Call Handling Services Virtual Phone Numbers

How Can I Work From Home Effectively?

A lot of us have had to adjust to working from home recently and it can be a big change for some.

Your routine and schedule has likely completely changed and it’s thrown you completely out of sync.
We’ve compiled a list of things to try and make working from home a little easier for you.

Make sure you have set working times.

Since being at home, I’ve stuck to my usual hours so it gives some structure to the day and you have a set time to get things done which will also hopefully keep you focused on work as there are completely different distractions at home compared to in the office.

Have a dedicated workspace.

Don’t just sit in bed on your laptop – as much as you might want to!
The only space I could set up was in my bedroom, but I have a desk and a chair so that I am only working when I sit here, rather than wherever I like. You need to keep work and relax totally separate – this is more important than ever with us spending so much time at home at the moment.

Act like you’re actually going to work.

Set an alarm, have a shower, get dressed, have breakfast – keep to your normal morning routine. This then sets you up for the day and you’ll be more prepared to sit down and do work. I get up a little later than I would to go into the office, but I make sure I get dressed and have my breakfast before I start work.

Keep in touch with colleagues regularly.

Using video calling apps and programmes such as Google Hangouts is a great way to do this. You can use the instant messaging to ask questions and inform people of things quickly (quicker than an email that might get lost or forgotten) and there’s also the video chat option for team meetings which we have been using to catch up with each other every morning.

Ensure you take regular breaks.

This can be difficult when you’re at home as there’s not really anywhere to go, but make sure you get up from your desk regularly and take little walks round your home. Have a chat with another member of the household for a bit. Just take a break from work a few times a day.

Using virtual numbers can be really useful when working from home. The features that come with them enable you to receive work calls at home with ease.

  • Disaster recovery – fall back measures for your customer calls so you don’t miss them
  • Employee’s mobile becomes their work extension. Inbound customer calls routed to remote workforce to receive calls on mobiles. Routing can be set up in a variation of ways – hunt groups, multi out dial etc
  • Call queuing to handle long call answering times. Add announcement messages apologising for the longer hold times and advising of office closure
  • Call whispers on inbound customer calls to your staff so they know it’s a work call and therefore how to answer the call
  • Voicemail to email: Customer voicemails from missed or out of hours calls are emailed to the correct team so they can be listened to and called back
  • Call recording so management are able to monitor offsite calls
  • Audio conferencing so your workforce can communicate with the whole team through a conference call
  •  Call handling software means no kit or maintenance needed

There are also apps such as the one from NFON which makes your mobile act like your desk phone. You can make and receive calls using your extension/direct dial. You can also put it on ‘do not disturb’ for when you’re not working to make sure you’re getting those breaks!

Working from home and virtual offices are likely to become much more commonplace in the future. There are ways to make the transition much easier for yourself and/or your employees and the running of the business. Virtual phone systems can keep the office running like nothing has changed to ease that transition. Read more about our virtual number solutions here.

Call Queuing Systems Direct Numbers Hosted IVR Systems

5 Benefits of using a 03 Number with Direct Numbers

2014 growthThe new UK Wide non-geographic 03 numbers are a great choice for your business, charity or government organisation. These numbers are definitely here to stay and have become the number of choice. So why should my organisation switch to 03?


1)    The EU Consumer Directive states that from 13th June 2014, the majority of companies using 084 and 087 numbers for their customer service and complaint helpdesks will need to switch these numbers to a number that charges no more than a 01/02 geographic landline number. 03 numbers are the popular alternative to take over from 084 and 087 numbers.


2)    03 numbers are consumer friendly and the best number for your customers to use to contact you as callers are charged the same as calling an 01/02 number. Meaning that if you currently get free minutes to call a geographic landline then the 03 number will be included. So no high call costs on your landline and mobile phone bills.


3)    03 numbers are not fixed to any geographic location giving your customers a UK wide number to replace the more expensive to call 0845 number.


4)    A number that is here to stay and that will grow with your business. 03 numbers are permanent and you can use them to divert your calls if changing office, telephone number or setting up further phone lines as your business expands. Like a mobile phone number you can take it with you!


