VoiceShot: Hosted PBX with 21st century trappings.
VoiceShot, LLC, headquartered in Bingham Farms, Michigan, is a privately held company established in 2001 that offers a number of Web-based voice communications solutions, including interactive toll-free inbound calling; outbound calling for marketing campaigns; text message management, and low-cost hosted PBX solutions.
The company supports both domestic and international destinations; its service is available to any customer with Internet access. The company's customer base includes entrepreneurs, systems developers, small office/home office (SOHO) workers, medium and large businesses, professional organizations, and government agencies.
VoiceShot provides a number of different voice communications solutions, starting with the Virtual Receptionist, a virtual PBX system designed as a low-cost office communication alternative. The system can greet callers, take messages, and route calls seamlessly, allowing customers and coworkers to instantly reach any employee at any time, regardless of location.
The system management is Web-based and provides for an unlimited number of extensions, voicemail boxes for those extensions, call transfers to the phone numbers of your choice, including office, home, and mobile numbers.
Virtual Receptionist also includes extensive call detail reporting capabilities, including the ability to download real-time reports such as Caller ID, Caller Key Press Response, Menu Selections, and other parameters.
Pricing of the service ranges from $25.00 to $350.00 per month, depending upon the number of minutes used in a given month.
VoiceShot also offers a number of other powerful communication applications that can enhance the Virtual Receptionist system, including Outbound, Toll Free, Developer, Group Texting, and Urgent Alert.
Outbound voice broadcasting and voicemail allows users to send interactive phone calls, including alerts, notifications, reminders, political calls, interactive polls, and surveys. The application features an online configuration tool that lets managers create, schedule, and launch a full blown call campaign from the VoiceShot Website. The broadcast can be optimized for answering machines, live answers, or both, automatically detecting the type of answer, and delivering the appropriate message. Call campaigns can be run at different times in a single day, or spread out over multiple days, and include the ability for the recipient to press a key and be instantly routed to a live operator.
Toll Free is an inbound service that provides a toll free number to customers, which can then be forwarded to phone numbers of your choice. The system also allows the creation of virtual extensions that callers can call to hear pre-recorded messages, transfer to a live person, or leave a voicemail message.
The Developer solution lets network managers integrate phone calls and text messages into an application or Website, allowing the site to have automated incoming and outgoing phone callsas well as the ability to send and receive text messages. This feature lets the system send notifications, automate customer service, provide order status, or integrate these features with other custom applications to improve business efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Developer also allows text messages to be integrated into an application or Website, ranging in complexity from simple alerts to sophisticated interactive surveys. Price of the service depends on the destination being called, with calls to United States destinations costing $0.12 per successful call.
Group Texting lets customers send and receive text message alerts to and from multiple recipients. These messages can include interactive text message alerts, notifications, and reminders, and can be sent to a recipient list of any size. Features of the application include the ability to instantly create, schedule, send, and receive text messages from within the VoiceShot user account; interact and reply to text messages, view recipient response messages in real time; and personalize text messages with names, dates or selected content using a text merge utility. Cost for the Group Text Messaging plan is nominal: a $60.00 activation fee, $10.00 monthly charge, plus $0.12 per text message.
Urgent Alert phone call and text messaging notification provides rapid and automated delivery of emergency text and phone messages. This solution includes all of the features of the Outbound product, plus text messaging and other special features that address the special needs of schools, government agencies, public safety and health care industries. Applications for Urgent Alert include school closing information, police and fire emergencies, missing children alerts, membership notifications, and weather alerts. The text message delivery service can be used as a stand-alone or in addition to the phone call delivery, with the combination of voice and text communication being sent to cell phones, landlines, answering machines, and voicemail systems. The price for this service is dependent on the phone/text options selected, with customers only paying for calls that are successfully delivered.
Further information on the VoiceShot solutions can be found at www.voiceshot.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.