The challenge for many small businesses is how to stay in contact when the office is unmanned. Mobility is essential, particularly for businesses with only a few employees. You need to visit customers, prospects and suppliers, but you also need to remain in contact so you can handle calls.
Voicemail should be a last resort, particularly for calls from important customers. You can take calls on mobiles, but this sounds less professional than an office-based phone. If provide customers with a number of different contact numbers, you may find that callers are receiving an inconsistent standard of service from different members of your team.
A virtual PBX provider can help you overcome this problem and give you the flexibility to run your business the way you want without being tied to the office. These service providers give you the equivalent of a professional answering service to ensure that incoming calls are handled efficiently.
They do this by managing and maintaining a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) in a secure database in the cloud. You pay an affordable monthly fee to use this service rather than spending your scarce funds on buying and operating your own equipment. The fee is affordable because you are sharing the PBX facilities with other users.
The PBX receives your incoming calls and routes them to the phones you have chosen. You can set a number of options for handling calls. The system can offer callers the choice of reaching a department, such as sales or customer service, or asking for a named individual. The callers receive a familiar message such as ‘Press 1 for sales,’ which immediately gives your business a professional image.
The virtual PBX then forwards the call to the phone you have designated. This could be a mobile if you spend most of your time out of the office, or a fixed phone at your office or home. The system can also forward the call to a series of numbers if one does not answer. With that kind of contactability, you won’t have to miss any important calls.
Virtual PBX providers can add another dimension to your business by making it independent of location. They can give you virtual numbers that are not local to your business. If you are based on the east coast for example and you want to grow your business in other parts of the country, you can ask the provider for virtual numbers in those locations.
Callers have the impression they are calling a local business, but the calls are forwarded to your main office. You can also set up local numbers in overseas territories if you want to grow an export business.
This solution doesn’t just create more marketing options, it can also give you more flexible working arrangements. You can work from home or in a shared workspace where you rent deskspace in a virtual office. If you want to take on additional staff, you won’t have to look for additional office space, you can base your team in any location confident they can all remain in contact.