.com agents, allowing us to take our knowledge and experience of Phone.com's products and services directly to our customers—getting them the direct support they need and still getting awesome backup support from Phone.com when we have a special issue or request." Demaree is a big Phone.com fan. "We have NEVER had a customer-service failure. Phone.com always goes above and beyond to ensure... Read More →

DomainSkate.com has been a satisfied customer of Phone.com for a few years now, making it that much better to connect with them at NY Tech Day two weeks ago. In fact, our booth was right across from Phone.com's, giving us the opportunity to chat with their team and get outfitted with some Phone.com swag! We also had a chance to talk about the product we recently launched—our online brand protection for small- to medium-sized businesses. DomainSkate helps companies manage their brands and domains online, keeping cyber squatters and other domain abusers away. For demo purposes, we entered “Phone.com” into our software dashboard, and predictably, there were many results for domain names that included the term “phone.” Most notable were instances where people were obviously trying to target Phone.com by registering domains like www.phonecom.com and www.phone-com.com. Also, there were those who'd registered the term “phone” in the new domain TLDs (Top Level Domains),... Read More →

Every Phone.com account includes the ability to send a digital fax. Say goodbye to your fax machine! How to Send a Fax You can send a fax through any extension on your account. To begin this process: Mouse over Configure at the top of your account page and select Manage Users & Extensions. Select Edit next to the extension from which you want to send a fax. Select Send a Fax on the left-side navigation bar within the extension settings. You are now on the Send a Fax page. To create your fax: In the Fax Number field (1) enter the fax number to which you want to send a document. Enter cover page information (optional). In the Send a confirmation email to field (2) enter your email address to receive a successful delivery confirmation. Select Choose File (3) to upload the document you want to send. Select Preview Fax... Read More →

GreenFire Energy is a small but growing renewable energy firm located in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and the San Francisco bay area. Founded in 2010, GreenFire has worked to develop breakthrough CO2-based geothermal energy systems that produce clean, sustainable energy. They recently made the switch to Phone.com and co-founder Randy Balik has already seen a positive impact on his small business. "Phone.com has simplified the way our small business manages its entire phone system," he says, adding, "Your service has given us a much more professional business presence than we had before." Features like customizable menus and professional greetings easily set small businesses apart from their competitors, and are included in Phone.com's basic plan. Balik says that GreenFire is saving about $70 per month over their previous VoIP system, and is getting a much broader service. And while Randy Balik uses our control panel to tweak settings, he's happy to... Read More →

Phone.com was recently selected as a finalist for the 2014 SmartCEO Voltage awards, and we couldn't be more honored! The New York-based awards celebrate the increasing role that technology plays in business, along with the impact the tech sector has on economic growth. This year’s finalists will be profiled in the May/June issue of SmartCEO magazine, and celebrated at an awards ceremony on April 30, where category winners will be announced. Phone.com is nominated for excellence in technical implementation. "It’s no secret that the [caption id="attachment_18408" align="alignright" width="225"] Phone.com CEO Ari Rabban with his 2014 Smart CEO Voltage Award.[/caption] evolution of technology is what drives business forward," says Rick Crane, Regional President of SmartCEO Media, speaking of the finalists. "These companies are pushing the limits of innovation — streamlining processes, finding efficiencies and discovering the next great product."   Event Details: When? Wednesday, April 30, 2014 -- 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Where? Capitale,... Read More →

These days, more and more people are working out of their offices or in the field. Few companies need a receptionist or a physical answering machine to take messages. When you're on the go, Phone.com makes it easy to get a voice message as soon as a caller leaves one in your Inbox. For Maurice Aguirre, Chief Lobbyist at DG Group, LLP, on-the-go voicemail is one of his favorite features! The DG Group is a high-stakes advocacy and public-strategy firm that offers a range of services to help their clients gain a competitive advantage. Services include public relations; creating, implementing and changing public policy; and business-management consulting. One of Aguirre's chief goals, is to build and maintain strong relationships with his clients. Having voicemail at his fingertips is key. "Always being connected to a client, no matter where I am or whether an assistant is routing calls, is priceless," he... Read More →

This April 24th, the Phone.com team will attend NY TechDay, a leading showcase for technology in New York City. Over 400 exhibitors will demonstrate products and services to tech enthusiasts, investors and the press. Our team will be on hand to talk about the Phone.com service and introduce our telephony API. We'll also be giving out some great swag and discounts! Event Details: When? April 24, 2014, from 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM Where? Pier 92, New York City Follow NY TechDay:  Facebook | Twitter | LinkedInRead More →

This post originally appeared on our customer-service blog at CommunicateBetterBlog.com A little over a year ago, I made a terrific connection with author and customer-service expert, Jeff Toister. After attending a webinar about his book Service Failure, I began reading Jeff's blog and communicating with him on Twitter. We eventually realized that we live less than a mile from each other, and have met a couple times to hike and talk customer service. Eventually, we arrived at the idea for a meetup for customer-service professionals in San Diego. Last week, Phone.com hosted the meetup by opening up our office and providing refreshments. I had the opportunity to share some of the key components that we strive for when we talk about achieving awesome customer service. It was fun to give a tour of our customer-service operation and answer questions from attendees. Jeff followed up with a discussion on the common customer-service challenges that... Read More →

Phone.com makes it easy and affordable to support a business in several countries! Need virtual numbers in different regions and the ability to call internationally? For Ofelos Media, a Phone.com client based in Cyprus, our phone service delivers all that and more! Ofelos Media offers business and marketing services that help small companies expand and establish an online presence. Services include scanning and electronic archiving of documents, strategies for mobile and online marketing, and guidance on social media. Phone.com gives Ofelos Media the telephony resources to maintain their relationships with global clients, and enables them to operate economically. While their main office is located in Cyprus, Ofelos Media has another office almost 2,000 miles away in Denmark, with each location using numbers local to those countries. "The features we love most about the [Phone.com] system is its ability to handle global numbers, which gives us a local presence in each country,"... Read More →

Phone.com and Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. are hosting a meetup event for San Diego customer service professionals on Wednesday, April 9 from 4:30-6:30 PM Pacific time. The evening will feature a grand tour of Phone.com's awesome customer service operation, round table discussions about customer service and, of course, networking. There are still spots available but they are going fast so sign up today. Click to sign up and learn more about the event!Read More →

Previously, we published a series of posts on setting up your menu system. In this post, I'd like to combine that series to give you the key steps you need to set up your company's menu (IVR) system. In short, here are the steps for setting up your menu system: Create a greeting for your menu that tells callers the various number prompts to enter to reach specific employees/departments. Create a menu system and set the greeting you created as the outgoing message. Configure the call forwarding rules for your menu number prompts. Forward your Phone.com number to your menu. 1. Creating a Greeting To create a greeting, go to Configure and select Add A Greeting. You will want to use one of the options to record a greeting—either text to greeting, record from phone, or upload a file. Once your greeting is finalized, save it. For a more detailed... Read More →

On Communicate Better, our blog dedicated to customer service, Jenny Dempsey and I do a regular hangout to talk about customer service.  We call it Coffee and Customer Service but generally drink water or tea. In today's hangout, we reviewed our week of blogging that included posts about a terrific experience I had with Amazon.com and a horrific experience with a taxi cab driver.  Jenny concluded her series on The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz and talked about some customer service inspiration from the movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Don't miss out on today's hangout!  To watch more terrific customer service hangouts, check out our YouTube channel.Read More →