Topics:@voipproviders voip voip providers communication benefits small business public speaking entrepreneur networking Augmented Reality successful business tech products
What is a VoIP number? A VoIP number is a real phone number that is assigned to a user instead of to a specific phone. This creates the possibility to call others with that phone number using multiple devices, such as a computer, cellphone, work phone, ipad, etc. With a VoIP telephone number, you can also check your voicemails from any of these devices in order to use the number and continue work on the go. If you would like to keep the existing phone number you already have, the VoIP provider will typically give you the option to port your existing phone number to the VoIP number. Some providers may charge you a small fee for this service. How does the VoIP number work? Getting a phone number through VoIP, means that the providers will use the internet instead of traditional phone providers. Your VoIP number can also be used for other forms of communication, such as text messaging. What are the best VoIP companies? Here at BestCompany, we have hundreds of real customer reviews for dozens of VoIP companies. We have used a ranking algorithm to determine which of the companies rank the highest. Top VoIP providers How do I get VoIP? VoIP benefits with quotes from real users and experts Cost “VoIP is far cheaper! One of our clients had 200 numbers for their business and their traditional phone bill was over $2,000 a month. With VoIP, they still have those 200 numbers, plus 20 more, and their current monthly bill is $300. This is less than 25 percent of the cost for the same services and more.” — Kale Bullen, CEO of the VoIP Company Wiree “The benefits of having VoIP are noticeable. First and foremost, we receive unlimited calling to the United States and Canada. For our international locations and clients, international calls are charged at a very low per-minute rate, which has reduced expenses.” — Mac Fadra, VoIP user and CEO of MAXiM Hair Restoration "You will save a HUGE, VAST amount of money. Long distance calls are often free, all kinds of functions and features that the land-line telcos charge for are free with VOIP. You also get functions and features for free that many telephone companies don't even offer, at any price." — Mike Arman, VoIP phone user of over 15 years Mobility “With a VoIP you can effectively be anywhere with cell signal and receive calls. This is especially useful for business when you are travelling and critically in the situation we find ourselves in today with most offices closed due to coronavirus.“ — Ahmed Mir, VoIP user and founder of Nature & Bloom “VoIP numbers are easy to configure and you can use the number anywhere in the world by simply logging into your account. For instance, I use a VoIP number on Skype, and can use it regardless of where I go.” — Muhammad Hamze Shahid, an online privacy/security analysts at BestVPN.co “VoIP allows you to have a number for one purpose and another for a separate purpose so that you can easily filter and increase productivity and flexibility.” — Justin Grau, VoIP user and founder of BizDig “VoIP calls can be placed from any connected mobile phone, handset, laptop, or desktop, making it the more versatile option than the regular phone.” — Unyime Etim, tech blogger at Cruch Phone "VoIP is cloud-based, which means all our team members don't require new phone systems and can perform their job functions from their workstation computer. For those team members that have more fluid roles and might be on the move more often, there are mobile app options for most of these platforms that essentially work like WhatsApp or Telegram for text, but with calls. They simply require an internet connection." — Fadra Increased functionality "Most VoIP softwares contain more advanced features than the traditional phone like auto attendants, call forwarding, Interactive Voice Response, call recording, and speech-to-email functionality, etc.” — Etim “Our dialer allows us to track the performance of our agents, as well as the quality of our leads. This means we can constantly optimize who to call and when to call them.” — Ata, VoIP user and growth manager at L3 Funding “With VOIP you can do hot transfers, ringless voicemail drops, choose a local number even when you're calling overseas, auto recording, and can even use triple dialers if you are calling lots of numbers at the same time. The possibilities are (almost) endless!” — Karla Singson, VoIP user, and Country Manager at Scalewind Scalable “VoIP numbers are easily scalable, which makes it easier to conduct conference calls with multiple users.” — Shahid Little physical infrastructure required “Traditionally, each phone number needed a different pair of wires to connect the phone line to the onsite PABX (private analogue branch exchange). With VoIP, however, businesses can choose between an onsite digital PBX or a hosted PBX. Hosted PBX allows for the phone system to operate through the cloud whereas a digital PBX still has onsite infrastructure but with greater capabilities.” — Bullen “You save on the cost of investment to install and maintain expensive equipment for traditional phone lines.” — David Morneau, VoIP user and founder of In Beat Integration "Cloud synchronization is an important aspect of VoIP. Landlines aren't connected to the internet so they can't interact with the internet. This is extremely important in today's connected world. A Voip/Cloud phone system can sync with anything you can imagine on the web. For example, you can automatically sync call data and contact data from and to any source or CRM. Data is extremely important to businesses and most of that data was lost or offline with landlines. Now your data can sync across all of your existing web services." — Brian Peterson, VP of Engineering at Dialpad “We can integrate it seamlessly with our marketing team so we can see where each call comes from what marketing channels and better understand ROI.” — Todd Spodek, VoIP user and managing partner at Spodek Law Group “VoIP integrates extremely well with CRMs and other other business systems your employees use for customer management.” — Adem Selita, VoIP user and CEO at the Debt Relief Company
