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The Virtual PBX – The Modern Solution to Effective Business Communications
With most companies depending on virtual communication methods like e-mails, many expected that the traditional phone would become extinct. However, phone calls are still valuable for businesses as they are more convenient and offer quicker results. Therefore, the concept of the virtual PBX was born.
What is Virtual PBX?
Also known as hosted PBX, virtual PBX is a cloud-based service which delivers the same functions of a conventional PBX phone system without burdening you with its equipment and maintenance. In other words, your calls won’t be dependent on physical phone lines since the system uses VoIP (voice over IP) technology.
Another difference between conventional and virtual PBX is revolves around the switchboard. Whereas a traditional PBX required one along with handsets and the manpower to manage everything, virtual PBX systems don’t need any. The company hosting the system will be in charge of providing your phone service, ensuring that you have access 24/7, and updating your system to the latest version.
How Virtual PBX Works
Though it is one of the latest IT innovations around, it is far from complex. In fact, all you need to do is exchange your regular telephone with an IP enabled one, connect it to your internet line and wait for the calls to flow in. However, all of this will be handled by the company offering to host your virtual PBX. So, you don’t have to worry about a thing.
As for after-installation use, neither you nor your suppliers and clientele will feel a difference. The only things you will experience are better voice quality and a lower rate of dropped calls. However, these are hardly the only incentives which have driven companies to embrace hosted PBX.
The Benefits of Hosted PBX
If you enjoy the idea of keeping your company up to date with a virtual PBX, you will love the fact that it comes with so many advantages. In fact, many of the Fortune 500 companies have switched to this technology because of the following benefits:
- Lower Costs – There are many costs which a hosted PBX can help you save. First off, you have the cost of ownership. Hosted communications help you take advantage of the latest technologies without spending huge sums upfront on hardware. You will also be saving on maintenance since your PBX isn’t on-site and is managed completely by the hosting company.
- Simple Operation – Traditional PBX systems are complex, but virtual ones can easily be configured by non-IT staff. In fact, the web interface that comes with the latter allows you to customize your service from a computer wherever you are.
- Reliability and 100% Uptime – Businesses which operate in areas where natural disasters are the norm will benefit greatly from virtual PBX systems. If a flood or tornado were to hit your city, the last thing you need is for you to be cut off from your clients just because your phone lines took too long to be fixed. This is where your competitors will step in. So, ensure your uninterrupted availability by making your call lines virtual. Even if your chances of experiencing Mother Nature’s wrath are minimal, a virtual PBX will improve your uptime and ultimately your customers’ satisfaction.
- Scalability – Businesses go through ups and downs all the time, especially due to factors like the economy. Since it’s hard to predict which way your business will go, your communications need to be scalable. Hosted communications allow you to scale up or down depending on your performance. Therefore, you can invest more or cut back without disturbing your business and main operations.
- Value-Adding Functions – Aside from connecting your calls, a virtual PBX comes with numerous functions which you can activate from your host. For example, you can go for HD voice for clearer calls or activate voicemail to automatically forward your calls to your inbox. There are more features which you can avail from your hosted PBX, but you need to check with your provider first.
- Higher Productivity – Certain functions of the virtual PBX can boost your productivity. For example, a Follow-Me service which sends your calls to whatever phone you have on you will ensure that all your important calls come through. Therefore, you will always be connected even if you’re not physically at your desk.
With all of these advantages in the bag, you will become a highly effective, smooth-running organization. As a result, your clients and suppliers will be impressed and more likely to deal with you rather than the competition.
The Risks of a Virtual PBX
As highly desirable as virtual PBX may be, there are two risks which can be associated with this high tech system.
- Unexpected Downtime – A hosted PBX is still a machine, which means that it can crash down when not properly maintained. This will affect your connection lines unexpectedly and for unknown time.
- Lack of Transparency – Since the PBX system won’t be within your company’s premises, you may have your doubts as to how your communications are handled. You may even be expecting the first risk any time because you don’t know what your host is up to.
Luckily, these aren’t major issues as long as you select the right host. The perfect host will be reliable, experienced, capable, well informed about the latest technologies, and transparent. With these qualities, rest assured that the service you receive will always be up to standard.
The Bottom Line
Now that you have been introduced to the world of virtual PBX systems, you probably have a good idea why many companies go for this option. Therefore, don’t lag behind in the race to the top and make sure that you have this system set up at your offices. However, make sure to avoid its major two risks by conducting thorough research and finding out which service provider is the best in this industry. Taking out a few extra minutes for this will save you a lot of hassle and thousands of dollars in the future.