Knowing how to choose the right business phone system will aid you in getting all the features you need, at a cost that makes sense. Make the wrong choice and you’ll end up in a long-term commitment with a service that doesn’t work properly, won’t scale easily, or is financially unviable. However, make the right choice and you’ll be very happy with your high-quality connections, opportunities for collaboration, and budget-friendly rates.
So how can you choose? The first step is to understand your needs. The second is to know your options. We’ve gathered this information for you so just start reading and then contact a representative to get set up with your new business phone system.
How to Determine What Type of Business Phone System You Need
There are plenty of factors to consider when determining (a) if your current business phone system is working well for you, and (b) which type of business phone system is the best for your specific circumstances.
Some of the factors to consider are:
- Size of Business: The number and type of employees can make a big difference in which phone system works best. Do you have a few employees or many? Do they all work in your company’s physical office? Do employees travel for business? Do you have employees spread out globally? You need a phone system that can accommodate your needs, without having to pay for too many lines or other features you won’t use.
- Scalability: The ease and speed of phone reconfiguration contribute to the operational agility that is so pertinent in today’s business climate. You need a phone system that expands and contracts with you, whenever it’s required.
- Type of Phones Used: Do you have a hardwired system already in place or do you run mostly on mobile? Connecting all phones, no matter the type, is something every modern business should look for in a system.
- Availability of SMS: If communicating with employees and customers via text messaging is important to your business, make sure this feature is available with the system you choose.
- Importance of Integration: If your employees use a variety of cloud platforms, integrating your phone system with them will decrease redundancies, increase efficiencies, and raise customer satisfaction levels.
- Volume of Outgoing/Incoming Calls: Has your outgoing or incoming call volume ballooned to a point where employees are struggling to keep up with demand? Do you have customers calling in from far-off time zones with questions and problems to be solved? Get a system that can handle these situations.
- Amount of External Use: Are your employees remote, spread across global locations, or frequently traveling? If so, you need a system that works well enough to keep everyone connected and collaborating no matter where they are at any given time.
- Budget: How much can you afford to spend on setup, monthly minutes, long-distance calling, and ongoing maintenance fees? What features are worth budgeting for and which are not? Would you rather pay a large investment cost upfront on top of monthly running costs, or a lower but ongoing subscription rate?
- Level of Security: Do you exchange sensitive information over the phone? If yes, it may be compromised unless your phone system is made fully secure through encryption, authentication, and redundancy architecture.
The Options for a Business Phone System
Once you better understand your needs and goals as a business, you’re in a good position to review and narrow down your business phone system options.
Landlines are your traditional, installed hardwired phones that have been around for ages. The pros are that they are very reliable, highly private (they can’t be hacked into), and don’t require many upfront costs when the copper connections have already been made. The cons are that lines can go down depending on the weather, maintenance has become spotty as upkeep tends to refocus on newer technologies, and monthly costs can get expensive when you need additional features.
Cloud communications work with a plug-and-play network of voice and data services that feature on-site SBC deployment and managed solutions. This is a cost-effective option because installation is easy and doesn’t require much support. Some of the features include professional call routing, enhanced video conferencing, easy integration, and scalability availability. Unfortunately, service outages sometimes occur, privacy may be a risk, and the network requires a continual vendor subscription.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) uses the internet for a streamlined voice, text, and software-integrated solution. It is highly scalable and very affordable because costs are based per user, not per line. However, there are some reliability issues if there is a poor internet connection and it is possible to have malware issues, again because it’s internet-based.
A contact center could be the best answer if you deal with a high volume of calls at all hours of the day. New, technologically advanced cloud-based contact centers are driven by analytics to give a deep view of agent performance and customer interactions. This data can be used to optimize workflow and improve outcomes. The downsides are extra costs and perhaps lower security.
What FirstDigital Offers
Ultimately, any of the above options are great. The trick is being matched with the one that works best with your business and budget. Contact a FirstDigital representative for advice on how to choose the right business phone system for you.