Virtual Office Phone Systems

Category: Phone Systems

A virtual office phone system is a service that provides the efficiencies and professional audio image of a business office without the usual overhead. A virtual office system is ideal for many kinds of small businesses. Find out if one is right for your business...

Do You Need a Virtual Office Phone System?

Virtual Office Phone System Consultants, sales reps, plumbers, painters, and many other kinds of professional and trades people do their real work anywhere except in an office. They meet with clients at the clients' premises when necessary, or at caf├ęs, bars, restaurants, and other public places. Why bother with monthly rent, a receptionist, cleaning service, plants and decorations, etc., when all you really need is a phone system that works like an office PBX system?

A virtual office PBX system is a computer server equipped with software that imitates the functions of an auto-attendant hardware PBX. It can accept incoming calls; give the caller options for routing the call to the desired party or department; take and forward messages; and send or receive faxes. The virtual office PBX can do these things with or without the aid of a live operator.

A virtual office system can patch customers through to you no matter where you are or what sort of communication media are available to you there. Your cell phone, laptop, landline home phone, or one "borrowed" from a client you're visiting can become part of your virtual office whenever it's needed.

You can buy the simple hardware and software needed for a virtual office; set it up in just about any space that has Internet access; and run the system yourself. But for small businesses, it usually makes more sense to contract with a virtual office service provider.

Such a service provider may offer two levels of service; one fully automated and the other operator-assisted. Either way, you pay a monthly base fee that includes an allotment of minutes or other units of usage measurement, plus an additional fee per unit of usage if you exceed your monthly allotment. It's a lot like cell phone pricing.

You have to be careful when shopping virtual office services; make sure the service(s) that are most likely to spike during a busy season are not very expensive. For example, if you receive a lot of faxed orders during the holiday season, incoming faxes should be unlimited or very inexpensive.

The physical parts of a virtual office phone system may connect to either the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or the public Internet. A PSTN connection requires specialized circuit cards in the virtual office server that can accept standard telephone lines; you may need to pay monthly fees for several telephone lines. But a Voice over IP (VOIP) system just plugs into the Internet via a single Ethernet cable, and you may have several dozen phone "lines" or simultaneous conversations over that one connection.

Business phone systems have come a long way from the days of in-house switchboards and closets full of phone wires. Many businesses, large and small, rely upon in-house or contracted virtual office systems for their daily business communications. It's a smart way to go, and a very agile one.

Do you have something to say about virtual office phone systems? Post your comment or question below...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on August 17, 2010 11:29 PM

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Related Keywords: Phone Systems   virtual office   voicemail   auto-attendant   PBX   fax  

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Article information: All About Voicemail -- Virtual Office Phone Systems (Posted: August 17, 2010 11:29 PM)
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved