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Hosted PBXs: Fortune 500 Features, Small Business Price
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By Greg Brashier

Small businesses deserve a break.

There are nearly six million of them in the United States, representing 99.7 percent of firms with employees, and they generate jobs for over 60 million people. Yet these small firms often have to settle for low-end technology and services because individually they can’t afford better products. Nowhere is this discrepancy more apparent than in telephone systems. Small businesses simply can’t afford to purchase, install and manage a full-featured $250,000 PBX phone system.

But now there’s a telecomm solution that provides Fortune-500 features at a small business price by amortizing the cost of high-end equipment across a large number of small firms. This new service, often called a “hosted PBX,” can give your small company the professional image, improved efficiency, and business intelligence normally available only to the largest firms. And depending on the type of hosted PBX you choose, you don’t have to do any equipment installation, maintenance, or upgrade – the hosted PBX provider does it all.

One of the most important assets of a small business is its image. You can invest in a pretty web site and buy nice stationary, but when clients call you do they hear professionalism or “small time”? Many small businesses simply route all calls to one phone and tell callers to call a different number if the person they want isn’t close by. With a hosted PBX service, your callers can hear a professionally recorded greeting to get menu options for connection to individuals or departments – just like a Fortune 500 corporation. Even a company of just one person can still let callers dial for sales, support or customer service. You look bigger to your clients and when the call is connected you know what the caller wants to talk about.

Once your caller selects a menu option, a hosted PBX can route the call to any employee, just like a hardware PBX system. But with a hosted PBX, your employees don’t have to be at an office phone. In fact, you don’t even need to have an office. Hosted PBX systems are one of the single most important enablers of virtual companies. Employees can take calls on cell phones or home lines. The caller gets to the right employee and you can save money on office rent and utilities.

High-end hardware PBX systems have a broad range of professional features--and so do hosted PBX services. In fact, many hosted PBXs are designed specifically for forward-thinking small businesses, so the feature list is often longer than that of a standard hardware PBX.

For example, each employee can have private voicemail in each type of system. A hosted PBX, however, enables employees to retrieve them from the Web or have them sent to an email address in addition to being able to retrieve them on the phone.

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Greg Brashier is the Vice President of Marketing for Virtual PBX.
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