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Handle incoming calls like a pro with a VoIP office switchboard.

A VoIP switchboard lets you effortlessly manage all your telephone calls.

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What is an office switchboard?

An office switchboard is a phone system feature that lets receptionists connect live callers to the right person. Many office environments in the United States dedicate one person to answer incoming calls from the main phone number.

Today's office switchboards are nothing like the relics seen in the late 1800s. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gives telephone operators robust confidence when managing calls.

Modern office switchboards use a cloud PBX to view the status of phone extensions. Staff members can direct callers to a voicemail, or connect them to anyone who's expecting their call.

Benefits of a VoIP switchboard

When every call matters, you need a powerful switchboard to process incoming calls. Companies use an office switchboard to:

  • Screen incoming calls. Avoid interruptions by tasking others to screen your calls.

  • Stay informed. Know at a glance who's available or busy without guessing.

  • Direct calls. Office managers often need to answer calls as a switchboard operator.

  • Add human connection. Greet callers with a friendly operator who can connect their call.

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Capabilities of an office switchboard

See the live status of all telephone lines of your team and all departments.

Obtain real-time analytics from the entire telephone system.

Bridge multiple calls together across your telephone exchange.

Listen in on live phone calls without any interruptions.

Assign outbound caller ID from one switchboard system.

Easily add or remove agents across multiple call queues.

Research in-depth call data, including abandoned and long-distance calls.

Place outside calls from your PBX switchboard without restrictions.

Listen to past calls to improve communication skills.

Ensure agents meet metrics specified in their job description.

How to set up an office switchboard

There is no need for extra wiring or expensive office equipment. With the Nextiva Unity Dashboard, you can set up your main switchboard in minutes.

  1. Download the desired Unity Dashboard client linked in this support article.
  2. Open the setup file and follow the prompts to complete the software installation.
  3. Open the Unity from the shortcut on your Start Menu or Desktop.
  4. The first time you open the Unity app, you will be prompted to provide your login credentials. The login credentials are the same credentials used to access the Nextiva Voice Portal. Once finished, click OK.

For more details about using the receptionist dashboard, please visit this support article.

Business Phone Service Benefits

Why businesses choose Nextiva

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Modify your preferences and toggle features in minutes. Don't compromise on scale or flexibility.

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We handle more than one billion calls every year. Dependable 99.999% uptime you can trust.

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Nextiva is HIPAA and SOC-2 compliant, with a multi-million-dollar security budget.

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Call Quality

High-performance data centers and HD Voice technology ensure superior voice quality.

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Ease of Use

Anyone can set up and use Nextiva’s cloud PBX system, not just technical staff.

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Get live support your business needs from our in-house team available 24/7.

Our customers said life became easier after switching to Nextiva.

Eric Siu "We love Nextiva's reliability and features like call pop, free online faxing, auto attendant, IVR and call routing. It gives us the appearance of a bigger, more polished business." Eric Siu CEO, Single Grain
Chris Brencans "Countless sales have been done on the Nextiva mobile app. We couldn't run our business without it. Since adopting Nextiva in 2016, we've seen 203% revenue growth." Chris Brencans CMO, On The Map Marketing

Office switchboard FAQs

An office switchboard is a phone system feature that lets receptionists connect live callers to employees. Many offices in the United States dedicate one person to handling incoming calls from the main phone number.

A telephone switchboard is connected to the company's Private Branch Exchange (PBX), so a receptionist can connect calls instantly.

Many job descriptions need that certain roles are able to conduct switchboard operations. Modern-day switchboards don't mandate technical knowledge but do need communication skills.

In short, a switchboard operator answers incoming phone calls coming into a business. They need to field questions from callers, determine which parties they need to talk to and connect them.

For a small office, a switchboard operator could be the office manager, front desk attendant, or an executive assistant.

Large organizations like a school district, the switchboard operator plays an essential role in answering inbound calls related to attendance, providing directions, and connecting employment verification calls to Human Resources.

The duties will vary depending on your organization and how essential inbound calls are to the daily operations.

For convenience, switchboard operators can answer calls with a headset and manage calls easily from a VoIP office switchboard on their computer.

A modern switchboard in the office works by controlling the company's phone system. Only authorized personnel have administrative privileges to view the real-time status of phone extensions, merge calls, activate call recording, and place outgoing calls.

Instead of physical switching between different telephone exchanges like the late 1800s, office switchboards use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to establish and maintain reliable communications.

Voice over IP converts calls to digital and sends them over the internet using the SIP protocol. Since it's digital, it requires no additional wiring or telecommunications equipment.

Today, the only office equipment needed for an office switchboard is a VoIP desk phone and a computer. Ideally, these would be connected using CAT-6 Ethernet into the company's network switch. You can set up your phone system in minutes — not weeks.

Since the office switchboard operates in the cloud, all the office extensions need to use VoIP. Learn more about calculating the number of business lines your company needs.

Nextiva provides a powerful switchboard named Unity Dashboard as well as Unity Receptionist. Additional Unity switchboard apps are available to support your communications needs.

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