How to Buy a Business Phone System
A good business phone system for your office can improve communication amongst employees, customers and clients. But with so many to choose from, it’s difficult to determine how to buy a business phone system without first doing some research. And if you’re wondering how much does a business phone system costs, that also depends on how extensive your office is and what features you need.
Decide what features you need
The features of a telephone system can provide your office with many useful benefits, but you might not need them all. With many business phone systems, there is no need to pay extra for features you won’t use. However, you might want to take advantage of additional phone system features in the future as your business grows, so you’ll also want to buy a business phone that allows you to add features with ease. In fact, VoIP statistics show that 29% of companies switch to VoIP phones just so they can take advantage of the call forwarding feature.
Common basic features of business phone systems
- Automated Directory: A feature that allows a caller to check an employee’s direct extension just by typing the first few letters of their name.
- Conference Calling: Phone conferencing features enable multiple participants to join a call at the same time.
- Voicemail: This feature comes virtually with any phone system these days. Though, there are some differences depends on pricing and service provider. Some voicemail feature offers remote access to messages, the ability for a caller to leave a long voice message or an option to play different pre-recorded greetings.
- Call Forwarding: A feature that allows users to forward calls to another number or a mailbox.
- Call Holding: A common feature that allows users to put a call on waiting while attending to other calls or customers.
- Telephone Paging System: This allows a user to call for an employee or give announcements by utilizing a standard telephone system.
- Hold Music Option: A basic phone system feature where callers can hear pre-recorded messages or music while waiting in the line.
- Automated Attendant: An auto attendant is like your virtual receptionist. It gives your callers the option to choose where they will be routed without the assistance of an operator.
- Speed dial and Redial: Speed dialing is a very useful feature that should be used regularly. Save often called numbers into speed dial and connect the call with a single click. It is far more efficient than typing the phone number every single time. Redial is also useful particularly for conference calls when the connection was suddenly interposed. Connect to the last called number with a single click.
- Headset-Enabled: One important feature to consider is if the business phones can be used with a standard hand-free headset. More efficient and allows for multitasking.
Some advanced features of a telephone system
- Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) — this enables the phone to interact with a computer system
- Remote Location — enables quick connection to employees working off-site
- Find Me/Follow Me — enables a user to have calls automatically forwarded to other mobile devices or phones
There are, of course, plenty of other features offered by various companies providing business phone system solutions, but these will vary. Take the time to research a few and learn more about what they offer.
Infographic: Basic and Advanced Features of a Business Phone System
Another factor to consider if you’re looking for a telephone system is flexibility. Can the system accommodate additional lines and new technologies if the business grows in the future? In a business phone systems case study conducted by 8×8, an outdated phone system can make communication difficult and can affect performance and business growth. So, consider what your company will look like in a few years to give you an insight as to what type of phone system you should buy.
How Large Does the Business Phone System Need to Be?
Deciding how much equipment you will need will also help you better determine how much a business phone system will cost. Consider where you will need phones in your office space. Areas where a phone might be necessary include:
- The receptionist area
- Each office
- Conference rooms
Other places to put a phone may include warehouse or shop floors and public areas such as hallways or entryways. You will also need to decide if you need phone systems for credit card terminals and fax machines.
Also, determine how many lines you will need. If you expect your office to receive a high volume of calls, invest in the number of lines that can handle the volume. You can typically get as few as three lines or as many as 48, depending on the business phone system.
You also need to figure out how to set up your business phone system. Do you need assistance from an IT specialist, an in-house IT department, etc?
Making Your Decision
When making your decision, take the time to thoroughly research the features and benefits of each system. Speak with a phone system expert and ask plenty of questions. This will help you make an informed decision on this very important piece of office equipment.