Use a Virtual Phone System to Carry Your Office with You

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Out of all of the benefits that a virtual phone system can provide you, the ability to literally take your office with you wherever you need to go is arguably one of the best. This allows you the flexibility to continue to run your business while you are at home or on the go. You won’t have to be tied to your desk to get things done.

What Is It?

A virtual phone system is a communications system that allows you access to one or more telephone numbers or extensions that are all internet- or cloud-based. You can choose a local or toll-free number, you can decide which features work best for your business, and you can even choose a package that best fits your needs and your budget. These systems were designed to be affordable, easy to manage, and completely scalable – it will grow as your business grows.

How Does It Work?

Since the major components of a virtual phone system are all handled on the back end, there will never be any expensive equipment to buy, no telephone lines or jacks to install, and nothing to plug in. In fact, there isn’t even any software that you have to download. These systems work with absolutely any existing telephone you have, whether it is a landline, a cellphone, or even a VoIP service that you have already set up. Just choose a number and a package and get started in minutes.

Does it Benefit You?

A virtual system can benefit you in a number of ways. First of all, since you can get started immediately, it will save you time. Second, since you can forward your calls to any phone of your choice, you are able to work at home, at the office, or even on the go. Finally, because there are dozens of features from which you can choose, you can make things simpler for not only yourself, but also for your employees. They can take their extensions with them, too. Not only can your customers reach them at any time, but you will be able to contact them with just the push of a button.

Does it Benefit Your Customers?

Most importantly, the ability to carry your office with you wherever you go will benefit your clients the most. All of your calls will be handled by the virtual phone system, so you can rest assured that your transfers will be seamless. Even if you are traveling cross-country to a convention, your customers will still be able to reach you. What’s more, with all of the impressive features such as auto attendants and sizzle lines, your customers will never, ever have to call you back at a later time to get the information they need.

As you can see, a virtual phone system will allow you to answer your calls from anywhere and provides you with all of the tools you could ever need. This way, you can run your business in the way that works best for you. The entire world literally becomes your office.

How to Build Your Brand Using Toll Free 800 Numbers

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If you want your business to be successful, there are a few different elements to keep in mind. While most people know that success starts with an awesome product or service, they often overlook their true marketing potential. Believe it or not, toll free numbers are perfect for building your brand.

Advertise Everywhere

The first benefit of having a toll free number is that you can advertise it absolutely anywhere. Not only can it be placed on your business cards, flyers, and storefront window, but it can also be placed in national (and even international) directories for incredible visibility. This means that people in Wisconsin who are searching for cupcakes you will ship from Maine won’t really worry about the number they’re calling; they’ll just see the toll-free prefix and figure that you are an established professional.

Association

Speaking of an established professional, that’s exactly what you want to be in the eyes of your existing and potential customers. You don’t want to give them the impression that you are new to an industry and you definitely don’t want them to think that you’re working out of your basement, although either or both could be the case. What you want is for your callers to believe that you have plenty of experience and that you provide products and services to people just like them all the time. They need to believe that you have the expertise and knowledge it takes to give them what you want. Toll free numbers are great for implying this.

Don’t Overlook Vanity Numbers

Vanity numbers can also be integrated into your branding strategy if you take the time to choose the right number. These will allow you to spell out a word or phrase that is related to your industry or niche, making it easier for people to remember off of the tops of their heads. These numbers can also be advertised nationally or internationally, and if you make it a point to associate it with a representative logo, which can be anything from a cupcake to a baker’s hat, this process of association will make your entire brand more memorable.

Add a Little Jingle

Vanity toll free numbers come with another hidden benefit: they can be incorporated into jingles about your business. You’ve heard them on TV and even on the radio, and even if you’re thinking that you don’t yet have the money to purchase such ads, this won’t always be the case. You can record your jingle to greet callers prior to answering your phone, and you can integrate into television or radio ads later. A little jingle for your phone number can add up to a lot of jingle in your pocket over time.

Building your brand and standing out from your competitors is important if you want to be successful, and you certainly have to start somewhere. Toll free numbers give you that extra edge that you need to make your brand professional, recognizable, memorable and completely unique.

