A lot of business owners are at a complete loss when it comes to choosing a phone system for their business. While choices were limited in the past, nowadays it can be difficult for current business owners to make the best decision because of the amount of choice available.
In this article, we’re going to give you a few tips on how to find the best phone system for your business:
How to Assess Which Type of Service You Need.
The first thing you should assess is which type of service you need in the first place. Some business owners need to have access to a traditional landline because of the nature of their business, yet in other cases, some business owners might be perfectly fine with nothing but a virtual phone service that is interconnected using mobile.
In the case that you need a phone line, you will ultimately need to make a choice between a traditional landline, which is provided by a traditional regional service provider, and VoIP. VoIP, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, is a service that allows people to send vocal data through a broadband internet connection and is being offered by an increasingly large number of companies.
In the event you decide to go for VoIP, you will usually have the choice between a wide variety of options. For instance, you might decide to host your VoIP system locally, but in other cases, your service could be hosted on the cloud which has its own set of advantages and inconveniences.
Let’s cover the pros and cons of each option:
Virtual Phone Systems.
Virtual phone systems are fairly new to the scene and do offer some advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked. But what are virtual phone systems and how do they work?
Virtual phone systems are for people and businesses looking for a set of options such as faxing, voice to text, voicemail, extensions and faxes. In addition, virtual phone systems offer added features such as virtual receptionists, call screening and fax to email. However, the biggest difference between virtual phone services and traditional landlines is the fact that they operate remotely with no need for you to install special hardware. All you need is a normal phone or mobile service, and you’re good to go.
Virtual phone systems do not need to function from any given location. They are, in many ways, a call forwarding service that allows you to send calls to different members of your organization wherever they are through a single business phone number.
This type of service does have its fair amount of pros and cons. For one, virtual phone systems allow your business to show a professional face without having to spend thousands of dollars on an elaborate business phone system. In addition, virtual phone systems are very similar to VoIP systems since they offer many options that traditional phone services do not qualify as standard, such as call recording.
However, one of the biggest issues with virtual phone services is that they ultimately have to work in conjunction with your existing plan. Calls are forwarded from the virtual phone service to your home or mobile phone meaning that you will need to pay double for the virtual phone service and your home or mobile plan. So, if you don’t have a solid mobile plan in place, you should reconsider using this type of service if you are contemplating communicating mainly through mobile. Ultimately, this service should be used mainly by businesses with many remote workers or sole proprietorships trying to show a more professional image without all the bells and whistles.
While traditional landlines have been in use since time immemorial, they are slowly getting overshadowed by other options, especially when it comes to this new breed of online entrepreneurs. However, while landlines may seem to be a bit antiquated at times, they still have a leg up on the other options in many aspects.
When we talk about landlines, we’re talking about a traditional service provided by a regional service provider. These systems work with traditional copper wiring and are powered by what is called “phantom power”, which operates outside the power grid. Unbeknownst to many, most landline services use PBX technology these days. As a matter of fact, PBXs are what are responsible for features such as call forwarding and directories for instance.
Traditional landlines are preferred by many because of how reliable they are. Since landlines operate completely off the grid, these are usually your last line of defense in case of an electric shutdown. Some companies will prefer going for this option for this sole reason as they see traditional landlines as the much safer option. However, the current shift away from traditional landlines is making them harder to service because of the lesser number of qualified technicians for the job. In addition, phone service providers are allocating fewer resources to servicing faulty traditional networks.
Also, the services they offer might seem limited when compared to VoIP or virtual phone numbers. Advanced call forwarding is very difficult, and features such as mail to text are nearly nonexistent. Furthermore, options that can be simply implemented through VoIP such as video conferencing or even sending attachments are nearly impossible through traditional landlines.
Ultimately, traditional business phone systems are better suited for big businesses who have a budget large enough and a qualified IT department to maintain them. This can also be an option for businesses who don’t have or need internet access.
VoIP is the new kid on the block in the world of telecommunications. It is by far one of the best and most versatile business phone options, though it is not free of a few minor drawbacks.
VoIP offers features such as call recording, advanced call forwarding to multiple phones and advanced options such as video conferencing on the fly. Furthermore, VoIP systems can be installed in as little as one day, even for large businesses.
VoIP is simply a technology that allows voice calls to be made over the internet. The service isn’t limited to physical phone systems, but can also be accessed through any internet connected device. One of the greatest advantages of VoIP is that it allows you to send phone calls to virtually as many alternate destinations as you want in a cinch. VoIP also offers advanced options that used to be reserved only for large corporations such as call queues, voicemail to text, voicemail to email and automated attendants. Just like virtual phone systems, VoIP phones allow business owners to access their phone from any location. They also allow business owners to save significantly on long distance calls.
However, while VoIP systems have tons of great features, they aren’t perfect. For one, they rely solely on internet access. While this may seem like a minor issue at first, it does have its fair share of implications.
First of all, this means that you will be at the mercy of your IP as far as quality of service and reliability goes. Ultimately, this means that the quality of your service will depend on the quality and reliability of your internet connection. Secondly, since VoIP operates solely through the internet, it is almost impossible to get an exact location. This can be a major issue when you need to make emergency calls as they rely on caller location when dispatching services.
People who decide to go for VoIP can either go for locally hosted service or Cloud-based service. When you choose a locally hosted solution, all the hardware needed to run your network, including PBX servers, will stay on premises. This means that you will usually need to take care of all costs as well as make a significant capital expenditure to acquire the equipment.
While the cost might even out in the long run due to the fact you won’t have to pay extra every month for the hardware, you do have to take into consideration that you’ll at least need to have a third party IT professional on call anytime something goes wrong.
At the end of the day, VoIP is perfect for businesses that need to enjoy a higher level of mobility while still showing a professional face; with the physical phone component, they really offer the best of both worlds.
Traditional landlines, virtual phone systems and VoIP business phone systems have all their own set of pros and cons depending on which type of business you’re operating. If you’re operating a larger business and don’t necessarily rely on the internet too much, a traditional phone line is still a good choice. However, if you’re involved in a business that requires a high level of mobility, and you still want your clients to access you through a single number, VoIP and virtual phone systems are definitely the way forward. They’re also much less expensive to install, troubleshoot and expand, which is a definite plus for any small to medium business.