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Hosted PBX Features

What features are available through a hosted PBX service? The short answer is, everything you're used to getting from a traditional PBX and more.

  • Extension dialing
  • Call transfer, forwarding, hold
  • Simple conferencing (large conferences may need additional services)
  • Music or messages on hold
  • Redial, caller ID

Those standard features aside, here are some features that help set hosted PBX services apart from on-premise systems:

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Call destination management

More than simple forwarding – most hosted PBX services let you set the change the destination of your calls based on rules you create. For example, your company extension could ring at your desk phone during business hours, on your cell phone in the evenings, and straight to voicemail at night. If you're traveling, you can set any phone to be your 'home' phone – even a hotel phone.

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Multiple ring options

Another common option in hosted PBX services is the ability to have one incoming call ring on more than one phone, either simultaneously or sequentially. Multiple ring is useful when you want incoming calls to be answered as quickly as possible and you're not sure who will be available to pick up: instead of using a hunt group or ACD, simply have all available phones ring so anyone can pick up.

Sequential ringing is more suited for calls that need to reach an employee who's not always in the same place. For example, you could create a sequence that rings at someone's desk, in the shop, at her home, and finally on her cell phone. Some vendors call this "find me" or "follow-me" calling.

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Computer integration

Because hosted PBX services handle your calls as digital data, you'll find that most providers offer at least some computer integration features as part of their basic offerings. Common examples include email integration, which lets you choose contacts from your address book and dial them with a mouse click. You may also get toolbars that get added to your email software or web browser that let you change call settings with just a click or two.

Another type of computer integration is the "unified in-box." The simplest example of this is delivery of your voicemail messages and faxes to your email inbox, which centralizes the management of all your communications.

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The auto attendant is the feature that answers your incoming calls, providing a short welcome message and instructions for how to reach the employee or department that caller is looking for. You should be able to easily customize the message for any occasion – most will let you store at least a couple of different messages for specific situations.

The auto-attendant also includes "dial by name" or "choose a department" menus. These should be easy to configure and update as needed, so you can make it easy for callers to reach the right person.

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