Time is probably the most important and valuable asset of an entrepreneur. Small business owners and entrepreneurs need to wear many hats and their involvement is necessary in almost every aspect of their business. At times, this can get so overwhelming that an entrepreneur begins to lose track of his actual business intentions. If you ever find yourself trapped in such a situation, there’s only one thing that you can do – remove some tasks from your plate.
A Virtual Phone for Healthy Communication
For a small business owner and entrepreneur, maintaining constant and healthy communication with customers, prospects, partners and employees can be a daunting task. He does not have time to answer each and every call; neither can he allow calls to go unanswered. A virtual phone system can be the right solution to his problem.
A virtual phone has some amazing features that help small company owners and entrepreneurs build a healthy communication culture. It is extremely affordable and is a true friend for every small and new business owner.
Auto Attendant to Answer, Greet and Forward Calls
An entrepreneur receives tons of calls every day. Not every call is critical for a business. But how do you know which ones are? Must you answer each one to determine which are important and which are not? Using the auto attendant feature of a virtual phone, an entrepreneur can answer his callers with customizable messages 24×7. An auto attendant practically removes the need for a receptionist in an office. It works as a virtual receptionist around the clock including weekends and holidays – answering and routing callers.
An auto attendant often interacts first with your customers, even before you. So, it’s important that you make it sound smart and professional.
Sift and Answer Calls
Once the auto attendant forwards a call, you can screen the call before answering it. You can use Call Screen & Announce to know who’s on the line. You can either answer the call or forward the call to the voicemail box. A caller can leave a message at the voicemail box. You are informed of every voicemail immediately either by text to your cell phone or by email. Voicemails can also be read in email or can be listened to through a link in the email. This allows an entrepreneur to manage all his communications from one place.
For Mobile Workers
A virtual phone system also helps entrepreneurs overcome the communication challenges of their mobile workforce. People now go mobile or work remotely for various reasons. A virtual phone allows mobile workers to work away from the office and yet stay professional and make their communication strong and effective. A virtual phone can be used with any phone, even with a cell phone! It does not need any hardware, software or installation.
A virtual phone also allows entrepreneurs and mobile workers to send fax online – faxing without a fax machine. Moreover, virtual phones are compatible with most smart phones including iPhone and Android.
If a business is looking for a new phone system, something that is affordable and yet has all the features of a traditional phone system, a virtual phone system is the answer. More businesses are opting for this phone system than ever before which has given rise to many speculations regarding the advantages and benefits of this phone system. The advantages of a virtual telephone are many and one of the greatest advantages is that it can be used with any existing telephone connection.
Advanced Additional Features
In addition to the advanced features of a phone system, a virtual phone also has certain other features that give it an extra edge over a traditional phone system. Features including online fax, Do not Disturb and Follow-Me-Find-Me help a small entrepreneur to do his business successfully in a competitive business environment. These features minimize the chances of calls going unanswered thereby boosting sales.
Advanced Call Forwarding
If an entrepreneur is looking for an all-inclusive communication system at an affordable price, a virtual phone is more than perfect. It offers scalable solutions for all business communication needs. A virtual telephone can forward calls to more than one phone number. This ensures that an entrepreneur is in touch with his customers all the time and also ensures that he does not miss any important business calls.
An entrepreneur can supply more than one phone number to his virtual phone system and can also mention the order in which he wants the calls to be forwarded. He should use his cell phone number as the first number of his choice and then can use his home phone number, business phone number and other phone numbers. A virtual telephone tries delivering a call first to the cell phone. If it does not find him then it tries delivering the call to his home phone or business phone. It basically hunts him down to deliver a call. This is known as Follow-Me-Find-Me.
Using Voicemail Box
If a caller could not talk to the entrepreneur, a virtual phone forwards the call to the voicemail box. A caller can leave a message at the voicemail box and he can reply to the caller at his convenience. The phone system subscriber is properly informed of the arrival of every voicemail. So there are fewer chances of voice messages going unanswered. Voicemail can also be read in email. The email usually has a link where the entrepreneur can just click to listen to the voicemail. Alternatively, if an entrepreneur is busy and cannot answer calls, he can keep his phone in Do Not Disturb mode until he becomes available.
A virtual phone can also be used for faxing. Using a virtual telephone, it is possible to send and receive fax without using a fax machine. A virtual telephone allows faxing via an online interface. Also known as virtual faxing, this is the simplest, easiest and fastest way of faxing as compared to traditional faxing. It is also cost effective and is environmentally friendly. More importantly, it ensures delivery of faxes on time anywhere.
