Ooma Voted No. 1 as Best Business VoIP Service by PCMag

Posted with permission from Ziff Davis, Inc.  

We’re proud to report Ooma has been selected as PCMag’s 2014 VoIP Business Choice winner for small businesses of less than 25 employees. Receiving an overall score of 9.4 out of 10, Ooma beat out competitors such as Shoretel, Avaya, Cisco and RingCentral. Ooma was also rated No. 1 in categories of Reliability, Technical Support, Least Likely to Need Tech Support (ease of use), and Likelihood to Recommend.

Ooma Office launched to the U.S. market in 2013 and has since expanded to Canada. Since launch, we’ve been hard at work updating feature capabilities while still ensuring the product remains affordable. While most U.S. microbusinesses using traditional phone lines spend around $300 on a month on their phone bills, Ooma Office customers – who include start-ups, law firms, accountants and non-profits – have cut down their bills considerably.

The PCMag results further reinforce Ooma Office’s increasing name recognition as a go-to phone service for allowing small businesses look and sound like big businesses. And we’re not stopping here; we’re constantly finding ways to give our customers the best experience possible. Be on the lookout for more (positive) changes as we move into the summer months.

In case you’re curious, the VoIP Business Choice survey was limited to PCMag.com community members and available at SurveyMonkey.com from March 12 to April 21, 2014. Users were asked about overall satisfaction with the service and technical support within the past 12 months.

PCMag is a popular news publication offering consumer and business technology news and reviews. Its parent, Ziff Davis, LLC, is the world’s largest digital media and technology company and reaches over 100 million viewers per month.

Take Ooma’s Pledge to #CallMomFree this Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, Ooma is doing our part to make sure that every mom gets the phone call she wants and deserves. To ensure this happens, Ooma is offering all Ooma users free international calling on Sunday, May 11, along with our always free nationwide calling – so there’s no excuse not to make that call. Whether your mom is near or far, she’s always just a (free) phone call away with Ooma!

Take the pledge to call your mom at CallMomFree.com and be entered to win a $1,000 (which you will use to buy a fabulous gift for your mom, of course). When you take the pledge we will also send you a nice reminder on Mother’s Day, it’s really a fool proof plan.

Tell us on Twitter (@Ooma) why you are going to #CallMomFree this Mother’s Day.

Ooma Small Business Customers Provide Savings Tips for Tax Day

According to the National Small Business Association, small business owners spend 40 hours (a full workweek!) and more than $5,000 to complete their taxes. Ooma Office enables small businesses to function and multitask like big businesses at a fraction of the cost, saving crucial time and money. In the spirit of Tax Day, Ooma’s small business customers offer up their unique insights to get a head start on this year’s savings. Looking for ways to avoid wasteful spending in 2014? Check out the tips below to see how these small business owners cut down costs, so you can start saving those dollars!

• Automate, automate, automate: “It may be easier to just go with the flow and do your job, but taking the time while you are working to make your templates better and make your job more efficient is worth multiples in time, money and happiness.” (Nadeem N. Vaidya, M.D., Retina OC)

• Prioritize your business: “Rather than establishing a hard-line network, I use a cloud service … I jumped on board with Ooma Office as soon as it became available … The initial hardware purchase was reasonable and does not require any special telephone equipment, which is a bonus.” (Christine Swenson, Swenson Law Office, PC)

• Have as little overhead as possible: “Really ask yourself if you need whatever it is you’re considering purchasing. If it’s a clear need or investment in your business, make sure you can afford it and it won’t affect your cash flow or savings.” (Jason Unger, Junger Media)

• Keep things simple: “As the owner of a business, you have the ‘privilege’ of working long hours for little pay in the beginning. Focus on your core business, do not try to do too many things at the beginning.” (John McKernan, Chapel Hats)

Ooma Office saves customers up to 90% on their monthly phone bills. If you’re interested in learning more about Ooma Office’s capabilities, check out our savings calculator to find out how much you could save over the course of three years by making the switch.

Winning! Ooma Telo Back in the News

Once again, Consumer Reports has come out and made a splash about the Ooma Telo home phone system. We thought rather than talk ourselves up, we’d let you check out who’s already buzzing about it – and why Telo is a great solution for saving money around the home.

Here are some of our favorite stories:

CBS Pittsburgh: Ooma Telephone Service Earns High Marks

Consumer Reports: 3 ways to create your own Internet bundle for less

Consumer Reports: How to decode your cable bill and save money

KGO: Consumer Reports talks about Ooma phone service

WCPO: Consumer Reports: Internet service could eliminate your phone bill

Yahoo! Finance: Ooma home phone service: What you need to know

Know someone still deciding whether they want to cut the cord and switch to Ooma? Here’s where they can learn more.

Happy First Day of Spring from Ooma

Happy First Day of Spring! We’re in the spirit of spring cleaning here at Ooma and want to let you in on some of the simple and quick cleaning secrets that will save you money. We chatted with Erin Huffstetler, editor of My Frugal Home and frugal living expert for About.com, about the top tasks that people forget to put on their list of spring cleaning to-dos. Check out the tips below and be sure to tune in to Twitter today at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT to chat with Erin (@erinhuffstetler) and Ooma (@Ooma) live using the hashtag #askErin.

·         Clean Your Dryer Vent: The lint that gets caught in your dryer vent kills the efficiency of your machine and poses a serious fire hazard. Invest in a dryer lint removal kit, and use it to clean out your vent twice a year

·         Vacuum Your Refrigerator Condenser Coils:  Dusty condenser coils cause your refrigerator to work a lot harder than it should, resulting in higher energy bills and a shortened lifespan for your fridge. Take a few minutes twice a year to vacuum off the coils (unplug the fridge first), so your refrigerator continues to run at peak efficiency

·         Clean Your Dishwasher: Extend the life of your dishwasher by giving it a thorough cleaning each spring. Unplug it from the wall, and examine the sprayer arms to see if any of the nozzles are clogged (use a soft brush to remove any clogs that you find).  Then, clean out all of the food and debris from the drain or disposal at the bottom of the unit. This will help to eliminate odors and ensure that your dishwasher is draining properly. Finish by placing a cup of vinegar on the top rack and running your dishwasher on its hottest setting (for most units that’s the sanitize setting)

·         Sort Your Paper Piles:  While you’re sorting through all of those paper piles, take a look at your bills, and see if there are any places where you could make changes to save money. Switching your home phone to an Internet-based phone service, like Ooma, for example, could reduce your home phone bill to only $3-4 dollars a month – without sacrificing any of those must-have features

·         Automate Your Home: Home automation is a hot new trend, and it’s worth paying attention to. Look for ways to use technology in your home to simplify your life and save more money, such as a smart thermostat, water sensors for your alarm system, and smart power strips to save electricity

 

Calling vs. Texting: Survey confirms that the phone call is still king

Guest Post By: Laurie Davis

Dating has been rebooted. Technology and social media have had an enormous effect on the way people meet, date and start a relationship. As someone who helps singles find love online every day, I know this first hand! But just because courtship has evolved doesn’t mean that all the traditional rules should be deleted.

Based on a recent study conducted by Ooma, the majority of people prefer to receive a phone call post-date, as opposed to a text message. And this is definitely a trend I see with my clients. But the sexes operate differently – women tell me that they want their dates to call, but the survey shows that a quarter of men send a text message after a date. So guys, pick up the phone! You can still be a gentleman in the digital age.

On Valentine’s Day, here are a few tips for swoon-worthy post-date etiquette:
• Send a thank you text. Dropping your date a quick text to say thanks will show them that you really did have a good time. Go ahead and push send either that same night once you’re home or the next morning. The bonus is that this opens up communication again ensuring the date isn’t your final moment.
• Call to make plans. Give your date a ring a day or two after your thank you text to check-in and make plans for your next date. If he or she doesn’t pick up, it’s important to leave a message! Though call waiting is important, don’t take it for granted.
• Have plans when you ring. When you have something fun in mind for your next date before you call, it takes the pressure off … and removes the awkwardness of the “what should we do” conversation. Be flexible but have a back up plan.

