A cloud PBX can change how you do business, increasing flexibility, responsiveness, mobility and efficiency, while aiding you in improving customer service.
But all those benefits are only possible if you choose the right system for your business. With so many options to choose from, it is important to have the right information, to make the best decision possible.
We have compiled a list of what you need to know before committing to a cloud PBX system.
1. Does this cloud PBX system meet the needs of my business?
Can the hosted cloud PBX system you are considering support enough users for your business? What about in the future? Can it expand as your business grows? Not all cloud PBX systems have the option of adding users easily.
A comprehensive cloud PBX can serve many purposes in your business and save you a lot of money, because you don’t have to invest in different office equipment.
Certain cloud based PBX phone systems include or allow you to;
- send and receive faxes
- include free soft phones for your desktop or smartphone
- offer free mobile apps to manage presence
- include a contact management system
- include an auto attendant
- offer CRM integration
…and more. These and other virtual and unified communication features can save you from the need to purchase additional equipment or software later on.
Tip: Before choosing your cloud PBX, take the time to make a list of the telephone related needs of your business so you can choose a system that meets those needs.
2. Can this cloud PBX system work with multiple locations and from home?
If you have a single location, with no remote employees, you will have greater choice in hosted cloud phone systems. Don’t automatically assume that a system will work for multiple locations.
Ensure that the cloud PBX system you are investing in can cover all your locations, and that long distance calling between these locations is included in your package.
Find out if you can transfer calls between different locations (both local and remote). Getting such information upfront can save you money. Ensure that every location of your business has the same functionality and remains connected.
3. Can I use the phone equipment our business already has?
While some phone systems require expensive telephone equipment, others work with the equipment you already have on hand.
If your business is just starting out, you may need to invest in phones or equipment. If that is the case, be sure to compare the cost of the equipment, as well as any setup and / or installation costs.
4. What is the startup procedure and cost?
Some cloud PBX systems are free of charge to setup and require no special equipment. These hosted PBX systems can typically be up and running within 24 hours.
However, this is not the case with every hosted phone service provider.
Tip: Ensure that you know what to expect in terms of startup costs and fees, before committing to any hosted business phone system.
5. What level of customer support is offered?
Customer service and responsive technical support is important when your business phone system is cloud based.
Tip: If you have problems, you want to ensure that you have timely assistance to minimize any downtime, or loss of important business calls.
6. What usage-based fees are charged in addition to the monthly rate?
It is important to know exactly how much your new business telephone system will cost you. In addition to monthly rates, some cloud PBX system providers charge for things such as:
- Long distance calls
- Extra extensions (some providers include these)
- Additional users
- Number of minutes of telephone use (some providers provide unlimited free calls / minutes)
- Voice mail (often included)
- Additional inbound numbers (1-800 numbers are usually an extra cost)
Tip: Also factor in any additional fees necessary for your Internet service. (Your business internet service may need to be upgraded, in order to provide enough bandwidth to support voice over IP calls).
Adequate internet bandwidth is also necessary to ensure call quality and reduce packet loss. QoS (Quality of Service) is essential for any cloud PBX you are considering.
7. Can this phone system be a disaster recovery solution?
Many cloud based PBX systems can be accessed from anywhere. Because your information is all stored in the cloud, you have exactly what you need at your fingertips. Fast access can be via the Internet or a phone, or even a cell phone.
This means that in case of disaster, your company is more resilient and can get back up and running faster than companies that rely on older phone systems.
The benefits of a cloud PBX are many. Save energy, be kinder to the environment, cut costs, and more by making the switch to a virtual or cloud phone system today.
Kerri Gois is a freelance writer and marketer for BroadbandSearch.net. An avid reader and social media addict, who also enjoys learning how to code. She’s passionate about the Internet and Technology and lives in San Diego with her puggle, Bernard. Follow her on Twitter here; @kerrigois