Tag Archives: small businesses

Share Button

greenfire_energyGreenFire 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 have a great customer support team on his side whenever questions arise. “What I honestly love is the ability to call and talk to a live person who can help in situations when the solution is not intuitively obvious in the web portal.” He says Phone.com’s customer service really sets us apart from others. “I’ve always been able to reach a live person quickly when I’ve had questions or needed assistance.”

We consider it a privilege to enable small businesses like GreenFire Energy to succeed as they work to protect our environment.

Share Button

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…

Read More →

Share Button
San Diego Customer Service Meetup

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!

Share Button

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 →

Share Button

cropped-rotaryphone_swoosh_REDOn 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.

Share Button

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…

Read More →

Share Button
CEO Ari Rabban speaking at the NJ Spark Summit
CEO Ari Rabban speaking at the NJ Spark Summit

The brainchild of Aaron Price of the NJ Tech Meetup, Amit Baria of the new-tech school Fuel.am, and Bret Morgan of the Jersey Shore Tech Meetup, NJ Spark Summit hosted prominent speakers discussing strategies for building successful startups.

The conference covered many topics, including a discussion on the future of data security by Dr. Ed Amoroso of AT&T, entrepreneurial advice from attorney David Sorin, and information on entrepreneurial opportunities in the city of Hoboken by Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Sessions addressed effective crowd funding, offered fundraising strategies from major seed investors and venture capital groups, and discussed upcoming trends for marketing, promotion, public relations and media. Panel members included legal and funding specialists, as well as technologists from Indiegogo, TechCrunch, StartupValley, Techstars NYC and VentureBeat.

Personally, I enjoyed hearing Brett Martin’s experiences working through his failed startup Sonar Media, as well as discussions on how to effectively crowdfund, by Stantt co-founder Matt Hornbuckle, and on the gamification of products by Gabe Zichermann.

Building Engagement Though LiveCube

A truly galvanizing element of Spark Summit was the LiveCube app, co-created by event host Aaron Price, speaker Gabe Zichermann and Justin Schier. Used as the social media aggregator for the event, the big benefit of LiveCube was that it allowed attendees to post and then return later to monitor and engage with content created that day.

Gamifying engagement and offering prizes from sponsors and speakers strongly encouraged NJ Spark Summit attendees to use LiveCube and delivered a memorable meta-experience on top of the conference talk. An added bonus for attendees is LiveCube’s persistence after the event, letting them engage with speakers they did not have time to speak to during the conference.

Plugging Into Phone.com

As a sponsor, Phone.com provided a much-needed service at Spark Summit—a device charging station! Manned by Aaron Rosenthal and myself of Phone.com’s upcoming API, the stylized idea box held USB, Apple and AC charging units to let attendees recharge the devices they were using at the event.

Phone.com CEO Ari Rabban also spoke briefly about the boost that Phone.com provides to startups with our professional, low-cost business phone service. Phone.com also offered a free year of service for attendees of the conference!

Overall, I think NJ Spark Summit was well executed and gave startups, investors and developers the chance to engage with the New Jersey business community. As a young business, we at Phone.com love it when startups reach out and promote each others’ services, thereby encouraging those partners to return the favor down the road. Paying it forward was never so much fun!

Share Button

The brainchild of Aaron Price of the NJ Tech Meetup, Amit Baria of the new-tech school Fuel.am, and Bret Morgan of the Jersey Shore Tech Meetup, NJ Spark Summit hosted prominent speakers discussing strategies for building successful startups. The conference covered many topics, including a discussion on the future of data security by Dr. Ed Amoroso of AT&T, entrepreneurial advice from attorney David Sorin, and information on entrepreneurial opportunities in the city of Hoboken by Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Sessions addressed effective crowd funding, offered fundraising strategies from major seed investors and venture capital groups, and discussed upcoming trends for marketing,…

Read More →

Share Button

wannacupcakeAt Phone.com we take pride in helping small businesses grow. This week’s customer testimonial may leave you craving sweets, so consider yourself warned. That said, do you Wanna Cupcake?

Jim and Karie Romano, the owners of Wanna Cupcake?, have been with Phone.com since 2012 and our services have helped their Washington-based business grow sweeter through the years. They have a passion for creating awesome cakes, cupcakes and sweet treats, all made from scratch with the finest ingredients.

A number of Phone.com features help Wanna Cupcake? provide quality service to make each visit to their store and every special event memorable.  “We are able to have a phone menu, multiple extensions, voicemail and much more that would not be possible to afford with a traditional phone service provider,” they emphasize.

At Wanna Cupcake? flavors change every day!  To keep their customers informed, they simply pre-record a greeting with the flavors of the day and then schedule them to play on a given day of the week. Jim and Karie note, “By simply managing the greeting options (SO easy to do!) we can offer our customers more than our competition.”

