Category Archives: Hosted PBX

The Four Most Essential Integrations Your Business Phone System Should Have

Hosted business phone systems are popular for a plethora of reasons, but one of the best things about them is their ability to integrate with other software/solutions your company may use. If you adopt a VoIP system that permits you to manage numerous business functions through a single, unified system, you can have better customer service and reduced operating costs. I have listed the four most essential integrations your business phone system should have.

Cloud Backup Features

Cloud business phone systems are great, but some businesses worry about what will happen if their VoIP provider doesn’t take the proper steps to ensure that customer contact information and calls records are kept safe. Cloud backup features can minimize the risk of losing important data and automatically copy your VoIP information. Regardless of what happens to the provider, your information will remain intact.

CRM Software

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software compiles customer data, organizes it, and uses it to manage sales and find new opportunities for growth. When you combine your business phone system and your CRM software into one integrated interface, customer service reps can have relevant data at their fingertips during calls. By keeping records and details about all customer service calls, you can serve your clients more efficiently. This will strengthen your relationship with them and increase the likelihood of them becoming repeat customers.

Accounting/Bookkeeping Software

Reliable accounting software is a must for any business. When you integrate your account software with VoIP, your accountants can monitor transactions from their phone or laptop. This allows them to quickly identify errors or irregularities . Marrying your accounting software with your VoIP also allows you to send reminder calls to clients who are late in their bills.

Microsoft Outlook & Email Clients

The best thing about integrating Microsoft Outlook with your VoIP is that that you can make calls and manage emails in tandem. Companies that opt to use Outlook usually store the bulk of their contacts there—including phone information. When you integrate the two, rather than look up phone numbers in Outlook before you want to make a call, your Outlook information is automatically available in your phone network. The other nice feature is that you can receive messages as audio files in Outlook, which means that you can check your phone messages without having to leave your computer.

How to Boost Concentration During Business Phone Calls and Conferences

There have been many transformations to the business phone system in the past ten years, and we’ve greatly altered the way we communicate with clients and customers. With that said, one of the most effective communication tools is still the phone call or conference call. Unfortunately, some of today’s technology prevents these calls from being as effective as they could be and reduces concentration during business phone calls and conferences. 

For example, employees frequently bypass their desk phone in favor of their mobile phone. Despite employees comfortable relationship with mobile phones, they aren’t exactly the best way to handle large call volumes. For one thing, mobiles have limited battery life and it is not atypical for an employee to miss a call due to a dead battery.

However, the biggest problem with an over reliance on mobile phones is erratic signal strength. This particular problem multiplies in a busy office setting when numerous devices are attempting to connect to a limited capacity cell.

This is where the desk phone comes in; after all, there’s nothing worse than dropping off  due to poor coverage or a dying battery during an important call. With a desk phone, this problem is nonexistent. Desk phones also tend to have much better call quality.

Which brings me to my point: is there a variation in concentration levels when comparing desk phones to mobile phones? If employees are using a mobile phone that has poor call quality, inconsistent cell coverage, and poor battery life, are they going to become disengaged and frustrated?

The best way to solve the aforementioned issues is to invest in an advanced business telephone system. With a great business telephone system, you can marry the ease of relying on a mobile phone with the sophistication of a business telephone system. Here are the things to look for when getting a business telephone system:

  1. Latest Bluetooth technologies – By opting for a business telephone system with an upgraded version of Bluetooth integrated, employees not only get crystal clear calls when using a Bluetooth handset or headset, but they get a similar freedom that they might achieve from their mobile device.
  2. Mobile integration – Allows mobile calls to be received on an employ’s desk phone, in effect increasing the audio quality.
  3. HD audio – HD audio is among the best quality audio available. A sealed acoustic chamber is recommended for the speaker phone, which is really important to avoid feedback loops and stopping tiny vibrations from interfering with the audio.
  4. Avatars integrated into the desk phone – Actually viewing an image of the person calling makes the call more personal and can help improve the back and forth on calls.

By choosing a business telephone system with these features, employees will be a lot more attracted to their desk phones, and odds are, they will accomplish more throughout the day.

The Pros and Cons of Desk Phones and Softphones

The primary types of VoIP business phones are desk phones and softphones. As you’re probably aware, desk phones are the physical phones that sit next to your computer at work. Sometimes they appear akin to and analog phone, but instead of being a landline, they are actually connected to the IP network.

Softphones, while also a type of VoIP business phone, are entirely different. They are apps that are installed on your PC or laptop. They have dialing pads not unlike a cell phone. Softphones can also have applications for your mobile devices.

