Your small business needs every advantage it can get, so when it comes to hosted PBX phone systems it's important to know what features are available.
On the upside, you'll have access to all the features you expect to get with any quality business phone system. Caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding and more are standard hosted PBX features.
But when it comes to more advanced features, the trick is to identify two things: The capabilities you need right now and the availability of features you may need in the future. Although hosted PBX systems are known for the versatility and flexibility they bring to small businesses, vendors offer a wide range of features that need to be thoroughly explored before you settle on a specific solution.
- Central business number. A big benefit of hosted PBX phone systems is that they help geographically diverse companies create the illusion of centralization. All providers will give you a central business phone number. But whether or not you'll be able to keep your existing number is something you need to verify with each potential vendor.
- Auto attendant. Instead of coming in through an on-site PBX cabinet, incoming calls are routed through the provider's database. Callers then use an auto attendant feature to identify the proper extension in your business. Make sure your provider's auto attendant feature can handle your demands and requirements.
- ACD queues. ACD (Automated Call Distribution) disburses incoming calls to available extensions and are an important part of call center functionality. A decent ACD queue feature lets employees or agents log into the queue group to make themselves available to answer calls.
- Follow me calling. On-the-go small businesses demand features that make it easy for callers to track down the person they're trying to reach. Follow me calling features give employees the ability to create a prioritized trail of extensions or numbers at which they can be contacted.
- Web-based management. Since hosted PBX systems allow for the integration of voice and data applications, managers and supervisors can have web-based administrative access to supervise, change and monitor system activities.
- Phone/e-mail/web message delivery. Message delivery and archiving is an area of concern for many mobile small businesses. Hosted PBX systems use VoIP technology to deliver options that include traditional voice messaging, voice to e-mail messaging and web-based messaging.