Guest Post by Nicholas Shaw E-commerce is a fiercely competitive field. Consumers have a wide range of choices when it comes to buying online. For that reason, global online conversion rates stand at an average of only around 3 percent. If you run an e-commerce business, you need to find every way you can to get a leg up on your rivals. Advances in technology provide new ways to do just that. With smart software solutions and VoIP systems, any firm can propel itself to success. What you’ll find out here is exactly how you can blend VoIP and e-commerce software to benefit your business. Before we get to the possible benefits for your firm, though, it’s worth getting on the same page about VoIP. What is VoIP? Chances are, you’ve heard of VoIP. It’s an acronym and a type of tech that’s got tongues wagging in recent years. What you may not know is precisely what VoIP is and how it works. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. At a basic level, it’s a modern alternative to the traditional telephone network. VoIP lets you make voice calls using your internet connection. Voice call audio gets turned into data and transmitted over an internet connection. That’s rather than traveling via traditional telephone lines. What that means — among other things — is that you can make calls via your PC or tablet. There is also a range of advantages to using VoIP for business communications. Advantages of VoIP VoIP is a growing concern. Businesses and individuals alike are increasingly adopting the tech for calling. As a result, the global VoIP market is undergoing considerable and sustained growth. VoIP’s growing popularity is due to the advantages the tech has over traditional options. The following are a handful of significant benefits a VoIP Phone system can deliver to businesses of all types: Cost reduction — For both personal and commercial users, VoIP is often cheaper than traditional options. You don’t need to spend big on hardware or phone lines to set up a VoIP system. Calls themselves can also prove much less expensive. As you’re using the net, geographical distance doesn’t matter for VoIP calls. That's crucial for long-distance and international conversations. They aren’t nearly as expensive as with traditional telephones. Reliability and maintenance — Traditional telecoms infrastructure is quite fragile. Phone lines can go down in extreme weather. Vandalism or other human interference can cut a firm off entirely from the phone network. A VoIP system is far more reliable. It doesn’t rely on outdated infrastructure. Nor does a VoIP system need costly, expert maintenance. Mobility and collaboration — VoIP solutions are a better fit for modern businesses. With VoIP software, you can connect to your network via mobile devices. Your staff aren’t tied to their desks to make or take business calls. You also get a wide range of additional features with the best VoIP systems. You can, for instance, manage messaging, email, and calls all from one platform. As a result, collaboration across your organization becomes much more straightforward. Those benefits explain why firms across niches are adopting VoIP solutions. As an e-commerce business, you’ll want to know the specific ways you can leverage VoIP for your advantage. Leverage VoIP and e-commerce software The beauty of VoIP for e-commerce is how it can combine with your other tech solutions. You must compete on a lot of fronts, to keep up with the competition as an online retailer. A clever combination of VoIP and e-commerce software can help you in a wide range of those areas. Let’s look at how combining VoIP and software solutions can boost your business in five diverse ways: Improving customer experience Lots of businesses are looking to customer experience as a way of standing out from their rivals. Customer experience is the complete impression your firm leaves on a customer. It’s how that customer thinks of your brand after they finish an interaction with you. To deliver superior customer experience, you must excel at all touchpoints. You have to succeed in each touchpoint between you and the customer. That means you must deliver a consistent service to customers across your organization. The many collaborative features of VoIP systems make them invaluable in this area. VoIP solutions can integrate with your other software and platforms. You might, for instance, integrate VoIP with your CRM or inventory management system. Such integrations give your agents immediate access to customer data. They can provide accurate updates on orders to any customers who call for assistance. Other features of VoIP systems, too, make it easier to offer excellent customer experience. Interactive voice response (IVR) technology is a prime example. IVR allows for self-service calls. Callers can navigate menus — sometimes by voice command — to ensure they reach the right member of your staff. That means you can immediately help them. What’s more, it saves your agents time rerouting calls. Adding long-term benefit to customer service VoIP systems also make it easier for you to maintain customer service levels over the long term. There are many features of the best solutions that you can leverage for customer service oversight and training. With a VoIP solution, call monitoring and recording is far more straightforward. That means you can keep and review interactions between team members and customers. You can quickly point out mistakes or areas for improvement. That helps existing staff up their customer service game. It also lets you review communication across your organization. You can use examples of excellent customer service calls, meanwhile, as training aids. Letting new staff learn from real calls is a great way to get them up to speed. It ensures new employees maintain the level of customer service your organization expects. Offering 24-hour accessibility As an e-commerce business, you’re open to customers all the time. They can buy through your website whenever it’s convenient for them. It’s one of the reasons why so many people prefer buying online than from traditional stores. That 24-hour nature of e-commerce also means there’s consumer demand for help at all hours. To best serve customers, you need to give them the best support, even outside your primary office hours. A VoIP phone system integrated with e-commerce software makes this much easier. Smart call forwarding can transfer calls to a secondary location. For example, one in a different time zone if you have one. With a system linked up to an order management platform, staff at any location can aid customers. If you don’t have multiple locations, you can set up automated messages to provide support. Intelligent voicemail systems, too, can be invaluable. They make it simple for customers to leave a message with a team member who can help them as soon as your office opens. Having better control of the supply chain and logistics Inventory management is vital to e-commerce businesses. Having the right stock on hand and control over your supply chain is just as crucial as customer service. Most e-commerce firms rely on inventory management software to keep a handle on goods. That type of e-commerce software helps you to manage orders, warehousing, and deliveries. Another vital aspect of supply chain logistics is maintaining supplier relationships. This often needs some direct communication over the phone. As keen as many of us are on email, building trust usually takes a real conversation. With a VoIP phone system, reaching your suppliers can be both