If you still need to contact the bakers, decorators or design specialists, you can call in and leave a message with your orders or inquiries for your special events. “Customers are really impressed when we respond to a voicemail in record time!” Jim says. With voicemail notifications Wanna Cupcake? can respond quickly to their customers, especially when they are on the go.

We also provide these features at a reasonable cost for small businesses that are starting up. I think Jim and Karie say it best, “Controlling costs is just as critical as delivering outstanding quality and service. Phone.com has enabled us to have all of the features of a big business at a cost that we can afford.”

It is a privilege to enable small businesses like Wanna Cupcake? to keep their customers better connected and have a true advantage over their competition.  Don’t forget to follow Wanna Cupcake on Twitter and check out their flavors of the day!

Share Button

At Phone.com we take pride in helping small businesses grow. This week’s customer testimonial may leave you craving sweets, so consider yourself warned. That said, do you Wanna Cupcake? Jim and Karie Romano, the owners of Wanna Cupcake?, have been with Phone.com since 2012 and our services have helped their Washington-based business grow sweeter through the years. They have a passion for creating awesome cakes, cupcakes and sweet treats, all made from scratch with the finest ingredients. A number of Phone.com features help Wanna Cupcake? provide quality service to make each visit to their store and every special event memorable.…

Read More →

Share Button

brighttalkMore and more companies are moving away from a centralized physical structure and allowing employees to work from home or remotely when traveling on business. In 2013, there were an estimated 28 million small businesses in the United States. These businesses have generated over 65 percent of net new jobs since 1995.

So how do small businesses or, for that matter, businesses of any size keep up with competition in the US and abroad? One way is to incorporate virtual-business strategies and employ some of the rapidly evolving technologies that fall under the umbrella of cloud communications.

On Wednesday, February 26, at 11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET, Joel Maloff (VP, Channel Development) and Aaron Rosenthal (API Product Manager) at Phone.com will host a webinar in conjunction with BrightTalk.  They will discuss the ways cloud communications might make sense for your business.  Some of the topics they will be tackling include:

  • Telecommuting: Ways employees can work from home or in transit, yet appear as if they are working from the office.
  • Be Local, Act Global: The ability to expand into new markets and countries without having to expand your number of office locations.
  • Contingency Planning: How a virtual business can be more resilient when natural or man-made disruptions to business occur.

Click here to read more about the webinar and to sign up.

Share Button

More and more companies are moving away from a centralized physical structure and allowing employees to work from home or remotely when traveling on business. In 2013, there were an estimated 28 million small businesses in the United States. These businesses have generated over 65 percent of net new jobs since 1995. So how do small businesses or, for that matter, businesses of any size keep up with competition in the US and abroad? One way is to incorporate virtual-business strategies and employ some of the rapidly evolving technologies that fall under the umbrella of cloud communications. On Wednesday, February…

Read More →

Share Button

This post was originally published on Communicate Better Blog, our customer service blog.  Click here to read the original article.

we're listeningHere at Phone.com, we respond to both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE feedback. Yup, both are equally important. We want to thank customers for taking the time to share their experiences with us, both good and bad.  Feedback is a gift that helps us learn and grow into an even better company. Plus, there is power in recognizing our customer service team for their hard work, as it builds motivation and inspiration to keep serving others.

We call our positive feedback Smiles. Why? Well, it makes us smile of course! We collect smiles here at Phone.com after all! We have an internal document where we keep all of the monthly Smiles for each representative. We share all of this feedback in our employee newsletter so everyone can be aware of the great feedback coming from our customers. We are also working on incorporating this into a monthly incentive program.  Read my recent post titled, What Keeps Your Employees Ticking.

We call our negative feedback, Opportunities for Awesome (OforA for short). Why? Well, the fact that someone took the time to share what they don’t like means another opportunity for us to improve and find ways to do more of what people do like. We track each OforA that we receive to see how the situation affects the customer experience as a whole. Then we make feature requests for our research and development team to put these ideas into action in our phone service. We are thankful for the unique opportunity to see our service through the eyes of our customers.

After responding to a customer’s Smile earlier this week, I received this feedback:

It’s nice to know that your feedback actually gets read by management! I’m very glad for [your representative], that she would receive recognition for a job well done, as it is well deserved. And a job well done to you, as Phone.com has good management that recognizes both a job well done (as well as a job poorly done), you generally keep very good company culture…which is a snowball effect in the positive direction! Happy employees make for happy customers, and right back up to management! 

I basically got a Smile in return for sending a smile her way. So much smiling going on! I was blown away by this and it just reinforced the fact that we are on the right path in the way we handle feedback.

