Alternatives to PBX or Hosted Phone Systems

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phone-and-iphoneIn today's business world, everyone's looking for some way to get ahead. Whether that means cutting costs in seemingly unimportant areas, or finding new, cheaper, more exciting means to fix everyday problems, there's always someone looking for a way up the ladder, and this includes phone systems. Because of rising phone costs, extremely high minute rates, and plain disappointing technology, small businesses have begun dropping PBX or Hosted phone systems in favor of cheaper, more technologically advanced phone systems. And, in my opinion, this is a great thing! There are so many great phone plans out there that don't require high-end, expensive PBX systems, and almost all of them are more technologically advanced AND less expensive, from a data/minute standpoint. So, if you are looking for a great way to increase that bottom line, as well as cut expenses, here are a few ways you can replace your PBX system while saving money in the long run.

VOIP

VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is all the rage in small and large scale businesses the world over, and for good reason too! VOIP phone systems are exceedingly cheap, undercutting the cost of PBX by quite a bit in almost every scenario, while providing easily programmable, app-based functions. In other words, VOIP is cheaper and better than anything you'll find under the PBX name. Why is this? Well, for one thing, VOIP is entirely internet based, meaning you aren't paying for separate lines, nor are you paying for the artificially expensive usage rates associated with PBX; you are just paying for the service and for your already established internet connection. Granted, your office will need to be outfitted with Ethernet ports, and you will need to have a very fast internet connection—even VOIP for small businesses requires high bandwidth and speed thresholds—however, the prices will still be less than for an entire PBX system, and you'll be getting more features, and better clarity. Truly, VOIP is better than PBX in every way, and the only reason you might want to hesitate changing is if you are in an older building. Other than that, if you are in need of a business wide phone-line, choose VOIP; I guarantee it's worth the switch.

Features:*

  • Door Phone Entry Buzzer Integration
  • Voicemail to Email Transcription
  • Hold Music
  • Find Me routing
  • Bandwidth Reports
  • Call Screening
  • Coaching Tools
  • Do not Disturb
  • Conferencing
  • Auto Attendant

*Check here for more information about VOIP features

Skype / FaceTime

This one is very hard to recommend for large businesses; however, if you are small—maybe even very small—Skype and FaceTime are great apps that can almost entirely replace a business-wide phone line. They are absolutely perfect for conference calling, giving you the flexibility to conduct long range business for free, and you can even replace your office phone with a Skype phone number, further subtracting from the overall cost you need to pay (as Skype minutes are much less expensive than an entire phone plan). If you don't take a lot of calls from customers, and most of your business is done over cell-phone, then Skype/Face Time are both great applications to replace an in house PBX system. Your expenditures will decline to basically nothing, and you won't have to worry about low quality phone systems (though you will need to make sure you have a solid internet connection).

Features:

  • Free Video Chat
  • Calling
  • Video
  • Messaging
  • Sharing
  • Screen Sharing
  • Connect over PBX (Skype PBX)

Go-To Meeting

Another great meeting software, Go-To Meeting has even more flexibility than Skype and FaceTime, allowing you to create meetings with ease, and even to let people with bad internet connections phone in from a physical phone line (something that Skype nor FaceTime allows). Again, Go-To Meeting is really only a good replacement if you don't have consumers constantly calling, and you may want to get a rudimentary business line for that, even if you decide to use Go-To Meeting; however, it is a very reliable service for business dealings and the like, and you shouldn't have to worry about quality or price. Take it from me; in my years in the small business industry, I've used Go-To Meeting more than any other software, and it has truly helped in the business relations department. It's definitely worth the price of admission.

Features:

  • HD Video Conferencing
  • Phone or WiFi Access
  • Speaker Identification
  • Screen Sharing
  • Conference Recording
  • Keyboard and Mouse Control Sharing
  • Draw and Highlight on Screen

Other than that, just make sure you crawl the web! There are a host of great phone solutions for small businesses online, and this is only the start. Check out here for more information. Thanks for reading!

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