Small businesses need fast, reliable, and affordable communications (that cloud based, virtual PBX systems offer) in order to be competitive with larger companies.
Upgrading to a virtual office that is able to manage customer and client calls professionally, and from anywhere (via the cloud), at a fraction of the cost, is a huge advantage.
In the same way that data has moved into the cloud, so companies are waking up to the fact that cloud based phone systems can manage communications via a Web interface, at lower costs, with greater flexibility, reliability and call quality, from anywhere, at any time.
This article highlights the advantages of using online fax and phone systems, and how upgrading to cloud based communications can save you time and money, and bring a new level of professionalism to the way you work (both internally, and on the client facing end).
See how to send an online fax right now.
All you need is an Internet connection and a phone - gone are the days when PBX required expensive hardware and skilled technicians to install.
And because cloud based services often have free trial periods to encourage new clients, it is often completely risk free to try out.
Why use an online phone system?
Often owners have the attitude "if it ain't broke; don't fix it". And while a traditional phone system might get the job done, it's kind of like saying that "since a typewriter can type, there's no need to upgrade to a PC".
Here's a list of the advantages of making the transition to a cloud based, VoIP telephony (with online fax too) solution...
Easy to setup & manage
The most obvious advantage to using an online system is that it is easy to setup. There's no hardware to purchase, or complicated installation, and it takes only a few minutes to get started.
Everything is done online - including purchase, setup, and management. This, in itself, is a huge advantage, as we'll see next.
Do you have employees in different towns, or regions of the country? Doesn't it make more sense to be able to manage all your communications from a single online account?
Wherever you are, or wherever you move to, office communications are managed from the same place - there's no need to install different phone systems for different workplaces. Obviously, having a centralized management interface for your entire business is a huge time and money saver.
Predictable pricing & low cost
Most cloud based communications have no setup fees. It doesn't cost a cent to setup an account.
Thereafter, there is a set monthly fee - with no hidden costs. Often, there are no binding contracts either, so there is no risk associated with setting up a new account. If you don't like a service, for whatever reason, you can find another provider.
In fact, entire enterprise level communications solutions, can be implemented for a fraction of the cost of traditional systems - in some cases, less than $20 per person per month (depending on the size of your organization).
Fortune 500 features
Being able to hand calls and faxes like a large corporation is really not that hard when everything is managed online.
Cloud based phone systems are configured at the click of a button. So for example, your phone system can be easily configured to reach you, or the relevant company employees, anywhere (with call forwarding) - even when you're not in the office.
Not only that, but fax and call management is easy, and you can access messages (recorded by your auto-receptionist) anytime, anywhere. The list goes on... call-screening, alerts, answering rules, on-hold music, and pretty much anything else you've heard fortune 500 companies using.
Analog phone systems don't integrate nicely with other aspects of your business. Wouldn't it be great if you could integrate calls with Salesforce, or even Microsoft Outlook? Because cloud based phone systems are digital, they can be integrated easily with other technologies.
Wouldn't it be great, for example, to have callers identified by their Outlook profile information? How about having your auto-receptionist access the Outlook data before answering the phone?
Advanced Web based features
Virtual phone and fax systems can also leverage the power of the Web to bring additional features that previously would have been handled by more expensive 3rd party providers.
Here are a couple of examples:
Cloud fax features allow you to send and receive faxes from your mobile phone, Microsoft Office, and just about anywhere else.
Online conferencing allows you to host and manage conferences with hundreds or thousands of attendees, plus get plenty of useful features, like user count and recording.
Get started with cloud based office communications
There are a number of cloud based Internet communications services available. The most popular is RingCentral, which offers complete virtual office facilities, or cloud based online phone and fax to compliment your existing infrastructure.
To give you an idea of how quickly businesses (both large and small) are migrating to cloud based communications, check out this Google trends graph that shows the brand popularity of RingCentral over the last 5 years or so:
Getting started with RingCentral is really easy. They offer 30 day free trials for all new customers on their professional (enhance your existing phone system with cloud features) plan.
However, if you are looking for the complete package to manage an entire office's communications from the cloud, then the best thing to do is go for RingCentral Office, which has a 30 day money back trial.
Have you moved to online phone and fax systems to handle your communications? Has it saved you time and money, or not worked as well as you hoped? Share your thoughts and experiences on cloud based business communications in the comments.