VirtualPBX Dash Review with Product and Price Points

VirtualPBX

Company: VirtualPBX
Website: VirtualPBX.com

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It was back in 2015 that VirtualPBX re-engineered and reimagined their Virtual hosted cloud-based PBX.  This was due to despite VirtualPBX always being one of the most intuitive and pioneering vendors of IP PBX products they had slipped behind their competitors in terms of features, function and value for money. However, since VirtualPBX have reimagining their IP PBX product with their Dash for small businesses offering and Enterprise for small to medium enterprise they have gained considerable ground on their competitors. They managed this by incorporating many modern features and functions into their products that were previously lacking and expected from a virtual telephone system. As a result the modern release of VirtualPBX is barely recognizable from the pioneering brand that served their customers so well for over two decades. Indeed, VirtualPBX has won many awards over the last few years for excellence such as the 2019 Internet Telephony award for best product of the year.

About VirtualPBX Inc.

VirtualPBX are based in San Jose, California and are one of the pioneers of cloud based hosted IP PBX systems. VirtualPBX’s management team pride themselves on the fact that they are continuously striving to develop, support and improve their hosted IP PBX in order to deliver the best possible product to their customers. This is of course easier said than done but VirtualPBX over the last couple of decades have proven themselves capable in delivering on that promise. As such VirtualPBX have delivered innovative, feature rich and well supported hosted PBX systems to small and medium businesses and have gained a fine reputation along the way.

VirtualPBX DASH – Review

VirtualPBX‘s Dash product is their entry level service for virtual telephone customers. Dash is not a hosted IP/PBX class system; if you are looking for that level of service then you need to look to VirtualPBX’s Enterprise product line. Instead, Dash is a Virtual telephone system which has a reduced set of features predominantly as the service in focused upon answering incoming calls rather than managing both inbound and outbound calls as is the requirement in an Enterprise environment.

Virtual telephone services like Dash  are popular because they provide an inbound call management service that can give a small business many of the advantages that larger businesses have such as a call attendant that makes sure no calls ever go unanswered. The advantage of this is that the small business can use their mobile phones or home landlines or both as business extensions. In addition the small business also benefits from having a single business number for their customers as well as many business class features that are just not available on standard telephones or mobile services.

As a result the Dash product line is aimed at the small to medium sized business that is always on the go and not Enterprise bound. It provides an inbound call management service to customers that perhaps do not have a central Enterprise or are just out most of the time visiting customers or just require a virtual telephone system with all the features of a large business. Dash is popular with entrepreneurs and small business people because VirtualPBX’s Dash provides an incoming call answering service that guarantees that no calls will go missed and will be answered around the lock on a business number and then transferred to another phone, or passed to voicemail, but typically to the customer’s mobile, all seamlessly and transparent to the caller. This gives the caller a good impression of the business as their calls are handled in a professional manner.

So what is DASH

Dash is an inbound call management system which comes with a limited feature set compared to its bigger sibling Enterprise but it is certainly sufficient for those requiring an inbound call system.

The best way to get a feel for what Dash provides and crucially what it doesn’t is to take a walk through the feature set.

As we know Dash provides a real business number as a single point of contact for customers. An auto-attendant will answer calls to that number day or night and upon professionally greeting the caller with a customizable greeting offer them a menu of options. The menu is provide by an IVR, which imply reads  out a selection of options such as press 1 for sales, 2 for support, 3 for Finance etc. The caller will then chose an option and Dash ill transfer the call to a pre-configured telephone such as an employee’s mobile or home number. This is common to all virtual phone services but Dash offers some other features on top of this. For example Dash provides an option to use an automated call directory or to record inbound calls. There is also an option to route calls intelligently by operating a schedule for out of hours and holidays so that calls will still be answered but the caller directed to voicemail extension of their choice.

