Press1 Blog 
 

Howto: Setting up a Virtual Switchboard

This is a quick howto to help first time users get started.

Here’s what we want to do.

During Opening Hours (Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00)

– Answer the call and play a menu “welcome, press ‘1’ for sales, press ‘2’ for support, press ‘3’ to get our postal address”
– Get an email alert to tell us a call arrived (we will keep this as a log of calls).
– If the customer presses ‘1’ they are diverted to ‘sales’ on the landline 021-123456
– If the customer presses ‘2’ they are diverted to a mobile number 077-123456
– If either of the numbers are busy/unavailable we will collect a voicemail
– If the customer presses ‘3’ we play them a recording with our address.

During Closing Times
– Answer the call and play an announcement “sorry, we are closed, our opening hours are … please leave a message and we will return your call”.
– Collect a voicemail.

Step-by-step
(1) Define the opening hours
Select the tab ‘opening hours’, click the days you are open and enter the times.

Define business opening hours

Define business opening hours

(2) Upload the recordings

You will need to make some sound recordings for upload. This can be done on any PC with a microphone.  You can use the ‘sound recorder’ application which comes on windows (start>programs>accessories>entertainment>sound recorder). The preferred format is a .WAV file 8Khz MONO (this is the native format and will not be re-sampled).

Tip: If you do not have a microphone you can phone in to your switchboard and collect a voicemail, this will be emailed to you in the correct format.

Note: We can also provide professional recordings at very reasonable rates.

Upload the recordings you need

Upload the recordings you need


(3) Configure open menu

Let’s recap the requirements

– Answer the call and play a menu “welcome, press ‘1’ for sales, press ‘2’ for support, press ‘3’ to get our postal address”
– Get an email alert to tell us a call arrived (we will keep this as a log of calls).
– If the customer presses ‘1’ they are diverted to ‘sales’ on the landline 021-123456
– If the customer presses ‘2’ they are diverted to a mobile number 077-123456
– If either of the numbers are busy/unavailable we will collect a voicemail
– If the customer presses ‘3’ we play them a recording with our address.

Click on the ‘Open’ tab. The default setup will look something like this.

The default 'Open Menu'

The default 'Open Menu'

Now add the digits which will be pressed ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ by clicking on the ‘unused digits’ section.

The menu will now look something like this..

The 'open menu' with 3 options added.

The 'open menu' with 3 options added.

We will now activate notifcations for every call.

Activate email alerts

Activate email alerts

Then choose the correct recording for the message to be played “welcome, press ‘1’ for sales, press ‘2’ for support, press ‘3’ to get our postal address”. Make sure to select how many times the message will be played, when the message is played out (and no key has been pressed)  it jumps to section ‘no key press’.

Select the greeting you want to play while open

Select the greeting you want to play while open

The configure the three options which will be selected by the caller. If you do not want to play a message to the caller after pressing the digit (like “we are forwarding you to the correct department”) then choose ‘silent pause’ (this is default microsecond of silence) before forwarding.

Options ‘1’ and ‘2’ will be sent to a phone number, option ‘2’ will play a pre-recorded announcement (uploaded on the ‘recordings’ page). Don’t forget to set up an action for calls which make no choice after calling the menu, the section ‘no key press’ is reached if the caller presses nothing an listens the greeting the set number of times.

Configure options '1', '2' and '3' - don't forget the 'no key press'

Configure options '1', '2' and '3' - don't forget the 'no key press'

Click ‘apply changes’ to commit the updates.

Apply changes to commit updates

Apply changes to commit updates

Then set missed/busy/unavailable actions in case any of the forwardings fail. Typically you will play an unavailable message and collect a voicemail.

Note: this section will only appear if you have a forwarding active on your menu.

Set actions for missed/busy calls.

Set actions for missed/busy calls.

‘Apply Changes’ once again.

Apply changes to commit updates

Apply changes to commit updates

We can now phone into our switchboard to test the change.  If it’s not during opening hours we can force this from ‘Opening Hours’ page by selecting ‘always open’.

Here’s how the final menu looks (that was easy wasn’t it?)

The is how the configured 'open menu' looks

The is how the configured 'open menu' looks

(4) Configure the ‘Closed Menu’

To review, on the closed menu we want to

– Answer the call and play an announcement “sorry, we are closed, our opening hours are … please leave a message and we will return your call”.
– Collect a voicemail.

This should be straight forward once you’ve configured the ‘open menu’, take a look at the screenshot below.

Note: Don’t forget to click ‘apply changes’.

The configured the 'closed menu'

The configured the 'closed menu'

The switchboard is now fully configured !

Happy New Year (and a promotion)

Happy New Year to all our customers

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for being with us in 2008 and let’s hope 2009 is not as bad as all the Economists think !

