Archive for June 25, 2014

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.