Every small business needs a phone system. But how do you choose the best system for your particular business’s needs? Find out in the following insightful guide.
Types of Phone Systems
Small businesses have three main options for the type of phone system to use: Voice over Internet Protocol, Key System Units, and Private Branch Exchange. Let’s take a look at each one.
Voice over Internet Protocol
VoIP is one of the newest innovations in business phone systems and it’s fast becoming the most popular.
Indeed, VoIP is undoubtedly the best and most advanced system, so most businesses of all sizes select it.
The main advantage of the system is its functions are accessible by computer via your internet network. You can communicate easily with customers, suppliers, contractors, and so, anytime, and anywhere in the world.
With a VoIP small business phone system, you can use a wide variety of devices, which increases accessibility and communication. Furthermore, it’s easily scalable, which means teams can effectively communicate with one another as your business grows.
The best VoIP phone systems enable your small business to adopt custom caller IDs, phone menus, and voicemail messages for each of your business numbers. The best systems also allow you to quickly text messages from your computer and set up auto-replies.
Key System Units
Key System Units simply can’t compare to VoIP.
The KUI phone system is the most basic one available. It’s very limited in the number of phone lines it can incorporate.
In fact, it’s not suitable for any business that employs more than forty people. While that may sound okay for your current small business requirements, you need to consider your business’s growth.
It’s better to have a system you can use for years to come rather than having to change systems once your small business expands.
KUIs are very simple to use, though.
While KUIs have their place, they don’t provide the versatility that most growing businesses require.
Private Branch Exchange
A Private Branch Exchange phone system is more advanced than a KUI system, but it requires a dedicated team to manage configurations, which is a major downside.
However, a PBX phone system, which uses programmable switching devices, does enable the automatic routing of incoming calls.
A PBX system is largely automated, which is its main advantage. But a VoIP is usually the better choice for small businesses.
Features to Look for
Whatever type of phone system you choose, you need to ensure it has the features you require to help your small business communicate effectively both internally and with customers, contractors, suppliers, and so on.
Here are some of the key features you should look for.
A good phone system will provide multiple lines, enabling teams to switch between calls and manage periods of high call volume much better.
New small businesses usually only need up to four lines, but you should also consider your future needs.
An auto-attendant greets customers and then routes them to the appropriate team member to handle their requests or questions.
Having an auto-attendant can make your phone system more efficient and help you save precious time.
Every business phone system should have a voicemail feature.
But you may want to look for a phone system that also comes with a voicemail transcription feature. Not only are messages recorded and stored. They can also be transcribed and sent via text or email to the appropriate team member.
It can be very handy to have a phone system that has a conference call feature.
Running a business involves collaborating with different people, so there will always be times when it’s helpful to be able to speak to multiple callers at once.