The Benefits of a Hosted PBX
There are a number of key advantages to using a Hosted PBX versus traditional telephone service or purchasing an office telephone system.
- Initial Cost Savings- You do not need to make a large upfront investment by purchasing an office telephone system and there is no need to maintain it. With a Hosted PBX solution the office telephone system is operated and maintained by your provider.
- Ongoing Cost Savings- Typically, a Hosted PBX implementation is significantly more cost-effective over the long run than a traditional PBX. These ongoing savings are in addition to the initial savings on capital outlay.
- Geographical Flexibility- Employees can work from anywhere when your office phone system is virtual. You can have employees working from home, other offices, mobile phones, and even overseas.
- Local Presence- Hosted PBX systems allow you to get local virtual numbers in cities where you are not physically located which allows you to create a virtual presence or open a virtual office in New York or the UK.
- Credibility- For small businesses a virtual system can give them instant credibility by presenting their customers with a professional sounding telephone solution. Traditional telephone systems are generally cost-prohibitive for smaller organizations.
- Scalability- Traditional phone systems are limited by how many users they can handle as well as how many lines you have purchased from your local telephone provider. Virtual systems can expand and grow with your business as you need them to.
- Quick Setup- A Hosted PBX solution can have you up and running very quickly compared to a traditional telephone system.
- Ease of Use- End-user management of a Hosted PBX is far more user-friendly than is the case with traditional solutions. Intuitive web interfaces mean that anyone can manage, monitor and make changes to the service at any time, without needing any specialized skills or experience.
Hosted PBX Features
Our cloud-based service provides a wealth of powerful features, many of which are included at no additional cost. Below is a categorized list of some of the most popular features.
- Long-distance included
- Little or no hardware needed
- Easy to manage - no technican required
- Huge number of included features
- Find-me / Follow-me included
- Use desk phones, smartphones, or laptops
- Voicemail to E-mail included
- Supports multiple physical offices
- Customize your autoattendant
- Manage staff with departments
- Get local numbers in areas of your choice
- Custom hold music supported
- Track performance over time
- Easily generate detailed reports
- View real-time usage and active calls
- Automatically record calls
An auto-attendant is a prerecorded "menu" system that can be used to direct callers to different departments or employees within your company.
Business Hour Rules
Easily set the days and times during which callers can reach your staff via phone. You can use Business Hour Rules to create different phone call behaviours based on day and time.
Easily block your caller ID information from being displayed to the party you are calling. This feature is helpful when you wish to temporarily mask caller ID for privacy reasons.
This feature lets you see the name and number of the person calling you before you answer. You can also use this feature to display your company's name and phone number when you call out.
Call Forwarding lets you forward your extension to a cell phone, regular telephone or another employee. When you leave the office, you can forward your extension and receive your calls anywhere.
This feature allows staff to see in advance which department or product a caller chooses, and then answer with an appropriate greeting such as "Hello, this is Sales, how can I help you?"
Listen to calls for quality assurance or training purposes and speak to your staff without the other party being able to hear you. Great for "whispering" to new staff when they're on live calls.
Monitor calls for quality assurance or training purposes. For instance, with this feature a new sales person could monitor calls from more experienced staff in order to build sales skills.
With this feature, you can "park" a call in a virtual location, and allow any other extension to pick up the call later. This is particularly useful when the call is for a staff member who is not immediately available.
Call Recording is possible using one of two methods. You can use a soft phone to quickly and selectively record calls you make or receive. Read More.For the second method, see the Optional FeatureCall Recording, server-side.
Call screening asks callers to say their name before being connected to your extension or department. This feature can be useful for busy staff who want to only selectively answer calls.
Company Phone Directory
You can set up a company-wide phone directory which lists the names and numbers of commonly called vendors, clients, or staff. To use this feature, select 'Administration' and then 'Phone Directory' from our web portal.
Connect staff or clients together so that you can hold team meetings or demonstrations. Our VoIP phones natively support up to three parties on a conference call. Read More . For a larger number of conference participants, consider ourConference Bridge service.
