Running a virtual business (which for this post I will define as one that does not have a physical office full of employees but instead has workers in multiple home office locations) can be a challenge. The many benefits outweigh the challenges for me but one thing we have always struggled with is phone triage. How do you handle incoming phone calls that may be for one of any five different people – all in different locations.
Enter Virtual PBX. PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange (as if you needed to know that) and was originally designed to allow larger companies to control their in-house communications. Virtual PBX is a hosted PBX system in which an outside company hosts the PBX on the Internet for many small businesses. It gives small businesses the same powerful tools that larger ones enjoy. This includes services like a virtual attendant to answer calls, call forwarding, simultaneous ringing, extensions for employees (no matter where they are or what their number is), voicemail, email delivery of voicemails, etc. None of this requires any additional hardware and there is almost no training necessary.
At Krause Practice Management, for example, a caller dials our number and the auto attendant greets them with a list of employees and extensions including our support line. Each employee can designate whether they want their call ring at their number (home, cell, whatever) or go directly to their mailbox. If they choose mailbox, any voicemail is recorded and sent to them via email as an attachment. In a business like mine, this allows callers to reach any of our consultants regardless of where they are based or happen to be travelling.
Once I figured out that I needed virtual PBX, I started researching systems and found out that their were hundreds of them. As the concept is rather new, there are not many real reviews to help me decide so I went with a company I was familiar with. I chose My1voice mainly because I have been happy with their MyFax virtual fax for several years.
Virtual PBX definitely has a place in the growing trend toward virtual law offices. For an article that explains it a lot better than I can, check out Virtual PBX Puts a Professional Spin on VoIP.
Blawger Survivor Update. Yes, I am still alive. I am a little concerned that the first part of next week is going to be tough with my schedule. Today, I will send you over to Tax Girl’s post More Tax Haiku. Compose a tax related haiku as a comment. I even made a feeble attempt. Get in on the fun.taxgirl, virtual pbx