What Is The Best Phone System For A Small Business?
By John O'Haver
As small businesses grow, they must continually scale up. This is true for all areas of the business including the phone system being used. With the needs of businesses being very different from one to the next, it is no surprise that there is a wide range of options available, many of which are highly customizable.
Choosing the best phone system for your small business starts with identifying your specific needs.
Important Factors for Any Small Business Phone System
No matter how big or small your business is or what kind of business you do, these are important factors to consider when choosing a phone system.
- Ease of Use: While some phone systems are as simple as opening an app on your personal smartphone, others are highly technical and may require you to add a full-time IT professional to your staff.
- Cost of Entry: While many phone systems require little-to-no money down and may even offer a free trial, others will require purchases of costly equipment.
- International Calling Capabilities: Some phone systems offer unlimited international calls while others are more restrictive. You must consider the calling needs of your staff.
Watch Out for Phone Systems with These Issues
With so many options to choose from it is important to know what warning signs to look out for. While the companies are not likely to advertise these red flag issues, you can look at customer reviews. Avoid phone systems where customer reviews mention these issues.
- Quality Issues: When customers complain of connectivity issues that never get fixed, do not think your experience will be any different.
- No Advanced Features: If a phone system offers only the basic calling features, it is likely that the service will not be of good quality.
- Complex Pricing: Price plans should be straightforward and easy to understand not complicated and with hidden costs.
- Poor Customer Support: Any business with poor customer service does not care about their customers and should be avoided.
Types of Phone Systems for Small Businesses
More than just a business-phone line, a business-phone system is a network of phone lines that connect all the members of your company. There are a few main types of phone systems for small businesses.
- On-Premises Private Branch Exchange – A private branch exchange (PBX) system has traditionally been used by businesses and offices and runs through a central unit that must be installed in your business. This hardware is costly to install, and maintenance may involve hiring a full-time IT professional.
- Voice-over-internet protocol – Voice-over-internet protocol, or VoIP, is a cloud-based phone system that does not require a hardware installation and can be installed on the personal smartphones of your staff via an app. This phone system is great for networking with staff that works remotely.
- Mobile Phone Plan – Another option that some businesses have begun using more recently is providing staff with a mobile phone on a company plan. This option can get quite costly between the device and the addition of a line, and there is no separation between business and personal use.
Phone Systems to Fit Your Business Structure
There are many features to choose from. The features your business finds most useful will depend on the type of work your team does.
- Call management
- Call forwarding
- Call recording
- Call analytics
- Custom hold music
- Shared phone numbers
- Virtual fax
- Custom ring back
- Voicemail transcription
- Number porting
- Video conferencing
- Document sharing
- Conference bridge
The features are what really make a VoIP system the most useful for businesses. Many systems have a range of features that can be selected, while other systems offer feature packages or bundles.
The way your business runs will have a big impact on the choice you make. While the PBX system has been in use much longer, the hardware requirement makes it necessary to have a central office where the equipment is installed and maintained. With so many in today’s workforce telecommuting and working remotely, that is not always possible.
Remote workers and telecommuters can make better use of the mobile phone plan option but buying devices and adding lines gets expensive fast. In addition to the excessive cost, the mobile plan option does not offer the features that a VoIP includes. A VoIP system is the most easily integrated as well because it is app-based and can be installed on any updated device.
Phone Systems that Work Where You Do
Whether you are in the office, at home, in the car, or at the cafe, a VoIP business phone system allows your team members to stay on task even on the go. A VoIP system can handle all kinds of communications, not just calls. Most can be installed on any device whether Android, iPhone, tablet, laptop, PC, or even landline devices.
Outsourced Communications Services
Another option that can be used alone or in combination with the options above is outsourced communications services. At Go Answer, we can assist your team by fully automating your phone system or by just answering communications during off-hours. We also offer many of the same features as a VoIP system like call forwarding, call management, call recording, and call analytics.
Go Answer Has a Solution for You
Connect with Go Answer today to find out about the solutions we offer, and we can assist you with setting up a small business phone service solution that best fits your company’s needs. Our team is available to handle communications of all types 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Never again let your business suffer due to inefficient phone-system solutions.
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