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Branding the Voice Channel: 5 Mistakes to Avoid With Virtual Numbers

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:51:14 AM

To survive in today's fast-paced business world, companies need to stand out. While some leaders are focusing on ways to differentiate their brands online through social media, content marketing, and other digital marketing efforts, smart businesses are also nurturing their voice channel. Having a brand-appropriate phone presence gives your business a personal voice.

The telephone is an old-world communications medium, but customers, clients, and partners expect businesses to have a voice channel, and for that channel to reflect the professionalism of the business's brand. Simply listing a phone number isn't enough to get your "voice presence" across the right way. Neglecting your voice channel can have a negative impact on your brand image, causing customers to question your professionalism and potentially shift their business elsewhere. 

Here are 5 mistakes small business make when it comes to their phone service, and ways to avoid them...

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1. Voice Greeting Not Brand-Aligned

Small business owners often don’t have the resources or the need for a sophisticated phone system, so they rely on personal cell phones to connect with team members and customers. While combining work and personal lines does save money, it can backfire when it comes to your brand image. If a customer, client, or business partner calls your personal cell phone number and reaches you at a bad time (like during happy hour) or is forwarded to a personal message (like, “Hey, it’s Jim. I never listen to voicemail so I probably won’t call you back!”), they probably won’t be impressed – or worse, never call back.

2. Forgettable Number Makes Business Look Smaller Than Intended

Choosing a business phone number with repeating digits or a pattern not only makes it easy for your customers to remember, but can also impact perception -- a brand that has invested in its voice channel feels more established and professional. Utilizing a toll-free number (e.g., virtual number) can also help small businesses appear larger and more credible, even if it’s just you and a small team working from home.

3. Choosing the Wrong Area Code Can Cost Your Business

Trying to sell over a wide geographic region can be difficult if you’re calling or offering phone support from an out of area number. Customers are more likely to answer incoming local numbers and are also more likely to do business with local businesses. Choosing area codes within your target geographic region or using a toll free number sends a certain signal about your business goals and could help your conversion rate. You can easily obtain multiple virtual numbers so you have a presence in more than one geographic area.

4. Lack of Extensions May Confuse, Irritate Callers

Telling callers that they need to dial a different phone number for their billing or support inquiry because you don't have extensions can confuse, irritate, or even anger callers -- deterring them from calling back. By utilizing a phone system with extensions to route incoming calls to other departments or offering a touchtone menu, you can provide convenient, professional service while also freeing up your own time!

5. Missing Messages & Slow Response Times Reflects Poorly on Your Brand

No one likes listening to voicemails, but what good is a message if you never retrieve it? Choosing a business phone service that offers voicemail transcription makes it easier to manage and view voice messages, ensuring you can help customers when they need it. Responsiveness is key to your brand's reputation. It's much faster to review a voicemail transcription than to find the time (or remember!) to listen to the voicemail. Voicemail transcription helps you get back to the customer faster, earning your brand top marks for customer service.

Having the best social media or email campaigns will not help if your voice channel is out of order. All businesses that rely on voice communications in any way must consider their phone presence to ensure that this element of their brand matches their overall business goals and image.

Have you employed any interesting voice channel techniques to support your business brand? Do you use virtual numbers in your voice presence strategy? Share your comments, questions and challenges with us in the comments below or on our social media channels –  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Virtual Phone System, Mobility, Mobile Productivity, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Cloud-based Phone Systems + One-Person Businesses = A Winning Formula

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:50:58 AM

Let’s be honest: owning a one-person business can be overwhelming. Not only do you represent every department—from sales to marketing to accounting—but you are also wholly responsible for earning your own living. Given the challenges you face, any product or application that can make your life a little easier is probably more than welcome. As it happens, we have one in mind—a cloud-based small business phone system.

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So what exactly do you get with a cloud phone service? How about all the features of a wire-based system from a large provider at a price your single-person company can afford? With leading-edge cloud-based systems you can setup extensions to simulate different departments to enjoy the appearance of a mega corporation. Customizable digital text greetings, conference calls and voicemail to email are available as well!