Trying to find which one is the best fit for your company can be tricky. Below, is a quick guide to the pros and cons of desk phones and softphones, so that your company doesn’t spend money on a phone that doesn’t work for your business.

Desk Phones

Desk phones have been entirely redeveloped since the creation of VoIP. What you might imagine when you think of a ‘traditional desk phone’ is not relevant to a VoIP desk phone.

Advantages and Disadvantages

This may go without saying, but people are used to desk phones. Even if the VoIP desk phone is entirely different than that of a landline, people are still comfortable with them. The other great thing about desk phones is that they tend to have superior call quality. Unfortunately, desk phones are more costly than softphones. Furthermore, the cost of a desk phone can increase with the more features you add to them.

Softphones

A softphone isn’t truly tangible; it is a software program on your PC or smartphone. It, via the Internet, allows users to make or receive calls over that Internet connection. Softphones generally offer a very friendly user experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Because tangible equipment isn’t involved, softphones are installed quickly and boast a budget friendly option to businesses. As long as a user has Internet connection, they can get or receive calls from anywhere. However, if your lose your Internet connection, or your equipment computer or smartphone crashes, you will be unable to use it. Also, if you aren’t a fan of headsets, you may not prefer using a smartphone on your computer, as you will need it to respond and listen to calls.

At the end of the day, you will have to decide which pros appeal most to you and which cons are deal breakers. As with all business phone systems, you have to determine what your company needs to fulfill its’ communication requirements.

 

How to Chose the Right Business Telephone System Based on Your Company Size (Part 2)

As we discussed in Wednesday’s blog, trying to decide on a business phone system can be challenging considering the vast array of options on the market. One of the biggest factors a company should take into consideration is how large it is. The size of your company will largely determine the right business phone system for your company. In our last blog, we discussed the best business phone options for personal, small, and medium sized businesses. Today, we will examine the most popular choices for large businesses and enterprises. 

 

Large Business and Enterprise

Popular Options:

  • Business VoIP / Unified Communications
  • SIP trunking
  • On-premise PBX

Large businesses have entirely different needs than that of smaller or medium sized businesses. Large businesses have numerous office locations, unique sales and support operations, and executives with personal assistants. Usually large businesses will need unlimited calling packages, CRM and business software, and multiple local and toll free phone numbers. Most large businesses will also need call center capabilities.

The best option for large businesses are unified communications services. Most frequently these will come from business VoIP providers. Business VoIP has an online interface that permits account administrators to add users and configure features in real-time. They also offer web-based products that incorporate voice, video, and messaging, as well as other collaboration tools like multi-device compatibility and screensharing, to give a complete business communications solution.

Some large businesses prefer even more control over their business phone system. With SIP trunking and on-premise PBXs, companies have more customization options. The drawback is that SIP trunking and on-premise PBXs necessitate on-site servers and hardware. If you elect to go this route, you will need an in-house IT team to maintain and update the system.  

Customization isn’t the only advantage; on-premise solutions are often selected for security purposes. National companies, government agencies, and banks all have strict requirements to ensure secure communications. Doctor’s offices also need special HIPAA-compliant business phone systems to encrypt patient data.

Business Telephone Service: Finding the Right Fit

There are a plethora of business phone system options on the market, but recognizing the size of your business can eliminate a lot of options that simply won’t work. With that said, landline phone systems, in general, aren’t a great option for any sized business in the modern world. Besides being outdate and expensive, they have poorer call quality, less features, and are problematic in terms of scaling. Landlines will also typically require a business to sign a lengthy, non-negotiable contract.

Company size is one of the biggest factors when determining the best business phone system for your company, but it isn’t the only factor. A business will also need to consider their budget, as well as a business phone system’s reliability, user experience, and capabilities. Choosing the best business phone system will mean considering all of the above.

How to Chose the Right Business Telephone System Based on Your Company Size

Trying to decide on a business phone system can be challenging considering the vast array of options on the market. One of the biggest factors a company should take into consideration is how large it is. The size of your company will largely determine the right business phone system for your company. We’ve listed some of the most popular choices below, organized by company size.

Personal or Small Business (1-5 users)

Popular Options:

  • Consumer VoIP
  • Residential VoIP
  • Dedicated mobile work phone

Most small businesses (or personal home offices) don’t require a complicated business phone system; they can usually suffice with a limited feature set. In some instances, you might be able to get consumer or residential VoIP solutions (something like Google Voice) that are simple to maintain and setup.

There is always the option of getting a dedicated smartphone separate from your personal cell phone. If you only have one or two users, this is an attractive option.

Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs)

Popular Options:

These types of businesses can’t get away with skimping on a business phone system. SMBs usually have moderate call volume and depend on good call quality, reliable service, voicemail management, and scalability for new employees. Many SMBs have remote employees and multiple office locations.

SMBs on a budget might want to consider bundling VoIP and Internet services offered by their respective cable companies. These types of business phone systems will frequently have additional features like caller ID, voicemail, and conferencing.

Virtual business phone systems, on the other hand, have higher service reliability and more advanced features when compared to consumer VoIP solutions. These types of services operate directly from your computer, smartphone, or tablet to create a virtual phone network. In addition to inbound/outbound calling, these services have basic call routing and call handling features.

Cloud phone systems are hosted business phone systems that offer web-based user portals and can be used with compatible deskphones and/or softphone apps. Cloud phone systems are a step up in terms of features; they have video calling, extension dialing, queues, and conference calling.

On Friday’s blog, we will take a look at the best options for large businesses and enterprises, and then we will offer a few concluding thoughts.

In’s and Out’s of a PBX

Let’s clear up the mystery about PBX phone systems.  PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, and it is the hardware, or physical equipment, that controls the phone lines and extensions of a company. It manages inbound and outbound calls, as well as moving calls between internal phone extensions. It is the nuts and bolts of your inter-office phone system. A PBX system will give a company the ability to have one central phone number with extensions for every employee. This saves on a company’s monthly phone bills by letting employees share phone lines.

Features of a PBX

There are a multitude of features that a PBX phone systems offers: Auto attendant, call forwarding, call waiting, music on hold, conference calling, conference bridge, dial by extension/name and voicemail to email. Advanced features like find-me-follow-me are very useful for companies with highly mobile employees or sales forces.

Differing Types

PBX systems have different kinds of variations that can be tailored according to the unique needs of your company. It can be combined with the benefits of VoIP to create an IP PBX phone system. This type of format works over the Internet as opposed to traditional phone lines.  It can be more cost-effective for smaller businesses. It allows employees to connect to company phone systems anywhere as long as they have access to the Internet. This has been a great benefit to companies who have employees working from home or satellite offices.

Although PBX systems are usually located on-site, offices with limited space capacity can opt to have their system hosted off-site. A hosted PBX system routes call features to your company’s phone through the Internet and can save quite a bit of money. In addition, hosted PBX systems are very easy to scale up or down.  This is terrific for companies who experience employee size fluctuations.   You may have a “peak season” or an “off season” in which case flexibility of the hosted PBX would be very cost effective and convenient.  

 

 

 

Caution: Your Business Is Losing Money By Not Using Cloud Based Business Phone Systems

41468387_sInvesting in a cloud based business phone system is one of the smartest decisions a small business could make. Starting at a low monthly fee, you can get a virtual system that requires little space, empowers the business phone system you already have, rejuvenates your business identity, and even increases incoming calls.

Shrink the Cost of Office Equipment                              

Starting a small business can be a costly endeavor, especially once you factor in the plethora of office equipment you’ll need. If you don’t invest in a cloud based system, you will need to spend money on:

  • Complex phones
  • Faxes
  • Software for contact management
  • Salaries for customer services representatives

By eliminating these expenditures, you can focus on growing your business, all the while keeping up with technological advancements.

Increase Inbound Calls

By investing in a cloud based business phone system, you ensure that you growth potential is unlimited. With a cloud based system, you can add unlimited extensions. Furthermore, you can get a local number for your business. Studies have shown that local numbers increase the odds of a customer calling your business.

Eliminate the Startup Image

Oftentimes, your first impression with a potential client is through your business phone system. All businesses should be able to transfer calls, place clients on hold, and ensure that the phone is answered during business hours. A cloud based system will make it possible to do all that and more.

Consider Why Your Business Should Switch to a Virtual PBX

30910261_sBefore the Internet, only large corporations could afford professional business phone systems, and entrepreneurs were left in the cold.  Now that the Internet has leveled the playing field, all businesses—big or small—can get in the game. With a virtual PBX, business telephony is now available via an Internet download. What this means for small businesses is that they too can boast a business telephone system with extensions, rerouting options, automatic greetings, and other features that used to be the domain of big business.

