Whether you have a small, mid-sized, or large business, own a brick and mortar location, operate a remote business, or both, having an effective means of communication is essential. Today’s progressive businesses, however, require more than just a number to make and receive calls. They need comprehensive communication tools that allow them to stay connected on a diverse set of platforms for improved productivity and customer service.
With so many different phone systems and providers to choose from, however, deciding which is best for your organization can get confusing. To help you narrow down your options, here is a list of factors to consider.
When making most decisions in business cost is the number one factor. Though you want to be able to communicate, spending too much money on a phone system could cause other operational issues. When factoring the overall costs of a business communication system you should include things like equipment, installation, and monthly fees.
Phone System Type
The next thing to think about are the various types of phone systems for businesses. There are business landlines, Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP systems, and cloud-based systems. Landlines were at one point, the only choice for business. These are systems that are set up in the office using telephones and copper wiring. VoIP systems are more affordable options that are connected using the internet. Cloud-based phone systems are becoming increasingly popular for their affordability, ease of use, accessibility, and installation. These require an internet connection too, however, it is essentially a call-forwarding service that routes phone calls from the main company line to employee extensions or departments.
Phone System Features
Today’s advanced technology has created a plethora of business phone system features to look for. Along with traditional features like call-waiting, call-forwarding, and long-distance calling, there are also features like voicemail, voicemail to email, automated phone attendants, call recording, call logs, missed call notifications, and more.
Whether your employees are in-house or remote workers collaborating with one another is essential. Modern business phone systems come with advanced features that make working together easier. Users can instant message each other, host conference calls, and web conferences.
For remote workers or business owners who frequently travel, keeping in touch with the office is a common task. When you’re not near your landline or computer, there are phone systems that offer a solution. Users can download a mobile app and have company calls routed directly to their smartphones. This application also allows users to do other things on the go like make calls from the company line, send messages to co-workers, check voicemail, and even attend conferences.
Getting More Specific
Now that you have a general idea of what today’s business phone systems have to offer, it’s time to get more specific about your company communication needs. Ask these questions to get a better idea of which system is right for you.
- How much do you have to spend? – For businesses working with a limited budget, landlines are more expensive. You have to pay for phones and lines for each employee along with installation fees. It would be best instead to look at VoIP or cloud-based systems as they often don’t require any upfront fees or equipment and are broken down into small monthly payments.
- What type of workforce do you have? – Those who run a brick and mortar location can opt for a landline, VoIP, or cloud-based system for their communication system. On the other hand, virtual businesses or companies that have a remote workforce would be wise to choose a VoIP or cloud-based system for easier accessibility and mobility.
- What kind of features do you need? – Of all the features offered by business phone systems today, which are most important to you? Do you need a platform to hold video or web-conferences? Would you like the added bonus of an automated attendant to help route callers to the appropriate department? Do you need multiple lines with call-forwarding capabilities? As you decide which features are most beneficial to your business, write them down so you can compare your needs to the service providers and offers online.
Communication is a significant component in developing, maintaining, and strengthening relationships in life and especially in business. Today’s phone systems for businesses have advanced technologies that make all of this possible. With so many service providers to choose from, it is important to do your due diligence and ensure that the company you choose encompasses all of the factors listed above and also falls in line with your organization’s specific communications needs.
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