The ultimate guide to business phone service

Wednesday, 31 October, 2018

What you need to know before choosing a phone plan for your business.

How do you choose your business’s lifeline?

A good phone system is hard to find. It’s likely that your business relies heavily on its phone service to keep things running smoothly, so it’s crucial to find one that performs at your own level. But where do you even start?

The way you communicate should not be something that sits on the back shelf of your company’s priorities. It’s a core system your business relies on for functioning day-to-day—your connection to customers, suppliers, clients, and partners. Choosing the right phone plan may seem like a daunting task, but in this guide you will find the most important things small businesses should consider when shopping around for one.

 

Don’t settle when it comes to features.

In the tech industry, everyone is constantly looking for the next best thing, and thanks to the era of smartphones it’s becoming harder and harder to impress. Qualities that were once standard are now viewed as archaic when considering modern phone models. (Anyone remember direct connect? No? Exactly.) Business phone bells and whistles are getting more advanced and constantly evolving, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to pinpoint the features you need to make handling phone calls effective and uncomplicated when there are so many to choose from nowadays.  

Some business phone features to consider might include:

  • High definition audio
  • Conference calling
  • Long distance calling
  • Three-way calling
  • Auto attendant
  • Team messaging
  • Call forwarding/transferring
  • Call screening
  • Program/app integration
  • Customer support
  • Visual voicemail
  • Video conferencing

 

65% of consumers prefer to contact a business by phone.

Source: https://www.invoca.com/call-data/

 

Take your communication on the go.

In a world that refuses to slow down, it’s important to equip your business with tools to prevent it from tripping up and losing the lead to the competition. The age of only being able to make and receive calls on your desk phone is over. Phone systems now provide options for forwarding incoming calls or rerouting a line to another office phone or mobile device, which is essential to fulfilling your daily tasks. You can’t accomplish everything you need to if you’re chained to your desk, so to speak.  

A VoIP phone system best takes care of your mobility concerns, particularly with mobile apps and features you can download on your smartphone that forward and transfer calls. It’s as if you’re carrying your desk phone in your pocket wherever you go, so you’ll never miss a beat whether you’re at lunch, running errands, or working from home or a different location.

Find the key to collaborating offsite.

In an ever-evolving business industry, it’s not uncommon for employees to work from different locations and offices, or even from home. Though a virtual phone system allows for remote workers to tap into their company’s line, a VoIP service is the most amenable and dependable option for these employees. Working offsite can be tricky, and an employee’s day can be derailed if they’re not able to connect to the main office or to customers. VoIP has the flexibility and features to support a more well-rounded collaboration for those working from different places.

 

Good service always has your business’s back.

With something as crucial to business operations as your phone service, guaranteeing that it works as well as possible is essential. Determining the best business phone system for you should depend heavily on what’s there to back it up—no matter how good a service claims to be, technical difficulties do happen. If your line goes down, how long are you willing to wait for help in getting things up and running again? If you don’t have IT support on hand at your office, then selecting a phone system that has access to a 24/7 customer service line should be the goal. Without hands-on experts, your system could be out for much longer than you anticipated, with revenue and productivity suffering as a result.

37% of people in the US engage in part-time telecommuting.

Source: https://tech.co/stats-importance-business-voip-2017-12

Phone systems tailored for small businesses:

Landline phone service

Starting off with the most traditional and basic of phone services, it’s safe to say that nearly everyone has had some sort of experience with a landline phone. On the lower end of the tech spectrum, it depends on physical hardware to function, operating through a wire that plugs straight into the wall to connect with a line powered by your phone company. This straightforward connection results in a reliability on the higher end of the business phone spectrum, however, there are fewer features to be had, and the phone industry is progressively moving away from landline technology to accommodate for this. It also generally tends to be the most affordable option, but when implementing it at your business location it demands private branch exchange (PBX) hardware, which can hike up the price to be even more than a VoIP system.

Virtual phone service

The virtual phone system is a bit more obscure than its competitors. Users make calls through an internet connection that is not affiliated with an actual phone line. It’s a bit of a middle man among the business phone systems—it’s not quite a fully developed phone service but presents several compelling features and is accessible on a mobile phone or home network. It’s a decently affordable option for small businesses with employees that work remotely or in different locations and provides a professional aspect to clients and customers. The potential drawback? A limited amount of features. There’s plenty of flexibility with this type of system and the investment is often significantly less than a VoIP or landline service, but the tradeoff is ultimately having less to work with.   

VoIP phone service

A VoIP phone system routes your phone line through your high- speed internet connection and can be hosted either at your business or through the cloud. It uses advanced technology designed for corporations and creates a tool that strengthens small businesses. This service offers the most features and also tends to cost less than landlines, depending on whether you host it on your business’s premises or through the cloud.

The quality of your calls through a VoIP system typically depends on your internet connection and speed, but with a reliable service VoIP is a formidable opponent to other phone options. Most VoIP services come with professional customer service, can be incorporated with many important computer programs, and are incredibly user-friendly. Small businesses utilizing a VoIP system often run at the pace and efficiency of a much larger company.

Keep the cost of communication in mind.

No matter how successful your business is, it runs on a budget. When considering phone systems, you must take into account the cost involved. A VoIP system hosted on-premises is more expensive due to installation, equipment, and possible user fees. For a hosted system, you’re generally paying $500-$1,250 per user (all upfront). A cloud-based phone system does not require fees upfront, but you do pay monthly fees ranging anywhere from $10-$80 per user. The only physical thing you’d be paying for is the actual IP phone hardware, which can clock in anywhere from $50 to several hundred per phone.  