Similarly when callers are waiting to be connected as Dash transfers a call to an employee’s phone there is an option to play on-hold music or information to the caller. These are all features that an administrator can configure s they are centrally controlled options that affect all calls. However individuals can also customize their own personal setting via the online console. The individual settings that they may wish to change are the number of the phone that calls are to be transferred to or the order of the phone numbers to be called, as more than one phone may be configured. This is termed follow me where by Dash will try a list of phone numbers in sequence in order to try to find you. Alternatively if calls are important you could ring all the numbers simultaneously. Conversely, there is also the option to put the extension on do-not-disturb.

Features

  • One often overlooked feature when considering doing away with a standard telephone system if the fax machine as it still is a common and legally accepted way to transfer confidential documents and contracts. Dash handles Fax by email which is fine for outbound fax but no solution for incoming fax calls.
  • Voicemail is a standard feature across all virtual telephone services today but Dash provides a nice touch with its DiD (direct inward dialing) so that callers can call straight through to the employees extension rather than go through the main business number. This is also true of incoming personal calls. In addition employees can configure on the online portal where they would like their voicemail notifications to go such as to email.
  • Audio conferencing is another business requirement and Dash provides a means for 3-way calling which isn’t really audio conferencing and is available on most standard VoIP telephones, but it is available.

Dash allows users to customize and build out their own Dash PBX through a modular approach to applying features. For example you can start by customising the basic feature set which includes:

  • A standard business phone plan with one free local or toll-free telephone number
  • Customizable Greetings
  • Voicemail
  • Music/Info On Hold
  • Device Manager
  • Call Forwarding
  • Automated Directory
  • Call Blasting
  • Feature Codes

However you can build out using the integration feature set by adding functions such as:

  • Advanced Transfers
  • Business and Holiday Hours
  • Teleconferencing
  • Webhooks
  • Web Phone
  • SalesForce CRM Integration
  • 4G LTE Mobile
  • Call Recording
  • Email to Fax

Moreover, should your business grow and you establish multiple locations and perhaps have dedicated support staff in a contact centre you may need some more advanced specialist tools such as:

  • Ring Groups
  • Inbound Call Recording
  • Direct Inward Dial (DID)
  • Auto Attendant
  • Outbound Caller ID
  • Personal Call Parking
  • Hot Desking
  • Intercom

VirtualPBX Dash Plans and Pricing

VirtualPBX plans are a bit messy and confusing. There are two plan groups:

1) Unlimited Users + Limited Minutes:

Add-Ons To VoIP Plans:

2) Unlimited Minutes + Limited Users:

Add-Ons To VoIP Plans:

VirtualPBX Enterprise Plan

If you are looking for more features and a full inbound and outbound service then VirtualPBX has a hosted IP/PBX cloud service called Enterprise. This is a fully featured small enterprise class system with all the telephone and even some contact center functions. Enterprise is a big jump up from Dash but for a business premises phone system catering for outbound calling from business extension phones it will be for most businesses with permanent bricks and mortar premises a necessity.

As a result of being targeted at SMB with greater phone system requirements Enterprise comes with far more features and advanced functions.

Enterprise Features

However it is not just with unlimited calls that DASH SMB and Enterprise differ as they also have different feature sets. For example DASH has a professional feature set which is closer to a virtual telephone system that a PBX service with features such as; an auto attendant, customized greetings, call groups, call transfer, call conferencing, voice-mail and some nice call handling features such as call parking. DASH should be considered to be more a virtual telephone system rather than a fully functional IP PBX.

Enterprise on the other hand is feature rich and is a hosted IP PBX service with all the functionality you would expect from such a service. The features Enterprise provides that are not present in DASH are the True ACD routing features that differentiates Enterprise not just from DASH but a lot of the competition. True ACD provides the advanced call queuing and management functions required by professional call centers by even call distribution, skill-based routing, advanced call management and agent presence and importantly real-time monitoring and reporting. These features may not be required by all SMBs as they are call and contact center focused but they do make all the difference even if your business just has heavy inbound call load.

Additionally for SMB’s just starting out with VoIP, VirtualPBX also has a Concierge service, which will guide you through the installation for a fee of $50. The Concierge service will also provide support going forward and ensure the system is optimally configured though that costs $49 per month.

How does DASH compare to Enterprise?

So why if you are an existing customer of VirtualPBX’s Enterprise service plan migrate over to DASH? Well to understand that we have to look at the pricing plans for Enterprise.

Dash & Enterprises Features

However it is not just with unlimited calls that DASH and Enterprise differ as they also have different feature sets. For example DASH has a professional feature set which is closer to a virtual telephone system that a PBX service with features such as an auto attendant, customized greetings, call groups, call transfer, call conferencing, voice-mail and some nice call handling features such as call parking. DASH should be considered to be more a virtual telephone system rather than a fully functional IP PBX.

Enterprise on the other hand is feature rich and is a hosted IP PBX service with all the functionality you would expect from such a service. The features Enterprise provides that are not present in DASH are the True ACD routing features that differentiates Enterprise not just from DASH but a lot of the competition. True ACD provides the advanced call queuing and management functions required by professional call centers by even call distribution, skill-based routing, advanced call management and agent presence and importantly real-time monitoring and reporting. These features may not be required by all SMBs as they are call and contact center focused but they do make all the difference even if your business just has heavy inbound call load.

Additionally for SMB’s just starting out with VoIP, VirtualPBX also has a Concierge service, which will guide you through the installation for a fee of $50. The Concierge service will also provide support going forward and ensure the system is optimally configured though that costs $49 per month.

Mobile Softphone App

VirtualPBX has both a desktop computer softpone as well as a smartphone mobile app. These provide all the functionality of the VirtualPBX system. What is more, the desktop and softphone apps will work on just about any modern device and they are free to download  from the Apple App Store or Google Play market.

The VirtualPBX Softphone App is the mobile equivalent of  the desktop softphone but with some  unique smartphone and tablet capabilities.

The way it works is that the VirtualPBX system can redirect any incoming call to your business number to your deskphone extension or directly to any  smartphone device or tablet you configure. This is a great solution for those  who are out of the office much of the time as it means you will not miss any important business calls. It’s also a good solution when you  are out of the office a lot but don’t wish customers to call you on your personal telephone numbers. Instead business customers will simply dial your direct company phone number and extension. However an issue with many such mobile apps was making outgoing calls as you would need to use your device’s own number. The VirtualPBXhowever can make outgoing calls and texts using the virtual business number.  In addition, for frequent travellers recent advancements means you can make seamless Cellular, Wi-Fi,  call transfers and interruptions, which are transparent to the caller. This means you can effectively save on cellular roaming charges by using your VirtualPBX minutes.

Downloading the App

The VirtualPBX Softphone App is free to download and you will only use your existing plan minutes, and is compatible with all of the existing virtualPBX features such as;

  • Ring Groups,
  • Call queues, or
  • Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers your user profile is associated with.

Something to note though is that all softphones register as metered lines that cost $4.99/month.  And this will also include any third party app you try to install and get working with Dash or Enterprise. For Enterprise Plans, minutes cost 3.6 cents per minute for 100+ lines, 3.7 cents for 20-99 lines, 3.8 cents for 2-19 lines, and 3.8 cents for 1 line. Desktop softphones are $39.99 and are setup by the VirtualPBX  Customer Support team. The desktop softphone also registers as a metered VoIP line on your VirtualPBX account.

Remote Management

Similar to the desktop and smartphone softphone apps that provide employees with mobility and the flexibility to work anywhere, VirtualPBX have also introduced a remote extension manager app. This new function provides for Enterprise supervisors to remote manage VirtualPBX extensions, set call routing, log in/out, and manage ACD Queues remotely from any internet-enabled device.

