Consider These Phone Systems for Your Small Office
The right business phone system improves and simplifies the working environment for everyone in the organization. Phone systems for small offices are available in a variety of configurations, and now include more features and capabilities than they ever have before.
Many businesses are already converting to VoIP and cloud-based phone systems, which have the same ubiquitous nature and adaptability as traditional phone systems.
If you are thinking about acquiring or upgrading a small company phone system, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics of small business phone systems, including the distinctions between hard and softphones.
You will need to think about the pricing, the features, and your specific requirements for both incoming and outbound calls when making your decision.
What Kind of Phone Systems Do Offices Use?
There are three major kinds of business telephone systems: KSUs, PBXs, and Voice over Internet Protocol systems. Each is available in two flavors: a hosted (cloud) version and an unhosted (on-premises) version. Here’s how they vary from one another.
Key System Units
A phone system that makes use of a key system unit is the most fundamental phone system (KSU). Because of the constraints on the number of phone lines, it can accommodate, this sort of system is only appropriate for small enterprises with no more than 40 workers who work as phone operators, according to the manufacturer.
It is a simple system that works similarly to a home telephone. Even though it has all of the necessary elements a company would want, it lacks mobility and flexibility in its design. It makes use of a centralized switching device – the KSU – to manually pick which phone line to utilize for each call.
The KSU-less variant of this system is referred to as such. This phone system has the same phone capabilities as the basic system, but it is more portable and versatile because it does not rely on a central switching device and is thus totally wireless.
The absence of a KSU system, on the other hand, has some serious drawbacks. It only supports roughly 10 phone operators, and it is not available for purchase on the open market; you must request it from your phone system provider.
A phone system that does not need a KSU is perfect for a very small firm that does not want to expand the number of its employees, but it is not as beneficial for small enterprises that want to expand their operations.
Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
Using a private branch exchange (PBX) is another alternative for a company phone system. This system is more sophisticated than the KSU and KSU-less systems that were previously available. It makes use of programmable switching devices, which allow it to route incoming calls in an automated fashion.
Because it is primarily automated, this form of corporate phone system is appropriate for organizations with more than 40 workers. The PBX system is equipped with an uninterruptible power supply, a key benefit that allows a company to continue operating even if there is an extended energy outage.
The hosted PBX system is a variation in this system’s design. The only difference between this system and the previous one is that the programmable switching device is no longer housed on-site; instead, it is hosted by a telephone service provider.
The primary benefit is that you will save some of the installation and maintenance expenses associated with a regular PBX system while still making use of all the sophisticated capabilities it has to offer.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a relatively recent and increasingly popular invention for organizations (VoIP). This is the most sophisticated technique by far since it allows a prospective customer and a phone operator to interact even if they are in separate countries at the time of the conversation.
It requires the use of both an internet connection and a computer. Although it is the most costly system on the market, its pricing is based on the number of personnel that will be required to use it.
The most significant advantage of this system is that all of its operations are available by computer through your company’s corporate internet network, which is the primary advantage.
VoIP systems, like PBX systems, may be hosted on a server. As with the basic VoIP system, the hosted version provides the same benefits as that system, but with less installation and maintenance on the part of the company that uses it, since the service provider hosts the central telephone system.
3 Major Types of Phone Systems
When it comes to telephone networks, one of the most widespread fallacies is that they are just “phones.”
However, phone systems are far more complex than the basic ‘boxes on the wall’ that operate your phones, as many people believe.
So, what are the many sorts of telephone systems available?
1. Traditional, On-premises PBX
The PBX, sometimes known as a ‘telephone switch,’ is the grandfather of corporate telephony. All components of your company telephone system are controlled by a PBX, which is a box that is installed someplace on your premises.
These telephone systems are durable and dependable, and they provide organizations with a full range of features and functionality.
Whenever many people use the same system, they each have a set extension that is unique to them. All inbound phone lines, as well as all calls made on those lines, are routed via a PBX and delivered to the appropriate extension.
In addition, to call routing, on-hold music, transfers, call recording, and other functions, a typical PBX is responsible for the overall management of your company’s telephone communications.
2. VoIP PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
It is important to note that the VoIP PBX, also known as the VoIP telephone system, is an upgraded version of the classic telephone system we discussed before.
Both classic and VoIP PBX systems are fairly similar in that they both regulate the calls made by your company.
To make and receive calls, conventional telephone systems employ analog or digital lines, known as ISDN, while VoIP telephone systems use your internet or data connection. This has the potential to be far less expensive than the standard option.
3. Hosted VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)
A hosted VoIP system is the last sort of telephone system to consider. A hosted telephone system is the most up-to-date and adaptable sort of telephone system available today.
As opposed to the traditional ‘box on the wall’ concept, hosted telephone systems rely on cloud-based platforms to communicate with customers. This platform serves as the basis for your company’s phone system.
Read up on the parts of call flow here!
Difference Between A Home Phone And A Business Phone Service
When comparing business and residential phone services, the following are some distinctions to keep in mind:
The cost for business phone lines is projected to rise 75 to 120 percent. This is greater than the increase in cost for household phone systems. This increase is attributed to the specialized, complicated features business systems now include, some of which may be critical to your company’s operations.
Consequently, pricing for corporate phone systems may vary anywhere from $20 per line to a stunning $1,000 per line, depending on the features included with the service.
The expense of installing a home phone system might be too costly for what you receive in return. As more consumers choose Bluetooth or other mobile device-enabled phone systems, the cost of these systems may rise dramatically.
To use this service, phone providers may ask you to acquire a second phone line, not to mention the additional tax and regulatory costs that will be added to your account.
Additionally, according to recent phone statistics shared by financesonline.com, there is a significant decrease in the number of households using home phone services. In 2004, almost 90% of households in the US are using landlines phone. Today the number is less than half with 54% using wireless or mobile devices.
A business phone is often much more beneficial than a standard residential phone in terms of productivity. Businesses depend on mobile phones to interact with their customers, as well as with their employees and suppliers.
Some communication requirements might extend across a whole state or the entire world. This means that corporate phone lines must be far more powerful and capable of handling significantly more traffic than the typical residential phone, and they must have the features and capabilities to support these calls.
Equipment and Features
When comparing the criteria for a business phone system to the requirements for a residential phone system, it is clear that the two contain significant differences.
A corporate phone system needs to be able to relay calls, have conference calls with several persons, and handle numerous lines to be effective. Most of these functions may be obtained without the need for a home phone.
Phone services such as caller ID, voicemail, and call-waiting are available on residential phone systems. Home phone systems do not need to lose out on the most common capabilities.
Usage of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is becoming increasingly popular. This method enables both organizations and people to make phone calls using their internet service provider’s infrastructure. When compared to standard telephone systems, this is more dependable in certain instances.
Learn more about how VoLTE works here!
How To Choose A Business Phone System
Here are five steps to assist you in decisions about a new phone system for your company.
1. Analyze your company phone system’s performance.
If you’re a startup, skip this stage, but if you’re an established company with an existing phone system, identify the issues.
Cost is a problem for many organizations, and selecting the appropriate supplier could result in considerable savings. You might be transferring offices or your firm is rapidly expanding, making your existing setup unsuitable. Before discarding your system, list its size, active users, and how they utilize it.
Defining your present difficulties will help you find solutions and communicate productively with your current and possibly new suppliers.
2. Test your internet.
IP-PBX and cloud-based VoIP solutions need a reliable internet connection. Calls may be glitchy and inconsistent if your connection is poor or intermittent.
High-speed Internet access is expanding throughout the nation, but coverage varies. You can test your download and upload speeds using free online tools. Test your connection throughout the day to obtain a realistic average speed.
If your connection is slow, talk to your provider or landlord before using VoIP.