Custom Hold Music / Information
While callers are waiting to be connected to a department or are waiting on hold for the next available representative they can hear music or promotional messages.
Day / Night Modes
Route calls differently based on day and/or time. For example, you can easily send calls to different hunt groups such as an after-hours sales team and a regular hour sales team.
Departmental Ring Groups
Multiple people in a department can receive incoming calls at the same time. If a customer was trying to contact the sales department you could have any number of phones ring at once. Call labels are commonly used with this feature.
When customers don't know the extension number of an employee, they can use the Dial-By-Name directory customers to enter the first or last name of an employee and be transferred to the correct person immediately.
Direct Dial Numbers
Perfect for employees who wish to have customers reach them directly, without having to call the company's main phone number. When someone calls this number they will be connected immediately or get voicemail if the employee is unavailable.
Directed Call Pickup
Pick up a call that is ringing on any other phone at any time. If you see a call ringing on another phone or extension you can simply select that ringing line and pick up that call at any phone.
Do Not Disturb
DND mode routes any calls to your extension to voicemail. This is a useful feature if you are busy meeting with a customer or co-worker and do not want to be interrupted.
Employee Status Indicators
Employee status indicators show you whether a particular person is on the phone or receiving a call. This feature will work regardless of where your staff are physically located.
Employees can work from anywhere with Easy Office Phone's Hosted PBX - from home, on a cell phone, at a hotel or another office. Calls can be sent to multiple locations at once, meaning you can answer no matter where you are at the moment.
Find-Me / Follow-Me
Find-Me / Follow-Me lets you select multiple locations to dial when someone calls you. If you were to specify a cell phone, your office business phone and a telephone at another branch office the system will call all these telephones at the same time.
Free Calls Between Subscribers
With our Hosted PBX service you can always call other subscribers for free by simply dialing their number, no matter where that subscriber is located.
Free Calls between Staff
You can make free calls to other employees simply by dialing their extension. It does not matter where that employee is located - you will not have to pay long distance charges or incur any type of cost.
A hunt group is a list of employees that should be called when a caller chooses a department. The customer is first placed on hold with music and then the system begins to "hunt" for someone to answer the call.
Keep Your Phone Numbers
Transfer your established numbers when you switch to our service. We can transfer numbers from most areas throughout North America, with no interruption in service. To determine whether your numbers are portable, please speak to your Easy Office Phone representative.
Live Call Transfers
A live extension transfer allows you to transfer callers from one employee to another, or even to an outside phone number. For instance you can transfer a customer to a technical person at one of your suppliers.
Lower Hardware Costs
Traditional hardware PBX solutions are very expensive to purchase and install. With Hosted PBX, hardware costs are much lower. Many customers use our service throughSoft Phones or existing analog phones coupled to adapters.
Message Waiting Indicators
The message waiting indicator is a light which flashes on your phone whenever you have a voicemail waiting for you. You will also hear a broken dial tone when using the telephone which lets you know that you have a message waiting. You can checkvoicemail in a variety of ways.
Our Hosted PBX is completely virtual, allowing you to connect multiple offices together as if they were one. This means you can dial employees' extensions directly, even if they are not in the same office as you.
Multiple Phone Lines
Unlike traditional telephone systems, our plans allow you to add as many lines as you like, with no need to change your network infrastructure. Easily scale with our Hosted PBX service and pay only for the capacity you need.
Multiple Phone Numbers
Our Hosted PBX allows you to have as many phone numbers as you like. Offer customers in specific regions a local number so that they can reach you without calling long-distance. Each number can have a unique greeting and call flow.
No Busy Signals
Our Dedicated Lines plan provide you with unlimited calling capacity so that customers will never hear a busy signal. Rest assured your staff will be able to handle even an unexpectedly high volume of calls.
North American Long Distance
Easy Office Phone's plans include long distance in the USA & Canada with no per minute charges! See Terms and Conditions for details.
Online Call Records
Use our web interface to easily track the details of incoming and outgoing calls, such as: date and time, who called your company, which of your staff placed outgoing calls, duration of each call, and much more.
