Even a small business will need constant connectivity with clients and staff members, which means incorporating a phone system that can accommodate your growing business’s needs – without costing you too much! Here’s a look at the various phone systems available, which one is best suited to your particular business, and the features that you can enjoy.
What are the phone systems for business?
Before you know which phone system is best for your business needs, you need to have a good understanding of what options are currently available.
1. PBX or landline phone systems
We’re all familiar with the traditional landline phone systems, but you might not be aware of how it all works. Basically, these analogue services require on-site private branch exchange – PBX – hardware that provides a business with multiple extensions as well as certain features, like call waiting and transferring. While few businesses still rely solely on the landline system, unless internet accessibility is almost non-existent, there is also a hybrid model that combines landline with VoIP (voice over internet protocol) for the added benefit of internet.
2. Virtual PBX phone systems
This is an outsourced business phone system whereby your staff remain connected via their own mobile or home phones using a hosted service. This system requires no expensive hardware, with an outside provider assisting with the service. You still enjoy the benefits of various call features such as call forwarding, automated receptionists and more.
3. VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone systems
Similar to the original landline phones, these VoIP systems have hardware that is connected; however, this is done using internet rather than copper wires. They offer all the features of PBX phone systems as well as the option of remote connectivity via mobile devices.
4. On-premises VoIP phone systems
With this particular phone system, all the equipment to keep the phone system operational is operated within your business. This can be quite a costly undertaking, requiring significant capital expenditure when purchasing all the equipment. There will also be a monthly fee for your SIP trunking or PRI circuit to facilitate calls. In addition, your IT staff is responsible for all maintenance, upgrades and repairs.
5. Cloud-based VoIP phone systems
While the hardware remains the same, these phones don’t require any in-house maintenance or repairs as they’re operated on the cloud. Your service provider is responsible for all the maintenance and upgrades, so while you pay a monthly fee, it’s often worth it in the long run to be hassle-free and fully operational.
Which is the best phone for small business?
Considering the above-mentioned phone system options, here’s a look at which of these works best with small business operations – even those with intentions of expanding.
– Virtual phone systems
These phones are ideal if you operate a business with remote employees but still want to retain a professional image at all times. Your staff will have access to various phone system features that aren’t available on mobile devices. However, these are best used where internet access is available as your calls will still be processed on your mobile network thereby using minutes.
– VoIP phone systems
For smaller businesses that require more sophistication in terms of business phone systems, then it’s worth considering the VoIP system. These are quick and easy to set up and configure, and while they still have a host of innovative business features, but they’re still more inexpensive than the PBX system. You can also choose whether to host this on site, or rent the equipment from a provider.
What are the features to consider?
When you’re deciding on your business phone system, you must decide what features you will need and discuss this with the service provider before settling on an option. The features you can consider include:
- Call forwarding: Very few people sit at a desk from 9 to 5 anymore, which is why you will most likely need call forwarding to your cellphone.
- Call transferring: There’s no way you can answer every single call, that’s why call routing is necessary as the calls can be redirected to someone else in your team.
- Retain the number: You don’t want to be sharing new numbers with all your many contacts so check whether you can retain the business number for the new line.
- Caller ID: It’s a simple but very useful feature as you need to know who you’re chatting to before you take the call.
- Voicemail-to-text: This transcribes your voicemails so that you can read them during a meeting rather than listening to them out loud.
- Call recording: If you do a lot of work over the phone, then it’s important to have this feature as it allows you to review the conversation and improve operations.
If you’re still undecided on which business phone to invest in, or are simply looking for a great service provider for your communication needs, then get in touch with ECN today.