Decoding Business Phone Basics 7 Simple Terms to Understand Before Choosing Your Next Phone SystemDo you feel like you need a magic decoder just to shopfor a new phone system? Understanding simple termslike PBX, IVR, UC, and VoIP is essential for evaluating youroptions and determining what your business really needs.Let’s decode seven basic phone system terms, so you canshop for a solution and get back to business.
Private Branch ExchangePBX stands for private branch exchange,but you’ll probably never hear it calledthat. So, forget you even read that!What’s important to knowis that a PBX is a businessphone system. What to ask when evaluating PBX vendors?A PBX takes in all of the calls your officereceives from the outside world and directs Find out if the PBX only works with certain service providers, network equipment, and desktop phones. It’s best if your PBX is interoperable with a variety ofthem to your various employees’ desks. standards-based products, so you can choose the best-of-breed solutions for yourTherefore, it eliminates the cost of leasing business. You don’t want to be locked into working with only one vendor.multiple phone lines from a telephone You’ll also want to know about the upgrade path of your PBX. As your businesscompany. It also connects the calls from one grows, you want a phone system that is flexible enough to grow with you.employee to another within your office, so Some vendors require you to completely abandon your original hardware andyou don’t need an outside telephone line for charge expensive upgrade fees, while others protect your investment by offeringinternal calls, which saves even more on your a software upgrade to your existing hardware. You don’t want any surprises whenmonthly phone bill. you’re ready to expand.
Interactive Voice ResponseInteractive Voice Response is one of themost popular phone system featurestoday. When you call a business and anautomated attendant answers, “Thankyou for calling ABC Distributing. If youknow your party’s extension, you maydial it at any time, or press ‘0’ to speak toan operator now.”That’s an IVR. What to ask about an IVR? IVR saves you money by handling Ask if a vendor’s PBX includes an IVR and how repetitive tasks that would otherwise take easy it is to customize it the time and attention of a human. Just for your business. Find out think about how much you could increase if you can easily adjust the greeting for office holidays office productivity simply by eliminating or after-hours calls by the need to answer and transfer calls. yourself or if you need the assistance of an IT person.
Unified Communications Unified Communications is becoming the dominant method to facilitate efficient and productive business communications. The UC market size is expected to reach 16.5 Billion Dollars by 2015. Global Industry Analyst, Inc.Think of Unified Communications(UC) as a PBX on steroids.Just like your smart phone is a single devicethat performs many functions in additionto phone calls, a UC solution can combine Unified Communications also makes employees moreyour business phone system, IVR, voicemail, What to ask when evaluating effective, which saves your business timeinstant message chat, fax, conference call UC vendors? and money.bridge, and video conferencing. Get a list of the supported UC Here are a few examples of how UC can be used: features, and ask for the costIt can also integrate with email, web associated with each one. A conference call bridgesapplications, social media, and business UC solution offering the besttools, like your customer relationship value will include all features Me, which automatically routes calls to various locations for a flat rate. Most UC vendorsmanagement system (CRM). nickel and dime you by luring you in with a low base price,Most businesses are choosing UC solutions available to talk and alternate ways to communicate with them but charge extra for all theover a traditional PBX because it’s a better most useful features yourway to future-proof their investment and business will actually need. person calls you to know an important customer is on the linekeep pace with advances in technology. before you answer
Voice over Internet ProtocolVoice over Internet Protocol(VoIP) is the transmission ofphone calls over the internetinstead of traditional telephonelandlines.VoIP (often pronounced “voyp”) ismore affordable, especially forinternational and other long-distancecalls. It also allows businesses to reduce What to ask when evaluating VoIP for yourtheir IT infrastructure by eliminating the business?need to maintain separate voice and Leading analysts Ask your IT or network service provider ifdata networks. predict VoIP adoption your connection speed is fast enough for among businesses will VoIP. To combine your voice and data onto continue to increase a single network, you may need more bandwidth. The cost of doing this will be rapidly over the next more than offset by eliminating the need for few years, reaching a separate voice network. You’ll also want to 79% by 2013. know if you need additional infrastructure other than a PBX or UC solution to take advantage of VoIP.
Fixed Mobile ConvergenceFixed Mobile Convergence(FMC) is a term for integratingyour fixed desk phone with yourmobile phone. Basically, it createsa seamless communicationexperience whether you’re at yourdesk or on the road.With FMC, you’ll never miss an important call again.Using one phone number, customers can ring you on What to ask about Fixed Mobile Convergenceyour desk, mobile, or home phone based on your set Find out if the UC vendors you’re considering offer FMC and if therecall rules. When you call them, their caller ID shows is a fee associated with this feature. Ask for a brief demo on the useryour office extension no matter which phone you dial interface to see how easy it is to configure the call rules for routingfrom, creating a unified view of your business. Plus, you calls to a mobile or home phone, as well as transferring a call fromcan transfer a call from your desk to your mobile phone one device to another.mid-call, so you’re no longer tethered to one location. Many vendors say they offer FMC, but their implementation is tooAll of this translates into a professional experience for cumbersome for your employees to use on a day-to-day basis. Instead,your callers and allows you to work where and how you’ll want an easy-to-use graphical interface, so any employee in youryou want. company can adjust their own settings within a few minutes.
Bring Your Own DeviceOnce a slang party term, BYOD has beenmodified to reflect a growing issue forcorporations.Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)is one of the hottest trends (andbiggest IT challenges) in businesscommunications.Your sales director loves his iPhone, butyour field engineers prefer Android. Noproblem! The days of issuing a dedicatedcorporate mobile device are over. ModernUC solutions can securely interoperateacross a variety of mobile platforms, tablets, What to ask about BYOD?and even home phones, so your employees Find out if there are additionalcan access business-critical applications licensing fees for BYOD accessfrom their preferred personal devices. and get confirmation of allWhen you’re able to integrate with their mobile devices supported byfavorite gadgets, suddenly work becomes each UC vendor. For maximumplay and productivity goes up. Plus, your compatibility, you’ll want to listen for the big three: iPhone,employees will appreciate not having to lug Android, and Blackberry.around a separate device, while you save ontechnology infrastructure.
Application Programming InterfaceAn Application ProgrammingInterface (API) may be one of themost important features to look forin your next phone system.An API allows a software developer toextend the functionality of your phonesystem by integrating it with other third-party business applications, such as yourpreferred CRM (Customer Relationship You shouldn’t be limited to just theManagement) software. Ultimately, standard features your phone system What to ask about an API?this means you can increase employee includes. As you grow, an API gives you Ask if your phone systemproductivity, improve customer service, the flexibility to tailor your phone system provides API access and whatand get more life out of your phone to your evolving business needs. If you programming languages aresystem investment. supported. You’ll want to listen think of a feature that would help you save for common languages that time or money by accessing it through any software developer or IT your phone system, API access makes this professional will be familiar enhancement possible without having to invest in an entirely new solution.
We can save your business 60 percent on your next phone system. Switchvox is an award-winning Unified Communications system that simplifies business phone system challenges for businesses just like yours. Thousands of small businesses have already recognized the benefits of this powerful, yet affordable solution. Digium continues to win awards for this impressive system – CRN listed it as one of its 25 Products to Watch and named it a Tech Innovator award winner in the VoIP category. If you are still considering an affordable alternative for your business, or you think it might be time to replace or upgrade your current phone system, talk with Digium. We’re ready to help you improve productivity in your business with Switchvox. Talk with a Switchvox Sales Specialist: 1-877-344-4661 E-mail us to get the conversation started: email@example.com www.digium.com/switchvox2011