simpler and cheaper. You won’t need to dig out those supplier numbers; they’ll all be in the system. What’s more, calls to suppliers overseas are so much cheaper via VoIP. Enhancing upsell opportunities We’ve already talked about how VoIP phone systems can aid customer experience. What they can also do is to help your sales staff make hay from the people calling your business. Take, for example, a customer who calls with a query. You may have to leave them on hold for a while until a customer service agent is free. With a VoIP system, you can use their time on hold to share marketing information. If your VoIP solution is fully integrated, you can take them through the whole buying process. From being on hold, to asking a question, you can market and upsell a product or service in a matter of moments. That’s the kind of joined-up business thinking allowed for by VoIP and e-commerce software. Boost your business with cutting-edge tech solutions It’s all very well hearing about the tech side of new developments like VoIP. As a business owner, though, you want to know what such advancements can do for you in practice. It should now be clear how valuable integrated VoIP and software solutions are to e-commerce. By leveraging these solutions, you can boost your business in an array of areas. From enhanced customer experience to smart upselling, you can get a real jump on your rivals. Nicholas Shaw is the CRO of Brightpearl.
What is non-fixed VoIP and what is fixed VoIP? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows you to make phone calls over the internet. Many different companies offer VoIP, but the type of VoIP offered differs across companies. Generally speaking, there are two different types of VoIP: fixed and non-fixed voip. Here are some of the important differences you should know: Identification necessary for sign up The biggest difference between fixed voip and non-fixed VoIP is that fixed VoIP requires that you tie a certain address to the number, similar to a regular phone provider. Non-fixed VoIP is a type of VoIP that is commonly used by providers, such as Sype and Google Voice. Kenney Trinh, the editor of a gadget review publication, says, “Non-Fixed VoIP allows calling worldwide numbers with a lot of anonymity. You don't need to enter your address, all you have to do is sign up like signing up to any online service without a lot of personal information. Your address isn't tied to your account.” Phone number assignment Another difference is the number that you are assigned and the number that you call from. Chelsea Brown, the CEO of Digital Mom Talk, clarified that, “A fixed VoIP phone number doesn't change whenever you make a phone call. It stays the same and is ideal for companies that need to keep the same phone number. When your number isn't fixed, you can change it as you please. This is ideal when individuals need burner phone numbers.” The price paid For fixed VoIP, it is generally provided by a specific VoIP provider, and you have to pay these companies a yearly or monthly fee. Non-fixed VoIP, however, are commonly issued by providers that offer them for free. This gives you the ability to talk to virtually anyone in the world, free of charge. The bottom line Generally speaking, fixed VoIP phone numbers are more well respected because they are less likely to be used by scammers. However, this doesn't mean that reputable companies do not use non-fixed VoIP. If your company needs to have a number that originates from a different location than where you are located or if you need to switch your number often, non-fixed VoIP is a good choice. It is also a good choice for those who have less money to spend on the numbers and are not too worried about having a completely legitimate phone number. Fixed VoIP however, is more for companies that are looking for a permanent phone number that they can use to contact customers. They are legitimate and are a great subsitute for a normal land line.
Guest Post by Sara Marcum The more efficient a business is, the more profitable it will be. Successful business owners are already aware of this, which is why they turn to software solutions to increase efficiency and motivation at the employee level. Successful business owners also know that they have to take measures in order to protect their own assets. Besides utilizing regular liability insurance solutions in their company’s infrastructure, owners will often invest in insurance to protect their income. It's reassuring for employees to know that if the inevitable occurs, the company has its emplpoyees assets covered as well. Using software for efficiency One of the easiest ways to promote efficiency in a business is to incorporate various software applications into your business structure. These types of software promote productivity across multiple levels. If the majority of your employees work from home, keeping track of their productivity and efficiency is vital. Calling all internet providers Some businesses have always offered the option to work from home to their employees. One of the best ways to be efficient in such a position is to have an internet provider that you can count on. Dealing with an internet service that is slow makes efficiency and productivity hard to maintain. Sometimes even the weather can impact performance speeds. If you plan on having employees in a position where they can work from home, making sure that they have a dependable internet connection should be a top priority. Managing tasks and projects Managers need to find a way to make sure that all their employees know what their tasks are and when they are due. They need to be able to ask questions about those tasks and have a place to submit them. Thankfully, there is a technological solution for that. Asana Asana is one of the more popular choices among businesses and managers. Asana allows for the creation of tasks and collaboration on projects by more than one employee. It is also available in app form for Android and Apple. Asana helps with efficiency because groups can be brought together to collaborate, which is helpful when employees may not all be in the same geographical area. Asana also helps make each individual accountable for their own work by sending daily emails to let employees know what they have due. Trello Trello has the same premise as Asana. You can collaborate your groups into one space including sales, marketing, management, and human resources. Trello is known for its ease of use and speed. The setup alone allows for due dates, file storage, assignments, checklists, and other efficiency applications. Trello also has the compatibility to integrate with other software. Over 100 compatible software integrations include Google, Slack, and many others. Evernote Business Evernote was founded on the idea that a product was needed to address the increasing volume and speed of information that a business