Cloud-based PBX: 4 tips for small businesses
Cloud-hosted private branch exchanges (hosted PBX or HPBX) offer small businesses an easy way to access phone systems that were once feasible only for large enterprises. The problem is that not all providers are equipped to address the challenges faced by small businesses: limited time, resources and infrastructure all affect the way you deploy and use a hosted phone system.
With the wrong provider, those problems can be exacerbated—leaving you no better off than before. A good provider, meanwhile, can help you hit your communication goals within your constraints. If, like most small businesses, you don’t have a telephone expert on-board, here are some simple tips you can use to find the right provider.
1. Prioritise customer support
Cloud-based phone systems shift maintenance, upgrades and all other complex technical matters to the side of the provider. This makes it much simpler for users, but it also means you’d be relying on the provider much more than you would with a phone system hosted on-premises. Because of this, good customer support becomes much more important.
You can get a sense of a provider’s customer support record by looking at testimonials, especially those that mention customer service specifically. Another good indicator is how many options they have for reaching them: 24/7 support through phones, email or instant messaging suggest that a provider cares for their customers.
And if these initial signs lead you to contact them, simply observe how they conduct themselves in your first few conversations. Courtesy, responsiveness and professionalism are essential to good customer support.
2. Make sure they’re secure
Most cloud service providers will have rigorous security measures in place. After all, even one loss could cost them dearly. Most of those measures will be behind-the-scenes, however—you can focus on bigger-picture issues.
For example, ask how much downtime they require when setting up or adjusting your service. Ask them about their account management, billing and transparency in records. Check if they have disaster response programs in place. These are simple things that can have big consequences, so they’re a good way to narrow down your choices.
3. Look for scalability
Starting out, you may be rather limited in what you can get. Down the line, however, you won’t want your earlier limitations keeping you from growing.
A good HPBX plan should be able to keep pace with your business. Look for a plan that has flexible upgrade options and can integrate with a wider range of communication services. Unified communications managed by a single provider are much easier to work with than services from several sources.
4. Find a plan that’s ‘just right’
Many HPBX providers turn a profit by offering bundled services that most clients would leave underutilised. When choosing a provider, focus on their available subscription plans and choose one that fits your business—neither more nor less than what you need.
Alltel Australia has been supporting enterprises of all sizes for over a decade. If you’re looking for an HPBX solution tailored to the unique needs of your small business, get in touch with us at 1300 ALLTEL or visit our Business Phone Systems page.