eVoice lets entrepreneur set boundaries between two business identities

eVoice lets entrepreneur set boundaries between two business identities

Summary: Is it time for your small business to reconsider the depth of your Internet telephone service?


Most small-business owners have juggled the work life balance thing for many, many years -- long before it became a popular thing for the rest of us to talk about. That's why many have opted for basic Internet telephony services. But the rise of smartphones and tablets is prompting some to reconsider the applications that come with those services.

"More small businesses are using them and personal use is spilling over into business applications as a result," said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global Communications, the company behind a series of cloud services focused on small businesses.

One example is Sandy Abrams, founder and CEO of Moisture Jamzz, which makes moisture-infused cotton gloves that can be used to help relieve dry skin. But that's not her only professional responsibility: aside from running her product company, Abrams has a consulting business, and she is raising two boys. Juggling when and how to take a phone call became a challenge, so in January 2010 Abrams started using eVoice.

She stumbled upon the service almost by accident: she had been using the related eFax Internet fax service for several years, so she felt comfortable testing out the company's voice applications. "I didn't feel the need to shop around," she said.

Abrams, whose company employees three people, opted for the five-extension eVoice service, which is priced at $29.95. eVoice provides a virtual number that can be routed to wherever it is convenient, so it doesn't really matter exactly where she is working. An app on her iPhone can help her save minutes by switching to Wi-Fi for calls when it's practical.

There are two feature that Abrams deems particularly useful:

  1. The voicemail to text feature, which sends her messages to her email so she doesn't have to chase them in more than one place.
  2. The voice recording feature: Instead of taking notes during a call, she can opt to record it instead.

j2 Global figures that mobile applications can help save small-business owners between four and five hours per week. "The end user isn't worried about exactly which technology is getting them there," he said.

Topic: Apps

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  • eVoice will cut you off without notice or warning

    I signed up for the 30 day free trial, input my credit card to be billed after the trial was over, spent time configuring my account, tested to make sure it all worked, then started giving out the new eVoice phone number. A few days later, I am getting no calls, and when i try to use the iPhone app, it says "number disabled." I can't login to their website anymore either: "Username/password combination invalid."

    I email their support - where's my account? They write back they disabled it because they "suspected fraud" and that I should fax them my credit card statement if I want my account back. Why would I want an account at a place that will cut you off with no notice or warning?

    They could have CALLED ME ON MY PHONE NUMBER to tell me they suspected fraud and ask me to prove something before cutting off the primary, universal, only-phone-number-you-need.

    Terrible, awful, really screwed me up to have the number disabled after I gave it out to important new contacts -- the whole purpose for which I signed up for the service.