The Best Phone System for Your Small Business
Although online and mobile communication are playing larger roles in the daily operations of many small business, a phone system remains a critical tool for communicating with customers and keeping your business running successfully.
Because a phone system is so fundamental to how your business operates and who it is able to serve, choosing the best phone equipment for your small business is a critical decision. And as and just like other business tools, technological advances are continually reshaping basic office telephone systems in new ways.
Along with increasing power, phone systems offer incredible flexibility that allows you to customize the features that are best suited for your small business and its communications needs.
Before you start dealing with phone systems and technologies, it's a good idea to spend some time thinking about your small business and the amount and types of calls you are likely to make. As with most technology purchases, evaluating your needs and uses ahead of time will make building the best system easier -- not only for your needs today, but also in planning for additional capacity as your small business grows.
Some of the factors you should consider include:
- How many lines does your company need?
- How fast is the company growing?
- How easy is this equipment to use or maintain?
- What equipment do you plan to add to the system?
- Can this system be expanded easily as your company grows?
For most small businesses, purchasing a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system is more affordable and flexible than using traditional telephone company equipment.
A hosted VoIP phone system gives your small business powerful and flexible communications features, without having to lease equipment associated with traditional landline systems.
VoIP phone systems use your company's Internet connection to route voice calls over the Internet, or a network maintained by your voice service provider. This provides a flexible way to configure advanced calling and messaging features as software services.
Most small business telephone systems include a wide range of standard features that typically include hold, transfer, intercom and conferencing, music on hold, voice mail, automated attendant, paging, and other business friendly services.
Another potential advantage is the ability to configure your phone extensions for remote workers or home-based contractors. If you have such workers, they can be reached through your main number, and they can make or receive calls as if they were in your location.
This ability to make remote calls can also be a helpful tool if you are on the road. You can use a smartphone or laptop app to make and receive calls as if you were sitting at your primary workstation.
VoIP systems also offer considerable flexibility in how your phones operate at various times of the day. For example, most systems include a web interface that allows you to configure call answering rules such as having calls directed automatically to an alternative number or an answering service outside of designated hours.
Toll Free Numbers
As you consider your small business communications needs, you should also think about whether a toll free number makes sense for your company.
VoIP allows you to customize your toll free number in a variety of ways, such as scheduling incoming calls to be routed automatically at specific times to a mobile device.
You can also add or delete toll free numbers in response to marketing campaigns to help you measure their effectiveness.
Overall, a small business phone system can improve your ability to communicate, enhance your overall productivity, and demonstrate your commitment to service to customers and prospects who contact your small business.