Compare Hosted PBX Providers
Hosted PBX is a cloud-based telephone service where a provider manages and hosts PBX features and hardware at their off-site location. Private Branch Exchange, commonly referred to as PBX, refers to how the telephone system's software and hardware is maintained and updated virtually.
Most VoIP providers offer clients a hosted version of their PBX software, called Cloud PBX, Virtual PBX, and Hosted PBX. These cloud-based services have the same calling features that are expected from other VoIP solutions or telephone services. Each service provider operates their own data centers. By maintaining numerous data centers, their service can be used by a large number of businesses. The providers can maintain a high security standard, redundancy, offer a high rate of reliability, and efficient services to their clients.
The advantage to using a hosted PBX is that the VoIP provider is responsible for all of the heavy lifting. Clients will receive the high quality and service that one can expect from a Fortune 500 level telephone system. With Hosted PBX VoIP, the provider uses their in-house servers to keep clients connected to cell phones, other VoIP services, and even landlines. The services are similar to those of standard phone line. However, Hosted PBX comes with a variety of features that users don’t get with a standard phone line.
How Do Hosted PBX Solutions Work?
Hosted PBX solutions work in a manner that is similar to on-premise PBX solutions. However, the data centers handle all of the hard work happens behind the scenes. Clients do not need to worry about maintaining the phone system. The system is maintained and operated by the provider. To ensure redundancy, most providers have multiple data centers at several locations across the globe. If one data center goes down; the calls get routed to another one to prevent the interruption of calls.
Hosted PBX solution providers provide business VoIP service, and have a team of engineers and IT professionals that work day and night. The team works to make sure the system is running and provides the highest call quality, maintains efficiency and has the highest standards of security. The benefits of subscribing include never having to worry about installing or configuring hardware. Users log into their account management portal with their provided information, and they are ready to connect a phone or make a call from the web.
These providers enlist a team of engineers and IT professionals to keep the system running. The team of works around the clock make sure the system is operating at its best. It is guaranteed that clients will not experience issues with redundancy, call quality, security, or efficiency. Because clients do not need to maintain the hardware or configuration, using the service is as simple as logging into the service's online account management portal. Log-in using the provided account information, hook up a desk phone or make call from the web.
Why Using a Hosted PBX Solution is a Better Option than Other Solutions
Using a hosted PBX solution means that businesses no longer need to keep infrastructure and hardware on location. Businesses can now focus on more important tasks. Signing up for hosted PBX service has several advantages. The provider handling the setup, hardware, security and ensures the reliability of the system is one advantage. Businesses do not need to spend money on switches to power the system, equipment, or IT. If additional phone lines are necessary, adding them is done quickly by using the online portal. The number of phones a business can add is not limited to the number of available phone jacks in their telephone in the server or telephone room. Using a hosted PBX gives business increased mobility and flexibility, something that no other system can accomplish.
The majority of hosted PBX services let users make calls on their desk phones, using a mobile phone application and even desktop soft phone application. Having the ability to make calls from any location, as long as there is access to an internet connection, means workers can stay connected while away from the office. Should the business run into any technical difficulties, the business is not responsible for solving the problem. The service provider fixes the issue, sometimes even before the business notices the initial problem. The flexibility, cost savings, and ease of use make selecting a PBX provider an easy decision that helps businesses maintain a high-quality level of service.
What to Look for in a Hosted PBX Provider
Using a provider that is reliable is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a Hosted PBX provider. With so many providers, choosing the right one can seem like an overwhelming task. So many companies make guarantees and promise to deliver a particular level of satisfaction, that it is often difficult to narrow down the choice to a trusted company. However, when looking at the objective points, it should be easy to choose the service that best meets the business's needs.
The features included in the Hosted PBX service are important.
- When comparing providers, the easiest, and initial, factors to compare are the list of comprehensive features. Typically, this list is found on the provider's website.
- This first step is a good way to get an introduction to the provider's services. There is a breakdown of every plan and the features offered under these plans. Using this as a guide makes is easy to determine which providers offer products that meet the business's telephone needs and budget.