undergoes. Evernote brings together teams using versatility and functionality to allow document creation, project collaborations, and information storage in one place. The search feature on Evernote is quicker and more effective than most of the other project management tools available today. It is also capable of integrating with tools you are already using. Keeping in touch I come from the age when you used Yahoo Messenger or AOL Instant Messenger to talk with your friends. Since that time, Google has risen above the rest to offer Gmail and Hangouts. Now everyone has a Gmail email account while Yahoo or Hotmail accounts are less utilized. Technological evolution isn’t just cell phones and computers; it is your communication methods as well. MySpace quickly fell off the face of the planet when Facebook became the social media platform of choice. Let’s take a look at how businesses and their employees can efficiently keep in touch with one another. Email There are several different email service providers that can benefit not only you, but the employees in your business. If you need a free email that allows for collaboration, Gmail is probably the best. There are other domains out there that can accomodate business, and you can research these email providers to find the best fit for your needs. Instant messaging Sometimes you just can’t wait for an email response. That is where the innovation of instant messaging comes in handy. You can see if your manager or colleague is online and send them a message. When you need an “instant” answer, “instant” messaging can be the most efficient solution. Slack Slack leads the instant messaging category. The features it brings are like none across the World Wide Web. Slack not only allows for one-on-one conversations, but it also allows for team collaboration in private channels. If you have more than one Slack account, you can combine them onto one desktop application. This allows you to move effortlessly between the two when it notifies you of messages. Spike A newcomer in the field of business communications, Spike allows you to integrate your email into a user-friendly instant messaging format. This application works on top of an existing email account and works in real time. Additionally, Spike offers groups and channels as well as video conferencing capabilities. Google Hangouts Google Hangouts works a lot like Skype, without the subscription. You can have conversations and video chat with colleagues. It is a more straightforward application, though. You find the person via their Gmail address and talk to them. You can chat as a group, but as far as collaboration goes, it’s not as efficient as other instant messaging software applications. Tracking tools One of the most useful tools for keeping track of team and business efficiency is by using ActivTrak. ActivTrac is data driven, which means it can monitor the productivity of your employees as well as integrating with existing Google sign-ins. It offers easy-to-use controls that allow you to track not only productivity and efficiency but also team behavior analytics. Keep it simple The bottom line for any efficient business solution is to keep it simple. The more complicated the application, the more trouble employees are going to have using it. If your employees spend the first 45 minutes trying to open all their applications and set them up, then they aren’t being efficient. The best way to stay efficient is to stay connected. These software solutions offer a way to stay connected to your employees and a way for them to stay connected to you. Sara Marcum writes and researches for TheTruthAboutInsurance.com. She is a mother to two boys and the stepmother to a little girl. After many years of working outside of the home, she decided it was time to make a change and pursue her dream of writing. She is currently working on a novel while juggling all the other tasks in her life.
Guest Post by Sara Marcum Owning a small business is rewarding. As a business owner, it is important to maximize your profits while keeping your assets safe in the process. For example, making sure that you have excellent business insurance to protect your business could make all the difference if the unimaginable happens. Whether it is through insurance or technology, businesses are constantly looking for ways to save money. Incorporating VoIP into a business plan can help reduce some business expenses. Important characteristics of small businesses Small businesses have unique characteristics. You can tell small businesses apart from a corporate business with just a surface-level look. When starting out, funding is often difficult for small businesses. They often do not have the backing like larger corporate businesses which forces them to take out loans. Loan selection can make or break a small business. Authentic values The foundation of a small business is generally built on the owner’s core values. When businesses promote their values in their marketing and the way they interact with customers, it radiates throughout the rest of the business. This is how loyal customer relationships are cultivated. VoIP providers that put values first are often an asset to small businesses. They understand what it means to believe in something, and they know how to foster the lasting relationships with customers that are vital to small businesses. Small businesses that view their values as a priority come across as more authentic. This authenticity isn’t always present in bigger businesses who mass-produce and sell products. VoIP prides itself on no contracts and a plethora of options available with their services. Because they don’t try to tie anyone down with a hidden upcharge or early termination fees, they are especially great for startup businesses. More personal customer relationships Whether they take a specific interest in something a customer is searching for or just have conversations about family, a small business embraces its customers as a part of the family. They are viewed as more than just dollars and cents. Service providers take extreme pride in their VoIP services. Just like small businesses take initiative in each of their customers, so do service providers which make them stand out from traditional landline businesses. Growth and adaptation from mistakes If something comes up that trips up a small business, they don’t just lay down and take it. They learn from whatever it was that caused the bump in the road. They adapt to changes and grow from the experience. VoIP is a newer concept for some businesses. VoIP providers are an obvious choice for small businesses as a logical and cost-effective way to show customers that they are capable of adapting but keeping their communication strong. Best small business tools Owners have to worry about a lot of different things when they run a business. They have to run the business, calculate expenses, find