A business phone system is a vital part of any modern-day business’ communications with its suppliers, customers, and the world at large. Quite simply, no modern business can function without a phone system. However, choosing a business phone system can be challenging, as there are so many options to pick from.
Here are three tips that will help you to choose the right phone system for your business based on your needs and wants. So, read on.
1. Familiarize yourself with the available technology
Business phone systems have come a long way, and there’s an abundance of tech to explore. The variety can, of course, be mind-boggling, especially if you aren’t aware of what’s available in the market. That’s why, way before you even think of investing in a business phone system, it’s important to know the available options.
Traditional landline systems: These systems were once among the most popular phone systems for businesses. However, many places in the world are slowly phasing these systems out. In this system, businesses use traditional landline phones, and the lines are operated by a regional or local company.
Virtual phone systems: A virtual phone system connects a business’ employees and customers to each other. It typically features a main business phone number, and once customers call this number, their calls are connected to relevant employees’ home or mobile numbers. These systems come with features such as online faxing, automated receptionists, call screening, voicemail, toll-free numbers, and voicemail.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems: VoIP systems allow phone calls to be made through the internet as opposed to copper lines that connect landline phone systems. The systems work through the conversion of analog voice signals, which results in the signals becoming digital. These systems also have sub-types such as cloud-based systems and on-premises systems.
2. Know the advantages and limitations of all the available systems
So, now that you have a rough idea of the types of business phone systems you should choose from, let’s get into their advantages and limitations. Knowing the pros and cons of each business phone system will allow you to select a system that’s best-suited to meet your requirements.
Landline phone systems
Let’s talk about landline phone systems first. The biggest advantage of these phone systems is that they have stood the test of time and are high on reliability. However, with newer technologies becoming more accepted for their increased efficiencies, unfortunately, the popularity of landline systems is steadily declining. As mentioned before, in many parts of the world, these systems are gradually becoming obsolete. However, in places where internet connectivity is non-existent or weak, these systems can still be of great use to businesses.
Virtual phone systems
Now, it’s time to turn our attention towards virtual phone systems, which leverage the internet to connect businesses with their customers conveniently.
Nowadays, there are numerous businesses around the world that operate with offsite employees, and for such businesses, virtual phone systems are nothing short of boons. The systems allow the employees of such businesses to stay connected with each other and with their customers round-the-clock. Virtual phone systems also come armed with a diverse array of features that aren’t available on traditional phones or mobiles.
VoIP phone systems
Next up, it’s the turn of VoIP systems. In general, their cost-effectiveness and their ease of installation and operation make them the best choices for businesses that want the most feature-rich tech. However, despite the cutting-edge technology and features, VoIP systems struggle in places where the internet connectivity is patchy.
- With on-premises VoIP systems, the advantages have mainly to do with control, ie it’s up to you and your business’ IT team to call the shots on how the system will be configured and run. The only major disadvantage of on-premises VIP systems is that they require you to shell out a significant sum of money for purchasing all the necessary equipment. Also, people are needed to maintain and operate the system, which further adds to the expenses.
- Cloud-based VoIP systems are provider-based services that you need to purchase without worrying about hardware and maintenance. Typically, providers take payments on a per-user or monthly basis. The only things you need are phones. While cloud-based VoIP systems are more hassle-free and less expensive than on-premises VoIP systems, they are entirely controlled by the providers. So, if a system encounters a technical issue, it’s up to the provider to resolve it.
3. Determine your requirements
We’ve taken you through the available technologies along with their pros and cons, and now it’s time for you to figure out what your business requires. Some of the factors you should consider to figure out what you need include:
Internet connectivity: If your business location has high-speed internet connectivity, you should definitely opt for VoIP systems. However, if internet services in your area are limited to low speeds, it’s best to opt for a traditional landline system.
Offsite or on-site: Does the majority of your business’ employees work offsite? If the answer is yes, it’s best to go with virtual phone systems. If not, however, you should aim for on-site solutions.
Budget: Virtual phone systems and VoIP systems are much more affordable compared to landlines. So, if you’re operating on a strict budget, you should steer clear of landlines and adopt virtual or VoIP communications technology.
Hardware requirements: Cloud-based VoIP systems take the cake as far as hardware requirements go. Since they are entirely supervised by their providers, you don’t have to concern yourself with the hardware side of things.
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons when taking all these factors into consideration. Ideally, you shouldn’t focus on a single factor – you should pay attention to all of them and figure out the best solution for your business. It’s also important that you don’t compare your business with another, as every business has varying requirements.
So, these were our top 3 tips for choosing business phone systems. If you’re planning to invest in a business phone system soon, we hope these tips come in handy for you and your business, both in the short and the long term.