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It can be confusing with all the different options available to find the right business telephone system for your needs. We can help by matching your requirements with the top three suppliers in your area and provide 3 no obligation quotations for you to compare and save. Simply fill out the form above and we will do the hard work for you.

The right system is crucial to your business, it is your contact with employees, clients and vendors. The right choice should help you increase sales, communicate with your team and connect you to your clients.  With so many phone systems available in the market, you need to be careful in choosing the right one or you might end up with a system that does not fit your company’s needs.  There are several factors to take into consideration and it can seem confusing when looking for the right one for your office – here is a simple guide on how to choose the best one for your company.

What are the things that I should consider when choosing a business phone system?

  • Number of users/employees
  • Budget
  • Features that you need
  • Features that you may need
  • Growth and expansion
  • Profitability of your system
  • Productivity
  • Training
  • Maintenance
  • Level of technical skills

Know the basics

You don’t necessarily have to be a phone expert or a tech expert but it is important that you know the basics. You must know the basic features of a phone and what they are for. You must also know the types of phone systems available in the market to further help you narrow down your choice. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common terms used when discussing phone systems.

Benefits

Each phone system has its own benefits. By being familiar with each type of system, you will make an informed decision. Another question is, will the benefits outweigh the system’s cost?  You should also be able to get a return on your investment by using the system.

Finding a Business Telephone Systems provider can be a headache but finding the perfect one can mean a huge boost for your business. A BTS relies not only on hardware. Installation, programming and maintenance are an integral part of making your business a success.

The first thing to do is ask around. Ask your friends if they have a reliable BTS provider. Ask them about their experiences with this supplier, has the supplier met their expectations and if the supplier was able to deal with any problems promptly. Are they still using this supplier and will they continue to use this provider.

Take note of these suppliers, listing both pros and cons then get on the phone and call them up. Here are some questions that you can ask the provider:

How long have you been in the business?
What service packages can you offer me?
How many installations have you made in the last year?
Will you do an ocular of my site?
Can you give a demonstration of different phone systems?
If I encounter a problem, how soon can your engineers come?
Do you have a backup plan for emergencies?
Can you fix a system problem remotely?

The most important thing to take into consideration is troubleshooting, repair and servicing. You cannot afford to have the phone lines down for half a day. Most providers should be able to fix a problem within an hour. If not, they at least need to have it fixed in a day. Check if these services are free or if they are already included in your monthly bill. Some providers charge extra depending on the problem so it is best to ask your provider before securing a contract regarding these things.

Uses

How will the phone system be used? Will it be used for sales calls? Will it be used by agents in a call center?  Will the phone be used solely for customer service? Will the system be used for simple communications or need to be used for teleconferencing?

Another thing to consider is the number of outgoing and incoming calls every day. Do you make domestic and international calls on a regular basis? Are you a Small Business? If your Staff are largely mobile and you make a lot of international calls then a VOIP system might be the best one for you.

Check out our guides for your specialist phone system needs:

Phone systems for hotels

Phone systems for schools

Price range

Set your budget before talking to suppliers. Be ready to be flexible with it and keep a good range in mind just in case you may need some extra features or incur some extra costs. These extra costs often involve training and maintenance. There are usually special packages available for different business types. It’s always a good idea to ask. You might even get free installation and training.  If their packages are out of your budget, you can ask them to customize a system that will best fit your budget and requirements. If you plan to expand in the next few years, be sure to say that to your supplier so that they can give you an expandable system.

What do I need to purchase?

You need the following pieces to make a phone system run smoothly:

  • Base unit
  • Handsets
  • Wiring
  • Installation and initial configuration

How do I choose a supplier?

You can research online or ask colleagues and friends for referrals. If you must choose from scratch, here are a few guidelines.

  • Packages on offer
  • Years in business of the supplier
  • The number of successful installations in the last year
  • Troubleshooting
  • How soon can a problem be fixed
  • Backup plans for emergencies
  • Training and service maintenance

Be sure to read the fine print, ask about additional costs and benefits, etc.

How much do I need to invest?

A central base unit costs around

$350 and above. The price of a handset depends on the model and features. They can go as high as

$1,000. You can also get extra accessories. Add to that the cost of the installation, training and maintenance.

The telephone system is an integral part of any business. Before getting your own system, you should understand some basic concepts about this humble invention.

Types of Telephone Systems

There are 4 types to choose from. Let’s start with the most popular one today which is the VoIP.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

Both households and businesses can avail of this latest technology in phone systems. You can make the cheapest calls through this kind of platform. It works by sending your voice signals to the other person you are talking to through digital signals via the Internet.

