Virtual PBX Phone Systems: The Guide to Getting Started
Virtual PBX phone systems are the modern version of business phone systems and provide enhanced features, reduced costs, and more work flexibility. In this article you’ll learn what a virtual PBX is, the benefits of switching to a virtual PBX, and how to get started with upgrading your phone system.
What is a Virtual PBX?
A virtual PBX is an internet-based phone system that eliminates the need for physical PBX hardware on-site. Instead, the PBX is powered by software, which is stored on off-site servers with a hosted PBX provider. The functionality and maintenance of the PBX system is managed by the PBX service provider.
Benefits of Switching to a Virtual PBX
There are multiple benefits of moving from an analog office phone system to a virtual PBX.
Elimination of Hardware and Maintenance
Because there’s no hardware, that also means there’s no need to pay for and deal with maintenance and upgrades. For small businesses, this can easily equate to tens of thousands of dollars in savings each year. The PBX provider provides full support on the phone system, and provides 24/7 support via phone, chat, and email.
Easy and Remote Configuration through a Web Interface
Any changes that need to be made to the system can be done instantly through a web interface. You no longer have to call a technician and wait for them to come out to fix something. PBX features and phone services are all managed through an online dashboard, which can be remotely accessed from any location. This capability simplifies the configuration and management of the phone system, making it easy for IT administrators to make changes anytime.
New Features and Upgrades are Included
With a virtual PBX provider, the provider is responsible for maintaining uptime, ensuring call quality, and developing new features. New features are automatically deployed to the virtual phone system, so businesses can take advantage of upgrades without putting in labor or additional expenses.
Flexibility to Work from Anywhere, and Use Any Device
Voice calls made to/from virtual business phones are transmitted over VoIP, which provides much more flexibility for setting up remote workers. Virtual phone numbers and extensions can be configured with desk phones, softphones, and mobile devices, so employees can use their work line from any location.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to IP Phones
Centralized Account Management for Distributed Offices
One virtual office phone system can be used for multiple different locations and remote workers. This allows administrators to manage business phone numbers for distributed offices under one account. A single phone number can even be used for multiple locations. Local and toll free phone numbers can be used from anywhere, allowing global organizations to have a local presence in any city or country.
Unified Communication Capabilities
Last but not least, a virtual phone system allows for integrations with other business applications. CRM, team chat, storage drives, and thousands of other apps can be customized to work with the phone system and perform specific actions to enhance business communications.
Virtual PBX Features
A virtual PBX provides all the features of an on-premise PBX, and much more. Here are some of the features you can expect to get from a virtual PBX system.
An auto attendant acts like a virtual receptionist by greeting callers with options to be connected to the right person or department. The greeting can be customized and modified easily through the web portal, via a recording or a natural-sounding text-to-speech tool.
A call queue places callers on hold when all agents are busy, and connects them to the next available agent. Call queues can be customized with call recording, hold music, maximum hold times, and call routing patterns (call all agents simultaneously or call agents one-by-one).
Custom Hold Music
Audio files can be uploaded to the virtual PBX system to be used for hold music while callers wait to be connected. This also means that personalized announcements can be inserted into the hold music.
Incoming and outgoing calls can be recorded and accessed via the web portal, which can be useful for training and quality assurance. Call recording is sometimes provided by PBX providers with an additional fee, however Telzio provides unlimited call recording at no additional cost.
The Telzio Mobile App enables employees to take business calls from their mobile phone. The app can be used with a direct phone number or extension, and also with the company’s main phone number. The app can record calls, transfer calls, initiate conference calls, access the company directory, and send and receive text messages.
Direct Lines and Extensions
A virtual PBX service works with toll free numbers and local numbers alike. Unlimited users and extensions are included with Telzio phone plans at no additional cost.
A virtual phone system also bundles in virtual fax service. Faxes are received via email and also accessible online. Faxes can be sent through the web portal, as well as via email.
Switching to a Virtual PBX
Once you’re ready to get the ball rolling with a new phone system, the first step is to sign up for a free trial and get a first hand experience of the PBX platform. Here is a step-by-step outline of what to expect and plan for when migrating to a virtual PBX service.
- Phones. If you’re moving from a different VoIP provider and already have IP phones, the good news is you can most likely keep your existing phones. If you’re using analog phones, you’ll need to decide if you want to purchase desk phones, or use virtual phones such as the webphone or mobile app. The other good news is that Telzio auto provisions IP phones, meaning that there’s no manual configuration required on your part and the phones arrive at your office ready for calling.
- Phone Numbers. You can keep your existing phone numbers by porting them to Telzio. It’s easy to avoid downtime on your phone service by making sure your phones are working before the switch. Telzio provides you with a temporary phone number to test that everything is working as intended before the porting process is initiated.
Once the porting request is submitted, it typically takes about a week for the number to be ported from the old carrier. You’ll want to make sure the number is working with the new carrier before you cancel your old service. If you want to check whether your numbers are portable, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Free trial. The 30 day free trial period allows you to test the product fully before you make any decisions. During this time, you’ll be given a test number that you can use to create extensions, make and receive calls, and send and receive text messages. Most importantly, you’ll be able to create Call Flows and customize features for routing incoming calls to your business.
- Bandwidth. Most standard internet connections can easily support VoIP calls today and will work without any adjustments to your network settings. You can run a speed test, and make plenty of calls during your free trial to test the call quality and reliability.
If you’re just getting started and looking for more info, reach out for a personalized demo of the Telzio Virtual PBX platform so we can help answer all your questions. Or, if you prefer to dive in and try it for yourself, sign up now for a free 30 day trial.
Ben is an entrepreneur and self-taught programmer.