Voicemail Article



Why get a Toll Free Voicemail Answering Service
Choosing your own voicemail number

Voicemail has evolved over the years into a powerful, yet affordable, mode of communication. Today's voicemail systems are more versatile than ever.

In fact, for as little as $8.95 per month, you can get a complete toll free answering service and dozens of features such as: auto attendant, virtual PBX, presentation hotline, fax to email service, multiple extensions, call forwarding, email access to voicemail, customizable music on hold, voice broadcast, informational mailboxes, and much more,
all for one flat monthly fee or pick a plan size with included minutes that works for you needs.

Why should you sign up for a toll free answering service?
Whether you run a Fortune 500 company, a small business, or a home-based business, having a toll free number projects a professional image and attracts callers who expect to be able to call your company toll free.

When customers see that you have a toll free number, they know that calling you won't cost them a penny. In addition, the toll free number adds an air of credibility to your business. While you may be working from an office, a home or out of a mobile truck, the toll free phone number creates a more businesslike image.

Until recently, businesses had to pay for all incoming calls by the minute which led to huge phone bills, especially if the call volume was heavy. Today, companies such as AIT charge a flat monthly rate, keeping your toll free voicemail costs predictable and low!

While lower monthly costs and a more professional image are two compelling reasons to sign up for a toll free answering service, the features of virtual voicemail are amazing. Even if all of your representatives are currently on the phone, your callers will never hear a busy signal. In fact, you can have thousands of callers at once, all efficiently handled by the voicemail service.

With virtual voicemail, you do not need to be tied to the office in order to be in touch. For example, the system can be programmed to route live calls to your cell phone, home phone, branch office phone, pager, or other device. The caller's name will be announced, allowing you to decide whether to accept the call live or send it to voicemail for later review. Enabling this feature allows you to be reached via a single toll free number no matter where you happen to be.

The virtual voicemail system also offers multiple extensions. For example, if you want each employee to have his own extension, you can set up the system for multiple employees. Similarly, you could use multiple extensions to present different options to your callers such as providing directions to your office on extension 100, presenting a recorded sales pitch on extension 200, routing order inquiries on extension 300, and so on. If you'd prefer to dedicate your extensions to each department, you can easily do so by setting up extensions for sales, accounting, human resources, and so on.

Voicemail has become increasingly sophisticated, automating tasks previously requiring a PBX operator. How you use your system is virtually limitless. Now, callers can call you 24/7. During business hours you may opt to answer calls live or route callers to virtual voicemail boxes based on the callers' menu choices. At the end of the day, set your phone system to "after hours" mode and let the toll free answering service take care of your calls.

Informational hotlines remain an effective sales tool. Not only can you use your virtual PBX system as a unified communications tool, you can also use it as part of your marketing plan. Simply record an informational message and then include your 24/7 recorded message number in all of you advertisements. Potential customers can then call in for information around the clock. Optionally, you can set up the hotline to allow callers to leave a voicemail message. The system then automatically notifies you of new message so that you can promptly follow up.

No matter how you opt to use your toll free phone number, your number is extremely portable. For example, if your company moves to a new location or state, you can take your 800 number with you when you move.

Choosing Your Own Toll Free Number
With dozens of features and many compelling reasons to enroll in a toll free answering service including the incredibly low cost, other considerations come to mind including finding the right telecommunications company offering the service and selecting your own toll free number.

As with long distance phone services, the toll free phone number industry is highly competitive. Look for a provider that offers all of the features that you want at a low monthly rate, preferably a flat rate such as the plan offered by AIT for just $49 per month.

Once you have a telecommunications company offering the virtual voicemail services that you want, you'll need to select a toll free phone number. Toll free numbers come in several different configurations including: 800 numbers, 866 numbers, 877 numbers, and 888 numbers. Each of these prefixes is a recognized toll free prefix with 800 being the original. The additional prefixes were added to increase the availability of toll free phone numbers.

Creating your own Vanity Toll Free number
In addition to the four prefix choices, you may want to consider a "vanity" number. For example, if you are a cat breeder, getting a phone number such as 800-***-CATS makes it easy for callers to remember your phone number. If you're interested in vanity numbers, your first choice may be taken. Consider using your desired vanity number with different prefixes such as 866, 877, and 888.

If you don't need a vanity number for your voicemail, look for a memorable 800 number. For instance, 800-222-2222 is much easier to remember than 866-239-6143. While you won't necessarily be able to get the exact series of numbers you want, you'll be able to choose from several available numbers.

Choosing a toll free answering service makes senses for companies of all sizes ranging from the work-at-home entrepreneur to large companies. If you want to make it easy for your customers to reach you or listen to recorded information around the clock, sign up for a toll free virtual voicemail service and stay in touch with your customers and prospects 24/7.

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When customers see that you have a toll free number, they know that calling you won't cost them a penny.

In addition, the toll free number adds an air of credibility to your business and removes the long distance call obstacle for your customers.

While you may be working from an office, a home or out of a mobile truck, the toll free phone number creates a more businesslike image.

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