There has been a new trend in business. Many people are quitting their 9 to 5 job in pursuit of doing something on their own. While their enterprising spirit needs encouragement and appreciation, there are certain things that these young entrepreneurs should be aware of to achieve success. Using a virtual telephone system is one of them. A virtual phone can prove to be helpful for all businesses but for a new business is can work like a touchstone – it can change the future of a business by a simple touch. Following are five reasons why a new business owner should incorporate a virtual phone system for the communication needs of his business:
A virtual telephone system is extremely affordable, even for a new business that is operating in a limited budget. It does not need any installation, hardware or software and can be used with any existing telephone connection. Service providers also offer affordable service plans and most of the plans contain free minutes and you need to pay only for overage usage. So, a virtual phone is just perfect for a new business owner.
When you start a business, you obviously dream to become big someday. You are not to remain small forever. So, it is better to use business solutions that can grow with the business and you do not have to look for new solutions once the business is big. A virtual telephone system is highly scalable and it actually grows with a business. Most of the service providers also allow the change of plan as and when a business grows and there is the need.
Helps Creating a Professional Impression
A virtual telephone system can also help in projecting a professional image of a business. The message recorded on auto attendant helps in creating a brand. No matter if you are going to answer the call using your cell phone, office phone or home phone, callers will hear the same greetings and welcome message. This creates a sense of branding and also shows a business to be professional. Moreover, advanced features including voicemail, call forwarding and auto attendant adds to this impression.
Keeps You Connected
The advanced call forwarding feature of a virtual telephone system never allows you to miss a call. If it cannot find you at one number, it tries forwarding the call to other phone numbers that you have already provided to the phone system. It does not matter whether you are in office, at home or travelling, with this feature on your phone, you can feel rest assured that the system will answer calls all the time. You can also specify the day and time when you want calls on one particular number.
No Wasting of Your Valuable Time
In business, a missed call is equivalent to a missed business opportunity. It is important to answer all calls. But, there are certain calls that are nothing but time wasters. A virtual telephone system allows you to screen a call and then answer it only if you feel the call is important. Otherwise, it can be directed to the voicemail box.
A virtual phone system, also known as virtual PBX is a wonderful solution for home based businesses. The communication needs of a home based business are the same as a big business. In fact, at times small and home based businesses need to communicate more with customers than their larger counterparts. The need for routing the vendors and customers of a home business is same as that of a big company, but in a home based business, it is often difficult to answer calls all the time. This is because a home business is usually like a one-man army. You are the owner and you take care of marketing, sales, accounting and every other aspects of a business.
Most Viable Alternative
The advanced features of a virtual phone including auto attendant, call forwarding, voicemail and online fax can help a home business grow. You can also use a toll free number for the convenience of customers. Though the communication needs of businesses are the same, the unique circumstances of a home office make it necessary to get the right phone system. Home offices are usually too small to accommodate a fully fledged PBX. Moreover, home businesses also operate within limited financial margins. For home entrepreneurs, a virtual PBX is the most practical alternative.
Easy to Use
A virtual phone is usually hosted by service providers. You do not need to buy any new hardware or software. You also do not need to get a new telephone connection. It can be used with any of your existing cell phone or home landlines. There is also no need for any training. You can easily use it with your existing phone connection. This is a huge benefit for small businesses as well.
When home entrepreneurs use a virtual phone for their business, callers are not able to recognize any difference. It seems like they are calling a big company and not a home business. The auto attendant answers the call and forwards the call the same way as in a big enterprise. It can also forward it to your voicemail box, if you are not able to answer it. Since a home business owner needs to do a lot of things in a short time, he can screen a call on his virtual telephone before actually answering it.
Call forwarding is perhaps the most important feature for home business owners. Incoming calls can be routed to a cell phone, home landline or other phone numbers according to the choice of users. You can also specify the day and time when you wish to receive calls on a particular number. A virtual phone can forward calls according to your choice. This reduces chances of calls going unattended. But if you fail to answer a call for any reason, the virtual PBX system forwards it to your voicemail box.
You are notified via email and text message on your cell phone as soon as a new voicemail arrives in the voicemail box. A virtual phone also allows reading a voicemail through email so that you can manage all your communications from one place.
A virtual phone system is a prerequisite for small business owners who wish to present a professional image, advertise using a branded number, manage calls effectively, and save money. The rewards for using a virtual phone for a small business include: enhanced productivity, better customer service and reduced overhead costs.