 

  • CostA virtual PBX doesn’t have the same infrastructure as a legacy phone; the entire service is hosted on your providers’ offsite system. Most providers charge between $20 and $35 a month, which is a fantastic deal for businesses with international customers or remote workers. Even though your system is offsite, you still have complete access to all of your features. Another cost saving feature of a virtual PBX is you don’t have to dedicate a large IT staff to maintaining the system. Some maintenance and updates are actually done automatically through VoIP—since your system is constantly connected to their network, you will receive the newest features as soon as they are available.
  • Custom Number—When you switch to a virtual PBX, you can keep the local number that clients already recognize. This is a huge advantage, especially if you have spent a lot of money on advertising your number.
  • Efficiency—With a virtual PBX, your business phone system is available anytime, anywhere. With what feels like a nearly limitless amount of extensions, you can configure your landlines, mobiles, or international numbers to all ring from the same number without your clients knowing the difference.
  • Integration—Your phone number doesn’t have to be for taking calls with a virtual PBX. You can also use it for receiving faxes and emails. It’s also easy to add an automated phone answering system to your number, as well as conference calling and transfers. When your business phone system is virtual, it means that remote workers can access all of the company’s communication tools with only an Internet connection.
  • Room for Growth—One of the best things about a virtual PBX is how easily it can adapt to a growing business. As you add more employees, just purchase more phones and add them to your current plan. If you have to expand to a bigger office, there is no need to hire a moving company—just put your phones in a moving crate and take it over to the new location!

Is a Hosted PBX Phone System Right for Your Small Business?

Hosted PBXIn today’s uncertain economic world, between trying to stay in business and trying to turn a profit, small businesses, like your, have enough to worry about. Fortunately, your phone system doesn’t have to be one of them. A Hosted PBX Phone System offers small businesses the same benefits as a traditional PBX phone system, but for a fraction of the price.

Is a Hosted PBX Phone System Right for Your Small Business?

  1. There is no need to purchase or install or maintain anything onsite.
  2. Set up is quick and easy.
  3. Maintenance is handled by your service provider offsite for a small monthly fee.
  4. Hosted PBX offers a plethora of advanced features.
  5. You will not need to purchase any hardware.
  6. Hosted PBX is scalable, meaning it will grow alongside your small business.

Call Advanced Communication Systems (ACS)!

Is Hosted PBX right for your small business? Not sure? Call ACS. Our business communication specialists will thoroughly analyze your needs and design an affordable solution flexible enough to grow and change as your business evolves. We offer solutions ranging from traditional voice to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to Hosted PBX.

Question to Ask Before Calling ACS

  1. What is your budget? As a small business owner, we know your funds are tight. You need a system that will not break the bank.
  2. What features are you interested in? What features are important to you: voicemail, caller-id. One-touch dialing, on-hold music, conferencing, speakerphone, auto attendants, or call transfer?
  3. What is your 5 year plan? You need a phone system that will grow with your business.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is a big decision.

If you have any questions about Hosted PBX please contact Advanced Communication Solutions by calling 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com today! You can also follow Advanced Communication Systems on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.

Hosted PBX: Big Business Quality at a Price Small Business Owners like

As a small business owner, you have a very distinct disadvantage. While you are trying to compete with the big boys, you simply do not have staff or the financial resources to compete with bigger businesses. Luckily, there is a solution to at least some of your problems.

A Hosted PBX Phone System!

These phone systems boast big business quality at a price small business owners like. A Hosted PBX phone system offers you the same features that the big companies utilize, but it is also easy to use, easy to install, and incredibly cost effective!

  1. Price: As we just mentioned, a Hosted PBX phone system is much more affordable for small businesses, allowing you to compete with the big boys without breaking the bank!
  2. Features: Hosted PBX phone systems offer you the same features used by big companies.
  3. Communication: Hosted PBX systems allow you to communicate from anywhere on the globe.
  4. Installation: Set up is quick and easy, meaning you will experience very little downtime during the transition to your new phone system.
  5. Scalable: A Hosted PBX phone system will grow with your small business. After all, just because your business is small now doesn’t mean it will be small in the future.
  6. Hosted: You will not need to purchase or install or maintain anything onsite. This is handled by your service provider for a small monthly fee.

Advanced Communication Systems: Your Hosted PBX Phone System Provider

At Advanced Communication Systems (ACS), 3e offer solutions and services that help you leverage the value of your small business communication investment, from traditional voice to Voice over IP (VoIP) to Hosted PBX phone systems. ACS gives you more options for voice and communication technology and solutions than any other provider.

Our team of communication professionals will help you understand the available phone system features and technologies and will help you choose the solution for your business.We thoroughly analyze your business needs and devise a flexible solution that will grow and change as your business evolves.

If you have any questions about Small Business Phone Systems please contact Advanced Communication Solutions by calling 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com today! You can also follow Advanced Communication Systems on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.