BUSINESS PHONES | 5 MIN READ
Businesses looking to improve operational efficiency may turn to a new phone system as a means of accomplishing this goal. However, between two main types of phone systems, VoIP and landline, which is a better fit for businesses? As a business phone system provider, we aim to use our industry expertise to educate our audience in an unbiased way so they can make the most informed decisions. Keep reading for a comparison of VoIP and landline phone systems so you can determine which is a better fit for your business.
[Quick Summary] VoIP vs. Landline: VoIP business phone systems are typically a better fit for businesses who need a more robust system and have a smaller budget, while landline phone systems are best suited to businesses that live in areas with poor Internet connectivity.
For a more in-depth comparison, keep reading!
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How to Find the Right Provider
VoIP vs. Landline Comparison
VoIP phones are fully dependent on the Internet. This means that in order to have a functioning VoIP system, one must have a reliable Internet connection. Those who live in areas with spotty Internet may experience a more unreliable connection.
Because traditional landlines use wires to establish a connection, service is more reliable than VoIP systems. Additionally, when bad weather knocks out phone lines, they can typically be fixed quicker than one's Internet connection. Businesses that live in an area with spotty Internet may prefer a landline for this reason alone.
VoIP business phone systems are relatively easy to fix up and maintain, seeing as a lot of the main pieces of the system's infrastructure are based online. Any necessary maintenance parts for VoIP systems may also be cheaper than landline systems.
Landline phone systems are expensive and cumbersome to maintain due to the outdated nature of their infrastructure. This can be a source of frustration for businesses looking for systems with low-cost after-market fixes.
VoIP solutions offer a wider array of features than landline systems. For instance, these systems can come with call analytics features, video calling capabilities, and more. These additional features expand the benefits potential and ROI from your phone system with enhanced productivity and efficiency capabilities.
For instance, features such as call routing can let employees route calls to other phones, which enables further productivity by letting employees work on-the-go.
These systems are very basic and typically come with the bare minimum features required to operate the phone. Businesses looking to get more out of their phones may prefer a VoIP system.
While sound quality can be stronger with a VoIP system, if your Internet connection falters, you may experience a dip in call quality.
Landlines have consistent call quality because the infrastructure it's based on can be more reliable than VoIP systems, which are dependent on a consistent Internet connection.
The main draw of a VoIP phone system is its low cost for initial buy-in as well as low after-market maintenance costs. Those who need to make international calls may prefer a VoIP system over landline, seeing as international calls are typically free with VoIP.
Since landlines run on an outdated infrastructure, they can be expensive to initially buy as well as maintain. Adding additional features to the system can further increase costs as well.
RELATED: How Much Do Business Phone Systems Cost? 
How to Find the Right Provider
Keep reading for a few tips on how you can determine which phone system is a good fit for your business.
How many phones do I need?
When buying a business phone system, a key point to figure out is how many phones your office needs. Determine whether or not every employee needs a phone. While certain employees such as those in your sales department need a business phone to conduct business, other employees may not need one.
Consider the future of your business phone system as well. If your company plans on expanding or moving offices, your needs in a phone system may change as well. Ensure that your business phone provider can accommodate any such needs.
What features do I need and want?
Product features are one of the most important aspects of a buying decision. When it comes to business phone systems, the market is flooded with so many products with such a wide variety of features that it can be hard to determine which offering is better than the other.
The following features, which comprise the product comparison in the next section of this article, are essential business phone features that companies should consider when evaluating a provider's offering.
- Call Continuity: Call Continuity is a feature that minimizes downtime in the event of phone connectivity loss by automatically re-routing calls to specified backup numbers. Once your power or Internet is restored, normal call routing automatically resumes.
- Auto Attendant: As a business, you cannot afford to have calls go unanswered. Auto attendants serve as virtual receptionists and can come with a variety of customization tools, such as the ability to offer callers touch-tone options that route to specific people or extensions (through an automated directory).
- SIP Trunking: SIP trunking routes your phone calls over the Internet instead of through the phone company's lines. You can use it with most business VoIP phones or even older analog or digital phones. This feature lowers your phone bills and improves reliability without changing your existing numbers or buying a new phone system.
- Distinctive Ring: Distinctive ring lets you establish additional telephone numbers on the same line as an existing number, allowing each number to have a unique ringing pattern. Employees can quickly know who the call is for without having to ask the caller.
- Video Conferencing: Some phone systems extend beyond audio-only calls to let you hold high-quality video conferences. Screen-sharing is sometimes included in a package, which can power your video conferences to greater heights.
- Call Recording: Call recording allows you to play back a call to ensure that no information was missed. This is a useful feature because it saves time spent note-taking during important calls and allows managers to replay calls to for quality assurance and sales rep performance reviews.
- Contact Center: With customizable call flows and features to ensure more efficient interactions, contact centers combine voice, chat, and email queues into a single experience. Some contact centers even give you real-time customer insights and historical reporting to help improve future interactions.
Ask Your Potential Provider:
Which of my systems are these phones compatible with?
It can be expensive and time-consuming to upgrade all of your office's technology at one time, which is why it is quite rare for other systems to be upgraded at the same time as your business phones.
Devices and systems such as alarms, fax machines, and other shared resources may run on digital or POTS lines, which can present problems when your phone system is upgraded.
Check with your business phone provider to smooth out any wrinkles regarding the phone installation. For instance, some new phone systems may require additional network cabling.
Can you provide a few testimonials?
Testimonials offer an additional layer of insight that you may not get just from speaking directly with a provider or reading their offering online.
Additionally, testimonials can give you insight into the size and industry of businesses that your potential provider has experience with, which can help determine how much they'll be able to understand your business' unique needs and wants.
What does your 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.
How can you guarantee quality of service?
How can you measure the quality of your business phone provider's service? Since service can vary significantly from one provider to another, check with your provider to see if a Service Level Agreement (SLA) can be built to ensure that your provider delivers on their promises.
For instance, you can set specific goals for factors such as jitter, latency, and response times in the event of outages. Your SLA should also set expectations for how you can get out of your contract if you are unsatisfied with your provider's service.
However, keep in mind that many providers will include contract stipulations that state that you must give them a specified period of time to remedy your complaints before you're allowed to break your contract.
We hope that this article adequately answered your questions. Just by reading this article, you are putting your organization on the path towards improved business operations!
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Posted by Chris Gaines
Chris Gaines has been with Standard Office Systems as the Director of Managed Services for the past three years and has over 25 years of experience as a Network Administrator in the office technology industry. He has a passion for helping small businesses discover the best technology solutions for their specific needs.