Best Virtual PBX Phone Systems – Hosted PBX Reviews
Searching for a reliable phone service to handle all of your important calls?
A virtual phone system gives businesses a professional touch, without the complications of standard phone systems. The need for expensive and complicated phone systems is eliminated and replaced with a virtual phone system such as Grasshopper, while still providing advanced telecommunication functionality necessary for operating a home office, as a mobile professional, or a small business.
Virtual phone systems offer a wide array of advanced features.
Not all companies offer the same features, but most will offer:
An auto-attendant is usually the first contact a customer has with a company. Making a good first impression could be the difference between a happy, repeat customer and a lost sale. Customers do not like to leave messages on a machine, they expect personal attention, especially new customers. A full time receptionist can be very expensive. The auto-attendant acts like a real person, without the extra expense. Callers will hear a custom business greeting, and can then choose how they would like their call to be answered. Options generally include:
• A specific employee or extension number
• Routing, for example they can dial 1 for sales, 2 for customer support
• Select a specific employee by name
• Join a tele-conference
• Customizable information line for business hours, driving instructions
The greeting callers hear can be customized to suit individual or business needs. Most virtual phone service providers offer synthesized greetings using the companies special text-to-speech system, or professional voice actors to record the greeting. There is usually an extra fee for using a professional voice talent.
Information or Music on Hold
Customers hate being placed on hold, but a little music while they wait will make the experience a little more bearable. Alternatively, vital information about the business or upcoming sales or events can be programmed to play while the customer waits. Most providers offer a wide variety of music to choose from, including popular rock, country or classical music.
During or After Hours Modes
Businesses usually want the phone system to behave differently outside of normal business hours. Virtual phone systems give you several options.
• Leave the system operational, but change the message callers hear to inform them they have called after hours. Employees can choose to have calls forwarded to their home or cell phones, or the caller can be instructed to leave a voice mail.
• Change the message to inform callers the business is closed and they can call back during normal business hours or leave a voice mail.
• Turn off the phone system and then on again when the business opens. The call will go unanswered, and the caller will realize the business is closed for the day.
Keep Your Existing Phone Number
Many virtual phone service providers allow businesses and individuals to keep existing numbers. A quick search lets new users know if their number is eligible for “porting” which is the term used for transferring a phone number to the virtual system.
Caller ID Blocking
Businesses can make anonymous calls by having caller ID blocked. All CNAM information associated with that phone number is also blocked.
International Call Blocking
Not all companies offer free international calling. International call blocking prevents employees from making unauthorized calls to countries outside the 50 continental United States and Canada.
Caller ID Alternative
This feature is very handy for businesses operating from a home office. Any number linked to your account can be used as the number to appear on outbound calls, keeping your home phone number private.
Any incoming call can be programmed to ring on your cell phone or office number as well as on your virtual phone system phone.
Do Not Disturb
There are times in every business operation when it is just not convenient to take calls. This feature politely informs callers they will be directed to voice mail, and your phone never rings.
Reject Anonymous Calls
Sometimes callers will block their number, preventing you from seeing who is calling. This feature informs callers that you do not accept calls from blocked numbers.
Caller ID on Call Waiting
When a call comes in while you are already on the phone, the caller ID will let you know who is calling and you then have the option to take the call or not.
Many companies like to have more than one number on their accounts. Ring ID identifies which number is being called by ringing a different tone.
Find Me Follow Me
Never miss a call where ever you are. Unanswered incoming calls will be redirected to numbers you specify.
This is different than Find Me Follow Me because calls are redirected right away instead of ringing on the main line first. Incoming calls can be forwarded to any specified phone number in the continental United States or Canada.
During a power outage or in case the internet is down, incoming calls are forwarded to a specified number.
Aside from the features companies offer, here are some other things you may want to know before selecting the best virtual phone system for you.
Internet Not Included
A virtual phone system provides phone service, not internet service. You will need high speed or broadband internet service in order for the system to work.
You Can Use Your Computer and VoIP at the Same Time
The phone service will not interrupt your normal work, however you may need a router. There are some VoIP devices that are able to act as routers, but not all. You should check the user guide for your specific device.
Some virtual phone providers will allow you to use traditional phones with their system, however some systems can only be used with special phones you buy from the company.
Virtual phone system providers have excellent customer service. The system is very easy to install and to easy to use, however if you have any problems or questions, they are there to help. In most cases you will find an extensive FAQ section that answers any questions you may have. Most companies also offer live chat help and email support for more complicated problems.
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