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What to Consider When Choosing a PBX System?

Choosing a PBX system can become quite complex and confusing. Which solution will work best for your business all depends on your call volume, any features you might need and your budget. One of the best ways to help determine which PBX will work best for you is to look at how your business currently uses phone services. Identify any inefficiencies or shortcomings as well as key features needed to create an outline of an overall solution.

When approaching a PBX vendor, you should have this information available so that they are clear on exactly what your needs are. Ask questions and make sure that the system you are considering can handle the call volume and has the capability to be easily upgraded should that volume increase. Many business owners don't consider future growth when purchasing a Phone system. This often leads to extra expense sooner than expected. This is particularly true in cases where call volume is expected to increase a great deal within a short amount of time. If you buy a system today and then find in two years you have to purchase a whole new system, you'll quickly see that the original system you purchased was not the most cost-effective solution. Having a system that can handle current volume as well as expected future volume is a wise way to make a decision on a particular system.

The virtual PBX is one that is housed and maintained by an outside company. This could be a cost- effective solution for smaller businesses. Larger businesses can take advantage of these cost savings provided they don't need complex routing and the available capacity is within range. The hosted PBX means that the vendor handles most of the more complex support tasks while giving the business access to make simple changes to stations and voicemail. An on premise PBX system is one where the business maintains the hardware and all communication. Although usually more expensive, this solution is best for large businesses with multiple locations and complex routing of phone calls.

Features are an important part of most phone systems. Whether it's call forwarding, music on hold, voice mail, or conferencing ability, you need to make sure the system you are considering has the features that your business needs to run on a daily basis. If you are running a call center environment, a predictive dialer or feature such as automatic call distribution will be needed. If the system you purchase does not include a predictive dialer, you'll need to purchase this equipment separately. It is essential that the Phone system you want to purchase will interface with any external hardware that you want to use. Additionally, having a telephone system that has already been tested with third-party equipment would be in your best interest. This way you know that other companies are using similar setups with no issue.

Another consideration would be integrating a new phone system into your existing environment. Sometimes you may want to take advantage of the equipment you already have while slowly migrating to newer technology. This can be done when the newer phone system can also run the older technology until it is replaced over time. As an example, you may have digital phone sets that are still in good working order that you would like to continue to use. However, you might want to replace these digital sets over time with newer technology. Having a phone system that will allow digital and IP phone sets to run concurrently helps to defer the cost to a later time rather than replacing all of the equipment all at once.

The issue of support needs to be addressed prior to purchase. If the business has its own internal IT support, the business may opt to keep support in-house. Many businesses today are taking the option to pay for support by an outside company. This allows the business to focus their efforts on sales and growth strategies as opposed to IT infrastructure. A caveat to this outside support is the speed of response offered by the support company should a system outage occur. It's safe to say that the support company has more than one customer and restoring service may not come as quickly as support provided by in-house personnel. This is where a service level agreement is needed to establish response times so that both parties know what to expect in the event of an outage. A business without the ability to communicate is a business that is losing money.

Whether purchasing a virtual PBX or on premise PBX system, a business should consider the day-to-day operations to determine the best solution. How your employees use their phones as well as the type of customer base will largely determine the phone system that is chosen. Finding a system that meets the needs of both the business and its customers is the best way to implement a business phone system.

 
 

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