Every business is inseparable from a phone system. Whether you’re engaged in b2b or b2c transactions, whether your company is big or small, you always make phone calls to bargain with your customers, contact prospective clients, and coordinate with your teammates. Of course you can communicate with others by emails, mobile phones and messaging apps, but there’s nothing more reliable than an always-on phone service designed to help you keep in touch with your potential opportunities. However, not all phone systems are the same. If you want to know which phone system works best for your business, this article might help you.
Why is a Phone System Important for Business?
One of the most significant benefits of utilizing a dedicated phone system for your business is that all of your employees will have the access to the same voice resources. A phone system in place allows employees to pass calls to one another, which may help the company function more efficiently. Consider how much time it will take for an employee to walk from one section of the office to another just to transfer a call from one certain customer. With a perfect phone system, all team members are able to transfer calls immediately from one to another.
For small businesses or startups which really need to save costs since the initial fund is very limited, communication fees seem to be a big part of the budget. Buying every employee an individual phone is obviously an unwise choice as it will cost plenty of money. Why not use an integrated phone system at a lower price to easily deal with different types of calls? By installing this, you can also easily review your monthly charges and identify any problematic calling (such as an employee making unauthorized personal calls at working hours).
Once your phone system is put into use, scaling it up as your company expands will be quite simple. Beginning with a modest dedicated phone system that meets your demands is a pretty good approach to control costs during the crucial start-up phase. Therefore, with the expansion of your company, you can upgrade the current phone system to a larger one that can accommodate more employees and newer features.
When your business installs its own phone system, you should know it is more than just a tool for making calls. Actually, it also contains extra features (like voicemail to email, caller ID, SMS marketing, etc.) that make it simpler to manage your business and seize the potential business opportunity. These features may be quite beneficial to small businesses which only contain a dozen of members, as these will greatly reduce each member’s workload and improve their work efficiency.
What Should be Considered when Selecting a Phone System for Business?
There are currently existing various phone systems with different plans and features. When selecting a suitable phone system for your business, you need to consider the following things:
- Use a traditional landline or the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service.
- Buy multiple smartphones and landlines or choose to use virtual numbers.
- If using VoIP, choose from on-premises VoIP systems and cloud-based ones.
- Consider which system fits your industry, budget, employee count and customer base.
Landline or VoIP?
If you don’t know what VoIP service is, here’s its definition: VoIP refers to the transmission of voice traffic over an internet connection. Traditional landlines (Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN for short) work through physical phone lines, cable systems and networks and allow users to make landline and cellular phone calls. As the installation and add-on costs of landlines are relatively high, VoIP is much more recommended for small businesses which need to cut down the cost. What’s more, if one uses a landline, he/she needs to be on-site to make or receive calls, while if one uses an app that contains VoIP service, he/she may make calls anywhere. Therefore, whether you have a big or small business, you’d probably choose VoIP to make it easier to get in touch with team members, customers and clients.
Cost & Scalability
How to find a suitable phone system with a relatively low price? This might be the primary factor that businessmen would consider when selecting phone systems. As is already shown above, the setup, long-distance and running costs for VoIP are generally lower than landlines. Therefore, it seems that a VoIP system is a better choice for you if you want to save costs and maintain your budget.
When expanding or downsizing your company, your phone system also needs to be adjusted due to the scale of your company and the employee count. If you already have in-place devices, when expanding your company, you need to buy new landlines which will take you plenty of time and money, and when downsizing your company, those extra landlines are just useless. While if you choose to use virtual numbers, you can simply add or burn them anytime if you want. In this way, resources will never be wasted.
Security & Reliability
No company wants to be insecure. For businesses, information security does matter. A business phone system should be completely protected to prevent from hostile entities like malware, fraud, or fishing attempts. Additionally, you should also be aware of the security of internal resources of your company.
Since you want to partner with a stable and secure phone system, do you know how to check its reliability? (This is really IMPORTANT!) Before deciding to cooperate with a certain phone system company, you need to check the company’s official website to see whether some top companies have adopted its phone service. After all, these top-notch companies are more cautious in evaluating their potential partners, as they take more risks than small scale companies.
What’s more, a reliable phone system should also provide excellent customer service support for your business. So now go for the service provider to ask what kind of customer service support it will offer.
Successful businesses always have greater mobility than their competitors. Wherever you are, VolP phone systems always allow you to make and receive calls from any location. Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, require you always to be in the workplace to use the phone. As a businessman who is keen for success, you do need to choose a service that provides a mobile app or a desktop software in order to enable your employees to communicate with team members and customers anytime and anywhere.
Every business needs a phone service. However, apart from the most basic feature that enables you to make and receive calls, you may expect for something more. Sadly, landline phones which only have several simple features, as it is hard to update the hardware, have actually stopped evolving and are very likely to be eliminated. If you want to enjoy other awesome features that will push your business, you do need a robust VoIP system, as virtual things are evolving all the time. With features of SMS Marketing, Auto Reply, Custom Notes, Keyboard Shortcuts, Voicemail to Email, you can simply save your precious time from those trivial things, thus improving your efficiency in communicating with customers and solving their problems.