Not only can a virtual phone system offer top-of-the-line communications features at a low monthly cost, top-flight services are exceedingly easy to set up using just a mobile phone. Furthermore, because the system is Internet-based, it requires no hardware, no ongoing maintenance and is less vulnerable to downtime. 

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau reported that there are 22.5 million one-person or “non-employer” businesses across the country—so we know there a lot of you out there looking for any edge you can get. Cloud technology can remove some of the burden of running a one-person business from your shoulders—you just have to let it. So consider adding a cloud-based phone system to your top-notch product, work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll come away with a winning business equation.   

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Improve Your Business

Voxox Includes Outbound Calling to Mexico within All Bundled Cloud Phone Subscription Plans

Posted by Natasha Grach

May 10, 2018 10:50:51 AM

Exciting news! Voxox announces Cloud Phone subscription plan update that enables outbound calling to Mexico at no additional cost! This is a game-changer for many entrepreneurs who regulary have to conduct business with contacts in Mexico. Read the full press release below...

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Voxox Includes Calls to Mexico at No Additional Cost within All Bundled Cloud Phone Subscription Plans to Help Foster Cross-Border Entrepreneurship

Inclusion of outbound calls to Mexico is typically not offered within standard calling plans by competing virtual PBX services

SAN DIEGO April 11, 2017 – Voxox®, innovator in cloud communication solutions for businesses with the most comprehensive unified communications Platform as a Service, today announced that it has added Mexico calling within its bundled subscription plans for Cloud Phone, the cloud-based virtual phone system for entrepreneurs and very small businesses. The bundled subscription plans, which range from 1,000 to 5,000 monthly minutes to unlimited calling, previously included United States and Canada calling. All bundled plans now also include Mexico calling (outbound as well as inbound) in the minutes pool.

The inclusion of Mexico outbound calling in bundled minute plans is not typical for virtual PBX service providers. While landlines in Mexico tend to be affordable to package into bundled plans, Mexican mobile numbers can be on the high end for most providers. Voxox has established strong relationships with global carrier partners to bring costs down for customers. Furthermore, the company's sophisticated cloud technology built entirely in-house enables Voxox to bypass expensive licensing fees that competitors have to pay, allowing Voxox to give customers more price breaks with some of the most competitive rates in the industry.

"In adding Mexico calling within our standard bundled subscription plans, we hope to make communications more cost-effective for entrepreneurs who regularly have business dealings with colleagues in Mexico," said Bryan Hertz, CEO and co-founder of Voxox. "We've prioritized securing incredible calling rates to advance entrepreneurship, not just in Mexico but all around the world."

Cloud Phone enables “micro-businesses” (businesses that operate on a very small scale), as well as individuals and small organizations seeking a business-grade telephone presence, to easily obtain local and toll free numbers that support unlimited extensions and advanced call routing capabilities. With Cloud Phone, users can place and receive calls, manage call activity, access features such as voicemail transcription, call recording, device transfer, faxing, and much more -- all within a sleek, elegant design. No special equipment or advanced skills are necessary to use Cloud Phone. Once a Do It Yourself (DIY) set-up is completed online, all that a user needs is a calling device (e.g., mobile or landline phone) to which calls can be routed. The effortless user experience and set-up process, which can be completed in less than a minute, along with highly competitive global calling rates and exceptional call quality, are key differentiators as compared to alternative solutions.

Cloud Phone comes with a complementary mobile app for iOS and Android. The Cloud Phone mobile app leverages Voxox's new breakthrough VoIP codec, a technology used to encode and compress voice signals into digital form for transmission. This is particularly significant for small businesses with a disbursed or traveling workforce, as the codec dramatically improves voice quality in poor bandwidth settings, such as hotels, convention centers, rural locations, etc. To hear the dramatic difference visit, www.voxox.com/codecdemo.

To view subscription plan pricing and/or to sign up for Cloud Phone, please visit www.cloudphone.com.

