BUSINESS PHONES | 4.5 MIN READ
Buying a business phone system for your company can be more of a complex decision than you may think. Multiple factors come into play when you begin comparing brands, which can make the process of determining the best fit increasingly difficult. As a business phone provider, we aim to help companies find the right solution for them, even if that means that we're not the right fit. Keep reading for a comparison of our top business phone system brands for 2021 and some buying decision tips.
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Which is the Best?
Any of the brands which we'll compare in this article, which includes Intermedia, Mitel, RingCentral, and 8x8, could be a good fit for your business.
Here are a few ways that your company can compare business phone systems to find the best fit.
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.
Customer reviews should always be one of the crucial parts of your buying decision. They give you product insight that you just won't get browsing the brand's website or by talking to one of their sales reps. Always check for customer reviews on multiple websites before buying from a provider.
Once your phone system is set up, what happens if it crashes, phones need to be fixed, or another issue crops up? Check with providers to see what their service packages look like and what associated costs there are.
As your business grows and expands, your phone system will need to grow in step with it. You need a phone system that is scalable to meet demand.
When comparing providers and offerings, check to see how fast they can scale up your phone system to meet demand, what that process looks like, and how much it will cost.
The type of phone system you have will help determine how fast your system can be scaled to meet demand. While basic on-premise phone systems may take longer to be scaled up, other more hosted systems can be more quickly scaled.
Business Phones Compared
|PCMag||"There's good integration with third-party software and services"||"It has robust VoIP, calling, messaging, and video chat features"||"An improved user interface creates an ease of use"||"There's plenty of standard features in the base offering"|
|Business Dot Com||"It also has video calls, chat, screen sharing, and file management built in"||"You can choose from several on-premise options"||"It boasts a 99.999% uptime"||"The entire system is controlled through an online portal"|
|Software Advice||"Changes are simple and the customer support is excellent"||"The system is reliable and offers the ability to access call records and voicemail online"||"The app makes it easy to use, even on mobile phones"||"There's an easy setup guide for switching our existing phones to 8x8"|
What Else to Consider When Buying a Business Phone System
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.
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.
How can my phone provider 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.
RELATED: How to Buy a Business Phone System
Use this article as a guide towards finding the right business phone solution for your organization. If you're in the Atlanta area, consider us!
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Posted by Scott Leonardo
Scott Leonardo is a Business Development Manager for Standard Office Systems. Scott has over 20 years of experience selling in the office technology space with extensive knowledge in Managed IT Services, Document Imaging and Workflow, Document Outsourcing, Managed Print Services and Unified Communications.