What should I look for in a business phone system?

Your company phone system is unquestionably one of the most crucial aspects of your operation. Today’s phone systems provide a wide range of useful calling, collaboration, and mobile features to organisations of all sizes.

When employees are away from the office, business phone systems provide them with a variety of options for accessing their company phone lines.

A phone system that will benefit your business today and in the future is well worth the money you spend on it. Therefore choosing the right phone system for your business needs is of the utmost importance.

Types of phone systems

There are several types of phone system, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Having a knowledge of these phone systems and how they work will help in your considerations of a phone system for your business. The 3 major phone systems available are,

  • The traditional Landline or Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
  • The virtual phone system
  • The Voice Over Internet Protocol ( VoIP )

The traditional Landline or Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

Traditional phone systems, such as landlines, are generally supported by a local or regional phone provider. Landlines, commonly known as the Private Branch Exchange System (PBX), are analogue systems that use the traditional copper wire of the telephone provider. The PBX includes a built-in power management mechanism that allows the company to keep communicating even if the power goes out. Today, some landline systems are hybrids with VoIP networks. That is a conventional phone line connects to a company’s data network and is used to connect each individual phone.

Advantages: Many industries use landline systems because they are a stable, time-tested option.

Disadvantages: Most phone system providers are abandoning landlines, making them more difficult to acquire and maintain. It’ll only be a matter of time before these systems are no longer relevant.

Virtual Phone System

Virtual phone systems link callers to distant workers through their mobile or home phones when they dial a main corporate phone line. When a consumer contacts the main phone number, these systems function as a comprehensive call-forwarding solution, sending calls to an employee’s mobile or home phone rather than a desk phone.

Automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening, toll-free lines, and online faxing are all included in these systems.

Advantages: Businesses with remote staff can use this solution to maintain a professional image at all times. It also offers distant employees access to phone system capabilities that aren’t available on mobile or home phones.

Disadvantages: Your calls are frequently still routed through your cell or landline network. This means you’ll be charged for the call on the virtual system, and your mobile or landline minutes will be used up.

The Voice Over Internet Protocol

This is the most sophisticated business phone system available right now. It provides for cross-national communication as well as unified communications. It communicates over the internet, as the name implies.

VoIP phone systems employ the same internet connection that a business currently has, rather than the copper cables that landlines require.

Call queues and computer integration, which allows voicemails to be delivered to email inboxes and PCs to be transformed into softphones, are features that previously only major businesses with expensive PBX gear had access to but can now be available to small businesses at cheaper cost. VoIP solutions allow distant workers to use their mobile devices to access the company’s phone system.

Advantages: VoIP offers a comprehensive phone system with all of the attractive additional features. These systems are simple to set up and configure, and they are far less expensive than traditional landline systems.

Disadvantages: Your internet connection is required for these systems to work. This sort of phone system will not function if you live in a place with patchy internet access.

10 Things to lookout for when choosing a business phone system

There are a lot of things to pay critical attention to when choosing a business phone system, but these are the top 10 considerations you must make before you make your selection.

Price

Pricing is a key consideration for even the largest organisations when it comes to business phones, and it varies greatly depending on the sort of system you pick.

A simple analog phone system will cost far less than a hosted PBX with all great functionalities, but the degrees of capability will also be vastly different.

Finding answers to key questions like:

  • What number of phones will be required? How many new phones do you anticipate will be added in the next few years?
  • How dramatically will your company grow in a few years?
  • How many, if any, workers work from home?

Also, repairs, leasing agreements, and service contracts for your present system are all factors to consider.

Once you’ve figured out how many phones you’ll need, it’ll be easier to figure out how much you’re willing to pay on each one and how that compares to your current expenses. Be careful to include in the cost of hardware, installation, platform costs, ISDN/SIP trunking rates, in addition to the original phone rate.

Scalability

It’s critical to consider scalability while launching a new service.

How much will it cost you to add more employees to your business phone plan as your company grows?

Consider not just the cost of new equipment for your new staff, but also the cost of additional telephone service. You’ll almost certainly need to hire more people as your company expands.

Adding more people to your team implies adding more phones to your system. If you wish to add another person to your phone system, some phone systems require a complicated setup, while others require just a service call to your provider.

Flexibility

Don’t just buy a phone system for the present. Instead, evaluate how your firm will evolve over the next few years and if the phone system you’re contemplating can grow.

Many businesses may choose for a mid-tier solution that can scale with them. Your organisation may just require the basic features of a service right now, but in the future, you may require conference calls, advanced calling options, and many extensions.

It’s preferable to be able to add features and equipment in incremental steps rather than having to start from scratch whenever the need arises.

System maintenance

The upkeep of your phone system might determine its success… or failure. Determine how simple the system is to use, if it will be a good match for your team, and whether your supplier will act as your IT department to keep the system up and operating as a service. Don’t be swayed by the low cost of a reconditioned or used phone system. You’re asking for problems if you have to conduct a lot of repairs and maintenance on a secondhand phone system.

Functionality

Also, consider the non-negotiable requirements for your company. Break down the different operations that occur on a daily basis in your company, both internally and with clients, and then map out which features are most frequently utilised and which choices might expedite or simplify processes.

After you’ve settled on those items, you may create a wish list of characteristics you’d like to have but might be able to do without due to other reasons, such as price.

Emergency Management/Disaster Recovery

If a crisis hits — a severe weather event, a fire in your building, or construction that disrupts phone service – it’s critical to maintain your lines of communication open. It’s crucial to be able to react quickly in an emergency.

  • In such a scenario, what type of recovery can your company expect?
  • Can your supplier assist you in avoiding phone system outages in the event of a disaster?
  • Is it possible to redirect your phone system to a different location?

Your firm relies on its phones; don’t allow downtime spell disaster for you.

Network and Equipment

New features and technologies are constantly being added to phone systems and networks. Look for a business phone supplier that is a leader and innovator, with increased features and dependable services that can help your company expand and become more productive. There are a variety of phone system options that might work for your organisation, depending on its size. You should choose a supplier who is consultative and offers the finest alternatives for your company.

If you’re a large corporation, for example, you’ll need to select a competent supplier who can handle your most complex requirements.

Look for a business phone supplier that can operate as a technology partner, not just by providing the most up-to-date and finest solution, but also by actively guiding your company as technology and business demands evolve.

Customer Service

Check the customer care hours and methods of contact for any phone service to see what degree of service they can give if something goes wrong. Contracting with a vendor who is nearby and gives 24/7 onsite support may be worth a premium price tag for peace of mind – especially if you do business late at night or on weekends, and waiting until the morning for assistance isn’t an option.

Usage

Divide your company’s personnel by job type and duties, as well as each role calling pattern. A customer service professional at a major firm, for example, will almost certainly want numerous phone lines, a speakerphone, hands-free alternatives, and the ability to hold and transfer calls. An intern, on the other hand, who will only be making or receiving a few calls, may simply require a basic, single-line phone system with minimal features beyond a keypad and voicemail.

Value

Consider what value the business phone service will provide to your organisation once you’ve limited down your alternatives.

What is the relationship between the added value and the cost of the service?

You’ll get the phone service you need to keep connected with consumers, but you’ll also get a lot more in terms of value.

Consider how much time your staff will save with the new phone system capabilities, or how much faster callers will be able to obtain answers in terms of ROI.

How can the phone system alleviate your current difficulties and make the life of your workers easier?

Now you know the several business systems available to you and important considerations to make when choosing one for your business, you can go ahead and make a choice that best suits your business. Our experts are on hand 24/7 to guide you in your decision making process.

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