Virtual fax services have become standard for thousands of businesses across the country. These Internet fax services offer a number of major advantages over landline based fax machines. Many companies offer Internet fax services, but finding the right virtual fax company can take some time and research.
First, it's important to understand how virtual fax works, as this can make it easier to understand the differences among the different providers. Virtual fax services use the Internet to send and receive faxes, basically bringing the role of a traditional facsimile machine to a company's existing email system. When a document needs to be sent, it's scanned into a computer and then faxed over the Internet. When faxes are received, they arrive as typical computer documents in a user's email inbox. Faxing over the Internet is far less limiting than facsimile machines, because it uses a company's existing broadband connections to send data rather than congested landlines. The best Internet fax providers have experience in working with the servers required for this kind of service, and should have easy-to-use software that makes sending and receiving documents a simple matter.
Businesses should look for a company that has offered internet fax services for at least a few years, as these tend to be the most dependable. Many virtual fax companies will be happy to explain the technology that they use to provide their services, and may have important information about the limits of faxing over the Internet (for instance bandwidth restrictions and percentage of downtime per year). Talking to a virtual fax company's sales staff is one of the best ways to find out about their services and the features that set their service apart from the competition.
However, for an unbiased look at a virtual fax provider's services, many businesses ask for demonstrations. These can give a good idea of the ease of use and flexibility of a particular piece of Internet fax software and the servers used to provide the service. Most providers offer some type of demonstration, either on their websites, through a free trial or as a download or demo disc. Businesses should weigh the features and benefits of faxing over the Internet with its cost in order to make an educated decision about which service to choose.
It can also be helpful to read customer reviews for an Internet fax service. This provides a way to see the long term possibilities and drawbacks of a certain service, and a way to get an unbiased idea of a virtual fax service's functionality. Many providers show customer reviews on their websites, but websites like Google and Yahoo also provide reviews for many providers. Sometimes it can be difficult to find customer reviews, but in these instances businesses should ask providers for testimonials or references.
Every business that relies on a fax machine should consider switching to a virtual fax service, and the right provider can make the switch very convenient. Internet fax services don't require a lot of training time, and with the right provider, they're very easy to use.