The Battle of VOIP Clients: Which is Best?

 

Nowadays, you don’t need a big fancy office inside a gigantic skyscraper with hundreds of employees at your disposal to call your business successful. Sometimes, all it takes is good and dependable technology. A number of businesses are beginning to thrive, thanks to the help of VoIP Clients. These apps have the capacity to connect people like never before. With the help of VoIP Clients, you have apps like Skype and Slack that make team management easy for any business of any scale.

 

What are VoIP Clients?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Clients are software applications that are sometimes referred to as softphone. This application is typically used to make free or cheap international calls through devices such as desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, and other internet linked devices. The VoIP Client changes the voice signal into a digital signal, and then transported through the internet. In addition, these VoIP clients will often require the use of earphones, microphone, headsets, and a webcam to be fully taken advantage of.

 

The Benefits of Using VoIP Clients

Managing a team project isn’t always easy, but with the help of VoIP clients, it can totally help bring people together to collaborate. In this new age of technology, you can now have people from different parts of the world to make up your elite team of employees. Just imagine this:

 

You have just been hired as a virtual assistant of a new business, and you’ve been asked to join a meeting. So, you set up that webcam and that microphone, and you wait for that call. You anxiously wait for five other faces to pop out onto the screen, in the hope that they’ll be easy to work with. Then, as that flashing notification pops up and plays that repetitive tone, it’s time to meet your new co-workers. Soon after, you start to feel at ease and comforted by the fact that you can create excellent outcomes with these people.

 

Doesn’t that sound nice? VoIP services can connect you to other people you never had a chance to meet before. As a leader, it’s important for you to take into account the way you run your meetings online. When you’re having a meeting, you need to think about making it most productive. By having a meeting through online video call, you can create closeness among people who probably haven’t even met yet.

In addition, if your team is on Slack, you will definitely need to find a good VoIP extension. The Slack app’s VoIP feature is still in its beta testing phase. Make team management on Slack easier by finding an extension that can help you make the most out of your team’s collaborations.  So, go on and aid your team’s property management and identify the best VoIP client to take advantage of.

Knowing What’s Best for Your Team

Managing a team of virtual assistants can be difficult, but with the right VoIP application, you can effectively implement your leadership abilities and get things done. Here are some of the top-rated VoIP clients:

 

  • RingCentral Office (for Business)

This VoIP client is considered to be the best all-around office communications solutions. RingCentral Office (for Business) is able to give your business all the features it promises.

  • Vonage Business

Vonage Business includes an incredible range of features and it integrates tools and features from Amazon Chime and Google G Suite. It also gives teams an easier way to share documents, meet in virtual voice or video conferences, and send messages wherever they are.

  • 8×8 Virtual Office Pro

For those who are looking for a VoIP extension for Slack, 8×8 Virtual Office Pro can be the VoIP client you’re looking to use. This service offers various advanced features that can help you and your team communicate on the go.

  • Mitel MiCloud Office

This particular platform has been praised as a well-designed office in the cloud. Mitel MiCloud Office has one of the most advanced set of features, and offers some built-in collaboration features meant to aid any mobile team.

  • Phone.com

Do you constantly find yourself running your business from your smartphone? Phone.com is meant to help anyone from small to midsize business thrive through a few taps on your phone. This service is affordable, easily customizable, and is well-designed, perfect for any busy person who is always on their smartphone.  

  • Microsoft Skype for Business

Skype is probably the most well-known VoIP service on this list. This VoIP service is said to simplify your everyday setup, which can enable anyone from your team to easily find their way through Skype for Business.   

  • VoIPstudio

This VoIP service is perfect for anyone who wants their IT department to customize and tailor fit its features to the company’s needs. VoIPstudio also includes rich features and is best suited for businesses that constantly calls overseas.

  • Vonage

Vonage can provide you with an easy and simple setup, along with a clear call quality. The services this VoIP client provides is cheaper than others, but it lacks some features that other competitors have.

  • Intermedia Cloud PBX

Intermedia Cloud PBX offers its users with various features, but it does come with a price. This VoIP service is definitely more on the pricier side, however, if you consider the features it provides such as easy access to excellent support, cross-service integration, and cloud services, it’s definitely worth it.  

  • Jive Hosted VoIP

This VoIP client is able to help any small business with their cloud-based telephony system, and it provides some basic and advanced calling features.

 

Although there are several VoIP clients found online, we wouldn’t know how you and your team operates. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide on what you think is the best VoIP client for your team. At the end of the day, your choice will determine what’s best for you and your company.