To make things easier for customers Joining us this January we have added a new promotional code ‘2009’.
This will give you a discount sign up fee of £10.00(including VAT).

How to use this code.

When you are subscribing to a new account or upgrading a trial account enter the digits ‘2009’ in the box ‘promotional code’.

This offer is valid until 31st Jan 2009.

VAT change annoucement

From 1st of Dec 2008 VAT has increased from 21% to 21.5% for press1.co.uk customers.

With the global economic slow down governments are taking different approaches to stimulating market activity. While the UK announces a drop in VAT to 15%, Ireland ups the rate to 21.5% (from 21%) – go figure!. For those press1 customers who are VAT registered in the UK there will be no change (still 0% VAT),  for those paying VAT all charges will increase by 0.5%, this includes rates for call forwarding (of course forwarding to UK landlines is still FREE).

Why are you charging 21.5% VAT ?
21.5% is the new Irish VAT rate where press1 HQ is based.
There are special rules for telecommunications, broadcasting and electronically supplied services.
In the case of business to consumer services are taxable at the place where the supplier is established.
In the case of supply to UK VAT registered businesses no VAT is charged.

Be one of the first 50!



…………………………………………….

Press1 and Freespeech are teaming up once again to bring you our great mid summers offer.

The first 30 wasn’t enough last time so this time the first 50 to sign-up to Press1’s Virtual Switchboard Service for Small Businesses will receive the sign-up fee for only £9.99.

Make sure your one of the lucky ones so BE HASTY!

Log on to www.press1.co.uk and get your system up and running.

  • Design, build and manage your own unique call handling system for your business and never worry about managing your calls again.
  • Changes and adjustments can be made to your system at the click of a mouse using your own online control panel.
  • One of the reasons that our customers choose Press1 is that our system is amazingly user-friendly and hassle free.


Try it for free today and see how it works for you.

To avail of this limited offer go to Press1’s sign up page. Enter your required details along with the special code “buynow” in the promo code section and you will be live within minutes.

– Offer is only available for the first 50 applicants.

For more information:

Phone: 0870 489 8989
Email: info@press1.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Must know business tip from Press1

Just to keep in touch, here is a must know piece of information for you and your business.

Did you know? – An 0845 number costs LESS to call than a LOCAL call.
That means…

If your business is in Glasgow using an 0845 number, it would COST YOUR CUSTOMER MORE to call a LOCAL London number

…. even if they are CALLING FROM LONDON..
It just shows, there’s no better way to encourage customers to call than using an 0845 number for your business.

Calls to an 0845 number from a standard BT landline line will cost the caller (including VAT):

2p (Daytime)

0.5p (Evening & Weekend)


Calls to a LOCAL UK landline number from a standard BT landline line will cost the caller (including VAT):

4p (Daytime)

1.5p (Evening)

1.0 (Weekend)
Check out BT prices.

For more information go to:

Website: www.press1.co.uk
Email: info@press1.co.uk
Phone: 0870 489 8989

…….. and we would be happy to help!

Press1 re-run fantastic promotion.



………………….

Due to great demand, Press1 in association with Freespeech are re-running their latest promotional campaign and it starts NOW!

The first 30 people to sign-up to Press1’s Virtual Switchboard Service for Small Businesses will receive the sign-up fee for only £0.99.

This is our lowest offer ever so BE QUICK!

Log on to www.press1.co.uk and get your system up and running.

  • Design, build and manage your own unique call handling system for your business and never worry about managing your calls again.
  • Changes and adjustments can be made to your system at the click of a mouse using your own online control panel.
  • One of the reasons that our customers choose Press1 is that our system is amazingly user-friendly and hassle free.


Try it for free today and see how it works for you.

To avail of this limited offer go to Press1’s sign up page. Enter your required details along with the special code “ebak” in the promo code section and you will be live within minutes.

– Offer is only available for the first 30 applicants.

For more information:

Phone: 0870 489 8989
Email: info@press1.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Press1's new and improved affiliate program is now live!

Attention – With Press1’s improved affiliate program you can now earn a massive 10% revenue share.

Our Virtual Switchboard Service (flexible call management system) is ideal for the small business or start-up as it provides great value, high quality and has the flexibility to grow and change with a company.

All you need is a single link from your website to ours and you can start earning revenue.

Let our Virtual Switchboard Service provide you with a growing monthly revenue stream.

Each account sold is permanently assigned to you. (This means your monthly revenue will continue to grow as you continue with the program)

Participation is very simple. All you have to do is place the unique link we provide on your website and all the referred customers are tracked as yours.

Become a registered affiliate now and begin to offer your visitors access to feature rich business phone systems.


Track your progress with our online Affiliate Terminal:

Now is a great time to join our program as the Virtual era is rapidly emerging. So sign-up here and begin right now!