One of the important reasons for using a virtual phone is that it allows small businesses to operate more professionally. Features like auto attendant completely eliminate the need for a receptionist. Businesses no longer need a receptionist to stay tied to the telephone answering and routing callers. An auto attendant can work independently 24/7 without the need for a receptionist. The advanced call forwarding feature of a virtual phone system, Follow-Me-Find-Me, allows you to forward calls to more than one telephone number. So on days when you are working from home, or on a client meet or vacationing, it allows you to maintain close contact with your employees and other customers using this advanced call forwarding feature.
Fax online allows customers to send and receive fax almost instantly using an online interface. This virtual fax feature completely removes the need for a fax machine and its associated paraphernalia. It is faster, smarter and more cost effective than traditional faxing.
Reduced Overhead Cost
The auto assistant feature alone will account for a substantial cost savings for any business using a virtual phone system. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. A virtual phone accounts for other significant cost reduction. The virtual fax feature also helps you to save money and space. Moreover, it also makes your communication more effective. You can also use features like advanced call forwarding and voicemail with a virtual phone. These are improved features that can normally prove to be expensive. But with a virtual phone you get these features for free. You are not separately charged for these features. Now this can be a very significant cost reduction for any business.
Better Customer Service
Customer service is an important factor for all business. How well a customer’s call is handled can be an important factor in determining whether a customer will be a repeat customer or a lost opportunity. A good customer support experience begins with an exceptional communication system. A virtual phone ensures that every call is answered and forwarded to the right department. With an auto attendant you can accomplish this quite easily.
An auto attendant promptly answers all the calls and greets the caller with a custom message. Here the caller has an option either to reach out directly to the department/person simply by pressing the right extension or wait for the assistance of the auto attendant.
Simple to Use
A virtual phone system is very simple to use. You simply integrate it with your existing telephone connections – cell phone or landline. You do not need a dedicated connection. These phone systems are hosted much like websites. So you do not have to spend time migrating from your old telephone system to a new one. You also do not need any software or hardware installation.
Business would have been far easier if you did not have the hard task of convincing and attracting customers. But customers are the most important part of a business. They bring sales and help to keep a business growing. Once you have customers, it’s a full time job to attend to them, listen to them, understand their needs, and address them in the best possible way. There needs to be a team who can take care of customers. You also need teams for marketing products and services that will bring customers to the door.
A modern call center with a phone system is the best way to address both existing customers and prospects. It provides multiple options to customers and they can choose according to their need. But what if your business is small? If you cannot afford a phone system – no matter how small your business or budget is, a virtual phone system is just apt for all businesses.
Needs No Physical Existence
No matter if a business is big or small, every business struggles to reduce its expenses and increase its profit. A virtual phone system is perhaps the most appropriate choice for such efforts. It is just perfect to cut the expensive physical realms and move to a more virtual realm. A virtual phone does not need any software, hardware or installation. It does not need a separate telephone connection and can work with any phone connection – residence phone, cell phone or office phone. It is actually hosted by the service providers, much like the websites.
Enhanced Customer Support
A virtual phone system can also play a crucial role in enhancing customer service and satisfaction. It has such advanced features like voicemail, call forwarding and auto attendant that not only portray businesses as big and professional but also improves your services to a great extent. Missing a customer call can be fatal, especially if you are a customer service professional. Moreover, whenever the customer calls you, day or night he wishes to be treated professionally. The auto attendant of a virtual PBX allows you to record professional greetings. You can also change or edit it according to the hours of operation, season or festival.
Helps in Taking a Professional Approach
Whenever customers call, you can be sure to greet him professionally. A virtual phone system also allows you to forward calls to more than one phone number. If you are not available on one number the system can try forwarding it to another number. This drastically reduces the chances of calls going unanswered. If you are not available on any of the numbers then the call is forwarded to the voicemail box. Callers can leave a message there. The system will send out alerts as soon as there’s a new message. You can reply to these messages at your convenience.
Supports the Lifeline of Call Center
Answering calls is important for every business, but it has more significance for a call center or for a customer service professional because their business starts only after getting calls from customers. Missing a call is equivalent to a missed business opportunity. A virtual phone system is a boon for these people. It assures them to keep their customers close.
One of the biggest changes in today’s business world is the growing number of workers in the mobile workforce. This does not mean that people are traveling more because of business. In fact, a report by the National Business Travel Association shows that business travel has decreased by more than 14 percent in 2009. The growing number of mobile workers is the consequence of a unique blending of personal life and professional life that has never been seen before. Thanks to the modern tools and devices, today’s professionals can stay connected and work from anywhere.
