Understanding Your Business Phone System Needs
The first step when it comes to selecting a business phone system is a deep understanding of your business's needs. Are you simply in need of an upgrade from outdated technology or is your current provider not offering the services you need? Have you identified your communication pain points? Have you evaluated needs versus wants? These are the questions you need to familiarize yourself with before you begin the process of finding a provider who suits your needs.
Getting Familiar With What Is Available
There are a number of different business phone systems that are available, each falling into one of four main categories.
Virtual Phone Systems
The idea of a virtual phone system is nearly identical to that of a traditional phone system with one big difference – it is virtual. A virtual system manages calls through the equipment you already own. It is even compatible with cell phones and allows for the same capabilities a more robust system provides. This type of business phone system connects a main phone number to remote workers and utilizes extensive call-forwarding and transferring technology to easily put clients in touch with the right team members.
A virtual phone system is an ideal option for businesses that have a large team of remote workers or smaller budgets for communication systems. It is important to consider the limitations of a virtual phone system when selecting the right solution for your business. A virtual phone system is not independent from the mobile or home phone networks it is connected to. What that means is that you pay for the virtual phone system, while still being confined to the restrictions of your network or carrier.
Traditional Landline Phone Systems
Landline phone systems, also known as public switched telephone networks, run through copper wiring. In order to utilize a traditional landline system, you will need PBX hardware at your office so that you have the capabilities you need in your business phone system. The PBX allows for the creation of multiple extensions, call transferring, directories, and more. Traditional landline systems have evolved, with many being considered hybrid solutions that are combined with a VoIP system, which we will discuss next.
When considering a traditional landline system, you will want to ensure that you have the support to maintain the solution, both with the budget and the personnel.
The beauty of a traditional landline system is that it is a tried and true solution that is a trusted and reliable option. The downside of the traditional option, though, is that many providers are moving away from these as a solution so finding someone to sell or repair a traditional landline business phone system is increasingly difficult. High Country Workplace Technologies is one of the few phone service providers out there who not only offer but also have experts who specialize in legacy technologies such as traditional landline phone systems.
VoIP Phone Systems
VoIP, or voice over IP, is the technological evolution of the traditional phone system. Rather than the copper wires that are used for landlines, VoIP phone systems rely on the internet connection that you already employ. This solution offers more flexibile solutions in both capability and cost than more traditional options. The final two categories of business phone systems fall within the VoIP phone solution.
On-Premises VoIP Systems
A VoIP phone system relies on PBX hardware to run successfully. An on-premises solution brings all of the hardware used to keep the phone system running into your business. Larger companies with the IT staff to support the phone system often opt for the on-premises solution because of increased security and access to the hardware, however an on-premises VoIP system requires a significant up-front cost to purchase all of the hardware needed for a self-hosted system.
Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
The cloud-based VoIP solution houses all of the hardware at the service provider's location. This means that your business is not responsible for the maintenance or upgrades of the system, as those with on-premises VoIP systems are. All of the set up can be done from your computer and, because it is hosted in the cloud, this business phone system can be applied to multiple locations relatively easily. The downside of a cloud-based business phone system is that you are not in control of the system – if there is a problem, you will have to rely on your provider. Cloud- based VoIP systems are ideal for businesses that have limited communication budgets or lack the support staff the manage an in-house business phone system.
Choosing A Business Phone System
There is no one right answer when choosing a business phone system that meets your needs. It comes down to the right fit for your business regarding a number of different factors from budget to maintenance to capabilities. With this guide to the business phone systems that are available, you have the insider knowledge you need to make the right choice.
If you are looking to purchase or upgrade your business phone system, contact the communication experts at High Country today.