About Voxox

Voxox is an innovator in unified cloud communication solutions for businesses. The foundation of the company's offerings is its award-winning unified communications Platform as a Service, which enables the company and its customers to build powerful, scalable applications and services. For end-users, Voxox provides an extensive suite of carrier-grade business phone solutions, including its flagship business app, Cloud Phone, as well as SIP trunking, hosted PBX, and a wide array of wholesale services, such as high volume SMS. For service provider partners, Voxox delivers cutting-edge mobile and desktop applications that integrate voice, video, messaging, fax, media sharing and more. Voxox is headquartered in San Diego. For more information, please visit http://www.voxox.com.

Topics: Voice Communication, Company Announcements, Cloud Phone, Improve Your Business

From Small Business to Fortune 500 in One Minute

Posted by Tristan Barnum

May 10, 2018 10:48:55 AM

Your business is growing and you need a small business phone system that can keep up, but you don’t have the technical know-how or money to implement a complex phone system. Sound familiar? We understand the pains that come with running a small business, which is why we’ve developed the perfect small business phone system that can help you go from the “little guy” to Fortune 500 in less than 60 seconds.

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Cloud Phone, Voxox’s latest addition, is 100 percent web-based and comes pre-configured based on your specific business and user needs, making it simple as pie. Moreover, Cloud Phone is operated and maintained by Voxox, so there's no upfront investment and no repair, upgrade, or maintenance costs –just your basic monthly fee. 

Besides ease of use and low cost, our small business phone system offers up a set of cutting-edge features that will make you look more professional whether you’re running a business out of your home or the local Starbucks ( free Wi-Fi!). These features include:

  • Business Phone Number: Cloud Phone provides you with a free local business phone number, meaning you can finally stop giving out your personal mobile phone number to clients and start looking like a pro.
  • Professional Auto-attendant: Our technology greets all your callers professionally with your company name and instantly connects them to anyone within your company just like the big guys.
  • Instant Conference Calls: Whether you’re on the road or at a conference across state, you can easily connect with clients and other team members with Cloud Phone’s sophisticated conference call feature.

Level the playing field and go from small business to Fortune 500 in one minute with Cloud Phone. To learn more, click here.

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Topics: Cloud Phone, Auto Attendant, Business Call Routing, Improve Your Business

What is a Toll Free Number and How Does it Work?

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:48:14 AM

Think toll free numbers are just for large enterprises or call centers? The reality is they can be an indispensable business asset for companies of all sizes – even a one- or two-person startup. Beyond providing customers and prospects with a free and convenient way to call your company, a toll free number offers a long list of benefits, such as brand recognition and credibility, and are a great way to expand your business into new markets.

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t cashed in on this inexpensive business asset simply because you didn't think it was easy to obtain a toll free number or because you aren’t clear on how a toll free number could help your business, read on.

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What is a toll free number?

A toll free number is a telephone number with special area codes (such as 800, 888, 877 and 866) that allow callers to dial your business without incurring any cost – making it an ideal form of communication for all types of businesses. Whether you run an e-commerce website or a flower shop, any business that requires customers to call in to make a purchase, connect with customer support, or inquire about a service can benefit from a toll free number.

Generally, toll free numbers are issued on a first come, first served basis, but going the extra mile for your customers and choosing a memorable number – like one with repeating digits or patterns – could make an impact on your call volume, sales and ROI. After all, making it easy for customers to contact your business is key to keeping them happy, which directly impacts your bottom line!     

Benefits of a toll free number

Toll free numbers can be extremely valuable to businesses looking to project a professional image. They not only provide your business brand with recognition and credibility, but they can also enhance your company’s perceived size and image – among other things. Here are a few ways toll free numbers can benefit your business: 

1. Appear larger than life.

Until recently, toll free numbers were most frequently used by enterprise level corporations or call centers, which is why having a toll free number – even if you’re working from your home office—can give the impression that you have a much larger operation. 

2. No location? No problem.

With a toll free number, location is obsolete. So whether you’re working from home or relocating your brick and mortar, you and your team can be reached simply by forwarding calls to your cell phone or any phone of your choice. Plus, if you're on the move, having a toll free number through a service like Cloud Phone lets you take all your important calls without being tied to a desk.