trustworthy employees for the business, and other small details behind the scenes that no one thinks about. Fortunately, they have options available to help them manage their responsibilities. Marketing and advertising Several different companies offer specials for small businesses and their owners who are looking to market or advertise their brand. These business marketing solutions can range in price from the low end to thousands per month. Having another company handle your business marketing and advertising can save a lot of time while still incorporating the values of the business. One aspect of advertising can be making seemingly endless phone calls. With VoIP, you don’t have to worry about hidden fees. You know what your prices will be upfront. Human resources Human resource solutions that can put payroll, onboarding, and training all in one structured program can be beneficial to business owners. Having an online solution to keep track of payroll and attendance can cut down on personal ledgers and the possibility of losing information. Voicemail services provided by VoIP can make it easy for employees to leave a message if they aren’t able to get you on the line. Accounting solutions Paying for a program that can help keep track of cash flow is important in a business, big or small. Owners have to keep track of the amount of money coming in versus the amount of money going out of the business. Accounting software is available to help with keeping track of invoices that are due and personal invoices that need to be paid. Businesses have a lot of calls coming in and out all day long. VoIP offers call screening tools as well as attendant services that can get calls routed to who they need to go to. You won’t have to worry about calls being lost. Office solutions From Google to Microsoft, a variety of office solutions are available. Things like document writing to note-taking and presentations are easily accessible to small business owners. If your business has several different locations or even different floors, staying in touch is important. VoIP services can help connect everyone together, whether by a conference call or a video conference. Communication systems From intercoms to phone calls, there are different products out there to help small businesses. VoIP providers offer internet style servicing options. Group chat software is also available to keep in touch with employees, especially those who may be in an entirely different country. Keeping the communication lines open for business is what helps them succeed. Why is VoIP a good small business solution? Switching from a traditional landline phone to VoIP is becoming a trend with businesses. These internet protocol based phones have more features, and you can call from just about anywhere you have an internet connection. VoIP is also a cost-effective solution for smaller businesses. The price ranges anywhere from $15 to $20 per month depending on the VoIP carrier you choose. You can conference call just like you would with another service, but you can do it from your smartphone if you aren’t at the office. You can do it from your computer if you don’t have a handset available at the time. Small businesses are good at adapting to the changing world around them. Using VoIP as a form of communication is a technological innovation that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. It is important for small businesses to maximize any sort of technology that will save them money. Research which VoIP service provider will be the best for your business. The internet provides a multitude of information to help make the best decision for you. Welcome to the next phase of technological innovation! Sara Marcum writes for USInsuranceAgents.com. She is a full-time wife and mother to two boys and the stepmother to a little girl. After many years of working outside of their home, she decided it was time to make a change and pursue her dream of writing. She is currently working on a novel while juggling all the other tasks in her life.
How can a VoIP technology suite help with remote work? Everyday more and more people are infected with COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, causing a panic all over the world. One of the best ways to combat this spread is by staying away from large groups of people. Consequently, many offices are allowing their employees to work remotely at home. As the need for remote work increases, more companies are searching for ways they can keep work going and move their companies forward. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will help employees work from home more efficiently and with as much normalcy as possible. “VoIP will be an increasing part of the solution as time goes on because it allows teams to collaborate and meet more easily.” VoIP will help your employees get work done and stay connected with their co-workers and clients," says Dr. Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, the Chief Medical Officer at Osmosis. How does VoIP help? 1. Facilitate meeting and collaboration between team members and customers As long as employees have the internet, they will be able to more easily collaborate with their team members through messaging and other means that are offered in a typical VoIP technology package. “The main reason VoIP facilitates remote work is that it allows employees to conduct their day-to-day business activities as if they were physically in the office, without disrupting their workflow,” explains Jovan Milenkoviv, co-founder of Kommando Tech. This will be crucial for businesses to keep their work on schedule and keep everyone on the same page. Norhanie Pangulima, an employee outreach consultant at Centriq, says, “Of course, the major issue to overcome when people are working out of the office is to stay in touch. Traditional phone systems are just not equipped to do this effectively, which can then make remote working hard. Especially now, with the spread of the Coronavirus, working remotely is the only way to go and making use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies is the key to successful interaction.” 2. Easily share documents, etc. with anyone in the company While working remotely, employees will still need to send files and documents to each other in order to keep things moving and stay on the same page. Jeremy Harrison, co-founder of the business site Hustle Life, says, “By using VoIP, you'll be able to send and receive data, files, photos, videos, etc. to one another, as long as you have an internet connection.” The importance of this feature goes beyond the ease of sharing files between employees. Because it is through a secure medium, your company's privacy is protected and is protected from hackers and other outside threats. 