Texting has its place in courtship today, but ultimately, it shouldn’t be something you rely on entirely. The personal touch of a phone call is priceless and one of the best ways to show genuine interest. Plus it will most likely get your match to say yes to another date! So next time you go on a date, don’t forget to ring them after.

Laurie Davis is the founder of eFlirt Expert, an online dating consultancy firm and the author of Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating. She helps singles navigate flirting and relationships via technology. Follow her on Twitter @eFlirtExpert.

Study Abroad, Phone Home

Do you have children studying abroad, or have studied abroad in the past? If so, you probably know how hard it is to stay in touch. The challenge is knowing where your child will be at any given time, so it’s on them to keep the lines of communication open. But international calls can rack up high bills.

Each year, more and more students pack up their belongings to travel to far-flung locations. Their destinations run the gamut from Australia to Peru to Italy. According to the Institute of International Education, U.S. study abroad participation has more than tripled over the past two decades.

We thought this would be a good time to remind our Ooma Telo customers about Ooma’s mobile app. The app lets you make outbound phone calls — even international calls — using Wi-Fi or 3G/4G cellular data connection from Android or iOS devices (including the iPad and iPod touch). Because calls made with the mobile app use WiFi or 3G/4G, you bypass carrier restrictions, and save on international phone calls. But be aware that international data can be expensive. So whenever possible stick to WiFi.

Let’s break things down even further: You are a mother of four and your family uses Ooma. Your daughter decides to study abroad in Ireland, so you subscribe to Ooma’s low-cost mobile calling plan. Before she departs on her adventure, cell phone in hand, she downloads the Ooma mobile app. Once overseas, she can make calls through the app to your Ooma home phone number anytime and anywhere, as long as she has access to WiFi or 3G/4G connection. You’ll even be able to talk in High Definition which will make her sound like she is in the next room.
So if you have a world traveling offspring, don’t fret, or break the bank. Keep in touch with the Ooma mobile app – although we can’t guarantee you won’t need to talk them out of an impulsive adventure. Skydiving in the Amazon, anyone?

How J World Sailing School centralized its phone system using Ooma Office

Challenge

J World Sailing School has 5 employees and several contractors spread out across offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Puerto Vallarta. Each location has its own telephone number and operates independently. However, when staff are out of their office conducting classes or on charters, they can miss key customer calls and new business inquiries by not being immediately available to answer questions or book reservations.

Solution

Using Ooma Office, J World Sailing School was able to consolidate their multiple phone numbers into one easy to use system that allowed them to centralize reservations in their San Francisco location. This enabled them not to miss a call and address customer’s questions and make more reservations. In addition, they were able to set up virtual extensions to route calls to employee’s cell phones in the field to be answered remotely.

How They Did It

Here’s how J World Sailing School set up Ooma Office to meet their company’s needs.


Set Up the Virtual Receptionist

J World’s three phone numbers were ported to Ooma Office from the previous phone services. Each number is set to be answered by the virtual receptionist (assigned as extension 100) so all callers will hear the same message.


Bypass the Virtual Receptionist

J World sometimes prefers to bypass the virtual receptionist and route calls to the reception lobby. This can be done by selecting the Manage tab, then Phone Numbers. Use the pull down menu to route incoming calls to extension 115, which is assigned to the reception lobby.


Set Up Virtual Extensions

Ooma Office virtual extensions allow routing of a call to a remote employee’s mobile phone number. J World’s San Francisco and San Diego Charters are set-up as virtual extensions 105 and 110 and routed to the cell phone of the Charter Captain.

Set-up window

New virtual extensions will appear on the Manage Extensions interface


Set Up Greetings

The virtual receptionist text-to-speech greeting is frequently revised by a simple click of a button. J World has the flexibility to type the changes or upload its own personal voice greeting. Ooma Office also allows J World to set a specific extension to either play an announcement, seamlessly transfer the call to a cell phone or select the dial by name setting.