Employees can use their own personal devices like smart phones and tablets and can use gtalk or Skype to stay connected with their colleagues, customers and partners. But this might compromise the security of the company and moreover, it might not comply with the branding of the company. The best solution to this challenge is to sign up for a virtual phone system.
Stay Connected Always
A virtual phone system allows your employees to stay connected with their colleagues and employees without compromising the business standards or security standards of the company. You can use a toll free number with your virtual telephone. When you use a toll free number for your business, it actually helps your business in many ways. First, your customers and partners can call you for free, even if they are calling from far away. Second, a toll free 1 800 number (http://www.itelecenter.com/1-800-Number.aspx) with a virtual phone system allows you to create extensions – for each department or for each employee, according to your needs. Employees can forward calls to their cell phones or any other phones. In fact, a virtual phone allows you to forward calls to more than one phone number and you can also specify the day and time when you would like to answer calls on a particular number. Your employees can answer their customers following all of the business standards of your company.
Complying with Norms Away From Office
A virtual phone system also allows your colleagues to transfer calls between them. It doesn’t matter whether your colleague is sitting next to you or you are geographically apart, you can easily transfer calls without your customer knowing how far apart you are. If an employee is really busy in a meeting or cannot answer a call for some reason, then also there’s no reason to panic. A virtual phone system forwards the call to the voicemail box of your employee where the caller can leave a message and the employee can call back at his convenience. It really does not matter whether your employee is working from office, home, from a hotel or from any other location, he can still maintain constant connectivity with his customers and colleagues following the set standards of your company.
The mobile workers of today are quite different from that of the past. They are not necessarily sales people or service people. These people routinely work from home or while they are traveling and are answering their customer’s questions even when they are on vacation. Deciding the policy for this mobile workforce is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of companies in the coming years. Using a virtual phone system you can at least ensure that your employees are complying with the norms and maintaining your branding and corporate identity.
As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats and so it might not be possible for you to answer all your customers at all times. This is why voice-mail is an important tool for your business. It helps to keep you connected with your customers even when you are not available to answer their call. It takes the responsibility of connecting your customers when you are pre-occupied in some other work. So you do not have to drop a task mid-term in fear of losing a client. But to use a voice mail service for your business, you need to have a fully fledged phone system, which might not be possible for you. The only solution to this challenge is to sign up for a virtual phone system.
No Missed Businesses
With a virtual phone system you can use all the features of an advanced phone system within your small budget. You cannot regulate your customers to call you within fixed hours. So they can call you after your business hours or even during weekends. The auto attendant of your virtual phone receives your call and forwards it to your voice mail box. Your caller can leave a message for you in the voice mail box and you can call him back at your convenience. A virtual phone system also reduces your chances of losing important voice mails because it sends out alerts to your emails and on your cell phone as soon as a new voice mail arrives. You can either read or listen to your voice mail through your email. Moreover, a virtual phone also uses caller ID to capture call information. So you can also get to know the details of a missed call, like the phone number, time of call etc. So missed calls no longer necessarily mean a missed business opportunity.
Better Flow of Information
A virtual phone system also allows to you create multiple extensions. You can use a local number or a toll free number (http://www.itelecenter.com/Toll-Free-Number.aspx) to create dedicated extension for every department or for every employee. This not only helps your customers to remember your extension and reach you easily but it also ensures easy flow of information across the organization. Your employees can also better communicate among themselves. Moreover, these extensions can also be used to forward calls to more than one phone number. The advanced call forwarding feature of a virtual telephone keeps you connected to your customers after business hours, when you are out of office and even when you are traveling or enjoying your vacation.
Helps You Get More Business
A virtual phone system helps you project an image of professionalism and credibility. Like any other reputed organization, a professional will answer all your calls when you use a virtual phone. It routes your caller to the right person/department and can also forward calls to more than one phone numbers of your choice. As a small business owner, you understand the importance of looking big and professional. It makes your business look credible and your customers will prefer you for their business because they feel assured of your capability to doing the business well.
A virtual phone together with its advanced features like call forwarding, auto attendant, voice mail, etc. helps you to create an impression of professionalism that definitely gives you an edge over your competitors.
