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Hosted PBX Explained

How Virtual Business PBX Works

In telephony, the acronym PBX stands for Private Branch eXchange, a type of telephone exchange system that businesses use to connect their phones with the public telephone network to perform a variety of functions, including routing calls to relevant extensions and sharing phone lines. Modern systems offer a wide range of functions and are automated.

There are two main categories of PBX systems:

  • Traditional PBX relies on physical connection of telephone lines
  • IP-Based PBX connects business phones via Internet Protocol

Virtual PBX is in the second category. It uses software to connect existing business phones to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) devices. The system relies on Internet service that a third party provider offers, and businesses do not have to invest in new hardware or manage calls in-house. It is therefore not only more reliable but also offers more features than VoIP.

How Virtual PBX Works

A service provider gives a business either a local or toll free number to handle all calls, voice mails and faxes round the clock. The business does not add any telephone wire or modem. They only need to register and activate an online account to use the service on any phone or device. They can either log in to their accounts or use a phone to access the messages saved online.

Businesses can also port their existing numbers, which means they can keep using the existing numbers with the new system. They can choose multiple numbers and customize each number differently.

The customized greeting may include menu options for calling either individuals or particular departments. The greetings may be scheduled depending on business hours, and callers do not have to put up with long hold times because the system uses advanced queuing options that improve efficiency. 

Virtual PBX Features

  • Virtual calling
  • Conference calls with employee extensions
  • Call transfer between extensions
  • Configuring custom business greeting
  • Automatic Call Distribution
  • Call logs
  • Virtual faxing
  • Customizable answering options
  • Customizable and automated call routing
  • Voicemail and messaging services
  • Real time recording, monitoring and storage

Benefits of Virtual PBX

  • Quick and easy setup because it does not require hardware purchase and installation. Businesses do not even need to install any software on their systems. They only need to go online to register and activate their accounts.
  • Cheap startup and maintenance costs. Businesses do not pay any setup fees, and there is no extra hardware to maintain. They do not even make any upfront payments, as they can try the service for free; usually for seven days, before being billed. Businesses can save between 40% and 80% compared to traditional telephone systems. The service is especially ideal for businesses that make many long-distance or international calls.
  • Easy management because voice and data services are combined in one system. Any Web browser suffices to manage the system.
  • Integration of voice and data streamlines communication within a business.
  • Ability to work from anywhere because the system can work with any phone in any part of the world but without the associated long-distance charges.
  • Ability to set up virtual offices and save on expenses associated with brick and mortar offices.
  • Working from anywhere enables businesses to become more productive.
  • Direct dialing between extensions
  • Businesses need only one provider for various services
  • Flexible system configuration that suits different business needs
  • No learning curve, which eliminates the need for training and its related financial and time requirements
  • Unified messaging allows businesses to incorporate various devices into the same telephone number, including computers, fax machines, cell phones, desk phones and PDAs. For example, businesses can set up their systems such that when people send voicemails or faxes, they receive SMS alerts. Received faxes can be downloaded as e-mail attachments or viewed online.
  • The ability to integrate different devices also makes the system more versatile. Employees can even send faxes via smart phones.
  • Improved customer loyalty will result from the better experience customers get. Automatic reception ensures that no caller will listen to the busy phone signal. The callers will also have the opportunity to choose their preferred options at the press of a button. Automatic Call Distribution evenly distributes calls among available employees for better service delivery. The service automatically routes calls to relevant departments or persons based on the caller’s data, such as area code. It can also be configured to route unanswered calls to available staff.

Virtual PBX allows even small businesses to enjoy the services that used to be the preserve of large corporations because of prohibitive costs. The technology allows them to focus on their core businesses without getting distracted by the maintenance of their PBX systems.