Communication is the lifeblood of any business, and any business owner worth his salt understands that a reliable communication system, whether for internal or external usage, is an absolute necessity. While that is the case, a savvy business owner also understands that a good communication platform doesn’t mean having to break the bank. In this day and age, saving on communication costs without scrimping on the overall quality has become a possibility, thanks to the virtual PBX (private branch exchange) technology. What is virtual PBX? A virtual PBX is a hosted phone service where the communication infrastructure is managed by a third-party provider so that companies no longer need to invest in costly business phone equipment for on-site installation, while allowing them to use telephony features such as fax, automated messages and greetings, voice mail, conference calling, call auditing, phone extensions, call forwarding, touchtone menus, call logs, and the like. Call routing and switching are handled by the hosting companies, who also take care of hardware and software maintenance to ensure that the virtual PBX service is in tip-top shape. There are several reasons to look into virtual PBX as a business investment. Here are just five of them: #1. Cost savings Because you no longer need to invest in costly phone equipment, you save on initial costs. There are also no maintenance costs to fret about because, as already mentioned, operation and maintenance are the responsibilities of the hosting company. #2. Telecommuting Your phone system being virtual, your employees can work from anywhere and anytime, as long as they’re connected to the Internet. This is a clear advantage for employees who are always on the go, as well as for companies with teams scattered across the globe. #3. Quick setup Compared to traditional business phone solutions, virtual PBX systems can get you up and running within minutes. #4. Scalability Your virtual PBX system can grow as your business grows, as opposed to traditional phone solutions that are limited by the number of phone lines purchased from the phone provider. #5. Local presence In areas where your business doesn’t have a physical office, a virtual PBX system allows you to obtain local virtual numbers. This means even when your business isn’t in New York or London, local customers can call a local number to reach you. What are your options? There are a myriad of virtual PBX providers in the market to choose from, depending on the scale and complexity of your business. Below are just three examples: Bitrix24 – Free for 12 users or less, Bitrix24 is a collaboration suite that combines a total of 35+ tools, including telephony. It allows you to call any landline or mobile phone, domestically or internationally via the Bitrix24 portal. No special IP telephony equipment necessary. You can also place calls directly from its built-in CRM system and record conversations. Grasshopper – Starting at $12 a month, Grasshopper is a virtual PBX service that supports the following features: toll-free numbers, local numbers, voicemails via email, unlimited extensions, custom main greeting, music on hold, conference calling, call forwarding to mobile phones, to name a few. Subscription can be upgraded or canceled any time. 8×8 – Depending on the size and needs of your business, 8×8 is a full-featured virtual PBX system that supports voice calling, web conferencing, messaging, call transfers, call park, extension dialing, three-way calling, call waiting, caller ID blocking, among others. With plans starting at $19.99, 8×8’s audio compression methods ensure top-notch audio quality. Are you already using a virtual PBX system for your business? How have your experiences been so far? Images: ”an old phone in the Technik Museum in Magdeburg / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.