“Hello, Operator?” How the Virtual Switchboard Has Transformed Business Communications

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In the early days of switchboards, every call had to be manually connected by an operator. Even today, one can reach an operator by pressing “0” – however, operators have slowly been replaced by virtual technology.

Despite the slow transition over several decades, a virtual PBX, or Private Branch Exchange, has more capability now than an operator has. Virtual PBXs have a vast and diverse amount of options as far as call routing, call forwarding, ease of use, flexibility, and cost.

Virtual Switchboard - Call Forwarding and Call Routing


Call routing is one of the most prominent benefits of a PBX, as it can allow very specific call routing to different paths, or a generalized rule for incoming calls. Auto attendant, menus/submenus and transfers are all features businesses use every day. Calls can be routed based on incoming phone number, time of day, day of week, and a host of other specifications.

Call forwarding has options similar to routing, but has another unique feature set. Call forwarding allows the user the ability to forward with options, such as find me follow me, where the phone is forwarded to a pre-determined phone sequence. This is especially convenient for representatives who are frequently out of the office or who travel incessantly.

Call forwarding also has the added advantage of taking a local business national – or any business international. From anywhere in the world a customer can add an international number to forward to, allowing any business to take – or place – international calls, without the person at the other end knowing it’s not a local call. For instance, a business owner in small-town Indiana can have a phone number from India, so when a customer in India calls the local number, it transfers seamlessly back to Indiana.

The ease of use on a virtual PBX is predominantly due to the user-facing portal. The interface allows a user to make changes, such as the hunt group sequence, the alternate or find me/follow me numbers, and a host of other features, without needing any special IT training. The intuitive portal allows very easy changes that take effect almost instantly.

Cost and Flexibility

Flexibility is another major benefit, as a virtual PBX can do everything you need and expect from a business service. Most features, such as international call forwarding, time of day routing, and advanced call routing are all standard options. Whether a small business with a few lines or an advanced, multi-location business, virtual PBXs can bend to your company’s needs.

Finally, cost is one of the most obvious benefits. The virtualized platform enables a virtual PBX to cost significantly less in operating expenses, with virtually nothing in capital terms. Often, a physical PBX costs over an hundred thousand up front, and requires a crew of IT experts to install and maintain. This obvious advantage makes a virtualized PBX a much more attractive option, especially allowing for the advanced features and upgrades a virtual machine allows.

Having a virtual PBX can significantly improve a company’s bottom line, both by decreasing costs comparatively, and by increasing efficiency. In today’s world of constant mobility, being able to reach the right person – and having them be able to reach you – can often make a huge difference in business relationships. Those relationships is where you improve your business’s bottom line.

Comment below, what feature would help your business the most?