News & Buzz

Grasshopper is everywhere

Original Article


GotVMail is a virtual PBX (private branch exchange) system for small-business owners. Traditional PBX systems, which provide auto-attendant answering services and telephone switching features, cost thousands of dollars and require specialized equipment. GotVMail works with a company’s existing telephones, including cell phones and even VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems.

Your Plan Options

Designed to provide small businesses a cost-effective professional telephone system, GotVMail offers three plans: VirtualOne Standard ($9.95 base price/month for five mailbox extensions), VirtualOne Advanced ($19.95 base price/month for 10 mailbox extensions), and VirtualOne Premier ($39.95 base price/month for 20 mailbox extensions). All plans provide your business with a toll-free telephone number that’s activated with the GotVMail service. The VirtualOne Premier plan adds a local number with 1,000 minutes in certain U.S. cities.

In addition to the monthly base price, you pay a per-minute fee for incoming calls to the toll-free number. The fee varies based on the plan selected. For example, in the 48 contiguous U.S. states and Canada, 250 minutes per month costs 6.8 cents per minute ($17 per month), and 2,000 minutes per month costs 4.8 cents per minute ($96 per month). An overage fee of 7.4 cents per minute applies to all plans.

How It Works

After dialing your company’s GotVMail telephone number, callers hear a main greeting and auto-attendant options for different employees or divisions. For example, the greeting may state, “Thank you for calling ABC Company. If you would like customer service, press 1. For help with our Web site, press 2.” After the caller makes a selection, GotVMail transfers the call to the associated employee mailbox, whether employees are home-based, working in geographically dispersed locations, or on the road.

Each mailbox includes voicemail, call forwarding to as many as six telephone numbers, and call screening. The call-forwarding feature plays the music of your choice, and you can define different numbers, such as your cell number or a home phone number, for the system to try at different days and times. The call-screening feature tells you who is calling, allowing you to take the call or route it to your voicemail.

Depending on the plan you select, certain features are an additional cost. For example, the VME (Virtual Marketing Extension) feature, which lets callers select menu options for automated information about your company, costs an additional $5 per month for the VirtualOne Standard plan and is included in the other plans.

According to David Powers, GotVMail’s vice president of corporate communications, “Our customers average total monthly charges of $30 to $40, which includes their plan fee and usage.” Powers adds, “Our customers are fairly evenly split between plans, although I will note that we monitor customers’ usage and let them know if we think a different plan or more/less prepaid minutes will save them money.”

A popular option is message delivery by email and via the MyGotVMail Web interface, which converts voice messages into audio files. If you have a mobile device that cannot receive email file attachments, GotVMail can also convert the file to a text message. The service is included in the VirtualOne Premier Local plan and will cost you extra when added to the other plans.

GotVMail offers unlimited call capacity and no busy signals for callers. You also receive unlimited voicemail message capability and unlimited outbound calls, and the system can save voicemail messages for as long as 30 days. If your business needs more extensions, you can purchase five additional mailboxes for $10 per month. GotVMail offers a free trial.