Business phone systems are no longer used as a tool simply for making and receiving calls. Modern unified communications systems allow employees to communicate by phone, video, and text, giving businesses the flexibility to connect with customers and clients in different ways.
What is a Unified Communications System?
A unified communications system doesn’t just focus on a business’s calling needs, it also supports many other different ways employees now communicate with co-workers, clients, and customers. Not only does this include traditional phone calls, but also audio conferencing, video conferencing, instant messaging, online faxing, and text messaging.
Unified communications systems also allow businesses to unify all of their services into one platform instead of having different providers for each service, as in recent years. These are some of the main components that make up a unified communications system:
Video / Web Conferencing
Having all of these tools on one platform can make your business telephone systems run smoother, making your employees more productive because of the ease of communication.
How to Choose a Business Phone System?
There are various factors to consider when choosing a small business phone system provider. First off, you want to ensure the system will have all of the functions and features your business needs. While some businesses only need standard calling features, such as caller ID and voicemail, others might need added functions like ring groups, automated attendants, and on-hold music. You also need to consider any other communications tools that could benefit your business, such as video conferencing and instant messaging.
Another factor to consider when choosing your small business phone system is its reliability, which is especially important if you have a cloud-based solution. Business phone systems are of no use if they aren’t up and running when you need them, so be sure to ask each provider you’re considering what they’re annual uptime percentage is. If it’s not 99.99%, find out what the provider is doing to correct the issues. Also, make sure to ask about service-level agreements and if there are any uptime-related clauses, many phone system providers will have a money-back guarantee if the system doesn’t hit a certain uptime percentage.
If cloud-based phone systems are something you don’t want for your business, you need to find a phone system provider that offers on-premise systems. With an on-premise system, your business will house all of the equipment instead of it being hosted in the cloud. This system has more upfront costs but not as many subscriber fees as cloud-based systems.
Some small businesses may want to consider whether they even need a true phone system with on-site desk phones. Very small businesses that can get by with mobile phones will want to look into a virtual phone system. These systems connect the main business number to mobile phones, so when someone calls the main business number, they will be greeted by an automated attendant that can transfer the call to different employees or departments, which is then transferred to the employee’s mobile phone.
Which Phone System is the Best Choice for your Small Business?
There are a few different types of business telephone systems suitable for any small company. These phone systems differ by the technology used, cost, and the service provider.
Multi-Line Phone System. Multi-line phone systems can have several lines running through the same unit, allowing the operator to answer each incoming phone call individually or send calls to voicemail. This telephone system is fairly easy to use, making it a great fit for many small businesses. When shopping for a multi-line phone system, make sure to look out for the number of lines it can support depending on how many users you have on your system so you don’t pay for more than your business needs.
VoIP. VoIP or “Voice over internet protocol” telephone systems operate using broadband internet connections rather than traditional phone lines. This allows it to have ease of installation, scalability, lower pricing, and more advanced features, such as setting up a virtual receptionist. When shopping for a VoIP phone system, make sure it can integrate easily with other systems your business may use.
PBX. PBX or “Private branch exchange” telephone systems are essentially a private phone network for the office. This phone system routes incoming and outgoing voice calls through the business’s phone lines and offers a variety of advanced features, such as call holding, routing to extensions, and conference calling. PBX phone systems are different from standard multi-line systems in that call switching and routing does not occur directly through the phone unit itself, but rather is centralized, which makes it easier to scale and more cost-effective.
Cloud-Based. A could-based telephone system takes your phone infrastructure off-site by handling call routing and signal processing remotely for a low monthly fee. A cloud-based phone system can be hosted through a PBX system or a VoIP system. Some advantages to hosting your phone system in the cloud include:
- Since the system is completely off-site, this saves space in your office and costs to house this equipment on-premises.
- Being hosted by a third-party server allows your company to not have to worry about maintenance.
- It’s easily scalable.
- It’s more cost-effective.
Still not sure which phone system is the best choice for your small business? Ighty Support provides a free initial consultation to completely understand your business and find ways to streamline your communications system and find the best telephone system for your small business, working within your requirements and budget.
We have the expertise to cable, install, and configure analog phone systems such as Grand Stream, Nortel, and Avaya, to name a few. Visit us today at www.ightysupport.com or give us a call toll-free at 1-855-MY-DFWTECH.