Top Benefits of Utilizing Hosted PBX for Business
While regular telephone and on-site systems have served businesses well in the past, today’s technology allows for far better voice communication services. Enter: hosted PBX for Business.
Hosted PBX is a type of phone service that utilizes the advantages of the cloud to deliver higher usability and productivity.
Instead of routing phone calls through a physical on-premise connection, it uses a third-party, cloud-based service to provide internet-enabled telephone communications instead.
Customers place calls using their regular landlines or cell phones and these calls are then routed through a third-party server that manages the requests according to the client’s protocols and distributes them to relevant members of the team.
(Recommended Read: Cloud-based Phone Services: How do They Work?)
The hosted PBX industry ended 2018 with the highest sales performance in history and new revenues of $5 billion worldwide. Year-over-year growth in purchases was 6%, according to an Eastern Management Group study.
7 Benefits of Using Hosted PBX for Business
Organizations aren’t making the switch just for fun, though; they’re doing it for a reason. In this post, we’re going to take a look at what these are and why hosted PBX is now so popular and the benefits that come from making the switch.
1. Reduced Burden on IT Resources
Companies often throw PBX services under IT department responsibilities, forcing IT teams to manage not only the regular computer network, but also the telephone system as well.
On-premises PBX systems are notoriously complicated, and many IT professionals do not have the skills to maintain them correctly, relying instead on ad-hoc solutions.
Clearly, this is not ideal.
Hosted PBX gets around this issue. Firms still get the telephone services that they need, but they’re administered via the cloud as a service, not locally.
All of the work of maintaining systems and managing calls is done by the PBX hosting company, reducing IT workloads and streamlining operations.
2. Centralize Voice Communications
Voice communication technology can become fragmented, even in small businesses.
An SME, for instance, could easily have thirty landlines and thirty mobiles all connected to it, not to mention the private phones of individual employees.
What’s more, the environment could be hybrid. For example, some phones might be VoIP, others landline and mobile.
(Recommended Read: The Difference Between Business VoIP and Cloud-based Phone Systems)
This complex environment is challenging to manage, even for SMEs with the best IT departments. It’s costly and difficult to streamline.
Hosted PBX, however, is a solution. It brings all of the organization’s telephones under one platform, helping companies simplify fragmented systems.
Call centers, employee mobile contracts, and business cross-talk can all be administered from a central location without requiring any admin resources. The third-party PBX hosting company truly takes care of the whole lot.
3. Go Mobile
Being able to transition between landlines and mobile phones is often a requirement of the modern work environment. Employees need to be able to call clients both in and out of the office.
Going mobile, however, is a challenge with legacy systems. You don’t get built-in mobility. Instead, business calls occur in a more haphazard fashion, making them difficult to track and chronicle.
Because hosted PBX is cloud-based, employees can use it to make calls through any internet-connected device, including their smartphones, laptops, and home desktop computers.
They can also log calls centrally and refer to them later, without having to use any specific device.
The advantage of this is extraordinary. On mobile devices, employees open an app, choose the client or colleague that they wish to call, and conduct their business affairs through a specific channel on the device of their choice.
They are then free to make all their regular private calls as they ordinarily would, negating the need to carry separate phones.
Many employees actually prefer to use mobile-based communications than to work with company landlines. Thus, you can provide your employees with more work satisfaction while maintaining the same customer-facing experience.
4. Access Digital Communication Features
Digital communication offers a host of features that make life easier for people trying to organize their correspondence. Email services, for instance, offer archiving, spam filters, priority message alerts, auto-fill, and much, much more.
Hosted PBX provides integration tools that allow colleagues to integrate their telephone function with other standard cloud services, including CRM tools and productivity suites.
5. Instant Scalability
Adding new lines to physical premises is a significant challenge, often requiring an on-site technician.
Hosted PBX changes the dynamic considerably. Suppose, for instance, you want to scale the number of customer service operatives in your call center because you have just launched a new product.
With hosted PBX, all you need to do is contact your provider and tell them that you want to increase the number of lines available to your business. Because hosted PBX uses data through the internet, there is virtually no limit to the number of active accounts you can have.
There’s also no need to make any physical changes to your on-site infrastructure; the third-party provider manages it all through the cloud.
An increasing number of companies now rely on remote workers to provide them with essential services that they need off-site.
Scaling telephone services in these situations was often impossible. Remote workers had to rely on private devices to communicate with customers which is not ideal from a marketing perspective.
Hosted PBX is globally scalable, meaning that you can potentially connect anyone, anywhere to the network, increasing the flexibility of the workforce.
Many organizations have already tried it, and have had considerable success. Hosted PBX allows firms to reduce their call handling time and improve their customer experience.
6. Better Flexibility
Hosted PBX adds flexibility to practically every business eventuality and protects you against unscheduled downtime. Suppose, for instance, there is a weather event that causes traditional landlines to go down. You either have to switch to employee mobile devices to stay in touch with customers or take the hit. You have no choice.