Comparison between Different Phone Systems for Business
Landline vs. VoIP
So far, you’ve known the importance of selecting a good phone system for your business. As discussed in the above, there are generally two main phone system types based on connection: landline and VolP. But you have to know their subtypes and variants in order to choose the one that suits you most. Here’s a comparison between different types of phone systems for business.
Landline phone systems are based on a phone that uses a metal wire or optical fiber telephone line for transmission. As a landline is a desktop hardware which doesn’t work through the internet and won’t be affected by signal interference, it is relatively stable and reliable. On the other hand, compared with virtual phone systems which rely on the network and don’t have an entity, landline ones seem to be less flexible and more costly as it will take some time to set up, change the scale and maintain the service. In short, landline phone systems are doom to go down the road. If you are a small business owner that already has one or more landlines and does not need any upgrade now, you can keep using your current landline phone system. However, as your business expands, it is more recommended to turn towards a virtual phone system if you want to cut down the cost.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over IP networks, such as the Internet. By using a VoIP phone system, you’ll be able to enjoy various useful features that are essential to deal with your business at a relatively low cost. According to the size of your business now and in the future, you can flexibly scale your VoIP phone system. However, as it is based on the internet, your calling experience is directly related to network speed, and it may be disabled in case of power outrages or other emergencies that may cause an internet shutdown. If you are forward-looking and are willing to try the latest technologies, VoIP is a good choice. There are three subtypes of VoIP systems:
On-Premises VoIP Systems
On-premises VoIP systems are phone systems that are physically installed in a building. All related equipment and software are owned by your company on-site. On-premises VoIP systems are typically regarded to have a higher return on investment than cloud-based ones for big companies, because the more users are on the system, the better the potential ROI will be. Meanwhile, these companies can seek greater control of their communication tools. However, these systems are extremely expensive to start out, as establishing and managing the company’s own system will cost a lot. Therefore, for small and mid-sized companies, on-premises VoIP systems are an unpractical option.
Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
As cloud-based VoIP systems are entirely based on the network and service providers, they have an advantage over the other two types in terms of startup cost as there is no need to buy expensive hardware. The service providers will manage the infrastructure and software in their own data centers, so you may begin using this kind of system immediately without the need for extensive installation. It is a very cost-effective choice for small to mid-sized businesses who don’t want to manage their own Phone Branch Exchange (PBX).
Hybrid VoIP Systems
Apart from the above two systems, there is a hybrid one. Hybrid VoIP systems build on already existing ISDN telephone systems and allow you to use traditional phone systems together with internet ones so that you don’t need to install new hardware and infrastructure. Therefore, it is a rather wise choice for businesses that already have an extensive phone system in place.
Having a general idea of different types of phone systems, you can select one due to your special demand now. But what should you do after that? Well, there are extra things for you to consider. For example, which type of numbers should you choose? Do you only want a number alone or do you expect for more features?
Local vs. International
Before getting one or more numbers, you have to decide which type of numbers suits you most. Having a local number helps to create a sense of community with your customers, while having an international number helps to improve your brand image and increase your worldwide sales.
Number Alone vs. Number with Business Features
Having a business number alone doesn’t mean you are able to seize all the business opportunities and thus grow your business. What really matters is the business features it offers. Want to enjoy some wonderful features that can make your business a complete success? Our EasyLine is especially recommended. Here are some features it offers:
It is an easy way to send several customers updates or information about upcoming promotions at the same time through text messages. This feature saves you from the embarrassment of sending messages slowly to your customers one by one.
EasyLine’s auto-reply feature guarantees that every missed call is followed up with a message sent straight to your clients. By using this feature, you can keep your communications organized and respond to incoming phone calls in a timely manner.
Auto Attendant (Call Menu or IVR)
With the auto attendant, you’ll never miss service calls from any customer, as well as sales opportunities. The auto attendant routes callers to the appropriate destination, specific employee or department extensions. You can customize your own auto attendant in EasyLine.
By automatically recording incoming calls and analyzing important messages through speech recognition, EasyLine provides you much-needed context that clarifies the purpose of the call, the identity of the caller and the best way to follow up for optimal efficiency.
EasyLine allows users to Create their own personalized keyboard shortcuts to answer commonly asked questions and solve customer problems in a timely manner.
Making a rather good first impression is very essential. If you choose EasyLine’s personalized voicemail, your customers will be greeted with a message that is tailored to your company’s specific needs, ensuring that they feel welcomed and that their business is valued.
By using this feature, your business contacts will never be mixed up with your smartphone’s personal contacts. Store your business contacts in an area that does not overlap with your personal ones, so that you will no longer run the risk of confusing them.
Think back to those obnoxious calls and unwanted text messages that have made it difficult for your business to operate like an inefficient machine. With this feature, you can block all the undesirable callers and text messages, allowing you and your team to focus on interacting with current/target customers that have the potential to boost your sales.
- Having a suitable phone system is very important for your business.
- When selecting a suitable phone system for your business, you need to consider several things.
- You should compare between different phone systems before getting the right one.
- After choosing the right phone system, you have to decide which type of numbers you’d need, and which features you want.