While technology has bestowed upon us various communication tools for businesses, it failed to eliminate the necessity of telephones in a corporate setting. The most favored channel for customer service continues to be phone calls. But due to technological advancement, businesses now have a variety of options for their business phone system.
Given the array of phone systems available to choose from, determining the right fit for your enterprise can seem daunting. The purpose of this writing is to provide you with clear details about the accessible systems, their distinct features, and factors to ponder as you decide. So, let’s get started.
Why Upgrade Your Business Communications?
Should you be investigating business phone systems, you probably have a business, and at present, there are communications with customers in some form. Possibly you and your colleagues use your personal mobile phones for work. You might have established specific contact numbers for your company including a business landline; however, doubts remain about the existence of more effective ways of handling business-related calls.
Irrespective of the groundwork for your investigation, picking the right system tailored to your business demands will prove rewarding. Phone system technologies these days are not as costly as before, they’re trustier and more packed with sophisticated features that are superior to those in times gone by. Depending on how you communicate with customers now and which phone system you choose, here are some of the benefits you might see with a business phone system upgrade:
- Centralized communication: Depending on individual cell phones or disconnected landlines may result in misunderstanding when handling business calls; a dedicated corporate phone system enables you to direct all incoming calls from one main point.
- Improved call handling: A smoother experience can be created, and calls will always be answered with functionalities like queuing calls, call forwarding, and automated attendants in business phone systems.
- Scalability and growth: Seamless growth for your business is possible with a phone system that allows the adding of additional lines and extensions as needed.
- Call insights: Your customer interactions can significantly improve over time by using a business telephone system equipped with tools like call tracking and analytics to give you a better understanding of your calls.
- Integrations: You have the ability to merge the data collected from your business phone systems with other tools that are used in your business – like CRM or help desk software – and this gives your agents an all-inclusive view of customer engagements.
- Remote and hybrid work: Advanced business telephony systems featuring elements like mobile apps, virtual branches, and softphone abilities render handling of hybrid and remote working environments effortless.
Types of Business Phone Systems
Depending on how you classify them, that determines the number of phone systems there are. Over here, our point of focus will be splitting these into traditional landlines, VoIP systems, and virtual phone systems.
Local or regional telephone companies typically provide what are known as traditional landline systems. They are recognized as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) as well. The service is provided to your business through copper telephone lines.
A private branch exchange (PBX) based on your premises is essential for managing a dedicated landline service within your company. The PBX is hardware providing functions such as extensions, transferring calls, and phonebook lists to the telecommunication system. A lot of existing landline services are hybrids using VoIP or virtual phone systems.
Reliability and time-testing are the perks of using landline systems. But there are multiple disadvantages due to the fact that a lot of telecommunications corporations are transitioning away from traditional landlines; soon enough these devices will become obsolete. Large corporations are typically the only ones capable of affordably maintaining traditional landline systems due to their budget for hardware and maintenance. Even there though, these systems are often branded as outdated and are gradually being replaced.
Rather than using old-fashioned copper telephone wires for landlines, VoIP phone systems depend on the business’s internet connectivity. They also provide the same features that used to only be available in expensive landline PBX systems, like:
- Automated attendants.
- Call queues.
- Computer integration.
Your business can afford all of these features with the less costly VoIP systems. The single limitation they have is that they completely require a reliable and high-speed internet connection for peak performance. VoIP phone systems also come in two types.
Having your business using an on-premises VoIP system, your organization hosts all the hardware and equipment for the phone in its corporate data center. This permits your business total control over the telecommunication setup albeit accompanied by an increased upfront charge and demands dedicated employees for taking care of the hardware. This style of VoIP installation suits businesses that need total security for their data in order to fulfill compliance obligations and have an onsite crew to look after the system.
All the physical hardware and ongoing maintenance service is handled by your phone system provider when using cloud-based VoIP. The phone system is all that your business needs to focus on. With cloud-based VoIP usage, even modest businesses can access all possible capabilities of a standard landline PBX along with added features of VoIP minus the hassles of maintenance and costs. Firms just connect to their VoIP phone system using the internet.
