It's tough to find the right business communications solution these days. Do you go analog, hosted VoIP, IP-PBX, or use a virtual office solution? Plus, once you've figured that out, how do you know which carrier to choose? The staggering number of options can be daunting to the most competent. Luckily, there is a company like FreedomVOICE. Recognized for their industry leading virtual office product, the company is becoming equally praised for FreedomIQ, a hosted VoIP PBX product revolutionizing business telecom.
Below is a transcript of interview between me and Candice Malmstrom of FreedomVOICE.
Suzanne Bowen: Welcome to DIDX podcast media channel where we bring you the expertise of IP communications leaders around the world. I'm your host Suzanne Bowen. Today we have Candice Malmstrom. She is the director of marketing with FreedomVoice, a very popular company in the telecom business. She's been in the telecom business for the past eight years. We met her company through their channel at http://voip-phone-systems.tmcnet.com/. We also met some of them at some ITEXPO events and have been staying touch via Twitter and Facebook. So hello, Candice, glad to have you with us today.
Candice Malmstrom: Thank you for having me.
Suzanne Bowen: We were discussing different questions that I might ask you. Let's start by maybe briefing us on the history of FreedomVoice, how it evolved.
Candice Malmstrom: Eric Thomas, the CEO of FreedomVoice, started the company in 1996. We started with the Virtual Phone Systems to the home and very small businesses. At the same, Eric had a small business of his own and he saw the need for a low-cost communications system that had enterprise features. Smaller companies could not afford these enterprise-level phone systems with costs of thousands of dollars per month. So Eric created a virtual phone system as low as $10/month.
How does it work? FreedomVoice provides a local or tollfree number. That would connect the callers to a professional auto-attendant greeting like, "Thank you for calling XYZ business. Dial "1" for sales or "2" for billing. The solution will try to find the business on numbers based on the choices given by the business such as cell phone, home phone...
When we connect the call to you, we will announce the call to you. You have a call for sales. Dial any key to accept the call. This prompts you to answer the call that may be coming on say, your cell phone, in a professional manner. This is phenomenal for SMBs.
A real life example ... I found baby furniture I needed online. The online store looked like a well-established company. When I called them, I got a lady's personal voicemail greeting. I also got "I'm sorry. This mailbox is full." This took me from feeling very confident about this company to making me feel like I was dealing with a very small "mom and pop" shop. Utilizing our virtual phone system really helps those small guys compete with the larger companies.
Suzanne Bowen: I think it is interesting that the company was founded in 1996. That is definitely early in the history of voice over Internet protocol.
Candice Malmstrom: In 1996, we weren't doing voice over IP. This was virtual phone system technology that provided the features of auto-attendant and call forwarding, but the calls went to existing PSTN lines. We've been successful with the Virtual Phone System. We will continue to service this industry, but Eric always had the vision to move toward the VoIP PBX market. We spent much time on this proprietary technology from the ground up. We perfected our web-based control panels for our virtual phone systems.
The quality of the Internet communication was finally ready, and we brought FreedomIQ, our VoIP offering to the marketplace about 3 years ago. The difference is that we are providing the actual phone. They had the auto-attendant and call-forwarding, but now they could make all calls go to a VoIP phone sitting on their desk. We are also now providing the dialtone to make outgoing calls. This is the main difference between our Virtual Office and our new Hosted VoIP offering.
The advantages of our hosted solution are endless. Some that stand out are the cost savings, no physical pbx server purchase, only phone sets. You may have five employees now but plan to grow to a hundred in the next couple years. You buy what is right for you now, not one that is too big and hope to grow into it or too small and grow out too fast. With hosted PBX, you simply buy one phone per employee. It does save you much in expenses.
The hosted model allows you to hire remote workers. I'll use our company as an example. We have 19 customer service representatives. Twelve out of 19 work remotely. We send them a VoIP phone and connect it to our account as if they are right in our office. It is completely seamless to our customers. Customers call in, they hear, "Thank you for calling FreedomVoice Systems. Press 2 for technical support." That call could be routed to any of our C.S. reps, sitting nearby or remote across the United States. We have full reporting capabilities. We can see when our reps login, monitor their calls, inbound and outbound calls included. This has saved us on office space. It has allowed us to pull from a much larger talent pool, not just in the San Diego area.
Suzanne Bowen: How is FreedomVoice different from other offerings anything like it?
Candice Malsmstrom: Our customer experience is excellent. We share information about our services and then match the caller with a dealer in their local area for more personalized service. A lot of other companies are not doing this. The dealer will visit your site and give you a demo of our service, assess your bandwidth... this is what makes us stand out. We continue to provide the "wow" customer service. We do many things to make sure we are offering top-notch customer support such as post-surveys about how we are doing.
Suzanne Bowen: Those are the kinds of extra touches I know need to be available and glad to see that FreedomVoice is offering this.
Who can best utilize FreedomVoice services?
Candice Malmstrom: It is companies who do not have an IT staff. Hosted is the perfect solution for you. We maintain it. We update it. We can easily add new phone features.
Suzanne Bowen: So, your services range from the Virtual Phone System and the newer FreedomIQ IP PBX hosted service. The listeners will want to know how to contact you to use your services.
Suzanne Bowen: It was nice to meet you and learn from you with our industry, Candice.
Candice Malmstrom: Thank you for taking the time to interview us.(There is a slight echo in the podcast with Candice of FreedomVoice and FreedomIQ, I think, because someone in the call was on SpeakerPhone. I do apologize, but the content of Candice's talk is an excellent source of information for their potential clients. Listen to the podcast online or download to your computer or mp3 player and listen on the go!)