3. Video capabilities can all but mimic an in-person meeting Keep your employees informed and connected by offering the video conferencing capabilites that VoIP technology offers. With this feature, your employees can continue having their collaboration meetings, one-on-ones, and all hands meetings. Many different video conferencing options offer different features. Make sure you know your must-have video capabilities to give your employees the best experience possible. Craig Walker, CEO of Dialpad, weighed in on the worries that some have about the capability of the internet handling the rise in video meetings with the influx of remote work. He explains, "When we first started UberConference, it was with a rising remote workforce in mind built in the cloud, with a modern, mobile framework and using Google Cloud Platform as our backend. We always knew we had to be ready to quickly scale for increased videoconferencing traffic. Obviously, we could not predict anything like coronavirus, but as a cloud-first product, our infrastructure is ready to take on entirely mobile/remote workforces for however long is needed." 4. Record customers phone calls so the decision makers can all be in on the action Harrison says, “With VoIP technology, you can readily get in touch with your customers wherever they may be. Since communication is real-time, you'll be able to sort out customer issues instantly. This boosts customer experience which ultimately works in your favor.” When employees are working from home, sometimes it can be harder for managers to be completely dialed in on the action. With VoIP technology, every customer call that employees take can be recorded, so if there is any misunderstanding on the phone call, the manager can take care of it and be completely informed on what the situation is. Erol Toker, CEO of Truly.co agrees, “Listening to the buzz of conversations in the background is often the quickest way leaders of customer-facing teams get a pulse of team activity. A quiet floor means we're not talking to customers. This goes away when working remotely. Become more customer-centric by actually listening to the customer and incorporating the voice of the customer in organizations is often like a bad game of telephone. By the time the customer input makes it to the person making a decision, the information has changed and value is lost. With a VOIP solution that records phone calls in a compliant manner, the voice of the customer in original form is available for decision makers to listen to and use to make decisions wherever they're working from.” 5. Store everything in a cloud to protect security All the customer reports, documents, etc. can be easily stored using VoIP technology. Leonard Ang, a writer for enKo Products says, “This technology also enables managers of an organization to handle their networks and needed software with the help of a cloud. This cloud eliminates the need for flash drives which when lost, could be a security threat if it has sensitive data. This technology helps employers convey their instructions to their employees no matter where they are.” What now? Fortunately, it is not too late to get your company set up with a VoIP technology suite to help your employees transition to a largely remote work situation. Read reviews from real consumers and company summaries to find out what VoIP company works best for your business.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, communities are doing all that they can to slow the spread and keep the hospitals from overflowing with the sick. Part of this effort is being carried out by businesses across the nation by implementing remote work when possible. Many companies and employees have little to no experience with remote work; however, with a set plan and the right tools in place to facilitate it, companies can continue to move forward in the face of unprecedented circumstances. Here's how you can make the most of working from home: 1. Be deliberate with your communication with your team Be extra aware of the messages that you are sending to teammates. A written message sent to your team or coworker is different from an in-person conversation, so be extra careful with your wording and think about how the message might come across to someone reading it. Kirsten Tanner, managing director for In Marketing We Trust says, “Quality communication matters greatly when dealing with a remote team setup. You realize how much can be lost when you are not sitting next to the people you work with. The subtlety of tone or the lack of context on both sender/receiver can really make matters worse. When the topic is of importance or likely to be misinterpreted, call your teammates, don’t send them a Slack message. This is especially important for fellow millennials. I know it feels uncomfortable at first but your voice, your tone, and emotions beat, hands down, any well-crafted message.” 2. Pick a time to start and stop work Don’t assume that working from home is automatically going to give you a better work-life balance. Working from home can oftern blur the line between your work-life and home-life, making it harder to be 100 percent at work or 100 percent at home. To mitigate this, make sure you set a set boundaries by setting a definitive start and stop time to your work day. It can be easy to sleep in and get out of your normal routine when there is a bit more flexibility to you start and stop time so pick a specific time in the morning to start, preferably early and soon after you wake up, similar to how it would be scheduled if you were actually going into the office. Also pick a specific end time to your day so you can have the necessary balance between your work life and your personal life. 3. Schedule your day, allowing for timed breaks A day at the office provides scheduled changes in your day, such as meetings and other events. Schedule out your day in such a way that you are going to have more of these natural changes in your day, so you don’t get in a rut doing the same thing over and over again. Scheduling out your day will also help make you remember when you have scheduled virtual meetings or phone calls and will keep you on top of completing what you need to get done each day. 4. Choose a dedicated workspace Do not work on your couch or your bed! At least not for the whole day. The best way to keep yourself focused is to have a set place that is your work station. This helps your brain recognize that you are beginning to work, and it helps get you into that mindset. Stay healthy and happy while working from home Implementing these tips into your day-to-day routine while you are working remotely will help you get more done and stay on top of things with your coworkers. Furthermore, it is also important to make sure you are staying healthy and happy during your time working from home, whether that be for a short time or on a more permanent basis. Throughout the day, get some fresh air, stretch, drink plenty of water, and call a friend every once in a while.
