This sponsored post is produced in association with ShoreTel Sky.

If your company has multiple employees, you need a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system to route incoming calls — especially if you want to maintain a professional image. But for small companies, the initial price tag of traditional communication systems can be daunting. That’s why many are turning to cloud VoIP PBX as a scalable, flexible, cost-effective alternative.

Rather than using a circuit switch network, VoIP PBX systems rely on software and the Internet to connect calls. Cloud-based or hosted means another company takes on the responsibility for owning, configuring and managing the service for you. Because of this, cloud phone systems offer several advantages that make them attractive to small businesses.

You avoid a large upfront capital expenditure

Cloud PBX systems offer all the features of a regular phone system without the initial capital expense. You don’t need to purchase upfront hardware, and you don’t have to keep IT resources on staff to operate the system. The vendor handles all of that. And while traditional phone systems include long distance billing and other hidden costs, choosing cloud PBX means you know exactly what your operational expenditures are each month. This makes it easier to budget for the future.

Cloud PBX systems expand with you

If you’re a small company, growth can be something that is hard to anticipate and plan for. If you land a round of funding or acquire a big customer, you may need to add a dozen employees overnight. With a cloud PBX, adding new phone numbers and voice mail is as easy as making updates via a Web portal. And unlike traditional phone systems, you don’t have to worry about capacity limits — you can add as many lines as your company needs. What’s more, if you are relocating to a new office space, all that is required is a simple phone call to your vendor.

Wherever you go, cloud PBX follows you

Legacy cloud phone systems were a good solution when everyone worked out of the same office. But employees today are on the go. They work from remote offices around the country and overseas. When you have cloud PBX, wherever they are, everyone is accessing the same system. You can be in a hotel room, coffee shop or at home, and just as easily dial an extension or jump in on a conference call. And in the event of a natural disaster or other calamity, you can use your cloud PBX to reroute calls to other locations. That means your business always stays up and running.

Business intelligence makes everyone smarter

Many cloud PBX vendors offer solutions that tie into leading CRM, ERP, and even applicant tracking systems. By matching callers to contact records in your CRM system, you immediately know when a big customer is calling. You can see what products a customer has and access notes from previous meetings, allowing you to provide better customer support. You can also automate the process of entering call records, resulting in better reports and analysis. Many vendors also offer APIs that allow custom integration into homegrown systems.

Full features at an economical price

Another benefit of cloud PBX systems is they offer all the same features of traditional systems, usually at a lower overall cost. Even basic levels of service generally come with a variety of customizable features, including auto-attendant, conferencing, call queues, and more.

And what about technical support? A good vendor will step you through the process of moving to the cloud, upgrades, and maintenance and be there when you have questions on how things work or services available.

To learn more about cloud PBX systems, visit ShoreTel Sky.

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