3. Examine your company’s phone system use.
Do you get many incoming calls or does the phone rarely ring? Do you often call abroad? Do employees prefer to communicate through phone or other means, such as instant messenger?
Your business’s phone system use will heavily influence your new provider selection. An analog phone system may be the most reliable foundation for high call volumes or high outbound calls.
An IP-PBX or cloud-based system may be more suited to your needs if you operate remotely, wish to grow, or want more control over your business. Investigating how your company utilizes your system can help you make an informed decision.
See the reasons why call flow is important here.
4. Set Your Priorities
Cloud-based VoIP solutions give you more control over your company phones, but do you need all of those features?
Specify what you need from a new system, including critical features. Sort beneficial from essential functions.
If you own a 9-5 office or other company, controlling and maintaining fixed infrastructure may appeal. A cloud-based VoIP solution may be more suited for businesses that operate 24/7 from numerous locations.
They can enhance corporate productivity and save money if used properly, but only if used properly.
5. Talk to your team
Before engaging vendors, make sure you understand your employees’ expectations for a new phone system. Discuss the choices and features with them.
Use their gadgets only if they are comfortable doing so.
Changing a phone system is a little bit disruptive; involving employees early on is critical.
What Should I Look For In A Business Phone?
- Unlimited Rollover Lines. Rollover lines take calls when a primary line is congested. They help clients avoid the dreaded busy signal.
- Call Tracking. Analog phones keep a call log with a name, number, and time. In today’s data-driven corporate environment, phone records are not nearly enough. To develop and expand, today’s businesses need to be able to record calls and generate sophisticated information.
- On Hold Music and Marketing Messages. When no one is available to take a call, businesses that utilize analog phones frequently play a busy signal or elevator music for their consumers. Businesses may choose music or record a message for consumers on hold using VoIP phone systems. These adjustable choices improve client satisfaction.
- Emergency Contact System. Small firms struggle with a lack of employees, prohibiting them from operating around the clock. The issue is that clients want assistance at all times, particularly in healthcare. In an emergency, physicians must answer the phone at inappropriate times, and a good phone system should allow doctors to do so.
- Voicemail List. Analog phones usually only save voicemail recordings. Like smartphones, digital phones capture audio and convert it to text. This conversion enables workers to read voicemail communications without listening.
Discover the Automated Answering Services: How Do They Work?
- Presence. The ability to view the names connected with each hold line is called presence. Analog phones lack this feature. Small and large businesses alike need this technology to detect transfers and prioritize phone calls.
- Ring Groups. Incoming calls are difficult to program or change on analog phone systems. In today’s digital phone systems, organizations may modify their ring groups at any moment.
- Customized Directory. The same is true for digital phone systems. Unlike analog systems that depend on automated attendants, these directories flow organically. Customers prefer IVR responses by voice or keypad.
- In-office Paging. Finding a colleague in a workplace with analog phones might be difficult. If their queue is backed up, patients must go to another office to meet with a doctor. Digital phone systems with paging and team chat make office communications simpler.
- Smart Pop-up Alerts. Smart pop-up alerts are exclusively digital. A phone call on an analog phone has no equivalent in the office. These pop-ups inform consumers of impending appointments, allow them to plan appointments, and pay bills over the phone.
Find out more about Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): What is it? How Does it Work?
You want to see your company flourish after all your hard work. You’ve probably already established some objectives for the next five, ten, or even twenty years.
But expansion takes time, and you do not want to be constrained by your IT stack. It may be time to convert to a cloud-based phone system that allows you to expand your business as it grows. With the correct small business phone system, you can concentrate on developing your firm in a fiscally sound manner.
Getting a scalable phone system allows you to save costs, hire fewer workers, and adjust your operations to seasonality. So that your staff won’t have to.
Streamlining your operations may enable you to provide additional items or services. The correct phone system may even help you become a market leader.
Developing a call center on-site or off-site will be simpler if you already have a reliable phone system in place.
Discover the 5 Reasons Why So Many Businesses Use IP Phones.