There are small business phone systems that offer a range of benefits and features for a wide variety of business needs. A majority of the modern small business telephone systems use internet protocol networks to connect the organization’s staff.
However, how do you get the correct small business phone system for your organization? As well as determining the best way to install the phone system?
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The modern workforce is ever-changing; thus, our business solutions must change alongside it. Business phone systems are not an exception to this rule. When dealing with traditional business phone systems, you are required to buy a great deal of hardware for your offices. But, there is an increase in the amount of remote workforce that demands flexibility that PBX (on-premise Private Branch Exchange), unfortunately, cannot deliver.
VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) business phone systems have revolutionized the industry. The current business phone service involves more than just Voice Calls. This is because there is communication that happens in other varying ways, such as via social media sites, emails, instant and media messages, text messages, and video conferencing. By using a cloud-based phone system, you are provided with unified communication as a service (UCaaS) features, and they aid your company in communicating through various means.
The introduction of Cloud VOIP Phone Service has opened the doors to the possibilities of what these phone systems can achieve for your business. Calling features and collaboration tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) app integration, virtual receptionists, and Artificial Intelligence permit your small enterprise to overcome many challenges when working with a lean team. VOIP technology also helps you to cut down on the costs of service.
Business phone providers also offer several of these collaboration features in one unified platform at an affordable price. Enterprises that have access to a larger budget are able to unlock even more tools and call features that come along with the high-tier phone plans (business phone plans).
Do you have a workforce that requires easily accessible mobile communications and video? Do your workers need a singular phone number that can simultaneously ring from varying devices? Having the right small business phone system provides the tools that your people will need so they can be more effective.
The standard features and capabilities are available are listed below:
- Automated attendant
- Mobile support
- Intercom and paging.
Currently, business phone systems provide small businesses with dozens of valuable features. Especially when you are considering cloud-based hosted systems: they have helped broaden the door for small businesses to access several features without necessarily having to spend an excessive amount of funds. Before that, only large companies could afford feature-rich systems due to the capital needed to install the equipment required.
The following are the features that small businesses can benefit from, among others:
Unlimited Calling: Most of the available cloud-hosted VOIP phone systems today provide unlimited domestic calling for no extra fees. This provides you with a fixed cost for the monthly service that is not influenced by the number of calls your business receives or makes.
Automated Attendants: An Automated Attendant is used to answer calls made to a business and route calls to the proper employees or departments.
Ring Groups: This feature is used to limit the number of missed calls your business has; for instance if someone calls and requires customer service, all of your staff's phones will ring. You can choose for the devices to ring in a specific order or all at the exact moment.
Voicemail: As well as the traditional voicemail service, several business phone systems have voicemail to email functionality as an offer. This feature helps your staff send transcripts of voicemails or audio recordings to the person's email inbox, so they can either listen or read their messages even if they are not at the office.
Call Recording: This provides phone system users the capability to record their calls. Calls are then stored either on their computers or in the cloud for playback later on.
Other features that many phone systems offer businesses and are valuable include:
- Instant Messaging
- Online Meetings
- Call Forwarding
- Extension Dialing
- Call Queue
- Integrations with services such as Microsoft Office and Google Workspace
These systems also provide features that are able to boost a business's collaboration abilities, for example, presence indicators, instant messaging, online meetings, and video conferencing.
You have to consider several factors when you are choosing a business phone system provider. You have to make sure that all the features and functions that your business will need are offered by the provider you are considering.
It is crucial to ask questions such as:
- Are all the features that your business would benefit from or need present? Is it capable of supporting the number of staff who will need to use the service?
Some businesses are only looking for calling features such as voicemail and Caller ID; however, other companies may be interested in functions such as on-hold music, rin groups, and auto attendants.
You should also put into consideration any other communication tools that may be of value to your business: Are in search of a system that strictly permits you to talk over the phone or are in search of a more unified communications system that will add functions such as instant messaging and video conferencing? When you have determined the answer to this question, you will be guided in your search for a new business phone system.
The reliability of the phone system is another factor of consideration. A phone system will be of no use to your business if it is not up and running when you need it. This is especially crucial when you are dealing with a cloud-hosted solution. The majority of phone service providers have reimbursement policies if the system has not hit a certain uptime percentage. You should inquire from each provider what their annual uptime percentage is. If, at that point, it is not at 99.999999%, then it is crucial that you find out what the provider is doing to deal with this challenge. You should also ask about the service-level agreements and if there are any uptime-related clauses.
If you discover that cloud-hosted systems are not suitable for your small business, you will need an on-premises systems service provider. Unlike a PBX which is hosted in the cloud, your business will be housing all the equipment when you are dealing with an on-premises system. More upfront costs are involved, and you have fewer ongoing costs or recurring costs such as monthly fees like the cloud-based systems.
If you have a tiny business, you may want to consider whether you really need a phone system with onsite desk phones. It is possible for companies to get by with mobile phones; you can look into investing in a virtual phone system. These systems will be used to connect the main business number to all your employee's devices, including their mobile phones. When your customers call the main business number, they will be greeted by an automated attendant who is capable of transferring them to the relevant employees and departments. The call will then be transferred to the appropriate employee's mobile phone instead of using the traditional office phone. Virtual systems are usually well suited for smaller enterprises, businesses that have significant and remote workforces, as well as solo entrepreneurs.
And finally, what form of customer support will you be offered? If your business does have a full-time IT manager or staff who is able to handle emerging challenges, you want to have a business phone system provider who is constantly available to answer the questions that you have. It is preferred that this can occur over several online resources and multiple channels.
The process of picking an office phone system is very complex, as it involves a lot more than just picking a new phone. The service needs to be reliable, meaning that you are provided with high-quality communications that have no delays and are static. It is vital that you can connect your staff and clients in a way that is effective for your company.
What is the most suitable business phone system?
All businesses vary; it is difficult to say that one business phone system can fulfill your business needs. That's why as a business owner, you need to consider other use cases, such as remote work, call center capabilities, and small businesses collaboration.
You should examine the tools and functions that each use case requires from a phone system. Then compare and contrast different phone system providers based on those criteria.
What are the significant differences between phone systems for small businesses and large businesses?
The current cloud-hosted unified communication systems appeal to small businesses because they provide the same functionality as large enterprises' systems.
Before the advent of cloud-hosted and VoIP solutions, huge businesses were typically the primary ones to afford the expensive onsite equipment for a robust phone system with features such as call queues, automated attendants, and extension dialing.
VoIP, specifically cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems, has leveled the playing field. Right now, an expensive point of entry is not required, so small businesses can quickly implement these systems in the same way large companies can.
One variation might be the service tiers small and large companies choose. While smaller enterprises might choose a lower-tiered plan that does not offer every feature under the sun, larger companies may be able to afford the more expensive plans that give them access to everything the phone system provider has to offer.
How do you set up a small business phone system?
A considerable benefit of today's business phone systems is how easy they are to set up. VoIP systems are entirely managed from an online portal. You or your staff members can access this portal from anywhere with an internet connection. Administrators can log in to the portal to assign business phone numbers and extensions, add new users, delete users, and turn features on or off for individual users.