Ultimate Guide to Small Business Phone Systems
Small business phone systems require features and services not usually found on residential phone lines. A business line is an advanced calling system designed to improve internal and external communication. To do so, phone systems for small businesses offers features such as:
- Auto attendants to direct calls to extensions
- Call routing
- Conference calls
- Mobile apps for calls and screen sharing
- Multiple phone lines
- On-hold music or messages
The best phone systems for small business
Multiple types of small business phone systems exist, from business landline phones to small business VoIP phone systems such as Verizon’s One-Talk. Each system has its own benefits, cost, and scalability, and what is perfect for one business may not be the right choice for another. Types of phone systems for small business include:
Business landline phones
Landlines are the old workhorses of the business world. Straightforward, reliable, and easy to use, business landline phones often support multiple lines, so individuals can all have their own phones with individual voicemail folders. For small businesses with only a few employees, business landlines offer good basic service.
Growing with a landline can be costly, however, due to installation costs, new-line fees, long-distance fees, and monthly service fees. Landlines also tie you to a fixed location, unlike mobile phone services. If you expect your business to grow, or need remote access to your phone system, consider the other choices on this list.
Small business VoIP phone systems
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Instead of a landline, phone calls are transmitted over the company’s broadband internet.
Small business VoIP phone systems are more versatile than landlines, as employees can access the system from their cellphones using mobile apps. Each person on the system is assigned a unique number, and the system supports advanced features such as virtual receptionists, toll-free numbers, video conferencing, and call routing.
VoIP is generally regarded as one of the best phone systems for small businesses, as the system is easy to scale up, can integrate with other business applications such as customer relationship management software, and comes with a wide range of office hardware. VoIP requires a reliable broadband connection to function properly.
Private branch exchanges
A private branch exchange, or PBX, is a multi-line system that routes and switches calls from a centralized location, rather than through individual phone units. PBX is more scalable than regular landlines, can be hosted in the cloud, and can handle VoIP.
Cloud-based small business phone systems
Cloud-based phone systems handle all phone services remotely through offsite servers, usually for low monthly fees. Cloud phone systems for small businesses can support PBX or VoIP, are easily scalable, and require no maintenance or in-house equipment.
Choosing the best phone system for small businesses
A number of factors must be taken into consideration when choosing small business phone systems, including existing equipment, scalability, cost, system management, and the phone system features your business needs. The following are important questions to answer:
- Is your existing equipment capable of supporting the new system, or will you need to upgrade?
- Will you need desk phones, mobile phones, or a combination of the two?
- Will you need more versatile equipment in the future?
Scalability and cost
- Will you be able to add new lines/features as your business grows?
- Can the phone system integrate with applications, software, and hardware you’re currently using?
- Does the new system fit within your budget? Will it continue to do so as you grow?
- Are you paying for features you won’t use?
- What are the long-term maintenance costs and monthly fees associated with the phone system?
Features and management issues
- Which features do you need? Depending on your choice of phone system you may have access to over 50 features.
- Is it worth paying for features you’ll need in the future now, or should you wait?
- Would a virtual receptionist help you manage and reroute customer calls to appropriate extensions?
- If you have teams working remotely, will you need video conferencing and the ability to share phone screens?
- Will you be responsible for system maintenance or will your provider take care of it?
- If your provider maintains the system, will you have easy access to support when you need it?
Your choice of small business phone system will have a lasting impact on your ability to perform business efficiently and successfully. Don’t leave such an important decision to chance: Contact GoWireless to discuss your business needs with the experts.