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.
A virtual phone system is your answer to all your business communication needs. There are occasions when you cannot respond to a client’s call nor cannot follow-up on a call or you actually find yourself impossible to attend to a really important phone call – a virtual phone is your answer in all these cases. So what is a virtual phone and how it can help you deal with some of the common communication problems of your business?
Convenient to Use
A virtual phone system needs no hardware, software, expensive installations and no trained staff and thus has no maintenance cost. The entire service is hosted on the provider’s system offsite but you can manage your extensions, voicemail box, call rerouting options and others. It helps you save your time, money and energy. Now isn’t that wonderful? Your business can enjoy all the advanced features like call transfer, call forwarding, voicemail box and others without the need to maintain a complex phone system.
A virtual phone system does not need any hardware, software or expensive installation. It also does not need a dedicated telephone connection. A virtual phone can be used with any of your existing connections. You do not need to sign any contract for using a virtual phone. Believe it, it’s that easy! You can terminate your service any time you are not happy with your service provider. It is very affordable and is ideal for small businesses that operate in strict financial margins.
You obviously want your business to grow. In fact that is one of the reasons for using a virtual phone system. A virtual phone can actually grow with your business. So you can go on adding extensions for employees or departments as and when there’s a requirement. You can also use features like voicemail box, virtual fax and others.
Lots of Features
A virtual phone system has all the features of a traditional phone system and some advanced features in addition to that. If you are using a virtual phone your business can benefit by using an auto attendant, call forward and call transfer, voicemail box and virtual fax. A virtual phone can receive more than one call simultaneously and your customers will never hear the busy tone.
Though you are busy and cannot answer your customer’s call you need not worry about it. The auto attendant of a virtual phone system answers your customer’s call and routes him to the right person or department. The auto attendant forwards the call to your personal cell phone, residential phone, office phone or to any other phone number of your choice. You can also set the day and time when you want to receive calls on a particular number. Your customer can also leave a message in your voicemail box so they can expect a call back from you. Your voice messages can also be read in emails so that you can manage all your business communications from one place. Moreover, a virtual phone uses caller ID to capture all the information of the caller.
Using a Toll Free Number
Using a toll free number with your virtual phone system helps to make your business look credible and professional almost instantly. Since a toll free number is always associated with reputed organizations, it immediately puts you on the same standing as any large and reputed enterprise.
As the country shows signs of recovery, some Americans have been motivated to open their own business. Some entrepreneurs have started their own home based business to keep the overhead expense low at the planning stage. Tools like a virtual phone system have helped home based business entrepreneurs run their operations and enance their reputations. It has helped entrepreneurs create automated directories to develop an illusion of a large corporation even when all the calls are routed to a single number. A system like this also offers advanced features like call recording and voicemail so that you can return every missed call.
Makes You Big
A virtual phone system is also a cost-effective alternative when you are relocating to your headquarter during expansion. You can use a toll free number for the metropolitan areas in the U.S. and Canada and can still route the calls from your toll free number to your personal cell phone. According to recent research there has been a huge attitudinal shift in the way home-based businesses are perceived today. It wasn’t that long ago when work from home was synonymous with unemployment. But the whole scenario has undergone a change. A virtual phone makes your home based business as big as a reputed organization and puts you on the same standing.
Creates Your Virtual Presence
Your business can also enjoy other advanced features like: call transfer, call forwarding, voicemail and others with a virtual phone system. The system can forward calls to more than one phone number like your personal cell phone, your residential phone and other phone numbers of your choice. No matter if you are at home or at the office, you are accessible to your customers all the time. It also allows you to transfer calls within the country or across it. So it helps you create your presence anywhere – virtually.
A virtual phone system needs no installation or complex hardware or software. It does not even need a dedicated telephone connection and can work with any phone line. This is a huge cost saving for new business owners and entrepreneurs. Moreover, you can enjoy all the advanced call management features just by paying a minimal monthly fee.
None of Your Calls Will Go Unattended
Though you are busy and cannot answer your customer’s call you need not worry about it. The auto attendant of a virtual phone system answers your customer’s call and routes him to the right person or department. The auto attendant forwards the call to your personal cell phone, residential phone, office phone or to any other phone number of your choice. You can also set the day and time when you want to receive calls on a particular number. Your customer can also leave a message in your voicemail box. So, they can expect a call back from you. Your voice messages can also be read in emails so that you can manage all your business communications from one place. Moreover, a virtual phone also uses caller ID to capture all the information of the caller.
A Toll Free Number
Using a toll free number with your virtual phone system can make your business credible almost instantly. Toll free numbers are easily accessible from across the country and your customers do not pay for the call even if they are calling from far away.
