You need to make careful considerations when you choose a phone system for your business. In this day and age, the heavy domination by mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets makes a lot of business owners forget about paying close attention when selecting phone systems, assuming that their mobile devices will automatically cope.
The reality is that as much as you take time looking into other vital services for your business, selecting the right phones must also be a subject that you thoroughly explore. There are a variety of phone systems that your business can use, for example:
- Virtual Phone Service
- Cloud-based VoIP
Each of the options above has both strengths and faults so before you make a final decision on any of the systems for your business, here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself:
- Is your company based in more than a single office/location?
- What volume of calls do you make and receive currently and how is the volume expected to change?
- What are the new features that you wish to include into your telecom systems?
- Does your business have fast and reliable internet connectivity for efficient operation of VoIP systems?
- Do you work remotely and if so, how much time do you spend working remotely?
- Do you want your current equipment to function with the new upgrade of telecoms hardware?
- Do you already have a PBX system installed for your business?
In most cases, the determinant factor when selecting a phone system Is usually the amount of time that you and your workforce spend away from the office and its landline. Of course, landlines are highly reliable and they deliver high call quality, but then they do not have the flexibility which is vital in a modern business.
The best solution regarding flexibility for your business is switching to IP telephony services which utilize the internet and the LAN of an organization together with a virtual Private Branch Exchange (PBX) rather than making and receiving calls using a landline.
Even so, you still need to make careful considerations for your business on whether using the IP telephony services alone will bring in the reliability and quality that is required. Over and over again, businesses prefer building a hybrid system which utilizes their current PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) that connects to the PBX system of the business.
PBX systems are a very popular choice among businesses that anticipate rapid growth because of how easy it is to manage and upgrade them (PBX systems). The main requirement for your phone system may just be answering of the voice calls but then, this is just a single point of contact with your consumers. Businesses are also supposed to integrate video conferencing, call recording, customer service and a mobile staff team that needs to have a dependable phone system.
Since lots of business aspects have already been transformed by using the cloud, hosted phone systems can as well have a major impact on your business. These systems, which are also referred to as hosted VoIP provide ‘Unified Communication’s; a term which is defined by Gartner as products (services, software and equipment) that ‘facilitate the interactive use of multiple communication methods of an enterprise’.
This pools all the necessary communication technologies for your business into an integrated system. SIP Trunking is an excellent example, it uses IP Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to the IP PBX of your business.
A lot of small sized and micro-businesses are also making use of virtual telephony services which provide UK landline numbers that can be forwarded to your smartphone. Phone calls can be professionally answered is need be with the availability of London-based numbers. These services of virtual receptionists could be just what your newly launched business needs to stay connected to both consumers and associates.
VoIP or Landline?
For any small business, VoIP seems like a stroke of luck especially since it provides an opportunity for free calls, however, there are a number of business concerns that need to be keenly considered before you start using VoIP.
A few businesses depend on VoIP for all their phone calls, rather than just using it for international and long distance calls only. Below is an outline of the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP.
Advantages of VoIP
- It offers lucrative bonuses on international calls
- When calls are routed via the internet, they become free once you pay for your mobile data and broadband plans
- Currently, there is a variety of equipment which includes hybrid phones that are usable as both a VoIP handset and a landline telephone
- It can be used for teleconferencing
- If your business has remote staff members, they can be reached directly via VoIP calls
Disadvantages of VoIP
- For small companies, initial VoIP setup and training cab be quite costly
- As you redirect your calls over the internet, they call quality may vary from one day to another
- The calls are charge free only if all the people you call also use the same provider of the VoIP service
- Using VoIP services has the potential of making every system it is used on vulnerable to computer viruses attack which could affect other business systems
- The moment your internet connection fails, the telecoms systems of your business also fail since it relies on the internet
Thanks to the success of platforms such as Skype, VoIP has become a remarkably widespread technology which has the potential to minimize calling costs. Whether you make use of your own installation of VoIP or a hosted system, make sure that you assess your needs and ensure that the robustness of the VoIP platform that you are using can meet them precisely.
Phone for Business
After your telephone network is installed or stretched out, you can now start thinking about the devices that you can connect such as handsets. Of course, you can still connect your old-fashioned desk phones to the installed virtual network or the physical PBX.
On the other hand, there are some phones that can provide you with a higher amount of integrated features which can save more on costs and boost efficiency. For some years now, converging several phone technologies into a single device has been a continuous process. One of the most recent incarnations of its kind is the Gigaset Maxwell 10 that comprises of high-end DECT telephone with inbuilt VoIP capability. It offers High Definition (HD) audio and video quality and a set of mobile apps.
A lot of small business literally require their communications at the palm of their hands. As luck would have it, the smartphone has the capability of being a powerful business machine. Devices like the Voice Bridge can turn your smartphone into your fixed phone line.
The Audioffice iPhone companion is a dock that has a handset and an inbuilt speaker. The dock can also be connected to your Mac so that you can utilize the enhanced microphone and speaker for your VoIP calls and soon, Android support is coming. The NVX 220 on the other hand aids users of SIP in merging mobile and landline calls into a single unit.
For your business, a phone now means understanding the needs of your business starting from its telephony and matching your existing needs to the systems that are available. A fast broadband connectivity and old-fashioned landlines still have their place in this new form of setting up.
Nonetheless, virtual telephony and the pros that can be brought in by SIP Trunking can make these technologies ideal business solutions, particularly for micro and small businesses that don’t aim at making massive investments in IT infrastructure.
Take time to analyze your needs keenly and this will provide you a list of features that needs to be matched by vendors. It is highly likely that your business will require a combination of telephony services. The general trend is for a higher amount of virtual phone services but meanwhile, a hybrid approach will offer your business the best telephony system.