- Find a provider that has multiple service locations. Do not just look for companies that operate data centers around the world, look for redundancy in the U.S. on the east and west coast. When a provider has multiple service locations, when one goes down, the calls are rerouted immediately to another location.
- Enter into a Service Level Agreement to ensure that the service provider maintains the status and reliability of the service.
Should the service provider's servers go down, or other issues arise with the service, it is important that their customer service is accessible and consistent.
- Some providers will have customer service representatives based in the United States.
- The company's customer service department should have several methods of contact that include: email, phone, web chat, and online tickets.
- Many providers offer 24/7 customer service. It is important to state that some providers only offer 24/7 service to their higher-tier customers.
- Take a look at the features offered by each provider to see if they offer 24-hour service.
A benefit of using a hosted PBX is having a flexible provider.
- It should be easy for a business to scale up or down services when using a hosted solution.
- Providers that let businesses alter their services, for very little money or no cost at all, tend to be more flexible to work with when expanding to add more users, features and increase service.
- Some providers will make changes free of charge. Some providers may charge a fee when removing lines or adding additional ones. Businesses may also charge fees when adding or removing features.
No one likes getting surprised with cancellation fees or hidden costs.
- Choose a provider that offers transparent price quotes. Be aware of any unexpected extra charges or fees.
- It is common to get charged a fee if the user cancels the service before the agreed upon end date.
The Benefits of Using a Hosted PBX Solution
- Cost Savings – Using a hosted PBX service removes most of the costs associated with establishing and maintaining an on-premise phone system. Users won't spend money on equipment, maintenance, and upgrades.
- Ease of Setup and Use – The service provider handles the initial setup, eliminating the work required to get a system up and running.
- Location Flexibility – By using mobile phone applications and desktop soft phones, workers can access the phone system from anywhere in the world. Because one number can ring several devices, employees are no longer stuck using a desk phone.
- Local Presence – Customers are not stuck using corporate 800 numbers. Hosted PBX providers have an unlimited supply of local phone numbers that customers can use.
- Credibility – Using a hosted PBX phone system ensures that the business has a professional image. These systems include features, like call routing and auto-attendant, that are usually reserved for larger Enterprise systems. A hosted PBX system will take the business's image to a higher level.
- Scalability – Because the system isn't limited by the hardware a company owns, it is scalable to meet the needs of the business.
Remember to Do the Following
Make Arrangements Regarding a New Phone Number – The type of arrangement that a business makes regarding a new phone depends on whether the existing number gets ported. If there are plans to port the phone number, do not cancel the current provider until the phone number is ported. A temporary number may be assigned during the porting process. If this happens, it's best to have calls forwarded to a cell phone. If the business is using a new number, inform all clients, vendors, and employees by sending out an email blast.
Tip: Canceling the service with the old carrier before porting the phone number may result in losing the number.
Configure the Dial Plan – When the phone system is established, the first step a business needs to do is reorganize the routing of phone calls. There are several rules to define, including:
How to handle faxes
- Set the hours the desk phone is going to ring.
- Sequential and sequential ringing / Creating the follow and find me rules Establishing the dial-by-name directory
- The handling of off-hours call – Whether calls get sent to another phone or voicemail.
- Which buttons will activate features like pressing 1 for voice mail.
Tip: Configure the E-911 settings during the initial setup of the hosted VoIP service.
Review the First and Second Bill – Businesses should look over the first and second month's bill. It's important to do this to prevent any discrepancies between the services a business gets and what gets paid for. The bill may include line items showing fees for number porting and service activation. The provider may waive any setup fees. Call customer support to ask questions about anything in the bill that is unclear. Customer service should explain everything on the billing statement that is unclear. The customer service representative will also help to resolve any issues.
Write a Review – Businesses should write a review about their experience. Let others interested in signing up for VoIP find out about the experience, good or bad, and what was learned along the way. Offer tips to help others enjoy a smooth process. Future customers would appreciate any insight to the process.