How Toll Free Numbers Are Going to Get Your Phones to Ring

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If you’ve recently opened a business, whether from home or from a bricks-and-mortar shop, and you’re wondering why you aren’t getting the phone calls you expected, there could be a number of reasons. If you want to get your phones ringing, one of the best things you can do is choose a toll free number. Listed here are three reasons why these numbers will generate more business.

#1 – It’s the Professional Thing to Do

Imagine for a minute that you are an everyday consumer who is interested in purchasing a new window air conditioner. You want to make sure that your purchase comes from a reputable company and one that is going to provide you with outstanding service from start to finish. Now imagine that you are picking up the phone book or opening up your favorite online directory and typing in “air conditioners”. Who are you more likely to call: the business with a local number or the one with a nice, neat number like 1-800-KEEPCOOL? If you chose the latter, then you are among the 70% of consumers who call toll free numbers rather than local ones because of the implied professionalism.

#2 – Make Your Month-Old Business Seem Established

People start up their businesses in all sorts of different ways. While some folks dive right in and rent an office or workspace, others get started in their basements or from desks in their bedrooms. There’s certainly nothing wrong with working from your desk or your bedroom, but do you really want your customers to know that? Not really. Toll free numbers are not only professional, but they also give consumers the impression that you are an established business – even if you’re shoving aside Barbie dolls so you can share your kids’ playroom space or folding your clothes while discussing a business deal.

#3 – Free Is Better!

At this point, you’re probably wondering who in the world still pays for long distance calls. After all, in today’s day and age, most of us have mobile phones that aren’t associated with long distance charges. The people who do still utilize landlines often have unlimited packages or VoIP services that allow them as many calls as they’d like to anywhere in the country. While this is often the case, people over 25 can still remember a time when long distance calls cost upwards of $0.05 a minute so they ticked off the minutes and hurried off of the phone as quickly as possible. Most people, and that generation, especially, are more likely to call a toll free number than dial long distance.

As you can see, there are plenty of advantages associated with toll free numbers and if you’re still using a local number with a local area code, then you’re missing out. Making the switch isn’t difficult, and that one number can be used to connect you to your company, your customers and your employees wherever you go. Whether you work from home indefinitely or opt for a bricks-and-mortar establishment, your customers will never need to know.

Three Simple Steps to Get Your New Toll Free Number

If you have decided that a toll free number is the right choice for your business, then you will be very glad to know that there are only three simple steps required for getting everything set up. In as little as 15 minutes, you can start accepting calls from potential and existing customers and it takes just a few minutes of your time to get things set up.

Step One – Pick Your New Number

The first step in the process involves choosing the toll free number that will work best for you. You can choose a standard one, a true 800 number, a vanity number, or even a local number. The good news is that you can always add more to your account at any time, and you can start advertising the one you choose in just a matter of minutes. The activation is instant, and there is never anything for you to have to install. You can choose to answer your new number on a landline, on your cellphone, or even on your internet-based telephone from your VoIP provider.

Step Two – Choose the Best Package for Your Needs

The second step in getting your toll free number is also simple; all you have to do is choose the package that best fits the needs of your business. For example, you can take advantage of the pay-as-you-go option that will allow you one phone number with up to three extensions and a low per-minute rate. If you need more, you can consider a larger package that comes with as many as 5000 minutes, four different phone numbers, unlimited extensions, and all of the features you could ever need. These include things such as call capture, call forwarding, auto attendant, call recording, voice mailboxes, caller ID that cannot be blocked, and even the ability to send faxes online to save you time and money.

Step Three – Provide Your Information

Finally, once you have chosen your toll free number and you are ready to get started, you will need to provide some basic information in order to get things going. Things like your name, address, phone number and billing address are necessary, and you can even pay for the package you have selected online to make things as hassle-free as possible. Remember that there should never be any long-term contracts to sign and that you should be able to terminate your service at any time. What’s more, if you decide that you want to switch providers, your number is portable and you can take it with you wherever you happen to go. It truly is that easy to get started.

If you are still considering whether a toll free number is best for you and your business needs, why not take advantage of a free trial offer? With iTeleCenter, you can get 14 days to try out all of the included features. If you decide to keep the service, don’t do anything and you’ll be charged at the end of the trial period. After the trial, you can cancel at any time.

Why a Toll Free Number is Important for a Startup Company

If you are working hard to get your business off the ground, then it is important for you to set yourself apart from your competitors. Even if you already have a recognizable brand, you can add to that with a toll free number. It adds an air of establishment and affords you plenty of opportunities to allow your business to grow.

