5 MIN READ | BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEMS
Your business is growing (that's exciting) and your personal cell phone isn't going to cut it anymore. So, how do you buy a business phone system that's robust enough to meet the needs of your growing company?
Not a lot of time? Skip to what you need:
It's possible to purchase a business phones system through a retailer like Best Buy or Verizon, however, you may find the options are a bit limiting. For a relatively low cost (around $400-$500 + installation), you can set-up a four line system fairly easily with the following features:
- Expandable system to approximately 16 phone units
- 3-way conferencing
- 60 minutes of voicemail storage
- Remote voicemail retrieval
- Handset compatibility
- Caller ID (on some phones)
But let's face it, your business is growing, and it's likely going to outgrow a system like this pretty quickly (that is, if you need everyone to have a phone at their desk).
Also, if you're like me, I get busy. My phone also rings off the hook and if I don't recognize the number, I don't answer. It's usually someone trying to sell me something and I simply don't have the time.
What's the result of this practice? About 49 voicemails waiting to be heard (deleted). Eventually, I'll get to these, but my point is that if I only had 60-minutes of voicemail space, my inbox would already be full, and I might have missed that important caller that could become my next big deal.
Keep in mind, the systems being referenced above don't include service. There's still a fee that would need to be setup through a local carrier.
So what are the solutions for companies that need a more sophisticated system?
Welcome to 2019 and beyond.
Business phone systems are no longer limited to traditional landlines. In fact, they haven't been for years. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, then you're in luck!
Today, business phone system companies can outfit your entire office with phone systems for a reasonable price that are all connected through your office network.
Having a phone connected through your network is advantageous for a number of reasons:
- Phone features can be synced with a company's CRM or other computer functions
- Branches can be connected via phone extension (as if everyone worked in the same building)
- Business land lines can include call forwarding for times when employees are away from their desk, but still working (never miss an important call, again).
- Most phone issues can be fixed remotely through a managed services provider or a company capable of servicing phone systems via this method.
But using a robust business phone system will also give you the ability to:
- Connect thousands of phones (not a baker's dozen)
- Add hold music (so customers don't think you accidentally hung up on them)
- Conferencing as many people as are needed (because business decisions often involve more than three people and are not always in the same building)
- Voiceover IP options
- In short, the beauty of VoIP is that you don't need a phone plan - you only need an internet connection.
You may have read the section above and decided you don't need all of those capabilities right now. But if you're business is growing and needs something with more options than you can purchase retail, then keep reading.
There are a variety of options for you to choose from when it comes to purchasing a more suitable phone system for your business.
So, how do you choose the best? Are all phone systems the same? Does it just come down to the lowest price?
Some of the features listed above come standard with any phone system that is worth your consideration. There are some subtle differences and every provider can show you market research that shows you how great their system is.
So, how do you find the contenders from the pretenders?
- Ask for testimonials. You might find a company on their list that you know, or at least a number of companies in your industry.
- What does their support system look like? There are some companies who sell quality phone systems, but can't properly assist you when something goes wrong. There are other companies who outsource their service, which means that the company you thought you hired isn't the company who will be helping you. Some companies have their own in-house Network Operations Center, which typically points to a company who can handle most any situation, in-house.
You aren't trying to cure cancer, here.
Your business just needs a phone system that is reliable, provided by a company that is able to get you back-up and running for when the inevitable happens.
For most business phone system companies that provide service, the monthly cost you pay is for the support they offer you, should anything happen. Operating the system is merely a matter of paying your internet bill.
You can do a simple Google search but be cautious. The advice above will protect you from purchasing a more convenient option and trading quality service you could get with a bit more vetting.
There's nothing worse than being a business owner whose customers can't contact them because they are waiting on their service provider to get their phone back up and running. The cost of downtime can be tremendous to a business, so it's important to choose carefully.
We help customers each day with their phone needs, so I hope this article serves as a great way to point you toward the next step.
Posted by Daniel Gray
Daniel has a passion for educating and helping people and has spent over a decade in the education and office technology industries. He has a Bachelor's in Education from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from the University of Georgia. Daniel has been the lead blogger at SOS since 2017 and specializes in managed IT services, copiers and printers, and business phone systems. He lives in Atlanta and has a goofy greyhound named Ticker.