Results

With centralized call handling, J World Sailing School enjoys greater functionality and flexibility from their phone system which has boosted their efficiency while cutting telecom costs. With Ooma Office, J World Sailing School:

•Created a more efficient reservation system with faster response times
•Reduced the number of telephone lines needed, and
•Saved over $1,200/year in telecommunications costs

For more information visit www.ooma.com/oomaoffice or contact us at 877-959-6662

Consumer Electronics Show: A Few of Our Favorite Things

And that’s a wrap! We recently arrived back after four days in Las Vegas for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the largest global electronics and technology trade shows in the world. We had a blast demoing our new Ooma Safety Phone and Ooma Office, while  checking out all sorts of products on the showroom floor (in case you missed it, we took a picture with 90’s musical icon Vanilla Ice)! There was no shortage of gadgets to tinker with and people to meet, so we wanted to share some of our favorite products and companies at CES.

  • Basis Health Tracker: The sleek wristband health tracker with advanced sensors continuously captures heart rate patterns, motion and calorie expenditure by activity. Looking to get off the couch and get fit in 2014? If so, we recommend you check it out.
  • STERN Pinball machine: Yes, you read that right. This old-school product is making a comeback and offers Transformers, Avengers, AC/DC and Star Wars-themed games. Enough said.
  • Channel Master DVR+: This small box lets you record locally broadcast shows without paying a monthly fee. Pair this with an Ooma Telo and you have a money-saving match made in heaven.
  • Kindle Fire HDX tablet: As our kids would say, Kindle’s new HD e-reader is “hella cool.” It’s portable, lightweight and offers a blindingly clear screen.
  • Revolve: The environmentally friendly electronics company uses natural, recycled and sustainable materials to make beautifully designed hybrid chargers and battery backup products. We’re also impressed with its commitment to sustainability.

Since so many reporters all over the country write about CES, you’ve likely seen some of the coverage. Gadget-fanatic or not, tweet us or comment about what new technology most excites you and why! As always, we love hearing from you.

We’re looking forward to getting our hands on some of the items above…and we’re also happy to finally rest our feet after almost a week spent walking the CES floor. Until next year!

Ooma Expands Office Phone Service Into Canada

In May 2013, we officially launched our small business phone service, Ooma Office, in the U.S. Almost one year later, we’re bringing Ooma Office to the thousands of Canadian microbusinesses with one to 10 employees. We’re making purchasing easy, too. Starting Jan. 8, Ooma Office will be available in Canada through Amazon, Best Buy Canada, Canada Computers, Costco, Future Shop and Staples.

We’re no strangers to Canada, having launched our personal phone service, Ooma Telo, there in 2011. Ooma Office combines the crystal-clear and affordable calling of Telo along with advanced business features. Microbusinesses can look and sound like big businesses thanks to Ooma’s virtual receptionist, extension-dialing, music-on-hold, virtual extensions, electronic fax, call logs and more. Like the Telo, Ooma Office is very easy to set up as there is no wiring involved. Set up usually takes around 30 minutes.

Since the U.S. launch of Ooma Office, we have received feedback from our microbusiness customers about the product’s positive impact on their phone bills. The high cost of traditional phone service in the U.S. means most microbusinesses spend around $300 a month on their phone bills. Canadian microbusinesses face an even bigger price tag due a shortage of telecom providers and high taxes and fees. Ooma’s competitive price point has helped U.S. customers cut down their bill by 50 percent to 75 percent and we expect Canadian businesses will see comparable savings. This in turn means extra savings for the mom and pop shops, restaurants, doctors and retailers that keep the economy going.

Ooma Office will retail at an M.S.R.P. of $249.99 CAD, $9.99 CAD per month per user and $9.99 CAD per phone number. Ooma Office includes a one-year limited warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee. Additionally, live customer service is available by phone in both English and French.

Please see www.ooma.com/ca for more information about Ooma’s availability in Canada.

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