What is a Multi-Line Phone System?
Let’s face it, as your business grows and the right phone system becomes increasingly important. This is simply because your call volumes will go up, and if your system can’t handle the volume, you’ll likely miss out on business opportunities and your customer service will suffer.
And here, a multi-line phone system is one of the best tools you could have. So, let’s look at these systems in more detail.
What is a Multi-Line Phone System?
Unlike standard telephone systems, which allow only two people, one on either end of the line, to communicate, multi-line phone systems allow more people to be on the phone at the same time. In simple terms, these systems can handle multiple telephone calls at once.
Also, these systems allow users to dial internal or external numbers, place calls on hold, and return to the line. As a result, they’re the best option for any business that wants to grow, hire more employees, and serve more customers.
How Do Multi-Line Phone Systems Work?
Generally, multi-line phone systems work by creating an internal telephone network that routes both internal and external calls to the right people within a business or organization. Here, it’s also important to understand the differences between older, traditional and newer cloud-based systems.
Traditional Multi-Line Phone Systems
Traditional multi-line systems are available as either Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) or where single lines provide two-line capabilities using existing telephone wiring.
PBXs accept multiple lines and provide more advanced features compared to single lines, including voicemail, call forwarding, and the like. While they provide these features, they’ll still hamper a business that plans to grow as callers will receive a busy signal when all lines are in use. As such, these systems are increasingly being replaced by VoIP systems.
Cloud-Based Multi-Line Phone Systems
If you want the best of VoIP and PBX systems, you’ll need to consider a cloud-based multi-line phone system. A cloud system converts voice calls into data packets which are then exchanged over the internet. This means there are no phone lines and a virtual PBX routes calls to the right people and provides other features.
One of the main benefits of cloud-based systems is that you can have as many lines as you want, provided, of course, that you have a reliable internet connection. This makes these systems infinitely scalable and suitable for most businesses.
Types of Multi-Line Phones
Now that we’ve looked at what multi-line phone systems are and how they work let’s look at the different types of multi-line phones in more detail. It’s important to understand the differences between these as it will make the process of choosing the right type for your specific needs and requirements easier.
2-Line Multi-Line Phone
As the name suggests, these phones provide two lines. This makes them a suitable option for small businesses or solopreneurs who, for instance, want one line for sales and another for service or management. They’re also ideal for small offices with two employees who will then each have their own line.
4-Line Multi-Line Phone
These systems provide four lines. This makes them the ideal upgrade solution for businesses that find that their call volumes are too high for their two-line systems. Some examples of where these systems are a perfect fit include small offices with four employees, receptionists who need to answer multiple calls, and customer service teams.
6-12-Line Multi-Line Phone
These systems provide far more lines compared to the systems mentioned above and offer better performance and advanced features. As such, they’re also the most expensive options.
Considering the above, these systems are ideal for businesses and employees who need access to many lines. These would, for instance, include senior account executives, executive assistants, supervisors and businesses like realtor’s offices or marketing agencies.
Benefits of Multi-Line Phone Systems
Although you might already have an idea of how multi-line phone systems can benefit your business, let’s look at some other benefits you’ll enjoy by using these systems.
One of the main benefits of a multi-line phone system is the cost savings it brings about.
For example, with a cloud-based multi-line system, you’ll pay about $20 per line per month, and you’ll have no installation costs and unlimited calling. Ultimately, this means you can save up to 65% on your business’s phone bill every month.
With VoIP systems, there are multiple redundancies built-in, and most service providers comply with security standards like PCI, HIPAA, and SOC2. As a result, your communications will always be uninterrupted and secure.
Simply put, you don’t have to worry about your phone lines going down or security issues.
While traditional phone systems limit your communications to your office, multi-line systems don’t. As a result, you’ll equip your employees with all the tools they need to stay connected to the office, no matter where they work from. This is especially important nowadays when remote working is becoming increasingly popular.
Because you can have as many lines as you want, new lines are easy to set up, and cloud-based systems are more reliable. They are far more scalable compared to traditional phone systems. As a result, you’ll be able to scale your business effortlessly without being held back by your phone system.
With the convenience features, multi-line phone systems offer like auto attendants and toll-free numbers, you’ll earn more trust among your customers, your employees will be more productive, and your business will be more efficient. As a result, you’ll be able to serve your customers better and generate more revenue.
Advanced Features in a Multi-Line Phone System
So, once you’ve decided to use a multi-line phone system, what can you expect from it? Although the features might differ from system to system, these are some advanced features you can expect.
Auto attendants automatically direct incoming calls to the right person based on the caller’s keypad input. This reduces waiting times and, by implication, improves the customer experience. In turn, this helps you create an impression of a professional business. And we all know that first impressions count.
Call Hold/Call Parking
Call holding and call parking are invaluable features to the success of your customer service efforts. Call holding lets your employees place a call on hold to answer another call or discuss an issue with a colleague, while call parking allows another employee to pick up this call.
Call analytics help you to measure call volumes. In turn, you can measure these call volumes against your business activities which gives you deeper insights into your business processes. In turn, you’ll be able to use these insights to make your processes more efficient and scale your business.
Call forwarding gives you the ability to transfer calls to any phone, no matter if it’s a phone in your office or your or one of your employees’ cell phones. This helps you eliminate missed calls even if you’re out of the office and your employees will be able to serve your customers from anywhere.
With call routing, you can specify criteria that will dictate how your business’s calls are directed. You can base these criteria on your specific needs and requirements. You can, for instance, direct calls evenly among your employees, direct calls to those employees who have been available for the longest, or direct calls in chronological order.
Business voicemail eliminates the possibility of you missing out on important customer calls or business opportunities. This is simply because it allows your callers to leave messages when you’re not available or when you don’t answer in time. In some cases, the system can also send transcripts of the messages to your email.
With toll-free numbers, you can let your customers phone you with queries or issues without having to pay for these calls. In turn, you’ll build trust with your customers and improve the customer experience. You can also use these toll-free numbers for marketing campaigns which will allow you to track how specific campaigns perform.
With this feature, you can host meetings, either with customers, investors, or with your teams. Also, you can hold these meetings from anywhere which means your business will stay productive, no matter where you are. A big bonus, of course, is that this feature is standard with cloud-based phone systems.
With call recording, you can record the conversations your employees have with customers which not only keeps your employees accountable, but these recordings offer great opportunities to train your staff and improve your customer service. Another benefit is that you don’t need any special equipment like cassettes or hard drives to record these calls.
How to Set Up a Multi-Line Phone System
As mentioned earlier, to set up a multi-line phone system, you’ll only need a reliable internet connection. If you have one, you’ll need to follow these steps to set up the phone system:
- Find the right service provider. You’ll need to select the right provider based on your business’s specific needs and requirements.
- Assign phone extensions. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to assign extensions in the provider’s admin tool.
- Record greetings. You’ll then need to record the automated greetings for when a customer phones you.
- Make and answer calls. Once everything is set up, you’ll be able to start making and receiving calls.
If you want to ensure that your business’s phone system is reliable and secure, you should consider a cloud-based multi-line phone system. Hopefully, this post helped illustrate how these systems work, the different types, their features, and the benefits of using them.