When I first started working with phone systems nearly 20 years ago, things looked a bit different. Each phone was hard-wired to a physical port on the clunky PBX back in the telecom room. If you wanted to move to a new office, you had to call the phone guy. He had to yank wires out, reroute them, and then punch them back down. And you got a nice, fancy bill for the privilege.
Soon enough, someone figured out how to avoid the physical rewire and now you could reprogram the phone instead of rewiring it. One catch: you had to be the equivalent of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory to figure it out.
I was an early adopter of VoIP phone systems in the early 2000s, mostly because I thought they were cool. There were certainly advantages, but as one of my clients told me after turning down my proposal for a fork-lift upgrade: "They were still too new and unproven." Whatever.
Today, VoIP phone systems are really the only option if you are buying new. There are still plenty of those old clunky hard-wired PBXs out there. I cringe every time I see one. Then I immediately put on my salesman hat and offer them an upgrade.
If VoIP is the new "normal" today, what's the next "normal"? That would be the cloud. A hosted PBX is simply a phone system that lives in the cloud. So why are we trending that direction? Here are 5 reasons:
Everything comes down to money, eventually. Setting up a new phone system can get expensive really fast. Obviously you have to purchase the phones themselves and the PBX (or the brains behind it all). But what may not be so obvious is the list of hidden costs: installation, new cabling, PoE smart switches, ongoing maintenance, etc. And almost all of that money is due on day 1. Cloud/Hosted phone systems eliminate virtually all of the up-front costs, and maintenance is now the responsibility of the vendor.
Looking back at the older systems (and even many of the newer ones), it can be easy to outgrow your investment. So all that up-front money we just talked about… gone! Up in smoke. Hosted PBX systems can be scaled with very few limitations. Start with one handset and grow to a thousand. No problem. One location or 100 locations. Work from home or the office. Or both. In fact, you can even run the phone system via an app on your smartphone. Place and receive calls while on the road, and your clients are none the wiser.
If you are currently using an older phone system, what does a typical service request look like? Many of our clients say it goes something like this (before they hired us, of course) – Problem with phone; call phone repair company; leave a message; wait for reply; schedule service call; wait; wait some more; wait even longer; stop doing all the work you are in the middle of to show the guy around, unlock the telecom closet, recreate the problem, spray some Febreze because the guy forgot how to operate his shower, wait while he tries to fix it, watch him scratch his head, listen to him call the office for backup support, realize it might take less time to take a class and learn how to fix it yourself, enroll in that class, wait … he might of fixed it … yes! We have success! Now spray Lysol on the phone before daring to touch it again.What does a service call look like with a cloud-based system? Something like this (at least for our clients): submit a ticket online or make a quick call which is answered live by a friendly English-speaking local. Within minutes, you will be off and running. The end.
Back in the days when these systems "were still too new and unproven", there was some truth to the spotty call quality of VoIP systems. Today, that is not the case. In fact, we recently swapped out a system for a client who had a traditional PBX running on "reliable" copper PRI phone lines. Every time it rained, their phones went down. Every time. In fact, I get better call quality on my mobile app running over the mobile carrier data plan than I get from the native cell phone call itself.
- DISASTER RECOVERY
I hear this one all the time: "But what happens when the Internet goes down?" Well, first of all, if your Internet is going down very frequently, we can fix that for you. But it does happen. In those cases your calls will all be forwarded to another number, like a cell phone or another branch office. Traditional PBX systems can't do that!
I could go on, but the headline says "5 Benefits", so I'll stop. However, if you would like to learn more, give me a call and we can discuss. The phone number is at the top and bottom of this web page.