September 17 2014 ArchivesAny business owner considering a new business phone system should look at reliability, pricing and customer support services. And though it may seem obvious, taking a critical look at the actual features of a phone system is crucial to the purchase decision. Especially in the age of cloud business solutions, hosted VoIP phone solutions have opened up many new efficiencies and capabilities for businesses of all sizes. They’re worth a closer look. That’s why we created the new “Business Features in Action” video – to show business professionals how an advanced phone system can elevate daily operations and actually increase productivity. This video provides a day-in-the-life look at a business owner named Vara and her office staff engaged in a busy work day and using the Vonage business phone service. Throughout the video, when an employee utilizes a phone feature, that feature is illustrated on screen to show how it works. It’s a simple and practical way to see how select phone features work, particularly for those who have never experienced cloud-enabled phone features that aren’t available from traditional copper-wire providers. Top Business Phone Features on Display While the Vonage system comes with over 40 built-in features and a suite of add-on features, this video showcases a select group of both traditional features and cloud-enabled features such as: Virtual Receptionist: Seamlessly and professionally connects callers to the right employees Desktop Integration: Instantly provides caller information from leading business applications like LinkedIn, Intuit QuickBooks and Salesforce.com on the employee’s computer desktop Cloud-based Conferencing: Conference hosting of three or more participants Call Reporting: An easy way to keep tabs on company call activity in real time and a great source of business data Plug & Play Capability: Allows easy initial setup and adding extensions, as well as working from anywhere Vonage Business Mobile App. Lets you use your mobile phone just like your desk phone, wherever you go Why Features Matter All business phone systems are different, and even similar features on competing systems can vary. A key for businesses shopping for a new system is choosing one with reliable features that will help them better serve customers and increase productivity. Cloud-hosted systems like our business VoIP solution provide exclusive features – such as Mobile Apps and call recording features like Call Monitoring – that cannot be found on traditional copper-wire systems. Business VoIP systems are also typically much less expensive than traditional solutions. For today’s competitive businesses, the right combination of business features, better pricing, reliability and customer support represents real value – both financially and in terms of productivity. So why are so many companies moving their business phones to the Vonage Cloud? Check out the Business Features in Action” video and learn more. August 12 2014 ArchivesWe get a lot of comments and questions about our Work from Anywhere feature, which allows employees to unplug their desk phone and then reconnect to any high-speed Internet outlet outside of the office – at home, at a branch office, in a hotel room on the road. In fact, we were recently contacted by a business reporter who had just read an article about employees taking their desk phones home the day of an approaching winter storm. He was fascinated by this and wondered what we charged for this feature. After a brief conversation, he realized that this work-from-anywhere capability represents a basic technological difference between our cloud-hosted VoIP phone solution and that of traditional copper-wire providers. (And he quickly understood why it’s a built-in feature, requiring no add-on charge.) The concept of “working from anywhere” – and retaining the same business phone functionality you have back at the office – isn’t always familiar to those who still use a wireline phone service. But for companies using a cloud-hosted VoIP service, such as the Vonage solution, it’s a significant business advantage. Technology that Boosts Productivity Since our VoIP phone service is delivered over the Internet, and IP phone connections are registered by an Internet Provider (vs. a physical phone jack in the wall), the IP phone will register correctly regardless of which Internet connection it’s plugged into. And since our service is hosted in the cloud, instead of on-site at each customer location, employees have the flexibility to take their phone home, forward calls to their cell phone, or even set up their extension to simultaneously ring multiple phones. Take Your Desk Phone with You? Many employees simply find it convenient to take their desk phone home, particularly if they’ll be teleworking for an extended period (for example, if inclement weather is forecast that could shut down the office for a day or more). Some employees may spend weeks at their company’s branch offices and prefer having their own desk phone with them. Carrying your desk phone with you may not appeal to everyone, but it’s a fantastic option, courtesy of modern VoIP technology. Also remember: With a quality business VoIP solution, employees always have the option of using mobile apps when they’re away from the office. Mobile Apps Deliver Full Office Functionality It’s hard to think of “working from anywhere” without quality mobile apps that enable workers to use their mobile phones the same way they use their office phones. And that’s what customers get with Vonage Business Mobile apps for iOS® and Android® – mobile access to our full suite of business phone features, including specific mobility features. And whether it’s a salesperson on the go or a teleworker in her home office, no one they speak to will know they’re working remotely. The Cool Thing About Work from Anywhere Many of our business customers consider the Work from Anywhere feature one of the most interesting aspects of our business phone solution. It offers so much flexibility and potential to keep employees connected with customers and productive when they’re not in the office. Even when conditions don’t allow employees to make it to the office, there’s still no reason to expect a drop off in productivity or a related hit to revenue. That assures