How to find the right business phone system in 2021February 23, 2021
Your business phone system is your direct link to customers, suppliers and anyone you communicate with. And despite the convenience of email, SMS and virtual chat, it’s still one of the most effective forms of communicating beyond face to face. That’s why selecting the right type of phone system matters.
A business phone system can help you run your office more efficiently, absorb the cost[O1] of having a receptionist and enhance your customer service. With so many different phone systems out there, here’s what you should consider when choosing a business phone system.
What does your current set up look like?
It’s important to choose a business phone solution that will ensure a smooth transition. This will vary from business to business as it will depend on your current set up. Are you a new start up or do you already have an existing phone system and want to upgrade?
If you already have landlines in place, switching to a cloud based solution might not be feasible right now. Similarly, if you don’t have the necessary infrastructure in place for a PBX system[MOU2] , then going down the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) [MOU3] path may be easier and prove more cost effective.
Other things to think about are how many employees do you have and how many calls do they handle on average daily?
Do you get a high number of inbound calls, or are your calls mostly outbound? Is someone from your business usually available to answer calls and take messages?
Do you need physical desk telephones, or could your business get by with a virtual phone service that uses mobile devices?
It also doesn’t hurt to consider your future business plan and forecast your business growth. Do you expect the number of staff to grow in the next few years and will this mean adding more extensions to your phone system?
How reliable is your internet connection?
This may very well determine your phone technology – whether you stick with a traditional on premise PBX system or move to a digital VoIP setup.
A high speed and reliable internet connection with decent download and upload speeds is increasingly improving across many regions in Australia. IP PBX and virtual business phone systems need stable internet access to work properly, so if your business is in an area where the internet connection is poor, then it’s worth considering a traditional phone system set up.
If you already have landlines in place, it is easier to buy a system that accommodates these lines. But you can have your landline numbers ported to VoIP lines should you decide to make the change from your legacy system.
If you do choose VoIP, another consideration is whether you want to house the system at your business (on-premises) or have a service provider host it off premises (cloud based).
What kind of phone features does your business need?
What are the essential functions you need on your phone system to ensure your staff are productive and your business runs efficiently?
Does your business have a receptionist or do you need an auto attendant to field your incoming calls? Do you need conference calling or call forwarding? These are just some of the features available in phone systems [MOU4] that you need to consider.
While more features are available with virtual phone technology, there are some features that can also be found in PBX and IP PBX systems. This includes call waiting, routing and call transfers.
Do you have other systems that could be integrated?
Do you want any of your other business tools such as a CRM to work alongside your phone system? Unlike a virtual phone system, PBX systems don’t interact with other programs or systems. Virtual systems can be integrated with CRMs, live chat and email services, helpdesks and more to create a unified business interface, and therefore also improve productivity.
Is location a consideration?
If your business operates across multiple locations, then you need a solution that will accommodate this. It will be quite different to a business phone solution at just a single address.
How mobile are your staff? Do you have a sales team that are frequently out of the office and would benefit from having their mobile devices talk to the office phone system? Do you have any staff that work remotely?
What is your budget?
Budgeting is important as your phone system options come with varying initial investment and ongoing costs. For example, a PBX solution has a higher upfront cost because of the hardware, licensing, and installation costs.
IP PBX systems typically have lower costs, but you can expect ongoing costs to cover equipment maintenance, software updates and hardware replacement.
A cloud based solution on the other hand, comes with no upfront costs or maintenance costs, but you can expect to pay a monthly subscription for your service. VoIP solutions also demand a certain amount of bandwidth to make and receive calls. So you’ll also need to take into account the cost of your internet services.
Lastly, research a few different phone system providers. Get a number of quotes from your shortlist, and compare them against your criteria to ensure you get the best business phone solution that matches your budget and needs.
Make sure to always read the fine print and ask about any hidden costs or service fees, including installation costs, which sometimes may initially get overlooked. You should also enquire about equipment warranties. What is the expected lifespan of the equipment and who is responsible for any repairs should equipment become damaged or not work properly?
Get advice from the phone system professionals
Looking for a phone system that will drive your business in 2021? At Business Telecom, we offer complete business phone system solutions to meet your communication needs. Get in touch with us today to get started.