The 411 on Hosted VoIP PBX
VoIP PBX. Computer sound? Nope. Medical procedure? No. Government agency abbreviation? No, we have enough of those! VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. PBX stands for private branch exchange, which is basically a business phone system, meaning linked phones that allow for call forwarding and transferring, conference calling, private and shared voice mailboxes and the like. Hosted VoIP takes it one step further, taking the telephone computer server need offsite, which offers incremental benefits we’ll get into below. Now, before your eyes glaze over, let me tell you, there are a lot of benefits to using hosted VoIP technology for your small business phone system. It’s true, we could all come up with topics more entertaining to discuss together but understanding the benefits of VoIP PBX is must-know info for any small business leader in the market for smart, modern, reliable business phone service. So, here’s what you need to know.
Modern traditional phone service is provided over an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) using analog or copper lines. VoIP sends voice data over the internet. It eliminates the need for independent phone lines and phone service. If you have dependable broadband internet service, you are a candidate for a VoIP PBX.
With hosted VoIP PBX, also known as a virtual office phone system, the host, or service provider, maintains all the software and hardware necessary for operating the phone system. This brings several benefits to the business owner, such as:
- Eliminating the need for the business to maintain knowledgeable phone or IT personnel on staff for setup, troubleshooting and maintenance. The host handles this.
- Taking the capital cost of a PBX computer server off the business. The host owns and maintains the server. Cash is freed up for the business to use on direct, incoming producing activities.
- Saving the business owner money and allowing for predictable, flat monthly costs. We’ll get into some of the details below, but at a basic level, VoIP saves the business owner the cost of independent phone service and results in lower costs per “line.”
- Giving the business owner greater control over the system functions through user-friendly interfaces
- Providing for greater mobility – users do not have to be sitting at their desk to take advantage of all the PBX benefits, which will cover shortly.
Many hosted VoIP PBX providers also do the onsite installation and setup of the handset equipment. They get you up and running and remain available for troubleshooting, system growth and the like. Some even provide rental options for the handset equipment, freeing up even more capital for the small business owner. And in many cases, if the business owner chooses to use existing handsets, special VoIP adaptors, sometimes referred to as ATAs (Analog Telephone Adaptors) can be used to convert the handsets over to VoIP functionality, though some benefits may be lost.
Two equipment categories factor into the Host VoIP PBX system: servers and handsets. A traditional VoIP PBX uses onsite servers to handle calls. Hosted VoIP takes the server need off site. The service becomes cloud based and the host handles the cost and maintenance of the server. VoIP handsets carry the voice data over the business’ broadband internet connection. As mentioned, many VoIP service providers also offer special adaptors that convert a non-VoIP handset to a VoIP handset. Be sure to ask your provider about the pros and cons of using an ATA with an existing handset.
Why Hosted VoIP Is an Ideal Solution for Small Business Owners
Let’s take a quick run-through of the features and benefits available with modern hosted VoIP PBX systems:
- VoIP PBX delivers “big business” solutions for the small business. These include
- On-hold messaging and music. Don’t just leave someone in silence, give them music or, even better, create a targeted message for them to hear while they wait.
- Auto-attendant efficiencies. Give callers the option to dial by name, access a directory or type in a specific extension and free up receptionist time for direct income producing activities.
- Automatic call routing. Send calls directly to a specific number automatically based on time of day or when a need arises, such as when an intended call recipient is sick or on vacation.
- Coworker status alerts. Enable coworkers to see if you are available before transferring a call to you. Give employees the option to set status to “unavailable” and take advantage of real-time status information so calls aren’t sent to someone who is already engaged on a call.
- These systems are ideal for multi-location businesses. Calls can be transferred from one location to another. No more asking the customer to take down a number to reach the billing department or the sister location across town. A phone can be answered at one location and, no matter the proximity – be it the department across town or a division two states over – the call can be seamlessly transferred.
- Many VoIP PBX service providers also allow for SMS texting. With this feature, customers can be easily sent appointment reminders or reached for simple correspondence. Texting brings a smart, incremental communication option to the business.
- Modern VoIP PBX services feature mobile apps that enable a wireless phone to function with the features of the office-based VoIP handset. This brings much needed portability to the busy, out-and-about professional. They won’t miss a call when they are away from their desk. And, they can transfer a call from their wireless device to their office handset when they arrive at their desk. No more, “Hang on, I’m going to call you back on the office line.”
- As mentioned above, some hosted VoIP PBX service providers rent out the handset hardware – the physical handsets – for the office phone system, which means a small business does not have to bear the capital cost of the equipment. Funds are freed up for other business needs.
Hosted VoIP PBX is packaged as one fixed monthly cost. With set monthly costs, small business owners do not have to manage spikes when they have months of greater usage. In the vast majority of cases, VoIP phone services maintenance costs are less expensive than traditional landline phone services so there are savings right out of the gate. And when VoIP technology is used, there is no need for the business to maintain a separate internet service. Phone and internet line costs are one in the same, and lower than the two independent services combined.
VoIP Is the Savvy PBX Solution for Small Business Owners
Small businesses deserve all the business phone system benefits enjoyed by the big companies. With hosted VoIP PBX they can have them. Small businesses will benefit from the financial model of hosted VoIP PBX as well: low fixed monthly service costs, no hefty computer server capital costs and no incremental IT payroll costs for a phone technician. Check out the options available in your area. Hosted VoIP PBX is the savvy small-business solution for modern, reliable business phone service.
Unified Global Solutions (UGS), a small-business-centric hosted VoIP PBX provider, believes companies of all sizes should have access to modern, professional, reliable business telecommunication systems that include informed and easily accessible customer service. With UGS you can expect quick access to local, personalized, knowledgeable customer service representatives. You can learn more about the UGS difference here. Contact them to discuss your business today.