This setup does not need a lot of wires and too much equipment. It is not as expensive as regular lines. A plan will have most of the features that a business needs. However, a lot of large companies do not rely on this type as it can sometimes bring problems such as dropped calls or poor call quality. Even with this in mind, there are still a lot of businesses, both big and small, that take advantage of this technology as it is really affordable.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)

This setup is recommended for businesses with more than 40 users. It works by connecting wires to a service provider’s main satellite. It is 100% reliable as long as the wires are intact. It offers impressive features. The downside is that installation and maintenance costs are high. Don’t be surprised if your monthly bill is high as well. But that should not deter you from investing in this platform. It offers a lot of functionalities that are useful to a large corporation.

Key System

This type of system is similar to the PBX in terms of installation, maintenance and costs. It requires heavy wiring and equipment. It requires a phone cabinet and a Public Switched Telephone Network. But, like the PBX, it also provides a lot of useful features.

KSU-Less

This type is usually recommended for offices with 10 users. It does not need wires and can be easily moved to another location should the owner decide to move to another office. It costs less than the 2 abovementioned systems. This type, however, cannot be expanded. This is not advisable for businesses that see growth in their horizon.

What are the basic telephone system features?

Now that we have tackled the different types available, let’s talk about the basic features of a telephone system. When choosing a type, you should at least see if your choice includes any or all of the following.

Conferencing

With this feature, you don’t need to travel to attend meetings. It is also very useful if you need to talk to people from other countries. The number of people that can conference varies so you should determine the number of participants in your meetings before getting this feature.

Direct InDial

This feature uses ISDN technology and allows each employee to have their own dedicate number. Incoming calls can go to their extensions directly without having the need to go through reception. It saves time and lets staff entertain customer calls at once.

Auto Attendant

This is your personal receptionist that does not get tired answering and routing calls. It instructs callers how to reach the person they are calling. This is valuable if you have a large volume of incoming calls daily or if you have after hours support.

Music-on-hold

Some systems provide you with music while some allow you to personalize this feature. You can put your company jingle or commercial.

Speed Dial and Directory

This is a very important feature for people who are too busy and are always on the phone. Just press one button and you can easily be connected to the person you are calling.

New phones now have the capability to store hundreds of frequently used numbers. You can easily find your contacts. If you have Caller ID, your phone can display the name of the caller if he is in your directory. If you can find a system that will allow you to import contacts from a spreadsheet, get it as this can save you a lot of time in both setting up and managing your directory.

Call Queuing

This sorts calls, queues them and then automatically distributes them to available lines. This is an important feature to have if you receive many calls simultaneously daily.

Ring Groups

You can assign a single number for each of your departments. You can set up the phones to ring simultaneously or one-by-one. You can set it up so that if one phone rings a certain number of times and is not answered, the call is automatically transferred to the next phone.

Call Transfer

You can either transfer your call to a person in the office or a field employee via their mobile phone.

The following features will help you with Accounting and Call Management.

Barring

You can limit access to international, long distance and mobile calls.

Call Tracking

You can get details of all calls (internal and external) made from every phone connected to the system. You can use this with Call Accounting to analyse the calling patterns in your company. You will be able to pinpoint inefficiencies and reduce costs.

Call Accounting

This feature is more suited to large businesses as it allows you to monitor employee calls and allocate costs.

Tips on How to Choose a System and its Features

You can choose hundreds of features for your phone system but did you know that most companies actually use only 5-10% of these features. It’s a good idea to focus on the functionalities that will benefit your business the most. These should improve your communication and efficiency. You don’t need a lot of features as it is easy to get lost and waste time going through them. Don’t compare phone systems, instead examine how a system will actually be used in your office and then make decisions based on this.

All types of systems nowadays have all the core features that a company needs such as call transfer, hold, pickup and paging. However, they have different limitations. When you have narrowed down your choice, request for a product demonstration from the suppliers so you will really see if it will be useful in your organization.

 

End notes

Finally, it’s always good to come to a meeting prepared so do your own research. Read reviews online. If you are already familiar with some brands, you won’t have a hard time understanding the key aspects of each one when you come face-to-face with a supplier. Always ask questions especially if you don’t understand a term or something in the contract. Another thing that you can ask for is a product demo. This is your gauge to see if the product is easy to use and can easily adapt to your office environment. Whatever your budget is, you are sure to find the perfect business phone system for your office. Keep these things in mind and you will make a good decision.

To get a free quote and compare telephone systems based on your requirements, please fill in the questionnaire in the box above.

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