As far as the more basic plans go, a landline system typically runs between $60-$80 a month and a virtual phone line at $10-$50 a month, heavily depending on the features included (which will not match that of VoIP technology).

A business phone plan is often an overlooked yet necessary expense. Finding one that fits into your budget will not only help your business costs remain manageable, it will improve the overall efficiency of your operations.

Businesses can save up to 75% by switching from a landline to VoIP.

Source: https://it.toolbox.com/blogs/voipdesk/3-benefits-of-voip-for-customer-service-061217

When all is said and done, which system rules the day?

No two companies are the same. For every small business that operates with specific communication necessities, there are thousands more that require an endless amount of feature and performance variations to prosper in their competitive markets. The phone systems discussed in this guide can hold their own just fine in the corporate jungle, but one has proven to tip the scale further as far as performance, convenience, and overall quality goes.  

A VoIP phone system is the most versatile and feature-rich service you will encounter, relying on that internet connection to help you better curate your calls and provide a better experience for your customers.

Verizon Business Digital Voice is the VoIP phone solution that will meet all of your business needs effortlessly. With over 30 unique calling features and crystal clear HD sound, it provides the support and consistency your employees and customers need to connect to each other and create success within your business. As an affordable and flexible option, Business Digital Voice gives small businesses two legs to stand on in a brutally competitive atmosphere.  

In the end, no one knows your business like you do. You know what will serve you best as far as features, reliability, and cost. Now that you have some insight into how each phone system works and the possibilities they present, you are one step closer to establishing that critical lifeline and expanding your business’s reach even further.

Voicemail to Text: a Guide for Business Messaging Made Simple.

Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Take phone tag to the next level.

Have you ever been in a meeting and missed a time-sensitive call? Or been so busy that you forgot to listen to a message until hours—or even days—later? Worse than that, listening to patchy audio from a bad connection often (and frustratingly) means you’ll have to listen multiple times to get the message’s information. It’s an inconvenient yet somehow necessary cycle, as even in this day and age plenty of people get their dial game on and have no problem leaving voicemail messages.      

Voicemail to text simplifies the whole process. This service converts the voice messages you receive on your cell phone into text messages, providing a transcription you can read anytime, anywhere from the palm of your hand. This is a feature meant for the fast-paced lifestyle of today—for business professionals pressed for time or those constantly on the go. If you don’t have the time or desire to call back once you receive the message, voicemail to text allows you to respond in the form of a text if the message originated from a cell phone. It’s a voicemail service designed to make your life easier.    

 

What is voicemail to text?

Voicemail to text transcribes your voice mail messages into SMS text messages on your mobile phone. Instead of listening to the audio, you can to read transcriptions at your convenience if you are not able to immediately listen to the message, and respond accordingly to messages sent from a mobile phone number.

 

Verizon has the competitive edge.

In a world brimming with new and improved tech, useful tools tend to get adapted into several different versions as competitors vie for the upper hand within the market. So, it stands to reason that Verizon isn’t the only network to offer voicemail transcription services. Services such as eVoice, YouMail, Grasshopper, and Nuance deliver similar texting options, but the reliability and quality of Verizon voicemail to text puts them all to shame.

Verizon helps you stay organized and prepared for anything. Not only can you get voicemail to text for your personal phone, but you can also program your office lines to route to your mobile phone if you’re out of the office or away from your desk. You won’t have to wait until you’re back to answer or send a reply. In addition, you get an unlimited number of transcriptions, ensuring no message slips through the cracks. You can rely on over thirty calling features to make sure your business is running as productively as possible.

Experience the ease of voicemail to text.

Once you’ve set voicemail to text up on your phone (a process that should take next to no time at all), you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save throughout your workday. The added convenience of your voice messages being accessible in different formats lets you prioritize your communication. You’ll be able to respond to more urgent calls faster, or organize calls based on their importance and plan your time addressing them accordingly.

You can also keep your messages all in one place without the fear that they will be deleted or inexplicably lost forever if your phone glitches. Voicemail to text is a dynamic tool in your business’s hand, capable of streamlining your day for optimum efficiency.  

Leave no messages behind.

Making and receiving calls should be as painless as possible. There are thousands of better ways to spend your time than stressing over missed voicemail messages, and voicemail to text takes the pressure off of keeping up with your correspondence. It also saves you the hassle of remembering passwords or frantically trying to find something to write the information in the message down with—because who really has time for that anymore?

Verizon offers even more sophisticated products and services than voicemail to text. With Business Digital Voice for your office phone system, you can get your missed voicemails through your email with Voicemail to Email or catalog your voice messages with Visual Voicemail. Equip yourself with the best technology available so you can rest assured that your business’s needs are always met as quickly and thoroughly as possible.  

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

Verizon Business Preferred: Your stress-free tech support.

Thursday, 21 June, 2018

DIY tech maintenance is a thing of the past.

 

Time is valuable, but to a business owner it’s irreplaceable. Why waste any of it on things that you shouldn’t have to do yourself? Many small businesses face challenges when it comes to time and staff management—owners and employees alike often wear many different hats and their time is eaten away by issues like IT maintenance. That kind of downtime can equal a loss in revenue, not to mention focus and productivity. But technology maintenance doesn’t have to fall on your shoulders. Verizon Business Preferred is the exclusive white glove tech support that will keep your business running by taking care of tricky tech fixes. You get nothing but the best features with Tech Support Pro, a Service Protection Plan, and Priority Call Routing.  