So, if this short article inspires anything today, may it be a desire to respond to every bit of feedback that customers send your way. Remember, they didn’t have to send it and yet they still took the time to do so!

Share Button

This post was originally published on Communicate Better Blog, our customer service blog.  Click here to read the original article. Here at Phone.com, we respond to both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE feedback. Yup, both are equally important. We want to thank customers for taking the time to share their experiences with us, both good and bad.  Feedback is a gift that helps us learn and grow into an even better company. Plus, there is power in recognizing our customer service team for their hard work, as it builds motivation and inspiration to keep serving others. We call our positive feedback Smiles. Why?…

Read More →

Share Button

secrets_google_driveMany small business owners use Google Apps for email, calendar, contacts, advertising and a whole lot more, including their Google Drive service.

Google Drive includes word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation, form-creation and drawing services. Previously called Google Docs, the service is an indispensable tool for business people around the world. I came across an article this morning titled 16 Secrets of Google Drive in the online MACWORLD magazine. I don’t think all of these secrets are that secret but here are seven of my favorite tips from the article.

1. Search by Person

One of Google Drive’s best features is the ability to collaborate with others on a document in real time. With so many comments flying back and forth, however, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the one you’re looking for. Recently Google added the ability to search not only your documents, but to find documents by the name of people who share those docs with you. This is perfect if you can’t remember a document’s name, but you do remember who shared it. To use this feature, navigate to your drive in a web browser, click the Shared with Me link to the left, and then enter a person’s name in the search field. All documents owned by that person (or shared between the two of you) will appear.

2. Search Google Docs and Gmail

If you use Google Drive, it’s also likely that you use Gmail. If you want to save time and use Gmail’s search box to search both places, navigate to Gmail, click the Gear icon, and then choose Settings from the menu. Click the Labs tab and enable the Apps Search option. Now when you use Gmail’s search box, any relevant Google Drive documents will appear beneath your Gmail results!

3. Keep the Conversation with Your Document

Having a conversation about the details of a document in an email thread and then switching over to that document to make changes is just not cool. Know what’s cool? Collaborating on a document in real time and having that conversation right there in the document. When you see one or more collaborators’ names appear at the top of the document, click the Chat button that appears to start a conversation to the right of what you’re working on. Plus, that conversation stays with the document as you work on it, share it with new collaborators, and move it around in your Drive.

4. Obligatory Keyboard Shortcuts

What list of tips for a productivity suite as large as Google Drive would be complete without a mention of keyboard shortcuts? So here is a great list of keyboard shortcuts to help you work faster in Google Drive.

5. Customize Google Forms

Google Drive’s Forms let you build surveys and collect data for just about anything you can imagine. You can turn a spreadsheet into a form or use the new Create > Form option in your Drive. To make these forms even more useful, Google recently added customization options that allow you to add elements like progress bars, data validation and the embedding of YouTube videos.

6. Easy Table of Contents

If you need a way to navigate large documents or simply add a table of contents, the Insert > Table of Contents menu item has you covered. Apply headings to content from the Format > Paragraph Styles menu to build your table.

7. Edit Documents, Presentations and Drawings Offline

Want to access your Google Drive documents even when you’re offline? This set of instructions will let you install an app from the Chrome Web Store to take Google Drive offline should the need arise. You can currently work offline in your browser to edit documents, presentations and drawings, but only view spreadsheets and presentations.

Not a Google Drive fan? If you or your company is more Microsoft oriented, I recommend checking out Outlook.com. They have a reasonably robust suite of comparable services.

What do you use in your business—Google, Microsoft or something else? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Share Button

Many small business owners use Google Apps for email, calendar, contacts, advertising and a whole lot more, including their Google Drive service. Google Drive includes word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation, form-creation and drawing services. Previously called Google Docs, the service is an indispensable tool for business people around the world. I came across an article this morning titled 16 Secrets of Google Drive in the online MACWORLD magazine. I don’t think all of these secrets are that secret but here are seven of my favorite tips from the article. 1. Search by Person One of Google Drive’s best features is the ability to collaborate…

Read More →

Share Button

in_the_cloudBusiness owners hear about the benefits of cloud storage all the time. The cloud can save you money, offers mobile access, helps your team work more cohesively, reduces infrastructure costs, and so on.

The two most popular business solutions currently are Box and Dropbox. Both have good offerings but take a high-level look at some of the more important features.

In the comparison table below, you can see that Box seems a superior service. But when it comes to media and syncing features, Dropbox is the clear winner. It’s important to keep in mind that Box was created with enterprise as its main focus.

Available Features:

Comparison of Box vs. Dropbox features
Source: Software Advice

Service Strength:

box-dropbox
Source: Software Advice

Security wise, Box is stronger, and probably the right choice if you are dealing with private records or payment information. Dropbox seems to have dropped the ball in this category.