A Better Company Image

The first thing that a toll free number can do for your start-up company is provide it with a better image. Regardless of whether you have a brick-and-mortar location with 10 to 20 employees or you’re working out of your basement, an 800 number adds a sense of establishment. For this reason, you can make your company seem much larger and more reputable than it actually is – something that can truly help you out if you are still trying to grow your customer base.

It’s Portable

The ability to change the ring-to number, or the phone that actually rings whenever someone dials the toll free number, is imperative at first, and this is especially true if you are running a one-man or woman show. If you have a retail location, you might want that number to ring to you there as long as you are present. However, when you leave, you may choose to have it ring through to your cell phone so that you do not miss any important calls. It’s all up to you.

You’ll have a Broader Reach

With a local number alone, you can be added to local and internet telephone directories, but will this really help you in the beginning? When polled, more than 70% of consumers claim that they prefer to call a toll free number over a local one. This is true even in today’s day and age when long distance charges are mostly a thing of the past. Why is that? It all goes back to the company image. What’s more, if you have an 800 number, you can have it added to online directories as you see fit.

It’s Completely Scalable

One of the best things about acquiring a toll free number through a virtual phone system provider is that you will pay only for the minutes you use above your included plan minutes and you can add more numbers as you see fit. As your business grows, and even if you add more physical locations, it’s easy to add more lines. You will only have to pay for what your business uses and nothing more.

It’s Affordable

Finally, an 800 number from a virtual phone system provider is more affordable than those from more traditional providers. You won’t have to purchase any expensive equipment and you won’t have to pay to have new telephone jacks installed throughout your location. Again, since you only pay for the minutes you use and there is no annual contract, affordability is no issue.

As you can see, a toll free number is a great way to help you launch your start-up company and make yourself known among your competitors. Use it on advertisements and such to broaden your reach and get more contacts than ever before.

How to Find the Best Place to Buy an 800 Number for Your Business

If you are in the market for an 800 number, then you likely realize that there are dozens upon dozens of companies out there offering them. How do you find the best company? There are some things that you should look for, which include the ability to try out the services, a company that will allow you to take your number with you if you switch providers, and even one that provides you with all of the other services you will need to expand.

Free Trial

The first thing that you will want to consider before you purchase your 800 number is whether or not you will receive a free trial with your service. After all, you don’t want to pay for anything before you are sure it will fit your needs, and a free trial is always a better choice than a money-back guarantee. You will also want to make sure that you won’t be forced into signing a long-term contract since what is right for your company right now may not be what’s best for you down the road.

Portable Number

Some of the providers out there make it incredibly difficult to port your 800 number if you decide to change companies in the future. The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, allows for this to occur, but individual companies have the right to charge you a fee to bring your number over. The only toll free telephone number that cannot be ported is a shared number which is typically a vanity number that is shared by several businesses in the same niche or industry. In this case, the provider actually owns the number and is only leasing a part of it.

Price and Options

Of course, one of the most important things to consider when you are choosing a provider is the price you will pay for not only your monthly service, but also your installation and other related items. With a virtual phone system, there is no installation of hardware and no software to download. There are no phone lines to run, no equipment to buy, and no hefty installation fees that will appear on your first billing statement. As far as monthly fees go, you will want to find a provider that offers a package that fits your needs on a month-to-month basis.

Flexible and Expandable

Finally, you will want to make sure that the service you receive from your provider of choice is flexible and expandable. If you decide you don’t need a certain 800 number after a couple of months, you should not be charged to turn it off. What’s more, if you decide you want to add 10 or even 20 numbers at some point as your business grows, you should be able to do so at the drop of a hat.

These are the criteria that you should consider when you are choosing the best place to buy your 800 number. Consider what you are getting for your money and whether or not a contract is required, and the rest of the decisions should be simpler.

 

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A Virtual Phone System is the Perfect Solution for People on the Go

While there are some business owners out there who can manage things from a single location, that isn’t true for most of us. The truth is that most company owners are always on the go, whether they are meeting with their clients or spending time with their families. A virtual phone system is a great way to keep you in touch while you are away from the office or even while you are away from home as it comes with a feature known as call forwarding.

