What is a Cloud/Hosted PBX – Is It Right for Your Business?
As a business owner, you have a lot going on. When it comes to changing up how you communicate with employees, vendors and just about everyone, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the options. Most businesses avoid cloud PBX services, not because there is anything wrong with them, but because they don’t understand them. It’s not their fault. Service providers do not exactly make it easy to understand, but the good news is cloud PBX services really aren’t as complicated as you might think – and they offer numerous benefits that make them something you may want to give serious consideration to.
What is a Cloud PBX?
A Cloud PBX, also known as a Hosted PBX or Virtual PBX, works off cloud-computing technology. Data is stored, then transferred over the internet and it has been around for several years. A Cloud PBX service is based on traditional PBX technology, but it gives you access to a PBX without the need for the expensive, complicated equipment. It works virtually, so all services are routed through a VoIP provider, rather than an in-house team.
With a cloud PBX service, the providing company maintains all equipment, manages the software, upgrades when needed, and lets you just make your calls without worrying. Your clients, vendors and whoever else calls you have no idea you’re using a cloud PBX service.
How a Cloud PBX Service Works
Cloud PBX services allow you to have multiple extensions, office locations and even stay in touch with employees telecommuting – and no one will ever know. When a customer calls your main number, the call is routed to the cloud PBX service. Then based on the selection the caller makes (i.e. extension or pressing a button for a specific service), the call is then routed by the PBX to the appropriate person. Calls can be routed to extensions, a person’s cellular phone or even secondary offices.
Why Use a Cloud PBX?
Cloud PBX services have several key benefits, the biggest being:
- Cost Savings – A traditional PBX system is extremely expensive to purchase, setup and maintain. But, there is no upfront investment with a cloud PBX service. Instead, the majority of the time the telephones you already have can be used – including cell phones and house phones for telecommuting employees.
- Flexibility – You can have employees that work from anywhere in the world (including their home) without clients ever knowing. Calls are routed to them based on the caller’s selection, so the caller never has to worry about directly calling someone overseas or in the next office.
- Virtual Presence – Even if your office isn’t located locally you can get local virtual numbers so that customers feel more confident calling your company.
- Scalability – Cloud PBX systems can grow as your company does – without the traditional costs of a regular PBX.
- Fast Setup – Compared to a traditional phone system, you can set up a cloud PBX relatively quick.
- User Friendly – Cloud PBX systems are not complicated and just about anyone can configure and use them. You don’t even need a special IT department to help set them up or make changes to your service plan.
Bottom line, cloud PBX systems aren’t just the wave of the future, they are commonly used today by many of the businesses you call on a daily basis. They are not just for large corporations with dozens of extensions either – small businesses are now using them to accommodate their customers and remote teams, regardless of where in the world they are. Small, one man/woman businesses who are frequently out of the office are also utilizing them as a means of providing quality customer service without having to hand out multiple phone numbers – office and cell phone. If your business has been avoiding using a cloud PBX service simply because the name seems complicated, you’ll be surprised to see just how simple, effective and affordable they really are.
Read more about specific Cloud PBX providers such as RingCentral, Phone.com and VirtualPBX, and what they have to offer in our Business VoIP Reviews.