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What is a Virtual PBX System?

A virtual PBX system is simply a phone system used by a company or other entity that is housed and maintained by a vendor. The PBX routes calls to extensions based on caller selections, giving the caller a "self serve" experience. The PBX allows multiple calls to come in at the same time where the caller won't hear a busy signal. This is because most businesses typically have more than one call going at a time.

A virtual PBX can offer a business owner significant cost savings over purchasing a phone system and maintaining it on-site. This is because the business owner will not have to pay to upgrade or maintain the existing infrastructure that includes things such as wiring, available data connections, circuits, or network bandwidth. Your service provider maintains the entire solution including circuits and hardware.

Since a hosted PBX uses voice over IP technology, your phone numbers can be from virtually any area code you desire. Any calls made to this area code are charged at a local rate. As an example, if your business is located in California but the majority of your clients are in New York, you can set up your virtual PBX with numbers in the New York area code. This gives your clients or customers the ability to call your business without incurring long-distance charges or you as the business owner having to purchase and maintain a one 800 number to encourage customers to call.

Another advantage to a hosted system is that the business owner does not maintain or support any hardware. Most smaller businesses do not have an IT department per se and as a result do not have the resources to troubleshoot a system when problems arise. The service provider is responsible for maintaining all of the hardware and communications associated with the PBX. In most cases, a hosted system has a web based interface that allows users to make changes and add phone extensions. This is typically simple to do and most average computer users can accomplish this with little or no effort.

A virtual PBX provides the business owner with a great deal of flexibility. Because of the nature of voice over IP technology, the business can move and expand with relative ease. The scalability of the hosted system is such that as the business grows the service provider simply increases capacity to accommodate the new business growth. Moving a business to a new location requires virtually no changes on the part of the business owner. The same phone numbers are used so that both employees and customers can continue to use the same numbers they've always used and the call will complete as expected. This is not the case with an on premise system. The hardware would have to be broken down, moved to the new location and then set up at a significant cost to the business owner.

Many of these hosted systems have advanced features that increase productivity and provide users with a seamless way to move from location to location. Call forwarding has become quite a common feature used by many businesses today. Phone numbers are forwarded to cell phones and land lines so that employees can take their extensions with them regardless of where they're at. Many businesses are now taking advantage of a mobile workforce. Having a virtual PBX facilitates the implementation of this new business practice and this type of system allows the business owner to have employees virtually anywhere without having to have a traditional brick-and-mortar presence. This results in significant cost savings when expanding the business into new markets. Without a building to maintain a business test a new market at a very minimal cost.

Another cost savings benefit to a virtual PBX is that of the auto attendant. This negates the need to hire personnel specifically designated to answer the phones. The system can route calls based on entry of the last name or an extension and is automatically routed without human intervention.

Perhaps the largest benefit to any business is the "big business" appearance that a virtual PBX can provide. Having a phone system that answers calls with professionalism gives customers confidence traditionally reserved for larger businesses. You might have only five departments, but your customers feel like they're making contact with a larger business. This puts your business on an even playing field with those companies that are large and have well-known names. Being able to compete with these companies is a big advantage for small businesses.

If you're trying to decide on the best communication solution for your business, consider a virtual PBX. Not only cost-effective, this phone system can offer versatility and ease of use. Without support or maintenance worries, your staff can focus on expanding your business and your bottom line.

 
 

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