Virtual PBX Solutions

Today’s modern world technology is advancing at an alarming rate, while some people fear it, others are embracing it. Small to medium sized businesses are continuously reducing the gap between themselves and much larger corporations. One way they achieve this is through a virtual PBX (private branch exchange) phone system which allows these small to medium sized businesses to take advantage of the latest technology without a large initial financial outlay. These systems have gained popularity as a more flexible, cost-effective choice to get ahead in the business industry.

But before we go in depth, let us take a sneak peak at what Virtual PBX really is.

A virtual PBX phone system is a remote phone system hosted at a service provider's data center that is leased or rented on a monthly or annual basis and all inbound and outbound calls are routed by a service provider that offers a variety of calling and reporting features. It is one of the spin offs of business VoIP technology allowing small and medium sized businesses to have a sophisticated telephone system without the investment in telephone equipment. A hosted virtual PBX lets employees work from their home, or on their cell phone while still being connected to the same office telephone system. With Virtual PBX, you can transfer callers, put them on hold with music, set up conference calls or have the phone answered by an automated attendant who can direct callers to different departments.

Here is a look at the many advantages of a virtual PBX phone system:

  • Elimination of acquisition, maintenance, and upgrade costs. A virtual PBX phone system eliminates the up-front costs for hardware PBX equipment. Instead of purchasing expensive PBX hardware and/or software and then have it installed on your premises, you subscribe to a virtual PBX service provider, allowing you to take advantage of LOW setup costs. With a hosted virtual PBX phone system, set up is easy and cost savings significant based on the number of users and usage capacity as compared to the long process of buying, building, integrating, and maintaining a service and support center of a hardware PBX.  A virtual PBX also has low up front and ongoing costs. With a standard PBX to handle their calls, they will find that an average starting cost of about $10,000 and the monthly costs to be in the hundreds of dollars. This is cost prohibitive for a company just starting out, once they start growing and need to add lines or employees, they will have to upgrade their PBX and purchase all new equipment. A virtual PBX has a low start up cost in the range of $50 - $100 on average and then a monthly cost anywhere from $10 - $50 depending on the features required and number of employees it needs to support. Virtual PBX providers also offer a month to month contract so that when a company is ready to expand, features and employees can be easily added.

    • Geographical Flexibility. Employees can work from anywhere when your office phone system is virtual. You can have employees working from home, other offices, mobile phones, and even overseas. Calls are sent to employees at any valid phone number, including cell phones, VoIP phones, POTS phone lines (plain old telephone systems) such as found in homes. It delivers a unified business image by integrating remote, home and main office communication.

    • Cost Control. Real-time reports can provide up to the minute call tracking to help improve productivity and profitability. To verify return on investment (ROI) when going with a hosted PBX phone system, the right plan can provide real-time knowledge about caller volumes, call waiting periods and who's handling what calls, which can support refining practices in order to support increased productivity and sales. It also has a low overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with minimal upfront investment and low monthly service fees.

  • Building Better Business Relations. Busy signals and unattended calls may result in your losing an important business deal. This can be avoided with the help of hosted virtual PBX systems in your workplace. With this system, all incoming calls will be forwarded to the user’s given numbers including cell phone numbers. Hence, you can freely communicate with your clients and employees even when you are on the move, and thereby build better business relations. A virtual PBX can also create a good first impression by using an automated attendant with a message that announces who the company is and directs them to the appropriate department giving the impression of a well established and professional business.

    • Scalability. Traditional phone systems are limited by how many users they can handle as well as how many lines you have purchased from your local telephone provider. Virtual systems can expand and grow with your business as you need them to.

    • Elimination of over- and under capacity. With a virtual PBX solution, you can receive just exactly the capacity you need, exactly when you need it. When you buy a hardware-based contact center, you're locked in. Even if everything goes according to plan, you will have bought too much capacity at the beginning of your usage cycle and be struggling with too little capacity at the end.

    • Local Presence - Hosted PBX systems allow you to get local virtual numbers in cities where you are not physically located which allows you to create a virtual presence or open a virtual office in New York or the UK.

When choosing for the right provider and in order to simplify the decision process, you must look at your organization’s business needs, taking into account current and future customer demand as well as corporate and product/service expansion plans. Balancing all these factors with the internal structure and resources, and evaluating what effect these decisions could have upon customer service and support levels, will help you move toward an optimal solution.

As with any business service, quality and experience are key factors when choosing who to work with. The low barrier to entry for vendors looking to offer hosted PBX services has created a number of options for consumers and driven down costs, but customers need to be aware that not all service providers are equal. In addition, below are some points to address and consider when investigating who to choose for a hosted virtual PBX provider:

  • Existing Infrastructure Deploying a world-wide hosted PBX service requires a significant infrastructure investment to handle the centralized switching needed to move millions of simultaneous calls around the world. When investigating service providers, look for a vendor that has the knowledge to grow not only with your business but also with the broad adoption of the technology as a whole. Having a tested, existing infrastructure in place for business-class communications is key. Keep in mind how long they have been in business and how long they plan to be in business.

  • Service Provider Network. Choose a vendor that understands how your organization will use the service. Be aware of their track record for service quality and reliability.

Here is the equipment or service that a Hosted PBX can use to replace your current telephone service or work in conjunction with it.

  • Keep your existing landlines. You might choose to keep your existing telephone lines and have calls forwarded from the Hosted PBX service to these telephone lines. This generally means that the total cost of your phone solution is higher because you have to pay for the Hosted PBX service and the traditional telephone lines.

  • Use mobile telephones. Many employees who work outside of the office most of the time and would prefer to receive their calls on their mobile telephones. Calls from the Hosted PBX service can be forwarded to your cell phone and many Hosted PBX services allow you to choose to send a caller to voicemail or transfer the call to another extension (which might be another cell phone).

  • Use voice-over-IP. Some Hosted PBX services are bundled with voice over ip service which eliminates the need to have a telephone line with your local telephone carrier to make and receive calls. You can choose to use multi-line digital office telephones that plug directly into your internet connection. Typically there is also an option for using soft phones which are computer programs that simulate a business telephone on your desktop so you can make and receive calls using a USB headset.

Conclusion

Ultimately a virtual PBX system should reduce the need for a business to focus on managing its calls, and it should limit the stress that an advanced calling system can place on a business. And with its growing popularity, hosted virtual PBX service solution is a technology to keep your eye on and is here to stay. It has evolved, offering additional and advanced features which will only get better with time.

Contact us for a no obligation consultation to determine if a virtual PBX solution is right for your organization.

sales@cloud-team.com