Virtual Phone Systems
Small businesses and sole proprietorships often find that the optimal solution for their business phone needs is a virtual phone system which also happens to be easily accessible. With a virtual phone system, calls to your business phone number are routed to cloud software that has all the features of the other systems we have covered like:
- Call forwarding.
- Call analytics.
- Call tracking.
Then we can divert all incoming calls to mobile phones, landlines, or possibly to your voicemail according to your preferred settings. Unlike other systems, virtual phone systems connect calls using existing phone networks and their adaptability provides the same feature access to remote workers just as these conventional systems do.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Business Phone System
When you are looking over all the features that various phone systems can provide, it is important to consider some factors beyond them, including:
Contemplate all the expenditures connected to getting a phone system before reaching a conclusion. The prospect of having a self-hosted VoIP setup might appeal to you because of the operational control it offers your business but think about the substantial upfront cost, plus continual expenses which might be more than what you would spend on every month basis.
Scaling up is not a simple task for landline systems. Should future expansion be part of your plans, double-check if adding fresh contact numbers and extensions into your organization’s phone system would pose any difficulty. Also, scout for functionalities that might not be in use right now but could prove necessary later on to ensure your chosen solution can cope with your future business requirements.
The level of technical support should be a key element in deciding any solution you are opting for. If you decide on the in-house VoIP choice, it’s essential to have a support system in place for hardware and software challenges your team isn’t equipped to address. If you decide on a cloud VoIP or virtual phone framework, it is important that their tech support responds swiftly to troubles.
Plenty of up-to-date phone systems have the capability to integrate with other software tools that your business utilizes, like your CRM. All phone system providers might carry diverse integrated sets or present API access so that your technical team can develop their own. When a key aim of overhauling your phone system is to simplify task flows, confirming that the solution meshes well with tools you actively use is crucial.
How to Choose a Business Phone System Provider?
Once you understand various elements unique to a business phone system along with an idea about its types coupled with skills in applying them as per your enterprise requirement; consequently, there is an apparent demand for investing time and energy in this process. We need to start looking for a telephone system provider now. Here are tips to help with that:
- Research providers: Survey online software comparison websites for phone systems vendors that furnish every feature you need while still boasting a commendable reputation and fitting your budget range.
- Request trials: Plenty of providers supply free trials or demo versions that will let you personally interact with their systems. This will support you and your team in assessing if the utility matches with all of your necessities.
- Compare pricing and contracts: Different vendors may have different framework costs. Evaluate the cost of each package you are considering from every provider. Verify that every essential feature your business needs is included in the plans being compared to ensure a precise appraisal.
- Read reviews and ask for recommendations: The top endorsements can come from those you recognize in your line of work. Similar needs for a professional phone system might be had by them and they might be able to advise an arrangement that would fit you.
- Negotiate with the provider: Once you have chosen a business phone system provider that suits your needs, haggle over the final contract to secure the best bargain. Off-the-shelf plans may be ill-suited for your needs and could end up costing you more because of supplementary and unnecessary features. Frequently, customizing a plan to your requirements can get you a better deal.
At some point in time, for any company, no matter how small or large it may be, there arises the need for a business phone system. It will enhance the experience of your staff and clients, simplify call management, and boost productivity. But considering the extensive range of alternative options available, it’s essential not to tread this decision lightly.
Considering the particular needs of your business before picking out a phone system is imperative. Regardless of whether you remain loyal to a landline system, select a VoIP setup, or go for a virtual phone system, all these forms come with benefits and drawbacks that can help your business. There are many service providers available for selection. However, when you’ve determined the type of arrangement necessary for your firm; examining price lists including features as well as user reviews can expedite making a decision about acquiring an efficient telephone setup which will enrich productivity leading towards enhanced organizational accomplishments.