Choosing the right cloud-based PBX system is one of the most important decisions that you can make for your business. Regrettably, for a first-time buyer, it’s not as easy as walking into a store, picking your cloud phones off a shelf and then plugging them in.
In order to select the best solution for your needs, you need to know what to look for. This article will explain all the essential aspects of a cloud-hosted PBX network, including what it really is, the system’s features, how to track down the package that best supports the needs of your business, and more.
Table of Contents
- What is a cloud-hosted PBX?
- Are there different types of cloud-hosted PBX packages?
- The best cloud-hosted PBX features
- Assessing what your business needs from a cloud PBX system
- What to ask when looking for a cloud PBX system for your business
What is cloud-hosted PBX?
A cloud-hosted PBX network is an internet telephone system that relies on connectivity to run. Unlike traditional PBX, the only hardware you keep on site is the number of handsets that you need.
Everything else, including servers, is hosted off-site by a third-party provider. The latter also takes another huge burden off your company – they are responsible for all software and system updates as well as maintenance, which is mostly performed remotely and inexpensively.
A traditional PBX system is a physical network located at your business premises, while a cloud-hosted network exists in the cloud. Cloud PBX is also a B2B solution, while VoIP is more synonymous with private communication.
Are there different types of cloud-hosted PBX packages?
Yes, there are various cloud PBX packages available, and this counts as one of the main reasons why you must do your due diligence before committing to anything.
Indeed, there is no one package that can suit all businesses. Far from being a “one size fits all” template, cloud PBX packages are designed to satisfy the different needs of various types of industries, as well as different sized companies. This is great; nobody wants to be given one choice across the board, and an option that might not even work for your business no less.
Cloud PBX providers usually offer several packages that are separated by price range, different switchboards and various features and services.
At United Telecoms, we can help you to find a package with the right price and features that will support your business needs and goals. Never make a hasty decision when choosing your cloud service provider and package. The wrong network features can have strong financial and operational consequences for your company.
The best cloud-hosted PBX features
Besides the ability to make and receive calls, a cloud network offers incredibly useful features to businesses. Here are some of the best cloud PBX features that you might consider adding to your new phone system:
Virtual Receptionist and IVR
Also known as an “auto attendant,” the virtual receptionist feature routes callers to the right department by playing a recording that asks callers to press a certain number on their phone. As a fully automatic feature, it eliminates the need to hire additional staff members to man the phone.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a similarly automated function; but, instead of pressing a number, a caller can speak and name the department that they wish to speak to. They will then be automatically routed.
A lot of companies rely on analytics to improve the performance of their teams and to avoid repeating costly mistakes. Cloud PBX captures an amazing array of real-time data related to calls.
It can help determine what time of the day customers call in the most, the time spent on each call, how many calls were answered or missed, which staff member answers the most calls, and more.
Some cloud providers allow you to add a toll-free number for callers to use. When customers don’t have to pay to contact your company, they often purchase more products, and they also tend to trust such businesses a lot quicker.
A toll-free number is, therefore, a powerful tool to gain more trust while also appearing more professional and customer-orientated.
Audio and Video Conferencing
Some providers offer this fantastic feature. With it, you can host audio and video conference calls with your teams. This feature is particularly useful when you want to consult with remote employees.
It’s not hard to get everyone together, either. Creating a virtual meeting room is easy, and staff members can enter by simply using a special password. Another way that this feature is user-friendly is the fact that users can also join the room via any internet-linked device.
Voicemail to Email
Cloud PBX offers an organised voicemail system that delivers voice note recordings to your email inbox. A notification will alert you that the MP3 file has arrived, so you’ll always stay on top of things.
Some cloud packages also allow an automatic transcription function, which delivers a separate text script with the voice note.
Secure Call Encryption
Make sure that your provider includes call encryption. Moreover, Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP). This double layer of protection prevents unauthorised individuals from eavesdropping on any of your calls.
Recording calls is not only useful for staff accountability, but also for training new employees by allowing them to listen to conversations that illustrate certain points. For example, the best way to talk to a customer, or which sales pitch is the most successful in selling products.
Advanced Routing, Queuing, and Forwarding
If an agent is unable to answer immediately, callers can join a queue and listen to an automated message that gives them an estimate of when they will be assisted. Calls that go to the wrong department are also routed to the nearest relevant agent without the need for the customer to call again or go to the back of the queue.
The call forwarding feature can also seamlessly divert phone calls from your office desk to your mobile phone, which is useful for employees who work in the field.
Think of this as a speed-dialling feature, because that’s essentially what it is. As the name implies, you can press a numbered dial on your phone or device and instantly call a local supplier or business.
Which cloud PBX features should I prioritise?
Cloud PBX certainly doesn’t have a shortage of features, and none of them are pointless; but, with so many useful components to choose from, it can be hard to know which PBX features to prioritise.
However, the golden rule is to choose features based on their ability to best serve your company’s current needs and future goals.Explore Hosted PBX for your Business
Assessing what your business needs from a cloud PBX system
In order to draw up your shortlist, take a good look at your current phone system and its shortfalls.
- What needs to improve?
- Which features must be added or removed in order to save your business time and costs while also increasing productivity?
These are just some of the most important issues to consider.
What to ask when looking for a cloud PBX system for your business
Below are essential questions to answer before you choose a cloud provider or package. They will provide you with a clearer picture of things like infrastructure, system requirements and the overall safety of switching your on-site PBX or another phone network over to the cloud. Take a look at the Top 5 Cloud Phone Systems for more information
How safe is my data in the cloud?
Your data is only as safe as the security of the cloud provider – this is another reason why you shouldn’t rush to select someone. Look for authentic reviews and testimonials that vouch for top providers and look at their security protocols.
The good news is that most cloud providers make the safety of their clients a priority. They constantly update their safety measures to stop hackers and malware. For the most part, cloud phone providers have an excellent safety record.
Does it matter how many people use the system?
Yes, it does. Older phone networks charge per call or on a month-to-month basis. Although cloud-hosted PBX customers are also billed per month, providers don’t charge everyone the same fee. Instead, you have to pay an amount that is based on the number of people who will be using the system.
This is why cloud PBX is becoming increasingly popular with small and medium-sized companies because it offers them an affordable entry point into the virtual phone network arena. Larger companies with a big telecommunication staff will have to shell out more.
Can the provider scale my network?
When it comes to scaling, traditional PBX is a headache. It doesn’t matter if you want to grow the network by adding a few lines or downscale; the process remains expensive and time-consuming.
Cloud PBX is a dream – it upscales and downscales with your business in a fast, efficient way and normally at a fraction of the price you would’ve paid to alter your traditional phone network. All aspects of the project are also handled by your provider and their own IT teams.
Can I use my own IT experts?
In theory, there is no reason why you cannot hire your own in-house IT specialists to switch your phones to the cloud. But cost, and time-wise, it’s not really feasible. Many cloud providers ask for a small installation fee or include it for free when you sign up as a customer. They also tend to work faster and can even complete most of the process remotely.
Considering that a provider is responsible for all future glitches, problems, malware and other problems, you may need to consider that an independently hired IT team could lack full understanding of the product and could make small mistakes that leave your system vulnerable to issues.
How do I prepare for a Cloud PBX Network?
It doesn’t matter if you install the system yourself or leave it to your provider. You must prepare one thing before you can even think about approaching a cloud provider – cloud PBX cannot run on a weak internet signal.
Therefore, it’s critical to ensure the system has access to a high-speed and stable internet connection. Not only will this allow callers to enjoy crisp audio quality, but a strong connection will also prevent calls from getting cut off unexpectedly.Discuss PBX Options For your Business