With hosted PBX, though, you can continue to use your business lines regardless, including from employee mobile devices. Thus, even if there is a power cut, your employees can still contact customers through the PBX app and continue with their duties as usual. From the customers’ perspective, nothing changes.
Hosted PBX also makes it easier for colleagues to switch between lines when communicating with customers. Direct connect through the cloud allows users to change phone lines mid-conversation, with no effect on call quality and no dropped lines. Again, from the customer end, it is a seamless experience.
7. Still Keep Legacy Systems
For some firms, going fully cloud-based is not an option. Many managers make the case that they still need legacy systems to keep lines of communication with customers open; think fax machines.
Hosted PBX, therefore, isn’t just about getting companies to abandon their traditional landlines in favor of cloud-based alternatives; it’s about helping them get the best of both worlds.
This strategy makes a lot of sense from a risk management perspective.
It is actually better to have two independent systems that can work in tandem than to be entirely reliant on one.
Hosted PBX providers offer assistance organizing multiple phone systems outside of cloud platforms, helping organizations lower costs and get robust solutions that protect against downtime.
Essentially, hosted PBX operators can provide a kind of dual service.
On the one hand, they allow your organization to take advantage of some of the new tools available through cloud-based telephone platforms.
On the other, they can assist in the running of your conventional landline system. These services help to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and reduce the likelihood that you will experience an outage.
A Proven Investment
Upgrading the telephone lines at your firm isn’t a shot in the dark; it’s a tried-and-tested technology that thousands of businesses use every day of the year.
Hosted PBX is a low-risk investment. It’s something that organizations can put their money into without having to worry about failing to see a return on their investment.
Companies, however, still worry about the risk posed by cloud services. They wonder about the ability of cloud providers to give them the same amount of uptime that they get through a good old-fashioned phone line.
Of course, it’s not the risk of hosted PBX itself that interests risk management professionals and executives; it’s how it compares to regular copper telephone lines.
Many case studies and industry research papers suggest that it compares favorably, offering a lower risk service while improving efficiency and reducing costs.
Some 59 percent of companies currently use on-premises PBX, while 65 percent are using hosted VoIP, according to a survey IT decision-makers conducted by CenturyLink.
There are a variety of technologies and applications that the organizations surveyed identified they’re using now or are considering using in the future. The top 3 choices include:
- Desk phones (65 percent)
- Video conferencing (63 percent)
- Web conferencing (60 percent)
On-Site PBX Compared To Hosted PBX
We’ve discussed many of the benefits of hosted PBX compared to its on-site counterpart and found that in every instance, hosted PBX offers a better all-round experience.
One of the main advantages is the cost.
While IT professionals can often keep the day-to-day running costs of hosted PBX services down, they can find themselves incurring considerable expense when the organization that they represent wants to expand.
Adding new lines to an on-premises PBX system is not inexpensive. Often, upgrades must take the form of big blocks, not small, gradual changes based on the real user demands.
Because cloud-based PBX operates on a per-user basis, companies avoid adding additional excess capacity. Organizations only use the telephone resources that they need, freeing up their IT budgets, and reducing costs.
Another significant advantage is compatibility. IT professionals will often install on-premises PBX solutions that work with older hardware if they can get away with it.
Unfortunately, organizations often want to replace their hardware for business reasons, leading to PBX compatibility issues.
IT pros, therefore, wind up having to replace PBX systems anyway, even if they haven’t come to the end of their life cycle.
With hosted PBX, it only takes a simple software update to ensure that your solution is the latest version. There’s no need to replace the entire system or embark on a series of costly upgrades. As you might expect, this cuts costs.
A third benefit that hosted PBX has over on-premises PBX is the ability to combine it with BYOD (bring your own device).
Employers know that workers love to conduct business through their devices and not the company. What’s more, using private devices helps organizations save money, so long as employees have the tools to conduct themselves in the best interest of the business.
With regular old on-prem PBX, it’s not possible to integrate mobile with the telephone call delivery service. You either have to rely on a fragmented system or give up on the idea altogether.
Hosted PBX, however, is different. There’s no need to separate the two. You can fully integrate your BYOD policy into the PBX system, enabling your colleagues to call customers from their own devices through an app.
You can also get full mobile and tablet support and regular software updates that improve the functionality of the hosted PBX app. No wonder hosted PBX is now so prevalent among BYOD-friendly workplaces.
The final significant benefit is the ability to provide a PBX-like system across multiple locations. Coordinating regular on-premises PBX across several different offices was a challenge in the past that required a significant degree of technical know-how. With a cloud-based solution, that is no longer true.
Organizations are learning that cloud-based PBX offers a range of advantages that regular on-site PBX and regular landline telephony cannot. While there is still a role for on-site PBX, most businesses will benefit from upgrading to the hosted variety.
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