Business Phone Systems Go to the Internet and Beyond

Remember the PBX? Remember what those strange initials stand for—a private branch exchange? No, this is not about trees swapping limbs with one another. A private branch exchange refers to a telephone system that is self-contained within a business. When it first came into being in the 1960s, PBX was state-of-the-art technology. When someone called into your business with a special request, you could put that client on hold and call up your boss for permission to make the deal. Today the need for a private business interface has never been greater, but technology, expanding uses for telephones and work-from-home employees have resulted in the PBX system being more archaic than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago. The PBX was developed for the POTS (the “plain old telephone system”) as first created by Alexander Graham Bell almost a century and a half ago. Things have changed since Bell’s first intra-business phone message: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” Take a look at several of the phone platforms already available for in-house business telephone systems.

The Various Platforms for Intra-Business Phoning

Like the original analog telephone itself, you have to give the functionality of the PBX plenty of credit. Newer technologies are coming into their own as well. Here are some major existing forms of intra-business phone systems:

The Features Most Entrepreneurs Desire in a Phone System

The qualities most entrepreneurs seek from a telephone system are pretty much the same regardless of what system they might be using. First and foremost comes reliability. You may remember that, in prior times, the internet was notoriously unreliable. Fortunately, the net is becoming much more dependable. The second is portability. Portability has two implications: the ability to move the system itself from one location to another; a business’s desire to move their representatives from place to place and still be able to speak with them whenever they wish. Third, since most businesses are interested in containing costs, the desired phone system should be as economically feasible as possible. In this respect, there is a world of difference between the costs of these three types of systems. Fourth, finally, is flexibility. Business leaders want their phone systems to be adaptable to the dramatic changes happening daily in business. By default, it seems, a system that boils down simply to being a cellphone app is going to be the most economical and most flexible.

The Legacy Phone Systems Are Going Extinct

While it is true that PBX systems are still around and entrepreneurs still have the option of installing them in their businesses, it is also the case that these legacy systems are slowly disappearing. Many hold that they have already become obsolete. This is largely a feature of the reality that traditional PBX systems are the most expensive, least programmable and least adaptable among all types of business phone systems.

The Customers Have Their Own Expectations

In addition to entrepreneurs wanting their phone systems to perform in a particular way, your customers also have certain desires when it comes to calling you. While there are many interesting statistics regarding customer expectations about your phone, perhaps the most telling is that three bad phone experiences are all it takes for the average customer to look elsewhere for an efficient, personable, professionally run business. Accordingly, research shows that over two-thirds of a business’s clients will continue to use a company—and even pay more for goods and services—if that company responds to them in a positive, caring way.

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