 

Five things to ask before you accept a virtual assistant job

virtual staffing

Because it can be so difficult to land your dream virtual assistant position, it can be all too easy to accept the first offer that comes up. But don’t be too hasty. That virtual assistant job might not actually be the best fit. There are more people looking for such positions than there are actual positions, so it’s little wonder why you would be excited to hurriedly email back a big “YES!” But what happens if that job actually doesn’t suit your requirements? Or you didn’t read the fine print?

Below are five things to ask before you say yes to that new job.

1. What are the hours?

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of working all hours of the day and night. After all, a virtual assistant position gives you the freedom to work the hours you want to work, at a time that suits you. But what do you do when those hours don’t suit your employer? Or they’re asking you to work all hours of the day and night, and be on call for even more?

You have to make sure this job fits into your current lifestyle. Even though you may be more productive at night, or during the day, your potential new boss might have a different idea. There’s a common misconception that to become a virtual assistant, you are entitled a certain amount of freedom. This is actually not true. Although such a career gives you the freedom to work from the comfort of your own home, it doesn’t always allow you to work your own hours.

While many virtual assistant positions involve finances, accounting and data input, some are a little more involved. This may mean you actually aren’t free to pick up the kids from school at 3pm, or take them to sports at 4pm. It actually may mean you’re working a 9 to 5 desk job, just without the company of other office workers.

Find out from your potential new employer what the restrictions are around your working hours, and whether you’re required to work more than those hours assigned as well.

2. Will I need to supply my own software and/or programs?

Although it’s widely not acceptable, some employers may require you to purchase your own software or programs in order to complete the work. While Microsoft products used to be largely installed on new computers before you purchased them, that is now not the case. You now have to purchase them outright, or on a yearly subscription. If you don’t currently use or own them but you’re required to use them for your new job, you need to work out who foots the bill. And what about that expensive accounting software? If you’re using cloud or desktop-based accounting software, who pays for that? In most cases, this is up to the employer to provide his or her staff with all the tools of the job, but it can depend on the person, business and situation. For overseas-based virtual assistants, it’s assumed they will have their own software to complete the job. However, if you’re working for a local business, you may need to ask the question. Alarm bells can ring when you’re spending money to make money, as an employee.

3. What is the payment structure?

Don’t be fooled into thinking all virtual staffing positions operate under the same payment structure. Find out how your potential new boss intends on paying you.

Potential pay structures can include:

  • By the hour, using time-tracking software.
  • Per job
  • Fixed term contract – wherein the employer chooses the term and the hourly rate.

You don’t want to work for nothing, but you also don’t want to go through a whole lot of trouble to secure the job, knowing it’s for a very fixed term.

Some employers don’t outline the payment structure in the initial job application, therefore it’s important you know the right questions to ask. There could be nothing more disheartening than starting a job, and realising the pay doesn’t suit your expectations or your needs.

become a virtual assistant

4. Is it a scam?

Unfortunately, for as many legitimate jobs out there, there are just as many scams. There are ways to know whether the position you applied for is a scam or not, but those listing the jobs are becoming more and more professional.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, even the best virtual assistant can fall for an elaborate scam. So how do you spot one?

1.  You are being sent an interview request from a business you never applied for in the first place. This is why it pays to keep a record of all the virtual assistant positions you have applied for. As your details could be on a job seeker’s platform, anyone can have access to them with the right know-how. If you keep track of all the jobs you applied for, you will have a better chance of spotting a scam.

2. The email comes from a general web browser email address such as ‘@yahoo’ or ‘@hotmail’ etc.  Although some businesses still don’t have their own business email address, the ones looking for virtual assistants likely will.

3. They don’t address you by name. If it sounds like a mass email, it most likely is.

4. They ask you to hold, move, pay or accept money. This is not how a brand new virtual assistant job comes about. A business owner will not ask you to hold money for them, nor will they ask you to move it, pay it or accept it. The only time money would change hands is when you are being paid for work you have completed.

5. Who is my support person?

It can be daunting to start work in a new position, for a new business. It can be even more so when you’re not able to meet with the business owners and staff to get a feel for how things run. Therefore, you need to know there’s someone there you can talk to for advice. Preferably, this would be the business owner, an instore accounts person or even another VA who’s worked with the business for some time. Regardless of who they are, you will need someone who is familiar with the business to help you when needed. There’s no quicker way to become unhappy in your work, than to feel like you’re drowning and there’s no one there to help.

So, before you accept what could very well be your dream virtual job, make sure you ask all the right questions. Have you accepted a job without knowing all the ins and outs? Did you find out anything later that didn’t quite suit? We want to hear your stories, so get in touch!