business continuity for both your company and the customers it serves, and that’s very cool. About Aaron CharlesworthAaron oversees all marketing and product management activities for the company and is an accomplished executive with deep technology marketing experience. He has a proven track record in lead generation, planning and product management, qualitative and quantitative research, search engine optimization, and creative collateral development. June 16 2014 ArchivesBusiness owners looking to switch to a better and more cost-efficient phone system often find the shopping experience overwhelming. It’s true that with all the advanced features now available – especially among top business VoIP providers – sizing them up and comparing them across providers can be tedious. What business phone providers seem to forget is that many business owners aren’t as interested in features – they simply want a clear connection and reliable service. And if the phone system delivers significant savings, all the better. While this may not be how all business owners shop for a phone system, it’s hard to argue with the prioritized logic. After all, what good are great business phone features if your connection doesn’t have the clarity and reliability you need? So then, the obvious next question is: If all you really need is a clear connection and reliable service, does it pay to switch to a new service? And what if you do need more features later on? A Case for Switching and Saving Now First things first: A clear connection and reliable service should be an absolute expectation of every business customer – whether you remain with your traditional wireline provider or you switch to a cloud-hosted business VoIP system like Vonage Business. With the Vonage solution, for example, customers often report an improvement in voice quality from their legacy phone service, as well as high levels of uptime reliability – so customers can be confident in the consistent availability of service. And with Vonage’s free Call Continuity service, customers can even work through an unexpected loss of power or internet by configuring the system to route calls to a backup number. This may sound great to a business owner, but it’s certainly more meaningful when you consider the Vonage business phone system delivers savings of up to 36% over traditional carriers.* Vonage also offers month-to-month contracts. So, even when you take Vonage’s robust feature set out of the equation, switching now can be a very good business decision. When You’re Ready to Engage More Features Maybe you’re not ready to dig into all the available phone features right away, and that’s okay – especially if you’re saving money every month and getting the voice quality and reliability that matters most. The Vonage business phone system comes standard with over 40 business phone features, so they’ll be there when you’re ready. Plus, we’ve got training and online support resources available whenever you’re ready to delve into more features. Switching Couldn’t Be Easier The move from a traditional phone system to a hosted VoIP solution like Vonage Business is probably a lot simpler than you think. There’s no need for a “rip and replace” of your existing legacy technology to get started. Basically, all you need is a high-speed internet connection and VoIP-compatible phones. Our porting specialists assist in bringing all of your existing phone numbers over to our system, and you’ve got an experienced customer support team at your service to assist with any onboarding issues. So if a clear voice connection and reliable service is all you need now, why not make the easy switch to Vonage Business, and save. With the Vonage system, you’ll have top-of-the-line calling features built in and ready to use whenever you choose. * Savings claim is based on the average monthly recurring charge for unlimited domestic business calling plans from the top three leading wireline service providers. Comparison excludes promotional pricing, fees, surcharges or taxes and assumes a customer already has broadband service. Check your phone bill to determine the savings that would apply to you. About Dave MorrisDave is a content strategist and writer at Vonage Business Solutions, working with teams across the company to build communication programs that enable our customers and assist our prospects. He enjoys living in Atlanta and is an avid gardener, restaurant enthusiast and live music fan. March 20 2014 ArchivesSome sports fans have a team they follow passionately, while others just enjoy a good matchup or an exciting finish. But any fan can agree: When a team shows up a little better prepared, or they’ve got a slight competitive edge – it’s often the difference between winning and losing. It’s no different in business. Consider the multitude of businesses now using the Salesforce.com CRM tool to manage their prospects through the buying cycle. These are savvy business teams, each using Salesforce.com, and quite often competing for the same finite customer base. This is exactly when an extra business advantage comes in handy – and for more and more businesses, the Salesforce.com Plugin from Vonage Business is that advantage. “This Plugin has generated quite a bit of buzz among our customers,” says Customer Care Representative John Reaves. “So many of them use Salesforce.com, and they really believe in the product. So when a feature like our Salesforce Plugin comes along – they’re interested.” The Salesforce.com Plugin is a premium business phone feature, working in conjunction with Vonage’s Desktop, that displays the caller’s Salesforce.com contact record on the computer screen the moment the phone extension rings. “This Plugin absolutely provides an advantage for Salesforce.com users,” continues Reaves. “When the caller’s record is right in front of you when you pick up the phone, you’re prepared and ready for a productive conversation. “ The Plugin eliminates the need for scribbling down notes to input in Salesforce later on, or searching your Salesforce.com database while you concentrate on the phone conversation. Instead, the customer’s record launches in real-time so you have all the details of the business relationship at the ready. If it’s a new prospect calling, you can create a new Salesforce contact, lead or account on the