A virtual phone system has been widely used by companies as an ideal tool for communication. However, small business entrepreneurs are at times concerned about the effectiveness of a virtual phone and also its features. But if you are using a virtual phone, you can be assured that your business will enjoy some of the most advanced telecommunication features that will give you an advantage over your competitors. With telecommuting becoming a popular option both for employees and employers, a virtual phone is exactly what your business needs.
Helps Your Communication
A virtual phone system provides you clear communication with your employees and customers. The audio quality of a virtual phone is as good as that of any traditional phone system. Since you are paying less for a virtual phone than a traditional phone system, it does not mean that you are compromising on anything. Some of the features of a virtual phone like auto attendant, advanced call forwarding, virtual fax are indispensable for the growth of your business.
Using an Automated Attendant
The auto attendant of a virtual phone system (http://www.itelecenter.com/Virtual-Phone-System.aspx) connects your prospects and your customers with the right person or department. It works 24/7 therefore eliminating your need for hiring an office receptionist. This results in considerable savings of money, but it no way compromises the services. An auto attendant greets and answers your customers and forwards the call to the right person/department. If there is no body to answer the call, the auto attendant forwards it to the voice mail box. It is more prompt, efficient and faster than a human receptionist.
The advanced call forwarding feature of a virtual phone system allows you to forward calls to more than one phone number. You can program your phone system in such a way that it delivers calls to your phone numbers according to your choice of day and time. This helps you to stay connected with your prospects and customers even when you are out of the office, at home or on vacation. But even if you fail to answer your customer, you should not be afraid, because the auto attendant will forward the call to your voice mail box.
Your customers can leave a message for you in your voice-mail box and you can reply back to them at your convenience. Moreover, a virtual phone system also uses caller ID to capture the details of a call so you know who has called you and at what time. A virtual phone also allows you to screen a call before you actually answer it. Now you answer a call only if it’s important or can divert it to your voice-mail box. The phone system sends out alerts as soon as you have a new voice mail. You can also listen to your voice-mail or read it through your email.
Using Toll Free Numbers
Using a toll free number or 1 800 numbers (http://www.itelecenter.com/1-800-Number.aspx) with a virtual phone system can definitely give your business an extra boost. Simply by using a toll free number, you can make your business look professional, credible and big. Now this is important for your sales. So using a toll free number with a virtual phone is important for a new entrepreneur to make his business a success.
A good communication system is imperative for the success of any business. It actually regulates a systematic flow of information across an organization and also outside it. A phone system plays an important role in the communication system of an organization. No matter if your business is big or small, the significance of a communication system remains unchanged.
There is no denying the fact that even in his age of internet and computer, telecommunications dominates any form of business communication – business cards, brochures or mailers. Even when you are advertising on the internet, people search for a number where they can talk to you directly. A virtual phone system (http://www.itelecenter.com/Virtual-Phone-System.aspx) is one of the most powerful and effective ways of modern telecommuting that can help big and small companies alike.
So, let’s take a look at how this powerful communication device works:
Keeps Connected Always
Gone are the days when you were tied to your desk waiting for your customer’s call. A mobile phone has changed the way of communication. It has made your business communication mobile. But using your cell phone number as your business contact number might not look professional; you can use a toll free number instead and forward your calls to more than one number of your choice. Your cell phone number is obviously one of them. With a virtual phone system, you can answer your customers even when you are out of the office, on the go, or on vacation.
Lures All Businesses
A virtual phone system is inexpensive and is quite affordable even for a small business. It does not need any hardware, software, installation or a dedicated telephone connection. It can work with any of your phone connections. The service providers usually offer multiple affordable plans that cater to the need of all types of business. Most of the service providers offer considerable number of free minutes with every plan and you have to pay for overage usage. So, small businesses are equally attracted to use a virtual phone as are big businesses.
The auto attendant of your virtual phone system quickly connects you with your customers. It can forward your calls to more than one number. You also have the option to screen and answer your call. The auto attendant can also forward your callers to your voicemail box where they can leave a message for you and you can reply back to them. Your virtual phone usually sends out alerts as soon as you have a new voicemail. You can also read the voicemail through your email or can click a link (sent in your email) to listen to it.
We have to admit that even today facsimile has an important role in business. But it involves certain costs like the cost of the fax machine, paper and a dedicated telephone connection. Moreover, a fax machine occupies considerable space. So when you are switching to a virtual phone system for your business, it is better to use virtual fax instead of the traditional one. It saves your time, money and also makes you environmentally friendly, because it eliminates the use of paper. A virtual fax or online fax is faster, smarter, cost efficient and also effective. It is the most modern way of faxing.