How it Works

With call forwarding, the idea is that the number you chose through your virtual phone system provider can be transferred to any other number you choose. This way, if you want to leave the office and go home for the night, a few mouse clicks is all it takes to send that number to your home phone. If you will be leaving for a conference or even on vacation, you can send that number to your cellphone. Even if you will be spending some time in a hotel room, you can often forward all of your calls right to your desk.

Always Available

Nothing is more frustrating to an existing or a potential customer than not being able to reach someone regarding a product or a service. When the phone rings and rings, people will often not wait until you are back at the phone; they will generally just contact the next business in the phone book that can provide them with what they want or need. As such, a virtual phone system is necessary if you want to keep your customers happy.

No More Voicemail

Though there are times when it might be perfectly acceptable to send your callers to voicemail – such as in the middle of the night – it is best avoided most of the time. The truth is that the majority of consumers have one of two major problems with their calls being answered by voicemail. The first is that it is incredibly impersonal and the second is that they are not sure that their calls will be returned promptly, if at all. With a virtual phone system, you can arrange it so that there is always someone available to answer, at least during business hours.

Increase Employee Mobility

There are all kinds of instances in which employees may also need to be mobile and these systems allow individuals to take their own personal extensions with them, too. For instance, if you are running a bakery and a client asks you to deliver 20 dozen donuts, the employee who is making that delivery is never out of touch with his or her clients – or you, for that matter. It makes things simpler and ensures that your company network remains intact at all times.

Anyone who is on the go, whether it is work or home related, can certainly enjoy all of the benefits that a virtual phone system and the call forwarding feature can provide. When your customers can always reach someone, you are providing better customer service and you will inevitably enjoy a higher level of success.

How Can You Get an 800 Number Back after It has Been Disconnected?

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If you’ve ever been plagued by the disconnection of an 800 number, you’ve likely felt the frustration associated with trying to get it back. Some providers will only give you about a week to do so, and if you fail to do it in that time, it’s lost forever. Of course, there are better ways to go about doing things, and that’s why we here at iTeleCenter work so hard to make our virtual services consumer-friendly.

Don’t Pay Too Much

First and foremost, you’ll want to consider where you got your 800 number. If you purchased it from your landline service provider several years ago, then there are a few things you might be surprised to learn. First of all, there’s a very good chance that you’re overpaying for that service, especially if it’s a second-line service with a separate access fee. In that case, you’re going to pay a per-minute rate on top of your service fee for each call you accept. The same can be said with virtual products, but there are some serious differences. Namely, you won’t need a second line to make it work – all you have to do is link your number with an existing telephone line – mobile or otherwise – and you’re all set to go.

Changing Providers

When you get an 800 number from iTeleCenter, you’re paying for your access to that number. You can choose one that starts with 800 or another toll free prefix, or you can choose a vanity number that is yet another form of advertisement for your products, services, business name or niche. Should you ever decide to switch providers in the future, you can take either of these number types with you without any kind of hassle. Many landline and virtual service providers tend to give their customers a hard time about taking their phone numbers with them, and this can be frustrating. With iTeleCenter, you can request to have your number ported out with no trouble at all.

Avoiding the Worst Case Scenario

Imagine, if you will, what might happen if you want to switch providers for whatever reason and you are unable to take your 800 number with you. Think of all of the flyers, business cards, website ads and more that you’ll have to change. That not only takes a big chunk of money out of your pocket, but it also causes you to lose credibility with your customers. This is particularly true if you have a catchy vanity number and your prior customers are getting disconnect messages; they’ll think you’ve gone out of business altogether. Fortunately, you can avoid all of this by choosing a company from the very first moment that offers you complete portability in your telephone number.

There are certainly a lot of virtual telephone service providers out there from which you can choose, but it’s important to keep in mind that they don’t all treat their customers the same way. It is always the goal of iTeleCenter to ensure that the customers’ needs are first – even if they need to leave the company and take their 800 number with them.

How to Use a Virtual Phone Number with Your Smartphone

These days, having separate phone numbers for personal and business use is a great idea. However, with the insurgence of smartphones and their incredible popularity, it’s likely that you have considered ditching your landline altogether – or perhaps you already have. You can still use a virtual phone number with your smartphone, though, and it’s probably easier than you’d think.