Parachute

VirtualPBX offers another service aimed at business continuity and disaster recovery. What the Parachute service provides is a fully configured PBX system that will act as an emergency telephone system should your onsite PBX become unavailable. Parachute acts as a hot standby system which will automatically switch over when the customer’s PBX fails thereby providing business critical telephone service. Furthermore, in the event that the company’s premises are unavailable Parachute can reroute calls to mobile phones or any temporary location.

Frequently Asked questions (FAQ)

What is the VirtualPBX cloud telephone service?

VirtualPBX is a cloud based virtual telephone PBX that delivers  enterprise-class phone features to small medium businesses by using internet enabled, voice over IP (VoIP) phones.

What are the benefits of using VirtualPBX for a SMB?
  • VirtualPBX offers the following benefits to a small medium business:
  • Savings of up to 70% over traditional PBX systems
  • No local PBX equipment, so no need for maintenance and support
  • Only one network to support as both voice and data are now integrated.
  • A full business-class feature set
  • Easy administration and system configuration
  • Administer the system from any web browser
  • Employees can work from anywhere on mobile or desktop apps
  • Ability to support virtual offices, and roaming workforce by saving on office rent and other business expenses
  • Full mobility using mobile apps so you have all your phone system’s features available 24/7 whether at home, at the office, or when travelling.
Can I use my existing phones on VirtualPBX?
  1. Yes you can, you can use existing phones, VoIP phones and internet enabled devices such as computers and smartphones.
What do I need to use VirtualPBX for my business?

As VirtualPBX is a cloud based system that works with both traditional phones, VoIP phones or a combination of each you all you need are a broadband Internet connection and a VirtualPBX subscription.

Can I still continue to use my existing phone number?

Yes, you can port across your existing business numbers to VirtualPBX. However this is not automatic and requires coordination so it can take several weeks so you will need to fill out a Letter of Agency to port existing business numbers across to VirtualPBX.

Can I use my own mobile phone with VirtualPBX?

Yes, mobile phones are integrated fully into the VirtualPBX cloud system so long as they have internet data capabilities, which includes IOS, ANdroid and WIndows phones then are able to use all of the features.

What are the Internet bandwidth requirements I need from my ISP to support VirtualPBX?

Internet bandwidth is critical for effective VoIP so you will need around 80-100 Kbps of bandwidth per active phone. This will have to be factored on top of your current data consumption.

Do VirtualPBX VoIP phones also support 911 emergency calls?

Yes, emergency calls to 911 when made from VoIP phones are handled through the e911 procedures.  The Enhanced 911 procedures ensures that the emergency services are given the address of the business number holder.

Can I send and receive faxes through VirtualPBX?

Yes you can send and receive Faxes through VirtualPBX. Received faxes can be stored and viewed online or sent to you as email attachments. Sending faxes are handled as  electronic documents so they can be faxed to any standard fax number.

Can I make International calls via VirtualPBX?

Yes you can make international calls through VirtualPBX. all outbound calls are charged per minute at VirtualPBX’s international call rates.

Conclusion

Dash is an award winning product; the best of Internet telephony with both the ‘CIO review’ and ‘TMC and Internet Telephony’ review. However, DASH doesn’t really bring anything innovative to the table, yes it has improved on the basic feature set of their virtual telephone service product but still lack some of the basic functions that other competitors have such as a free mobile app or a softphone. However, DASH is certainly a great improvement and satisfactory service for SMB’s looking for professional service at reasonable prices. Enterprise on the other hand is a true hosted IP PBX service with advanced call handling and management features that is ideally suited to SMBs with call center support or very heavy inbound load. Enterprise has all the IP PBX functions that even large businesses require and has unlimited calls on all plans. VirtualPBX as offers a disaster recovery solution which is not something their competitors have on offer and looks a good solution for ensuring business continuity in the case of a local disaster such as flood or fire, especially if your business relies heavily on the telephone.

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