Guest Post by Robyn Flint Owning a small business has a lot in common with owning a large company. Both require time, capital, and a host of other similar necessities. But some small business owners don’t treat their small businesses like anything other than a hobby. Sometimes, small business owners don’t see their business as an opportunity. Owners fail to breathe life into their business and work towards growth. They might even neglect to ensure that their business is properly insured against disaster. From professional liability insurance and insurance coverage for your company truck to worker’s compensation and product liability insurance, it is vitally important to protect your business like you protect your home and health. In addition to purchasing insurance for your business, there are seven things that every small business owner should know. You may be surprised by what they are — and even more surprised by what they aren’t. So let’s dive in. Never forget your why No one starts a business thinking it’s going to be an easy road — you would be in for a rude awakening. But most people start small businesses because of a calling, a passion, or a dream. Whatever you call it, it’s your “why.” There could be any number of reasons to start your own business, but whatever your reason, it is the right reason. So when the going gets tough and you start to question if it’s worth it, remember your why. It will always guide you toward success. Set goals for success If you don’t have a target to shoot for you won’t hit anything. Consider your goals. Know what you are hoping to achieve and work towards achieving it. Make sure your goals are fluid and grow as your company grows. Make sure to write your goals down and keep them handy for those times when you need a reminder. Refer to them regularly, and when you achieve a goal, replace it with a new one. You should always have goals throughout the life of your business. Your goals should be thought out in terms of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. What you do today to grow your business can translate into future success. Be ready to take action to reach the goals you set. Expect the unexpected The other shoe’s going to drop — it’s bound to happen. As a small business owner, you’ll need to plan and prepare for literally anything. Be ahead of the game and be ready. Have a contingency plan in place for things like a recession, competition, foolproof lead generation systems, growth, expansion, or liability issues. Do your homework, talk to other business owners, and ask them what works and what doesn’t. Find out their plans and their systems. There is no need to figure out a solution to a problem if someone else already has it. Good people aren’t hard to find Small businesses sometimes have difficulties finding and keeping skilled employees. So when you do get lucky and find a diamond in the rough, consider them an asset and treat them as a valued member of your team. Your small business may be competing with larger businesses that may have a better benefits package. Some folks might think you’re crazy for starting and running a small business. Remember, this is your dream, not theirs. You may hear those closest to you make negative comments, but don’t let those comments fill you with self-doubt. If you need some encouragement, reach out to other small businesses and support each other. They are probably feeling some of what you are feeling, or have felt it. After all, you are in this together. You both want to succeed. So surround yourself with positive people, encouragers, and supporters. Let your thoughts expand Your internal dialogue has a lot of power over you and your actions. What you think about can expand. So you should always be thinking about growing, succeeding, and achieving your goals. If that doesn’t do it for you, think about your why. If you think about success and picture your business where you hope it will be, then you are not wasting time focusing on the what-ifs and the possibility of failure. When those thoughts sneak into your mind, be conscious of them and retrain your brain. Make your money work for you It’s always important for you to manage your money wisely as a small business owner. Invest in profit growth opportunities, invest in yourself, and invest in your business. Look for new ways to attract customers and newer cost-effective ways to produce your product. Your money can make you more money if you invest appropriately. In the end, it’s all worth it On the hard days when nothing goes your way, remind yourself of your why. All of the drama, sacrifice, and second-guessing are worth it. But don’t let those things take over your thoughts. Always go back to your why for reassurance. One day, when you’re reaping what you’ve sown, you’ll see that the grind was all worth it. Robyn Flint writes for QuoteInspector.com and has an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Robyn is an entrepreneur and owner of three small businesses. She is also a freelance writer and published author.
An important feature of VoIP platforms are the capabilities it offers for video conferencing. The right video application can change the way your company collaborates, interviews, and facilitates training and meetings. Having capable video conferencing also makes remote work possible for your employees. However, aside from a large bandwidth and superb video quality, what should you be looking for when searching out a VoIP company for your business? What is VoIP? Recording capabilities Trainings are essential to continue your company’s progression. Training new employees or rolling out new initiatives can take days, weeks, or months before everyone on your team understands the procedures. Trainings are often time consuming for all parties involved. The benefit of having recording features for VoIP video is that even if an employee is unable to attend a meeting or forgets a certain aspect of a training given in the meeting, they can go back and rewatch the recording of what was discussed. Reuben Yonatan, CEO of GetVoIP, says “not everyone can take good notes, so being able to provide a recording of the call helps make sure that no one misses any important details.” This is crucial for saving the time of all parties involved. Screen sharing Screen sharing eliminates the need for the facilitator of the training or meeting to verbally explain what they are doing on their computer. With screen sharing, they can project what they are seeing and doing on their computer on to everyone else’s computer. You can project the specific application training, documents, videos, or anything else that shows up on the computer of the employee sharing their screen, keeping the whole team on the same page. Yonatan says, “Being able to show someone what you’re talking about, rather than trying to describe it to them, saves a ton of time during meetings. You can efficiently run through documents or examples and get back to the meeting.” Built-in notetaking Built-in notetaking provides a space that can take the role of a white board during a meeting to facilitate more discussion and collaboration. Everyone in the meeting will be able to see everything that is written in this space. It helps to keep your team’s ideas organized and ensure that everyone remembers the highlights of the meeting. Capabilities for the maximum amount of people in the meeting Each video service provided is different, and within the same VoIP company you can choose between plans with different thresholds for the amount of people able to join a video meeting. Ensure you know what that threshold is so it can meet the video call capabilities that your company requires. Noise reduction Everyone has been in a meeting or conference call where there is loud, distracting background noise that makes it nearly impossible to hear or focus on what is being shared. This can slow down a meeting or make it entirely impossible to continue. To combat this issue, a noise reduction feature can be a game changer. Yonatan explains, “if you can find a suite that offers noise reduction, take it. This reduces background noise picked up by your mics — things like typing, coughing, or traffic. It also keeps meetings running smoothly without everyone having to mute and unmute constantly.” Easy access for joining callers Make sure that the video conferencing capabilities make it easy for users outside of your company to join the video conference. Brian Peterson, VP of engineering at Dialpad shares, “A major problem with most conference calls is getting people to join without any issues. Half the challenge is just getting your participants on the call. For example, a lot of providers put long, hard to remember PINs as a requirement to call in, or it requires you to download software or sign up to join. The last thing you want to do when you invite a potential client is have them jump through hoops to talk to you.” What's next? Now that you know some of the major components to consider when deciding on the video conferencing capabilities that you want, it's time to look at specific VoIP providers to determine which would suit your companies needs best. Read unbiased reviews of the top rated VoIP providers as well as summary of the good and the bad of each.