Getting Started

The first thing that you’ll need to do is set up your virtual phone number. Though it may sound complicated, it’s actually easier than you’d think. You can choose a traditional local number, a toll-free number with an 800, 888, 866, or even 877 prefix, or even a vanity number in either format that spells out a word or phrase. The options are endless and you can certainly use this to your advantage when it comes to marketing, especially if you can spell out a word that is imperative to your niche, industry, brand or idea.

Choose Your Method – Forwarding or Internet-Based Calling

The next thing that you’ll need to consider is whether you’ll have calls that go to that virtual phone number forwarded to your mobile device via the network or via an internet connection. The right choice for you will ultimately depend upon the number of calls you’re going to get and what your provider allows as far as the use of minutes and forwarding. For instance, while you might have unlimited minutes, you might be charged a per-minute rate by your carrier for each call that comes through. For many people, a combination of both network- and internet-based calls works best. They’ll use the network while out and about and their Wi-Fi connections while at home or at the office.

How it Works

From this point forward, whenever a client or lead calls the virtual phone number, it will be forwarded to your smartphone using one of the aforementioned methods. The caller doesn’t know that he or she is being forwarded to your mobile device at all, but you’ll know which ones are business calls and which are personal calls, thanks to integrated software. In fact, thanks to smartphone technology, it is possible to have two distinct ringers – one for personal and one for business use – so that you’ll know which type of call you’re receiving before you even answer it.

Personal Freedom

If you’re turned off by the idea of using your personal smartphone with a virtual phone number because you’re afraid you’ll be inundated with calls day and night, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of ways that you can maintain your freedom. The virtual phone system comes with all of the tools you’ll need. For instance, you can set up a time frame during which you’ll accept business calls and send those that come during off-hours to your business voicemail inbox. This means that you won’t have to turn your phone off at night just to get some sleep and worry that you’ll miss a call in an emergency situation. You’ll still get personal calls; the rest will be redirected.

Using a virtual phone number with your smartphone is not only easy, but it’s also a great way to ensure that you are always available to your clients – even when you’re on the go or out in the field.

Why a Toll Free Number with a Virtual Receptionist is Important to Your Business

The first part of being successful in any business endeavor is ensuring that you’re treating your customers with the right level of courtesy and respect. Having a toll free number is one thing, but adding a virtual receptionist can ensure that each and every call you receive is properly handled and that no customer is ever dissatisfied with the service you provide.

Scenario 1 – The Unanswered Call

Imagine that you’ve purchased a product, brought it home, unpackaged it and found that it isn’t working correctly or that you’re unsure about its operation. You pick up the phone and dial the toll free number you were provided only to listen to the phone ring and ring with no answer on the other end. This is incredibly frustrating and if it’s happening to your customers, then your client base is inevitably going to start shrinking. A virtual receptionist solves this problem by answering every single call in a pleasant tone, even if none of your staff is available at the time.

Scenario 2 – The Long, Miserable Hold

If you’ve ever called into a customer service center to get information, ask a question, or get a problem resolved, then you probably know just what it’s like to be placed on hold for what seems like ages. Not only is it frustrating to have to wait on the other end of the line, but the music is terrible, to boot. A toll free number with a virtual receptionist solves this issue by providing options to the caller as soon as the call comes in. You can even set up a series of FAQs that can be answered automatically – without a member of your staff having to intervene.

Scenario 3 – Improper Transfers and Disconnects

When it comes to a business telephone setup, there’s a huge margin for human error. It takes some skill to get used to handling a large call volume and transferring callers to the right departments. When you have a virtual receptionist, human error becomes a thing of the past. The caller will be given options at the start so that he or she can choose which department is best suited for his or her needs. They will always get to the right department and the automated system will never disconnect them. How’s that for ingenious?

Scenario 4 – Unreturned Calls

If you’re running a small business, chances are high that you won’t have someone available 24 hours a day to take calls. In this situation, you will likely tie your toll free number to a voicemail inbox that will capture these calls for later processing. Of course, while this seems like a great idea, it can become a headache for consumers who still need answers. The virtual receptionist will not only direct those callers to the correct email inbox in the first place, but it can also provide reminders for individual employees. This way, all calls are returned and all of your customers are happy.

As you can see, using a virtual receptionist with your toll free number can be a vital part of customer service. It is always there to ensure that callers are treated respectfully and that your call volume is handled appropriately.