5)    Get more than just a number with Direct Numbers. All our numbers come packed with Call Handling features designed to professionalise your business. Use our portal to monitor your call stats, change where your number targets or set up advanced services like IVR (Interactive Voice Response) or Call Queuing.

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Direct Numbers Hosted IVR Systems

Hosted IVR – A Great Tool for Small & Medium Sized Businesses


IVR which stands for Interactive Voice Response has been around for a while now and is used extensively by businesses. It’s basically an automated menu tool on your phone which will route your customers to where they want to go.

Back in the day, a company would need to have a piece of kit in their office to make use of this IVR service. This would require technical know how and equipment costs which can be a daunting prospect for many businesses.

Hosted IVR has provided a breakthrough in that it is now an affordable facility that many small to medium sized businesses can now make use of. Hosted basically means the IVR platform is hosted in the ‘cloud’ and therefore no in-house kit is needed. A customer can simply design and manage their IVR on an online portal which requires little to no technical knowledge.

So why should a business use IVR technology? I would say it’s not for all businesses but if you do have a customer flow of calls coming in on a daily basis then you need to look at where they are terminating to, what your customers are calling about and can an IVR manage these calls better for you than say a receptionist.

I have highlighted below some of the key benefits an IVR can have for your business:-

1)     Answering phone calls can take both time and money so let the IVR capture that initial call. Don’t lose your customer calls.

2)     IVR will work for your business even when your business is closed. You can provide information to your customer and capture their messages even when you’re closed and there is no one to answer the call.

3)     Your business can seem a lot bigger and have a professional front end even when you’re just a small ‘one man’ show.

4)     Hosted IVR is easy to use and very affordable which means it’s a great choice for a start up company that wants to look at managing their calls.

5)     Save time and money by getting the call to the correct department without having to send the call to a busy receptionist first.

6)     Analyse your call stats and see what your customer calls are doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

7)     Use automated key capture functionality which will allow your customers to check their balances, order over the phone or request information without having to speak to a representative.

Things to look out for if you do run an IVR for your business and common customer gripes are:-

1)     Long IVR menus are a big no no – put yourself in your customer’s shoes – so keep menu options short and direct.

2)     Make sure it works properly and voice activation technology works correctly without customers having to repeat their choices.

3)     If you do have long call queues on your IVR then make sure you’re not charging too much for the call. This will really annoy your customers.

So keeping all of this in mind and deciding that you do need this for your business then you’ll need to look at a provider for this service. This is where you’ll need to speak to us at Direct Numbers whereby we always urge our customers to try a free demo of our hosted services to see how it can benefit your business.


Call Queuing Systems

Call Queuing – Don’t Lose Your Customers

Customer calls are so important to any business and if your customers can’t get through to you then you really need to do something to sort this out. So what are the options open to you?

If you are a business and you can’t always get to answer every customer call or if you are out of the office a lot then you need to make sure that every inbound customer call is received and acted on. Gone are the days of having to invest in expensive call handling kit as these days the same services can be offered on a virtual service. Just point a 08 or geographic number to your existing landline or mobile and set up a call queuing service. You can specify the hold times, apology messages, hold music and more. Plus if you are using the right system you can see how many customers you have queuing on the line.

If you are a business with a high number of inbound calls then you can’t live without having a call queuing service set up. There is nothing worse than calling a company and getting a constant engaged tone. Make sure you are routing your customers to the correct department with the help of an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) set up on the line. This makes a powerful tool for your business and no customer service department should be without it.

A simple case study to show how this would work, an online shopping site gets a lot of customer calls during office hours. Their 10 strong customer service staff can’t always answer all the calls so they put an IVR and call queuing service on their 0800 freephone number. Now when customers call through they hear a welcome message and are given options to speak to sales, customer services or support. If the lines are busy once they have made their choice they are placed in a queue and hear on-hold music and apology messages until their call is answered. The customer service manager can monitor how many calls are queuing by using the online management tool. The customers are kept on the line and are not faced with the dreaded engaged tone.

By having a professional front end phone system a small business can take on the image of a much larger professional company. You’ll also be able to monitor your calls and analyse your call stats to see when your busiest times are or how many calls aren’t getting answered in time.

If you want to change the way you receive your customer calls or would like more information on call queuing or IVR services then please visit