Guest Post by Dasheek Dennis Millions of people use VoIP for voice and video communication for professional and personal use. VoIP will exist as long as the internet continues to thrive. As of 2018, at least one billion people are using VoIP as their voice/video/phone service. Because its use has become ubiquitous, it is important to understand the legal implications regarding technology, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP’s influence in the technological world VoIP is cheaper and more flexible than its cellular counterpart — the smartphone. As opposed to using sometimes spotty cell service and towers to connect voice to voice, VoIP uses the internet. Its capabilities are far greater and wider as well. It can support an endless number of lines, translate voicemail to text, as well as being superior in mobility. People can access each other from various devices by simply connecting to the internet. While companies like Comcast, Vonage, and Cisco have been providing businesses with VoIP services for years, Skype, Whatsapp, Messenger, Google Voice, and Discord have been delivering inexpensive VoIP capabilities on a personal level. VoIP and internet service providers will continue to grow at a rapid pace. VoIP isn’t exactly modern, as it’s been around since the late nineties. When it comes to regulatory standards, VoIP is loosely regulated by the FCC. Numerous bills have been passed involving VoIP when it comes to taxes and security, but very few have become laws. There is an ongoing debate about how VoIP is to be viewed. Because VoIP makes use of the internet by breaking down data, turning them into packets, and transferring them over IP, it has been difficult for the FCC to classify it as a telephone service. So what is it: internet communication or telephone? The FCC exempts VoIP as telecommunication since it transfers information through the internet, and attempts to regulate it with similar standards. Legal issues Ultimately, how should we, as users and providers, consider the legal implications when dealing with VoIP? Here are some regulations and legal implications we should consider: VoIP can still be subpoenaed VoIP transmissions can be recorded and those recordings can be organized, stored, and recovered when needed. In the case where it would be needed by a court system, they can and will be subpoenaed VoIP calls can be traced, tapped, and hacked Security is always a concern with regard to VoIP. Because VoIP translates data over the internet, there is always the potential for intruders to intercept communication through malware and viruses. Your VoIP network is, at the end of the day, an IP network; it is susceptible to some of the same threats as your standard IP network. VoIP must comply with communication assistance for law enforcement The FCC requires some VoIP providers to comply with federal wiretaps in order to provide law enforcement with the ability to intercept communication between two parties without their knowledge. Regulations vary depending on state and country Although VoIP is illegal in some countries (Guyana, Libya, Oman, North Korea just to name a few), it is obviously legal in the US. Yet each state varies in regulations. In some states, VoIP providers are required to register as telecommunication providers, which makes them prone to the same regulations, taxes, and surcharges as a telecommunication service. Providers must comply with LNP Local Number Portability (LNP) allows users to keep their telephone or mobile number when switching from one service provider to another. According to the FCC’s VoIP regulations, providers must allow VoIP customers to retain the ability to port-in or out a number to an interconnected VoIP service. Accessible service to accommodate those with disabilities The FCC has made it mandatory for users over VoIP services to be able to use telecommunications relay services (TRS). This service enables people with hearing and speech disabilities to place and receive phone calls. Interconnected VoIP is 911 obligated 911 does work with VoIP, but operates differently than your standard telephone network. Consumers have the right to configure VoIP connected device locations whenever and wherever they see fit. The FFC requires VoIP providers to provide customers with 911 service as a standard, required feature. Final takeaway VoIP is becoming increasingly popular and may one day become the standard means of communication. Many businesses have abandoned landline, wired telephone services and have embraces VoIP. Though VoIP is a little shy of 30 years old, it is surprisingly loosely regulated and there is still much debate from Congress and the FCC in regards to VoIP regulatory factors. If you’re starting a business or using VoIP, seriously consider these legal implications. Dasheek Dennis writes for FreeAdvice.com. He has experience in digital marketing, copywriting, and video game design. He has also assisted numerous non-profits with content creation and grant writing.