For any growing business, communication - both outbound and inbound - is vital to success. Customers that can't reach a business or employees that can't contact clients, both mean time and money lost. Traditionally, businesses have opted to use either local telephone providers or what is known as a Private Branch Exchange, or PBX system. With a PBX, a company is able to direct calls to numerous extensions within the office without having to run a separate phone line to each phone. The calls come into the PBX, which is usually quite large and has its own room, and are then distributed out from there.
However, the PBX market is seeing an increase in the number of businesses opting for a newer version of the PBX which is a virtual phone service. These systems allow a business to have all of the features of the standard PBX, and sometimes more, but without the large overhead cost, big equipment and phone room required. The virtual phone system delivers calls to a business's existing phones while the equipment is maintained off site by the provider.
Virtual phone services have the ability to set up and customize a main menu which allows customers to choose where they would like to be connected, or if a business prefers to have calls forwarded directly. The systems will also include features such as on hold with music, call redirect, and voicemail. The same is also true of traditional PBX systems, yet the virtual variety has a significant advantage - storage space. For all intents and purposes, the storage space of a virtual phone system network is unlimited. This means that customers will never be confronted with a "this mailbox is full" message. A virtual phone system also allows for the capabilities to receive an unlimited number of calls at one time so that no one gets a busy signal. A business may have the option of sending the caller to voicemail or keeping them in a queue on hold until someone is available to take their call.
Virtual phone services also allow a business to set up their customer point of service in the way that best suits them - whether it is a simple menu, a directory of extension numbers, or something all together different. This allows a business to tailor their communications system to customer's needs. Since a client's first interaction with a business will often be a phone call, having the right greeting and the right information available to callers can be crucial to success.
Another advantage to the virtual phone service is that it requires no hardware on the business end. All call storage and forwarding is done at the provider end. This means that if a business changes locations or needs to upgrade to accommodate business growth, they can do so without having to purchase new equipment or risk losing their current setup. In addition, this means a low start-up cost for virtual phone services, as there is no hardware to install. All the business requires is a phone line and ordinary phones.
Virtual PBX calls can be routed to any phone - be it office, home, or cell. This means that call forwarding becomes as easy getting on the Internet or picking up the phone. Most providers will have dedicated websites that companies can access to change their own settings with ease. When changes can be made on the fly a business becomes more flexible and even allows for more mobile efficiency. New advancements in virtual phone service technologies allow for caller ID, conference calling and fax options. In short, anything a regular PBX system can do, a virtual one can do as well, if not better.
Every business needs to find the communications solution that best fits their vision and provides for the needs of their customers. The key is having a system that allows clients easy access to information, while also allowing for connection to all areas of the business. Virtual phone services give companies the ability to choose their own options, while freeing them of some of the burdens associated with traditional phone companies. The systems allow for greater freedom and control of incoming calls, coupled with unlimited storage and the ability to keep pace with further communications advancements.