How Do You Choose The Business Right Phone System?
Even in the age of the web, email, and instant messaging, the phone is a vital tool for many businesses large and small.
Choosing the right business phone system is therefore important to make sure it serves your business both now and in the future. That’s why businesses of all sizes are increasingly turning to a hosted phone solution, rather than a traditional system.
Here are 7 tips for choosing a phone system that explain why this is the case:
Tip 1 - Choose something that suits you now
There’s no point choosing a phone system that’s not quite right for your current requirements, just because you think it might be in the future. Spend some time thinking about the ideal structure your phone system right now and how it can help your business improve in the short term.
With a hosted phone system you can easily set up the perfect phone system for your immediate requirements. It’s a simple matter to configure a virtual PBX switchboard and combine it with hosted services to give you the functionality you need.
Tip 2 - Plan for the future
Before investing in a new phone system, review your business plan and consider what your business is going to look like in five years’ time. Will the phone system you are considering now still be a good fit further down the line?
One of the big advantages of a cloud hosted phone system is that it is incredibly customisable. It’s easy to adding new users, extensions, phone numbers and services, so your phone system can grow organically along with your organisation.
Also, if you end up expanding your business and doing business abroad, you can easily add our virtual international numbers to your service and divert them back to the UK or to dedicated offices anywhere in the world.
Tip 3 - Consider which features you need
Most phone system providers offer a range of features for businesses of all sizes. In a traditional phone system these are often handled through the PBX (switchboard) hardware. This is an expensive piece of equipment you will need to buy, maintain, repair, and ultimately replace.
It’s worth remembering that if the hardware you buy doesn’t have the features you’ll need in the future you will find yourself having to upgrade your equipment at great expense much sooner than you anticipated.
With a hosted solution your phone system is built around a virtual PBX. Not only is there no initial outlay for this, it is also automatically maintained and upgraded, and never needs to be replaced.
What’s more, it’s easy to add new features from a wide range available as and when you need them. All features and services play well together and can be added or removed as and when required. This easy integration allows you to combine the services you need to build the optimum phone system for you.
Tip 4 - Make sure your phone system fits with your business model
In some seasonal businesses what you require from your phone system can vary greatly over the course of the year. If you choose a traditional system you will usually have to purchase a system with a great deal of redundancy in it for most of the year, only using it to its full potential for short period of time.
In contrast, a hosted phone system is incredibly scalable allowing you to operate a pared down version for most of the year and then scale up rapidly at your peak times.
Tip 5 - Consider your location
At some point in the future, there’s a good chance that your business will move premises, open an additional office, or have to integrate staff who work from home or other locations.
As a cloud-based service is location independent, it is easy to accommodate multiple sites and homeworking staff without having to completely rebuild your phone system. Also, should you ever want or need to move premises, it’s a simple matter to divert all calls onto your new location the day you relocate. This is a straightforward process with minimal or usually no disruption for your customers.
Additionally, having a hosted solution helps protect your business from the effects of a disaster. Should you ever be affected by a flood, fire, or other crisis situation, you will still be able to make and receive calls as usual even if you cannot gain access to your premises. Simply divert all your calls to your temporary emergency offices or to staff mobiles and you can continue as normal. This allows you to stay in touch with your customers and leaves you free to focus on other more pressing matters.
You can read more about our disaster recovery/business continuity services here.
Tip 6 - Consider reliability and call quality
A business-grade hosted phone solution offers top call quality and reliability. One thing to be aware of though, is that if you wish to use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol - phone calls made over the Internet) to make your outbound calls then you will need to have a fast and reliable internet connection. In fact it is highly recommended that you have a dedicated connection solely for your phone calls.
Whilst you could share a single line for both your VoIP and regular office computers, this is not recommended. If someone in the office decides to download or upload a large file this could affect the call quality on all your phone lines. With a separate, dedicated line this is never an issue.
If you are considering a VoIP service, you may want to take a look at our VoIPinclusive service, which includes all your calls, equipment and a dedicated internet connection for one fixed low monthly cost.
Tip 7 - Consider the cost
Traditional phone systems can be expensive and offer limited functionality. You will need to buy expensive PBX hardware and also run multiple lines if you want to be able to make and receive multiple calls concurrently.
In contrast with a hosted phone system with VoIP there is no expensive initial outlay for hardware as everything is hosted in the cloud. You can also use a single dedicated line for your phone calls (subject to your broadband speed), thus bringing down your line rental costs. Also, VoIP calls are considerably cheaper than calls made on a traditional system so your monthly phone bill will also be much lower.
As mentioned above, it's even possible to get an all-inclusive, fixed price monthly deal that covers all your telephony requirements with our VoIPinclusive service.
As you can see, there are some clear advantages to choosing a hosted solution when choosing your business phone system. With lower costs, greater flexibility, more features and business grade reliability and quality, it’s easy to see why most businesses today are choosing a hosted phone system.
To find out more, or to get started, call us today on 0333 247 0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org