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Business VoIP Feature Article


April 01, 2009
Nextiva's Connect360 Business VoIP Service Delivers Advanced Auto Attendant for Free
Business VoIP
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
 
If you’re a small business owner operating in this current economy, you’ve probably already cut your staffing levels to the bare bone. Perhaps you’ve laid-off your only receptionist – which means when you’re out on the road, there’s no one in the office to handle incoming calls from prospects, existing customers, partners or suppliers.

Sure, there’s an answering machine or voicemail box that lets callers leave messages -- but you can be sure that your customers sorely miss that cheerful live person they used to be able to ask any question. (And you know that using an answering machine to field important calls from prospects and customers is just plain bad business, especially in today’s world.)

If this is your situation, maybe now’s the time to consider getting a business VoIP phone system from Nextiva. The company’s Connect360 hosted VoIP service delivers an advanced auto attendant that will make your small business sound like a Fortune 500 company.

Switching to this hosted business VoIP service is fast, simple and affordable: You can sign up for as little as $20 a month and there is no need to make any capital investment in new hardware. You’ll get crystal clear audio quality, significantly reduced long distance rates, free local calling, and a whole slew of advanced features found on enterprise phone systems -- all you need is the phones and a high speed line.

With Nextiva’s hosted business VoIP service, you can give your customers a lot more options than just “leave a message and we’ll get back to you.” The auto attendant sports IVR-like capabilities (including DTMF) and plays a greeting which can be easily customized based on the time of day, as well as your company’s calendar of events. For example, the system can play a different message at night, compared to during business hours -- or, if it’s a holiday, you can alert callers that your office is closed and provide office hours.

What’s more, you can give your customers the option to route their call to another line, such as your cell phone or remote office – or to voicemail. Or, if you have more than one employee, customers can access a company directory which will allow them to dial by name. Best of all these routing options can be set by time-of-day, or weekend/holiday, based on your business rules. So, not only can the auto attendant play a different message on weekends and/or holidays, it can provide an alternate set of routing options based on who will be available at any given time.

The auto attendant can also help your customers by telling then where to find additional information or support. You can direct them to one of your partners in the event there’s an emergency that needs to be addressed quickly – or you can have the auto attendant tell them where to find additional information, such as your Website or Facebook (News - Alert) page. Remember, it’s the little things you do to help your customers that go a long toward helping you build your business.

Unlike other hosted business VoIP providers, Nextiva offers its auto attendant feature to customers for free – including the development and recording of custom greetings.

Nextiva’s business VoIP system sports other advanced features, such as a “find me/follow me” capability that lets callers find you or a specific person in your company no matter where you are located. For example, the system can be set to automatically route calls to your mobile phone if you know you’re going to be at as job site all day – or to your home phone if you know you’re going to be home sick all day. You can even have it ring through all of your numbers in a certain sequence until you are “found.” Where calls are routed is based on your rules – and, because Connect360 is a hosted business VoIP service, all of the system’s features, including its auto attendant features, can be easily managed through a centralized Web portal.

After you get your hosted business VoIP phone system from Nextiva set up and working for you, you might just find that you didn’t need that receptionist so badly after all. For more infromation, visit www.nextiva.com.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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