When looking for a hosted PBX phone system, it won’t take long to notice an overwhelming number of options. Smaller businesses are often looking for an affordable solution that will provide many of the features that larger companies use. Hosted PBX services are provided from the premises of the service provider, so small businesses can now enjoy numerous advantages without installing all the hardware or software typically needed with a new phone system.
What is Hosted PBX?
To understand hosted PBX, one must first understand the essential elements and history of PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems. This is a privately owned telephone switching system for handling multiple telephone lines without paying the phone company to lease each line separately. With a hosted PBX or VoIP system, your company will be provided with a particular router or switch that attaches to the network and is then connected to the external world. The router communicates directly with the hosting service that provides the hosted PBX. The hosting service is responsible for all the call processing, including translating the signals from your voice into data packets sent across the internet to their servers. The hosting service then translates these data packets into voice signals and routes the call to its final destination.
A hosted PBX system is an IP phone system. Most of the hardware is hosted by a service provider monthly or annually so that all connections to or from your website go via the service provider. This advantage is that the equipment used in a hosted PBX phone system is usually much more reliable than an on-site system. The user can access a variety of features, including VoIP usage data, from any internet-connected device. VoIP handsets are also available for purchase, making adding new lines and desk phones easier as your business grows.
One of the main advantages of using VoIP or a hosted PBX phone system is that it is much more scalable than an on-site system. If you need to add new lines or desk phones, you can do so quickly and easily without worrying about installation or reconfiguration. You also don’t need to worry about maintaining the system or dealing with technical issues, as this is all handled by the service provider.
Companies will already have the majority of what is needed to use a hosted PBX service: a high-speed internet connection and a router. The additional equipment required is compatible phones that support industry standard SIP, and have the right set of VoIP codecs to transmit data packets efficiently enough for maintaining high call quality. This gives the hosted PBX option a significant advantage over other choices since most of the equipment is already there, businesses have lower entry costs and support costs, while being easier to manage.
Features of Hosted PBX
Besides saving money on initial setup, hosted PBX offers popular features such as find-me/follow-me technology, Microsoft Outlook integration, extension dialing, predictive dialing, call forwarding, and music on hold. The find-me/follow-me feature allows calls to be easily forwarded to cell phones or other alternate locations. This allows for an entirely virtual office and reduces overhead office expenses. Also, many of these systems have an auto-attendant that enables calls to be directed during business and off-business hours.
Some hosted PBX systems will include a web portal that allows the user to log in and manage features and call information. Features such as managing voicemails, setting up new extensions, viewing call logs and configuring an IVR for customer experience can all be handled from any internet-connected device.
Another advantage to hosted PBX is choosing any particular area code desired. Service providers allow you to decide on any area code for your number that is not your geographical area code. Especially the case with non-fixed VoIP, this can enable long-distance calls to appear local, thus saving thousands of dollars on long-distance calling. Altogether, your calls will be more cost-effective. Since all the voice traffic is transferred over the IP, it dramatically reduces calling charges. Furthermore, calls between extensions are usually free.
Advantages of Hosted PBX
Hosted PBX systems are much less expensive than traditional phone systems. There is no need to buy hardware or software and usually no installation fees. In addition, many providers offer flat-rate monthly plans that include unlimited calling.
A hosted PBX system can increase productivity by allowing employees to work from anywhere. With features like call forwarding, employees can work from home, while handling customers as efficiently as they would, while at the office. In addition, features like voicemail to email and caller ID can help employees manage their time more effectively.
Improved Customer Service
A hosted PBX system can help improve customer service with features like call recording and Automatic Call Distribution (ACD). Call recording allows businesses to listen to calls and identify areas where they can improve. Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) ensures that calls are distributed evenly among employees so that no caller is left on hold for too long.
Scalability with Hosted PBX
The scalability of a hosted PBX system is unrivaled. Since the provider takes care of all upgrades and maintenance, businesses can add or remove phone lines without hassle. If your enterprise grows from 10 employees to 200 employees, the hosted PBX systems have the potential to meet those growing needs. You can do this simply by adding to your system without purchasing expensive equipment or an entirely new system.
Additionally, hosted PBX can also be integrated with enterprise Unified Communications, thereby making it a flexible component for building an omnichannel communication strategy for customers that interact with your business.
The essential advantage of having a hosted PBX system is that you can save a significant part of your monthly phone bill while enjoying several advanced phone system features. One employee can typically run this system. There is also usually a support call center from your phone systems provider to help. There is no need for expert staff to monitor and upgrade the hosted PBX. Thus, hosted PBX systems are truly hassle-free and affordable.