Tech Support Pro

With Tech Support Pro, you get access to experts who can help with the setup, configuration, and installation of your devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our premium technical support staff will also aid in connecting any new devices to your wireless network. And since 38% of small businesses are making internet security one of their top investment priorities within the next 12 months, you can rest assured knowing that our techs can install the latest security software during setup so your system stays free of viruses, spyware, and malware. Even better, we keep it up to date, so you won’t have to worry about all of those update notifications you tend to skip over. Verizon Tech Support Pro has it covered.

Service Protection Plan

Did your internet cut out in the middle of your workday? Has your front desk phone line disconnected abruptly and won’t go back online? Not to worry. If you have Verizon Business Preferred, you get a Service Protection Plan with your package. One of our professional service technicians can be dispatched directly to your office to run diagnostics, and can repair the inside wiring of up to 30 separate lines. This applies to all Verizon phone, Fios TV, and broadband connections, so you’re covered no matter what device is causing the problem. The Service Protection Plan gives you prompt, in-person technical support to take the stress off of trying to handle everything on your own, so you can get back to business.

Priority Call Routing

Waiting endlessly on hold with patchy elevator music in your ear doesn’t have to be your life anymore. When you call the Business Preferred toll-free number, your call is bumped to the top of the queue, saving you time and making your experience altogether more pleasant. We know our customers have endless to-do lists, and calling tech support is never a welcome task, but Priority Call Routing makes it quick and painless. That’s what makes Verizon the most sought-after and reliable service provider in the industry—our customers are our priority, and it’s important to us that they feel the same way.

The search for faster internet is over.

Verizon Business Preferred makes your internet experience easier, but you need internet to make it work in the first place. When it comes to speed and reliability, Verizon Fios is way ahead of the curve. Fios offers a secure internet connection at competitive prices to launch your business ahead of the competition, and only a pure fiber-optic connection gives you upload speeds to match download speeds. If you want benefits like 99% uptime, 24/7 customer service and speeds up to 500 Mbps, then Verizon is your network. You don’t have time to worry about your business internet, so why worry? Verizon has over two decades of industry-leading experience—we’re here to make it as easy as possible for you.   

Verizon Visual Voicemail

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Cut the phone cord and make your messaging count.

In this day and age, phone services aren’t limited to just phones. In fact, communication capabilities nowadays transcend the boundaries of typical phone lines—modern technology makes it possible to make and receive calls from anywhere, on any device. And in the business world, that has become crucial to maintaining a steady workflow and increasing productivity. But life gets busy, and sometimes your voicemail inbox bears the brunt of your phone traffic, and voice messages pile up as a result. Does the same kind of technology extend to missed calls?

With a visual voicemail service you can listen to (or view) your outstanding voice messages on any device and in any order you choose. You will receive a list of calls and messages, along with specifics about the call (such as contact information and the date and time it was made). If there’s a pressing call you’ve been waiting for, you can get right to your priorities and skip the wasted time of listening to messages recorded before the one you want to listen to. (You can call your mom back later.) You can also play back messages on your cell phone, computer, or landline, and respond to them via callback or text message. After reviewing your messages, you can choose which ones you’d like to listen to, delete, or archive.

View video transcript >

Put visual voicemail to work.

In the midst of a highly competitive business atmosphere, you work hard to make sure your company keeps up. With so many operations and applications to attend to, it pays to play everything to your advantage, and relatively small things (such as checking messages) can make a large impact. Handling your voice messages with a voicemail to text application could significantly improve your business processes, giving you the ability to:    

Save time

Review urgent missed calls and voicemail messages without having to cycle through recordings left previously. Visual voicemail also allows you to review messages, missed calls, and emails from one location or device, saving you the hassle and time spent dialing into your voicemail account. Apply that time to fueling your business’s success instead.

Easily forward call information

Forward entire transcriptions to business associates, colleagues, or clients in a matter of seconds. If a message is left on your phone by mistake, you can forward the caller’s information and phone number to the appropriate recipient. You’ll have everything you need right in front of you at a moment’s notice.

Increase your productivity

Confusion can cost you in the workplace. Wasted time turns into wasted revenue, and it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks when your attention is diverted from your daily tasks. Visual voicemail acts as a virtual valet, cataloging your messages for you to review later (in the order you want) so you can focus more on your business’s productivity.

Enjoy the convenience

If you’re taking care of other projects and can’t make it to a phone, you’ll easily be able to monitor messages as they’re coming in. In addition, voice to email and voice to text services make it so you can access your messages from anywhere—at home, at the office, or on the go. Visual voicemail provides a better way to track and archive your correspondence.

How does it all come together?

When you receive that convenient list of messages through your visual voicemail service, all it takes is pressing one button on your device to hear a playback of the recording you want to listen to. Or, if you prefer to read your messages, visual voicemail technology allows for them to reach you through other mediums such as email and text messages.

So how about it? If you want to get visual voicemail up and running, all you need to do is install the Verizon Visual Voicemail app on your preferred device(s). When you want to listen to your messages, simply select the desired message, hit play, and listen. It’s as easy as that. Or, you can read a transcript of the message through the voicemail to text or voicemail to email features. In most circumstances, your visual voicemail inbox on your selected device is synced with your network voice mailbox, so you won’t have to worry about toggling back and forth between systems.