How to Create a Roster for Your Virtual Team

benefits of virtual teams

We now live in a world dominated by the internet. Our connection with the rest of the world has allowed us to work and collaborate with those we may have never considered before. We get to experience different cultures, as well as coming to the realization that we have a lot in common with people from neighboring countries.

However, creating virtual teams to work on big projects takes perseverance and plenty of organization despite the differences.

Below are five ways you can create a roster for your virtual team for a seamless project experience.

Continue reading “How to Create a Roster for Your Virtual Team”

Virtual Teams: Is it a Blessing or a Curse in Productivity?

outsourcing

Over the last decade the “geography of the workplace” has shifted dramatically. Today’s workforce has become more mobile than ever, and every day, more and more people are working from virtual offices, client sites, home offices, coffee shops, airports, hotels, and any number of remote workplaces.

In the US alone, 20% of the adult working population (26.2 million) in 2010 were teleworkers . It has also been reported that there has been an 80% increase in “telecommunicating” employees from 2005 to 2012.

Why this enormous rise, you ask?

It’s because not only do remote teams allow businesses to reduce costs and recruit talent more efficiently, but they also increase productivity and even worker engagement. In fact, a 2009 Aon Consulting report.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that transitioning to a fully “virtual team” is totally without risk or challenges.  Virtual teams can also be very hard to get right. When team members lack the ability to interact face-to-face, it can be difficult to build trust and to manage conflict. Communication is also often more challenging, particularly among global virtual teams, making it more difficult to overcome cultural barriers, which, in turn, can greatly impact your virtual team’s effectiveness.

So what can you do to maximize the productivity of your virtual team?

Continue reading “Virtual Teams: Is it a Blessing or a Curse in Productivity?”

5 Questions to Ask Before Firing an Underperformer

leadership

Most business owners find it difficult to terminate an employee who underperforms either for legal or emotional reasons. But every business owner must adopt the mindset of being responsible not only to the employees but for the business itself. With an underperformer hindering the business’ success, people depending on the business will also be affected.

Managing underperformance can be a challenging task. But if done properly, it can produce great results. But not all employees respond well to interventions nor strive to overcome occupational hazards or struggles. This is where a responsible business owner or manager needs to consider termination of employment as an option.

But before talking to the underperforming employee, ask these 5 essential questions first to make sure you’re making the right decision and not just acting under the influence of your emotions.

Continue reading “5 Questions to Ask Before Firing an Underperformer”

5 Steps to Make Meetings More Effective for Everybody

virtual team

Meetings – some people love them, most of us hate them for obvious reasons. As employees, meetings take up valuable time. You sit there, listen to someone talk about a topic that you probably already know about and watch the clock tick your valuable time away – time that should have been spent finishing a report before it hits the deadline. We’ve been there – we sat on that chair, waited for that person who arrived 10 minutes late that eventually led to us closing our work day with tasks still left undone. But meetings don’t have to be that bad.  In fact, there are steps that we can take to make our meetings more efficient and, for the spirit of brevity, quicker!

Continue reading “5 Steps to Make Meetings More Effective for Everybody”

How to Spot Burnt Out Employees and 6 Ways to Motivate Them

virtual employee

We all had it. No matter what role you have – whether you are an employee, a manager, a CEO, a member of a virtual team, or a business owner –  we all had that one breaking point when we just can’t take it all in anymore. We all understand what it feels like to be totally burnt out; it’s like walking your way to the office with charcoals in reds and oranges on the flooring.  Pretty deadly, isn’t it?

In any line of profession – may it be sales, marketing, accounting, or technical support – we all have the tendency to become completely exhausted of work. It is normal, of course, but that doesn’t mean we can just shake it off like Taylor Swift. Kidding aside, when left unnoticed, this highly contagious “motivational killer” can infect an entire workforce without warning. It could derail even the best virtual team and can wreak havoc on even the most enthusiastic, diligent, and intelligent members of your group. A demotivated staff can zap the life out of your troop, cause trouble in your work harmony, and decrease the overall productivity of your organization.

Continue reading “How to Spot Burnt Out Employees and 6 Ways to Motivate Them”

How to Create a Basecamp To-Do List

Trying to keep up with this fast-paced digital marketing world can be truly exhausting, especially when your to-do list keeps getting longer and longer. Not only does it zap out the fun, it literally leaves you feeling restless for the rest of the day, pushing you to mentally check on your list, and enumerate what’s done and what’s not and who’s working on what. Sometimes, we can’t help but itemize our tasks all over the place, even in the bathroom, in the train station, or before going to bed.

Continue reading “How to Create a Basecamp To-Do List”