Of course telephone systems are important and necessary to running a business. However, old fashioned, expensive, hard to maintain PBX systems are no longer the only option. Virtual phone systems make it easy to have a virtual work force and even a virtual office, all connected via one number with extensions. By using a virtual phone system over a traditional PBX system which requires on-site hardware, companies can save money on the equipment and maintenance, and on the actual calls because they are internet based (VoIP) rather than land line based.
The companies providing virtual phone systems also keep adding new features, including some that aren’t even available with traditional small PBX systems – unlimited incoming calls, easy scalability in the number of extensions needed, voice mail forwarding via email and text message, and call routing to any phone or location. While many providers offer similar features and pricing, choosing one for your business really comes down to comparing the offerings against your own list of what you want a phone system to do for your company. As more vendors enter the marketplace, expect more new features and tools to differentiate their products and make them easy to use.
For example, VirtualPBX recently announced a new Configuration Wizard, which it says will help users completely set up their virtual phone system within minutes.
“The Virtual PBX Configuration Wizard allows businesses to tailor their Virtual PBX service by following simple steps in a secure Web application. Most hosted phone services allow quick online setup, including Virtual PBX. Web signup, however, just provides clients with a phone number and a “bare bones” system. Businesses still have to establish extensions for each employee, configure routing across departments and set menu options for callers, such as routing to “sales,” “support,” the operator or a company directory. They’ll also need to record an automated greeting to guide callers through the menu options. Each of these items typically involves multiple steps, and doing all of it can require hours of reading, trial and error, and specialized knowledge.
Enter the Configuration Wizard, which steps clients through this kind of customization in minutes. Clients can enter employee names and phone numbers all at once in a simple table. Another step sets up departmental routing. Point-and-click selections set menu options. The Configuration Wizard then rolls all of this together to suggest a custom “virtual attendant” greeting that can be accepted as is or modified before it is automatically added to the system. Instead of hours, most clients finish in about five to 10 minutes.”
VirtualPBX also offers a Google Gadget that can be used as desktop widget, allowing users to manage common tasks like changing phone forwarding settings on the go.
Laura Leites, Assistant Editor, Smallbiztechnology.com
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