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Find The Right Business Phone System

The impact of business phone systems on business success is often underrated. It seems the only time their value is considered is when the system is down or having issues. Companies that have experienced these problems know how stressful it can be, as well as its impact on productivity and business overall.

If your current system or provider is not living up to your expectations, there are plenty of other options out there. When upgrading your business phone system or choosing a new provider, here are a few important factors to consider.

First and foremost, budgets are the main concern for businesses small and large. The cost of a new business phone system may be the reason companies are hesitant to upgrade. But thanks to advances in technology, there are many affordable options for varying budgets and needs.

When determining your budget, here are a few things you should include:

  • How many phones will be needed
  • How many new phones might be added over the next few years
  • Whether or not your business plans on expanding tremendously
  • How many employees telecommute (if any)
  • The cost of repairs, lease agreements and service contracts for your current system

Once you have considered these things, you can better estimate how much you are comfortable spending on business phones and compare it to your current costs.

You should also factor in the cost of hardware, installation, platform charges, ISDN/SIP trunking charges and regular service charges that may come with the upgraded system.

For those on a stricter budget, leasing phones from a provider and paying a steady fee may be more feasible than paying a lump sum upfront.

Remember that investing in a proper phone system is investing in your company’s future. This system will help to increase productivity and thus improve overall success.

Once your budget is squared away, you need to determine which types of phones each in-office employee needs.

Consider the different job types, responsibilities, and call habits of each employee. For example, the roles and call habits for a customer service representative will vary greatly from those of an intern.

Aside from in-office employees, you should also consider those who are frequently on the field, and would benefit from the “follow-me” feature (which reroutes incoming calls to alternate phone numbers) and other related services.

Also, if international calling is common within your company, you should note that VoIP offers better international rates than analog services.

You should keep growth within your current location in mind, but also consider any additional offices you may acquire in the future. A company with multiple offices may want to avoid employing an analog system as costs may skyrocket when connecting private line connections at the main office with additional locations. In this case, VoIP systems are likely to make the process of expanding your network much easier and more cost-effective.

At all costs, avoid buying a phone system for the “now.” Instead, consider the “now” but also factor in the future and what your company will look like in a few years.

Whether you expect to grow rapidly in the coming months or not, most companies opt for a mid-level system that can grow with them. This solution offers the option to add features and equipment in increments instead of starting from scratch.

While keeping your employees connected is important, you must also think about keeping your customers connected to you.

  • When it comes to incoming calls, here are some options to consider:
  • Would you like callers to hear a dial by name or department directory?
  • Would you like some client calls to take priority over others?
  • Do you need to be able to instantly reroute incoming calls from anywhere to provide customer service even if the office is closed or an employee is unavailable?

Think about the times you have called other companies and were greeted by automated systems and prompts. Make a list noting the things you liked and disliked about it so that you know what you want and what to avoid for your own phone system. In addition, calling your own company and experiencing the call process yourself will also help to fine tune your system.

Remember, a large part of the customer experience is the phone call. It is often one of the first interactions customers have with your brand so you want to make sure it’s quick, easy, and pleasant. In addition, providing adequate transfer options, voicemails, and conference call capabilities after the initial contact is just as important to deliver an overall great customer experience.

When it comes to features, because there are so many options available, creating a list of non-negotiable must-have features for your business is vital. Take a detailed look at the different procedures that take place regularly (internally and on the client side) within your organization. This will help you determine which features are used most and what options would help to simplify any of these processes.

Once you’ve completed that list, you can create a wish-list of features you would like, but could live without based on other factors such as price.

Here are some common features to keep in mind:

  • Automated directory services
  • Do not disturb
  • Public address voice paging
  • Caller ID
  • Express conferencing
  • Shared message boxes
  • Call blocking
  • Extensions
  • Speed dialing
  • Call forwarding
  • Hands-free alternatives
  • Speakerphone
  • Call logging
  • Hold options
  • Transfer capabilities
  • Central office line ringing
  • Multiple lines
  • Unified Communications
  • Custom greetings
  • Multiple voice recordings
  • Voicemail
  • Distinctive rings
  • Music on hold
  • Welcome message

Network & Equipment
Because phone systems and networks are constantly advancing with new features and technologies, it would benefit your business to choose a telephone provider with a solid reputation and can offer enhanced features and reliable services that help businesses thrive.

Also, there are numerous phone systems solutions designed for businesses of various sizes. It is important to consider your business and its size to determine the best options for you.

For small businesses, a comprehensive, sophisticated solution is likely not necessary. Instead, a provider than can offer management tools or calling features that work with the existing system or a simple phone system solution which meets business needs may be a better fit.

Larger SMBs or growing businesses should look for a provider who can scale the system as business grows and expands.

And enterprise businesses should look for a qualified provider that can act as a technology partner, offering not only the latest and best solutions, but advice for the organization as technology and business demands change.

Customer Service
While this may seem insignificant, think about what would happen if your phones were down? Will customers wait to call back or reach out to competitors? In order to deliver the best customer service, you will need a reliable business telephone provider.

Check customer service hours and ways to contact them to determine what level of service they can provide if something goes wrong. If your business works nights and weekends, it might be worth the extra costs to contract with a local vendor that offers 24/7 onsite support.

Another great way to find a provider is to ask around and get recommendations from people you trust. Friends, family, peers and associates are great sources and are not likely to misguide you.

It’s a smart move to keep scalability in the back of your mind just in case the opportunity presents in the future. With that said, when choosing a new system or provider, think about how much it will cost to add new hires to your plan.

Some providers may charge a flat fee for a certain amount of users, for example, up to 25 employees or seats. If you are near the upper limit of that, you should look into prices for the next tier up to estimate the cost of the plan as your company expands.

On the other hand, other providers may calculate fees to add new users, install equipment, or otherwise change the agreement you have individually. You should check those costs as well.

With this information, you can compare costs to see which would be the most cost-effective solution for scaling up as your business grows.

As you continue to narrow down your options, you should consider the value your phone provider will bring to your company versus the cost of the services. In regards to ROI, think about how new features will help employees save time and how much faster customers will get their answers and how this phone system will streamline employee tasks. Be sure that your business phone system adds value to both customers and employees before making any final decisions.

Business Culture
Does the culture of the business phone provider align with your company’s culture? Your company culture communicates your expectations, formality, commitment to service, your mission, values, and more. If you fail to share these values with your provider, then there may be some trouble when communicating your needs. This miscommunication can lead to problems getting the business phone system best suited for your business needs. Thus, finding a provider with a compatible business culture is vital.

If you need any help finding the perfect business phone system for you, we are happy to help! Contact us at 800-564-8045 to speak with a representative, or visit to browse our selection of new and refurbished business phone systems and more.

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