3. Improve privacy.

Not only does the added convenience of forwarding calls from your toll free number to your cell mean you don’t have to juggle multiple phones – it also means you no longer have to give out your personal number. Keeping personal and business calls separate is vital to maintaining a professional image for your business.

4. Virtual hub.

Many small businesses these days have remote workers, with no central office and no secretary to direct calls or take messages. With the right setup, a toll free number can act as a hub for your business calls – directing incoming calls to different “departments” or team members, as well as a message center. All it takes is a virtual assistant!

Does your small business have a toll free number? How does it benefit your business? Share your story with other small business owners and entrepreneurs by commenting here or on our social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

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Topics: Voice Communication, Cloud Phone, Cost-Effective Solution, Toll Free Number, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Going on a Summer Vacation? Get a Cloud-based Phone Service

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:47:53 AM

To most everyone’s delight—particularly after a nightmarish winter--summer has finally arrived, meaning a lot of folks will be getting ready for that long-awaited summer vacation. The salty Italian air, waves crashing on the beach, tan skin, hot sun’s rays—you have been dreaming about it for weeks!

Summer Vacation Cloud

The only thing strong enough to break you out of this dreamlike haze and bring you back to reality is the remembrance that you are the owner of a small business, and while you do trust your colleagues, you also know that as the head honcho it is always possible that something only you can handle could come up.

This is a problem scenario, but one with a solution—a cloud-based phone service. A small business phone service offers an array of capabilities that will benefit you and your business no matter where you may be traveling this season.

Let’s take a look at some of the fantastic features that a cloud-based phone service offers:

  • Auto Attendant: Customers are greeted in a big business manner, guided to the correct department. So you can rest assured that even if you are touring the Vatican or at a winery in Florence your customers are being well served.
  • Reach Me Anywhere: Connects your incoming business calls to anywhere, on any device. You won’t have to worry about missing important business calls overseas because your cloud service will connect them all to your phone. Relaxing on the Italian coast? No problem! You are still in reach for “can’t-miss” calls.
  • Voicemail Transcription: Voicemails are converted to text before they’re delivered, so you can read the message if listening isn’t an option—and on vacation, sometimes it simply isn’t.

Using a cloud-based phone service allows your small business to conquer all of the problems travel presents for a small business owner like Roman Empire conquering Italy. And doesn’t every business want a phone system that helps it triumph over all challengers?

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Topics: Voice Communication, Voxox, Cloud Phone, Auto Attendant, Mobility, Business Phone Number, Improve Your Business

Need a Business Phone System for Your Food Truck Business? A Virtual Phone Service is the Answer!

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:47:46 AM

Because food trucks are on wheels, foodie entrepreneurs on the go have the ability to travel anywhere the road may take them –even if it’s out of their local area. With food truck popularity on the rise all across the country, limiting yourself to dishing out grub in one place may hurt your selling potential, but you know the local food movement is also a crowd pleaser. So how can you use business phone technology to help you plunge into new markets while also staying relevant to those who want that local feel? Try a virtual business phone system.

Green Minivan Near Brown Wooden Crate and Brown Food Truck

Typically, virtual business phone systems offer both toll free numbers and local phone numbers so you can accommodate both local and widespread markets. Your clients will be able to easily reach you (aka to track you down for some lunch!) and they'll never need to know where your company originated –unless that's part of your marketing, of course. Maine lobster rolls, anyone?

To get started, you just sign up for a virtual phone service (for example, Voxox Cloud Phone!). From there you can choose what you want –local number(s), toll free number(s), or both. What’s even better is that all these numbers ring directly to your cell phone, or any phone you choose.

Here are a few ways to use a combination of both local phone numbers and toll free numbers to bring your growing food truck business to the next level.

Local Phone Number

Numbers with local area codes are a great way to establish yourself in markets where a recognized local presence is needed to reach customers. With Voxox Cloud Phone, for example, there is no limit on the quantity of virtual numbers you can add to your account, and you receive between 1 to 25 local or toll free numbers at no additional cost with your monthly subscription, depending on your plan.