But upload size matters and Dropbox blows away the competition in this category. Box only allows maximum file size upload of 5 GB with any of their plans and much less on their free offering. Dropbox lets users upload files of any size as long as it doesn’t exceed their storage quota.

The make-or-break statistic for many companies is price, and both Box and Dropbox offer a free, basic service that I highly suggest signing up for and using before making a final decision. Dropbox starts at $99 per user per year for 100 GB for each user. Box is significantly less expensive at $60 per user per month, though users share 100 GB of online storage.

In conclusion, both solutions offer great features at a reasonable price. Your needs will dictate which service will work better for you. What are your considerations when choosing storage? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

Note: Phone.com does not endorse either of the services in this article.
Share Button

Business owners hear about the benefits of cloud storage all the time. The cloud can save you money, offers mobile access, helps your team work more cohesively, reduces infrastructure costs, and so on. The two most popular business solutions currently are Box and Dropbox. Both have good offerings but take a high-level look at some of the more important features. In the comparison table below, you can see that Box seems a superior service. But when it comes to media and syncing features, Dropbox is the clear winner. It’s important to keep in mind that Box was created with enterprise…

Read More →

Share Button
inflight_wifiAnyone who’s flown in the last decade knows that as soon as the plane touches down, people switch on their phones, and the buzzing, beeping and vibrating begins. I fly for business throughout the year and, until recently, would land and be bombarded with email and text messages.

I tend to only fly American Airlines and in the last year or two onboard Wi-Fi has become available. I didn’t think I needed it. I figured it would be nice to relax, catch up on reading and writing, but I was wrong. Yesterday, I wrote a Phone.com blog post at 38,000 feet and emailed it off to be edited and published. I stayed productive, which kept me from feeling stressed when I landed. My phone didn’t even beep when I turned it on after landing!

Just like mobile hotspots, inflight Wi-Fi is a tool that is changing where people do business.  I’ve decided that if you can afford it or your company will allow you to expense it, it’s a great tool.

What about you and your employees? Can you justify inflight Wi-Fi? What would your return on the cost be? Talk to your employees and see what they think—they may consider their flight time a near-sacred disconnection, a benefit of travel.

What do you think about onboard Wi-Fi. Is it for you? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter, or in the comments below.

Share Button

Anyone who’s flown in the last decade knows that as soon as the plane touches down, people switch on their phones, and the buzzing, beeping and vibrating begins. I fly for business throughout the year and, until recently, would land and be bombarded with email and text messages. I tend to only fly American Airlines and in the last year or two onboard Wi-Fi has become available. I didn’t think I needed it. I figured it would be nice to relax, catch up on reading and writing, but I was wrong. Yesterday, I wrote a Phone.com blog post at 38,000…

Read More →

Share Button

Small businesses have a lot on their plates to earn the “successful” label, but one factor that doesn’t always come into play when it comes to planning is the phone system. Sure, most small business owners seem to understand that some access to a phone system is necessary, but as they begin looking into the available possibilities, the task becomes almost overwhelming. Many these days work to decide between two options: a mobile phone system or a PBX. The reasoning behind the choice is a fairly clear one, too.

PBX Systems:
• Allow owners to mange voicemail
• Create the option for call conferencing and group calling
• Offer automatic call handling
• Create user statistics and call logs

Mobile Phone systems:
• Give customers access to employees no matter where they are
• Create an atmosphere of constant productivity and contact

Fortunately, if you’re a small business owner, you no longer have to choose between the real benefit of going mobile and the amazing features of PBX thanks to mobile office apps from companies like Phone.com. With the ability to manage your voicemail just like you could with PBX, block calls from unwanted numbers, and even review your call logs on the go, mobile office apps are truly revolutionizing the face of small businesses. It’s hard to imagine that anyone had to be standing by a piece of equipment just to get a fax a few years ago, but mobile office apps can automatically deliver faxes to your mobile phone. The real drawback of systems like these, of course, has been the fact that you’re still mobile, so customers will see that when you ring in on their caller IDs. Now, companies like Phone.com have found a way to conquer even that, though. When you call in, it looks like you’re calling from the office.
It’s no longer necessary to make the difficult choice between PBX and mobile. For most small business owners, it’s all mobile these days.

Share Button

Small businesses have a lot on their plates to earn the “successful” label, but one factor that doesn’t always come into play when it comes to planning is the phone system. Sure, most small business owners seem to understand that some access to a phone system is necessary, but as they begin looking into the available possibilities, the task becomes almost overwhelming. Many these days work to decide between two options: a mobile phone system or a PBX. The reasoning behind the choice is a fairly clear one, too. PBX Systems: • Allow owners to mange voicemail • Create the…

Read More →