Why does a business need a Private Branch Exchange (PBX)? What are you really paying for when you order a PBX system?
In the old days, a PBX was considered a badge of legitimacy. When customers call a business, they expect to reach a live receptionist or an auto-attendant that could answer simple questions and transfer the call to various extensions or departments.
From a business accounting viewpoint, a PBX used to condense all the costs from multiple lines onto a single trunk for easy monitoring and management.
Employees thought of the PBX system as a means to access a personal extension, 3-way calling, forwarding, voicemail, call logs, conferencing and a directory for reaching colleagues ASAP.
Buying the equipment outright was less expensive over the long run than leasing it from the phone company, under the assumption that the business would stay at one location for a very long time. Eventually people began to use “PBX” interchangeably with “office phone system,” as in “Don’t tell me we have to reconfigure the PBX again!”
Although traditional PBX systems were once as essential as typewriters for business operations, the arrival of VoIP in the 1990s changed all that. Online hosted PBX systems using internet protocols drastically lowered the cost and complexity of legacy phone systems.
By 2008, around 80 percent of new phone system installs were VoIP-based. Voice, video and data are all treated equally under VoIP, compressed into digital streams and beamed out across fiber or Wi-Fi. That shifted a great deal of the cost and complexity of the communications infrastructure to the VoIP service provider.
A decade later, virtual PBX systems are taking VoIP out of office and out on the road by condensing all of the power of massive servers, wires and trunk lines into a tiny mobile device. VIrtual PBX systems can function exactly like their old office-bound conterparts and be managed from an application on a smartphone.
The new all-purpose business assistant
Nearly 9 out of 10 businesses (87 percent) rely on employees to bring their smartphones to work, according to a new study by The Information Systems Group (ISG). Two out of three workers said that employees are using their mobile devices 4 hours or more outside the office. 43% say that the No. 1 benefit of using their own devices is greater productivity.
There’s no doubt that the future of work is here and it looks like a mobile device. The only question now is how much of your costs can be reduced or eliminated by smartphone technology.
What a virtual PBX system can do
Most small businesses don’t need all the extra features that tend to balloon the costs of VoIP, but VoIP providers still bundle all that into their service agreements. Small businesses at the growth stage just need a reliable phone system that does a few things well:
- Assigns a central phone number for the business that can be picked up by various team members.
- Defaults to an AI assistant when no one is available to answer the call.
- Keeps a dynamic company directory updated in real time that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.
- Tracks missed calls and keeps a log of which ones got a return call by which team member.
- Delivers excellence in a voice quality, not the echoes, buzzes and dropped calls that still plague VoIP.
- Is extremely affordable for cash-conscious companies.
- Is simple enough to install and maintain without any help from technical talent.
- Allows easy conference calling and on touch call transferring.
All of those features are packed into the Spoke app, turning any group of mobile phones into a next-generation business phone network. Spoke is easy to install and easy to use, yet powerful enough to replace whatever office phone system you have, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs.