Hosted PBX is, quite simply, the answer for a small to medium sized company’s telephone exchange requirements without the costs of sourcing, purchasing, locating and maintaining their own back end equipment and software. It allows the smaller players to compete with larger companies on their own terms and deliver a customer service that is almost indistinguishable.
How does Hosted PBX work?
Hosted Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is a spin off from Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which has been around for many years and is tried and tested technology. VoIP allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks, including the internet, by converting analogue voice signals into a digital format. Using this system with Cloud technology means that outsourced software and machines; and their users, can sit anywhere in the World and maintain a cohesive network with as many additional inputs and functions as are required. In this case we are talking about a remotely hosted PBX which is used as a company’s private telephone network.
What can Hosted PBX deliver?
A hosted PBX system has all the same advantages of an internal PBX; such as the use of any or all of their existing VoIP, ISDN and analogue systems; more phones than there are physical phone lines, and free calls between users. Services that would usually be provided as part of the package include voice menus which handle incoming calls and transfer them to the right department, extension routing and line hunting so that business enquiries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Including a hosted office communications server (OCS) will enable the full use of all the additional functions of unified communications (UC) which combines real-time communication services with their non-real-time partners so that instant messaging, presence information and call control for example can be integrated with voicemail and email. This means that live voicemail messages can be captured in a .wav file attached to an email, and forwarded to the intended recipient working far away from their office desk, to be picked up instantly. The technology is ready and waiting with the answers to many of the challenges that small and medium companies face with regards to the efficient communications service that customers have come to expect.
What is there to gain from choosing to use a Hosted PBX?
- Firstly, it will work with existing technology; landlines, mobiles, computers and laptops, these can all become part of the same network and can be used to make and answer calls using soft phone programs. The extra functionality is all hosted externally so there is not the outlay required to purchase additional hard and software or the question of where to put it. For accounting purposes the costs now come under operational expenditure rather than capital expenditure.
- Linking workers via the Cloud means that they are not now tied to their desks and can operate from any location around the globe. For multi-site operations, internal meetings can be held using video conferencing which removes the need for wasteful travelling time.
- Local virtual numbers can provide a presence in any city of choice, setting up a virtual office at whatever location suits their business strategy, with none of the physical costs. It can even be used to test the viability of a potential relocation.
- Customer leads are easily lost by inappropriate communications systems that leave people on hold or drop the connection; but now a highly efficient call handling process can be tailored to direct important calls to the right person at the right time, building customer confidence and establishing company credibility.
- As a business grows an in-house system might have difficulties in expanding to meet a growing demand; whereas a hosted PBX is easily scalable, future proofing their requirements.
- Finally there is the convenience, set-up is far faster than installing an in-house solution and once it is in place a simple user interface will allow internal monitoring, managing and manipulation without the need for outside services or engineers.
Hosted PBX can incorporate a wide variety of additional features that users find useful. Find Me/Follow Me is a facility that allows incoming calls to be received at any location while ringing any number of phones either at once or in a predetermined sequence. Auto attendants that deal with incoming calls without the need for a receptionist can be customized to offer company greetings, menu options and also a real person choice which can be outsourced, with the responder being aware of which company the call is related to. Automatically analyzing the usage of the phone system can be beneficial for assessing productivity and generating call logs and reports, where call monitoring is necessary for a business this can also be set up.