Nothing says cheap like “The Google Voice customer you’re trying to reach…”

Google is a wonderful company, but Google Voice is not really for small businesses as its functions are simply not robust enough. Personally, I think Google Voice is good for allowing for people to not find you, which is the opposite of what small businesses want.

Google for Small BusinessesFor example, some analyst firms offer free whitepapers written by vertical industry experts. It helps to be able to get the statistics that these firms have spent tens, sometimes hundreds, of thousands of dollars on. But often filling out these forms means that you’ll get a phone call or a series of emails asking me to subscribe to a premium service. Google Voice, in these instances, is a great way to give out a number for such marketing lists. I can check the voicemails when I want, but can also choose when and when not to have such calls go to my cell phone.

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The Importance of Voicemail Retrieval on a Legacy PBX

Using Voicemail on a Legacy PBXBeing small business owners, we go through the joys – and pains – of growth. In 2005 my little start-up (not associated with Halloo) had finally had enough financial resources to make some administrative hires and move into a “real” office. It was a transitional time for technology companies and for many small businesses leasing property at the time, the dot com bust had left a lot of well-furnished offices around the San Francisco bay Area – many of them with legacy furniture, cubicles and even office phone systems.

Like most office phone systems that were inherited as part of a new lease (in our case, sub-lease) we had little to no clue how to operate our Punch-Key PBX system other than to dial out and receive calls. Oft was heard the famous phrase,

“How do I transfer a call on this again?”

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Thinking of Sending Newsletters Through Your E-mail?

Even if you’re sending as few as 25 e-mails from Microsoft Outlook or your e-mail client, as “news” or a “newsletter” e-mail, you could easily get your IP address blocked, preventing future e-mails from getting delivered to your customers – even if you’re just sending a single e-mail. First, let’s understand three important definitions –

E-mail MarketingIP Address: An IP address is a series of numbers assigned to a device connected to the internet to obtain host/network identification and location. ISPs will use your IP address to determine where your e-mails are coming from. Here’s how to find your IP address.

ISP: An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the company that provides your connectivity to the internet. Each ISP can, and usually does, have their own spam filtering systems. See a list of the top ISPs in the US.

Whitelisting: Each ISP’s spam filtering system works in part by asking those who send bulk e-mails (which can be as little as 25 e-mails sent in a short burst of time) to apply for approval to send such mass e-mails in a process known as “whitelisting”.

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Some Employees Shouldn’t Answer the Phone

Live Operator vs. Cranky EmployeeEverybody knows who they are, but nobody is willing to say something to them.  They are the employees who don’t work well with others and you wouldn’t dream of having them talk to a customer. But every once in awhile, you have no option but to ask them to be receptionist for a short time.

Makes me shudder when I think of a socially-challenged employee answering the phone.  Remember Ghostbusters? Remember when Janine, already in a foul mood, picks up the phone and says “Ghostbusters, whaddaya want?

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Halloo Hints: Forwarding to Extensions

Q: I have selected “Rings before voicemail picks up”, but I really need to be able to set extensions to forward only (without ever going to Halloo voicemail). Is this possible?

A: Simply set the “Maximum incoming voicemail length” setting to “0” for the extension(s) that don’t want voice mail. Note that if you record a greeting for that extension, it will still play, which will allow you to record a brief message before the script hangs up. In addition, if you check the “For further assistance” option, the caller will be given the chance to jump to another extension, including back to the auto attendant.