3 min read
6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Phone System for Your Small Business
When it comes to phone systems for small businesses, options are abundant. However, making the right choice can be confusing and time-consuming with all the possibilities. In this article, we will look at six essential factors to consider when choosing a phone system for your business.
1. The type of phone system
The first factor to consider is the type of phone system you need and what features are important to you. Here are three types of business phone systems:
- Traditional PBX system: A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system is a communication network that uses a server installed and maintained on-site. The traditional phone system does not depend on the internet to function, and it can be the most reliable. However, its features are limited and less flexible than other phone systems.
- Virtual phone systems: Here, you purchase a virtual phone service from a provider, and they provide you with a local phone number or a toll-free number. They are the most scalable option and are great for remote businesses. Virtual phone systems offer features such as multiple extensions, Voicemail, Call forwarding, Interactive voice response, etc.
- VoIP phone systems: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems connects your voice calls over an internet connection. They offer several advanced and flexible features. You can make and receive calls anywhere from your mobile or work devices. VoIP phone systems are the most cost-efficient option, and you get traditional phone system features and much more.
2. Total cost
Phone systems are a significant investment, and it is essential to know what you want to spend and where you can have a high return on investment (ROI). Cost determinants include initial set up and installation costs, Hardware costs, Licensing costs, Upgrade costs, Staff training costs, Internet connection charges, and Subscription Fees.
Traditional phone systems require high upfront costs. Virtual phone systems require negligibleupfront costs but with a subscription fee. VoIP systems costs are mostly internet-related. The total amount you are willing to invest is also critical, and you should look at the ROI whether you are trying to host the system on-premise or in the cloud.
3. Current and future needs for your small business
Think long-term. Consider a phone system that serves your current needs and can easily allow for expansion in the future. Your business might be small now but expand significantly over the next few years. Ensure your choice accommodates this.
With traditional PBX systems, upgrades require the additional installation of physical phone lines. However, you can quickly scale up or down with cloud VoIP by adding and removing lines with a few clicks. Not every phone service works the same, so make inquiries.
4. Compatibility of your existing tools
How compatible is the phone system with your existing business tools? Do you have older equipment that needs an upgrade? Do you need to get a second internet connection for your VoIP?
Ideally, you want to select a phone system that can integrate seamlessly with your CRM and other business. Also, consider how your agents can work effectively and the right phone system that fits the business needs.
5. Ease of use
Cloud VoIP phone systems are so easy to use that your employees can get up to speed from the first day. However, systems are different from one another, and you should take time to get one that’s easy for your employees.
Some phone service providers offer tests or free trials, and some are up to 30 days. Use these trials to test the phone system in real-world situations and determine if it works for you.
6. Customer support from the vendor
Lastly, you should consider if you have support from your vendor and how fast you can get one when you have issues. Do your research and ask: Do they have a good history of supporting small businesses? How is their customer service? Do they have dedicated customer support? If I need help, how soon can I expect to get one?
If there is downtime, how quickly will the system be back up? How secure is my business data? These are crucial questions to ask and get answers from the vendor before making a final decision.
When choosing a phone system for your small business, consider the type, costs, compatibility, customer service and evaluate how it meets your current and future business needs. The right choice will boost your employee productivity and increase customer satisfaction.
As a leading expert in digital marketing, integrated campaigns and marketing strategies, Tim has led award-winning marketing communications teams for several communications companies. In addition to serving as the Director of Marketing for ULTATEL, he is also the Kansas City president for the American Marketing Association.