Below are some useful features for mobile businesses, like food trucks.

1. Custom Voicemail

Don’t you cringe when you call a business and receive a generic voicemail? So do we. That’s why we think it’s so important for companies of all sizes to create a custom voicemail for their business line. Not only can you identify your business, but sharing useful information –like your weekly scheduled whereabouts or hints on where your clients can find you –will save you time from returning phone calls also keep your hungry suitors in the know. Here are a few more tips on crafting the perfect voicemail

Pro Tip: You can also create a custom voicemail with a toll free number!

2. Business SMS

Texting isn’t just for friends anymore. Customers today expect text support and in the food truck business this can be a huge bonus! Texting your client list your whereabouts, or providing text clues is an impactful way to interact with your followers and a fun way to attract new ones.

Pro Tip: Toll free numbers can also support SMS!

3. Marketing Tool

If you're marketing a product from a specific area, using an area code from that location could be to your advantage. Think a taco cart in San Diego and a lobster roll truck from Maine. Imagine if these two were switched –lobsters from San Diego and tacos from Maine. The hype may not be as well received. Use your phone number to your advantage!

Toll Free Number

Toll free numbers can be super handy for food trucks (and similar mobile businesses!) expanding their presence beyond select local markets.

1. National Presence

Toll free numbers are a great way to expand your business so you can reach new markets and instantly sound more established and credible. Whether you have a fleet of food trucks or are a one engine show, a toll free number will make give your clients the sense you’re a solid organization—and a central number to reach your team.

2. Memorable Number

Not all toll free numbers are created equally. A catchy or easy to remember sequence can be a lifesaver for clients who want to reach you fast.

3. Marketing Tool

Whether you’re using only a toll free number or a combo of toll free and local, displaying your toll free number on your marketing materials (truck, business cards, menus, etc.) is an easy way to stay relevant while you travel.

Putting the power of both a local phone number and a toll free number behind your food truck is a solid win for your business communications. Now go ahead and get started! If you need some more pointers, connect with us by commenting here or on our social channels -- we're happy to help!

Topics: Virtual Phone System, Local Number, Business Call Routing, Improve Your Business

4 Ways Voicemail Transcription Can Be a Life-Saver for Your Business

Posted by Erica Berry

May 10, 2018 10:46:06 AM

Voice communication is an integral part of running any small business. But the busy schedule and on-the-go lifestyle that comes with entrepreneurship makes it difficult to answer every call that comes in, and sifting through voicemails can be a daunting task. However, voicemail transcription takes the pain out of voicemail management by offering a visual user-interface for easy browsing and instant access. 

With the power to transcribe your messages from audio to text, you can manage your voicemail the same way you manage your email – no matter what life or business throws your way. Here are 4 scenarios where voicemail transcription can be a life-saver for your small business:

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1.     Important Call vs. Important Meeting

As a business owner you’ve undoubtedly had the stressful experience of having to choose between taking a phone call or participating in a meeting. Sometimes it’s a tough call to decide which is more important, but now you no longer have to choose. Whether you're expecting the call or not, voicemail transcription gives you an instant way to understand the level of urgency from a VIP caller so you can take the correct action. 

2.     Screening Unknown Numbers

Telemarketers don’t just call while we are having dinner or watching Jeopardy, they call at all times of day -- disrupting your business! With the ability to send unknown callers straight to voicemail and then read their message, you can see who’s important and who’s not – on the fly.

3.     Notes You Can Share

Traditional voicemail requires you to jot down notes and numbers, and if you miss any piece of information you have to play it again. Voicemail transcription lets you see everything in one easy go, and if you need to clue in other team members quickly, you can simply copy and paste the transcription and send via email.

4.     When you can't type, speak!

Say you're driving, but need to send an urgent message to a co-worker who you know has voicemail transcription as well.  Rather than risking your life to send a text, just place a call, leave the message, and voila they have written notes on what you need!

