March 31, 2021
There’s no denying that phones have seamlessly integrated into our daily lives; they’ve become an indispensable tool of the modern world. When purchasing a mobile phone or a smartphone, our buying decisions are marked by meticulous consideration. We invest time and effort in weighing various factors like price, feature, utility, and size. The same level of diligence and consideration is required to buy a business phone system. While the right phone system can improve efficiency, boost customer experience, and streamline operations, the wrong choice can turn things upside down. So, to help you make the right decision, we have put together all the useful information in this post.
Primarily, a business phone system is the means to connect multiple telephone lines, but they go far beyond the basics. A phone system is the lifeline that fosters effective inbound and outbound communication for any organization. It is a central phone unit that can link up to other individual phone lines throughout an office and has the capability to transfer calls within the organization, all while separated by extensions.
To understand the concept of business phone systems, let’s take a real-world example. Imagine a law firm named Jhonson & Co. engaged in communication with clients, colleagues, and partners. To ensure that this communication happens seamlessly, the law firm relies on a business phone system. Here’s how they use it:
Now you must have a clear picture of how phone systems are being used by businesses around the globe. The next thing that must have crossed your mind is – What kind of phone systems are these businesses using? Let’s learn about this too!
There are basically 3 types of business phone systems- PBX, VoIP, and cloud-based. Let’s have a look at each of them for better comprehension.
The PBX is suitable for large businesses. It is a centralized telephone network that connects multiple people within an organization to each other, allowing telephone company lines to send and receive phone calls. The Cloud PBX can be connected via a wide range of telephone lines including standard PSTN lines or digital PRI trunks over the Internet. You can purchase the entire system as a capital investment while paying the Phone Company or SIP Trunk provider for monthly service and the cost of your calling plan.
The modified version of this system is the hosted PBX. The main difference is that the programmable switching devices are no longer installed on-premises but it’s hosted by a telephone provider. A traditional PBX requires a large investment and ongoing maintenance and training, which can be avoided with the hosted PBX system without losing any of the advanced features it initially has to offer.
VoIP is an advanced system that allows a potential client and phone operator to communicate with each other even if the two people live in different countries. It offers extended flexibility over other business phone systems.
VoIP can be used with an internet handle that can be connected to various devices like computers, tablets, mobile phones, and internet-enabled desk phones, which can also be a downplay if your internet or internet devices are not standardized. VoIP costs mostly depend on your provider, plan, and the number of employees needing to use the system.
The VoIP system comes in four different categories, namely- hosted, on-premise, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking, and virtual. You need to choose one based on your business requirements.
These systems are also known as hosted phone systems because they are hosted off-site by third-party providers or vendors. These are the most popular solutions for modern-day business communication requirements.
Cloud-based phone systems come with a myriad of advantages and some of the most exclusive ones are:
The list of benefits doesn’t end there. By enabling remote access, cloud phones present themselves as an ideal entity for modern businesses. These systems offer seamless communication for international and remote teams across different locations and time zones.
Every organization has some unique requirements or demands in terms of communications. Before you select a phone system for your business, it is important to understand these requirements. You can start by answering questions like:
Answers to such questions will help you ensure that you select a phone system that aligns with the current needs and future requirements of your business.
Here’s a more detailed explanation of some useful points that you can keep in mind while doing a comprehensive evaluation of your business needs.
Identify the goals that you want to achieve with the technology or system you’re considering. Whether you want to boost efficiency, reduce operational costs, meet compliance requirements, or improve customer service. Having clarity about your objectives will help you a lot throughout your decision-making.
What are your pain point areas? List out the challenges that your business is facing currently in terms of communication, workflow, and operations. For some companies, remote work is a big hurdle to effective communication. While others may experience that their teams work in isolation resulting in communication silos.
Considering your business’ growth expectations beforehand helps a lot in frequent system replacements or upgrades. Put in some time and effort to check out whether the phone system will be able to scale up and down with your company.
Setting a clear budget is a crucial step that should not be missed. First and foremost, consider the upfront costs. This will depend upon the type of phone system chosen by you. While on-premise phone systems incur high upfront costs, cloud-based phone systems have almost negligible initial investment. Apart from this, also consider the ongoing monthly expenses such as subscription fees, service, maintenance, etc.
You can also calculate the TCO i.e. the Total Cost of Ownership for the phone system. This is done by looking beyond the initial cost of the system and considering factors like support costs, upgrades, and any hidden costs that may apply.
The present-day business phone systems come with a lot of added attributes that can help your business run hassle-free. They include the following features;
Reliability is paramount when it comes to business phone systems. Downtimes that last for even a few seconds can lead to missed business opportunities and customer dissatisfaction. It is important to consider phone systems that come with redundancy and disaster recovery features. This will help you in providing uninterrupted services to your customers in case of outages.
Choosing the right vendor is equally important as choosing the right business phone system. You must put in some filters when selecting the vendor such as their reputation in the industry, commitment to customer support, and positive reviews from the clients. A vendor with a solid reputation will ensure good quality of service which will have a positive impact on your business as well.
To start your search for the right vendor, you can ask for references from other businesses that are already using business phone systems.
The aspect of compliance and security must be carefully considered because it will help safeguard your business’ reputation, data, and operations from potential threats. Some key considerations to ensure compliance are:
In terms of security, the following aspects must be considered to buying a business phone system:
Proper user training is imperative to use any solution efficiently and maximize its benefits. The same goes for the business phone systems. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your vendor provides training resources. This will help you in familiarizing your staff and employees with the phone system quite easily. By conducting a few training workshops, users can get their hands on the new phone system and utilize it efficiently.
Apart from training, ongoing support is another critical element of the business phone system service. Support service from the vendor will help you in resolving issues promptly.
Running a business is no small feat. Often, the decisions that might appear straightforward can have a colossal impact. When it is about choosing the right office phone system, it’s not just about making calls, rather, it’s about making the right calls in the most effective manner. Your decision can either propel you towards growth or hold you back. So, make sure you give thorough consideration to the points mentioned above because the right business phone system can be a game changer for your business.
Note- This post has been updated with the latest information on 28-09-23.
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