Telecommunications is the lifeblood of any enterprise, whether it be a multinational corporation or a small business. In fact, making the right business telephone system selection may be even more critical for a smaller organization that has fewer resources and less margin for error, both administratively and monetarily. Put another way, a small business phone system may make or break the success, if not outright survival, of a small business.
Any small company that has multiple telephone lines, whether in one place or at multiple locations, may want to consider whether a hosted PBX small business phone system is appropriate to meet its business communications needs. What exactly is a PBX? According to the definition provided by wisegeek.com:
PBX (Private Branch eXchange) is a privately owned telephone switching system for handling multiple telephone lines without having to pay the phone company to lease each line separately.
If a company has multiple lines, (regardless of the number of locations) the cost of a PBX can become excessive, if not prohibitive. A business VoIP system provides a small company top-of-the-line Fortune 500 level of telecommunications service without requiring additional investment or infrastructure. Although similar in some respects to an ordinary telephone system, it differs in that it uses an Internet connection to transfer data which is then converted into an audio signal when it reaches its destination.
Following are some factors to consider when determining whether a hosted PBX small business phone system is capable of meeting the telecommunication needs of a company:
- A hosted system is less expensive. The initial investment required is very small. There is no need for separate telephone system cabling. The equipment required is smaller and less expensive than for an in-house PBX. Subscription rates are low. There is little additional hardware required, saving a small company both money and space (i.e., there is no onsite switching system). There are additional savings because any costs associated with maintenance are virtually eliminated.
- Business VoIP/hosted PBX systems provide unified communications that facilitate greater productivity and allocation of company resources, both of which can increase levels of customer satisfaction. Just as multiple locations of the same entity don't have their own website, multiple business locations shouldn't have their own phone systems. A small business phone system should accommodate any differences between locations in phone equipment, office procedures and telephone protocol. Not only will a hosted PBX system adequately manage such differences, it will also permit the company to transfer resources in the event one location or department is busy and another is not. A disruption in one area need not cause a complete interruption in service to customers, vendors or even other departments.
- A hosted PBX eliminates virtually all problems associated with coordinating multiple carriers and systems, reducing administrative time and the problems that can arise from the miscommunication that often results when dealing with more than one communications partner.
- A small business phone system based on a hosted PBX/VoIP solution provides for a consistency of voice, style and functionality across all communications platforms, not just the telephone system but the social networking sites (SNS) the company uses as well. A company's virtual (online) presence should mirror its actual presence.
- Hosted PBX ensures fool-proof routing (with respect and apologies to overworked telephone attendants everywhere!).
- A hosted PBX small business phone system provides dedicated, personalized customer service and technical assistance backed by business services and resources only available from a company that specializes in telecommunications.
- Such a system is scalable, upgradable and perpetually cutting-edge, able to meet changing or growing demands. As the small company grows, the hosted PBX system grows with it. Fully managed, it will free a small company's personnel to focus solely on mission-critical tasks.
In addition to the big-picture factors listed above, a hosted PBX small business phone system also includes the following specific features:
- Conferencing solutions/virtual meetings.
- Available smartphone apps that increase utility and productivity.
- Ease in transferring calls.
- Auto attendant (including the option of creating personalized message greetings depending on the caller).
- Fax to email.
- Hold music.
- Caller ID.
- Single phone number.
Perhaps the greatest difference between an in-house PBX and a hosted PBX small business telephone system? The old saying in real estate sales of "location, location, location" does not apply. In fact, with business VoIP the location of the business is virtually unlimited because it can be anywhere and everywhere an Internet connection is available.
The bottom line? A hosted PBX small business phone system provides the state-of-art telecommunications used by multinational corporations to small organizations and does so at a tremendous savings in both time and money. Customized, inexpensive and able to adapt to the unique needs of each enterprise, a hosted PBX system is probably the best telecommunications option for any company, whether it has 10 employees or is among the top 10 in the world.