In the long gone days before the internet revolution, it was only the large corporation that could afford professional business phone systems and benefit from all the nifty features and functions that come with them.
With the arrival of broadband in practically every nook and cranny of the entire business world, the playing field has once and for all been leveled, and all businesses, regardless of size, can gain from what the very best of modern telephony has to offer.
This democratization has been enabled by the growth, spread and technological advancements of cloud services. And what this means for the SME in telephony terms is that now all of the advanced features — extensions, rerouting options, automatic greetings, music on hold, find me/follow me call routing, etc. — that were once the sole reserve of the large corporation, can all be accessed and utilized simply and cheaply via an internet connection.
The Advantages Of Hosted PBX For SMEs
When compared to legacy phone systems, a hosted PBX solution offers numerous advantages for the SME. Indeed, providers have created their businesses out of creating packages, plans and solutions that are designed to help other businesses thrive. As such, you should expect to gain from some if not all of the following benefits that we have listed here. Indeed, when deciding on a provider, you should make sure that you are getting as many of these benefits as possible, for, if you don’t, then you will almost certainly be able get a better deal by shopping around and looking elsewhere.
1. Initial and Ongoing Cost Savings
One of the most attractive elements of VoIP for any sized business is of course the cost factor. VoIP utilizes the power of the internet to connect calls — and it’s safe to say that nearly all businesses these days are live on the web already. This means that, in the first instance, there are no additional cabling costs for a company which needs to interconnect all of their phones in the building — and this is something that can actually be a real hidden cost, especially for the fresh-faced start-up.
In addition, you will be leasing all of the equipment that you require from the provider, meaning that there will be no extra costs for any future repairs, nor ongoing maintenance and updates.
Hosted PBX solutions offer some really nifty and valuable features that can benefit SMEs. The following list gives a few examples, but by no means is it exhaustive:
- Voicemail to email transcription: This feature transcribes voicemail messages to text and sends them to a preferred email address. This is handy for when callers leave their details.
- Find me/follow me call routing: This is ideal for field workers. Users can create a list of numbers where they can be found before the caller gets pushed to voicemail. So, for example, a user could have his or her office phone ring twice, but on the third ring their cell starts to ring, and then on the fifth their home phone.
- Music on hold: Keep your callers entertained whilst waiting with latest releases, or golden oldies.
3. Custom Number
When you switch to a virtual PBX, you can keep the local number that clients already recognize. This is a huge advantage, as it will obviously be a rather large headache to try and let all of your clients and business partners know that you have changed your number — indeed, you may lose business and/or money in this process, especially if you have invested a lot in the past on advertising your old number.
The modern business is often no longer confined to a single location. You will no doubt have employees that work from home, you will have field workers, and there may even certain situations where either yourself or one of your colleagues may be required to work — or at least be contactable — overseas. The hosted PBX system enables this. No matter where you or your employees find themselves in the world, so long as there is an internet connection, they are able to dial into the business network as easily as if they were sat at their office desks.
This is not something that should be dismissed or overlooked. As we highlighted in the introduction of this blog, the professional phone system used to be the sole reserve of the large corporation, and, as such, there still remains an association with such business phone systems and success. And now, with hosted PBX, even the smallest business can cash in on the additional credibility that comes as part and parcel with a professional system — it can even give the impression to potential customers that the business is bigger than it actually is.
This is perhaps one of the most attractive features of a hosted PBX plan. As your business grows and you find yourself with more and more employees on the payroll, you can simply lease more phones from your provider and add them to your existing plan. Even if you find yourself to be so successful that you need to move to a bigger office, there’s no need to start all over again — just pack up your phones and take them with you. Conversely, if at any point you need to downscale your operation, it’s very easy to remove extensions and thereby cut the costs of your package. It couldn’t be simpler.
7. Configurable With Mobiles and Tablets
Here is where your hosted PBX will come swinging in to the rescue once more. Your system can be configured so that it connects with mobiles and tablets alongside any office phones or computers, providing almost unlimited flexibility for businesses with personnel who perform their jobs away from the office, but still rely on communication.
8. Local Presence
With hosted PBX you can set up as many different phone numbers as you wish, which all route to the same central phone system. This means that no matter where in the world your customer is located — be it Paris, New York, Cumbria or Cornwall — you can create the impression of having a local presence by offering local phone numbers that your clients will call.