There are many ways that a business can go about saving money, optimize productivity and generally work towards running a smoother, cleaner and ultimately more profitable operation. However, a perhaps not-so-obvious method of achieving such desired results can be found in choosing the right office phone system for your business.
Indeed, when building a business plan, it’s not unusual — especially for the fresh-faced startup — to overlook what efficiencies can be engendered by turning to the realms of VoIP and hosted PBX to cater for the enterprise’s business telephony requirements.
For the uninitiated, a phone system will probably seem like it is what it is — an inescapable business expense that, although essential, will nonetheless be a lot of trouble with no real capabilities of benefitting the enterprise beyond its primary function of making and receiving calls.
Now, while this may well have been the case once upon a time, in 2016 this in fact couldn’t be further from the truth. Traditional, “old-style” and legacy landline-based PBX telephone systems are increasingly becoming things of the past. Indeed, they are equipment-heavy, almost impossible to update, are feature-light, and often prohibitively expensive in any case for all but the very largest corporation.
If you think that such phone systems are the only option for your business, then you will be delighted to be informed that you may think again.
Hosted PBX brings so many benefits at affordable rates to even the smallest of businesses. In fact, one of the greatest advantages is the cost savings that can be incurred. This is achievable by simply negating the need for any expensive equipment to be kept onsite, meaning that not only is there no initial, large capital investment, but also no management or maintenance costs either. With hosted PBX, all of the equipment that enables VoIP calls resides in the provider’s data centre, where it is routinely and thoroughly maintained and kept up to date by teams of experts who work around the clock to ensure continued functionality. All that the SME needs to make use of such a service is an internet connection.
5 Great Hosted PBX Features
Cost savings, convenience and reliability aside, this blog post is all about the great hosted PBX features that users benefit from, all of which have core functions that add value to the business. Let’s take a look at the top five.
1. Find Me/Follow Me
As you will well know, the modern enterprise needs to be mobile. You will have field workers, sales reps, and home workers. Indeed, everyone who works at the business will need to be contactable no matter where they are or what they are doing — and the find me/follow me feature of hosted PBX enables just that. With just one phone number, calls can be routed to any device, number or numbers. This means that no matter where an employee is nor which device — be it smartphone, desktop or landline — he/she is using, the call will find them.
This is your “virtual secretary” that will always ensure that your business never ever misses a call. The message that you set up on your auto-attendant can be crafted to be as formal or informal as you require, depending on your brand image. And the functionality of the feature means that callers will be automatically connected to the right person or department.
3. Fax- And Voice-To-Email
Hosted PBX will connect a fax machine to any internet-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops. When a fax is received, it will be automatically routed to the desired device where it can be read. This is an environmentally friendly way to receive faxes as it negates the need for endless reams of fax paper to be printed off, and of course the constant replacement of ink cartridges, thusly saving your business money as well as time.
In addition, the voicemail to email transcription feature transcribes received voicemail messages to written text, and sends them on to pre-configured email addresses, enabling voice messages to be viewed quietly on the move, and also proving very handy when callers leave their contact details.
4. Queue Management
With all of the calls that your business will be handling, it is imperative that you have a system in place that can organise them all into an orderly queue to ensure that all callers are greeted within the shortest possible timeframe. Furthermore, the queue management function will allow you to override the call queue to make any changes as they become necessary or critical. What is more, as call-waiting lines begin to back-up — as may happen from time to time — or if the wait time for new callers reaches a pre-specified duration, the system can be configured so that call agents are notified with a tone that the caller cannot hear, alerting the agent that it is now time to wrap up and seek resolution to the current call and move onto the next.
5. Conference Calls
Conference calls are one of the essentials of the modern enterprise. Increasing employee efficiency and productivity, the ability to host conference calls provide an extremely cost-effective way to hold business meetings. Hosted PBX offers a variety of conference call features, including individual management of all conference call activity, integrated audio and web conferencing, call record history, online call scheduler and call record history. In addition, with an online conference call management portal, you will be able to decide exactly which extensions will be able to host and attend conferences, what types of security clearance will be required (if any), and you can also monitor any ongoing conference calls in real time.
A hosted PBX solution is undoubtedly a great investment for any business. The solution will be able to work with any existing equipment — be it VoIP enabled or otherwise — meaning that business owners can have ease of communication without the hassles and high prices that historically come part and parcel of such advanced phone systems.