Cloudli seeks to solve two small business calling problems

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The company’s virtual system allows you to add the ability to text customers and screen calls to minimize interruptions.


Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Small businesses, freelancers and individual entrepreneurs too often struggle with old landline phone systems or manage business communications from a personal smartphone. Relying on a conventional landline often means business people miss out on modern features, such as texting. And with all the unwanted phone calls these days, unwanted callers can get in the way of you serving customers.

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Adopting a virtual communications solution such as Cloudli can help you minimize disruptions and maximize customer communications. Plus, if you still use a personal smartphone for work, switching to a virtual business phone system can make it easier for you to take a break.

Cloudli call filter


Cloudli

More importantly, you can choose to filter all calls or only calls from people who are not already in your contact list. Screening all calls can be a good idea for a business where most conversations with customers are not urgent: it allows you to speak to the callers of your choice, while sending others to voicemail. You can also configure the system to only filter calls from contacts not in your contact list. This ensures that calls from people you know, such as customers, suppliers and colleagues, always ring through, with unknown callers filtered out. This setup can help significantly reduce the time wasted on calls from spammers, scammers, and salesbots.

business texting

Cloudli also supports a business SMS feature. Cloudli’s research shows that many people prefer texting to talking. Cloudli’s research found that people like to text health and wellness organizations and personal care businesses, such as salons, spas, and hair salons. Business texting can be a great way to schedule meetings or answer questions.

You can send SMS directly or to groups of customers. One-to-one texting works as you’d expect: when a customer texts you, you can reply to them in a chat thread, or vice versa. Cloudli also offers message broadcasting, which allows you to send a message to a group of contacts at a time. Then, when a contact replies, their message creates a one-to-one conversation between the contact and your business. Unlike a standard group chat, Message Broadcasting allows you to reach many customers via text at once and then continue individual conversations separately.

Cloudli Business Texting can also be configured with shared numbers, allowing various members of your team to respond to customers by phone or text. The app provides a unified view of conversations, so team members can identify that a text message, for example, is from the number of someone who recently called.

Porting, platforms and pricing

If you are in Canada or the United States, you can transfer your current phone number to Cloudli. This allows your business to benefit from professional call and SMS screening features without having to change your phone number. Or you can also choose to get a new US or Canadian number to use with Cloudli. Many small business owners, freelancers, and consultants who initially use a personal phone number for work find it makes sense to move to a new work-only number as the business grows.

Cloudli lets you talk and text on a variety of platforms, with apps available for iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows. Based on information from app stores, Cloudli apps on macOS, iOS, and Android all seem to receive consistent updates, with apps on Apple platforms generally rated higher than the Android app. From mid-2022, people who want to use Cloudli on Windows will also need Java.

A small business can get started with the Cloudli TalkNText plan, with access to AI-powered call filter, SMS, business SMS, and shared phone numbers, for $10/month per user.

The company also offers communication solutions for large enterprises. Notably, in June 2022, Cloudli announced that the company had acquired ConnectMeVoice, an enterprise-focused provider of hosted VoIP, UCaaS and CCaaS offerings. With a team of over 80 employees and contractors, the combined Cloudi and ConnectMeVoice organization serves over 8,000 North American customers. The company is owned by CPS Capital, a private equity firm, and is headquartered in Montreal.

What is your experience ?

If you own or run a sole proprietorship or small business, what phone and texting setup do you use? Do you find it useful to communicate with customers via SMS? How do you filter out or manage nuisance calls during your day? Send me a message or mention me on Twitter (@awolber) to let me know what voice and text solution you use in your small business.





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