A single employee or group of employees can act as the operator for various departments or the entire company. Any time a customer needs help or wants to speak to someone immediately they can press 0 to be connected with the operator.
Easy integration with Outlook using the Bria Add-on which allows you to directly call contacts from Microsoft Outlook. This click to dial feature saves time without the need to look up a contact and dial the call manually.
Paging & Intercom
The Paging/Intercom feature allows you to use the built in speaker of your Aastra Hosted PBX phone to "broadcast" your voice to other staff.
A soft phone is a telephone that runs on your computer using a headset. It allows you to make and receive calls from any location, using your computer. Our service is compatible with popular soft phones such as X-Lite, Eyebeam, Bria, Zoiper, and Zoiper Biz.
Special On-Hold Music
From time to time, as a free (and fun) bonus to customers, Easy Office Phone enjoys offering seasonal or themed hold music channels. For example, we recently gave clients the option to play pleasant, instrumental versions of Christmas carols.
Traditional telephone systems only allow you to receive a limited number of calls based on how many physical telephone lines you have installed at the office. With our Hosted PBX service you can easily scale your number of lines to meet your needs.
Unlimited Internal Calls
Both our Dedicated and Shared Lines plans allow your staff to have an unlimited number of internal calls active at any time. Employees can reach each other even if they are in different physical locations without tying up any external lines.
Each employee in your organization gets their own mailbox and you can create mailboxes for specific departments or products. Each employee can record their own unavailable greeting and store up to 50 voicemail messages at a time.
A voicemail notification lets an employee or a group of employees immediately know when a new voicemail has been left for them. We offer "Message Waiting" indication and also more advanced forms of notification, such as Voicemail to E-mail (see below).
Voicemail to E-mail
Receive voicemail notification via e-mail, pager, smartphone and on your telephone (message waiting indicator). Voicemails can also be received as attachments in your e-mail box which you can listen to through your speakers.
Our Hosted PBX service includes a very powerful but user-friendly web interface that allows you to control virtually every aspect of your service online, at any time, from anywhere. Training and support materials are also available online.
Call queues are used when you have multiple customer calls but only a limited number of staff to answer these calls at any time. For instance you might receive four callers who want to speak with a sales representative but you only have two sales representatives. The first two callers will be connected to your sales representatives and the remaining two callers can remain on hold waiting for the next available representative. Once a sales representative is free they will receive the next caller. This feature has many different options which will fit your business needs, and its settings can be easily customized via our customer account interface.
Call Recording, Server-Side
Using our server-side call recording feature, you can automatically have all calls into your company recorded. There is no need to manually record selected calls. The recordings are stored in digital files and uploaded, again without manual intervention to your Dropbox account. Listen to your recorded calls right from the web portal.
You can use this feature to host a large number of callers in a two-way conference, or also to host information sessions in which callers can join your conference call but can only listen to you make a presentation. As conference administrator you can set a PIN and then distribute it to the participants you expect to join. You can choose either a local or a toll-free conference bridge (note that the per-minute rate for toll-free bridges is 6¢).
With Easy Office Phone's Fax service, you get a dedicated fax telephone number and automatically receive your faxes in your e-mail inbox. There is no need for a fax machine. You can also send faxes digitally, through our customer account interface. This service provides for an unlimited number of received and sent faxes (subject to fair usage policies).
International Virtual Numbers
Add international telephone numbers to your account from over 30 countries worldwide. Calls to your international virtual number can be answered from anywhere or be used with an automated attendant to direct callers to specific employees or departments. There are no per minute charges when someone calls your international number, everything is included for a flat monthly fee.
Rates for international numbers vary.
Local Virtual Numbers
Your Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking plan may already include one or more local virtual numbers. However, you can easily add more, at a low fixed-rate cost and with no limits on the amount of incoming calls. You can select your new local numbers from thousands of rate centres across North America. Pricing based on volume of numbers purchased; speak to a representative to obtain pricing for your specific application.
Professional Voice Recordings
A professional sounding greeting or custom information on hold can make all the difference in the image you portray to your customers. We have professional voice artists who can create great sounding greetings which will give your telephone solution that polished sound. Prices vary by recording requirements; ask your representative for full details.