Visual voicemail provides convenience and organization to your business communication. Paired with the Verizon standard, you can expect it to significantly reduce stress and improve the way your business handles its messaging—what growing company couldn’t use that? It’s one more tool in your belt to refining your processes, streamlining your services, and achieving success for your business.

with visual voicemail from Verizon you
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get a text message when someone leaves
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you a recording and you can play it
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back through your mobile phone computer
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or even your email connect your office
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and business world with Verizon business
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digital voice

 

 

Verizon Voice Portal

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Business Digital Voice from Verizon is an advanced phone solution for small businesses that offers powerful, enterprise-level features at an affordable price. Businesses get access to over 30 calling features, such as Visual Voicemail, Music on Hold, and Shared Call Appearance. Business Digital Voice is built on a reliable VoIP platform so it can grow and scale with your business.

 

Business Digital Voice helps you stay in touch with your employees and provide your customers with reliable, fast service.

 

The Voice Portal is your one-stop shop for adjusting key phone settings on the go. If you don’t have access to a computer or otherwise can’t log into the “My Phone” End User Web Portal, you can still make adjustments by calling the Voice Portal number, entering a passcode, and choosing your options from a menu.

The Voice Portal allows you to change multiple settings, including listening to and changing your prerecorded no-answer, busy, and voicemail greetings. You don’t need to have admin rights to make the changes to your personal settings.

You can also listen to and manage your voicemail messages, send new messages, and reply to messages. Lastly, the Voice Portal allows you to forward important messages to other team members.

The Voice Portal uses a simple touch-tone menu system to make changes, so it’s familiar to anyone who’s used a phone-based menu system before.

If you can’t access your web portal, the Voice Portal is a perfect emergency alternative.

Customer story: Using Voice Portal on the go

Derek is travelling for work. He’s meeting is at 2pm in Dallas, so he is flying out during business hours. During his shuttle ride, he takes a couple calls that are routed from the auto attendant. Traffic holds him up, so he’s running 15 minutes late. When he gets to the airport, he planned to check emails on his laptop and change his greeting so callers know he’s in flight using the “My Phone” web portal. But now he’s short on time. Voice Portal lets Derek call from his mobile phone, while he’s walking through the terminal to his gate. He can update his settings and record a greeting on the go. Derek’s customers will get the message that he’s unavailable for the two-hour flight, and he will call them back when he lands.

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

Verizon Shared Call Appearance

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Verizon Business Digital Voice is an enterprise-level phone solution for small businesses. Business Digital Voice provides a secure VoIP phone system for your business.

Get access to enterprise-quality phone tools at an affordable price. Over 30 advanced calling features help you give customers the service they deserve, while an online dashboard lets you manage your phone system from anywhere.

 

 

Shared call appearance lets Business Digital Voice customers dial out with any phone and still display the correct caller ID info to customers.

For example, if your business has two buildings and you have an office in each, you can call from either office and the same info will be displayed to the person receiving the call. Or if your smartphone battery runs out but you still need a customer to know it’s you calling, you can use another phone in the building and show your normal contact details.

Shared call appearance ensures you can reach customers from anywhere in your business while providing a consistent, seamless experience.

 

You have more important things to worry about in your business than whose name appears on the caller ID, so let Verizon handle it for you with shared call appearance.

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

 

Business Digital Voice: Shared Call Appearance video transcription

00:00
Hey Michelle my phone died. Can I use
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yours? With shared call appearance you can
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make calls from someone else’s phone in
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your business and your customers will
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know who is calling. Hey Mary. Connect your
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office and business world with Verizon
00:18
Business Digital Voice

Verizon Hunt Group

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Verizon Business Digital Voice is a powerful and flexible phone solution for small businesses. Business Digital Voice provides a secure VoIP system for your business, giving you access to enterprise features at an affordable price.

Over 30 professional calling features help you give your customers the service they deserve. And the easy-to-use online dashboard and mobile app let you manage your phone system no matter where you are.

 

 

Tired of missing calls because the right person isn’t available to answer? Or maybe you’re tired of having employees tied to their desks just in case a call comes through.

 

With a Hunt Group setup from Verizon Business Digital Voice, you can give employees the freedom to move and work where they’re most comfortable while never missing an important call.

 

A Hunt Group, also called line hunting in the telecom world, is a system that automatically transfers an incoming call from line to line until someone answers. If the main contact can’t pick up, you can designate second, third, and additional lines to receive the call. You can also have calls ring to several phones simultaneously to cut down on wait times for customers.

 

Customer story: Hunt Group improves the customer experience

When customers call a business, no one wants to get a voicemail experience. Customers want to speak to someone and get the help they need. This is the main reason Jennie, an office manager for a busy design company, went looking for a better solution than their old PBX set up. With PBX, customers could connect to different extensions in the office but that was about it. Jennie heard about Hunt Group and decided that was the way to go. She could set incoming calls to ring to different lines in a series. She made it so calls go to Sue first, the full time receptionist, and then rollover to John who is the assistant for the head designer and handles most of the scheduling. Jennie kept the rings to only two, and added a third line to rollover to accounting if Sue and John can’t answer. Within six rings, clients can reach a friendly, live person who can handle their question. No need to wait for a call back.

