Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses the internet instead of a traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) to transfer voice. Add in a private box exchange (PBX) system to VoIP and what you get is, in essence, a digital or virtual phone system allowing the transfer of voice and data through a high speed internet connection. This can be a very efficient and cost effective system for businesses if a few important conditions are met. Let’s look a little deeper into what exactly these systems can do for a business.
What does a VoIP PBX system offer?
When using a VoIP PBX system a company can have a single internet network for voice and data communications. Thus, access to internet as well as communication on VoIP or telephone can all use the same single line to each user. Naturally, this leads to reduced operation and maintenance costs, and also provides the enterprise with some added flexibility and scalability.
VoIP PBX gives employees added flexibility and mobility because they can use a high speed connection anywhere to make calls or access necessary data files away from their primary workstation. For the consumer, VoIP PBX gives a caller one single phone number to call which can then give them access to literally anyone, or any department in the company at any time. Also worth mentioning, these systems are capable of running an interactive voice response system (IVR) which is an automated resource that makes large, expensive call centers less necessary. IVR systems, when properly implemented, will also streamline and improve the customer experience. Since the IVR can handle hundreds of calls at any given moment, it is now possible for companies to keep their customer service lines running 24/7 with a highly efficient automated system. Additional benefits offered by a VoIP PBX system include:
- Multiple channel music selection control (different songs or messages depending on what line people hold on)
- Lower startup costs – eliminating potentially hundreds of phones and phone lines
- Voicemail to email integration
- Unlimited phone extensions all synced to their own voicemail accounts
- The list of potential benefits goes on and on, varying by exact system in place
What are the negatives?
There is no doubt that the pros far outweigh the cons, but there are a few downsides worth mentioning before you decide to implement this technology in your business. The biggest drawback to VoIP PBX type systems is the necessity of a very fast broadband connection capable of transferring not only data, but voice. Obviously, the exact connection speed depends on the size of business along with the amount of calls and data it will be handling. These types of networks are not available in all locations and for some small businesses the cost may be more than they are willing to spend. Furthermore, VoIP PBX systems require a continuous flow of power which makes them subject to the potential for crashes from storms, power surges etc… Some may reference old PBX systems issues, those predating the VoIP PBX, which were more heavily maligned for their maintenance costs and the need to update them continuously. Since VoIP PBX systems are heavily based on software, that problem is strongly diminished which has opened the door for more small, to medium sized organizations to add a VoIP PBX system.
With the information available, businesses need to decide if VoIP PBX systems are worth the switch or not. With the initial costs being relatively low, compared to the setup of PSTN (hundreds of phone lines and wires are expensive!) businesses must weigh the pros and cons to see which is right for them. Do VoIP PBX phone systems provide employees and customers a more efficient, streamlined experience? You decide, and please leave your thoughts in the comments!