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Your Hosted VoIP Shopping List - 4 Key Features to Focus On
How much holiday shopping did you do this winter? Across the U.S., retailers saw one of their strongest holiday seasons of this decade. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report revealed a 4.9 percent year-over-year increase, the largest since 2011, according to The Mercury News. The Saturday before Christmas – Dec. 23, 2017 – was also the second busiest single day of the season, behind only Black Friday.
While consumers were picking out smart speakers, gift cards and new clothes, some organizations were doing holiday shopping of their own by purchasing new hosted private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems. Technavio has projected 9.87 percent compound annual growth for VoIP services worldwide from 2017 to 2021.
Like any other big-ticket item, hosted PBX (aka hosted VoIP) should be bought with care. Just as you would want to check the resolution and connectivity options on a TV before finalizing the purchase, you need to verify that your hosted VoIP platform has all the features that will make it a worthwhile investment. Here are four key capabilities to look for:
Imagine you had a refrigerator that required a visit from a repairman every time you wanted to put more food or drink in it. It sounds absurd, but it's similar to the basic setup of many on-premises PBX implementations, which make it onerous to add new users.
These users are typically not covered by standard service contracts, while their maximum number is capped by the physical limitations of the purchased PBX infrastructure. Plus, there are all those pricey on-site visits to consider. The good news is that none of these impediments apply with hosted PBX.
A hosted VoIP provider allows users to be added on-demand. The intuitive web portal also enables painless moves and changes. You don't have to overbuy equipment or worry about scaling capacity, since the hosted system can reach potentially thousands of endpoints as you grow.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the New York City metropolitan area in late 2012, there was significant damage to communications and power infrastructure throughout the region, including to landline phones. However, some organizations were able to leverage hosted phone systems to sustain their operations even in the storm's immediate aftermath.
Hosted PBX can usually withstand such natural disasters because its infrastructure is not concentrated in one location. Instead, assets are housed in secure data centers designed to deliver five-nines (i.e., 99.999 percent) availability. Customers don't have to worry about setting up backup lines via a separate phone vendor.
If a crisis strikes, you can keep your company running by forwarding calls to another number, including a mobile one. Hosted PBX/VoIP ensures you stay connected regardless of what happens in your company's server room.
When it comes to PBXes, one size does not fit all. The best hosted VoIP providers will allow line-by-line tailoring of service plans so that you don't end up paying for features that you will never use.
Such overpaying is common with traditional phone systems, since it's often only possible to buy lines in huge blocks that will ultimately exceed your total number of users. Moreover, any modifications to your original plan will, in most cases, require vendor assistance or the procurement of additional hardware and software.
Hosted VoIP providers like Telesystem offer feature-rich plans that let you pick the productivity tools most relevant to your company. You can easily add hoteling, group paging, visual voicemail and much more in packages such as our popular Complete Plan.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks with legacy PBX is finding a manageable calling plan. You might have to buy long-distance coverage separately and at great cost. Monthly dial tone plans can create additional headaches, as you'll need to sort through many services to find one suitable for your requirements.
In contrast, hosted PBX offerings make life easier by bundling unlimited local calling with options for long distance. With Telesystem, you also get free calling anywhere on earth within the Telesystem hosted VoIP network.
Streamlined plans help simplify your overall budgeting processes. The hosted PBX comes with predictable costs covering not only calling plans but also phones, trainings, maintenance and 24/7 support. It's much more manageable than the fragmented expenses associated with an aging phone system.
The 2017 holiday season has passed, but there's never a bad time to think about upgrading your phone system. Contact Telesystem today to learn more about our voice solutions, including hosted PBX, or request a quote online.