Do you have customers in areas that are physically far away from you? If so, and if you want to allow those customers to call you without ever incurring long-distance fees, consider our Toll-Free Service.
Achieve a greater impact with sales calls, product or service demonstrations, or interviews. Communications that require visual contact are an excellent fit for video conferencing. For example, a sales representative demonstrating a new smartphone to a corporate customer could easily show him/her the benefits of the device, visually and in real time.
Another highly beneficial application of this feature is increased ease of screening prospective new employees. Where in-person meetings are not convenient, or where managers are tasked with hiring staff who will work remotely, video calls offer a superior means of gauging a prospective employee's personality and demeanor.
Potential cost savings make the solution even more attractive. Typical video conferencing solutions are offered on a per-minute basis, and thus can potentially represent significant monthly fees. Easy Office Phone customers, however, can add video capability to their Hosted PBX service for a very affordable, flat-rate monthly fee.
This feature is easy to set up and simply requires a soft phone, microphone and webcam.
Virtual Calling Card
The virtual calling card feature is great add-on service for mobile employees who make long distance calls on their cell phones or from hotels. Employees can simply call your main telephone number and then enter their PIN number to make a long distance call. It's also possible to have a separate phone number for virtual calling card purposes in another area; ask your representative for details.
This lets you bypass the long distance rates charged by a hotel or cell phone company in favour of our lower or even free (depending on the area you are calling) long distance rates. When using this feature your office telephone number and name will be shown to the other party so that it appears you are calling from the office rather than your cell phone or a hotel.
A customer calls your toll-free or local phone number and the call is answered either by your receptionist or an automated greeting. You can even have multiple receptionists in different geographical locations answering your incoming calls. If the receptionist is not available and an automated greeting answers the phone call, customers can choose to dial an extension, a specific department, listen to product information or use the dial-by-name directory.
One of the great benefits of a Hosted PBX system is that employees can be working in different geographical locations. For instance, an employee working from home in New York can transfer a caller to technical support which is located in Toronto, Canada. Employees can answer calls from their cell phones, on a laptop, from their home or anywhere with a traditional landline or internet connection for business Voice-over-IP.
What equipment or service can I use?
Let us go over a few of the ways that a Hosted PBX can be used to replace your current telephone service or work in conjunction with it.
- Keep your existing landlines- You might choose to keep your existing telephone lines and have calls forwarded from the Hosted PBX service to these telephone lines. For instance when someone calls the "sales" department, the Hosted PBX service could simultaneously call Bob and Anne's traditional telephone lines. This implementation may not be ideal as it generally means that the total cost of your phone solution is higher, because you have to pay for the Hosted PBX service and the traditional telephone lines.
- Use mobile telephones- Many companies have employees who are outside of the office most of the time (real estate agents for instance) and would prefer to receive their calls on their mobile telephones. Calls from the Hosted PBX service can be forwarded to your cell phone and many Hosted PBX services allow you to choose to send a caller to voicemail or transfer the call to another extension (which might be another cell phone).
- Use voice-over-IP- Some Hosted PBX services, such as Easy Office Phone, are bundled with VoIP service. This is usually the optimal solution as it eliminates the need to have a telephone line with your local telephone carrier to make and receive calls. You can choose to use multi-line digital office telephones that plug directly into your internet connection. Typically there is also an option for using soft phones which are computer programs that simulate a business telephone on your desktop so you can make and receive calls using a USB headset.
- Use smartphone apps- Smartphones allow companies to better integrate mobile employees into the company's service. Apps such as Bria for iPhone or Android are relatively new developments in the industry, and allow employees' smartphones to behave in the same manner as desk phones in the main office. As an example, the smartphone can display the company's caller ID when placing outgoing calls, rather than the caller ID of the smartphone itself. The use of a smartphone app also means that calls do not need to be forwarded to the smartphone; the device will inherently make and receive calls as if it was a desk phone. Smartphone apps can work well for mobile users while employees in the company's physical office can use VoIP desk phones. The two approaches complement each other and can be easily used in conjunction.