More and more workers are leaving their desks behind and working remotely – thanks to the new technology. A recent research project by International Data Corporation (IDC) has estimated that there will be around 1.3 billion mobile workers by the year 2015. Businesses must adapt to the evolving workforce to ensure that every day practices are handled. Businesses should cultivate a healthy communication system within the organization to support such mobile groups. A virtual phone system is an important resource in maintaining this healthy communication system within an organization.
Using a Virtual Phone
A virtual phone system (http://www.itelecenter.com/Virtual-Phone-System.aspx) allows you to create multiple extensions dedicated to every employee. The auto attendant of a virtual phone quickly connects your customers with the person or department of his choice. Additionally you can also screen a call before answering it, use more than one phone number for forwarding calls and send unanswered calls to a voicemail box. They can also use a toll free number or a vanity toll free number to make their number memorable to their customers and at the same time providing them an easy way of contact. Following are a few features of a virtual phone system that can actually help your mobile workforce in their business:
The auto attendant of a virtual phone system receives all your calls, greets and directs your callers on your behalf 24 hours a day 7 days a week ensuring that you miss no important calls from your customers. It practically eliminates the need for a receptionist. You can record all your information on the auto attendant greeting and customers can have access to that information just by following a few simple instructions. You can also customize and change your information according to time, season and festival.
An auto attendant (http://www.itelecenter.com/Auto-Attendant-Customizable-Main-Greeting.aspx) routes your caller to the right person or department. It receives any call and forwards it to the right person or department. But in case the right person is not available to answer the call, the automated attendant then forwards the call to the voicemail box. You can also set your system to forward calls to more than one phone number of your choice. You provide the phone numbers to the system and also specify the time and the day when you are available on each number to receive calls. The Follow-Me-Find-Me feature of a virtual phone system actually hunts you down to deliver the call. Though you are not tied to your desk you will not need to worry about missed calls.
Call Transfer and Screening
A virtual phone system also allows you to transfer calls to colleagues within the same office location or across the country. This becomes very important for a mobile workforce. You can easily transfer a call to your colleague who is probably sitting across the country without the slightest knowledge of the caller. This really helps in strengthening your communication not only with your customers but also with your co-workers. You can also screen a call before you answer it and answer it only when you feel the call is important.
If a customer leaves a voicemail in your voicemail box, your virtual phone system will send you an alert immediately. Your phone system also allows you to read your voicemail in your email. This is especially important for a mobile workforce because they can manage all their communications from one place.
Professionalism and credibility are two major factors that lead a business to success. With a virtual phone system your enterprise looks more credible, reputable and bigger. These are the qualities that are essential to establish your business and entice your customers. Moreover, a virtual set up gives your business the flexibility and mobility that is required for any successful business these days.
You’re Tool for Business Communication
You should have a sound communication system that will help your customers and prospective customers reach you easily. This can be difficult for independent firm owners and entrepreneurs who usually work with a tight budget. A virtual phone system is just apt for owners and entrepreneurs like this. You should have the right tools necessary for your success. It is important that you stay connected with your customers and yet do not run up a big bill. Using a phone system is inevitable for maintaining a healthy communication system with the customers and in this case it is through a virtual one.
Automatic Call Attendant
The auto attendant of a virtual phone system practically eliminates your need for hiring an office receptionist. An auto attendant greets your customer and routes him to the right person or department so that your customer’s queries are answered without wasting much time. Since an auto attendant works 24 hours a day 7 days a week there’s no chance of any of your customer’s call going unattended.
Attention to All Customers
An auto attendant routes your caller to the right person or department. It receives any call and forwards it to the right person. If you are not able to answer your customer’s call then also your customer will never feel unattended. A virtual phone has caller ID that captures all the information of the caller. It forwards calls to personal phone, residential phone or office phone. Your customer can leave a message in the voicemail box of your virtual phone system, if you are unable to answer their call. So, you can reply back to them at a convenient time. A virtual phone also sends you an alert as soon as you have a new voice message. You can also read your voice messages in emails.
Virtual fax or fax online is the modern way of faxing. It is one of the important features of your virtual phone system that allows you to fax important documents to your prospects and customers – online. It is a paperless form of electronic communication.
A virtual phone system needs no installation or complex hardware or software. It does not even need a dedicated telephone connection and can work with any phone lines. So your business looks professional within your budget. This is a huge advantage for business that operates in limited financial boundaries. But it can be equally helpful for big businesses as well. Moreover, most of the plans of a virtual phone service provider include a considerable number of free minutes and you pay only for overage use.
A virtual phone makes you accessible to your customers all the time even when you are out of office. It also allows you to transfer calls to your colleagues – sitting next to you or to colleagues sitting across the country. So it helps you create your presence anywhere – virtually.