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

Business Digital Voice: Hunt Group video transcription

00:00
Hi delivery for Sara. Yes. With hunt
00:03
group from Verizon Business Digital
00:05
Voice an inbound call will automatically
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pass from one line to another until
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someone in your business can answer
00:15
Hello this is Michelle. Connect your office and
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business world with Verizon
00:19
Business Digital Voice

 

 

Verizon Auto Attendant

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Verizon Business Digital Voice is a powerful, professional phone solution for small businesses. Business Digital Voice is a secure VoIP system that gives your business access to enterprise features at an affordable price.

More than 30 advanced calling features help you give your customers and clients the service they deserve. And the powerful online dashboard and app let you manage your phone system no matter where business takes you.

 

 

Give your small business a big business feel with this virtual receptionist. The Auto Attendant feature gives your small business access to a virtual assistant that can greet customers and route calls to the appropriate employee. Callers can choose an option from a customizable menu to direct the call to the right place.

 

The Auto Attendant feature helps give your small business a professional feel that customers will appreciate.

 

You can use a menu setup that works for your customers and business (for example, “For sales press 1, for service press 2,” etc.) and create schedules for times when your business is closed, such as company holidays and weekends. During those times, callers are presented with an alternate greeting and menu.

Simply log in to your My Account Admin Portal to configure Auto Attendant.

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

 

Business Digital Voice: Auto Attendant video transcription

00:00
I appreciate it, thanks guys. Auto attendant
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is your business’s virtual receptionist
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You’ve reached all spring nursery
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to speak with a representative, press 1
00:09
let your customers select what they need so they
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get in touch with the right person in
00:12
your business. Connect your office and
00:15
business world with Verizon
00:16
Business Digital Voice

 

Verizon Unified Messaging

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Business Digital Voice from Verizon is a small-business phone solution with enterprise-level features. Get access to over 30 advanced calling features, such as Auto Attendant, Music on Hold, and Unified Messaging, all in an affordable package. Business Digital Voice is built on a cloud-based VoIP platform for secure, reliable calling so you can stay in touch with your team and give your customers the service they deserve.

Unified Messaging puts voicemail and fax messages in one place, your My Phone Web Portal. This feature makes it quick and easy to get to all your messages using either your e-mail or telephone.

The Unified Messaging feature of Business Digital Voice lets you retrieve voicemails from your online My Phone management dashboard so you can listen to messages from anywhere.

You can have the voicemail files sent to you in an email and receive notifications on your phone or tablet via text or email.

In addition to retrieving voicemail files, users can also retrieve fax messages using Unified Messaging on the My Phone dashboard and through email. The system is fully configurable from the My Account web portal, including what notifications you want to receive and whether you want to access voicemail, fax, or both.

Another useful feature you can set up is the option for callers to transfer calls that get sent to voicemail. For example, you can allow callers to transfer the call to your assistant by pressing O. This feature can be useful if a call is urgent and needs immediate attention. Read The Secret to Better Service and Productivity: Unified Communications to learn more about advancements in communications with unified communications technologies.

 

Customer story: Using Unified Messaging to stay on top

These days, business happens everywhere. That’s one of the things that Murray likes about his job. He’s a production line manager and gets to go back and forth from the office to the plant. With this type of schedule, he can’t afford to lose track of messages. Unified Messaging keeps voicemails and faxes in one place. So there’s little chance Murray will miss an important call or forget about a change to an order, even in the midst of a busy day.

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

Verizon My Phone Web Portal

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Business Digital Voice from Verizon is a flexible VoIP phone solution for small businesses that want enterprise-level features at an affordable price. Get access to over 30 advanced calling features, such as Auto Attendant, Music on Hold, and Unified Messaging.

Business Digital Voice is built on a cloud-based VoIP platform for reliable calling and easy scalability so you can stay in touch with your team and give your customers the service they deserve.

 

 

The My Phone End User Web Portal is an employee-level web portal that gives members of your team access to their phone settings, voicemail, and other phone functions. The portal is designed to be easy to use, with a simple, clear interface.

Users can access phone settings from any computer or tablet by logging into the web portal. If they need to check voicemail with the Unified Messaging feature or adjust on-hold messages while they’re out of town, the settings are just a few clicks away.

 

Accessing the My Phone Web portal is easy.

 

The My Phone End User Web Portal gives your employees quick access to phone features and settings, allowing your whole team to serve customers more effectively.

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to your questions about the My Phone End User Web Portal. Read the Business Digital Voice frequently asked questions for tips and help with features.

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

 

Business Digital Voice: My Phone End User Web Portal video transcription

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with Verizon Business Digital Voice you
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set the features your employees can
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access visual voicemail and they can
00:07
customize their settings too so everyone
00:10
in your business is ready to serve your
00:11
customers. Connect your office and
00:14
business world with Verizon
00:16
Business Digital Voice

 

Verizon Music on Hold

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Verizon Business Digital Voice is a flexible, enterprise-level phone solution for small businesses. Get access to enterprise-quality phone tools at an affordable price, with over 30 professional calling features to help you give customers the service they deserve.

Manage your phone system anywhere with an easy-to-use online dashboard and app. Business Digital Voice also provides a secure VoIP phone system for your business.

 

 

Don’t leave your customers wondering—greet them with customizable music or announcements so they know to stay on the line if you can’t answer right away.

With Verizon Business Digital Voice, your phone system can play custom hold music to entertain callers while they wait. On-hold music can help reduce hang-ups, especially during long waiting periods.

 

Hold messages can help you communicate better with customers.

