Name: Debbie Jackson
Business name: KidsPlayPlus
Spotlight on KidsPlayPlus CEO Debbie Jackson
We recently interviewed an interesting Phone.com customer named Debbie Jackson, who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of a New Jersey based company entitled KidsPlayPlus.com. The company trains and coaches children in numerous sports and athletic games – at various locations throughout the state.
KidsPlayPlus is a great example of a small business that operates remotely – seamlessly and successfully. Debbie and her remote staff answer sales calls and deal with customers virtually – that is to say, from the various locations where she and a variety of coaches who work for the company reside and work out of.
Debbie sends her coaches out to supervise and train groups of children at remote locations throughout the state. Therefore a virtual phone system, designed to support a virtual business with a remote staff, is exactly what Debbies company always needed. Which is why she chose Phone.com.
We began by asking the CEO why she upgraded from a traditional phone system to Phone.coms “Virtual Office” plan…
What motivated you to switch from your old phone system to Phone.com’s “Virtual Office”?:
“Why did I switch? Well, unlike many of your subscribers, I use a live receptionist. In this business, the mothers and athletic supervisors like to get a live person on the line when they call in. What they don’t know, and where Phone.com comes in handy, is that we maintain a “virtual office”.
So I needed a virtual phone system that would easily support a remote business set up. All of my employees work remotely. Even my receptionist, who, like me, is a single mom and works for me out of her home office.
So with the Phone.com system, I can route calls coming in correctly, without switching a call-forwarding mechanism back and forth. Like I used to have to do. I call forwarded to my cell phone. So on every call, and many are long calls, I was getting double billed. plus, Constantly having to switch the call forwarding back and forth was really inconvenient.
Phone.com does save you money every month?
It does save me money! I was using 5 different cell phones… and every call was constantly being double-billed because of the old fashioned call-forwarding set up, when I’d used up all my “anytime” minutes.
Not being double-billed all the time is saving me many hundreds of dollars per month. I only have to use one cell phone now — one personal/business & one that I keep for business.
What else do you find particularly useful about the Phone.com system?
I especially like the ability to set up a “coaches hotline” as one of my extensions, to help me hire employees (coaches), with a separate greeting for them if it has to go into voice-mail. And the hot-line is also good for accepting specific calls that relate to problems or issues that need attention.
It’s great that I can set the system permanently, without switching back and forth, to route calls to me during the weekends. I used to have to carry around 2 phones all the time! And I like that the caller ID lets me see who’s calling.
Do your employees customize the system for themselves?
My coaches just go out and teach the classes. My receptionist uses the online account interface, to retrieve and return voice-calls. At least she can return calls quickly, due to the email alerts that let her know she has messages waiting. Calling into an old-fashioned voice menu to get messages was a real hassle for her – and for me.
This was the main reason for choosing the system, a convenient online interface, a “virtual office” that archives all the calls that come in, plus faxes – getting them by email, plus the alerts. This feature is the main reason we keep the system, in fact!
What other features help you make money and keep your business better organized?
I use the special “greetings” feature to market our FAQs – which guides people that want to sign up, and helps to direct and sign people up online, on our website; with specific instruction messages on the phone system. And of course we reiterate it with emails and the website.
I also get a lot of use out of the “schedules”… Scheduling calls to go to my remote live receptionist from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, to her cell phone, and on weekends routing calls automatically to my business cell phone. From 3:00 pm on the main line rings to my landline, and I schedule the routing to my business cell phone to be turned off after 3:00 pm.
Oh yes, the faxing is also great… Incoming faxes – I can get a fax, open it up in email form & its just great, and so easy to forward. This way I dont need two lines, which also saves me money every month.
I have to tell you… faxes are so convenient in the electronic format. My coaches send in their time sheets to get paid, and the system keeps all of this very well organized.
Phone.com helps me make more money mainly because I am able to respond to prospects live, with the advanced call forwarding set up, right to my cell, wherever I happen to be, instead of having to play phone tag with so many people, with endless voicemails – I figure 30% more money every month.
You see, people calling in, prospects, think it’s a hot idea one moment and the next the sense of urgency is gone. That’s why you have to get them right away. This way I never lose that sense of urgency with interested parties, and thats what closes my registrations at a steady rate.
How does Phone.com help you promote the type of business image you want to project?
This system helps me portray a large company image to people calling in. Most of the time it’s a live answer, my receptionist or various coaches… but what callers do not know is that the phone is ringing in multiple locations.
Prospects and customers never know it’s not one big office they are calling. So I am able to give the impression that we’re one large, busy office; with someone on hand to take calls for a live response 90% of the time.