No matter how big or small your business is, voicemail transcription can enhance the way you communicate with clients, prospects and your team. Can you think of any other scenarios where voicemail transcription might save the day? Share your experiences with us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

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Topics: Voice Communication, Cloud Phone, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Cloud-Based Phone Service Helps You Focus Critical Business Processes

Posted by Ian LeWinter

May 10, 2018 10:45:47 AM

Did it finally happen for you? After months upon months of wishful thinking and fruitless efforts, have you solidified your business idea, secured VC funding and honed your value proposition? Are you ready to transform your startup idea into a fully-baked reality? Congratulations!

Global Business Processes

So now what?

The truth is that for the 543,000 new businesses that get started each month, a vast majority fail due to poor planning, a lack of forecasting and a failure to embrace innovation. But you don’t want to go down that path. After all, you have worked too hard and you have a killer idea. So what do you do after you get the big idea? To begin, you need to immediately consider the gold-standard technology that will take you from fledgling to full-forced in a matter of weeks. Let’s take a look at where you need to begin when it comes to 21st century technology:

  • Assess Your Limitations: You can’t identify what services and offerings you need until you understand your limitations. For example, are you currently one-man shop, unable to support the payroll of multiple employees? Or perhaps you are operating your business out of your basement, even though you want to establish an international presence? Restrictions like these, for example, suggest the need for a robust business phone system, one that boasts a wealth of features from auto attendants that can greet your calls professionally to voicemail-to-email notifications that can allow you to handle calls on the go. Once you understand your setbacks you can identify the technology that will allow you to level the playing field.
  • Evaluate Your Expertise: Are you all thumbs when it comes to technological installations, upgrades and compliance requirements? Then perhaps you need to go the cloud route and entrust these daily tasks with a third-party provider, especially when it comes to your phone. A cloud-based phone service for example, allows you to focus on critical business processes—such as growing your customer base and conceptualizing best-in-class marketing tactics—as opposed to mundane administrative tasks such as upgrades, maintenance and troubleshooting. You can leave all that to your third-party cloud provider.
  • Consider Your Budget: As any budding entrepreneur can confirm, planning and sticking to a budget is of the utmost importance. While the big-ticket items like startup financing and office leases can steal your attention, don’t lose sight of the fact that other considerations—like technology—can eat up your budget. Therefore, after you get the big idea it’s important to take a look at your finances and determine where you want to place your spend when it come to technology. If you go the cloud-based phone service route, for instance, you can enjoy a reduction in CAPEX/OPEX spending—since you need less physical equipment and personnel to support your phone system. As a result, additional dollars can be allocated to other innovations such as WebRTC, UC and M2M technologies.

So now that you have technology considerations of your checklist, what’s next on your list?

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Topics: Voice Communication, Cloud Phone, Cost-Effective Solution, Business Call Routing, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business

Three Things You Don't Know About Cloud Communications Applications

Posted by Ron Kinkade

May 10, 2018 10:45:01 AM

With communications coming over a dizzying array of channels it’s no wonder that many companies can quickly become overwhelmed and fragmented. But there is hope. In fact, there’s more than that—there are cloud communications applications!

Cloud Phone

Cloud communications applications are the perfect way to seamlessly integrate your telecommunications strategy and tools into one intuitive system, and your one stop shop solution for a small business phone number. But even if you’ve heard a little about the technology, you may have missed a few things along the way:

  1. Wires are O-U-T: When you leverage cloud communications you essentially put an entire enterprise PBX system in your mobile phone. When that happens, there is no need to keep a legacy wire-based system around the office. So it’s time to rip it out!
  2. Set up in a flash: Did you know that with a cloud communications application like Cloud Phone you can start configuring your system in one minute? Yes, it may sound too good to be true, but it’s as real as the mobile phone you can use to get a business-specific number and get cranking right away.
  3. Always affordable: Getting rid of on-premises hardware does more than make life easier—it helps you cut costs as well. Without equipment to maintain and keep updated in your office you cut out on recurring costs—forever!

Benefits like these make cloud communications an easy choice for small business phone system your business. And now that you know what these applications are all about, it’s time to get started!

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Topics: Voxox, Business Phone Number, Small Business Productivity, Improve Your Business