Whether you are starting a new business or want to replace your old system, choosing a new business phone system is not a decision that you should take lightly. There are several questions that you should ask yourself before taking a look at the options available to businesses today. One example of such a question is, "does your business need physical desk telephones or will a virtual phone service suffice?" Fortunately, there are plenty of considerations to help you choose the right business phone system for your organization.
Virtual Phone Systems
A virtual phone system is located off-site, as opposed to within your business. It enables calls to the main business phone number to be routed anywhere via the internet, including to desk phones, mobile phones, home phones (for remote employees), desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. Virtual systems include many useful features, such as voicemail, call forwarding, automated receptionists, a toll-free number, call screening, and online faxing.
The main advantage of this type of service is that it reduces overall costs for businesses; there is no expensive equipment or software to purchase. In addition, virtual phone systems provide remote and mobile workers the ability to communicate from anywhere, while providing businesses unprecedented scalability.
Traditional Landline Systems
Landlines are the traditional phone system used for decades now. Usually, this type of business phone system is supported by a utility company, which may be local or regional. Landlines, also referred to as public switched telephone networks, are analog systems that run via copper wiring. This copper wiring is installed by the telephone company. You will need on-premises private branch exchange (PBX) hardware to run a landline service. This hardware is used to make multiple extensions and offers features such as call directories and call transferring. Many phone system providers are currently in the process of phasing out landline systems.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone Systems
VoIP phone systems run on the same internet connection used by a company instead of the copper wires. VoIP systems allow all businesses, no matter their size, to enjoy features that only large companies had access to previously. Some of these features include computer-integration, automated attendants, and call queues. This permits voicemails to be sent to computers and email inboxes to be converted into soft phones. With VoIP, remote workers will be able to use their mobile devices to access the phone system of the business.
On-Premises VoIP Systems
On-premises VoIP systems are like traditional VoIP systems. The main difference is that all the equipment needed to run the phone system is housed within the business. On-premise systems demand a significant expenditure of capital because you are buying the equipment upfront. You will need to pay monthly fees for the SIP trunking, or PRI circuit; this hardware is responsible for allowing you to receive and make calls. For the rest of the hardware, you will only need to pay a one-time fee. In addition to costs, another main disadvantage of this type of business phone system is that your IT staff will be fully responsible for upgrades, maintenance, and repairs.
Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
If you do not think your IT staff will be able to maintain an on-premises VoIP system, you should consider getting a cloud-based VoIP system instead. You won't have to worry about hardware or maintenance issues. Your service provider will be responsible for housing, upgrading, and maintaining all the technology associated with your cloud-based VoIP system. Another advantage of this type of system is that it will allow your business to scale up and add new lines and offer access to new features. Businesses pay on a per-user or monthly basis.
While there are numerous options to choose from these days, choosing a business phone system for your organization does not have to be a difficult decision. Contact us today to speak with one of our in-house phone solutions experts to learn more.