spot. With this Plugin, there’s no need to wait until later to leverage the full benefit of Salesforce.com. How to Activate the Salesforce.com Plugin Customers can get this Plugin by calling Customer Care (866-901-0242) and requesting the service. It does require a small monthly fee, and the Customer Care representative will configure the Plugin to any extensions you prefer. Since the Plugin launches from Vonage Business’s free Desktop application – downloading Desktop is recommended before calling, but is not necessary. “Downloading Desktop is easy, but we often walk customers through the download when they call,” says Reaves. “By the time we get off the phone, we’ll have the Salesforce.com Plugin configured on the customer’s Desktop, we’ll go over how easy it is to use, and we’ll complete a test call. The idea is to get them comfortable using it right away, so they can spend their time thinking about their business and not about their phone system.” More Power from the Desktop Reaves is passionate about the powerful Desktop application, the free app that extends the power and control of the Vonage business phone system to the user’s computer desktop. “The latest version of our Desktop is awesome. It’s where Plugins are configured, but it’s also where individual customers can manage all the tools within their extension – to set up Call Forwarding, On Demand Call Recording, Call Monitoring and just about anything that once required access to the End User Portal. It’s a very convenient feature; in fact, a lot of our customers make all their calls from the Desktop.” Desktop must be open for Plugins to “pop” on screen, and many customers already log into Desktop every day for the added visibility and intelligence they can access with each call. And unlike the End User Portal, once you log onto Desktop it will not time out. Gain a winning edge with the Salesforce.com Plugin: Call Customer Care at 866-901-0242 to have it installed on your account. All customers are encouraged to install our free Desktop application, which is required to access any of the Vonage Business Plugins. If needed, the Customer Care representative will help you install Desktop when you call to request the Salesforce.com Plugin. About Dave MorrisDave is a content strategist and writer at Vonage Business Solutions, working with teams across the company to build communication programs that enable our customers and assist our prospects. He enjoys living in Atlanta and is an avid gardener, restaurant enthusiast and live music fan. March 18 2014 ArchivesIt’s often a moment of surprised silence or an inquisitive “Really?” These are typical reactions when we tell prospective customers about our “month-to-month service contracts” policy when they select our cloud-based business phone system. Especially for businesses switching from traditional phone providers – where expensive, lengthy contracts are the norm – business phone service without a binding contract does sound liberating. But contracts aside for a moment, today’s businesses are actively comparing their legacy phone providers to hosted business VoIP phone services. And they’re discovering exactly why the future of business telephony is in the cloud. For Vonage Business customers, our revolutionary business phone system offers a business-enabling competitive advantage – with many capabilities that traditional systems simply cannot support. While our low-term-contract approach gets a lot of attention, we offer it because we believe in our solution’s ability to empower and transform growth-minded businesses. In fact, here are four clear reasons – or, customer benefits, if you will – that permit us to stand proudly behind our “month-to-month service contracts” policy: (1) Savings Customers can save on average 36% on their phone bill* when they switch from their traditional phone service carrier. There are also no setup fees or activation fees associated with our service. Plus, with Vonage Business, our customers enjoy low international long distance rates. (2) Feature Set Our business phone system provides among the most powerful business phone features in the marketplace, including Virtual Receptionist, Mobile Apps, Dynamic Caller ID, Desktop Plugins, Call Queues and many more. Our product development teams constantly refine features and introduce new ones, which are seamlessly migrated onto the system. (3) Service Reliability We focus on business continuity for our customers, and our system’s uptime reliability and performance are key strengths that instill customer confidence. In the event of emergencies such as power outages or loss of internet, our system can automatically re-route calls to avoid downtime. We also run multiple, redundant data centers across the country with the systems and protocols that consistently produce high levels of uptime. (4) Support From the moment of becoming a Vonage Business customer, our seasoned support teams are there to assure the experience is as productive as possible. We provide live new customer orientation sessions and Admin Portal training, and our online support resources are comprehensive and accessible any time. Our objective is to help our business customers succeed, compete and grow – and we think they deserve this level of ongoing support. Customer access to a better business phone system should be easy. And our solution lives up to this standard. The system is easy to activate, porting of existing numbers is a simple process, and customers can leave behind that closetful of equipment required by their legacy phone provider. What’s more, they also leave behind the requirement of a lengthy contract. Experience shows us that the way to keep customers is to: (1) deliver a superior business phone system at a great value, and (2) provide world-class service. We strive to deliver on these promises every day. Learn more and compare traditional phone service to cloud-hosted service in our “Inside the Business VoIP Revolution” eBook. *Savings claim is based on the average monthly recurring charge for unlimited domestic business calling plans from the top three leading wireline service providers. Comparison excludes promotional pricing, fees, surcharges or taxes and assumes a customer already has broadband service. Check your phone bill to determine the savings that would apply to you.