 

You can also set up customizable announcements to inform callers of promotions, special offers, or news related to your company. For example, let callers know about your business’s schedule, office hours, or special holiday hours.

You can also use your hold message to promote upcoming sales or events, such as clearance sales or community outreach initiatives.

 

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

 

Business Digital Voice: Music on Hold video transcription

00:00
when business is busy you can set a
00:04
greeting or announcement for your
00:05
customers to hear while at home
00:07
thank you for calling Camille’s flowers all custom
00:09
arrangements are 10% off through
00:11
the end of month. Camille’s flowers how can help you
00:13
connect your office and business world
00:15
with Verizon Business Digital Voice
00:17
[Music]

 

 

Verizon My Account Administrator Web Portal

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Business Digital Voice from Verizon is a powerful phone solution for small businesses that want enterprise-level features. Get access to over 30 advanced calling features, including Auto Attendant, Music on Hold, and Unified Messaging, all at an affordable price. Business Digital Voice is built on a cloud-based VoIP platform for reliable calling and easy scalability, so you can stay in touch with your team and give your customers the service they deserve.

 

 

The My Account Administrator Web Portal allows business owners and IT teams to manage the phone features employees can access in one simple, easy-to-use interface. Managers and administrators can log in and enable or disable features at any time, and they can also configure users and various features such as Hunt Groups and Visual Voicemail from this portal.

The My Account Administrator Portal is designed for easy use. The portal comes with detailed instructions, and all the options are laid out in a clear, visual manner so they are easy to find and change.

Employees can also adjust their own features and settings with a separate-end user panel. This setup allows them to create the phone configuration that works best for them and maximizes their ability to serve customers and collaborate with other team members.

The My Account Administrator Web Portal lets you control the phone features employees have access to so your whole team can readily serve customers as effectively as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to your questions about the My Account Administrator Web Portal and other Business Digital Voice features. Read the Business Digital Voice frequently asked questions.

 

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

Business Digital Voice: My Account Administrator Web Portal video transcription

00:00
with Verizon Business Digital Voice you
00:02
set the features your employees can
00:04
access like Visual Voicemail and they can
00:07
customize their settings too so everyone
00:10
in your business is ready to serve your
00:11
customers. Connect your office and
00:14
business world with Verizon
00:16
Business Digital Voice

Verizon Voicemail to Email

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

Business Digital Voice from Verizon is a flexible VoIP phone solution for small businesses that offers powerful, enterprise-level features at an affordable price. Businesses get access to over 30 calling features, such as Visual Voicemail, Music on Hold, and Hunt Groups. And Business Digital Voice is built on a reliable VoIP platform for stress-free calling and easy scalability. Business Digital Voice helps you stay in touch with your team and give your customers quality, reliable service.

 

Small-business owners have a lot of communications to juggle. Voicemail to Email makes better use of your time.

 

Standard visual voicemail gives you a convenient list of your voicemail messages—including who called, time of the call and callback number—so you can listen to them as needed. Voicemail to Email from Business Digital Voice goes one step further to help improve your productivity. Voicemail to Email sends your voicemail messages as .wav attachments to your email, allowing you to listen to them when you tackle your in-box.

The messages are sent as .wav files that can be played back on any PC, Mac, or smartphone so you can listen at your convenience.

You can also organize the messages with your regular email filing system. It’s one more way Verizon helps streamline your daily operations.

This feature is also known as voicemail to text transcription—something high-functioning business people have been paying up to $14.95 per month for this service alone from other vendors. Plus additional fees for additional users.

  • Just like our Voicemail to Email, a voicemail transcription service converts your voicemail messages to text and sends your transcriptions to your email inbox.
  • Just like Voicemail to Email, transcription services also attach .wav files to your transcriptions so you can hear the original voicemail recordings.

Unlike transcription services, there is no extra cost to use this feature. Voicemail to Email is included with your Business Digital Voice service.

 

You’ll get alerts to your inbox every time someone calls and leave a voicemail.

 

You can keep up with your calls, whether you’re in a meeting or on the factory floor. Even if it’s too noisy to take the call, Voicemail to Email helps you handle business over email without waiting for a time when you can talk on the phone.

 

Five ways Voicemail to Email helps you take care of business:

  • Scanning an email message is faster than logging in to voicemail to get the same info.
  • Searching for keywords in your inbox helps pinpoint the info you need.
  • Nothing is missing. Your email message captures the voicemail and stores it.
  • Looking for a pen or pressing rewind to repeat a message is old school.
  • Managing your communications is easier since all your messages are in one place–your inbox.

More Business Digital Voice advanced features

Administrator Portal Auto Attendant Hunt Group My Phone Portal
Music on Hold Shared Call Unified Messaging Visual Voicemail
Voicemail to Email Voice Portal Voicemail to Text

7 ways businesses can expense IT purchases

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017

Now could be the right time to buy.

As the end of the year approaches, cash-basis businesses will begin to look for ways to reduce their taxable profits for the year. Thanks to some very liberal tax laws written to encourage investment in personal tangible equipment, including information technology (IT) equipment, many businesses will be able to expense (write off as a tax deduction) all such purchases in 2017. However, to do so, the IT equipment must be purchased and placed in service before the end of the year, and time is running out. For businesses using the accrual method of accounting, the purchase must be completed and the equipment placed in service before the company’s year-end.

There are a number of ways to deduct IT costs, and the best method should be based upon the need for a current-year deduction. The deductions may be more beneficial in a future year, so careful planning is required.

