How to find the right business phone system in 202127 October 2021
With plenty of choices available to Australian businesses, choosing the best business phone system can seem daunting. After all, it is the connection to your customers, suppliers, and coworkers. While mobile phones have become the norm in business communication, running your entire business from your phone isn’t an optimal solution.
Selecting the correct business phone solution can help you run your business better and enhance customer service. The best business phone system will be feature-rich yet focused on communication tools that matter to you. It will also be future-proof.
So what should you consider before you make a decision? Here are six areas we typically focus on with our customers to give you an idea of what you should consider when buying a business phone system.
Your Current Setup
We always start by learning about our customer’s current setup. If you don’t have a business phone system, that’s okay: we’ll ask questions about how you currently communicate and collaborate, including the number of users. While it will inform our recommendations on which business phone solution to recommend, it also will give us an idea of possible areas of improvement or new features that might be useful.
If you have landlines or a PBX system, moving to a cloud-based solution might not be feasible or necessary unless your system is obsolete or the NBN has arrived in your area. However, start-ups or businesses starting will want to consider a cloud-based solution as it is the easiest, quickest, and most cost-effective business phone solution.
Other questions we often ask are:
- How many employees do you have, and what are their average daily communications needs?
- Are the majority of calls inbound, outbound, or evenly split?
- Does your organisation currently employ a receptionist?
- Does your organisation need IP phones or analogue adapters?
- Do employees use mobile apps to communicate?
- Does your organisation use CRM software?
- Does your organisation need video conferencing capabilities?
This is only a small sample of some of the questions we might ask, but they are some of the most frequent. If you’re in the market, it’s a good idea to be prepared to answer these questions. Think about the future, too: your communications needs might change with time.
Taking some time to think of what you might need in the future can help the representative recommend a solution that meets your current needs and is scalable for your future needs.
Your internet connection
Internet connectivity where the business phone system is installed will play a significant role in your options. If fast, reliable broadband is unavailable at your location, then a traditional phone system with landlines in place will be your only option.
Once you’re connected to the fibre network, you’ll be able to choose any IP PBX or virtual business phone system. Alternative private access to broadband, which may be available from your office building, is possible. Some office building owners and managers offer the capability to host your business phone system on-premise.
Most small and medium-sized businesses will do best with a cloud-based solution, but sometimes an on-premise PBX is a better option. If you choose on-premise, ensure you have on-site personnel with experience in maintaining these systems.
Your communications needs (now and future)
Once we understand your current setup and your business and verify you have a capable internet connection to support a business phone system, we’ll next work with you to choose the features most important to you. The first step is ensuring essential communications needs are satisfied.
Basic features, including caller ID, conference calling, call transfer, and an auto attendant, are more than enough for many. But larger organisations might need more out of their phone system than the basics.
Consider features like:
- Call recording to ensure high levels of customer service
- Collaborative features like whiteboards, file sharing, screen sharing
- Integrations with tools like Google Workspace, CRM, lead generation software
- Mobility features
- Video call support
There are many more features than we can list here, and your sales representative will review the most appropriate options for your business.
Your integration needs
We believe your communication system should complement your work, not stand in the way. Many customers don’t realise their tools can integrate with modern phone systems. Traditional PBX systems cannot. Here, a virtual phone system solution might be the best option.
We’ll ask you about any productivity and collaborative tools you might already use (think HubSpot, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and so on). The size of your business isn’t important: these days, even small business phone systems have integration support — something that was previously limited to larger firms.
We are big proponents of virtual phone systems for this reason. The integrations will speed up many of your everyday tasks, keep your whole organisation on the same page, and communicate effectively with your customers.
Single or Multiple Locations
Whether you operate out of one or multiple locations is vital in choosing the right phone system. Each site needs a separate PBX system with an on-premise solution, which means a significant upfront investment. A cloud-based system would be more cost-efficient. A single cloud PBX can serve as many locations as you need.
Even if you only operate out of a single location, if a significant portion of your workforce is mobile, you’ll need a solution that makes it easy for your employees to collaborate while on the road. Most modern business phone solutions offer mobile apps that integrate directly with your office phone system, extending all the features of your office phone to your mobile device.
We couldn’t discuss choosing the best business phone system without considering your budget. Each type of business phone system has its advantages and disadvantages regarding cost.
- PBX solutions: There is a higher upfront cost as you are responsible for paying for the hardware, licensing, and installation necessary to get your system running. While the initial cost is higher, ongoing costs are often less than other solutions. You’re still responsible for additional fees, including equipment maintenance, software updates and hardware replacement.
- Cloud-based solutions: Here, the upfront costs are much lower as the phone hardware, licensing, maintenance, and updates are all handled by your service provider. However, you may still have upfront costs for items like IP phones or adapters. Ongoing costs are generally more expensive as running your phone system is included in your monthly subscription costs.
While we’d love to serve your business calling needs at Business Telecom, you should always compare several providers. We also recommend that you consider value over price.
Automatically going for the cheapest solution is a big mistake. Low-cost solutions often are missing features or have lower quality service. That’s not to say there are good deals: you want to ensure you’re not sacrificing too much to save money.
Every contract will always have fine print, which you should read before signing. While warranties may cover many issues, not every issue you’ll run into will be eligible. Look for charges such as service fees, late fees, and any early termination fees.
Other questions you should ask are:
- How much does your provider charge for service calls?
- What does the warranty cover?
- How long is the warranty valid?
- Are there service plans available?
While we expect your experience to be trouble-free, accidents happen. You don’t want to be surprised by a hefty repair bill.
We can help
We hope this guide on choosing the best business phone system was helpful and gives you some things to think about as you begin your journey. This is a significant investment, and choosing the right business phone solution with features important to your business is essential.
Business Telecom offers a wide range of business phone systems for small, medium, and large businesses. Through partnerships with the top names in business phone systems — Cisco, Avaya, and Panasonic — we offer future-proof solutions that scale as your business grows. We have years of experience serving thousands of Australian businesses of all sizes.
Our expert customer service representatives can walk you through the first steps of selecting your new business phone system. We can handle everything for you, including training your workforce on-site. See what we offer by visiting our homepage today.