Phone Systems – A Guide for Small Businesses
June 18th, 2020 | 4 min. read
With today’s fast-paced society and the expectation to be constantly connected with the world around you, the ability to communicate quickly, reliably, and in a cost-effective manner with business partners and customers is more critical now than ever. So, what should business look for in a phone system to ensure exceptional communication throughout all facets of their company? Coeo breaks down the different types of phone systems and the benefits for each.
What Does a Phone System for Small Businesses Entail?
A business phone system is a comprehensive calling network that has been designed to specifically handle the complicated needs of a commercial organization. Everything from customer service calls to routing algorithms are designed to ensure the right person answers the correct call. This means that office phone systems need to have capabilities that go beyond the typical residential line.
With this in mind, small businesses need to make sure they have the right telephone system to meet their needs. Different phone systems can handle different tasks; however, the cost can also vary drastically. Therefore, it is incumbent on every business to find a phone system that meets their needs.
Overall, there are two categories of phone system – a traditional phone system, such as TDM (Time Division Multiplexers) or PBX (Private Branch Exchanges), and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) networks. There are also phone systems that are a hybrid cloud model of the two. Many companies have moved to VoIP or cloud-based networks due to their many benefits.
Traditional Phone Systems vs. VoIP Networks
While the trend of phone systems points two things - less hardware and transformation of IP communications to be more application-oriented – traditional phone systems still have their benefits. So, which type of system is best for you – a traditional phone system, a VoIP network, or a hybrid of the two? It depends on the size of your business and its needs. While smaller businesses can do well with a traditional phone system, larger organizations can greatly benefit from the advantages that VoIP networks and hybrid models offer, including:
- Ability to receive voicemails as a transcribed email or text message
- Ability to video chat on a desk or video phone
- No physical infrastructure
- Increased disaster recovery
- And more
PBX Phone Systems
Another phone system option is a PBX phone system. PBX stands for a private branch exchange and is a private phone network that is used by the office. This phone system will route incoming and outgoing calls through the business’s phone lines. This means that the company can hold certain calls, route other calls to extensions, and handle conference calls.
This system is different from a typical multi-line phone system because call switching and routing does not occur at the phone’s unit but in a centralized hub, such as the cloud. This means that a PBX phone system can scale faster, offers flexibility, and is more cost-effective.
VoIP Phone Systems
A voice-over IP system, shortened to VoIP, is a phone system that uses an internet connection instead of standard phone lines. Some of the advantages of this phone system include:
- Advanced pricing features
- The ability to use a virtual receptionist to handle calls
- It is easier to install
- It can scale quickly with the needs of a company
- Calls can be forwarded to employee mobile phones
When looking for a VoIP phone system, make sure it can integrate with other systems your company might use, such as your CRM software. Also, ensure your company’s internet connection can handle a VoIP system.
A Cloud-Based Phone System
Like a PBX phone system, there are many systems that are hosted in the cloud. A phone system in the cloud is one of the most advanced phone systems. In this phone system, infrastructure is moved off-site. This means that call routing and processing is handled remotely. This can include both a PBX system or a VoIP system. Some of the advantages of a phone system in the cloud include:
- The system is off-site, saving space and cutting costs
- A third-party handles all the maintenance needs
- The cost is transparent and predictable (usually billed monthly)
- The third-party can scale the company’s phone needs quickly, if required
For these reasons, cloud-based phone systems are growing quickly. Cloud-based phone systems are great for companies that are projected to have fast or unpredictable growth. Companies that also want a cost-effective solution may opt for a cloud-based system.
Other Phone System Options
While a PBX hybrid model or VoIP is has many benefits, some companies can decrease cost with a simpler phone system that serves their needs. A few of these phone system are listed below.
Phone System with Call Center Option
Some companies might be interested in having a call center. This is a centralized hub in which dozens of employees handle massive call volumes. Usually, this isn’t needed in-house unless the company has large sales numbers; however, some companies like to outsource their customer service needs to call centers.
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing customer service to a third-party call center is that the call center often has extended hours, including nights and weekends.
A Phone System with Multiple Lines
A phone system with multiple lines is simply a phone that has several lines that pass through the same unit. This allows the operator to answer each individual phone number while selecting some calls to hold and sending others to voicemail. This is one of the most basic phone systems, making them helpful for small businesses that do not need an extremely extensive system.
For example, a phone system with four lines will allow multiple employees to both make and take calls at the same time. When looking for a phone system with multiple lines, think about how many people might be on the phone at the same time, then choose an appropriate number of phone lines for your system. This will help meet business needs while controlling costs.
Phone System with Recording Feature
Some companies like to have a phone system that records calls. The general line is that this is done for “quality assurance.” Why does this matter? Some of the advantages include:
- Resolving disputes between employees (or an employee and a customer)
- Recalling information on a conference call that might have been overlooked or unclear
- Ensuring that important data is not lost
At the same time, companies need to think about where this call data will be stored and how much space it will take up. It can be helpful to talk to IT professionals about this issue.
Which Phone System Is Best for Your Business?
Phone lines and systems need to be hosted by a telecommunications company or an internet provider. With so many options from which to choose, how can small businesses find the right company to meet their needs? Some of the factors to consider include:
Consider these factors carefully when looking for a phone provider. A smaller company that is concerned about cost may opt for a multi-line phone system, while a large company that needs a scalable system may go for a cloud-based system.
Get More Information on Business Phone Systems from Coeo Solutions
Want to learn more about the best phone system for your company? Contact our experts at Coeo Solutions. We can walk you through our effective phone systems and tell you more about the features each system offers.