Here are the 7 possible methods depending on your unique business needs.

  1. Depreciate – The most conservative method of writing off the investment would be to depreciate the various pieces of equipment over the recovery period (useful life), designated by the IRS as being either 5 or 7 years, depending on the individual items. Generally, computers, copiers, and certain technological and research equipment are depreciated over 5 years, while office fixtures, furniture, and equipment are depreciated over 7 years.
  2. Material & Supply Expensing – Capitalization and repair regulations may come into play with what is called material or supply expensing. If an item costs $200 or less, or has a useful life of less than one year, it is expensed rather than depreciated.
  3. De Minimis Safe Harbor Expensing – Another part of the capitalization and repair regulations allows businesses to expense up to $2,500 of equipment ($5,000 if the business has an applicable financial statement). The limits are applied per item or per invoice, which provides a significant amount of latitude in expensing.
  4. Routine Maintenance – The expenditure can be expensed if the purchase is used to keep a unit of property in operating condition and the business expects to perform the maintenance twice during the property’s class life (different than depreciable life). The class life for information systems and computers is 6 years.
  5. Bonus Depreciation – Bonus depreciation allows a business to deduct 50% of the cost of new tangible property with a recovery period of 20 years or less if it is placed in service during 2017. The remaining 50% of the cost is depreciated as usual. Congress is phasing out the bonus depreciation, and the deduction rate has been reduced to 40% for 2018, 30% in 2019, and then nothing in later years.
  6. Section 179 ExpensingSec. 179 expensing allows full expensing of IT equipment purchases. Commonly referred to as the Sec. 179 deduction, for 2017, it allows companies to expense up to $510,000 of personal tangible equipment, including IT equipment, for federal purposes (state limits may be different). There is an investment limit of $2,030,000, which means if the company makes investments into property eligible for Sec. 179 expensing in excess of $2,030,000, the amount allowed to be expensed under Sec 179 is reduced by one dollar for each dollar the investment limit is exceeded. These amounts are inflation adjusted annually, and the amount that can be expensed in 2018 is $520,000.
    1. There are negative factors to using Sec. 179 expensing. If the item is disposed of before the end of its recovery period, the expense deduction is recaptured, to the extent that it exceeds the otherwise allowable depreciation deduction for the period. The recaptured amount is added to the business’s income for the disposition year. For very large companies, the use of Sec. 179 is restricted because of the annual limit.   
  7. Blended Methods – It is possible to use a combination of depreciation, bonus depreciation, and Sec. 179 expensing to achieve just about any result for small businesses.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is always a concern. However, bonus depreciation and Sec. 179 expensing are not preference items and will not cause an AMT add-on tax. The only risk of impacting the AMT is if the 200% MACRS depreciation is used, in which case AMT preference income is created in the amount of the difference between 200% of MACRS and 150% of MACRS depreciation.

Choosing the correct expensing method for you business can be a complicated task. Working with an accountant can help ensure you make the right choice.

If the GOP tax reform makes it through Congress, all of the foregoing will be muted because the plan includes unlimited expensing for personal tangible equipment, for a minimum of five years, as an incentive for business expansion. The uncertainty of whether tax reform will actually occur further complicates a business’s decision making as to when to purchase needed equipment.

 

Lee Reams, Sr. EA

 

Lee is the Chief Content Officer for TaxBuzz.com, a nationwide marketplace that connects businesses and taxpayers with five-star reviewed tax professionals. Lee is a nationwide lecturer and author, having written thousands of articles on all things tax.

 

Everything you need to know about business phone lines

Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Before you buy, learn more about business phone lines

Some small-business owners don’t know where to start when they’re looking for reliable and affordable business phone lines. Verizon gets it. Business phone lines can be a complex topic.

Fortunately, we’ve clarified the matter below. This guide will walk you through deciding how many business phone lines you need, provide you with some examples of phone needs in different industries, and explain the three kinds of business phone service you can choose from.

Decide how many phone lines and telephone numbers your business needs

Before you explore the different types of business phone lines, take a step back and consider the bigger picture. No doubt you already recognize your need for a small-business phone line. It’s a phone number that your customers can use to call your business.

You’ll use this same phone number for business calls. Now the only question that remains is how many lines to get—and how many phone numbers do you need? Use these three steps to find the answer:

  1. Compare how many employees you have today with the number of employees you predict to have one to two years from now.
  2. Think about your company’s size and the industry you’re in. Some businesses, like restaurants, require at least two business phone lines. A medical clinic, however, likely needs five or more.
  3. Look at your budget alongside financial forecasts and cash flow reports. Use a fiscal assessment to figure out how much money you can realistically invest in small-business phone lines.