For more information contact:

Email: info@press1.co.uk
Website: www.press1.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

This months Press1 tricks and tips

This months useful Tip is the Voice Message Reminder.

– When out of the office going about your daily business remind yourself of important meetings, ideas and things to do by calling through to your press1 system and leaving yourself a voice message.

– Voice message gets sent to your email account and can be stored and organised so as you never forget to attend to those great ideas and important follow ups.

If you would like to tell us your own thoughts, tips and tricks please contact us at:

Email: support@press1.co.uk
Website: www.press1.co.uk

We hope that you find these tips useful.

Thanks.

Be one of the first 30!

The first 30 people to sign-up to Press1’s Virtual Switchboard Service for Small Businesses will receive the sign-up fee for only £0.99.
This is our lowest offer ever so get it NOW!
Log on to www.press1.co.uk and get your system up and running.

  • Design, build and manage your own unique call handling system for your business and never worry about managing your calls again.
  • Changes and adjustments can be made to your system at the click of a mouse using your own online control panel.
  • One of the reasons that our customers choose Press1 is that our system is amazingly user-friendly and hassle free.
Try it for free today and see how it works for you.
To avail of this limited offer go to Press1’s sign up page. Enter your required details along with the special code “ebak” in the promo code section and you will be live within minutes.
Offer is only available for the first 30 applicants.
For more information:
Phone: 0870 489 8989
Email: info@press1.co.uk
We look forward to hearing from you.

Why small businesses are choosing to use Virtual Switchboard Services? Top 5 reasons revealed.

Vitual Switchboard Services are continuing to emerge as being a valuable tool for small business management. With more and more small businesses becoming increasingly internet savvy both awareness and willingness to use online telecommunications systems has increased.  

From intensive market research carried out by Press1.co.uk, a list revealing the top 5 reasons why small businesses choose to use Virtual Switchboard Services has been created. 

Below is the finalised Top 5 list for 2007: 

1. Flexibility

 The majority of the businesses surveyed expressed their satisfaction at the flexibility gained by using these services.They found that the features available with online switchboard services greatly enhanced their efficiency in call management.Businesses operating from different locations could provide one business number to their customers and forward calls to multiple lines either at different offices or to their mobile phones.

2. Corporate Image

 Coming in at number 2 is image. Our participants were pleased to be able to add to their image of professionalism and gain the presence of a large organisation.The availability of IVR systems (interactive voice response) with these services enables small businesses to professionally greet their customer when they call through and then promptly direct them to the right department or person by dialling the telephone keypad. (Press 1 for sales, press 2 for support etc)

Some of those surveyed said that they wanted to portray a corporate image to their customers as this can be the first point of contact. They also wished to separate and organise calls before they were answered so as they could be answered first time by the right person.

Interestingly the smaller business of 1-5 employees said that they wished to gain the presence of a lager company to increase their image of professionalism and competitive advantage in their niche. 

3. Boost in received calls

Following closely in 3rd position is the low level of missed calls.

The majority of small businesses value the business they receive and work very hard to attract prospective customers, therefore find it very frustrating to lose business by missing calls.

Our surveys found that businesses decided to use online call management services so they could maximise the amount of calls that were answered.The ability to forward call to multiple phone lines means that if one phone is not answered another one will.Most providers offer voice mail and caller ID via email which is seen as a beneficial feature in that users could return unanswered or missed calls quickly and efficiently decreasing the number of lost customers. 

4. Office hours

Number 4 on the list showed that businesses liked to automate their phone systems to run along side their businesses opening and closing times. By implementing a Virtual Switchboard System they could program their phone systems to handle calls differently at different times of the day and days of the week depending on their opening times.

They expressed that this feature enabled them to manage and organise their calls much more efficiently, especially calls that come in after office hours. 

5. Control

 Battling off the competition at number 5 is control.

Small businesses are choosing to use Virtual Switchboard Services because they regard the level of control they have over their incoming phone calls as a major benefit. Being able to go online to make adjustments and changes whenever needed is regarded as a real asset. Small companies need to be flexible as their circumstances can change from day to and week to week.

Most of our participants have aspirations to develop and grow and they were happy to know they could regularly make changes to their system to facilitate their evolving needs. 

In conclusion the results of the research carried out by Press1.co.uk has found that small businesses in the UK choose to implement Virtual Switchboard Systems to enhance their competitive advantage, time management, flexibility and efficiency. 

These types of services are continuing to develop as web based services are becoming more and more valuable for effective business management.

The fact that many services of this nature are hosted online means that costs are cut making them easily affordable to small businesses working on notoriously tight budgets. 

For more information about Virtual Switchboard Services go to: 

Website: www.press1.co.uk

Email: info@press1.co.uk

Phone: 0870 489 8989