Strong communication techniques are vital to any sized business. Fast, reliable communication is essential to the operation and growth of an organisation. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology utilises the internet as a means of transmitting a phone call, rather to the traditional PSTN, ISDN lines where calls are sent over a network of copper wires.
When referring to VoIP many companies also use other terms such as ‘SIP’, ‘Virtual Phone’, ‘Net Phone’, ‘Cloud based phone systems’, ‘Hosted PBX & ‘IP telephony’. Many smaller businesses have struggled with their understanding of VoIP. Their concerns of this new technology means it has typically not been given the consideration it so rightly deserves. The lack of clarity on exactly how it works has been a big factor as to why some small businesses are hesitant to try VoIP services. This has meant they have kept with their tried and trusted PSTN lines and have missed out on the benefits of VoIP systems.
Hosted PBX is an emerging type of VoIP system and has many benefits such as cost effectiveness, easy scalability and cloud based inter-connectivity to name just a few. Telephone handsets within a business connect over the internet to a phone system server rather than connecting to an on-site PABX (or PBX) phone system. When VoIP calls also delivered over the internet, the sound of the person’s voice is converted into digital data, sent over the internet and then translated back into analogue signals at the other end. VoIP call quality has come a long way in recent years and it is now impossible to tell a VoIP call or PSTN call apart.
So how does a Hosted PBX VoIP System work for Small Businesses?
It’s important that when looking at upgrading your standard phone system, you shop around for a provider that will also work with you and your needs. Each business is different and the ability to be flexible is now considered the norm when it comes to well-run SME’s. Not all businesses are limited to working within the office. Some employees need to be consistently on the move, be interstate or could be working overseas. A Hosted PBX system empowers your business and allows people to work from anywhere in the world, obviously there must be a live internet connection, this means they simple plug in, log into the cloud system and that’s it, it’s that simple, just as if they are sitting at their desk in the office.
Implementing a Hosted PBX system means it comes with a variety of features that can greatly benefit you and your business. There features include music on hold, find me routing, rerouting of numbers, fast and reliable connections as well as voicemail to email for example. One for the most commonly used features is the music on hold function, to play music whilst the customer is on hold or can be used to further inform your clients about your business.
As mentioned earlier of one of the major benefits of a Hosted PBX VoIP system is its scalability. The larger your business grows all you will need to do is just order more phones and then just add them to your already existing plan. Another benefit is that if you move offices you simply unplug your phones and take them with you to the new offices, as long as there is a live internet connection you will be able to simply connect and you can begin working! if the business needs to reduce in size you can call your provider and removed any unwanted extensions.
Reliability is crucial to any business and in the unlikely situation that the system does go down, a VoIP system can give you that piece of mind that your business will continue to run. In this case you can automatically forward calls to another network and or device, such as a mobile phone or in a larger scale a backup PSTN service.
When it comes to security it is important that a number of measures have been put in place between you and your VoIP provider to ensure everything is up-to-date and frequently upgraded. Like most technology they have weaknesses and if the VoIP phone system is not maintained correctly hackers can find their way in and potentially make unsolicited calls from your system. These can sometimes go unnoticed and allow hackers to run up thousands of dollars in unwanted calls. If you are considering a Hosted PBX system, these security measures are entirely up to your provider. However, do note that it is still your responsibility to ensure you have strict firewall procedures within your own internal network.
Finally, the flexibility of using phone numbers with VoIP systems is one of the biggest benefits for some companies. The ability to keep your own phone number is crucial for a business. Number portability allows you to move your number from an old ISDN or PSTN line across to your Hosted PBX system and not have to change phone numbers. Additionally, you can also set up any number of extra phone numbers that can be used by your system. This allows you to portray a local presence to your customers. Many people prefer not to answer a call from numbers that a foreign to them, however numbers that used locally can give the customer a sense of trust even before they have answered the phone!