As digital commerce continues to soar, businesses must find a way to stay ahead of communications trends to meet customer demand. Companies have turned to PBX phone systems to help support their digital channels, but many struggle to understand how PBX can serve them.
What is a PBX phone system?
Private branch exchange (PBX) is a communication technology that allows businesses to switch calls throughout their network. Employees can share external telephone lines and split single phone lines into multiple internal lines. PBX phone systems are designed to cut business costs, with service providers running a main line from a switching facility to your business where various extensions can be used and managed.
PBX systems can also expand business functions, improve operations and provide ongoing scalability with new capabilities. Consider these points when evaluating the PBX system that best serves your business.
Types of PBX Phone Systems
There are four types of PBX phone systems, each offering different capabilities based on your business’s communication needs.
This system relies on regular telephone lines to originate and collect phone calls. This was at one time the preferred system for businesses, particularly before the expansion of hybrid and remote work. This system uses a more typical telephone infrastructure system, including phone sets and other hardware that must be purchased and maintained. This system is known as a legacy system that usually is only beneficial to companies that already have a significant investment in the infrastructure.
IP PBX features Voice over Internet Protocol, replacing the need for extensive physical infrastructure. It does not rely on a single phone to make calls and is operational on a variety of devices, including IP phones connected by WiFi or Ethernet, computers, and even cell phones. It can be more expensive upfront to set up an IP PBX system, but operating costs are significantly less than traditional PBX.
The IP PBX system can offer an unlimited number of phone lines, but it can be limited by your company’s existing bandwidth capabilities. The system also does not consume significant space because the call data is in digital packets. But the system will require in-house IT management to maintain custom functionality.
The hosted PBX system is maintained and operated off-site by a provider at their facility. Businesses like this arrangement because it helps reduce their facilities costs and eliminates extensive infrastructure requirements. Providers typically charge monthly subscription fees based on the system and features chosen.
These systems are more cost-effective because they do not have significant upfront costs. This makes the technology attractive to small businesses that cannot afford big upfront investments for technology. Other companies like the fact that they don’t have ongoing maintenance and support costs for PBX because those are paid by the provider.
The virtual PBX system is a cloud-based communications network. Virtual PBX phones handle internal calls through the internet. This system is beneficial to businesses that don’t make many external calls or that don’t use a variety of features beyond holding music and voicemail.
Which PBX System Serves Your Business Type?
Different businesses require different PBX system functionality. Consider these examples when evaluating which PBX system is best for your business.
For e-commerce companies, speed is a priority. A PBX system autoresponder directs calls to the right team member no matter where they are located, which helps boost customer satisfaction. Hosted PBX provides a small e-commerce business run from a residence to use non-geographic telephone numbers that conceal the business location. Fully off-premise PBX systems help e-commerce businesses manage their virtual storefronts remotely. A VoIP-based PBX system can help manage operational costs, which can increase margins and protect revenue.
A PBX system with VoIP technology offers a family business flexibility to scale the solution, depending on the change in employees on the payroll. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to add phone lines and eliminate them if the demand falls. A VoIP number offers continuity to a family business, allowing the firm to keep a phone number even if employees use the phone system remotely away from the office.