Once you complete these three steps, use the information you’ve gathered to make purchasing decisions and lay the foundation for additional questions. For example, you should ask providers about activation fees, upgrade possibilities, service level agreements (SLAs), and price breaks before signing on any dotted line.

business guy on a phone

Learn how other small businesses set up their phone systems

Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to setting up an ideal telephone system. Here are some examples of what works for other small businesses. Hopefully you will see one that parallels your own:

  1. Professional Office. The majority of professional offices—accounting, legal, staffing and others—operate with anywhere from 10 to 150 employees. As such, it requires a minimum of ten business phone lines. These lines enable sales calls, faxes, online collaboration, and employee teleconferences.
  2. Small Office. Small offices or home offices (SOHO) usually seek cheap business phone lines—which makes sense. This business owner may work solo or have two or three employees. Because of that, he or she only needs one business phone line.
  3. Retail. A small retail shop may claim five employees or more. At these stores, customers call for information about hours, orders, and return policies. Calls are outgoing, too, so a retail business would do well with a 2-line phone system. You can use two receivers or a multi-line phone to answer both phone numbers.
  4. Healthcare. Medical offices, regardless of their size, involve a lot of communication. Patients receive appointment reminders or call with questions about appointments, medications, and bills. Healthcare practitioners must also call patients, pharmacies, and vendors. The variety and abundance of calls sets the minimum number of small business phone lines at five.
  5. Hospitality. The hospitality sector includes hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. These environments benefit from at least a 4-line phone system to handle reservations, orders, and customer service calls.

business phone lines

Understand the types of business phone lines available

Today, three types of business phone lines exist: analog, PBX, and digital. Analog, or the landline, is becoming less common mainly due to consumer demand. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also tracks telephone usage on both residential and business levels. Its latest report discloses that digital and fiber business phone services, also called “Voice over Internet Protocol” services, have “increased at a compound annual growth rate of 10%” between 2013 and 2016.

Do you have a toll-free service set up for your business? No problem. Toll-free numbers, also known as 800-numbers, can be routed to a local phone number or a long-distance number. Customers often feel the business they’re calling is credible when they dial an 800 number rather than a long distance or unfamiliar area code.

unified communication phone system

Analog business phone lines

You may know the analog telephone line the best—it’s been around for decades, running on copper lines threaded throughout the country. And if that use lets you recall memories of busy signals, dropped connections, or astronomical telephone bills, you know why business owners prefer not to use analog phone lines. This kind of business phone system can’t keep up with the speed or global nature of business today, nor can it provide measures like call routing or on-the-go access.

polycom phone

PBX business phone lines

When businesses needed more lines to handle more calls, they needed a solution that wasn’t as costly as getting one analog line per person. Plus, it’s essential to have one number for customers to call. So they needed a way to interconnect the lines. If you remember placing calls on the rotary dial or you’ve ever pressed 1 for more info, then you’ve used analog and PBX, or private branch exchange,

A PBX system allows companies to install a few lines and share them. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. For conventional PBX to operate, it also needs a switch, a host PBX computer, software to handle the transfers, and lines running from the phone closet to desks.

Today’s companies are looking for more capabilities than simply interconnecting phone lines. They need a way to handle voice and data–using a shared line, so it’s cost effective. IP PBX does this, and more. It makes basic features like voice mail and conference calling possible. But whether you chose a conventional PBX system or IP PBX, you should also plan on hiring someone in house to make everything work right. Or you can get an outside consultant to stop by periodically.

business people video conferencing

The next-generation: digital and fiber business phone lines

With digital voice, you connect your phones to your internet connection. No copper lines required, which means you can add or remove phones as needed. You can handle many calls at once. You can use standard phone packages that work with standard phones or you can buy special phones with added features that even connect to your cell phone so you can take office calls on the go. You may have also heard of digital phone service, albeit by a different name: VoIP. Most people employ the acronym for the sake of simplicity. The letters stand for “Voice over Internet Protocol,” and the VoIP service became possible with the advent of high-speed internet access and the subsequent digital age.

With digital phone service, calls no longer need to traverse copper lines. Rather, the calls are transformed into digital signals that are transmitted using a high-speed internet service. Business owners like this phone service for its better connectivity and scalability. Calls made on digital business phone lines also travel well—your phone is now a cloud-based phone, and you can make calls as long as you have a network connection and a connected phone, laptop, or tablet.

While digital phone service transpires across traditional internet connections or business broadband, fiber-based phone service always uses fiber-optic networks.

The best way to think of the service is as an upgrade from standard VoIP. Fiber runs faster and is more reliable than a regular internet connection, so you experience better call quality and, in some cases, enhanced productivity. Fiber-optic networks tend to require less maintenance, too, saving you money on labor and repairs.

Most business owners choose fiber business phone lines when speed and quality matter. They also select it when their companies experience unprecedented growth or require frequent communication with co-workers and customers.

These business owners need a communications solution with the highest call capacity, and fiber business phone lines can provide it. Verizon has the leading fiber to the premises (FTTP) network in the nation, called Fios® internet that can be bundled with your business phone line.

Many companies offer internet and phone bundles, so it’s important to choose a package that meets your communication needs now and in the future. The good news here is that a bundle usually means discounts.

Check out Verizon Business Bundles—price savings, amazing speeds, and a whole lot of extras like Business Digital Voice to better connect with customers.

How much do small businesses typically spend on phone lines?

Surprisingly, monthly costs can vary quite a bit. Factors for price differences include type of phone line, number of lines and the number of providers in your area. Competition between a local phone company and service providers drives down cost quite a bit. Analog landline phones in a typical market, like a midsize city, average about $85 per month… per phone number. This can add up if you’re running multiple lines. Fiber solutions are about one third the cost in the same market. You can expect to pay around $39 a month and less with more lines. Often you can get better prices if you sign a year contract.

Small businesses often are on the lookout for reliable—and affordable—business phone line providers. Check out Business Digital Voice by Verizon.

 


*Griffith, Eric. “The Fastest ISPs of 2017,” PCMag, June 2, 1027. https://www.pcmag.com/article/353936/the-fastest-isps-of-2017

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